Monday, July 28, 2014

Learned a valuable lesson on listening to promptings/impressions!


No, all the info. you sent will be useful— I will definitely be doing the spring semester, wherever that might be. I hate to admit it, but I think I'm going to try and get into BYU.. It's just been the option that has looked the best. It's got a lot of the qualities I'm looking for (minus the beards, etc.) It's crazy, I never thought I would consider it but it's got a lot going for it..!

I've got a couple of friends in the mission that have been trying to persuade me to go with me to BYU for awhile now. Most of them are just looking for roommates they'd actually enjoy living with. That can always be a gamble, I'm sure. So I'll be sure to keep you posted on things you can do to help!

This week was actually really great — started off a bit rocky though. We taught a lesson on Monday to some referrals we received, and had decided during our studies to teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Well, we got there, sitting in the car, and literally had a "stupor of thought" about what we were supposed to teach and had the idea to teach the Restoration instead, Well, we promptly ignored the feeling and the lesson was terrible! Just awful, and I realized afterwards that we should've listened! We learned a valuable lesson on listening to promptings/impressions! Luckily though, they still are going to meet with us and accepted the challenge to read the Book of Mormon..!

Well, Tuesday comes around I decided to be ambitious in the kitchen with this box of Bisquick I found. So I breaded and (attempted to) shallow-fry chicken! Well in an attempt to record this momentous occasion I accidentally broke my camera and then I cooked it WAY too fast and set the smoke alarm off. Twice. I was just frustrated at that point because in the span of an hour I had completely ruined my day..! The chicken was actually really good though, and on Thursday I attempted it again with excellent success! The breading was a mix of Bisquick, salt, pepper, and lemon-pepper! It was actually pretty good so I was proud of myself for that! Haha!

By Friday, we ended having a pretty good week, lots of people (less-actives especially) let us in and had some good lessons! Hopefully help some of them get back to church! I also went on an exchange on Friday with good old Elder Meredith from the 'Bury! We had a pretty good exchange, stayed up until 1:00 reminiscing about home! That day we were in his area, so we spent like two hours roaming downtown Portland trying just to street contact! Needless to say, it's highly unsuccessful! But we walked Portland State University and that is a SWEET campus! It's awesome being right in the heart of the city! We also walked past Pioneer Square (the Max station meets up in downtown there) and came across a protest mob about violence in some Middle-eastern country! We thought it was going to get a little dicey pretty quick, but it ended up being more passive. They marched with signs and chanted down the streets! Crazy!

But yeah, other then that we ended up having a good week and hopefully this week will be even better! Love you, have a great week!

-Elder Samuel A. Burge

P.S. - I fixed my camera.. It just doesn't have an automatic lens cover anymore..!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Proselyting in Downtown Portland!!


It's been a very interesting week for us, full of some really great things! We've been continuing to work, visiting a lot of potentials (most of which moved out; I heard the phrase "they moved like a year ago" probably seven or eight times). It was awesome though because even though we haven't seen much success with that, we miraculously got three media referrals the same day. It's super uncommon to get one a week, yet alone three in a single day. So we set out to visit them and amazingly enough they all set up times this week so we can teach them! Unfortunately they all scheduled the lessons today... But, we all gotta' make sacrifices right? Sometimes we get rewarded for our labors in ways we do not expect!

During the middle of the week we had exchanges with our zone leaders, and I finally got to fulfill my aspiration of proselyting in downtown Portland! (Even if it was only for a day..!) They serve in the Market Street Branch, so we spent half of the day walking the streets of Portland! It was awesome, we went to the library to use their wifi and that is a beautiful building! We sat on third floor by the stairwell and just sitting there we had all sorts of missionary opportunities! This crazy guy came up and talked with us for awhile, told us about his band and about how great of parties he throws. Then he wanted to show us how good of a crazy person he could impersonate so he had me pretend to be an employee at a store while he pretended to turn in an application... I had a crazy man pretend to impersonate a crazy man while I role played his crazy situation with him in the middle of the Portland library. #keepitweird

We invited him to church, and then this other guy (normal) came up and started to talk with us. He'd been meeting with missionaries in Vancouver, but stopped because he didn't feel ready to make the commitment of being baptized. Well, we ended up scheduling a lesson with him at the institute building later this week and they're going to start teaching him! It was awesome, and all we had to do was sit there while they came to us!

We got to visit some potentials in this high-rise apartment as well, and that was really sweet! It makes me want to get transferred there, it was so cool! But, odds are it probably won't happen though. That's okay though, there's a lot of perks to serving in Maplewood! It's got a nice mix of the two sides: city and suburb.

This district has been a lot more challenging though. Lots of different situations that are a bit stressful dealing with, others which are just sad to have to see people go through. I think there's been a lot of lessons learned: most of which is just gratitude for the good things I have in my life. I'm healthy, I'm grateful to be here on my mission, and I've got a desire to be faithful and obedient. I love the district, they are all great elders and sisters. I will tell you though, being a leader is stressful and tough. Well, for me it's been feeling that way lately.

Well, I have been thinking a lot about school (still). I don't really want to come home, I've decided. It's really crazy to think I've only got FIVE months left! Five! That's like no time at all, only three transfers left and then I'll be walking through the SLC airport..! It's a combination of things that makes me weary of coming home.. It's like, I'm feeling like I have being a missionary down and I finally get it, only to realize that it's over! Ben and pops, did you feel like that when your mission starting coming to a close? The zone leader I exchanged with, we talked about it like all night on our exchange.

For school, I am still clueless as to what seems best.. I definitely want to apply to USU and BYU, and I have definitely considered doing SLCC. It's kind of weird, I think BYU has definitely been more drawing to me lately.. (This mission is doing all sorts of crazy things to me!) I mean, with SLCC I am saving quite a bit of money.. But I really want to be on a campus, living like a college student..! I don't know about how to go about applying either. Would it be better to have you apply for me, or get permission from my mission president to do it myself online? I have a very general idea of tuition costs from the stuff Dad sent me, but what would my other expenses look like if I went to a school like BYU or USU?

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

-Elder Samuel A. Burge

Monday, July 14, 2014

Back in the Driver’s Seat…

Hey family,

Yes, we finally got the driver's license and it has been so nice! We were hoping to get into a car on Wednesday, but it didn't end up being until Thursday. We got a call from the vehicle coordinator and he said that he'd be by our apartment in 30 minutes to deliver my license and a car for us to drive. We got super lucky, we're now sporting a 2013 Ford Fusion— it's really nice and even has the built-in Bluetooth so I can answer the phone while I'm driving, ask it to turn on certain songs, the works! It's been so nice to have wheels again..! Not having to walk everywhere has saved us a lot of time and energy, and it's opened up a lot more possibilities for us (visiting different people, that kind of stuff). Not to mention we don't have to ask everybody for a ride anymore— I hate that a lot.

No, they've had two sets of missionaries in the area for awhile. I think it's been like 9 months since we (the elders) got here. There's just a lot of outdated information we've been sorting through. We are tearing through names in our books, either they've moved or aren't interested. It's been a very slow week, but not having to walk has helped us sift through a lot of it to find people open and interested. (Sifting the wheat from the tares, that sort of thing.)

So our investigator she goes by Lyra, but the Venaglia's (Ed and Lyra) recently joined the church like less than six months ago. They are awesome, we always enjoy eating with them and occasionally we help them with yard work, etc. Bro. Baertlein, we call him the B-Line though. He's great- we found a new person to teach through his invite, and she might possibly invite her daughter to join us for the lessons so there is some sweet potential there! We had a lesson after our zone meeting on Wednesday with them and it went really well! She was really open and super nice, plus she is very upfront and honest with what she thinks and feels so getting to the root of her concerns and questions is really easy. Other then that we have one family we are (somewhat) regularly meeting with. So that's pretty much our teaching pool right now, hence we are praying for more people to teach.

We've some interesting experiences this week though. Like in the middle of the week we had dinner with a member of the church who is gay. It's crazy, you hear about all this chatter on that subject but it was really interesting to hear it from his perspective. Especially since he's married to a practicing Jewish guy. We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant. It was definitely a Portland experience, but I really enjoyed it. The food and the conversation (their sesame chicken was delicious).

They both come to sacrament pretty frequently- I was amazed at how okay with everything they both were. The guy who was a member has been a member for a long time, served a mission, was even married with kids for quite a few years. We talked about his experience with it all, and it was crazy. Even though it's challenging in a lot of ways, he still holds to what he believes and I thought that was super cool. His partner was funny though, he knows more about the church than like 3/4 of the members and loves the church for what it does in people's lives. It's good to know that even being amidst the thick of it, these two can look past it and make it work somehow.

Sounds like some crazy things have been happening back home! I've been hearing all sorts of interesting stories lately. Facebook always brings me surprises- and Elder Meredith keeps me updated on people outta' my circle!

Well, I hope everybody has a good week. Love ya,

Elder Samuel A. Burge

Monday, July 7, 2014

Being in SW Portland is very interesting and the members here are amazing!!!


Well, his week was alright. If I'm being honest, it's probably been the two roughest weeks so far of my mission- lots of struggles, but we've gone through it with joy. I mean it's just one thing after
another and so many little challenges, but my attitude has been so much better this week. I used to think there was no way I could have the faith to endure some of the hardships early saints and pioneers faced, but after this week I feel like my endurance might be stronger than I thought (or than it used to be).

So our week was probably somewhat better-- getting more used to the area, and our planning has gotten better. The area book was very, VERY unorganized. Quite a few people that dropped us months ago, visited and rejected the message, and some people that shouldn't even be in our books (Spanish referrals, etc.).. So we've been sorting through it and I think we've gotten quite a bit of it cleaned up and updated. I still am really enjoying the area. Being in Southwest Portland is very interesting, lots of unique people and again our area is pretty big! That means a lot of places to contact, and from what I've gathered there hasn't been much door-to-door contacting for the past
few months (which means there's probably quite a few new move-ins to the apartments, people haven't seen us in awhile so they won't slam the door so hard, etc.). Still don't really have anybody we're teaching right now, except some recent converts and less-active/returning members.

Our one investigators who we met with (somewhat) regularly ended up taking off for Texas randomly to find work in some oil fields there. He had a baptismal date, but obviously that fell through since he straight-up left on a whim. Lots of confusion on that one, but hopefully that works out for him.

We had a day this week (like Thursday, I think) that was pretty rough. We visited so many potentials and, while we did clear out quite a few from the books (err, I guess iPads?) We got quite a few doors slammed in our faces. People were not friendly that day, and between those angry doors and media referrals who rejected us after requesting things themselves online, we had to walk for like two-three hours in the blazin' heat. I was pretty beat by the end of that day, but it was followed by an awesome weekend!

We've got a lot of potential here- and we saw some of it from Friday until the end of the week. The members here are AMAZING! They're super friendly and awesome to be with, and they have a missionary focus! We had some sweet opportunities because of the great people in our area!
Our 4th of July we just spent the morning with Elder Meredith and Elder Ah'Qui hanging out, getting a bite to eat, and playing basketball at the church. After that though we went with Bro. Foutz to
visit somebody we'd set a lesson with earlier. It ended up falling though (which we guessed), so we went back to his house and spent the day with them. I dozed on their couch for about an hour, then we
watched "The Other Side of Heaven". It was nice of them, and we ended up staying for a barbecue they were having with another family in the ward and some of their neighbors. We got to talk with two or three people about what we did as missionaries, and I ended up talking with one teen about boxing for awhile. He'd been boxing for two years and ended up letting me friend him on Facebook! Digital-era missionary tools, FTW! (He moved the day after further into the city). It was sweet that they let us come over though, talk with people, and fed us delicious teriyaki burgers with grilled pineapple. (grilled pineapple is so good..!)

After that we went for fireworks south in Tigard with Brother B-Line (one of our favorite members in the ward, he's legit!) and his family. The fireworks were at Tigard High School at like 9-10, and so we went to his in-law's house until then. There we ate steak and got taught a lesson in how to fix the government by this older guy.

So we watched the fireworks (no pictures this year, forgot my camera). That was good- I got to see Sister Farley and Elder Pearson because they were there! I love Elder Pearson, he's been my favorite companion my whole mission and Sister Farley is an awesome sister I've served around quite a bit. That was sweet! Then we got home at like 11:30, drank some Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Juice to celebrate freedom and stuff, then crashed because we were wiped out!

Saturday we were doing service with Brother B-Line, and we helped him clean gutters, trim some bushes, and other stuff on these properties his manages and we had an awesome member missionary experience! One of the tenants came up to pay her rent, and I ended up talking with her on his porch for 5-10 minutes while he was taking care of the rent inside. She asked all sorts of questions about missionary service, and she ended up asking Brother B-Line about whether he served or not (which he did in northern Chile). He bore a sweet testimony about how great it was, and about the gospel and right there in front of me and Elder Viecco invited her to hear the lessons and she said yes! She had
all sorts of misconceptions about e faith (going to church naked, worshipping Joseph Smith more than Jesus, etc.) and we cleared them up with her. We've got a visit set up with her this week and Bro. B-Line said he'd love to come and everything! Member missionary work is AWESOME! He told us later he'd invited her to church before and she totally shut it down, but felt prompted to invite her again and now we have a lesson planned! It shows how we should never give up even if one or two of our tried at sharing don't lead anywhere, if you just have faith and diligence you will see success in sharing the gospel with those around you! We were excited, and Sunday was filled with more talk in our meetings and with the auxiliary leaders about missionary work. I am excited to work with this ward, it's been great so far.

Glad to hear that your 4th of July was good! I'm happy that got some steak and had the chance to take it easy. I have been so tired lately, you just are always kind of exhausted as a missionary. I could barely stay awake in church (I was head-bobbing the last hour and a half) and if I sit anywhere where I don't have to talk much I have trouble staying awake. A few months back I actually fell asleep reading with some recent converts.. It was was pretty embarrassing. Thanks for getting all this license business sorted out on your end for me..! I really appreciate all the help and how quickly you got it
taken care of, you guys rock. We are excited to get back on the road and quit bummin' for rides. It's a blessing that they gave me the temporary license!

Well, I love you and hope y'all have a good week!

-Elder Samuel A. Burge