Monday, February 25, 2013

Best service I've ever done


Silas seems to be having a pretty rough week, definitely. Sorry to hear it. Tell him he should write me a letter back and talk to me about it! I haven't gotten one from him in awhile. Yeah, probably shouldn't keep missing school though. I shouldn't say too much though, I wasn't always the best example on that.. Glad his talk went well, I bet that it was pretty nerve-wracking for him! It's a shame his friends are all fighting, but I think it'll work out. It always rubbed me the wrong way when people would put others down just because of how "spiritual" someone else is. I saw it a lot in high school, and I never understood why that was such a big problem for people.

Well, I'm glad you're paying it forward by feeding the missionaries. Oh, our mission knows the wonderful little, black box that is the Tiwi. It tracks where you're going, when you're going there, how fast you're going there, if you're going there too aggressively... The thing is annoying, everyone hates them. Well, except the office elder who's in charge of transportation.

Well, this week we didn't have a ton of things going on. We've taught a less-active guy who has decided to come back to church after like, fifteen years. We've been just trying to stay busy, though sometimes it can be really challenging. We did some service the other day for a man in Stafford- we helped him cut down a huge tree in his backyard. Best service I've ever done, it was early in the morning until about noon so we got to spend the morning outside. We helped guide the tree down with some rope as this 60-something German guy cut down the tree with a chainsaw (so the tree wouldn't fall and crush anything). It was really fun, and it smelled really good because of all the freshly-cut wood! The German guy was his father-in-law and he was really funny. Had open-heart surgery like a month or two prior, so he was also quite insane. He just pushed through like it was nothing though. You grow to appreciate being outside, especially when the forest/woodland area we're in is so green and pretty. Most of the Stafford ward boundary is just rural countryside which is really awesome.

The Stafford ward got a new bishop just yesterday, which was interesting to see. We ate dinner with the bishop the night before he was released, and he's pretty well off. He was president for a part of Nike for awhile, and he's been a CEO for one or two other bigger companies. He showed us a shoe made specifically for Shaq (which was a size 23) and it was freaking huge! You could fit like three of my feet in this shoe, it was enormous. His family was really awesome, they were a lot of fun to have dinner with. I really enjoy both of the wards out here, they're all really friendly and so nice. This one younger kid we had dinner with the other night gave Elder Baxter and I these hand-drawn pictures of how cool missionaries are.

My mamma is gonna' to be teaching kindergarten! That will be quite a mix-up! I think she'll do really well, she's always been good with those sort of things. She dealt with Silas, Ben, and I growing up so I think she's pretty well adapted to deal with anything those kids can throw at her! 

Not really a whole lot went on this week here in Wilsonville. Just kind of the same old routine. 

I love you all, hope things are going well. 

-Elder Samuel Burge 

P.S.- Yeah, the mission president knows about as much as you do (The church announced two new missions in Vancouver, WA and Salem, OR that will impact the Sam’s mission). I think they might take missionaries from our mission and be sending them to Vancouver as well, we actually have a small amount of missionaries that go into Vancouver (mostly the ASL sisters, and a few of the elders that are working with two of the all-Tongan wards, which I want to work with!) 

Oh, I also burned my finger while cooking lunch. It hurt like crazy, but it's all good now! Just blistered and it looks gross. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Portland was interesting…Portlandia really hit the nail on the head


Yeah with all the holiday we didn't get to email until today. We actually took our preparation day today (Tuesday) this week because yesterday we had to help a lady move out of her house last minute. It took 3 1/2 hours, but we finally got her moved out of her house!

Well to start, Portland was interesting! We went to Voodoo Doughnuts, Powell's Bookstore, and this Mexican restaurant in south-east Portland called "Por Que No?" and it was freaking good! Voodoo Doughnuts was really good, I had a maple bacon bar and it was surprisingly good! You wouldn't think bacon on a doughnut would be good, but it was really good. It was really weird, definitely! Just looking it at the pictures, I'm sure you've already gathered that. The shop is really small, and there isn't really anywhere to eat inside so we ate outside on these benches. There was a guy on the street corner trying to raise money for some weird, underground newspaper, two people smoking some blunts making some signs for something... A lot of really interesting people!

Powell's bookstore was freaking huge! The bookstore is enormous and it's really easy to get lost in it. They have a map of the store though, which was useful. I forgot to take a picture of it before I left the apartment this morning but I'll send a picture of it eventually. There were a ton of books that I wanted to look at, but being a missionary I can't really take too long reading a lot of them. I think it would be a lot more fun to visit Portland when I'm not doing the whole missionary thing. We saw a lot of food carts, but we didn't stop at any. Portlandia really hit the nail on the head though!

My week was pretty busy- I went on two exchanges this week with Elder Udy and Elder Taylor from my district. They came to Wilsonville for the exchanges so I did a lot of planning just by myself this week. It was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. Elder Taylor is from Tooele (I think I told you about him already) so we were up until like 12:00 A.M. the night of the exchange just talking about home! It's weird, because I saw him around school all the time! We talked about all the people we knew- it was really weird talking about things back in good ol' Tooele valley with somebody. It was really fun though, we helped another lady in Stafford move out of her apartment that morning and then went knocking doors out in the more rural countryside of our area. It's really beautiful out here in the northwest for sure!

Our district leader went home today, so at our zone meeting last week we "flew him home". We picked him up, and we literally flew him like an airplane. Then we kept throwing him up in the air and he almost went through the ceiling of the church twice! Good times, I'm going to miss Elder Manwill he was a great district leader. Now Elder Baxter is the district leader, and I've gained the honorary title of district leader's secretary or "DLB". (I'll let you use your imagination for that one.)

Thanks for the Valentine's day package! I really appreciated it, and I've been eating away at everything I got! If you want to send candy to me, send either M&M's or Skittles. I just put those in a bowl on my study desk and they make a good snack for when I'm studying\planning. Tell Silas I'm praying for him, I know he'll do fine on his driver’s test! Also tell Kayleigh that she's going to be just fine... That and the fact that she's thirteen so it doesn't really matter right now. Hey, I'm glad someone is making use of my punching bag while I'm away! It's actually kind of fun just to go down into the basement and knock it around.

Well, that's all I've got for now. Thank you for all your support and love! I miss you all!

-Elder Burge

At Por Que No?

Sippin horchata

Voodoo Donuts here we come

Voodoo donuts menu

Maple bacon donuts are good!!

Elder Manwill eating his last Voodoo of his mission

Stained glass window

Looking down the street in Portland

Valentine’s Day can be rough for missionaries

The beautiful Oregon countryside

My freakin sweet planner cover I made

Monday, February 11, 2013

Teaching, zombies, tracting, skunk poking, desserts, and chain mail

Hello everyone, 

I'll be sure to tell you all how Portland is! I'm really excited to go, we're going to try some food carts, go to Powell's bookstore, and of course, stop in at Voodoo Doughnuts! It's going to be fun, I'm definitely excited! 

Susan, our investigator, is really great. Our first lesson with her went extremely well, we had a lot of discussion about a lot of different aspects of the church. She's really interesting to listen to, and she has a lot of valid concerns. She's really funny, because she was in church yesterday and we were talking about the Second Coming in class. When they talked about the people being resurrected, she wrote on her notes, "People will be revived... Zombies?" She's got a daughter whose fifteen, and she wants to set a good example for her which I commend her for. 

On our way to a lesson with some new members the other day, we saw a lady whose care broke down in the middle of the road in a turn lane right by this intersection. We pulled over and helped push her car out of the road, but what's really funny is when we went over to help her, a member from the ward was at the window of her car helping her out. I was thinking to myself, "Yeeeah!! Mormons REPRESENT!!" It was nice to help her, and I'm sure she would've thanked us had her English not have been so poor. (She was Hispanic.) 

Yeah, we get fed so well here. I think when it comes to feeding the missionaries, it's always different. The only thing I struggle with is dessert. I'm not really big into sweets, and after feeding us this amazing meal they'll always whip out this huge dessert and I don't want to be rude so I eat it. So I'd just say if you're going feed them, just keep it simple and don't feed them a huge dessert. I'd honestly be fine with just a meal, but I'm not big into sweets so that's just me. 

We've done quite a bit of knocking doors this week, and I've got a few really good stories from it! They all happened on one day, which was really weird. But anyways: 

Our first story is we were knocking doors and we knocked into a Catholic woman. She wasn't interested, and so as we were walking away her husband opens the door and yells, "Hey! Next time you come to my house, don't knock on my door like you know me! Okay?". I just gave him a thumbs-up and told him "Uhh, sorry?" and he slammed his door. Then the house right next to us was really nice, and we ended up walking away from the house with a box of thin mints and samoas! But what is really awesome is the family we spoke with liked us so much that they ran out and gave us a free box of girl scout cookies! It was freaking sweet! 

We also went knocking doors in a different neighborhood, and on the way there I saw a homeless man poking a dead skunk on the street corner with a handkerchief- it was freaking hilarious! When we got to the neighborhood we met a woman who was just really weird. She opens the door, and I asked her how her day was going and she says "It was going well." and then she told us to "prance along like you do". She said this all in the most monotone voice I'd head in a long time. Silas would get this, but she sounded (and looked like) Ms. Coyle if she was really bored. 

I've really enjoyed having dinner with members, there are some really great people out here. We had dinner with the Hofmanns, and they're freaking sweet. He was going to teach us how to play Magic: The Gathering but we ran outta' time because he was cooking us this Russian food. He came up to us at church yesterday with this idea for a missionary wrist communicator like the original Power Rangers had and he really had thought it out. He was talking about using a Bluetooth microphone/speaker, and I'm not going to lie I really want to build one! 

Elder Baxter and I don't know what to say when people ask us what we're going to do when we get back, so we decided at dinner one night I was going to say I was a professional LARP champion (like from the movie Role Models) We walked into their house and in his office/study thing he had a full suit of chain-mail, medieval helmets, and this sweet shield! He does real life medieval war re-enactments! I mean, this suit of chain-mail was as real as it gets. Made of steel, custom-fitted, it was really awesome! 

Well, I hope all is well at home. I miss you all everyday! Thank you so much for writing me, it's awesome to get letters/mail when I get home~ 

Love you all, 

Elder Samuel Burge 

It was a dark, wet night in Wilsonville…

What’s in your sweater?  Who’s taking your picture? And, where are your companion’s legs?!

Desk fail

Monday, February 4, 2013

First exchange with Elder Manwill my district leader


Poor little bird... Well, it's for the best, I'm just glad Ace is not suffering anymore. At least he died with everybody loving him. I'm glad you tried everything you could to help him out. He was the sweetest little bird and he deserved that. Thank you for trying to make him as comfortable as you could, I appreciate it a lot.

Things here have been pretty good, just the same old routine. We've been working pretty hard, just teaching those we can. On Wednesday, I went on my first exchange with my district leader, Elder Manwill. It was really fun, I like everybody in my district a lot, but we only have two sets of elders so Elder Manwill always jokes about him being a relief society president. We did a blitz, which is where the district goes out and knocks doors in someone's area when they need it. The sisters in the visitor's center have an area that they cover with the visitor's center so we help them out a lot. We were only supposed to be out for an hour, but Elder Udy and Elder Taylor were nowhere to be found. Finally, after like an extra hour they came walking down the street. They'd knocked into some Jehovah's Witnesses and had a healthy discussion about religion with them... We also went on a little hike thing on preparation day with Elder Manwill and Elder Udy, it was fun! It's so pretty here, I love the forest areas a lot!

Aside from that, our week has been pretty routine. I really enjoy eating with the member's at night, it helps us get to know everybody. It's hard sometimes though, they have all this food and so I'm always starving and just chow down. Then after I stuffed myself, they bring out all this dessert. You don't want to be rude, so you just shovel it down. Hopefully I'm not going to get gain a ton of weight! We actually have somebody to teach though, come this week. A lady who's been attending church for awhile finally accepted to taking the lessons from one of the members, so that's always exciting.

Yeah, Grandma & Grandpa Matson have been writing me. I've been meaning to write them back, but it's tough to get a minute to write. I'll get around to it though! Grandma & Grandpa Burge sent me a little care package this week! I'm sure they'll read this, so thank you! I've been eating the moon pies like all week! Plus, they sent a gummy snake that we ate like the day I got it. It was a lot of sugar, so I was feeling kind of sick after! It's all good though!

Well, I've been doing alright. It's exciting to hear about Kayleigh getting her Patriarchal Blessing! I hope that it was helpful for her, but I'm sure she'll tell me all about it in her next letter to me! Tell her I've written her back but we have to wait for the good ol' postal service to deliver my freaking mail faster! Jordan Steele wrote me just the other day, and it was really good to hear from him! He's doing really well now, and he's talked with me a bit and been super helpful. Thanks for getting me those addresses, I wrote quite a few people this past week so hopefully I get a lot of mail back my way. Fingers crossed!

Well, I love you all and hope you're doing well. I miss you everyday!