Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Nerf War--Thanks Woodwards!

Well christmas morning we woke up full from the gynormus dinner we had the night before and we opened up our christmas presents. Thanks to the Woodward family we had a bunch of presents to open! 
My companion was pretty excited. We ate ice cream for breakfast and then had an extreme Nerf War for our exercise at 6:30 in the morning. 
Just thought I'd send a few pictures of the great WW3: America vs Chile! 
Thank you so much for all the love and the support we can really feel it and taste it. :

We had a huge Christmas Eve dinner with Sister Virjel this week.  She cooked for the whole office and my companion and I.  We woke up very full Christmas morning we ate so much food. So we just ate ice cream  for breakfast...because it was Christmas haha! 
This is a picture of our Missionary Christmas Party.
For our christmas activity we watched "The Cokeville Miracle" with the President and all the Elders in Barranquilla. Then we listened to a lot of Christmas miracle experiences from all the Elders.  

Our christmas miracle was a man we found on Christmas.  I wrote about it in my journal, but I forgot to take a picture so I'll send it to you next week. 

It was super cool to see you guys!  Braden sounds like he is trying to talk super manly or something. ; )  When did he get that deep voice?? I've only been gone 6 months.  

I hope you guys are doing good. I'm super jealous you have tons of snow!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Transcriptions from voice recordings--

Transcription from voice recordings sent this week:

"We had a pretty cool week! We had lots of people come to church.  We have ward council in the morning before church.  And we have a bus that helps people come to church.  So my companion and I did divisions so one of us could go to ward council, and the other could help pick up the members who needed a ride.  We pass by their houses and pick them up.

 We had lots of new investigators that came to church this week.  We were able to pass by their houses with a bus, if and they were interested in the message we were teaching, they could get a ride to church.  We had 7 people come to church today!  For five of them, it was their first time coming to church.  The ward council is super awesome here.  They definitely get a lot done.  The Bishop and his counselors work really well together.  Everything is progressing well here.  It's great!

The biggest problem here, is that the people are not reading their scriptures every single day. They lose this opportunity to remember who they are every single day.  The scriptures have a ton of power to help us have a stronger testimony in our lives. All you have to do is open them up.  Consistency is the key.

One of the new people that we found this week is Estevan.  He was someone we just talked to in the street.  My companion met him first.  We went to his house this week to visit him.  When we came, his wife looked at us, saw the Book of Mormon, and didn't want anything to do with us.  As we left, we started walking down the street, and we saw him.  He was crouched down behind some bushes by a wall, not wanting us to see him.  I thought, ah great, he doesn't want anything to do with us either.  But my companion said, No, we'll just go talk to him!  So we went over and talked to him.  We all went back to his house and talked to him.  His wife was mad that we had returned.  She didn't want anything to do with us.  But the more we talked to him, the more excited he got.  After the lesson, we left him with our information and headed home.  That night, he called us to check and see if our number was real.  He told us he really wanted to learn more, and wanted to come to our church on Sunday.  We went back to visit him again.  Then this morning, he called us, so we passed by his house, and pick him up.  He totally came to church!  He loved it.  Everybody in Elder's Quorum welcomed him, he told him his name, and everyone was yelling, Welcome! Welcome to church!  It was wonderful.  They made him feel like he was right at home.

There is a less active that we found  couple weeks ago that told us he hasn't been to church for 30 years.  He was active for 10 years, then moved.  So it's been 30 years since he's been back.  His name is Heimrich.  He's the only immediate member of the church in his family.  His wife and children are a different religion.  He has 9 kids, he makes very very little money, but Sunday's are his best day.  It's really hard.  We go down by the beach and found him living in a tiny little house by the water.  He tells us stories about when God has blessed him in his life--like when he found garbage to put over his house to keep the rain off, or when he gave rice to his neighbor because he had a little extra and they were starving. He's a really cool guy, we're just having difficulty getting him to come to church.  He gave us a reference to one of his friends from his childhood, she just lives a block away.  Her name is Silvia.  We went to her house and taught her a couple of lessons.  She got super excited.  She loves everything, she loves the Book of Mormon and hasn't had a single doubt.  She's accepted everything.  She came to church for the first time this week too.  She brought her kids.  The coolest moment was when we introduced her to the Primary President.  She went to welcome her, gave her a hug, told her she'd take the kids to class, and Silvia just loved it.  The spirit definitely works in every single person, in the exact way that they need it.

God works in mysterious ways.  He loves every single one of his children.  He knows that some of them are ready to learn more, and some of them are not.  We are all in different levels of conversion.  The Lord has blessed us with agency so we can choose and grow in whatever way that we need to.

We were listening to a talk by an area seventy that spoke about conversion.  He said that when we are talking to people in a normal conversation, they may say things that are rude or are gross things that we shouldn't say, sometimes it bothers us, and sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes there are dirty jokes that get into our thoughts, and sometimes it doesn't.  These kind of things prove to us what level of conversion we are.

The Savior would feel the same about all of it, because he has become perfect.  The Savior feels the same about every single commandment.  We can each get to that level, but we have to keep working every single day to get there.

I know that we can get there and that's what we are all trying to do, just in our own different ways.  If you ask any person what the attribute of Christ that is most important, they will all say something different.  Whatever they say, is the most important to them, at that moment.  It is what they need to work on the most.  A few years later, there answer may be completely different.

I know that Christ lives.  I know that He loves every single one of us. I hope that we can all strive to be like Him.  It should be our life goal to do everything we can to become like Him.  I hope that you guys can read the scriptures this week and study Moroni 7 about Charity.  That is an attribute of Christ that is really important.  I know my Savior lives!

 I can't wait to see and talk to all of you on Christmas.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Skype

The anticipation of Mason's phone call from Colombia couldn't have been more exciting.  We opened presents together, and took turns clicking the space bar on the keyboard, to keep the computer awake, so we didn't miss his call.  
Mom impatiently waiting by the computer for Mason's call from Colombia.
The picture was not too clear, but we loved seeing and hearing him in our family room.  He skyped us  from a local internet shop in his area.  He told us all about his current area, his companions, what he has learned in his mission, and how he would have read the Preach My Gospel manual more before serving a mission. He specifically told Braden and Spencer to read Chapter 10, and start memorizing chapters 1-5.  
Elder Burk skyping from Barranquilla Colombia
 We asked questions, and he answered everything.  It was the most wonderful Christmas gift!  
His time was short, just 45 minutes.  He's happy, he's doing great with his Spanish, and we are all so happy for him to have this opportunity to serve the Lord in Barranquilla Colombia.  His next transfers are the Monday after Christmas.  Who knows what's coming next in his mission adventure.
The family gathered around the computer listening to Mason tell all about his mission.
 It's great having a missionary at Christmas time.  His call was definitely the highlight of our entire day.
Burk's Christmas card, family at Temple Square, Mason on his mission.
We love and miss him so much!

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Battle is at's do or die.

*Here’s the letter Mason sent for me to forward to his hair dresser.  She cut his hair all the way through high school.  He misses her—pretty funny.

Dear Clarissa,   

Well, I’ve been gone almost 6 months now, I hope you don’t miss me too much!  I’ve had 6 haircuts.  The 1st one was in the MTC by a crazy lady who talked a ton and super fast and did a pretty good job at making my hair as dumb looking as possible. 

The 2nd was another fast talking lady in a street shop who actually did an ok job.  But charged a ton. 

Haircuts numbers 3, 4, 5, and 6 consisted of
3-a gay guy who learned from practicing on his friends,
4-an ex military who learned in the military and only does on cut,
5-a street punk who learned from trial and error, and
6-my new grumpy little Chilean companion who left a big line on one side of my head. 

So…I’ve decided that’s ENOUGH!!

The battle is at hand.  The time is now.  It’s do or die.  Make it or break it.  Every man for himself. 

I bought myself a hair clipper!  I’m taking the power into my own hands and no one can stop me!!  I’m leaving this childishness behind (1 Cor. 13:11) 

I really miss you lots. 

Elder Mason Danger Burk

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Savior said, give all you have to the poor and follow me

I showed my companion the picture of me as a littlin with the missionary plaque.  He laughed, thought it was pretty awesome. His name is Elder Troncoso. He's from Chile.  He's 20 years old, likes soccer, girls, and fast food--very typical Chilean.  He's a little trunky, so I'm having to be a little more strict with him but its all good!  

We cleaned the house today for three hours.  Mom, I thought of you the whole time.  I had to help Elder Troncoso learn how to clean up to Mama Burk expectacions. ha ; )  He really cares for the people. He has been a member all his life but he was less active from 10 to 16 years old.  He got reactivated by his seminary teacher.  

I loved the picture  you sent of Logan, that was awesome. hahaha When I saw Elder Marecos the first time was in Malambo (a part of my old zone) but when I got transferred I didnt get a picture with him.  Now he's in my district! those two look so much alike. Crazy.

Being here has made me think about Christmas.  We got your package with the candy and the music and the videos and decorations.  Don't worry, I didn't open the letters, but we did decorate the house. Pretty awesome! Thanks for those!  Christmas here doesn't really feel like Christmas at all. It's hot.  And pretty much nothing changes except there's lots of fireworks.  In the big super markets you hear Christmas music and the rich people have decorations but there's not much else.  I think it's pretty awesome, though, minus the lack of Christmas music.  There's not a single kid begging for a bunch of plastic toys. I think I'm gonna make my family like that.  No commercial Christmas. They won't know the difference until later.  

Message and challenge for Christmas: 
mateo 10 39 El que halla su vida, la perdera; y el que pierde su vida por causa de mi, la hallara. 

The message is really simple. We hear it all the time. Just like when the Savior told the rich man who wanted to be saved, leave all his riches to the poor and follow him, but then he didn't do it. 

We read all sorts of stuff like this but we never apply it.  How many families in the ward could actually not do a commercial Christmas for their kids??  We have the thought to spoil all our kids with toys on Christmas and have them give little thought for others.  But do we really have the love them enough to not buy them a bunch of crap? Could we actually do it? os digo que si. 

The difference between knowledge and wisdom is that wisdom is when we apply everything that we know.  We know the gospel.  God is just waiting for us to apply it.  My challenge for you guys and all the other families in Shafer View is to put their conversion to the test.  Don't buy a big Christmas for your kids.  Instead, help them buy things to give to others in need.  Love them enough to help them grow.  They will remember it way longer then a piece of plastic. 

The blue book is true!  Read it!  
Amen Gloria a Dios. Haleluja. 

Elder Burk


That's pretty funny about Spencer missing his choir concert. Oops!  Tell him about when I was in 6 grade and had an F in choir, 36 percent and I got it up to a B in two weeks. Don't worry about it, middle school doesn't count for anything anyway. Wish somebody would've told me that back then.  haha.   

And Braden has lots of tries for the ACT hahaha.  He'll get it.  I had to try it three times!  Maybe you should just make him pay for it the next time. That was the only reason I finally studied hahaha. 

I can't really take pictures while were proselyting.  Sorry about that, but I'll try to get something this week. 

Love you guys!

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Barber, the Athiest, and the man in the box

Missionaries in my new zone
*I'm the good looking one.
Great Parable: 

Once a bearded man walked into a barber shop to cut his beard. He decided it was time, to shave it off, so he found a barbershop and went inside.  When the barber came out, the who men talked about the cut.  Once they agreed upon the plan, the barber started trimming.  

As the barber was shaving the man, they started talking.  Eventually the conversation led to religion.  The bearded man asked the barber if he believed in God and the barber said "No way. There's no way God exists.  If there really was a being so perfect and that knows all things, how could he watch all the suffering that exists on earth and not act?  How could he not help his children?"

 The bearded man in hearing this, looked out the window and saw another bearded man and said, "Well, I don't believe in barbers."  The barber gasped and said "What?! How could you not believe in barbers? I'm right here!" 

The bearded man said, "Well, there's tons of people with beards all over the world.  Some of them are really ugly. If barbers really existed, then why would they not help all the ugly bearded people?"  When the barber heard this, he said, "Well I would help everyone of them, if they decided to come to me.  My shops is always open.  All they have to do is come inside, and I will help them."

The bearded man smiled and said, "It's the same with God.  His shop is always open.  He hears every prayer.  All they have to do is come to Him, and He will help them.  He won't force them, they have to come on their own. But once they are there, he will do everything necessary to help clean them up."

Fun find:

We knocked five doors this week in a rich part of my area to show my companion what missionaries do in the states haha.  We were confronted by an athiest who is the professor for philosophy at the nearest collage.  When we arrived, we didn't say one word about who we were, before he spilled out this long speech about how God doesn't exsist and how humans just have the need to believe in something bigger then them.  Except for him.  He doesn't believe in anything.  And he made it very clear that he's very content with who he is.  He doesn't need any help.  I asked him if he had ever prayed, and he said no.  We offered to pray with him, but he refused.  That's ok, because we'll pray for him later when we get back to our apartment.  Ha. 

Best reality check this week:

This week we visited a less active that contacted us in the street.  He told us he left the church 30 years ago but has always known it to be true.  This man lives with his wife and 9 children in a little tiny brick house by the shore in the swamp area.  When he came to the coast, 20 years ago, he literally arived with nothing.  He lived in a little wooden box for a long time.  But he says that God has never abandoned him.  He knows this is true because he found a plastic sign to put on the roof for when it rains.  And when he had no money, he found food for his kids. Now he has a "house" which is great.  But the real blessing is that this man can really see the blessings the Lord has put in his life.  We could all learn a lot from him.  

During this holiday season, choose to look for God.  He's everywhere.  He has his arms streched out to recieve us.  But we have to look and choose to come unto Him.  Search and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened up unto you. 

Merry Christmas friends, 

Elder Burk