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
P.S. - GET PEOPLE TO WRITE ME!!! I WANT MORE LETTERS FROM MY FRIENDS!!!!