Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I'm Alive! (in New Caledonia)

Its been a while! There is so much to talk about but I only get an hour to email now so I'll make it quick! First off President Hillier personally took Elder Walton and I to the SLC airport and we took a short flight to San Francisco and met up with the rest of our MTC district. We barely had any lay over time in San Fran because our SLC flight got delayed like 2 hours but it all worked out.... thank goodness. From San Fran we took a 13 hour flight to Auckland New Zealand which was crazy long but I managed to get some sleep. In Auckland we had like an 8 hour layover which was also crazy long but saying I've been to New Zealand is pretty awesome. Let's just say it'd be nice to have a vacation there. From Auckland we got on a flight to Port Vila Vanuatu! The moment I stepped off the plane onto the tarmac in Vanuatu I felt like a truck hit me. The humidity change from Salt Lake to Port Vila was absolutely insane. The Elders going to New Cal got to stay in Port Vila for 2 days for some orientation stuff and we got to go to presidents house etc. Vanuatu is a super cool place. Felt like I was back in Fiji :)))) So we landed in Vanuatu Wednesday and then flew out to New Cal Friday morning. Seeing New Cal from the air was stunning. The whole island is like a jungle of mountains... it's really cool. The weather here in New Cal isn't quite as hot or humid as Vanuatu but its still enough to make you feel REALLY unconformable in church clothes all day haha. My new trainer's name is Elder Conger! Funny story... I actually met him in the MTC. He left 4 days after I got to the MTC and now he's my trainer!!!!! He has literally been out on his mission for a transfer longer than I have which is kinda crazy to think about but we do our best! He knows just enough French to get by so its been an interesting first few weeks. Our area is called Ducos which is the North Western part of Noumea. I really enjoy it here! We get quite a diverse set of people in our area. Some who just live in squats in the swamp and some in big apartment buildings! The first few days here I couldn't pick up on a single word anyone was saying. The accent here is really unique. It's not a typical french haha. It's like a mix of a Tahitian accent and a mainland France accent. Its really hard to understand. After about 2 weeks however I am starting to pick up on what people are saying. Slowly but surely! Oh, I also really love my new mission president! President and Sister Granger! They are from Australia and are always super happy and funny. Till next week!

Avec amour, -Elder Burbank

Some pictures! Zone Conference, View from my apartment in New Cal, View from Presidents house in Vanuatu.

















Friday, December 16, 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016

Leaving Salt Lake and onto the South Pacific Islands

Last day in the USA! It's going to be REALLY hard to leave all these
great people here in 'sugar' house. These last seven weeks here have
been awesome! I feel I've learned so much from being here! It also
feels like I just got here and I already have to leave :(( I report to
the mission office in about 2 hours at 12:45. They still haven't told
me any flight information!

As for the week last p-day was pretty awesome! We basically sat in all
day because it was the day before transfers but we found out that
elder Lyons is gonna be training again! Also I got to teach a lesson
in French! Elder Nelson in the Swahili area went home so we went with
his companion to the Swahili area and taught a family from central
Africa! Super cool experience. A little taste of what I'll be doing in
a few days from now!

Tuesday we picked up our new trainee Elder Evans! He's a pretty cool
guy from central Florida! We've been in a trio all week and it's been
interesting. Our basement apartment is quite small so having 3 Elders
in there gets a little chaotic haha.

Wednesday we got to go on splits with the highland park Elders quorum
which was pretty successful. For dinner a member gave us a bunch of
money to go out somewhere nice and we went to Olive Garden :) I called
it my last supper round 2.

Thursday we didn't get to do much. A lot of walking in 20 degree
weather with nothing to show :(

Friday was our first district meeting with the new district. I really
like the new Elders and sisters we have. I'm pretty sad I have to
leave!! For dinner we met this guy from Lethbridge who apparently
knows some Burbank's, haha. His name is Brother Ames. He lives in SLC
now but he said he still goes up to Canada a ton. Crazy stuff.

Saturday we had a morning Christmas party and we had the Highland park
ward centennial celebration! The celebration turned out pretty well.
Lots of people came and there were even some news broadcasters. For
dinner we ate with a guy who is straight outta France! We ate
something called Raclette and cooked the food on the table in front of
us. Pretty cool stuff. He gave me some good advice for serving French
speaking.

Sunday I got to say goodbye to a few families and got to bare a
farewell testimony in Highland park. I also had my departing interview
with president Hillier which went really well. I'm pretty sure he's
gonna be the next apostle haha. Can't wait to talk to him once I get
back! He'll still be serving here in salt lake by the time I'll be
back here for school! Till next week.

Avec amour,

-Elder Burbank


Monday, November 28, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

This week has been really fun! Last P-day we had a zone BBQ for our departing missionaries. Sister Parker the Polynesian sister in our zone did most of the cooking and it was super good! We also had another solid dunk ball game but Elder Lyons twisted his ankle pretty bad. 

Tuesday we got to go to the departing missionary temple trip! I was so glad that president invited us. Its going to be my last temple trip in 2 years!! First time in the Salt Lake Temple and it was amazing. I think I understand why it took 40 years now haha. After the temple trip I went on exchanges with another greenie named Elder Canann. Both brand new and we had a full day of plans. Pretty crazy day.

Wednesday Elder Canann and I got a get a car from mission office to borrow because of Elder Lyons injury. It was super convenient because right when we got the car it started dumping snow. For dinner after we switched back from exchanges and Elder Lyons and I got to go to an early thanksgiving party which went pretty well. We got to talk to a bunch of RM's about their missions and stuff. That night we also had to drive all the way out to West Valley which is way outside the mission boundaries for a baptismal interview for a Swahili refugee. Driving on a Utah Highway in snow is pretty sketchy not gonna lie. 

Thanksgiving morning Elder Lyons and I played in an awesome turkey bowl in the snow! We also had like 3 dinner appointments which was a little chaotic but it was some good food. I think I might've gained like 10 pounds but no shame. We also got permission to go see President Hillier and his family at the mission home down in cottonwood heights! Felt right at home there it was awesome. 

Friday we spent contacting a ton. Highland Park Ward has some 90 perspective Elders so we just spent most of the day knocking that list out. Contacting is a whole lot easier with a car. Surprisingly a lot of people were opening their doors so we actually got to talk to people.

Saturday we spent time contacting some more and we got transfer info! As of right now Elder Lyons and I are going to be in a trio this upcoming week until I leave next Monday. We still don't know who will be the third but we find out tomorrow.


Sunday we went to like 5 wards. Paula didn't come to church again for some reason. We are still having lessons and she still keeps other commitments but she doesn't make it to church! I really hope I find out what happens in the future after I'm gone. Sunday evening we went to a really cool fireside at the Swahili branch. A Polynesian choir called Divine Heritage gave an awesome performance and the departing missionaries in our zone gave testimonies etc. I might not get to E-mail next Monday so I'll E-mail when I can. 

Avec Amour
Elder Burbank















Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Week of Service

Another solid week that blew by! Last Monday evening elder Lyons and I
got to visit a recently returned mission president and his family. The
McConkie family! They are related to Bruce R. McConkie. They served in
the Czech Republic! It was cool to hear his experience as being a
mission president. Oh and it turns out Sister McConkie is Elder
Jenkins from the Tahitian district in my MTC zone's aunt! I feel like
the world around me is shrinking every week I am in Utah. haha

Tuesday our zone got to go to the refugee center for our service
project! We got to help organize donated supplies in a big warehouse
for refugees to come pick up. There are about sixty thousand refugees
in the salt lake valley alone it's pretty cool. We also had some great
correlation meetings with the ward missionaries and with our senior
missionary couple in the area. We have been recently told by the
missionary department that recent converts and investigators aren't
reading nearly enough of the Book of Mormon. Our goal is to really
refocus on the Book of Mormon now. To really explain it to people and
as missionaries spend a lot of time reading along with less actives,
investigators and recent converts. A lot of people don't like to read
the Book of Mormon because they don't understand it but we can't let
people use that excuse! As members we should all be doing everything
we can to help explain the Book of Mormon to others. Having faith in
Christ and having a desire to come back to church or being baptized
really comes down to knowing the Book of Mormon is true.

Wednesday we had a great lesson with Paula  our "on date" and cleared
up some misunderstandings. She felt like she needed to know everything
and to need to finish the Book of Mormon before her baptism! She had
been rushing through the Book of Mormon and not really understanding
much. I'm really glad we got to clear that up because it's a principle
that we will be able to better teach in the future.

Thursday was a long day. Weekly planning took forever and we didn't
get to do much. We did get to meet with a member who works for the DEA
though which was super cool. Pretty sure he told us some confidential
case stuff but his secret is safe with us. haha.

Friday we had interviews with president which went great! He told me I
get to go to the departing missionaries temple trip at the Salt Lake
Temple! Last one for 21 months! But whose counting...

Saturday we got to do a big service activity with the neighborhood.
Basically everyone who is home Saturday morning all get outside and
rake everyone's leaves! It was lots of fun and we got to meet a lot of
new people! Later we got to help a non member mix and pour concrete to
help him build a fence. He's neighbors with one of the bishops so we
are hoping he kinda opens up to the church. He doesn't seem too
interested but he is a really nice guy.

Sunday elder Lyons and I gave sacrament talks in Colonial Hills ward!
Turns out the entire stake presidency just happened to be there haha.
Unfortunately Paula was feeling sick so she couldn't make it to church
which means she's definitely off date to be baptized now. We are
hoping we can move it a week or two later to give her some time but
we'll see. Not that missionary work is a race by any means but I really
want to go to her baptism before I leave! Till next week!

Avec amour,
-Elder Burbank




This is one of the chapels in Highland Stake. Just thought it was
super cool and unique! The building is almost 100 years old and the
ward that meets there is having their centennial celebration on Dec

3rd!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Visa came through!

This last week went by so fast! I felt like last P-day was yesterday! Crazy how time flys. Last P-day our zone went on a beautiful hike in the mountains behind U of U. It was so pretty up there! Ill attach pictures at the bottom. After our hike we basically got locked up in the mission office all night because we are not allowed to proselyte on Halloween. All the missionaries in the valley came and we all got to watch The Other Side of Heaven. After the movie we had a devotional with Mitch Davis, the director and producer of the movie! Apparently he is best friends with president Hillier haha. It was so cool to hear about the making of the movie. The fact that the movie even exists is a miracle! It kinda got me thinking about New Caledonia again. I got word that my Visa came through. Not sure of exact departure date. 

Tuesday I went on my first exchanges with Elder Larson. He is a super cool Elder with a great testimony. Apparently his Dad is like an executive of Post cereal so we all get unlimited cereal basically haha. He's the one holding up the ripped jeans in the picture. On the hike he managed to completely destroy his jeans. I couldn't stop laughing. 

Wednesday Elder Lyons and I had another lesson with Paula. She is still progressing great! She is still on track to get baptized on the 19th. Oh and we also had some messed up brownies after a ward mission leader correlation. They had waaay too much vanilla and Elder Lyons almost puked haha. 

Thursday I had to go on splits with another greenie. We both didn't know what we were doing exactly but it was a good experience. We stayed in Elder Lyons and I's area and I kinda felt like a trainer haha it was strange.

Friday we had a really powerful lesson with a recent convert that has kinda gone inactive. Ever since his father in law passed away he felt like God had robbed him. I think he only really joined the church because of his father in law but we are trying to build his own personal testimony. I've seen that quite a bit here. There are so many inactive members. Alot of these people never really had a testimony of the savior to begin with. We cannot rely on the testimonies of others nor can we have a testimony of the church as a whole. It just isn't good enough. We all need to develop a personal relationship with the Savior. This week a scripture in 2 Nephi 23:26 really hit me. It talks about why the scriptures even exist. So that we can learn of Christ. Studying the scriptures is so important. Really studying them. Reading for an understanding. Reading the scriptures is an absolute waste of time if we don't actually take the time to understand and learn from every single verse.

Saturday was kinda rough. Pretty much everything fell through except our dinner appointment haha. Elder Lyons always says that missionaries are happiest when they are teaching and that is the truth!

Sunday was my first fast Sunday in the field! I woke up with a terrible cold and not getting to eat. It was a rough morning but got better as the day went on. Fast Sundays are just hard. We have to work and ride our bikes all day and fast. Having a cold didn't help either but it all worked out. Till next week!

Avec amour,

-Elder Burbank








Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 2 in the Field

I had another great week here in Salt Lake! Last P-day my whole zone
went to the creator of Scentsy's house just to hang out. They have a
huge house with an indoor basketball court and such that they always
let the missionaries use which was super cool. That night we got to
teach our investigator Paula which went really well! She does lots of
research and studying before each lesson we have with her and she asks
lots of great questions! Paula also had her daughter sit in the lesson
with us and she seems pretty interested too!

Tuesday we had new missionary training at the mission office which
took like 6 or 7 hours! Felt like an eternity but President and Sister
Hillier had lots of great things to say. They talked about creating a
"Zion mission." President Hillier has only been serving for about 4
months but that seems to be his theme. Doing everything we can to
build each other up so we can confidently go out and serve. He is such
an inspired leader and just perfect for this mission specifically.
Also I met a new missionary at the training who got here last Sunday
from Sooke, BC! His name is Elder Sulzen. He said he knows the Fishers
pretty well! Small world....

Wednesday we had zone conference which meant another 7 hours at the
mission office but it was also super great!  More about creating a
Zion mission and creating ward or stake focused missionaries. Helpful
stuff! I also got my IPad and my bike on Wednesday! Both of which
makes the work so much easier! The entire area book synced to maps is
on the IPad which is insanely helpful! Going to be hard to give up
once I go to New Cal haha.

Thursday was lots of weekly planning. Some more great lessons and a
lot of biking! We bike all day every day it seems but I enjoy the
exercise. Also Elder Lyons and I went over Alma chapter 5 which really
stuck out to me. I recommend you read it!

Friday was more meetings and pouring rain! Elder Lyons and I got
completely soaked and every lesson and meeting basically fell through.
Kind of a rough day but C'est la vie. Members have been telling us
that it's been strangely warm for this time of year. Normally by
Halloween its suppose to be dumping snow not rain! I'm glad it's
staying warm though. Hopefully it holds up before I head to the
tropics! That's about it for this last week. Talk to you next week!

I didn't really take any pictures this week but I'll be sure to take
some for next P-day.

Avec amour,

-Elder Burbank

Monday, October 24, 2016

First Area = White Wash

This last week has been absolutely awesome! Elder Walton and I woke up at 3am Tuesday morning to send Elder Graf and Kennedy off to California. Then at 6:20 we hopped on a bus then took the front runner train up to our mission! The first day was awesome! President and Sister Hillier are awesome! They are so incredibly dedicated to their work. President Hillier used to be an area 70 so he has gone on tons of assignments with apostles and such. He has such a powerful testimony of this work!

My trainer is Elder Lyons. He is our district leader and he's been out for about 15 months. He is from southern Mississippi. He is a really cool guy and a great trainer! We got white washed into a brand new area covering 2 stakes! I have no idea why President Hillier trusts me to cover a brand new area but it's awesome! My area has Highland High School in it which is the one with the Rugby team in Forever Strong. Its actually really close to the Christensen's house haha. Their stake is just outside of our area though.

 This first week has been spent getting to know 12 wards across the 2 stakes that we cover. Its kinda crazy because we have to coordinate with 12 ward mission leaders across the 2 stakes but we are getting the hang of it. Our first full day in the area we got a new investigator named Paula and she is already on date to be baptized November 19th! She was already so prepared to hear the message of the gospel it is a miracle! Also we have been teaching many less active people here as well. About a third of the people in our area are less active with another third being members and the final third being non-members. It is crazy how many people already know so much about the church here even if they are non members. The mission as a whole actually gets a lot of baptisms. There are tons of refugees in our mission from all over the world. Our mission is english but there are wards in Korean, Swahili, Chinese, Thai and so many more. Lots of english missionaries teach refugees with translators its really cool to see. I got to meet a family of refugees who were all getting baptized from central Africa. They spoke Swahili! They were all so happy and nice to us Elders it was super cool! 

I still don't have a bike yet so Elder Lyons and I have been walking everywhere. I am trying to get a bike that I can borrow from the mission office for a short time. I pretty sure we've walked 20 miles in the last week it's crazy but I enjoy it. Email you next week!!

Avec amour,

-Elder Burbank


Some farewell MTC pictures and the apartment!












Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

Slight Detour Ahead - 4 Days until MTC complete

So as you heard I am headed to the Salt Lake East mission for the time being. If my Visa comes sooner I still have stay until the end of the transfer so I'll be in Salt Lake for at least 6 weeks. I got the package and read your talk for Stake Conference! It is super powerful. Just reading it on my own brought the spirit really strongly! Thank you for all the treats! :) I am not too concerned about the Visa not coming through. From what I've heard its getting the Vanuatu Visa that always holds everyone back because we have to get them for Vanuatu and New Cal as far as I know. Also the Christensen's are in my mission! It would be cool if I got to see them again! The majority of the Salt Lake East mission is actually Wyoming. The mission covers about a quarter of Wyoming. Jackson Hole is just North of my mission boundary. Also its cool that Jane is already getting married! I think she really needs this. I guess I will get to meet Eric when I get back?

As for this week at the MTC its been awesome! My district and I had In-Field Orientation yesterday for like 7 hours which was crazy but it was really helpful. It really stressed how important it is to involve members and to work well with members to help with missionary work. Also earlier this week we had a devotional on Tuesday with Elder Bednar!!!! Him and his wife spoke at the pulpit together about how important it is to study general conference. He played little clips from many talks and broke each talk down into 3 categories: Doctrine or Principle, Invitation to act and Promised blessings. It felt like I was having a companionship study with an apostle! He basically said studying General Conference is just as important as studying the standard works. It was very powerful. Speaking about General Conference I really felt a connection with Elder Nelson's talk which was all about joy. I thought that was really cool because I was just talking with the second counselor in our branch presidency, Brother Markham, about what joy really means. Joy is something beyond happiness. Its a divine uplifting feeling that our spirits experience. We were discussing how anyone without the spirit can feel happiness/pleasure but you have to have the spirit with you to feel joy.

It's crazy to think that we only have 4 days left here but I am excited to get into the field! I leave Tuesday at 6:30 to take a train up to Salt Lake. Should be an awesome 6 weeks until I get to head out to New Caledonia! 

Bonne Chance with your talk on Sunday! I wish I could be there!

Avec amour,
-Elder Burbank




Here are a few pictures. View from the residence, Gathering for "Chanter" (we all sing a closing Hymn together every night) and a picture with one of the "Benin Boys" who left to Benin, Africa a little while ago.




Friday, October 7, 2016

I got my flight plans

So this last week at the MTC has been great! Today my district and I got our flight plans!! We are going to San Fran first then to Auckland then to Port Vila. I am suuuper excited to get out to the field! Also watching conference this last weekend has been a huge blessing. Seeing the general authorities give such profound messages from a missionary perspective is really really cool. Its hard to believe how much I've learned from being here in just the last 5 weeks. From the language to gospel principles. 

It turns out that we had to move residences today because they are doing construction on our building so a few hours out of our P-day was used to move from 12M to 16M. Its kinda weird that we have to move to a new building for just a week but its fine.

It was really hard this week to see so many people from our zone go. We all got so close to them but C'est la vie! I really hope I can meet up with these people after our missions!

I'll send some final pictures from the MTC next week! And as far as I know I don't need anything before I leave the country. Although I've heard basic everyday necessities are really expensive in New Cal so I'm not quite sure yet. Oh and I forgot to say last week but I got the chance to see the old temple film. It was really cool to see how they did back then!

Avec amour,

-Elder Burbank

Friday, September 30, 2016

Week 4 at MTC

The time is just flying by in the MTC. Its crazy that we are starting our 4th full week here! We leave in 2 weeks from Monday! I still haven't heard about my visa. My district should be getting our flight plans this up coming week so I think ill find out then. Elder Graf and I have been teaching about 2 lessons everyday now! Its getting a little chaotic but the practice is always great. It does get difficult at times but I still enjoy it. Last Sunday Elder Graf and I got called as the new zone leaders. I really wasn't expecting that but I enjoy the assignment. Its nice to hear from every district and to help the branch presidency out. Also our zone is losing a ton of Elders and Sisters on Tuesday. 21 in total I think. Most of them are heading out to Benin. Its going to be hard to say goodbye. The devotionals this week were great as always! On Sunday Brother Allen gave a great talk on working hard and staying exactly obedient. He got a ton of missionaries involved to share thoughts and scriptures up at the pulpit which was cool. Also its crazy that you have to talk with church leaders!!! I wish I could go to stake conference! Let me know which general authority it is haha. I picked up the package on Monday! Thanks for getting me those things! Also, it was nice to see those pictures from the beach! I can't wait to take some pictures of the beaches in New Cal! 

Avec amour,
-Elder Burbank



Got some pretty cool pictures from the temple grounds! It snowed a bit on Mt. Timp and the Sun lined right up with the Angel Moroni! 







Friday, September 23, 2016

More MTC Experiences and Pictures

The time here is just flying by! Everyday feels sooo long but when I look back I feels like I just got here! My halfway mark is on Monday I think. Our departure date actually got moved to Oct. 17th. I am super excited to get out to the field. My district and I found a picture of missionaries in New Caledonia which was really cool. This last Tuesday we had a great devotional with the MTC District president. He basically said this Gospel is 100% true or its 100% false and that there is no gray area in the church. He said we can know for certain of its truthfulness in the Book of Mormon. I am so greatful to be here right now. Sometimes it can be really difficult with the long days and the not so healthy food but its totally worth it. Elder Graf and I teach a lesson just about everyday now which is tough but it really helps to understand how to teach. This week was also the first week we got to do TRC which was a cool experience. We got to teach a really nice old lady, Sœur Graham. She served in Paris many years ago. She had a lot of cool stories to tell. That's about it for this week! 

So about general conference though. I didn't get into the missionary choir unfortunately but they are singing at the priesthood session. Also the Visa stuff is all cleared up. I don't think it has come in yet though. 

Avec amour,
-Elder Burbank

 Grass Hut in New Caledonia taken in 2004 - mounted on MTC wall

Friday, September 16, 2016

First week at the MTC

This first week at the MTC has been crazy! The first few days were some of the slowest of my life but it's been getting better as time goes on. Everyone says just make it to Sunday and it will get better and its sooo true! Sunday night I got to go to choir which was awesome and we had a devotional with Elder Ballard which was amazing! It was crazy how directly he was talking to us as missionaries. No where else can you get such specific counsel from General Authority's than in the MTC. Right after the devotional we went to a church film and my district and I watched Elder Bednar's "Character of Christ" talk which was hands down one of the best talks I have ever heard. I have never heard an apostle speak so profoundly in my life. If there is a way to listen or watch that talk somehow I HIGHLY recommend it. There was also another devotional on Tuesday night with Elder Cook and his wife which was also super great. Elder Cook gave a powerful personal testimony that he knew the Savior's voice and face. The Spirit was so strong at that devotional especially because we performed our first choir number Nearer My God to Thee. There is something special about singing with 1000+ other Elders and Sisters. I am pretty sure there will be an MTC choir singing at general conference but only about 300 of the 1200 people get to go so I don't know if I will be going yet. I really really want to sing at General Conference though. I think that would be an awesome experience.
 Yesterday Elder Graf and I just finished teaching our first "investigator" which was quite a humbling and slightly discouraging experience. Teaching in French when you barely know French is quite the task but I know the language will come eventually. It's lunch time right now so I will send another Email with some pictures a little bit later. Also, I was wondering if you started a blog for my mission or not?

Also I had an awesome session at the temple today! Its so nice to get to do a session once a week. Also our zone gets to do a little extra temple work by helping with all the temple laundry every week which is always fun. Here are some of the pictures.


-Elder Burbank