Monday, April 12, 2010

Last letter from Josh

Hey guys!

So we just got tranfer information. I guess i am getting tranferred again! I cant believe its actually here. It is the wierdest feeling knowing that this week i am going to see all of you. I dont know what happened! I cant believe over two years ago i was saying goodbye at the airport. It is so crazy how fast time just flies bye. I have just had two of some of the most incredible years of my life, and now its on to the next phase.

I called around yesterday to alot of people in Fort Walton and alot of people said that they would be home. I figure we can drive up to Dothan first thing in the Morning and see Ed and everything up there. Then we can drive down maybe through Crestwiew to Fort Walton and spend some time down there. We will probably have a good amount of time there since most of the people wont be home until around after 4, so maybe we can go down to Fort Walton beach and Destin beach and we can go walk along the beaches or something. It is so awsome there.

Our interview with President Suummerhays is at 9pm. I dont really know what time he wants you to be there though. I know that is when visiting hours start for all of the missionaries there. I would call the mission home just to make sure. Make sure to get some sleep when you get in on wednesday as well; We are going to be really tired all day thursday if you dont.

I have been feeling much better this week. We have been able to get alot of good work in for my last week. We did alot of service on Thursday and Friday. There is an old Scottish member in his 80's who we visit every once in a while, and he had a bunch of logs that he needed chopped. He had a log splitter and some axes, so we all worked on that most of Friday afternoon. Then on Saturday we went back and hauled it all into his woodshed. We also had some really good lessons this week. We taught one of our investigators in a members home and she had a really good experience. She felt the Spirit really strongly when we taught about eternal families because she is getting marries next month. We did alot of tracting this week as well. Yesterday was pretty much my last prosyliting day because today is p-day and ill be in Tallahasse for most of the day, then tomorrow we have district meeting, then an appointment, then for most of the remaining time i will be packing. We are going to knock a few doors just so at leat i can say i tracted my last day, but thats pretty much it.

I Know that this is exactly where i have needed to be. This mission has changed my life. Ive learned how to set a pattern that allows me to rely on the Holy Ghost, and i know that its going to bless the rest of my life. President has taled to me alot about school, work and family. He gave me a blessing this last Zone Conference and blessed me that i would be succesful in my schooloing, in my career and in my future family. He once again told me that i would find a girl fairly soon who would make me a better person haha. Anyways, im just so grateful for this experience, because i know how much its going to bless my children. I know that this is Jesus Christ's church. I know that He called Joseph to be an instrument in Restoring His church to the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is evidence of this and is another Testemant and a witness that Jesus is the Christ. I LOVE THIS WORK!

I love you guys so much. Mom and Dad, Ill see you on Wednesday! The rest of you, i will see you on Friday! I LOVE YOU! Drive safe and fly safe!

Love, Elder Burnham

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 22, 2010

Hey Guys!
Happy Birthday Dad!! I am sorry didnt get anything off sonner. Youll be getting something in the mail here soon. I was meaning to get something sent off last monday but we had a crazy day, and the only time i can really send anything out is on mondays, so i am really sorry. Happy Birthday though!!! It sounds like you guys had a really fun weekend with everyone. That is cool that Ray and Brett went up there. Did you guys spend any time out on the lake at all? I am excited to relax a bit out on the lake. Its going to feel wierd though. Ive spent two years not having time for anything but work, so it will be a different experience just sitting and soaking up the rays.
How is the weather out there right now? Its officially Spring time over here. The weather has been perfect. Hopefully it will stay that way until yall come out. I dont really know in what order to visit those few areas yet. I still need to call a bunch of people in Fort Walton and see what would be best for them. I am thinking that we could drive up to Troy first, then down through Crestview and over to Fort Walton last since that's when most of the people will be home. Ed Stevens will be home all day and that is really one of the only people i would like to visit up there. Maybe one other investigator family. I dont know. I will figure that all out this week and let you know next week what would be best.
I am up for doing anything yall want to do on that Saturday. I really dont mind. It will be fun whatever we choose to do. I just want to be with our family, that's all i really care about. That'll be fun if Ray and Brett come by Saturday as well. They're family anyways. Maybe you guys can pick out your favorite episode of the office and we can watch that or something, i dont know. Just make it a clean one haha.
We don't really have any big plans for before i leave besides just working hard. Im trying to not talk about going home too much and im just doing my best to finish strong. We have been knocking on a ton of doors lately because we dont have to many appointments that go through. We are still teaching Will and Whitney, but we are pushing their dates back because they didn't make it to church this week. They are still doing good though. Our other investigator Julianne is doing good. She just had a baby so she hasnt been able to come to church, but she is reading and marking the Book of Mormon every day. We a few really solid investigators this week through tracting, so we are hoping to have more appointments this upcoming week.
Elder Jenkins is such an awesome companion. Me and him have the best time together every day. Missionary work is so much fun when you are with someone that you love to be around. He will be home anout three months after me so we will keep in touch.
I am so excited to see you guys! I am so excited for you to interview with President Summerhays, and to meet Ed, and to just drive around through the last two years of my life. I love you guys! I will get some pictures printed off today and send them out. You only get three more emails!
I love you!
Elder Burnham

Monday, March 15, 2010

March15, 2010 Whitney and Will

Hey Guys!
This has been a really good week. We have been praying for miracles for our investigators Will and Whitney. They have baptismal dates for March 27, but they had to make it to church twice befor they could get baptized. They are so solid, and would be coming to church every week if they could, but they both work for the County and have work every single Sunday. Whitney said that she would be able to pull some strings, but Will said that it would be highly unlikely. That was last week. So we all said that we would pray that a miracle would happen, and it did. Somehow, Will was able to talk his boss into letting him shift his hours around each Sunday so that he could come to church. So Will and Whitney both came yesterday and had a great time. We have another investigator named Julianne who is really close to baptism as well. We are hoping to set a date soon. She is marries to a member. They are a young couple and are both really excited about the church right now.

We knocked alot of doors this week. We found some dirt roads that have tons of houses so we have been working those areas for a while now, and have had some success.

Zone conference was this last Thurday. It was a good one. We talked alot about how we cannot determine what are success is going to be at any given time, because success is a gift; but we can determine what our actions are going to be, and have hope that we will recieve far beyond our expectations if we just move forward in faith and trust in God. At one point,we got on the topic of our future and what is in store. President listed a few categories on the chalk board, one of them being love and marriage. Of course President Summerhays decides to single me out since i was the closest to going home, and he asked me how am i going to go about love and marriage when i get home. I thought for a moment, and told him, "President, i dont have a single idea." So President gave me some pointers about going to institute and dating. Your going to love this one mom. He told me that his best guess is that i will be getting married alot sooner than later. So wierd to even be thinking about that!

So we are just going to be flying out of Tallahassee? That sounds good. I think the places i would like to go through are Crawfordville, Fort Walton, and Troy. Those are really the only ones that i would like you to see. I think Pensacola would be a little too far. Maybe Crestview. I think that might be on the way from Fort Walton to Troy, so maybe that will work. Its going to be alot of driving, but it will be fun.

Thats cool that President Burnette is just going to meet us right when we get back. What are we going to do on Friday? Just relax at the house with everyone? I would really like to go to In and Out, so maybe we can make a family trip over there? I like the idea of doing an FHE. That will be fun. I am so excited to see everyone!

That would be cool to get started with work. Pest Control would be a pretty good job i think. Thanks for sending that in for me. You sent me that registration information; do i need to fill those out by a certain date? Please let me know so that i can plan a time to do that.

Thats awsome that you were able to talk to Sister Summerhays. She is amazing. I think i am most excited for you guys to meet with her and President more than anyone else.

Well, I love you mom and dad. Im glad everything is going good back home. I am excited for next month!

Love, Elder Burnham

Monday, March 8, 2010

March 8, 2010 Crawfordville, Elder Jenkins killing me off

Hey Guys!
This week has been great. I love Crawfordville. It really is just out in the middle of nowhere. We we have had a really good few days since i have been here. Our teaching pool is a pretty good size. We are teaching a couple named Will and Whitney who both have very solid testimonies of the restored Gospel and are progressing toward baptism on March 27.

Its pretty different here though. Normally i have been in areas where you can find streets with houses that are really close together and those are the ones that are the best for tracting. But here, all of the houses are so spaced out, so it maked tracting a little bit more interesting. It has been alot of fun tracting down some of the dirt roads out here. The whole area is just a few main streets, and then dirt roads off all of them, so its really fun.

Elder Jenkins is an awsome companion. Im actually really happy that he is killing me off. We have alot of fun together but work hard at the same time. He reminds me of a mix between Brett and Jake Brown. He is really funny. He has been out about 20 months now so he doesnt have very much time left either.

We had a pretty funny experience a couple days ago. While we were knocking on some doors, this 9 or 10 year old kid kept following us around with his little tiny dirt bike and was yelling all sorts of stuff at us. He told us that we were going to hell and that nobody wanted to listen to us. It was wierd because he was so young, but was trying so hard to insult us. Many times he would ride as close to us as he could and then skid out and try to kick dirt up on to us, but he failed every time. The best part is that at every door, he would tell us that nobody was home, and every time someone would answer the door. Then on one door, he told us that nobody would ever want to hear our message, and at that door, a man answered and let us in. As we were going in, i looked back at the kid and gave him a big smile and a thumbs up.

That man that let us in was named Bill. He was a really interesting guy. We taught him for about 20 minutes, and he seemed really interested, so we will see what happens in the future.

To tell you the truth, i am really happy to be out of theodore. I mean, the members were great, and Elder Tolley was great, but there was just abslolutely nothing going on there. This area on the other hand has so much going on, on the memers are amazing. They feed us alomost every night and are all willing to get out and work. The members are all really involved and they all no our investigators. I am excited to finish my mission here where i know i will be able to finish strong.

So that is really cool that Brett and Ray will be in California for the summer. I am so excited to hang with them. I am so excited to get to spend some time with the family as well. As far as the lake goes, i am fine with whoever wants to go. If Ray and Brett want to go i am fine with that, but if you would rather just have our family i am fine with that too. Either way will be alot of fun.

My new adress 46 Mary Lou trail Crawfordville, FL 32327.

I will take alot more pictures this tranfer. It is a way cooler looking area than Theodore was so i will make sure to take some. I love you guys! I will see you soon:)

Love, Elder Burnham

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March 2, 2009 My mission has been the greatest experience of my life

Thank you for forwarding that email to me that Elder Bond Wrote. He is such an awsome Elder. Those were some of the best weeks of my mission serving with him in Troy. Thats really cool of him to write you guys.

So i was pretty suprised about transfer information. I am getting tranferred for my last six weeks. I am actually really excited. I am going to Crawfordville which is pretty close to Tallahassee and is as back woods as you can get. This will be the first area of my mission where i can legitimetely say that i am out in the stix. I am going to be serving with Elder Jenkins which is also really cool. I served around him in the beginning of my mission and he is a great guy. We are really good friends. At first i was a little bit confused at why i was getting tranfered, but President Summerhays called me and told me the reason why. I guess recently he sat in on a lesson recently with the Elders in Crawfordville with a nice couple who are having some difficulties overcoming some problems and preparing for baptism. President told me that he recieved a very specific witness from the Lord telling him that he needed to send me to that area and that there were people in Crawfordville that i needed to help. I cant really be upset with that answer, so i guess i am going to Crawfordville haha.

So this got me thinking, maybe we dont even need to come out to Mobile. There is only one family out here that would be worth seeing (the Schloemers) but is that worth coming all the way out to the end of the mission for? If Troy is the furthest up we go, then we could just fly right back out of Tallahassee, I think. Would it be cheaper and easier that way? There really isnt too much to see here in Mobile except for tthe Schloemers. I would be fine with that. What are your thoughts?

Anyways, this week was good. We had a good lesson with Desiree. We explained to her that we had taught her everything that she needed to know to find her own testimony. She hasnt really been praying and doesnt seem to have too strong of a desire, so we just bore our testimonies and kind of left it in her hands, so hopefully she will come through.

We also went on Trade-offs this week with a few different missionaries in the Zone. I was able to go on one with an awsome Elder who i will probably be really good friends with after the mission. He is serving in Atmore which is also in the middle of nowhere. It was a good trade-off. We taught a couple lessons and knocked on some doors out on some dirt trails. It was fun.

The last couple of days have been hectic. We are moving apartments because there has been so many problems with these ones. So we have just been moving furniture and cleaning and packing for the last couple days. I am going to be sending some stuff home so that i dont have tons to fly home with in 6 weeks.

I am so wierded out that i am in the last tranfer of my mission. It doesnt seem like it has been two years, but at the same time, it seems like forever ago that i was being trained by Elder Honzic and scared out of my mind. My mission has been the greatest experience of my life. I am so excited to talk to you guys about everything and to show you at least a few places and people that have made an impact on me. I think i am mostly excited for you to meet President Summerhays. He has been my best friend out here and is one of the greatest leaders i have ever known. I cant belive its happening soon! Am i supposed to be sad or happy?! I dont know!! ahhhh!!

So anyways, i love you guys. I am glad you had a good week. Ill talk to you next week and tell you all about my new area.

Love, Elder Burnham

Monday, February 22, 2010

Feb 22, 2010 More focus onto less-active work

It sounds like you guys are having so much fun making all of these plans for the place out in Dammeron. I am so excited for you. That is going to be so much fun out there. Have they started building yet, or is that not going to start for another couple months?

Our week has been good. We have been finding alot more people lately while knocking on doors. Most of the appointments are falling through, but there is still more signs of life then there was a few weeks ago, so we are happy about that. We found one guy last week who told is that our Spirits didn't have a gender. He had all sorts of crazy ideas. We had a lesson with Desiree last week that went really well. Normally she doesn't say much, but this time, she was speaking her mind the whole time and said that she actually felt the Spirit while she was reading the Book of Mormon. We were really excited about that because up up until then, she wasnt really progressing at all.

I had an interview with President a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about what we need to do to get the work picked back up in the Theodore ward. We have been working hard and doing alot of tracting, but we just arent seeing very much success. President recommended that we start putting alot more focus into less-active work, so that is what we have been doing lately. We are trying to get into homes of the members and teach them the Restoration. We have had alot more success lately since we have started doing this so we will see how it goes. We got President Summerhays to come down and speak to the ward in a few weeks. The Bishop in our ward got really excited when we told him that so he invited the Stake President to come down to speak that sunday as well, so it will be a really good sunday for our ward and hopefully they will start to pick things up again.

Transers are coming up next monday. I will officially have one transfer left after that. I cant beleive it is almost March already! This will be my last full month. I really am a little worried. Its going to be nice to have everyone home for the summer. I just hopeI'm not ridiculously awkward.

I really need to start calling people from my old areas to see if they are going to be around when we are traveling through. Your right though, even if there arent very many people home, it will still be fun just touring back through and visiting the areas. Do you want me to give you a list of the areas i have served in so that you can map figure out the fastest route to go through, or do you want me to figure all that out?

Well, i am getting excited to see you guys. I am loving every moment of what i am doing out here though and i am so grateful for everything that i have experienced over the past two years. It will be a fun drive when we tour back through. I will get to tell you all of the details of each area. I am so excited for you to meet Ed. Hes the man. I still call him every other week. He is doing so good right now.

Anyways, i love you guys. See yall soon:)

Love, Elder Burnham

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Letter from Elder Bond Feb 20, 2010

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Burnham,

My name is Kyle Bond, those here in the mission field know me better as Elder Bond. I had the privilege of serving with one of the greatest missionaries I've ever known, Elder Burnham. Elder Burnham is very highly spoken of by our mission president and missionaries in the Florida Tallahassee Mission, but he is more than a good missionary (as you already know) to me. Elder Burnham is my best friend and brother. It would be safe to say that he helped me love others by his example, and that he helped change my life.

The Lord blessed me with the opportunity to serve 2 transfers with Elder Burnham. During those 2 transfers I saw miracles and felt humbled to serve with, in my opinion, the greatest leader and person this mission has ever seen. During our short time serving together we met a man by the name of Ed Stevens who changed both of our lives and all 3 of us became very close. I have many journal entries about Elder Burmham of which I still draw strength from. I want you to know that my love for Elder Josh Burnham is great. He helped me to better see the good in everything. He helped me to not stress the unimportant things. He listened to me as I inquired of him for advice. He made me know I could trust him by his example. Then he patiently listened as I shared with him things that I haven't with anyone else, things that I'd thought about my whole life. Sounds like a pretty cool guy huh? I know he is, He is the hardest working missionary I know and one of the most fun people to be around. He spoke very highly of the both of you, and I have no doubt in my mind that you are great people. I hope one day well get to meet. I am so thankful that Elder Burnham chose to serve.

Love, someone who highly respects and looks up to your son,
Elder Kyle Steven Bond

Monday, February 15, 2010

Feb 15, 2010 Learning alot from Elder Tolley

Mom and Dad-

Thats funny that sister Schloemer sent those pictures off so quickly to you guys. The Schloemers really are so good to us. They are the most solid family in the ward. They are constantly inviting their friends and neighbors to hear the lessons. We really love them.

Donnie looks so skinny. Wow, i cant believe he is already home. I cant believe this is all happening so fast. I talked to President Summerhays about schooling, and he said he felt good about me being in California for the first little bit of school. He actually suggested that i stay in California until i get my associates degree, but i dont know about that. There are a couple missionaies from this mission that are going to LDS business college. Sister Summerhays actually really wants me to go there. I love my interviews with her. She is so funny. She has all of these ideas of what she wants me to do when i get home and she gets really excited about it. She is our mission mom. That is really cool that Brett and Ray are doing so well. Brett is running for president? Thats pretty random, but so Brett at the same time.

I dont think you guys will be at the dinner, but you better call and make sure. I am pretty sure that the interview with President Summerhays will be from 9-930pm, and then after that, i am off with you guys:) I am still a little bit worries that noone will be home when we go through to see everybody, but even if most of them arent, it will still be really fun to have stop in some of the areas and show you around. If we have a little extra time maybe we can even go see some of Destin beach which is right next to Fort Walton.

That is pretty awsome that The Daltons got called to Honnolulu. They are going to have so much fun. I was kind of hoping that they would get called here, but i am sure they are just fine with their call.

This week has been good. Elder Tolley was sick for a couple days, but he worked hard through it and is feeling alot better now. Did you here about the freak weather that we had out here? It snowed on Friday Morning for about 4 or 5 hours! I guess there were some parts of our mission that got 3-5 inches of snow on the ground. Pretty crazy huh? It was really fun to knock on doors during that time because most people invited us in to get us out of the cold. We ended up finding 3 new investigators that day which was a miracle, especially for this area. Elder Tolley and i are working hard tgether. I am so happy to be ending my mission with a good companion, in a good area. I have learned so much here and i am learning so much from Elder Tolley. We were able to get into alot of doors this week and teach the restoration, but not to many people wanted us back. We still only really have one progressing investigator and that is Desiree, who we teach every week at the Schloemers house. She needs prayers. She is really trying to find answers.

So, just for future reference, you guys should check out a type of dog called Habaneese. The Schloemers have one and they are the coolest dogs ever. They look like a miniature Murphy, only with the personality of Max (our old cat.) They are bread to not bark and to be really calm. I know Sadie has a long time to live, but just keep that in mind.

Anyways, sorry for that random tangent. I am so happy right now. I am so grateful for your prayers. I know that they are helping me so much. Thank you. I love it so much out here. It feels so good to open your mouth and bear witness of the Savior and His restored Gospel. I dont know what i am going to do when i get home and that isnt my sole purpose all day every day anymore. I love you guys so much. Tell the family That i will be writing them Tomorrow. Elder Tolley and i set goals to write letters, so i am going to do it. Tomorrow is actually our p-day, but President told us to email today because it is Fat Tuesday tomorrow and everything will be closed.

K, well thank you again for everything!I love you!

Elder Burnham

Monday, February 8, 2010

Feb 8, 2010 Setting personal goals, 3 journals

Hey Mom and Dad!

Wow, i am so excited for you guys! That is so great that everything is working out so nicely. I cant wait to see what Dammeron valley is all about. I cant believe 5 acres of land is that cheap! Thanks for filling me on on all the details. I was really curious ablout how all this was happening, and now i have a better image in my mind. That will be so fun for the dogs and for chile to have so much space.

Thats really cool that you guys have been getting up early to excercise. I love excercising every morning. I never thought in a million years back home that i would eventually enjoy waking up at 6:30am and excercising. I going to try to put on some wait over the next 2 months before i get home. Mom, thats awsome that your business is going so well. Im happy that your keeping busy. Dad, is the new practice still doing good? I guess its not that new any more huh. Time has flown by way to fast hasnt it?

Last week was a really good week. We were able to finally find a few new people to teach, and they all seem like they will be pretty solid. We have just had to knock alot of doors lately because we dont have very many appointments set up. We had Zone Leader Council on Thursday. It was a really good meeting. I always learn so much from President Summerhays. Something that i have been focusing alot on lately is the importance of setting personal goals. I have 3 different journals i write in every night now. I have my normal missionary journal, a spiritual/quotes journal, and now i just started a daily and weekly goals journal. If i have a slower day where i just didnt feel like i did the best i could, i review my day that night in prayer with the Lord, and ask what i can change and do better on the next day. This pattern has really helped me over the past week. Every time i set goals with a determinattion to act on them the next day, i feel so powerfully the cleansing and enabling power of the Atonement helping me to change what i cant cange on my own.

We have Zone conference tomorrow. President Summerhays has changed things around a little bit so now the zone leaders will be doing most of the trainings in zone conferences again. I am not a huge fan of that, but it will give me some good practice i guess.

So as far as you guys coming out here to pick me up goes, the only person i can guarantee that will be home is Ed. I still havent called anyone else from my other areas, but im guessing most of them will be at work during the day. Are you ok with that? If most of the people are at work, are you ok with just visiting through and seeing the areas i served in? I talked to Ed and his wife Mary, and they are open all day, so i am happy about that. I will call everyone this week and see how many of them will be home. How much more expensive will it be to fly out of Mobile?

Donnie is already home? That is so crazy! How is he? Has he given his homecoming talk yet? Wow, that flew by.

So Mom i am getting your car? How do you like the new one? Thank you guys so much for that. You really dont have to give me moms if you dont want. I can work for a new one or something. I know how much mom loves that car. Thank You!

Anyways, i love you guys. I am so happy for you that all these things are working out. I want you to know how much i love this work. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that Joseph Smith saw what he says he saw. I know these things for myself. The Holy Ghost has confirmed it to me. I am so grateful for His Mercy, love, patience for me and our family. I am especially grateful for our family. I love all of you guys so much. Thank You for every thing! I will see you before you know it. I love you!
- Show quoted text -

Monday, February 1, 2010

Feb. 1, 2010

Hey mom and Dad!

Mom i am so sorry to hear about Tony. I'm happy though that her family is taking everything so well. I love you mom, and i hope your doing alright. I know its been a tough past few months for you.

That is really cool that you guys were able to find a place in Dammeron Valley. From how you described it, it sounds like a beautiful place. That will be so much fun for the kids to have that much space to play around in. Im excited. Will it end up being cheaper than what our house will sell for? How close is Dammeron Valley to the lake? How close is it to the St. George temple? That would be awesome to live that close to such a historical temple.

This week was also very interesting for us. I woke up early Monday morning to a strange water splashing sound. Sound familiar? I got out of bed to see what it was, opened up our utility closet, and saw that water was pouring in from the ceiling. I woke everyone else up and called the emergency maintence guys again. The guy i talked to said that he would be right over. Well, for 30 minutes we just sat and watched the water slowly seap into the carpet. There was nothing we could really do other than try to stop the water from getting into the carpet, but that wasn't working. So by the time the maintenence guy showed up, our apartment was flooded again. It wasn't as bad as last time, but we still had to move all of our stuff into the front room again, and they had to tear out all of our carpet...again. we had the apartment back in order for about a week before the same thing happened all over again. So far this area has been the strangest area of my mission. It seems like so many strange things like this just keep happening. I think the adversary really doesnt want us to focus on the work or something. Its nice though that i have a companion now that is easy to work with. So we are just working to try and get everything back in order.

Other than that, we had a pretty good week. Like i said, its kind of a strange area. We have been working really hard, but we haven't seen very much success yet. We are teaching one lady named Desiree who is keeping all of her commitments, and even came to church yesterday, so we are excited about her.

Although things have been a little difficult in this area, I am still happy. I am doing everything i can, and i feel like i am still learning and growing every day. I think that good things will happen here, i just need to remain patience, and optimistic.

As far as flying into Tallahassee goes and where we should fly out, I dont really know what we should do. Mobile is about a 6 hour drive from Tallahassee. It would be alot of driving if we drove all the way back. Also, did you guys want to meet alot of the members and converts while driving through, or did you just want to mainly see the areas? Because if we drive through on that Thursday, i am guessing that alot of the Members that i would want you guys to meet will be at work. The only one that for sure will be home will be Ed Stevens. He only works mondays and tuesdays. But i am not sure about everyone else. I can call around and see this week and let you know next week if you would like.

I love you guys so much. I am getting excited to see everyone. Stay safe! I love you!!!!

Love, Elder Burnham

Friday, January 22, 2010

Jan 22, 2010 Elder Tolley an amazing missionary, a second flood

Hey Mom and Dad!

This last week was so great. Elder Tolley is an amazing missionary. I think these next two tranfers will be alot like the ones i had with Elder Gooch. We already get along so good, and we were really hard together. For the past month or two there has been no signs of life here in Theodore, but just within the past week, things have really started to pick up.

We are now teaching a lady named Desiree who some members (the Schloemers) introduces us to. We have our lessons with her at the Schloemers house every week now. She is progressing pretty well. She is a in her 30's and is a single mom looking for a church to settle down in. We are excited about her. Aside from that, we are making alot of plans to work with the youth in our ward to help them invite their friends. We had a really good experience yesterday in Church. We were pulled into the young mens/young womens class to teach sunday school. We were caught by suprise so we had no idea what we were going to teach. At first everyone in the class was pretty roudy, but within a few minutes, everyone was participating. We just started to ask some simple questions like, "what kinds of questions are you asked about the church by your friends?" And, "What are the answers you give to them." We helped them to answer common gospel questions and helped them to see the importance of bearing testimony in those situations. There was one young women in the class who was about 15 years old and at first was very closed off. She had a tongue ring and dressed pretty crazy. She made alot of comments saying that she was only there because her grandmother forces her to go every sunday. I testified to her of the power that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought into my life. We testifies to her of the importance of learning truth and living it right now and not waiting until later on. I really felt a connection of what she is going through right now, and the Spirit was so strong as we bore our testimonies to her. The Spirit touched this young womens heart yesterday and it was amazing to see her countenence change by the end of class. It was just a neat experience for me.

I think that one day out here will be fine. There really isnt too much to see anyways. It will be a very full day, but that's ok. I cant swim or anything anyways so its not like we can spend time at any of the beach resorts or anything. I think the only place that i would want to visit would be Fort Walton, Troy, and probably here in Theodore. I think it will work out. Would we just fly out of Mobile?

I would love to spend some time out at the lake when i get back. I think that would be really nice to just have some quiet time out there before i get started with school and work and everything else. I am actually really looking forward to some time out there.

That is so awsome that President Dalton is going to be a Mission President. It would be amzing if he was sent to this mission. He would love it so much. The culture of this mission and the direction that it is heading is great. You will have to give me the Dalton's adress so i can write them. I love President Summerhays, because of his ability to get out of the way, and let the Spirit run things the way they are supposed to be run. His interviews dont consist of him counciling us, they consist of him asking us, "how are you?" "How are you feeling?" "What is on your mind?" He trusts that the Spirit will work through us to give him what he needs to work with. I really cant put into words all the different reasons i love President Summerhays. He is completely submissive to the Spirit, and does not do anything of his own will, but always seeks to do His will. I wish i could put it into better words. I guess you will just have to meet him for yourself:)

I think that will work out ok with fullerton starting a little later after i get home, because then i can work and get some money saved up. Thank you so much for looking into all that stuff for me. That would be pretty nice if some extra money came in to pay for a couple semsters from that accident. I cant believe that that is still going on.

I am so excited for the next 10 weeks! I have an awsome companion who loves to work, and i am in a great ward. I am so happy. I know with all my heart that this is HIS work. I love every single second of my mission. I cant wait for you to meet some of the people that have impacted my life so much. Thank you guys for the email. They always make my weeks so much better. I love you so much!

Love, Elder Burnham

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jan 15, 2010 Big changes coming

Hey Mom and Dad!

We just got tranfer information. I am staying here and Elder Fox is getting tranferred. My new companion is going to be Elder Tolley. I have served around him a couple times; once in Crestview and once in Fort Walton. He seems like an awesome missionary. Everyone i have talked to so far says that i am going to love him. I have actually known about this for the past few days now. I have been talking with President alot over the past week because he has been helping us with the whole carpet situation, and he let me know a few days ago that there would be some big changes here and that Elder Fox would be leaving. It has been really hard not to say anything to anyone the last couple days. So, i am very excited about the next couple transfers. Elder Tolley will most likely be my last companion. So weird!

Last week was one of the more challenging weeks for me. I was struggling to be patient all week. I wont go into details because it is pretty much the same type of stuff i talked to you guys on the phone about. I did however learn alot this week and was able to find alot of answers to my prayers. I have been trying to think of ways in my personal studies lately to set and record goals for attributes that i am trying to work on. I have never been a big goal setter, but after a really difficult day this week, i prayed, and recieved an answer that i need to start setting personal goals for myself and recording them. So i have been trying to think of a good system for that.

The hard week ended great though. We finally got new carpet and a new washer. Our apartment is finally back in order and spot clean. It was such a miracle that it everything got put back in order right before the new tranfer. So that made the whole difficult week worth it.

I really havent heard too much about flexibility with release dates. I know of missionaries that have gone home early for school, but i dont know of any other cases. I know it would probably be a little more difficult in my case because i am in a leadership possition and President would have to replace me with someone else just for the last few days. Also, you guys wouldnt be able to have that interview with President if i was released a few days earlier because he sets specific time aside to do that on transfer days. So thats why you guys would have to call and find out that information because i really do'nt know. It is getting exciting to talk about though:)

As far as school goes, i would prefer to go to Fullerton. I don't know what is available over there, but i did enjoy that institute alot. I mean, if you would like to register for me that would be great, i just feel bed making you do that, and maybe it would be good for me to do it. Whatever way will work.

I am so sorry about Tony. I know how much you love her. Everything will be ok. It will all work out exacly the way that it is supposed to. I love you Mom! Im sorry.

Well, i have to go write President now. I am sorry that i haven't taken any pictures since i have been here. I promise to do better this transfer. Dad, i love you! Mom, I love you! See you soon!

Love, Elder Burnham

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jan 10, 2010 Zone leader council was amazing

I had a really good week. We didnt think it would be a very productive week because we had zone leader council all day on Tuesday, then a tradeoff with some missionaries in Daphne on Wednesday, then zone conference all day on Friday. But, the Lord helped us and we were still able to have a successful week even though we weren't even in our area for three of the days. We are still having trouble finding anyone to teach, so we are just knocking on alot of doors every day, and doing alot of re-activation work.

Zone leader council was amazing. It almost like another zone conference, only all the other missionaries are all really strong leaders and are all hard working missionaries; so i feel like the Spirit is able to teach more through President Summerhays in those meetings than at a normal zone conference. It was really cool. It was all about what we need to do to stay in the right Spirit, and the patterns that we need to establish in our lives to keep that His Spirit with us throughout the rest of our lives.

Our apartment is still a wreck from the flood last week, but the maintenance guys said that they would be here today with the new carpet. It is been pretty rough having to deal with all this for the past week, but i have learned alot from it.

Things are going alot better with my companion. He is working alot harder and he seems to be alot happier. My prayers are definately being answered.

Tranfers are coming up in one week. This one has flown by so fast. I only have two more tranfers left, can you believe that? I still cant believe how fast it is going. If you guys are coming out, I still need to call some people from my other areas and see if they will be there around that time. So i guess just keep me posted with what you want to do. I'm really ok either way, and i just think it would be better for you guys to call the front office to ask.

As far as school goes, i think i am going to call President Summerhays this week and ask if i can start going online to check everything out. You said i can start applying in march right? I talked to Sister Summerhays about LDS business college, and she said she thought that was a great idea. I guess there has been a few missionaries from this mission that are going there now, and she said that they are really enjoying it. I dont really know if i want to go there, but i guess that was a plus coming from her.

I'm sorry i dont have too much more to talk about. I love you guys. Thank you so much for everything. I am so excited to see you in 3 months:)

Love, Elder Burnham

Dec. 14

Ok so i just finished writing a huge email to you guys, and when i sent it, for some reason i got botted off the server and i dont really have anymore time left here at the library. SO what i am going to do, is write you a letter and mail it off tomorrow. I am so sorry. I am really bugged at this computer right now. Anyways, i am doing really good here in Theodore. Elder Fox is great, and leadership is treating me well. I will explain all the datails in my letter. I am so sorry . I love you guys so much!!! Thank you for your email:) I cant wait to talk to you in 11 days:)

Love Elder Josh Burnham

K, well dont worry, i am still planning on writing you a letter today, but i have just a few more minutes here at the library. Theodore is going good so far. Leadership isnt all too bad. I dont have to give speaches or anything, i just have to help with the obedience of the Zone and go on trade offs, and make alot more phone calls and whatnot. I will give you more details in the letter. Just know that i love you and that i am happy. I had a pretty tough week adjusting to the new companion, but its all good now and i am happy here in Theodore:) I love you guys!

Love, Elder josh Burnham

Nov. 30

Mom and Dad-

Wow, it seems like there is alot going on back home right now, or at least there is a lot that is on your minds. That is so cool that you went out to the Ranch and fixed up the road ranger. It has been way to long since we have been up there. That is a really good idea that you guys had about keeping your RV there. How far away is Shawnas place from the ranch again?

It sounds like you had a good Thanksgiving. Thursdays are usually our weekly planning days, so our Thanksgiving started off with Planning until around 11:30. Then after that we went and had our first meal with An investigator named Dora and her family. There are about 10 of them that we are currently teaching and they are a very classic southern family, so yes the food was the greasiest of greasy. We had turkey, collard greens, brocolli caserole, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, rolls, and all kinds of desert. I was extremely full. They are really great people and they made us feel right at home. So right after we left there, we had promised a less-active little old southern white lady named Big that we would go over and eat with her family. I was already about to throw up, but i had to lossen the belt, and go for another Thanksgiving meal. Big had cooked almost all of the same stuff as Dora, only everything seemed to be alot greesier. I had to be polite and fill my plate full of food, and of course Big forced us to eat tons of desert. All three of us left Bigs house about ready to die. We road bikes for the rest of the day though so that helped to keep us from falling asleep. The rest of our Thanksgiving day was good. We just knocked on doors for the rest of the day, but didnt really have too much success beacause it seemed like everyone was out of town for the holidays.

The rest of the week went really well. We got a referral from a member in the Branch to go see this guy named Chris who is a student here at Troy University. It turns out this guy is very smart is really open to religion. The first lesson with him went so good, and he agreed with everything we talked about. We invited him to church, and he ended up driving out to Dothan which is an hour away and buying all new church cloths because he didnt have any. We are really excited about him. We have some other really solid people we are teaching right now as well.

I got your letters in the mail today. Thank you so much. I really appreciated that. I signed that paper and it is going in the mail today. I didnt really understand what it was though. Was it just qualifying me for Student aids or loans or something?

I cant really think of anything that i really want for Christmas. There are some little things that i have been wanting that i havent had the money for, but i can live them. I was looking for something to whiten my teeth before i go back home, dad, and i was wondering if you knew what worked best. I know that you can by different kinds of whitening strips from walmart, and my companions have said that they work pretty good. Do you know if those work? Anyways, i guess that is one idea for you of what i could use. As far as cloths go, i am tryind to wear everything out before the end of the mission. All my pants and Shirts are holding up pretty good, and i think i will be able to hold off until home. Shoes are the only things i am a little concerned about. The Bostonians that i got before i came out have almost had enough. They are starting to fall apart. I have been wearing another Elders shoes that went home a tranfer ago and those have been working out pretty good. So i think i will be fine for another 4 months, and i am not just saying that. I think i would rather by a new pair later than get a new pair now and wear them out before i get home. Dang, i am sorry that i am so lame. I really just need to think of stuff i need, i am sorry i am so difficult around Christmas time. Is there anything that you guys would like? Any souveniers or anything? I promise i will try and think of more things i need.

Well, im sorry that i have just written the most boring letter ever. I need to go email president now. I love you guys so much. Thank you for eerything!

Love, Elder Josh Burnham

Nov 23

Mom and Dad-

Thank you for those addresses. I am pretty sure that i sent letters to both Chad and Shawna about a month ago that went to the wrong adresses. Oops. So you guys had a dull week huh? Im sorry to hear that. Why did you end up taking the house off the market? I really hope you didnt do it for me! That will be nice though, to come back to a place that i am actually familiar with. That will be fun to have Katey and Keegan home for Thanksgiving. Is the ward doing any kind of turkey bowl or anything? That really stinks that Katey has Mono. I hated that so bad! Yeah hopefully nobody else catches it.

We have a couple Dinners lined up for Thanksgiving, so that we be nice. At 12pm, we are going over to an investigators house to eat with this huge family of like 10 people that we found last week. Its a pretty cool story. We knocked into this lady named Dora, and we taught her for about 5 minutes. She told us that she wanted us to come back in a few days, but we werent really sure how sincere she was beacause she seemed like she was pretty set in her ways. We went back a few days later for our appointment, and when we pulled up, we saw that there were a ton of people at her house, and a bunch of them were dressed pretty nicely. There door was opened so we could see inside that there was alot of people there. We figured that they had forgotten about our appointment and were having some kind of party or something, but as we walked up to the house, Dora came outside and said that She had been waiting for us. When we went inside, there were about 12 people sitting down on the couches and on the floor and they were all waiting for us to come teach them! I guess Dora has a bunch of extended family, and she called them all up and told them to come over to listen to us. So as we taught, every single person there was participating and asnwering questions. It was so awsome. The lesson was really good and the Spirit filled the room. After the lesson, they asked us if we went home on the holidays to be with our families; when we told them we didnt, they told us that we were going to go to their place for Thanksgiving. And they are white! whoo whoo! So that was a cool experience that we had this week.

For a while there, we were having a really hard time finding anyone to teach, but recently, all of the knocking on doors has paid off. We recently were able to find a guy who is about our age named jared. We ran into him a couple weeks ago and he told us to just give him a call because he would be really busy that week. We left him with a Chapter to read from the Book of Mormon, but we figured that would be the last we heard from him because that is what most people say when they just want to get rid of us. So we ended up calling him this last tuesday, and he had read the chapter we left him, and had prayed about it, and wants to continue taking the lessons. He is a really smart guy who is a business major here at Troy University. He came to church yesterday and really enjoyed it, so we are very excited about the things that have been going on lately. We really have been so blessed here in Troy.

Lately, i have been thinking alot about how scarey it is to be going home in less than 5 months. I feel like i still have so much more to learn, and not even close to enough time to learn it. I dont think i am going to be ready to go home in April! I have been studying alot lately out of the Christ like attributes chapter out of Preach my Gospel, and i have come to the conclusion that i dont have any of them! Who is going to want to marry me?! I have been in a week long study of Charity and have been trying to apply it everyday. I am going to do that with every attribute in Ch. 6 of Preach my Gospel and hopefully it will help. As you can tell, i am starting to get stressed out because it seems like time is all of a sudden going light speed and i dont have anough time to do anything. Do you guys have any advise for me?

I think i want to get started with School as soon as possible when i get back, but i also dont want to overload myself, because i want to have some time with the family over the summer as well. That is pretty crazy that Alison is getting married, and Kevin too! What the heck? What is the guys name that Megan Groch is dating again? You said he was an AP in this mission?

Sorry that this letter was so scattered. I have alot on my mind lately. It is going to be so refreshing to be able to talk to you guys next month about everything. I am having the time of my life right now. Sometimes it is hard for me to put in words the feelings i have about my mission, so it will be nice to talk to you on the phone about it all.

I cant really think of anything that i need for Christmas. I think i am just going to try to make everything last until the end. My pants, shirts, and shoes are all starting to fall apart, but i think they will make it. I am sorry again that my letters arent better, i can never express how i feel very well. JUst know that i love you guys so much. Thank you for everything!

Love, Elder Josh Burnham

Nov 16 letter

Hey guys!

Mom, i hope you know that i have remembered your Birthday all week and i wasnt able to get a letter out until Today. I almost got you a card last monday, but then i felt bad and i ended up not buying it because it wouldnt have been too appropiate. You would have laughed though. So i ended up just printing some pictures off and wrote a small letter. I hope that is ok. There really wasnt too much to get for you in Troy. But anyways, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Sorry i am a day late. Did you guys end up doing anything exciting?

I am glad to hear that everything worked out well with Boppas party. Sounds like Parker is trouble. I am so excited to get to know him better. I am also so excited that Mom was able to find that video of Switzerland. How long was that video? I am excited to see all of our relatives. Do you think you will ever go back?

Thank you so much for those pictures. Julie is so old! What the heck?! Ryan still looks pretty much the same, I love it!

That is cool that Ray and Brett are both doing up at school. Our new companion Elder Barney went to LDS Business college and says that he really liked it. I dont even want to think about it yet. The more i think about it, the more i just get scared. Life is so good right now because i only have to focus on one thing every single day. I feel like there is going to be so many things to worry about when i get home! It will be good though.

This week has been really good. We havent had very many really solid investigators lately, so we have been doing alot of knocking on doors and contacting people on the street. This week has been pretty succesful. A huge part of it has been prayer. A couple weeks ago, i realized my prayers were starting to get pretty repetitious. So the next morning i had some really powerful impressions about the importance of prayer. Ever since that experience, i have been keeping a Prayer and answer Journal that has helped me so much lately. I have never in my life felt the reality of personal revelation so strongly. A huge influence on me was the Talk that Elder Scott gave in the first session of this last conference. I went back and read it, and it really hit home for me the importance of recieveing personal revelation. In the past week, i have recieved personal instruction that has helped me so much in the work and with my companions. I found i really cool scripture yesterday that gave me alot of comfort about Boppa. When i was in sunday school, one of the Chinese recent converts asked a question that made me think about Nonna and Boppa. He said, "Will my family have the opportunity to recieve the fulness of the Gospel even if they encountered it but did not accept it in this life?" When he asked that, i started to flip through my scriptures and i came across a verse in Moroni 7 that stuck out to me. In V.47 it says," But Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and WHOSO is found possesed with it at the last day, IT SHALL BE WELL WITH HIM. Boppa was one of the most kind, loving, and fun people to be around. He was charitable. And it says whoso has Charity at the last day, it shall be well with them.

Tracting has been interesting lately. We have found alot of really solid people, but also alot of crazies. The drunk people are always the best. We had a guy the other day invite us into his home who was out of his mind. He kept going back and forth into the other room and we thought he was going to come out with a gun or something. We finally got him to sit down and we talked with him for a little bit. He said he knew he had a problem and that he wanted to quit drinking. We told him that the only way he could overcome his addiction is if he acted right now and threw all his alchohol out. He told us he would quit after he finished it all; so we told him we couldnt help him then. After talking about it for a little bit, Elder Barney cracked his neck, and the man jumped up off his chair and yelled, " i can break your neck for you!" He grabbed elder Barneys face and from what it looked like was about to break his neck! Elder Barney is a pretty big guy so he smacked the guys arms out of the way and We pulled the guy away. We felt that that was probably our key to leave. We have some wierd experinces like that everyday. Troy is a very interesting place.

Anyways, i am probably getting boring, and i need to go email President. Is there anything i can do for you guys? Do you want any souveniers or anything from Alabama? I am so excited to talk to you guys on Christmas. I love you so much!

Love, Elder Josh Burnham

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jan 3 2010

Mom and Dad-

It sounds like your week was pretty packed. Im glad you guys had a fun and safe time. Your probably pretty sick of driving now though huh?

This week was pretty hectic. My patience was definetely tried and tested, but it was good for me. The first few days of the week went pretty good. We found a couple people to teach and we were working hard. New Years eve was a bit frustrateing in the day time because noone was home, but we still had a productive day. At around 7pm we went to the Schlamers home and they fed all eight of us missionaries. We watched them light off some fire works as well, so that was fun. Heres the great part of the week. We went to sleep on New Years Eve, and one of the other missionaries had thrown a load of wash in right before he went to bed. Well, i woke up at around 12:30am to a strange bubbling noise. It sounded like it was coming from the window which is right nect to my bed. So i tried messing with it, but the bubbling noice was still there. I soon realized that the bubbling noice was coming from underneath my matress, which is on the ground. I reached down to the floor and my hand went under 2 inches of water. So i got out of bed, turned on the light, and saw that our entire apartment was filled with water. The hose on the back of our washing machine had come off and was running for over two hours, dumping water into our apartment. After i turned the water off, we took our matresses, which were filled with water and weighed about two hundred pounds, outside and just went to sleep on our couches in the front room. The next morning, we called maintenence and they came and tore out most of the carpet in the apartment. So everything is a mess right now in our place and we had to spend alot of our time just trying to figure out what to do until we get new carpet this week. Its been good though. I have had some time to talk to Elder Fox about pretty much everything that i talked to you guys about, and he has been really trying to do better. This week has been tough, but i feel like alot has been acomplished, so it has been good.

I was reading President Summerhays's email today, and i realized that i have been a huge dummy! I havent been saving any of his emails. I should just forward them to you guys every week so that i can have them for the future. I hope you dont mind if i start doing that.

I had a neat teaching experience last night. We were at a dinner appointment with an active family. They invited one of their friends who is a nonmember to come and join them for family home evening afterward. A discussion opened up about the word of wisdom, and the non member lady asked why we could drink soda, but not tea. Everyone was trying to give all of these scientific answers to her. They were all trying to give these logical explanations and health facts, but the lday wasnt buying it. She said, none of that feels right, and until i here something that makes sence, i cant believe what you believe. After not saying anything the whole time, something from preach my gospel came to mind, and i told her, "ma'am, i dont think that that is the real question you have. I think the real question is whether or not Joseph Smith is a true Prophet. Either he is, or he isnt. If he is not, then you can take the word of wisdom and everyone of his teachings and throw it out the window; But if he is, then that answers every single question that you have about all of this. All of your questions can be answered by praying to know if he is a true Prophet. There was a little pause, and she then said, "in my 14 years of asking that question to mormons, i have never had a responce like that. That is logical. That makes sence." The Spirit was really strong. It felt so good because we havent had very many teaching oportunities lately.

Anyways, i dont have much more to say about this week. The more i think about you guys coming up here to pick me up, the more and more i like the idea. I am happy that you kind of talked me into it.

I love you guys. Stay safe this week!

Love, Elder Josh Burnham