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 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.