“My relationship with our Savior has grown immensely,” said Nate Burden, who recently returned home from serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “In the hardest times of my mission when I wondered if it was worth it, (the Savior) was there to remind me that it was, whether for those I taught or for my own development. I learned that we can feel (of His love and the love of the) Father if we want to and if we make the effort needed to hear them.”
Burden served in two countries during the mission. His first assignment was to the Brazil, Florianopolis Mission, which includes the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. In June 2020, due to COVID-19, he was reassigned to the Washington, D.C., North Mission, which contains most of Maryland and the entirety of the District of Columbia. Burden served in Maryland for his entire time there.
“Where I had previously wandered the streets and doors of Brazil, the work now took place primarily on Facebook,” he said. “We would reach out to people in the area and introduce ourselves over technology. In many cases, we never got to meet those we taught face to face.”
Burden said he felt his mission taught him several things.
“There was a day in Brazil when I learned that God truly answers prayers,” he recalled. “We were on our way out of a park when I saw a man sitting on a bench. I thought nothing of him, continuing on the path. Then I felt a prompting to turn to him. I went and spoke to him, sharing our purpose as missionaries. He informed me that he had prayed for guidance to the right path. We taught him much, and he listened and worked to develop his relationship with God. I don’t know where he is today, but I know his prayer was answered, and he knows it too.”
Another way the mission helped him to grow was “to develop my weaknesses into strengths or to at least start me on the path,” Burden said. “A lack of tenacity and an excess of pride are the first (weaknesses) that come to mind. The mission humbled me as I realized I needed divine assistance and that I could not accomplish the task alone. Throughout my life I have had a quitter mentality. If it was hard, or I didn’t have fun, I’d likely just quit. My mission taught me that I can do hard things, and it has carried over in making me a more productive individual.”
Burden’s mother, Debbie, shared her feelings.
“The blessings of having a missionary son begin in just knowing he has answered the call from his Heavenly Father to serve,” she said. “The blessings continue as you watch your young, teenage son turn his focus outward to other people. While my son served his two-year proselytizing mission, my personal challenges seemed to diminish into small obstacles, and I felt the guidance and strength of the Spirit more abundantly in my daily life. It was indeed a blessing to see my son’s love for these people and their love for him. As my son’s prayers were answered in seeking out those who were waiting to hear the truth he taught, I felt that not only he was being guided and watched over, but I was as well.”
Burden said his next step is to get an education, substantial employment and eventually start a family. He is applying and preparing to attend Brigham Young University.
Submitted by Bonnie Holyoak