Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

What a beautiful day. 
Thanks to everyone that sent me Christmas love! You are all so lovely. 
I hope everyone has fun with their families and remembers the true meaning we celebrate this season! 
Luke 2:11 - "For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
ALL MY LOVE FROM THAILAND! 

Sister Burbank

Skyping from Thailand Christmas 2015



Christmas aftermath in our apartment


My family skyping from Vancouver WA



Sunday, December 13, 2015

My letter to President Johnson this week

Mom, Here is my letter to President Johnson: You can post this as the post this week.

Hi President! 

You and Sister Johnson are so fantastic! Always a pleasure to see you and hear you speak! Stake conference was wonderful. It was so incredible to see all of the members from my old area, Sisaket. It made be reflect on how far I have come and how much I have really grown to love these people. I also got to see two of my RC's from that area and there is NOTHING like that feeling of seeing those you help come unto Christ still active and at their first stake conference. I have been so blessed. What a joy it is to be a disciple of Christ! Thank you for your email today... that was so great. I also love that scripture. I am a Disciple of Christ. I have an experience to share while inviting here in Roi Et. This government official stopped and talked to us and asked about what we were doing here in Thailand. After we told him he asked questions about what kind of schooling we had to go to in order to become a missionary. In that moment, I realized how God has literally being preparing me for a mission since I was born. Whether I knew it or not. And that the calling I received was a life time call to the work. Not just 18 months. I was able to bare testimony to this man that we didn't receive any type of formal schooling before coming to serve. That we truly came by means of faith. And that we believe our calling is not just to strengthen people while here in Thailand for 18 months but to strengthen anyone who we ever come in touch with for the rest of our lives because Christ is our exemplar. He seemed really impressed and touched by that and said he would check out the website we invited him to look up. I don't know if it will lead to anything in the future but I know that this experience changed and strengthened my testimony. God is ever aware of us, and Christ forever loves us. That truth I will never deny.
I love this Christmas Season President! And I love this mission!! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you! 

Love,

Sister Burbank

12 days of Christmas countdown..letters from home


Singing in Thai

video

Making Cinnamon buns


Made Brownies- recipe from home


 Ice Cream with S. Yang! 




An almost complete District picture...missing our DL and Elder Sen! But that's okay. This is how we get to Stake Conference here in Roi Et. 555


 Pool Baptism! 555+ Coolest experience




Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Christmas Spirit is definitely here in ROI ET Thailand

All I have to say this week is CHRISTMAS IS HERE!! 

Whoever said you couldn't find Christmas in Thailand???
Apparently they were just not looking hard enough because the Christmas Spirit is definitely here in ROI ET! 

But lets start at the beginning...

Monday-Tuesday - I flew to Bangkok......WHAT? Being STL feels no different until they make me go to all these meetings!! 555+ But it was really great to see President and Sister Johnson and hear everyone's testimonies. I think what impressed me the most though was hearing us all sing the opening and closing Hymns...it has been a while since I have last heard Hymns sung in English and with that kind of Spirit. It was incredibly moving. I wish I could somehow capture that feeling and bottle it up for rainy days. It was so wonderful. 

Wednesday - Still in Bangkok....So 7 new Thai Sister Missionaries came into the mission this last Wednesday, so we had a mini transfer meeting. Sister Larson is now training Sister Phosawad (S. Pat) from Don Meaung and she is AMAZING. I love her so much. Presdient Wisan baptized her when she was 8 years old, and she knows the Grover's pretty well. We have so many mutual friends, so she loves to just sit and chat about that. I love it. She is 24 years old and just a perfect missionary. I am learning so much from her.....Her first day in the mission she went and harvested rice once she got back from Bangkok on Thursday... 555+ Gotta love Roi Et.

Thursday - Sister Larson and I went together to go train in Korat with the ZL's. So Sister Yang (My companion) and Sister Phosawad (Sister Larson's new comp) traveled back to Roi Et alone together. SO MUCH TRAVELING. At this point I haven't been back in my area since Sunday. Since Monday we went and visited a bunch of tourist sites outside of Roi Et, and Monday night we flew out. So my energy level is like zero. But I think this experience has given me so much respect for the Apostles and President Monson, and President and Sister Johsnon for that matter. Their schedules are even more busy and seriously CRAZY. I don't know how they do it. God really does strengthen you out here...that is REAL. Until you experience that you will never truly understand what that means.

Friday - All of the Sisters in the Zone came and spent the night in Roi Et!! We literally had 10 Sisters here at once!! It was crazy. I wish I got a picture....But it was alot of fun and honestly everyone was just happy....No drama...No contention...I think back to before my mission and how without fail if you put 10 girls in a room together who had completely different personality someone would come out of it offended. But that just isn't the case here. And it's only because we all are consecrated servants of Christ. We aren't focused on ourselves. The Gospel of Jesus Christ works....10 completely different Sister Missionaries are evidence of that...NO CAT FIGHTS! 

Saturday - CHRISTMAS ZONE DEVOTIONAL - SO MUCH FUN. I don't even know how to describe it. We watched The BEST TWO YEARS. Which was hilarious and I feel like makes so much more sense now that I have been a missionary. 555+ Afterwards, Sister Larson and I did a duet with Elder Reid (Yes from Harmony Ward) on the piano. We sang a medley of White Christmas and Silent Night. Elder Reid made it up....it was incredible. So much fun singing with Sister Larson. SHE IS A BOSS SINGER. Also had an interview with President Johnson and that was so wonderfully inspired. Nothing beats interviews with your mission President. All in all it was such a great day and we even did a White Elephant exchange and a catered Turkey Dinner!! We ate Turkey in Thailand!! Miracles.

Sunday - MIRACLE: We went and visited an LA with แม่ Jumpy after church named Brother First. He is an 18 year old RC who has just been struggling lately. So we biked out 7 km and visited him. Turns out he is an incredible singer and guitarist so the lesson turned into a straight up jamming session. After him and his 15 year old sister performed for us, we had the impression to perform for them. Sister Yang happened to know Come Thou Fount on the guitar and I happen to know the words. So we sang for them. You could see the spirit working on them. After words we shared the true meaning of Christmas. Showed the "A Savior is Born" video and committed them to pray every single night and write down one blessing every night until Christmas. They accepted and then the miracle happened. His 15 year old sister at this point knows nothing about us really. She has been to church once and prayed once but she really doesn't know anything about what this Church is about. But the spirit prompted her to ask us a question...and that question just happened to be "What is Baptism? What is this thing my brother went and did?".....It took us completely off guard and we realized how much better the spirit was at being a missionary than we were. We explained baptism and then asked her to give the closing prayer....she prayed and thanked God for finally understanding what baptism is and for having us come over. It was so simple. But such a great cherry on top to an amazing week. Fasting WORKS! God is REAL...this is not a cunningly devised fable. After that lesson we proceeded to bike another 12 km in the opposite direction...to visit the Elders Quorum Presidents wife who was sick. Which makes a total of about 20+ km biked in a single afternoon...in a skirt. You would think I would be sore today! But not at all. I feel completely normal. Seriously! MIRACLES....

So that was my week! I hope this gives a little insight into why I am INSANELY happy right now on my mission. God is protecting me and comforting me ever single second of this journey. I can't even explain how good that feels.
I hope everyone has caught the Christmas Spirit and can help others learn the TRUE meaning of Christmas. Christ was born to be our Savior and Redeemer, and that is why we celebrate! Rejoice the Lord is KING! 

Love,

Sister Burbank
Me and Sister Phosawad from Don Meuang 


Selfie with the Plane :)


Cambodian Sister is coming to serve in Thailand! And get this she is friends with the Cambodians we baptized in Srinakharin. SMALL WORLD.


Mini Transfers!! 


Christmas Party Saturday with Sister Yang!! 



พ่อ Jun as Santa!!! 555++++


Our Zone Christmas Picture! Merry Christmas from the Roi Et zone!! 



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Harvesting Rice!

Can you believe it? A year ago this last week I was in the MTC having a devotional by Elder and Sister Bednar! It honestly feels like it was just yesterday. Oh a more exciting note though. This last week was CRAZY. So last Tuesday for the first time in my life I harvested rice for a member!!  Out here during rice harvesting season life for everyone just stops. A strong member here named Brother ปอ is a full time accountant but his office shut down for 2 days so everyone could go out and harvest rice. Literally rice is life here. That is no stereotype. 555+ It was so fun though. We were able to help another member out this last Friday too. It actually has become an inviting technique too. If they reject us inviting them to church, then we invite ourselves to help them harvest rice. They usually just laugh at us because they think all these Americans couldn't possibly know how to harvest rice, but then we just remind them that 5 minutes ago they assumed the same thing about us being able to speak Thai. I love these people so much! 555+ Then Wednesday was the Lantern Festival in Thailand which I can't think of how to explain in English. But it was really cool actually. And there were tons of fireworks. Then Thursday was Thanksgiving and honestly we did absolutely nothing! 555+ But it was fun going to visit some of the LA members houses and giving them orange paper hand turkeys (you know from elementary school) to write 5 things they were grateful. One for each finger. They all seem to love that. So that was cute. Then Friday and Saturday....two of the weirdest days of my mission. We went from sickling rice Friday morning and meeting with a member of the Seventy Friday night. It was the coolest experience of my mission. Ward Roi-Et had a personal fireside from Elder Khanakham (the first Thai member of the Seventy) and only about 30-40 people went. So it ended up feeling like I was the only one in the room! 555+ And the entire thing was in Thai. Which blew my mind even more because not only am I sitting in the same room with a member of the Seventy who has most definitely spoken with the prophet himself, but this man is speaking THAI and I understand him! It was just a huge reflection moment for me. I just can't believe that last year I couldn't speak Thai and that this year I can (well relatively speaking, because lets be honest, I will never REALLY know Thai). But that is a HUGE blessing. It has taken me 20 years to learn English and I still can't even speak that very well. 555+ Especially now! But just wow! Elder Khanakham has such an amazing disposition about him. He is so warm and loving. He radiates with the spirit. And he teaches with the spirit. And so does his wife. I think the most amazing thing is that they were actually Senior Couple Missionaries in Roi-Et for about 7 months of their mission. So this visit was like coming home for them. So cool. Life is so good right now. I am a little sick, and I slept wrong on my neck last night so I can't really move it, but it doesn't even matter because I am just happy! Just constantly happy. The members here I love...and I really have found more and more reasons why I was called to serve here. I love this work, and I love my Savior! 

Love you all so much. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and didn't get too crazy for Black Friday. Having a great week!! TOMORROW IS DECEMBER WHICH MEANS CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!!!! I am so excited. The Christmas Season is the best, even if they don't celebrate it here! Keep smiling,  there's really no reason not too! 

Sister Burbank 



Before I cut off my finger with the sickle. 555+


The District harvesting rice! 


What we look like after 


I love this country.



 Me and my กระธง I made. They are made out of banana leafs and the stem of the tree! 


Our District at the lantern festival! 


Us and members before we ลอย our กระธง's 


Met "Miss Thailand" women. Apparently she was born in Roi Et so she came back to visit. Crazyyyyyy....famous Thai people! 



Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

This last week was full of excitement. From 40 minute bike rides at 12:30am to get to a switch off, to  inviting out in the literal rice fields of Thailand. I love my life.

God knows me so perfectly. Even more than I know myself. I LOVE BANGKOK. That was the best 3 months serving with Sister Hayes. But he knows that I am truly Issan at heart. I didn't even realize it until I got sent back out here to ร้อยเอ็ด. But seriously. After just being here for 2 weeks, I can already tell that it was inspired that I was sent here. I have already met people that I know I am here to help, and I have already met people that are here to help me. This Gospel is so beautiful. In President Johsnon's group email this week, he quoted D&C 50:22 - "Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." I have already witnessed the fulfillment of that scripture. Every time I teach or bare my testimony I feel the Spirit teach me things I haven't even considered before. And re-confirm the truths I already knew. I have witnessed the merciful hand of the Lord in my life as I strive to understand the cute old teethless Issan women เว่าลาวให้บ่เข้าใจ .... 555+ I love the old Issan speaking crazy women the most. They are truly without guile and just radiate the spirit. As we were trekking out of the rice fields a few days ago I held คุณยาย's hand, this 4 foot 11 inch 84 year old women, who has never left her humble home in the บ้านนอก's (coutryside) of Thailand in her life. Her hands were calloused, rough and stained red and I could hardly understand a word she said. But that didn't matter. As I looked into her eyes I couldn't stop smiling. I had so much love for this women who I had just barely met. How is that possible?? How could I feel so much love and desire to serve someone who I knew nothing about?? Other than the assumption that her life has been 100000 times harder than mine ever will be. Yet she still finds reasons to smile. She was filled with the light of Christ. And THAT is what it is all about. I could only have love for this women because I had a desire to feel Christ's love for her. I will never be able to understand her life like the Savior does, which means I will never be able to love her like the Savior does. Which is why I pray every single day to be filled with the love the Savior has for His children, because that is the type of love that "casteth out all fear" (Moroni 8:16), the type of love that fills every void. Literally every single chamber of your heart feels complete when you experience charity, which is the Pure Love of Christ or perfect love, there is no room to fear. I feel like I finally understand that scripture now. It was a long time coming, and I still have a long way to go, but I feel like I am progressing! Slowly but surly. The love I have for everyone here in Roi Et is unexplainable. The love I have for all of you back home is unexplainable. I am SO blessed. Life is so good, y'all. (To quote S. Larson from Arkansas) I love my Savior, I love my Father in Heaven, I love living! 

I keep praying for everyone to be full of this kind of love too, because it makes being happy in any circumstance possible. 
Oh and Happy Thanksgiving! This year I am thankful for every single person that ever had a part in influencing me to go on a mission, because it has literally changed my life, I have never been so consistently happy! I'M STILL HAPPY? LIKE WHAT? How many weeks and counting now have I said that exact same phrase? 555+ 
Life is so good! <3

Love,


Sister Burbank

Switch off in Korat!! Sister Nitaya is from Sisaket and she is dying next month!! Loved switching off with these two. They said I am like their mom because I am so tall. They look like my little ducklings. 555+ We literally biked 40 min. in the middle of the night though to get from the bus station to their house on Tuesday night. It was the craziest night of my life. 555+



Last week. Here are all our Elders! (Right to Left: Elder Burke, Elder Hales, Elder Christiansen, Elder Taylor)


FHE with Bishop! I love him! Him and his wife sang for us!! They are so good.


Eating ส้มตำ in the Issan. It doesn't get any better than this. I AM SO HAPPY. 












Monday, November 16, 2015

More Pictures from my new Area - Roi Et



Roi Et (new area) - I LOVE BIKING AREAS! I feel like I can actually breathe out here. I love it.



Sister Yang!! My new companion! She is from California and is Hmong! Seriously this is going to be the best companionship. I already love her so much.


Sister Smith! A greenie from Washington. She looks so much like Sister Anderson we had to take a picture.


Our investigator Sister ชมพู่ She is so cute. 12 years old and already has the faith of a prophet, I swear! She is so cute. She has a date for Dec. 6th! <3 I love this ward. Honestly, I don't understand how you can literally have constant happiness like this! 


Traveling by bus with our bikes out to the Rice Fields of Roi Et. Best bus ride ever. NO A/C Dad!! 555


Sister Yang (my new companion) being adorable



So technically I have two companions! We are in a trio until Dec. 2nd. Sister Larson is STL with me! She is from Arkansas and loves Disney movies and Pride and Prejudice. So we obviously get along great.



Found these กระต่ายสองตัว at B. ปอ's house! We had dinner at his house last night. These are the cutest little soap stones I have ever seen. I freaked out when I saw them and then Elder Hales reenacted my reaction and it was so funny. I love this district!! I love 101 (By the way, Roi Et means One hundred and one in Thai)





Wednesday, November 11, 2015

You can't plagiarize the Holy Ghost

I am just so happy.
This week we got to see B.Nad and B.Yaa get baptized! They are the husbands of the two Cambodian sisters that we met! Before the baptism we met at their apartment and they made us Cambodian food. It reminded me of when we went to Long Beach and visited Brandyn's mission and hung out with all the Cambodians. They are such humble people. And their food is SO GOOD. I feel so lucky to have gotten so close with this family. Thai is neither of our first language but we still find some way to communicate and have SO MUCH FUN. 555+ I love them so much. They are so excited to meet Brandyn too.
I feel like it was inspired that Sister Hayes and I were both here in Srinakharin when they ran into us. Because of how Sister Hayes brother-in-law served his mission in Cambodian and is currently living there, and then how Brandyn speaks Cambodian. What are the odds?! Seriously...this is definitely God's work. These last 12 weeks here with Sister Hayes has been a dream....I love that girl so much!
Most of all though I love my Savior. I don't think I could ever express how eternally grateful I truly am for Him. Alma 26:16 pretty much sums it up for me. 

"Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."

How grateful am I for eloquent speakers so I can just steal their words and instead of having to struggle to come up with my own. I feel like Bruce R McConkie said it best when he said, in his last conference talk (April 1985), "In speaking of these wondrous things I shall use my own words, though you may think they are the words of scripture, words spoken by other Apostles and prophets. True it is, they were first proclaimed by others, but they are now mine, for the Holy Spirit of God has borne witness to me that they are true, and it is now as though the Lord had revealed them to me in the first instance. I have thereby heard his voice and know his word." 

I feel like that is the best response I have ever heard. You can't plagiarize the Holy Ghost. 555+

Honestly though. Things are going great here. I don't know what else to say. Sister Alley dies in a few days and I am so excited for her! I could not have asked for a better trainer. She has worked WONDERS for the hearts of the people she has touched in Thailand. I love her so much. 
Best quote to date from her that I can think of is:
"And I wanted to go to Alaska" (What she would say everyday as she left the house to battle the Thailand heat) 
Who would've thought that after 18 short months she would be on track to go back and live in Arizona. Have fun in the sun babe, proof that you really did let this mission change you!! ^.^ 

I hope everyone can find a reason to smile this week. So many beautiful things to be grateful for.
"It's Great to Be Alive"


Sister Burbank 

















Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fun pictures from this week

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! 

Not a lot of time this week! But this next week is the last full week of the transfer!! SO CRAZY.
Life is so good right now. I hope everyone is as happy as I am.  

Love,

Sister Burbank

Here are two of our investigators that came to the Halloween party this last Saturday! 
Love them. And this crazy son of the RS. Pres. 55



B. Golf is going to Idaho on his mission!!! So crazy! He leaves Feb. 2016


 B. Ice and B. Win. They are hilarious. Just passed out on the couch after church.


 In case you wondered how we travel in Thailand. Last week on Pday. 555
Yes we hang off of the back of pick up trucks! 


 Me and Sister Beer on Saturday. The theme was Oscars night so she dressed up as Taylor Swift! 555


Monday, October 26, 2015

"Fullness of Joy"

Spiritual Thought:
I am going to start off with this thought I had during my personal study last Tuesday morning. 
"We receive joy in this life as our minds are reminded of the JOY we felt in His presence in the pre-life and as we look forward with faith to the JOY we will have in His presence in the next life."
Based on the scripture: Psalms 16:11

The only way to experience a "fullness of joy" here on earth is by consistently experiencing what Sister Hayes explains as "Caught a Glimpse of Heaven" moments. Moments that are undeniably from God and confirm the reality of His existence. I think it is safe to say that EVERYONE has experienced homesickness at least once in their life. That feeling of just wanting to be HOME. Because home is safe. Home is where you can be yourself. Home is where your loved ones are. Home is rest. That feeling of just wanting to be home is the longing of all of our hearts. That's what makes these "Glimpse of Heaven" moments so necessary for our spiritual sanity and earthly happiness. It is in these moments that we experience a "fullness of joy" because these moments are essentially a flashback to when we lived with God or flash forward to when we are going to be with God again. It is in these moments that we literally have a "glimpse" or taste of just how happy we were/just how happy we will be back in our real home, in the presence of our Eternal Father. This reminds me of President Uchtdorf's talk this last conference "A Summer With Great Aunt Rose". He writes about a little 11 year old girl named Ava talking with her Great Aunt Rose about how Great Aunt Rose is so happy. Ava asks: "Are you saying that being happy means just looking forward to happiness in the future? Is all our happiness in eternity? Can't some of it happen now?" To which Aunt Rose replies "Oh, of course it can! Dear child, now is part of eternity. It doesn't only begin after we die! Faith and hope will open your eyes to the happiness that is placed before you." To which I add: Because faith and hope are the necessary prerequisites to having "Glimpse of Heaven" moments. Without faith and without hope, we are unable to see the Lords merciful hand in our lives. And if we are unable to see and appreciate the Lords hand in our lives, we will be stuck in a eternal state of questioning. Questioning why we can't seem to turn our temporary happiness that the world offers us into a lastingly happiness of contentment and peace. We will be constantly disappointed and unsatisfied with worldly happiness because worldly happiness wasn't made to be eternal. Just like Psalms 16:11 explains. "...In thy presence is fullness of joy..." It is ONLY in God's presence we will receive that fullness of joy which makes catching a glimpse of heaven so much more desirable. 

This last week I experience a glimpse of heaven when Sister วรรณ, our investigator, got baptized. I was filled with so much happiness and love for her. You can't put feelings like that into words. But if someone could it would be the man in this Mormon Message "The Hope of God's Light". Ironically, we watched this at the stake fireside last night.


No matter how many times I watch it, I am amazed at the simplicity and the truthfulness of this mans testimony. He truly has found what brings true happiness. And that is the Love of God that is found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

Come and See.


Sister Burbank