Monday, January 6, 2014

Fresno Days--Best Letter Ever!

January 6th, 2013

So not too much crazy new stuff since last Thursday but I have one experience I wanted to write about. 

We rode the bus again with a recent convert, she's like our grandma. We talked with her on the 2 hr bus ride to church and there came a point in the conversation where we said that we need to visit her in Laos when she goes home...she then said "When you come, you need to find my sons, they will know where I'm at, just in case I might have died already." It broke our hearts so we immediately comforted her and just joked it off and told her not to worry about it. Then she started laughing and then straight to crying. She told us that we were her sons, just like her real sons back in Laos and that she was going to miss us so much. It broke our hearts. We call her mom here and we are her sons. I'm so sad for the day that will come when me and Elder Doane have to say goodbye. However, I know without a shadow of a doubt, that God has sent us here to be with her at this time. I'm so grateful for the people that I've met and that have changed my life by their sincere pursuit to be with God. I know that God watches over this wonderful lady because of her goodness and her obedience to His laws. She faithfully works 6 days a week (sun up to sun down) and rests on the Sabbath so that she can attend church. She gets on the bus for a total of 5 hours to get to church when members aren't available to take her. She pays a full tithe in spite of her destitute circumstances. She gets maybe 4 hrs a sleep each day and she still reads the Book of Mormon daily (She's in Alma). These are the kind of people that are joining the church. She has little or nothing except the Gospel of Jesus Christ in her life and she is happy. I'm so grateful for her. I love her with my whole heart and pray God will continue to bless her for everything she continues to give up for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Anyways, when we are ever tempted to think it is too hard, I'm reminded of people like her...and I know that we can do it. We can live the Gospel and be happy in spite of whatever life throws at us. I love this Gospel.  
Love ya all too! 
Have a great week!

Hmong New Year (Pictures!)

January 2nd, 2014

Crazy week: 

Christmas Day: Called you. Opened presents. Went to Sheng's house and watched Monsters University...AWESOME! After, we made our final preparations for Hmong New Years (HNY). 

Next Day: Start of HNY. We got up around 4 and got to the fairgrounds around 5ish. The Merced missionaries came down and stayed the week in our apt. Super tired. We set up the booth and it went very well. We talked to lots of people! After, we went and mapped out all the referrals we received and divided them into the appropriate side etc.  

Next Day: Same as day before...just more exhausted. 

Next Day: Same...More exhausted...But I did meet some really cool Hmong people from France. We've received over 200 referrals for other missions. Also, a random guy came up to me at HNY and thanked me for helping him move his TV a few weeks ago...haha. Small world! There are quite a few thousand people there so it's pretty ironic. 

Next Day: Church. The ward went all in their Hmong clothes to church and we only met for an hour. After, we went outside the building and took ward/family pics. Super fun. Then we went to HNY in the afternoon and set up the booth. Ran into a guy that works at Little Caesar's that we met a few months ago....irony. 

Next Day: Sick...I basically knocked out in the car all day in the HNY parking lot. Super sick. 

Next Day: Woke up feeling great after taking some medicine. Then we went to HNY for the morning and did our last HNY proselyting then headed to Missionary Leadership Council (MLC). We had a ton of FIO sessions and it was really good. We ended around 6ish (RULE: can't be out after 6pm on certain holidays because of safety) and because it was New Year's Eve, we stayed at the assistants home right near the mission office. So we all changed into casual clothes around 6 and ate dinner, watched Ephraim's Rescue, and played Lord of the Rings Risk at the mission office. Then we went to the assistants home and celebrated New Years and crashed. 

Next Day: 25 people in one house...we all had another meeting (leadership training) at the mission office. So we all got up super early, showered, and got back over to the mission office. Then, we had a lot of good training etc. We set the 2014 baptismal goal at 1000. Super awesome! Love being a missionary. 

Today: We moved our preparation day to today so that we could proselyte at HNY on Monday. So today is pretty good too. 

Spiritual thought: 
"Hope On. Journey On."
Jeffrey R. Holland 

Love ya soo much! Thanks again for all the wonderful gifts and the great phone call.
Elder Burdick 


Merry Hmong Christmas!

December 23rd, 2013

So sorry, but I feel like there is no time to get anything done today.  Hmong New Year's is the day after Christmas and goes until next Tuesday. Also Christmas calls have to be 40 min or less. I don't have for sure time to call yet but we're working on it.


Elder Burdick

It was GREAT to talk to Scott on Christmas Day, even if we weren't allowed to Skype.  Here are some pictures from their Hmong mom's house and celebration.  She really takes fabulous care of these 6 missionaries.

Ward Christmas Party, Christmas Mission Conference, and Feeding Miracles

December 16th, 2013

Answer to your questions: 
1. Got the package...super awesome! Loved the tree and loved the much needed pants. 
2. Christmas conference was great! President blew our minds with training on the historical nativity. Like BLEW our minds. We also had 210 missionaries at our stake center so it was crazy getting everything set up (especially when the YM of another ward destroyed it all the night before). So it was interesting trying to get everything set up again before the meeting started. The zone hosting conferences are responsible for getting everything set up (for meals, trainings etc.). The stake provided lunch and it was OUTSTANDING!!! Best meal every. I also met Norma Burdick from the Orchard View ward (she gave me extra ham because we're Burdick's). We also had to do musical numbers for each we completely winged Silent Night in Hmong, English, and Portuguese (the visa waiters). Crazy fun! The musical numbers are always awesome. You know its going to be good when they're prefaced with "If you feel the spirit tell you to sing with me, then go for it." Haha. I love being a missionary. We also sang "Called to Serve" as our thank you to the members that prepared lunch. Best called to serve rendition ever! I'll have to explain Called to Serve CFM style another time....we added some stuff. ;) 

3. I have no clue what time I'll be calling. Probably in the morning...but maybe afternoon...and the night-time would be great too! Hahaha. I really have no idea. Have I ever been one to plan these things out? 

4. I'm excited to talk to you! xox 

Highlights to the week: 

Every night we don't have a meal, people always invite us to eat with them after a lesson etc. It's crazy weird. Totally being watched out for. Happened this Monday night at our recent converts house. They totally invited us to eat with them and we had to drop our dinner a few hours earlier...miracles or what? 

We helped take down a chain-link fence and haul it to the members house. Super crazy. Then they treated us to Denny's. 7 Pancakes (all you can eat meals are so WORTH IT!). 

Also, we had delicious papaya salad and Hmong sausage a few nights ago. 
(I'm looking at my journal and I seem to be writing a lot about food???) 

We had 9 people that wanted to get to our ward Christmas Party and no rides. Of course, right when we went to the apartments to FIO the situation, a member pulls up in his SUV to give 6 of them a ride; Miracle #1. Then we still had 3 others that didn't have a ride, and after we exhausted ourselves calling all the members to give them a ride, we got desperate. Humorously a van pulled up, and we joked that we should just ask we did. It turned out to be a former investigator that decided to graciously give the 3 people a ride and had 3 others come with her; Miracle #2. So in total, 12 non-members are at this Christmas party. However, in the middle of the party, the lady with the van has to go to her other church's choir practice. So she ditches 6 extra people with us. Party ends and there is no ride for the rest of the people. However, miraculously another member crams all the people in her car (10 people in a 7 passenger van) and everyone gets home safely; Miracle #3. Sunday rolls around and 2 of the 12 actually come to church! Hallelujah shout; Miracle #4. 

Also, we had a great stake correlation meeting with Pres. Gelwix and the Stake President and High Councilman for missionary work. SUPER SPIRITUAL. Gotta love a good coordination meeting! Something I really like was a scripture President Gelwix shared. DC 78:10 "Key phrase: 'are prepared.' They're already prepared for us. Things have already been set in motion for the things God has prepared. It's dependent on our worthiness and faithfulness." I love it! 

So things are going great! I love being a missionary! Keep the questions coming! 


Hlub Koj, 

Another Short Letter...

December 9th, 2013

We rode the bus to church with our recent convert. She's way awesome. She was a math teacher in Laos at age 17. She was on a dance company. She was in some sort of circus where she walked the suspended wires. She's awesome! We love her. She's in her 60's now but she is so cool. 

Elder Porter of the Seventy came and instructed us. Super awesome! Blew our minds away with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Gotta love it. 

Love you all very much!xoxox
Elder Burdick

Short Letter and 2 Pics

December 2nd, 2013

Super crazy week! We had a baptism this last Saturday and it was awesome!

I have a recording that will get to you eventually. Also, I don't have enough time to write today but know that I love you! 
Elder Burdick 

Thanksgiving Pictures

A sister in the Pioneer Park Ward where Scott serves was good enough to create a group on FB and now we can actually see some pictures of him.  Here are the pictures of them eating Thanksgiving at their Hmong Mom's house.

Exchanges, Rain & Prayer Rocks

November 25th, 2013

I haven't written in my journal in awhile, so it's a little difficult to remember everything I'm doing but I'm trying to get caught up. So I apologize if my letter is lean because I cannot remember anything to save my life. 

We had an FHE with a member family and a referral they invited. It was crazy. Everyone arrived late and then we had an appointment immediately after so we had to do a lightning lesson and then leave.  But then they made delicious (but boiling hot) pho. Super hard to eat quickly. Also, in preparation for the next FHE, we had to find rocks to make prayer rocks and we couldn't find any so we found some cement chunks and washed them off.  Then we went with our Ward Mission Leader (He's the bomb), to do another FHE and we were going to show a Mormon message, but forgot our bags at the previous Then it turns out, the family had some perfect rocks to paint some nice prayer rocks. So cement #2. Haha. Then we went to the next appointment and we brought a member with us and she is a SAINT. It was a way awesome lesson. Then we got home But overall, awesome crazy day! 

Went to district meeting and then went on exchanges. I went with Elder Altner to his area (on bikes). Super fun. We talked to some cool people, did some service for members, and went out to dinner with these awesome members. However, when we continued on bike to our next appointments, it started to drizzle. Oh and there has been a pretty crazy drought in the valley....then it started to pour. Like POUR! So then we go into the appointment and when we come out, its raining even harder and my helmet had fallen on the ground and pooled up with water (we put pamphlets on the inside of our helmets to keep our hair from getting wrecked. Then we proceeded to bike a couple of miles to the church building for a baptismal interview. We showed up drenched from head to foot. It was like the movies, where cars hit puddles and splash people. Apparently, that's reality and its crazier on bikes. Overall, awesome wet day. 

We exchanged back and did a stewardship meeting at the church. Missionaries do PPIs and fill out reports for the upcoming transfer. Kinda, sorta, fun. Not particularly fun. Paper work is crazy in missions. There is a lot of stuff to do. 

We did stake correlation (missionary paper work) up at the stake center and ate dinner at bishop's house. It was super delicious. Pho!!! 

We did an exchange with the assistants. Had some fun tracting.  Elder Hortin is awesome at dealing with crazy situations. Then we went and did 2 member team ups. I love Hmong members when they team up with us for lessons. They go way better than if its just us missionaries. Then we attended a baptism in the assistants area. Super awesome! Miracle Baptisms! Then we went and found some new investigators that want to get baptized in December. We call that a gut (German for good) day! We also saw another family with one of our recent converts and they totally clicked really well. Our recent convert totally bore an awesome testimony about reading the Book of Mormon daily! Gotta love it!

We moved our weekly planning to Saturday because of the exchanges so that took a huge chunk of the day. Then we brought our investigators to a baptism that evening. Way spiritual. Our investigator is getting baptized next Saturday and she is doing awesome! We're very excited for her. 

The ward leadership got restructured (primarily the YW, Primary, and RS). Craziness. I never really thought about how much all the callings effect everything but they totally do. Highlight: Bishop complimented the YM on the sacrament. "Big pieces and the bread was fresh." We didn't waste anything! I love Pioneer Park ward. 

Email YOU! <3 xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

That was my week. I wub you! 
Elder Tseem Fwv Leem Vaj!

A Week In the Life...

November 18th, 2013

Answer to Questions: 
The size of a zone (in our mission) is the size of a stake. Our zone covers the Fresno North Stake. There are 12 companionships in our zone. 

We have two sets of sisters in our zone and we work with the coordinating sisters (Kinda like assistants to the president for sisters) and the sister leader trainers (Kinda like District leaders for sisters but not exactly). We coordinate anything having to do with sisters through all these people. 

Elder Xiong is at home. However, there is a new Elder Xiong that came out with Elder Rasmussen and Elder Fraser. 

Elder Doane's Hmong name is TSHAJ LUG VWJ. 

Quote for today: 
"Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days."

-Zig Zigler 

Day to Day Look at the week--
Had to go repair bikes. Mine was tore up! Pretty bad. But its back in good working order now. Also, our FHE fell through this last Monday, so we were way bummed because we had prepared a ton for it. But then we went and just started talking to people and ran into this older lady! She was totally willing to let us come and see her and then we were able to teach her family and we found 3 new investigators so super exciting! 

We had our usual district meetings. Then we went and did apartment checks, but then got lost. :( We ended up in the wrong zone so definitely a fail, but always learning as the zone leaders. Its weird because our actual proselyting area is completely outside of the zone. So we are not super familiar on all the stuff in Northern Fresno and Clovis. 

Leadership training. Always fun! We had huge FIO sessions (Figure it out). Got tons of revelation. 

We went and followed up on a referral and it was someone that other Elders had blessed a long time ago. The people totally were healed and willing to learn more. So we found 3 more investigators...miracles. We also went and visited some youth in the ward and did some review of PREACH MY GOSPEL and talked about how they can better work with their family and friends. The Hmong youth in this ward are AWESOME! When we went and saw bishop's family, they made this delicious sushi! Mama bear, I hope you know how to make sushi. It's really good! 

We did weekly planning and we did a baptismal interview. It was crazy! I love doing baptismal interviews but they're also really scary. You're the sole person that says yes or no (pending on the spirit) to whether or not they get baptized. However, they're always super spiritual because you receive witness. 

We saw our awesome investigators that we'd just found. They're way receptive. A little iffy on praying but its all good. We'll get them there. Also, we went and followed up with a 15 yr kid that's investigating and we asked him about praying and he said: "Yeah, I'm praying." Then we said "every day?" and He responds...."Well no, but almost, wait, and I supposed to be praying every day?" Hahahaha Super funny! We also had our stake conference session tonight. Way cool! They had a video of Elder Rasmussen's parents talking about how they pray for the members here! It was stinkin' cool! The point was that people all over the world pray for their missionaries here and the members here in the Fresno North Stake, so we ought to all get to doing missionary work. Super awesome! 

Stake conference. Our recent convert received the Melchizedek priesthood and is going back to Laos tomorrow. I'm going to cry. Way too sad! 

Today: super stressful! Lots of stuff to do! But gotta love being a missionary. 

Well I've got to get going but I love you all very much! Keep asking questions! <3 
Elder Burdick

Busy Happy Missionary With No Time To Write :(

November 11th, 2013

I love you all! Today is crazy and so has been the whole last week. We don't have time to write. However, I want you to know that I love you and I'm super sorry I'm out of time. 

Happy B-day Putz! Know your big brother's thinking about you! xo 

I love my mission. This is the best place ever and there is nothing I'd rather be doing than this work! Gotta love being a missionary in the CFM. 
Love ya 
Elder Burdick

Fresno Days--Cheese Balls and Leading Zones

November 4th, 2013

Inline image 1

So things are absolutely crazy....Me and Elder Doane are zone's way stressful!

Mom's Note:  This is a picture of a plastic container of cheese balls we sent to Scott for Hallowe'en and he never responded when we asked him if he received them.  Apparently he did :) 

Fresno Days--Green Hmong and Frostees

October 28th, 2013

Monday: Gave an awesome blessing! Super strong spirit! We went with the Elders quorum president and helped out a lady that recently moved to the area. 

Tuesday: We had our usual district meeting and then we had our MCM. After we stayed and helped out the cub scouts with an activity. Super cool! They had a scavenger hunt where they had to lastly, find the missionaries and ask them about "giving service" and we explained the Mosiah 2 scripture. 

Wednesday: We taught a lesson using "Prophet of the Restoration." It was is true. 

Thursday: Lots of tracting...nothing too great happened. But then we went and saw some members and they totally referred us to some awesome people. 

Friday: Went and saw one of our 8 yr old recent converts. He's hilarious. We read in the Book of Mormon story book about the "waters of Mormon" and Alma baptizing there. Then at the end of the lesson, we asked him what he read about and he said "the Mormon waters." Super confused...haha. Also, after dinner, we had some time left-over so we went to Wendy's for some frostees. Right when we walked out some crazy people in Halloween costumes walked in and said "HI ELDERS!" We're like Hi CRAZIES! Afterwards, we went and saw some old ladies at one of my favorite Hmong apt complexes and we taught them about faith using Daniel 2/3 about Meeshach, Abendego, Shadrach....or however you spell it. 

Saturday: We went and helped some non-members move. There wasn't enough room in the car and we're low on miles. So we ended up running back and forth from the new/old houses. Super tired afterwards. We also went to the side of town with Chick-fil-a. So of course we had to get some breakfast...its been forever since I ate at Chick-fil-a. Then we went to lunch at a members house and they made some slammin' pho. SUPER DELICIOUS! 

Sunday: Recent converts blessed and passed the sacrament. We also had our primary program. It was the BOMB! Those little kids are so stinkin' adorable. We also went and taught an older couple about the Book of Mormon, but we have to teach in Green hmong...and its killin' my brain. It super stresses me out. But its so much fun! I love learning new dialects. 

Well I haven't got the other packages yet but I'm sure they'll be coming. 
Also in response to your last not create situations where missionaries will be disobedient. It is not fair to their missions. Please have dinner ready ON TIME. It is awful that missionaries are the only ones that feel bad to stay too long. They must have the spirit. Obedience brings that. It feels awful to be disobedient...even when it is no fault of your own. For example, when families take too long to prepare the meal. You feel awful because there is nothing you can do other than leave or stay and eat. So...please help the missionaries be obedient. They deserve members that will help them be exactly obedient! 

LOVE YOU ALL A TON! Please keep asking questions. 

Elder Burdick