Monday, December 31, 2012

I think all this learning and stuff has been like a mental P90X

Hey Family,

Thank you so much for all the letters that you've sent! I appreciate it so much, but please try to tell me who is writing what to me... Dear Elder does this thing where they just put everything you get into as little paper as possible so I don't really know who is sending what (from the family).

I'm glad to hear your Christmas was good! The MTC Christmas was pretty nice, but I don't see what all the fuss was about it. My favorite part was just that they gave us a feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing... It was absolutely awesome, but the rest of the day was still pretty good. Being out here (especially during the holidays) is extremely tough on me. I miss everybody at home so much.

I really love my district, and they've been a huge comfort for me while I've been here. They're all really funny and they know how to have a good time which is good. Elder Watts, a fellow in my district, has this incredible voice that sounds like the people they get to narrate movie trailers- and I LOVE it! He'll narrate me eating at lunch, tells lots of terrible "cornball" jokes, things like that. It's awesome, and his companion Elder Smith reminds me of Josh so much. They have very similar mannerisms, but Elder Smith is from a small farm town, Thatcher, Idaho. I don't think I've seen him without a toothpick in his mouth which is hilarious. The sisters are amazing too, they're all really fun and easy to get along with. Plus, they're really spiritual, so I've learned a lot from them.

All I've done is teaching freaking discussions while I've been here, and to be honest, a few of them have gone pretty bad. I'm getting better and better everyday, but man when you have a bad discussion it's demoralizing. I've been learning to view everything as a learning experience- which has helped. Luckily they're just teachers/actors, so I'm not totally screwing the pooch when our little discussions go south. I've marked the heck outta' my Preach My Gospel and even my scriptures. It's crazy how well I'm remembering scriptures, I can actually whip a few of em' out on command. My memory has improved a lot since I got here, I think all this learning and stuff has been like a mental P90X. Not to say I haven't been working out my smoking body while I've been here. I've been lifting weights and running at least a mile daily. That and my facial hair has been growing increasingly fast here- I think God is telling me I need to be more like Jesus and grow a bodacious beard.

It's weird that we only have like a week left here at the MTC. I'm going to miss all of the people in my district going to Ventura, California (Elder Hosteen, Elder Alverez, Elder Smith, Elder Watts, and my companion Elder Sebaske). I've already got my departure information as well. I leave on January 7th, at 8:30ish in the morning. I don't know if you all will be in school on the 7th, so if you could write me a letter as to whether you will be home that would be great. I don't want to call the house and nobody be there, I have to actually pay for my phone calls now so... yeah.

I'm glad to hear Silas is getting more excited about going on a mission, you really do learn a lot being out here. Tell Kayleigh that I know what it feels like when your prayers might seem like they're unanswered. All I do is pray and teach here, so I've kind of learned a lot about praying. God does miraculously answer your prayers though, like say you pray for hot showers every morning after days of liquid ice and you haven't had a cold shower since. That usually helps build one's testimony in prayer.

As much as I love constantly working every day of the week, I love my prep days. This place is always filled with gospel teaching and spirit feeling, and I get spiritually exhausted by like dinner. Not that it's necessarily bad, but it's just good to take some time off. God rested on the seventh day so why can't Sam have a little relaxing time, you know? Sundays are really nice too, because we don't have to do as much discussion teaching and we have time just to study and plan/prepare lessons. Plus we get to watch movies on Sunday nights, and even though they're all about Jesus and stuff I love em'. I miss watching movies, playing xbox, listening to music. Everybody in my district can really tickle the ivories! Sister Benson, Sister Walsh (this British sister in our zone going to the Temple Square mission), and Elder Watts played around on the pianos after a fireside last night and wow it was good! Made me wish I'd toughed out piano lessons as a kid!

Well, I love you all but I got to get running. I have missionary things to be doing, like lunch. I love eating.

I love you all, and hope you have a fun New Years!
-Elder Sam Burge

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pictures from the MTC

Elder Ethan Babcock's mom posted a couple of pictures of Sam and his high school buddies with him at the MTC!!!

Sam, Elders Luke Jones, Tyson Haddon, & Ethan Babcock 

Sam & Elder Ethan Babcock

Monday, December 24, 2012

Seasons Greetings from the MTC!~‏

Hello family,

I'd like to say thanks for the mail that I've gotten from you all so far- getting mail has been a saving grace for me here at the MTC! My prep day is Monday, so sorry it's taken so long! I've got so much to write about so I'll get right into it-

To start, life here at the MTC isn't too tough. You're stuck on a super tight, rigorous schedule but after the first two days you get kind of used to it. Plus, the missionary planner being filled with stuff makes me feel important! The food here is pretty good, I haven't had any issues with it and it's pretty tasty. (I've drank at least 7 glasses of chocolate milk a day since I got here!) The rooms are all good, the bed is a little uncomfortable but it's do-able for now. The showers have been a gamble, I've had two FREEZING showers and two absolutely amazing, warm showers. I've also been doing workouts with the guys in my district and I've ran a mile and a half everyday since I got here!

The people here are really, really great. My district is filled with a ton of amazing guys- I love them all so much already and I've known them for less than a week! My companion's name is Elder Sebaske, and he's from Roseburg, Oregon (which is in my mission) and he says amazing things about it so that makes me happy. He's really cool, and he's definitely a character! A bit odd, but it's fun to be his companion! All the other elders in my district (and even my zone) are amazing! The two elders I'm rooming with, Elder Halloway and Elder Sutton, are super cool! Elder Sutton and I sing songs while we shower, and we usually get half the guys showering to chime in and sing along! My district is super musically-inclined and I love it! We sing hymns all the time, and I've loved listening and singing along with them. I've grown a lot spiritually, and I've acquired a huge appreciation for hymns and music in church. We have an elder in our district, Elder Watts, who has this amazing announcer voice and it's awesome! He'll do like a sports commentary while we eat and such and it's hilarious! His companion, Elder Smith, is from a small town in Idaho and he's got a ton of spud in his blood! He's really into snow-mobiles and he reminds me so much of Josh- he's also really spiritual and it's very uplifting. The other elders are awesome, but I don't want to take all my time writing about them all so I'll just give em' to you in bits!

To be totally honest, I've had a really hard time here. I've been struggling with a lot of things here. I'm homesick, I miss everyone so much and I miss a lot of the little things (like my bed, and sleeping in). I've gotten used to the tight schedule, so that's not too hard for me. I'm struggling the most spiritually though. I've grown a lot the few days I've been here and the spirit is incredibly strong here! The second night at this district/zone meeting we had, people started bearing their testimonies and the spirit was so strong I just started bawling. I was pretty embarrassed, but it felt good to get it out. I don't know why I started crying so hard, but my chest has been on fire since I got here and it's really weird being around all this Spirit and stuff. I've already taught two lessons to "investigators", and the second lesson we had with this girl went really, really bad. It's demotivating, and I've been working really hard too. An elder in my zone talked to me and he really helped me out. Elder Owen (that's his name) told me about how he was struggling and he was packed and ready to leave. He talked to his branch president and got a blessing, and eventually put his things away and kept working. He told me "work hard and do your best, and the Lord will make up the rest", and that's exactly what I expect to do. I've been praying all the time, and I've been studying/working hard in my classes.

I think about coming home all the time, but I just push those thoughts away and focus on the work. I hope if I do that I'll have a stronger desire to serve and the Lord will bless me in this trial. I miss you all so much, and I hate not being there for the holidays. What I would give to have some of Mom's cooking (which I miss a lot), Silas' jokes and goofiness, talking with Dad until 2:00 A.M... I really miss Krista too. Krista has been writing me, but I still miss her so much. I've seen Tyson and Ethan almost daily, and I love talking with them in the cafeteria! They're doing so well with their languages, and it's crazy hearing them ramble on in Swedish and Spanish! I got a picture with Luke, Tyson, and Ethan but I don't know who's camera it is on. I'll ask and get it for you guys!

Thank you so much for the Christmas care package, I loved it! I can't wait to use the canteen tie!

Well, I would keep writing and writing but I don't have time. I love you all so much and I miss you all!

-Elder Samuel Burge


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sam is officially behind bars at the MTC

Sam was set apart as a missionary by President Allred last night at 8:30. Today at 12:30 pm he entered the MTC. He gave us all a quick hug and hurried off with the missionaries helping unload his luggage. He took off so fast we didn’t even get a chance to take his picture as he walked into the building. We are sad to report that during his 30 second drop-off we didn’t see any of his buddies currently in the MTC (Brock, Tyson, Luke, or Ethan). We’re sure they were all studying their brains out during Sam’s arrival. Sam is scheduled to be in the MTC for 3 weeks. He heads to his promised land (The Oregon Portland Mission) on January 7, 2013. We did manage to take his picture before we left the house this morning.