Tuesday, 22 October 2013

I have a testimony of being tired

Ah. 112 entries. A fine round number. Let me just take a moment to thank all my fine blog-followers. Thanks, Blog Followers. I appreciate your care, love attention and prayers. Mayhaps I will also take a moment to look over my mission this fine day. As things wind down, I have to take a look at myself. I feel different, but at the same time I feel the same. I've experience so much and learned so much more. Or maybe the other way around. It was amazing to see how the Lord answers prayers--immediately sometimes. I'm very thankful for the people I've been able to meet as well. Companions, members, non-members... I've met some of the greatest people in the world, in all regards. I think back on the words of my stake President. I'm bad with details, but he promised me that a mission would be a perfect opportunity to meet lots of people--good for my writing. Well, he was certainly right. I've taught--and helped--people with faith to move mountains as well as the godless. If there's one thing that sums up missionary work the most for me, I think it would be Family Stroobonts. What a cool, prepared family. It was such a joy going to their house, eating delicious food and teaching the Eternal Gospel to eager ears. Sitting in the warmth with a blistering cold outside, teaching the gospel. Wow. And seeing them all get baptized. What an honour. You know, I feel as though I've been there for the Lord--for every special assignment He's given me. There's regular missionary work (trust me, that's the best mind), but then there are those specific tasks you are meant to fill. Every time the Lord gave me one of these, I stepped up to the plate and gave it my all. I have a testimony of being tired as butts. I have a testimony of zombies. We have to kill those zombies. Those nasty self-limiting-beliefs that hold us back from reaching those safe houses. We have to throw down our toasters and let people know that we're real, and not the undead horde. Bikes to ride, people to help, life to live. Met hartelijk bedankt, Elder Burgess

Friday, 18 October 2013

Zombies and brains everywhere

Well, Zombie/NerfGun Pday was the greatest thing ever made.  Ever.  We had a total of 12 people there, including the district, Elder Andrews, and 2 members.  IT was so rad.  Between us all, we had 2 electric guns, 2 revolver guns--one with a crossbow scope--a disk launcher, a shotgun (that was mine), and a bunch of pistols.  Zombies and brains everywhere. At one point, it was just Elder Andrews wielding duellies and Elder Robbins with an electric gun.  They stood there valiantly, defending themselves against the zombie hordes.  Just as the last fell, Andrews asked, "Are we the only ones left?" "Yes." Without hesitation, Andrews drew his pistol and shot Elder Robbins in the head, grabbed a handful of ammo and sprinted away. Oh man we were yelling, "What a dirtbag!" With terrific zombie roars and the endless moan of the undead, all us zombies rised again and in an endless onslaught, threw ourselves at the last survivor.  I managed to get him too.  Out of ammo, he was powerless as a zombie pushed past the bodies of its fallen fellows and tackled him, devour his guts.  As he fell over against the door, his body hit the doorhandle and he tumbled out the door and partially outside.  IT WAS AWESOME. The loudest scream that day was from Sister Nelson, who after killing a zombie, sidled closer to investigate its remains.  Little did she know there was still some fight left in it and it rolled onto its belly and crawled with horrifying speed towards it.  That was me again.  It was seriously one of the funnest P-days I've had on my mission.  Somehow, I'll have to organize another later. Otherwise, it was a pretty standard week.  We had a miracle though.  Elder Losee had felt prompted to visit a certain street and so he did.  He talked with a lithuanian man who said they could come back later. So we did. When we knocked the door, a lady answered, saying her boyfriend was upstairs and preoccupied.  She asked then, "What's the difference between your church and the Catholic church?" and bode us to enter.  Perfect! We then shared a super cool conversation with her and taught the Restoration. I believe she mentioned she wasn't religious, (and obviously enjoyed her alcohol), but was very open to learn more--partially to improve her English--and accepted a Book of Mormon.  she was also Lithuanian by the way.  It's not every day somebody just straight-up lets you in.  Really neat.  Follow up for suresies. Also, we decided to go look up a member in a neighbouring city.  We hopped in the bus, away we had an appointment in a while, but supposing the bus would be short... Nope. We sat on that dang bus for an hour!  Rode it right to the end.  The adress we had was for Willemstad, but the street itself was in the nearby Helwijk.  Worst name ever for a neighbourhood.  Anydoodle, as we got off, somebody approached and asked in English if we were from Canada.  He had noticed the flag on my backpack and decided to ride until we got off so he could chat.  Neat.  Quickly switched to Dutch and talked to this guy.  Maybe about 18.  Very friendly and helpful, a true champ.  We gave him a card and everything.  We'll see what happens I guess. Afterwards, we went to the members and had a cool chat.  We talked about our missions and a bit about hers with her non-member husband.  He's a swell guy and is actually supportive of her, though he himself is not interested.  At the end, I also discovered he was a Halo fan.  Augh!  Awesome.  He drove us home as well that night.  Insta-friend engaged. Otherwise, we didn't get to meet with most of the people we usually meet with.  The weather went sour and rainy and I almost got sick.  Just avoided it.  A lot of other people did though.  Dangit.  We went to the military family in Breda again.  I held an AK47.  Whoa. Well.  Well. Next week should be interesting. Tot volgende keer, Elder Burgess

Monday, 7 October 2013

Like I have time to daydream anymore

This past week was admittedly slower. Another one of those weeks where helping out the district is the main priority. We went over to Tilburg on Thursday and roamed around. It was interesting, because District meeting was pushed to that day because of interviews. Ah, interviews. Both Pres Robinson and his wife sat down and basically said, "Well, you're leaving in a while." Gee, thanks. They both personally thanked me for everything I've done. I guess daydreaming about dragons is rewarding after all. Just kidding, like I have time to daydream anymore. But yes. That thursday morning, I had the thought, "we should go to Tilburg today." I didn't mention it later until both Tilburg and us stood on different train tracks waiting for the train. With literally 2 minutes left before it came, I turned to Elder Losee. "Quick, do you want to go work in Tilburg today?" "Yep." And we were off. We sprinted down the corridor and onto the train and sat down beside them. They were pretty surprised. I was able to spend the day with Elder Frisby again. I really enjoy spending time with him, actually. He's a funny guy, but a dedicated member and missionary. I can't remember if I mentioned it, but he's a convert of a couple years. Later in the day we had an intense appointment where the Breda Sisters handed an investigator to the Tilburg Elders. He was an intellectual guy, but we were able to connect with him and my testimony quite touched him. Also, that same day I saw somebody catch a fish. We killed that zombie (that voice that tells you not to contact somebody) and spoke to him and I showed him a picture of the fish I caught. He only laughed. We also met with our Congo friend and her children. I love that little family. The young boy is always smiling and happy. Reminds me a lot of Witse Stroobonts. We called this fammy-jim-jam after conference and unfortunately, they couldn't find the broadcast. The young boy asked to use the phone and excitedly he asked us how the conference was. "And was the Prophet there?" Of course. "Whoa. Was he a real Prophet?" Of course. "Whoa." Such an adorable kid. We're hoping to meet more with this family this week. Love them! We also met with our Thai friend again--the pal of the less-active member. Gee, now that I can't list off names, life is getting confusing. Anyway, we watched the Restoration DVD and shared about prayer. It was a good lesson filled with the Spirit. Saddle sore is gone. Woo! We also visited an inactive member that had a grand total of 17 dogs. Holy Man. Yep. 17. He's a dog breeder. He has Dalmatians and French Bloodhounds. It was a crazy, hairy house, but he was super friendly and very nice. He's in some financial problems right now. Not much we can do there except support spiritually. Bummer. So last week we were heading towards the station with the Vlissingen Elders on the back of our bikes. Suddenly, a bike we had been borrowing tachoed! The wheel simply bent over. We were in a rush, so we locked it up against the side of a building and began to run. Not only did we miss the train, but that same bike was stolen the next day. Beats me why somebody would want a broken bike, but okay. Sorry Bishop, we uh...lost your bike. He wasn't upset. It wasn't a good one anyway. Oh! Don't tell him that. General Conference was a good one this year. I had trouble taking notes though, I'm not sure why. I especially enjoyed the Sunday morning talk giving by Pres Eyring. Very emotional and spiritual. I feel sorry for our poor Prophet though. Everybody here commented on how much older he looks. After hearing all his adoration for his wife, I think I can understand why. Still, his words and testimony touched me and I felt uplifted. Thanks. That's what I'll say when I meet him. If...I meet him. So today we have a zombie Nerf gun pday. It seems my central theme this transfer has been zombies. I just gave a District meeting explaining how small disobedient habits or ideas are like carrying a toaster in a zombie apocalypse. It's just a bad idea. You have to throw down that toaster and grab a bigger weapon! What survivors will want to come with you to the safe house if you're carrying a toaster? Just dumb. Although it's all about zombies, all my district trainings have tied in perfectly with each other. They all are truly inspired by the Lord. It's amazing to see how the members of the District have been able to catch the fun and use the tools I've presented to truly improve their work. I can't take any of the credit. It was like the pen wrote the trainings, and I simply added in zombies. But yes. Our Zombie/Nerf gun Pday. We're all going to the church today to have a giant battle. We've all acquired Nerf Guns and we're going to have a big jamboree. You bet there will be blood and gore and mauling. I've been excited for it all week. Should be fun. Our washroom had mould. I killed that mould. It's been a good week. Very spiritually uplifting. I enjoyed it very much. Onward to success. Tot volgende keer, Elder Burgess

Monday, 30 September 2013

Adventures. Tired as butts. Spirit.

Dear everybody. This week was a blur. The end. Kidding. But seriously, Holy Moses. I blinked and suddenly it was today. Let me go through the rundown. Oh, by the way... I've got zombie butt. No, not really. Let's just say I have a nasty saddle sore right now that's giving me no end of trouble. Let's also just say that it's extremely awkward to talk to Sister Robinson about it. The solution, don't ride your bike, dummy. I rode my bike, dummy, and now it's worse. Arg! Zombie butts aside... I went to Vlissingen for the first time on Tuesday. It's a fun little city by the coast. The Elders there live in this super ghetto apartment building way up high. It's filled with fruit flies. Seriously, on the windowsill and on the stairs there was a one-inch pile of the little guys. Bligh. Who knows how that happens. As we exchanged, Elder Robinson left the phone on the bench because we traded halfway. We were pretty far onderweg (on route) before he realized and we had to go all the way back. It wasn't there. So we went the rest of the way back to Roosendaal and just slept over. Yep, met z'n vier. Four people again. But we made it back to Vlissingen and worked there for a day. Fine and dandy. The next day we went to Antwerpen for a Zone conference. It was good to be back in the Belgium funk. We had a super awesome training. Sister Robinson gave a powerful one, tying in current world events to tell us that we're building safe places for people in these perilous times. It was strong and applicable, wham. Then, Elder Andrews and I were asked to give our testimonies because we're leaving relatively soon and this is likely our last zone conference. Oh man. I was barely keeping it together when Elder Andrews was done, then I had to get up. I bore my heart and soul. Gee. It makes me emotional just thinking about it. I bore my heart about the power of change that comes through the Atonement--and how I've seen that same power save lives. I also bore my testimony of prayer and the miracles that I've experienced through it. I was a marshmallow wreck. It made me really tired too... Pfft, like I'm not tired lately. On Thursday, I felt as though we needed to go to Vlissingen to assist the Elders there--they didn't have a phone after all. So we quickly hopped on a train and headed over, not knowing if they'd be home or where their home exactly was. When we arrived, I felt a good feeling, like we were supposed to be there and we started in the general direction of their building. As we approached, we saw them whisk through an intersection on their bikes and called out to them. Turns out, they had felt they needed to turn around just before then. Miracle! So we traded companions and worked with them for the day. Super fun. This same week, they found 5 new investigators and now have 2 new baptismal dates. Woo! Then Friday. Mmm. Friday. I saw Elder Wayman for the 3rd time on my mission. He's happy and doing well, so that was nice. But yes. Friday, Elder Losee went with a big group down to Brussels. Everything was fine until a missionary in my District, and another missionary got lost--in one of the largest cities in Europe. I'll spare the details, but eventually they were picked up and eventually they arrived in Roosendaal at 9:30--only to catch the wrong bus. We sent a search party after them and we finally picked them up at a gas station, buying food. We all swung home, but by then it was 10:30 and there were a total of 8 missionaries in our apartment. I think what got me the most frustrated about the whole event was the attitude of these two missionaries; total disregard, no regret, no concern. I'm mostly over it, but still somewhat steamed. Oh well. It was an adventure I guess. We literally had to take an hour and a half nap the next day though. We couldn't function anymore because of how exhausted Elder Losee and I were. Bligh. But that same Friday evening, we had a dinner appointment with Family Hendricks and their friend from Uganda. She's a super swell lady--has a great drive to accomplish. We talked, laughed and shared a strong spiritual message at the end. Sister Hendricks personally came and thanked us in church, saying how much her friend loved the evening. We'll be working with our new Ugandan friend in the future, you bet your bottom. Otherwise, most of our attention was on the District this week. We also went to the Murton's. Br. Murton was in the military forever, so of course he has all sorts of military gear. And of course we took some photos with his gadgets. Of course we're going back to take more. He's a super friendly guy. He had a crazy mission in Ireland as well - - back in the day. His mission was basically him and his companions beating up gangsters. I won't tell you how many elbows he broke. Over two dozen. They made tacos and root bear floats. Ambrosia. Adventures. Tired as butts. Spirit. Just how a mission should be. Tot volgende keer, Elder Burgess

Monday, 23 September 2013

My oh-so-favourite dragon lesson

Finally I have some time to actually email. 30 minutes to do everything last time? Psh. Now I have some more time. Oh my, I am tired. Every member of the District has heard that every evening this week. Yep yep. I don't think I have ever been more tired. I'm being honest. I'm exhausted. We had a crazy beginning of the week. The Vlissingen Elders stayed over Sunday evening. Now, whenever anybody stays over, it's usually bad news bears because we all stay up laughing at zombies and gas. Then, the next evening they slept over again because they had to swing back through to Breda for a District meeting anyway. Surprisingly, we got to bed on time. But then because of legality trips, they had to assist us in an appointment and then forgot their keys--again sleep over. That's 3 days in total. This week was just one giant successful whirlwind. So, when I have bad numbers in a week, you might notice I say something, "but it's not about the numbers anyway." And when we have good numbers, it's something like, "but it's actually all about the numbers, anyway." In any case, we had really good numbers this week--we taught a lot and found a lot of new people. Let us explore. We headed over to a semi-active friend in the middle of the week. He might be the coolest guy ever. He has a nice family, nice dog and nice cat and lives in cozy city in a cozy house. What's more, and arguably cool, he's not allowed to work because of an injury, so he is paid by the government instead. Arguably cool. He loves bikes and motorcycles and anything that can zoom and is certified to fix all the above. He loves video games too. He's been a member for a while, but has recently made the decision to become active again. Whew! We were able to teach a small lesson to his wife as well, who is a non-member--who for now also shows little interest. So that was fun. Then that same evening we swung by our Congo friend. We helped her with her light fixtures and met her 3 children, 11, 8 and 1 respectively. The 8 year old boy loves us too. He reminds me a lot of Witse Stroobont from those many moons ago. Full of innocence and smiles. We taught he again Sunday evening and this time the 11 year old daughter said the closing prayer with a bit of help and prompting. Super cool family. We also have another family from Congo who's somewhat inactive, so we're hoping they'll become best friends. Speaking of which. We met with one of the daughters of so-said member Congo family. She's super awesome. She brought along one of her friends for the appointment as well, who's actually from Thailand. Le gasp! Friend Thai loved our lessons and together they came to church this Sunday. I commented on how long church was for strangers, but she shrugged it off, saying she thought it was actually okay and how friendly and warm everybody is. Ooo? Super awesome! Speaking of church. We also went to visit a family who has 2 children that aren't members yet. They came as well, pushing our number of church attendance up to 3 investigators. This family is super awesome and we taught them my oh-so-favourite dragon lesson. They enjoyed it and the parents appreciated the work we put in. We're planning to meet with them weekly and hopefully before long we can set a date for the children to be baptized. It's exciting here. Every less-active member we've been working with so far has produced a non-member for us to teach. Gee whiz, I hope it can always be this way! Sooo. I don't know if I mentioned this person already, but Tilburg elders found somebody langs de deuren for us. They followed up with him and he referred them to another person. We'll call person number two "buddy". So we swung by buddy's house to see if we could meet and he swung the window open and yelled a bunch of curses, saying our book was craziness and that God doesn't exist. Startled at first, we listened a bit and tried to say our own part. He stopped and said, "You really want to talk to me?" Yes. "Really?" Yes. "Fine, I'll put on some pants and come downstairs. Then we'll talk." Wait, pants? As he did whatever he was doing, Elder Losee and I said a quick prayer in our heads and he opened the door and bid us to enter. He was holding a joint and a beer and I suggested we come back when he was sober. "Bull-diggety," said he, "I'm never sober!" Uh. Okay. I guess we'll come in. So we went inside and he actually left the door unlocked, saying he didn't want to hurt us or attack us. He simply wanted to share his opinion and he thoughts in a very non-offensive, straight-up way. And share he did. Even a pirate would be ashamed by his language. Oh ho ho. Holy Moses. Buddy reminds me a lot of Brett mixed with Jesse. He has a very poetic, rhythmic way of talking--"perpetuating the situation"--but he's also seen the dark side of street life. Now, when I say share he did, I mean he told us everything. And he has done everything. Yep, everything. With the life this guy has had, I can't blame him for doubting that God even exists. He has had it rough. But I really admire him for the situation he's building. He's stopped dealing drugs and he was just promoted at his work, so things are picking up for him. As we talked, he commented how much he truly respects our discipline and conviction. He loves us a lot. I honestly wanted to get up and hug the guy too. We super connected with him. He said along the way that he finds it unfortunate that we talk only about God and not the human intuition and mentality--but at the end he admitted he's sitting 50/50 whether God exists or not. Right now, he doesn't think so, but he said that he could be convinced. He said that he's been reading the Book of Mormon fairly steadily and that he would continue to read. It is truly a difficult situation to try and describe, even for me. My heart just goes out to him. He's screaming for the atonement, but he doesn't know it. And with his situation and belief, simply handing him the atonement will probably not work. We're going to have to be his best friend and teach him through love. Pray that the Spirit will work through the chemicals as he reads and as he meets with us. Gee, I'm just tired thinking of all this stuff. Tired tired. Well....we're going to go relax for some of this P-day. BYE!! Tot volgende keer, Elder Burgess

Monday, 16 September 2013

Destroying our own personal zombies

Whoa, wow! Only 30 minutes to email. Wham, fingers, AWAY! So this week was fun. I'm not sure how I can sum everything up. Surprisingly standard. We're still working on finding investigators to start teaching, but we've managed to get some already. We're getting there. We're working with a less-active member right now who is super cool. We went over to her house and brought a couple from the ward with us. It was a super spiritual lesson and our less-active friend even had one of her friends there too. By the end, she asked her friend to come to church next week and she agreed. We gave the new person a Book of Mormon as well. So yay! Also, we went to a neighbouring city called Bergen op Zoom and got so totally lost. It was ridiculous. Man oh mighty. But chickety-check this out, DAWG. We wandered around until we found a bus and hopped on that sucker. After one stopped, I recognized the street and we hopped off. We went and looked up the person and she let us right in. Crazy! She was taught not too long ago by the sister Mmssionaries, but for some reason they stopped coming by. She had even come to church with her whole family and everything. She's from Congo, but speaks okay Dutch. We shared a quick but good lesson and made a return appointment. We're going back Wednesday to eat food with her. I'm really excited. It was a miracle we found her. This past Sunday was super awesome. It was a unit conference so there was a bunch of people there. During sacrament, they played a beautiful song on the piano and clarinet. I felt the Spirit powerfully. After that, the Bishop gave a great talk with really spoke to me. Fun fun. Otherwise, everybody here in this district is super awesome and we all love to laugh. I prepared a district meeting last week about Zombies. I drew one on the board and said, "this is Bert. He is a zombie. Is he virtuous?" Psh, of course not! Shoot him! I then compared Bert with self-limiting believes--those nagging thoughts at the back of your mind that say you can't do something. The district meeting was wrapped around destroying our own personal zombies that are trying to keep us back from reaching safety--and bringing survivors along the way. The zombie-proof-safe-haven was the 5th Stake here in the Netherlands, which we're all trying to ultimately reach and the steps along the way, or Safe houses, are baptisms. So, our goal is Operation Bert--to baptize at least one person per companionship in the month of October. I'm super excited. It was probably the best district meeting I've given so far. Thank diddely everyone loves zombies here too so they all got the reference. We had a zone P-day today. We all shipped off (after Vlissengen Elders slept over) to Eindhoven with Harry and Elder Andrews to play the goofiest game you'll ever see. It was soccer, but with one of those exercise balls that comes up to your waist. It was outrageously fun. Well, the library closes in 5, dus HOUDOE Tot volgende keer, Elder Burgess

Monday, 9 September 2013

That means I'm a granddaddy.

AGH! GYPSY LIBRARY. We have to pay for time and I only have 20 minutes. Gads. Next time I'll start with emailing you guys. Barst. So much to say. Well, here we are in Roosendaal (I spelt it wrong last time). The Kermis (carnival) followed me from Alkmaar and has now situated itself in the centrum here. Roosendaal is a super flat place with a very large centrum. It's much bigger that Den Helder. There are also no seagulls. Our apartment is about 15 minutes away from the station. We live above a little shopping centre in a 2-story flat. Our neighbours down the way are like the Dutch version of hillbillies. They've moved some furniture outside their apartment and are always sitting out there having a fun time. I always wave--I think they're so funny. The ward is also very cool. There are only about 10 members in the Roosendaal area that we cover. Maybe more, I'm not sure yet. Br. and Zr. Hendriks are two people you will probably be hearing a lot from. They're 80 or something and our best friends. They live really close by and are super member missionaries. We went to go see if they had any bikes for my baby boy and Br Hendriks made a point of saying to the store owner that we were volunteers from our church at least 3 times. Super duper. We go to the Breda ward, which currently has sisters. The ward is pretty excited to have Elders back though and we've already been invited a few times for dinner. This place is cool. My little baby boy is Elder Losee. He's from St. George, Utah. Yep, another U-tard. He's a cool cat (home schooled) and a good contactor. He's got a good testimony and a strong desire to do the work. He likes a lot of the same video games as me, so we're going to get along quite well together. So for the first few days, the Eldersfrom Tilburg were bunking with us. TheĆ­r apartment isn't quite done yet. There were a lot of zombies roaming around that house for a few days. It was really dangerous for a while. Thank goodness I brought my Nerf gun with me, so we were able to defend ourselves until the zombie strain ran its course. Still, I don't think it's exactly smooth sailing from here--I hear rumour that the disease may have spread to the whole zone. We may have to gather together and collect all the weapons. We've got to fight off this terrible plague. We've seen a few cool things here already. The Tilburg Elders found us two cool people to teach and through our own efforts, we've found a few people who've invited us to come back. It's a bit overwhelming having to deal with a zillion things at once, considering elder Losee is new and doesn't really understand the language, but I'm keeping up. Today we went to a district leader thingus. Elder Andrews and Harry were there, among a few friends. It was good to see them both--especially because we were back in Eindhoven, where I served with both. Strangely enough, Elder Andrews was actually transferred back there as a zone leader. I'm super jealous of him. Did I mention Elder Rozendaal was training as well? That means I'm a granddaddy. Woo! Heritage! And yeah, Elder Giles is training too. I don't know if I told you, but he's a fan of the child's show, my little pony. Well, it turns out that his trainee is also a fan of that show. Small world. I couldn't believe that... So we saw a tandem bike for sale the other day. I want to swing back there and see the price. If it was decent, I think we'd consider getting it. Oh man would that be goofy. Chances are, we won't get it, but can you just imagine? Too funny. time will tell the tale I suppose. Well, I'm just about out of time. Diddely dee, Tot volgende keer, Elder Burgess Evan's new address: Lindenburg 29 4707 CR, Roosendaal Nederland