Monday, January 20, 2014

Sleeping Outside in December

Dear Family,                                                                                      December 23, 2013

For starters, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! :)    Well, in 2 days, but you know, I do things early around here since I can only email once a week!  

So, I hope that last week was good for everyone, sure sounds like it was! :)   For me...weirdest week ever!  It was just a bit crazy, and as always fun, but everyday something new happened and I would think, man, can't wait to share this with my family on Monday!  So here we go!!!

On Tuesday I was on exchanges with Hermana Whipple, she is awesome, and she taught a few lessons by herself cause oh ya...I don't speak Spanish ;)   But that was good, we picked up a new investigator so our day was going awesome.  Then we got a call about this lady who is deaf, who was about to get kicked out a motel she was staying at cause she couldn't pay.  So,  miracle, Hermana Whipple also knows ASL so we drove from Mission Viejo to Dana Point to talk to this lady, and she was super awesome, and with the help of a member we were able to get her fed, and found a homeless shelter that she could go to.  But, that took about 6 hours of our day.  So, we were tired, but always happy cause it was pretty fun to be talking to her in sign and so ya, cool, but just random!!! :)   We did also find a deaf branch in San Diego where she is headed, so I still need to call that bishop so he can keep his eyes out! :) 

Let’s see. Then we went on another exchange, the next day! :) But it was our last one for this transfer, and that went well, I stayed in Laguna beach and we just had a great time!

On Thursday we spent the morning with a potential, and it was rainy. :)  Then we drove to Irvine where we had our mission Christmas conference.  That was good!  We had dinner and then each zone made a skit, so that was pretty hilarious! My zone made a video, so we didn't have to get up and act, so that was nice! :) But that was fun, and our assistants dressed up like buddy the elf, so that was pretty funny, and entertaining, and then Santa came!  So it was just a fun party! :)  

Friday...lets see...can't really remember Friday...we did teach Ethan and Giselle, and that was AWESOME!!!   When Ethan found out that it was the last lesson and that he could get baptized, his smile just melted our hearts! :)    So, now he just needs to talk to his hopefully he does that, and then maybe we'll have a miracle Christmas Baptism. ;) We'll see, and I'll let you know on Wednesday when I GET TO TALK TO YOU!!! SUPER, SUPER EXCITED FOR THAT!! IT WILL BE AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, now back to my week.  So Friday was just weird.  And then...Saturday was my birthday!!!!!   So,  while me and the two other sisters  we live with went to exercise (my companions were slow getting up) so we left them (they had a plan that I didn't know about)  and we went and I ran on the treadmill, and then came back and well, I had a scavenger hunt to find all my presents!!  Thanks for all of them!!!! :)  Love them all!!!!!!  So that was fun!  Then we got ready, and then Sister Morgan was super tired after studies so we made her take a nap and I colored in my new coloring books.   Then we went and did service for a member, which was fun.  Then, we did our weekly planning since it didn't get done on Friday, and then we went caroling! :)   Honestly, It didn't feel like my birthday much at all. It was pretty warm, and it was a pretty normal day despite me getting presents! But, I'm 20 now, so that is weird :)   And I decided that it probably won't really hit me till next year when I turn 21, and I'll be like, wait...what happened to my 20th birthday? ;)  So anyway,  all in all it was a pretty good day!

Sunday was good!  Church was good, Brian passed the sacrament for the first time, and then we got to go to a YSA ward and sing for their sacrament meeting.  It was our last Christmas concert of the year, and it went pretty well.
Then...oh the weirdest part of the week!!!  And once I tell you, my subject line will all make sense.

So, one of the STL's, Sister Bergau is going home next week, and so one of the other STL's asked if we could have a sleep over with her, so last night we did.   So all the STL's drove down to San Clemente (yay, my old area, but they have moved apartments)  and we had a sleep over!   We only stayed up till 11:30 since we are missionaries and we get tired really fast!   haha.   But, they have this deck outside, so we pulled the mattresses out there and 5 of us slept out there!  It was pretty fun, to be out there, and be looking at the stars.  Just as we were about to sleep, someone was like, only in San Clemente can you sleep under the stars...2 days before Christmas.  Which is so true! But it was actually warm, and so,  yea, totally had my first mission sleepover.  It was an adventure! :)  

So, that was my week!  A little different, a little weird.  This transfer has also been like that, and crazy fast!  We are already at week 5, which means transfers could happen in 2 weeks.  Weird!!! :) But,  sister Kimball and I were talking with Sister Bergau on my birthday after caroling, and in the end we came up with this, that as missionaries we need to Find the Balance. Find the balance in being ourselves as well as missionaries, with our companions, in different areas, in all that we do there has to be balance so that we can do the things that God has asked us to do at this time! :)    So that is now what I am trying to do, find the balance, and also  really just going back to the simple basics! :)   So that is my goal for the next few weeks!   And really, the rest of my mission!

It really doesn't feel like Christmas is in 2 days.  But, I really have been able to feel the Spirit of CHRIST!  I am so glad that we have the chance to celebrate His birth, and really feel the love that He has for us, I mean, He loves us a lot, since He came and was born in a humble setting so that He could be our Savior and our Redeemer.  :) So amazing! :)  So, today and on Wednesday I wish you a very  Merry CHRISTmas!!!!!!!!

OK, just a few last thoughts,  and answers to your questions.
The plan is still to call in the morning, probably around 10:30 here, or maybe a little before, or maybe a little after!  Not quite sure yet!   I may call first and then we can figure out skype. :). I have no idea what FaceTime is, but if it works, we could try that too :)  But either way, I can't wait to talk to you and see your smiling faces! :)  It is going to be the greatest Christmas!! :)   I am so glad that Karson's surgery went well!! :)   I’m so glad!!!!   :)   Hmmm Snow...can't say I remember what that is ;) be careful as you travel around!!!!

And say hello to everyone for me!  And Merry Christmas!  Go and enjoy the holiday, and remember the reason for the Season! :)  I love you all, and I feel so blessed to be a part of this family that I am!  We truly are so blessed, in so many ways!!! :)  I also feel so blessed to be a missionary at this time!  It is just flying by, but I am trying to make the most out of every single moment! :)   It truly has been amazing. I've loved every second from the hard days to the amazing ones.  It is all worth it.  It has all been worth it. I know that I will never regret the choice I made to serve a mission! I know that it will forever change my life, and who I am.  But I do know that it was part of the plan, so I know that this is where I am supposed to be!!  And it has been a blessing, I just love it!!!

So, I hope you have a wonderful week!   I'll talk to you real soon!!!

Merry CHRISTmas!!!!


Sister Taylor Burningham

The Assistants, me and Sister Kimball

My desk

Happy Birthday!

Sister Missionaries with mustaches

STL sleepover in San Clemente

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ham, Funeral Potatoes and Grandma Farrer's Chocolates

Hello family!!                                                                                                          December 16, 2013

This week has been a good one!  We had a little cold spell, but we are back to warmer temperatures, and that is still so weird to me.   It is weird that my birthday is in 5 days. It is weird that Christmas is in 9!!! How did that happen??? It seems like it was Christmas last year not so long ago!!! Freaky!!! This past year has really flown by, and it is just amazing!!  It has just been amazing!! :)  Hmm so, this week was good.  And weird.  And lots and lots of meetings!!!
So, on Tuesday we were on an exchange and we found out that we would be doing the training in not only our zone on Thursday, but also in a different zone on Wednesday.  So that was exciting.  And for my first time doing a zone training, it went pretty well. I wasn't nervous at all to get up in front of other missionaries and train on how to give an effective baptismal invite! So that was Wednesday and Thursday morning.  We also had choir practice both days cause we've been having tons of performances on the weekends.   And this weekend was no exception.

But back to Wednesday.  After choir we went to Irvine for an STL council, to talk about how we can best help the sisters in our mission.  And that was good.  I also got a blessing from President Orgill.   Beyond my patriarchal blessing, it was probably the most powerful blessing I've ever had.   It was amazing, and we were both in tears by the end.   I am just so grateful for the Priesthood, and that God trusts man to give them His power!  I feel so blessed to be around those who are worthy of it!   It is amazing, and well, I just love it! :)   

So that was Wednesday, and Thursday was similar, just no meeting in Irvine after choir.  We got to teach Ethan and Giselle the Plan of Salvation!  And they are super smart kids, and asked really good (deep) questions, like "well, in the spirit world can I play soccer??" it was pretty cute.  And I just feel so blessed to know about the Plan of Salvation, to know why I am here, and what my purpose is in this life.  And I have noticed that my mission really is teaching me about who I am supposed to be, the person that God intends for me to be.  So, when you see me on Christmas, don't worry, I’m still the same, I think I’m just a little bit closer to God than I was 7 months ago.  I've learned a lot.  It’s been the best year of my life! :)    Hmmm…and I too am super excited for Christmas!  I am pretty sure that we will be skyping.  Probably calling between 10-11 here, but I am not sure about that yet, I will let you know next Monday!  But I am excited for that! I know that it will be a great Christmas gift for all of us! :)

Hmmm…so what else...we didn’t teach a whole lot this week, which was a bummer.  We did talk to a lot of people, and then lots of meetings and lots of choir.  We did also do service on Friday for a part member family.  The wife is a non-member and is in charge of this Girl Scout activity.  And so, for 2 hours we road on a trolley with Girl Scouts and their parents around Laguna singing Christmas songs.  It was a blast! :)  We had a lot of fun!! :) 

Yesterday we got to sing in San Clemente at an Interfaith event.  We started with a flash mob to get onto the stage in the chapel.    There were so many people, and well, one elder started singing “Joy To the World,” and a few others came in and then on the chorus all 80 of us that are in the choir came running in from the sides, and I can only imagine what that must have felt like to have missionaries pouring into the room.  And the end of us singing “Angels We Have Heard On High,” which was our last song, people clapped and STOOD!  It was ridiculous, but the Spirit that was there was so amazing.   I am so glad that we have this Christmas season, and songs that help us remember even more the birth of our Savior and also about His life and what He did for all of us.  It was so powerful!  :)     Then, being in San Clemente, people from my old ward were there, and that was just a joy to see all of them! I got to see Jenn and Rich, and btw when we come back to visit, they already requested that we come by!   haha, so that will be exciting!    But, it was just great to see people that I love, and well, really it felt like going home!  So that was a sweet moment!

This week should be good!  We have our mission Christmas conference on Thursday, so we are looking forward to that.  On my birthday, some people may come up from San Clemente to see me, but I’m not really sure what I'll be doing.  I'll try to take pictures! :) I've been super bad at that this transfer!    But I'll try especially since this will be my only birthday and only Christmas on my mission!!!  Have to remember that right??!!??! 

Well, I must agree with all of you, I can't believe that I'm going to be 20 the next time I email you.  Goodbye teenage years!   It will be weird, to not be home for my birthday, I just feel special cause I'll get to talk to you just 4 days later.  You can just sing to me then ;) haha just kidding, you don’t have to if you don’t want to!

So, now responding to all the news on your end... Jordan M is engaged?  Nope, you didn't tell me that!!!  Who to? haha!!???  That is exciting though, tell her congrats for me!!!!  I'll be praying for Karson! He'll do fine though!!  I am sure he'll be excited to not have a rod in his arm any more. I’ll just be keeping mine till the resurrection.... :)  

I am glad that you were able to meet Zach, dad.  I'm sure that as we all open our eyes, and try to be more and more like our Savior, we will have more chances to share the gospel with all of those around us, because I know that we will be led to them!    It is such a blessing that we have, and I know that as we ask, God will give us chances to share the Gospel! :)

In honor of the Christmas season, I invite you to study the Christmas story this week, and also, something more about the life of Jesus Christ.   I know that as you do so, the Spirit that is so strong right now will enter more into your lives, and that your love for the Savior will also grow.  I know that, because it has happened to me! :)

I love you all!  And I feel so blessed to have such an amazing family!!!  I love you!!

Oh, also, the reason for my subject line.   We got to eat ham and funeral potatoes yesterday for dinner, and that always just reminds me of Christmas, and I just love that we get to eat that at Christmas time.  It is one of my favorite parts about Christmas, though I am not sure why!   haha!  And then grandma’s chocolates.  I got a package from grandma and grandpa yesterday, with a tin of chocolates.  And I was lucky, and the first one I ate was mint.  And it made me cry, happy tears, cause it just felt like home, and finally helped me feel like Christmas was coming :)  So thank you!  Again, I love all of you!! I hope you have a great week!!!  And thanks for the Birthday wishes!!!!


Sister Taylor Burningham

The wall by my desk

Christmas Decorations
Tiny tree
Me, being silly