Monday, December 23, 2013

Letter Home- December 16th, 2013

Sorry to hear that you aren't feeling well. Hopefully you get over it in the next few days!
Elder Lonas is going home on Wednesday. It's so sad! He and I have become really good friends. It's been hard preparing for his farewell. I think this is gonna be a sad transfer meeting. 

So, Lonas and I had an incredible miracle this past week. We have been working with this investigator named ***** since I came into the area. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and is in 2 Nephi now and has gone to church every week I've been here. She's even gone to 2 or 3 baptisms, but she just wouldn't commit to being baptized herself. Well, we stopped by Wednesday morning to read some of the Book of Mormon with her and we asked her if she had been praying about the Book of Mormon and about baptism. She really shocked us with her answer: "No. I guess I forgot all about that!" After a bit of chastising on our part we committed her to pray about baptism for that weekend. She said that she had some other issues on to deal with (family problems), but that she would try, but not commit. We left a little disappointed, but came back the next day to check up on her. She invited us inside and said "I've cleared up my schedule so I can be baptized. Is this Saturday ok with you?" DUH. We were so freaking excited! Well, of course Satan got to working right then. We found out that the water heater at the church had broke a few days prior so the water was FREEZING. We spent all day Saturday boiling water and filling the font pot by pot. In the end the water was still cold, but not nearly as bad as it could have been. Oh man, I just love miracles :)

Oh, and last night we got a call from a PMF saying that their 9 year old son wants to be baptized in a few weeks. Ha! We'll start teaching him tomorrow.

Can't wait to talk to you next week. Love you!

Elder Burton

Letter Home- December 2nd, 2013

Whoa, it is not 3 weeks until Christmas. That's just not possible! 

Do you mind sending me the addresses of all of your Sisters? I need to send them Christmas cards. Don't worry, yours in on the way :)

So we had a really weird experience this past week. Last Tuesday the Sisters gave us a call letting us know that a family was at the hospital and was requesting a priesthood blessing. It was a life or death situation so we drove over as fast as we could, but it was too late. We walked into the room and met two grieving parents over the loss of their 8 year old son. He went into cardiac arrest and had passed 30 minutes before we arrived. I've never felt so helpless or questioned why bad things happen to good people so much in my life. The worst part was the boy was just laying there on the table and we didn't know what to say. After a little while we were able to give the father a blessing and assist him in giving a blessing to his wife. That was the most powerful experience I have ever been a part of. I've never truly felt how much our Father in Heaven loves his children until that moment. The Spirit was so strong. I'll never be able to forget that experience. 

Other than that, this week was pretty typical. Oh wait, I just lied. We actually had a baptism on Saturday! ***** (from Yugoslavia) was baptized Saturday morning and confirmed Sunday morning. Missionaries have been working with her on and off for about 12 years, but Elder Lonas and I were here when she was ready to be baptized. It was great! She even got up and bore her testimony yesterday. Gotta love the way the gospel changes lives.

I guess I'll be talking to you in 3 weeks! Love ya and I'll talk to you soon :)

Elder Burton

Friday, November 29, 2013

Elder Burton's New Niece- Mikaela

Elder Burton became an uncle again on October 27th. Mikaela was born at 3:05 PM at 7 lbs. 3 ounces and 21 1/2 inches long. She is the newest member of our family and is excited to meet her Uncle Mathew in September! 

Letter Home- November 25th, 2013

We had the most incredible experience this week. Elder Neil L. Andersen and Elder Craig C. Christensen came and spoke to us on Saturday. It was so cool! They talked about the atonement and the joy of forgiveness. They were so funny and the whole experience was super positive. We were so excited when we found out who was going to be meeting with us. That's an experience I will never forget.

Don't worry, Thanksgiving up here should be fun. We are going to a church pot luck at 4 and going to a member's home afterwards. It's gonna be great. Plus our mission Christmas party is on the 10th so we are all looking forward to that! I hope you have fun with Monika and her family! I wish I could be there. Take lots of pics for me!

I love you and I will talk to you in a month! Crazy to think that Christmas is just a month away.

Elder Burton

Letter Home- November 11th, 2013- Transfer to Olympia

Olympia has been so great so far. It's way bigger than my last area and I constantly feel lost, but we have seen so many miracles already. Elder Lonas and I get along really well too which has made this week so good. He is a good singer and writes music so he's been asking me to help him out and sing some of his songs with him. Ha, it's super fun. Why didn't you tell me to do choir through high school? I think I would have loved that.

Missionaries here can still drive on their last transfer. Thank goodness, or else we'd be completely lost 24/7.... 

I think that's bout all I have to update you on! Oh, I don't know if mom told you but I would like my dark grey cardigan sent up here since it's so freaking cold. I'll remind mom again as well.

Thanks mom and dad! It's always great hearing from you. Can't wait to talk to you on Christmas! Love you :)

Elder Burton

Letter Home- October 28th, 2013

I was so excited to see the pics mom sent me of Mikaela! Wow, I definitely wasn't expecting to see my new niece today :) How long did it take Monika? I know she was incredibly fast with Lukas. Oh man, I'm so excited :)

This week was really good. The exchange in Forks went well and Elder Hainey and I had a great time together. He's probably one of my favorites out here. He's only been out for a few transfers, but he is a really good missionary. I was able to interview their investigator ******* while I was up there. I've never done an interview like that before! It went really well though and it was just amazing to hear his life story. He went from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs in a matter of weeks all because of the gospel. I heard a quote once that really touched me: When you hit rock bottom, be sure that Christ is that rock. Isn't that just perfect?! I know, it's great. It's amazing how much the gospel changes people for the better.

That's actually what President Weaver and I chatted about in my interview with him. We talked about how much I have changed on my mission for the better and how that's what a mission is for! I don't think there will be any pics of me on the blog since Sis Weaver wasn't able to come up and take pics of us. SORRY! I'll have to send you some pics in the mail.

We've been talking a lot with the lady that cuts our hair, ******. She said that since her blessing she drank once and it made her really sick! Ha, God works in mysterious ways ;) She has invited us to come over and start having the set discussions with her and her family. Can't wait!

Ha, so I have to tell you a funny story. We have been meeting with this woman named ***** and we set up a church tour for this past Friday. We showed up to her house and she hopped in her car ready to follow us to the church. We made it all the way to the last turn and when I turned right she went straight through the light..... Oh gosh, it was horrible. We caught up with her later in the day just to make sure she found her way back home and she said she glanced away just for a second and then we weren't in front of her anymore! So, she just turned around and went back home so she wouldn't get too lost. Ha, we'll have to try again this week and have someone drive her.

I think that's about all to update you on. I hope you have a great week and have fun in Oklahoma this weekend! Say hi to everyone for me :)

Elder Burton

Letter Home- October 7th, 2013

Wasn't General Conference incredible. I think this was the first General Conference where I felt that every talk had something for me. I guess that's what happens when you tune in a little bit more. I really enjoyed President Uchtdorft's talk on stading up after you fall. I couldn't help but think of all the less active members we are currently working with and how that message would be perfect for them. I'll be printing out lot's of copies of that talk in the next few weeks :)

Thank you so much for that final email you sent last week. It's been a hard week.

This past transfer meeting I had to say goodbye to Elder Gray. I don't know if you remember me telling you about him, but we served together my second transfer and quickly became good friends. It was hard to say goodbye, and I have been noticing just how many of my good friends have left the WA-TAC: Parry, Gray, Thornton, West, Fa'aliou, Grenfel, and so many others. Who knew a mission would be such a bitter-sweet time! I guess that's part of life though. If nothing else I am thankful for the truly good people I have been able to meet so far.

Hopefully next week will be a little more upbeat. Maybe by then I'll be used to the rain and cold and see everything in a new light. I love you and I hope you have a fantastic week!

Elder Burton

P.S. We made new thank you cards today, so expect one in the mail soon. Oh, and Monika is SO pregnant. :)

Letter Home- September 23rd, 2013

I thought that this would be an easier way to email all of you since I pretty much say the same things to you anyway. Plus, now theres no excuse for getting my blog updated :)

Anyway, this week has been absolutely incredible. On Tuesday night we invited one of the recent move in families, the ******, over to a lesson with ***** and ********. They were instant friends. Honestly, I've never seen fellowship work that well! The ****** had them over twice this week for a dinner date and everything was just really going well there. Ha, we didn't really get a lesson in on Tuesday, but that's ok. All we were hoping for was for them to just mesh well with ***** and ****** and talk. So, it was perfect!
On Thursday we went out to Belfair to do some activites at Zion's camp. Elder Cichoski and I were over the trust fall. It was amazing how many missionaries didn't listen to the little rules that we gave them for their safety. We propbably had at least 3 people draw blood on that element just because they let their fear take control. However, ours wasn't the only element that resulted in injuries... We had the ropes course trainer with us since our element was the most dangerous and she made an interesting comment of how she could tell the obedient missionaries from the dis-obedient missionaries just from that one exercise. Ha, she was spot on! However, I think overall the mission had a great time there and really learned a lot. We did a cool exercise where we each wrote something down on a small sheet of paper that inhibited us or that was like a barrier to our full communication to God. We each got up and threw that piece of paper in the fire pit symbolizing our newfound committment to work on that item and try to be better missionaries. I don't think I'll ever forget how I felt that day.

Saturday probably was the best day of the week! We had two baptisms that day: ******, the 10 year old boy, and ****, one of the sister's investigators. You know all about ******, but let me tell you a little bit about ****. So, she has been investigating the church for the past two months with the sister missionaries in the other ward. She is homeless, but really has a desire to grow closer to God and change her life. The sisters found out that she might be getting housing soon on our side of town, so they handed her over and told us to take care of her baptism. I just love it when baptisms fall into my lap! Our ward has really taken her under it's wing and is helping her so much. I love this ward.

On Sunday we had the confirmations. Everything went well and both were confirmed. It's always nice when everything goes smoothly :)

So yeah, it's been a great week! Hopefully we'll be having another baptism this weekend.... I'll keep you posted. Love you and I'll talk to y'all soon.


Elder Burton

Letter Home- July 29th, 2013

Background story: Our mom takes care of the missionaries in the Austin area by serving them dinner. Throughout the year, she has had the opportunity of becoming their mom away from home. She recieved the following poem from an Elder that was about to go home.
"Texas Mom"

Running around from house to house

She's helping others like mighty mouse

Making "Yuka" bread all day long

Tolerates the missionaries as they sing their Japanese song

Japan, China, Korea - the Utah folks find them all the same

If you tell that to her she'll give you the eye and bring you shame

People ask her, "how is it done?"

She will smile and say from the Only Begotten Son

He gives her strength through all her trials

Even when He feels further than 1,000 miles

If you haven't figured out by now I'm talking about Sister Burton

I'm sure with all the characteristics I have made it quite certain

I'm so grateful for all that she does

My expectations for a wife is now greater than it was

Best "Texas Mom" I could have won

I hope she will be proud to call me her "Texas Son"

Here is Elder Burton's response:
Oh man, that poem is awesome! However, that missionary needs to realize that mom has a "Texas Son" and that's me :) It's awesome that mom has taken care of the missionaries down in Texas. I guess we'll just have to have them over at least once a week when I get back :)


Sunday, July 14, 2013


Elder Burton wrote home this week and let us know he has transferred and will be a zone leader in his new area! We couldn't be more proud of our hardworking missionary.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Letter Home-May 6th


Ahh, Cinco de Mayo..... ha, thanks for reminding me. Honestly, I forgot.
But you really can't blame me, I was a little focused on the fact that I've
been out for 8 months! It's weird thinking that I'm one of the older
missionaries in the mission.

Whoa, we have sister missionaries now?! If they
have the same determination and drive as the sisters up here do then
they'll bring so many people to the gospel. Can't wait to see how much the
ward has changed since I've been there!

Oh man, I can't wait for Mother's day! It's gonna be so good to talk to
you! I'll be able to use Skype, so hopefully the connection is good this
time. It should be a lot better than Christmas. We'll be at Brother K____'s
house. He's kinda the guy that adopts all the missionaries that come into
the Olalla Ward. He's super fun.

So we have been seeing a surprising amount of success here in Olalla, like
the bishop and all the auxiliaries are way surprised. Right now we have 4
people on date (two for two weeks out and two for three weeks out) and a
couple other progressing investigators. Not bad for getting doubled in
three weeks ago with no teaching pool. We met this one girl named A_____
this past week while tracting just before dinner. We knocked on her door
and she came up to the door and said "Mom, It's the Mormons! What do you
want me to say?" Oh snap, I was prepared for the worst. So like after a
minute she opened the door and I was all " know who we
wanna talk about Christ?" Surprisingly she said "Yeah, I would." Ok,
totally not the response I was expecting. Well, we taught her about the
Restoration and set up a church tour for the following day. She showed up
with two of her eight siblings (I know, I started salivating when she said
she was the oldest of eight kids) and half way through her boyfriend, C___,
showed up. She asked about baptism so naturally we invited both of them to
be baptized! Way cool. When we told Bishop Theel he just laughed. Ha,
miracles are the best. A_____ even came to church yesterday with another
two siblings and later texted us thanking us for inviting her. Ahh, she's
so golden! Our other family that we are working with, the B_______'s, are
coming along just fine as well. The two kids in that family are set to be
baptized on the 18th. It's gonna be an awesome transfer!

Ok, well my hand is cramping. Luckily I won't have to type as much next
week since I can just tell you everything that's going on on Sunday! YAY
PHONES! Alright, love you and I'll talk to you soon.

Love you!
Love, Elder Burton

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A letter sent to Mom- February 18,2013

The following letter was sent to my mom about my brother. The letter is from a sister in their ward:
Your son is amazing! We have him come over for dinner. He is  so sweet. We are so blessed to have gotten to know him.  He gave my husband a blessing and my husband was so touched by it. My husband was just baptized in October. He brought over his Valentine's food you sent him so we could fix it for him and his companion. What a sweetheart. We love him so much!  Please let me know if we can do anything for him. We have them over for dinner a lot. Do you have a favorite dinner recipe I could make him and surprise him with? Thank you for your wonderful son. Take care.

Hello from Tacoma!

Letter Home- February 4, 2013

This week definitely has been a busy week – but, like you say, busy is good! Tuesday was transfer day. Elder Larson and I had the great opportunity of driving down to the airport and picking up the brand new missionaries. We are projected to raise our number of missionaries from 180 to 250 in the next few months. Isn't that so exciting! I couldn't believe that just 4 months ago I was in their shoes meeting President Weaver for the first time and feeling completely overwhelmed. We drove them all to the 12th and Pearl building here in Tacoma (our building) and proceeded to prepare for transfer meeting. Man, that was such a crazy day. I saw a lot of good friends go home and it was amazing to see how the past two years had impacted their lives. So many of them noted how they wished they were in the new missionaries' shoes: starting this whole journey all over again... I'm not sure if I'm at that point in my mission yet, but I hope one day I will get there. 

We spent a lot of time working in the office this week and getting everything situated from transfers. We had to update the transfer board, work on a few excel files, update imos..... just a lof of time consuming projects that have to get done right away. Also, every Sunday night we record the key indicators for the mission from all the districts and send out the facts. FUN STUFF! Really, I actually enjoy doing all that work :)

Wow, so Japanese grandma and uncle are coming down to visit this week. Ha, I didn't realize that this was the week that they were planning on visiting! WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE? Well, have fun without me.... Lol, JK. I really wish that I could be there to see them. I really wish that I could just hop on a plane and visit for the weekend, but it's just not possible. So, be sure to take a lot of pics and maybe even some videos! Eat enough Salt Lick and Hula-Hut for me. Mmmm, that's one thing I haven't had in so long... BBQ. People up here hear that I'm from Texas and make pulled pork sandwich’s for me thinking that it reminds me of home, but that just doesn't compare to some good ribs and brisket. I sure did not realize that BBQ meant something different depending on where you live.

I bought a gym membership this week! Don't worry, the Y gives discounts to missionaries ($20 a month). So I'll be going there a few times a week trying to get back in shape. Everyone keeps feeding us junk food and sweets, which I really appreciate, but sometimes all I really crave is for someone to give me a carrot.... mmmm.

Alright, well Elder Larson and I have another busy week ahead of us knocking on doors and spreading the only true and perfect gospel of Jesus Christ in Tacoma. This past week we found a few people that are interested in learning more about the gospel and hopefully we will be able to put them on date soon. I love you and I'll talk to you soon :)

-Elder Burton

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Letter Home- January 7, 2013

This past week has been insane. The weather has been absolutely amazing the past few days and we have been working our butts off. As a mission, we made a goal to find more new than ever before this week (somewhere around 350) and as we did numbers last night we found that we just missed our goal (345 or so). However, so many places were seeing incredible miracles and finding more new than the previous weeks. Between the four of us, we found 18 new (10 of which Elder Larson and I found) so that was way exciting!
Just this past Saturday we had a cool experience that I want to share with you. The day hadn't been going to plan at all.... Nobody was answering their doors, people just weren't home, and nobody would answer the phones. It was pretty tough so I decided that we should go to Subway and eat a quick lunch. Well, we walked in and before I could even pay for my sandwhich the two girls working the counter started asking questions about what we do as missionaries. As I was talking to them Elder Larson had a customer come up to him and start asking questions about the church. Later on it dawned on me that I had been keeping a prayer in my heart the entire day asking for guidance and direction as we tried getting ahold of investigators. PRAYER WORKS.
Today we are planning on going to the mall :) Elder Watts and Elder Gray got permission to come down from Gig Harbor today so we are going to hang out with them! I wish you could be here to meet all the great missionaries. I know these guys are gonna be friends for life. Man, going on a mission was definitely the best decision I've made so far :)
Love you and I'll talk to you soon! 
-Elder Burton