Monday, August 26, 2013

More service than appointments this week - Directed traffic for a biking event & tried to help put in a YMCA playground

Hello everybody, 

Hey thanks for doing that for me- I'm very excited about having a grey suit! That's pretty cool, I'll be sure to look out for an Elder Lewis! That's pretty awesome that Josh can just go around fixing people's cars for service- I bet people love when he knocks on his door! I'm glad he's doing well, hopefully being on a bike in Kentucky is alright (Portland is much more biker-friendly!) 

One of my buddies, Shane, had a job doing janitorial stuff at the elementary school and he said is was pretty sweet! That's really awesome that he's going to have a job- he's going to love throwin' around money like it's going out of style! (Now he just has to have the discipline to save some of his hard-earned cash.) 

Sounds like everyone is having a good start to this semester, which is really good! I bet criminology and sociology are extremely fun- my psychology class was really interesting but the most interesting things we discussed were all classified as sociology. It sounds like Kayleigh is enjoying her first week or so of high school as well. I'm excited to see Ben get out there and play the field! As it says in D&C 4, "...the field is white, already to harvest..." (I think it applies to both missionary work and the college dating scene.) There's a lot of ladies for him to meet! I think going to an institute social event would be the best place to meet women that would fit his prerequisites though. Him and Brooks hittin' up the dating scene would make me and Hunter oh-so-proud! 

Way to go, Mom! Doing member missionary work! That's really cool that she's been able to share the gospel with somebody- even amidst the endless sea of Mormons in Utah! We've been trying to get the members here more focused on member missionary work, so we've been meeting with families in the ward a lot. Hopefully we'll see more people inviting their friends to hear what we teach. I know she'll do really well with her Kindergarten class this week- she's a great teacher, so I don't have a doubt in my mind she won't do incredibly well! 

My week has been alright- we've had a lot of cancelled plans this week.. We're hopefully going to have no cancellations this week. We were able to do some service this past week though. We were directing traffic for this big ol' biking event that was happening near our area, and that was actually pretty good! There was a YMCA right next door to where the parking lot was, and they sent a woman out to direct some people coming to help them build a playground into their parking area. We had a pretty good discussion about family, and we even volunteered to help them build their playground afterwards! Unfortunately, however, they were mostly done by the time we got over there to help everybody gave us the cold shoulder.. It's frustrating how much people hate us sometimes, I think it's definitely been getting Elder Olsen a bit discouraged. 

We also got kicked out of the Alberts' house again this week (only for a day though). I guess their son-in-law's brother was getting married and their housing arrangements fell through so we had to pack up and crash with the assistants again. It was pretty fun- I love hanging with the assistants. 

Well, that was my week. Pretty slow- but hopefully we're going to see more things to do this week. 

Hope y'all have a great week! Hope you all start believing in science and become medical doctors soon! I'll just be here enjoying my clean air. 

Love always, 

Elder Samuel A. Burge 

My new “son” Elder “Red Storm” Olsen!!!

Working in the Lord’s vineyard – wild Oregon berries!!!

Sweet is the work.

Poor Elmo

Weird cloud

Elder Bennett getting into P-Day

An unusual sand pit volleyball strategy – the Sam-wich

A volleyball game at the Famous Oregon School for Invisible Children

P-day Croquet

Here’s my ball

Photo bombing him with love

Frozen yogurt break.  We can’t live on wild berries alone!!!

The assistants waiting for us to finish our yogurt

Monday, August 19, 2013

A little rough…but hopefully I can bless at least one person’s life…

Hey family,

It's been a pretty alright week. A little rough- we had a quite a few cancelled appointments, and we've run into some problems with some of the people we're teaching that are going to be a hindrance to the work in the area. It's alright though, I'm hopeful that we can work through the things we need to so we can keep people progressing in the gospel.

Sounds like Dad is having an enjoyable week as well, dealing with activists and attorneys. I'm proud to know that my father has made it into the newspaper editorials! The seven overly-opinionated people that actually read the editorials/opinion section in a newspaper will have an amazing topic to read after they try to decipher the political cartoon nobody can understand! You should find some of the editorials and send them to me so I can read them. If it makes him feel any better, I got flipped off and yelled at by like three cars this week. And if I had my pick, Dad would be played by George Clooney, I would be played by Mark Walberg... And Silas would be played by Michael Cera.

Well I hope that school for everyone goes well- I know mom will do well with the children in Kindergarten, she's always been good with kids. I'm really excited to see everybody going back to school, I want to hear all about everyone's experiences definitely.

Portland is an interesting place, and there are a lot of people that could care less about what me or what I have to share with them. For all the negativity and hatred in the world though I'm thoroughly convinced that there's amazing people from all walks of life. Doing this kind of work is difficult, definitely, but hopefully I can bless at least one person's life by doing it.

I love you all, hope your week is fantastic.

-Elder Samuel A. Burge

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bikes and Blackberries

Hey everybody-

Yeah it's been a bit challenging to schedule everything, especially since we sometimes don't have a car to get around to places. We've luckily got the car today, so I'll be able to knock a ton of things off of my to-do list like buy a USB card reader finally. (Sorry, you're not going to get pictures today.)

Sorry to hear that she didn't make the team- I hope that she's dealing okay with it. She can always try out next year though if she really wants to do it. I sometimes kind of regret not doing any sports/clubs in high school. I think that they probably could have been pretty fun, but I enjoyed just hanging out after school too. I'm excited to see how school goes for everybody this fall, especially for Kayleigh and with Ben. It's exciting to see everybody growing up, and I'm excited to see how Ben enjoys his computer classes up at SLCC.

Silas has quite a list of prerequisites for college- city livin' in college is going to be filled with a lot of interesting people. Kind of like Portland, I see some pretty unique people all the time. I've learned to like the strange people Portlandia has to offer though. They're pretty funny. I'm glad that Ben is looking to get a social life- I think that will be a good way for him to meet more people.

My week has been pretty good- we've had some good lessons with people and actually had things to fill our schedule. The weekend is brutal though, we never have anything planned and nobody is around so it's pretty unproductive on those days. We go and hang out with this excommunicated guy in the area usually, and we talk about some of his views on a lot of things. They're... Unique, to say the least. He's a really nice guy though- and he's pretty funny.

Training has been a challenge, but it's been pretty good so far. It's been a bit rough in the mornings though. Elder Olsen was just like me when I first got to Portland- completely blank and zonked because of how tired I was. It's been a challenge to have productive studies with him (especially since we have to study for three hours) but it's getting better. He's still adjusting to the missionary lifestyle, with all it's physical, emotional, and spiritual demands. He's been really good though, I love having him as my greenie! We've had some really good laughs and he's got an amazing ability to talk with 30 to 40 year-old women about pop culture and the Food Network! It's pretty funny- we also talk about Twitter a lot (the only other elder I've met who used Twitter).

With August being here, the blackberries in the area have finally began to come into season! It's awesome, the green-belt that runs through our area is covered with blackberry bushes so we've been stopping before we go home and just scavenging the bushes for the most sweet, delicious blackberries I've ever eaten! They're so good, it's awesome!~

I definitely think that I'm slowly becoming more and more adapted to living in Portlandia. Last week we had to go into a bike shop near our area to get some lights for our bikes and buy a new tire for Elder Olsen's bike (we found it flat on Sunday morning, which sucked). Anyways, so we walk into this bike shop and I freaking loved looking at all the bike accessories and thinking about the stuff I could do with my bike. This moment made me realize that I absolutely love biking now! We went home and I replaced Elder Olsen's tire, and I just started thinking about all the things I want to get for my bike (like new tires with less tread- so it's more road bike than mountain bike)... Just wait, pretty soon I'll probably start liking to recycle. (Not quite there yet though.)

So I'm sure you have heard of the changes to the dress code for missionaries- if not, we can now wear lighter suits and wear flashier ties (they're also trying to get rid of the backpack and make the messenger/shoulder bag the standard). Anyways, there is a light-grey suit that I wore sometimes that Brother Crane gave me a year or so ago. You should send that to me so I can wear it! I'm going to find some brown shoes and belt at a Good Will or Ross hopefully so I can really accessorize my wardrobe. I'm going to be walking these streets in high style as soon as I can get me some brown freakin' shoes (and that suit that you'll send me!)

Anyways- I hope you all have an awesome week! I love you all and miss you everyday!~

Love always,

Elder Samuel A.Burge

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Training is a Good Experience

Hey everybody,

Sorry this email is late- I had scheduled a lesson with these people we knocked into a month ago for yesterday by accident, and we're now sharing our car with some sister missionaries so we'd had to get a lift from other missionaries (which has been absolutely awful). So we didn't have any time yesterday to get around to the library, but we got permission to come for an hour today to get it done.

Stateside pride is just something I came up with, but I'm sure that it's going to catch on.

Training has definitely been an experience! It's good though, I really enjoy Elder Olsen. He's got a lot of potential to be an excellent missionary so hopefully I can do a good job teaching him the ropes of missionary work. I'll be in the Bethany area for at least twelve more weeks training, but that's okay. We've got a baptismal date for a woman named Linda in our area, and we're super excited about it! She's awesome, and your classic example of somebody that was prepared. We've got some other people that seem really promising too, so it's nice to have some work going on where I'm at.

It's weird to think about how seasoned I am as a missionary now versus how I was just seven months ago. Being the lead missionary is definitely interesting. I've already been learning quite a bit from being a trainer, just watching and observing the rookies take a go at missionary-work. Thinking about how to help teach them to be better missionaries- it's a time to stretch yourself as a missionary for sure, but it's definitely got its stress. I'm a bit daunted by the task of taking a greenie and teaching him what he needs to know to be the best he can be. I just want to do a good job and, being the perfectionist that I am, tend to worry about whether I'm taking care of business or not.

That's exciting about soccer try-outs for Kayleigh. I'm hoping she makes the team- I think she'll do just fine! I'm always really curious about what everybody back home is up to, seeing what Kayleigh and Silas have going on, how Ben's college experience is going, etc. That's crazy about the college tuition fees- hopefully it levels out by the time I'm getting into college.

Well- not much time to write today. I hope everybody is doing well back home! I don't have a card-reader at the moment, so it will have to be next week until I can send y'all some more pictures. Sorry.