Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I’m officially training my first missionary (Elder Olsen)!!!

Hello family!

That sounds like you guys had a fun weekend! Happy birthday to Kayleigh- officially fourteen years old! That's pretty exciting stuff, I'm excited to hear about her high school experience!

Silas should be totally excited, being called to secretary of anything is the best calling you could get in church (besides the working in the library which I've decided is my dream calling). All you have to do is make phone calls, write notes in meetings, etc. I always joked about being "District Leader Executive Secretary" when I was companions with a district leader- and I made everyone refer to me as such.

So I've got some exciting news- I'm officially training my first missionary! I received the call to train on Saturday evening from the assistants, and I'm now with my greenie, Elder Olsen, from Saint George. It's pretty crazy that I'm training but I was surprisingly not very nervous about it, and I'm excited to have him! He's really cool and I think he's going to make an exceptional missionary! He definitely was like me when he first started off on a bike though- but it's okay because now that I'm a well-tuned, biking machine I'll whip him into shape! Elder Schmidt got sent to Wilsonville, and I was freaking ecstatic when his name popped up there at transfers! It's going to be sweet to talk to him about good ol' Wilsonville! I don't have any pictures to send this week (it's been hectic the past two days), but I'll be sure to send you plenty of them next week.

I've really grown to appreciate Portland- the first like three months I was still pretty ticked that I wasn't off in an exotic land speaking some neat foreign language, but I've definitely grown to enjoy and love where I'm at the past month or two. My state-side pride is finally starting to develop!

It's pretty cool because Elder Richey (one of my missionary buddies) is still in the district and he's training as well, so we've just been talking to each other about it like crazy. We're pretty excited about training with each other! Unfortunately we're now in a car-share with sister missionaries so now getting around has freaking sucked! We've had to bike all day today (we usually just hung out with the other elders in our district because we shared the car with each other), and how that the sisters have the car this week both Elder Richey and myself have been stuck in our apartments/houses. We biked up to this one pizza joint that we frequent though, and that was pretty fun. Relying on your bike makes you feel like a straight-up Portlandian! (I've gotten pretty familiar with bike mechanics too- which is sweet).

Family history consultants are freakin' awesome. In fact, we've been teaching this lady who is super interested in doing genealogy so that's actually how we started meeting with her. We invited her to do family history at the church's little computer lab and the our ward's family history pro was able to get crazy into German birth records with her and they both had a ball! Since then we've even had a few good visits with her! So never knock a calling- it's all important stuff! (Plus, it's really easy- way better than teaching gospel doctrine or relief society!)

Well, that's all I've got for this week. I've got a ton of things we've gotta' get done today (so crazy right now). I appreciated the bangers and mash joke- nobody makes amazingly lame jokes like the Burge clan! Also, tell the bishop that I'm dead.

Love ya, have an amazing week!

-Elder Samuel A. Burge

Monday, July 22, 2013

Trip to St. Vincent’s

 Hey everybody, 

This week has been pretty good- we taught a few good lessons with some people, had some fun experiences. One of the guys we're teaching, Aaron, is apparently getting his degree in theological studies so that was pretty interesting to discuss the gospel with him.

So this last Tuesday we had to go up to St. Vincent's hospital to visit one of the assistants, Elder Jones, who had broken his ankle like 4-5 weeks prior. I guess he'd gotten an infection in his ankle so they had to put him in the hospital to get it checked out on Sunday. We got a call from Elder Visser that he needed us to pick up his phone charger, his scriptures, and some Mickey D's because they were starving. It was pretty fun actually, just getting to drive up and visit them in the hospital for the morning. It was wicked nasty though, one of his doctors came in to examine his infection and how it's swollen and oozing (it was like a volcano). So he pokes it a little bit, and decided to take a culture swab to have it checked out. He pulled out this big ol' Q-tip and I thought he was going to just dab some of the ooze that came out when he poked it, but he just shoved half the swab into his freakin' ankle right into the incision! Elder Jones’ face was priceless because he could feel the swab inside his leg and he did not enjoy it! It was pretty funny- but he's on antibiotics now and should be all good!

Jones & Visser

The Ankle

A room with a view

So since we split a car week-to-week with the only other elders in our district (Elder Hendrickson and Elder Richey), we usually get all of our groceries together, go to the library to email, etc. So Elder Richey and I wanted to get some Subway instead of burgers, hence the temporary exchange so we could walk over to the get a sandwich.

Twinkies are back!!!

Haha, I like the Davis County Harold. That made me laugh. Sounds like school is already about to get back into full-swing; that will be exciting since Mom is going to be teaching kindergarten and Kayleigh is going to be in high school!~ I feel for Ben, that can't be easy seeing people getting married and not having a whole lot of a social life. Hopefully he makes some friends soon in some of his classes, and hopefully finds a girl to take out on a date. I bet just being in the summer semester is what's preventing him from meeting a lot of people- most cool and/or attractive people would probably take the summer off (I know I would, and I'm both of those things).

Obviously !!!

He's just gotta' keep the lbs off so when the fall hits, he's prepared! I envy Silas- I miss being able to sleep...

Well,I love you guys. Hope everybody back home is doing well, and hope you have an awesome week!

Sincerely yours,

-Elder Samuel A. Burge

Monday, July 15, 2013

Subway Miracle & a Tarantula–Things are picking up


Glad that you all liked the pictures that I took- I've been trying to take more good pictures but I always forget about my camera when I'm out and about. It's good to hear that everyone is doing well back home.

So I'd like to preface this email with a scripture and miracle:
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?...

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
-Matthew 6: 25-26, 31-33
So after we had done all the things we needed to do last Monday (emailing, groceries, etc.) Elder Richie and I decided to walk into a nearby Subway to grab a bite to eat. So we went in, ordered our food, and as we were going up to pay for our food the lady working the cash register just handed up our food and told us it had been paid for already. I was just astonished! We have absolutely no idea who paid for our meal, and it was weird because the lady behind the counter didn't even seem phased at my astonishment- and I was pretty taken aback about the free food! Anyways, it was the best miracle ever! (Who needs miraculous healings when you got miracles this good, right?)

Aside from that his week has been pretty good. We found three new people to teach so we're pretty excited about that (one of them, Linda, seems really promising). It was really good to actually have something for all the effort that's been put forward by us the past few weeks. The past like two weeks have been so incredibly slow- it was terrible. I wasn't feeling good like at all this week with like a sore throat and a mild cough, but I managed to get through it all pretty okay.

I also got to hold a tarantula this week, which was pretty sweet! This lady in the ward, Andrea, we visit pretty frequently and her friend Ricardo tends to squat in her apartment when she leaves town on the weekends (to go down to Molalla where her family is) and he's been keeping his pet tarantula there because he's usually in Eugene for some job he's been doing down there. Anyways, we went to visit Andrea and ended up just talking with Ricardo for awhile and he pulled out the tarantula and I took a video of me holding it! I didn't take any pictures though, so just use your imaginations I guess.

That's all I've really got for this week. Hope everybody has a good week! I love and miss you guys!


Elder Samuel A. Burge

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bald Eagles, Freebies, Fireworks, & Gunnin’ on the 4th!!!


Sorry to hear that your 4th of July wasn't as good as you would've liked. Sounds like you guys did some pretty alright things. I had an awesome Independence Day- I got fed so much food it was ridiculous! So in the morning we went to our ward's pancake breakfast, and I jokingly said that the only thing to make this 4th the best is if I saw a bald eagle... And as chance would have it a pair of bald eagles flew over and around the church house! I got some pictures- it was the best 4th of July breakfast I've ever had! 

We spent the evening with the assistants, chilled in the mission office for like an hour or so with Elder Baxter and his companion, Elder Call while the A.P.s did some paperwork. It's a pretty rare occurrence for missionaries to make it into the mission office so we feel pretty privileged. We also went to the mission home (which is about just as rare) and had burgers with some elders and President Morby. It's official that I'm slowing *gunnin' to the top!~ 

After that we all walked to the Oak Hills Park and got to watch the fireworks! It was a really good show, and we got to listen to a ton of *freebies and the firework show was really good! (Watching the fireworks made me a bit trunky though). I took quite a few pictures, but it's hard to get any good pictures of fireworks. After that we migrated back to our car and drove home. 

We finally got moved back into the Albert's house this past Friday, which is good. It's nice to be in a clean house again, but I think I'll miss having the additional company of the assistants. I now have air-conditioning again though, so I'm definitely not complaining. It's cooled off quite a bit though this past week though, which is good. 

So the funniest thing happened to me at dinner with this family in our ward the other night. The Lofgrin's (the family we were eating with) invited a friend to dinner with us who was a member, and as we were talking he made some pretty funny comments about how it's almost mandatory that you have a tattoo if you live in Tooele, and it turns out that his brother lives in Stansbury Park. Bryan's brother just so happens to be our home-teacher! Brother King's brother runs a little bed-and-breakfast in Portland, and I thought it was crazy how small of a world it is. 

Well, I hope things are going good back at home. Thanks for all the pictures and the updates on everything. I hope that you all have a good week! Tell Chuck and Collette congrats for me on them going to the temple! 

Love always, 

Elder Samuel A. Burge 

Elder Burge's Missionary Dictionary 

* "Gunning" (V.) - The act of doing/saying things to persuade President to like you more so he'll give you leadership positions, i.e. being an assistant. The term "gunner" denotes one who guns excessively. 

* "Freebies" (N.) - Music that is not approved in which we sneakily get to listen to because it's beyond our control. i.e., music playing at restaurants, out of other people's cars, at firework shows. 

The Breakfast Bald Eagles – right on command!!

Best 4th of July breakfast ever!!

Slo-gunning in the office

Burgers at El Presidente’s

Oak Hills Park

Partying with Elder Schmidt

Hanging with the Zone

Hanging with the APs




Monday, July 1, 2013

We've had quite a Portlandian week while staying with the Assistants

Hello everybody! Nope, we managed to avoid sleeping on the streets for at least a week or so (until the assistants kick us out)! We've been staying with them since this last Wednesday, and I've actually really enjoyed it. The assistants are pretty sweet, and they're hilarious. Elder Visser, one of the assistants, makes us do bench-presses before we can go to sleep. He's a football player from Preston, Idaho so he's been making us actually do some exercise. Elder Jones is hilarious, but he broke his ankle hard-core so he's on crutches and his ankle is absolutely wrecked! Their apartment smells pretty weird sometimes, but they have two bathrooms and enough beds for us so it isn't too bad. It's an apartment with four twenty-somethings, so it's kind of a dump as well. Their dishwasher doesn't work at all, they have nothing but a small, black fan to keep them cool, and their apartment is just littered with miscellaneous garbage. It's been actually really fun though! Their neighbors are all Hispanic, and they're always hanging out late at night in the parking lot. This little Mexican kid, Rolando, has become our friend (we've seen him around the apartment complexes quite a bit). These two guys totally were screaming at each other on Saturday though, it was crazy! This super pissed white guy was ripping into the maintenance guy about something and I thought they were going to beat the living crap out of each other. The Mexican guy ended the argument and the white guy called him an a-hole and various other profanities and slammed his door. Elder Visser has been feeding this huge spider on the stairway up to the apartment door, and we've nicknamed her Shelob. It's super crazy, we catch moths/flies that are fluttering around and you throw them in her web and she just comes out and freakin' attacks whatever you toss in! It's incredibly entertaining, and really cool! Last night we threw an earwig we found in her web, and they got into an epic battle! The earwig was pinching at her and she ran around him at like, 50 MPH, and ensnared him in webbing and then just bit into his neck and killed him! I took a lot of video and some pictures (I'll send the pictures!) Speaking of heat-waves, Oregon has not been exempt from them. The past few days have been EXTREMELY hot- the temperature outside has been steadily rising and the humidity has been ridiculous. It's been like being in Florida and we've had to bike around in it all day long... Not to mention our apartment is hotter than it is outside, so my hair hasn't been dry since last Tuesday! I've been able to cope with eating a ton of otter-pops, cold showers, and fighting over their little black fan. (They're going to steal a ton of fans from the mission office tonight though so we should be good!) The heat wave is supposed to hit it's peak today and tomorrow, but luckily we have the car this week so we're out of it for now! (God bless central air-conditioning!) We've had quite a Portlandian week as far as stories go. Apparently there was a massive bee genocide in Wilsonville and some surrounding areas from some landscaping companies using too much pesticide on these trees. I think around 50,000 bees were killed from it, and some people told us that they're having a memorial service for the bees in Portland! A memorial service for a bunch of dead bees! I was laughing so hard, and I still can't think about what you would even have at a mass bee memorial! It was really funny, you should look it up and see if you can find more information on it! We also saw this long-haired, bearded guy walking down the street playing a guitar yesterday. It was pretty cool, because he wasn't too bad on the guitar! We also went to this local Greek joint in our area called the Mad Greek Deli for dinner on the weekend and it was freaking delicious! Supposedly the guy who owns this place is known as the "Greek Nazi", because he's just like the soup-nazi from Seinfield. They have Greek fries, and if you call them French fries or ask for ketchup he freaks out on you! It was a really cool restaurant, and they make these gyros that are really good! I actually had a lamb gyro and it was delicious, so I'm curious about their beef and chicken ones. Either way, it was pretty good. This week we were able to get in with some people that we've had a hard time getting in the door with. Both of them our investigators we picked up awhile back, Ken and Beate. Both of our lessons with them went very well. Ken's visit was extremely casual and it was more of a discussion about God- he really opened up to us a lot, and he's absolutely hilarious! He's got a lot of doubts about whether God is there or not, but we made some good progress with him I think. Our recent convert from last month, Jen, has gone completely inactive though. This kid that's been staying with her (her ex-boyfriend's son whom she's super attached to) has been playing defense at the door, and yesterday told us that she wants us to stop trying to swing by and talk to her. It was pretty lame, and it's disappointing but we're trying to get somebody talking to her. Also, the lady we talked with last week that had a ton of potential left a note on her door and she's totally does not want us to come back. That sucked too, but what can you do. This week has sounded pretty interesting for everybody, especially for Dad! Dealing with the antagonizing crowds cannot be enjoyable, but I'm glad that he did a good job on dealing with the press on the whole issues. Getting positive recognition from a state senator and a news reporter definitely would make me feel like I did a good job. What was the Q&A about? I can relate in respect to the heckling intellectuals out there, I get into many bible-bashes with people who just love debating/arguing with you on just about anything. There is this one guy we visited who was like a human-computer, extremely intelligent! He had a ton of observations on the bible and I felt like a two-year-old trying to compete with this guy intellectually. It was brutal! Yeah, the whole gay rights thing is definitely a difficult thing to discuss and deal with. That's crazy to hear that ground-zero for that whole debate is heading to good ol' Utah. All the controversy of homosexuality is not my favorite thing to discuss with people. I'm glad I'm not the only one who's thought about how homosexuality just doesn't work and isn't really normal, from a biological/scientific standpoint. I definitely don't think it's a discussion about marriage, but absolutely is a discussion about acceptance- a discussion which I hate talking about with people. I think we need to love the sinner, but hate the sin. Well, I've got to get going. Lots of things to get done today! I love you all very much and I hope you all have a great week! Love always, Elder Samuel Burge

My awesome lamb gyro

My light refracting face

Jones soda & mail

Ultimate insect fighting