Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Happy 4th of July! USA!

July 4th, 2016

Yes, the time really has flown by!  I can’t believe it’s been one year since I left home. We are going to meet our new mission president tomorrow. His family just arrived, and his daughter had her birthday this week. His kids are really young, 16 and 18.  That is really crazy. 

This week, Elder Selman got so excited that it was my Mission Birthday, that he decided to buy us a big huge pizza. It lasted all week long.  We ate a lot of pizza this week. 

To answer some of your questions—This first year has been pretty fast.  There are times this year when it has felt like time has gone by super fast, and other times when it has not been very fast, but I feel like I have learned a lot.  I’ve learned to put into practice all of the things I’ve always known are important to do.  That’s really the biggest part of being on a mission, learning to practice on a daily basis, the things you have always known are important to do. 

As for companions—I’ve had a lot.  They have all taught me something.  They have each taught me different things in different ways.  Most of the time it is what not to do. : )  That’s pretty much how it works.  You can definitely learn something from all of your companions.  Well, except Elder Selman, you can’t learn anything from him, (this is from a voice recording, and Elder Selman is giggling in the background) 

What have I learned from my mission president?   I think one of the greatest lessons that President Searle has taught me, during the first year of my mission, is about the influence you have on your posterity.  He told us once, that if you look at your family tree, and turn it upside down, you can see how many people will be affected by your marriage and your life decisions.  It’s a powerful perspective!

When you are a missionary, if you work really hard you could get dozens of baptisms.  But if you go home and live a good life, doing the things that you are supposed to on a daily basis, you actually affect more lives.  You’ll get married, have a family, have children, who will have grand children, and they will all be born in the church if you choose to live a good life following Christ. I think this is one of the biggest things that has been taught that has really hit me the hardest.  Pres Searle has talked about our influence on the future at almost every meeting.  He teaches the importance of doing the simple basic things on a regular basis. And how our everyday choices will have the most lasting influence on others. Pretty powerful message.

This week we celebrated the 4th of July.  We have a lot of gringos in our zone right now, and they are all leaving in the same group with Elder Selman on August 3rd.  So they are all trunky—which is so awesome… : )

We had a big BBQ for our zone activity.  It was pretty sweet!  We called ahead of time to our stake president to reserve a sweet looking BBQ and he was like “Yeah, I have just the one for you guys!”  So he called someone, and we got really excited that our BBQ was really going to happen.  We called the sisters from Argentina to get the meat ready, then we assigned everything else out to the other missionaries in the zone, and we planned to meet at the chapel for the party. 

Of course, everyone gets there late, and then the stake president is the last one to show up with the actual BBQ.  And wow…it’s like this tin metal bucket thing on three legs, ok maybe just 2 legs, because the third leg was broken. : ) They brought it to the church, and it broke. 

So we had to work with what we’ve got, and put a bunch of charcoal in there and it takes forever to get hot, and lots of sarcastic members come over to give us “tips.”  One says, “you guys need to put plastic on it to get the fire going.”  So Elder Selman gets all mad, because they are throwing plastic bags on his charcoal as he’s trying to get everything hot.  Ha. 

Then when we think it’s almost ready, the sisters bring over the meat, and the sisters have cut it  all Argentina style, so the slices of meat are like 4 inches thick, with all of these slits in it.  I have to get a knife and am doing my best to make the meat smaller, Elder Selman is doing his best to keep the fire going, and just as we finally get it all together, literally lifting the meat with the tongs to put it on the grill, the leg falls off! And we’re both cracking up.  It was pretty sweet!  We had to jimmy-rig everything together, and ended up cooking the meat the best we could little by little, so we could make this BBQ happen. 

Finally, after a lot of work, and laughter, everything pulls together—we have some watermelon, some soda, and it turns out ok.  It was a pretty memorable 4th of July BBQ. Everybody had a great time, so that’s what’s most important.  We had fireworks too, but they weren’t like anything from back home.  They were more like floating pieces of plastic coming out of the grill.  Ha!

Hope you guys are doing good. Hope life is great.  Sure love you guys!
Talk to you later,

Elder Burk

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