Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bittersweet Endings and Beginnings

Hello Family,                                                                     August 4, 2014

This really seems unreal to me.

I am going to be completely honest, I don't feel like I'm going to be seeing you on Wednesday, that is just so crazy to me!  I've been a missionary for so long, that I just feel like I am going to be a missionary forever.  But, it slowly has been starting to hit me as the week goes on, and I have a feeling that it will hit big time at transfer meeting tomorrow.

So lets see. I got to spend some time in Laguna Beach this week, and that was great. I got a blessing from Bishop Galland, who said that we need to call him when we come to California and this is what he said, "maybe I could fly you over to Catalina in my helicopter and get a buffalo burger there, or we can go out on my boat." haha.  It made me laugh, cause it is just so Bishop Galland.  But he said he can only take 3 in his helicopter, so how does a boat ride sound? haha. I don't know all that you have planned for our trip next week, but quite a few people want to see me, and do things with me, and feed us dinner, so we will see what we end up doing! haha :) it will be fun though!

So, Tuesday was good, Ronnie is so funny, she would only focus when we were taking pictures, and she wouldn't listen when we tried to share a message, so that was rough, but that is Ronnie, she makes me laugh that’s for sure though.

Lets see what else... This week was such a blur.  Everyday I would get home and just be like, how is time going so fast?  And I still don't have an answer for that one.

Thursday we had our Sister’s Conference.  We had some fun classes about how to look more professional, how to stay healthy on a mission and things like that.  We also had President Orgill talk with us about some of his mission experiences and what we can do to show our commitment to God.  That part, when we were all sitting there listening to him reminded me a lot of girl’s camp.  And then, well we all slept at the mission home, so that was an adventure.  haha, but fun.  And interesting, well, what do you expect when you put 50 sister missionaries together? But it was a fun time, and I am glad that I was able to go!

Lets see, Friday we started to get everything ready (planning wise) for next transfer.  Sister Chua and Sister Lin are going to be going full time Yale Ward, so we need to get everything ready for the new Oak Creek sisters. And pack and clean, so it has been a crazy few days!

Yesterday was so... unreal, so many times, especially during Yale's sacrament meeting I just wished that I could pause time and live in that moment forever.  They invited me to come up and bear my testimony (which I would have done anyway), but I feel so much love from the Yale Ward, I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to serve in that ward, even though I don't understand their language, the spirit and the love that you feel there is so strong!  There are also 2 elders that are leaving that both served in that ward, and one is our Assistant to the President right now, and during my testimony I made it through, but then Elder Hui (who was my Zone Leader when I was in Irvine), got up, and I just cried.  Oh man, it was rough.  That was I think the moment when things really started to hit. Then later at dinner I was just soaking it all in!  And I just prayed and was like, "Heavenly Father, I wish my mission never had to end."  But I know it does.

I've loved my mission. I've loved every part of it. I am so grateful for everything that I've experienced. For everything that I’ve been through.  For the people I've met and grown to love.  For the testimony that I've been able to build. I am so grateful to have a testimony, to have the gospel.  It really is so amazing.

I love being a missionary, so of course it is a bittersweet feeling now as I am ending, because there has been so much I've experienced, and I don’t know what my life would be like without my mission, I am so grateful that I chose to come.  Sweet feelings come as I think about being with you all again, and just seeing you and spending time with you.  So I am excited. Excited for the next part of my life, and excited for all that God has in store for me.

I know this email was a lot shorter than most, but I will end with my testimony.  I know that God loves us.  I know that He knows us individually. I know that He answers our prayers. I know that He is in the details of our lives.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that His atonement is real, I've seen it at work every single day as a missionary, in my life and in the life of those around me.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true, it does bring us closer to God.  I know that our family will be together forever. I know that we can find true happiness as we live the gospel!  I love this gospel!  And everything about it.  These past 18 months have been the very best!

I love you all!  I'll see you on Wednesday!


Sister Taylor Burningham

Focus on Christ

Hello family!                                                                                   July 28, 2014

It sounds like you had a pretty good week, and ours was really amazing as well.

We saw a lot of miracles, and just had a great time doing missionary work! :)

To be honest, I don't want to write a whole lot about my week, just cause I feel so tired today, happy but tired. This week really was good, so I will just share a few highlights.

Tuesday I had my 'exit interview' with President Orgill, where I told him about the plans that I have for school, work, family and of course how to stay active and strong in the church.  And then he shared with me an experience he had, about the correct role of the priesthood in the home and in the church.  Which he said could also be called "how to be happy."  It was really great. I am so grateful that I've been able to serve around him, and to feel the Spirit that he and Sister Orgill have brought into our mission, it has been remarkable, and I am so grateful for them.

Wednesday we had 24's again, and Sister Lin and I stayed in our area, and Sister Nicholson came with us.  And we saw so many miracles that day.  We taught a lady named Elva, who is one of our Investigators in the Chinese ward!  And then we saw a recent convert.  One really amazing miracle actually started the night before.  I had felt like we needed to go see this part member family, where the wife is active and the husband, we've only taught him once because he is so busy.  But we had a pretty full schedule so we put them as a back up.  But I felt very strongly that we needed to go over and see her, so we did! And we were an answer to her unspoken prayers, she was so stressed about this test that she has coming up, and just with life in general.  She was so grateful that we came and were able to uplift her in some way, so that was a miracle! :)  God really is aware of each of us, He does know us personally, but sometimes He does work through other people to help us even more.  I am so grateful that I was able to experience that, as I have seen many times as a missionary, to feel and know that God does love each of us, that He is aware of every single one of us, and that His ultimate purpose is for us to be happy, and He will help us be happy, if we are willing to listen to Him, and do what He has asked. 

The rest of this week has been good as well...we've been getting a lot of referrals for the Yale Ward, and so that makes our lives exciting! :) There is so much potential in Yale, and things are really starting to get going, there will be many miracles and many people brought into the church because of that ward! They will be a huge blessing to the church! I'm so grateful for the opportunity I've had to spend time in that ward, and see those miracles.  As for my Chinese...not really great at all.  I can say a few things, and I'm getting a little better at picking out some of the words I know, but they all talk so fast, so it is really hard to understand! :) 

So this week, at the beginning of this week, I set a goal to be more focused on Christ throughout the week, and that has just been so great.  We are members of His church.  This is His gospel that we get to share with the world.  And it is so amazing.  Everything we have is because of Jesus Christ, He is our perfect example, and I've just felt that as I focus on Him, now and in the future, that we can find more joy and more happiness in our lives.  If we are trying to learn about Him, we will become more like Him, and as we do that, we will be happy.  That is the purpose of life, to be happy!  And we can do that as we focus on Christ. :) 

I love you all so much!  And I know that this email is a lot shorter than most of my others, but I don't really know what else to say!  Other than that is was a good week and I'm looking forward to this upcoming week, I'll be going on one last exchange to Laguna Beach tomorrow, and then we have a Sister’s Conference on Thursday, so I am looking forward to that! :) 

I hope you have a great week!

Remember to Focus on Christ!

I love you!


Sister Taylor Burningham

Monday, August 4, 2014

How Great Shall Be Your Joy

Dear Family!                                                                                         July 21, 2104

Sounds like this week was a pretty good one, and I'm glad that things are going well! Be sure to have fun in St. George this weekend! :)

My week was good.  I love being a missionary!!

It was kinda funny actually, a lot of people seemed to be gone this week, so we had a lot of stop-by’s where no one was home, for hours on end, which reminded me a lot of San Clemente when I first got there.  But there was a big difference from then to now, then, I dreaded the days when no one was home, cause the time seemed to go by so slowly, and it was just so disappointing for no one to be home.  But this week, I was just happy, and so excited to go out and work, to be doing the things that I've grown to love, and sure, no one was home ,but we still saw many miracles throughout the week, and that always makes things great.

This week I had my last Zone Training Meeting, and it was a really good one.  I think all the missionaries are excited about again focusing on the basics of missionary work and seeing miracles happen as they do that! I know that I'm excited for that!

This week has been a slow one like I said, at least in Oak Creek.  Good things are happening in the Yale Ward though!  We got 2 new investigators, but I have no idea how to spell or say their names, so sometimes that makes things confusing!  But, that’s ok. :)  I'm glad that the work is progressing in the Yale Ward! :)

We got to go on splits with some of the young women in the Oak Creek Ward this week, and that was great!  They are so fun, and I think it's great that they want to come out with us and see what it is like to be a missionary! :) 

This week I've been thinking a lot about my mission.  There are days where I feel like I'll be a missionary forever, and I'm quite ok with that feeling.  But then there are other days where it hits me that my mission is ending.  This week has been harder for some reason, with other missionaries bringing it up, like on Saturday we were having our missionary correlation meeting with our new ward mission leader in the Yale Ward, and one of the elders was like, this is Sister Burningham, she goes home in 2 weeks.  And I was like, way to throw me under the bus.  So that is hard.  But on the other end, my end, I'm working hard, we go out everyday and try our hardest to find people to teach, and to help those we have already found progress in the gospel. :)

So I've been thinking a lot about missionary work, and life and well, I've really tried, and am trying to everyday just enjoy every moment, I’m trying to soak it all in.  And I guess that would be my advice to any brand new missionaries, or missionaries that have been missionaries for a while, it doesn't really matter, but just enjoy every single day.  Enjoy every moment, because you only get it once.  And I think that is true with life as well, just enjoy every moment and soak it all in, cause we only get to live once (at least here on earth).  But how much better would the world be if everyone was looking for the good, and trying to enjoy every moment that they had?  I think it would be pretty great.  But unfortunately, I don’t think we can get everyone in the world to agree, but I think it starts small, with us. :) So enjoy every moment!

Along with that, I was asked to speak in church yesterday, so I got to give a talk in Oak Creek.  And that was great.  My topic was the talk given by President Boyd K. Packer from the last conference about how we can be protected spiritually in the world today!  I was thinking about my own experiences with that, and I am so grateful for you mom and dad, for the parents that you are and how you really have helped me gain that spiritual foundation that I'll need to be protected against the things of this world! :) What a blessing! :)  So I was grateful for the opportunity.

The speaker after me talked about missionary work, and he shared D & C18:15-16

15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

How great shall be our joy as we do our part in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ!  How great shall be our joy!! I've tasted of that joy time and time again, daily as I've been a missionary!  And I know that it is true, what the scripture says...As we labor and do our part, our joy will be great, regardless of how many people come into the church because of us!  So that is what stuck out to me yesterday, the joy that comes as we share the gospel! :)

So not a whole lot about my week this week, but know that I love this gospel.  I am so grateful to be a representative of Jesus Christ right now, and that I get to go out and share with the people in California that there is a God, and He is their Father, and He loves them.  That Jesus Christ is our Savior, and because of Him, we are never alone, we are never lost, we can always have a way back!  And that is the message that we get to go out and share!  And I love it! :)

I hope you all have a good week!  I love you all so much!!! :)

Gonna keep working hard, but I can't wait to see you again! :)


Sister Taylor Burningham

Catherine's Baptism

My Nametag

At dinner a couple of weeks ago

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Cheerios and Cherries

Hello family!                                                                                                  July 14, 2014

This week was a really, really good one.  I feel so calm and so...just ready for everything that is in store for me in the coming days! :)  In regards to missionary work, we are still working hard, and still trying to find solid investigators, but we did get a lot of referrals from the Yale Ward, so hopefully we will be finding some more people to teach, and to baptize! :)

Lets see...  On Wednesday I was on an exchange with Sister Carlson and Sister Chua.  And just because of how Sister Carlson was feeling, we ended up going to the mission home so Sister Carlson could talk to Sister Orgill, and Sister Chua and I watched the extended (new) version of Jonny Lingo, so that was exciting, and super odd to be watching a movie.  But it really was good. (Happy birthday kenna!)

All week I couldn't really figure out what I was feeling, excited and anxious yes, and tired and just I don't even know, it was a really weird week in that regard.  But Thursday started and after that, things were really good.

Thursday we had MLC (Mission Leadership Council) and it was so good!  We talked a lot about just going back to the basics and helping the missionaries KNOW the basics, cause when they know the basics, the work will improve even more! :)  So that was really great, and it was just an uplifting day.  But as always, at the end, they have all the departing missionaries bear their testimonies.  And since December I've watched as missionaries I've grown to love share their testimonies, and I always would think, "no, that will never happen to me."  Well it did, and it was so odd.  I was the last of the sisters to share my testimony, and I started by saying how if someone had told me 2 years ago that I would be nearly done with my mission, I really would have laughed and thought they were joking.  But I would not take back any day since that moment.  I've changed so much as a missionary.  This is a gospel of change.  We can change everyday.  We can choose at any moment to be better, to be different.  And oh how glorious that is! I shared how as we turn to the Savior, we are changed, because it is because of Him that change is possible, and I am so grateful for that! :)  Then we sang God Be With You Till We Meet Again. And I was fine, until the 3rd verse and I caught Sister Orgill's eye, and she was crying, and so I started crying.  But it was a great moment, and I feel so blessed that I had the opportunity to have it.

We also finally got our Cruze back on Thursday!  I've been in a rental car since April, and it was so good to have our actual car back! :)  So I am so grateful for that!

Thursday and Friday nights were super different, but super fun and exciting.  The Nashville Tribute Band came and had a concert.  It was a great missionary opportunity and so many members and nonmembers came and heard the music that testifies of the restoration and our Savior.  It was fun, and at the very end they invited all the missionaries to come up and sing with them, and it was a great experience that I will always remember! :)  And fairly unique for a missionary, but hey, it was still a great time! :)

Oh, so Friday after companion study, I walked into our kitchen and got me some cheerios, and then walked back to our table. But on my way back to the table, I'm still not really sure what happened, but one second I was walking and the next moment I was watching as my bowl of milk and cheerios spiraled to the ground.  And then I hit the ground.  And then I started laughing my head off, and all 3 of us were laughing as we cleaned up the mess.  It really made for an exciting moment!  It was really funny though. :)

Saturday I was on an exchange with Sister Ashton and Sister Hedrick, and that went well, but we were all really tired.  But we found a less active in our window, and then dropped a Book of Mormon off to a member’s friend...and then we went to Laguna Niguel because CATHERINE WAS BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was the highlight of my week.

It was such a special baptism, she was just so ready, and it made me feel so happy to see this woman that I've grown to love, to be accepting the gospel and coming closer to the Savior.  :)  It was a miracle, and one of those moments that I'll always remember.

I was talking to Sis Christensen afterwards, and she was like, these next few weeks are just like the cherry on top.  (Not that I like cherries but, you know what I mean), haha.  But they really have been so far, and I just feel so grateful to be a missionary and these next few weeks really will just be the perfect finish! :)

Yesterday was good, except I was having all those mixed up feelings again, and trying to figure out all that I was feeling.  In the afternoon Sister Chua received her Patriarchal Blessing, and that just made me realize how much God loves each of us and knows us all so personally!  He really is in the details of our lives! :)  And we got a new investigator, but she is Chinese, and I have no idea how to say her name, let alone spell it!  But her daughter is a member, and so is her husband, so lots of potential there!!

I also got a blessing last night, and I feel a great sense of peace.  I've done all that I was supposed to up to this point, and I will continue to do that until the end.  One thing that was mentioned was that I would help investigators and members, but especially other missionaries right now.  And then I got here this morning and my email from President Orgill talked about how a lot of my focus should be on my companions and getting them ready to go out and do the work when I'm gone.  So it was just really interesting how that all fit together, and I am looking forward to the many miracles that will happen in the coming weeks.  :)

I know I've been talking a lot about coming home, ok well not a lot, but a bit.  It has been on my mind a lot, just because I want to do all that I can and all that I'm supposed to before my time as a fulltime missionary ends.  On Friday night, at the concert, when we were all up onstage the band sang "The Hardest Thing I've Ever Loved To Do" and I cried a little, and after President Orgill said, "Sister Burningham, I saw you got a little emotional up there." I said yes. And he said, "well why don't you just stay forever?"  And I said that I wished I could.  But I know that that isn't part of the plan that God has for me.  But until I do come home, I'll be working hard, and enjoying every moment.  We'll keeping finding, teaching baptizing and building the kingdom of God.  For this is His work, and we are just privileged to be a part of it. :)  And what a blessing that is! I love this gospel, I love that we have a Savior, Jesus Christ, who always knows how we feel, and that we can turn to Him in all things and He will give us all that we need. :)

Have a good week!   Do good things! J I love you!


Sister Taylor Burningham

Nashville Tribute Concert