Monday, March 31, 2014

It was raining pretty hard…It was pretty successful though


This week was pretty good. Seemed a bit long at points, it was raining pretty hard most of the week and we did a lot of door-knocking. It was pretty successful though- we taught this Mexican guy right there on the spot, and set-up a lesson for later this week with a younger African fellow. He was a child soldier in Rowanda!~ You meet some crazy people on your mission!

It was a good week for the entire district! Everybody had a lot of success! There hasn't been a whole lot of finding hours from most of the missionaries, but after some encouragement I got a couple to at least put in a few hours. After that, We had like five investigators found from just hitting the pavement and talking with people! Needless to say it was a pretty sweet moment. I also gave my first baptismal interview this week, which was really enjoyable! It was a pretty spiritual experience for us both, so I think I'm going to enjoy doing more of them!

We had another cool experience this week, our ward mission leader was out collecting fast offerings and some older guy came up and asked him for a copy of the Book of Mormon. He asked if he was meeting with missionaries and he said he'd talked with us before, then gave him his information. We then got a call from our ward mission leader about it and so we decided to pay him a visit! Well, the lesson was a bit all over the place with lots of extremely skeptical questions, but by the end of the visit he wanted us to come back and said he'd read and pray from the Book of Mormon. Then we found he was also dying of a terminal cancer and his odds weren't looking too good! He seemed to be taking it alright, but that's gotta' be hard.

Other then that, not any too interesting. Glad to hear that your spring break was enjoyable! We had a few days being (mostly) alone. Their son was around, by he was in and out most of the week. It sounds like Ben is getting into the game! I'm excited to see how his dating endeavors go! Tell Silas I know a few elders that want to go into the military when they get home from their mission. It'd probably be better if you were more spiritual anyways— there's a lot of bad stuff going on behind the scenes in army camps, etc. That's awesome that he liked the open house for the National Guard.

We helped two people move back to back on Saturday, it's been awhile since I helped anybody move. Now that spring is here I'm pretty sure that we'll be doing a lot more of that. That's okay by me though, I kind of enjoy helping people move. I don't get as many opportunities to do service as I'd like here. I bet that since Dad is in the elder's quorum presidency he helps with a lot of those things, I find that it's mostly them there when it comes to move.

Well, I gotta' go! Got a whiffel ball tournament to win— I think we found a new preparation day activity, it's really fun.

Love you,

Elder Samuel A. Burge

Monday, March 24, 2014

President Morby taught a lesson with us…


Glad to hear that spring break is full swing for you guys. Everybody is off doing things for spring break this week, but I don't think it will be too much of an issue for us as far as teaching lessons and such. The Read's are off to the coast, so we'll be home alone for the week (except for their son who has to work).

Our week was pretty good! Our zone conference was really insightful, I always enjoy them. Our mission president did in fact come with us to our lesson on Tuesday! It was really weird seeing him there, but it wasn't as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be actually. He chimed in with comments from time to time, and was quick to answer some questions (which was nice). Our lesson went well, we ended up having the guy we taught invited one of his friends from his church to come and sit in, so it was actually really sweet! President Morby and I talked about later on during the week on the phone, had some laughs about it. He said it's a different realm being out in the field with the elders, and he worriedly thought we were going to get into a bible-bash with him! It was a sweet lesson though and we enjoyed having him!

We had quite a few people at church this week, it was awesome! We had our investigator come to church for he first time! Not only that but we also had two less-active families come, it was awesome! We didn't actually teach a whole lot this week, but we had a few lessons so that was good. We're doing a lot of "personal finding"- seen some success with that. We both had the thought to knock doors on Alexander Street and ended up finding a guy we talked with about the Book of Mormon for a solid 30 minutes, it was sweet! I was feeling very sick that day with a cold but I still went out later in the evening and luckily we found that guy there. He's leaving back to SW Portland in a day or two so hopefully we planted a seed with him!

Things are going good with us though, we're just keeping on and working hard. Not too much to write about this week.

love you, talk to you next week!

Elder Samuel A. Burge

Monday, March 17, 2014

Meetings & Priesthood Blessings

Hey everybody, 

Unfortunately we don't have any big plans for St. Patrick's day- other than I'm going to do my laundry and get some groceries. We have a lesson tonight, which is good! Other then that though, it's going to be a rather mundane holiday for us.

I guess the thought of school when I get back it isn't really stressing me out too badly. I just don't have a very good idea of what I want to do. The thought of trying to go for SLCC to get the first year or two outta' the way without taking out big loans would probably be a good idea- but then again I really want to live out on my own, like on a college campus. No offense, but I don't really want to live at home for very long if I can help it any. It looks less and less probable when I first get back though. Either way, I think USU is still up there on my list of schools right now. The amount of student loans and debt I'd be racking up kind of freaks me out a bit. I don't want to owe anything more than I have to.

Well, tell Ben not to feel too excluded about spring break. We didn't do anything too crazy either- I have a lot more meetings now that I'm a district leader. We spent most of Thursday and Friday off at various meetings. We had a leadership council up in Lake Oswego where we talked about the mission, our districts, and received some training on various things. It was actually a really insightful meeting and I got a lot of good ideas and thoughts about how things I can do as far district meetings, exchanges, and all that kind of stuff goes. We didn't get very many opportunities to teach this week- had quite a few cancelled lessons. It's okay though, I'm really hopeful this week we'll see some more success! We're going to be doing a lot of door-knocking (we do a TON of finding as of the past several months here in Aloha), but we have a few lessons scheduled and I hope those go through!

We've had a lot of people in the district this week getting sick or injured. We have a sister whose ankle/foot got really messed up in that big snow-storm awhile back, another elder who was having some issues with his hearing, others with the flu. Everybody is just sick or afflicted in some way or another. I'd been having wicked charlie-horses in the middle of the night (which happened to me in my last biking area), but I got a priesthood blessing and like an hour later my calves felt great . We gave the sisters and elders blessings as well, and some have seen improvements but the sister with the messed up foot is still having a really tough and painful time with it. It's hard to see them struggle, but they're all going along like champs!

We have a zone conference tomorrow, which I'm excited for! I always love those, you get lots of revelation and insight about everything. Our mission president asked every zone to have some lessons scheduled after the conference in the evening so he could come with some missionaries to their lesson and, after talking with the zone leaders, we were like the only missionaries able to get something set up. So- we're probably taking the mission president out with us to a lesson as well! It's going to be interesting too- this guy we're meeting with is incredibly knowledgeable with the Bible, and he's definitely been one of the most challenging people I've ever taught. He's making good progress though, definitely more accepting of the Book of Mormon and he's really nice! Definitely difficult trying to help him work through some of the objections he has (like the Trinity, etc.) I think he's felt the Spirit though, and he's been prepared by the Lord.

It was a good week though. Time seems to just go by quicker and quicker as I keep going. I've got some former companions going home pretty soon, and it's made me think a lot lately. I remember when I first came out on the mission I was checking the time on my watch to see how much longer I had left! Even fairly farther into the mission I was hard-working and actually wanted to be out here in Portland, but the thought of going home didn't bother me much or make me sad. The closer and closer I get though the weirder it's felt, and I even had a dream a few weeks back where I came home and I honestly felt pretty sad when I realized that my mission was over. I don't know, this one guy in my second area told me that he thought I'd be one of those missionaries they'd have to pry off his bike and throw into the airplane, and I totally thought he was reading me wrong.. But I don't know, I guess I am changed a little bit. I'm grateful that I came out here, it's been such a good experience.

Well, that's all I've got this week. I hope that everybody has a good week!

-Elder Samuel A. Burge 

Portland Showers

Elder, do you think I’m going to the dark side?

Too many in this room, so we had to stack them.

Biking Machine

Which way do we go?

Cat scratch fever?!

Spring Flowers

Are we in Whoville?

Monday, March 10, 2014

My brother is living a life of crime?!

It has been a pretty long week- a good week, but I've been pretty exhausted. Just with walking everywhere (Elder Freshour's brakes went out and he almost got hit by a car- so we're working on getting that fixed) and it's been raining pretty hard all week has left me thoroughly soaked and ready to fall right asleep every night.

Glad to hear that Cody is doing well! Hermiston is more south-central in the state and isn't in the Portland mission. I think I'm going to give my homecoming talk on whether or not Judas Iscariot was foreordained to betray Jesus Christ or my explanation of the hieroglyphs/pictures found in the Book of Abraham- it's kind of a toss-up at this point! (Both really important to salvation and stuff. haha)

Yeah, there's a crazy amount of missionaries in Portland- it still blows my mind how much work we're able to find. It goes to show that God hastens His work in his own due time and he's constantly preparing people to hear the message! I mean, just within our area we have some missionaries teaching quite a bit (like fifteen lessons a week) and that's within like half of a ward boundary! We recently as a mission fasted to find more people to teach, and before we even finished our fast we were able to set up a really firm lesson for later this week and some guy came up to us on the street to talk! Came up to us- that doesn't happen ever! It's not like he's already prepared to be baptized or anything, but still that's pretty sweet.

It's a small world, I've learned time and time again on my mission- we tracted into a lady the other day that works at the Miller Sports Park in Tooele! She flies out there for two weeks like once a month and stays in some apartment/house not too far from the industrial area where the school district office building is at! It was the strangest thing, what are the odds of that? (She wasn't interested though, but super friendly and nice!)

I love the missionaries in my district though, they're all really awesome and hard-working! Our district meetings have been fantastic and it makes me feel like I'm not a complete failure when it comes to my new responsibility! I'm glad that you've got the paperwork, that pretty much makes things official. You can put it on the fridge or something!

Silas had a run-in with the police! (Silas and his friends found some old firecrackers and we’re setting them off at the edge of town and somebody called the Sheriff about possible gun shots fired.) Way back when I was in high school I had a few encounters with the local police department.. I think I told you about most of them! Anybody that says they're not phased by getting pulled over, etc. is lying!

I think every missionary is different but I think dating isn't too high on my list of things to think/worry about when I'm back home.. I think the thought of what to do about college and schooling stresses me out enough, and then start talking about dating and all that stuff- I don't dwell on it, it freaks me out!

Thanks, I love getting mail. I've still got to write Kayleigh a letter back, I've just been so busy the past week or two that I haven't had any time really at all to sit down and write.. I think I'm most excited for the freedom of not having such a rigorous and busy schedule when I get home- I hate always going and feeling like there's never a break (which is also why I feel so tired all the time).

Anything you could send me. Well, don't bother sending me anything like a case for the iPad. I guess they've discouraged missionaries from getting new cases, keyboards, etc. I think if you could send me a Moleskin journal (you can find them at Barnes & Noble, simple black notebook) that would be appreciated. I found another small journal I've been using but I'm running out of room in that one. Maybe some socks, nothing fancy, but different colors besides plain ol' black! Maybe if you could find some grey or blue socks, possibly some argyle? I had a sweet pair of grey socks Grandma and Grandpa sent me, but we walked so much one day that I wore holes in them... I was devastated, but I've learned my brown wing-tips will chew up thinner dress socks if I walk around in them for hours without ceasing! And the usual candy, treats, etc. are always appreciated! Maybe homemade bread?

Well, I love you all! Keep Silas off the streets before he starts slinging dope or something!

Sincerely yours,

-"District Leader" Elder Samuel A. Burge

Monday, March 3, 2014

I haven’t been fired yet

 Aloha!~ (I tried that during my opening remarks at district meeting and nobody laughed, it was pretty awful.)

It's been a pretty good week- still getting adjusted to my responsibilities of being the district leader, but it's not too bad. The pay is awful though! My first district meeting seemed to be fairly alright. Nobody apostatized from the church and I feel like people got some good insights/revelations from the training we kind of put together last minute so all in all it's gotta' be pretty okay!

So I really like my district, they're all really great missionaries and I enjoy all of their personalities (which is good). Makes it really easy to be charitable! We have the biggest district I've ever seen or been in with a total of sixteen missionaries! The biggest I've seen has had, like, twelve. Every ward in the district has at least two sets of missionaries, and ours has three. Everybody seems to be obedient and diligent so I haven't had to thrust down the iron fist of righteous dominion- I do however exercise unrighteous dominion by making several of the missionaries refer to me by my official title "District Leader Elder Burge". Gotta' have a little bit of fun with the responsibility I've got now.

I really like the Aloha 2nd ward- specifically the area. There's tons of bike lanes everywhere, so biking isn't nearly as hazardous. There's actually some food-trucks in my area as well! They're all Mexican, but I really like Mexican food now (used to not like it back home so much, but now I really love it). What's pretty awesome is we have a MAX station on the border of our area, and the T.V. highway (which runs through part of the southern region in our area) have a lot of people so I've done quite a bit of street contacting! I really enjoy street contacting- gave out a Book of Mormon to this really nice guy from Mexico! It was awesome. We have a lot of people that speak very little English here in the Aloha 2nd ward, so I think I might pick up a bit of Spanish by the time I'm through here.

My companion, Elder Freshour, is awesome! He's SUPER diligent and we get along really well. We've had some pretty good jokes already so I think it's going to be a good six weeks! He's from West Virginia- that's pretty unique as well.

I like the people we're living with, the Read's. They're pretty funny people- got a pretty dry sense of humor but they make me laugh. Plus Brother Read makes a pretty killer loaf of bread too! (Mom, your bread still reigns triumphant as the best homemade bread I've had! Yours will always be my favorite.) The attic is pretty small, but it's growing on me. Occasionally I'll try to stand up too much and smack my head against the ceiling- but it's kind of fun to say that I live in an attic! Very unique!

Silas is taking some weird classes. Specifically aquaculture and horticulture. I can understand some about the flower class, but the aquaculture class I can't figure out. He knows it's about fish, right? Well, I think that his other classes sound pretty sweet though! I'm glad that he's taking a film class and a drawing class! He's a creative guy so I can imagine once he'd hone is drawing skills he wouldn't be too shabby. Anybody can learn to draw, I think. You'll have to send me some pictures of things he's drawn so I can see them. Interesting he's taking computer repair and networking- I think those are some cool classes to take. Finally we can get our computers set-up to play video games with having Ben around (and he'll have somebody who can help him with all his homework).

Yeah, church dances can be pretty interesting. I bet there was some really fun people there, but I'm glad that she dislikes the ballroom dancers as much as I did. They just take up the whole front of the cultural hall and do the same basic waltz to EVERY song. Once we had some kids start break-dancing in the a circle and that was pretty sweet! Glad she enjoys them though, but remember... BOOK OF MORMON DISTANCE APART!!!~

Well, maybe someday the epic battle for air quality will cease. Or dad will eventually have to retire, right? Sorry dad, but I think you'd just end up retiring before people stopped having strong opinions about air quality and stuff.

Well, I'm going to go buy some groceries now. Maybe plot out ways I can continue to reign in tyrannical horror in the "Beaverton Oregon West, West District". (really rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?)

-"District Leader" Elder Samuel A. Burge

Elder Moore cuttin’ my hair

Maybe I should have had Moore cut a little less

A very fiery discussion of Islam

Friends from Willamette

Another Willamette friend

Another Willamette friend

More friends

Raspberry Lemonade with Chia seeds

How tropical

 The ceiling in our attic room

Unpacking in my new digs

 Big Town Hero mural

My sandwich
My companion Elder Freshour


Groovy cat