To my ungrateful family who doesn't appreciate my sentiment (we gave him a hard time for thinking we’re sweet),
Happy birthday Mom! I'm glad I'm not they only person that doesn't enjoy everybody making a big deal about your birthday- I'm glad all we ever did for my birthday was go to the movies, get some dinner. That's an awesome way to celebrate instead of dealing with parties, etc. I love you so much, and I'm grateful every day that I have a mom that was as awesome and amazing as you were.
Oh, the brotherly love- can't say I miss that so much! I'm very excited to call for mother's day- it's crazy how quickly that is coming up. It's even stranger to think that after that phone call, the next time you'll talk to me will be in the Salt Lake City airport! I have a lot of my missionary buddies coming up on their departure dates, and it's incredibly weird to think that I only have like 8-9 months left on my mission. One side of me is very excited (not going to lie), but there's another part of me that isn't excited to leave some of this behind.
That is absolutely crazy- a stabbing at the elementary school. I can't believe it escalated to that, especially over some kids fighting in the middle of the night. Do you know how the family is doing? That's got to be the most harrowing thing to hear about your kids, is that they've killed somebody. The name sounds familiar, but I didn't know the guy that got killed at all. It's so saddening to hear and see people live their lives like that- I'm grateful I had the gospel in my life, even though I didn't always appreciate it like I should have. You see situations like that a lot on your mission, people just choose to make such poor decisions with their lives.
I'd have to agree with dad 100%, missionary work is not about overbearingly sharing the Restoration to every person you meet. Even missionaries get too overzealous, running across the street and interrupting people in the middle of a phone call to try and talk to them about Jesus.. Talking to everybody and opening your mouth is important, I don't discredit that, but use common sense and don't freak people out. We actually had dinner last night with a convert, and he told us about the reason he joined the church and began to investigate. He had a friend in high school, and he loved the family of this friend because of the love they showed for him. They never once tried to force him into reading or anything like that but always invited him to join them for family prayers, home evening, mutual, etc. if he was every around and eventually he felt something missing in his life and saw people that had it.
He said that if they would have tried to make him a "project" that he wouldn't have joined or even tried to really investigate. It's crazy how just living the gospel and not being ashamed is one of the best ways a person can share the gospel. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works", it's simple.
This week was incredibly good for us, we taught like 9-10 lessons and were just miraculously given a lot of the opportunities that we had! We taught a couple of younger guys about our age, this one guy who is super hilarious we met while he was waxing his car, and the lessons we had were super good and the spirit was strong in every single one. Some of the people we're meeting with are making awesome progress- trying to get them to church and lead them to wanting to be baptized.
I don't expect to see numbers that high very frequently, it was a lot of crazy circumstances this week that left us so blessed. I do expect to see some better weeks though, with more lessons than we'd been teaching before. It's been good, to say the least.
Yeah- I've been thinking a lot about school since I should probably start applying to colleges and getting a game-plan together for when I get back. I've been all over the place with thoughts and ideas about where to go, what to study/major in, etc. I think USU has become less likely- I don't think I'm going there really at all anymore. I don't know if it would be very convenient, but I'd love it if you could send me like some course catalogs to U of U, SLCC, and maybe like UVU and BYU as well. I'm going to be honest, the idea of film-making definitely has been on my mind a lot and I'm glad that dad sent me the information that he has! I won't go to USC or UCLA- I'd like to not live in a refrigerator box under an overpass somewhere in Los Angeles if at all possible.
The Sundance film festivals are definitely something I've thought about. It would be awesome to get some connections and get involved with films and other projects there- definitely one of the ways I think I'd end up getting my way into the film business. I actually talked for awhile with a member in a previous ward who was film grad from the University of Utah and was working as an editor from some news-station in Park City. He ended up getting a second job at a Nike outlet store and his career took him into that instead of film. He said he was tired of not being able to pay the bills very easily- so that was a bit discouraging, but he said that it's not impossible to make it doing film-making. He didn't make it sound super easy though.
Well, anyways I'm going to keep thinking about it. Feel free to send me more information you find, and I'd love to talk with that documentary film-maker that one of Dad's friends knows. It'd be cool to actually talk with somebody who is making it in film. I've thought about a lot of other things though, but not many have stuck out to me like film has..!
Well, I love you all. Have a good week.
-Elder Samuel A. Burge