Monday, September 29, 2014

Elder Wheeler’s got the fire!!!


Well, it's been a very interesting week. Elder Wheeler's first week out on the mission! It's interesting to be training again- it's a lot different than my first new missionary, Elder Olsen. Maybe it's
because of what phase of my mission I'm in, different people have different attitudes, behaviors, experiences, etc. But needless to say it seems to be a much different experience. Or maybe my memory is just bad. That happens a lot.

Well, his first week seemed good. We had a lot of little successes and miracles, which are always appreciated. His first official "contact" resulted in a nice conversation with an ex-professor, now landscaper. (Not sure how one makes a jump like that, but he seemed happy so good for him). We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and afterwards had a few solid contacts. He was so excited after that! Haha! He wanted to keep tracting the whole street. Later in the week we did, and I will
tell you it was a completely different experience for him! People were slamming doors with exceeding rudeness. He was less enthusiastic after that! Haha Breaking him in nicely.  We had opportunities to teach throughout the week- mostly members, but it was good for us. Just working on improving our teaching abilities. I wonder how well I actually taught when I was first out. He's got
fire though, and that's good! I think I lacked a lot of that when I first got out. But it was a good week.

Elder Schildknecht is in my district, and it's great. His missionary is good too, Elder Jacobsen. They've had some good experiences too. Like giving a Book of Mormon out to a stripper, and a picture they took down he first night being put back up in one of their windows. Still don't know how it happened or who done it. Weird. But either way. It was a good week, full of learning/teaching
opportunities. We still have no investigators, really. That's kind of a bummer, but hopefully we will change that! We prayed for a Sunday miracle, and surely enough we had some people we meet with who aren't very active come to church! On their own - no invite or anything! Specific prayers get specific results, it was a great experience!

Wow, Kayleigh looks so mature- I remember when she was a sassy little girl in elementary/middle school. She's grown into a beautiful young lady, and now when I get home I'll have to get stacked so I can fearfully "influence" all the pompous young suitors that come to our house. Scary older brother thing, maybe I'll give myself a scar across my eye and learn to talk like Jason Statham. Yeah, that will work..! Well, I love you guys. Look forward to hearing from you next week.

Love ya,
Elder Samuel A. Burge

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Trunky Training

Well, transfer brought an interesting turn of events... I'm training again.

I was really surprised, but I guess that's where the Lord wanted me. The AP's told me when I got the call that I was going to be a zone leader, but then President decided that he needed me to train. So, now I am officially ending my mission in the Maplewood Ward! (Which is good - I love the members here a lot).

So my new companion is Elder Wheeler, and he's from Bountiful, UT. He's pretty fresh outta' high school. As I'm sure you've already seen, Sis. Riley in the ward sent out some pictures of us! He seems nice, and he's ready to work. (which is good!) He seems to be handling the adjustment pretty well.

It's great because Elder Schildknecht, who came out with me, is also "trunky training". He's also in the Raleigh Hills ward right next to us, so it's been great! He's awesome, and his greenie seems pretty alright as well so that's good news!

They also changed up the transfer calls and districts. Usually we'd find out at the transfer meeting where we were going and who with, but now they give us transfer information on Saturday night. It was strange, but the President had been making some interesting changes. Like now there are more districts in the zones. Smaller districts, and more of them. I think there were like twenty new district leaders assigned? Elder Turnbow, Elder Meredith, and Elder Viecco are now all district leaders. It's been a very unique transfer to say the least! I am excited for them all though, it will be good for them to have the responsibilities being a DL has. Helps you grow, right?

So last week was slow because me and my companion were not feeling very well- especially Elder Viecco. He was out for two days with this cold. So we spent a pretty decent amount of time in the apartment, with the occasional split to make some visits we still had set up. I read like half the church history institute manual, haha! It was actually really enlightening and interesting.

Made me appreciate the prophet Joseph Smith more, just learning about his (and his family's life). Like his beginnings and how he grew into the person he was so he could do what he was asked. Lucy Mack Smith's father (Joseph's grandfather) lived a rough life! He spent his whole life trying to make money and it never worked out well. He, at one point, got crushed by a falling tree. Then four months after making a recovery from that fell into a water-wheel..! That's just bad luck. I think learning about some of the translating of the plates and other things was interesting too. To see how he was rebuked A LOT in the beginning for not being ready to receive the plates, losing the first 116 pages, etc. It was a good read though.

But other then that, I slept. Haha, so our week was a little lax because he and I were feeling sick. I definitely didn't get nearly as sick though which was nice.

So as far as school is concerned, I think I will apply for the spring semesters. I have been very undecided about whether I should dive straight into school, but I think I will just take the time off for a month or two to get back into normal life. I hope you haven't put forth too much effort that will be wasted by my indecisiveness..!

Well, I love you guys. Thanks for letting me know about my returning itinerary (A.K.A. my "trunky papers"). I still want to fly home though, I will have my SLC Airport homecoming that all the church videos says I should have!

-Elder Samuel A. Burge

Don’t worry elder.  You’ll enjoy being a district leader.

My second son – Elder Wheeler

It’s feed my SHEEP elder.

It’s like a mattress, but made out of bricks.

The best message you could receive in a grimy phone booth in downtown Portland.

 My $7 grilled cheese was definitely not worth $7

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cool little miracle-type things

Hello family!

Yeah, it would've been nice to have had Silas translate! I tried learning some conversational phrases in Cantonese this week- it was difficult. They didn't come to church this week, which was too bad. He had work things come up he had to take care. We did have a less-active we contacted during the week come to sacrament though! It was a miracle, I did not think she would come at all, but sure enough she walked into the church at 9:05. Crazy sweet.

We also had another experience that was kind of funny, and really sweet. We received this media referral a few weeks back, somebody referred him to us and wanted us to give him a Restoration DVD. We stopped by, gave him the DVD and he said he would watch it and if it interested him he'd contact us. Well, I had the thought to email him (we had his email) on Thursday so I wrote him one. Well, we were at the library and sure enough he was sitting across from me at another computer! It was a crazy, so we talked with him in quiet, awkward library talk and told him to check his email! It was pretty funny and a cool little miracle-type thing.

Our week was alright. Just working to try and find more people to teach. We've been working with the ward a lot, building everybody's faith that The Lord is preparing people for us (the missionaries and ward) to teach and baptize. They've been going well— the members in Maplewood are so awesome! Great people, and they have a great focus on the work. We did splits for home-teaching yesterday and found some less-actives that we might be able to get on with.

Other then that- things are doing alright. The district and the companion are doing pretty good. It's sad, because almost all of the missionaries I know are going home next week. This transfer we're losing a ton of good missionaries. It's a reminder that my days are numbered.

Yeah, I still am going to apply to BYU-I. I don't feel pressured into it, it's a great option but I struggle still with the idea of going to a church school. The thought of being in a small town smack in the midst of Idaho initially makes me weary, but it seems like a solid school and I know it would be alright. The lack of a super solid film program deters me some, but if I really wanted to pursue that I could just crank out excellent grades and transfer to BYU. So don't feel like I am feeling pressured of anything. I will take Kayleigh's advice and avoid Dixie! Haha!

Hey- I love awkwardly yelling at/disciplining people. It's great... (Not really.) haha, preparation for life I guess! I can't imagine Silas making people do push-ups— "Silence" rebuking people publicly seems so different!

Well, sorry Mom that school has been somewhat difficult. Hope that things get better for you soon at school.

Well, I love you guys, talk to you next week!

- Elder Samuel A. Burge

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Teaching through a Chinese Translator


Sorry this came in so late...This week was pretty usual. I feel like a broken record sometimes talking about my weeks. We are still in a "finding phase". Which isn't that great, because I feel like that's been my whole mission. There's some good progress being made with some people we found and started teaching in a few of my other areas though, and hearing about those makes me feel pretty good! Hopefully I can find some good, solid investigators by the time I'm done here.

The head of the department of proselyting and another very distinguished person from Salt Lake City came and spoke to us as missionary leadership on Friday. They really put online proselyting into a better perspective for most of us, I think. Just how to use it more effectively. They also talked about finding and planning- made a big push for both of those. Some of things they talked about have been ideas we've had for the zone, so that felt good to know we were on the right track! Anyways, it was a long meeting, but it was insightful. A lot of information though, and I have to figure out how to share it with the district.

Oh, something absolutely crazy.. We found out somebody I'd taught that moved out of the state hung himself last week. Police found him and let his friends/family know. It's crazy, not more than two weeks ago we were talking to him on Facebook and now he's gone. It was crazy- life situations like that really puts God's plan into perspective though. I'm grateful we have the knowledge of it all knowing where we go after this life. Roadmaps are nice, especially with things like that..!

A few days before Sunday (on like Thursday I think) we got a call from some elders in the zone. They told us that a new investigator they had would be coming to our ward for church on Sunday because the member they've been taking with them lives in our ward. Well, this brother in the ward is one of the few people in the stake that can speak Cantonese (Chinese). This guy and his family are Chinese and speak very little English, but the husband has become very interested in learning about Jesus Christ. Well, he and his wife came to church but because of their language barrier we ended up teaching our own lesson for second and third hour with Bro. Fei translating most of it. I will tell you, it was very difficult to try explaining things simply— especially since this man's wife spoke absolutely no English! He was alright, but gospel conversations were hard for him to follow. But, they enjoyed church and felt very friendly and welcome and I think our lesson went fairly alright.

But, that's probably the highlights of our week.

Love you, talk to you soon.

Elder Samuel A. Burge

Monday, September 1, 2014

Our week was very routine


Well, I am sorry to hear about your rough week mom! It's amazing the things people will say and do, I feel like so many people don't even think when they say things. It's sad- I wish that people would be more open to listening to both sides of a story, rather than seeing it from their narrow perspective. Well, I'm sure things will get better for you. You're a great teacher, and given a few weeks things will smooth themselves out. 
It's great to hear that Kayleigh is doing so great with tennis! Crush the cowboys!! It's great to hear about how good everyone is doing: Kayleigh with tennis, Silas with ROTC, Ben with his and his lady troubles! Haha, I laughed when I read about that- proud of you! 

Sorry to hear your excursion up to Idaho didn't work out! You'll have to let me know how everybody likes the university when you finally go. I really need to just sit down at a computer and look into some of the schools more. I got permission from the prez, but it's difficult to find a computer without making your companion just sit there and do nothing. 

I've almost completely decided to just be back at home for a few months once I get back. I mean, not that I have any issues with starting in the winter semester but it would be easier to just to go for spring so I don't have to get every single thing filled out and squared away while on the mission. Plus, just time to kind of hang out and see everyone again would be nice— I will especially enjoy the tides being turned on Silas. Finally, I will be the one propositioning him to buy ME pizza! (And the good ol' days of me doing that to Ben as well..!) 

Well, our week here in Maplewood was very... routine. Just some of the same, typical things. Knocking doors, (we taught a lot of less-actives, recent converts, and returning members though which was nice). This week there's a few big cheeses from Salt Lake to talk with the missionary leadership about online proselyting and some additional things— normally it's just the ZL's, STL's (sister training leaders), and President that get to do those types of meetings but the lowly, humble district leaders get to join them for MLC (missionary leadership council) this week! 

Well, I love ya! Have a great week! 

Elder Samuel A. Burge 

Beaverton North District