Monday, January 15, 2018

Baptism!

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 


Pics:

-Bananas!

-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). 

-Tri-lingual 





Sunday, January 7, 2018

Finding like Krazy

So this week was good. So for the new year last pday all the missionaries on efate got together to do a service project! We made hygiene kits for the people of Ambae (another island). About 40 people made 1000 kits in like 30 to 45 mins. The team work was insane. Nothing better than doing a service project for the new year! Also after the project president felt impressed to give basically an improv zone conference which was cool. Getting everybody hyped for the new year of missionary work. This year will be his and my last year on the mission!!! Crazy to think about.

Tuesday we had "district meeting with the mission president" he tried to make it such an official thing haha. It was actually super awesome. A huge benefit about being in Vanuatu is getting to work with president a ton. A huge huge blessing that we didn't really have in New Cal. After the meeting he took each companionship in the district contacting for an hour and Elder LaMont and I with president literally contacting like 130 in a little over an hour. Our area is bush too (not alot of people) so I couldn't believe. We basically just stormed the fruit stands and the people selling stuff on the side of the road, it was awesome. 

Wednesday we made sure Jerry was ready for his baptism this upcoming Saturday. He's a bright little kid. He cant read but he's still really smart. The "runs" also decided to ruin my life for a day. I was up multiple times in the night. I should probably be more careful to what I eat here lol. 

Thursday we had some good lessons with some new investigators. One asked how he could be baptized into the church so that's always a good sign. Another lesson was with a family that we met from Tanna (another super rural island). They were asking tons of good questions about prophets and what not. Most of them are uneducated but they still decently understand everything we teach them. 

Friday we sent of two Ni-van brothers going to their missions in Papua New Guinea. Its always a little crazy hosting islanders at the house but it just comes with the job haha. Also I never thought that I'd be at an airport for so much of my mission haha.

Saturday we had a solid lesson with a new family that we'd found with president. They seem super solid and they actually got a big understanding of the bible it seems so this should be good. So the thing here about missionary work is that almost everyone here will accept you to teach them but the problem is finding the people who are actually interested. Its a different challenge cause people will always accept you but you may just be wasting time cause they will never progress. The work is tricky in a different way here. 

Sunday was alright. A normal fast and testimony meeting but we literally could not hear a thing the whole meeting cause the one speaker they have which is run by a tiny hand sized generator outside the chapel was waaay too quiet haha. I don't know why they didn't turn it up. After church we went straight to our area and taught a few important lessons. We taught Joma and Ivong again which should be getting baptized this Saturday too. We are kinda rushing a bit to make sure they're ready. Oh I should probably explain too that we neither live in or go to church in our area. We live close to the mission office so it takes like 30 minutes just to drive out to our area every time and when we are at church already which is already close to our area it makes it a bit of a hassle to go all the way back home to eat so like every Sunday is fast Sunday haha. 

That's about it for this week!

Love, Avec amour (keeping the french alive), Luvem yufala tumas,
Elder Burbank

Pics (sorry I didn't really take any this week): 
-Picked up Elder Nulak from Malakula! Comp reunion! He didn't actually know I was transferred to -Vanuatu so it was a big surprise for him haha.
-Ocean views from Vila

-So I took this pic with a random Papi cause people here have the most random shirts. This is just one example. This papi has never heard of the red hot chili peppers and he lives waaay out in the bush yet they get these shirts. Where? No idea. 





Island Holiday

So Christmas season has been pretty great! I loved getting to see Christmas from two different sides of the mission! From our Christmas party everyone on Efate went to presidents house and we had a house gift exchange and played lots of fooseball haha. We also got to host like 8 elders at our house who flew in from Tanna which is always a fun experience. It gets a little crazy with 10 missionaries in ONE HOUSE but it's the best haha. 

So for New Years everyone in the mission was told to stay inside cause the parties get a little crazy around here, however the office district with president and Sister Granger did a whole island tour and stopped by every single missionary house on Efate. It took about 5 hours and we wished everyone a happy new year. Its was super cool and also a little stressful with sister Granger being the protective mother she is haha. She didn't hesitate to "improve my driving".

Anyway as far as missionary work goes, our area is been progressing really well! We found 14 new investigators just in this last holiday week alone! I was super hyped. We also have 3 convert kids who should be getting baptized in January. Their names are Jerry, Joma and Ivong. Pics at the bottom. Our area is literally the best cause we get to take our bus off-roading almost everyday. The roads to some of our investigators houses are absolutely terrible. We've already got stuck once and we both had to get out and push the bus free ourselves :). 

Cool story: while going to see our investigator Joma, an 11 year old kid, we were told by his brother that he left the house to go fishing at a pond. We were a little disappointed that he wasn't there for his lesson but then we just asked his little brother Ivong who we were suppose to teach too to take us to him. After 15 mins of wondering in the bush we found Joma fishing and we did a lesson on the plan of salvation on the spot next to the pond. To make it better after the lesson a guy who was just taking a walk in the bush walked by and we contacted him too and he gave us coconuts and we walked back to his house with him and taught him right then and there. Turns out he's super interested in the Book of Mormon. Cool miracles. 

That's it for these last two weeks! I kinda have to cut emails shorter now cause I got less time! 

Avec amour, Lovem yufala tumas,
Elder Burbank

Pics:

Christmas party at presidents

Jungle :)

 These roads tho

 PINEAPPLES


Wishing all the missionaries happy new year on our "party bus island tour"

These roads tho

 Joma fishing

 Tell Nate the sloth has been mounted on the bus!!

 Crazy kids

Ivong leading us through the bush

Kids wanted a picture





Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Surprise!! I'm in Vanuatu now

Well last week I couldn't email cause I was on a plane to VANUATU!!! President decided I was time for me to go and he called me as a "travel elder" to work in the office. Let me explain a bit. So our mission covers a total of like 11 islands with missionaries on them (or something like that) so come transfers time someone has to figure out how in the world 125ish missionaries move around between 11 islands. To add on to that we have to figure out how president and his wife to zone conferences between islands and exchanges between missionaries and just tons of stressful stuff. I like the job cause we are really busy but we don't get to teach and do normally missionary work. It'll probably take me a bit to learn Bislama cause all office work is in English. The office jobs are stressful but it has its benefits. We have a huge house with AC that we like to call the hotel cause we host tons of missionaries all the time when they are moving around islands. Also being with President and the AP's all the time is a blessing. We get to know mission stuff before everybody else :)

Anyway as for the last 2 weeks its been insane. Elder Champoux and I did some awesome work in Vallee des Colons and Motorpool before I left! Believe it or not but Coralie got baptized! She decided 3 days before she moved to the Caribbean that she wanted to get baptized in New Cal!!! She told Elder Champoux and Elder Graf when they were on an exchange that she wanted to. Crazy miracle. That was a good good day. It was also a very stressful and chaotic weekend cause its a little hard to plan a baptism and a confirmation a day before it happens haha. We spent the whole day just planning and and warning the brand new bishop who was called the week before and it was just CRAZY. Also the mission as a whole just reached its year baptismal goal of 1017! That was a good day for president haha. 

Also leaving Coralie and leaving New Cal on a moments notice was hard!!! Its very likely that Ill never go back too. I feel like that where my mission call is and now I'm restarting my mission. New language new country new culture. It drive me crazy that I cant talk to locals now! Very few speak good french or English so I have to restart haha. Its humbling. Its also humbling to see how poor people here in Vanuatu are. I'm pretty sure this is one of the poorest countries in the world its nuts. Its also hard to leave Elder Champoux. I only trained him for like 5 weeks. The area was starting to pick up too. We found like 4 new super potential investigators and Motorpool should be having another baptism by the end of this year. 

Random highlights: 
So last night we were hosting all these new arrivers in the mission and we ate out at a waterfront restaurant (don't worry its cheap) and we met this half drunk sailor which wanted to talk philosophy with us. He's actually a super interesting dude and he's was hilarious apart from the fact that he swore like a sailor haha. He told us his website if you wanna see. He's a modern day hippy. Harold Neel.com

So we followed up with that lady from Cameroon and she promised us she'd read the Book of Mormon and send us both an email when she finished it. We both left the area but she was super serious. Talk about a golden investigator. 

Rudi and Lucinda got married so Rudi should be getting baptized soon!!

I drive a suuuper beat up manual bus to move missionaries around for transfers. I love it. Also everyone here drives like a psychopath

That's it for this week! Here's some random pictures:
Coralie just after her confirmation
Mission pres house 

Leavers :(((((((((( (now RM's) and my new comp elder Lamont from Logan Utah (The short white kid). He's only been out for 3 months. 
The BUS
Views from the house
Vanina and her family. Our last lesson
Goodbye magenta members
Bye bye mission daughters
Elder Gray the legend going home! The dude with the hat. 
Its rains ALOT. Casual flooding
An awesome tahitian family that does tons of missionary work. 
Mami Rose gave me a flower














Monday, December 11, 2017

The Turks and Caicos

So last Pday was a working day. We did shopping and emailing but then went straight to lessons. We saw Vladimir again but couldn't really teach much. His memory hasn't recovered enough since his near death experience and he doesn't really retain anything we teach. We also found a Futunian family who doesn't practice a religion because they have "too many kids" They invited us in to eat with them and we couldn't say no haha. They said they can't go to church because they can't control their 8 young kids! 

Thursday we had a strange little lesson with a dude named Ludovic. It was his first lesson and he decided to say a pray for us in the middle of the lesson and then he asked us to give him a blessing by the laying on of hands at the end and then he said: Once I take all your lessons I can get baptized? Do I have to go on a mission too? I really wasn't sure if he was serious or not but I was just strange all around. Thursday night we had a dinner with our investigator Ruddy who's getting married Saturday and hopefully baptized soon after. We had like 4 members there which was awesome including his soon to be member wife who is an awesome member missionary haha. 

Friday we had a little English class with Coralie and that evening was the ward Christmas party too! All went pretty well. Coralie actually speaks pretty good English already so it was just an "immersion" class. Unfortunately no other investigators came :( 

Saturday we had absolutely nothing already planned but it worked out alright! We felt like we needed to see Vanina again who hasn't really progressed in a long time and at the end of the lesson the husband who doesn't want her to get baptized came up to us and said he wants to start learning more about the church! We also taught a little lesson to an inactive at her work haha. She irons clothing for a living and we taught her while she was ironing. It was crazy how good she was at ironing haha. I was mesmerized.

Sunday we finally returned to the chapel broken by the cyclone! We also happened to get a new bishop! I did not see that coming but it was cool. Excited to have some fresh eyes on the ward. After church we just did some door to door. We are trying an approach where we bless peoples houses with a short little pray for the holidays. Its actually been working pretty well. One door a naked dude answered and asked for our book and then we gave it to em and left lol. 

Monday we happened to run into an inactive who hasn't seen a church member in 17 years apparently. When we knocked on the door she kinda freaked out a bit and was super happy to see missionaries. Funny thing was is that we were suppose to have a lesson with a dude that was suppose to have lived in that apartment but we think he gave us a false address. Nothing happens by chance though eh? We also continued to do alot of tracting. We met 2 super potential ladies that took as a sign cause they both need alot of help in their lives. One is from Vanuatu and the other from Cameroon Africa.

Tuesday Coralie dropped the bomb on us that she's moving to the Caribbean on MONDAY. That means she wont be getting baptized here but she is super excited to see the little branch in the Turks and Caicos islands. Kinda sad she's leaving but the work goes on. 

That's it for this week! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank


Just some random photos we took in the car. 






Thursday, November 30, 2017

A broken band of brothers

So this week we had another zone conference. The first where the MTC band was not all together!! Elder Kennedy got send to Vanuatu so we had the crazy little Canadian, Elder Secretan, sub in for him in the picture. It was a little sad to see us not all together!! The sad truth is that Ill be leaving the band soon too! Not sure exactly when but Vanuatu is in my future. I have my visa to go over there already so I could leave any transfer. 

Apart from zone conference we continued our potential investigator hunt. 

Thursday was suppose to be the perfect day with 6 lessons planned but oh was I wrong. We ended up just seeing some inactives because most of the lessons all fell through! We did get to eat dinner with a less active Tahitian couple which was super good. They taught us how to make butter in a bottle for some reason. They thought it was the coolest thing haha. Later in the week I even took my newly gained skill and made whip cream in a bottle haha. It was really good actually. 

Friday we had to put the car in the shop for a few hours. We were on foot in the heat again. I got some bad flashbacks from the beginning of my mission in Ducos being in the heat all day haha. I had a huge headache too though so we kinda took it easy. We also had our English class that we restarted....that no one came too ughh. We decided to let out frustration by doing a little late night missionary work. We saw some potential investigators but found out that some don't really want to learn they just want to talk to Americans about random stuff haha. We also saw a lady who left the church and got rebaptized catholic. I kinda just wanted to know why and her reasoning didn't really make much sense. She told us to thank the bishopric and the church for everything it did for her but she wants to part ways. Weird. 

Saturday I was still feeling the pounding headache. We found a lady named Jacklyn who speaks English Bislama and French already and wants to talk with us. I'm thinking about giving her a book of Mormon in all 3 languages haha. We also had a lesson with a bunch of young neighborhood kids and shared book of Mormon stories. It was cool to teach the kids. 

Sunday Rudi and Coralie came to church! They are both progressing well. I really really hope they find the courage to get baptized in December. Honestly I have no idea whats blocking Coralie though. She already told us that she cant find anything that's stopping her shes just a little scared. She will be moving to the Caribbean soon though so I'm not sure what to do for the moment! Sunday was also the light the world campaign kickoff! It was cool. I like how they are keeping last years theme.

Monday and Tuesday was zone conference. When super well as always. We did a talent show for our activity again. Our district sung a hymn, Down in the River, look up the motab version of it! Monday night we also had dinner with another Tahitian family and even Coralie came! We shared a message about Zion and unity and service. We read Moses 7:18, 1:39 and Mosiah 2:17,18:8-11. It flowed quite nicely and I think it really helped Coralie. Also the Tahitian family, the Temauri's were super funny and nice especially for Coralie. It was her first time going to a member house! 

Anyways that about it for this week. Hope you all had a good thanksgiving! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank


Zone conference pics:







Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Cannons and Stake Conference

Last Pday I showed Elder Champoux just about every cannon I could think of in Noumea haha. We had a good time running around an old military base too. There were even some old military storage caves too that we explored in the dark with just our phone light. 

Thursday we visited some inactives and contacted some investigators on our potentials list. Had a little bit of success actually. The potential lists are kinda old but missionaries before never really followed up. We also tried an English class approached while contacting and one lady wanted to had a little lesson on the spot. She works for one of the resorts so she wants to understand the tourists better. Turns out she's the aunt of one of the investigators I had in Ducos. That investigator was even visiting her aunt so it was a funny little reunion haha. 

Friday was weekly planning day. We have decided to do most of our studies and planning downtown at the coconut square in order to get a little more exposure. Being outside is much better than being in our super small apartment too. We also saw Coralie again who dropped the news that she'll be moving to "Provo" at first I was super confused as you can imagine but apparently Provo is short for a British island in the Caribbean. She doesn't know exactly when she's leaving yet but she already knows where the LDS chapel is there and she's excited to go to church in English! At this point we really don't know if she wants to get baptized before or after she leaves. 

Saturday we went to the priesthood session of stake conference. The stake president's wife gave a talk which was the first time Ive seen a women talk in a priesthood session. Most of the talks were pretty direct with fire and brimstone haha. We also spent most of the day just cleaning up the potential investigator lists. That's kinda our project for the moment is to fix our area book. 

Sunday we went to general session of stake conference. Apparently we had investigators there but they got lost in the crowed and we didn't even see them or talk to them. The talks were solid. The mom of a recent convert who is leaving on his mission to Paris talked and bore her testimony about how much the church helped her sons life. She's not even a member but she had a powerful powerful testimony. First time Ive ever seen a non member speak in stake conference too.

Monday we saw a bunch of people but just to highlight we finally saw Rudi again! He'll be getting married super soon to his member girlfriend and maybe baptized soon after their marriage. He's a super cool dude that like learning about the gospel. We also played some bball with the neighborhood kids which was hilarious. All the little kids say some funny stuff to us Americans. 

Tuesday we had a pretty busy morning. Lesson at 8am,9am District meeting at 10 till 12 then lesson at 12:30 and at 2. Didn't really have time to eat or breath haha. Its the best feeling in the world to be busy though. Anyways that it for this week! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank
Pics: 
Military bases