Monday, September 28, 2015

First Week in ... Guyana?

Hey everyone! It's been a crazy week and a half! SO much happened and I'll try to put in some of the highlights as best as I can! 

We had our last few days at the MTC and it was sad to leave all of our teachers and classmates but it was also really exciting to head out! My group that was going to Trinidad was a group of 6 of us. We all flew together to Trinidad and had a rough time getting through immigration. That wasn't fun... Took like 45 minutes and we didn't know if we were going to get through! The Lord provided a way though and we all somehow made it.

That night we met the mission president and his wife and they're so amazing! Wonderful people and the made wonderful food as well! Me and Elder Buehler stayed in a little hotel thing for the night which was super nice! The next day was lots of orientation things at the mission president's house and I learned a lot and tried to remember it all but... I'm sure I forgot some things. In my interview with President Egbert, he said that I was assigned to Berbice, Guyana! The poorest part of the mission and English speaking. I'm not going to Suriname yet apparently because I have to get something done before I can go. Oh well!

Me and Elder Buehler were the only ones going to Guyana, so we flew together here and after a long day eventually made it. We were with the zone leaders most of the night until they ditched us at the mission home by ourselves.. That was pretty lame. They picked us up the next morning though and we headed to our areas! So my companion is Elder Cook and he's only been on his mission for three months so we're new together! He's an awesome companion and I've already learned so much from him! He's a fellow cross country runner so we go running every morning which is great so I can get back into shape! 

Berbice is wonderful! The people are great and I've loved teaching them so far! It's like 8 million degrees here with 100% humidity so I sweat all day long which is a little gross but I'm getting used to it. Also, there are animals everywhere! Cows, Donkeys, Horses, Goats, Dogs you name it, we got it. It's way different from home and everyone is so humble here and lives such humble lives. Our investigators are wonderful and we've already committed many of them to baptism which is super exciting!

One fun thing that me and Elder Cook attempted was to drink 12 bottles of lemonade (a gallon and a half) in one day because our neighbor said that we couldn't do it. We prevailed though! And had to go to the bathroom like crazy all day and night. Totally worth it though.

Another highlight was talking to a bunch of people who were getting really drunk! Long story short, we tried to get rid of their beer but eventually gave them a word of wisdom pamphlet. Hopefully they read it because they really need it!

One of the miracles this week was with this girl named Diana. She was upset because she prayed about the Book of Mormon and she didn't get an answer. But we were able to explain how it takes work to get an answer and that the Lord answers in His own time. She agreed and later in the lesson agreed to be baptized! Woah! Super cool! The Holy Ghost is real and is so powerful in teaching because without it, we cannot teach. Super awesome

I'm loving it here in Berbice and I'm so grateful for all the prayers sent my way! They mean a lot!
I'll be back next week with many more miracles! I love you all!

~Elder Burr

 Elder Hunt, Elder Holt (The Nord), Me, Broeder Norton, Elder Buehler, Zuster Parker
 Our district plus our teacher Zuster Larson.
 Our district and Broeder Bonney.
 Our District with the MTC Presidency.
 Looking at the moon from the hotel room in Trinidad.
 Baby ducks we got to hold here!
 My companion, Elder Cook.
 An attempted picture of the moon.
The legendary lemonade!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

He's arrived!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Dear Parents of Elder Burr,

We are so pleased to welcome your son to the Trinidad Port of Spain Mission! He arrived safely in Trinidad & Tobago on 21 Sep 2015.  On Tuesday, he and several other new missionaries from the MTC were given a tour and brief training in the mission office, were interviewed by President Egbert, and then received instructions from the assistants to the president. We spent the remainder of the evening with him in the mission home for a welcome dinner and a spirit-filled devotional. We have loved getting to know him and we love him already. He is a bright and thoughtful young man, and is clearly excited to go to work teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday and today, each new missionary is either flying or driving to their assigned area. Elder Burr has been assigned to labor in Canje, Berbice Zone. There is a growing population of members there, and the missionaries enjoy much success working closely with them. His new companion is Elder Cook, an experienced faithful missionary who will guide your son through a 12-week training program.

Elder Burr's faithful studies in the Book of Mormon, Preach My Gospel and the 12-week training program will prepare him to be an inspired teacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please encourage your son as he begins this challenging but extremely rewarding work. His gospel study and diligent obedience will help him teach effectively by the Spirit and to grow in his own testimony and conversion, which will be a foundation for his mission and also for the rest of his life.

Your son is encouraged to email his immediate family and his mission president every week on Monday, our preparation day.

We look forward to getting to know him and working with him in the great work of salvation in the Trinidad Port of Spain Mission. Thank you for sharing him with us!

President and Sister Egbert

 Yes, I tracked his flight!
The new Trinidad missionaries!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Trio is Now a Four-o?

Hey everyone! How are you all doing?! I hope things are going great for all of you because you all deserve it! Everything is still going great here and I'm getting anxious to leave! We leave on Monday!! Lucky us, we leave the MTC at 3:35... AM. That's a little early but oh well we'll survive!

My friends the Nords left this last Monday which was sad to see them go. I got really close with them and it's going to be different without eating with them anymore or seeing them at all anymore... Oh well, I got their emails so I will keep in touch for sure! They're awesome guys and will do great things out there in Norway!

For my week, lets see. On Thursday we had a Skype TRC thing where we teach a lesson to a member of the church who speaks Dutch! He's from Belgium and he had a Flemish accent so it was a little hard to understand him but we had a great lesson on the importance of Faith and Prayer. I also started that night a personal challenge for myself. I'm reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and 3 Nephi and writing down every question that Jesus Christ asked. I'll then compare it with the questions I asked and see what I can do better. I always want to be more like the Savior and this is one way that I can come closer to him! Super great challenge and I'm looking forward to it for sure!

On Friday it was my mom's birthday so HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!! I hope you had a great day because you deserve it! You're the best! We had a good experience with teaching on Friday and learned a lot about being more genuine and sincere when we're teaching. It's definitely something that I can work on and I was humbled that day for sure. Also, we committed Jerry, one of our onderzoekers (investigators) to baptism on the third lesson! Super awesome and the lessons have been going great with him! I love teaching about the gospel and seeing the impact it can have on people's lives! We got our flight plans on Friday as well! So it's real and we're actually leaving!!! So exciting!!

Sunday was a crazy day and this will explain the topic of the title of this email. Most of the day was pretty normal and we taught an awesome lesson on faith which was totally directed by the Spirit! Anyways the rest of the day was normal until night. One of the Swedes was hurt and couldn't go out to Sweden until he was cleared by the doctor. Sooooo he's with our district now! So there's four of us now! He's Elder Buehler's companion and super cool so he fits in with the Surinamers great ;)
It's so different not having the trio all the time but I guess that will prepare me for the mission field!

Tuesday was also a little weird. Elders Buehler, Hunt and I got called to the travel office to go to the police station! Yeah we got in trouble... Just kidding! They needed to get yet more fingerprints from us for our Visas which is a little frustrating since we've already sent them in! But as long as the Visas come in, I'll be happy. Prayers for that would be appreciated! On Tuesday night we sang in the choir and it was just a little bit bigger than choir at Concord High. 1003 singers... Yep! Sounded pretty awesome though and there was a definite power in the song we sang, "Hurrah for Israel". Very cool experience and I'll remember that for a long time. We got to hear a devotional from the General Primary President and she had a great message on the scriptures and testifying the truth. One thing I got from it was that, we will be astounded at the Lord's hand in our mission, if we look for the miracles. The miracles are there every day and all we need to do is recognize them and see that God helps us out each and every day!

That's all for me this week and I probably won't email again until a week from Monday since that's when P-Day is out in Suriname. You're all in my prayers and I know that you're in mine. Tan Schwiti (Stay Sweet). Peace out!

~Elder Burr
 Class is tiring sometimes!
 I broke a chair (actually it was already broken)
 When you get bored sometimes ...
 Elder Buehler spraying a water bottle trying to make it "more humid" in the classroom.
 Elder Larson and I
 Elder Hailes and I
 The Surinamers!!
 An amazing picture my sister sent me!!
Rocking the new haircut.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

12 Days Til Trinidad!!!

Hey everyone! Fawaka!! Hoe gaat het? Things are going great here still! Busy busy busy all the time and I'll do my best to share some of the best moments from this past week!

So first of all, I have to say that volleyball has gotten super fun here! I've taught them all how to actually play and we've had some great, competitive games where we get some good rallies going and three hits per side every time! I love it! They definitely still need some work but I'm impressed with how fast they've learned. Volleyball is always fun.

I heard that I missed the best BYU football game of all time on Saturday! Are you serious?! A hail mary on the final play of the game?! How do I miss that?!?!? But I'm glad they won and it's the talk of the MTC right now. Super excited for them!

Going back to my week though, we got a third investigator on Thursday (we now teach Evine, Julio and Jerry), so now we teach three lessons every day which is insane! In all of our study time it's just preparing lessons because we have so many. I'm too the point now though where the lessons don't take too much time to prepare because I don't teach with notes anymore! All i have written down are Scriptures and main ideas to say and the rest I can speak now without having to write it all down. Crazy awesome and I've definitely been blessed because there's no way that I would've ever been able to communicate in Dutch with just 4 weeks of learning it. The gave van taalen (gift of tongues) is real and I have definitely been blessed with it.

We were having a hard time connecting with Evine and had taught all of the lessons we could and we had nothing left really to teach so we went in to teach her on Friday with basically no plans and we just prayed that we would know what to say. And man oh man, that was the best lesson we've ever taught. We talked about the Holy Ghost and what it feels like and what it means to us and the Spirit was so strong. We weren't really the ones teaching the lesson. The Holy Ghost was the teacher. Evine, (our teacher) came up to us afterwards and told us that it was an amazing lesson and one of the best she's ever heard. Wow that felt so good. The rest of the lessons were great with her and yesterday we committed her to baptism! Even though it wasn't really real, it felt so amazing to help her come to the decision to be baptized and it was a very spiritual experience.

Sunday was fast Sunday and we had mission conference in the morning which was great! Our MTC presidency spoke to us and we learned that we need to express our love for God more and also learned the value of bearing testimony frequently. Great talks and a great Spirit. In sacrament meeting was a testimony meeting and it was a testimony builder for me to hear all of the wonderful and personal testimonies that each missionary had. Even though I didn't get the opportunity to bear my testimony myself, I was thinking about it a lot and got to bear it for my district members which was great! Also that night we saw an elder and he was 7' 2"!! The tallest person I think I've ever seen before and it's hilarious because his companion is like 5'6". He looks like a giant compared to everyone but he seems like a really great guy. Pretty much all of the missionaries are. Also on Sunday we took pictures with the Dutchies at the temple which was fun as well. That night we listened to a talk by Elder Holland about opening your mouth and man did that change my perspective on how I should preach. Super powerful and I don't think I'm really afraid anymore to open my mouth out in the field.

Also, we leave in 12 days!!!!! Crazy crazy crazy!!! I'm so excited to get out and serve but I still know that I have so much to learn. I'll do my best to listen to the Spirit and do my best in helping those around me! I want to develop Christ-like love for everyone and I strive to do better each and every day. 

Those are the main highlights of the week and don't worry I'll put up my pictures in another email in a few minutes. Thanks for all of your prayers and continues support! I love you all and keep you in my prayers as well! You're the best!

~Elder Burr
 My awesome Dodger pillowcase from my Grandma!
 The best running shirt you've seen in your life!
 Someone named Elder Burr
 The mountains!!
 Us and the Dutchies
 Mijn collegas (I'm guessing that means, My Companions)
 No idea.
My companions take good pictures ...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I'm Getting There!

Hey everyone! Hope everything is going well for you all because it's going great here at the MTC! 

I'll try to send a synopsis of the week and list some of the highlights as best as I can! Hopefully it all makes sense and I can convey the Spirit that I've felt here this week because it has been amazing! Let's begin!

First of all, at the start of the week I was running into the gym to go play volleyball like I do every day for gym. While running into the gym my toe hit the floor and fell straight onto my knees which wasn't very graceful but oh well. My knee is still purple but it's all good. No big deal and not my greatest moment. One thing that was also awesome that day was that our teacher taught us Harry Potter words! If you ever want to call anyone a wizard or a squib in Dutch, its tovenaar and snul. Just a fun little fact. 

On Friday we got our second investigator so we teach two lessons a day now which is crazy! I used to think that we had so much time each day and I didn't know what to do with it all but now it's like we don't have enough time each day to do everything! The time really flies here! I now teach all my lessons with only a few key topic notes in English and I teach the whole time in Dutch off the top of my head. It's intimidating, but I've really learned to rely on the Spirit to help me and the Spirit will put the words I need to say into my head. I've had several promptings this week which have been amazing. Also on Friday, I was feeling like I needed to a better job of trusting in the Lord to tell me the words to say and to guide me in my lesson plans and while I was making plans, I was flipping through the scriptures and turned to Proverbs 3:5-6 which mentions "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths." WOW. That was exactly what I needed to hear and it really strengthened my testimony of how the Spirit works. Super special experience for me for sure.

Saturday was a normal day with teaching two lessons and learning Dutch and the gospel and everything. One fun thing that we did was our teacher, Brother Norton (the greatest missionary teacher in the world, like seriously), had us play a who-can-translate-the-fastest game. I held my own and it really showed me how much I've learned here in only three weeks! I've already learned more in these three weeks than I learned in 4 years of Spanish back at home. Craziness! There's a great need to learn here and I still have soooo much that I need to learn. Each day I work super hard to learn more Dutch and learn more about the gospel because I can always improve at it.

On Sunday it was great as always. Sunday's are like a break because we don't have 11 hours of class a day which is a nice break. We had great lessons on the Holy Ghost and on Baptism and I definitely grew for sure. The devotional was great and the video we watched afterwards was on how to teach better by Elder Holland. I learned so much from it and learned mostly that after you put in all your effort to prepare, is when the Spirit will come into the lesson and be the real teacher. Great talks and a great day!

Monday we taught another two lessons to our investigators (Evine and Julio) and I think that they were the best lessons I had taught yet. With Evine I talked about the importance of baptism and the Spirit was sooo strong and helped me when I was testifying about it. I'm really enjoying teaching these discussions. I feel like I'm making a difference in people's lives and it's awesome to see. That night I played a prank on my companions where I had a key and they didn't and I closed to door to our residence and then came out with a panicked look on my face asking if they had a key. They were both freaking out a bit about it and when I wasn't looking, Elder Hunt actually started to call the front desk. Whoops! But it was really funny and they took it well. I have awesome companions!!

Tuesday was also great mostly because of the devotional at night. Elder Dallin H Oaks from the quorum of the 12 apostles was at the MTC to speak to us. Hekke geweldig! (Crazy awesome) He spoke on the importance of the Plan of Salvation and the importance of teaching with love. When you teach, you need to love the people you're teaching and love your companion as well. If that love isn't there, the Spirit can't be there and you'll have a really hard time teaching. I learned a lot from it and it was a very special experience. Also on Tuesday in one of our lessons, we meant to share the scripture Matthew 18:18 which reads: "
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Good scripture to share. Instead, Elder Hunt said John 18:18 which reads : "18 And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself." 
Completely different scripture that made no real sense. Lots of laughter and lots of fun once we figured out what it said (since we were reading it in Dutch).

Thats about it for me this week! Thank you all for you emails because I read them all! You all are amazing and I'll send pictures in a few minutes too. I love you all and have an amazing week!

~Elder Burr
 My purple knee
 Me from the floor
 "Can we have a slumber party?"
 Elder Buehler ...
 The infamous Brother Norton!  And Zuster Parker
 My companions
 Me translating into Dutch
 Scriptures I'm starting to memorize
I don't know this person ...