Monday, March 5, 2018

Busy week in Vanuatu

Well Ill just start with last Monday. Had a pretty normal P-day. Didn't really have time to do any cool activity like normal. Elda Child did however taste his first milkshake from "Jill's American Cafe" though. Those things are heavenly haha. 

Tuesday we got haircuts really quick from the cheep barber dude just before our district meeting. We didn't have time on P-day so we got it done. We have quite a bit of flexibly in our schedule as travel elders :). After we saw Jonathan again. We are just following up with him and getting him really to get the priesthood. We also saw our most potential investigator Angelina. She is suppose to be getting baptized the 31st. Its been kinda hard teaching her though. We gotta bang our heads against a wall just to get here to talk haha. She's super super quiet. Same goes with most Ni-vans honestly haha. 

Wednesday we spent the morning getting our vanuatu's drivers licences. After living here for 3 months you have to get a local licence for some reason. Pretty pointless, I think the government just wants our money. A cool souvenir though! haha. We also met with this inactive mama, Mama Diane! She made this Ni-vans version of a Banana Pie haha. Its was pretty good but just...different, like everything else here :). We also saw Ian's, girlfriend Ailine. She broke the news that he is really not trying to stop any of his word of wisdom problems and now hes working 7 days a week. Literally like 70 hours a week or something ridiculous. Gonna be real hard to help em now :(. We also saw a less active named Harriet who came back to church this Sunday! Twas good to see a less active finally come back to church!! 

Thursday was chill. Made some flights for a district president training conference that we literally just found out about haha. All the district presidents on the outer islands are coming into Vila. We also found a few new potential investigators. To end the day we picked up a zone leaders who is going home this transfer, Elda Hathcock. His Vanuatu visa is expiring before he goes home so we had to send him to Honiara so he could finish his mission on a visitors visa haha. Believe it or not it is actually cheaper to send someone on a return international flight then to have them pay a late visa fee when leaving the country. 

Friday we were up super early to send off Elda Hathcock. We'll be seeing him in a week again in a week to actually send him back to the U.S. Later we went back to the flight agency to finish up some of the district president flights and some other stuff. There was a horribly smashed up bus just in front of the travel agency that hit a pole the night before. The bus was never cleaned up and 2 people were brutally killed in the accident. There was still blood and stuff all over the bus. A gruesome scene due to drunk driving. Not even the government I feel is taking responsibility to clean up the mess and its kind of ironic because elections are going on right now haha. The plot actually thickens on Saturday. 

Saturday afternoon we were just chillin out in our area. Trying to find some people to teach or whatever. We happen to find Mafin again who was back in Teouma, our area, just for a day or two. He was there in his little village with tons of friends. One among them had a huge bandage on his head full of staples. Turns out he was literally the driver of the bus that hit the pole in Vila. He was the only survivor and he was basically hiding out in the middle of nowhere in the bush because tons of people basically hate him now. He can't go back to his house in town because I think someone will literally kill him. Right then and there we teach the whole group about the Book of Mormon. The lesson went well actually. One guy was a devout Ba'hai. I really don't know much about the religion but I think they believe that there are like 9 holy books of scripture or something such as the Bible, Quran etc etc etc. It was actually really hard to teach someone that believes that so many religions are all collectively true. Anyways...

Sunday we had to deal with more flight complication with everyone trying to fly back to their outer islands after zone conf. President loves to call air Vanuatu the pirates of the skys haha. It can be fun to deal with them sometimes. Church was also good. 12 year old Jerry came to church on his own and passed the sacrament for the first time! Not even his parents go to church for the moment and his solid uncle in the church just flew back to New Cal for a few months. Literally nobody shows him a good example for the moment but he pays his own bus and comes haha. What a stud. We also found a few solid potential investigators. Looking forward to following up! 

That's bout it for this week! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

A goat stole our phone

Its been a couple weeks! Last week I couldn't really email cause I was back in New Cal!! I went over for just a day last Sunday and came back last Monday! I went to go get my "Carte de Sejour", or visa because you have to pick it up in person. It was suuuuper weird going back. It was actually hard to switch back into French but after speaking for a few hours it was just like before haha. As for these last two weeks its been great! Jonathan, the guy who randomly started following the word of wisdom on his own got baptized!! Elda Child baptized him and I did the confirmation. In classic Ni-can fashion we both got asked to give talks on baptism and the spirit on the spot at the baptismal program haha. This time round it was a lot easier though. Bislama is coming along.

Elder Kennedy and Elder Gaulden, some other office elders, also had a baptism in our ward too. We had to drive out to a place called Eton which is a tiny little village about a 30 min drive. There is a tiny little unit of the church out there but its technically part of the Etas ward so we did our baptism together with our recent convert! Being in Eton for a bit was actually awesome. When we got there its turned out the guy we were suppose to interview hadn't come back from work yet so we made simboro (some local food. Look it up!) and talked with the members for a bit wait we waited. 

Another story. So last Saturday after the baptism we were kinda having a rough proselyting time. Nobody we wanted to see was home and so we were a little frustrated. To let out a little frustration, after walking back from a house of someone we wanted to see but wasn't there, Elda Child jumped out and yelled at a goat to scare it haha. Turns out that this dumb little thing would come back to haunt us. What we didn't realize is that the phone at fallen out as he jumped out at the goat. We were looking around for hours back at the house and back tracking our steps in our area to finally find it next to the flippin goat. Looking back I should've taken a picture of that dumb goat haha. 

This week we also picked up some mid transfer arrivers. 2 Tongans and 1 Micronesian. They were in the "english second language" program at the New Zealand MTC so they come in mid transfer which makes things interesting. It was a little special this time cause president and sister Granger were not even in Vila at the time they came so they never really got a proper orientation. Me and Elder Kennedy had to do a make shifty welcome for them at the mission office haha. 

Another story. Elder Child and I have decided to "contact the neighbors" We bought a pineapple and decided to basically do some door to door. We figured we'd prepare now to be 40 year old men in our future neighborhoods and to be Mormon neighbourly neighbors haha. It worked kinda. They said they'd invite us over for a "drink" one time haha. Maybe an opportunity to teach the word of wisdom :). 

Well that's everything interesting that happened these last couple weeks! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

-Tontouta airport in New Cal!! Took Elder Hable back with me cause he got transferred to Vanuatu!
-Cool sunset in Vila
-Makin Simboro in Eton 
-Jonathan's baptism! 
-Eatin some sugar cane

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Another full week of proselyting! Lots of good progress in the area this week! We set 2 baptismal dates and worked a ton. 

So we started the week last Tuesday without water cause our pipe broke! We didn't really get to shower for a couple days. Good thing we have deodorant!! haha. To start out... Jerry, one of our recent converts, came up to us at church and referred his sister to take the lessons haha. Even at 12 years old he's getting out and doing missionary work! Now his older sister and her friend are both taking the missionary lessons! We also followed up with one of our investigators named Johnathon. He straight up told us he was ready to change his life and he had stopped drinking and smoking. He's been holding all his engagements now and is ready to be baptized in the blink of an eye! Crazy miracle. We hadn't even taught him the word of wisdom yet and he felt the need to stop all these things!  

Wednesday we were told by some other missionaries that an investigator that wants to be baptized had just moved into our area so we spent literally 3 hours just talking with everyone trying to find this dude and never did!!! At least we get to meet a lot of people though haha. 

Thursday we saw a strong member couple but the wife isn't baptized yet! They still have to work through some marriage complications and to make things worse the husband's sister is trying to claim that their land is hers so they have to go to court. They might not even stay in our ward/area now :(. That's a big problem here in Vanuatu actually. Nobody really knows what land they live on cause the legal system here is so sketchy haha. 

Friday was another day full of lessons :)

Saturday and Sunday were both pretty similar. Sunday was especially long. We went to church and stayed in the area till night time. We had some dry raman to get us through the day haha. Jerry also got the aaronic priesthood! He'll be passing the sacrament next week! 

Bout it for this week! 

Elder Burbank

I keep forgetting to take pictures but here is a few of some cats cause they are literally everywhere.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Transfer Complications

Finished up all the transfer movements this week! It was a little crazy. We got some new arrivers in on Wednesday who was off to New Cal but it turns out that church travel booked his flight to New Cal for 2019! He almost got arrested at the airport cause he has no Visa and no proof of leaving the country haha. We have to get him a flight on the spot to prove he was going to leave the country. The catch was that his flight was like 3 days later than all the others flying to New Cal cause their flight was full. Elder Lythall chilled with us and proselyted in Vanuatu for a few days! To make things worse his bags didn't even come so we had to improvise a bit and get him some clothes for a few days. Thankfully right before he left on Sunday his bags showed up at the airport thank goodness. Another thing that made things interesting was that 3 arrivers didn't even show up! They got held in the New Zealand MTC and no one told anyone in the mission! We had to cancel flights and such but nothing too crazy.

Another crazy thing. Wednesday morning at like 3:30am we had to take all the returning missionaries to the airport. First of all everyone in the house woke up late so we were all in a huge rush. To make things more interesting, when we got to the STL's house to pick up the one sister missionary returning to New Cal the gate to their complex was locked and turns out that they don't even have a key!! The poor sister had to throw her luggage over the 8 foot gate and change into shorts and climb over herself! A nice stressful morning to say the least :)

Thursday we just drove around new arrives to get all their business done. I also helped Elda Child learn how to drive stick :) that was fun. President wanted him to learn it well before we got the new bus (which we finally have now)!! It's basically the same, just not falling apart haha. 

We got quite a few days to proselyte this week and it was super cool being in a trio. We had about 14 lessons and Elder Lythall kinda felt lost the whole time haha. He thought he would be learning French. Our 12 year old recent convert Jerry should be getting the priesthood soon too which is exciting!! The area is going well. Still teaching alot and got a good set of progressing investigators. 

Bout it! 

Have a good week everyone!

Elder Burbank


Elder Thomsen going home back to Lethbridge! 

Elder Lythall, The lost temporary comp haha. 

First time I've ever driven a brand new car off the lot!! 20km's 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Transfer week 0_0

Been a little busy lately. Moving around everyone in the mission has been fun. We also got 3 new unexpected arrivers to the mission which changed transfers at the last second so we have to cancel and book some new flights. Thankfully they weren't full. The Lord always finds a way to get his missionaries where he wants them haha. 

Anyway we also had another baptism this week! Jerry finally got baptized which is super awesome! Elda LaMont performed the baptism and he'll be transferred to zone leader today actually. He was super happy to see him baptized before he goes!! I only got to spend one transfer with Elda LaMont which is sad but my new comp Elda Child is awesome too! He just started his mission like 3 months ago. He started on the most "bush" island in the mission called Gaua. The stories he has to tell are of legend. His older brother actually finished his mission on Gaua and he started his there lol. The whole island basically loves their family. Anyway I'll be training Elda Child as the new travel elder now. It should be fun and nice and stressful :). 

The transfer craze is almost done. We just have to worry about sending off leaving missionaries and new arrivers coming in. We also recently found out who the new mission president is going to be! He's from Provo but originally from Canada (don't know which part). He speaks fluent french apparently. His name is President Duquette. Sounds French eh?

Not too much to write about honestly. I forgot my journal at the house so I'll write more next week! 

Till next week!

Elder Burbank

-The tiny little bush chapel in Paonangizo (north efate)
-Jerry the legend got baptized!!!
-Other peeps that got baptized with Jerry!
-Elda Child
-We dropped off Elda Urima and Elda Mariteragi (one of my comps in New Cal. He just got transferred to Vanuatu!) in Paonangizo. About a 2 hour road trip! 
-Snake hill (you cant really see it but its mind blowingly steep)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Office Week

Well this week really wasn't all too exciting. A majority was spend blowing my mind up in the office. We spent like 3 full days in the office straight. I was ready to blow my mind up after. Anyway I'll break it down day by day.

Last Pday I got a fresh haircut at a real barber shop! First haircut from an actual barber for my entire mission haha. We were trying to look all nice for the member of the seventy who came yesterday, Elder Cardon. He's in the area presidency for the pacific and he was super chill. More about him later. 

Tuesday was a district training by President Granger. Solid stuff as always. Getting to the meeting was interesting though. We woke up and the tire on our bus was flat cause there was a nail in it. We had to put the spare on right then and there. After the meeting, we got the tire patched and all was well. We are still suppose to be getting the new bus for the mission soon. It's only been delayed like 5 times haha. Gotta love island time. 

Wednesday the office madness started. Sister Granger dropped a ton of stuff that they're up to these next couple months and we got transfers. We get transfers a good 2 weeks in advance to book all the flights and organize everything. I found out that Elder LaMont is already going to be leaving me! I'll be travel elder "nambawan" ("number one" in english) now haha. President loves keeping me out of comfort zones. I'm looking forward to training someone how to do all this travel stuff. 

Thursday and Friday were also office days. I got some crazy bad headaches from being in there too long haha. 

Saturday we finally had a proper day in the area again! We found out that one of our investigators went off the deep end and broke up with his girlfriend and started doing all sorts of crazy things. We think that he might actually be insane but were not sure yet. We also committed a ton of people to church but no one ended up coming!! 

Sunday not a single investigator came to church and most peoples excuses were comical. We also picked up some missionaries from outer islands for the zone conference with Elder Cardon. All went well. 

Monday Elder Cardon taught us tons about the importance of getting investigators to pray, about the Abrahamic covenant, finding investigators etc. Its was really really great stuff. I like his way of teaching. It truly is a blessing to have the chance to meet so many general authorities of the church on a mission. They are truly "special witnesses" of Jesus Christ.  

Bout it! 

Elder Burbank

Sorry I completely forgot to take pictures this week so the only ones I have is driving to the internet cafe. Oh and our house haha.  

Me finishing up emails!
Our hosting house/hotel haha
View close to our house
View from the internet cafe :)

Driving in Vila

Monday, January 15, 2018


Another solid week here in Vanuatu. It is incredibly hot here.  More so than New Cal but it's just something that I've accepted now. Last Pday we had a solid "Family house night" (family home evening) with the 1st counselor in the bishopric. A lot of his family speaks french which was nice. I already feel like some French is slipping away from me and I want to practice!

Tuesday we saw all our investigators who got baptized last Saturday. We had to do some interviews with the district leader and what not. All went well! Also, this member family gave us a huge bunch of bananas. Not sure how we are going to eat like 50 bananas but its fine. 

Wednesday we did an exchange with the office elders. They are in a trio so I got to go with the other 2 while the district leader went with Elder LaMont. All 3 of us were all relatively new to Vanuatu. I've been here for a month and Elder Gaulden has too. Elder Kennedy has only been here about 3 so we all got some good experience talking Bislama. I surprised myself how much I could actually say after a month. It's coming WAAAY faster than French that's for sure. Also the weather on Wednesday was torture. We were on foot and it was super hot and raining at the same time which is the worst combo. 

Thursday we had some new arrivers to the mission. We got them out to their areas pretty easily. We also taught our investigator Jerry who was suppose to come to his baptism but couldn't yet cause he, with a bunch of other kids in his village, all got circumcised. We taught him with all his circumcised buds in a tent. The lesson was a little strange cause they all couldn't really move and they were all stuck in bed but a good story to tell haha.  

Friday was super busy. We followed up with a bunch of people that we found when contacting with president. 2 solid investigators came from it. We also met this "chief" dude who runs a little village here on Efate with a ton of families from Tanna (another island). He was super open to talking with us. So far we've only taught his son but we hope to talk with him soon. 

Saturday was Joma and Ivong's baptism! Their recent convert father baptized them which was a cool sight to see! Jerry's baptism is postponed till next week for the moment. When he can walk again is the real factor haha. For the baptism, Elder LaMont and I got asked to do the talks on Baptism and The Holy Ghost on the spot! I fumbled through a talk on baptism in a language I hardly know haha. All was well. 

Sunday was great. The most organized sacrament meeting since I've been here haha. A ton of people from the ward actually came too. We filled the chapel finally. Joma and Ivong got confirmed and we worked some stuff out with Bishop so a couple can get married and baptized soon. 

Bout it for this week!

Love, avec amour, lavem yufala tumas (I change the spelling everytime cause I don't think anyone knows how its actually spelled) ,
Elder Burbank 



-Left to right: Me, Elder LaMont, Joma, Grem (recent convert father), Ivong then another kid who got baptized in the ward by some other missionaries (Elder Gunnel and Elder Ficklin).