Sunday, August 24, 2014

Monday August 18 Letters

I'm a little slow in getting Dallon's letters posted this week.  I figured I better get them done before his next ones show up tomorrow.  We had been asking Dallon about pictures and about how he contacts or finds investigators.

I didn't take any pictures this week, but the other Elders did, and I will send them either later today or next week. I didn't get the package but it is fine. To answer your questions, we are in the city part of Hollywood so it is very different from Los Alamos. We get referrals to people, try to do service, or we street contact. Street contacting is where we just walk along the streets and try to talk to people, nobody really tracts anymore. We usually do it on the side streets of Hollywood Blvd. or the side streets of Sunset, where there are still a good amount of people, but not too many to start a conversation.
This week was going pretty good, but then it ended pretty poorly. Monday we tried to go to the Hollywood sign, but it was closed, so we took pictures in the next best place, which I will send eventually. We went as a zone, but apparently that is against the rules, so you won't see anymore zone pictures.
Tuesday I went to my first zone conference. We talked about how we represent Christ, and needing to remember that. Then there was a huge focus on retaining converts. We are suppose to find a "mentor" for our investigators, who will attend lessons and be friends with them. They did a study and found that when using a "mentor", 95 percent of the converts stay active. So we pretty much just talked about how we need to refocus on the mentor program.
Wednesday we went on exchanges. I went with Elder Spencer, and worked in his area which is the east side of Hollywood, which is the poorer side. Elder Spencer is the tall one with brown hair in the service pictures. He is from a little farm town on the border of Utah and Idaho. He has been out for 16 months. We ate at an Armenian family's house, and I found that Armenian food is really good. They love feeding the Elders, and told Elder Spencer and Elder Johnson that if they didn't have a dinner appointment that they should go eat there. So Wednesday was fun just to go see the other side of Hollywood, and talk to the people there.
Thursday was really good. Our street contacting was super successful, we found two investigators and a less active who wants us to come by sometime. Then we had our last lesson with Mark that went pretty well. We taught him the Law of Chastity, Word of Wisdom, and The Laws of Tithing and Fast. He thought that everybody should follow them, and that he already had no problem with them. So it was a super successful day.
Then Friday was probably the worst day I have had on my mission. We are having a luau, so we went to the church to make some flyers to give to nonmembers. While were there Mark texted us saying "My final decision is not to convert, thank you for the lessons I really appreciate them, but we will not need to meet anymore." That was pretty crushing. We asked him if we could just meet up at least one more time, but he said no and thanked us for doing a great job of sharing the gospel with him. It was really tough to do much the rest of the day, because that just deflated both of us. Then we were told to watch a video called missionary work and the atonement by Elder Holland. Which basically said that Jesus bled through every poor, which means salvation is not easy, so neither is missionary work. It is on YouTube, and was very powerful.
Saturday we set up a bunch of security cameras for a member, and that took forever because The wires didn't work right, so we had to go get all new wires, and we ended up spending a good portion of the day working on that.
Sunday was good, we had a couple older Armenian ladies that we street contact show up to church, so that was good. Then in the Afternoon we went to the departing missionary fireside with one of our investigators named Earl. All of the departing missionaries bore their testimonies there, it was a really good meeting. They all seemed to focus around one idea, which was change. One thing I heard that I really liked was that Faith is not just believing in something you can't see. Faith is an action word, it is taking an action based off of that belief. The example they gave was, faith in Jesus Christ is using his atonement by repenting everyday and attending church every week and partaking of the sacrament. Earl really enjoyed it, and he committed to star attending church again, so hopefully that happens. This week was pretty up and down. Hopefully next wee is a little bit better. I love you all.
Elder Burnside

I tried to give Dallon a boost and to let him know not to give up on the investigator even when things don't go well.  We are proud of him when he perseveres through adversity.  I know he is learning so much about himself, his faith, and God's children.  He also sent this email.

We do laundry every P-day right after we finish emailing. P- day is good, we don't usually do that much playing since we only have from 10 to 6. We also have to grocery shop, but we have enough food this week to skip that. WE get fed by members about 3 times a week, we probably eat out around 7 times a week, all other meals we cook ourselves. The temperature so still super hot here. I was reading a quote form the third prophet John Taylor this morning about Joseph Smith, it said that besides the Savior No man on earth has done more for mans salvation then Joseph Smith. I never really thought about just how huge Joseph Smith was in the Plan of Salvation until that. Hopefully you respond before we leave the library, we might get back on email at the church later, in order to send pictures.

The pictures are here

 He also sent a couple more pictures with an email

Yeah there are 14 in our zone, the zone leaders didn't come with us so they are not in the pictures. Here are some more pictures. The first one is from before I got herre, I don't know how to get rid of it so you can just discard it.
I love you too,
Elder Burnside

Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Week goes by...

Another week in Hollywood ward.  The elders are doing service at an apartment complex, landscaping, etc.  One of the people they are helping sent us this picture.

It is good to see the elders doing good work.  The service they do is valuable for both helping those in need and boosting their testimonies and spirit.  Dallon sent the following email.

Cool, it sounds like everybody is having a great time. This week wasn't crazy like last week, but it was good and went by super fast. We taught Mark the 2nd and 3rd lessons, which went super well. He completely understands everything we teach him, and it all just makes perfect sense to him. He is just a perfect investigator. This week we are going to finish the lessons by teaching him the commandments and laws and ordinances. The spirit is just so strong when we teach him, and it brings us so much joy to teach him. I have come to know that when you teach others the gospel that you can really feel God's love for them very powerfully.
We have another investigator named Mark who we took to the visitors center on Tuesday. He is 24 and an atheist with a Jewish background. He had come to the missionaries just before I got here, asking for a Book of Mormon. He works a lot, so that was the first chance we have had to meet with him. He enjoyed the trip, and wanted to come again. We did the Christess room, the Jerusalem room, Modern day prophets, and then watched a really good Mormon message called The Hope of God's Light. He seems genuinely interested, and said that he would try to come to church this Sunday!
On Thursday and Saturday, we went and did service as you could tell from the picture. The person that takes the pictures is Yvonne, she is a non-member who lives at the apartment complex. The guy with the long hair is the apartment manager, he can't get the owner to approve and pay for the landscaping, which is why they asked for our help. They are all going to be out of town next week, so we won't go back for another 2 weeks, which means no pictures:(
On Friday we went on exchanges, since Elder Taylor is the district leader we went on exchanges with the zone leaders, who are Spanish speaking. SO for most of the day I just ate Spanish food, and listened to our zone leader, Elder Gillman, speak Spanish to people.
Sunday was enjoyable, I actually got to go to class this week. For the second week in a row, there was a homecoming talk from a missionary. He talked about how no matter how unqualified we think we are, if we have faith the lord will bless us and give us the power to do great things. I enjoyed his talk. The return missionary is also friends with the singer David Archuleta, so he came to hear the homecoming talk. I got a chance to shake his hand and talk to him for a minute about being a missionary, which was pretty cool. We also met a 12 year old girl named Aleia Rose who just signed a contract to sing with Disney, so it was pretty cool. In class we talked about how great the greatest gift is the gift of the holy ghost. Several convert shared their testimony about how it has changed their lives, so it was a good lesson.
I have a couple questions for you Dad. first is a question another missionary asked that I couldn't answer, If people can be healed by their faith alone why do we do priesthood blessings? Also I was wondering if you have a specific example of the blessing you have received from me going on my mission. ONe last one, Was this email descriptive enough? Hope you all have a good week, can't wait to hear from you.
Elder Burnside

I told him
"I have received several powerful witnesses of the spirit that the work is true when I was helping you to get on your mission and again when I am sharing in your experiences. How do you describe a powerful witness of the spirit. For me, it is a thrill that courses through out my body, accompanied by a mental assurance to the truth of what I have heard. It is probably that mental assurance that makes it so different from routine thrills, like a roller coaster. At that moment I can't imagine anything else beyond god's love and the truthfulness of the work. The point of this life is to try to get that way more often. That is the main way that I have been blessed by your missionary service. I have also been blessed to share some of the gospel with coworkers as I describe your experience in Hollywood. In fact I just paused and showed two coworkers, who just walked in, your last picture and described what I was doing. I bore a short testimony about how important it was to immerse yourself in the work and how that allowed you to feel the spirit in a way that was otherwise unachievable. I have also been blessed financially as we have paid for your mission.
Your other question. Yes, we can be healed by faith alone. If we have faith, however, won't we do what the Lord has asked and obtain priesthood blessings? The power in the priesthood is real, that power combined with the faith and prayers of MULTIPLE people involved in the performance of the blessing ordinance, can accomplish more and allow our father in heaven to bless us more. Certainly, if I could not get a priesthood blessing my faith may be sufficient, but if I can I will. "

I really believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives and brings us real happiness.  Jesus Christ was truly the son of God and is the means by where we can return to live with a heavenly father as families in the eternities.

To conclude this weeks exchanges Elder Burnside did apologize for not sending more pictures and sent the following one as well.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Another Week in Hollywood

It is missionary Monday.  We like that day.  I had sent an email to Elder Burnside which in part said:

Today I taught the priesthood lesson. It was the Elder's quorum presidency message we do every month. This month I chose to do missionary work. We spent quite a bit of time talking about service. I used your picture that was sent yesterday as an example of service creating missionary opportunities. It is true that service allows people to see us as disciples of Jesus Christ and opens their hearts to have spiritual experiences. I also pulled material from Clayton M. Christensen's book Everyday Missionaries. He focused in one chapter on the fact that when people are wealthy and comfortable they are not humble and open to the spirit. When this is the case we can often get better results by inviting them (investigators or less actives) to help us serve someone. He has a lot of good stories in the book. It is an interesting point, asking those we want to share the gospel with to serve.

Dallon  sent his weekly email

Thanks for the package, the brownies were good. It has been a pretty good week here. As you saw we are helping a less active and a non-member landscape their apartment complex, we are going to be going over there for the next several Saturdays to help out. Saturday we helped them take out several bushes. It was fun, service is one of our favorite things to do. It was a pretty productive week. On Tuesday we had our first lesson with Mark, who had randomly showed up to church, we taught him the restoration, and he committed to baptism on the 24th!! He is 24 or 25 and designs mobile apps, so he is pretty cool. Sunday was a crazy day. In testimony meeting a guy that is not part of the ward got up there, he talked about Hitler and then he told us of his mission in Austria and about how one time he jumped up on the table and said in German: people of planet earth I have a message from planet heaven, there was a prophet named joseph smith junior who has restored my gospel. So he was pretty weird, especially because he first told his story in German, and very loudly. Then third hour we had to try to escort an extremely drunk and unstable less active off of the premises , so we missed all of elders quorum, and that was an interesting experience. As you can tell the people here are pretty crazy, but they are all super kind and loving. Also on Sunday we had a really old lady named Pat who has been investigating for 5 months now; who has been scared of baptism, watch a baptism on Sundayand she said that baptism would be easy, so maybe we can have 2 baptisms this month!! Apparently Andre Ethier's wife is an active member in our ward, so I need you to mail me my Ethier jersey so I can get it signed when I go over there., so that has me pretty excited. We can use voice recorder, It just can't have headphones. I like your point about asking investigators to do service, we may try that. Service is a very good way to feel the spirit. I am glad to hear you are all doing well and having a good time, and have felt the blessings from me going on a mission. I know I have already been extremely blessed for serving the lord. I love it here in Hollywood, the people are crazy, but the spirit is strong and the work is hastening. I love and miss you all, can't wait to hear more from you.
I appreciate all my son is doing.  I told him that I hope he is writing down his experiences as they will be of value to him and his family someday.  He followed up with:
I have been writing them down in my journal so don't worry. I will have plenty of them for people to read when I get home. It has been pretty hot, mostly because the humidity has been around 70 percent, which isn't very fun. We usually teach about two lessons a day. I am in the Hollywood 1 area so our boundaries are: North Mulholland/Hollywood hills, East,, Gower St, South, Beverly, West, La Cienega, north. It is in somewhat of a right triangle shape, I can take a picture and send it to you next week.

Interesting enough, I got an email from the father of Elder McKean Taylor (Dallon's companion).  I would like to share:

I was just chatting with my son Elder McKean Taylor who is your son's senior companion and trainer. I wanted to touch base with you and let you know how proud my son is of your son. He told us of a great experience they had this week and I thought I would share that with you and your family. His email is as follows ........
So this week I have a great story to share that I Elder Burnside and I have talked about all week! So as I had shared in my letter last week, we received two new investigators last Sunday who just randomly showed up at church wanting to learn more. We were able to meet with one of the guys this week which went really well! We met with him last Tuesday at an outside mall to share a lesson with him. After getting to know him and learning a little bit more about what he does for work, we got into the lesson. As we began to teach him the Restoration, the Spirit became really strong even amongst the chaos that was surrounding us. It was Elder Burnside's first lesson that he was able to teach in the field. Before the lesson, I had asked him if he felt comfortable and ready to teach, he hesitantly said yes, so I told him that if he just opens his mouth, the spirit with fill it. While teaching him, we taught so well that it was probably one of the best lessons I've ever taught. Elder Burnside did so well I was remarkably impressed. At the end of the lesson, we invited him to be baptized onAugust 24th and he accepted! I can't even explain how great our joy was after hearing him say, "Yeah for sure, I would love to be baptized, are you sure we can get all the lessons in by then?" As we concluded the lesson and left our separate ways, I couldn't help but say, "ELDER BURNSIDE!!!! YOU DID AWESOME!!! I never taught that well when I got to the field, well done Elder!" I was delighted to see at least a smile come off his face. :) It has been a great week! On Tuesday, I was privileged to attend a leadership training that all leadership in the mission was invited to attend. It was quite long, but it was a great training because it motivated me to work even harder in my area since it can sometimes get discouraging. For the past two weeks we have been meeting with our recent convert Wendy who was baptized back in March. We have another miracle to share with her that happened this week as a result of praying and having faith. As I have said before in previous letters that Wendy is a sweet, soft hearted and soft spoken lady. She has been having a hard time recently understanding the scriptures so every time we have met with her this week, we have gone over some of the chapters that she has been reading. She asked us this week how she can understand them more fully. I gave her my advice by asking her to pray sincerely before she reads that she will gain a more understanding of what she's reading and that the spirit will guide her. She accepted the challenge and said she would. About 3 hours later, she called us and said, "Tylor Tylor!! You wouldn't believe it!! I did exactly what you told me to do and it worked! I prayed really hard and then read the scriptures and I understand what I'm reading now! You're such a blessing!" Then replying, "Wendy, its not me. It's your Heavenly Father. He is the one helping you, I'm just an instrument in His hands." Now, my joy for her was more than words can explain and couldn't help but thank Heavenly Father for answering her prayers after extending that invitation to her. How great of a week it has been here in Hollywood! Miracles are happening and prayers are being answered, we must act in faith that we will receive an answer. Elder Burnside is doing great at adjusting to missionary life. My testimony has been strengthened so much this week by the many miracles that have happened to us in the great work. If it wasn't for our loving Heavenly Father, these miracles wouldn't be possible. I thank you all for the love and support that you give to me. Keep up the great work in all you do each day and may the Lord continue to bless you in all you do. Have a great week everyone!
-Elder Taylor

As you can clearly see, these two missionaries are doing such a great job out there. My son really likes Elder Burnside and together they make a good pair. I also heard about your family praying for your son's trainer before he actually came out and that was so impressive to our whole family and I want to sincerely thank you for doing that. Our son had never been away from home more than about 5 days when he left and it was very difficult for him at first and is still difficult on his father. LOL But he has embraced the work and is truly working hard for the Lord and your son is right there with him. I appreciate the fact that your son is the person that he is and thank you for raising him the way you did to be of help like he is to my son.

Thanks again and I hope you don't mind me sharing this with you. I'm going to send these boys a pizza on Wednesday evening so they can enjoy it together.

This was a fun and powerful experience for me to communicate with another father who is doing and feeling the same thing as we learn and listen to our fine sons who are serving the Lord.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Got a fun picture texted to us.

Some kind soul sent this picture with the caption  "Another day by the pool in LA".  We love people who help and work with missionaries and who SEND US PICTURES.  That is cool.