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

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Off to a new adventure. AWAY!

Yep. Another week. I've got all good news too! First of all, TRANSFERS! And I'm gone. I'm not sure how to make this more exciting. I'm opening and training and district leader. Holy Moses, can you believe that? I'm being replaced by Elder Kemp and his greenie (it takes 2 to replace me). I'm going to for sure miss Den Helder, but I was here for 4 transfers. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy to be seeing something new. And new it will be. I'm going to Rozendaal. Not Elder Roosendaal, but the city. Weird, right? It's kind of smack-daddy right in the middle of nowhere--in that happy no-man's-land between Belgium and the Netherlands. I've been there a couple times, but I've never seen much of anything. As far as the ward or branch goes, I have no idea. It doesn't have it's own unit, so we're going to have to be going somewhere else to meet on Sundays. Somebody mentioned that the Stake President down south had a prophetic dream or something that one day Rozendaal will have it's own ward. Gee, no pressure right. Largest focus: FIND FAMILIES. Elder Mower told me this past week that his goal before he goes home is to find the one. I'm hoping to find the one family. That will be super cool. I wonder who my little baby boy (newly landed companion) will be? Also, I'm pretty sure Elder Giles will be training as well. Should be fun. I heard from Elder Wiscombe very fleetingly. Actually, he called Elder Van Komen and was very, very chipper. He sounded happy and well. It warms my heart to hear that. All that's happened with him recently truly is a giant answer to a lot of prayers and worry. God works His miracles, just give Him some time. We ate dinner at Katie's this past week. Holy Moses, I'll miss her. She is so awesome. We ate Foo foo, a crazy mash-potatoe-ish meal. Super delicious. You eat it with your hands and everything. This weekend we worked out butts off. Ooops. Yep. I am now buttless!! They opened up the city Hoorn and it was our job to go and get the apartment ready. Elder van Komen and I stayed behind to set up some of those build-it-yourself Ikea closets while Elder Douglas ran around picking up furniture. It was tiring! We were there for like 5 hours or something. I rather enjoyed it, actually. The city is beautiful, very Leiden-esque. Except the house was filled with big fat spiders and mouse poop. Not a Sister city, thank diddely. That evening we went to the church and helped in the garden too. Both my companions came home with nasty blisters on their hands. Now, apparently I don't get blisters or don't work hard enough, because I was fine. I think I'm used to setting up those kinds of things anyway, because I wasn't sore after either. I've never had a blister in my life, by the way. The next day we did even more service. We helped in the garden of a cool member and helped another recent member move out. Work work work. It was very, very tiring. Slept well though. On Sunday, a missionary in the Alkmaar branch came home from his mission. They had a special service for him, all Vincent-themed (that's his name). He served in France and Switzerland. It was a strange voorspelling (how do you say that in English? forecast). It was like looking into my life several months from now. Ooo, eerie. there was much food eaten and merrymaking had. And oh-so much more merrymaking to be had. Off to a new adventure. AWAY! Tot volgende keer, Elder Burgess