Monday, September 26, 2016

Island Hopping!

Hey everyone! Are you all as excited for Conference as I am?!?!?! It's coming up!!!! So that's what I'm looking forward to so much!!! Doing my best to prepare for it and I can't wait for all of the wonderful speakers and the Spirit that we will feel! So yeah haha conference is the best!

This last week was yet again, Crazy!!! Elder Sheppard and I were on exchanges with the other Elders in our zone this whole week in different islands! First we headed to Aruba with Elder Munoz and Sarmiento. They are awesome and I had the opportunity to teach one of their recent converts who's first language is Dutch! That was really fun to teach and I feel like I was able to help her understand better so that was really sweet. We then headed with Elder Polanco and Tanner and they are studs! So humble, obedient and diligent! Really good time with them and we had some service with them for their branch President and that was a lot of fun! There was a pretty decent sized snake there which was crazy but cool because they caught it and we got to feel the scales and everything. Lots of fun and I got to practice my Spanish a lot which was also fun. Spanish is hard after you've learned Dutch! Just a whole different way of thinking altogether! They are wonderful Elders though. After that we headed to Curacao and they had a baptism! And guess who I saw there...? Zuster Parker and Zuster Vernes (Suriname missionaries)!! They are serving in Curacao right now because immigration in Suriname has been difficult lately so that was a nice surprise. I got to ask some questions about Suriname and it was great to speak some Dutch with them. The baptism was great though (sadly not on the beach, but still great) and very spiritual. I got to work with Elder Walton while Elder Rios and Sheppard worked together. We had a good lesson though with a returned missionary and Elder Walton is a stud. I learned a lot from these missionaries and I hope that I was able to help them with some things. Finally got back to Bonaire on Saturday and we did some service for Sister Carti and she came to church on Sunday which was awesome! Later that day, we had a lesson with our investigators Raul and Rosemary and we brought Zuster Noij with us. That was a miracle! Zuster Noij shared her conversion story and it brought the Spirit so strong and Rosemary said that she was really interested in our message and that she would read and pray about it. In other words, we're pumped!!! Finally Sunday was just so awesome. Zuster Noij and President Albus gave talks and Zuster Noij shared about missionary work and about how fun it is to do member missionary work. One of the best talks that I've heard on my mission. She's so wonderful! President Albus also gave a great talk on being thankful and it was also great. Everything was just so awesome! Great week and it's good to be back in my area now.

Man I have totally been able to see as well the importance on helping others and looking outwards. My testimony grew a lot on looking outwards this week as I looked outwards at the missionaries in my zone on exchanges. Super fun to serve them and to try to help them in their missionary work. Great experience and I learned how much more fun it is to focus on others than yourself. Keep on looking on what you can do to help someone's day and you will be so happy by doing it! One thing that I have been doing is praying every night to be the answer to someone's prayer the next day. The miracles have been so cool with that and has brought me so much happiness! I recommend it! Thanks for all that you do! Have a great week! Que pasa bon semana! Lobi!
~Elder Burr
 So ... we were still hungry after eating and had some more rice, so our brilliant idea was to put peanut butter, jam, caramel, sprinkles and whipped cream on top.  Tasted about as good as it looks.  Not great!

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Tour!!!

Hey everyone! Apparently I forgot to send out a group email this last week! Whoops! My fault! Hopefully the pictures of this one makes up for it. As you can see, this place is beautiful, especially the water! Yet we cannot go in it... The struggle is real!

We had a crazy week! Monday we completely rearranged the apartment and cleaned up a TON (my mom would be proud of us ;) ), so that took up a ton of time but it was well worth it and the apartment looks way better now. Tuesday was AWESOME! The Albus's took us on an island tour with President and Sister Egbert and it was so cool! We got to learn a lot about the history of the island and also see the absolutely gorgeous water all over the place. Man Bonaire has amazing water! One day after my mission, I want to come back and dive here since it has some of the best diving in the world! The tour was super fun and it was great to spend some time with the Egberts! Wednesday, one spiritual experience that we had was with Sister Noij. We went over and talked about the first vision with her and man it was awesome. We asked her what she learned about God from the first vision and she immediately said like 5 things that she learned there. Her favorite though was the fact that no matter what darkness we may experience or when the times are hard, God will always overcome Satan. She said that that was super important for her and it gave her a lot of strength. It was really cool and Sister Noij is so wonderful and just the most charitable person ever! The members here are awesome!! We also had a sweet lesson with Sister Carti where we talked about God and were able to hear her testimony about why she believes in him and her conversion story. She has also been working on her husband who is not a member and he doesn't smoke or drink at all anymore which is a huge miracle! It was sweet. Friday was intense! We had the craziest service project ever where we had a 10 hour service project for the Albus family in taking down this giant shed and just cleaning everything. It was insane and also crazy hot! We actually went back on Saturday morning and finished it for them and I can say that that was the most insane service project that I've ever had. So worth it though because the Albus's were so happy and grateful and we're hoping to have a lesson with them soon. They are literally like the most busy people on the entire island and meeting with them is pretty tough! Super fun though and well worth it. Also on Saturday as we're taking stuff to the dump, we get a call from President Egbert saying that Elder Lewis needs to go back to Suriname and Elder Christianson is coming here to Bonaire since Elder Christianson was having trouble getting his visa for Suriname and the area presidency told President Egbert that he needed to leave! So I'm getting a new companion tomorrow. Crazy! I'll miss Elder Lewis a lot and I've learned so much from him but I'm also excited to serve with Elder Christianson as well. He's a stud. We'll work some miracles here! We also had a sweet lesson with Omar that night and talked to him about being a "mighty man in the Lord". He's a stud and I love that kid a lot! That was most of the highlights of this week and Elder Lewis is leaving tonight. Super fast but then again, this is a crazy mission!

I learned a lot this week about how important it is to be humble and to always look outwards instead of inwards and to truly look at others more than myself.  It was super humbling but so so good and exactly what I needed. It's amazing how the Lord can tell you exactly what you need to do better and how perfect it is and how much you can still improve. I have a long ways to still improve but one of the joys about the gospel is the fact that we get to improve each and every day! So grateful for that! Ether 12:27 is wonderful and it's so cool that we are all given weaknesses to be humble. Pride is the cause of spiritual destruction and it's so important to eliminate that from our lives. Something cool that I was thinking about this week.

I love you all and I hope that you are all doing great and changing people's lives each and every day. Don't forget to read those scriptures every day and to continually have spiritual experiences! Have a great week! Lobi!
~Elder Burr
 The Suriname group at the Missionary Leadership Conference

 Bonaire Island Tour

 President and Sister Egbert, Parker, Elder Lewis, Elder Galke & Elder Sheppard

 Elder Burr & Elder Lewis




PS - This picture came to me on Sunday morning via email with the following note: Just had church with your son!  I always loved pictures of my son while serving! He is great!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Parker forgot to send an email to the group!

(This is from his email to me, his mom.  I guess he forgot to send one to the whole group today!)
Man the weeks are just always crazy! Traveling all over the place is pretty fun, but EXHAUSTING at the same time, especially when you are flying with the airline: InselAir. They are notorious for getting delayed on every single flight and yep, on the four flights that I took, every single one of them was delayed. Yay!! It was an insane week though. Monday after emailing we flew to Curacao to spend the night there and while we were there, Elder Sheppard and I got the opportunity to go proselyting with each other for the night. We taught a less active who only speaks spanish and papiamento and who hasn't been to church for the last 10 years. I must have had the gift of tongues or something because I was able to understand her, be guided to a scripture by the Holy Ghost and share the scripture in the limited Spanish that I can remember (thank goodness for high school). After sharing that though, the Spirit was so strong and she did something crazy; she committed to come to church for the first time in 10 years! It was amazing and such a spiritual experience and a testimony builder in the gift of tongues. It's real! So that was just so awesome!

Tuesday, Elder Sheppard and I, Hermana Ramirez, and the Scotts all flew to Trinidad and we somehow fit all of us into a small car with all of our luggage. Pretty crazy. That flight to Trinidad got delayed by 6 hours so we were at the airport for 8 hours total! Elder Sheppard and I got the chance to get to know each other pretty well and I learned how awesome he is! He is a STUD. Elder Sheppard, Hermana Ramirez and I also prepared what we were going to talk about in Mission Leadership Conference for the next day. You don't get very much time to talk to each other when you are on different islands! That all went well though and I spent the night with a missionary that I knew in Guyana (Elder Steed and his companion).

Wednesday we headed to Mission Leadership Conference with all of the zone leaders, sister training leaders and senior couples and it was awesome! One of the highlights for sure was seeing the 6 Suriname missionaries and the senior couple! So good to see them again and to catch up a bit with all that is happening in Suriname! And boy is Suriname killing it! That was just so great. The Conference itself was super spiritual and we talked a lot about what our mission stands for and about the light of Christ. Everyone has the light of Christ within them because they all accepted Christ's plan before this life. All that we have to do now is help them feel the Spirit because the light of Christ and the Spirit will testify of the truthfulness of our message. So awesome! The conference was great and I got to get to know Elder Spjut who is another zone leader that I got to proselyte with for the rest of the day. Wonderful day.

Thursday we flew back and didn't get back until 11:30 at night because of yet more delays. Friday was getting back into the normal flow of things and Saturday was also sweet. We were contacting and got a call from President Albus to go try to fix some technical work at the church with the computers and things and on our way in doing that, one of our investigators's car had broken down and they were trying to push it back into their house. We had the opportunity to help them and build up that relationship a ton. The Lord truly did guide us there and let us have that miracle as well. And it turns out, that Sister Noij knows them! Miracles everywhere! District conference on Sunday was also great and talked a lot about the family. We also had the most spiritual lesson about God ever with this person that we found from the States whose parents are returning less actives! She's not a member yet and didn't believe in God, but by the end of the lesson she believed! So amazing. We've had so many spiritual experiences and have seen the tender mercies of the Lord in our missionary work. That was our week!
 Mission Leadership Conference in Trinidad
President and Sister Egbert (his mission president) and the senior couples.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Senior Couple Craziness!

Hey everyone again! The weeks sure do fly by! I can still remember being in the missionary training center and that was a year ago... Snap! We had the craziest week ever (again) this past week! So here we go!

Our week was pretty insane and also good at the same time and also a struggle for sure! Bonaire is a lot different than Suriname! So Elder Galke was super sick at the start of the week and Elder Lewis and I are the parents here on the island so we had a bunch of craziness figuring it all out. Multiple trips to the doctor and pharmacy and it was crazy! Like Wednesday for example. We left in the morning to take Elder Galke and Elder Sheppard to a doctor's appointment at 8, after that went to a lab that they told us to go to, then went to a pharmacy (that was closed), went to another pharmacy (thankfully it was open), did apartment inventories for both of the apartments, took the elders home, got a call from a senior couple who told us that the car didn't have any insurance, went like crazy to figure all of that out, got another call saying never mind, you do have insurance, went to the church to print off some registration stuff for the car and vehicle report stuff, went to another pharmacy to get more medicine, dropped the other elders off, gave elder Galke a blessing (very cool experience), picked up a bike that got fixed, went back to the church to print off some more papers, emailed a senior couple to get something figured out, THEN finally went home, started studies and then finally went to the DePalms for dinner and a lesson. Yeah that was one day... The next day as well was pretty crazy but a lot less crazy. We actually got to do normal studies in the morning, then went and did apartment inventories again, the went to the old senior couple apartment that we had to close (which involved taking everything that was ours, out of the apartment), brought a bunch of it to our house that was getting way too packed, went to a giant store to restock the apartments with the appliances that we were missing and then finally got to go out. Being a senior couple is hard! So we had some pretty crazy days this past week but luckily Elder Galke is feeling much better now. I had the opportunity to give him the blessing and I have no clue what I said, but I can remember the Spirit that I felt. And the next day, he was able to go outside and could eat stuff again. Priesthood power is true! The hard part about this week was just that everything in the world fell through and we just were talking to everyone that we possibly could, but it seemed like no one wanted to hear it or the ones that did were all Spanish speaking. But that's ok. Elder Lewis and I have never been so diligent in our missions and we know that we are going to find a Dutch family soon that we are so pumped about. The Lord will bless us for sure. I learned how important it is to stay positive though and to continue working hard because this isn't just about us. It's about the people here in Bonaire that need the gospel and it's also for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They are our motivation and as we continue to turn to them and work our hardest, the blessings will come. We had a super cool lesson with Omar this week on the Book of Mormon and the importance of reading it each and every day. The Spirit was super strong and at the end, he started asking us about missions and expressed the desire that he has to serve one someday. Omar is a stud! Church was also pretty great on Sunday. We were all combined and translation was crazy since the people were mostly speaking Spanish and Papiamento and Genesis translated into English for Elder Lewis and Elder Lewis translated into Dutch for the Dutch members. Pretty crazy but it all went well and the Spirit was still there. That was our week though and we're pumped to have a good week this upcoming week!
I gained a strong testimony of the priesthood power which is just another testimony builder. I know that the church is true and that the work of spreading the gospel is the most important work on the Earth. Keep on sharing those testimonies with everyone around you and having those spiritual experiences! You all are wonderful and I love you all! Lobi!

~Elder Burr
 I guess I forgot to take pictures this week, but here's a funny dog.  Haha! Sorry!