Wednesday, March 29, 2017

So this week was pretty crazy. Without getting caught up in unimportant details, there was some turmoil within the district. We made it 6 weeks without any major contention though, so I'd say that's not so bad! Each of the trials that we go through help us grow. The Lord knows what we need, and he knows what experiences will help us grow the best. Sometimes, it's incredibly hard.

This week was just so strange, but I know that it was something I needed to experience! I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission! It's been such a blast. It's so easy to love and to make friends here! For example, yesterday amidst all of the drama, I found myself in a waiting room in the main building. As I was sitting there, I just started asking the Elders and Sisters where they were from, where they were serving, and what they liked about the MTC. I had such a good time talking with them! I can't wait to get to Hungary and just talk with people. Even if they don't care to hear my message at all, I'm just going to say it. At this point, I'd teach a brick wall, so long as it was a nonmember! 

All joking aside, I think you get the point. This is the most important message anybody can receive in their eternal lives! This Gospel has something for everybody on the planet. It will help you receive more joy and happiness into your life than you could even comprehend. The Savior of the world died for EVERYONE and he can help anybody with any struggle that they have. I have seen his hand in my own life and I can testify that Jesus Christ can help you through anything. If you're having a bad day, just open the scriptures. Read them. Pray about it. You WILL feel better, I promise. I love Philippians 4:13 

"I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me"

That goes for all of us. Life can be hard, but we have nothing to fear! I love you all so much! Stay strong. Let me know if I can help any of you in any way and I'll do anything I can within reason to help!

Until next week,
Burnett Elder

Hungarian word of the week is követni which means to follow. I just think it's a beautiful word, and one that will be used often!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Another week has come and gone! We said goodbye to the Dutch and the Turkish so the numbers in our zone have quickly diminished. Our district of Hungarians are the last ones here, bringing us down to just 10 missionaries! Luckily, we get 10 more Dutch elders today at some point and I have the awesome opportunity to welcome them in! I'm super excited to meet them all!

Last night, we had an amazing devotional by Elder Craig Zwick of the 70. He spoke on "building the Kingdom" and it really helped me to realize the importance of this work! At one point, we were watching a video which depicted pioneers pushing their handcarts through a frozen river, breaking ice with their feet as they pushed along. The hymn "Come Come Ye Saints" was playing in the background, and as the video was showing the bitter trials that the pioneers had to endure, the song said, "Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? 'Tis not so; all is right!" and when I heard those words I thought of myself. Serving a mission isn't the easiest thing I've ever done, and sometimes it feels like the hardest thing I've ever done. Sometimes I feel discouraged, like this is "too hard" but 'Tis not so! All is right! So that's my spiritual thought for the week. Sometimes you may feel discouraged and like our lives are too hard. Don't you dare ever give up! The sun will rise tomorrow morning and you will overcome any trial if you just trust in the Lord. The plan is real and it is perfect.

I hope you've all had a wonderful week!

Sok szerettetel,

Burnett Elder

Hungarian word of the week is one of my new favorite things to say. In Hungary, instead of saying, "What the heck?" they say, "What the miracle?" which is "Micsoda?" (pronounced me choda). Hungarian is a lot of fun!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Well, today marks 1 month in the mission, which is pretty unreal. We said goodbye to the 3 Albanians yesterday so our little zone is getting smaller! The Dutch and Turkish leave next week, meaning it will just be the Hungarians for 2 days! After that, we get 11 new Dutch missionaries and I think 3 more Turkish missionaries sometime in April. It will be fun to welcome them in, but I'll miss the old Dutch and Turkish missionaries!

I've learned that missionary work is definitely work. The refiner's fire is no faint, flickering candle, but rather a blazing inferno! In our lives, we may feel as if we can't bear our afflictions any longer, but I know that through our Savior, Jesus Christ, we can do ALL things. 

I have an insert in my Book of Mormon that says, "How can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!"

At times when I feel discouraged or down, I think of this insert. We really should rejoice in our trials, as the Apostle Paul did. "We glory in tribulations... knowing that tribulation worketh patience. And patience, experience; and experience, hope." Romans 5: 3-4 
As we strive to "Become as He is" we will realize that great blessings can come from trials.

One of our investigators is Dezső. He is an older, less active man who left the church because of his addiction to alcohol. He isn't a real investigator, but one of our teachers pretending to be him. The character, Dezső is based on a real Hungarian who was taught by my teacher. Anyways, our teachers always tell us to treat our lessons here at the MTC as if they were real, because you never know the influence you can have on the person. Our teacher who was roleplaying as Dezső told the class that he himself was struggling with addictions. It was one of the most tender moments I've ever experienced. It just made me want to help him so badly! There are people in Hungary who are going through the same things, and I know that I will have the opportunity to share the gospel with them. I have been called to DECLARE the word, not say, "excuse me, this message is important" but rather, "I HAVE THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE YOU WILL EVER RECEIVE IN YOUR ETERNAL EXISTENCE" or something like that. 

I'm so grateful to be here, surrounded by uplifting, spiritual experiences and people. I know that sometimes it can be hard, but the hard times make the happy times happier! I am grateful for all of those who have helped me to be where I am today. Be sure to keep your chins up!

Szeretlek titeket,

Burnett Elder

p.s. the word of the week 17 syllables long. megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért. It means "for all of your continued benefit, as if you could not be desecrated"

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

This week was a roller coaster for sure! First of all, my companion, Daniels Elder, and I are the new zone leaders starting next Sunday. More responsibilities, my favorite! We're both really excited for this new way to serve and I honestly can't wait! The current zone leaders will be training us next week before they leave, and Elder Lowder (one of the current ZL's) is like my best friend so that'll be fun. They get a little flip phone so that they can be contacted in case of an emergency, but we all use it to play music with the tones it makes when you press the buttons. 

The Hungarian teachers wanted to make our experience here more like the field, so we have an area book full of names of potential investigators and less active members. Each of our teachers will role play as a few different investigators and they do a crazy good job! We taught a 50 year old alcoholic yesterday and the spirit was incredibly powerful during that lesson. He told us about his struggle to overcome his addiction and how he knew it was bad for his life. As I listened to him, only understanding a few words per sentence, my heart broke for him. He wasn't my teacher anymore in my eyes. I saw Dezső, the 50 year old alcoholic, and I wanted to help him with all my heart. In our broken, caveman Hungarian, we testified of our Savior's love for him personally, and that he is loved. You could tell that our message helped him feel better. Experiences like this one have helped me gain a love for the people of Hungary without having been there. It's such a powerful motivator for me to learn the language! I just want to help them see what this Gospel can bring them.

Our zone is participating in a pilot program for a new curriculum, and since I'm the district leader, it basically means that I get to try new things and report on them without having a clue what I'm doing! Everyone is very supportive and patient as I figure things out, and so far the new material is really awesome. Yesterday, we had a short testimony meeting type thing and we all shared our thoughts and what we learned throughout the week. I was the last to share my thoughts, and I testified of the Atonement and its influence in my life and also of my experience with Dezső. After I finished bearing my testimony, the meeting ended and Brother Warner (a counselor in the branch presidency) gave me a huge hug and whispered, "I hope that some day I can grow up to be like you." Those words hit me so hard. I am so grateful to be here. I know that I have a positive influence on others, and I am so humbled to know the impact I can have on others.

The Church is true. What a privilege it is to be here! I love you all and hope all is well. Feel free to email me, I'll respond as soon as I can!

Szeretlek titeket! (that's probably not spelled right so forgive me)

Burnett Elder

p.s. I've gained 10 pounds in the 3 weeks I've been here. Go food!

p.s.s. The Hungarian word of the week is segitettetek "they helped" it's a lot of fun to say!

Here's the Plan of Salvation in Hungarian:

Parker with his Aunt and Uncle who are serving another mission after being Mission Presidents:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Week 2 Letter:

I can't believe it's already been 2 weeks! Sometimes it feels like I've been here for months, sometimes it feels like I just got here. I figure there are 104 weeks in 2 years, so every week makes up roughly 1% of a mission. I'm already 2% done!

Things are going so well! The language is super difficult, but my companion and I taught a really solid lesson to our "investigator" (just one of our teachers role playing as an investigator). Even though our Hungarian was probably on the same level as a caveman's child, we shared our message and I know our investigator felt the spirit. They say you need to make 30,000 mistakes before you'll learn a language. If that's the case, I only have like... 20,000 to go! While we were teaching, my companion started off and accidentally took us in a direction that we didn't plan on going. We decided to try to recover by reading a scripture, so my companion pulled out his scriptures and he gave her the wrong one! It ended up working out because the scripture was about feeling the spirit, but we were trying to talk about the apostasy... After that, my companion said, "when you read the scriptures, God blesses my family." The look on our investigator's face helped him quickly realize his mistake. We laughed a good bit about that one! 

I think my favorite elders here are Elder Lowder and Yasli Puff. Elder Lowder is going to Belgium and he's learning Dutch. He's a tall redhead kid and we just get along so well. We have very complimentary personalities. Yasli Puff (yasli is elder is turkish, and puff is pronounced poof) is a German/Italian who speaks 3 languages and is learning Turkish as his 4th. He's hilarious! We speak a little German back and forth every once in a while. It's nice to be able to at least use German, since I spent so much time trying to learn it. I can also understand most of what the Dutch elders are saying, since it's so similar to German. 

In the 2 weeks that I've been here, I have learned more Hungarian than I had learned after a year of German. The gift of tongues is real!

Well, my laundry is done and I should probably get going. The volleyball court isn't going to dominate itself. (We get extra gym time on p-days, so I have to go show Yasli Puff who's boss)

Sok szeretettel,

Burnett Elder

p.s. Vocab word of the week is "gyermekek" or "children". Whenever our district has a laughing fit during class, our teacher will shake his head and mumble, "gyermekek" and it always makes us laugh harder.