Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Another week in January

Elder Burnside sent the following letter on January 26th.  He was responding to a couple emails we sent where we asked if they did tithing settlement amongst the missionaries at all.  I miss the emails that have pictures attached.

Well I barely managed to get through the second email without getting
too bored haha just kidding. I am glad to hear that all is going well.
It is pretty warm over here, it has hit the 80s the past couple days.
Missionaries do not pay any tithing. We haven't really been doing much
service, we haven't really found any since I have been here. Although
we do quite a bit of temple service. Which usually consists of moving
beds and couches out of the patron apartments, and moving new ones in.
Katie is driving?!?! I don't even feel safe in L.A. let alone Pheonix!
lol haha just kidding. You can let Aaron know that it is a lot better
to just do your homework than go to Saturday school, you only go to
Saturday school if you have more than a dozen assignments to make
up... I would know haha. Also tell Aaron to google Bible approved
dance moves for the next stake dance, it has got some pretty funny
moves for him to try. Well our week has been interesting to say the
Lubia went a bit crazy this week, so we didn't meet with her. She has
been having a lot of stress, and it all just kind of exploded when
nobody showed up to pick up Gavinn for cub scouts. She suddenly went
crazy and texted everyone that she know longer wanted anything to do
with the church and that she was going to change her phone number. The
bishop and Ward mission leader were able to meet with her and calm her
down, and she was back to church on Sunday and everything is normal
Tuesday we taught the Plan of Salvation to our baptismal date, Lou. It
went super well, he is really smart and just absorbs everything we
teach. So everything was looking great for his baptism until Sunday.
He had said he was going to come to church, but then he didn't show
up. So we asked his neighbor Richard who is his neighbor and a recent
convert that has been helping us teach him, and Richard told us that
Lou's partner got back in town Saturday night. It turns out that Lou
is gay and has been living with his partner for the past 10 years. So
that puts a slight bump in our plans for him.
Sunday a man that we got a referral for named Rod came to church. He
is a 75 year old Filipino, his wife died a couple mo nths ago so he
moved to L.A. to live with his son. We fellow shipped him with another
Filipino man in the ward, and they just hit it off, so after an hour
they were already like best friends. We then taught Rod the Plan of
Salvation after church, since his wife just died, and he really liked
it. He said he even wants to get baptized into the church, but he has
to talk to his son about it first. But he is looking like a super
solid investigator.
We met with Franco and Lucas this week too. Lucas is just soo busy
with work, he actually got this Sunday off, but he is behind in
painting a portrait for Johnny Depp's mother, so he had to work on
that instead of coming to church :( We met with Franco, and committed
him to start reading his scriptures everyday, and to pray. Coming to
church is a big step for him, but we think it may happen soon!
That was pretty much our week, not the best week, but not too bad
either. I hope you all are doing well, I love and miss you all!!!
Elder Burnside

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January 19th

We got an email on the 19th

I am glad to hear all is going well, the raise is great news! I am
pretty sure that everything is well because of blessings not because
I am gone haha. I don't think Homework is the strong suit for anybody
in our family haha. The biggest change I have made... that is a tough
question. I have only been out for 6 months, so I have a lot more
changing that will happen but I think one big change is studying. I am
studying for the first time in my life haha, that will be a good trait
to take to college. I am not sure if I will study in college but at
least I know how to now lol. Our week was good, a little slow but not
a bad week.
We went and taught Lubia about the temple and family history work
Tuesday, it went really well and got her very excited for the temple.
We then ghetto-rigged a towel rack onto her wall haha. We needed a
drill, but didn't have one so we mad holes in the wall with
screwdrivers and finally managed to get it on. It wiggles a bit but
not too bad considering how we did it haha. Lubia then went to the
temple the next day and absolutely loved it! She told us she would go
everyday if she could. She says once she gets a car, she will go all
the time. Now she is going to start getting a bunch of family names
for the next time she goes to the temple. Lubia is such an amazing
convert and is so strong in the gospel already, it was awesome to see
the change that the spirit brought to her and now her family. WE went
over again on Saturday to start the new member lessons with her and
Gavinn, and also included the uncle Lloyd in on it. It was an awesome
lesson, becuase we pretty much just asked questions and then both
Lubia and Gavinn basically taught the Restoration and bore testimony
to Lloyd. They have such amazing testimonies for only having been
baptized for a week, especially Gavinn; he understands and has a
powerful testimony of the Restoration even though he is only nine.
We found another less-active that we are going to start working with
this week. Her name is Christy, she is in her mid 30s and has an 11
year old son named James, and a 3 year old daughter named Roan. She
only moved here 2 months ago after going through a divorce, and was
very active in the church until the beginning of her divorce process.
Really the only thing keeping her from coming to church is that she is
managing three apartment buildings and has to work on Sundays. So we
feel that with a little bit of a push she will find a way to get to
church. We took Franco to watch Meet the Mormons at the visitors
center. He loved the movie, and even though he wouldn't commit to
quite come to church yet, he wants to continue to meet with us, and
will probably come to church in the next couple weeks. So he is
progressing. We met with Lucas again yesterday, and got the bad news
that he is going to be working even more over the next couple moths :(
He is super cool, and we are determined to get him to church, so we
know that he will be able to start coming every week soon enough.
That was basically our week, we had a bunch of cancelled appointments
so there wasn't too much to write about. Next week will hopefully be
packed full of missionary work. I wish everybody the best, and love
and miss you!!!
Elder Burnside


Let's catch up in January starting with January 5th's email.  The picture is of Dallon and Lubia''s youngest son Warren doing double push ups.

Happy New Year!!! What did you all do for New Years? We had to be in
the apartment by 6, so we just had a little party with some hot wings
and sparkling cider. Sounds like you all had a good vacation.
Although now you are at the worst part, returning to reality which is
never fun haha. It got super cold just in time for you in California
haha, that was definitely the coldest week we have had while I have
been here. It is definitely important to focus on taking your time and
focusing on quality, but that is something I was never good at either.
One thing we learned this week that I like is something Elder Maxwell
said in a talk that we were listening to while driving around. He said
that the straight and narrow path is one that is very uphill, and we
will hit lots of pot holes and loose gravel, while the adversaries
path is wide and well paved, downhill and very easy. It will always be
harder to stay on the straight and narrow path, but as we put in the
work necessary to stay on the path we will find that it is most
definitely worth it. Those are some good new year goals. Mine are to
find teach and baptize more of course! But something I am really
trying to focus on is being more diligent, too often I find myself
slacking off a little, not that I was known too do that at home or
anything haha, but I want to be more consistent in my work.
We had a somewhat slow week again this week. A lot of our
appointments were with Lubia and Gavinn getting them ready for
baptism. WE finished off the lessons they needed and got a baptismal
program made. All they have left is the interview tomorrow, and then
the Baptism is Saturday!!! They are super excited, she has already
invited all of her extended family and all her friends, she has people
that are coming from other parts of the country for it so we can't
wait for Saturday!! Now we are really going to put the focus on
getting her 16 year old son Zayne involved with the young mens, he has
only come to church once, and doesn't really want to just like all
other 16 year olds. But he just needs some friends in the church,
because he doesn't have a lot of friends, and if that happened he
would definitely start participating a lot more. John has been out of
town visiting people for the last week or so, so we haven't met with
him but plan to later this week. Bram has also been busy with his
family since their kids are out of school, and can be a handful haha.
We have spent most of the week just trying to find new investigators
now that Lubia and Gavinn are going to be baptized. We didn't actually
find much success from our own efforts, but we did get several solid
looking referrals that we are going to meet with this week. One
miracle we did have was this morning, we were getting back into our
car after going to the store, and a guy comes up to us and he says
that he is 3 dollars short for getting some oil that he needs in order
for him to get home. It just happened that we had exactly 3 dollars in
our car, and so we gave it to him and he was super thankful. He said
he wished there was someway to repay us, and we told him he could by
visiting the website on a pass along card we gave him, and referring
himself to the missionaries. He said that he would definitely do that,
and thanked us once again before going into the store. It was really
cool to see God put a teaching opportunity in front of us like that.
Oh transfers are tomorrow, I am staying here but Elder Provost is
leaving :( He is going to the Inglewood zone to serve in the El
Segundo ward. My new companion will be Elder Ching, who is from
Hawaii. Everybody I have talked to says he is super cool, so I am
excited! That is about it for my week, I hope you all have a great
week! I love and miss you all!!!
Elder Burnside

This was followed by another email on January 12th.   Picture of Dallon and Elder Provost from new years are included.

It sounds like every one is doing about as well as they can for having
to go back to work/school haha. January here is pretty much just like
the other months, probably because there isn't really ever much of a
break for missionaries:) And you always blame your kids as the reason
you aren't rich, yet once again you are going on an expensive trip
with OUT your kids haha. We actually had a really good week this week!
On Tuesday I met my new companion Elder Ching, who is super cool. He
is from Hawaii and has been out on his mission for 19 months. He like
video games, sports, especially baseball, and he is also on the quiet
side. So he is almost like a 6'5" version of me haha. He is literally
a foot taller than me, so we are an interesting looking
companionship:) We had some funny conversations on the street this
week. we started talking to somebody on the street, and he said we
could come visit him sometime, so I was writing down his number and I
asked him what his name was again. As I asked that my companion was
looking at the dude's name tag which said Jason, the guy then said his
name was Joshua, and then he looked right at my companion, and slowly
moved his hand up to cover his name tag it was really funny haha. We
had another conversation with a guy who asked us what color God was,
and so we asked him why it mattered. He said you can't love somebody
if you don't know what they look like. So I came back with the clever
response of, "So are you saying that a blind person can't love
anybody" to which he responded Yes. I didn't even know how to respond
it was pretty funny haha.
We were finally able to meet with Lucas again this week! We went over
for dinner on Thursday, and then again on Friday for his birthday. We
had a lot of fun, and then shared a scripture with him afterwords, he
still can't come to church because he works so much, we will get him
there eventually though. We have a whole bunch of names on the
less-active list that nobody knows anything about, and we contacted
one named Franco, who hasn't been to church in 20 years since he got
out of high school. But he said that he wouldn't mind coming back, he
just isn't sure how, he was happy to meet with us, and now we are
going to take him to see Meet the Mormons at the visitors center this
week. So that should be exciting, he is pretty cool, and genuinely
wants to come back so we are excited for him! Richard s going through
his phase of not wanting to meet with us again, so we are just waiting
through that.
We met with Lubia this week to make sure she was all ready for her
baptism, and we met Zainn's uncle who is going to be staying with them
for a while. His name is Lloyd, and he recently got evicted from his
house, we met them at Del Taco which is literally 1 block form their
apartment. He has had 2 strokes in the past and so he walks very slow,
they asked us for a ride home but we are not suppose to do that so we
said no figuring it may take up to 15 minutes max. So we walked with
them and it literally took 2 hours to walk the 1 block to her house,
we felt so bad for not giving him a ride, but because of it we were
able to teach him some of what we believe, and especially after seeing
Lubia's baptism he wants to learn more! Zainn has also begun to show
more interest, so we are probably going to start teaching both of them
here really soon! We had a lesson with a guy named Lou who a member
referred to us, the member has been talking to him about the church
for a couple months now, and so we finally had a lesson with him on
Saturday. We taught the Restoration at the members home, and Lou
accepted a baptismal date for Febuary 14! He was very involved in the
lesson, and really is interested in religion, so he is looking pretty
We had Lubia and Gavinn's baptism on Saturday, it was interesting; for
some reason my baptisms can't ever turn out normal. It was suppose to
start at 4, but Lubia and Gavinn didn't show up until 4:50. We were
expecting 40-50 people but only like 20 actually showed. The guy who
was suppose to do the opening prayer didn't even come so it was a
pretty crazy start. But once it actually started everything turned out
well, I gave the talk on the Holy Ghost, which went well. Then the
baptisms went well the spirit was really strong, and her son Zainn
definitely felt the spirit because now he is a lot more open to
recieving the lessons!
On Sunday Lubia and Gavinn got confirmed, which went well. They are
going to be so solid in the church. Right after church Lubia got her
temple recommend and is going to do baptism on Wednesday! Then we had
a super cool miracle on Sunday night. We had gotten a referral from
some other missionaries for Bryan who said that he was looking for a
church for him and his fiancee, but he never answered his phone, so we
went to his address. It was an apartment building, and we didn't have
an apartment number, so we knocked on all the doors and about half of
them answered and they all said that they didn't know any Bryan. So we
came back a couple days later to try the rest of the doors and one of
them answered and said that Bryan lived at apartment number 2. But
when we had come the first time a girl came to that door (who was
probably his fiancee) and said she didn't know Bryan. But we decided
that we needed to talk to Bryan and give him a chance to accept the
message, so we prayed that he would answer the door, and that his
heart would be softened for the message. So we knocked and sure enough
Bryan came to the door and said we could come back on Tuesday! So we
had an awesome week of work! I hope all goes well for you all. I love
and miss all of you!!!
Elder Burnside

Pictures from Lubia's baptism including a picture of the previous elder's that worked with Lubia.

 Finally another picture from Christmas Eve when the zone leaders brought the mail etc.

It has been a while, let's finish december

Wow I've been negligent.  Let us cover December here.  We emailed Dallon just before Christmas.  Here is his letter from December 22.

Merry Christmas!!! Time is flying by I can't believe it is already
almost Christmas. When we are out talking to people, and start talking
about missionary life, we tell them that we can only talk to our
families on Mothers day and Christmas, and this week when we were
talking about it I realized that it was only a week away!! Its crazy
how fast it goes! Glad to hear that everything is going well. I don't
really have a favorite Christmas story, I love them all and can't
really pick a single one to say that is my favorite. Me and Elder
Provost are doing well. All the times where people freak out at us are
pretty memorable because it is super funny, like yesterday while we
were walking down the street someone starting yelling at us and
flipped us off as they drove by. We always just find it funny how
people can get so mad at a couple of young men spending two years of
their life sharing what they know to be true. I just don't understand
it, but its pretty funny. Living with a companion has taught me to...
never get married lol just kidding. No it has been good, it is a
little harder to get along with somebody 24/7 than it is just hanging
out with them occasionally. But you just have to be patient and try
your best to serve them.
This week was good, it was a little bit slower since a lot of people
are going out of town to see family, but it was still good. I went on
exchanges with the zone leader, Elder Edwards, who is my trainer's
trainer. His area has a ton of work, so that was cool to go to a 4 or
5 lessons in a day. They have 6 or 7 baptismal dates right now, so the
work really is hastening! We had an interesting lesson with Lubia this
week. She has become friends with a convert in the ward who is pretty
crazy. So Lubia goes over to her house all the time, and we had to
teach Lubia over there. Sharon, the convert, always just changes the
topic to how evil the world is and how mean people are, so we
struggled to keep the lesson on topic and ended up talking about
Christmas because it was going to be impossible to teach a good lesson
with Sharon there. So it provided for a very interesting experience.
Lubia is so excited for her baptism, she is so ready for it! We
couldn't meet up with John because he had a work emergency that lasted
the most part of the week, but we saw him at the ward Christmas party
and he is doing well. Lucas has still been busy with work so still
haven't seen him in a while, and hoe to meet with him after Christmas.
Bram is doing good, but had to cancel for our appointment too, so we
didn't really get the chance to teach many lessons this week. We met
with Richard this week, he realized that it is too important to go to
church, and that it isn't worth it to skip church because someone
offended him. So that was exciting to hear, and he is doing well once
On Friday we had a Christmas Devotional zone conference which was
really good. we had a Christmas program with a bunch of songs by the
musically gifted missionaries which was really good. Then we had a
testimony meeting which brought the spirit so strongly. It is really
uplifting to hear all those testimonies about how Christ lives, and
has paid the price for us. Thats pretty much our week, the holiday
season is kind of slowing it down right now, but it will pick up. I
can't wait to talk to you all on Christmas!! I might have to call a
little earlier because the people's house we are going over to are
planning to go to their parents, so we are not quite sure what time.
But it will probably be sometime around noon your time. I love you all
and miss you, can't wait to see you in three days!!!!

We got to Skype with Dallon on Christmas Day.  It was so good to talk with him.  We got to spend 1 hour and 45 minutes tying up his ward mission leader's computer.  That was a real blessing to hear from him.  He has grown and matured so much in a short time.  We traveled to San Diego and emailed with him from there during the Christmas break on December 29.  Here is his reply.

Hey how is everybody? I hope you had a great week, it was really nice
to Skype you all on Christmas!! I hope you all are still doing well.
We had a nice week. Not too much to write about though. We had a
couple good lessons. We taught John the restoration, and we mainly
focused on the importance of reading the Book of Mormon and praying
about it. He has been reading the Book of Mormon with us, and we are
almost done with 1 Nephi, but we found out that he hadn't been praying
about it really. He was pretty hesitant to pray about it until we came
right out and asked him "Whats the big deal about praying?" He then
realized that nothing bad would come from it, and so he committed to
pray about the book of Mormon everyday! He is coming so close, its
like we just need top get him over that last little hump and he will
get baptized. We had a couple lessons with Lubia and her family, we
went over Christmas eve and shared the Christmas story with them, and
we brought the presents that the ward got them since they are
struggling financially. They were sop excited! Then the story of
Christs birth and the gift of his life for us is so powerful, the
spirit was super strong. The presence of the Holy Ghost seemed to be
extra strong this week as we shared the Christmas story, with both
members and investigators. Thats it with our investigators, Bram and
his family were super busy with Christmas, and they had a little
sickness going around so we weren't able to meet with them. Since it
was Christmas week, we had a lot of dinners, and spent some more time
with the members of t he ward which was nice, as was all the roast and
ham haha. Sorry this email is shorter, but I don't really have too
much to talk about after Skyping on Thursday. I hope you all have a
great week, and a Happy New Year! I love and miss you all!!!

Elder Burnside