Monday, August 31, 2015

I only have 15 min...

Ok, this week was kinda crazy.

We had transfers and only one zone leader.  So my companion and I were helping him get all the new people to their houses and stuff.  Our district leader got transferred to Santa Marta and my companion is now our district leader.  So I am going to have a lot of exchanges.  Having had one day with the zone leader, I've decided that doesn't look fun.  He seriously had to send like a billion forms!  Half of our district got transferred.  The new people are a lot quieter.  We have one trainer with a brand new missionary.

We had a crazy p-day today, so I only have like 15 minutes to write.  I hope you got the picture.  Sorry.  next week I will try to get more.  The pictures are of the new zone.  Our new zone leader is Elder Slack, from Utah.

Tonight we have two family home evenings with mixed families of less actives and nonmembers.  We have three investigators that we are working really hard for, but they all need help to build their testimonies.  We are working with the ward to get some more activities to help with that.  We talked with some stake leaders to have a training with the ward leaders to help them understand how to do ward council.  Hopefully they learn a lot!

Love you all!
Elder Burk

Monday, August 24, 2015

I feel like I have been Dear Johned

The boys wrote to Mason and told him that we sold his white truck this week.  This was his sad reply: 
"I feel like part of my heart died when I read about the truck.  
I feel like I have been Dear Johned.  Wow.  
Some people get dumped by girls.  
My truck left me. 
Don't let the dogs die!"
Este Semana: 
This week was pretty awesome! We had our last district meeting of the transfer.  We think our district leader is going to be transferred, because he has 8 months in this area.  So that's kind of sad.  We won't know for sure until 9:00 pm tonight.  That's when they call the missionaries and tell them if they're staying or going or what.  I can't wait to hear the changes this week.  I think my companion may become the new district leader!

Noche Blanca:
This Saturday we had a noche blanca.  Everyone in our Zone brought their investigators that are ready for baptism to the same building to have a big service.  At first, I didn't like the idea, because I thought it would take away form the special ness of each person.  But it actually turned out to be a lot better.  When it's just one person, the program is kind of just made up on the spot.  But with this Noche Blanca, we had about 100 people there to watch, and 6 people were baptized between our zone.  One of the members of the stake presidency came to conduct the meeting.  It was really cool.  My companion and I had two investigators get baptized.  Their names are Andrea and Angie de Avila.  They are sisters.  They were definitely ready for baptism.  We have been working with their family for a long time.  They were one of the first lessons I had when I arrived in this area.
 Their mom is also working towards baptism.  She just needs to separate from the father of the kids don't like him very much and he is cousins with the Mom.  (awkward...)
The sisters were baptized by their uncle who came all the way from Bogota to baptize them.  It's a really long drive.  He's the second councilor in his ward.  You could definitely see the difference in their countenance afterward.  SO awesome!  We've been trying to describe the Holy Ghost for a long time, but now they finally understand.  
The church building we went to was in a richer area, so they had a nice weighted keyboard.  I played and sang "I Believe in Christ" in Spanish and English for a musical number.  It's the first time I've played anything in almost two months.  It turned out alright.  (First gig on the mission wat wat.  Pretty cool!)

Smell and See:

Ok, if you're standing in the middle of the street, this is what you see:  EVERYTHING is made of cement.  The street, the sidewalk, the walls, the houses, etc.  There's trash on the side of the road in big piles all over.  You can smell an open sewer a half mile away.  There's tons of people walking everywhere with very little clothing.  The power lines are a tangled mess.  You can smell fried meat of every kind, mixed with garbage and sewer.  IF you're still in the road at this point, you're dead, because everyone here drives crazy like me.  There's motocars, lots of bullet bikes.  Busses and taxis that look like crappy cars and sound like broken trucks.  And yea, that's pretty much it. 

Ok, I have to go, 
Love you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Lord loves you. So do I!

Well, this week we had a zone conference.  So we all took taxis for like an hour and a half to the inner city.  We had about 90 missionaries in this chapel and had a lot of capacitation (training).  It was pretty cool.  I saw a lot of new faces.  Elder Cavero had to to to the office to renew his visa.  He has about 4 months left in this mission, but his visa expires in November.  Luckily, he was able to get it renewed.

My companion and I have the zone leaders in our ward, and a park pretty close by, so we wake up at 5:50 everyday and play futbol for an hour or so.  My foot skills have definitely improved.  There are some people that are really good and others that I can beat.  I'm always faster, that's for sure, but we're always playing on a cement court.  It's a different game.

We have ward council every week, but we rarely have everyone there.  It's kind of tough, because the ward leaders all act like teenagers, including the Bishop.  But we're working on it!

We were walking in the street in one of the poorer areas this week, when this guy came up to us and asked for a Bible.  He definitely looked like an addict.  We followed him to his house, where we found his Mom and another day met more of this family.  I think he has a little bit of autism.  His Mom has 8 children and their father abandoned them.  The children are all over 20, but they have a lot of problems.  Lots of addictions.  Coke is the main one of the ones we met.  But they were super receptive to the message we gave and they all said they wanted to change.  The mom has been through a lot, but it's really cool to see the effect the spirit had on them.  You could see it in their eyes that they needed help and they trusted that our message was from God to them.

Whenever I miss my friends or family at home, I think about all of my friends out in the field--all of the other soldiers working for the Lord.  That all of them are doing the same thing I am!  The more time I'm out, the more I think about the investigators.  If I stay busy, I forget about everything else. The Lord loves you. So do I!

Elder Danger Burk


We got lucky this week and caught Mason online for a little Q/A:

What did you like about Zone Conference?
It was cool to see the other leaders and the President.  (I've only seen him one other time.)  They had some cool capacitation, I think that means training, I don't really know.  Honestly, it was cool just to travel a little bit.  The lessons were awesome.  They talked about when the Savior visited the Apostles after his death when they were fishing.  There's a really cool talk by Elder Holland all about it.  You should look it up.  It's titled, "Feed My Sheep."

What's your President like?
He's a farmer. HaHa

Did your first package get there yet? (sent August 5th)
No, I haven't heard anything yet.  It will probably be another week or so, is my guess.

What city are you in?  We want to see on the map where you are serving.
Soledad 2000.  It's a district right next to Barranquilla.

Is there a map of your mission with the boundaries of the different areas?  
Hmm, idk.  I know there's only like 5 cities with missionaries.  I'll keep you updated on that.  This week was kind of slow on pictures.  The computer I'm at won't let me use my photos.  We can only use our cameras at baptisms, FHE, p-days, and meetings.  So sorry, I'm working on it, but I'll try harder this week.

Spencer and I are in the car together. He wants to know what kind of food you are eating for each meal.  I want to know, are you cooking for yourself, or are members cooking for you?
I eat fried mystery food on the streets and lots of bread.  We pay one family to make lunch for us everyday.  Lots of chicken and rice.

Tell us more about your companion.  He seems funny in the pictures.  Are you guys getting along?  Does he come from an active family? Is he a convert?
He's been a member all of his life.  His dad was a Bishop.  He really knows the scriptures.  He's very sarcastic.  He sounds a lot like Jasie when he speaks English.  But he jokes like Bonnie.  We'll send you a recording next week.

Spencer wants to know how comfortable your bed it.  I want to know if you have a good pillow, mattress, blanket and how did the microfiber towel work out, are you happy with it?
Yep, I've got all that stuff.  The towel is great.
Mom, can you send me a copy of the Family Proclamation in English, via email?  I can print it off.

Yes, here you go--

 Letters to siblings:

Spencer--Hey, That's super cool that you're playing basketball!  Whenever we play basketball here, we, the gringos, always win!  haha.  The Latinos are really good at soccer, but not so coordinated with their hands.  It also helps that we're usually a lot taller.  Good luck with practice.  Just be sure to touch the ball everyday!

Brinley--That's awesome that you're starting gymnastics!  You should have Braden teach you how to do a backflip!  By the time I come home, I bet you'll be a pro!  Are you excited to start school? When is your first day?  Love you lots!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Game on--CCM group

When life is hard, remember that somebody is worse off than you.  And for that worse off person in the world, Jesus suffered for them.  I like to read in Job when times are hard.  I always hear the phrase, "You are not yet as Job."  Everything is for your good.  I know I was called to Colombia for a reason.  These people need to hear the gospel.

Monday, August 10, 2015

First place crazy goes to...

The people are the best thing about a mission.  I love the culture.  I'm learning that the gospel is pretty simple and easy, if we live every part of it.

This week was a little slow.  We had to define several people that weren't progressing.  (Define-means we tell them we can't keep teaching them because they aren't progressing and there are other people that need to hear the gospel.)  That was kind of sad.

We had an exchange this week with the district leaders.  Elder Cortez, from Mexico came to our area and went with my companion.  I went with Elder Adrade from El Salvador.  He's super good at futbol.

The people here are really friendly.  Everyone is very open and talks to us in the street.  Except one guy this week, who wins first place crazy of the week.  So on splits with Elder Adrade, after we went to lunch, we were walking down this dirt road next to a park, and this guy looked right at us.  He jumped straight up in the air and ran to grab two big cement chunks.  Then he ran in the middle of the road in front of us.  He started yelling and screaming and shouting death threats at us.  That was pretty weird.  The whole street was staring at him, and that's unusual, because usually, people don't ever care about what's going on.  But the whole street was watching him.  He started clapping the rocks over his head about 20 feet from us, and told us he wanted to kill us.  Elder Andrade said he'd never seen the guy before, so he was really confused.

Then this guy who was 20 feet behind us started yelling at the crazy dude.  He walked out from behind us, went straight up to the crazy guy, and got up in his face.  Then he took the rocks and threw them on the ground.  Then he pushed him and told him to go away.  And he did.  Not in a straight line...  The buff guy yelled at him, then walked us out of the park, and said the dude was a major drug addict and had lots of problems.

The winner for second place for this week's crazy contest goes to the kid that had a clothes pin for an earring.
Third place is the guy that is 30 YEARS older than his wife.
Bienvenidos a Colombia!

I miss real meat. I miss my music, and I miss fresh air.
Elder Burk

They found McD's

Mason and his district at McDonald's. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

In food news: McChubble vs Salchipap

We had our first baptism yesterday!  Her name is Karen Patricia.

She just got married to Yovani on Saturday, so she could be baptized.  We walked by their house on Saturday night, to drop off the baptismal clothes, and their house was rockin!  Karen and Yovani were dressed in all white while the rest of the people were in flip flops and t-shirts (or no shirts) sitting in lawn chairs out on the dirt road eating cake.  They had the biggest, baddest, loudest speakers in the whole world.  Seriously.  There were 10 feet high with a 1000 watt amp.  My shirt was vibrating.  These people have their priorities right!  We scheduled the baptism for 7:30 Sunday morning so we would be able to start by 8:00 (Latino Time)...

Elder Cavero and I went to the church at 6:00 am to fill up the font only to find out that the water pump at the church was broken.  Super cool.  So we got buckets and called more missionaries to help, and ran to members houses to fill the font.  We eventually started using water from the truck wash place next door.  By 8:00 we had the water up to the second step.  Which was enough for a baptism.  Haha.  She had to lay down flat, but she got it the first time!  Her husband, Yovani, was excommunicated years ago, but loves the church and is one of the most active elders.  He is working to be rebaptized.  It's super cool to see the gospel's effect on this family.  I hope they make it to the temple.  If he can get rebaptized, I have no doubt that they will.

On Saturday, we had our first leadership training for the ward leaders.  We taught them about home teaching, and how to have a visit.  We did practices where we were the investigators and they had to find the need and teach a lesson to help.  It was cool.  They caught on really fast.  We are going to keep having this class every Saturday in August to help strengthen the ward.  Our goal is to get them fired up to help the less actives so we can work together better.  The ward is super awesome!  I really love the youth!

In food news: Last week I took a bus and a motocar to plaza del sol to spend 10,000 pesos on a tiny bottle of nutella.  Today my companion and I found a bigger one for 25,000 pesos.  #yolo

I also found the McChubble of Colombia (for those of you who are unfamiliar with this deliciousness, just ask Braden, I'm sure he will gladly take you to McDonalds for a demonstration.)  But here in Colombia they have the Salchipap!

It's this big plate of fries, topped with cheese, sausage, ham, pork, other mystery meats, funnel crisps, mayo, catsup, some mystery green sauce, and probably cocaine.  So yea!  pretty much the best thing ever!  There's a picture below.  Oh, and a picture of my companion, Elder Cavero, after his 3rd one this week. Ha.
Read lesson one of Preach My Gospel.  There is a part that talks about how the gospel blesses families.  There are a lot of great scriptures in the bible that talk about how we are all children of God, and God wants us to have families.  This is what makes people really happy.  Idk, there's a specific verse I'm thinking of that a man needs a family to live up to his true potential.  I'll see if I can find it this week.  Focus on loving the friends you have.  Don't leave school with feelings of regret or anger.  Try to leave every friendship positive, or at least neutral.  If you don't have closure, it might haunt you a little bit.  Mom always said, Be kind.  Forgive.

The hour to write home goes fast.  Everything goes fast.  I love it!  Honestly, I don't feel like it's been that hard.  I mean it's work at times, but I've never been overwhelmed.  I've got the Spanish.  It came really fast.  I got a little sick, but I just took one of every drug that Mom gave me and kept working, and I was fine.
Maybe it's because I have a really good companion and my parents prepped me well, but yea, I'll probably have hard days later.

I love you.  Thanks for everything,

Elder Burk