Come Follow Me

Come Follow Me
"And he saith unto them, "Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matt. 4:19) As the New Year begins, we, the members of the Willow Wood Ward, invite you to Come and Follow Him!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sister Sydney Burningham

This is Tori Marler my hero, she's putting in her papers this month!  She came out with us for two days straight haha, love her.  and of course my adorable companion Sister Weight and the sun sphere in downtown Knoxville.
 His name is everywhere.  Everyone here really has such strong faith in him.

Some of my many people at the food pantry in Corryton, Tennessee. This is Cornelia and Von.  I love them with my whole soul, seriously, the best people!  They mean so much to me.

Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Hey Friends and Fam,

What a glorious week.  This week was very eventful, I really can't explain or tell you about each thing that happened but there was a real funny high light I'd like to tell you about it, mostly to explain my subject of the email.

So get this, a couple got married in January but they just had their reception this week, strange a little I know, but they are our ward missionaries and we hadn't planned on going because well we're missionaries and it would be slightly uncomfortable probably but then we get a call from Caleb, one of our ward missionaries who is friends with them and he says that absolutely NO ONE was there, and this was about an hour after it started, so he begged us to come, we said we would so we headed over there with the Elders in the car we grabbed a Book of Mormon and wrote "Dear Amber and Arthur, this Book of Mormon will bring you closer to each other as you read it together, we study together as companions and it's awesome, you're great Love, the chilhowee missionaries" after which we grabbed red duct tape in the car and made a bow to go around it. Embarrassing I know.  So we go there and it's just awful but the bride was so happy we came and it made her night, she tried to make us dance and I was just uncomfortable and I realized how awkward I am.  I hope all of you get amusement out of this story, it was terrible, haha. 

On a more spiritual and mission related note we had a wonderful week with less-actives.  Melissa is someone we have been working with since I got here and slowly she has started putting her trust in the Lord and really relying on him for the strength she needs.  So, she prayed and read and prayed and read and told us she knows Joseph Smith is a prophet and the Book of Mormon is true which has NEVER happened, then she proceeded to get her own interview with the Bishop for her patriarchal blessing and she has invited us to go with her April 4th to get it.  We love her so much it hurts sometimes, but her son came to church now we're just working on her mate Wendell, he's way cool and such a southern black man.  He'll come around.  I really really really hope I don't get transferred but I think it's going to happen, transfers are the 26th, so in like a week basically I will let you know next Monday.  So many miracles I'm loving every minute of being here, Sister Weight and I went with Mike and Wayne to Springs Kountry Kitchen this morning, the South is where I'm supposed to be and I love it with my whole soul.  I love these people so much it hurts.

This week Sister Weight and I have been working on a training we're giving in Zone Meeting tomorrow on Bearing Testimony, it was amazing to see the spirit work through us to prepare what we all need to hear, me mostly, you know how that goes.  But something I have come to realize that you have to have a passion and a conviction of the things you know to be true or the spirit cannot and will not be able to testify to the person you are bearing it to.  It must be sincere and passionate for it to make a difference, on my mission I have come to realize that this Gospel is true and it is the only way to eternal life, the only way to true happiness.  I am becoming converted.  I love my Savior because he puts up with me and my short comings, he has felt the frustrations I have at times and he loves me anyway, unconditionally, I have come to know him really well out here because at times he really is all I have to hold on to.  I love sharing this message with others.

In the wise words of my companion Sister Weight:
"Circumstances do not make anyone inferior to anyone else."

We come from different walks of life, but the Atonement is for everyone.  I am so grateful I get to change and become more converted something I really love in True to the Faith on conversion is when it says "Conversion includes a change in behavior, but it goes beyond behavior; it is a change in our very nature." It is what we become. 

He knows our hearts and I love him for that.
1 Samuel 16:7

Thank you again for all the love and support but I really do feel your prayers and your love.  I am having the time of my life and I have never been happier.

Sister Burningham

This is Tracy who just got baptized and her husband Daniel, they're the best. No we did not try to coordinate outfits Sister Weight and I that is, it just happens because we have so much unity.

Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Well Everyone,

My subject is a line from a song a Less-Active taught us on the way to the dentist yesterday.  It's basically the best, sometime I'll teach it to some of you, that's just the chorus.  I love the South, I think I'll try Grits this week, not sure what they are but they're southern, I'm gettin' real adventurous.

Yet another week gone by.  So sorry Mom, the computers were down all day yesterday so we had to wait for one more day, it was out of my control, haha but here I am today, still alive and well.  Loving Tennessee.  This week has been wonderful we were able to go on exchanges this week again and learn so much from the other sisters.  I really am grateful for that.  I'm also grateful for the leadership meetings I'm able to attend each month, it gives me a whole new perspective every time and more responsibility which pushes me, but in a good way.  We only have two weeks left of the transfer and it's sort of blowing my mind how fast time is flying.  I know I say that every single week but it just goes and before you know it it's the next week or the next transfer.  I was talking to a Less-Active now activated member who's wife just got baptized Saturday and he said "As your spirit changes, time flies."  And how true that is, as you really just get lost in the work, it goes by way too fast. 

As for the week we saw some roadkill, but nothing really new there, we also laughed a lot, nothing new there with Sister Weight being my companion.  The thing is.. is that all of my companions have pretty much been opposite of me personality wise, and Sister Weight is EXACTLY like me so we have great unity and we laugh quite often, which lightens the load and we're finding true joy in the work, it's just like all those prophets in the scriptures who talk about the joy that comes from sharing the gospel.  Anyway, she's great, sorry I just love her a lot.  This week Tracy Willis was baptized, I will send pictures.  It was a beautiful service, the ward did pretty much the whole thing, we had to do very little because this ward is just on fire with missionary work.  I do not want to leave this area, probably ever.  But I know inevitably I will have to eventually. 

Something that's really been weighing heavy on my heart lately is the importance of missionary work in the sense that we give others the opportunity to be baptized for the remission of their sins, that they are endowed with God's power by the Holy Ghost to guide them so they can qualify for Eternal Life.  We are much too casual about this as missionaries a lot of the time.  We were blessed to be able to attend a mission leadership meeting in Oak Ridge Sunday night with 5 stake presidents of the mission and President Hymas our area seventy.  He got up and just the spirit was so strong, he knows the Lord's work needs to be hastened, and that we have got to step it up.  He bore powerful strong testimony of the restoration and the work we are doing, I have a testimony that this is not our work, that Jesus Christ, the savior and redeemer of the world is at the head and that he leads and guides this church, it is His. 

"We're fighting for souls." -President Hymas

Something I've come to realize is that because God knows us all so perfectly and individually that each one of us individually has a specific role to play in the unfolding of the truth to all the world.  We all matter, and he needs us all to assist in the work, I really love this Gospel, I wish I could tell you all the amazing stories and miracles that happen but there just isn't the room in this email or the time or really the words to explain it. 

I love you all so much, I hope your week is great! Until next week, hopefully Monday this time.  Sorry Mom!

I had to.  This poor guy is one of many on the roads narrow crazy windy roads here.  He didn't stand a chance.
This is Beatrice, she's like 90 or something and she loves the church.  She's not able to attend but we love visiting her, she's a hoot.

Sister Weight and I cut our faces out of things to thank the mission office couples- we think we're pretty funny.  I love her.

Mon, Mar 3, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Family and Friends,

This is truly the transfer of miracles.  I just have to start by telling you that it is COLD today, and windy and it's hailing sort of and it had been so nice the past week and now it's cold again, but don't worry someday spring will come, I just know it.  My companion is still Sister Weight and she's still the coolest.  Oh, and most everyone in our ward is gourmet cooks and I love basically all foods, never thought I would ever say that.  That my friends and family is a miracle in and of itself.  Heavenly Father knows us all perfectly I will just tell you that much, he knows exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.

So this week we go to Colin Kronicks to talk a little more about priesthood and the responsibilities that come with it and at the end he says (like the missionary he is) "Hey, my neighbors down the street, I wasn't very nice to them because their dogs attacked our chickens but they seems to be having a really hard time and could use Christ, please go see them." He has come so far.  Anyway so we knock on this door and it's a family of five they let us right in and immediately Sister Weight and I just felt prompted to testify of the Gospel and just let them know how much God loves them and needs them in his church.  They were so excited they felt the spirit, the father just kept saying how much they needed this and how much they needed something to hope for again, after some hard times they were going through.  We will see them on Tuesday again and we're so excited.  Five new people to teach=miracle.  Then we told Joe Kronick and he was just almost in tears said he felt the same way and he was so excited for them to come to church and experience the same change he has, Joe is incredible by the way his faith in Christ is just, incredible.

Sorry for the blurriness people.  But these murals of Christ are EVERYWHERE, they love him here and it makes me happy.

Tennessee is just a part of who I am, the worst thing happened this week, this boy came home from his mission in Brazil and bore his testimony in the meeting yesterday.  The whole family kept talking about him coming home and he just said it's been the most difficult thing for him because a piece of him is still there, that's how I feel that Tennessee is just part of who I am, these people mean the world to me and I am so blessed to know each one of them.  My conversion has deepened and my testimony has grown so much and I owe it all to them and their faith and examples, and to my Savior, Jesus Christ, without him I couldn't change and progress at all.

Something that I've tried to understand on my mission is Humility.  The balance between humility and self-deprecation.  But humility through my studies and experience on my mission is not self-deprecation, humility is submitting to the will of the Lord and then giving him the glory and the honor for what has been accomplished and who we have become, that's why it's so important we each have that personal, sincere and honest relationship with our Father in Heaven and that we are in places where we can feel the spirit to receive it's guidance and do the will of the Father.

I've been reading a lot of church history lately and about the early saints because well, they inspire me I found this story:

"A story is told of an encounter between the Prophet Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. In the presence of a rather large group of brethren, the Prophet severely chastised Brother Brigham for some failing in his duty. Everyone, I suppose somewhat stunned, waited to see what Brigham’s response would be. After all, Brigham, who later became known as the Lion of the Lord, was no shrinking violet by any means. Brigham slowly rose to his feet, and in words that truly reflected his character and his humility, he simply bowed his head and said, “Joseph, what do you want me to do?” 

We can have our personalities and individuality and still be humble and submissive. I know Heavenly Father loves me and wants me to be myself, but he also wants me to be humble enough to receive his guidance and become who I'm supposed to become here. 

I look up to so many of you back home, keep doing what you're doing, someone around you will feel inspired and change because of your righteous example. 

I love you all and hope your week rocks, I hear congrats are in order for Viewmont High School's hockey team, so great!  Um... well my Mom could sing you the school song, I can't remember it.  Haha

Love,  Sister Burningham

                 This is my favorite human being Sister Freestone-- she starts flour fights making dinner.

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