Thursday, July 31, 2014

God Answers Prayers

Hey Family,                                                                                                                 June 16, 2014

Sounds like you've had a fun week, especially as you've been in DC, mom and dad, so that is pretty great! :)  Glad this week was good!  Our week was kinda crazy, but fun!

Tuesday started early with a district temple trip, and then district meeting, then choir and choir photos (we are making/recording a CD this week, so that should be fun!)  Lets see, then we were late to dinner cause of choir, and I think we just went contacting after that, I really can't remember.

Wednesday we did something called 24’s.  So half our mission met for what was like a mini transfer meeting.  We already knew who was staying and who was going.  I stayed in my area, and Sis Chua went to another area.  Basically what 24’s are is a big exchange with a ton of people going on exchanges, so that was really fun!  I was with Sister Flora and Sister Lin. Sister Lin is the other Chinese sister and she and Sister Chua will be companions for most of their missions in the Yale Ward! :) So that is cool!  And it was fun to get to know both of them!  There were many tender mercies that we saw that day (like people being home that normally weren't), so that was great! We also had dinner at this restaurant called Boiling Point, where it is all soup, and the soup cooks as you eat it. Super different, and I have NO clue what I ate...I love Chinese food, always full of surprises, but that was fun!!




Thursday we all met back up and had a mini testimony meeting of the miracles we had all seen on our exchanges, so that was great!  And then it was just nice to be back in our normal companionships. That afternoon we got to go and do some service for a less active in our ward, and help her organize her house!  So that was fun, and really made us think in a way that we aren't really used to as missionaries!  But that was fun!  Thursday night we also got blessings from our Bishop in the Oak Creek Ward!  And that was great!  And really uplifting!  One thing that really stuck out to me in my blessing was this, "Let the Lord do the heavy lifting, put one foot in front of the other and open your mouth."  And as I do that then we will find those that are prepared to hear the gospel!  :) So that was a great blessing!  And we were both very, very pumped about life and what we can do in this area!

Friday was weekly planning, and we planned for this week, and that was great, we also taught Sister Pan, she is doing well!  So that is great!  She hasn't been to church yet, but we are working on that one!  Friday night we also stopped by a former investigator and he was really happy to see us, telling us that he had been thinking about us that morning, wondering when we would come back to see him again.  Miracle!!!  :) He also set up his own return appointment, so that is great! We'll get to see him this Thursday, so that is marvelous!!  :)  Also, this is just one way that God really is aware of each of us.  We were about to go visit a less active, and Sister Chua got really, really bad loud hiccups.  And they were making both of us laugh!  Finally we calmed down enough to pray, and then as I was praying, she hiccupped again, making me laugh, but I kept trying to pray, and prayed that her hiccups would stop.  When we were done praying, we looked at each other, and her hiccups were gone!  It was really funny, but also just shows that God is aware of EVERYTHING that we go through.  Now, I know that sometimes I get frustrated with answers or solutions not coming as quickly as that, but answers do come, because God is our Father and He wants us to have the answers and the things that we ask for, as it is in line with His will for us.  But anyway, God does answer our prayers!!!

So Saturday, I woke up with a massive headache, and not feeling too great.  I tried hard in personal study to read from the Book of Mormon and study for our day.  But I just couldn't handle it, so I told Sister Chua, “I'm gonna go sleep.”  She said “ok,” and then I ended up sleeping for 2 hours.  And then eating some food, and sleeping a little bit more.  By this time I discovered that Sister Chua also did not feel well at all.  But we had a lesson with Sister Pan, so we went to that, but we both felt so terrible, and I was just praying the whole time that God would help us.  And He did. Then we had a District Blitz, all of our district went to an area, and went to a few different areas to contact to help find new investigators!!!  Sister Chua and I ended up teaching the restoration to a group of about 7 people, but they were at the park as a youth activity for their church, but it was still really cool to see.  After that we went home and slept some more.

Yesterday was Father’s Day, and that was great.  But we both still felt so miserable.  We went to Oak Creek sacrament, and after one of the elders was like, "you sisters look like you are gonna die."  Well we felt that way too.  But we were determined to go to Yale's sacrament meeting too, so we headed over there, where the elders in that ward told us the same thing, and asked if we wanted blessings.  We agreed.  And both of our blessings were so similar (at least, that is what Sister Chua said, I couldn't understand hers cause they said it in Chinese). But basically, it said,  “God knows that you are being diligent, and that you are working hard, but today He needs you to rest.”  And I was like, “umm no, I have 7 weeks left, I can rest in 7 weeks,” but God had some other plans for us.  So we went home and spent the day inside.  So that was fun.  haha.  But I did go through my stuff and de-junk a bit, so that was nice!  haha.  Also, Lynda was supposed to get baptized yesterday, but she got sick, not really sure what happened, I just know she had to go to the ER (yikes!)  So she's in our prayers, and her baptism has been postponed.  So that was yesterday.

So today, we feel a little better, but we'll just be taking it easy, and I think I'll go take a nap after we go shopping.  So that will be great! :)

So, that’s me!  Looking forward to another great week filled with many miracles, cause there are so many every single day!!!

I love you all!

Have a good week!!!

Love,

Sister Taylor Burningham

Mission Choir at the Newport Temple

Mission Choir




Faith Precedes Miracles

Dear Family,                                                                                           June 9, 2014

This week has been great! And it is so funny cause there have been some pretty sad points, but we'll get to that!!!! :) This week was good, I realized a lot of things about myself and about God, and the plan that He has for each of us!!!

This all started on Tuesday as I was on an exchange in the Woodbridge 2nd ward (I just wanted to visit almost all my old wards this transfer ;) haha, but weird how that worked out).  Anyway, I was with Sister Simms and Sister Larson, and they are just super great!  But as I was studying in personal study, the Spirit was like "Sister Burningham, you need to do the 40 day fast again," and I'm like, “ya, I was planning on doing it my last transfer which is in 3 weeks, so ya, I'm good.”  And it was like "nope you need to do it now, and these are the things that you need to do/fast from."  It was great. So I’m doing the 40 day fast again, and already we are seeing the blessings!!!!  So my exchange was good, and that was great! :)  And then Wednesday.

Oh Wednesday.  It was a good day, we had Zone Training Meeting, and I gave a training on giving quality church tours!  So that was fun!  And then later we met with Carl, who dropped us :( He is still gonna read the Book of Mormon, but he doesn’t think it is true (but I think he does, I think he is just too afraid to pray and ask God).  But during our lesson I boldly testified and told Carl that this Church was true, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that he could know that too if he just asked.  It was a really powerful lesson, and both Sister Chua and I came out of it happy but also sad.  Happy because we know the Gospel is true.  God is real, this is His true church, we know that!  And just because Carl dropped us doesn't change the fact that we know that it is true.  And we were sad.  A few months ago, I might have been sad with the mentality of, "ah man, no more investigator, how are we gonna keep our lesson goal high... what are we going to do?" But on Wednesday I felt a different kind of heart break.  I felt the love that God has for Carl, and it broke my heart that at this moment in time he is denying the blessings of salvation.  and that made me so sad. And it gave me a greater desire to go and find more people, so that more and more will have the opportunity, to hear about the gospel sooner than later and to choose to follow God.

Life is hard.  The gospel is easy.  Though it seems hard at first. But as we turn to God, as we are obedient to his commandments, the blessings that we receive are FAR greater than any of the small things that we can experience now if we are semi obedient or not at all.  We are God's children.  He does love us.  And because of that He lets us choose for ourselves what we will do with our lives.  Which is great, but also a challenge.  I am so grateful for the gospel, for the peace it brings into my life,  there is no better feeling than the one I get each Sunday as I partake of the sacrament.  I am made clean, I am made whole and I am given strength.  Why wouldn't you want that?  I don’t have an answer to that question, so I'll keep sharing my testimony, boldly and without shame that the only way to find happiness is to follow Jesus Christ and live as He has asked us to. :) 

But, blessings come after hard moments.  Thursday we were able to teach a man named Gar, he's been taught for awhile, but because he travels he hasn’t been baptized yet (but he teaches primary already, this man is elect).  So we taught him, and hopefully by the end of this week he will have a baptism date!!!!

So, last Sunday our zone fasted for every companionship to set a baptism date with one of their investigators.  We thought it was going to be Gar, but it wasn't.  Our Chinese investigator Sister Pan now has a date for the 28th of June!!!!  So that was a miracle. I don’t know all the details of the story cause I was on another exchange when that happened!  But miracles!! Miracles happen every single day.  :)

That is one thing I really learned this week.  I learned a lot about miracles.  Everyday I pray, and I ask Heavenly Father to help us.  Help us find. Help us teach. Help us baptize so that more of our brothers and sisters can return home. Help us activate, help us retain.  Help us serve. Help us help the ward.  Help us in all things. I ask, what more can I do, what more can I give, cause I don’t have a lot of time, I don't, but I want to do all that I can before I leave.  So these have been the words that are in my heart all day long as I go through out my week, and this week I found an answer.  I was reading in Ether, and in Ether 12:16 it says "... Even all who wrought miracles wrought them by faith."  Faith.  I needed to have greater faith in God.  And in His promises, and I also needed to realize and continue to recognize the small miracles as well as the big ones.  Miracles happen every single day.  That is a fact of life, because when we are obedient the Lord immediately blesses us.  Always has and always will.  Some of those blessings or miracles are the changes in ourselves, we ourselves are miracles!  The sacrament is a miracle.  Being a missionary is a miracle, Sister Pan accepting baptism is a miracle.  Talking to Sister Hurst at choir is a miracle. Having a full dinner calendar is a miracle.  Feeling the spirit as you go out and teach, testify and just talk to people is a miracle.  Being dropped is a miracle, when there are two potentials sitting at the table next to you wondering what you are teaching about.  Life is a miracle!!!!

I know that life isn't always easy, but I do know that as we put our trust in God, as we turn ourselves over to Him, and say, ok, what do you want me to do? And then do it willingly, then we will see the miracles that enter into our lives.  I know that is true, because I've seen it, and I look forward to seeing it everyday for the next week, and then the next and then the next until my life on earth is over, and then I hope to see even more miracles after that!  So, I love miracles, and I hope you look for the miracles in your life this week as you go about your day-to-day lives! :) 

I love you all! I'll talk to you again real soon!!!

Love,

Sister Taylor Burningham

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!!!

Love,

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!!!!! :)

Love,

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!!!