Monday, October 28, 2013


Received October 28, 2013:
This is what Waller, TX looks like!

Branch Temple Trip

M and I asleep in the car.
(His mom is Mexican and his Dad is from Africa.  He is a beautiful child.)

This is us with the Primary. The little girl in the middle with the pinkish/purple jacket on is our little,  9 year-old, investigator (D).
Zone Conference Lunch
(Taken off of the Mission Blog)

Zone Temple Trip
(Taken off of the Mission Blog)

The One with Marriage Counseling

 October 28, 2013
Anyone who is familiar with the missionary handbook knows that missionaries are not sent out on missions to be counselors.  However, a lot of the times, that is what they become, even when they strive diligently to not be.  So, with that being said, this week we went to visit K. She is our newest, most awesome investigator.  We knock on her door and we can hear her screaming inside. She comes to the door and is crying. She walks out with us onto the porch and begins to divulge her life to us. She has 2 little girls and is pregnant (that we knew.) She lives with her in-laws (that we also knew).  She begins to talk to us about the father of her children. They got married when they were 14 and divorced about 5ish years later. Due to some problems with her mom, she moved back into his house and lives with his parents. He works pretty far away, however, and is gone for several weeks at a time. They aren’t really dating, but kind of are.  It is a strange situation.  She started to tell us about some things they were going through because she felt like she didn’t know what else to do.  We let her just vent to us and then started to talk with her about the power of prayer.

We told her that praying with her "husband" would strengthen their relationship and praying with the girls would strengthen their family. That is when she opened the door and yelled "D! COME OUTSIDE!"  That is when we met D.  Ohhhh, D.  I can’t give you details of the things he told us.  (I guess being raised by lawyers I have this sense of "Investigator-Missionary privilege" or something), but let’s just say he has done some things that he should not have done/should not be doing.  He was very open to listening to what we had to tell him about being a better father and husband though.  We were talking to him about prayer and he goes:   "Yeah, I guess I could pray, like, I don’t know, once a month; but once a day just seems wrong.   Like, I can’t be doing ________ and pray. And if I pray I’m going to want to change to be good or something."  YES, D, THAT IS PRECISELY THE POINT.  K is just crying and says:  "I just want to be happy like you guys are happy", so that was really cute. Anyway, they promised to us and each other that they would pray together that night. We meet with her tomorrow and we will see whether they followed through.  
If I had any advice to give people about marriage, it is don’t get married when you are 14.  Also, don’t get pregnant when you are 13 or 14. That just makes life a whole lot harder than it needs to be.   My children will not be allowed to talk to people of the opposite gender until they are in college!  I love K and we are so excited to help her change her life!!

In other news, the Primary Program was yesterday and it was super cute. Our little 9 yr-old investigator was the only one who gave a part that wasn’t written for her. She bore her testimony and I was just sitting at the piano a wreckkkkk.  She is so prepared for baptism it is unreal. Sometimes I look at her and think, "I feel like YOU should be teaching ME about the gospel."  She really is an adult trapped in a little girl’s body.  She is the most mature 9 year-old I have ever met. I sure do love her.
That about covers it for this week! I love you all!  

Hermana Burnham

Monday, October 21, 2013

The One When the Plants Turned Into Ant Hills

October 21, 2012
Helllllo Family and Friends!

Aunt Becky: I can’t believe you were just in Buc-ees! I can see that from my house, haha. You passed right by our church building! Thanks for your letter and funds for Buc-ees :)

So the title of my email can be explained through the following story:
Pre-story info:  For anyone who knows me . . . ants are my biggest fear. They are also EVERYWHERE in Texas.  Like......everywhere. There is no such thing as sitting in the grass here, or having a picnic. Nope. That isn’t real life.  

Okay, so we have these friends named Dolly and Wesley. They are old, cute and have this cute Texas house on a huge piece of land, like everyone else in Waller. Well, they went to Italy last week and asked us to water their plants. We did so. We would go every few days, water them and leave. No big deal right? WRONG. The last day we were supposed to water them before they got home, we found a little surprise I like to call THE POTTED PLANTS BY THE DOOR HAD ALL TURNED INTO ANT HILLS.  I am not talking like there were a few ants chillin’ in these plants; they were full-on completely developed ant hills -- with hundreds, probably thousands, of ants.  Oh, and ants in Texas aren’t normal ants, they are fire ants.  All of them.  In addition to being in the plants,  they were all over the ground! Well, before we realized that these plants were now ant hills, we watered them. Well you know what ant hills are full of besides ants? Holes.  So not only are there ants ALL over the place, but now their floor is covered in water that had run through the plants as well. I also think we killed all their other plants. Moral of the story: Never ask Hna Hosking and me to watch your plants while you are out of town.
I also ate tongue this week. Yum yum, eat up. Oh, just for Moms benefit, the tongue was from a Taqueria, too. So, was it of good quality? Of course not. Was it even properly cared for? Nope. But, hey, it tasted good.

We have been having a lot of success out here is Waller. We have implemented a new method I like to call "Exploring" – where we drive in the car, or walk, turning down random roads and such until we find a house or row of houses we decide need to be knocked. The Lord has directed us to find some really awesome people, one whom we met this week and then accepted baptism 2 days later! Woo hoo! The Lord is good to us.
The Church is true. I have been reflecting on the Book of Mormon and how precious it is in our lives. It is the most perfect of any books. Every misconception about Mormonism, or God, or any question, can be solved through reading it. I am convinced that the number one reason people misunderstand our Church is because they misunderstand the Book of Mormon.  Just read it.  Come and partake of the goodness.  

I love you all so much!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Answers to Some Questions

October 14, 2013:    The New Area -- Waller, TX

1.  Tell me all about your new companion.  She is awesome! Her name is Sister Hosking and, GET THIS, she is from Concord, CA.  We think her Dad is Kirstin's bishop.  She is 6'0" and swam for BYU. She is really cool, and we get along super well.

2.  How do you feel about being transferred so far away?  I am kind of glad I got transferred so far away. It is hard enough to leave Gulfbank, but I think if I was close it would be even harder.

3. Are you in a Spanish Branch?  Teaching in English or Spanish?  Yes, Spanish branch.  Like everyone here speaks English, but we speak to them in Spanish as much as we can. We visit a lot of the English ward members, too, because everyone loves Sisters more than they love Elders. It is just a fact of life, haha.

4. How do you like Waller:  LOVE IT.  It is so beautiful.   It is exactly what I pictured when I pictured Texas. It smells so good. Everyone knows everyone; so, everyone knows us.  It is totally different than Gulfbank though, and it will take a little getting used to.  Plus, all the people loved the Hna that just left.  Being the replacement is the worssssssst.  But, I guess they’ll like me eventually. They like that I can play piano, haha.

5. How is the investigator pool?  Pretty big actually, except they are like all eternal investigators that have been listening to the missionaries for like 4 years and won’t. do. anything. We are going to change that real quick.

The One from Waller

October 14, 2013 

I had this whole big, fancy email planned to send all of you! But, I ran out of time and need to leave. I am really sorry. But here is my short email!

I am in Waller!  It is the smallest little town ever. It is so cute and so Texas. We have a huge, two story apartment.  I have my own bathroom. We have a jeep. We are totally exiled and never see any other missionaries besides the Elders that we share the area with, ever.  It smells so good here -- unlike Gulfbank that smelled like beer, dead dogs and pee.  IT IS BEAUTIFUL. I would send ya’ll pictures, but hey, my camera broke, sooo, haha. There are lots of animals everywhere because everyone has a farm. So, I am in heaven.  Also, it is calving season, so there are baby cows everrrrywhere.  

We do zumba three times a week with our Branch President's wife. My companion's name is Hna Hosking, and she is awesome -- and TALLER than me. The Branch is super witttle. The little children are my only friends so far.  There is a little girl who is Amelia's Mexican twin.  My Branch President’s family is white, but all his children speak Spanish – so that is my future family.
I still get to play piano for the Primary Program.   I ate real bacon. We get fresh eggs for free.  I ate grits.  I bought a "Waller" t-shirt.  We have the 2nd largest Bucees in the world. One of our investigators has the 4th largest horse in the world.  I ate fancy French food the other day. I fed chickens.  I kind of rode a dog named Molly. The dogs here don’t want to kill you. The people here also don’t want to kill you. I feel safe.

That sums it up for this week.  Moses 6:31-34:   Might we all choose to walk with Him.

 I love you all!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Pictures -- October 7, 2013

Dinner time.

Hermana Burnham y Hermana Koch. 
This is their last week together as Hermana Burnham will be
transferred out on Wednesday.  They will be friends for forever.

The Texas sky.

The One With General Conference

October 7, 2013
So. I'm getting transfered. They decided to call us Sunday night (yesterday) instead of Tuesday night (tomorrow),  soooo, there ya have it family; I am out of Gulfbank. I don't really know how I feel about all of this. But, mostly I am sad because I feel like once you leave your baby area then your mission is pretty much over . . . like time is just going to fly now.  But hey! Maybe I am wrong about that. I sure hope so. I am mostly sad to be leaving E and Hna Koch.  But, hey, I am not here to do my own will, but the will of my Father. I'll go where You want me to go.

GENERAL CONFERENCE WAS THIS WEEK! IT WAS SO GOOD! I decided that I am going to send you all the things I wrote in red/bolded from my notes. I will send 10 cents to anyone who can name each of the speakers the quotes came from. Okay, so maybe I won't send 10 cents to everyone, but I will send 10 cents to Dad for every note he took that I did not.   ;)

Walk hand in hand with the Lord

Never look back. Look at what we still have to do

You have never fully served enough

May we all unite in the common objective of the eternal life of the souls of man

Raise your head to the square

This is the Lord's work and we are sustained as we labor for His cause

If you aren't paying tithing I ask you to look at your ways and repent! (I didn't bold that one, but that was just so cool I had to include it)

God is perfect and His doctrine is pure, but he works through us

Come and Add

Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith

Come, join with us

Lord, to whom shall we go?

There is a safe place!

Righteousness is more powerful than wickedness

That time is now

Everything is right

All this began with the singing of a hymn

There are feet to steady

Believe in miracles

If the bitter cup does not pass, drink it

May we live by faith, and hold fast to hope

We aren't asking for everything, we are just asking for something

Today the voice of the Good Shepard is YOUR voice and MY voice

We will all seek to find the One

The greatest act of love in all creation

They have us in Their keeping

I gave him to you because I knew you could and would love him no matter what he did

Our policies are determined by the truths God has declared as unchanging

You must become the rock the river cannot wash away

When the Lord speaks of weakness, it is always with mercy

As you serve others, Satan loses power in your life

This is the knowledge that sustains me

Brother Brimms never focused on what was missing, but gave thanks for what he had

Don't let your commitment ebb and flow

Let His promise be our watchword

Let us be at the forefront of the defending time for family

This is why you cannot fail

In simple words, look up

There is safety in a strong testimony

You need to use all your strength

I can return that love in my own imperfect way by loving Him

Stellar spirits are often housed in imperfect bodies

He even said it about you

His doctrine is ours to uphold

That list is a little longer than I thought it would be. But there you have it. Isn't God good?

Now I will tell a quick story from this week that totally broke my heart. So, I called E last night when I found out I was getting transferred. We talked for just a few minutes and I then I said: "We will come by and see you tomorrow. Have a good night!" He replied with the following words: "Nah, don't say that.  How can I have a 'good night' when my best friend is leaving?"  

I cannot even put into words how much I will miss Gulfbank. But, I am so excited to see the new experiences that come from serving in the new area. Life is always good in the service of the Lord. How could life get any better? :)


The One Where God Answers Prayers

September 30, 2013

This email is going to be a whole lot less about how missionary work is blessing my investigators and a whole lot more about how my investigators are blessing me. But, of course, I need to start with some highlights from this week/some of my inner thoughts:

 1. The Relief Society broadcast was great right!
2. I’ve never felt more out of place than being in an English church meeting though.  It was so weird. I felt judged like the whole time -- probably because I was talking really loud and walking around the congregation to hug people every 5 minutes--things that are TOTALLY acceptable and widely practiced in Hispanic braches.  I love Hispanic wards more than anything, man.
3. I definitely knocked a door this week and when they said they weren’t interested, I asked if it was okay if we took a picture of a bug that was sitting on their house. So, I think it is safe to say that I am a million times weirder than I was when I left for my mission....if that is even possible.
Okay, but to talk about the title of this email.
Missionary work is the greatest thing in the whole entire world. It brings so much joy.  But, it is also so hard.  I’m not a great missionary. I am no Alma or Amulek or Ammon.  [The Lord's tender mercies this week] were such GREAT MANIFESTATIONS of God's love for me. 
This is the work of Salvation. The Salvation of God's children. I am an inadequate vessel to be doing a work that is so important. For heaven’s sake I bear the name of our PERFECT Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But, God calls upon the weak things of the world. I think that is what I learned this week.
I testify that the Lord answers our prayers. I can’t imagine how sad it makes the Lord when we don’t feel comfortable trusting in Him for comfort or guidance. How terrible of us. How terrible of me.
ENJOY CONFERENCE. Go with a prayer in your heart--something specific. Seek for revelation. You will find it.
I love you all.