Tuesday, September 27, 2016

“La Cucarachas in la Cabeza.”

September 5, 2016

I’ll tell you a little more about my companion, Elder Matos.  He grew up in the church.  His Mom is from Chicago.  She moved to Puerto Rico when she married his dad, and they have lived there ever since.  His Mom has always been active in the church, and Elder Matos was baptized when he was eight.  His Dad is not a member of the church, which has been pretty hard for him, but Elder Matos has been active all of his life.  His Mom actually went to visit Utah this week.  She speaks English and Spanish.  English is her first language.  Maybe you should contact her!  They are actually looking to move to Idaho or Utah.  They want to get out of Puerto Rico, and move closer to where Elder Matos will be going to school in Provo, at BYU.  Maybe you should talk to her and help her find a place, and maybe a job. His Dad is a doctor. He only speaks Spanish, but he has an English translator.  They were looking at moving to Idaho, hopefully living somewhere outside of the city.  She just wants to be closer to other Mormons. I’ll send your email to them, and you can say “Hi, We’re Mormon people.” Or something.  Elder Matos is extra spoiled.  She really loves him, since he’s her only child. And she’s super happy he’s on a mission.

Elder M-A-T-O-S from Puerto Rico
Hey—here’s Elder Matos!  (this is a voice recording.  From the background:) “Hey Mom! How are you Mom? My name is Elder MATOS, M-A-T-O-S.”  Oh yeah, by the way, you guys have been spelling his name wrong.  It’s Matos.  Not Matas.  “My family has three members. My Mom, My dad, and Me.”  (You can hear Mason prompting him in the background.) “I have 19 years old, I am very handsome, and your son is a good person. And that’s me!  Thank you! Love you people!”  So if you have more questions, just ask him, and he’ll tell you anything.  We’ll get you the email address for his Mom.  She would love to talk to you. 

Elder Javier is doing really good.  He’s with a companion from Ecuador. Elder Javier is really fun, he makes me smile. He wears vans on p-days.  He’s doing great at learning the language. He’s working on his self-confidence with the language.  But he’s with the District Leader, who is really awesome, so he’s in a good place. I’ve worked with him a lot.  He’s a great trainer.  He’s helping him with the language, he’s helping him get to know people, he’s teaching him how to work hard and stay busy.  Elder Javier is really humble, and a little quiet.  But I have a feeling as soon as the language clicks for him, he’ll be incredible. He’ll open up more and more.  They are in a different ward.  But close by, and we see them quite a bit. 

I’ve learned a lot from the whole turn over of our mission president. The new mission president is doing a lot of things that are very different from our last President.  The changes feel really strange.  But in the end we still teach repentance and help people progress to baptism.  So it will all be great.  I actually reflect on the big change in choir at Mountain View, when Mr. VP left and Mr. P took over, it was just as strange.  It was like the old experienced teacher had all of his tricks, and knew how to keep things running smooth, everybody loved him, and he had his own way of doing things.  Then the new teacher gets there and tries to change a bunch of stuff. It felt so weird!  Mr. P was so worried about what we looked like, our stage presence, our over all presentation.  Things we didn’t really worry about. 

The feeling in the mission is similar.  I’m not worried that our new president is changing what we teach, but he is certainly changing how we do things.  And any time there is a new leader, president, Bishop, etc. change comes.  There is a lot of stuff that has changed here recently.  It’s kind of hard sometimes, but I get it, and I’m figuring out how to make it work.  New leaders in wards, and missions, all come with change. I now understand how it is so difficult for some people.  We also had a change this week with some ward members and a lot of callings.  One of the less actives we found, who is not coming to church was called this week to be the Elder’s Quorum President.  We were so excited for him! He will be amazing.

I don’t feel like I’ve ever had a test of faith that shook my testimony.  There is nothing new that I’ve heard, read or learned that has made me re-think about whether or not the church is true. I don’t think I have ever had a “borrowed” testimony either, like relying on my parents.  My Patriarchal Blessing says I was born with a testimony of truth, and I really feel like I have always known that what I am teaching people is the truth.  I have no doubt. In the beginning of the mission, a lot of people asked me how I got my testimony of the Book of Mormon.  At first I had a hard time answering it.  I’ve just always known that it was true.  So I would just ask them back, “How did you gain a testimony that the Bible was true?”  Then I would say—exactly, that’s how I know the Book of Mormon is true.  I feel solid in my testimony, and I really believe it all comes down to doing the little stuff every day.  It’s just like exercise, if you do something every single day, and keep moving, you will always be strong enough to handle whatever comes. When people stop doing the little things—daily scriptures, daily prayer, that’s when you get “la cucarachas in la cabeza.” Any little opening, and Satan just sneaks right in. So you have to be careful. 

The funny question I always get from the taxi drivers, is who am I voting for, Hillary or the other guy.  I can never remember his name. That’s a pretty tough question. 

Love you so much!  I’ll send you some pictures.  We went on a hike for a zone activity up the mountain to the statue on the hill.  There are so many new people in the zone that haven’t been there, we thought we’d do it again. 

Hope everything is great!  Love you guys. 
I’ll talk to you next week,
Elder Burk
Zone Activity hiking to the statue

Elder Matos and Elder Burk

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