Monday, October 20, 2014

Never have I been more sure of something in my life.

Dear Family,
        What can I say? I absolutely love it here. Never have I been more sure of something in my life. This is where I am supposed to be. This is where I WANT to be. I never want to come home. Seeing the growth of my khuu and other missionaries brings me the most joy. Seeing their eyes light up with understanding about the purpose of their life is such a beautiful thing to witness. I love everyone here. We have gotten so close already. We really are great friends. They make me laugh so much! We have story time every night with Elder Magill, Elder Bunker, Elder Slabaugh, Elder Ridding, Elder Webb, and Elder Darby and Sister Remington and I where we just tell funny stories about our past lives. It's so great. Sometimes I feel like everything is just one big comedy act! We go crazy here after thinking and learning so hard all day. It's so fun. Elder Bunker is literally the MOST hilarious human being alive. And Elder Raleigh always creeps in our room, says nothing, and then leaves. JUST like Nate, Dad, and Connor do ALL THE TIME! It made my day.
        Thank you for all the love and support and prayers. They truly are felt and  I could never get through these 16 hour days without them. There is no sense of time in the MTC though. There is Sunday, Monday and then NOT Sunday or Monday. The days just blend together. I hardly ever know what day of the week it is. Dear Elders are THE BEST THOUGH. I look forward to them each day. Something I forgot to mention last week is that my khuu and I are going to the MTC choir practices. Those are so great. Practices are Sundays @ 5:15 and Tuesdays @ 5:15 and then we perform at ever Tuesdays Devo. The director is literally the only reason we go. He is the greatest!! SO FUNNY, and just SOO AWESOME. He really makes the gospel come alive. I don't even know how to explain how great he is. That pretty much applies to everything here at the MTC though. You don't really ever fully understand until you are here living it, but honestly it is the greatest place on earth. Everyone's goal is to just try and be the best person you can and that attitude is infectious. Yes, its the hardest work I've ever done and I feel cliche for saying that but it is so true. But so worth it. Yes, I get frustrated sometimes. Yes, the food's TERRIBLE. Yes, I have bad days. But all that is inevitable. That happens no matter where you are at in life. Well maybe not the terrible food part. #Dan&GinasCooking (SO GOOD) But anyways, as I was saying life is hard no matter where you are. The great thing about the missionary life is that you are surrounded by good, which allows for the spirit to dwell here ALWAYS. That makes rebounding from those hard days 100 times easier and faster. I'm really taking advantage of my time here because NEVER again will I be so sheltered, protected and surrounded by good in my life. What a blessing that is. I don't want to take it for granted. It's not perfect by any means. I could list 100 things that suck about the MTC but I hardly notice those anymore because of my perspective and focus. I could literally talk forever about how happy and great I am but I am going to move on to language and spiritual highlights because I don't have much time. I decided to hand write my letter first today so all I had to do is type it up. That's why this is so long. 555

The language is......coming. Just the fact that I am actually able to communicate and understand blows me away. We finished teaching our fake investigator Phii Pcc and now he is our morning teacher Brother Yuen. I LOVE HIM! He looks Thai but he's actually Half Chinese, Half Hawaiian, native american, Japanese, Irish, and a bunch of other crazy stuff. He's so helpful though. Rowland: Did Rina have B. Yuen and B. Chamberlain as her khruu's too? I can't remember. Anyway, they still only speak in Thai so we do a lot of charades but lately not so much. I'm actually starting to think in Thai rather than trying to translate everything he says to English first so that helps. It's super hard, but I can bare my testimony in Thai, and extend commitments, pray and all that good stuff. I love learning Thai though. It's one of my favorite parts of the day. 

I don't even know which one to choose. They are so regular and incredible that I wish I had time to recite everything to you that is going on. I'll recall one from yesterday because it is so fresh in my mind. So every Sunday we have Devotional at 7, and before every devotional we have a musical number. This week a Young Scottish Elder sang a solo. I can't remember what the name of the song is but it was INCREDIBLE. EVERYONE was crying because it seriously so beautiful. One line that stuck out to me was "may my life reflect thy will". Michelle Lewis quoted that line of the song when she got up after to share about her testimony of the Savior. I couldn't get that line out of my head for the rest of the devotional. Chad Lewis, a Mormon NFL player, who played for the Eagles a while ago was the main speaker. He shared some great experiences he had on his mission to Taiwan and it was so great. I just couldn't get that line from the song out of my head though. Because when all is said and done, that lyric is why I am on a mission. The video "The Character of Christ" from Elder Bednar's Christmas Day devotional a few years ago, confirmed that. All the hard work I'm doing, the reason I am here serving this mission is because I want my life to reflect the will of my Father in Heaven. Not just these next 18 months, but my ENTIRE life. "This isn't just a religion, it's the way of life. Just like the sun touches us all, the power of the atonement extends to all men." That is something I wrote in my journal yesterday. No matter how many people deny the existence of a God, it won't change the eternal truth that HE DOES EXIST. Whether you believe Christ atoned for the sins of all the world or not, HE DID. Nothing will change that. Elder Bednar's entire devotional was about putting off the natural man. He based his whole talk around this quote from Neal A Maxwell. "There would have been no atoning sacrifice without the Character of Christ." He later went on to explain what the Character of Christ is. The Character of Christ is turning outward when everyone else would turn inward. If Christ was not a perfect, selfless being, He COULD NOT have completed the atonement. He later very bluntly stated that if you are focusing your whole mission on caring about yourself, you will struggle. It's about losing yourself to find it. It's about turning outward when all you want to do is turn inward. It's about becoming like Christ. That is the goal. That is my goal. Now I will spend my whole life trying to figure out just how to do that. I know this mission is the step in the right direction though. That has been confirmed so strongly to me this last week. 

I love you all so much. But I don't miss you. I don't have time too. I love being a missionary. I love being able to think about everyone else but myself all day. I love being able to study about Christ and just how incredible this gospel is. I love serving in the Temple. I have never been so tired, but I have never been more happy either.

Love always.
Sister Katie Burbank

P.S. Here's a quote I also loved from Bednar's talk. "The greatest convert on your mission should be you. But it won't be if that is what you focus on." Yes, it's the worlds biggest irony, but it's true.