Michelle Tryon and Sister Tryon: You guys write me every week. I know I have not been super good about writing you back, but THANK YOU. I appreciate them so much. I know that every week my letters from you two will be waiting. I love hearing from you! Thank you!
Aunt Kaly: I got both of your packages in the MTC! I sent a thank you card and I hope it got to you. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Those always made my day! Those little post it notes are so cute! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Kirstin: I want pictures of the kids, por favor!
Audrey: Are you still alive? Write me back, for goodness sake, woman!!!!
Okay everyone, I forgot to do this last week, but I do get mail directly to my apartment. My address here is: 12655 Kuykendahl Rd, #6102, Houston, TX 77090. So . . . if you send letters, then you can send it here. :) If you send packages, send those to the mission home (the original address listed on the blog—Hafer Road). And Kyle, send your letters to the mission home, still, because your letters take like 10 years to get here and who knows how long I will be in this apartment. [Editor’s Note: Please feel free to write to Alivia at this address. We know she will be there for at least three more weeks. She may be transferred after that, but we will not know until transfers occur. You can use the address listed to the left of the blog (Hafer Road address) if you choose. All mail sent to the Hafer address will always make it to her.]
I am sure you are wondering about the subject of this email, or title of this blog post. Yesterday I had the very difficult experience of rejecting taking home a cute little three-legged kitten. It was one of the hardest moments of my mission, hahaha. But seriously, we came out of a cita (AWESOME! Maybe I’ll tell ya’ll the Jaquelin story one day) and these little kids that always play outside come running over to us holding all these kittens. (Little kids love the missionaries. Seriously. Love us. It's great.) Apparently, one of their cats had just had a litter of kittens and they wanted to show them to us. They were SOOO CUTE, and one of them had only three legs!! AAH. They were like "Do you want one? You can take it! Just take it!" I WAS OFFERED A FREE, THREE-LEGGED KITTEN YOU GUYS!! AND I HAD TO SAY NO! (*sigh*) Such is the mish life.
On a more Spiritual note, the work is great. It is so great. We are working really hard right now to strengthen and unify this Ward, as well as get them all excited about missionary work. Getting members involved in lessons is sometimes a challenge, but when they are there our lessons are so much more powerful. Hermana Gandara is one of the cutest old women on the face on the planet and she came to a lesson with Marta last week. She just laid it on the table. She bore her testimony and talked about how the Church has changed her life. She was so bold! She did GREAT! We were so proud of her and so, so thankful for her. It is even more amazing to me because her family isn’t LDS (her husband or children). In fact, when we went to pick her up for our cita her husband kind of stormed out of the house going "YO SOY CATOLICA! NO MORMONES!" Ha. Anyway, she is fabulous.
Our Bishop and his family are such Saints. He is Hispanic, but very much an American. Sister Marin and the girls are white. They are...man, I can’t even tell you how much they help us. Sister Marin is like the mother of our district. She makes us these huge (non-Mexican) meals and drives us places and lets us do laundry at her house, and man, she is just a saint. The bishop is working so hard with the Ward and works himself to the bone. Their family is just amazing.
We had so many miracles this week. I remember thinking about my mission and being so excited to have those crazy, cool mission miracle stories that people tell at their homecomings. I thought I would have like 2 or 3. No. Let me tell you, miracles happen every single day. EVERY day. I just don’t know where to start or which to share! The mission is just great!
I will share one story that is near and dear to my heart. One day we were tracting and it was almost 8:45 (when we head back to the apartment) and it was dark and we were in a pretty dangerous area and we were kind of winding down. Well, we decided we should knock one last house before we went home. It was the last apartment on the little stretch we were knocking. It was by this alley and the dumpsters, so we were both kind of scared, but we felt like we should do it anyway. So we knock this door and this young girl answers. After talking to us for a minute or so, another little girl appears. Their names are Christina and Anita. They are 10 and 8. They were home alone and I told them they should never open the door when they are home alone, ESPECIALLY where they live, but I was glad they opened it for us. We ran to our car and got children Books of Mormon—one in Spanish and one in English. We read the story when Christ blesses the children in 3 Nephi. They loved the story and told us about their belief in God and how God has helped them. It was a really sweet little moment, but then they went inside and we went home. Well, we were in bed that night when at 10:20 our phone rings. We answer and to our astonishment, it was these two little girls. They had gotten our number from the inside cover of the book. They said "Hi...dis is Christina and Anita....we were just wondering when ya’ll was comin’ back." Christina proceeded to tell us about a problem she was having at school and she started crying and asked us to please pray for her. It was such a sweet moment. Man. I don’t know if their parents will let us teach them, or if we will ever see them again (their parents are avoiding us), but I pray that the Lord blesses those two little girls.
Something I love about being a missionary is the trust people have in you. I mean, it might be because we are two white girls walking around a very ghetto area, but people tell us, on a daily basis, they thought we were angels walking down the calle. Also, almost every person asks us to pray for them. Usually people aren’t interested in the Church, but they can tell we are disciples of Jesus Christ. Now, I am just Alivia Burnham, but I have been called to be a minister to the people here in Gulfbank. Because of that, I am blessed with the Spirit. People don’t see me and think "OH look it is Hermana Burnham! An angel!", but they recognize the Spirit. They can feel that. It is amazing to see. Like I have said in every other email, I still can’t believe I am out here. I love it so much. I love these people so much.
The Church is true. As Brendin said "I mean, come on!" I second that.
I love you all! Make good choices. Be the best you can be. Pray. Read your Scriptures. If you want to know the secret to being a super awesome member of the Church, I just gave it to you. Pray. Read the Scriptures. Be Obedient. You are golden.