Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The One that Ended it All

July 28, 2014 
Hermana Burnham with her District at the Houston Texas Temple
(Their last time together prior to her return)

Elder Loulanting

Elder Loulanting

WELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL folks, this is the end. Of my life. I mean my mission. This is the last email you will be receiving from Hermana Alivia Burnham—full-time missionary in the Texas Houston Mission. 

I have thought of writing a really reflective email about what I’ve learned on my mission and how it has influenced me, but I decided that is what talking to people face-to-face is for! :) Come to my homecoming talk.  

See you Wednesday. BYE 

Sorry, this was the least exciting final email ever written....I feel so many feelings that they have all canceled each other out and now I just feel like a zombie. And zombies can’t write good final emails.

I love you.  

See you in 2.................days.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The One with the Whole Milk

 July 21, 2014


Hermana Burnham
"If it is going to pour down rain, then you might as well enjoy it!"

I probably gained 5 pounds this week in milk fat. A family in our ward moved and gave us a gallon of WHOLE milk. Hna Jensen is lactose intolerant, so it was just my milk. I don’t think I had ever had whole milk in my life. Now I have.  

I have been trying to find things to be happy about when it comes to leaving my mission (leaving is hard), and I have seen so many tender mercies this week! For example, this might seem so silly, but it meant a lot to me.  We were walking to try and visit a potencial investigator and as we walked up a little, yellow, spikey ice cream cone, dog chew toy was sitting on the ground in front of the house. It was the same one Max has! Like the only toy that Max has! (Or...had...when I was there). I was like, "How random and what a small thing! But, Heavenly Father is aware of me!" I miss ya Max!  

In addition to little things like that, I have also witnessed big tender mercies from the Lord. 

Yesterday we went to one of our investigators whom we have only met with a few times. We had taught her the Restoration twice (once to her and then once to her and her son) and a little bit of the Plan de Salvation. But, she always seemed very passive, but so nice, about our message. We went over last night and taught about our purpose here on earth and at the end of our lesson she wanted to make sure we gave her son (whose name is L, btw . . . poor kid) a reading assignment, haha. So, we gave him some "homework".  I then grabbed her Book of Mormon and said, "Okay, we need to give you something, too!" I began to flip through her book to assign her a chapter to read. She said, "Oh . . . where that tarjeta is, is where I am at right now." In COMPLETE shock I said, "This tarjeta?"  She said "Yes".  I said, in disbelief, "THIS tarjeta?" "YES!" she replied. "You read this chapter?" I said.   "No, . .  . since the beginning." "WHAT?",  I replied  "What?", she replied.   "Let me make sure I understand.  You have read from the beginning of the book to HERE? This much?" "Yeeeeeeesssss, Hermana!"  

I could not believe it. My shock was 100% real. She has read to the end of 3 Nefi—in two weeks. I have NEVER had an investigator read that much of the Book of Mormon in my whole mission. I got a little emotional and was like, "Hermana, I have never had anyone read this much before; thank you so much."  She said, "When do you go home?" I told her and she said, "I will be done with the Book by that day, I promise." One of my desires coming out on a mission was to have someone read the entire Book of Mormon. I have strived so diligently to exhort people to read the Book.  Many of them have, but they read a chapter here and a chapter there. Heavenly Father knew that was a desire of my heart; and so, a week before I returned home, He sent me L.  

The Lord is so good to me.  

I love you all.

Hna B

Monday, July 14, 2014

The One with the Restoration

July 14, 2014 

It has seemed to me that we have taught the Restoration more times this week than ever before –which is my favorite thing to do ever, so it was great!  

I wanted to share one story from a certain miracle lesson this week, about J and A: 

J was a referral we received several weeks ago, from MTC headquarters, saying he wanted a BoM. We had tried him several times, but had been unsuccessful. We decided to try him again and his wife let us in, but informed us he was asleep. We began to talk with her and she said: "You know, it is very strange. I was just thinking about you when you knocked on the door; I mean RIGHT as you knocked on the door.  I thought 'the muchachas haven’t come back . . . I wonder if they will ever come again', and then you knocked on the door." Right about then her husband came downstairs, having been woken up because he heard us talking. (THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES IN THIS WORLD MY FRIENDS.)   

We asked if they knew much about the Church and J said, "Mucho."  Usually when people say "mucho" it is because they heard some rumors or anti-Mormon info on the internet. But, he told us he had talked with missionaries briefly before and had been to the Temple Square tour and spent much time in Utah and even wanted to move there at one time. We asked how it was we received the referral for him and he told us that a boy had come by to sell alarm systems (classic Mormon boy job).  After he had done his alarm thing, it was brought up that he was from Utah.  As he was on his way out the door J said, "You must be Mormon then!" The boy replied: "Yes, and what do you know about them?"  He went and sat back down at the kitchen table and talked with J for several more hours.  

J loved him--said they became great friends in those few hours they talked about religion. The boy told him he wanted to serve a mission, and that he couldn’t answer all his questions, but he knew some people who could and asked if the missionaries could come by (I don’t even know who this boy is, but I LOVE him).  He also asked if the next day he could bring him a Book of Mormon. J agreed to all of the above.  When the boy came by the next day J said he held the book out, but when J grabbed onto it, the boy wouldn’t let go.  J said the boy looked him in the eyes and said: "You don’t understand how much this means to us. I will only give it to you if you promise me you will read it." J was so impressed by his dedication, and J told us how much he admired him. (Is that not the best member missionary you have ever heard of? I am so proud of that boy!) The boy asked if he wanted missionaries who spoke Spanish or English.  J replied that it did not matter (even though he speaks much more Spanish than he does English).  J then looked at us, chuckled, and said: "Looks like he sent ones who speak both." :) 

We asked if we could teach them about where the Book of Mormon came from and they obliged. They listened intently as we explained the Restoration of the gospel. Tears formed in A's eyes at a couple of times. At the end of the lesson I said:  "Hermanos, we have a living prophet on the earth. We aren’t perfect. We are young. We are inexperienced. We can’t really speak Spanish. We are weak.  But, we have been called by a prophet of God to declare what we DO know; and, we know that our message is true (what missionary can name the page in PMG that that is found on?).   I have been a missionary for a year and a half and have dedicated my life to teaching this. I am returning home is two weeks, my mission here in Texas has come to an end, and in these last few weeks I feel more than ever to declare to EVERYONE that this is the truth! That it will change their lives (by this point I was very emotional, as were they)! Will you please read this book?"  

They both looked at me and affirmed that they would. J said: "I believe in the book.  I have seen so many young people like you, and I have always wanted to talk to them. If you dedicate yourself to this, how can it not be true?  If you are leaving in 2 weeks, does that mean we will never see you again?" I assured them I would be returning before those two weeks were up.  

We are going over tonight to teach them. The Church is true.  

I love you all, 

Hna B 



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The One with President Mortensen

July 7, 2014 

Hermana Burnham with President & Sister Pingree
They were released at the end of June, 2014.

"I wore this scarf in 10,000 degree weather
just to be patriotic!"
Hermana Burnham and Jensen
Last week we said goodbye and this week we said hello! We met the Mortensens this week and they are fabulous!  [Editor's note:  President Mortensen is the new Mission President in the Texas Houston Mission.] I mean, fabulous. He is very different than President Pingree, but wow, I can already see the amazing things that he is going to do for the Texas Houston Mission (remember how I live in Texas . . . that's weird.)   It is him, his wife and 5 of their 6 children. They are from the Huntington Beach, CA area.  They are ALL beautiful.  Their oldest daughter just left on a mission. their youngest child is 6, I believe.  They had each of the kids come up and introduce themselves.  It was so cute; I could’ve died. The 9 and 6 year old boys (their names are Anders and Dane and they wore matching top button anchor shirts, with light blue khaki shorts, and Sperry’s).  Seriously—the cutest thing of my life. They are an awesome family! I am excited for interviews this week!  

Remember how I told you that a few months ago someone asked if I was from Brazil (b/c of the way I speak, not look), and then the same thing, but from Russia, a few weeks ago?  Well,  THIS week a woman in our ward was like: "Hna, where did you learn Spanish?"  I replied that I have learned here in Texas on the mission and she was like: "Oh...you talk like you are from Spain." AT LEAST IT WAS A SPANISH SPEAKING COUNTRY THIS TIME! The greatest day of my life will be when someone tells me I speak Spanish like a Mexican.  Vive Mexico!  The three most common comments I get: "Your Spanish is different..." Thanks, so I have been told.  I can’t control how much I roll my r's.  If I could, I would!  "You look really tired."  Yes, I know; that's because I AM really tired.  "Have we met before, you look really familiar?"  Yes, in the pre-existance.  I would love to teach you more about that... 

We had a good week. Being a missionary is so exciting! We had the chance to talk with a suicidal man over the phone.  He found a pass-along card we had given him weeks ago (we literally talked to him for like 30 seconds and invited him to play volleyball with us) and decided to call us in his moment of need. It was a touching conversation I was able to have with him over the phone. It is a good reminder to know that it is those little acts of daily kindness that really make the biggest difference.  

Do something nice for someone today. 

Oh, and call the families you visit and home teach, just to say hello.  

That's all. 

Love you!

See you in three,
Hna B

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The One with the Pingree Farwell

June 30, 2014 

.....The Pingrees leave tomorrow.  

I LOVE President and Sister Pingree. I love them with all the love that I have in my heart, and I am going to miss them so, SO much.  I know that the Mortensens will be absolutely wonderful and I am excited to meet them; But MAN, I am going to miss President Pingree.  

We had an amazing opportunity to attend a Temple Session with the Pingrees and Temple President Crane (and his wife.) It was a remarkable experience. After the session, we had a Q&A/teaching session in the Temple from President Crane and President Pingree. I will let you all use your imaginations about how amazing that was. Then we all lined up and hugged President and Sister Pingree goodbye. I was sobbing like a little child! I couldn't control myself. I just hugged President and just said thank you like 14 times as I stained his shirt with all of my tears! Man! I hope you all get to meet them someday.  

Other than that our week was great and hot! We couldn't use our car on Sunday (we had gone over miles), so we walked. It was HOT. I loved it. It makes you feel like a missionary! 

I have had 3 main names throughout my mission from people in my ward (and also many nicknames), but the three main names I have had are: Hermana Misionera, Hermana Pianista and Hermana B (that is the one everyone calls me; no one can say my last name). Wellllllll, this week I was playing the piano in Sacrament meeting, como siempre. I always stay on the stand until after the sacrament and go and sit down when they tell the YM to sit with their families. This week we finished the sacrament and Hno Montano always says thanks to the YM for reverently passing the sacrament and he always thanks "Hermana Misionera for playing the piano", right? Well, this week I walk down the stairs and I hear "No, no, no, Hermana Misionera, venga" (come). So I turned back around, walked back up the stairs and stood by him. He then announced to the ward that I was leaving shortly and asked me to say a few words. It was my first dying testimony (sorry, mission lingo; a farewell testimony) that I have been asked to give. It is also, surprisingly, the first time I have been asked to speak on the spot without any warning (on my mission). I appreciated the chance to bear my testimony to this wonderful ward that has had such an impact on me. I’m going to miss them very much.

Lots of missing going on here in the life of Hna Burnham, sounds like. I think I have used that word like 20 times in this email. Haha!  I love you all a whole bunch!

Hna B

P.S.:   I’m sorry my emails have gotten progressively less about people we teach. I’ve noticed how much my emails have changed from the beginning of my mission. We are still teaching people about the gospel. I swear, haha.

P.S.S.:   Sister Tryon, can I just say one more time how much I love your letters. Seriously. I love em! And you!

The One Where I Was From Russia

June 23, 2014 

This week a man told me I speak Spanish like a Russian. Yupp. Well, he also told me I speak English like a Russian. (He doesn't speak English, but heard me speaking to his kids.) I HIGHLY doubt he knows a Russian who has learned Spanish by the which to compare me to—but apparently, I speak Spanish with a Russian accent. Go figure. I have also been told I speak Spanish like a Brazilian. I guess we can just conclude that I don't speak Spanish like a Hispanic. BUT, we can also conclude I don't speak Spanish like a Gringo. :)  

This week was just full of miracles. Full of them. The one I want to share is that of D. We tracted into her several weeks ago, but had been unable to really get in to teach her since that initial meeting. This week we passed by and decided to try, once again, and she was home and let us in. I noticed she was limping and asked if she was okay. She began to tell us her story. 

She was in a terrible car accident in February, in the which her brother and the other driver of the crash were both killed. She miraculously survived, after breaking all the major bones in her body, but has been charged with two counts of intoxicated manslaughter. She is only about 25 years old and has two young children. She misses her brother very much, but worries more for her mother, whom she said has been an example of strength through this hard time. We taught the Plan of Salvation and invited her to pray with us. It was a beautiful and sincere prayer in the which she pleaded for help from her Heavenly Father. At the end of the prayer she said: "You know, a lot of people come and knock of my door, but when I saw you guys I just knew that I had to let you in.  I feel like all this happened because God is trying to tell me something, and I feel like you are the ones who are here to tell me." We love her. And, we are so excited to teach her more.  

Being a missionary is just the happiest of all works! 

I love you all immensely.

Hna B 

[Editor’s Note:  I did not correct Hna B’s “the which” because I suspect it is a Spanish to English translation quirk that she is unique to her experience.]

Monday, June 16, 2014

The One Where I Joined a Gang

June 16, 2014

The Hermanas after exchanges.
A few weeks ago we met a man named T.  He is a rapper. He gave us CDs—we haven't listened to them yet, haha.  This week we went by and taught T.  He was alone, so he sat on the couch in his living room and we stood at his doorway (because we can’t go in if a woman isn't there) and taught him a little bit.  We talked a lot about life and he promised to start reading the Book of Mormon.   A few hours after we left his house we got a text from him saying:  "Y’all officially ********.  Turn up!"  Those little stars are the name of his gang, which will not named here.  Sooo, it's official, I became a thug on my mission (as if we hadn't already established that ;) ). . . . At least I know if I am ever in danger, I got back up! Haha 

But on a more spiritual note, it was a wonderful week! The Lord is hastening His work in the Canyon Lakes Ward! I love being a part of it!  

Yesterday C. D. was baptized.  He is 11 years old. He is the son of a super awesome family in our ward, but he is the stepson of the Hermana and his biological mom wouldn't consent to his baptism--until now!  It was the Elder's baptism, but we went because it was for our ward, and of course I played piano. I was sitting at the piano when C. was confirmed. After his confirmation he turned around to his Dad and hugged him in front of everyone and just sobbed. I mean, sobbed.  I, too, sat behind the piano very glad that I could not be seen by everyone else and just cried.  It was so beautiful to see his gratitude for the gift of the Holy Ghost.  He had gone through a long process to get there and there he finally was. 

It made me think of 3 Nefi 19:9—“And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them." 

What a blessing. When Christ left His earthly ministry He promised to send the Holy Ghost and the apostles rejoiced!  Do we realize how significant of a blessing He is? The third Member of the Godhead has been given to the baptized members of the Church as a constant companion if we live worthily. THAT IS AWESOME. Now live worthily! 

The gospel is real! 

I love you all! <3 

Hna B 

P.S.:  First, I wanted to thank you for your letter this week. It made me feel so happy and thanks so much Mama. 

P.P.S: I got so dark this week! Lots of walking and service...gotta love that missionary tan!

P.P.P.S: Aunt Traci thank you for your card! I hope to see you there--that would be so wonderful! I love you!

P.P.P.P.S: Sister Dudley, thank you for your letter. I know! Time Flies! I think snow boots are something I never even thought about needing here in Texas, haha.  Poor Will!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The One with the Stake Talent Show

June 9, 2014

Hermana Burnham's Zone
(Missions are split into Districts of about 4 - 8 missionaries)
(Zone consists of 3 to 4 Districts)
What a joyous week from Houston, TX.  

This week we had a Stake talent show. It was SO great. There are many videos waiting on my camera to be viewed by the world of the Houston West Stake talent. Some of that talent included D. (a youth in my ward) and me playing a song that we composed for the Mothers'/ Fathers' Day activity. He played Violin, and I played piano. It was a mash up of “Una Familia Tiene Dios” (if that is a song in English, I don’t know what the name of it is) and “Families Can be Together Forever”.  It went well and was fun to participate.  

The best part of the night though was that it was a STAKE talent show, so I was with 3 of the 4 wards I have served with in my mission.  O. B. (Waller) was the first to see me and then a few minutes later I hear his mom shouting in the hall:  "Where are you!? You know who you are!"  We found each other and hugged for a longggg time.  Then A. came in (Woodlands) and shouted from down the hall "HERMANA BURNHAM!" I turned around, recognizing the voice immediately, shouting back "A. NO WAYYYYY!!!!!"  And then we both hurriedly walking towards each other to hug, but then, realizing we couldn’t, go for an awkward handshake. Oh missionary life--it is so good! (Hna Jensen caught on camera me accidently running into D. during the talent show and like spinning with my hands in the air to avoid touching him anymore then was needful, hahaha; it is pretty funny).  But, the joy of seeing everyone was dampened a little bit as I realized I also had to say goodbye to everyone. That was not so enjoyable. It was a tender mercy from the Lord to be able to say goodbye to some of the people I had grown to love the most here in Texas. 

Other than that we had some MIRACLES happen! We have been working really hard, here in this hot Texas ocean . . . I mean, air. We had 4 investigators come to Church on Sunday!! MEMBERS ARE THE KEY TO SUCCESS IN MISSIONARY WORK. Does every member of the Church see that? I’m telling you, people, without you we could do nada. 

There is a super cute, newly married couple in our ward--Se llama la familia Enciso. They are both newly returned missionaries and have been married for 3 weeks. He was a teacher at the MTC in Mexico, and they are both remarkable. The two families that came to church were both families they had gotten to know and had called before church to invite. Do you think those investigators came because of us? No! They came because they felt loved and included by someone in the ward! (And hopefully because they wanted to come to church to partake of the fruits of the Spirit.:) )  It was great!!  You people are the key.  Ask the elders who they are teaching. Ask to go to lessons.  Ask if you can give someone a ride.  Ask whom you could invite over for dinner.  Ask who you can pray for.  Ask what your Elders learned in PMG that day. 

The second miracle was with la familia C. They are a family in our ward who has been inactive for quite some time now. They are a married couple with two younger children. The last two Sundays they have come to church and with complete devotion to stay. It has been amazing to watch their return. Yesterday they invited us over to eat at their home. We ate a good meal and then talked with them a little bit. The wife told us of how there is a feeling that just leaves your life when you leave the Church, how peaceful she feels every time she goes to church, and how life is just different when you are fully active. We testified that that was the presence of the Spirit, along with the blessings from Heavenly Father from keeping the commandments. We talked about how the feeling is so hard to describe. The hermano told us how he was so scared to go back because he felt like he would walk in and the hermanos would look at him like: "Well look who decided to come back . . ." He said: "The exact opposite happened." With a broad smile on his face declared: "They were so happy to have me back."   

We all agreed that the feelings of returning to the Church are ones that you cannot easily describe. It touched my heart to watch them try to describe feeling whole once again as they described the joy that has entered their family and individual lives once more. What happened next amazed me. The hermano said:  "I’ve have been thinking of our friend, actually. We know how much he needs this. He is an alcoholic, but he has 4 girls. He has told me he can’t change and that the life he lives is just how he is, but I know that if he knows he is a person who is important to God, that will change. We invited him to come to church with us today, but he couldn’t. He promised he would come next week. But you know what we should do--you should go to his house! Can we all go right now?"

That is the power of the Atonement.  In PMG it says that once people experience the Atonement they want to share the gospel (I wish I had my PMG on me so I could give you the page number to that; I apologize).  La familia C is the perfect example of that! They have been back to church 2 times--not even enough to be considered fully reactivated--and they are already reaching out in a way that I have never seen on my mission—to share the gospel with those whom they love and know it will help. How amazing.  

Is this the gospel of Jesus Christ restored to the earth or isn't it?  That is the question to be answered. Has the gospel blessed your life?  Do you know that the Savior lives? Do you know that God loves you and is your Father?  Can your family to be eternal?  Don't you want EVERYONE to have that same knowledge?  If you are scared, I stand beside you. I am scared and I let people pass by me every day--and I regret it—every. single. day. Those that pass me by? I see their faces in my mind’s eye every night as I kneel down to pray and my heart wrenches that I lacked that courage. But, it makes me better.  

Might we all try a little harder to be a little better.  Might we all stand a little taller and be a little bolder in declaring to the four ends of the earth that "Thy God Reigneth". The calling to share the gospel falls on each of us, not just those wearing the nametag.  

I love each of you with all I have. 

And if you aren't a member of the Church....talk to the missionaries--they can help. 

Hna B

Monday, June 2, 2014

The One with the Announcement

June 2, 2014  

Well, world, I guess I need to officially open the can of worms and tell you all that my release date is: JULY 30, 2014. 

That is real life. And I can’t believe it. I am returning home a little early because of school, but I still haven’t quite wrapped my mind around the concept. I don’t think it will be real until I am on the plane sobbing to the poor, random citizen sharing my aisle trying to explain my woes while offering him/her a Book of Mormon and Restoration pamphlet.  

I just wrote a long, scripturally saturated email and then deleted it. Just everyone come to my homecoming talk and I’ll explain the joys and woes of my mission and how the scriptures helped me...aight? (That about sums up what I had written.) 

Ray: Thank you so much for your letter. It meant very much to me... 

This week was a good one. It is starting to get nice and chilly . . . and by chilly I mean boiling hot . . . here in Texas. We have been busy. The work is going well. I’ve only recieved 2 mosquito bites (knock on wood; I received enough last summer to last me a lifetime and I have the scars to prove it). I can’t complain!  

We had an absolutely wonderful fast and testimony meeting yesterday. I cannot say enough good things about this ward. Seriously they are just remarkable. There was one boy named E who got up to bear his testimony. It goes on the list for one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard. At one point, while absolutely sobbing, he looks at Hna Jensen and me, from the pulpit, and says, "Thank you."   Then turns to the elders and does the same. Then he said:  "Without them, I wouldn’t be here. None of us would be here." How great it is to be a part of this work! I am so grateful that I am here! It has been the absolutely happiest, most wonderful months of my life.  Has it been stinkin’ hard? YES. Have I absolutely wanted to quit? On several occasions; but, I would do it all again. And again. And again--because nothing is better.  

I love you all. 

Stolen Pictures

Below are a few photos I found on the mission website.  These are photos from a Zone Conference:  May, 2014.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The One with the Woman from Pakistan Who’s Name I Don’t Even Know

May 19, 2014 

What a great week! I didn’t have a voice for all of it. It made being a missionary very interesting, but hey, I loved it.  

I have a confession.  I have fallen in love on my mission—with Canyon Lakes! This area is just so great. The ward is absolutely amazing and unlike any ward I have yet been in on my mission. I kinda feel like I am in an English ward.....it is weird and I don’t really know how to do work with the ward because I have never had to work in a ward like this before! All of my wards have been so wonderful, but this ward is like SUPER EFFICIENT.  Like WOW.  

The title of my week comes from a little thing that happened about 15 minutes ago:  We came into the computer room of our apt complex to email and one of the computers was occupied. I told Hna Jensen she could go ahead and start her emailing on the other computer and I sat down to wait for the other. The woman using the other computer was listening to a video in a language that I didn’t understand. When the video was over I said: "Where are you from?" (As missionaries it is the goal to talk with everyone, right?  So, I took advantage of the opportunity, haha).  She said she was from Pakistan, and I said:   "AH! Really!?  Shucria!  Sib!  Pani!" (aka all the things I learned from G and S).  She started laughing and asked where I had learned those words (which by the way mean “thank you”, “apple”, and “water” . . . so it isn’t like I said a logical sentence or anything).   

I told her that I am a missionary and about our relationship with S and G, how we couldn’t communicate, but how we just all loved each other so much.  We then proceeded to talk about life for a good 20 minutes.  She was great.  Well, she got off the computer and she left. I commenced my emailing on the computer.  After she had been gone for about 10 minutes, she walks back in the computer room carrying a container. She walks up to me and says:  "I made this yesterday. When you said that that family would feed you I thought maybe to give it to you. But, I thought, maybe I shouldn’t offer it right away; but then you said you are a missionary, but I still didn’t offer it.  But then I left and I felt like God told me to come and give it to you . . . because you are a missionary,  and I have been away from my home for a long time and it is hard to do that.  And you come to this strange place and have to meet all kinds of people and . . . and so I thought, maybe this could help."   I stood up and hugged her.  

How wonderful is this human race?  Yes, there is so much bad--people who do terrible things; but, sometimes I think we forget to look for all of the good.  


Hna B


Monday, May 12, 2014

The One from Canyon Lakes

May 12, 2014

Hna Jensen and Hna Burnham

Canyon Lakes is now my home. Here is my address:

15503 FM529 #423
Houston, TX 77095
Write me stuff :) 

Let me give you a run down on Canyon Lakes and my first few days in this area: 

Great place. Back in the city. Big ward. Solid members. The area is 85% Hispanic. Everyone speaks English though. The most Hispanic diversity that I have seen (I met someone from the D.R! [Dominican Republic]). Not as much poverty as I have seen in my last 3 areas (which is strange because Woodlands was such a rich area; but, there was a GREAT divide).   

People here are pretty established. There is a LOT of work to be done. A man kissed me this week.  Hna Jensen, my new comp, is just wonderful!! She graduated HS the year AFTER me, so I feel very, very old.  I have never had a companion that isn't from CA (5) or UT (3). She is from Utah.  

It is hot. The dreaded summer is upon us. Everything and anything you would ever need is found in this area. I live within 2 miles of a Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, every restaurant known to man, Home Depot, banks . . . I mean EVERYTHING.  

Here is a funny little story from last night: 

We ate last night with the T family. They have 4 children under the age of 5. E is 4 and we were talking with him while sitting at the dinner table.  He says:  "A (his 3 year-old brother) doesn't believe in Jesus Christ."  *stifled laughter*  "Why is that E?"  "Because he doesn't pray every night." 

What prophetic words from a 4 year-old. Do you believe in Jesus Christ?  Or,  in other words . . . are you praying every night?
Food for thought, eh? :)

Much Love,
Hna B 


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Random Photos

Random photographs received this week.  Some are older, but I love them nonetheless!

The Baichs (my bishop,) minus Brian

"J" and his car....his beloved car

English class

Churros with "I"

Mission companions and friends


With "C" at my one year mark
(Yes, an old picture.)


Those elders = two of my favorites.
Best district ever.

The bros. Aaron and Brian.
Could this picture get any more awkward?

The One with Hermana Ballerina

May 5, 2014 

My favorite family here in the Woodlands has now coined me with the nickname "Hermana Ballerina." They were the family we were with when E made that comment about me dancing behind our car. Since that point they all start dancing every time I dance--didn't realize how often that was. So Hna Ballerina it is. 

In other news: I am getting transferred.  

I LOVE the Woodlands. I love it. I love the people here. I love the area. I am sad to be leaving. Some of my dearest lifelong friends reside here. My Ward Mission Leader called me this morning and asked if I was leaving and then said some nice things to me  (he was speaking in Spanish of course).  At the very end he says, in his broken English, "Hija, I love you a lot."  So that broke my heart a little bit. And these past two weeks I have become like super close with my bishop--which makes leaving hard. But the hardest of all is leaving J. J and I are BEST friends. Like, E round two.  I don't know what it is about me and those recently-released-from-jail, but seriously, we bond like none other and LEAVING HIM BREAKS MY HEART.  

I always know when I am getting transferred because I have moments where I am sitting in church and I look out at everyone and just start to cry because I love them all so much. As soon as my love is that deep they rip me away!  I love the people here so much. I just wrote a very long paragraph trying to describe that love and those feelings, but then deleted it because it just wasn't adequate. They are just part of my heart. I love them.  I hope those words can stand alone and describe to you what I mean.  

And I love each of YOU.  I’m so excited to talk with my dear family this Sunday!!!!!!! It’s the last time I’ll talk to you, on the mission, before returning to your arms! When did that happen? I feel like a week ago I was calling from the airport or standing outside the church building calling the house, then mom’s cell phone, then dad, then Kirstin, than the house again, then mom again—trying to let you guys know what time I was going to call LAST Mother's Day. Oh how time flies.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The One with Alma

April 28, 2014 


English classes started this week! Yay! We've been waiting for these since I got to this area! Woohooo! 

I am seriously lacking desires to write a lengthy email today. This week was great! I love the Woodlands. Poor Hna McOmber has a cough. We met a cute old man named O., and we sang "Grand Eres Tu".  He cried. We had interviews with President.  

But more importantly than what I did this week--the gospel of Jesus Christ. I read this chapter in my personal study this week. It is my second favorite story in the Book of Mormon. So, I've decided to copy and paste the whole thing for your enjoyment. It counts as your scripture study for the day! 

Alma 14 (Please attempt to seriously imagine this in your mind as you read):

 1 And it came to pass after he had made an end of speaking unto the people many of them did believe on his words, and began to repent, and to search the ascriptures.

 2 But the more part of them were desirous that they might destroy Alma and Amulek; for they were angry with Alma, because of the aplainness of his words unto Zeezrom; and they also said that Amulek had blied unto them, and had reviled against their law and also against their lawyers and judges.

 3 And they were also angry with Alma and Amulek; and because they had atestified so plainly against their wickedness, they sought to bput them away privily.

 4 But it came to pass that they did not; but they took them and bound them with strong cords, and took them before the chief judge of the land.

 5 And the people went forth and witnessed against them—testifying that they had reviled against the law, and their lawyers and judges of the land, and also of all the people that were in the land; and also testified that there was but one God, and that he should send his Son among the people, but he should anot save them; and many such things did the people testify against Alma and Amulek. Now this was done before the chief judge of the land.

 6 And it came to pass that Zeezrom was astonished at the words which had been spoken; and he also knew concerning the ablindness of the minds, which he had caused among the people by his blying words; and his soul began to be charrowed up under a dconsciousness of his own guilt; yea, he began to be encircled about by the pains of hell.

 7 And it came to pass that he began to cry unto the people, saying: Behold, I am aguilty, and these men are spotless before God. And he began to plead for them from that time forth; but they reviled him, saying: Art thou also possessed with the devil? And they spit upon him, and bcast him out from among them, and also all those who believed in the words which had been spoken by Alma and Amulek; and they cast them out, and sent men to cast stones at them.

 8 And they brought their wives and children together, and whosoever believed or had been taught to believe in the word of God they caused that they should be acast into the fire; and they also brought forth their records which contained the holy scriptures, and cast them into the fire also, that they might be bburned and destroyed by fire.

 9 And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to the place of amartyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire.

 10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the apower of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.

 11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in aglory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the bjudgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the cblood of the dinnocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.

 12 Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also.

 13 And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not.

 14 Now it came to pass that when the bodies of those who had been cast into the fire were consumed, and also the records which were cast in with them, the chief judge of the land came and stood before Alma and Amulek, as they were bound; and he smote them with his hand upon their acheeks, and said unto them: After what ye have seen, will ye preach again unto this people, that they shall be cast into a blake of fire and brimstone?

 15 Behold, ye see that ye had not power to save those who had been cast into the fire; neither has God saved them because they were of thy faith. And the judge smote them again upon their cheeks, and asked: What say ye for yourselves?

 16 Now this judge was after the order and faith of aNehor, who slew Gideon.

 17 And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek answered him anothing; and he smote them again, and delivered them to the officers to be bcast into prison.

 18 And when they had been cast into prison three days, there came many alawyers, and judges, and priests, and teachers, who were of the profession of Nehor; and they came in unto the prison to see them, and they questioned them about many words; but they answered them nothing.

 19 And it came to pass that the judge stood before them, and said: Why do ye not answer the words of this people? Know ye not that I have apower to deliver you up unto the flames? And he bcommanded them to speak; but they answered nothing.

 20 And it came to pass that they departed and went their ways, but came again on the morrow; and the judge also smote them again on their cheeks. And many came forth also, and smote them, saying: Will ye stand again and judge this people, and condemn our law? If ye have such great power why do ye not adeliver yourselves?

 21 And many such things did they say unto them, gnashing their teeth upon them, and spitting upon them, and saying: How shall we look when we are damned?

 22 And many such things, yea, all manner of such things did they say unto them; and thus they did amock them for many days. And they did withhold food from them that they might hunger, and water that they might thirst; and they also did take from them their clothes that they were naked; and thus they were bbound with strong cords, and confined in cprison.

 23 And it came to pass after they had thus suffered for many days, (and it was on the twelfth day, in the tenth month, in the tenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi) that the chief judge over the land of aAmmonihah and many of their teachers and their lawyers went in unto the prison where Alma and Amulek were bound with cords.

 24 And the chief judge stood before them, and smote them again, and said unto them: If ye have the apower of God deliver yourselves from these bands, and then we will believe that the Lord will destroy this people according to your words.

 25 And it came to pass that they all went forth and smote them, saying the same words, even until the last; and when the last had spoken unto them the apower of God was upon Alma and Amulek, and they rose and stood upon their feet.

 26 And Alma cried, saying: How long shall we suffer these great aafflictions, O Lord? O Lord, bgive us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto cdeliverance.  And they broke the cords with which they were bound; and when the people saw this, they began to flee, for the fear of destruction had come upon them.

 27 And it came to pass that so great was their fear that they fell to the earth, and did not obtain the outer door of the aprison; and the earth shook mightily, and the walls of the prison were rent in twain, so that they fell to the earth; and the chief judge, and the lawyers, and priests, and teachers, who smote upon Alma and Amulek, were slain by the fall thereof.

 28 And Alma and Amulek came forth out of the prison, and they were not hurt; for the Lord had granted unto them apower, according to their faith which was in Christ. And they straightway came forth out of the prison; and they were bloosed from their cbands; and the prison had fallen to the earth, and every soul within the walls thereof, save it were Alma and Amulek, was slain; and they straightway came forth into the city.

 29 Now the people having heard a great noise came running together by multitudes to know the cause of it; and when they saw Alma and Amulek coming forth out of the prison, and the walls thereof had fallen to the earth, they were struck with great fear, and fled from the presence of Alma and Amulek even as a goat fleeth with her young from two lions; and thus they did flee from the presence of Alma and Amulek.

(IMAGINE THAT. Put epic music in the background as they walk through the clouds of dust. If I could send a video of myself acting this out and adequately demonstrate it, I totally would!)

STORIES DONT GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT PEOPLE. Why does anyone even watch TV? Just read the Book of Mormon!

Much Love,

Hermana Burnham

I am lucky to be following the blogs of Hna Burnham's companions.  Here is an excerpt from Hna McOmber's blog (that I stole) giving some detail on this past week.  Thank you Hna McOmber!

“So one of the families we teach is X and her husband, and her brother E and his wife, and all of their kids. We only stopped by for a quick lesson, but it was a miracle that their kids were already in bed and that all four were home from work, so I followed the prompting to teach them the Evangelio lesson, which covers Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost and Endure to the End. When I started talking about the Gift of the Holy Ghost, E's head snapped up and he had this huge look of shock on his face. He and X spoke super rapidly for a couple seconds and he turned to me and said, "We are members of your church!" WHAT?!? No wonder they were such golden investigators. hahah X and E were baptized as youth in Honduras, but went inactive. X came to church on Sunday! They will be a huge support in helping their spouses and children join the church. So crazy!

One day we were walking down River Oaks and we saw this cute old man sitting in front of his house, so we went over and said hi. He is this old, leathery, skinny, blind man with two teeth.  He is from from Mexico. He had us pull up some chairs and grab some water and sit and chat with him. He was SO sweet. I absolutely LOVED talking to him. Then we sang "Grand Eres Tu" for him and he just started sobbing and praising God. . .  

One day we were trying to visit people and no one was answering their door, per usual. It was 8:30 so we had half an hour and no one to talk to! We have a saying in the mission, "If you are craving a mango, go get a mango." Hermana Burnham was craving tater tots, so we drove over to Sonic. haha! We ended up meeting this cool kid and had a really great conversation with him about the church.

Church as a missionary is so crazy. I can't wait to come home and actually sit and enjoy church. haha We stand at the doors and greet everyone that walks in, then we ran up to the stand to sing prelude music with the ward choir, then we ran down to sit with our investigators and less-actives that came (YAY!), then we whispered to them everything that was going on, then we ran up to sing another song with the choir, then we finished whispering everything for the rest of sacrament meeting, then we herded them all into the next room for class, then we ran and did singing time in junior primary, then we ran and herded them to Relief Society and Elders Quorum, then we ran and led singing time in senior primary, then we ran and made a list for relief society to sign up to feed us, then we ran and talked to the Stake President, then we ran and picked up the food a member made for us out in her car, then we ran back in and tried to get all of the right kids back to the right parents and find our investigators, and then we have to thank everyone who signed up to feed us and say goodbye to everyone. It is MADNESS.   

It was so amazing to have our investigator W at church! He is so ready! He loved Sacrament meeting, and the Stake President found us after Sunday School and told us to get him a baptismal date right after church, so we were stoked! But when we walked in to the end of Elder's Quorum, we found him totally surrounded by people all trying to talk to him and our ward mission leader was trying to pry open the doors of the baptismal font... LITERALLY. Needless to say, he is overwhelmed and will not be setting a date any time soon.”