Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012
Hola Familia!
It was so great to be able to Skype you all on Christmas! That was definitely the highlight of my Christmas.  We got to spend time at several different members' houses as well, which was really nice. There are some amazing families here who make us feel so loved and appreciated.
For the district activity, we went to the stake center here in Huntington and played basketball, soccer, and dodgeball. It was super fun, the elders in my district are so funny! Oh, and at the end we all sat down at a table to play Uno...but then we realized that nobody had brought Uno cards. So that didn't work out too well. We ended up playing knock out instead :)
Today we have p-day, and then we have a district activity from 5-8, which is going to be AWESOME because we get to watch The Lion King in a home theater in Helper (that's where our zone leaders are), and I am going to make muddy buddies, and we are going to go to Price early to try to find some snow boots, and it is just going to be an amazing day :) And then tomorrow we have normal study time in the morning, but we can't tract that day, so I am not entirely sure what we are going to do, except that we have another district activity for a couple hours in the afternoon. So tomorrow should be pretty fun as well!
Last night at our dinner appointment, we were standing around waiting for the husband to get home and for the food to be done, and my companion's finger started bleeding. She asked the woman for a bandaid, and as soon as she had gone to get it, Sister Chase turned to me and said "Hermana, I am going to pass out." I thought it was just because she was hungry so I told her to sit down and drink some of the lemonade that was on the table, and at that point the woman came back in and I just told her " companion isn't feeling so good." Hermana Chase just laid her head down on her arm and completely passed out...eventually we got her over to the couch to lay down, and the woman hesitantly asked me, "Does she do this often?" It was so funny. Well, except for the part where my companion blacked out on the couch. But later we laughed. For once I wasn't the one to get sick at someone's house!
Earlier this week, we noticed that for some reason, our pens haven't been working when we go to schedule appointments with people, but then we realized that it is because the ink is frozen! Haha! It is so cold here, but we have been doing well. It will be a lot better though if we can find some snow boots today!
Hope you are all having a great New Years Eve!
Much love,
Hermana Burner
p.s. Trey, go to the dance!!
(Notes from Christmas Day phone call)
*They had 2 baptisms on Saturday, Dec. 22nd. A 9 yr old girl, and a 13 year old "golden" boy were baptized. Hermana Burner was able to play the piano at both baptisms.
*There is a mobile home park that houses mostly spanish speaking people. There is a part-member family that lives in one of the mobile homes and does not speak any english. Hermanas Chase and Burner were walking past their mobile home when the couple came out and called for them to come quickly. They were on the phone trying to handle a problem with the phone company, and were not able to communicate with them due to the difference in language. Hermanas Chase and Burner went inside and were on the phone taking care of the problem for them for about 1 1/2 hrs. Prior to this the non-member wife of the member-husband would always avoid the missionaries and not talk to them. She apologized for doing that.
*Hermanas Chase and Burner were at a dinner appointment where salmon was being served. Neither of the missionaries is fond of salmon, but Hermana Chase dislikes all seafood. She took the smallest piece she could find, and cut it up and spread it around on her plate. Hermana Burner's strategy was to take the smallest "burnt" piece of salmon and eat it.
*P-day schedule:  Personal study time, exercise, etc.--- end at 10 a.m.
Check for mail at the post office
E-mail home
Get the shopping done
Write letters
*Their district consists of: Castledale (2 elders), Price (2 elders), and Huntington (2 sisters)
*Out of the 7 wards they are assigned to, 3 of the Bishops' are Guymons (Jeff, Darcy, and Ray) 
*There are 4 wards in Huntington, 2 wards in Cleveland, and 1 in Elmo.
*Everyone there is a "Jensen" or a "Guymon" and is related to each other. 
*When asked what peope did for a living there, Hermana Burner said that there are alot of coal miners.  In Elmo, there are alot of farmers (wheat, cattle, etc.).

Friday, December 28, 2012

Chrismas Day skyping:

Showing us her spanish nametag!
Gathering around the computer for our Christmas Day skype.
Family picture with Hermana Burner.

December 24, 2012
Hola familia y amigos!
Padres y hermanos, I am so glad to hear that you made it to Utah safely! I have to admit I was a little stressed out because it has been rather snowy, and I didn't know if either of you have had much experience driving in snow. Tender mercy! 
Missionary work was a roller coaster this week--we had a couple baptisms, but we haven't really found anyone to replace them in our teaching pool! I think a lot of people were out of town for Christmas because it seemed like for a lot of the week nobody was home. Yesterday was amazing though--after a dry week, we were able to contact at least 3 nonmembers and share a message with another one.  And, at our dinner appointment, we got a few referrals! Hopefully some of those turn out well :)
Yes, we have a car. We usually drive to a referral, investigator, or known non-member's house, and then T-contact them which means we go to the houses, on either side and across from them...Which are usually all members, but we ask them about their neighborhood to see if they know anyone else who isn't a member. Often times they only know the members on their street, so hopefully that gets them thinking about fellowshipping.
My mission president changed his mind after all, so we get to skype!! Wahoo! We are planning on calling at noon tomorrow. We are going to take turns, but either way I will call you around then and let you know. And I will probably be calling Mom's phone because I don't have Dad's number memorized (sorry Dad), so if you could keep your phone on and nearby that would be great! I am so excited to tell you all about my baptisms and investigators and everything.
I love you all so much!
Hermana Burner
Mis Padres,

Thanks for giving me updates on people's missions! That is so fun to hear about.  Sorry if my e-mail/letter today is a little muddled---I have this head cold thing going on and I am not completely sure if I am making any sense at all.

I know it's going to be pretty different for all of us to not be together for Christmas this year, so I thought I would share some thoughts with you that have been helping me:

*"Know that to others, [missionaries] are angels with a message from our Heavenly Father."
   -- Cheryl Esplin, Gen. Primary (RS meeting in MTC)

*"Don't waste time---we only get this chance once."
  --Bradley D. Foster (Tuesday Devo at MTC)

*DECIDE to be happy

*"Jesus saught me when a stranger" (from Come Thou Fount) -- God is seeking people, through missionaries.

Part of the Christmas message we have been sharing with others is inviting them to think about what gift they can give to Christ for Christmas this year-- Time? Love? Service? Church attendance? This year, this Christmas, I am blessed to be giving others the second greatest gift that I can give.  And as I give it to others, I am little by little giving myself to Christ.

I love you both so much.

Thanks for giving me the two greatest gifts that you can give.

With love,
Your daughter
A memory card came in the mail! More MTC pics:

December 17, 2012
Hola Familia!
So I'm just going to answer questions first, and then I will tell stories :)
--My first baptisms are this Saturday.
--It is really cold here! But we are doing fine. Thank goodness my companion is from California, so she likes being warm just as much as I do!
--Our wards here start at 9 and 11, so we go to Sacrament/Sunday School for the first one, and then leave a bit early to go to all three hours of the 11 o'clock one.  We pick which ones we go to depending on where our investigators are. 
--I don't know what our plans are for Christmas yet, but my mission president sent out a letter saying that he changed his mind about letting us Skype.  So, we will just have to talk on the phone I guess. But in case he changes his mind again, you should take one of your laptops with Skype installed on it to Utah with you because I don't think Grandma or Avery have webcams.
--I will try to send pictures soon! I haven't been so good at taking pictures since I've been in Huntington, but I am trying to be better.
Rumors/news spread super fast around here, since it is such a tiny town! We called a lady the other day to confirm our dinner appointment, and when we mentioned that I am gluten free, she said, "Yes, yes, I already heard that at Pilates this morning." So the members have been so good at making me gluten free dinners. Lots of potatoes, but last night we had stir-fry on rice, and they had gotten gluten free soy sauce for it. So I think the hard part is behind me!
Also, the other night a member gave us a gift bag full of candy, a pineapple, and a fruit platter.  PLUS, the Mormon Tabernacle choir with David Archuleta CD!! When my companion and I opened the bag that night and saw the CD, we started jumping up and down, we were so excited! We hve been listening to it nonstop in car ever since.  I am so glad that my companion and I have things like that in common because I am pretty sure I would drive some other sisters crazy.
We have been trying to utilize Christmastime in our missionary work as much as we can.  Usually we only teach non-members, but we have been giving 15-20 minute Christmas messages to less active and active menbers as well, and it has proven really productive-- we have gotten so many referrals out of this! And is just feels nice to work with less activies a bit because they need spiritual upliftment as well.  A lot of our referrals have come from less actives, actually!
I just love, love, love Christmas time! I love driving by homes with Christmas lights, having lights and wreaths decorating the lamp posts on Main Street, listening to Christmas music, sharing messages about Christ...everything! And I get to play the piano for District Meetings, which gives me a little time to play Christmas songs on the piano.  Even the snow makes me a little happy. I get to have my first White Christmas this year!
It's odd to think that you all will only be about 2.5 hours away from me when you get to Salt Lake for Christmas.  Be we will be together in Spirit--I get to call you that day, and I will probably be thinking about you all often throughout the rest of the day as well.
I love you all so much, and hope you are having a Merry Christmas!
Con amor a los cielos,
Hermana Burner

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012
Hola Familia!
Well, I guess my parents already know, but to everyone else-- my first area is called Huntington, which is up towards the Northeast corner of my mission. It is pretty cold up here! Besides Huntington, we cover some nearby towns called Cleveland and Elmo (yes, Elmo. As in Tickle Me).  I think 7 wards in all.  I have seen more cows than people here... as well as some pigs and sheep.  There are no stop lights in my area, although we do have a few stop signs.  There is a grocery store, but we haven't had the opportunity to go there yet.  Apparently it's pretty pricey since it's the only store within 45 minutes of us.  I'm not sure what the selection will be like, but we are trying to find a ride to Price (45-60 minutes away) today so that we can go to Walmart.  I've just been eating the mashed potatoes that Mom and Dad sent me, and a can of refried beans that my companion had.  Last night was a huge tender mercy because we ate at a member's house where the wife was gluten free as well, so I got to eat an entire meal! It's wonderful how the Lord can make a simple meal seem so glorious.  I had so much more energy this morning than I have had all week.
Sister "S" (the gluten free member) also sent me home with some lasagna for lunch today (we had chicken and rice last night), and some rolls that I ate for breakfast. How sweet!

I got to challenge my first person to baptism on Saturday night! She is a 9 year old whose parents are having her take the lessons because she wants to be baptized, so it was pretty easy but I felt like it was a little milesone nonetheless.  This area is so productive right now, with lots of baptims coming up and investigators to teach.  I am so blessed to have my first area by so fruitful.  Sometimes I feel like I am learning just as much from our investigators as they are from me; they are so humble, kind, and teachable, all of which are qualifities that I can improve on.

Yesterday we spoke in one of the Huntington wards, so I already got the first talk of my mission out of the way!  It was on the mission of Christ, so I got to do a lot of research and study some amazing scriptures about Christ in preparation for my talk.  I ended up having to leave out half of my talk when I was speaking, though. I felt like the first fifteen minutes were up before I started; I glanced up at the clock for the first time and was shocked that I only had five minutes left! Poor Sister Chase wasn't left as much time as she planned for (it was just the two of us speaking yesterday).  But I guess it is better to have too much to say than not enough!  Although I guess not having enough to say lets the Spirit speak more. Regardless, I feel like it went well, all things considered.  I'll send you a copy of my talk in my next snail mail letter :)

The Mission President asked everyone to have their mail sent to the mission office, and then they forward it to us.  Sister Chase said that sometimes she gets her mail in little batches, so sorry if some of my responses are delayed! But I will love, love, love to get letters anyways!

Most of our teaching has been in English, although we have been able to contact a few people in Spanish.  At dinner last night, one of Brother "S's" hispanic employees named Benny was there, and Benny said he wants us to come teach him, so I will probably have the opportunity to teach in Spanish soon! Sister Chase's spanish is really good, thank goodness. So it should go fine :)

My companion and I live in a house, which is pretty nice.  The basement isn't finished, so we just do laundry down there, but the upstairs is plenty spacious.  I'll have to send you some pictures sometime.  Sister Chase's mom sent us a box full of decorations (she even sent me a stocking, isn't that sweet?) so our house looks all Christmasy.  It makes me happy!  Oh, and one of the bishop's wives made us an advent calender, and another gave us a 3ft artificial christmas tree with lights on it.  The members are so generous!

I love you all so much!
Con amor a los cielos,
Hermana Burner