Email January 5, 2015 – Elder Kenneth Wm. Burton
Bunch of Burtons
Hey family! Well New years was exciting! Unlike last year we were right in the middle of the city rather than looking in on it. I expect its slightly what a war zone feels like. I had at least three fire works go off on the ground within 15 feet, pretty scary, not something I would recommend. I was able to get a few of the ground explosions on camera as well as one that flew sideways and hit a building. After a few minutes we moved to another location because a group of people next to us were pretty drunk and things were starting to get dangerous. We saw a few illegal explosions go off, some people buy these fire works from Germany that are more like a stick of dynamite that you throw, and the explosions are always huge. Alcohol and fireworks are not a good combination. And there is way to much of both here in December, being the only month fireworks are legal.
This week has been kind of crazy with New Years. On New Years Eve we weren't allowed out after 6:00 unless we were with members who would be able to take us home after. The next morning we spent the entire day deep cleaning our apartments, one of two days a year. So it hasn't been the most productive week, I'm glad things are starting to calm down and we're able to get back into a more normal routine, nothing of course is ever totally normal as a missionary.
We were able to meet with our friend Lona though. She lives in a care center because she has had her leg amputated because of poor blood circulation, and is in a wheel chair. She's been trying to give up smoking for a while but keeps looking back. Our lesson with her went great, mainly because we kept it simple. She hasn't read from the Book of Mormon on her own for a few weeks so we opened it up to where she currently was in Alma and read half a chapter with her. As we read we would pause and explain or talk about what was going on. Honestly I was surprised by how well focused she was, when asked she was able to explain what we had just read. As we read her reading improved until she was reading strong and clearly. When we started she had begun shaking as she has before in the past, but when we continued it stopped. There was a new confidence in her voice as we committed her to read on her own.
If I know the story right Lona has had a hard past, a few months ago her mother who's a member asked a senior missionary to give Lona a blessing. He told me that when he walked into the room that first time it was dark and Lona was laying in her bed and didn't move the entire time, I don't think she said anything either. Over the next few weeks she had requested a few more blessings, one of these times Elder Hicks the senior missionary felt prompted to bless her that no evil spirit could enter into her apartment again. From then on she started to change, began to talk and take better care of herself. She had a baptismal date for a while but wasn't able to stop smoking in time for it. In that time she has read in the Book of Mormon all the way to Alma 40's. I hadn't realized that the last few weeks we hadn't been stressing the importants of the Book of Mormon and she had stopped reading and her smoking has gotten worse. I hope that now as we focus on the Book of Mormon she'll begin to have the spirit stronger again and be able to overcome her smoking.
This morning in my studies I was studying on the topic of self-mastery. I came across Alma 37: 36-37 in which it says "cry unto the Lord for all thy support". There is a natural law in physics that if you have two equal forces pulling at each other than the object will stand still. The forces cancel each other out. In order to move the object in one direction you need to increase the force of the pull in that direction. Self-mastery is not possible on our own. We have the same strength as ourselves so how can we possible have control over ourselves? We can cry unto the Lord for all our support. He will provide the strength and force to conquer ourselves and our weaknesses.
Christ has said that if we come unto Him he will turn our weaknesses into strengths.
Christ raises us up to more than we could be on our own. As we take a step towards Him we progress and grow and He lifts us up even higher.
Things are going great here, I lost my gloves for a few days but found them at an investigators house. Its crazy how cold ones hands can get while biking in the rain without gloves. I guess gloves are like Christ, they protect us from the cold and winds of life.
I hope everything's going well back home! Happy New Year!
Elder Ken Burton