Monday, November 30, 2015

I know that Christ lives

My new apartment is super nice. It's on the third floor. We live kind of far away from where we work but the place is nice. 

 We cook breakfast and dinner we have a lunch contract with a Chinese restaurant. I usually just snack or eat little stuff we only have a stove a fridge and a sink. Nobody here has ovens or microwaves unless they’re rich. But we found the store that is like Costco so we are eating pretty well. I weighed myself this week vie only gained 6 pounds. And we started running in the mornings this week. 
 I’m just studying for the people every day. There’s nothing better to do. I’ve learned that sometimes missionaries try to understand Kolob or Abrahamic covenant or all sorts of complicated stuff but the truth is if anybody tries to tell you they completely understand the concept of faith they are lying or trying to sell you something. We can never learn enough about the first 5 principles of the gospel.  Keep it simple. 
 Here's a house we found made out of a Harry Potter Poster
 My companion is from Santiago Chile. He’s 20 years old he’s been a member all his life but was less active for a long time. He came back to the church because of his seminary teacher who busted his door down to drag him to seminary every day. He’s pretty awesome easy to work with. 

The ward is pretty awesome.  The only bad part is that all of the leaders live in the other area, near the other set of missionaries. We have problems getting people to church because they are all poor and have no transportation.  Sometimes we can rent a bus to get them there, but sometimes it's kind of difficult. There’s a ton of recent converts and less actives. There are a lot of them that don’t have testimonies.  So we have lots of work to do! 
 I know that Christ lives. I know it better then I know that you’re living right now. He came to the world to save every single one of us. Even the people that didn’t want it. He did it not because he had to, but just because he loves us. Christ has charity for every one of us. This means that he not only loves us as we are, but that he loves us for what we can be. He loves us enough to see the potential in every single person. There is nothing more noble that we can do or obtain in this life then to have pure charity for the person next to us. It’s what Christ did and it's what he wants us to do. 

Give my love to everyone.

Elder Burk

Monday, November 23, 2015

Our Thanksgiving...from Price Mart

In my new area we have Price Mart...that's pretty much like a Costco.  So we went there and stocked up on all the things we are Thankful for.  Here is our Thanksgiving Feast:
Thanksgiving from Price Mart
Brinley's letter

Heyo--New Area!

November 17, 2015

I am not in Soledad 2000 anymore!  Today was my first Cambio (transfer).  My new companion is Elder Troncoso.  Our area is La Playa en Zona Paraiso.  Our area goes all the way out to the beach and our chapel is the same chapel where I first arrived in the mission (super pupi).  We also have the temple grounds in our area.  Pretty awesome!  

My last night in Soledad, the zone leaders, Elder Slack and Elder Gonzales, came to check our house and tell us about all of the changes.  When they said that I was going to Paraiso, Elder Cavero laughed and said I was going to 'suffer.'  But this new ward is actually super awesome!  The area is HUGE and there's a ton of less actives and recent converts.  They just had two baptisms this Sunday and we will confirm them this coming Sunday. 

November 22, 2015

Today Elder Troncoso and I went to get "Elder"--an investigator, that was baptized but not confirmed.  His name is actually "Elder," Pretty weird.  Then we went to Ward Council.  Wow.  It was super different!  In Soledad, the ward council felt more like a Deacon's Quorum meeting.  But this is one of the best wards in the mission.  It was pretty sweet.  They reviewed their commitments from the week before and wrote everything down.  Everyone showed up, and came on time.  I couldn't believe it!  They worked through all the names we had and made plans and assignments.  It was like being back home in the Shafer View ward, only in Spanish .... well, almost.  I think the main reason is because this is the wealthiest part of Barranquilla.  The people are very well to do here and well educated.  The Bishop and his family speak English.  There are also several other ward members who speak English.  

This week we met the ward mission leader.  He's from Washington State.  His whole family lives here.  They look like Utah Mormons.  It was the weirdest thing ever.  He and his wife served Spanish speaking missions and he got a job as a school director here in this super rich private school where the kids all learn English starting at age 3.  It costs $15,000 US dollars to attend per semester.  So only the very wealthy can go.  

We share this ward with the secretaries of the mission.  The offices are in downtown, so not too far away.  Their area is the area that's super rich.  Our area has the beach and there's some rich people, but the majority are pretty poor.  My zone leaders are Elder Crandal and Elder Tijerino.  The both finish their missions this cycle, so they are super trunky.  Elder Crandal is from Arizona and Elder Tijerino is from Costa Rica.  

Should be a great week!
Elder Burk

Monday, November 16, 2015

They say it's your Birthday...

Well, I got your two packages you sent me for my Birthday in the mail this week.  And even one from the Chuggs!  Thank you all so much for the LOVE!

Changes are tonight, so tomorrow I could be in a different city...Today was pretty crazy.  We only had 20 minutes to write.  Our clothes got soaked by a huge rainstorm while we were out, so I hung my shirts between two suitcases.  I hope I don't have to pack them into the suitcases tonight to leave tomorrow.

This week was your birthday Mom!  We celebrated it!  We even bought a cake and stole a birthday hat from the other Elder's in Hipodromo during exchanges.  Below is the picture of the piece of cake we saved for you!  We ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Pretty awesome, right?! ; )

I want you to know I love you Mom.  You are very different then a lot of the Moms here in Colombia.  They don't know how to do half the things you do.  I have come to appreciate the faith of the family I come from more and more, as I see what families are like in other parts of the world.  There's nothing more important than your family and the gospel.  These are the only things you can really take back home after this life is over.  That, and the person you have become.

I love you Mom!  I hope you had a happy Birthday.  I'm sorry I wasn't there to eat cake with you...but you probably had a little more because I'm not there.  haha  Love you!!!
Mom, Here's your Birthday cake.  It was great!
A little favor...
Elder Cavero is about to end his mission in 6 weeks.  We have been working really hard on his English because he wants to enter the program called Pathway.  It's a program for missionaries to learn English through BYUi.  We need more information.  How does it work, how much does it cost? I know you can do it two ways, with online or in person at BYUi.  We talked a lot about his future after his mission.  And it doesn't look like he has a big plan.  So... we made one!
He wants to study at BYUi and learn English and get a good job after his 4 year degree.  But he needs help.  idk if he knows how to do all the papers and stuff.  I don't really know much about it at all, but could you please help us by researching the program, and help us find out?

One more little favor...
I would like to make laminated photos of a few pictures to use for teaching that are the same size as my scriptures.  I have the picture book you sent, but it's really big and sometimes when we go into dangerous areas, we only take our scriptures so we don't get robbed.  I'll send you a list of which ones specifically for next week.

Thanks!  I love you Mom!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Good Bye Elder Flores

This week was kinda slow. Not much happened. Hermano Flores left this morning. It was kinda weird. Because he didn't want to leave, haha poor juancho! 

He just caught a taxi in the morning and left. It was different being in a trio here. It's a lot harder to teach.  You really have to talk less in order for the Lord to speak.  But now that we're back to normal, it's kinda weird too. I really hope he gets reassigned so he can get back out in the field. He's a great missionary with a strong conversion. 
Good Bye Elder Flores! 
Elders: Slack, Cavero, Gonzalez, and Burk
Today for p-day we had a great zone activity planed with Hermano Borjah. He's the stake mission high council member. He works at the army airforce base.  The plan was to go tour the base and take pictures of the planes.  Great idea, right?!  Well, apparently the general was really mad today and we didn't get clearance from the right person.  So we all went there and waited for two and a half hours in the air conditioned lobby and then went home and cleaned our house.  Awesome.  So here's a picture with me Elder Gonzalez, Elder Cavero and Elder Slack (the zone leaders) in front of the Airforce sign that we did not visit! Pretty sweet. 

We had a ton of progress with people coming to church this week.  We had several less actives that came to church after the first visit and without reminders.  Remberto Izquierdo was one of them.  He's 21.  We found him in Prado Soledad. (lejos) His family has been less active for 10 years.  They are fantastic.  I could totally see the dad as a stake president and him as a missionary.  I guess well see what happens!


Monday, November 2, 2015

I can see the future...

The zone leaders snuck into our house to eat our food. 

They threw balloons at us when we walked in for Halloween.  It was kinda funny. 
October 25—Today was Stake Conference.  There were more than 200 people there.  President Searle and his wife spoke as well as the Area seventy, Elder Vallejo.  It rained pretty hard today during our last lesson with Alice Chaparro.  She’s lives close to the chapel.

October 28—Today I finished the Book of Mormon!  I also killed one of my white pilot pens.  It ran out of ink after 6 weeks of using the same pen.  Today in the morning, we contacted a reference from Rodrego Areas, close to where he used to live.  The family was hard core Catholic.  The Mom definitely knows her stuff, (or thinks she does).  “We believe in the same organization of Christ’s church” Uh huh, and why do you have a Pope??  “My job is to make sure that everyone understands baptisms, because in these days no one understands.”  Right, and that’s why you baptize infants.  Yea, oh well, the church is true.  

October 31—We started the day today with a service project for German Castillo.  He is a stake high council member.  He was assigned to barrio (ward) Hipodromo, but they just reassigned him to our ward.  He is moving from Dueno Soledad (an apartment complex) to a house close to the familia Marquez.  So we helped him get all the stuff out of his house and into the truck.  While we were there, he talked a little about his mission and told me he knows Aunt Bonnie!!  He was the assistant when she was on her mission in Chile.  Pretty Crazy!  He just got back from his mission 2 years ago.  We finished helping him kinda late, so we got permission from our zone leaders to go to lunch in p-day clothes.  When we walked into the house of Hrm Vicentra, the look on Rodrigo’s face was absolutely priceless.  After lunch, we went to the sacar dinero and we went all the way out to Prado Soledad.  We talked with the familia Sermienta and passed by Hrm Isquierdo.  Later we went to Youani and Karen.  Karen pretty much taught us about the 12 tribes of Israel.  She is a recent convert that studies like crazy.  Her husband Yovani works construction and maintenance at the Institute and has a ton of church history books and manuals. 

Also on Saturday we were in Prado Soledad (really far away) and we were looking for un hermano who is a member of the church and his brother is not. We haven’t had a lesson with them, but we’ve talked to them several times. Neither one was there, but while we were in the street his neighbor came out and started talking to us.  She said that she knows a little bit about the Mormons.  So we sat down with her and listened to what she knew.  We introduced ourselves. then she told us that she had a special gift from dios (God).... She can see the future!  Exciting, right?!  

She told us a bunch of experiences when she helped the police catch a robber and then they executed him.  She also told us about how one man wanted to deep fry her.   She thinks her neighbor is doing bad things to people... she seriously told us stories forever and ended with "So I have this special gift from God.  If you guys need to know anything just let me know."  Sweet.  Honestly, I almost lost it.  I was just cracking up.  This was the third self-proclaimed prophet we’ve found in just two weeks.  I was seriously sooooo close to asking her the name of Elder Cavero’s future wife.  Sooo close!  We ended the discussion quickly and invited her to church, not thinking anything of it.... The scary part was, she acutally came!

On Halloween night, when we arrived at our house, the Zone Leaders were hiding inside with balloons & the kitchen light on, with our ice cream out, cooking French fries.  It was pretty funny.  We entered the house and yelled, “WHO TOUCHED MY ICE CREAM?!” They took pictures of everything they did.  (Elder Slack and Elder Gonzalez--guilty)

November 1--Today lots of people came to church.  They changed Sacrament meeting to be first, so everyone was there for the classes.  We had divisions (splits) today and I went with Edubaldo to Prado Soledad.  It rained and we got drenched by a little wave from a car passing by.  I thought that only happened in movies.  The lady that can “see the future” came to the Sacrament Meeting.  Elder Cavero was scared.  Pretty awesome.  She was there for 20 minutes.  She said hi to us and left.  I was waiting for her to try to read Elder Cavero’s palm.  He was so freaked out. hahahah crazy.  I loved every minute.

Confession for the week... I have eaten fries and ice cream for dinner every single night for two weeks.... but it’s ok because we live in Colombia!

A little online chat:  It's always a fun surprise to catch Mason when he's actually online.  

Mason: ¿esta alla?
Mom: ?What the? English please.  M
Mason: bueno tiene que practicar...
Mom: No, I don't have to practice, my mission was English speaking. And every other calling the Lord has called me to has been to teach in English. So yeah, nope.  But I'm really happy you are learning Spanish! Smarty. 
Mason: well what happens if you get called on a mission to Spain with dad to be a mission president? gotta be ready... 
Mom: Ha. Fine, you win. IF Dad and I get called to Spain, I'll learn Spanish.  Hey, you're on the computer early today, do you have lots of extra time to write us all lots of letters???!!
Mason: I almost always get on at 5 and end at 6 but it takes me a long time to write or think in English. That’s why I like to just take pictures of my journal....
Mom: We love getting your journal. You are very descriptive in recording what happens each week. *But I might give you a bill at the end of your mission for how tedious it is for me to retype it for normal human beings to read…
Mom: Spencer wants to know if people in Columbia went trick-or-treating?
Mason: They used to copy the American tradition, but then kids started disappearing and lots of bad stuffed happened so no not really anymore.... but they sure love to party! Tell spencer to look up Vallenato music. He’ll like that.