Monday, May 27, 2013

We taught a lot of people this week

Good news, we went with the zone leaders to the stake center to use the computers in the family history center!

Well, I don't know too much about the specific parts of my bike. It's got a Versa frame- pretty standard brakes, 7-speed. Sorry!

That's funny that Ben's math homework is that easy. I don't think it's too stupid that they're starting the class of with the very basics. I'll probably need to take a lower-level math class when I'm in school, because I can't remember anything I learned in high school... I regret not paying better attention and trying harder to do my homework, because I didn't retain anything. Oh well, not much I can do about it. That's good that he's made some work friends, and that he's outlasted the other new-hires at his work. Where does he go for work?

Good to hear that school is finally out for everyone. It's going to be nice having the summer off from the daily grind of school to enjoy the sunshine and the heat. The sunshine we'd been experiencing has faded away- it's been raining a lot the past week. It's going to be a really wet week, I can already tell (and we don't get the car this week). That's okay though, the rain-gear I bought from Columbia keeps me dry. I think I'll need to buy a fender for my bike though; the water flicks up from the rear tire and it gets mud all over my bike and occasionally on me.

That's good, every time I look through that little booklet of pictures I always get a kick outta' the one with Mango. That little bird is so funny.

Yeah, the Alberts are basically running a small apartment building. The guy we live with now, Addison, is really cool. We drove down to a town called Woodburn on Saturday to go to this baptism for Elder Schmidt, and he doesn't have a social life down here so he drove us. I sowed a button back onto my suit-coat like pro on the way down, and we all just talked. He's a really funny guy, we talked about going to state-side missions (he served in New Mexico) and it was really fun. Through talking we found out the Elder Schmidt was pretty good friends with his fiancee back at BYU and Elder Schmidt was freaking out. It's a small world, definitely!

This week was pretty good. We taught a lot of people (from knocking on doors, which is weird) this week. We taught two Hindu families, and man that is really tough... They basically believe in everything, I don't think they'll go anywhere but they were super nice! I love Hindu's because of how nice they are - always really welcoming and friendly, willing to listen. Not interested in joining the church, like at all, but we'll take what we can get. We also have been trying to get in with this guy named Ken whom previous missionaries tracted, and we went up to his, and he was sitting there on the step drinking a coffee and smoking a cigarette. He laughed a little bit, and told us, "You guys are awfully persistent, aren't you?" and then he let us in to share our message with him. It was a classic missionary moment, definitely. Plus, he said he'd let us come back to teach him more, so there's some potential there I think.

Well, hope you all have an awesome first week of summer vacation. Be sure to catch some sunshine for me.

-Elder Samuel A. Burge

P.S. - So it's going to be a little while longer until I can send pictures... It turns out I brought a different camera cable when I came from Wilsonville, and I was going to borrow somebody's card-reader but they forgot it.. I'll probably buy one today, so I'll send pictures on Friday. Sorry...

Monday, May 20, 2013

My first official week of biking!


Sorry to hear the air-conditioner went out. People here don't really use air-conditioning since it's pretty cool most of the year, but when it does get hot they just turn on a ton of fans (and it doesn't work that great). Things have started to cool down here once again, on Saturday it was just a down-pour all day and we had nothing planned so I spent all of it out in the rain riding around on my bike.

My first official week of biking! I finally was able to get into contact with this guy who lives in Hillsboro that owns a bike shop. He's a member, and loves hooking missionaries up, so I got a really good deal on a nice bike with the accessories! It's a hybrid bike, so it's got a lot of the performance of a road bike, but it's got the comfort of a mountain bike. I spent the first part of the week riding around on this heavy mountain bike and and as soon as I got my bike, immediately I could notice a difference!

Riding bike around everywhere though has been rough! Not to mention the area I'm in has a lot of hills- which are killer! I'm exhausted, but I actually do enjoy being on bike a lot. We have this green-way trail through our area and it's beautiful! Just super green and open, I love it. It's been awesome to be outside, and the exercise I've been getting is really good for me! It's slowly getting easier to get around, so after awhile I should be a well-tuned biking machine. (Hopefully.)
Well, I hope that the wedding was nice. I've been to a couple of wedding receptions since I've been out and I love them. We go, eat tons of free food, don't have to really do anything except make chit-chat with people in the ward. At this wedding reception last week there was a canvas that you could put your thumbprint on with ink and sign, so I did. They'll look back at that years from now and wonder who the heck Sam Burge, and they'll never figure it out.

This week was a lot slower than last week, not as much going on. We did get into teach this one guy who's been investigating for a little bit, and mid-lesson his oven broke out in flames! He walked over to get his daughter a glass of water and he just says, "OH SH---!". It was an electric oven so he just turned the breaker off to the kitchen, but needless to say it kind of cut our time short. I hope he doesn't believe in like, omens or anything like that... hahaha!

The Alberts, the family we're staying with, have another person staying with us now. This 20-something graduate from BYU who's doing an internship out here is staying in one of their spare rooms. It's so funny, I joke with them a lot about it because they're got a ton of people they don't really even know living with them all the time. There's some distant relation to Brother Alberts, but what's really funny is me and Elder Schmidt met him before Sister Alberts did! I really like living with the Alberts though, they're really cool. (Plus, I get free milk.)

Speaking of them though, they went out of town this past weekend, so they asked us to walk their labradoodle in the morning and at night. People think we're gay, two sharply-dressed young men walking a less-than-masculine dog around... It was pretty funny, but the dog threw up in the laundry room and we had to clean it up! It was terrible... Other than that, it was a pretty routine week.

Tell Silas he can use all of the art supplies I have to his heart's content. Even if he doesn't want to use the oil paints, he can use the easel to paint on. You feel really cool when you paint on an easel.

Well, good luck to Ben with his classes. You'll have to tell me how they go!

Love you all,

Elder Samuel Burge

P.S. - Sorry, but... I lost my camera cable so I'll have to buy an SD-card adapter from the store today. I'll send you pictures on Friday, definitely though! Especially of my bike- I love it. It has a bell on it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Jennifer’s Baptism & a Yard full of Sam Heads

On Mothers’ Day, Amy woke up and found this in the yard (there were about 30 Sam heads in our yard):

Sam got to call home for Mothers’ Day. He said he had no knowledge about who put the Sam heads in our yard. He said it was weird switching places with Ben. Now he’s the missionary and Ben is home. He is really enjoying his mission and is glad he went. He says he can’t even visualize being at home. He says he still struggles with getting up early in the morning and his companion does, too.

His new digs are actually in a family’s home. He said it’s pretty interesting, living with a member family as opposed to having your own apartment as a missionary. He is enjoying their rocking chair. He has to get a bike, but they do get use of a car every other week. He says he’s been playing a lot of basketball at church. He has also been playing Rugby on p-days and he really, really likes playing it.

He said July 1st the mission is going to really shrink. It will be really small. He says they will have 1 set of missionaries per ward, and their areas will be really small. He said his last area had two wards, and by the time he left, he felt like he had knocked every door in the area, so he’s not sure what they will do with an area that’s just 1 ward only. He is in the Cedar Mill District, which includes the office elders.

He said his understanding of inspiration, personal revelation, and the scriptures is growing, along with his testimony. Here is his follow-up letter from P-day today:

Hey everybody,

It was really good to talk with the family yesterday. I miss you all so much, everyday.

That's really sucks, every picture from the MTC is gone forever... Well, I can probably acquire them from some of the other missionaries I was there with.

Not too much to write about this week, other than the baptism we had yesterday for this lady named Jennifer. It was a really good service, and she was really prepared to be baptized. She would've been baptized sooner, but she's had a lot of medical issues in the past few months, like getting her leg removed because of diabetes.

As far as the bike situation is concerned, it's all up in the air. The office elders kind of screwed me a bit; the loaner bike I was expecting to get was snatched by another missionary a few days ago, and now they have some extremely ghetto bikes and this mountain-bike they're trying to sell me for like $200. I might haggle the guy who's selling the bike down, but I think odds are I'll just go to a bike shop in-town and buy a bike from there (hopefully a street bike, those things are awesome).

We also got to go the Columbia employee store today and I bought a freakin' sweet jacket! I'll send you some pictures. Being in there made me want to go camping really bad... But, hopefully I can get in again before I come home and snag some sweet camping gear!

Well, I forgot my camera cord at home so... I'll be sure to definitely email pictures next week! of my companion and I, my new bike (hopefully), and some other stuff. I promise!
Love you all, talk to you next week!

Elder Samuel Burge

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Transferred to Springville Ward with Elder Schmidt

Hello everybody,

Well I got the call on Saturday that I was being transferred out of Wilsonville! I've been transferred to the Springville Ward, which is closer to Portland (in fact, our address now is in Portland). We're in-between Beaverton and Portland, I think. I'm not quite sure where I'm at as of right now, but I'll get it figured out.

The area I'm in now is in the Portland Oregon Mission, so my fate has been pretty much sealed. I was really hoping to get out of the suburbs into somewhere else, but our area is even more suburban than my last area in Wilsonville. My new companion seems pretty cool, his name is Elder Schmidt. Elder Baxter is my zone leader, which is crazy! So now I'll get to see him weekly, at meetings and such. I'm not in an apartment anymore either. I'm now living with some members, the Alberts. It feels weird living in someone else's home, having a lot of house rules we have to follow by. I definitely liked living in an apartment a lot better, but a silver lining is they give us some things for free, like detergent, etc. I'm also now going to be on a bike, which I think I'll like a bit more!

It's been extremely hot and humid the past week here- summer has hit extremely early for Oregon. With the humidity, the 80-85 degree weather feels like a sauna. People aren't used to keeping their houses cool, so all I've had to keep me cool the past week or so is some little fans. I really hope it rains soon, just to cool everywhere off a little bit.

Glad to hear Mom and Dad enjoyed their anniversary; someone was talking about Cinco de Mayo a few days ago and it clicked in my mind that it was their anniversary. I'm glad Ben has a better idea of what it was like for me working as a phone-monkey in the late hours of the night! It sounds like things are going well for him at his new job though, it's good they're putting his computer skills to use!

Well, not too much time to write this week. I haven't had any time to take any pictures really, so I'll be sure and send you some next week to give you a feel of what the Springville area is more like.

Love you all, hope you have a great week.

Elder Samuel Burge

P.S. - I don't know my new address, just tell Kayleigh to send her letter to the mission office and they'll forward it to my address. I'll get that for next week, too. Also, I'll be calling this Sunday for Mother's Day- probably anywhere between 5:30-7:30 MST.