Elder Ammon Burdge 12/2 “The Work Has Begun”

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Mexico City Airport

Texas is amazing, but for now I’ll return quickly to Mexico. We woke up very early to drive to the airport where we would wait for four hours to fly back to the states. At the airport we decided to try and contact people who might be interested in hearing the gospel. At the terminal, along with a few other Elders I talked to a maintenance lady. She saw me reading the Bible and stopped to ask me about it. I shared with her John 10:16 which is where Christ tells His disciples that there are other sheep He must visit. I explained to her that the natives of North and South America are those other sheep and the Book of Mormon is the record we have of them. I gave her a copy and asked to read and pray about it. She said she would and that she stopped because she noticed a different spirit about us. As I was waiting for another Elder later on, a teenage kid passed by us a couple times and was looking at us so we stopped him. We were speaking in Spanish about the Godhead and he said, “wait, do you guys speak English?” “Of course!” Elder Whipple replied. So we finished the rest of the discussion in English. We only had a Spanish copy of the Book of Mormon but he said he could understand it.

On the plane I sat next to a lady who was going to America to shop for Black Friday. The flight was a couple hours and we spent every minute discussing the gospel and the church. I bore her my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I offered her a copy, she gladly accepted it and then asked if I would write her a note in the front. It was an incredible experience.

The Alamo

We landed safely in San Antonio and it was very cold. President Slaughter, my mission president, and his family were quite welcoming. That night we went to the Alamo. They told us the story of the Alamo and explained that the leader of the men had drawn a line in the sand and challenged them to cross the line if they had the courage to stand and fight to defend the Alamo and their desires for freedom. Likewise, the assistants to the president explained that we are in a battle. Each day we wake up ready to fight the evil in this world. They stood us on one side of the same line and said, “All those who are prepared to stand for the cause of truth cross the line.” We all did. For about an hour or so we passed out Book of Mormons to people in the streets. The Elder I went with and I passed out five. At the end of our time there, the Elder and I talked to a man and his son. We talked to them in Spanish about Christ and His visit to the Americas. The man was excited and interested to here the message. He said he had never heard of this before and wanted to know more. Unfortunately we only had English Book of Mormons but I gave him the website to the church, mormon.org, and also took down his address to send to the missionaries in Houston where he lives. In total, the Elder and I placed five Book of Mormons and received one address. So far, missionary work has proved to be hard, but rewarding.

Austin, TX

Thanksgiving Day we met at a church building for transfer meeting. Some of us stayed in the southern part of our mission but the rest of us traveled a few hours north to Austin. I am currently serving in the Sunset Valley Ward in the Oakhills Stake in Austin, Texas. It’s an English speaking ward, but my companion and trainer, Elder Franks, is Spanish speaking like me. Our area is pretty big, about ten miles top to bottom and we are full bike. Other areas share a car and others have a car full time. We get the awesome blessing of riding bikes everywhere.

At first, it definitely didn’t seem like a blessing. For Thanksgiving we ate at a member’s house at the far south of our area. So we rode our bikes for about an hour and I was exhausted by dinner. After we ate, we rode back up to our apartment and it was really cold. Over the past couple days, however, I’ve realized that being on a bike is a blessing. First of all, we get more exercise. Being on a bike also allows us to stop and talk to more people because if we see someone going down the street, it’s easier to stop on a bike and talk to them than it is in a car. The other day we were riding down a street and Elder Franks wanted to stop and check the map. As we stopped, a lady stopped her car and asked us if we were the missionaries for this area. I said, “Absolutely we are!” She told us that her son is a member of her church but she is not. She invited us to stop by her house next week and visit her. We wouldn’t have met her in a car.

A picture of LDS missionaries on bikes

Riding a bike has also helped me realize the dedication it takes to be a missionary. As we plan our day we put a lot of thought into where we will go and who we can meet along the way. We think about the time it will take to go certain places and what areas will be the most fruitful. For me I’ve also learned to lean on the Lord for strength. Our last day in the CCM we only slept for a few hours because we had to catch the flight. Our first day in Texas we only slept a few hours because we had to get to the building for transfer meeting. Riding a bike twenty miles on little sleep is difficult. As I’ve prayed for strength and energy, I’ve been blessed as I ride to visit people and I know it is because the Lord is blessing me.

The past few days we have not taught any lessons. We visit many part member families and less active members. Last night Elder Franks and I stopped by a potential investigator’s house. He and his family only speak Spanish and so we had the opportunity of practicing our mission language. We spoke with his wife on the porch and she invited us in. I was then able to teach my first real lesson and it was in Spanish. We shared with them 2 Nephi 25:26:

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”

A picture of LDS missionaries meeting a family

I explained that as missionaries we teach people in order to bring them closer to Christ. We have the opportunity of bringing the Book of Mormon into their lives to testify, alongside the Bible, that Jesus is the Christ and during Christmas we are able to celebrate His birth. The man explained that they are Catholics but they’re not dedicated to that religion. He told us that we have the gift of preaching to the people and we are doing good work. However, he believes that we are all trying to accomplish the same thing and we are all worshiping the same God and at the end of the day all that matters is that we are God’s children. His wife told us that she welcomes us to come by anytime because they enjoy hearing about Christ. We plan on visiting them tomorrow to offer service in their yard. Although the visit wasn’t what we were hoping for, it was a great experience.

I’ve been told that if I need anything, I can ask you all. As I start my work in this section of the Savior’s vineyard I am not needing anything material as of yet. However, I would like you to remember the following scripture:

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”

Karl Bloch’s nativity

As followers of Christ, this is what we do. This month everyone celebrates the holidays for different reasons. If you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I ask you to go this entire month and every time someone discusses Christmas or the holidays with you, tell them about your beliefs, why you are celebrating Christmas. Explain to them that you are a Christian and you are grateful for the Savior’s birth. If you are not a member of the Church, I would love it if you would take some time to ponder about Jesus Christ and why this holiday is celebrated. And for you all, please talk to the missionaries in your area. Let them share a small message about Christmas with you. If you are able, feed them a meal and let them bless you with the spirit that they carry. I know that Jesus Christ was born to Mary in a humble stable. I know that because He was born and atoned for our sins later in His life, we all have the opportunity to return to our Father in Heaven with our families.

Thank you for all that you do and keeping me in mind. Keep being awesome.

Elder Burdge

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