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

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. 
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
Military bases

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


So last week was pretty awesome. I finished out the week with Elder Hable and all went well. Last Pday Elder Hable had to do his driving test with our senior missionary Sister Jean. I had to sit in the back seat and it was a little crazy. It was a super simple test but she likes to be a little dramatic sometimes and stress out the driver haha. No one was killed so all is well. I also got a phone call from the Provo MTC. The lady who called started in French and said she's calling from the MTC and I was super confused at first haha. Turns out it was a return missionary from New Cal asking to see if the church referral system was working or not. She then proceeded to ask questions about the mission and almost died of excitement on the phone when I updated her on some of the progress in the areas she served in haha. 

Thursday we wondering around some neighborhoods trying to find some new investigators then we saw a less active lady named Aurelie. She talked for literally an hour and a half non stop and shared tons of crazy spiritual experiences she has had. We ended up just leaving her with scriptures references to read because we had another lesson to go to with an investigator named Cheyanne. Cheyanne is a friend of a recent convert and we did the lesson with her friend. I had the impression that she wants to take the lessons really slow so we'll see what we can do. To finish off the day we saw a boyfriend of a member who wants to get baptized named Rudi! They are going to have to get married first but he's on track to getting baptized! 

Friday my life flipped upside down and I questioned if all the french I learned these last 14 months was in vain. Elder Shampoux arrived and I really couldn't understand his french. Thank goodness he learned English in school. His first day was perfectly set up. I picked him up at the office and threw all his bags in the car then we went straight to a lesson haha. The lesson was with an investigator named Vanina. Shes been taking lessons for a while and is waiting for her husband to take to the lessons so they can get baptized together but the thing is her husband is basically Jehovah's witness so yeah. Bit of a tough situation. Later we went to see Coralie and invited her to be baptized and she said in a nut shell that she sees nothing stopping her from doing so. So that was awesome too! I showed em around the area and that was basically his first day. 

Saturday we went to contact a referral named Marie so we showed up at her door and turns out her name isn't Marie but it was the lady that the other missionaries referred to us....awkward. Her name is actually Liliane and is a cool lady. She reminds me of Habu oddly enough. Anyways we haven't really had a proper lesson with her yet but we should be having one soon. As for the rest of the day we just tried to see inactives and did a little door to door with not too much success. 

Sunday was the primary program! The children's hymns in french is definitely a bit a change but it was awesome. Church in general went well. Elder Shampoux got to present himself in front of the ward with his accent and it was kinda funny. We also had a lesson with Coralie after church with our ward mission leader and the spirit was soo strong. We fixed a baptismal date with her for December 16. 

Monday was just contacting. Our only lesson got cancelled so it was tough. We did have a dinner appointment with the chung family though. Brother Chung is the one who served in Haiti. He taught us a bit of Haitian creole which was cool! He said the way one says that its going well is by saying "I am burning" haha

Tuesday we saw Coralie again. Taught her about church organization. All the other lessons for the day got cancelled so it was back to contacting. We actually had a cool little miracle while contacting too. So Brother Chung told us to knock the apartment building right next to his because he said the people are always super friendly with him so we did. The people were friendly but we didn't really have any success until a lady who had already rejected us nicely reopened her door like a minute later and still saw us down the hall and asked if we wanted something to drink! We then proceeded to talk for like an hour. Shes actually our age and her mother sat on the balcony listening to everything we shared. Pretty cool experience.

Ok that's it for this week. 

Elder Burbank

Pic: Elder Shampoux!

Happy Halloween

Well its been a while. Last week I couldn't email because it was Halloween. it surprised me that even here in this random corner of the earth there are little kids that dress up as ghosts and knock door to door for candy haha. It was a pretty uneventful day for us as missionaries though. 

As for some highlights these last two weeks. We've still been teaching our investigator Coralie and its been going super super well. We've only known her for 2 weeks and she's come to church twice and has already ready a bunch of the Book of Mormon. One of the best/sincere investigators that Ive had in a while! She has already been asking deep questions about the millennium and about spirit matter and resurrection and tons of crazy stuff. She's awesome. 

Last Friday we found out transfers. Looks like Ill be staying in Noumea but now my area got added to another and Ill be training.....again! Ill be training a Quebecois named Elder Shampoux! He comes on Friday but this week I'm with Elder Hable, a new American Elder that got to New Cal 6 weeks ago. I'm pretty excited to train again! We should be staying busy now that we have 2 areas now. 

We have to say goodbye to a few good missionaries too. We had a little dinner/meeting with our ward mission leader to honor one of the Tahitian sisters who just went home, Sister Tatahio. Sad as always to see missionaries leave! 

That's about it! Have a good week everyone! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Oh PS I almost forgot but for my district training those who wanted did a pepper eating challenge. It was incredibly spicy going in and going out. Shout-out to Elder Lowe from Brandyn's mission. The essence was that sometimes the Lord gives us peppers and sometimes he gives us candy haha. 

Sister Tatahio
Elder Hable
Last day with Elder Mariteragi 
Elder Miner, Elder Hables trainer going home :(

The district soiree

The Mighty Cagou

So last P-day we went to "parc forestier" with the district. Its basically a mini zoo in Noumea featuring a bird that you can only find on new cal, the Cagou! It was pretty cool actually. They had some monkeys and ostriches too. 

Thursday/Friday were just casual days of contacting. We also had a lesson with what we now know are eternal investigators.They were a suuuuper old couple that have on New Cal since the 20's I think. The lady told us about how she still remembers when the 200,000 american troops first landed in New Cal around 1942. She even has some random souvenirs from the time which was super cool to see actually. She said that after the US came nothing was ever the same after that. New Cal grew a ton after WW2. 

Saturday we tried playing some tahitian uke (look it up) and basketball in the park to talk to some people but it didn't really work out haha. 

Sunday was meetings and church all day. There was a fireside that we went to and the stake president gave a super solid talk. He solved a Rubik's cube while giving his talk about how Rubik's cubes are like repentance haha. 

Monday we saw Lucien and his Mom Linda. Both somewhat recent converts. Lucien should be leaving on a mission soon and his mother is working on coming back to church. 

Tuesday we had a big miracle! After a solid district meeting we went and visited a church headquarters referral! A lady named Coralie from France actually ordered a Book of Mormon online! That's the first time Ive ever seen that happen to any missionary ever on New Cal haha. Anyways we had a lesson with the her and it went well! She seems pretty interested and said shes coming to church this Sunday after the first lesson! 

That's it for this week! Bonne Semaine! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Jungle tree
Monkey cage
Monkey business

Sunday, October 22, 2017

MTC Companions reunite

Not going to lie not a whole happened this week. Pday was strikingly normal. 

Thursday/Friday I had an exchange with Elder Graf my MTC companion! Super super weird to find ourselves together again almost exactly a year later. We had a solid exchange. Had a lesson with a less active who's making his way back to church then we went downtown to talk with tourists haha. We wanted to try some contacting in English for a change and it was cool. We talked with this Kiwi couple for a long long time. We had nothing to give them in English but we told them to talk to missionaries when they got back to New Zealand haha. 

Saturday we met with a younger member named Lucien who tries to come to church every week. He's a recent convert who's been preparing to go on a mission for a good year and a half now and we are just trying to motivate him to go. 

Sunday-Tuesday was just the normal routine. There are honestly no real investigators in our area so its just been ineffective contacting and lessons with less actives. 

Oh I have to mention Jeremy too! I think it was Thursday morning that we were just sitting in la place des cocotiers and he came right up to us asking about our religion! He's originally for the cook islands but now he lives with a french family here in New Cal! We taught him about the Book of Mormon and taught him to pray right then and there. I think it was one of his first times praying in his life! Cool miracles! 

That's it for this week! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

The fountain at night!

The sketchy old hospital parking lot. 

General Conference

Well this week was pretty solid last pday we went souvenir shopping again downtown just to pass the time. We then stopped by some ww2 cannons which were pretty cool. 

Thursday we drove on almost every street trying to find where people live. We don't have any good maps in the apartment so we are going blind. 

Friday we saw an elderly "mami" Everyone calls her Mami Rose. She is quite the interesting lady with quite the interesting story. She has her "reasons" for not coming to church. She loves cooking for the missionaries though so its chill. We also had a little unexpected meeting with our ward mission leader. We found where he lived and we talked with him for a good while. Hes an recent RM from Washington DC. He loves talking about his mission its cool. Friday night we did a little activity with the young men and women of the ward. We went and visited inactives with the youth. All went really well!

Saturday and Sunday was conference day for us! We started out watching priesthood session and the first talk by elder Renlund got me hyped because he talked about rockets. I also really loved President Uchtdorfs talks about the migrating animals and about the light of Christ. 
My favorite talk would have to be Elder Hallstroms Sunday morning. Talking about having the faith to accept that God's will is contrary to our will sometimes. It was just so real and he shared tons of miracle/tragic stories. 
Favorite quotes/ideas: "Do we have the faith NOT to be healed?" -Elder Hallstrom
"Who needs me today?" -Sister Oscarson
Now there were lots of other talks I liked but those were some of my highlights.

Monday we saw everyone we possibly could in the area book and nothing came of it. I feel like we are starting from scratch. I think I said that before but anyways we also had a nice little soiree with a less active couple that lives in an apartment building downtown. They're both from Tahiti starting there lives from scratch here in New Cal. Unfortunately they cant come to church because they both work on Sunday but they are trying to find new work.

That's about it for this week.

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

La Place des Cocotiers downtown from above.
City views
Two Canadians (Me and Elder Darche)
Cool WW2 monument

Monday, October 9, 2017


Last P-day we went souvenir shopping downtown a little since it is our area now haha. We also had this huge soiree (party with a spiritual message) in Nouville which is this giant peninsula that sticks out from downtown noumea. This peninsula has the only prison and university for all of new cal and also is full of the richest and poorest people on all of new cal haha. Its a crazy contrast. There are super nice houses/apartments with squats right across the street in some areas. Anyways the soiree went super well. We had it at a squat of a recent convert family from Lifou. They invited lots of members and nonmember neighbors! It was super well put together and the food was super good. This little kid kept calling me Kolipoki all night too haha. He thought I must have been related to him. 

Thursday we just went contacting downtown. Not a whole lot came from it. We waited till Sunday to meet all the members in the ward to see how we can actually get some work done because the area book doesn't have a whole lot so we are starting from scratch.

Friday was more contacting. I also had to take over an English class. Only one student came and all we did for this one student was English immersion because he can understand a little already. 

Saturday was the same. Downtown contacting. A drunk guy wanted to steal my tie and said a bunch of funny stuff. The usual haha. 

Sunday was our first time in the magenta ward! The ward doesn't start until 2pm because the other chapel is STILL under repair from the cyclone like 6 months ago. There are still 4 wards meeting in one building. Not to hate on New Cal or anything but I'm convinced that everything is more expensive and takes longer here haha. All the missionaries in the ward, all 8 of us haha, bore their testimonies for fast Sunday and it was solid! 

Monday was zone conference. Most of the trainings were giving by missionaries this time round and they were all SPOT ON. It was almost on a general conference level of topic unity. 

Tuesday we finished up zone conference and in the morning had MLC. I'm no longer in leadership for the moment so I spent the 3 hours with Elder Darche helping him in the mission office haha. 

Also, I heard that Andres baptism up in Bourail went really well!!! Sad that I had to leave right before his baptism especially because we did all the lessons with him but I heard it went well! Ill try to fish for some pictures from other missionaries. 

That's it for this week! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

All the missionaries who went home this transfer. Elder Ursenbach, Kessler and Sister Pahio
The fountain downtown noumea
Elder Thomson from Lethbridge AB who just came back from serving in Vanuatu

Zone Conference pics