Monday, September 30, 2013

The wettest two days of my entire life!

Hey everybody,

This weekend has easily been the wettest two days of my entire life! A big storm was rolling through Portland this weekend, lots of wind and heavy rainfall. I was completely covered in waterproof rain-gear and I'm still a little damp from Saturday! It was crazy, but I enjoyed it a lot. I still love the rain, but we'll see if I'm whistling the same tune after the new few months of constant, drizzling rain.

We've actually been doing quite a bit of walking the past week or two. One reason behind that is the fact that my brakes were 100% worn down and I literally could not slow down my bike in the least bit. I tried to buy new brake pads and mount them on my bike, but I wasn't able to adjust them right to where they were compressing against the wheel. I had this really awesome guy in our ward teach me how to replace and adjust brakes on Saturday and his wife ended up feeding us lunch- it was really nice of them! I'm glad though because now I know how to adjust the brakes on bikes, and I love learning how to fix things I've decided.

This week was a lot better than our past few weeks - we lost quite a few people to teach but luckily God's given us more people to teach! We knocked doors at this apartment building and found a woman named Emily, who's from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and we've picked her up as a new investigator. It's really interesting and fun to teach her because she's only been here a few years so she has a hard time getting into religious talk because her main language is French. Crazy enough, we had a priest in the ward who loves speaking different languages and he came with us and busted out this miraculous ability to speak French- it was really cool! She'd heard all sorts of rumors about us, but she's so awesome because she figured the best source to learn more about what we believe is to actually talk with us! She made some pretty funny jokes about us doing things involving fire and her having to pray out the evil spirits we'd bring into her apartment! It was pretty funny!

Yeah, I really liked that quote – Calm seas never make skillfull sailors. That's something about missionary work that I think is so interesting - how much you learn. Always things to reflect on, it's quite a learning experience. I was thinking about how much I've learned about self-discipline. Waking up on time, doing things even when they're not always what you want to do, just a variety of things that I do daily that help to build discipline. It's interesting.

Alas, we're still doing missionary work pretty much the same. I haven't heard anything about us using social media or anything like that, but I'll be sure to let you know if I ever do though. Well That's all I've got for this week.

Love always,

Elder Samuel A. Burge

Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm tired of looking back on our statistics for the week and seeing a bunch of zero's... Training has been a lot more difficult than I thought


Cooler weather has definitely hit us here in Portland: the rainy season has officially begun. It's hitting around the 70's this week and it's been raining pretty heavily the past three days. I'm loving the weather, it's a lot cooler when we're out and about and it makes you feel like you're in Portland!

It's been another one of those rough weeks definitely.

On Saturday we went by to visit a family that we'd started teaching- amazing people that I love so much, and they ended up deciding they were going to check out other things and put a stop to the lessons for now. They loved coming to church and talking with us about Christ, but they've got various things that they have a hard time agreeing with, and just various concerns. It was just tough because we've been dropped by quite a few people the past several weeks and our teaching pool is slower diminishing.. On the plus side, we're going to give somebody a tour of the church-house on Tuesday. There's a man that we met knocking doors and after talking with him (he said he wasn't a believer) we ended up setting up a time to show him around our church and to talk with him a bit. He had a friend in Arizona (where he moved from) have quite a few philosophical discussions with him and ended up giving him a Book of Mormon. That was a good experience this week.

Despite that, it's just felt like things haven't been going well for me as of late, and it's discouraging. I'm tired of looking back on our statistics for the week and seeing a bunch of zeroes... Training has been a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, too. We haven't been getting along super well, and I've just felt very stressed trying to make sure that I'm doing what I need to be doing to help him be a good missionary.. I'm just very tired, to say the least.

This week has been quite hectic at the Albert's house- they've taken on the project of re-tiling their laundry room. (full-on HGTV mode.) They had their daughter and their son-in-law come into town so they could crank out tiling the floor in like two days. Lots of loud noises, drilling, mixing, etc. They had a flood-light and a mixing station outside their house which looked like they were about to go excavate some archaeological ruins or something. I like their kids, but I always get to feeling uncomfortable when they're staying with us. It just reminds me that this isn't a permanent thing and you feel almost like you're intruding on them quite a bit. It's been interesting, but the tile looks good!

Sounds like it's been a pretty interesting week for everybody! Sorry to hear that it's been a rough week for you, Mom. It's crazy how people can get over little things like that. I'd like to think she's just having a hard time or something, but that's still no excuse to treat anyone with that much disrespect. I can attest first-hand to how great of a mom you were, don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise! I don't think there could have been a better mother to love and raise me the way you did.

I hope you all have a great week this week! I love you guys.

-Elder Samuel A. Burge

 Heading out in search of non-zeroes

Mixin’ grout

Tile layout

My pre-mission suit is now mission-approved!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

So I had a pretty lucky/funny experience this week


That's pretty funny- those two (Silas & Brock) are now working together. It's good that they both have jobs now!

Yeah, this week was pretty alright. We had the lady we'd set a date with come to church again today, so that was really good. We also found this other woman, Misty, whom we'd found knocking doors in this apartment complex. She'd been looking to get back into church, and she said that she had talked with pretty much everyone except us and that it was about time we came by! Funny enough, she's actually just inactive, she'd been baptized as a kid and just stopped going after high school. So after like eight years she came back for the first time! I think she enjoyed it, and we hope to keep teaching her and to help her gain a testimony.

This week was extremely hot, and we lost our car because of all the sister missionaries coming into the field. So now we're full-time bike. Air-conditioning and luxuries like radio/music are going to be missed. I don't mind too much though. It was another slower week, so we spent a lot of time outside on the bikes. It's started raining again, so I think summer is just about over for us here in Portland.

We've been hitting up apartment complexes this week, and we get to talk with a lot of people that way. We met quite a few interesting people- some people that we can hopefully teach more. There was this younger guy in his twenties, Tony, who walked up to his apartment door as we were standing there. He said he'd talked with missionaries before, and so we came in and talked with him a bit. We also met a lady from Congo who we set up another time to come visit with her- but she wasn't there when we came back. I think she just forgot, but we'll keep trying.

So I had a pretty lucky/funny experience this week. We were about to go knocking doors in this apartment complex and so we rode up to this post so we could lock our bikes up. Right next to this post in the street is a rain-gutter, and as I'm putting my key in my bar-lock they fell out right over the drain- but as luck would have it my keys fell perfectly onto one of the bars so half of my keys were on both sides of the bar! I was laughing so much, Elder Olsen was mortified when I dropped the keys and thankfully we didn't have to fish them out somehow!

Glad to hear Ben is at least getting out and socializing with people- that's always good. I'm sure he'll find some more people to hang out with soon. He's just got to roam the campus a little bit, I'm sure he'll run into some people to meet eventually.

Well, I guess it's comforting to know that missionaries all over the world have rough weeks. I figure there needs to be an opposition in all things (the rough weeks), but I wish it was an even opposition and now good little moments mixed in with lots of long, tedious, and exhausting ones.

Well, I hope you all have a great week.

Love you,

Elder Samuel A. Burge

P.S. - I bought an ugly, Hawaiian shirt. It's my "P-day Hawaiian".

Perfect P-day attire

P-day Hawaiian

Is that a Zelda sword in the lower right corner?

“Berry” interesting

Oregon farmland

Monday, September 9, 2013

I rolled my ankle…It’s totally good now though.


I did get my suit from the office a few days ago! Thanks for sending it, I'm super excited to wear it! (Haven't had the chance really, and haven't taken any pictures in it either.) 

It was another slow week here. We had one day full of lessons and things going on, but half of them fell through. The lessons we did teach were really good though, so that's not too bad. The family that we've been teaching is doing good- they're such good people and they even came to church yesterday. It was really good to see them there, and I think they really enjoyed it. (The husband makes some really funny jokes, like him fighting off the elder's quorum when they tried to put the chip in him! He's got a good sense of humor!) 

So earlier in the week (Tuesday, I think) we were playing dodgeball in the morning with all the elders, and I ended up rolling my ankle! It was very painful, and my ankle was swollen and bruised most of the week. The first two days were really painful, trying to walk on it. I was limping around, it was terrible. It's totally good now though- healed up really quickly. Luckily we were driving the car this week. 

Honestly, it's been a rough few weeks for me and this week wasn't really any better. It's been a variety of things, all of which just keep happening. There was an elder that I really liked who'd been having a hard time, and I found out the other day that he's left- that was extremely discouraging. I got his contact info, so I'm definitely going to write him and see how he's doing but I was sad to see him leave. I'm also really tired of being in this area- I hate how long we usually stay where we're at (6 months). It's a really small area, and I've knocked just about every door in it. I'll be gone here (hopefully) after this transfer, but I'm extremely ready for a change of scenery. 

I would've love to have seen Tyson's family! We would've had to talk with the big cheese (President Morby), but I think he probably would've been alright with it. I heard about Tyson's grandpa dying- I bet that has to be tough seeing family pass away on your mission. Hopefully he's doing well, I'm sure he'll be alright (he's a tough guy.) 

I'm so excited to hear that Silas is enjoying his job doing custodial work at the elementary school! That's such a good job- he get's paid pretty well, and he doesn't have a ton of hours! I mean, it would probably be nice to get more hours (since he's make more money), but for where he's at it's freaking sweet. That's really good that they're getting to the pool to work out- I wish I was better in the water. I couldn't swim to save my life hardly! Hey, I think it's awesome that he wants to get into shape. Don't know why you'd want to be a Navy Seal (I'd never become one), but the sky's the limit! Perhaps someday when I'm back I'll have to drag Ben off to a real university and we can experience the college life-style together. 

Well, have an awesome week. Love you guys! 

-Elder Samuel A. Burge 

Dodgeballer’s ankle

Praying comes naturally to Brother Mantis!!!

Biker Dude!!!

Poor Elder Olsen got stuck lugging all the books?!

He’s not leaving till someone gets a discussion!!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

This week felt like it dragged on quite a bit


Things this week have been increasingly slow- we picked up a new family to teach on Monday (which went very well), but we didn't see anybody at Church and we didn't really teach any lessons this week. This week felt like it dragged on quite a bit, so hopefully this week will go by quickly and productively.

Ethan told me he was getting deported, which is pretty hilarious! I didn't know that worked both ways! Hopefully he doesn't have to say goodbye to Mexico (I know he loves it there), but I told him that if he does have to get re-deployed anywhere in the U.S. it's going to be Portland.

I'm glad to hear that Silas go the job and is finally going to be making some money! That will be awesome for him. I think that's probably the biggest problem with going to school while living back home, it's incredibly hard to get out there and meet people. I'm definitely going to move out and live either in a dorm or apartment when I'm going off to college- I want some the college experience and that's the only place you can get it! I think he'd fit in pretty well in a Spanish branch!

It's also good to hear that Mom is enjoying her classes! It sounds like she's having fun with all the creative ways to teach the little ones in her classes as well.

It's interesting to see how much things are changing back home- it's going to be weird when I get back into reality. I lost my SD-card for my camera, so I wasn't able to take any pictures this week. Luckily though, I found it at the church-house that we email from occasionally (which is why you're getting an email today!)

Well, I love you guys. Hope you have a great week!

Elder Samuel A. Burge

P.S. - I can't think of anything else I really need from home. Thanks for sending the suit, I'm going to enjoy that.