Monday, June 24, 2013

Picture -- June 24, 2013

I do not know what the story is behind these pictures, but they were sent to me by Hermana Parry's mother, Karyn.   I am so grateful for Karyn - for sharing pictures, emails, and words of inspiration.  With my kids' missions, I have had the privilege to link hearts with other missionary parents.  What a tender mercy . . . 

The One withThat One Thing

June 24, 2013
Well, yesterday was probably the hardest day I have ever lived on the planet. Feel free to read Hna Parry's blog for details about that because I really have no desire to write about it. Here are some things that I learned this week though and something I ask of you:

1) Trust in the Lord's timing. One thing I heard in the MTC that I have thought of a lot this week is this:  "He may not always come when you call, but He is always on time."

2) Watch the "Work of Salvation" broadcast and apply it's principles.

3) Please . . . be kind to those new people in the ward. Seek them out. Give them a hug. Tell them hello. Sit with them in class. Be their friend. Tell them you are glad they are there. If you think it is awkward . . . it isnt! Just do it! PLEASE. As a missionary who recently had two investigators postpone their salvation for who knows how long because they felt unwelcome into a ward, I PROMISE that you saying hello to new people will make a huge difference. Plus you could save two young sister missionaries the pain of sitting in an investigators home weeping for an hour. Not just the new people though, the recent converts. Those people who have been there for like 3 months and you assume have friends. Newsflash . . . they probably feel really lonely and YOU could be the one who could change that. Please be that person. Please.

Pray for Gulfbank. The work is good. The purposes of God will be accomplished, even if it isn't in the way Alivia Burnham feels would be easiest.  ". . . neither are your ways, my ways, saith the Lord." (Isaiah 55:8)

Sorry if this email was a little sad, but I am a little bit sad. BUT, never fear miracles are just around the corner. I am sure of it.

I love you all,
Hna Burnham

P.S.   Angie didn't get baptized this Saturday because her Dad had to work that day, so it has been moved until the 30th.  :)  But, she is still the cutest and right on track.  Love that girl.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The One about Angie

June 17, 2013

 It is gotten to the point where there is too much that happens each week to tell you all about my week -- WHICH IS AWESOME. Remember how I told you we would light Gulfbank of fire? Consider it lit!

This week I thought I would tell you about Angie :)

We have been teaching Angie since I got here. Hna Serrano and Hna Parry taught her before I got here as well. She is 8 years old and is a spit fire. She is just full of life. I actually wrote Emmeline a few weeks ago about her, telling her that I bet they would be friends and that we were trying to baptize her. EmJ responded that she hoped we did. Well EmJ listen up!

Angie is the granddaughter of a member of our ward.  Her parents ((Erika y Juan) are awesome, but not interested in the Church. We eat at the Herrera house every Monday, and Erika always joins us. We love Erika; she is awesome, super funny. Well, Angie loves the Church. She comes every Sunday with her Grandma and has just been waiting to get baptized. Erika has been on board for a while now, but Juan was a little more hesitant. For anyone who has served a Spanish speaking mission, you know what I am talking about when I say "He is Catholic." Even people who aren’t Catholic, are Catholic. It is just a tradition and breaking that tradition is a big deal. He is not religious, but he felt uneasy about letting his daughter "break the tradition." Well, we continued to teach her and just prayed that Juan's heart would be softened.

This week during weekly planning we were going over each of our investigators, what they needed, where they were headed, etc. We got to Angie and both felt really strongly that we needed to extend the date of June 22nd for baptism. That is this Saturday. We were like "Umm, we haven’t even talked to the parents about the hector are we going to do this?" But the impression was clear. June 22nd. So we called Erika and asked if we could meet with her and her husband that night. She said yes! Woohoo. Well the meeting went all kinds of wrong. We brought the elders, hoping that the Dad would open up a little more to the men than he would to us. Erika was late and then they wanted to make us food so we could never get the parents to sit down and talk to us (the food was way good though) and we left the lesson thinking "Wow. Well . . . . that was 1000% unsuccessful". Then we talked to Elder Mondragon. Oh man, so we talked to him that next morning at church and he told us that in his conversation with Juan, he had brought up baptism and Juan was like, "You know what, I am actually really okay with it, I’m just Catholic and it is hard to break tradition."  Then Elder Mondragon, who is Mexican and also a convert (Perfect for our situation!), was like "Dude, I know. I was Catholic before I joined the Church too, but I can promise there is not a better choice your daughter could make than getting baptized into this Church"   Juan said he would talk to his wife. WOO . . . we were on cloud nine. THEN Hna Herrera walked in with Angie and said, "Her parents said yes!"  THEN WE WERE ON CLOUD 10!  We had her baptismal interview that day! She is getting baptized on Saturday! AND -- Elder Mondragon and Day picked up Erika and Juan as new investigators! The Church is true!

So, everyone, my first official baptism will be this Saturday, of the cutest little 8 year old girl. I could not be happier.

I was reading the scriptures this morning and came across a scripture that I do believe I have deemed my new favorite scripture. It is Alma 28:14.  It says:  “And thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord; and thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing—sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the Light of Christ unto life.”

I love this work being referred to as "The Great Call of Diligence".  Doesn’t that just resonate in your soul?  “And the joy because of the Light of Christ unto life."

Que la Via Bien,
Hna Burnham

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Elder Golden's Visit

Elder and Sister Christoffel Golden toured the Houston Texas mission this month.  Here are a couple of pictures I took from the mission website.
 Alivia is in the second row of sisters (standing), third from the right.

Monday, June 10, 2013


June 10, 2013
Pictures (in no specific order) . . .
 A home in her area.
 Texas mailboxes!
 Obviously it is warm and sunny.
 Beautiful sunset
Hermana Parry and Hermana Burnham
They are continuing on as companions for another transfer.
They will be lifelong friends, too.

The One Where Aunt Jemima Eats Chicken Nuggets

June 10, 2013

 Hellllllo World!

Well, this week was great! You might be wondering about the subject of my email. Well. Some funny things happened this week and I will start with those.

1. A girl in our ward was trying to guess my name and was like, "You look like someone who would be named Sally..."  Excuse me? Sally? Is that a joke?

2. That same girl later told me I looked like Aunt Jemima . . . you know the black lady from the syrup bottle? Yupp. Just call me Aunt Jemima or Sally.

3. This wasn’t this week, but a few weeks ago this guy asked us if we were from England because of the way we talked. Welcome to Gulfbank everyone! If you aren’t Latina, Moreno or have a deep southern accent, then you are probably from England.

4. We ate at a less active member’s home. She fed us chicken nuggets. We both had to eat a soliddddd  30 - 35 chicken nuggets. Every time we would finish our plate, she would fill it right back up. At least it was chicken nuggets and not something completely gross. But still, have you ever eaten 35 mickey mouse chicken nuggets in one sitting? It is not pleasant.  For your own safety, I do not suggest it.

Now on to the important stuff. This week was AWESOME. Mostly because Sunday was AWESOME. Maria and F came to church for the first time <3.  They LOVED it!  I was standing at one of the entry doors to the chapel greeting people and in walks Maria and F. I kind of screamed a little. I jumped and "hurriedly walked" over to them and gave Maria a big hug, and then ALMOST hugged F, but caught myself and just gave him a nice handshake. But then Hna Parry hugged him, so I felt a little gipped. Sometimes you love your investigators so much, you can’t help but hug them. But, let me tell you WHY this was so exciting.


Do ya'll remember the story when I told you about our first encounter with F? How he met us at the door and started crying and asked us to come back? I left out a few details that are now rather crucial to why it was so exciting that they were at church. When F answered the door that day, he was slobbering drunk -- so drunk in fact, that he wet himself in the doorway of his house as he was talking to us. I mean, he was drunk. But, there was something about him that made us stay. We could see that when he told us he wanted to change, that he was sincere--not just drunk. In fact, we only really put together the pieces of how drunk he really was after we walked away from his door.  We think that was a tender mercy because the Lord knew that we needed to be there for F. Well, in that door contact, F informed us of his drinking problem. In our next few meetings we had the Word of Wisdom always on our minds; however, our words were directed in other paths. We had several meetings with Maria during the day when F was at work and she explained how bad the problem was. In the meeting a few days before that Sunday, Maria had actually kicked F out of the house. As far as we were concerned, F was no longer even on our radar. We invited Maria to church and she was excited (she is as golden as golden can be).   However, F still weighed heavily on our minds and we knew we wanted to find him and help him, even if he wasn’t with Maria. That is why when they BOTH walked into church I think I almost . . . no, not almost . . . I definitely 100% did have a heart attack.

So, they walk into church and sit down. The talks were given by Hna Gandara (A stellar older lady from our ward who is just a little spit fire) and Hno Salcero (from the High council). Needless to say, Sacrament meeting was fabulous. After Sacrament, Maria and F, on their own accorded, proceeded to introduce themselves to everyone they met. They even went out of their way to introduce themselves to people! It was amazing! One of the first things we did was bring them up to introduce them to bishop. F broke down into sobs. As he shook Bishop’s hand, he just cried and said how much he wanted to change and he needed help (he kept referring to us as his angels, which was the sweetest, cutest, most amazing thing in the world). We were all crying together as Bishop talked to him and promised him comfort and help. Then Obispo went and got Hno R, who is our Executive Secretary (and a different Hno R than the other story) and a recovered alcoholic. We left Hno R and F alone and they talked the whole second hour in the chapel. I cannot even find words to express my gratitude for Pablo and his willingness to help.

We took Maria to Gospel Principles where she participated actively! It was amazing. Hna Parry and I could not with hold out smiles.  We were like proud little parents! After gospel principles she sat with Ana Rangel (a member of our ward that we go and teach every week) and taught her about the Lord and his gospel – MARIA, who isn’t even a member yet! She is going to be the next stake relief society president; I have no doubts about that. She is AMAZING. She loved relief society tambien. At the end she just hugged us with tears in her eyes and thanked us and told us how much she had loved church and how beautiful all the teachings were.

This Sunday was such a testament to the fact that we, as missionaries, are called to teach those who are prepared. Maria and F are prepared and anxiously await their baptismal date. Sometimes I think to myself, "How the heck did I get so lucky as to find these awesome prepared people?"  and then I realize it isn’t me. It has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with them. They are so prepared and Hna Parry and I just happen to be the people who are lucky enough to have them placed in our path. The Lord was ready to bless them with the gospel. I am just so grateful to be one of the ones who gets to lead them down this path. Plus, their endowment and sealing will be one of the last things I get to do before I return home from my mission because they will be ready a year from now. Maria will be sure of that.

This work is so good. Being a missionary is such a blessing. People always think: "Oh missionaries are so good; they sacrifice all this time."  No.  I’m not sacrificing, I am gaining! Gaining so much! It truly is an experience unlike any other.

Please keep Maria and F in your prayers; I am sure the adversary will be working against them hard in these next few weeks. I love you all and pray for your continued best.

Con Amor, Hermana Alivia

P.S. This came in a second email from Alivia:
This week I sang at a funeral. All by myself! A Cappella! It was terrifying, but I did it. I sang "Divina Luz" or "Lead Kindly Light".  It was cool because we were in this huge funeral chapel and I was standing by an open casket.  I was A Cappella so it was just me and my little voice, but the light came streaming through this huge stain glass window. Also, I didn't even know the lady who had died, but it was still really cool. Also, I play piano in every meeting. So, I guess thanks for making me learn piano. (Thank you Mr. Peterson, Sara Crain, and Amy Warner!)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Pictures! June 3, 2013

Here are the pictures that Hermana Burnham sent this week.  They are a bit out of order -- sorry!
 Her district at Chick-fil-A.   Why do they not have Chick-fil-A in Washington?  So good!

 Our car got stuck in the mud!
 How we felt after being chased by dogs.
This is a picture of us on top of a car after being chased by dogs.
This is the cake we got for Elder Crane for his "Last District Meeting" party. He goes home this transfer.  His face is on the cake.  Well done, Hermanas!  I think, yes!
Christina and Hermana Burnham

The One with Expression

June 3, 2013.

Oh Familia y Amigos, this week was just delightful. Let me tell you about it.

First of all, something amazing happened. For the first time I expressed myself in Spanish! Like, I said everything I wanted to say and was able to say it like Alivia would say it! I kind of chastised a guy -- in Spanish!  It was awesome! I can’t believe I was able to do it! Let me tell you, it is definitely not like that all the time. But, the Lord blessed me between the hours of 7-8 on the 2 de Junio. I spoke real Spanish. Up until this point I could teach my little part of the lessons in Spanish and converse mas o menos and do door approaches, etc., but this time it was like I was actually talking! It was the coolest thing ever!  After the lesson was over he was talking to us about relationships and us getting married and teasing us about boys and stuff and I could totally joke along! I can FINALLY joke around with people! Well, I am starting to be able to. It was the best thing ever! AH.

Second, we had a mini miracle, and it was great. Do you remember the story about Christina and Anita? I met these girls the second week of my mission. This was the girl (Christina) who called us the night we met her, at like 10, and asked us to pray for her and asked when we were coming back.  Remember that? Okay, so ever since then we have been trying to go back. We have gone and tried to see her for at least once a week for the past 5 weeks. We haven’t been able to find her.  But, this girl was always on my mind.  Every time one of our appointments would cancel or we had some time I would say, "Let's try Christina".  Well, this week, on Saturday, IT WORKED.  She was home! She opened the door and ran out and hugged us and said "Where have you been!? I have been waiting for you!"  We assured her that we had been trying to see her for the past month but she had never been there. She was shocked and happy. She came outside to read in the Children’s BOM with us. Then her mom came out. Her mom told us we could go read inside. It was clear that she did not want to talk to us, but she was fine with us talking to her daughter, so we went inside. Before we got to the door Christina says "She will be sitting there. Don’t listen to her. I don’t trust her. My family does, but I don’t. Just don’t listen to her."  We thought that she was talking about the woman who lives with her, but as we walked in you could feel the Spirit leave, immediately.  As we turned the corner there was a hugeeeee santa muerte shrine. For those of you who don’t know what santa muerte is, as I'm sure most of you don’t, santa muerte translates into "The Saint of Death" and is the creepiest thing in the world.  It is devil worship–except with shrines and other garbage. The "saint" looks like the grim reape.  It is a huge thing down here, like, if you aren’t Catholic, you worship santa muerte. It is terrible. Just talking about it makes me feel creepy and weird.

The devil is so real and so rampant here. Ugh. We aren’t supposed to go into santa muerte houses and the Elders got really mad at us when we told them about this experience, but I was not about to leave Christina. So, we sit down and ask her about the shrine. She said that her whole family believes and worships it, but she doesn’t. She only believes in God and prays every night and reads in the Children's BOM we gave her. She then started crying and said, "I just love Him so much." Those were her exact words and we couldn’t hold back tears. We told her we were so proud of her and promised she would be blessed if she would continue to do so. We read a story with her and then taught her how to pray (using true prayer). She then offered the most sincere, heartfelt prayer I have ever heard uttered. I love Christina. 
The Church is true. Know it, Live it, Love it. I love you all.

Hasta la Proxima Ves,
Hermana Alivia


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Random Pictures

June 1, 2013  --  I really need to check the Texas Mission blog every week!  Below are pictures that I copied from the blog.  Enjoy!

"Hermanas Burnham and Parry enjoy a sleepover at the mission home
 due to a safety incident at their apartment."

 Missionary Training Seminar
 Training Seminar
Training Seminar