Write Me

Elder Burr
California Los Angeles Mission
1591 East Temple Way
Los Angeles, CA 90024


alexander.burr@myldsmail.net

www.californialosangelesmission.blogspot.com

Monday, December 15, 2014

Feliz Navidad!!!

Hahah super funny week. First off, I went to a member of the Ward to eat dinner. And everything is all good and stuff, eating some pot roast and salad, when I look at their son, who has his head down a little bit, and I realize I have seen this exact same thing before.....then I started making weird faces and weird noises cause I was getting excited, then the Dad noticed and I look at him all scared and then he nods in assurance that my thoughts are correct....and BAM I ask them, "is your son....the Rainmaker??" And he said, "yeah!" and then I freaked out for like 5 minutes. So, I watched a movie before my mission, called Looper. It had Angels in the Outfield guy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. And their son, Pierce Gagnon, was the main kid in it. It was a really funny moment.

I also contacted a guy that I used to watch on YouTube, he ran a website called college humor.. So far, my celebrity count is at 3, I still not have found Whoopi Goldberg, but the search continues.

As for the work, things are hard because finals are going on and these Chinese students are diligent. Great example to me for when I go back. It was a little sad this week though because we had a really good progressing investigator drop us, because she was really sad we couldn't become boyfriend and girlfriend....it was the first time this happened to me on the mission, it was pretty weird.... BUT anyways, Tracy is still moving along towards baptism and we found an investigator who is a pretty old lady, probably 50 or 60, her Chinese name is Fu Jie Mei, but you know, we are in America, so this just won’t do, so she renamed herself Beyoncé. So pretty much I am teaching Jay-Z's wife.

Elder Baxter came to visit it us, it was so funny, he pretty much bashed on puritans and told us to have more fun!!

BUT something awesome he said was in 3 Nephi 26. How when the Spirit fell on the people, they said great things. And then it writes that the things they said were greater than what Jesus had said just barely. He talked about how that truly expresses the character of Christ, lifting others above him, not wanting any of the glory for himself, but always looking to send praise and love outwards. Even Christ, the person that created everything, who had all the power of God the Father, who had the perfect knowledge like God the Father acknowledged that someone said something greater than he. It’s all about becoming more like him. PMG is for LIFE!

I miss you family! I sent a happy birthday package for Mom today!!! Happy Birthday Mom, I love you! Go eat some chicken feet in Hong Kong for me. (I actually like to eat that now.)

Love you guys, Happy Holiday!

Elder Burr



Monday, December 8, 2014

SunSunSun

Family,
I just hope all you know I had an awesome week! I hope all you did too. We had investigators at Church, we had investigators come to the baptism. All these blessings came from obedience to the council of the Mission Leaders. We have to listen to the council of our leaders. Some of happiest moments was when I got to see a long time less-active take the sacrament for the first time in 9 years. It’s such a simple little act, but I don't know, that snap shot in my mind was just so spiritually strong, I could just imagine all the mistakes that person made being swept up in the Grace of Christ. After we make that baptismal promise with God, he never leaves us, we leave him. And it was so cool seeing somebody come back to him, come back to the fold. Her name was Sister Cho and she was Korean, and she was the first LA I have seen come back to Church so I am going to work extra hard on keeping her here.

Remember that guy who heard about the Church in Chinese prison and flew to America with the intent of walking to SLC to find the one true Church, well yeah, his name is Frank and he got baptized this Sunday!! It was one of the funnest baptisms I have been too. In his testimony Frank said something along the lines, “when I was in darkness....prison....the guards always liked to see how tough I was, but now I am in the true Church....AND THEY ARE NOT!!" It was super sweet! Even our Mission President came.

So do you remember Eric Xiao? He got baptized in August I think? Well, he has been working on his girlfriend and now she has a goal for Jan 18th!!! yeah! She is super funny and wears big hats made out of rabbit fur to church!!

I really like the stage of my mission right now, I am just having a lot of fun teaching these people. For sure it is still stressful and tiring and taxing on the emotions, but all good things are that way, right? If everything was handed to us, we would never grow.

I gave a guy a baptismal interview the other day, well actually him and his wife. His wife passed, but he didn't want to, he was still getting hung up on Joseph Smith and his 40 wives. And I don't blame him, that's a pretty weird thing. But when I was in the interview, I realized that in this life, we need to walk by faith, and we need to rely on the things that God has already given us. God won’t give it to us all at once, but he will give us something. It is up to us to remember where these little testimonies came from and to continue to nurture what we have. This man had faith in God and Faith in Jesus Christ and Faith in the Book of Mormon. But because of a historical matter, he was throwing all these things he knew under the bus and stopping himself from joining his wife in baptism. It really was super sad. It makes me think of all the people that trade the things they do know, for something they don't. I think in a talk someone said, “they trade their spiritual birthright, for a mess of pottage." That was hard for me to see him not want to be baptized, but I will continue to pray for him and his family this week, he was such a sincere guy, I just need to trust that God will consecrate my own efforts and make up for what I mess up on.

I love you guys!! Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas Harry! Happy Hanukah Marv!

Elder Burr

Monday, November 24, 2014

Rodney King!!

So today we will be confined to our house. LA has a history of rioting so we are going to be stuck inside when the verdict comes out for the Missouri shooting case.
This week was fun because I got to teach a chinese person with a christian background. Her name was Huang Qian ( yellow money??jk different characters) but yeah, so we had our first lesson with her and we were teaching her all this cool stuff that she had already hear before "God loves, us we are his kids, " you know, just run of the mill non-denominational Christian evangelizing, BUT when we got to Joseph Smiths first vision, everything changed. Huang Qians was just so calm and so quit, and it was just so cool. I know I have been out for a long time now, but I love that I can still have these experiences with these lesson that I have taught a hundred times. Yeah, a lot of crazy stuff went down in Joseph Smiths life, but I just know that the first vision happened, and that God the Father called him to be a prophet. I am really excited to see where she goes. It has been a while since we have gotten an investigator to really progress, but the overall chinese district is doing awesome. The other set of Elders in the Ward found a guy wander into the VC. His name was Frank Xiao and he had heard about the Church in China, but he couldnt get full information because no one was willing to talk about it fully becase of the government rules, so he decided to travel to Utah to see the temple and the church with prophets that those people in China were talking about. But, he landed at LAX and googled the church and found out that we have a temple here and so he just decided to stay. He is just a super humble guy that loves christianty, hates communism, and rides motorcycles, thats my kind of guy! he will be baptized on Dec 7th. Its so cool, the modern day pioneers that we get to see. It reminds me of all those people from Scotland and England that came over to build Zion, and now all these Chinese pioneers can be baptized and return and build up the church. Our mission president always says our job is to find and baptize the future general authorities of china. We are still in the middle of the Restoration!! We carry a message that no one else has, WE ATTEND THE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD EVERY SUNDAY!! Thats just crazy to. #blessed. Oh man, when I start doing hashtags, it is time for me to get of.
I am going to be spending thanksgiving with a nice crazy portoguese family!
I love you guys!!
Elder Burr

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Long Haul

Just finished a 5-week transfer and now we are in for a 7-weeker! I am still with the big-boy, Elder Zhang and I am trying my very best to make him lose weight, we even went to Ross last P-day and bought him some skinny slacks for motivation, but alas, he goes into hunger rages and eats a ton of microwave burritos and sriacha sauce. 

Haha! So we were helping our investigator Wang Zi Yi pray for the first time, so we were having her list off the things she was thankful for, she said, " the world, my family, my friends, my school, the great communist party of China.." after she said that I just lost it and started laughing, and she got a little mad at me for laughing at China. 

AWESOME SUNDAY!! So a girl that Elder Bria and I street contacted into at USC four transfers ago got baptized on Sunday. I couldn’t go because I couldn’t find an investigator to take to it, but it was just an awesome testimony to me that I need to try me very hardest in every contact, in every person I talk to because who knows where that little experience will go. It really is true, we plant seed every single day with how we live our lives, I am just lucky enough that I wear funny white shirts and Mr. Mac pants with pleats and people instantly know I am a missionary so they can associate with the Church, it will for sure be a lot harder after the mission, but I am excited for it. I shouldn’t think about life after.....

That is so awesome Tori is heavy with child!! Ohh man, life is just moving on and on. That pictures that Dad sent a while back were crazy! Mellissa and Tina and Becki look so old! Has Rebecca been applying to school? 

ahhh, I don’t know why, but lately the rejections have been a lot more. These rich Asian teens just aren’t worried about this stuff right now. It has made me realize more and more that we are looking for the elect. I know God guides this work, and that is why I keep going. If I was out here for just me and my companion, I would have quite a long time ago. All I can do is pray for these investigators. Please also pray for them!! Thanks family for being a part of this hastening!!

I have been turning to this scripture a lot lately, Alma 37: 33-34 

“Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls.”

This scripture has been helping me understand what I am doing out here.

I know this is true. It is all centered on faith in Jesus Christ, our Savior. Let’s never ever forget that!

Love you, thanks for everything!

Elder Burr

Monday, November 10, 2014

Crispy

The weather is getting crispier, just a like a Carl's Jr. $1 chicken sandwich.

Thanks for the package Mom!! And also thanks for all the Hostess snacks Grandma, it was like I was back at the cabin, sneaking into the pantry while all the Uncles and Grandpa are playing Hearts and Brads all like "shoot the moon Johnny!!" (I never did quite figure out how to play)
Whenever I tell people that I have a family of 8 and we are all active, they are super impressed. Keep it up Mom and Dad!! But don’t push too hard ; )
I was teaching our English class students a lesson on money and at the end I shared a message about how grateful I am that my parents and the Gospel taught me what’s most important. That titles like CEO, CFO, etc etc, are not the most important titles, but Father, Son, Brother, Grandson, Friend, these are the most important titles. Also what things are important to obtain. Not money, cars, or possessions, but spiritual experiences, knowledge, and family relationships. Our investigator QiQi (a single mom) was listening and she was very touched! It made me realize how blessed we are to have this Gospel. The things it teaches us and our families are so important!!! I really believe that there is no substitute, no other things that can teach these eternal virtues with such strength and conviction. It is very easy to take for granted this Gospel, I know I did before my mission, but as I share the things I know to be true and I feel the Spirit testify through me, I remember just how valuable this gospel knowledge is. BUT OH MAN! It is so hard to get other people to realize this sometimes.

The RC's in my area are doing well! They should be going to the Temple soon!
I like the Fall!! It is pretty much the same weather, not that much different. It is so weird just remembering what happened a year ago. In 7 days is the 1 year anniversary of Betal Liu being baptized. Things have been hard for him and his wife, they live far away from Church and it is hard to get work off because they are illegal, but they have been checking out English wards (even though they don’t speak a lick of English...diligence!!!)
Samson and Tiffany are still in China, they could be in Hong Kong by now. I will need to email him.
Darren and Wenqi are preparing for the temple in Feb!!
Leo is still in China, he is really from any branches, but I try my best to email him.
Regina is doing good! She has almost read the whole BOM but has a hard time making it to Church.
Near and Bo Yi are awesome, they are always trying to date the female INV's at USC.
Eric is also awesome, he will go to the Temple this month!
Love you guys!!
Elder Burr   

Monday, October 27, 2014

YES! Memorizing the baptismal prayer in the MTC finally paid off. This weekend I got to baptize our investigator Bo Yang. It may have taken 14 months to use those white pants we got at Sea Gull Books, but they were nice and crisp when I put them on, so all is good!

It was just a super funny and happy baptism. I will be honest, I was not sure if Bo Yang was ready to be baptized, he was just a little....off at times. But in the last 2 weeks leading up to the baptism, I have just seen him so happy and just a better person that by the time Sunday rolled around, I knew it would be fine. (I am still praying it will be fine though) He is just a little bipolar, BUT his family is a SUPER powerful family back in Beijing and his mom will check out the Church. Next Stop, the Forbidden City Temple 2024!! 

Oh man, giving a baptism interview was wild. I was super happy that the guy I was interviewing was super prepared. I had taught him 1 or 2 times before, but I really didn’t get to know him until the interview. The Chinese District is slowing down a little bit, so hopefully Elder Zhang and I can pump some fire into it and get it going again so we can have some more baptisms!

MOM! I met someone from Tuen Mun but I didn’t know where your house was, where is your house?? 

So I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting (English- no worries) and the subject was "What was your favorite conference talk" and the one that I picked was "Lord, is it I" by President Uchtdorf in the Priesthood Session. So I picked that one because it is something I have had to apply a lot on my mission and it is something that I hope to apply after and that I can help the members here apply in their own live. For those of you who don’t wear suit pants and didn’t go to Priesthood Session, it’s about humbling ourselves and giving ourselves, not our neighbors, an examination. Too many times in my life have I felt that something pertaining to the Gospel was good for other people, but I was the exception. This was just the pride of the natural man talking. I also really liked that talk because it talked about the promised blessing of humble, sincere, self-evaluation is enduring and deep conversion. I especially like that part, because that is what it is all about, our individual conversion and our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Sometimes, it is hard to know what success is. Is it the baptisms, the number of lesson, the contacts? My mission President stated that "the success of a missionary is defined, not by numbers, but how deeply he is converted to the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then in the talk, Pres. Uchtdorf talks about a ward that had a high percentage of church attendance and home/visiting teaching, but after a while, 11 marriages had ended in divorce. He talked about on the outside they were all successful church goers and members, but on the inside, they had distanced themselves from the gospel. We can’t let these outward things gauge and define our testimonies and conversion, because then we will just be fooled into thinking we are strong and when the storms rage, we will fall. Now, I don’t have a perfect solution for conversion, but I know that repenting helps ALOT!! Humbling yourself, moving forward, changing, and most importantly partaking of Christ’s Atonement leads to deeper conversion. And then striving to have the spirit with us.

I am so happy that I can be our here, thanks for the package this week, it really does make me feel so happy. I hope everything is going well!! If you have time, send some pictures of whats going on. I will also start taking more pics!




Monday, October 20, 2014

Mission Life!!!

Aaahhh I am emailing at the Family History Library and the Sister next to me is crying, what do I do?!?!?! But hey, that's the mission life!

So, life is good in the mission. They split our area so we lost just about over half of our  investigators. We just handed them over to these other Elders. It was a little hard, but I know they are in good hands and I will hopefully be able to see them on exchanges. Oh man, being the DL brings all kinds of new interesting things to worry about in the mission life. Exchanges, collecting numbers, going to meetings, and people looking to me for advice. I was on the phone with these Sister missionaries planning an exchange lesson and I asked them, "If we are teaching a girl and we have no guy there besides us, can we still be there?" and they were like, "I don't know, ask your District Leader." And I was like" I AM the District Leader!!!!" hahaha That was a funny little tender mercy from the Lord. He is just reminding me that this is a first and foremost and a service opportunity, and next a learning opportunity.

So my area is only Santa Monica College. No more UCLA. But that's okay, It wasn't the same as being at USC, but it was a really nice place though. I will miss it. 

So SMC is really really, really small and people there are crazy! Most the people there are fresh off the boat. The Chinese program is not developed here at all, so it will be a lot like USC again, just building up from nothing. 

It's pretty cool to have a native companion! Elder Zhang is sick, he joined the Church when he was like 14 in China. It's good in the sense that he teaches me a lot of native slang, but it's bad in the sense half the time we don't know what each other is saying. His English is...minimal...but bless his Beijing heart, he tries!! 

We should have a baptism this weekend!! The guy is a little different, but I am sure baptism will be a step that blesses his life. I am also giving my first baptism interview this week, pray for me that I don't let any crazy people into theC hurch. 

So Darren and Wenqi! My RC's from wwaayyy back when. They are taking temple prep and will probably be sealed like 4 months from now!!! I am so excited!!! They are also applying for the Patriarchal blessing!! Those two make the whole mission worth it. Of course, every person I meet and teach makes it more and more worth it. I really am so happy that I came out. I really don't know who I would be without seeing these things. Thanks so much for your support!! If you guys have any material to learn Chinese characters give me a shoutout!!

love,
Elder Burr 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pressure! I feel Pressure!!

Transfers calls came. I am staying up here. But Elder Bria will be going down South to my very first area Torrance and Palos Verdes. My new companion will be Elder Zhang, straight out of Beijing!! He has spent the last two transfers in English so hopefully all that English fun didn't make him to disobedient. English areas tend to do that to Elders. I also got a crazy surprise, I am the new District Leader. I should have seen it coming. President must have sent me to the Arcadia and Irvine Missions for a reason. Oh man, this is going to be a wild transfer. Lots of new things coming up, lots of new experiences to grow.

This week I gained a testimony of developing Christlike attributes. So for the longest time, my companion and I have just been on the wrong frequencies. We were always rubbing each other the wrong way. So beginning last Monday, I was praying every day for 3 specific things that I could develop that would improve our relationship. And crazy enough, it worked!! This past week really was so much fun and so productive and so spiritual. It is so easy to tell and invite an investigator to do something, but am I doing those things myself? That is what I have to start asking myself more. We can't be content in this state we are in, we always have to be moving forward and upward. 

I don't know if I told you this, but I saw Meet the Mormons, that's a tear jerker for sure! You guys all live in Utah so you will probably see it, but maybe if you have a friend who lives in another state far from mainstream Mormon culture, have them check it out. Or if you have friends that hold stereotypes or misconceptions of the church, have them check it out. The movie answers those!

Well, have a great week everyone, pray for the investigators!!! 

Love,
Elder Burr
I think this is the Long Beach Temple?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Familia!

Guys Guys this week was crazy! So, my District Leader told me we were exchanging on Wed. I thought nothing of it, until he started to drive outside of the mission boundaries!!! I was freaking out! haha BUT no worries, it turns out the Mission President wanted us to go to the Irvine Chinese Missionaries and have an "information gathering trip". I felt like I was a part of Star Trek/Seal Team 6.

It was such a weird experience leaving LA for the day. Things are a lot cleaner outside LA county. We went into Orange County and the Irvine Area. It was super cool seeing the green outside. haha We also drove past Disneyland. We passed an IHOP I remember going to when I did the Music School Tour. 

ahhh I have no time today because we had to give a Chinese family a Visitor Center Tour and we have a Return and Report Meeting, but love you guys! don't send me winter cloths!!

-Elder Burr
kidnapped
Irvine Elders
Disneyland 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I got my BD back!!!

YES! The Bible Dictionary! I can continue my study of the battle of Gog and Maygog!! JK guys, I am not really all into that deep doctrine study, mostly because I am still trying to grasp the shallow stuff...haha my companion is writing a whole discourse on the lost/secret plates of the Jaradites.

Oh man, the nostalgia is coming in. The weather is getting a little crisper, and it is starting to remind me of the time that I first came into the mission. It really is freaking me out, my entire mission is going to go on repeat. I really don't want this to end! But don't worry, it is a long ways away, I am just dealing with the shock of the weather and after that I will be all good. 

This week we picked up an investigator, his name is Cao GeYang. SUPER COOL, he was just randomly contacted into, and it turns out that his cousin was baptized 5 months ago. His cousin is in Arizona and had been living with a Mormon family. Crazy!! I asked him why his cousin joined the Church, and he said it was because it gave him direction in life and friends! Dad, don't get mad at me for sharing this story, it may motivate Mom to get more foreign exchange students, but hey, if you go get a student, try to find one that has no friends and lacks direction in life. Ask the questions of the soul! (why am I here? where do I come from? Did we really land on the moon? Is Ronald Reagan still in office?) 

Everything is just traveling wayyyy to fast. BUT I love the influence that this Ward has been on me. What I have seen at this ward is that it is built on the foundation of some very solid converts! People are here that at one point were hard core atheists, anti-Mormons, non denom christioans, RLDS, it is so diverse. I really do love it. I know why Jesus commanded the apostles to go forth and preach to ever kindred nation and tongue, because this diversity makes the church so strong, that when the church is made up of people that fought and struggled to get here, it will be a church that will stand through all adversity, that won't fall into apostasy. I love that in the Bible, when the old prophets got discouraged because their dispensation was going to fall into apostasy, God showed him our dispensation, the LAST dispensation, that we will not fall, that we will stand and flourish, and I have seen that here in LA. I am so grateful to be a part of the Work of Salvation! I encourage everyone back home to get into it too. It's all the same work, we are all brothers and sister, there always will be lost sheep. 

I love you guys! Thanks for always supporting me!

-Elder Burr

Monday, September 22, 2014

Awesome Blossom

It was an awesome blossom this weekend, Eric Xiao got baptized!! It was a great turnout, people hanging out of the windows, kids running trying to hop in the font. It was super good. The last Chinese baptism in this ward yielded very small returns, so we called a lot of ward members and invited them. Ahh man, it was so good.

So Eric's story is, when he was in college in China, he had a friend that introduced him to God. And one night, he offered up a prayer to know if God was really out there and if he really cared about him, and he got an answer, he knew God was there!! Alright Step 1 down, now Step 2 is finding God's true church. So he eventually makes it to America and he joins up with just a local church and he likes it a lot, his knowledge of the Bible grows and he is strengthened in Christ. Next thing you know, he is eating at some K-Town BBQ and he find our English Class add! Next thing you know he is reading the Book of Mormon, and he is feeling the Spirit and he knows its true, next thing you know his old church buddies are telling him we are brainwashing him and that we aren't Christian, and he stands up to them and  tells them he knows The Book of Mormon is the word of God!! All this within a week and a half of meeting with the missionaries for the first time. Super on board, super pumped to be baptized, BUT he gets a stumbling block..... living prophets... he starts to dwindle in faith and ends up sending the missionaries a text saying he is done, it is just too hard to be a part of the Mormon Church...devastation sits in.... We go for one more shot, a lesson with us the Mission President, it's a good lesson, but definitely didn't crash the walls of the prison. Eric goes home, prays about the things we taught him, and he gets his answer! God has always worked through prophets and the Church is Gods true Church and contains the fullness of the Gospel!

Why am I telling you this? Well, as I stood there and was a witness for his baptism, I was looking down on him in the font, I could imagine all these experiences that he had, all these struggles and blessings taking him to this very moment and sure, I tried my best to lead him there, but ultimately it was his loving Heavenly Father that brought him there. Oh man, it was an awesome baptism. Eric was just so overwhelmed. In the bathroom he was just weeping and saying 'thank you, thank you so much.' AND even better, at the very end, when we were all eating snacks, President Weidman came through the door and surprised Eric with a big old hug, Eric pretty much lost his mind.

So, I also wanted to share an experience. We were contacting on UCLA and I see this guy, I ask him if he was a student, he said no. He was heading to the UCLA Hospital to see his daughter. His daughter was 14 years-old and had ran away from home, then had tried to commit suicide. The father had just barely found out about this earlier that day. I just didn't know what to do at that point. But, I decided to ask the man if we could pray with him, so just there in the middle of the street, we offered up a prayer for his family. Right after we ended, he said thanks and had rushed off, but we gave him our number before he left. I was a little bummed about it for the rest of the week, I wish I could have helped that man more, I wish I could have taught him something to give him hope, but all I could think of was to pray with him and the prayer didn't really impact him. But, I got a call from that man 2 days ago. He is probably the only person that I have given my number to that has called me back! And he was sounded so much happier! like 1000x happier. He expressed his thanks to us, he talked about how the prayer we had together gave him the strength to enter that hospital and face what he had to face in there. He said that things were looking up with his daughter and the doctors were giving a good prognosis. 

Family! I just want to share my testimony of prayer. Sometimes it is hard to pray, we will fall asleep, our minds will wander, they won't be heartfelt. I know I have experienced all these on my mission. But prayer is an act of faith, and faith always precedes the miracles. And Eric's baptism and meeting this man really were miracles, and they both had to do with prayer. 

Thanks for reading this super wild letter! Love you guys! 
-Elder Burr
Eric's baptism. Elder Bria did the baptism. He almost forgot the words in the font, but it was all good.

Elder Bowman and I back together for a day!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

God guides this work!!

So! cool stuff! This Monday we had a lesson with the Mission President, President Weidman. Super nerve racking!! I was pretty scared to teach with him, but it was like a normal member-present lesson, only that he was super awesome and I actually trusted what he told to our investigators. (sometimes we have members tell investigators stuff like, "yeah baptism, it's not that important now, you can just do it in the next life.") So the investigator we taught was Eric Xiao. He was a golden investigator but he got hung up on prophets and then he started to digress fast! We are talking Degrassi the next generation status. So we called in the big guns and had a lesson with President. And I mean, the lesson was a really good lesson and it was really spiritual, but I could just see on his face that he just wasn't at peace with it. And so he went home and he prayed, and he said that he expressed to God why he didn't believe in Prophets, and God answered Him! He said the feelings he got right after he expressed his concerns were so real and vivid, and these feelings were telling him to trust in the Prophets and that God has always always worked through Prophets, and to just trust in God's Plan.

I only had 2 or 3 lessons with Eric, but those lessons just made this transfer so worth it! And even made my mission so much more worth it! 

Other than that, its been a pretty normal week. Being in a family ward is so weird!! It has Deacons and old ladies and everything in between. haha It reminds me a lot of good old Cedar Hills 5th. And when I thought about that, I started to think about the person I was before my mission. I just can't believe how much I didn't understand about the Gospel and how much I took it all for granted!! But don't worry, I have repented of these things! 

So hiking to the Hollywood sign was a bust, the trail up was closed down, but don't worry, I still have like a year to do it. 

I am making a promise to take a picture a day! I need to start doing that, and also writing in my journal.....

Well, we gotta go. Love you guys! Good luck in school. I can't believe Rebecca is a Senior! How old is Mellisa? 14? 8th grade? Is Tina driving?? 

Love you guys!! Have an awesome week!

The closest thing to the outdoors I have seen all year

HYPED!!

09-08-2014
Man, Santa Monica is so CLEAN!! This new area is so different. A lot of things are so different. Pretty much everything is different but my companion. If you don't remember Elder Bria, he is the thick Elder from Tennessee that likes to wrestle. BUT our new apartment is super nice, so we have to keep the fighting to a minimum. This new place has AC!!! The first night I was there, I fell asleep and woke up to AC and I thought that I was home in Utah. I am for reals. It was super weird! I also am getting to drive a new car, 2014 Corolla!! It is super nice, I am super scared to mess it up, LA traffic is crazy. I was in another accident 2 weeks ago with my District Leader. hhaha It was a funny story because an English class student was the one that hit us!

So also in the new area, I am in a normal ward again. Like with families and stuff. HEY Valeria Chow's sister is in my ward. We have Gospel Principles in Chinese together! But being in a normal ward is cool. Not a lot of Chinese speakers are in this ward, but they just had two baptisms before I came in so it is all good!

I don't have a  lot of time because we are going to hike the Hollywood sign! Talk to you next week! Love you family, tell me how your lives are going!!

-Elder Burr

Monday, September 1, 2014

I Bruined my life

First things is first, I want to express how grateful I am to all you guys. You email me every week and pray for me and it really really does support me through a lot of trial! I could not serve if it were not for you guys.

AHHHH!!!!! I am being transferred to UCLA. I am so torn. The work was going very well in USC. We had 18 Chinese people at church last Sunday and 13 of those were non members. IT is exploding here! I am so grateful that I was able to do my part in the Lords vineyard and I 100% trust in the mission president, that he is guided, by God, to guide this work.

So during the football game this Sat we went contacting on campus, bad decision. It was pretty much like coechella ( or Woodstock for you older folk), but my companion and I thought that since we stuck out so bad, it would be super easy to find the elect people!! but oh man, who we found was Tawnya. So she stopped us and I just thought that she was your average sorority girl, but all of a sudden she started whipping out all this bible stuff and all of a sudden this Alpha Delta Alpha girl wanted to bash! Like all bashes, it didn't go anywhere, and in the end she left is with these words. " There is no such thing as revelation, no such thing as prophets, its done, its finished, we don't need anymore, God will not give us anymore." ......it was a super intense moment.  and you know, as I left that conversation, I just couldn't stop thinking about what she said. And I was just thinking, how I don't think I could live in a world where God does not want to talk with me. I just really believe that God's Gospel is constantly unfolding, it for sure is unchanging, but it is always unfolding. I wish that people would just listen sometimes, just sit down and talk with us. Mostly Americans really, who think they have it all. Because I have seen it in the eyes of my investigators, when I tell them that God is our loving Heavenly Father and he want to hear them and he wants to guide them through a living prophet, their eyes just light up. right now I am teaching 2 girls, Li Bing and Li Jia Ying, and they just get it. They both are just so sweet and so willing to learn. They have a soft, willing open heart. And so many Christians right now just need to do that. To open their hearts, and be willing to get to know Heavenly Father again.

These Chinese people really have been an example to me. the recent converts to the investigators. They have all taught me so much.

I am really bummed to leave the USC ward, but I know it has a very solid foundation, and these guys that have been baptized may be leaving in a year or two, but their legacy will remain!

hahah so we got all our investigators to an activity this past Friday, bonfire on the beach!!! we couldn't go of course, but when we followed up on them after, they all just loved the s’mores!! They were like 'it was so sweet, but oh, it was so good!!.' haha I don't know why, but we have mainly been teaching girls lately.

OH MAN!! Heart Breaker experience, we had our first lesson with this girl, Qing Qing. It was such a good one, so powerful and she just had so many good questions. We even watched 'Hope of Gods Light' and after the lesson, she just looked so torn up, so confused inside. Then, she sat there for like 15 seconds, just thinking, with the most knotted up look on her face and she said, 'listen, guys, I am part of the Party (communist party) and no matter what I learn or what I feel, I just can’t accept it, so let’s not meet again." ahhh it was so hard, because her mind was pulling her away from what her heart was telling her. And now she has been off the radar, and I am getting transferred and I can’t look for her, but it just made me think about what it means to give our hearts to the Lord. That even if we think it is good, and correct, it can still be not of God, and giving our Heart to Him who is Eternal involves humbling ourselves and realizing that we are still children, and that our loving Savior and Heavenly Father want nothing more than to guide us and show us the way of true happiness.

I love the mission! I love my family and I miss you guys! Hope all is well and I hope you have a good Mid-Autumn Festival!!

-Elder Burr

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hello, My Name is Elder ________

Hey Family! What happened to the update?? AMANDA CAME HOME! Whhhatt the!!  I feel like I am probably freaking out more than you guys! haha. LETS SEE SOME PICTURES!!  That was so cool that Brad and little old Carson went. I remember when those little guys came to my mission call opening. 

I liked that package that I got from the primary children! Thanks for that!
well, I am at a loss of words, so I am going to tag my companion Elder Cooper to finish this for me

Hello, this is Elder Cooper!  I am honored at the opportunity to address Elder Burr's family!  I am not sure what information Elder Burr wanted me to include, but I'll just let my feelings flow.  Here is a story about an investigator named Rambo (Chinese people choose strange English names).  We met him on USC campus the other day.  He was carrying one of those huge blow-up hammers that you get from amusement parks.  We stopped him and he got scared because he thought we were going to ask for his passport or something.  He didn't speak much English, so when we switched to Chinese he calmed down a little.  He said didn't have much to do that afternoon, so we invited him back to the institute, and we were planning on teaching a lesson, but when we arrived, he noticed that we were "Mormons".  He got a little worried, because apparently a friend had warned him that we were cannibals. He started running, but Elder Burr runs very fast.  We caught him before he could get away, tied him up, carried him into the church, and taught him the first three lessons and the Law of Tithing!  Golden!

He will be getting baptized this Saturday.

Other than this story, it has been a particularly average week.  Good conversations on the street, good lessons, and many new things learned. 

With mountains of love,

Elder Cooper

Monday, August 18, 2014

RIP Robin Williams

NOOOOO!!! Such a sad day, I was so shocked when I was told about that happening, but hey, at least now he is getting taught the Restored Gospel in the Spirit World.

Wild Week!! I exchanged twice back down to my old area. I had the chance to visit Regina! She is doing alright. She has not been to church in like a month because of the kids. But her faith is still really strong. Because I did not have the chance to go to her baptism and confirmation, the last time I saw her was when she was still a non-member and man, was the difference huge!! She just glowed. She really did. I could not believe how different she was. It was palpable!! The Gospel brings hope and light into a world that is lacking these things.

Also, another testimony of the Holy Ghost to me. Near and Bo Yi taught out Gospel Principles class this Sunday! They did so good! They too were also so different. As they spoke and shared their testimonies and taught us, they were just such different people. They were not the people that we had taught the missionary lessons to. When we make that promise with God, he really does bless us! God keeps all his promises! We should not fear or shirk from keeping the commandments or fulfilling our duties as a member of the Church. God will bless us right after for it! And if we let our love for the Savior be the motivating factor behind all our actions, then we will be so happy while we labor. This is something I am trying to learn on my mission. To let my love for the Savior be my reason for all the things I do and say.

Ahhh my District Leader got into a crash on our exchange, which means he might get his driving privileges revoked, which means that our companionships could get mixed up.

AMANDA!!!! Whhhaaaa!!! It is hard to believe that missions end, it seems impossible, but I guess it happens. I feel so nervous for her! Give Amanda a big ol' hug for me!!! ahh man, I miss all you guys! I can’t believe school is starting!

Regina and Baby Bob
GAO!!! He was so golden, but moved to Texas, he is in the Blue, and Shi Sui (recent convert of 5 months) is in the suit
Hair cuts from the Spanish Elders

Monday, August 11, 2014

Shred the Word

Oh no! It came! I can’t believe I have hit a year mark already, so much had happened in this year I can’t even believe it! And I still have so much more to go!

It was pretty interesting on my year mark. I had the opportunity to drive a missionary to the mission home. He was going home after 2 years. It made me think about how many more things I want to accomplish! He just kept saying 'I can’t believe it’s here, I can’t believe this is real life!!" He was such an awesome missionary, we street contacted together up until he had to go. He really helped me have a love for preaching, not just talking to people but PREACHING!! Teaching people the Gospel! It really is just so much fun doing this, it has been a blast doing this for the past year and I have no idea for what is in store for me.

Near and Bo Yi man!!! I performed my first saving ordinance of my mission. I confirmed Near a member and gave him the Holy Ghost. It was pretty sweet because I got to do it in Chinese, which was totally scary (wait Elder Burr, you have been out a year, you aren't fluent, whaaaa...(*o*)   ) hahaha anyways....yeah, the most important parts are the first three parts so I didn't mess that up. It says "And we say unto you receive the holy ghost." ahh man that was super intense!! But it was a really cool experience, and after the confirmation, they both gave talks and they were so good! Near said "before I came to the church my favorite character on 'Lost' was Sawyer, the bad boy, but now that I have come to the church, my favorite character is Jack, the man that helps others!!

It was sick! I am running out of time love you all !


Monday, August 4, 2014

It's coming up!!

Near and Bo Yi!!! It was so awesome! I am so sorry! I don't really have time to write, somethings weird came up. haha But that's mission life! I found a funny mask on the ground and now our comp studies are pretty interesting! Lets just say Near and Bo Yi's baptism was the funniest and one of the most spiritual I have ever had the privilege of going too. I am so thankful for the letters you guys send me! Your testimonies build mine every day!
I love you all

Elder Burr 


Bumblebee my favorite
V for vacuum

Monday, July 28, 2014

\(^o^)/

I don't know if it is appropriate but I send that emoticon pretty frequent to my investigators. BUT Familia, thank you so much for the love and the pictures. The family reunion look so sweet, the mineral pool said relaxation only, I really wonder if that is really all it was used for. I am just having so many good memories flash in my mind right now, good times in the cabin!

But the work is good. It is pretty awesome having a companion that is really normal and sound in the doctrine and had awesome ideas. I am super blessed right now and am praying like Job that God doesn't take it away. Bo Yi and Near passed their Baptismal Interviews!! I really am also so blessed for being able to teach those two guys, they were so prepared by the spirit!

Met a guy named Jeremiah DeSpain, and he was way into the church and wanted to join (he wasn't Chinese but we talked to him on the streets) he has read the Book of Mormon and Preach my Gospel and all kinds of other Church books. He asked us the requirements for baptism and we told him, “go to church 3 times, obey all the commandments, repent, endure to the end." And he responds, "So this endure to the end thing, how long is that? Like 3 weeks?" hahah That was pretty funny. People have a really crazy view of religion,(just like Amanda said) but hey, this is the true Church, that's why we live it till we die, and not just for 3 weeks or when it is convenient to us, but every day.

Love you guys!

Elder Burr

P.S. Thanks for the package! Why the flip flops?

Monday, July 21, 2014

PUT ME IN COACH!!! Fall 2014

TRANSFERS Age of Extinction!!!

Familia, I am staying in USC (YES!) which means I will be here for Fall Semester 2014!! Hopefully USC plays Utah at home in football and Grandpa can fly down here....jk don't do that....maybe. But yeah, I am super excited!! My time with Elder Bria is over though.....he will be moving on to UCLA Chinese. My next stop on the mission is probably UCLA Chinese or going English.

BUT I get another blondie companion. I guess because on the outside I look Chinese, President thinks I am a native speaker....nope....so much stress comes from not knowing what the heck people are saying! But I guess that just motivates you to get more members at your lessons. But really, I have had to learn the gospel so simply because I just can’t explain it with any other words. It’s made me appreciate the simple foundation of the doctrine of Christ. Faith in the Savior, Repenting, Baptism, the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. I love hearing simple talks from members on this subject because these simple truths are what make the Gospel true!

So my new companion will be Elder Cooper! The cool thing about LA Chinese program is I know exactly who my companions will be. We all meet together every Friday at District Meeting, so it’s not that weird switching. He is also on his 3rd or 4th move call so he is very young. He is from Layton Utah so look up his parents or something. I am pretty excited, partly because I will be able to get to sleep on time because no more wrestling with Elder Bria. I will also be here to help Near and Bo Yi continue to progress to their goal of August 3rd!!!!!! haha they are super ready, but Near wore a black tank-top to church on Sunday. So besides the dress code, it’s all good! 

Family I am sorry I have not been sending pictures, I can’t find my camera cord, but I will get one today.

AHH man!! I loved seeing the pictures that Mom sent! Melissa and Tina look so big and grown up. I am so happy you guys are safe and healthy. Melissa!!! Go all the way, follow your dream! Always stay active and always be improving in your talents! You are so cool.

And Tina! You are also so cool! I likes that serious picture of you and the other Flooglehorns ( I think that's what it’s called) that takes a lot of responsibility to do High School marching band! Keep it up!

Rebecca! You seem so mature from the stories Mom and Dad tell me. Save up those big bucks for your mission!! #Chinesespeaking2016

So, Mrs. Wen, the Chinese lady, we met with her again. TURNS OUT she is not human and has been ministered to by angels and she gave me a manifesto of all the things that are wrong with the Church and that it has gone astray and that the Chinese government sends secret agents to join the Church and bring it down. ( I think she also said she was Jesus Christ but I am not sure) anyways, what I had to do was just flat out raise my voice to this little old Chinese lady and tell her no, that's not true. We just talked with her for like 2 hours and she would not back down. I just told her that I don't believe her and that she does not have the authority to receive this kind of stuff.  It was so weird. I never want to do that again. But looking back at that, I thought about how Jesus came to the Jews, and He said "Guys, it’s me, I am the Messiah." and all the Jews and Pharisees were thinking, “is this not Joseph's son?" They totally didn't believe Him. They had a ton of reasons to not believe him. It was just outrageous for them to think that Jesus of Nazareth was The Christ. Just like it was crazy to think Mrs. Wen from downtown LA was a prophetess. What allowed them to believe, what allowed all of Jesus followers to overcome those doubts was the gift that is most precious, the gift that is from God for our salvation, it is the Spirit! When Jesus spoke, the Spirit was with him, and it touched the people’s hearts, and they knew it was true. Without the Spirit, without this personal testifier of truth, we could look upon Jesus Christ with our own eyes, and we would not know of his divinity. When Mrs. Wen talked to me, the Spirit wasn't there, I knew it wasn't true. BUT every day, the Spirit can testify of the message of the restoration, the spirit of God will tell the hearts of all mankind that Jesus is the Christ and that his Gospel is on the Earth. I am so grateful for the power of the spirit and the Gift of the Holy Ghost I received from my father when I was 8 (both earthly and heavenly) this experience for sure gave me a new found gratitude of the spirit, and a gratitude that God wants to help me and everyone else know for ourselves what is true and what is not. Which knowledge will help us eventually return to live with him.

It’s all connected! How awesome is that!! The Church is true guys!!!

Well, sorry this got so long, I love you guys!

Elder Burr

Monday, July 14, 2014

Front row seats to the greatest show on earth!!

I don't know why I am, but I am happy!! I do the same thing almost every day, I am tired all the time, and I don't always get along with my companion and we don't always see success, but I am still so happy. I am not sure for all the reasons, but I know that one of the reasons is that I have the opportunity to see people change, through the atonement of Christ change. And I know I have already talked about it before, but I am really seeing it happen in my investigators Near and Bo Yi.

In the last couple weeks, they have just changed so much. They just have a light about them. They are just trying so hard to prepare for baptism. They are waiting outside the doors at church to welcome people to Sacrament Meeting, they are inviting friends to church, they are fellowshipping our other investigators!! It is so cool. They have changed and that change comes from their love for Christ and his teachings.

So, I had a cool experience teaching a member of the Communist Party the other day. It was pretty cool because she said, “it will be out little secret”. So if you don't know, you can’t be a member of the Party and have a religion. And being in the Party is like super good if you want to be successful in life and never pay taxes ever again. And even just people seeing you with missionaries could lead to rumors being spread and eventually getting kicked out of the Party, which would like ruin your career. So anyways, Lydia is a member of the Party and she is just super smart! She is studying to be a lawyer and her father is actually one of the main prosecutors for the Communist Party. But anyways, we taught her, and she just said our lesson was like spiritual food! She just soaked it all in and we gave her a BOM and she said she would have to read it and take Moroni’s promise, because if she never tried, she would never know. That is just what we ask people to do, is just try. Experiment on the word. Just like Dad was saying, have a desire!! And because this Church is true and is the restored Gospel of Christ, that desire to learn will be answered from God!!

Also, I met this crazy Chinese lady two days ago. She has read the triple combination like five times, and she says she has seen Jesus Christ and that the second coming is near....it was super intense. She came to church and was scaring all the investigators!!  She didn't speak a lick of English, and being senior comp I had to handle that...in Chinese...hahah oh man that was a stressful situation.

AHHH! Pray for Bo Wen, he needs all the help he can get. Technicalities are killer. When the Mission President is telling us to do one thing and the Bishop is telling us to do another, that's when problems start....oh well. It’s all good in the hood!!

Love you all, thanks for all the letters. Send me some pictures of the summer adventures!

Elder Burr

Monday, July 7, 2014

Taste of Democracy

Oh man, I love taking investigators street contacting with us!! So Fang Jun Ji gave us a call at 10:00 one night and said, "something inside my heart tells me I need to preach with you!" So the next day, we do it! But everyone was being pretty "anti" that day and I was super scared that it would be bad for his progression. But we eventually find a 17-year old kid and I corner him at a picnic table and we sit down and talk and our investigator just shares such a strong testimony, something I have never heard him share before in any lesson. And he just felt so happy after.
In his testimony (the kid was Korean so it was in English) he said, "sometimes, I will go to other churches on sundays. And I go even though it breaks the Elders' hearts. But I always come back and they forgive me. I am not sure why I come back, I think its because I know this church is true, yeah, that's it, I know that this is the only true church and I will always go back to it."
So good!! He is getting baptized August 2nd!! 
The 4th was gnar-gnar pow-pow. We had to be in at 6pm and had the most unproductive weekly planning sesh. Then I tried to escape and get on the roof and look at fireworks, but my comp wouldn't let me. Mostly just eating pizza, drinking Jarritos, and watching the testament video. But the ghetto was just so crazy!! The entire neighborhood was shooting of fireworks for like 3 hours! They love the USA.
But the best part was when we threw a BBQ for our investigators. It was their first Day of Independence in the USA and I wanted to show them that democracy tastes like watermelon and hot dogs!! It was super fun, we did it in the church parking lot, set up a bunch of American flags. It was so much fun, I felt like I was being dissobediant! But we ended up teaching them the pledge of allegiance and then we all did it together, and then I felt weird because I just had all these Chinese nationals pledge allegiance to another country. haha! But we had one investigator Gloria, who is just so awesome!! She really liked the Star Spangled Banner and told us it was so lovely and moving she was going to go home and memorize it. haha I cant wait for her to perform it.
Well, thanks so much for your letters and updating me on everything. I love the pictures you guys send. Rebeca looks so old and Melissa looks so much like Amanda. But dang, I want to go hiking with Tina to Timp again, that was so sweet! I can't believe it was almost a year ago. I really do still feel like a small fry, it is hard to gauge change over such a long period of time. 
Goodluck on all the summer activities!! Love you all!!
Elder Burr

Monday, June 30, 2014

USA!! USA!! USA!!

I am so excited for the 4thof July!! The people in our neighborhood love shooting things off on a daily basis, so I am excited to see what they will do on the day they have to do it! We have to be in home by 6pm, so I am trying to convince my companion to climb onto the roof of our apartment and watch the fireworks!!

Tori! You are so fit! That is awesome! Way to run so hard! WHY DO I SOUND SO WEIRD RIGHT NOW!!

Wyatt is back, that is sick! Was he totally freaked out to give hugs? haha

So update! Samson and Tiffany finally got married officially! But they are stuck in China, but he is trying his best to go to a branch there. 

So we took our investigators Near, Bo Yi, Hao Han, and BoWen to a baptism this weekend. Two of them have dates for August. But Hao Han does not, and I asked him how he felt about the baptism and he said, “I feel like I should get baptized!”. His family is still pretty against it, but we just need to build up his faith!!

So we had a cool 21st contact. (we have to contact 20 people a day)  So we had 19, and we had set a goal to have a lesson on the streets, so we prayed that we would be guided to the person that would let us teach them, and it was like 8:45pm at that point. So we go out, and I stop this family, but they weren’t really that interested but we invited them to the Visitors Center. So we were heading around the block and a girl is behind us, and I was thinking, "We prayed to get a lesson and God heard my prayer, I think he will give me a lesson, why did I say the prayer if I don’t believe anything would happen." So I turn around and talk with her, and it was a normal contact, I was not really pushing anything that hard, and then she asks, "So what do you guys believe, give me the run down, I have time." It was an awesome testimony builder to me!

The Church is true, God guides this work. Every night I pray I know that I am nothing without the Lord, that he guides this work. I can’t believe he sends me to teach His children, I am so honored to serve him!!

Love you guys,

Elder Burr
Visitor Center with my boys

Kelp, water, and eggs given to us, or....

The Triple-Fat Burger

They got that right

Xiao Bo is great

Xiao Bo