Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bye, Bye Laguna

Hello family,                                                                                                     May 12, 2014

It was so great to see you and talk to you all yesterday! I loved every minute of it! I am so glad that you are doing well, and that well...ya, you are all just awesome! I love you so much!!!

So, I'll tell you more about my week, since I actually didn’t do much of that yesterday!  So, there may be some repeats, but not a lot! :)

This week was a good one!

On Tuesday we had our Zone Training Meeting, and that went really well! :) We talked a lot about the things that we can do differently to be better examples of Jesus Christ, and also how we can improve our companionship study! So one thing that our mission is doing is reading the Book of Mormon together!  We read 5 pages today at the beginning of our companionship study so that we can learn from the Book of Mormon together and bring the Spirit even more into our mission!   So that is something that is really, really exciting! :)  I love it so far! :)

Tuesday night we met with Bishop and Catherine, because she wanted a blessing (so cool!) and so he talked to her about the priesthood, and blessings, and it was a really powerful spiritual experience for all of us!  Bishop also told her that at our next lesson we would be talking about baptism and inviting her to be baptized, which she said she was ok with!

Wednesday I gave a training in another zone, so that was our morning.  We got to teach Catherine that afternoon, and we did talk about baptism, and invited her, and she accepted!  So she will be getting baptized on the 25th of May!  So that is pretty great!  It has been so great to see her progress as she has come to church and as she has felt the Spirit, she really just wants to change her life, and this is how she is going to do that!  And she is so excited! It makes me even more excited! :)

Wednesday night we went to a dinner at the mission home since Sister Drinkwater went home last week. So that was fun, and really weird to be sending her off, so weird.  I've known her for so long!  Crazy how fast time goes, and really, how things do come to an end, or at least, enter a new stage!

Thursday we went to lunch with our Bishop and the Elders in our ward, since there was a chance that Elder Schumacher and I could get transferred, since we've both been in the area for a long time.  But we got to ride in his Tesla... :) so that was really awesome!  Welcome to Orange County. :) Quite a great place really, I love it! :) Anyway, we also got to see Ronnie, and wow, I had a testimony of Personal Progress already, cause it changed my life! But it is changing Ronnie.  She is a lot more loving, and quiet during our lessons, she really is changing!  The gospel really does change people!!!! :) 

Friday we went to a funeral in San Clemente, and then we had weekly planning!  We also got to see Lynda, and she committed to being baptized (or at least working towards) June 1st. Her only holdback is her situation, since they don't really have anything stable, she just wants to be more stable, but hopefully we can just help her feel the Spirit, and help her want to be baptized then! :)

Saturday was good, we went to the new trainers meeting!  Oh yea, so I'll be finishing training, and Sister Hurst is training!  At 12 weeks!!!  She is so awesome! :)  So that was a good meeting!

Then we had a few windows, and we talked to about 180 people! (Saturdays are BUSY in Laguna!)  So that was just fun, I love talking to people!  It really gets me all pumped up!!!

We taught Catherine about the Book of Mormon, and that went really well!  At dinner we shared a message about mothers, and we talked about our moms, and I am so grateful for you mom, for all that you did and do for me!  Such a blessing!  I really was so blessed with all of you! Such a wonderful family! I really couldn't ask for anything more! :)

Saturday night we got transfer calls, but I already knew that I was leaving, since I will be going to Sister Drinkwater's old area in Irvine! I'm excited, to be working in an English ward and then to be helping Sister Chua be ready to take over the Chinese branch next transfer.  So mom, to answer your questions, I have no idea if I'll be in Chinese homes, I think so, I know that we will be going to the Chinese branch on Sundays (well we may have to do splits, but I think I'll go sometimes).  So that will be interesting to see!  One of the assistants asked me if I was ready for a culture shock...I don't have much of a choice, but I am excited for the new adventures that are coming my way! :)

Yesterday was CRAZY but so fun!  After church we visited a lot of members (all of whom at church said, "you are coming over to say goodbye right?"), so we were running around all over Laguna, but it was fun! I love this ward, I really do. I love the members, I love the investigators, it is going to be sad to leave, but I am ready to go out and work hard and give my all to my next area. I'll start Strong there, and I plan on finishing well! :)  It really is going to be great!

So, I talked to you yesterday, so that was my update for the week, but not much else to say. Things are good. Time to go pack! :)

I love you all!  The church is true! Jesus Christ is our Savior! :) We need Him, and so does the world!  So keep being awesome examples and standing for what is right!!!!

And to end, I'll share a quote that President Orgill shared with me this week, "That same God that placed that star in precise orbit a millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of that Babe has given at least equal attention to the placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others, but warm them as well." Neal A. Maxwell!  We are all where we are supposed to be!

Have a great week!  I love you!

Love,

Sister Taylor Burningham


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jesus Loves Me, Choose the Right!

Hello Family!!!!                                                                                       May 5, 2014

Well, first off, it sounds like it was a big week at our house in Provo!!!  With the dance concert, and then everything with your new calling dad, I think that it is great!  And well, remember that the Lord qualifies those whom He calls!  :)  I think that you will be great though, as you serve in that capacity! :) That is so cool that you were able to talk to Elder Falabella, and cool that he remembers meeting me...that was what feels like so long ago, I feel like I've changed and grown so much since he came to our mission!

Lets see, what else! I am glad that concert went good.  Ronnie did show me that quick video clip.  We went over on Saturday and she told me that she had a surprise for me, so that was a nice surprise!  But anyway!  Sounds like things are good at home, and I'll mention more about my thoughts on everything as I go throughout my email. :)

This week has been a good one!  As I mentioned in my letter last week, right after we finished emailing we got a call from Chevy telling us that our car actually needed to come back to the shop, and that it was their mistake that they had given it back to us, so we've been driving a rental this week, a Chevy Malibu, we miss our Cruze, but it drives and so that is all we need! :)

This week has been HOT!!!!!!!!!  And by hot I mean like high 90's nearly all week.  Even in Laguna Beach, which the members in our ward told us over and over how unusual that was for Laguna, so that made things exciting! :)

But things were happening this week! We were able to see Linda this week, and she is doing great, and she came to church yesterday, and we will be seeing her soon, and inviting her to be baptized this month!  She's all in, so we are excited for that!

We were also able to meet with Catherine this week, and she is so GREAT!  The lesson was very spiritual, and we all cried.  One thing I learned this week really is how much the gospel can bless our lives as we choose to accept it and follow it.  :) It truly is a remarkable thing.  And it is so great to see how much it helps those who we get to see on a weekly basis, it really does change us! :) 

On Thursday I had Mission Leadership Council, and it was so great.  (I think that is my phrase for the week...it was just "so great!")  Anyway, it really was good, and one thing that really stuck out to me, not only at MLC but also throughout this week was really as I commit myself to the purpose I have been called to, then I will learn all that I am supposed to, and become who I am supposed to become.  I feel so blessed to be serving a mission right now, learning to trust in God, and give myself to Him, I really hope that I can do that for the next few months, not worry about life after the mission, but truly give all my heart, all my might, all my strength to this great work, because right now this is the greatest thing that I could ever be doing, and I love it! :)  I really do!! :) But those have been some of the things I've been thinking about this past week, just how I don't have a whole lot of time left, yes I still have time, yes there will be miracles and many people to accept the gospel, but I want to give my all till the end, and that is what I am going to do :)

Thursday was also Sis. Hurst's birthday, and Ronnie threw her a surprise party, so that was really sweet of her, and the ward is just so great!  So it was good, and fun, and I'm glad, since for most of Sis. Hurst's Birthday I wasn't even with her!  But, it was a good day and I think she enjoyed it!

Thursday night was an interesting one for me.  Most nights on my mission it really has been so easy for me to fall asleep, but not on Thursday.  And it wasn't even 11, but I was frustrated that I was still awake, so I went into our bathroom (so I could have light, without waking up Sister Hurst)  with the Book of Mormon.  I was almost done with Ether, so I was like, well, I used to read all the time before bed, so let's try that tonight.  As I started reading, I was again frustrated cause I was reading about all these wars, and I was like, this is not what I need right now.  (So yes, I got mad at the Book of Mormon). So I skipped ahead to Moroni, and for some reason I was crying, not really sure why, but I think I cried until about Moroni 8.  And by then I had calmed down, and I was feeling the Spirit, and then I finished reading the Book of Mormon.  And I again prayed, just as we are invited to, and the feelings of Peace that the Spirit bring are so remarkable.  I love the Spirit, I love the Book of Mormon, I want to read it everyday (just like you dad) and I want to share the joy that comes from the gospel with any and all who want to let it be a part of their lives.  Needless to say, I went back to bed, and was asleep with in minutes, but this time with an even stronger testimony of the restored gospel! :)

Friday we did a lot of service, got to paint a wall and help some people move!  We also got to sing at a youth conference.  It was really powerful, and it just reminded me of pivotal points in my youth that really shaped me and helped me be more prepared to serve a mission, even though that thought had never crossed my mind.  Saturday was good as well, we talked to 102 people, and that was just fun! :)  I love talking to people! :)

Yesterday was GREAT!  Testimony meeting was really wonderful,  Chloe (Brian and Kristy's four year old) bore her testimony, she said, "Jesus loves me." Then she stopped and smiled, then Kristy asked her if she had anything else to say, and she said, "Choose the right."  It was so simple yet so profound.  I love little children, they really are close to God!

We had dinner with Brian and Kristy, and in the midst of our conversation, we found out that Ethan had shared his testimony in one of his classes after sacrament meeting (Giselle had shared hers in sacrament meeting), and before we knew it we were having our own mini testimony meeting.  It was so great to hear Brian, who is a recent convert talk about how the gospel has changed his life and his family.  And to hear Kristy share how much she knows that God loves each of us, and how He always will.  And then for me and Sister Hurst to also share the love that God has for us, and for the power that this gospel brings into our lives, and the desires that we have to share that with many people.  And then to hear Ethan and Giselle, who are not yet members, but who have strong testimonies of the gospel.  It really was remarkable, and something that I hope to remember for a long time!

So that was my week! Good things are coming this week, we are excited for everything that is happening in Laguna, we are working hard and showing the Lord that He can trust us!  As for transfer predictions, I've felt both that I could stay and that I could go. I really honestly have no idea, but when I call on Sunday I'll be able to share with you what is happening, cause we will have found out the day before!!! :)  Wow, crazy to think that it is already time to call you again!  We are excited for that and it really will be so great! :)  I hope you have a good week until then!  Stay safe, do what is right and SMILE! :)  Be an example in all ways!

Something to ponder on until Sunday,  how have you been changed as I've been on a mission, I'd like all of us to share our stories, so be thinking about that!!

I’ll talk to you soon!!!

I love you so much!!!!

Love,


Sister Taylor Burningham

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Oh, That's Beautiful!

Hello family!                                                                                                                April 28, 2014

I'm glad to hear that your week was good and that prom was fun! I love the pictures Kenna, thanks! :) 

This week has been a rough one, well in terms of the work, we had several (like 4) set investigator lessons at the beginning of the week, but one by one they all canceled, cause they were either sick, or randomly out of town, or just busy.  So that was a bummer and we weren't able to teach any of them this week!  So that was just rough!!  But, the future is bright, and it can only mean that good things are coming because Satan is fighting so hard right now!   So, we are keeping the faith and just working hard! :)   And I know that good things are coming!

At the same time as all of our investigators cancelling, we had a pretty good and adventurous week.  Let's see, so Tuesday I was on an exchange, and at about 11 we got a call from Elder Orme, one of the senior missionaries in charge of the cars, telling us that we needed to come to Irvine, get a paper from him and then go to the Chevy dealership to have our car inspected because it had been recalled.  So that is how we spent most of our afternoon, driving to Irvine, and then hanging out for 2 hours at the dealership (with about 20 or so other missionaries who were there for the same reason). So that was really exciting! ;) The good news is that our car passed the inspection, and it is working properly so we get to keep the car! Hurray! :)   But that made our day pretty great! :)  Fun time, exchanges are. And I guess really with life in general, nothing ever goes the way we think it will, but it sure is great and exciting! :) 

Wednesday was also good, I had an interview with President Orgill (yes, I seem to have a lot of those...ok not really, but he is just so great!)  We talked about a lot of things, and how I can better help some of the sisters that I have been asked to be over as a Sister Training Leader, and at then end I asked for a blessing, and that was really, really great.  Each time I have received a blessing from him, it has become more and more evident to me the plan that God has for me, but not only that, but the Love that He has for me.   And then I just want to go out and share it with all the world! :)   Which as a missionary, I have the blessed opportunity to do so. :)  hmmmm, I just love the Gospel :)

Thursday was good, I was on another exchange, and that was great! I was somewhere in Laguna Niguel, and I was able to meet this old lady (she is 97) and her name is Wilma. She was so adorable, and it really was great to see how happy the gospel makes her, and she mentioned how she is grateful that she had it, and that she probably wouldn’t still be around without it.  I want to be a cool old lady like her someday...(oh ya know, just in like 77 years).  Another cool thing about her is that she did ballroom, she danced all over the world! Super cool! :)   When we told her that I did ballroom too, she grabbed my hand, and looked me in the eyes and said, "when you’re done, come back here and visit me and I'll give you one of my old dresses."  The light was shining in her eyes, and she was just smiling, so she may be one that we have to visit, if I can remember how to find her.  :)  And not because of the dress, but because of the Spirit which she had around her, it truly was inspiring! :)

As we planned for this week on Friday, it is so evident to Sister Hurst and I how much really is possible in Laguna Beach!  Which is so exciting!   And yes, right now we may only be planting seeds, but that is so important!  And we will be blessed with the opportunity to help others accept the gospel, and that truly is so wonderful!  But I just feel blessed to share the gift of the Atonement with those around me, change is hard, so hard, but as I myself have been changing, it is so much easier to invite others to do the same, and to share personal testimony about what it has done for me.   It really is remarkable.   And we are able to see miracles every single day! :)

Saturday was Mormon Helping Hands! That was fun!  Can't believe it has been a year since I last did that!  Pretty crazy how fast time goes!!

Yesterday I had the opportunity (for the first time on my mission to speak), and I did see Ronnie holding up her phone, and figured she was taking a picture to send to you, what a funny girl.  :)   But, my talk was interesting, so I had planned out mostly what I wanted to say (I didn’t write it word for word like I have in the past). But then, as Elder Schumacher (an elder also serving in the ward) as he was speaking, I felt prompted to share my story of how I came on a mission.  So I did, it was not something that I had planned on sharing, but I am grateful I did.  The Spirit was strong, and I think many of the ward members appreciated it.   I feel too often that as missionaries, members and investigators look to us and see someone who is "perfect" but I think as missionaries, as we open ourselves up, and share personal experiences, and share feelings that we had (like for example, I never wanted to go on a mission, it wasn't a part of the plan, but as I learned to rely on the gospel, I knew that it was something that I needed to go out and share), but as we share those things, I feel like we become more real, we show everyone that we aren't perfect, because we aren't.  We are still human, still mess up, we ALL need the atonement.  But I myself was grateful for the opportunity to speak, to share my testimony and to really remember how I got out here, and recommit myself to this great work. 
  
Time is flying by.  Each night as I pray I wonder, how can today already be over???  And that is what I wonder all the time.  I promise, I am not getting trunky, but I did calculate how many days left I have just cause I was curious.  As of today 101.  And I’m not going to count down,  but knowing that my days as a full time missionary are limited make me push even harder.  I want to lift the faith of as many people I can. I want others to feel the joy that comes from living the gospel.  And I am going to work hard every single day so that I can know that I did all that I could :)

This week was also full of many personal experiences and miracles which I will always hold close to my heart.  This work truly is a miracle.  Seeing people change is a miracle.  Helping others find hope is a miracle.  Laughing when you are tired and just got a door slammed in your face by a less active member is a miracle.   It is all a miracle because the Gospel is true, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a miracle.  And it is beautiful, just as a potential investigator said to us when we called him yesterday.  He asked, "what would you be sharing with me?"  And we said, "a message about Jesus Christ and His gospel."  And he said, "oh, that's beautiful!"  And it truly is!  So I hope that this week we can think about this beautiful gospel, commit ourselves to live more like Christ would, in all aspects of our lives! :)    I hope you all have a great week!  I love you!

Love,

Sister Taylor Burningham


Me and Sarah (Our Ward Mission Leader's daughter) on Easter

Me and Sister Hurst - Easter


Sister Hedrick, Sister Carlson, Me, Sister Hurst right after we heard from Elder Anderson

Monday, July 14, 2014

One By One

Hello!                                                                                                 April 21, 2014

Happy Easter yesterday!!! :)  This week has been a good one, I've really learned a lot.  And I hope I can share at least some of what I learned this week!  So this week we had Zone Training Meetings, and those were great as always! :)  We also had 2 choir practices since we had a big concert last night since it was Easter!  But before we get to that, lets see...what is happening in Laguna…Lots of things.  We found 2 new investigators this week, but because of choir, I still haven't met them!  So I can't really tell you anything about them, but one's name is Maggie and the other is Linda.  So :) that was really a great miracle!  

Also, this week we will be meeting with Catherine and Jamie, and hopefully we can start to teach them. So that will be great! Lot's of good things happening here! Michelle is still progressing and well, we are working hard to find teach and baptize, and we have already seen many miracles, and I know that we will see even more as time goes on! :)

On Friday we were able to go to the temple.  It was so great to be in the house of the Lord, to feel the peace that comes there, and to feel God's love so much more.  It was needed and nice, and even though I didn't get the answers I was looking for, to the questions I had, I was able to get answers and just reassured that God knows me perfectly, and that I really do just need to trust in His timing!

So I went on an exchange to Irvine with sister Putnam!  So that was fun to be back with her again! :) And SUPER weird to be in my old apartment for a day.  But, we had a good but also weird exchange.  Cause Saturday morning was A BIG day!   We woke up and got ready in our nicest clothes and headed over to Newport where we were able to not only hear from Elder Neil L Anderson, but we were also able to shake his hand.  It was a very spiritual experience, even just being in the same room as an Apostle of the Lord.   It was so...I don’t even know what words I should use to describe it.  But it was an experience that I will not ever forget.   The talks of those who were with them (Elder Ellis from the seventy and his wife, as well as Elder Anderson’s wife) were all focused on Jesus Christ, as they should, but it was so great! :)   Elder Anderson talked about a lot of different things, but I think the things that stood out to me the most were these:

1.  This is a hard area to baptize, and this should still be our goal, because it is possible, but we really should be lifting the faith of all those that we come in contact with.  The world is spinning fast away from Jesus Christ, the Bible and God.  We need to help all those that we can to keep having faith, and keep strengthening their faith, because that really is what is important.   And we can do that whether we are missionaries or not.  So my invitation from that is to lift the faith of all of those around you! :)

2. The Book of Mormon is so important.  The world is losing it's faith in the Bible.  (Which means their faith in Jesus Christ is also dwindling) But the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, and the days are quickly coming that it will be more and more important for us to share it with the world. So read it.  And Share it.  :)

3.   Another thing that stuck out to me was that the atonement is personal and individual.  But, I'm gonna talk about yesterday and then I'll tell you the rest of my thoughts on that, because it has continued from Saturday until now.

So Yesterday was Easter, and it actually was kind of a crazy day.  We sang in a sacrament meeting in Irvine at 9, and then we came to the end of our ward with Sister Hedrick, and then we went to her sacrament meeting cause she was speaking.  Then we went to dinner with a great family!  They did a BIG Easter egg hunt with all their grandkids and a few families from the ward.  We got to help hide the eggs, and I must mention that when I say big, there were at least 250 eggs that we hid, so it was so fun watching all the kids run around and go and find the eggs.  it felt like family, it felt like home, and that was nice! :)   We also had a choir concert, and it really was so powerful being able to testify of Jesus Christ.  I think one of my favorite songs that we sang was called "This is the Christ," and one of my favorite parts says "I too can testify, this is the Christ, the Holy Son of God, our Savior, Lord, Redeemer of mankind, this is the Christ"   Because that is the message that we share, that Jesus Christ lives!   And that because he lives, we have EVERYTHING.   I don't know if you have seen this yet, but if not, go watch it and go share it, it is called Because of Him, the newest video that the church put out.   We've been watching it with members and nonmembers. It is so powerful!  Here is the link:

So, back to the atonement topic.   The Savior went through the atonement for each of us.  When he was on the earth he healed people, one by one.  And so it is with us now, whether we are the repentant sinner, or going through a deep trial and we need strength, the atonement heals us one by one, and gives us strength one by one.  It is personal and individual.  Every week we are able to take, one by one, of the sacrament, and become clean again, one by one.  Jesus Christ did what he did for each of us, individually.  Because he loves us. He loves me. He loves you!   :) And I know that is true! I know that He is real, that he Loves us and that he wants us all to return to him.   I feel so blessed to have this gospel, to be a missionary. To know of the plan of Salvation!   Life is so good!  Life is so rich! :)  Because of the gospel, Because of Him.  So even though Easter was yesterday, let us remember the Savior in all that we do!  And share with others this wonderful message!  

Just a little bit more about my morning today.  My zone did a Ragnar rely race (where each person runs for a distance, and then the next person runs) So me and Sister Hurst ran a mile, but me, not feeling super great, finished the mile, and then I threw up, so that was really exciting.  Then we got to all do personal study at the church, and then we had a testimony meeting with all the missionaries in our stake and it was really powerful to hear the testimonies of people that I get to work with, and to hear how much the Savoir has personally helped each of us.

So, I hope you all have a great week!  I love you!

Love,


Sister Taylor Burningham