Monday, March 28, 2016

I'm finally in New Jersey!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, this is so crazy. I am so so sorry about not being able to have written last week. I flew in to Jersey last Monday. I'm so so glad that I don't get motion sickness, I don't think I really even realized thats a thing until the sisters beside sick. I felt bad. the plane hit some pretty bad turbulence. I really felt like I'd fall out of the sky any second. 

It made me think of that talk by Elder Nelson. He was saying how he was in a plane, and suddenly the planes wing......wasn't working (wish I could remember how something went wrong, but it did) and the plane started to fall, and the pilot was losing control, a woman on the other side of the plane started screaming. He looked around him and saw people panicking, and crying and praying. Then he realized, he felt so calm. He realized that if he was going to do die, then that would be just fine. He was prepared to meet God and he felt at peace with his life. He obviously didn't die though. The pilot gained control and they made an emergency landing. 

I wouldn't be able to say that I feel the way that Elder Nelson felt, but it gave me something to think about. It gave me a vision. That's what I want to feel. That's where I want to be. Not that I'll ever be able to do all that Elder Nelson does, or do all that he has in his lifetime, obviously not, but to do all that I can and the best I can in the time and experience that I do have. To accept that my Heavenly Father is looking on my heart. 

In the MTC one of the coolest definitions they taught about repentance was the complete meaning of repentance. We learned that it changes our actions, our hearts, and our thoughts.  Together it really truly does something incredible. All together it changes nature. It changes our nature. It moves mountains. WHOA!!!!  But it's all little by little. We get to have three hours of study in the morning--1 personal, 1 companion. 1 for newbie studying. I feel so lame at studying and just wish to absorb it all. But I can only absorb little by little.

Ok, my new companion. I HAVE AN AMAZING TRAINER!!!  Her name is Sister Bulson. I am serving in the south part of Jersey. I'm in the Eatontown ward ( WHOOOHOOOOO WITCH OF BLACK BIRD POND!!!! ) It really makes me smile each time I think about it. There are three sets of missionaries in our ward. It's a good mix of everything. I haven't seen a whole lot of variety yet, just black and white. But then again, it's only week one and I'm in a pretty suburbish area. 

On my first time tracking early last week, we went to Neptune Court, and we tried just saying anything to anyone. It's a pretty black neighborhood and feels like the sketch part of Letha, or how Letha used to feel sketch, and we heard these two black guys talking about easter services, we started talking to them, TayQuan, and Tyriece. We ended up talking to Tyriece a good two hrs about God. He was so excited just to talk to anyone about religion. I gave him a restoration pamphlet, but he wouldn't take a copy of the Book of Mormon. We got his contact info and gave it to the Elders who could meet with him, because the sisters aren't allowed into Asbury Park which is where he lives.  I learned a lot from Tyriece. :) He explained how God gets so happy for his children, dat wen we gonna see him, he gonna be break dancin. :) 

We spoke with everyone on their porch who would be willing to listen and we ran into so many who been saved. But we were talking to a lady named Trina. she was sitting on her porch and we asked about her day and she said "I'm blessed" what makes you blessed "because I opened my eyes this mornin" as frustrating as it is to try talking to the religious black people here because they let you explain the proper authority, or that we can do more to be happier or to follow his example, it never ceases to make me happy when they answer with such simple faith.  So many of them acknowledge God in ALL things, that it makes me humbled to remember my blessings.  So many almost died from tumors and cancer and brain problems and tons of junk that happen from not living the commandments, and they finally realize and give all thanks to God for life, and do their best to turn around. We talked to Trina and gave her a Book of Mormon, (she loves to read) and she told us how she remembered the Elders, back in her rougher days, but they were awesome. she said "you know da mormons aren't fraid a goin no place, you know why? cus dat" and she pointed to our tags. "dats your shield, you mormons you just have dis aura about choo. it don't matter what part or how wicked some where is, it does not stop choo." It was really cool to hear her say that. She was great to talk to. Even if I haven't met lots of races, theres still gobs of different personalities. Which is really amazing how different each of Gods children are.

I love you all so much! thank you for all that you do. 

Sister Burk

And she's off...New Jersey!

Brook flew out Monday morning and called Jasmine from the airport because she wasn't able to get ahold of her Mom.

From Jasmine: 

"She wasn't sure if she would have time to write once she got there but she sounded great! 
She was nervous to be starting on the next step of her mission but she still sounded happy and upbeat and would tell me, "I'm nervous, but it's OK because it will all work out." 
She told me how much it meant to her to feel such an outpouring of love from so many people while she was in the MTC, especially on St. Patrick's Day. She said she looked at the list of people on her email list and thought, "where did all these people come from?" She was amazed that so many people cared for and loved her, and she could feel all of their prayers and that it was a tender mercy to her.
She sounded great and I felt like she was doing really well. She loved her time in the MTC and it created a great foundation for her going forward. She will be able to handle what comes next because she has such a great desire to help other people and this will give her that opportunity without having to worry about the cares of the world that can bring her down.
I'm sure we will hear from her tomorrow and hear about New Jersey. Her P-Day in the MTC was Tuesday but going forward it will be on Mondays."

From Mom: 

"Brookie wrote me a couple of notes from her compamion's ipad with permission. She arrived safely and wanted me to know. She is on Park Ave. and just down the street, closeby is a place called Scoops (an ice cream shop) Dad and I google-earthed it. It has to be a sign since Brookie is called Scoop by her cousins. It made us smile. 

The Senior Sister at the mission home also called me and so I got another report on some of the details like the Ipad (Brook will not receive hers for 6 weeks) and about driving etc. She is in Ocean township which is not as fast paced as most of the state.

Her physical address is: 

806 West Park Ave #8A
Ocean Township,NJ 07712

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patty's Day Brook!

Bonnie's friend that works at the MTC just delivered some Irish 'Gold' to our favorite Leprechaun:) 
How cute is she!

MTC Week #2

Elder Mckintosh, (convert, Rexburg buddies from the 65 ward, he was in our ward back in the day)
Elder Cluff, Elder Guthrie, Elder Hamson-the really tall one.
In this picture of our district, the elders are on a ledge.
(They're cheating. They aren't as tall as they look next to him in the pic.)

Me, my companion Sister Vaughn, Sister DeMille, Sister Perkinson
Dear Family and Friends,

I can't even say how much I feel loved!!! Thank you all SO SO much! 

So this week was pretty crazy, and yet I can't think of a thing to say. My companion and I got called as sister training leaders for our zone. So we keep an eye on the sisters and take care of relief society. This week we get new sisters in our zone so we get to show them around and help them out in anyway! There was a sister who got the flu pretty badly, so we spent most of our morning last Wednesday helping her in the health center, she was so weak and couldn't keep any food down. The Elders came and gave her a blessing. I love that so much here. It's so comforting to know that there are wonderful wonderful Elders all around you willing and wanting to serve if you need them. t

This Saturday my companion got sick with some kind of stomach ache, so I got to spend the day in our dorm. I decided to take up Elder Bednar's challange. He said to get a paperback Book of Mormon and pick one topic, and then mark up the B.O.M just on that topic. I chose to mark each time someone in the Book of Mormon prays and mark in blue everytime Heavenly Father answers. Just in the first 6 chapters it was pretty incredible to see the amazing answers. So my Sunday was really great. 

Then the other sisters in our dorm would bring me food and towards the end asked if I would like to switch so that I could get out and go to the devotional and the video. Elder Allen spoke. His message was to teach people (and us as missionaries) that God loves us. or the way he put his topic, how God feels about us. It was really powerful. I have really enjoyed being able to learn and listen. Then we listened to Elder Holland's message-Open your mouth. It was awesome! I love listening to the bretheren, and then when they're done just sitting and thinking, Holy cow I love those men. I love them! 

The famous MTC cafeteria! It's funny, there's so much good food and so much bad food, and so much goes to waste and some..... shouldn't be served. They only have ice cream on Sundays and Wednesdays and believe it or not, I have only gotten it 2 times. ......although on long rough days I've gone to the vending machine for an ice cream bar so.......maybe that doesn't count. 

BUT STILL!!! :) CAN ANYONE SAY WHAT WEEK IT IS?!!!!!! THIS THURSDAY IS SAINT PADDY'S DAY!!!! ONE OF THE BEST DAYS OF THE YEAR!!!! I wake up in the morning singing Irish songs and wearing my four leaf clover necklace and using my wannabe Irish/Scottish accent any chance I get. It threw my companion and my dorm roomies.......and my whole district off at first. They really weren't expecting it, but now they know its just who I am :) 

My district gets to sing on Sunday as part of sacrament meeting. we're singing Redeemer of Israel. Sister Perkinson is playing piano and Elder Cluff is playing the cello. I'm singing alto, and the other two sisters are singing soprano and the Elders covering base and tenor. It's gonna be awesome! We practice it everyday and we're all really excited.

My thought for the week. The coolest thing I feel that I've learned about change  (I swear I felt like I'd thought of this before, but now I'm like ooooooooohhhhhh. It makes sense. my companion and I taught a woman who has been searching out all the other religions. the first most important lesson to teach her, to help her build her faith and and understanding, is to help her understand who God and Jesus Christ are. They love us. 

I got to bear my testimony to her! It was the coolest feeling to see her doubt and fade away. What made it the best was that I wasn't teaching a lesson, I was helping her find a truth from my testimony and experience. The change part of this comes in, because we change all the time, for better or good, but God is the anchor that never moves. always there to pull us in when we allow him to help us. 

I know this Gospel is true. I know our savior lives and that this is the true church! 

I love you all!

Sister Burk

My District in Class
All of the cute Sister Missionaries

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Dear Family and friends

So...pretty crazy week! I feel like I don't really know what all to share. 

Well, My companions name is sister Vaughn. she's pretty awesome! the first day here at the MTC I was late. I missed my flight and had to reschedule it a few hrs later. Mom pointed out to me that there is a reason for everything, and I think there was. 

On the plane I sat by a woman traveling with her brother and dad, they had traveled to Spain and France and were headed down to Florida for a cousin's wedding. I sat and talked to her and got to know her. My nerves were all pretty fried. Her name was Nancy and she has three sons in HS.  She was so sweet! 

I explained to her that I was reporting to the MTC. She told me she was Catholic. As much as I'd love to say that I gave her a Book of Mormon and converted on the spot......well, I didn't. But I still had the awesome, awesome experience of getting to know her. I felt so grateful to her. I was on the verge of bawling. (or felt like it, not showing it) but I told her how some of the sweetest people I know are Catholic and she told me how she loved and respected the LDS church through the example of her friends in the area.

Aunt Melody picked me up at the airport with Becca, she was so sweet to come get me. 

The MTC feels like young womens of Zion's camp. IT'S AWESOME! It has had its rough days, but it's had its wonderful days too, and I know for sure that it's gonna get harder. 

I really have felt strengthened by Heavenly Father and know He is watching over me, and my family!

My district got to go watch the talk by Elder Bednar in the MTC called the Character of Christ. WOW!! I love love love what he said and want so much with all of my heart to abide by those principles. He explained and gave examples of what Christ did when he was in pain or hurt. He explained that when we are hurt we turn in, when he was hurt, he turned out. 

So much of me wants to be better, to change and all that good stuff. But I know the Holy Ghost was telling me, it doesn't matter. It really truly does not matter. I can do whatever he wants me to do, but I shouldn't focus on improving my talents, or "is my ability or desire enough" doesn't matter at all!  Now I just need to apply it. 

One of the things that distracts me from that is how unable I am to remember things it seems like. I've lost papers and schedules and misplaced small random things or my journal, in the weirdest places. It's not like I have that much stuff with me to lose, but somehow I do, and I have the least packed of the other three girls in my dorm. don't matter. :)  It'll all work out in the end, and he will help change me and build me as he needs when I answer to the concerns of others. 

I can't think of anything else. Oh wait. So there is an Elder in my district who is 7ft 2 and it feels pretty crazy walking around with him in our district because EVERYONE wants to meet him and take a picture. It always makes me laugh to see the missionaries from Asia stand next to him and look up. I'll put pictures up.

One more thing. Mom and Dad, go find Brother and Sister Hill. and tell them I found Elder Hill. I saw him, he's been here at the MTC for like 5 weeks and has another 4 and he's ready to go, but tell the Hills that their son is glowing. He saw me and said hi and he was glowing. Just goes to show what the Lord can do. t

Thank you all so much for your prayers and for your letters. If I don't answer them through email this week, believe me I'll answer either through snail mail or next week's p-day. 

I love you all!! thank you for everything!

Sister Burk

P.S. If you find a black watch lying around the house, it's mine.  Send it to me please!