Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Christmas comes early here

Merry Christmas!  Since Halloween and Thanksgiving don´t really exist here, the Christmas decorations start going up in the end of October.  We went into the mall and they have this giant 60 foot tree up!  I started putting my Christmas decorations together and we got out all the decorations in the office and put up the tree! whoo!  haha.  We could´t wait, we are already listening to Christmas music. 

The other elders also showed us some neat spots up on the hill in our area.  The four of us went to have dinner at a member´s house and they have this tradition that they always give the missionaries super spicy peppers to eat and see our reactions. haha.  They had these super tiny red peppers (I don´t remember what they are called) that they wanted us to eat, but they didn't have any at the time.  So we started off with the ´´practice round´´ and he cut a huge jalapeño into four pieces and we each had to eat a piece.  The rules were that we have to chew the pepper for a whole minute without swallowing and then we had to wait another minute to drink anything.  I like spicy foods but eating a raw jalapeño with all the seeds inside it was pretty strong! haha.  We all had tears running down our faces.  But next week is the real challenge.  I´ll let you know how that goes.  :)   


- Elder Burnham

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Finally a Long Letter

Hello!  I´ll try to respond more, because I´m on my lunch break! haha  I am basically working a full time office job without being paid! (I lied, I typed this over a few days).

I work with four elders in the office

Elder Bingham - Finance Secretary
Elder Olmedo - Materials Secretary
Elder Rivadeneira - Member Secretary 
Elder Burnham - General Secretary

There are also the assistants who come into the office every now and then to work as well.  But we are here Monday-Friday.  We technically have our P-Days on Saturdays, we don´t come to work in the office.

We all have our own specific jobs and responsibilities. I am basically in charge of the missionaries residency and arranging everything for those who go home.  I have a big safe that´s full of everyone´s passports and ID´s.  I work with a lawyer, Sandra, who works for the church and goes to the immigration offices here in Tegucigalpa and takes care of the residency.  I prepare legal documents and receipts for her to take to immigration.  Since immigration is really slow (but really the government wants to steal all our money haha) we can´t take out short term residencies very quickly so we have to pay for extensions on the 90-day period that you get when you enter the country with your passport.  These are called prórrogas and I have to make receipts and go to the bank and pay them (I go to the bank a lot).  And if you don´t pay those by the due date, you have pay fines.  You have to make sure to keep track of all these time frames to make sure you don´t have pay a ton of money in fines.  According to Sandra, we should be able to take out some of the missionaries residencies here pretty soon.  

I also coordinate everything for those who go home after their missions.  I work with church travel agents in Salt Lake and Guatemala to schedule the flights for the missionaries who go home.  I also work with Sandra to cancel the residencies of those who are leaving the country.  There is a big packet that I have to make for all the missionaries who go home that have letters for parents, bishops, and stake presidents, and other certificates and such.  

I have other random side jobs as well, such as scheduling missionary interviews with President Ferman, or the agendas when we have meetings, and take notes.  Lots of work to do!

In the late afternoon/evening we leave the office and go out and do normal missionary work.  We all live in the same house, and it is huge!  It is kinda of the mission hub.  We have extra rooms full of bunkbeds for when missionaries are coming or leaving the mission, or when missionaries have meetings in the city and live in areas really far away.  But normally it's just the four of us.  We practically have our own bathrooms and we have a washer AND dryer.  We are basically living in luxury haha.  We also have a mission truck.  We use that to drive to the office or to other places for errands and such.  We get to experience the joy of commuting during rush hour. haha.  I drove the truck a few days ago and it was so scary! 1, because driving in Tegucigalpa is soooo different.  The people drive super aggressively and lack some common traffic laws that we are used to. 2, because I have never driven a truck or car of that size so learning how to take turns and parking in a large vehicle is fun..  Our area is called Nuevo Loarque and is in a very residential part of Tegucigalpa. We have gated security in all the neighborhoods.  Its actually not too far from my last area Sorzales.  Up the hill in our area, we have a more normal neighborhood with semi dirt roads and pulperías.  So you kind of end up having the poorer and richer sides of the area.  But everyone in the ward is great, even though I am still trying to get to know everyone.

Halloween! No one here celebrates Halloween, maybe some of the stores have decorations, but that is about it.  For Halloween, we went and played paintball! haha  I had never gone before, so that was cool to go do that, in the mission! We went to some paintball place in Tegucigalpa with the assistants as well.  Paintballing kinda hurts, but it was fun.  

The office is in the upscale/business side of Tegucigalpa. There is a giant mall and a whole bunch of other businesses and buildings.  We always go in the mall, either to eat or go to the bank to do business stuff.  I am going to get fat this transfer because we go to the food court a lot!  

Last week we also had a conference with Elder Duncan (a seventy, president of the Central America area)  Like president Ferman, he focused on the importance of working with the the less active members.  Being in the office means that we also had to go set up for these devotionals.  We were at the chapel that is at the temple setting up the night before and ended up staying there really late.  Setting up tables and chairs and microphones. But everything turned out well for the meeting the next day.

My companion is really awesome.  Elder Rivadeneira is from Panamá.  He is kind of really insane, but in a good way.  He is also the youngest of three boys with no sisters. haha.  He has about four or five more months than me in the mission.  But being in the office, we are all kind of companions.  We are usually all four together.  I would say that Elder Bingham is more like my companion, because our desks are in the same office, and I work with him more than I do with any of the other secretaries.  I am always paying a lot of fees for residency stuff and I have to go to him to get checks made, then he gets them approved by President.

Tomorrow I will be going to Immigration to renew the residencies of five missionaries. fun stuff!

I am sorry that this email is kind of all over the place, I´ll get some pictures in soon too!  

Have a great week!

- Elder Burnham


Danny is a Secretary/11/02/15 and 11/09/15

We got 2 really short emails from Danny after he was transferred to the mission office to be a secretary. Hopefully we will hear more soon.......

From 11/02/15

So, as I mentioned last week, I had transfers on Tuesday.  So we made it to the transfers meeting all safe and sound and I´m just sitting in the meeting with all the other missionaries while one of the assistants is giving some announcements.

¨We would like to thank Elder Gonzalez for his service in the office and would like to call Elder Burnham as the new General Secretary.¨  

Yeah, I am the new general secretary for the mission and there were no phone calls before transfers to inform me of this. haha.  I have been pretty busy this week learning all of my responsibilities and working, I should have more time to write a general email this week, because now I have a desk with my own computer! 

Life has been pretty crazy and different especially now that I won´t be doing nearly as much normal proselyting missionary work.  Its been a little stressful, but I am getting the hang of things.  

I love you both so much, and I should be able to send more emails later this week.  

- Elder Burnham

ps, I did get the package.  I should have gotten it earlier, but the secretaries held it in the office because they knew that I was coming.

From 11/09/15

The finance secretary is Elder Bingham, we have really similar names so sometimes things get a little mixed up.  For example in the mission bulletin from April, it showed up as Elder Bingham having a birthday, when it should have said my name.  Today he got an email from his dad that said that his uncle served a mission in Japan (Elder Bingham as well) and that there was a sister Burnham (Aunt Kim served her mission in Japan right? in the 80´s?) He said that there was a mistake where she was receiving his money for the mission and he wasn't getting anything, haha.    I thought that was a funny story,

ahh I use a computer all day but I run out of time to write home. I'll try to get better at that and will try to get to all your questions.  

I love you guys!