Friday, September 27, 2013

September Training Pictures 2013

Here are a couple of pictures that I swiped from the Mission Blog:

Missionary Training

I believe this is Hermana's Burnham's Zone,
but I am not certain.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The One With John 16:33

 September 23, 2013

The following email will include things I learned about my life this week and also things I would suggest to add to your life:

 1.           I will never be a professional bike rider.

We went on exchanges this week and I had to bike all day. Let's just say, I have never been so grateful that we have a car. Sister Parry and I bought bikes, but never really rode them. But riding a bike all day? WOW. It was a great workout, but I was SO SORE the next day!!!

2.            The Crunchwrap Supreme from TacoBell?  Where had that thing been my whole life!?

3.            When you have the chance, find yourself the closest Mexican market and buy yourself some El Salvadorian Crema and proceed to devourrrrr that. HOLY COW it is so good. I just thought of Hna Escobar's tortillas (do you remember that email) with some of that crema and I think tears came to my eyes. Of course, a person would never just eat a spoonful of sour cream--gross. But at the risk of sounding gross, I think I could eat a spoonful of ESC straight—and enjoy it. I haven't done that, but the fact that I think I could do that probably demonstrates the pounds I have gained since coming to Texas.

4.            Go buy a Cup of Noodle, you know, those 28 cent ramen cups that you ate in 7th grade for lunch? Make one of those and then cut yourself a half of a lime and apply juice liberally to your cup of noodle broth. Eat. You’re welcome.

5. Who remembers the game Cooties? Where you make the bugs out of all those little pieces? How fun was that, right? I guess that wasn't really a piece of advice, I just thought of that this week.

6. This week I learned I should "Hit an important mark of my mission more often" because I got like 3 letters A DAY this week! IT WAS AWESOME. Usually I get like 3 letters a week (and that is like a really awesome amount to get). It was like Christmas. Thank you everyone who wrote me. You all made my week!

 Okay, life advice--OVER.

E calls us almost every night and we talk about scriptures and such. The other night he called and as he was talking to us about some stuff that was going on.   I felt impressed to share with him John 16:33:   "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."   He just read it, and then we ending our conversation for the night. He came to church yesterday and that was awesome, but then he called us that night. He had been having some really hard things happening and said that every time something happened he would just think of that scripture and think:  "I don't have to overcome the world, He already did it." One of the things my Dad told me before I left on my mission is: "Help people to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

I don't fully understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I don't think I ever will in this lifetime. But it was such an amazing experience to watch a person, whom I care for so deeply, apply the atonement, simply, in his life. There is nothing, for which I am more grateful, than our Savior Jesus Christ. Through Him we can do ALL things. Because of Him we can do all things.  

I love you all. Thank you for your love and prayers.

 Hermana Alivia Burnham

Monday, September 16, 2013

The One Where the Ward Threw a Part to Celebrate My 6 Month Mark

September 16, 2013

Okay here are some things I wrote down this week that I wanted to tell you:

1. A huge shout out to Mom, Zack, Ryan Litchfield, Grandma and Ray who all wrote me letters that got to me on the same day! So that was 5 letters in one day--a joyous surprise! Thank you!

 2. A woman in H3 (the Ward that shares the building with us) got attacked by a pack of 15 wild dogs. She was dragged up and down the street until someone saw and called the cops. It has been all over the news. Look it up if you don't believe me – and then believe me when I say . . . we RUN away from dogs. The woman is in the hospital and has some serious injuries, but should make a full recovery.  

3. Jodi Galland! Thank you SO MUCH for your package! That was such an unexpected surprise and totally made my day. I will write you back soon!

4. This week the Ward threw a party for my sixth month mark in the mission! Okay . . . soooo it was actually a Noche Latina (worldwide) that happened to be scheduled on my 6th month mark, but a girl can dream right? It was an awesome party. I love H5.

5. Speaking of H5, I had a little "moment" this week while sitting in church. I have been serving this ward for 5 months. Elder Mondragon and I are the only two who remain – everyone else has been transferred since the initial district I had when I first got here. I am the second oldest missionary for our Ward. I came down from playing the piano, and since (unfortunately) we didn't have any investigators at church that day I just chose somewhere random in the congregation to sit.   I sat next to one sister and grabbed onto her arm and laid my head on her shoulder. As I did that I thought: "Wow. I guess I’m not so new anymore. I am lying on her shoulder.  I can do that; these people are my family now."  I then looked out over the congregation at these people whom I have grown to love so very much, who have become so dear to me, and tears filled my eyes. I love H5.

Does anyone remember that line from “She's the Man” when the announcer is talking about the soccer game and goes – “Nothing but a couple of goose eggs here folks!” – talking about how the score is 0-0. Well, that is kind of how the last transfer and the first half of this transfer were. A couple of goose eggs when it came to investigators with baptismal dates.  Believe me, we tried. We asked, we begged, we cried (not really, just adding dramatic effect), but people just would not accept. UNTIL THIS WEEK.

E IS SO COOL. I am sure that we are going to be best friends for the rest of all eternity. I love this kid. He is getting baptized in November!!! Now please pray that everything works out accordingly.

He loves the scriptures. If we don't have a lesson with him one day he calls us that night to read and talk with him about what he is reading. The best part, in my opinion, is his scripture-reading voice. I used to read the scriptures in my head using my own voice, but now I read them using his voice--not even joking.  Imagine a super thug, recently released from prison, rapper-like man reading 1 Nephi 3:7 with super sweet enthusiasm and emphasis.  Its awesomeeeeee (*sing songy voice*)!  In our last lesson with him I looked at him and said "So, E, do you believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God?"  He just looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Well, how can it not be!?" Amen to that E. Amen to that.

Keep him in your prayers.

I love you all! xoxo

Saturday, September 14, 2013


The Ward (congregation) in which Alivia serves had a "Fiesta Night".  Her sweet bishop, Bishop Marin, sent us these pictures.  I absolutely love Hermana Koch's fun personality.  I look forward to meeting her one day!
Hermana Burnham and Hermana Koch
(I do not know the Sister in the center.)

Hermana Burnham y Hermana Koch

Hermana Burnham's District
(A group of missionaries assigns to a specific area.)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The One Where E Almost Beat Up the Elder Dias

September 9, 2013

Oh man. Missionary Work.

So this week we had some interesting experiences. I will let you all refer to Hna Koch's blog for the K. L. story--for full detail. Long story short: We are teaching this old lady. Had an appt. She didn’t answer. Thought she had died. Called the cops. They broke into her house. She wasn’t home. She had gone to church. The end. It was really scary, but now it is quite funny. And Hna Koch and I always turn to each other and go "Hey....remember how we thought K. L. died this week?" Ohhhh life. But, on a more serious note regarding K...please...please spend time with, visit, and love those widows in your Ward or neighborhood. Just do it. Not only does our Prophet ask us to, but the Lord asks us to. They need YOUR love. They feel lonely, I guarantee it. Please just love them.

Okay, onto more detail: E came to church for the first time this week! He is so awesome you guys. He loved church. He participated actively in Principios del Evangelio...and guess what the topic was? Word of Wisdom. He loved it. Of course he did, because he is AWESOME. He could only stay those two hours because...ya know...he is under house arrest. But Elder Mondragon was talking to him after and shook his hand and whatnot and E goes "Hey man, see ya next week." That means he is coming backkk! :) Also, the kid, Henry Salgado, who gave him a ride to church this week, E set up a permanent ride with him for the rest of all eternity!! YES.

Okay, but are you ready for the funny story that will explain the title? Ha. This was so great.

Elder Dias is a new Elder who came in this transfer. He is in our Zone and serves in H3, which is the Ward that shares the building with us. Usually between our hours at church, we will see the other missionaries from our zone as they are waiting for Sacrament meeting to start. So Elder Dias walks out to shake our hands. But, when we go to shake his hand he does one of those "to slow" things and like dodges our handshakes. We just laughed and he walked by and we didn’t think anything about it. Then later that day we got a call from E and he was telling us how he was really upset at Elder Dias because (at the time) he didn’t know if he was being disrespectful or is he was joking. And he starts telling us how he almost beat up Elder Dias right there in the foyer...for not shaking our hands, but the only reason he didn’t was because he didn’t want to embarrass us – which is kinda scary because E totally could have SERIOUSLY injured him—but so nice because he is just such a respectful individual.
Also, it is a great example of how people watch our actions! Even the little things we do that we don’t think about people can interpret in very skewed ways. That is why, my friends, we watch our actions and try to be like our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I love you all! Hasta la semana proxima,

Hna Ba-ba-ba-burnham
Stolen from Hermana Koch's blog: 

"K. L..... good ol' K. L. I love this woman to death.... maybe I shouldn't use that expression haha K is 89 or 90 one of the two and we absolutely love her. One day a couple weeks ago we were waiting for a member to get home because we had an appointment with her... and she wasn't there.... story of our lives haha love it. Anyway so obviously we aren't going to sit there and wait because we are missionaries and we don't do those kinds of things, plus I would probably fall asleep if I just sat, always happens. Anyways sorry for the tangent, so we looked at the cross road and had to decide which way to go, the way we chose was the way to the house of K. L. So we go knocking, and the first house we knock on, the one on the corner of the street is cute and has a little gardenish area. I can't really explain this so I'll give up trying. Anyway, we knock on this door. This glass door because the inside (normal wood) one was open and we wait and wait and suddenly we see a little person walking around into the hall to the door. She's wobbley and so adorable and she opens the door and we tell her we are missionaries from The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and she invites us in! So we go in and sit down on her couch and she starts talking to us about how she does family history...


When she talks, her dentures pop up and down like they've got something to say too!!! ahhh I love her.  Our talkin's are not important. So we visit K once a week usually. But this week we told her that we were going to come by on Saturday to help her clean because aparently the people who do it haven't showed up, and her house needs to be cleaned because she has 30 cats. We repeated, asked her if she would be here on Saturday, and she always says... Yes of course I will.  I don't ever leave unless my neighbor takes me grocery shoping. I'm always here. So beautiful Saturday roles around, and we head over to K's and we knock on her door... no answer... we knock harder.. no answer... In this situation usually you'd be like, oh shes so cute and old she probably cant hear us... no no not K, she tells us all the time her ears are like radars and they are! its true.

 SO we think about this and suddenly we realize. We might have a life or death situation. K L was NOT coming to the door. But really though we start panicking. She has no family, and never leaves her house, she's so cute and old and she lives by herself and she is not coming to the door!!! So slowly the knocking starts escalating. We start knocking harder... then we start knocking on her windows, then we go around her house to the back door which is always proped open and yell into it K.. its the Missionaries... we're just a little bit worried about you..... And so we call M who is the member we are visiting and she visits K almost everyday because M speaks english because she's young. And she says that K got her groceries yesterday! soooo thats out of the question, and she never leaves, so she has to be in there. So we start panicking and are like well we absolutely can't break into her house because that would look horrible!! and If we find her injured :( or even passed away! someone could blame us and we are like ahhhhh we just want to get in there and see if she is ok. so we keep knocking and we decided we need another opinion so we call little york to see if Elder Mondragon knows what to do, but he didn't answer, so we called A and talked to Elder Alexander  (who by the way I dont think I've mentioned this, but he was in my district in the MTC he was the district leader for half the time, anyway we are buds and he is in my district here! so we've been in the same district for all three months of our mission... and he's the district leader again. He has been in the field for one transfer and on our second transfer he is already the district leader and a trainer and has to learn spanish! poor thing. but he can do it, he's awesome.)

He didnt know what to do either, so he said we should pray, and we all decided the question we needed to pray about is whether or not to call the cops. So we got in our car and asked and we both felt that we needed to call them. So we did so! and they said they were on their way. It starts raining of course and we keep knocking on the windows because we decided that if she was in there that we would want her to know that we were there and that we weren't going to leave her! So the cop shows up and asks us if we are family... we tell him no she has no one and he says, "well I sure hate to kick a door down without a family member" ay!!!!! I'm like oh no this guy means business. Then another cop shows up, super duper nice! and we tell them that the back is open and explain everything, so we all go around and we wait outside the gate because we didnt want to break in and they went in... b t dubs cops here are decked out in weapons galor all over there waist.. Don't mess... they"ve got all kinds of scarey gadgets... like a huge tazer in the front... his was yellow so if I had to get one I'd probably get the yellow one two, it only seems fitting since its my favorite color.... and if I'd tazer someone, might as well give them a spice of Lizzie with it. Anyways they go flash lights on, stepping over the tiny new kittens. At this point we start a new mode of panic called.


Well anyway we wait and they come out and she wasn't in there... fewf! Shes ok... oh wait this is awkward... we had cops break into the house of K. L. and she isn't there.... Pretty soon her neighbor guy shows up and says to us, she's not home, I saw a big white van for her church come and pick her up and take her to church, sometimes she goes to church on Saturdays (not true she hasn't gone in forever) but I guess she went this time!... So there you have the week that K. L. went to church.

Now for the end of the story actually, that night we were driving not knowing what to do for the last like 15 minutes, and I say we should go see M and tell her we don't have a long time, but when we got there there was definitely some sort of hoorah goin on so we decided it wasn't a good idea. We both look at K's house. We both felt that we needed to go see her and tell her what had happened. So we pull up to her house, feeling rather embarrassed and also super nervous that this little harmless spunky lady was going to yell at us, and we walked up. Definitely the walk of shame considering the man from earlier was just sitting on the bed of his truck staring at us. We knock on K's door, and see her come around the corner (gave me so much peace) and she feebly pushes the door open and tells us to come in, fewf! not mad. So we tell her that we were so sorry and what happened and she had kind of already heard and her response back broke my heart. She said to us, "its nice to know that somebody cares" she wasn't mad, she wasn't annoyed, she felt loved because she knew that we cared. She repeated some things that she repeats a lot, but they hit me a lot harder this time. She told us that she doesn't have anyone, that no one checks on her, that the only family she has is her niece and nephew which told her a long time ago that they werent going to take care of her, especially because they dont get any of her inheritance. She told us that the neighbor who came over and told us she was gone never talks to her, that none of them want anything to do with her unless they can get some money out of her. and sadest of all the church she has been going to since she was a little girl, doesn't ever come to see her, that they told her they wouldn't pick her up anymore because she smells like cats, and when she does make it to church, she sits by herself, and everyone stays away from her because they say she smells like cats. My heart is broken. she says, "I try so hard, I bath and try to keep the house clean" it just tore me up. We shared with her Romans 8: 38-39 and she says that she knows that God is always there for her and watching over her, she always says, "its not your religion that takes you to heaven its your heart"...
Hermana B and I talked about in the car how we feel like our missionary work has been so different than all the missionaries in the zone, it just seems like we have been here to heal hearts, and to sit with people as Christ would and hold their hands. I love this opportunity, its difficult, its a lot of heart break, but I am so happy to be here to show someone that they are loved and that they are not alone."


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Goodbye Hermana Parry

Hermana Parry was transferred on Thursday, last week.  Here are pictures sent by her mom.
Hermanas Burnham y Parry

Hermanas Burnham y Parry y Koch

Hermanas Koch y Parry

Monday, September 2, 2013

The One with the Purple Sky


September 2, 2013
Querido Familia y Amigos,
Have I ever mentioned HOW BEAUTIFUL the sky is in Texas? It is purple. It is the most beautiful color I have ever seen. I just wanted to take a parrafito to give a shout out to the GORGEOUS Texas sky.  
This week was a new adventure. We lost Sister Parry.  :(  Gooooooodbyeeeee (Sound of Music moment).  It was very sad and hard to say goodbye to her . . . seriously hellllo tears and heartache, but Hna Koch and I are looking forward to taking over Gulf Bank. We have already had some interesting experiences.
Sometimes when you are a missionary you decide to get Chic-Fil-A after District Meeting. Sometimes people decide to get in fights in that said Chic-Fil-A.  Sometimes one of these people has a gun.  Sometimes you aren't allowed to leave the Chic-Fil-A because you might get shot. So . . . that happened.  
Sorry this letter is going to be all over the place. But I just jotted down some notes throughout the week of things that I wanted to say, so the email is kind of like my notes – messy, out of order, and slightly illegible.  Sorry! 
I had a realization this week – I can speak Spanish! Not like "Wow, I’m fluent!"  Yeah, not at all. But, I realized that I can teach; I can fully communicate my thoughts.  I am not scared of it anymore. It is nothing short of a miracle for me . . . in my opinion.  I know I probably won’t feel like this for much longer. Comfort shortly turns into complacency, and for anyone who knows me, they will know I am NOT a complacent person.  But, I will relish in the feeling while it lasts!
Let me just tell ya’ll about E.  E. E. E.  This week Hna Koch and I got to teach E and it was one of the best lessons of my life.  It was a life changing moment, for sure.  And to be honest, he taught us more than Hna Koch and I taught him.  He told us his story about finding God while he was in prison. It was the most beautiful story ever. He has been SO PREPARED for the gospel it in unreal.  He said: "I have felt that God is preparing me for more than I am right now."   I said, crying (because I cried through his whole story): "E, I know that God has been preparing you for this!"   Hna Koch responded:  "You said that Christ is always knocking on the door, waiting for us to open. Well, E, we are representatives of Jesus Christ and we are LITERALLY knocking on your door – but YOU have to be the one who chooses whether or not to open."  MAN, he is so amazing you guys!!!  I just love him so much!!!  And he is going to get baptized and then get married to someone in the temple! Then,  he is going to be that guy that every stake in the greater Houston area calls to be a speaker at Youth Conference because he has the COOLEST STORY KNOWN TO MAN!  Did I mention that his son was born a week after he went into jail?  And he was 16 at the time?  Did I mention how he found God and even though the mother of his son (M and F's granddaughter) pressures him, he now KEEPS THE LAW OF CHASTITY? Does anyone know a recently released from jail thuggg with a girlfriend with whom he already has a child that keeps the law of chastity?  I DO!  Holy cow! That doesn’t happen you guys!  Did I also mention that he has been into drugs, alcohol, sex (and rock and roll, haha, just kidding, just seemed to fit with the string) since he was NINE years old. You guys, you guys, let's all just take a step back and talk about how he is the COOLEST PERSON I HAVE EVER MET IN MY WHOLE LIFE. Also, cherry on top: We sign all of our texts "Hna Burnham y Koch" and he has started signing his texts "Hermano E".  <3  I love this kid (by kid I mean adult who is several years older than I am.)
This week Hna Koch and I have been listening to the National Tribute to Joseph Smith CD (thanks Zack, love that part of the CD).   Hna Koch has the whole CD on her iPod and our favorite song to listen to is "American Dreams" (you should probably pull it up on YouTube right now). We blast it and belt it at the top of our lungs. Every time I listen to it I just can’t understand why the world is so blind to things that are so miraculous. The chorus goes:
"’Cause somewhere there's a prophet, in a place they call Kirtland.”   PEOPLE, there is a PROPHET of GOD living on the earth today!  How is that not the greatest news you have EVER heard?  
"And he is building a temple to worship our God." WE HAVE TEMPLES . . . ALL OVER THE EARTH.  
"And I’m filled with new scripture, angels and heavenly things."  WE HAVE MORE SCRIPTURE! And, we believe in miracles and angels.  
This is a message of peace and good will! PEOPLE, THIS IS THE HAPPIEST THING ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET!  
"My eyes filled with tears as Joseph reached out for my hand . . . and said, 'Welcome, my friend' . . . Now I know there's a prophet in the place we call Kirtland.  And I am building a temple to worship my God.  And I’m filled with new scripture, angels and heavenly things, wrapped up in American Dreams." 
It is all true. It is a message that brings more joy than anything else in the world can. We have a living prophet.  Aren’t we spoiled rotten?  Gracias a Dios times a million + infinity.
Love you all,
Hna B

Here are some pictures that she sent home this week!
Making tortillas!

Holding a newborn puppy.

Our nun friend we met at Office Depot

Hammock Photo Op
(Editor's Note:  I think the Sister on the right is their Bishop's daughter.)

Our District

Elder Day, who has been with me for several transfers.
He just received his visa for Argentina!

Can taking pictures with Elders be anymore awkward?

My sweet H!  Notice the stickers on my arms . . . those were his doing!