Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"I saw Jesus in your eyes."

July 18,  2016


Thanks for the letter, sounds like lots of cool stuff is happening at home.  Exciting that Aaron Channer is there!  That’s pretty funny that he moved in, how awesome for Aaron!  Super sad to hear about our dog Lady.  That breaks my heart.  It feels like my girlfriend is dying.  (Lady is our golden retriever, and has heart failure.)

I have a couple of questions for you—you wrote that on your mission you had to stay in the mission home for a month while you companion was in the hospital for bulimia.  That’s super weird.  They have new rules now, the mission policy here is that if you are sick for 2 weeks, and they can’t fix it, they will send you home.  There is only 2 week period to get better.  I’ve only missed a couple hours of proselyting hours this whole year from being sick.  If people get really sick, they just go home.  And actually, now we can’t even stay in the mission home, because our new mission president has kids.  So that will be a big change.  You were probably like a sister AP.  That’s awesome. 

I received this great news this week--la familia Morelo finally all got baptized!  I taught them in La Playa.  
La Familia Morelo, from La Playa
Here are some journal entries from this week:

Monday, July 11, 2016

We had FHE with a couple we have been teaching. Eliana is a less active member we have been teaching, and her husband Miguel.  They are not married, but we are working on that.  Miguel is very funny, quite a jokster.  Every time we go over there, he makes fun of us in some way.  
FHE Games with Eliana and Miguel

He’s actually progressing a lot.  He keeps all of the commitments we have asked him to, and is working hard on keeping the commandments. We are so happy for him.  We had a great Family Home Evening in their home, and he really loved it.  We brought a brother from the ward, Bro Cavalles, he’s an older high priest and is really funny.  He’s the bulldog in ward council that gets everything done. He visits everyone in their homes, and everyone in the ward knows him. He was a great jokster in FHE, when we played a game called animal sounds. 

Wednesday July 13, 2016  "I saw Jesus in your eyes."

We taught a new family that lives in the same building as a member named Gabrielle Vasques.  It was a contact we met in the street we found while looking for a different member.  We had talked to him, but when we went to find him, he totally flaked on us.  So while we were in his area, we started talking and contacting other people.  We met a great young couple, and came back to teach them on Wednesday.  They are really awesome, just starting their family. They are named the familia Melo.  We taught them about the restoration of the gospel, and we all felt the spirit when we taught them about Joseph Smith’s first vision.

After the lesson, they offered us something to drink.  As the wife reviewed with us what they learned during our lesson, she described how great the feeling was that she felt while we were teaching.  She said, “While you were teaching us, I was looking at you and your eyes were so different.  I couldn’t stop looking at them. They were shining.  It was like I saw Jesus in your eye.”  She kept repeating that over and over, “I saw Jesus in your eyes.” Like 5 times.  It was a very neat spiritual experience.  There was not doubt they felt the spirit. 

But then on our way out, of course my companion has to make fun of it.  As soon as we’re walking away, Elder Selman looks at me, starts scratching his eye, then looks at me and says, “Hey, you’ve got something in your eye, oh, let me know, oh yeah, I see it, you’ve got Jesus in your eye.”  : ) He can always make me laugh.   

Back at our house, there is a really great lady, who is a very good Catholic, she lives downstairs and absolutely loves the missionaries.  She always does stuff for us.  On this night, she had made us dinner, so we went down to her apartment, and were sitting at her table.  We asked her, “Why do you love the missionaries so much? Why do you help us?”  She has listened to so many missionaries over the years, and she’s fine with what we are here to do, but up until there she draws a line and won’t get baptized.  

She said she loves the missionaries because she believes that “everything that God gives me, I should give to someone else.” It was an amazing lesson on true Charity.  She said, “Most people here believe if they give something to someone else, they won’t ever get it back, but that’s not how it works. If you give something away, then you make room for God to give you something more.”  

It was such a cool lesson from a fellow believer in Christ. It reminded me of our great neighbors in Indiana. they were really great like that.  Her name is Milana. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016    Study in relationships

We did a weekly planning session as a district.  It was really awesome.  We read all of the points in Preach My Gospel and showed everyone how to study it.  We all learned a lot about planning and how to do it more efficiently.

We also learned a lot about relationships this week, and how to overcome our struggles.  We were taught that the number one damage in relationships is PRIDE.  Pride is always the universal reason for damage in relationships.  If there’s a problem between two people, it’s because they both don’t want to give in.  It’s never just one person’s fault. Sometimes we think we’re helping people, or sometimes we think we are giving something, but we don’t always think about what the other person wants or needs.  

I really like the verse in 1st Samuel, 15:22.  It talks about how obedience is better than sacrifice.  An example would be a gift for Christmas.  We think about who we want to give a gift to.  We might ask them, “Hey Dad, what would you like for Christmas?”  He might answer, “Ok, I just want you to stop fighting with your brothers.  Please be good, clean up the house and do your chores.”  You go back and think, well, that didn’t go so well, Dad didn’t really tell me what something I can go and get him for Christmas. There’s no gift idea.  So you just go to the store, you buy him a tool kit, you bring it back, wrap it up and put it under the tree.  On Christmas day he opens it up and is like, “Oh great… another tool kit.”  And then it just sits on the workbench shelf.  

The principle is that obedience is better than sacrifice.  Sometimes we think we are making a sacrifice, like buying an expensive tool kit, but we don’t seem to understand that what they actually want is the true obedience, don’t fight with your brothers.  It seemed too simple, or wasn’t the answer that you wanted, so you don’t go along with it.  This could be applied to any situation, with any relationship.  We need to listen.  We need to be more compliant to the needs and wants of our companion/spouse/sibling.  If we love them, then we need to provide the small act/thing they actually desired. 

God does this in lots of ways. There are many small things he wants us to do.  In Alma 37:6 we learn that by small things we can accomplish great and marvelous things.  That’s what we need to focus on. 

At a mission conference, President Searle told us a story about how one time they saved up and took their kids to Disneyland.  He works on his farm, and worked extra hard to take them on this huge trip.  They went, they had a lot of fun.  Later in the year, he had an interview with one of his children.  His son, who was 8, was his last interview.  He asked him, “What was your favorite moment that you had this year?”  His son looked at him and said, “It was two weeks ago, when you came home from work, and played toys with me.” It made him tear up.  It was one of those small and simple moments that didn’t require much, not Disneyland, that was very important to his son.  It was giving him time, that made his son the most happy. 

Sometimes we try to do something extra big, or overly huge for somebody, even though that’s not what they really want or really need.  The biggest moments in life are made up of the little things that we do for each other.  Most big events are awesome because of the little details that were noted along the way.

Another lesson we learned about about relationships is confidence.  If you want someone to open up to you, you will have to open up to them first.  It’s a risk.  And it’s hard, because if you open up to somebody, you really put yourself out there, and if they don’t open up back, it feels bad.  But it’s the only way to do it.  If you don’t have communication, then you need to open up and have faith that the other person will be touched and open up to you.  If both are humble, things will work out.

We learned both of these ideas in our missionary studies this week.  They are great principles I thought were worth sharing.  It helped a lot of us with people we are working with.

We taught Dido and Angela this week.  Angela is going to have her baptismal interview next week.  We are having Noche Blanca, it means white night.  We are setting a lot of goals for our investigators to be baptized on the same week.  

We were talking to Dido, and he said something really cool.  He said that living the gospel is kind of like riding a bike.  You have to keep moving, keep going to keep the bike working.  If you stop pedaling, the bike will fall over. In the gospel, we have to keep pedaling.  We have to keep up our daily simple things if we want to keep moving forward. If we don’t, we’ll fall over, or off of our journey.  You may not be keeping one of the many commandments, and that will cause you to wobble and lose balance.  The gospel, like riding a bike, is about moving, progressing, always learning, it’s never about get to a line and just stop.  Maybe you’ve served in the same calling 10 times.  Maybe you think you already know what to do, and that there is nothing new to learn.  Maybe the Bishop calls you to do it again.  Maybe he calls you to do something new, something you’ve never done before, and you’re frustrated because you don’t know how.  In the end, God just wants you to try, to keep pedaling, keep going down the path that eventually leads to Him.  The goal is to not stop.  Do not give up.  Do not get side tracked.  If you keep moving, you will eventually get exactly where you want to go—Home to our Heavenly Father. 

I hope you guys have a great week!

Elder Burk

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