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



Monday, January 20, 2014

We aren't always doing business, but we are always open

Missionary life is a lot like 7/11. (wait....7 days a week, 11 months out of the year???)

Sorry I missed last week, sometimes we really get caught up in cleaning and lose track of time.  This isn’t saying that I am becoming cleaner, but it’s that we are too messy and it puts us into a guilt driven cleaning frenzy!!

Dang it Amanda! You also put me into a guilt driven cleaning frenzy of my soul. Your emails of self-improvement motivate me more than Tony of P90X ever could! That talk is awesome,  " A Consecrated Missionary”.  I have never read the purifying one, I would love to read it though! Have you read the one by Elder Holland “Atonement in Missionary Work" or something like that.

So last Monday was AWESOME because the less active family, Suns, we have been teaching accepted to start reading the Book of Mormon again. This may seem like so little, but their improvement has been huge! Getting a less-active family back is so hard, it’s embarrassing and everyone knows, so when they take that leap of faith, and come back to church, they need to feel that love. They need to feel like they are coming home.

That reminds me of what Samson said....but before that!!  So, Samson and Tiffany are on fire! Their light is going forth unto all that are in the house! So we took them to a lesson with Darren and Wenqi.  Not even a week since they had been confirmed! And it was just crazy, Samson talked about how he felt that ever since he has been baptized, he has the responsibility to tell everybody about it! And Tiffany talked about how baptism is the start of a new life, a life wonderful in the site of God! This is true doctrine that came from the pure heart of a recent convert! We never taught them any of this. It just blew my mind and touched Darren and Wenqi and they both agreed to be baptized! Also, during the adult session of Stake Conference, the Stake President invited Samson to come up and bear his testimony. But it was an English meeting!! So he was super scared, but he just said the sweetest things, like the reason he came back to church the first time, was because he walked in and he felt like he was home. ( Not Jinx's home....right Amanda!!!) Now everyone in the Stake knows him and congratulates them. I am so excited to go through the temple with them in a year.   The Branch grows! We really have so much potential here, I really do not want to be moved this transfer.

This is the Lord's work, this is His Church, and it moves forward because a Prophet of God is at the head of it. We talk to people every day about how bad the world is, and in our hearts we know that the gospel is the cure. For every wrong, for every misdeed, for every tragedy caused by the selfishness or omission of others, the Gospel is the cure. I am so grateful I have a family that I am sealed with, in the temple and that we are all active in the Church. Thank you Mom and Dad!!

Love, your Son   

Monday, January 6, 2014

It's all about AUTHORITY!!

I don’t have much time y’all, but I figured out real quick how to do Chinese characters on this computer so 爱你们 (what is this simplified business, I can’t figure out how to change it). Anyways, Samson and Tiffany’s baptism was yesterday woohoo!!!!! I could not believe it, it was the best day of my life! I was so lucky to see them from the beginning, from when Samson doubted if he could ever believe in a God because all he has ever known his whole life was that nothing was out there, to him bearing his testimony of how excited he is to baptize his future children!! They are both so amazing and funny. The place was packed, we called every single one of our branch members to make sure they everyone showed up! 

At the Baptism, I knew it was real conversion. I tried looking back to see where it happened, where was the shift. Was it going to the visitors center, was it them obeying the Sabbath day, was it Samson moving out, I really cannot see where the conversion happened. But at the baptism it was so clear, it was like night and day. After they went under then came back out and bore their testimonies, they were completely different people, they were clean of every sin because this is God’s true Church and we have that power and authority to act in His name and give these blessings to others.

At the Baptism I knew the priesthood existed, I knew the Spirit was there. It really was a Brother of Jared moment for me, I have no doubt looking someone in the eye and telling them from the bottom of my heart that through baptism, they will change and they will be so much closer to Christ!! I love it!

k got to scoot

-Elder Burr
Samson & Tiffany
This says it all!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

po jing chong yuan (4 4 2 2) translations: a reunion of husband and wife

-Presents? For Me?
-Happy Christmas Harry!
-Happy Christmas Ron!!
-Happy Christmas Everyone!!!

So, I got to go on my first exchange out of PV!! I was so excited to see the world outside of suburbia and the millionaires, but after a 15 minute drive on the freeway I was pretty much in the same place. No worries!! It was still a blast. I learned “po jing chong yuan” which I will scream every time I return from an exchange!! 

On the exchange, we mostly got stuck at the mission home making copies like a bucket (catch that Amanda??) and then we contacted a Cantonese guy at the park. It was my first time in my entire mission street contacting, like as an activity, super weird. But the canto guy gave us a bogus number to follow up with so I will hunt him down!!!

Then we went to go check out another park, and it turned out to be a dog park without any Asians, but it was cool I got to pet some huskies. I tried to contact this lady and we had a break in the conversation and I felt it was too weird to start talking again so I just left, and when I was back at the car I said, "WE GOTTA GO BACK AND LEAVE A COMMITMENT!!!" So we went back and she was gone, I felt so bad the rest of the night. That made me think of something, that I needed to decided right then and there to change. That, sure I was inside a mission but the mission wasn’t automatically going to change me or who I am or what my natural actions are. It made me think that throughout my whole life I had just expected to as the years went on I would become more responsible, more reliant and a better person. NO NO NO, it’s action, it’s conscious decision making every second of the day. It’s so cheesy but I realized if I want change, if I want to be a better person, I have to act and do and not wait for someone else (my trainer) or some other thing (the mission) to do it. It’s through my own attitude and me relying on the Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, the sacrament, being a vessel the Holy Ghost can dwell in, enduring to the end REPEAT) that we improve and become more perfect, just like Heavenly Father and our big brother. 

 I want to be a show-tell missionary not a say-how missionary so here is me saying, I will go out and do!! 

Also!! Samson and Tiffany will be baptized this Sunday!! whhooooooo lolly pops and pass along cards for everyone!! It was super iffy because yesterday they told us they were married, and that night they told us they weren’t married but they were living in two different places, but I know they are amazing people and it was probably lost in translation and culture differences. So we truly believe they will pass the interviews and enter the waters of baptism!! Last time we went over I noticed some red wine in the bathroom so I went and I was like "What is this!!" And tiffany was like, for wine baths, for the skin. I guess that’s fine....can you become intoxicated through osmosis?? 

On Christmas day! Elder Bowman received a ton of stuff ( mostly because he accidentally swindled our Mission President into giving him extra gifts) so we both felt really guilty for receiving nice things on our mission, so we spent that night making spiritually uplifting cards and driving around giving presents to our investigators and English class students!! Thank you everyone for making that possible!! Greg and Emily, some really cute little Asian kids got the awesome toys you have me, thank you!! Mom Dad, thank you for the t-shirt and pajamas, I wore those to bed the night before Christmas eve so I couldn’t give them away.   : .(…. 

It was funny, as we were trying to find new investigators on Christmas and Christmas Eve, I felt different, I felt like I could talk much more easily with everyone because it was Christmas and it wouldn’t be too weird or awkward to talk about Christ with them. I felt a lot more confident, a lot more than I usually do. Then, a couple days after, I realized, it’s as good as any day to talk about Christ!! It does not need to be the Christmas season for someone to find out that they have a Savior!! Because it is true, I know it is. That is why I am out here. 

Thank you so much everyone!! Thank you Suzy and Saran and Grandma and Grandpa for the letters, thank you Greg and Emily for the package!! Thanks family for skyping with me!!

Love you all,
Elder Burr
Merry Christmas