Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reflect the Light

Dear Family!                                                                                    June 2, 2014

Sounds like you had a big week with Kenna graduating and dad getting released (finally)!  But I am glad that it was good!!

This past week for me has been better than the first two this transfer.  I don’t know why this transfer has been so hard for me, I don't remember it being this hard when I got transferred to Laguna, but I do have good news, that I am adjusting, and I feel normal again!!! :)

So about my week!  Tuesday was a tender mercy from God!  It was so great to be in Laguna.  I got to see so many people!  It was so great!  One miracle that I know was probably a big reason of why I went to Laguna on Tuesday was Catherine. She's been really struggling with some personal things, and we stopped by her little store in Laguna, and I was just able to talk to her and share with her things that have helped me in the past.  It is so interesting, cause there have been moments in my mission where I have wondered if the experiences I have been through actually will help me or someone else.  But Tuesday was a great testimony to me that I am here for a purpose, and it wasn't just with Catherine, but it happened again and again throughout my exchange with Sister Hurst.  We also saw Brian and Kristy, in the course of that conversation Kristy talked about how there are some missionaries that really struggle being in certain areas, wondering why they are there, and sometimes leave feeling like they really didn't do much.  Or that, “oh I only helped this one person, that isn't much at all.”  And as she was talking, everything she was saying were thoughts that I'd been having the past week, and so I just started bawling, and Sister Hurst was like, "Yup, Sister Burningham needed to hear that."  And it was just so interesting, cause I hadn't said anything, Kristy had just started talking.  It was a miracle. :)

I also got to teach Lynda while I was in Laguna, and that was great!  It was crazy though, to see the change in her from just 2 weeks! The gospel really does change us, emotionally, physically and spiritually!! So that is good!  She is scheduled to get baptized this weekend, so hopefully I will have pictures next week of that!!! :)  So that is really great!  The gospel is so amazing when we let it into our lives! :)  And that also goes for Michelle who we were able to teach, she has been reading the Book of Mormon, and it is changing her! So cool!! :) I love the little miracles I get to see everyday as a missionary!

Wednesday things were back to normal with Sister Chua! :)  And that was great! It was a blessing to go back to Laguna Beach for a day, but I knew things were looking good when it felt almost normal to be back in Irvine with Sis. Chua! :)  We get along great, and she is just so wonderful!  On Wed we taught our investigator named Carl.  We taught him the plan of salvation, and with almost every part of it he wanted biblical proof.  At one point I just looked at him and said "Carl, I don’t know everything, I don’t know where to find everything in the Bible or even the Book of Mormon, but I know that it is true, God does have a plan for us, and that is what I know."  When people want proof, we really can't give them all that they want, because we don't have it all yet.  But we can testify.  Because I do know that God has a plan for me, that it started before I came here, and it will continue after this life!  I know that.  I don’t know what it will be like, I don't know what color I'll be in heaven, I just know that God's plan is perfect.  Carl still wanted more scripture verses, which we promised we would look up for him, but even in the past few weeks, his heart has been softening (how can it not if he is reading the Book of Mormon?!?!? It is true, and it will change your life if you read it!) So even though his progress is slow, he is an honest seeker of truth, and I'll be honest, I prayed about dropping him as an investigator, cause sometimes I am just like “ahhh that question really doesn’t matter right now....” but I know that he is a child of God, and God still wants us to meet with him and talk to him!  So we will!  And we'll just keep testifying!

Thursday I had Mission Leadership Council!  And that was great! One thing that really stuck out to me was when the first counselor in our mission presidency, President Ellis talked about how we need to keep lifting the faith.  He shared a story about a man who was once asked, “what is the purpose of life?”  This man, answering the question told of a story when he was young and had found a small broken mirror, which he played with and made a game of reflecting light into dark places.  He talked about how as he got older, he realized that if he tried, he could reflect light into the hearts of those who had darkened hearts.  And that that was the purpose of life.  Pres. Ellis had a small mirror, and then turned off the lights, but on the projector was a picture of Christ, which, when Pres. Ellis held the mirror up to the projector, the image of Christ was reflected onto the Ceiling.  We have the blessed opportunity of reflecting Christ's light to a world where there is so much darkness.  I've been thinking about this the past few days, and realizing that it is some of the little things that we do that can really reflect so much light, smiling at someone, waving, talking to someone, helping someone that needs a hand, sending someone an uplifting text, or writing a note to someone.  In these simple things we are sharing the light.  We are not the source of the light, we can only reflect it! But as we do, others will want to come to know Christ, because they know us!  So, this week, reflect the Light, Christ's Light :)

Friday was a rough day for me, I am not really sure why, but I really have just been feeling like I have been being attacked by Satan, which can only mean one thing, that good things are about to come!  Which I really feel like they are!  But I got a blessing and I've been feeling a lot better since then!!!

Saturday we had a great meeting as a zone and yesterday we had a fast that we can all set a baptism date this week for one of our investigators! Which is super exciting and that pumped me up! :) 
Yesterday was great!  Both testimony meetings were great, I even shared mine in Oak Creek, and things are looking bright there! So that is great news, we have a ward FHE tonight and we will be focusing on getting to know more of the ward members! So that should be great! :)

And then, as you saw from Pres. Orgill's facebook, the Yale Branch became a ward!  So that is so great!  There was such a great spirit in the chapel as the members shared their testimonies about how they felt about God and this new change!  :) So many didn't think that they would ever become a ward, so it was really a miraculous moment! And sister Chua leaned over to me and said, "now we are going to baptize." haha, so that is our goal, to baptize. 

Baptisms are hard to come by here in California, but when they do happen, when we are able to see someone progress from the time we begin teaching them to the time that they are in white and making a sacred covenant with God is so wonderful!  They truly are some of the sweetest moments I've experienced on my mission. I know that the field is white, ready to harvest, but one thing that I learned, that is actually a quote from Pres. Hinckley which is my favorite right now says, "Do your best, your very, very best, work hard and say your prayers and leave the harvest to the Lord."  Because this is His work, His children, and we are His instruments!  What a blessing, and now I'll just go out and work hard!!!!

Also, I wanted to say one more thing about Sister Chua, I love her so much!  She is such an example to me, and I'm supposed to be her trainer.  But she is a convert of just over 2 years. Yet her testimony burns deep into your heart.  She is so amazing, and I am so grateful that I get to serve with her!

So things are good, they are bright and well, my Chinese, not so great. haha. But we'll keep working on that one ;) I feel so blessed to be a missionary, for the things that it has already taught me and the things that I will continue to learn as my mission (and my life) goes on.  Such a blessing!!! :) I love it so much!  And well, I'll be the first to say that my mission is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but it also probably the best :) I love it, every minute!!! 

I hope you have a great week! You are so amazing! I love you all!!!


Sister Taylor Burningham

Missionaries of the new Yale WARD

My book to help me learn Mandarin

On my hike in Laguna

Me and Sister Hurst being silly on our exchange

Hello From Laguna!

Hello Family!                                                                                       May 27, 2014

Happy Memorial Day yesterday! I hope it was a good one! 

So lets see...this past week was CRAZY, CRAZY, CRAZY!!! To add to the craziness I'm on an exchange in Laguna today with Sister Hurst.  Fun right?  But I'll get to that in a minute!

So lets see...I've been adventurous this week.  Monday night we went to a lady's house in our ward and she did acupuncture on us, so that was exciting...We discovered that it did nothing to me...that apparently means that my body is all balanced, so that is a good thing!

Tuesday lets see...I had a Sister Training Leader Council, and we talked about Spiritual gifts, and how we all have different gifts of the Spirit, and the ways that we can help all the sisters in our mission recognize that they all have something to contribute to the work! :)  So that was really great! Then, for dinner we ate at a member of the Chinese Branch, and guess what, I had duck!  And it was delicious! :)  haha, but I'm still trying to get used to real Chinese food, cause it is just different than what we are used to.  But the members are so great in the branch (which may be turning into a ward this Sunday, so that is really exciting!)  But they are great, and they just love that they have sisters now, so that is a big blessing.

Wednesday was a CRAZY day.  So we woke up, studied, helped Sister Staley pack (she had to go home cause of being really sick, but hopefully she will be back in a few weeks!!)  Then we went to In and Out with Sister Conner and her companion, since Sister Conner had promised Sister Chua and Sis Staley that she would take them there.  :)  So then we went to language study so Sis Chua can get better at her Chinese, at the same time Sis Staley had an interview with Pres. Orgill who told me that he wanted me to go on an exchange with Sis Hedrick that night.  So that was exciting, and then Sis Conner came with me on the exchange, so we had to run and drop her comp off with some other sisters, and then see a less active before taking Sis Staley to the airport, then driving to Laguna Niguel to get Sis Hedrick and drop off Sis Chua.  So that was Wednesday.  It was really exciting!  haha.

Thursday we went with another sister who was going home to the airport, to send her off, and then we rushed to choir.  Where I didn't end up singing, Sis Hurst was there, and I just kinda had a mini break down, just with all the sudden changes, I was like...ahhhh why is this all happening right now!!?!?!   So I cried, and talked and felt a whole lot better after that!  And then Sis Chua and I taught our investigator Carl, and that went well!  He is making progress, it is slow, but it is still progress!!! :)

Friday was GOOD!  A good day. We got to go contacting and teach lessons, and I just really felt the Spirit.  And as I was studying in personal study I read "and we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ and we prophesy of Christ and we write according to our prophecies that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins" 2 Nephi 25:26.  And I just remembered that truly everything that we do and everything that we believe is centered on JESUS CHRIST!  He is everything, and He makes everything possible!  And I am so grateful for Him and for His sacrifice!  One of my favorite quotes is, "if everyone truly understood the atonement, they would never be unhappy," and I think that is true.  And it was another one of those things that just hit me, cause I was still feeling like things were rough (life is rough...silly me)  but, if I turn to the Savior and live righteously I will find happiness! :)  So that was a good part about Friday!

Saturday we had interviews with Pres. Orgill, and that was just fabulous. I realized why these past few weeks have been so hard.  One, because change is hard, and I am not always a fan of it.  And two, because I just came from a ward who LOVES their missionaries, to a ward who barely started letting their missionaries come to ward council.  It really has been a shock to the system.  But  I know why I am here, I know that I am supposed to be with Sister Chua and that as Pres. Orgill called it, I'm here to help the "Thaw" of the Oak Creek Ward.  And don't get me wrong, the members are great!  And I've loved everyone I've met so far, but I think I am just realizing how much more can happen as the members are more involved with the missionaries.  So we will see what happens! :)  I also got a blessing from Pres. Orgill. I feel so blessed to have had that opportunity so many times as a missionary! :)  The Spirit is always so strong and I really am reminded how much God is aware of me and how much He loves me and has a plan for me!! :)  So that was great, and I was able to leave with greater strength and greater faith!  :)  Also,  he said that I will probably stay with Sis Chua in both Oak Creek and Yale for the rest of my mission.  So, I'll be starting to learn Chinese this week, so that I will at least be able to bear my testimony and contact people in Chinese. So I am really excited for that! :)  Should be really fun.  And hard, but fun :)  I look forward to this new opportunity!! :)

Sunday was good.  A lot better than the week before! :)  We did the same thing, going to ward council and Sacrament in Oak Creek (where I was asked to bear my testimony, so that was good)  and then we went to the Yale Branch!  :)  So that was great!!

We also talked to 105 people on Sunday evening, and that was just so great.  Sister Chua and I were both so happy!!! :) I love talking to people!!

Yesterday was good, we went on a hike, in Laguna (basically we can go anywhere since we are serving in the Yale Branch, and that covers ummm I think Orange County...so that is fun).  But we got to see the ocean, and I love it so much!  We also cleaned and went to zone activity!  Then to a members family bbq where I remembered that it was a holiday! Then we taught an investigator and his mom and brother (who are already members) and that was good.  And then we exchanged.

So I am in Laguna today.  Some of the sisters last week had expressed concern about how Sis Hurst was doing with training after 12 weeks of being a missionary, and they suggested I come on an exchange with her.  Sister Hurst is doing fabulously! :)  So no worries there, I realized last night that this exchange really is a tender mercy from the Lord. I love Laguna, and not because of the area, but because of the people.  And that is what I miss the most, and today we will be blessed to get to teach a few of our investigators like Linda and Michelle.  We will also be teaching Ronnie tonight, so you'll probably get a picture ;) haha.  Anyway, it feels good to be back, even if it is only for a day.  I'll enjoy it, and make the most out of it, and then go and work as hard as I can in my own area!  :)  And I'll work hard at trying to learn Chinese too ;) 

So, things have been crazy, my emotions all over the place, but I can tell you that I am happy.  Why?  Because of so many reasons.  The Gospel is true! God loves me!  You all love me! I get to see the ocean today!  I feel the Spirit all the time, and I get to share the greatest message ever with all those around me!  Missionary work makes me happy.  The gospel makes me happy.  Knowing we will be together forever makes me happy.  Sister Chua makes me happy, oh man, she is so great! I love her!  So, things are good, and I am going to continue to work hard , and hey, I'll do whatever is required of me.  :)

I love you all and I hope that you have an amazing week!!!!! :)


Sister Taylor Burningham

P.S. Wo de ming jiao Bing Ning Han Jiemei (my name is Sister Burningham (except “bing ning han” doesn’t exactly translate to Burningham like “bing” means ice in Chinese, but it sounds similar) so this is what I am learning!)

Also, wo shi chuan jiao shi. I am a missionary. :)

I love you!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Heat Wave

Dear Family!                                                                                                  May 19, 2014

This week has been well, an adjustment week, just as it always is with a new transfer.  But...really it mostly has just been HOT!!!!!!  It was about 105 for 3 days! wooot!!! That was a good time!!! So we had appointments, and did our best to stay inside and stay cool, and let me tell you we were so grateful when it got back into the 80's yesterday!  I am just grateful that I am serving here and not somewhere where it is more humid and hot like that all the time. I'll take So Cal. :)

So like I mentioned, this week has been an adjustment week.  Before transfers, I knew I was getting transferred, and I felt like that is what was supposed to happen, and so that was good.  Monday night we had dinner with Brian and Kristy, and then saw the Dunnings, Leva and taught Catherine and said bye to Ronnie. It was a busy 3 hours after all of our Pday activities were done!

Tuesday was the first of the HEAT WAVE!  I finished packing and we went and saw a few members and then headed to Irvine for transfer meeting.  Sister Chua and Sister Staley are great!  And they are both so different and so fun!  Sister Staley is from Nevada. She came out the same time that Sister Hurst did, so about 3 months ago!  Sister Chua is from Malaysia (is that how you spell that?)  She has been out for 6 weeks.  They are so great, and I love working with them already!!!  So things are going good here in this area,  I still haven't met most of our investigators, but that will change soon I am sure!  But we do have a lot, so hopefully we can help them progress towards baptism!! :)

So honestly, most of this week was a blur...so I'm not really sure what to tell you about it! But I will tell you about yesterday!  So we went to the Oak Creek ward's sacrament meeting.  Which was good, I’m excited to be in that ward, it should be really good.  But our ward meets in a building similar to ours at home, which is the first one on my mission that is like that, so I was feeling kinda homesick during church, and then I was missing the Laguna beach ward, and I was just praying and wondering why I was sent to this ward (why I couldn't still be in Laguna, why I had to have been moved in east away from the ocean where it was hot), what my purpose was, and really I was just kind of murmuring. So I opened the scriptures randomly (something that doesn’t always work for me when I am looking for an answer).  But yesterday it did.  I opened up to D & C 66.  Which was a direct answer to my prayer.  So here are some of the answers that I received

5 Behold, verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should proclaim my gospel from land to land, and from city to city, yea, in those regions round about where it has not been proclaimed.

My missionary purpose (v.5)

7 Go unto the eastern lands, bear testimony in every place, unto every people and in their synagogues, reasoning with the people.

I am supposed to be here (eastern lands...and that is what I'd mentioned in my prayer...umm my yeah, I think God is trying to tell me something) oh, and that I should testify. 

9 Lay your hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. Return not til I, the Lord, shall send you. Be patient in affliction. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

11 Keep these sayings, for they are true and faithful; and thou shalt magnify thine office, and push many people to Zion with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads.

12 Continue in these things even unto the end, and you shall have a crown of eternal life at the right hand of my Father, who is full of grace and truth.

13 Verily, thus saith the Lord your God, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

So this was kinda like me getting called to repentance, just not in a harsh way, but really God telling me that He has a plan for me and that I just need to go out and work, and that He will take care of the rest!  And that is really what I needed, so my prayer was answered and my faith was strengthened!

Then we left the Oak Creek Ward and headed over to the Lake building for the Chinese Branch where we stayed for that entire block!  We (Sister Staley and I) used the headsets during sacrament meeting, but they only interpret that meeting. So the rest was in Chinese, but a few of the members who aren’t Chinese helped us out so that we could understand better!  So that was great!  I also played the piano in Relief Society...boy do I need practice, but they don't have many members who play the piano, so they appreciated my stumbling through 2 hymns, but I'll practice so that next week will be better!  We also had dinner with the Relief Society President of the branch, and all they elders serving in the branch, so lots and lots of Chinese language.  And I tried sushi, but it didn't have raw fish, I can't remember what was in it...so I don’t know if that counts or not, but I'll probably have sushi sometime in the next 5 weeks (I’ll probably only be with Sister Chua for this transfer, but we will see!)  But, that should be fun!!!

So things are going good!  And I am adjusting quickly, and everyday is getting easier being back in Irvine!  I've already seen quite a few members from the Woodbridge ward, so that is weird!  But fun! :)

This morning as I was studying, I was studying God's love for a lady that we are going to see tonight, and I found this scripture that I wanted to share with you!

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

So as we love each other, we will be better examples of Jesus Christ.  For He is the greatest example of love (CHARITY!)  And as we have charity, we will be able to help more people come unto Christ, and help them feel of the love that He has for them! :)  So just an interesting thought!

I love this gospel, I love this work! I am excited to be back in Irvine, and to be stretched and pulled and grow in the way that God has planned for me!  I know that God loves us, and that because He loves us, He sent His Son!  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior!  And that is the message we get to share with the world!  And as a representative of Jesus Christ, I know that this Gospel is true, and it does change lives! 

I hope you have a great week! I love you all so much!!


Sister Taylor Burningham