Monday, January 28, 2013

We eat at Jimmy John's A LOT! I've eaten there around 6-7 times!


It's great to hear from you! I spent all week with absolutely no letters/mail, and it sucks. I was really feeling down on Thursday and Friday, and I was really in need of something so then on Saturday at like 3 P.M. I got your package and letter from Krista! It was good, I've been eating that bread like crazy and I've been wanting some t-shirts, so I was super stoked to see those in there! I love them, I laughed so hard when I opened up the package and saw them! I even took a picture in one of them that I think you'll enjoy!~

Hiding in my Sherlock Holmies jersey – an adult hide-n-seek league team in the show Portlandia 

This week has been really slow, we still don't have anybody to really teach. We've been going around just meeting with anyone we can, but we still haven't gotten any referrals or found anyone interested in hearing anything. I'm not too upset about it, but it's hard on Elder Baxter. I have a feeling we'll get some more people to teach here soon, so again, it's not that big of a deal to me.

It's finally started to rain, which is great! Oregon rain is mostly just light rain, but what makes it so wet is that it doesn't really stop raining. We've seen about three days of just straight rain, which I'm loving so much. I regret not buying this umbrella I was going to buy, it had this really nice wood handle and it was sweet! It was expensive, but still sweet. It's funny how people have told me, "You won't use your umbrella!" but after I've started using it people keep telling me that they need to go buy one. I guess I'm just always right. Usually am, but I'm very humble about it so I don't say that I am. We've started seeing ants in our apartment. At first they were on our cutting board, but Elder Baxter has been going on these ant exterminations throughout our kitchen. They're driving him insane, which I think is pretty funny.


Well, not really a whole lot that happened this week. We had to take our car into the Toyota dealership to get some recall fixed on Saturday. Some motor for the automatic window was like a fire hazard or something, I don't really remember. Moral of the story is I got to watch part of the X-games in the waiting lobby for like 45 minutes! Anytime we get to listen to a song on the radio in a lobby, restaurant or see something on a T.V. we call it a "freebie". I love getting freebies! We eat at Jimmy John's A LOT! I've eaten there around 6-7 times! 

Jimmy John’s – America’s favorite sandwich delivery guys.  Missionaries – the Lord’s favorite Gospel delivery guys.

Well, that's all I've got for now.

I love you all, and miss you everyday,

Elder Burge

P.S. - Mango is the cutest little bird! I miss that little guy! Also, thanks for those addresses! If you could get me Tyson's address I'd appreciate it to!
The temple reflecting pool

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Anthony got baptized…he is awesome!!!

Hello everybody!

Yeah, that picture was on my camera and I thought it looked really good so I sent it. That's funny because I was thinking that it would be an awesome missionary plaque picture! I'm definitely glad I sent that picture now!

It's really not too surprising to hear that Hunter's had a bit of a hard time his first week in the MTC. I know a lot of people had some difficulties adjusting to life in the MTC. The temporal aspects of it all were really easy for me to get used to. The spiritual side of the MTC was the hardest part for me so I can relate to how Hunter is feeling, definitely. Will you send me his mailing address so I can write him? I'll write him the most inspirational letter he'll ever get on his mission and he'll be set for the rest of his mission. (My letters are just that good!) I need you to get me a ton of mailing addresses, I've really wanted to see how some people are doing and unfortunately I can't get their information on my own. I'll tell you whose information I need later though.

Elder Baxter is from Taylorsville, but he didn't go to school before he left. I'm so excited to hear about Ben's endeavors when he gets back! I'd imagine he'd try to get into BYU or BYU-I definitely! Man, I can't wait to get his wedding invitation in April either! (Please tell him I said that!) As for a little package you'll send me, some homemade bread would be awesome! I can't think of anything off the top of my head, I'm sure whatever you send will be good! I just love getting mail and packages! I've finally gotten letters from all of my friends, which has really lifted my spirits a lot. Nice to know that I'm not totally forgotten!

Yeah, we had another successful baptism last Saturday in the Stafford area. His name is Anthony and he is awesome! What's funny is I think he worked for that thermal imaging company for awhile! I'll ask him and let you know! I got one or two pictures of his baptism, and I've been taking a lot of pictures. I'll be sure and take more of myself though, I'm not in most of them! I'd appreciate it if you put that micro-SD card I sent home in the package you send to me. I'm running out of space on my card, because it isn't as big as that one.

The past week has been pretty good. It has yet to really rain, which is strange for winter here in Oregon. Once it starts raining though, it won't stop for a long while! We've had really heavy fog though the past few days (which is really cool). It's so pretty here, I love it! Elder Baxter and I went running the other morning and we ran through the woods and found this cool little dock on the Willamette River, the fog was pretty thick so I took some sweet pictures of it! I've been trying to get a good workout going in the morning, and I have quite a bit of success with that. I love that exercise band that they gave us in the MTC, so I mostly use that and do sit-ups/push-ups... Not going to lie to you all though, I spend about half of my mornings huddled next to our heater half-asleep. I'm always exhausted, which sucks sometimes. I have no insomnia what-so-ever though because of how exhausted I feel (there's a silver lining to it I guess). We do have these neighbors above us that love to wake up at like 5:30 and what sounds like sprint through their apartment with their dogs!

Besides that, our apartment is pretty nice. We have a washer and dryer, dishwasher, and good heaters so we're living pretty well. Elder Baxter and I are both really clean so the apartment never gets dirty (which I'm grateful for). Tell mom not to worry, we eat like no tomorrow here in Wilsonville! We don't have a night this month without a dinner appointment with somebody. Even then, most of the people we visit always ask, "You guys want to come in? I made (insert food here) and I got plenty to share!" People out here are really nice, which I'm grateful for. I've yet to come across anyone screaming or yelling at me whilst knocking doors (which is great)! We did stop by a house the other day, and the pungent smell of weed came barreling out of his door when he opened it! Knocking doors really isn't too bad, which is good too. It has been a bit cold here though, usually around 30-40 degrees. I've been staying warm though, the -5 degree Utah weather has conditioned me really well!

I really do miss everybody back home though. Since I've been out, I've been thinking a lot about things I want to do when I get back. I really want to do more outdoor activities, like rock-climbing and mountain-biking when I bet back. I can't wait to see downtown Portland and the coast though! In a week or two we're going downtown as a district on our preparation day, and I am so excited for that! People say it's a WEIRD city, and I am stoked to see it for myself! People say I'll hate it once I'm in it for more than like an hour, so we'll see for ourselves.

Well, I hope everyone at home is doing well!

I love you all,


P.S. - I forgot to tell you, one of my zone leaders is from Tooele and we both got to talking about home! After talking I was able to figure out who he was, and I actually remember him! He was friends with Josh too! His name is Elder Taylor!

My planner

Every missionary apartment needs a full-size basketball hoop w/backboard

This isn’t Charlotte’s web, looks more like Spiderman’s

Anthony and his Elders

Some fog

Some more fog

Some fog on our jog

The “mean” streets of Wilsonville – Is the fog moving in?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Trees and Baptisms


I did get Dad's hand-written letter. Tell him thanks, getting letters in the mail always makes my day so much better. That's the only mail that I've gotten here so far, but that's okay. It seems like it's been a long time since I got here but it really has only been a week. I'm glad that you all liked the pictures that I sent home, I didn't take very many this week but I'll be sure and take more photos here soon. I haven't tried to use my debit card to buy anything, so we're all good. Right now I'm in a car mission so I don't have to worry about buying a bike or anything yet.

It's been a busy week for me and Elder Baxter; Wilsonville had two baptisms this week that we had to take care of. We taught both of them about the law of chastity, law of tithing, etc. The investigators, Kimmie and Brandon, pretty much already knew it but we just went over it with them before the got baptized on Saturday. The few spiritual thoughts and lessons we've taught have gone pretty well. I got to confirm Kimmie yesterday during sacrament meeting, it was really neat. We've got another person getting baptized next week too (his name is Anthony). We've met with a lot of less active members this week, and we've done a bit of tracting. We don't really have any investigators right now, so we're looking for some to teach.

My trainer, Elder Baxter, is awesome! He's really funny and really on the ball. We got white-washed into the Wilsonville/Stafford area, which is when both of the elders get taken out of the area and they just throw two new elders (Elder Baxter and myself) into the area. It's been hard to get a bearing on what the previous missionaries were doing, who they were visiting/teaching, etc. but Elder Baxter is really on top of things. The two wards we cover have been really nice, and we've been fed dinner a lot already. One family took us to Red Robin, and the family we had dinner with last night fed us a pot roast with potatoes. We'll definitely be getting fed a lot while we're here, but we could easily live off of the money we get each month for food. Grocery shopping last week was difficult because I didn't know what I needed, but now I have a whole list of things I need to buy. Our apartment is really nice, but the last missionaries got taken out of the area so quickly they didn't have time to clean it up very well... I was really irritated, even though they couldn't help it. Today we have to clean out a closet of supplies that is a complete disaster. The flimsy shelf that was in the closet collapsed last night because they overloaded the freaking shelf to the point of it bending.

Besides that, things have been going alright. I'm glad to hear that everybody at home was able to make it to the end of the term in one piece! The temperature here is usually around 40 degrees, and the humidity actually makes it pretty cold. I've been really warm though, that jacket is super useful and our apartment tends to stay warm even though it doesn't have air-conditioning. People out here usually don't have it, which I think is really weird. People just use fans when it get's hot (which isn't very often) and heaters when it gets cold.

It's crazy to think about how soon Ben will be home! I bet it is exciting thinking about it, and I'm sure he'll be glad to see you guys (even though he'll miss Chile a lot). It will be exciting to see what Ben ends up doing, where he'll be going to school and things like that. I'm sure he'll get all the flight details figured out, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Well, I'm glad everyone is doing okay there. I've been doing alright here, I've had this rash on my hands and feet for a few days and I've been having a lot of headaches too but other than that I'm doing well. I really love the Northwest, it's so beautiful up here! We have quite a bit of woodland area in our boundaries so we went out to the far corner of our area yesterday and it was amazing! Those are the only pictures I have for this week, and you'll see the Willamette River (which is really pretty). It actually has been relatively sunny for Oregon this past week, and it's really amazing when the sun is out.

Well, I hope you all have a good week and I'll send more pictures next Monday!

Love you,

Elder Burge


Willamette River

More Trees (and Elder Baxter)

Some more trees

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My First Day in Oregon!!!

Hello family,

I'm glad I got to email you all so soon, I didn't know when my new preparation day would be but luckily it was soon. (I needed to do my laundry!) My flight was great, I enjoyed getting out of the MTC into the real world again. Elder Sutton and I went to a Smashburger in the airport and got breakfast sandwiches, and they were really good. The flight to Portland was great! I sat next to Sister Benson and Elder Brown, an elder going to Portland that wasn't in the same district as us. It was fun flying there, since Elder Brown had never flown before. Plus, it was overcast all day so when we ascended through the clouds it looked like the peak of the mountains were islands. Sister Benson, Elder Brown, and I just talked the whole way there.

Portland is beautiful! I cannot believe how green and wet it is here! The view of the Portland area as we were descending was amazing- all these rivers and trees! The parking garage outside the airport had all these vines hanging off of it and every tree I've seen has moss on it. We didn't get to see much of Portland, but what I did see as we were driving by it looks so cool. The mission president and his wife, Brother and Sister Morby, are super nice and friendly. I really like them a lot (which is good). Anyways, after they picked us up at the airport the AP's took us to the Portland Temple and it is easily the prettiest temple I've ever seen. It's made of solid marble on the outside and it's just surrounded by all these green trees. Plus, the spires look really neat! I'm super excited to see the inside, I've heard that there is a garden inside of it!

The rest of the day was really overwhelming and confusing, to be totally honest. We showed up to the Lake Oswego Stake Center for transfers and there were dozens upon dozens of missionaries. My trainer's name is Elder Baxter and he's from Utah. He's really nice and I think he'll be a good trainer. We did a really brief orientation thing before we got our transfers, and I'll be spending the next 12 weeks in the Wilsonville/Stafford area. It's just right outside of Portland, so we're still really close by. Getting adjusted to everything has been weird. We have dinner with a lot of the members since the wards are really strong here, so that's why they don't give us a ton of money for food. It was rough getting settled into our new place though, because the missionaries before us didn't clean it up at all before they left. All this old food in the fridge, garbage in the drawers, etc. It was frustrating to come into that... Not to mention two baptisms over the next two weeks. I don't think I'll be doing any baptizing but Elder Baxter and I still have to do a lot of work for them- like teaching a few of the discussions (mostly some of the commandments). I'm really overwhelmed and it's stressing me out, but hopefully as I keep going along I'll get into the swing of things.

I miss you all so much, and I really miss my district already. I got along so well with them so well, and it's hard not having them around.

Well, I gotta' go get my laundry and grocery shopping done.

I love you all,

Elder Burge

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I'm leaving tomorrow! Whoa!!‏

Mom and Dad,

Hey, I was able to get on a computer really quick to tell you about my flight tomorrow. The flight leaves at 8:35, so I'll be calling early in the morning (probably around 7 AM just so you have an idea). It's weird that I'm leaving for Portland tomorrow! I'm super excited, and the past few days here in the MTC have been really good. I know a lot of my emails and letters might have sounded like I was completely miserable, but I want you to know that I'm doing good and that you shouldn't worry about how I'm doing. I know I'm not the best at teaching the gospel, and that I don't know a lot of the doctrine as well as I could, but I'm just relying on the Lord to help me when I struggle. I got to eat dinner with Tyson last night, and man was it great! We just talked about how we were doing and joked around like old times. It makes me happy that my friends aren't changing while they're here in the mission field. I know Ben won't be as bad as I thought he would when he gets home. Just from the few emails that he's sent me he seems pretty cool. It will be awesome to see Ben in a few months. I'm really sad that it will be so long before I get to actually see him and talk with him.

I just want to let you know Mom, that I love you so much. I'm sorry if you ever felt like you didn't connect with me or anything like that, and that I can't wait to see you on Mother's Day. I miss you so much, and not being able to see you has been one of the hardest parts of my mission. I'm so thankful for how amazing of a mother you've been to me, from making such delicious meals (which I miss) to just being there for me when I needed you. I don't know how I can ever repay you for the amazing things you done for me- I hope that I can make you proud, because you deserve it.

Dad, I just wanted to let you know that I love you too. Again, I know that sometimes the burdens of life can wear on a man, but I know that you'll get through them fine. You've been nothing but an amazing example to me my whole life, and I know that I can make it through whatever is thrown my way, because I learned from the best dad in the world. My companion lost his father a few weeks before he came out, and I thank God every day that I'm lucky enough to still have mine around. I've really appreciated the letters you sent me, they've been a huge help to me. I hope that I can make you proud, too.

I can't wait to talk with you all tomorrow, and I also can't wait to get a breakfast samwich(es) from a fast food place!

Love always,