Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"Faith, Diligence and Attention"

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hey family, so this week was pretty good. We had our zone conference. The other zone next to us, Guaria, came and the President came with his whole family. We each had our own tiny interviews with him and his family.  It was meant to be a chance for him to get to know us, and for us to present ourselves, meet him, get to know his family, etc.  The meeting was really cool.  They presented the new goals for the mission.  The President taught us something very interesting.  In 1 Nephi 16:28 it talks about the Liahona. Nephi teaches that the “pointers worked according to the faith, diligence and heed we did give unto them.”  Now in Spanish it says, “Faith, diligence, and Attention.” For me, that makes a lot more sense.  If we have faith, diligence and attention, we can accomplish whatever thing God puts in our way.  President has made a lot of new goals.  His big focus is baptizing.  He wants everybody to start baptizing once a week.  He taught that if we have Faith, Diligence, and Attention we can do it.

I’ve learned this in different ways my whole life, especially in developing my talents. If you have faith, diligence, and attention, you can learn any type of language, any type of instrument, with any job, skill, or think you want to do, if you are dedicated to do it. I’ve seen that my whole life.  I have tried to learn a lot of different, new, things. Every time I have tried, if I really wanted to learn it, I did it.  When I wanted to learn how to kayak, I did it.  If I wanted to learn to play the drums, or a new instrument, then I learned to do it by a serious amount of faith, diligence and attention. Sometimes we have things that are put in our path that are things we do not want to do—new job, new calling, family struggle.  I remember when mom asked me to clean the bathroom, it was usually something that I did not want to do, so that was something that didn’t work out so well—because I had no desire to do it.  But it is in those moments, that we have to show even more faith, diligence, and attention to get through it.

I invite you this week to find something you would like to get better at.  It doesn’t have to be something big, it can be something little. Sometimes there are weird things we do, and we do it repetitively because we don’t stop our life enough to pay attention and change our bad habit.  For example, if you don’t know how to smile for a picture, all you have to do is practice.  Start looking in the mirror and start smiling more, do it everyday. If you have a weird habit, like touching part of your face when you’re talking to someone, you just have to be mindful of what you are doing and make a decision to change. Take the time to have faith, diligence, and attention to make the change.

There’s an activity in Preach My Gospel when we are talking to people with addictions, to help us understand them.  It asks you to find a little twitch or something that you do that is weird and try to stop it. We had this investigator that was super addicted to coffee and alcohol, weed and other drugs, so I decided I would try to do it, so I could help understand what he was going through better.  I had a habit of touching my ears, I would fold the lobe of my ear inside itself a lot.  So I decided I would be mindful of this habit and try to stop it, while we were teaching him to stop his habits. I did it too.  It took awhile, nearly 3 weeks.  I had to write it down, and make a tick mark every time I tried to do it, or thought about it.  Soon, it no longer became something that I did. I've not completely stopped doing it. 

This works great with any type of repentance.  If there is something you are trying to stop, just start writing it down every time you do it.  Make your own “paper confession.” It really does work.  Being mindful, making a mental decision to stop, works. I still have a lot of things that I want to change and get better at, but now I know I can do it.  I know that everyone who wants to change something in their life can do it, and if they put forth the effort, they will succeed with God’s help. So think about something that God wants you to do this week.  Make a decision to try, and put Faith, Diligence, and Attention into it, and I promise you will get better!

Elder Selman is going home, so his next change will be his wife…that’s pretty weird.  I’ll probably stay here in Valledupar to train the next zone leader.  There are so many gringos going home.  Elder Selman’s group is pretty huge.  It is the last group after the big age change for missionaries.  So they will all be going home on the August 1st transfer.  There will be a lot of new people, there will be a lot of training.  We’ll have a really new zone of missionaries.  I’m excited about that.  Our mission president is pretty cool, he’s really excited to baptize.  That’s what we came here to do, so that’s what we’re going to do. 

We are preparing for Angela’s baptism.  She and Dido got married this week.  That was pretty sweet! 

Elder Burk and Dido
The did it! They're married!
Angela and Dido's Wedding
Elder Burk and Elder Selman at Dido and Angela's wedding 
Dido and Angela
We went to their wedding at the 1st notary at Valledupar.  We walked in at 5:00 on Friday.  We were the witnesses.  It was all done in front of this little judge lady.  We all came into this tiny little room, through the back door.  Their family was there. They exchanged rings.  Inside of Dido’s ring, they spelled his name wrong, which we thought was really funny and embarrassing.  We were so excited for them! She’s going to get baptized this week, and Dido will baptize her. 

We are also working with another family, Miguel Martinez and his wife Eliana Monose.  We are working on getting their certificates so they can get married.  We will help them get everything arranged for their wedding.  Miguel is an investigator and Eliana is a less active member.  Miguel has been going to church a lot and we’ve had a lot of very fun Family Home Evenings with them.  He’s been reading the Book of Mormon, and working on his testimony.  We are really happy for them.

That’s pretty much everything that has been happening here.
I really love you guys, you are so great.
Talk to you later,

Elder Burk

We played a great game of kickball today.  
It reminded me of all the crazy kid camps we did during the summer.  Ha!

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