Monday, 29 July 2013

He'll get a spiritual witness in no time and then wham.

Well yeah. Yeah yeah. It was a long week. Summer vacation is in full force now. Which is bad news for missionary work here in Den Helder. I'll spare you the gory, zombie-gut-wrenching details, but we did a lot of finding this week. But some great things happened this week! Our dear friend... Well, by the way, there's been a new rule passed that says we aren't allowed to sent the names of the people we're working with. So you'll just have to sort of figure out who I'm talking about. Our dear friend who ran into us and came to church last week also came to a movie night at church on Friday. We watched the Other Side of Heaven. We were worried that we wouldn't have the chance to go to the movie, but our dear friend saved our butts. He really enjoyed it and it was a great movie. It seemed to actually spur my companion for the better as well, so it was fun. A heartwarming tale. Not only that, but we invited our friend to dinner Sunday evening and he came to that too! Holy Moses, he's so positive. We shared the Restoration lesson and suggested a date to work towards and he was very excited. "That's awesome, yeah! That's great. Is this really something that can happen? Really something I can work towards? Yes, I'll do it!" Woo! I have no doubt he'll get a spiritual witness in notime and then wham. All the blessings of the gospel will be his. Otherwise, we're having a hard time finding investigators and keeping them. Our pals with the big dog have been flaky lately. I hate it when we go over and people say, "Oh yeah, we'd love to meet! Send us a text later and we'll arrange something." IF YOU EVER ANSWER!. Gyarg! But meh. Aha, but we had a bunch of fun this week. Daddy-O's suggestion to reward good behaviour came in handy and we set a goal and reward one day for contacting 35 people on the street. Elder Wiscombe's reward was McDonald's (he eats nothing but garbage). Mine was icecream or something, I can't remember. But anydoodle, we headed off to an area with 25 people left to contact and only about 2 or less hours. So we quickly made up a game. If we didn't contact somebody in 7 minutes, we had to knock some doors. Everytime we talked to somebody, the timer would reset. Plus, we had to do a different contact everytime, asking a different question or using an object. So far, peopple have learned about the gospel via a lighter, an orange, an umbrella, shoes and a few other things. Oh man, it was a blast. We had some pretty embarassing contacts--but it was okay! We didn't dwell on the bad and kept pushing on. We even got a few positive potential people out of it. The most positive person of the day lived in another city out of our area, arg, but that's okay. Also, we said a small prayer on Saturday because we weren't sure what to do. It had been a while since we met with Anita, so we swung over there and 4 interesting things happened. 1, Anita's sour daughter is getting sent off to girl boot-camp, 2 her son finished 1 Nephi, 3 an inactive member is dating Anita's other daughter and the two are interested in joining in on the lessons and 4, Anita gave us 2 referrals. Wham! It was a super miracle, because now we know where to put our focus. Win! Well, I'm not sure what else to say. We are indeed working more with the members. We'll see what happens there. We want to get more involved with one of the young men specifically. He wants to organize a soccer match with some of his friends and us. Seems like a good opportunity. Oh, also, we played volleyball last monday. It was awesome. Except some old guy was there, trying to tell us how to have fun. He was super annoying. He announced at one point that nobody was allowed to serve more than three times in a row. It happened to be mine turn as he said this, and despite him, I served a fourth time and we kept playing. Wham. It seems like I have less time to focus on myself lately. According to my Daddy-O, that's a good thing. Gee, I sure hope so. I suppose he's right after all. But no focus on myself means no thinking about dragons. Snarl. Oh, and this will come off as strange. One of the sisters in the district likes half the video games I like, and another likes the other half. I'm worried... (not really) Tot volgende keer, Elder Burgess

Monday, 22 July 2013

Staying positive, eating 4 kilos of popcorn.

Emails are shorter and shorter? It's because every week I have less and less time! Fifteen minutes? Fingers, don't fail me now. This week was a bit slow. I keep saying we have to work with the members, but I'm not quite sure how actually. I've decided to hand the reigns over to Elder Wiscombe (who's from Utah by the way), because he seems to have more experience in that regard. We met with our Russian friend and his girlfriend this week. They are super awesome and positive. They got a kitten last week and it is adorable. All paws and sharp things. You put your hand anywhere near there and it's like being hugged by a cactus. So adorable. We also visited our good friend Lot Fi. I don't know if you know him? He's super funny. He's got the greatest expressions ever. He's a bit sad, so it does him good to have a visit. Something stinks in this room. On a light note, I fixed my old race bike. 4 shops declared it dead, but I took her hips apart and discovered she just needs a minor replacement. So I swung by the store and 11 Euros and an hour later, she was up and walking. There were some kinks, but now all the soreness is worn out and she's running like a charm. It says Champion along her back, so that'll be her name. High ho Champion, AWAAAAAY!!! MIRACLE! So somebody passed us last week and asked if we had a pamphlet for him. It totally caught me off guard. I offered a book, but to my surprise, he said he already had one given to him by his grandma. We saw it later by the way, it was one of the 1968 editions (yipes!). But he took the card and promised to call us. Aw. Dang. There goes that fish. BUT THEN HE DID. Ah-whaaa? Yep, he called us later in the week--because he promised of course--and told us he would be coming to church that sunday. Ah-whaaa? We saw him saturday and he said, "tot morgen!" BUT THEN HE DID. He was actually there before us. He stayed for the full 3 hours and loved it too! He told Elder Wiscombe later that he's trying to decide between our church and another to join. Time to pray. We'll be seeing him this week. It's vacation time now. We have about 6 names on our list to look up that say, "come back in August." Dangit. GUESS WHAT! It's transfers this Wednesday. Yup, should have told you. Maar vrees niet and wees niet bevreesd (but fear not and do not be afraid), I'm staying! Yay! I'm pretty excited actually. Elder Wiscombe was really excited. I think he likes serving with me. Cool. Looks like I'll be here for 6 months then. Can you believe that? My district also changed. I'll now be in charge of Den Helder, Alkmaar (who became new zone leaders--they made a new zone!), the Leiden office Elders and Heerlen zusters (sisters). Should be interesting. I'm kind of chapped that I don't get to work with the previous district anymore. I really loved them. Oh well. New challenge, ho! We went back to Callantsoog, Elder Wiscombe's favourite place. We went to visit a member and they invited us in their beautiful house, then we came along to have pizza at a fancy smancy restaurant downtown with yet another family. It was so good. Afterwards, we got gourmet ice cream at this giant ice cream parlour. Seriously some of the best ice cream ever. That was a fun day. Staying positive, eating 4 kilos of popcorn, flying like the wind. What could be better? Tot volgende keer, Elder Burgess

Monday, 15 July 2013

Uncontrollable excitement!

We went to an aquarium. It was super cool. I touched a shark and a stingray tried to get me. I got him instead. Then we went down in the basement where there was a giant whale skeleton. There was also this piece of flesh chilling in a tank beside the skeleton. I read what it was, but didn't understand it and snapped a photo. Later at home, a dictionary revealed its secret identity. I have a photo of a whale's "geslachtdeel". Why anybody would save that part of a whale, I don't know. Ugh. This week was pretty stellar though. We were actually super busy! We found a bunch of new, positive people and had some great appointments. Our friends on Texel are super awesome and we got to go there twice. Elder Wiscombe found a lady while we were there and the next time we went by, her friend was there too! Both of them came this Sunday--they were picked up from the boat by the same member that came on Joint teach--and really enjoyed it. Woo! Also, we found the girl with the dragon tatoo. Ah! She opened the door and had this long snaky dragon all across her shoulder. Before anything else was said, I blurted out, "That is the coolest tattoo ever!" She was actually super interested and we'll be coming back in a week or two. People aren't too keen on having us over during the vacation. It makes things a bit difficult, but we're working with it. We also went to a pretty place called Callantsoog. A super tourist place. Most of the houses we knocked were rental homes for travellers. A lot of German people... Elder Wiscombe absolutely loved it and felt the Spirit super strong and everything. We did some awesome contacting there too. It's so much easier to do missionary work when you're having fun and enjoying it. Aha, did you like the lego? Did you open it? I haven't got my allergy pills yet... BUT I did get the giant bag of popcorn. I have to say, I think that's my favourite gift through the mail yet. Uncontrollable excitement! I took my old bike's wheel apart this week. Turns out I just have to replace the axle. I'm going to see if I can buy my stallion a new hip today. She'll ride yet (stallions aren't girls...). We figured out that Anita isn't strict enough. We chatted about it and Elder Wiscombe and I figured that our parents are awesome because they set the rules and if you cross them, you get punished. Anita sets rules and kind of...does nothing when they're broken. Therefore, no fear to break the rules. We're going to start working with the whole family closer--especially the number one troublemaker. We'll see what happens yet. In any case, we're giving a little less 'attention' than before. We need to get back over to Mr. Buff... Otherwise numbers were pretty good this week (not like those mean anything) and spirits were high. Thanks so much for your prayers. It made a huge difference, I could feel it. Tot volgende keer, Elder Burgess

Monday, 8 July 2013

It was kind of a derp moment

Hmm, no letter from Mom. I guess she finally stopped loving me. Gee, I've been trying my best for years. Well, we sort of hit rock bottom this week. I've been trying to increase my finding skills, but we aren't seeing any results. We're only working with one or two people this week. Anita has made it pretty clear that she's not ready for baptism. Sigh. I'm not sure what to do. On the bright side though, Elder Wiscombe and Elder Stoddard found a super positive person when they went to Texel the other day. She let them right in and they shared a quick message about the Book of Mormon. We're heading there wednesday for another appointment. I don't know. I guess the hot weather has finally hit. In this city, the people that don't leave right away chill at the beach, at the festival or remain inside 500 square metres of the centrum. The streets are dead empty. It's eerie actually. Doors are empty too. It's so clear we need to start working with members to get the job done. It was kind of a derp moment when we talked to a family on Sunday and they said, "Gee, we want to do missionary work but we're not sure how!" That's our job to teach them, dangit. Off we go! Buuut we have a bunch of plans, schemes and ideas to pick up the work. Number one is designing a system to keep track of which members need to be visited. The plan is to meet with every active person at least every 3 weeks. Anybody can afford that. Also, we're coming up with some ideas to have fun. Aha, a member gave us some vla on Sunday. Vla is like pudding, but then...thinner? I'm not sure. It's a smash of pudding mixed with whup cream. But eat it with whup cream. We happen to have some whupcream back home. I want some vla now. ANYDOODLE, the Keuters gave us some vla and I shoved it in my backpack. We started walking around a super rich part of town and I suggested to do some Vla contacting. To my surprise, Elder Wiscombe agreed and snatched the Vla and knocked on a door. "Hallo," said he, "we're sharing a message that's sweet, and delicious--like vla!" Oh diddely it was an adventure. One lady opened the door all excited. "Oh," she said, "I was expecting visitors." "Well," was my reply, "We brought some vla." "What? Vla? What in the world are you doing with vla? Why would you fellows just have vla with you?" I kind of shrugged and laughed. She still doesn't know why. We then used it to contact somebody on the street. After doing a super corny vla-gospel comparison, she just raised a brow at me. "Is this a joke?" she asked--in English. I shrugged. "Yeah, sort of. We do this all the time and sometimes it gets boring. So, to make things exciting, we do something creative and strange once in a while. It gets us talking and it's fun." She had to laugh. We actually shared a super cool conversation and everything. She hinted that she was searching for the truth too, but her stinker husband would be against meeting with us. Blast! so close BUUUUT, a few doors later, we met a super cool guy. If I would have thought about the situation even a little bit, it would have been too strange. Two young men, holding a bottle of vla, trying to teach the gospel to a shirtless buff guy. Uh, okay. He turned out to be super cool too. His Daddy is a member or something and he was down to getting a Book of Mormon and for us returning in a few days. Wha? Yeah. Thanks vla, thanks. It's clear to see that as you enjoy the work and keep your thoughts away from doubts, the Spirit will lead you and touch the hearts of those you talk with. I hope we'll be able to come up with more activities. so far on the list of things to use: a yo-yo, a small raptor figure, masking tape, a rubik's cube and a guy in a jar. Adventures, AWAY!! Hopefully things will turn around soon. Summers finally here and she's pounding at the doors. It's toasty outside. Den Helder is literally the best place to be during the summer though. By the coast, it doesn't get especially hot and the evenings are always cool. Staying over at other apartments last week made me realize how hot it is out there in the real world. Woo! Count your blessings. Loves! tot volgende keer, Elder Burgess ps ~ "I did send a letter.....he did not recieve it." :)

It was...strangely unceremonious

The alarms are going off now.  WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!  Super eerie.  It's hard to get used to those things...
I decided to write my email first this week before answering all my friends.  But diggety dang it, there's always something to do on a computer.  This week was downloading the special missionary broadcast they have.  I'm curious to watch it.
Well, I gave my first District Meeting.  It was...strangely unceremonious.  After all the numbers, announcements and introductions were done, I only had 15 minutes to deliver what I wanted to say.  "Uh.  You guys are doing great.  Work with members.  Do it."  Gee, I think I can handle this whole district leader thing after all.
So this week got totally exploded.  We got a call Tuesday evening.  "Ah!  Elders, District Leaders are now supposed to get their licenses and Elder Wiscombe has to get his legality.  We're going to Belgium tomorrow." Uh, what?  Ker-whisked away!  Schwoom!
So that evening we stayed over in Amsterdam.  Keep track now.  Monday was Den Helder, Tuesday Amsterdam.  We're up to two cities.
So then on Wednesday, we went on a million-hour trip in the mission van with Elders Christensen, Huff (both in the office), Douglas, Mower, Wiscombe and I.  It was crazy fun.  We went to this crazy thing called the Antonium.  It's like a gigantor statue of 4 or 5 balls stuck together with tubes.  You bet your bottom there were more than enough jokes made about that.  Ahem.  But yeah, we shelled out some cash to go walk through them.  Seriously, this thing was like, 120 feet tall or so.  I got some fantastic pictures.  One room made the entire thing worth it.  It was all dark except for this big ol' ball suspended in the middle.  Crazy shapes crawled their way across it, projected by...projectors.  There was a low beat humming through the room and whenever something interesting happened in the music, lights would flare all around.  It was crazy.  You bet your bottom again I got a video.  You'll get to see it later.  I could have spent forever in that room.  Super relaxing.
Then we finally made it to the huge legality...building in Brussel (close to Leuven!) and tried to get my license.  Now, usually, an American simply has to show his Amercian license and his Belgium legality card, and they give him his international license.  It would have been the same, but apparently, they only accept 4 provinces in Canada--British Columbia not being one of them.  AAAARRGG!  So instead I have to take 2 tests to get it.  I probably won't do that though.  Not really worth it.  Plus, they switched a law in Belgium, so we'll have to go back again to get Elder Wiscombe's legality.  Dang it.
So that night, we came back and slept over in Alkmaar, because the next day we had to return again.  Yep, that's city number 3 we slept in.  So on Thursday, I waited around in the office forever for the Den Haag Elders to come pick me up.  Luckily, Elder Pitts was also waiting and we had some Nerf Guns so it wasn't so bad.  Still, we were there a while.  Eventually, the Den Haag elders came and got me (they had forgotten) and we swung back there and had an appointment.  Elder Wiscombe came back late in the evening and we slept over in Den Haag.
Ding ding ding!  City number four.  We have a winner!
I considered going on exchanges the next day to hit city 5, but decided that was a bad idea.
Despite only working like, 2 days in Den Helder, we had a really good week.  We had a lot of appointments with Anita.  Unfortunately, she's kind of plateaued right now, but we'll be working closer with her.
We also got two new investigators!  A guy born in Russia and his girlfriend. They're both Christrian and promised us to read the Book of Mormon.  We committed them to a soft baptismal invitation and everything!  Super awesome.
Oh, also, I gave a 20 minute talk in Sacrament this Sunday.  That talk you sent me came in handy.  With some major adjustments and translation, it turned out quite well actually.  Thanks.
Well, off to another week!
Tot volgende keer,
Elder Burges