Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Feb. 24. Elder Gooch is awesome!

Hey Mom and Dad

This week has been a great week. Elder Gooch is awesome! He is one of the funniest guys I have ever met. He is 6’4” and ways about 160lbs! He is so goofy, but I love him. He is a very hard worker so im really excited for this transfer. The First and second day he got here were great. On Friday we planned a route of less actives part members, and referrals that we received, which eventually led us down to the beach which I haven't had a chance to see yet. The beach here is amazing! Snow white sand and clear blue water with nobody on the beach for miles! The sun was going down right then so we got some good pictures to send home. We actually found one really nice fisherman that we talked to for a while on the beach, but he wasn’t really interested so that was a bummer. We ended up finding a new investigator that night anyways though so that was good. The only bad thing about this week is that I started getting a sore throat on Tuesday, and by the time Elder Gooch got her it turned into a pretty solid cold/ sore throat, and starting Friday Morning, I got everyone sick in our apartment! And one of the Spanish Elders caught it as well. I felt really bad. I talked to a Doctor and he said it was a viral flew. So from Friday night till now, we have all been pretty sick and havnt really been able to do much. But other than that, this week has been great. Ive had some extra time to study the Book of Mormon so that’s been one good thing about being sick I guess.

Our apartment great, I love it. The new Spanish Elders are pretty hard workers and now everyone in our apartment is as well. Its a lot easier to keep my focus now, but at the same time, we have a good balance of fun. Me and The Greenie in our apartment (Elder Rosenlund) wrestled last night for about 20 minutes before I submitted him with a guillotine choke, so that was pretty fun. The only crappy thing about this transfer is that Spanish doesn’t have a car anymore, so we don’t have a ride on P-days to do our shopping or e-mails. So it looks really goofy, six missionaries riding bikes in shirts and ties wile trying to hold on to groceries. Good stuff haha.

I cant believe Spring time is already coming. I don’t know where time is going! Its so weird. When is mothers day? This next phone call will already be the third one and then I only have one left! Crazy. So the webs bought that other trailer huh? That’s pretty cool. I bet Brett will love that. When does he get home again? Its pretty soon isn’t it?

Oh yeah before I forget, they had to cancel like 40 of the missionaries mission cards out here because of some scam thing going on, and mine happened to be one of them, so yeah if it seems like ive been spending a little more on the home card lately, that is why. They said last week that we should be getting new ones in the mail this week so yeah I should be getting it soon so don’t worry. Today will probably be the last day that I spend any money on the home card because I need some groceries.

So yeah this e-mail is a pretty boring one since we were all pretty sick this week, sorry This next week will be much better. I am so excited for this transfer. Oh yeah, did you get a chance to look up that talk? Its really good, I think you would really enjoy it. Well I have to go email president. I love you Mom! I love you dad! Thank you for everything!
Elder Joshua Burnham

Feb. 17 New companion coming!

Hey Mom and Dad!

Is that your horse that you sent me a picture of?? You guys are crazy! Haha! That’s so much fun. I had no idea you were still all in to horses. That’s awesome. So did dad get work off for a few days to drive out with Chad? That is so exciting that they are finally done out there! And I cant believe they are having another boy! So cool. Are they pretty excited about that? How far along is Em? Ill probably only have like 6 months of my mission left by the time the baby is born, pretty crazy.

Well we just found out about transfers today. Elder Cornwell is getting transferred, and Elder Gooch is coming in. Ive heard a lot about Elder Gooch and im actually really excited. I hear that he is a very hard worker, but is also hilarious. So im excited to see how this next transfer goes. Everyone that has served with him or around him has said that I will love serving with him. ... Heavenly Father has definitely heard my prayers and is answering them constantly. ...Another think that helped so much was just not being idle at all. Anytime there has been any free time at all, ive just picked up the Book of Mormon. It has helped me so much to keep my thoughts out here and not in the world. I love that book so much. It is true, that’s all there is to it.

So yeah it was way fun going over to the Chapmans the other night. I think that was Sunday night that we went over there. They are definitely when of the more well off people in the Ward if you know what I mean. They fed us the best meal that I have had so far on my mission. Do you remember that Steak house that we ate at in New York? I think it was called Francescos? Was that in New York? Anyways, The steaks that they cooked us were comparable to those ones! I could seriously cut it with my fork. These steaks were seriously two inches thick. I still cant get over how good that meal was. I hope they have us over more often. I guess Kevin is coming home in July? So weird. Then I think Ray will be done in August right? That is ridiculous. That went by so fast. I will pretty much hit my year mark at the end of this next transfer. I don’t know where all the time has gone.

As far as the millers go, we haven't been able to get a hold of them for about a week, so as soon as Cornwell leaves, we will bike up there and check up on them. Everyone else is doing really good. Julianna is super active and has been living with our ward mission leaders family for the past month now. I don’t know how Jenny is doing. We need President Summerhays’s approval to call recent converts if they are girls around our age, so I haven't gotten the chance to talk to her since I left Crestview. From what I here, her parents still wont let her go to church as long as she is living under their roof, but she is trying to save up money to move out and she has been meeting with the bishop and paying fast offerings and tithes so hopefully all will work out.

Well, Im probably going to go now, I have a lot of cleaning to do before the new comp gets here. Thank you soooo much for the valentines’ package! The Samoas were gone In the very same day that I opened the package haha. Is there anything yall want me to start telling you in my letters to make them more interesting? I feel like my letters are so bland. K well I love you guys I am so excited for everything that is going on with you guys, with Chad coming home, and Katey getting a good job, and Dads practice doing well, im just happy for you guys. Mom- I love you! Dad- I love you! Please tell me if there is anything more that you want me to start writing about. I LOVE YALL!!!!!
Elder Joshua Burnham

Feb. 10 The Book of Mormon is what converts.

Mom and Dad-

That stinks that this was kind of a bland week for yall. It was a pretty good week for us. The last couple weeks have actually been great for finding people to teach because we have been contacting a ton of referrals that we've gotten. We have found 5 or 6 really promising investigators recently, two of them being the millers that I mentioned last week. We actually haven’t seen them in a few days because the last time we went over there, George was really sick so we re-scheduled for next week. We haven’t been teaching to many people lately, our time has mainly been spent out looking for people to teach. But the way its been going lately, were probably going to be doing a lot of teaching here shortly.

The one thing that has been really cool lately has been my Book of Mormon studies. I told you a little about how president is having us read the Book of Mormon over again, and how we are marking it in a different way. Using a paper back copy of the B of M, we have been marking in one color, the promises and blessings that the Lord has in store for us, and then in another color, we mark what we have to do to attain that blessing. I have gotten so much more out of my studies just from looking for specific things in the Book of Mormon. Its really cool because you can do it with any topic. For instance, when im done with this one, im going to label it, What we have to do for the Lords Promises and Blessings. Then I will get another paper back copy and start looking specifically for specific Gospel principals like faith or Repentance. Then when you finish that one you can label it accordingly. So after a while you will have read the Book of Mormon 5 or 6 times, and you will have 5 or 6 copies specifically marked for certain subjects. It is something that has really helped me to be more motivated to read it. I seriously love that book. The Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel are really the only two things I study now. Yeah, the bible is great and all, but the Book of Mormon is what converts. There is just something so different when you read it. There is a real power behind it that cannot be denied, I love it! Sorry for boring you, you get excited over pretty boring things as a missionary I guess.

So today is my 10 month mark. Im finally starting to feel like im not so new anymore, its kind of a good feeling. I don’t know where all the time has gone. At the same time though, it feels like so much stuff has happened back home, its really weird.

Well, sorry I don’t have to much to say this time around. Im sorry my letters aren’t very exciting, ill try hard to be exciting throughout the week so that I have stuff to write about. I just hope you know how much I love you guys. I cant wait to see all of our family again. Life is amazing. The Gospel has blessed our family so much. Anyways, Mom- I love you with all my heart. Dad- I love you with all my heart. Tell the family I love them too! Ill talk to yall next week
ElderJoshua Burnham

Feb. 2, 2008 The Cinnamon Challenge

Mom and Dad-

Hey guys That’s cool that yall had some time out at the lake this week. The weather out here is still pretty cold as well. Its so weird because one day it could get down into the 20’s or 30’s with the humidity making it feel like its below 0, but then a day later it will be like 80 and the humidity makes it feel like 90. I actually really like the cold weather though so its all good. I bet yall are getting so excited to have Chad, Em, and Parker around more often! That’s going to be so much fun. I'm jealous of you guys. You will have to take tons of pictures. I'm really sorry that I've been slacking on the pictures. I promise I will start taking more.

This week was a very good week for us. Towards the beginning of the week, we went and saw two media referrals who had ordered Book of Mormons. From these two referrals we got 3 new investigators and 2 pretty solid potential investigators. The one that we are really excited about are George and Linda Miller. When we knocked on this couples door for the first time to give them their Book of Mormon, Ms. Linda answered the door and invited us right in. As we walked in, we were greeted by Mr. George who was sitting on the couch. They told us to sit down and just started talking to us like they had known us forever. They are about 75 years old by them way. So anyways, before we even told them about the Book of Mormon, Mr. George was like, “ I don’t know to much about the Mormon Church, but what I do know is that you are wonderful people, and I want to be a part of your Church.” It was amazing. His wife pretty much said the same thing. I guess Mr. George has had some serious health problems aver the passed 25 years. He had over a quarter of his heart removed and a Colonoscopy recently. About 20 years back he had a major heart surgery where Doctors told him that he most likely would not survive. He told us that he believes that God has kept him alive for these 25 years for a specific reason but that he hasn’t found that reason yet. I think I know the reason!! Haha. Elder Cornwell and I have high hopes for the two of them. We want to get them sealed before he or she passes away. Please keep them in your prayers

Other than that, we have just been doing a lot of finding lately. We have been tracking down old referrals, and calling former and potential investigators from 2006 and older. Since it was super bowl Sunday last night, we stayed in because everyone in the south just pretty much gets hammered when the super bowl comes around. So we stayed in and called pretty much every potential investigator in the area book dating way back to around 2003. It was pretty boring to tell you the truth ha.

Ok so have yall ever hear of the cinnamon challenge? If you have, DO NOT do it! Last night after we finished planning, the Spanish missionaries dared Elder Cornwell to do it. The challenge is that you cant swallow a table spoon of cinnamon. It sounded easy, so he tried it. Bad idea! As soon as he tries to swallow it, he coughed and it all came out his nose and much in brown cloud. He was gasping for air for like 20 seconds. For the next hour after that, its like he had the worst sinus infection ever. His eyes got all swollen and he couldn’t talk. Today he is still having a hard time talking. It was pretty funny, but really stupid at the same time. We never thought that cinnamon could do that. So yeah, don’t ever try it

Everything else has been going good this week. President Summerhays wants everyone in the mission the read the Book of Mormon again befor our next Zone conference and he wants us to mark it in this specific way that he showed us. We mark the Promises and blessings of God in one color, and then we mark the things that we have to do to attain those blessings in another color. Its actually really cool. I’ve gotten way more out of my B of M studies than I have before. Isaiah still really frustrates me though. So yeah my studies lately have been really good and ive been pretty pumped up to study in the mornings lately. Anyways, im boring you now, and I actually need to go email President.

Thank you so much for your emails every week. I love you guys so much. I am so happy to hear that everything is going good back home. Mom- I love you! Dad- I love you! Ill talk to yall next week
Elder Joshua Burnham

Jan.26, 2008 "You are our Amulek"

Hey Mom and Dad

This has been a pretty good week. We worked hard and got a good amount of stuff done. My studies have been really good lately for some reason. I realized that I’m still not where I want to be as far as teaching, so for 30 minutes of my personal study time in the morning, I role play by myself to the picture of Jesus that we have down stairs. It’s actually really helped me a lot. The other Elders sometimes think I’m weird though when they walk downstairs and here me talking to myself. Our mornings are really good here. Every other morning Elder Cornwell, me, the Spanish Elders, and a couple of our investigators wake up at around 6:15am and play basketball for about 45 minutes for our exercise time. It really helps me out because I have a hard time exercising in the mornings. Then we usually make our shakes, get ready, study for our 2 hours, and then leave by 10.

The baptism went very well. Juliana asked me to confirm her the next day at church so that was kind of a neat experience. She has such a great testimony of the gospel. She is definitely facing some opposition though which sucks. She lives with her sister Danielle and her brother in law Matt. Danielle has a history of being a little crazy. Last night we got a phone call form our ward mission leader saying that Danielle physically assaulted Juliana, and so now she will be living with him(the ward mission leader) and his family. Its really sad because Juliana was already kicked out of her parents house, and now this happened. She is the most tender hearted girl and wouldn’t harm a fly, so it really made me upset when we heard about that. But, its ok, she has a testimony and has a strong institute group to support her so she will be fine.

There is some pretty crazy stuff going on in the mission right now. I guess Were going to be opening a new Zone sometime soon and we are going to be covering a lot more of Georgia. That would be really cool if I got transferred up there, I don’t really know why, I just think it would be fun to open an area. Also, they just opened an area called Prichard up in the Mobil stake. This city is the most dangerous place in the mission and has highest murder rate in the country! I guess President Summerhays has felt very strongly lately that we will find a lot of success with the African Americans. So anyways, he sent one of my good friends (Elder John) and the old A.P. (Elder Loar) to open up Prichard. President doesn’t want them to just find people there to baptize and then bring them up to Mobil, he wants them to start the Church right in the middle of Prichard. So they’ve started a store front and so far they have about 10 people meeting there every Sunday. In our last Zone conference, President told us some of the stuff that has been happening there and it is a miracle. I guess in their first day in Prichard, Elders John and Loar went to this Old Barber shop in hopes that they would be able to talk to someone. When they went in, they were warmly greeted by a large group of Afro Americans who were just hanging out. The Barber that works there is well known around the neighborhood, and everyone loves him. The Elders taught everyone in the store and I guess the Barber was very interested about what they had to say. He said that he would read the Book of Mormon and Pray. When Elders John and Loar got home that night, they read In alma where it talks about Alma in Ammonihah and how he went and found Amulek and Amulek went with him from that point on and they converted many. While they were reading this, they felt strongly that this Barber would be their Amulek in Prichard. They felt impressed that they should go back to the Barber shop even though it was already about 9pm. When they arrived, to there suprize, the Barber was in his shop all alone. They knocked on the door and he let them in saying, “ I havnt been able to stop thinking about what you Elders told me. Elder John then told the Barber, “ You are our Amulek.” The Barber looked confused, but at the same time wanted to know more. They then opened up the book of Mormon and had the Barber read silently the chapter about Alma meeting Amulek. When he was finished reading, tears filled the Barbers eyes and he said, “I know you two have been sent from God. I will be your Amulek.” President Summerhays drove all the way across the mission to meet the Barber who is now baptized and helping the work move forward in Prichard. Sorry I cant write it as good as President Summerhays told it, but yeah, it was a really cool story.

Anyways, theres not too much more to talk about, other than how much I love you guys. Thank you so much for everything. I love your emails every week. Mom- I love you so much. Dad- I love you so much too. Tell the family that I love them! Love Love Love,
Elder Joshua Burnham