Monday, October 26, 2015

Week number something...

This week we had Zone Conference. It was pretty awesome!  President Searle had us study in the Book for Mormon from Alma 32-34 about Faith. I also studied a lot this week in Moroni 7 about faith, hope, and charity. 

I learned that Faith isn't something that you have or you don't. (because every freaking person in Colombia has "faith") Faith is like a muscle. The more you use it, the bigger it gets. When you don't use it ,it shrinks. 

We can tell people we believe in God and not do much about it, but to God this means nothing.  We can tell ourselves we have faith and go to church and read the bible every day, but again "esto no salva".  After explaining this about a million times in the past couple of months it's really been pounded into my head that faith is to believe with actions. Creencia con obras. (santiago 2:17-24)  

Your faith is always moving.  It might be getting stronger or weaker, that  depends on your actions.  This really comes down to what you do every single day that you live.  If we are really thinking clearly in this life, we should be trying to be more like Christ every single day.  Just like building muscle, we are building Christ like attributes.  When we take a day off, or when we do something we shouldn't, it's like skipping a workout.  You mess up your routine.  

My question, that I hope you can ask yourself every single week until you die is:  
"Am I more like Christ this week then I was last week?"   
"Do I have more charity for the people in my life today then yesterday?"  
If the answer is no, then we are not progressing.  We're regressing.  This didn't start when you were born and it won't end when you die.  "I'm trying to be like Jesus" really is what we should be able to say at the end of every single day.  So ask yourself this week.  Write it down.  Make a plan.  Then ask for help.  I promise He will help you. 

This week we got asked by one of the assistants to help out with a situation.  There's an Elder named Elder Flores.  He left from Barranquilla to serve his mission in Bolivia in June.  But because he's a costenio and has never left the coast, he got really sick.  The cold messed him up pretty bad and after three months he had to come home. But they didn't find anything wrong with him when he got home.  So now, after two months, he wants to go back into the field.  They need to test him out to make sure he's ready.  So he's in a trio with us!  We call him Hermano Flores, because he's not set apart right now, but he's pretty much a missionary.  He lives 40 min away in another area, but will live with us for the next 2 weeks, or so, to prep for his return to his mission. 

We're super excited for him!  I'm pretty sure he'll get to go back out.  The coolest part is that he got baptized 1 year and 8 months ago!  He entered the mission before the missionary that baptized him went home! Crazy. 

The blue book is true, hallelujah! 
Gloria a dios. Amen.
Elder Burk

We're a trio!  Meet Elder Flores.  Elder Cavero and I get to serve with him. 

My zone
Check out this great picture of Ryan Dowdle in Africa. Isn't it Awesome?! All the kids are trying to touch his hair. He's like a super star! 
Mason's good friend Ryan Dowdle, serving his mission in Uganda.
hahahahahahahahahahahahhha thats awesome!!!!!!!  There couldn't be a better place for the Dowdler!

Phillip Burk

5:01 PM (3 hours ago)
to Brinley
Hey Brinley, That's awesome that your doing so many fun things!  Dad looks kind of funny dressed like Gru!  I can totally imagine his Russian accent!  I hope you like the cd.   I haven't gotten your letter from the Primary, but I got three letters from Grandma Nina.  She even sent me a copy of a patriarcal blessing from our Great Grandpa Callister from 1844!  Pretty cool. I love you Brinley!  Thanks for writing to me.  Mas


Dear Elder Cavero, 

We are so happy to hear about Johana's baptism.  What a great day! 
We hope her family is happy.  Maybe her husband will listen to the lessons now.  I hope you can teach him about the gospel.  It would be so wonderful to have the whole family baptized, and on their way to the temple.  

How do you like being a district leader?  Is it hard?  I bet you are doing a great job!  

We pray for you and Elder Burk.  We know you are working hard for the Lord.  Always listen to the spirit.  It will guide, teach, and protect you on your mission.

Have a wonderful week!
Sister Burk

Sergio Cavero

4:41 PM (3 hours ago)
to me
Hi Sister Burk ... I like stay in the mission.The husband was a rebel person but now he listen the gospel .He come to church this sunday and maybe he will be baptized ..Sorry for my english i dont now write better but your son learn me so much.Well .Have a good week.Bye . 

  Misión Colombia Barranquilla

Monday, October 19, 2015

Now on to Juancho...

This week we learned lots of new things. 

We started working with some lists from the ward. There's three lists.--Recent converts of the last 24 months, direciones disconnocidos (I dont know what that is in English), and the current ward list. These seem like basic stuff. But here in the coast of Colombia, everything's a little bit different.  The ward list has about 580 names on it. But there's about 130 people every week at church.....sooooooo...... yea that's a problem...... b

Before our president came, this mission baptized people like crazy--like 200 baptisms a month.  The problem was that there was no retention, no converts, just baptisms. There also used to be ton of problems with the missionaries. This mission at one point was the number one for sending missionaries home early. (pecadores). When President Searle came here, he changed all that!  Yay!  Soo yea, this week we started banging on doors to find out who these people are. 

It's really weird because we've walked by these houses a million times.  There's investigators that live right next door!  Some are even members who never bothered to say anything.  Then when we ask them, and they're like, Oh yea, I guess I am a member.  Then we find out they got baptized like 5 years ago.  Or they were members all their life, until they turned 25.  It's crazy!  We also found a couple that are recent converts, of about one year, that we've never met.  Cool story. So yea... moral of the story, get organized. 

Now on to Juancho...

So remember Johana, who got baptized last week?   Well, the Dad of the familia de avila se llama juan. But they call him Juancho.  As of last week, he was out of the house going crazy and almost committed suicide.  This week he came to church with the family!  Say what?!   

Johana said that he had a crazy dream where he wanted to buy a house.   In the dream he was asking this young man for help.  He kept telling the man "I want this house."  Then the man said no.  So he chose another house, and the young man said no.  Another. No.  Then the man took him to a different house and said this one.  He entered the house and found a bunch of people dressed in white.  Then he had another dream where he saw the throne of God.  Next to the throne he saw another man, like God.  

Until this dream, he had always thought that God was just one being.   After this dream, he knew that God and Jesus are two separate beings.   After the dream, he felt super bad that he had left his family and that he had ignored God when God came to him.   

Sunday, when this man came to church, I was completely blown away.  He was a completely different person.  He looks like a pretty tough guy.  He'd never said more then adios to us.  But when he came to church this time, he was completley humbled.  He participated in every class, helped other people, sat next to his wife, and apologized sincerly to us like 5 times.  Later, we taught him about the restoration of Christ's church here upon the earth, and this man was sincerly repentant.  I've never seen such a change in countenance in one person, such  sincere humility.  After our first lesson, he accepted our invitation to be baptized.   We're still gonna be testing him to make sure he's sincere in this decision, and we have a lot to teach him, but I have to admit, the Lord definitely knows what he's doing!  He always prepares the hearts of his children.  Some just need more trials then others.  

Miss you all, 
Elder Burk

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hermana Johana de Avila

Well this week were exchanges, or transfers, throughout the mission, but my companion and I stayed right where we are.  In fact, there wasn't a change in my whole district.  This is actually really weird.  But that's ok, because we had a baptism this week!

Hermana Johana de Avila (the Mom of Angie and Andrea that were baptized in August) was baptized this past Saturday!  We've been teaching them for about three months.  The daughters were baptized the 22nd of August, but the Mom wasn't ready.  She's been living with her husband/boyfriend/cousin and was not able to be baptized until her situation changed.  She didn't want to marry him, because there wasn't a lot of love in the family.  And the daughters didn't like him very much.  He has been living in the house.  Then 2 weeks ago, they had a bunch of things happen. 

They were fighting a ton and the mother of Johana (who is also living in the house) called the cops.  They came and kicked the father out of the house.  Then he tried to come back and tell Johana he would marry her so she could be baptized, but she left him out to dry.  Later he tried to commit suicide with pills, but failed.  He was taken to the hospital, and is still alive--thankfully.  But now he is living somewhere else, which is really sad for him.  But Johana feels a ton better.  The family is all living the gospel. After the dad was out of the house, the first thing the girls did was tell their Mom, "You can get baptized now!!"  So she did.  

I'm super proud of this family.  They have sacrificed a lot to be able to be baptized and live God's commandments.  This is a family of true converts.  Herman Johana shared her testimony at the baptism.  It was a really sweet experience.  Elder Cavero baptized her, and I performed the confirmation.  Elder Cavero and I sang a duet of "Abide with Me" at the baptism, in both Spanish and English A Capella.  There were a lot of people squished in that tiny little room.  It was way hot, because there is no air conditioning in that part of the chapel.  
Baptism day for the family de Avila
Johana de Avila on her baptism day with her daughters, Angie and Andrea
Elder Cavero baptized, I performed the confirmation
Our sweet ice cream find--10 Liters. Worth it.
Today we actually had a free day, so Elder Cavero and I found where the street vendors buy their ice cream.  We bought 10 liters of ice cream.  Worth it.  

Spencer--I haven't been robbed yet.  But my companion was robbed in our house once.  I don't remember if I wrote about that...Nobody got in the house, but they reached through the barred windows and grabbed his suitcase and stole some stuff out of there.  But we bought ice cream, and now he feels better.  Love you bro!

Have a good week, 
Elder Burk

Monday, October 5, 2015

Conference and a little Q&A

Here are some pictures from this week:
This is us with the Bishop of our ward and his family.  Augusto cfuentes es como se llama el obisbo.
 My companion and I at General Conference with the family de Avila.
 This is Hermana Vicenta Torres.  She feeds us lunch everyday.  She's pretty awesome!

Last week was kind of uneventful, except for a street contact that we had.  We went to the house of Julio Nestor de las Salas.  The first time I talked to him, he said he wanted to know who was the wife of Cain--because, if we were real preachers,  we would be able to tell him.  Also, he thinks Jesus lived for 44 years.  The second time we taught about tithing, because he had a misconception about money in the church.  Then his daughter walked in, (who is actually really interested in the church, and has read up to 2 Nephi, because she found a Book of Mormon at her friend's house.  He pulled out 1 Cor. 14:34-35 and told her she needed to leave and shut up because we were talking about the gospel.  Then we chewed him out and told him we wanted to talk to her too.

The next visit he started the lesson with the prayer for, I'm not kidding, like 10 freaking minutes.  Like for realz.  They're gonna call him to pray at conference, it was that long.  Except he tried to preach to us in his prayer--haha, he spoke a lot about apostasy.

He had one line in there that was pretty interesting.  He said, "Please bless the breasts of the mothers of these two young men, that are here to preach the word of the Lord."  So there you have it Mom, your breasts have been blessed.

This week, conference was pretty awesome.  It was really sad that we hardly taught for two days.  But listening to conference was awesome because I found all the answers to questions I have been having.  I loved Elder Bednar's talk about sustaining the leaders.  This conference was very special to me to see these great men stand up there and talk.  It was the first time that I really saw the angel behind that face speaking straight from the Lord.  They might be old and frail physically, but when I see that angel standing tall behind them, I can testify with all my heart, that there's no one talking but the Lord.

I'm definitely learning a lot.  And having great experiences.  I've learned a ton about listening.  As a Missionary you have to listen to the person, then to the spirit to hear what they need.  Every problem out there has a solution with the basic answers Christ gave us.  It's really much more simple than what we make it to be sometimes.

The Blue book is true.  Hallelujah, gloria a dios. Amen
Elder Burk

Q & A:

1-When are transfers?
Transfers are every 6 weeks.  They tell us Monday night and Tuesday we leave early in the morning.  Tonight is transfers.  Elder Cavero has been here for 6 months.  We think he might get transferred.

2-Have you been transferred yet?  We are excited to hear if you are going to get a new companion, or if you will move to a new area.  Change always brings growth.
I'll find out tonight!

3-Where did you watch conference?
We watched conference in the stake center.  Saturday there were 30 people there, 15 were missionaries.  7 of us white Elders watched it in a separate room in English, in our suits.  I guess it's a rule that for conference we have to wear suits, but that rule is gonna change this year, because our mission won't require people to bring suits anymore.

4-Any requests for your Birthday or Christmas package?
I know you love me lots and want to send me lots of stuff.  I love you too, but I really don't need anything.  I feel like I have way too much stuff.  I feel a little guilty when I look in the closet at all of my shoes--they will last my whole mission.  Then I look at my companion's side, who has never bought a new pair of shoes the whole time he has been here.  He finds used pairs of Elders shoes that leave the mission.  I bought him a new pair of shoes, because that's just no fun.  Point is, I really don't need anything.  Just send a dope picture of Braden in the kayak going down some rapids!

5--How did your first interview go with your Mission President?
We have Interviews every 3 months, or 2 transfers.  Mine was about 45 minutes.  He started with a bunch of questions--"Are you using Facebook?"  "Did you buy a cell phone?"  "Do you have a girlfriend in your area?"  Um NO.  Then I asked a few questions.
He explained something really cool.  He showed me his family tree, then turned it upside down so he was on top.  He explained that in the mission we focus on the missionary, and not the numbers.  If a missionary works really hard, he might get 40-50 baptisms in the mission.  But if we focus on the missionary, he has a conversion in the mission. Then when he goes home, he stays faithful all of his life.  He'll marry, have kids, and they'll have kids, and they'll have kids...And if he is a good father, they will all be educated in the gospel.  After 5 or so generations, this missionary has like 100 baptisms.  And maybe half of them will serve missions.  But it all starts with the missionary.  That's why when you are having trouble with your companion, and your numbers aren't so great, the most important part is to just help your companion.  Help him grow his testimony.  Every missionary has more to offer.  The goal of the president isn't numbers.  It's conversions.

6-Have you been able to live off of your mission allotment, or have you needed to use money from your debit card?
I haven't used any money, except when I bought shoes for Elder Cavero.  If I buy nice stuff, I'll get robbed, cuz I'm so white!

A little chit chat: 

Mom--I LOVE that you bought Elder Cavero new shoes!  I would be totally happy if you quietly bought something for every companion.  Share it all.  Give it all away.  Sure love you!

Mas--Any other questions you have for me?

Mom--If transfers are today, How do you feel about getting a new companion?

Mas-I'd be ok with a change.  I don't really love not being able to make final decisions.  I'd like to be able to teach and help other Elders a little more.

Mom--Do you ever think about home?

Mas--Yea, every once in awhile.  There are little weird things that make me think about home.  But not too often.  I mean, other then my Mom of course, which I think of every minute of every day!

Mom--Nice, that's the right answer! xoxo
You are going to be a great leader.  And training is awesome!  Because greenies don't know any different than what you teach them.  So you can make the work hard.  It's really great.