Monday, March 24, 2014

One Year

Hello family!                                                                                     February 10, 2014

I hope that your week was a great one! :)  It sounds like it was busy, and normal, the life of a normal person, my week was pretty normal, if you are a missionary anyway!  haha, but it was pretty good!  And pretty interesting.

I've been thinking about being on a mission a lot this week, since, well, I can't even believe that I've been out for a year, that is really crazy to me, but I've just been thinking about my mission, and about what it has done for me, and why I still love being here.

Missions are hard, I know that a year ago, I really didn't know what to expect, or what was going to happen on my mission. I had no idea.    We were talking the other day, about how some people go to places of poverty, and they feel so blessed with what they have at home, and they are humbled by that experience.  Then at the same time, they are blessed with the opportunity to bring many souls unto Jesus Christ.  Here in the California Irvine mission, I feel like I've been humbled in a different way.    I feel like I've learned the importance of working hard, and never giving up, simply because, well, its hard here.   But, it is possible. Miracles happen every day here, and sometimes they aren't in the form of someone we teach getting dressed in white. But, they are the small things, like going to see a recent convert and being able to help his wife with a big project she has.   The miracle of a less active calling us and telling us that her husband wants to take the lessons.  It is a miracle when you go to a random sacrament meeting, and see someone who was in your first ward, and you are just able to talk, and feel not only their love and support, but also the Love that God has for each of us.

It doesn't matter where you serve a mission, because I know that you are called to where you need to be, where there will be people for you to teach, and learn from, but also, where you will learn and grow and be prepared for whatever life has to throw at you.   I know that this is where I am supposed to be, and for me, would I like to have more baptisms? Yes, why? So that I can help more people claim the blessings of this Gospel, but, at the end of the day, I do know that each day I did the most that I could in helping and inviting.  And if, if there are only a few whom I get to see enter the waters of baptism, that is enough, for how great shall be my joy? (D & C 18:15-16)  And that is the greatest blessing I could ever receive! But until then, I'll work hard and still try to baptize everyone :)

So this week has been pretty good, and also kinda weird.  It was also kinda like a roller coaster. We are still learning this new teaching method, and we have been practicing by teaching members, which overall has been a good experience!  We've shared quite a few spiritual experiences with members!   And others haven't had the same positive response, making us feel like crummy missionaries.  But, in those instances, it has helped me lean on Jesus Christ and His atonement more, because I need Him to carry me. I need Him to lift me, and guide me, and make up all that I lack, as I try my best. And it has been a testimony builder to me, as I have seen that happen, not only for me but also in my companionship!   I am so grateful that I am learning to rely more on the Savior, it is really a great thing, and I know it will help me throughout my life!

We had dinner with Ronnie and her family (which was Saturday and when you got the pictures), and that was really fun!  

We also taught the Wittkops with our Bishop.  And it was a powerful lesson, and the Spirit was strong.  And at the end Bishop got in their faces a little about how they should be baptized, but it was perfect, and now, we will just see if they act on the Spirit which they felt!

Ethan and Giselle are doing great still, we are still praying for their dad! We saw them at church yesterday, as well as the "great to be 8" activity last night for all those who are getting baptized this year!   We haven't seen them in a while cause their little sister has been really sick, but hopefully this week, so that should be good!  Keep them in your prayers!
And we are just trying to find more people to teach, but we do have a few potentials, so we have high hopes!   Also, transfers are next week, so that could be interesting! We will find out on Saturday what is happening, I think I'll stay in Laguna Beach, but, we will see! :)     Also, next week we probably won’t be able to email on Monday cause it is President’s Day, so expect emails on Tuesday, but be prepared for Monday in case that happens!!! :)

I hope you have a great week, fully of Charity (what? I'm a missionary, I only have this kind of love!!!)  And service!  Matt 25:40, try to serve someone before Valentine’s Day! 

Have a great week, work hard, dance hard, pray hard!  And of course, Smile!!! :)

I love you all so much!!!!!!!!


Sister Taylor Burningham

P.S Happy Valentine’s Day!!

P.P.S.  How can I have been out a year!!!??? Crazy stuff!! Time to go kill it! :)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Focusing on Jesus Christ

Dear Family,                                                                                                                 February 3, 2014

It sounds like you had a fun and busy week, but it is good to hear that things are going well!! :) 
This week has been a good one for me!   Not too many crazy things happened, but it was a good week, and we are super pumped for this next week!  So that is a great thing!
So lets see...what did we do this week, now I need to remember... ;)  

On Tuesday I was on an exchange with Sister Oswald, and that was really great! We had quite a few teaching appointments, and I learned some great wisdom from a ward missionary, who said that if we can make just one person smile in a day, we have made the world a better place! Which I thought was pretty cool!! :)  So now, I’ll just try to make all of you smile! :D

I've recently been praying about how I can be a better STL, how I can help the sisters that I am over, because I've felt like I haven't been able to in many ways.  But as we were on our exchange, our dinner canceled, so we ate at home, and we were able to just talk, and I felt prompted to share a personal story which ended up being something that she needed to hear.  So I'm glad that I listened to the Spirit and shared something that I normally don’t, but that it was able to help this sister missionary and uplift me at the same time! It was a really great experience!

Wednesday we had district meeting, Sister Hedrick had quartet rehearsal and then we opened a widow kinda by the beach in Laguna, and Sister Hedrick played her violin and we talked to people who were walking by.  We did end up teaching a guy, Richard, but we don't have his phone number (oops…) and he didn't show up for his return appointment, but we were able to find 2 guys who aren't from here that really wanted to read the Book of Mormon, so it was still really great!  :)

Thursday was great! Simply because I was in a good mood! :)   We had choir, and then dinner, and then met some recent converts in the Marina Hills Ward, and we were just talking to them, and it was really cool to listen to this man’s story, of how the missionaries found them, and how the gospel has changed his life! It really helped me remember that even the small things we do as missionaries really does make a difference, and it really does help people, the service that I am doing! :)

Friday was good, we planned, had a meeting, had dinner, we saw Ronnie and watched Mormon Messages with her! (Origin is really, really great!)  And I can't remember what else we did! haha.

On Saturday we went to Irvine and had a brief meeting about how we can get more lessons, we are going to start teaching the lessons to members, in hopes of getting more referrals! But we will have a member of the ward scheduling our appointments with members, and will be fun! There are just a few wards that are piloting this right now, so we will see how it goes, but we started yesterday and I just love teaching, no matter who it is, the Spirit is there!   It is great, and I love that I have the opportunity to be in so many homes and help them come unto Jesus Christ! :)

Then Saturday afternoon, we felt like we needed to go contacting on this trail, so we went to it, and there weren't very many people, and it WAS SO WINDY!!  We were laughing our heads off, just because of how windy it reminded me of Pali lookout in Hawaii!  It was a blast though, and we met a guy who was pretty interested, but he was on a 20 mile run (who does that...)  so we weren't able  to teach him, so we'll see what comes of that! :)

Here is the ocean view from our windy walk

Yesterday was good but weird, we dropped of Sister Hedrick at her Relief Society president’s house in the morning and then me and Sister Morgan went to our meetings, and church was good, and then we taught a few members in the afternoon and evening! :) Which was fun, and then at 9 we got back with Sister Hedrick, who had been with ward members all day who were being her companions, so it was interesting, and it will be nice when we are only over one ward :)  

But, things are pretty good. We fasted for rain yesterday (along with all of Southern Orange County), and it poured last night. But it is sunny again today, so we will see what happens! :)   I wouldn't mind rain, though I do need to get a rain coat…or an umbrella, or I’ll just be wet ;)  haha.   Our teaching pool isn't very big right now, so we are searching for those precious souls who are searching for the truth!  We hope we find them soon! :)   

But things are good.  And this week, I've really been thinking about how much we need the Atonement, and how because of what Jesus Christ did, it covers EVERYTHING!   As we turn to him, we will be lifted, we will be released from the things that bind us, we will be free!  We will be happy!  We will be full of the love of God, and we will want to share this gift with EVERYONE that we meet!   And that is why I am here, that is why I'm on a mission.  Because the Atonement changed me, and I HAD to give that opportunity to more people.   And there are rough days, missions are not easy, but they are worth it. Because salvation is worth it, but it is hard, because salvation isn't cheap.  But it is possible.  :)  And I love that everyday I get to go out and testify of Jesus Christ, because he is the CENTER of all we talk about.  He is the only way we can return to our Father in Heaven, and as missionaries, and as members we have this gift, and we have the ability to share it with this world that needs a Savior. So this week, I’m going to open my mouth more, I'll testify more.   I'll pray more sincerely, I'll study harder, and work as hard as I can, so that someday, I will be able to look back on my life and know that I did all I could, that I held nothing back as I represented Jesus Christ, because He never held the truth back, so why should we?

Well, that was kinda deep... but just the thoughts that have been running through my head!   But, I hope that you all have an amazing week, and I hope that you turn to Jesus Christ and let Him carry you!   (Matt 11:28-30)  

I love you all!   And know that you are in my prayers!!! :)


Sister Taylor Burningham

Sitting in a cupboard at the Christensen's house

Ronnie's baptism

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ronnie's Baptism and Fire Trucks

Well hello family!!!                                                                           January 27, 2014

I'm doing a lot better than last week!  I feel better, and well, I just feel better, so it is great! :)

This past week was a busy one, we are juggling 2 wards and choir and then getting ready for a baptism, it was a pretty crazy week, I honestly don't even really know what happened, but I do know that it was a good week, so I'll share what I can remember! haha.

So on Tuesday I was super sick, we emailed and then saw Ronnie, just helping her get ready for baptism.

Wednesday we were supposed to have district meeting, but I felt pretty horrible in the morning, so we called our District Leader and rescheduled our district meeting for the next day, and then that afternoon I had a Sister Training Leader Counsel where we learned how to give trainings.  (The assistants thought it would be helpful, since they teach the new District Leaders how to do it, and we have no idea what to do…so that was actually really great!)   And we also talked about our clothes as missionaries and how in southern Orange County we need to be more professional.  And Sister Lutz (her husband is a counselor to President Orgill), told us that we should just pray for clothes, and what we need, and that God will deliver.  So, we still need to go through our closets, but I know that I do have some professional things, but I do need more.  So, challenge for you, I'm not asking you to go out and buy clothes, I don’t want you to do that, but if anyone happens to be giving away things, send them my way, even if they don't fit me, they would be great for other sisters, so just be on the lookout! ;)

On Thursday we had district meeting, and it was really powerful, we are trying to implement the new way of teaching, it is going to take a lot of practice, but in the end it will be really, really great! So we are pumped up for that! We had choir practice and then we saw Ronnie, and then we had a great experience...

So, I was driving, and we were driving from Ronnie’s house to the Dunning’s (our ward mission leader) house, and we were just driving on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and then...a fire truck was coming from the opposite direction, so this white Corolla was in front of me, and pulls over, and of course, I do too.  Then, we see this woman walk into the street right in front of us.  She is on the phone, and waving for the fire truck to come over.  So we're like "oh dang, the fire truck is coming here!" So the fire truck comes over and totally blocks in this white car.  So I start backing up (even though we are supposed to have a companion get out and back us, the white car was backing up, so I had to).  But as I was backing up, this other fire truck and ambulance comes up and blocks the white car in even more, so I'm still inching back, when the passenger door of this white Corolla opens up and we all start laughing...why?  Remember who drives Corollas…oh yes, missionaries.  Who are the two cars that happen to get stuck because of these two fire trucks...just all the missionaries serving in the Laguna Beach ward.  So Sister Hedrick gets out, and we talked to the Elder who had gotten out of the car, turns out they were also heading to the Dunning’s.  So, we backed up enough that we could go around the fire trucks, and the Elders must have too cause they weren't far behind us once we got to the Dunning’s.  But it really made our day, because really, how random is that that we got stuck and so did the Elders?  It was quite an adventure! haha.

Friday was good, we taught Ronnie again, and then I had a meeting and then we kinda did weekly planning, we didn’t have much time though and had dinner with our Bishop’s family and then we went over to the Marina Hills Relief Society president’s house to meet her.  So that was good.

Saturday was a crazy day!  We went to the Stake Center first thing because we were supposed to have a meeting with this lady that sister Morgan meets with to help her with her reading, but she ended up canceling.

So we went to Laguna to invite people to the baptism, and then we saw Ronnie, who was freaking out for some reason, so we calmed her down and then headed back to the Stake Center to get things all set up for the baptism. And we did, and that was good. Then at like 4:30 people started coming, and Ronnie got there, and she was so nervous it was making me nervous!  But the baptism was great. Her dad, who hasn't been very active was able to baptize her, and he was acting like a little kid on Christmas.   It was so great, and it was really powerful, the spirit was very strong!  We had a great turn out, and Ronnie’s mom who isn't a member came, and she also came to church yesterday to see Ronnie get confirmed and stayed all three hours.  She feels it, she will be baptized someday, I just don't think that she knows that yet.  :)  But the baptism was a success! :)   And all is well there!

Yesterday was good, a fairly normal Sunday. Went to church. Contacted people with the ocean in close view, but it was super humid, so my hair looked....umm ya, pretty marvelous and way wavy and WAY frizzy, so it went up into a ponytail, I'm so glad that it is long enough to do that again! :)  I’m growing my hair out again, so it should be long when I get home!  :)  yay!

So, this week we will be opening lots of windows and praying lots to find new investigators, so that we can have more people to teach!   It will be a good week! I'm really looking forward to it!!!  I hope you have a great week! I love you all!!!! You are the greatest!!!


Sister Taylor Burningham