Monday, November 25, 2013

Incredibly good week for us…I saw my first musical

It's good to hear from you all this week, it sounds like the past week has had it's ups and it's downs for you definitely. Hopefully Ben doesn't have anymore car troubles and nobody else gets sick, but at least you have good eats this week! 

I'm pretty familiar with lessons falling through, I think that's just a common theme among missionaries in general. This week was an incredibly good week for us though. We'd prayed and fasted on Sunday for more lessons and sure enough we'd ended up teaching quite a few this week (which was really good). One person (a less-active member) let us in on Monday night and we had a pretty neat experience with him. We'd shared a spiritual thought with him- and he started talking about a friend he had back in Utah. I had the thought, "He totally wants a blessing" and sure enough as he kept going on in this story he ended up asking for a blessing to in the very least help him with his Parkinson's disease. It was an interesting experience- so we're going to fast with him and (hopefully) bless him so that in the very least he'll get some relief from his ailments.

We had some pretty good success with knocking doors this week also- there were quite a few people that said we could come back another time. It's been incredibly cold here though (well, for Oregon anyways). It was like 30 degrees last night and so we've been shivering and cold this entire week. When it doesn't rain and there's no overcast the temperatures get really cold- because the clouds not being there allows the heat to escape. We've had some really incredible views of Mt. Hood this week though!

I saw my first musical this week- the Lake Oswego stake put on "It's A Wonderful Life: The Musical" over the past few days. It was pretty good, but... It was put on by a bunch of amateurs and that definitely shows (some of the singing was pretty gnarly). All in all, I enjoyed it though and a lot of non-members came. We went with this great couple that we know in the area- it was pretty good.

It's been a pretty good week- I'm excited for Thanksgiving, I can show my gratitude but just sitting around and eating turkey all day with this sweet family in our ward here. I tried to acquire myself some apple beer for the week but unfortunately Oregonians have never even heard of the stuff (too bad, but I'll survive). We're also probably going to run a 5-k called the "Turkey Trot"- so we'll see how that goes.

So- for the month of December we get to listen to ANY Christmas music we want, so I hope that you're looking for good Christmas albums to send me! I'd love it if you could find me some of the Relient K Christmas albums, possibly any good Christmas albums that Silas could find for me would be really sweet too.

So I think just sending it to the mission office would be alright, but there might be some delay in it getting to me (only like a few days). So my current address is:

1745 16th Street
Apt. #5
West Linn, OR 97068

Either way works- also, President Morby is really pushing for the missionaries to switch over to the shoulder-bag versus us walking around with backpacks on our suits looking like idiots so that might be something to consider in the Christmas shopping.

Well, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving week. I miss you all and hope that everything this week goes good! Try not to drink too much apple beer without me.

Love always,

Elder Samuel A. Burge

Apple Beer – a Utah original

Monday, November 18, 2013

Failing in Willamette


It's been an incredibly slow week for us here in Willamette- we didn't have a single lesson this entire week! We had a good solid four lessons at least planned and one after another they all cancelled on us. It was a rough week but we've been fasting and praying to get some divine intervention or something, because not teaching all week is freaking terrible.

They even named a street for me in my honor

We've been teaching a lot of classes at church the past two weeks. Last week we taught a lesson on missionary work in the elder's quorum and this week our gospel principles teacher had some things come up so we ended up teaching that class yesterday on everybody's favorite topic of discussion- the Second Coming! It turned out to be a pretty alright lesson for us- but we were definitely not looking forward to teaching about that particular subject. Again though, it turned out to be alright. It was pretty funny though- the gospel principles teacher and I had a good 5-10 minute conversation on the phone about Lord of The Rings when he called to ask if we'd teach the class in his absence!

I had an exchange with the other elders here in West Linn on Saturday- probably the best day out of my week this week. We went to try out this little hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant by their apartment and I got a call from this priest in the Willamette ward that "somebody (not a teaching opportunity sadly) wanted to meet me". So I told him that we were at this “HORRIBLE” Chinese restaurant and so he shows up with my first district leader, Elder Adam Manwill! He's been home for like 9 months now, but he had come back up to Portland to visit for the weekend! It was totally unexpected, especially since he was rockin' a full beard (didn't even recognize him at first). So we talked about how he was doing and what it was like being home- and I don't know if I told you this but my trainer got married last week! It's crazy, he's only been home two months but he and his girlfriend got hitched last week. It's pretty crazy stuff.

After that unexpected surprise, my good friend Elder Christensen and myself ended up teaching two out-of-the-blue lessons and they were some pretty powerful lessons! We'd talked to this one lady who'd been referred to them by their members- had a great lesson with her outside on the porch. She'd read some verses on baptism that just really stuck out to her and so I asked her why she thought that particular passage stuck out. She said, "Hmmm- I guess I didn't think about it." and we testified about the gospel, and it was sweet. (I want more of these kind of lessons in my area...) Either way, it was a great exchange- got some dang good elders in this district.

Splits with Elder Christensen

For Thanksgiving- we get the whole day off some I'm not quite sure what our plans are. I know we're going to eat with the Walker family in our ward- she's an amazing cook and I guess they have a huge feast that feeds like a hundred people! I'm going to be trying a smoked turkey for the first time- apparently, from some rather bold claims coming from the members here, once you eat a smoked turkey you'll never look at a roasted turkey the same way ever again... I'll be the judge of that come Thanksgiving though..!

That's exciting that mom is going to be a counselor in the Relief Society! It's cool that you get to be a counselor with Janica's mom- I'll have to write her about it! Now she can usurp unrighteous dominion over all the ladies in the ward! (I usurp unrighteous dominion over Elder Pearson daily because I'm the senior companion!) But seriously though, that's really exciting- it will a great experience to have that kind of a stewardship, it's always humbling and a time full of growth when you get called in a capacity like that. How's being a counselor in the elder's quorum been for Dad?

Sounds like it's going to be a good week for you all back home- I can feel it! I wish I could be with you all to celebrate Silas' 17th birthday (which is freakin' weird), especially since it's at Tucanos..! I hope you have a great birthday- I love you with all my heart and soul, Salad Van Ludwig. I love you all so much.

-Elder Samuel A. Burge

Crazy adobe house

Check this out

Is this Dr. Seuss looking or what?!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This week has been good

Hello everybody,

Sounds pretty cool that Silas got a rifle for his birthday- believe it or not I actually really want to try bow-hunting when I get back from my mission. There's been quite a few bow-hunting folk I've met and it sounds kind of fun. There's a long list of things I'd like to do though.

This week has been good, we were able to have some good lessons with a few of the people we're teaching. There's a couple we've been teaching that's making some good progress (which is great to see), and we were given a referral by a family in the ward to stop by and meet with some of their friends- which is sweet! We stopped by the next day and they seem like a really solid family that we're going to start teaching! The husband was baptized when he was eight (lived in Utah), but was
never active. Either way, it's going to be good!

We had a bit of miraculous day last week, which was much needed. To be honest, I was struggling last week- just was feeling kind of down and I didn't want to do much.

On Friday though we had an incredibly great day full of little tender mercies. We'd spent like three hours in the morning just knocking on doors, and I was just tired and unhappy. So we decided to get see this family (the newly-found one we're going to start teaching) and that was such a blessing in and of itself! Afterwards, our dinner appointment fell through so we went to a local Five Guys and the sister that gave us this referral was there! So the wife in this family apparently texted her and told her about how she really liked us and about how a prayer I'd given before we left almost made her cry
and about how much she enjoyed talking with us! She's already feeling the spirit and we haven't even really taught anything yet- and so that was great!~

Immediately following that, this potential we'd met at another fast-food burger joint shows up and we talked with him for a minute- turns out he works there too! Then we headed back to the apartment to
get some stuff and we arrived back to find that both of us had gotten packages in the mail. Grandma and Grandpa Burge had sent me a little care package and it good for moral to get something so good from the postal service.

Either way, it was day filled with some really great opportunities and blessings. God cares about us, even though we might not feel like he's always there. A lot like Joseph Smith when he was in Liberty Jail- how he felt like God had almost abandoned him. Even with all my faults and shortcomings, I was still taken care of and that shows to me the goodness of God.

So that was just a really cool little experience that I had this week. Hopefully we can have some more miracles this week. Sometimes we just have to roll up our sleeves and work for them though.

Well, I love you all and hope that your week goes well.

---Elder Samuel A. Burge

Monday, November 4, 2013

Missionary Halloween


It's been a pretty good week for us here in Willamette. We had a few lessons cancel (which is nothing new), but we've had some pretty alright lessons with some of the people we've been teaching. There's a family we've been meeting whose been going through a difficult time - the father/husband passed away earlier this year. We went in to teach them the plan of salvation, which ended up being a pretty terrible lesson. It was all over the place - and a bit frustrating. I think it's definitely a lesson we'll need to go over with them again, but the spirit was there and they ended up coming to church yesterday (which was good). They are a really cool family- they have a really impressive sword collection and so I nerded out with them over that. One of the boys in the family, whose around my age, has autism so it was a bit rough for him sitting a midst the sea of people in sacrament. He's pretty funny, and such a great person!

Our Halloween was pretty interesting - we did quite a bit of service in the afternoon. I really like the opportunity we get to help out at this local food pantry run out of this quaint little Methodist church nearby our apartment. It's a lot of fun to help out there, the people that orchestrate the whole thing are incredibly friendly and warm people and it's cool to help people out. After that we went and helped this lady who was moving out break down boxes and sort out the remaining junk she had after some moving company took care of the actual moving of the furniture (best move service ever). The lady was really appreciative and we collected some pretty sweet stuff for our apartment! A couple of really interesting pictures (the one leaning on the whiteboard, for example) and even a couple of fishing poles!

In the evening we were specifically instructed to stay inside and do our weekly planning after dinner, so our ward mission leader, Brother Bradford, took us out to this freaking delicious barbecue place in Oregon City. So my Halloween at that point was complete, as I was stuffed with succulent baby-back ribs! Afterwards we did our planning and just messed around in the apartment until it was time to hit the sack.

We'd met quite a few interesting people knocking doors this week too- some lady that used to be a member but is now a very born-again Christian. She seemed like she'd hit the wine a little bit too early to be frank, but she was very nice and friendly. We also met this really cool guy who's brother that he lives with plays for the Oregon Trailblazers! We had a pretty philosophical discussion with him at his mailbox- he'd taken a philosophy class in college and had been questioning life quite a bit lately. He said he usually didn't get his mail until it had piled up after like a week, but that day he'd just decided to go out and grab it really quick. He said that he isn't a big believer in coincidence and he thought it was interesting after he'd pointed out this inspired situation we'd found ourselves in. Long story short though, he was awesome and maybe, just maybe, we can start teaching his brother so I can say that we taught an NBA basketball player!

Well, it sounds like it's been an interesting week for all of us. It's weird that they've split up the wards back home like they have- I'm not going to recognize anybody. Janica's now in our ward now, which is kind of strange. It's cool and all, but still strange.

Well, I love you guys. Hope you have a good week.

-Elder Samuel A. Burge


Moving treasures

Ready for Halloween

This is why Elders can’t have mustaches

All dressed up and nowhere to go

Photo bomb

Very Portlandian Nissan

It’s good officer!!  We have Tiwi.

Somebody scared most of the leaves off that tree 

Crisp November sky