Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kloop Kloop! Who's There?

Hello everyone! Fawaka? That's talkie talkie for how's it walking! We're learning talkie talkie as well as Dutch here so it's extra hard but it is a super awesome language to learn!

This week has really flown by and I don't know where the time went! There is a saying here that the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days and it is so true! Each day seems to take a long time but by the time it gets to Sunday, you wonder where the time all went!

I've completely made my adjustment here and I'm now comfortable with everything going on here (I think). Life is good here but always busy and it is so hard to find time to do anything other than class time! I'll do my best to give a good synopsis (thanks English class for that word). 

Wednesday night, my companions and I participated in a tie draft where you put your name tags into a drawing and you end up getting an ugly tie to wear. Well, I was the lucky elder to end up with the "dirty bird" (What a terrible name!) tie that looks about as ugly as it sounds. Pictures will be up later. But that was pretty much the rest of my first P day and P day is awesome! A break from the insanity of 11 hours of class time a day with the only breaks for meals. 

Thursday we had our last lesson with our investigator, "Greet", and committed her to baptism which was pretty awesome! We found out about 5 minutes after the lesson that she is a member and is actually our teacher now. So that was a bit of a shock but she's a really good teacher. She's actually our new investigator now again which seems a little weird since we already taught her but it's ok because we can always do better in teaching. Later on Thursday, my district went to a pre-service training for new teachers at the MTC where we were the only missionaries in a room full of teachers which was interesting. While we were there, the head teacher taught us while the teachers all observed and learned how to be more effective teachers. It was a neat experience and I learned a lot from it. One thing that I learned was the the Book of Mormon combined with the Spirit is the most powerful tool in conversion which was neat for me to learn. My claim to fame during that was that the head guy asked me to pray and I prayed in all Dutch and all the teachers seemed shocked that I learned that much after only just a week. Pretty neat!

Friday in the morning we played basketball with the Nords (Norwegian Elders) and I beat them all at knockout which was pretty funny. Not important though. Moving on! We did a role play where we taught our teachers while they pretended to be investigators and we had to teach in all Dutch! Super moelijk (hard), but very effective at the same time. I really relied on the Spirit to help me teach and I found the words to say which was such a relief. Our district played a game where we spun in a circle and tried to touch a spot on the board with our eyes closed. We had to take a bit of a break and have some fun. Lots of laughter and bonding which was great to have (pictures later).

Saturday I had my mind blown like 20 times. We had a SUPER deep spiritual conversation about the Atonement and I learned so much. We talked about what happened to the people before the Atonement and learned that the Atonement is eternal and talked about what eternal means and it was CRAZY! Super crazy to think about and the concept of no beginning and no end. Pretty cool stuff. Other than that Saturday was filled with class time and learning which is pretty much what we do every single day!

On Sunday I led both the priesthood lesson and the district meeting and I felt like I did a pretty good job on both. During Priesthood, we talked about the Book of Mormon and it's importance and everyone had great thoughts to share. In our district meeting, we had a member from our zone presidency there and the topic was of Repentance (bekering in Dutch). One thing that I really learned from the lesson was that repentance should be a time of joy rather than sadness and it was really cool to think about it that way. After Sacrament meeting, our zone went on our temple walk and took some fantastic pictures which I will put up later! I've gotten really close with one of the Nord elders, Eldste Osguthorp. He's an awesome guy and we've really clicked and have a lot of fun together. Then there's Eldste Hall. He's a scary looking guy and tells me that he's going to kill me every day but it's all in good fun. We're actually good friends and that's his way of letting my know that. Through threats of death. No biggie! We had a great time though and learned a lot in the day. I watched a talk by Elder Bednar on Becoming a Missionary and it was very very humbling, but at the same time made me want to be so much better. I want to Become a Missionary rather than just go on a mission. That's very important and I need to focus on others and how I can help them through their different trials and difficulties. Great Sunday and great messages!

Monday was pretty normal but I had a good lesson on teaching by the Spirit and I know that the only way that I will be an effective missionary is by teaching by the Spirit. The Spirit is the best teacher and I always want to have it. 

On Tuesday, my companions and I probably taught our best lesson yet and really felt the Holy Ghost in the room. We taught about baptism and it was just a great lesson and we all felt great afterwards. The language is getting better everyday and my teacher pulled me aside today and told me that I was doing amazing at the language and that I was doing better than anyone she's had which was a relief to hear because I was doubting myself a bit on how well I was doing and that was a big boost to me. We taught our teachers about the Plan of Salvation with no notes and that was really scary but went well overall. I can always be a better teacher and I want to get better every day. 

Today was a testament to how well the Nord elders have improved in volleyball. We actually had a competitive game and used all three hits on every point. It was beautiful and I was so proud of them for how much they've grown haha. But gym time is fun and I'm always up for playing volleyball!

Oh yeah and there's a story about the subject of this email. Our teacher, brother Norton served in Suriname and we learned that they dont knock on doors in Suriname. They tap on the gate and loudly yell "Kloop Kloop!" Which means knock knock in Dutch. Its fantastic and now whenever we open a door we say kloop kloop which is awesome! Just a fun little thing to know!

Thanks everyone for your support and prayers because I really appreciate it! I also get all your emails if you respond to this email so thank you for those that responded! They are great to read and really brighten my day! Stay awesome everyone! Tan Ban! (Stay good)

~Elder Burr

The ugly ties
The dirty bird
 Elder Buehler and Elder Burr
 My companions
Elder Buehler, Elder Burr, Elder Hunt
 My name-tag! In Dutch. 
 Our game on the board
 A picture our district drew together.  We should go pro!
 Picture of me when I wasn't ready
 Mount Rushmore with me
 Our district!  Sister Parker, Me, Elder Buehler and Elder Hunt
 Our district and the Nord District
 Me and Eldste Hall, who probably will tell me he wants to kill me
 Our district and Eldste Wandtka (Awesome guy)
Me and Elder Osguthorp (My favorite guy I've met here)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Welcome - The MTC

Hey everyone! Wow I can't believe that I am actually here! Everything has been such a rush and such a blur. I'll do my best to summarize what took place here this first week at the MTC.

Sooooooo. Day 1! I entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center) at around 12:30 and said goodbye to my family which was really hard to do. I did my best to hold back the tears though even though it was difficult since I won't see them again for two years! Anyways, the first day is a whirlwind of activity, picking up language supplies, getting your name tag and other random assorted missionary stuff. After picking it all up I dropped my suitcase off in my room and headed straight to my classroom where the was basically only speaking Dutch with a little bit of Engels (English). I met my companions there and we are in a trio which is a little weird since almost everyone else in the MTC is in a pair. That's not even the weirdest part though. We have one Zuster (Sister) in our district and her name is Zuster Parker. And yes she has a pretty awesome last name. So our district is our trio and a solo sister which is almost unheard of. We have pretty much the smallest district but I think that it is an advantage because we're closer to one another and have more personal teacher time. Everyone is already super close with each other and we're a little family of a district! Day 1 was chaotic because of the shock of actually being in the MTC and of all the Nederlands (Dutch) being taught already.

On the second day I had a pretty normal day but that entails basically going to class the entire day with breaks for meals and that's it. Wake up at 6:30 and go to bed at 10:30(ish) and the entire day you are working. We found out on the second day that we were going to teach an investigator on the next day in Nederlands and we all were freaking out because our knowledge was essentially nothing. So most of that day was spent studying basic phrases and words in Dutch to help us. One neat thing that happened that day was when our teachers (Sister Schwab and Brother Norton) told us to ponder on what we should teach our investigator. All four of us came up with different answers but Zuster Parker showed us how they all related to each other. That taught me that the Spirit can testify to each person differently but can all be the right thing for the investigator. The Spirit works a little different for each person. Our zone president, President Seamons interviewed us and asked me to be the district leader! I was shocked but accepted the invitation and I'm serving now and lead the district in all of our meetings.

We taught Greet (our investigator) on the third day and man oh man that was rough! None of us knew what each other were saying so we kept asking each other in Engels what the other person had just said. We made it through the lesson though and I think we taught her something because she invited us back! Later that day we learned how to bear basic testimonies in Nederlands and Brother Norton taught us that it does't matter how complex your testimony is as long as it is said in sincerity. So we all bore our one sentence testimonies and dang the Spirit was strong in that room. I must of had dust or something in my eyes or maybe my eyes were sweating a bit ;)
Also today I learned how to pray in Nederlands and now pray every day in Nederlands.

On our fourth day (Saturday) we taught Greet again and wow what a difference one day can make. We all knew what we were saying and we really relied on the Spirit a lot and the lesson went great! After that lesson Zuster Schwab interviewed each of us personally to just check up on us and she told me that I was doing great at the language and gave me this advanced packet to study to learn more. That was a big boost to me because I had felt that I wasn't doing too well but she brought me up and told me how good I was doing. That was a big blessing to me and the gift on tongues is really working because there is no way I would've learned this much in this amount of time. I'm so grateful for that.

The saying in the MTC is "Just make it to Sunday." So when Sunday hit I was very excited. Sunday was a true day of relaxation because instead of 11 hours of class a day we only have about 5. Our zone is different from all the zones because everyone is speaking a foreign language. So we have the Nords, the Swedes, the Danes, the Dutchies and we are the Surinamers! Our zone every night has zone prayer where some one is picked and they pray in their foreign language. I can't always understand since there are so many languages but the Spirit is always strong and our zone has a unity and special bond that most other zones don't have. In sacrament meeting as well, the Zone President picks a random person from the zone and they speak on the topic of the day. So in the mornings, everyone writes a talk in their own foreign language which is really cool. The Spirit was very strong and it was an amazing experience. That night the new missionaries watched a devotional by Elder Bednar called "Character of Christ" and if you have the chance to watch it I definitely recommend it because it is life changing. It focused on turning outward when the natural man would turn inward and it was super powerful and an amazing message. That really changed my overall goal and made me want to be so much better to help everyone around me and focus on others rather than myself. Sunday was amazing!

Monday and Tuesday went by in a flash, just so so fast. There's just so much to learn and so much to prepare every day to teach Greet and to learn more about the gospel and especially Christ and Nederlands. We had a cool devotional where that Nashville Tribune Band performed for us and they were awesome! Really cool experiences every day here and something amazing happens every day. 

One thing they're not good at at the MTC is volleyball. We play every day and they are.... well not good. Oh well it's still fun to play and laugh with all the Elders. I've gotten close with the Nords in the district because they're so funny and so helpful in everything. We get more Dutch Elders today and I'm excited!! They're going to the Netherlands though which isn't as good as Trinidad Port of Spain! I've had an amazing first week and I'm sure I'll have many more amazing weeks to come! You guys are all in my prayers! I love you all!

~Elder Burr
Proof that I can write in Dutch 
My companions, Elder Hunt and Elder Buehler
The Elders again
Uhhhh some random guy Elder Burr
Me again! 
 My purpose in Nederlands and English
 My perch where I study in my room
 Blurry picture of my perch
 Het Orlogsbaby! (Warbaby) drawn by Elder Buehler
 Cookies my grandma sent me (Thank you!!!!!!)
 Some of our flags and Elder Hunt
 Our flag in our room
 Where my mission actually is

Saturday, August 15, 2015

First Email!

(Received this quick email last night from Parker!)

Hey mom and dad! Just wanted to let you know that I'm alive and well. Our P day is on Wednesday and so I'll be emailing everyone on that day. My companions are Elder Buehler and Elder Hunt and they're great and yes we're in a trio. Zuster Parker is awesome as well and we only have a district of 4. I'm district leader already and we're busy busy busy. I love you guys and will email on Wednesday!

Tot Ziens!

~Elder Burr

A Missionary

Somehow the day of "Future Missionary" has arrived.
 Parker's bank was sitting on the counter in the kitchen and made me cry.  All his life he's been saving for a mission and talking about the day that he would go.  That day was finally here, and even though we were very happy for him, we were also sad too!

He was set apart by our Stake President, President March on Monday night at about 9:00 pm.  President March gave him a beautiful blessing.  We were blessed to have our immediate family as well as Grandma and Grandpa Romer, Uncle Drew and Aunt Tina, as well as Victoria there.
 Tuesday morning we were able to go to the Oakland temple.  Grandpa wanted a picture with Parker.  He had a picture as he was leaving for his mission with his Grandpa and wanted to have one with Parker as well.
 Parker and mom.  Glad that the Oakland temple is open again!
 Good-bye Bay Area!
Tuesday afternoon we had a short family meeting and family prayer before heading off to the airport to fly to SLC.  (A few tears ... okay a lot, were shed as we said good-bye for two years)! About a  month ago, Travis got an email moving Parker's report date to the MTC from August 5th to August 12th.  We were in Utah the week of the 5th, but since the date got changed we decided to fly out with Parker to take him to the MTC.  We arrived just before midnight on Tuesday.
 Wednesday morning we got up, ate breakfast and got showered.  Travis gave Parker a Father's blessing and Parker gave me (mom) a blessing.  What a special experience that was!
We took off to drive down to Provo to have lunch.
 We had lunch at The Pizza Factory in Provo.  There were other missionary families there as well having one last meal.  They gave us Parker's meal for free because he was reporting to the MTC that day.
 A quick picture before getting in the car to drive him to the MTC. 
 We pulled into the MTC and it was time to drop him off.  The elder who escorted Parker offered to take one last picture of us. We did good .... no tears until it was time to give one last hug! 
 One last wave and off he walked for the next two years.
 We are so excited for him and know he will learn and grow and be an influence for good wherever he goes!  We love you Elder Burr!  See you soon!

Saturday, August 8, 2015


Parker was able to go to the temple to receive his Endowment for the first time on Saturday, July 11th.  The Oakland Temple was closed for two months, so we were able to go to the Sacramento Temple.
 It was a beautiful day and we were grateful for the family and friends that were able to make the drive up there to go! 
Mom, Parker and Dad in front of the temple.
 Grandma and Grandpa Romer, Jennie Smith, President and Sister March, Mike and Cherie von Savoye, Lynn Robason, Teri and Chris Rossi were able to attend.
When we were visiting family in Bountiful, we were able to go one morning to the Bountiful, Utah temple. Grandma and Grandpa Burr and Aunt MiQuelle and Uncle Jordan were able to attend with us.  There is nothing quite so special as being in the temple as a family!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Gradu-Mission Party

Since Parker graduated from high school and then a few weeks later was leaving on his mission, we decided to combine parties and have a "Gradu-Mission" party the Saturday before he spoke in church.

We had an open house style party between 5-8 pm with dinner and dessert.

 Uncle Drew and Grandpa Burr 
 We had quite a crowd ... around 150 people came to wish Parker well.
 We had pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, Caesar salad, fruit and chips.
Nathan, Calissa, Kaylie, Maddie, Christopher and Lindsey 
 Eliza and Jennie (who was so awesome to help with refilling the food all night)!
 Luna, Nathan, Spencer, Ethan and Isaac
 Mom, Dad, Mitzi and James
 Friends from the ward
 Uncle BJ and Grandpa
 Parker, Mr. and Mrs. Smidebush

 Victoria's family

 A tired, but happy mom! 
 Grandma and Grandpa Burr came from Utah.  Uncle BJ's family came from Arizona and Uncle Kevin came from Utah.

 We were so blessed to have so many wonderful people come by to support Parker and our family! 
 He received many wonderful and thoughtful gifts and cards, but this one from a family friend was one of the best!

The little name tags say "Parker."