Elder Ammon Burdge: 11/26 Leaving for Texas and More Pictures

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Ammon left for San Antonio, TX, Wednesday, November 27th at 6am. He asked me to post this video for the week. The song is called, “Nephi’s Psalm”, it was performed by the BYU Men’s Chorus in the April 2007 LDS General Conference. Click the photo below to listen.

Click here to listen to Nephi's Psalm

Click here to listen to Nephi’s Psalm

Ammon also sent some pictures of his time spent before leaving Mexico. Click on the gallery to read a story about each photo.

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Elder Ammon Burdge 11/20 “Man’s extremity is God’s Opportunity”

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It is often said there are storms raging constantly around us. I firmly believe this to be so. There are many types of people in this world, but I would like to highlight just two: those who fear or even hide from such storms, clinging for dear life wondering when it will end, and the others who openly welcome the fiercest tempests with their faith emblazoned proudly upon their chests. I pray constantly to be the latter.

I have exactly one week left in the CCM and I have come to realize that the storms and threatening seas surrounding all of us are blessings from the Lord. The howling wind, the crashing waves, the terrible threatenings of thunder and the ceaseless cracks of lightning are given to us by a Loving God to propel us forward to greatness. In the second chapter of Ether, the Savior commands the Brother of Jared to build barges that his people may continue onward to the promised land. The Lord states:

“24. For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth. 25. And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. …”

In Ether, the great deep is literally an ocean. However, in my life there are many trials which have great depth. I find comfort that the Lord is always watching over me and He has prepared a way for me to navigate these treacherous seas. On our ships we have sails of faith. Our Redeemer has sent winds that our faith may carry us on to our promised land. Elder John Groberg once explained that true sailors do not fear storms, for they bring the life of a mariner’s movement: wind. We are given opportunities to move forward and progress, propelled through monstrous storms.

While on his mission to the pacific islands, Elder Groberg was travelling with a few other men in a sailboat to an island where a family was faithfully waiting to hear the gospel.During their journey, the wind died out and the entire sea went calm. They prayed for wind, individually and as a group, for wind to bring them to their destination; none came. Without wind they would surely be stuck forever on the still glass of sea and the family would never hear the gospel. At such a moment, Satan certainly may have whispered to their hearts, ” You fools. Don’t you realize you are in my power? These waters belong to me. I am preventing your movement and blocking the wind. So long as you are on my ocean, you will not go forth.” As they continued to pray, wind did not greet their sails. Finally, an older man let down a small life boat, tossed in a couple oars and said to Elder Groberg, “Get in. Today I will be the Lord’s wind.”

Sometimes we feel we are not progressing, that we are stuck on an unchanging sea. We pray for the Lord to bring forth a little wind so that we can serve and grow. At such times the adversary, always at the ready, attempts to pollute our minds and claim that he is responsible for thwarting our progression. However, if we patiently pause and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit of the Lord, we will realize that it is our Redeemer holding back the wind. He is waiting for us to act that we may grow. There are times when our Father in Heaven, who created us and knows us perfectly, provides for us opportunities to row ourselves to shore with the strength He has already granted us. He is waiting for us to act. 2 Nephi 2:13-14 teaches us:

“…And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away. And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.”

We were created by God to act. The Eternal Father did not create us so that we could wait idly for His wind. He expects us to act and propel ourselves towards Him, rowing if necessary. One of my favorite hymns is #208 Brillan rayos de clemencia (Brightly Beams our Father’s Mercy). The hymn describes many sailors striving and enduring a great storm, trying to make their way to the safety of the Lord’s harbor and all the night long they are searching for the lighthouse to direct their way. Because of the faithfulness of my parents, I have been able to make my way across the treacherous sea, always watching for the lights they provide from the shore. Now at the shore, I am a missionary. The hymn speaks of two lights at the lighthouse, a higher light and a lower light. When the two are lined up, the sailors know they are following the right course. As missionaries we travel and teach in pairs. It is our duty to line up our lights that we may shine them before the world, to bring all people to the shore.

I love this sacred duty that I hold. I am forever grateful for the opportunity I have had to study the gospel and spanish here at the Mexico MTC. I know, unshakably, that it is by faith and by action that we can navigate these treacherous storms, ever watchful of the lighthouse, and forever having our faith emblazoned upon our countenances.

With faith and love,

Elder Burdge

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Elder Ammon Burdge 11/13/13 “How the Atonement Applies to Missionary Work”

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This last week was pretty busy for Ammon, so he asked me to post this video for him instead of an email. Click the photo below to watch the film 🙂

Click here to watch the film Ammon posted!

Click here to watch the film Ammon posted!

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Elder Ammon Burdge 11/6/13 “Halfway There”

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“Yo sé que Jesucristo es la corbata de la iglesia…”

I have had some memorable experiences this past week. We all hear about missionaries attempting to learn another language so that they can share the gospel and we always laugh when they make the mistake of mixing up words. Well, let me share a few. My compa gave a talk in sacrament meeting a couple Sundays ago and as he was bearing his testimony he said: “Yo sé que Jesucristo es la corbata de la iglesia y através Jesucristo podemos ser salvados del nuestros pescados.” In English: “I know that Jesus Christ is the necktie of the church and through him we can be saved from our fishes.” In Spanish the word for head is cabeza and necktie is corbata, and sins is pecados and fishes are pescados. I honestly wonder how the branch presidency doesn’t burst out laughing whenever we make mistakes like this. Unfortunately for my compa he made an even more hilarious and fairly awkward situation with one of our mock investigators. We’ve been struggling with this investigator for about a week now because she just won’t pray with us. We decided to go in and teach about faith and try to find out why she wouldn’t pray. At the beginning of the lesson she shared with us an experience she had had earlier in the week. She prayed and then read the Book of Mormon and while she was reading she said that she felt a lot of peace and happiness and she now knows that what we’ve been teaching her is true. My compa asked her why she didn’t want to pray with us. She replied that she is a bad person and we are just closer to God than she is. I told her that we’re not perfect. I explained that we also have problems and we even get frustrated with each other almost daily. I told her of a time in my life where I felt I was very far from God and I testified that the only way I got closer and became a missionary was through prayer. My compa then wanted to share with her Ether 12:6:

“And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.”

This scripture is excellent and it definitely applied to our investigator. However, that’s not the scripture he had her read. Instead, he gave her Ether 11:6:

“And there was great calamity in all the land, for they had testified that a great curse should come upon the land, and also upon the people, and that there should be a great destruction among them, such an one as never had been upon the face of the earth, and there bones should become as heaps of earth upon the face of the land except they should repent of their wickedness.”

Now that definitely changed the tone of the lesson. I tried to make it better by telling her that we can all repent and become closer to God and that was why prayer is so important. But I’m pretty sure bones becoming heaps of earth was probably the only thing on her mind. Luckily, I got him to give her Ether 12:6 instead and she finally understood what we actually meant to teach her.

Our other investigator has been having a really tough time. His wife is an inactive member of the church and she told him he needs to learn more about God. We taught him and he told us about his struggles with alcohol and cigarettes. We taught him about the nature of the Godhead and left him with some scriptures. We resolved that we should teach him the Word of Wisdom. As we met with him the second time we learned that his life fell apart. His wife left him and took his kids because he wasn’t changing fast enough. We shared our love for him and that as long as he stay close to God and followed the teachings of Christ his life would be blessed. We met with him a third time and I shared experiences that happened in my life that related to his situation. I told him that I only made it through that part of my life by reading 2 Nefi chapter 4. I told him that this chapter speaks of the pain and agony of Nefi who is struggling with his sins. Most importantly, it states that we must put our trust in God and if we do so, he will raise us up and strengthen us. I find that I am constantly following the Holy Ghost to help me connect to those I am teaching.

The Spirit really is an awe-inspiring gift from our Father in Heaven. First of all, that thought alone is enough to leave me stunned. The most Divine, Perfect, Omnipotent, and Omniscient being in the universe, created us. He didn’t create us as solely man or humans. He didn’t leave us to just be animals or simply beings. God the Eternal Father created us in His image as His children. We are all sons and daughters of God. Ponder that for a minute. We are literally all children of the King and Ruler of the Universe. The One who created heaven and earth and all things that are in them. We are Princes and Princesses, Kings and Queens, destined for greatness. But what I have found incredible this week is that the Creator of my soul has given to me the Gift of His Holy Spirit.

” For me, the Spirit works just as the Sun. When it is daytime, the Sun doesn’t just flash upon the Earth, as a light bulb might do in a dark room. Rather, the Sun gradually and incrementally adds light to the world. After some hours, the world is full of light, but the change was hardly noticeable.”

I’ve always wondered how one being of spirit can dwell and have such an amazing influence on everyone in the world. We watch a video series on youtube in one of my classes by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I can’t recall what the video series was called but it was to do with light. Anyhow, to me, the Holy Ghost can be compared to the Sun. The Sun shines light on every part and on every people throughout the world. Of course, at nighttime the Sun doesn’t shine and many of us still receive direction from the Spirit after it has descended. But in that case I’ll just reason that the Sun reflects light off of the Moon so in this analogy that’s how direction still occurs. During the day, the Sun shines upon us. We all have the opportunity of stepping into its radiance and feel its warmth. The Sun never turns away from us, but we can choose to remove ourselves from its presence. This light is available to all and it does not shine solely on one person or one people. In my life, I can’t think of a time where the influence of the Holy Ghost has hit me with immense power as it has done to others. I have thought for quite some time that either I don’t know how to feel the influence of the spirit or I have hidden myself too far from feeling its radiance. I know now that I am simply wrong in both instances. For me, the Spirit works just as the Sun. When it is daytime, the Sun doesn’t just flash upon the Earth, as a light bulb might do in a dark room. Rather, the Sun gradually and incrementally adds light to the world. After some hours, the world is full of light, but the change was hardly noticeable.

This week I realized that this is what has happened in my life. I had the opportunity of blessing two sister missionaries in my district. The first sister requested a blessing of healing because she was feeling sick. The second sister asked for a blessing of comfort because she was dealing with difficulties from earlier in her life. I am going to be honest. I’ve been skeptical of blessings. I can’t tell if what I said in those blessings were my words or if they were actually from my Father in Heaven. Again, I was wrong. Later at a devotional, the second sister approached me and thanked me for the blessing. She then told me that she had written down the things which were said in the blessing. The sister explained to me she had compared what she wrote down to her Patriarchal Blessing. The words which had been spoken in the blessing she recently received were remarkably close, if not verbatim, of the words from that other blessing. My testimony of priesthood blessings was forever increased by this experience. When a worthy priesthood holder gives a blessing in the name of Jesus Christ and by the proper authority, so long as he follows the Spirit, the words which are spoken will be from God. I cannot and I refuse to deny that. Although I thought previously that I had been hiding myself from the influence of the Spirit, I did not realize that I was directly under its brightness and influence. I could not have given such a blessing if this was not the case.

“As missionaries, we are those servants. We are out here toiling in the vineyard with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ by our sides. “

I am grateful and I thank my Heavenly Father daily for this astounding opportunity to learn, grow, and realize who am I and why I am on His errand. In a devotional on Sunday we had Elder Johnson of the First Quorum of the Seventy speak to us. He told us the parable of the vineyard where the Master of the vineyard wants to destroy all of the trees because they have produced no good fruit and are good only for burning. The Servant to the Master pleads for one last effort to save the vineyard. The Master commands Him to call servants so that “they might work with Us in the vineyard.” As missionaries, we are those servants. We are out here toiling in the vineyard with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ by our sides. Christ has not called us on our own missions, He had invited us to serve alongside Him in His mission. I will serve faithfully and put forth every effort.

 

Sweet is the Work,

Elder Burdge

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