Sunday, July 23, 2017

Happy Bastille Day

Another great week! Last P-day I showed Elder Tetuaiterai the provincial park and we hiked up the gorge a little bit. We also had a big meal with tons of people with members and investigators in our ward. 

Thursday we started out early in the morning with some contacting. It actually went pretty well. Most people were pretty nice and accepting! We also had our weekly lesson with Nels. He'll be getting a car soon so he can come to church! We also had a random lady walk up to us and ask us if we do lessons a peoples houses. We ended up having a lesson with her a few hours later. Turns out she's an inactive from Tahiti! She hasn't come to church in some 10 odd years and she wants to slowly come back! 

Friday we stopped by a ward activity with Beniot for and hour or two. We ate some fresh fish that they had caught the day before! It was suuuper good. We also met this crazy shirtless white guy with super long white hair while contacting. He was super nice and accepting but a little strange haha. Who knows maybe he'll be a solid investigator!

Saturday we went up north to do a baptismal interview in our district. We have two baptisms coming up for the Dumbea ward the 29th. Not from our area but exciting anyways! We also had another lesson with Ludo! We've met with him for just a week total and he told us he wants to get baptized! There is one thing holding him back though. All his family is catholic and he is already getting some backlash for meeting with us. He told us he is going to really think about it because he knows his family is going to reject him. 

Sunday we had an unexpected investigator come to church! Its was the brother of one of the members in our area. As far as I knew he has no interest in the church but he came anyways with his daughter who is the only member in their family! After church we also stopped by our new investigator Alex. He loves talking about all sorts of conspiracy theories and what not its pretty funny but he asks tons and tons of good questions. 

Monday we went shopping downtown Noumea with Elder Glade one of the Senior missionaries. Elder Tetuaiterai needed some more shoes and pants. We also headed out to the hospital to give someone, a non member, named Waia Waia a blessing. All went well.

Tuesday we saw another new investigator Thomas! He told us that he wants to be a member of our church! He also told us that every time he reads the Book of Mormon he feels like a load is lifted off of him. We've only known him for like 2 weeks! The only thing is that all his family, including his wife is catholic! He told us he has to take it slow and share what he's learning with his family. In the same boat as Ludo! 

That's all for this week!

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Dumbea River

this spider though
 Beniot and I at the ward activity
 the ward fishermen
 Pic with the kids


Well this last week has been super solid! Last P-day Elder Claveau cut my hair super short and then we decided to hike to a dam. Its was super beautiful and cool! 

Thursday we had another lesson with Nels and he promised us that he would start coming to church every week now which is awesome! We had a lesson on eternal marriage and families and he said its something he really really wants! We also found an investigator from a long long time ago named Ketsia and had a lesson on the spot. 

Friday we found another new investigator via a phone call. It was a miracle. Elder Claveau called a random number from along time ago that he contacted back when he was in this area a year ago and it wasn't the person who we expected but we asked if we could stop by and share a message anyways and she said yes! Friday was also the first day for Elder Tetuaiterai! Not gonna lie I was a little nervous at first but this last week with him has been solid. The work has really picked up.

Saturday we had another ward activity at a members house. Good food good life again. I also had lots of time to talk with Beniot too. He's doing super well! He's right into the ward now and should be getting a calling soon! 

Sunday we found another new investigator named Alex with tons of good questions! Hes one of those guys who just gets it when it comes to religion haha. We also had our first lesson with Ludo a potential I met with elder Nulak! Turns out he's actually pretty interested in the church! He said that he had a dream after reading the restoration brochure one night and his whole room was filled with light like when Joseph Smith saw the angel Moroni. Crazy stuff. He's a bit scared to go all in with our church he said because his family is all catholic but he's a miracle! 

Monday we had some good success with some "yelling at house" contacting as I like to call it because every house has a gate haha. 

Tuesday we had a district meeting with president and his wife. Went well and we also had a meeting with all missionaries in 2 wards in the stake because we want to plan a huge activity about Lehi's dream for investigators. Should be cool. 

That's all for this week! I can't send pictures with this computer so I'll try another.

Avec amour,

Elder Burbank

New comp!
Barrage de Dumbea
This lucky elder, Elder Eronico "my grandpa" is going to the outer islands (Lifou, Ouvéa and Mare!) First time in a while that missionaries have been sent there.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Transfers and Happy 4th of July

Another solid week here in the VPVM. Last P-day the district went to Tjibaou, a kanaky cultural center. It was pretty cool! Lots of cool art and sculptures and what not. Pics below.   

On Friday we found out transfer info. Ill be staying in Dumbea and training a new elder from Tahiti!!! I'm low key scared but also kinda excited! Elder Nulak got transfered back to Vanuatu oddly enough. No one, absolutely no one saw that coming. He'll be serving in Port Vila again which is a little strange because he has lots of family there. Anyways for the week being I'm with Elder Claveau, another Tahitian here in Dumbea until all the new Elders and Sisters fly in on Friday. 

Saturday through Monday we visited tout le monde, all the members, inactives and investigators for Elder Nulak to say goodbye. He was actually super sad to leave. He made some good relationships with the people here in Dumbea. We had one big family home evening Sunday night with a couple member families and lots of investigators too. Its was super awesome. 

Tuesday Elder Claveau, who has served in Dumbea before, and I went to work! We found 2 new investigators which was a miracle and really cleaned up some old records. Its super nice to have someone here that has served here before. 

That's it for this week! Happy 4th everybody!

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Pics: Tjibaou, the district (which is about to change), tribal cases (pronounced "caz") 

Mountains of the Lord

Had some fun last P-day and decided to drive to the top of "Mont Dzumac". We figured there had to be a road up to the summit because we saw a ripped up flag on top. After a little bit of searching we found it! The view up there was incredibly beautiful (pics below) I had to take advantage and take some "proselyting pictures"

Thursday we had another lesson with Nels. He's doing well but he hasn't been coming to church! This week in general we didn't have a single investigator at church! Other than that all our lessons fell through Thursday :(

Friday was another unfortunate day with every lesson falling through. We did find one potential investigator though! We'll see if that goes anywhere. We also had an unplanned lesson with Bible smoker dude. Lets just say that we probably won't be stopping by him again haha. 

Saturday was a huge Tahitian party called "Heiva" Its went for most of the day and there were a bunch of traditional Tahitian games and competitions along with tons and tons of dancing. Each ward had been preparing a dance for the last couple of months. Tons of inactives and non members came so its was perfect for missionaries! All the parking at the chapel was closed off for games so we kinda had to park far away at the beach which proved to be a bit of a problem. Beniot was with us too and right when we got out of our cars there were these super drunk Ni-Vans waiting. They started harassing Elder Nulak and saying all sorts of flowery words in Bislama. One of the guys even threw some punches at Elder Nulak. It was a little rough but once we made our way to the chapel they left us alone. 

Sunday was pretty good. Beniot received the priesthood and will be doing the sacrament next week! We didn't have any investigators like I said earlier but what can we do. 

Monday one of our recent converts, Laurant, had us come over to do a little "service". His chickens stopped giving eggs so they had to go haha. We killed, plucked and cleaned all 5. He gave us one :). We also had a lesson with Celine again. She doesn't live with her boyfriend anymore because he had to go to France for the army so we are really trying to progress her to baptism. She loves the missionaries and I think has a testimony and now she has no reason not to get baptized! 

Tuesday we went to the brand new Hospital, Medipole, to give a non member a blessing. Went super well I think. We also had our district meeting up in Tontouta like normal and we also had a lesson with 2 inactives! A solid busy day. 

That's all for this week! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Pics: Mont Dzumac, Stake dance festival

Monday, June 26, 2017

Happy Father's Day

This week went pretty well! Started out with a super generic P-day, washed the car, cleaned the house, emails and shopping. 

Thursday Fanny promised us that she was going to come to church. We had a long lesson in the priesthood and the importance of going to church. Turns out she didn't show! We had a ride set up and everything but at the last moment she had to cancel! We are praying for next week haha. We also had a lesson with Nels and his wife on the Word of Wisdom. That was a fun one. He was smoking a joint as we told him that tobacco is against the commandments. He says he'll stop slowly but surely. We also got to go down into Koutio and give blessings to an entirely non member family! They also asked for a blessing on the house and on their car haha. It went really well and the family might even start taking missionary lessons!

Friday we did a long service project with a member. We build these shelves for storage and cleaned up his garden. We also had a ward activity with lots of good food :)

Saturday we went around with a member trying to contact and follow up with some people but nothing really worked out until the very last part of the day. We finally had a lesson with this one inactive member named Sylvestre. Its the first time we've met with him and its been a good while since he's come to church. The lesson went super well and he asked for a blessing and came to church the next day! He said every time he leaves the church his life gets really hard. Go figure I suppose. He is actually quite the interesting guy. When he was younger he played professional golf in Australia. He lives right next to one of the few golf courses here on New Cal. He still golfs almost everyday.

Sunday was solid. We finally had a lesson with Emma Katie, someone we found right at the start of our whitewash. When we first showed up at the squat she wasn't there so we ended up just talking to her boyfriend for the longest time. He's a bit of a strange dude. At first he kinda rejected us but we've passed their place enough times that now he accepts us haha. We sat and talked for the first real time. While talking his super drunk neighbors came over and handed us all beers. We politely declined but he kept trying to get us to drink. In the heat of it all Emma came home so we had a quick lesson on the plan of salvation. She knows tons about the church already because turns out that she's the sister of the member that passed away when I was in my old sector Ducos. Anyways we are really hoping she comes to church again because I think she knows the church is true through her older sister. 

Monday we did a service project for Sylvestre. We built this porch for a cabanne on his property. I didn't get any pictures unfortunately. We also got to watch the worldwide young adult devotional with Beniot and we talked more about Joseph Smith and patriarchal blessings.

Tuesday we went down to Dumbea Sur Mer and gave another Family, car, house blessing combo. Also a non member family! This family was related to the last and the word got passed! 

That's it for this week!

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

I didn't really take many photos this week so I stole a few of Elder Nulak's

Pics: Service project with me slipping, ward activity, some crazy good bread that Emma Katie gave us.

Beniot's Baptism

Had a pretty great week this week! Started out with our district activity at Riviere Bleu, a provincial park. We didn't get to see a whole lot because lots of it was closed but the drive out there was super beautiful. I didn't really get good pictures unfortunately. 

Thursday we had a lesson with Beniot. The last before his baptism. He was super excited! Also during studies I also came across a talk in the Oct 2016 conference. Its called "No Greater Joy Than to Know That They Know" The talk was directed at parents but I think it applies to us as missionaries just as much! To know that our investigators truly know the joy of the gospel etc. I encourage all to re-read it!

Friday we had a lesson with Nels, Celine, and Will. All are going well. With Celine we kinda gave her an ultimatum. She loves the missionaries and I think knows the church is true but she still thinks her baptism in her protestant church, which was by immersion is fine. Its always hard to try to explain to people that their baptism wasn't by authority! 

Saturday morning we had a lesson with Celine's sister in law Fanny. Basically had the same lesson with her as we had with Celine. We'll see if they come around! After was Beniot's Baptism!! It went super well. He loved it and I don't think he could be happier! He bore his testimony at the baptism and on Sunday for fast and testimony meeting. Saturday night we also had a neighborhood ward activity. Us and the other 4 sisters in the ward gave little lessons on missionary work. Everyone loved it. It was nice to have a ward activity at a members house. Makes it more personal for everyone. Also the food was divine. 

Sunday was great. I did the confirmation and everyone welcomed Beniot into the ward. To break the fast Elder Nulak and I made 2 whole chickens. It was quite good.

Monday we had another neighborhood ward activity but for the other half of the ward at a different members house. Also went well. The food was also very very good. The french/islanders know how to cook! haha. 

Tuesday was quite uneventful. District meeting and that about all that happened. 

That's all for this week! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Pics: District activity, Decided to recreate a sandwich that I bought at a cafe, Baptism! 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Mission Conference

Another solid week, especially because Elder Neilsen of the seventy came to visit!
Ill talk more about that in a bit. 

As for last Pday nothing really happened out of the ordinary. We started out really late because we lost power in the morning so we didn't get to do any activities. 

Thursday we met with Beniot for the first time in a month! He just got back from Australia and hes getting baptized this Saturday! While he was in Australia he told us that he got a strong spiritual impression to serve a mission! He is absolutely incredible. Super super excited for Saturday. He also asked me to give him the gift of the holy ghost. My first time. Should be a good experience.

Friday I spent way too much time reading the Book of Mormon. Read like 70 pages and finished it! Each time that I read through it I always take Moroni's promise to heart. Even though I know the book is true I still like to ask anyways. The spirit will always answer a sincere question even if you already know the answer! It really helps my testimony and helps me understand what its like to be an investigator. 

Saturday was the adult session of Stake Conference with the seventy! Even though he cant speak french is was incredible to see how he still connected with the people. The gospel is a universal language! (I encourage everyone to read the talk "The Language of the Gospel" from last general conference again!) 

Sunday was the general session and Beniot got to meet our mission president who came with the seventy from Vanuatu. He also got to talk to Elder Neilsen which was super cool. 

Monday we had a conference just with Elder Neilsen, our mission president and their wives and the missionaries! Another great experience. There is a light about the general authorities that is mind blowing. The way he can connect and break down the scriptures is crazy. 

Tuesday we had a little serve project with a part member family. We spent two hours turning a field. Good times. 

That's about it for this week!

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Pics: -Elder and Sister Granger on the left, Me and my past trainer, Elder Conger, Elder and sister Neilsen on the right. 

-Service project!

Trapped at Home

Pretty normal week. Last pday was a little crazy though. After the norm we went up to Tontouta to do a baptismal interview. The family said they were going to meet us there but they never came! Turns out we had to drive up to their house another 15 minutes north and we were super late for our Soiree or dinner with a family in our ward.

Thursday basically every single lesson fell through :( We did get to have a ward mission leader meeting with a meal though :) He always makes super good food.

Friday we had another super long lesson with Nels. We actually invited him to be baptized and he told us yes but not until the day you are about to leave New Cal. He said I want you to be able to say that you baptized someone the day you go home haha. I hope we can change that a little sooner.

Saturday we did some service at the stake presidents house. He has a super nice property and we worked for some 3 hours. It was a little insane but fun. We cleaned up the whole property from the cyclone damage and made these huge fires to burn all the greenery.

Sunday Nels and his wife Terika came to Church for the first time! I think they really enjoyed it. Other than that not a whole lot out of the ordinary happened Sunday.

Monday we had a lesson with Patricia who really wants to get baptized but she has been waiting on divorce papers for like a year and a half. She happened to a friend from work there so we had a lesson with her too! Patricia basically did the work for us. Everything she shared in the lesson was directed at her friend which was awesome. Shes already a missionary,

Tuesday we met the two new Tahitian sisters in our district, Sister Chong-Tien and sister Bonnet. Both seem pretty chill. We also had a lesson with a guy named Stanislas. He kept telling us that he loves reading the scriptures as he smoked a joint that he made with a page of the bible haha. Oh the irony.

Anyways about the title. This morning our entire neighborhood lost power for some reason, He couldn't leave the house because the electric gate for the car didn't work and our landlord wasn't home with the key to switch the gate from auto to manual. We ended just waiting around for 2 or 3 hours till the landlord got home.

That's all for this week!

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

I didn't really take any pictures this week so this morning I thought it would be a good idea to take a nice picture of our collection of fans. Enjoy.

Birthday Week

Well last Pday was interesting. Most of it was spent waiting at a Mcdonalds for the zone leaders to come but it was fun non the less! Played a little soccer with Elder Nulak who makes all the rest of us look terrible. I thought I would have some sort of a chance with my intense intramural BYU soccer training (not in the slightest) last summer but to no avail. That night we also heard like 5 gun shots which made things interesting. Probably just drunk people, that's the explanation for everything unfortunately.

Thursday we found this tribal "Caz" (thats how its pronounced but I have no idea how its spelt). We basically just walked up to the owner and asked if we could go see it. She was totally chill and after the "tour" we shared a quick message and gave her a book of mormon! Turns out she's a little interested! We also met with a super chill less active named Gilda for the first time. I think we can get her back to church she just needs a little motivation! Tons of less actives here don't really have anything against the church and lots of them still believe its true. Usually just some motivation gets people back to church. 

Friday while contacting we found this super atheist guy who lived alone in a shipping container. Turns out he was quite the intellect even though he was basically a hobo. Was a good opportunity to bear simple testimony even though he tried to disprove everything about religion. A simple heartfelt testimony is something no one can deny or take away from you. We also had our first lesson with a new investigator named Cecil! She seems pretty interested. She knows the church from her excommunicated boyfriend and I think the both of them want to come to church!

Nothing really happened Saturday haha. 

Turns our Sunday was stake conference. Had no idea. We showed up at the chapel at 10 not because stake conference starts at 10 but because Dumbea ward starts at 10 haha. It was a regional broadcast for all the south pacific and Elder Renlund was the presiding apostle! He translated his own talk into French it was kinda cool. His accent was not the greatest but cool non the less! We also had a lesson with this guy up in the squats who believed in the book of mormon and believed that the Mormons were right but he said that the second coming already happened. No matter what we tried to explain he was dead set on that haha. 

Monday was just some contacting and we accidentally found Dumbea Gorge. Id hear about the place but never had been there. 

Tuesday was my birthday!! Had a district meeting like normal on a Tuesday. We also helped this family move a huge birdcage on a tiny pickup truck. Don't have a picture unfortunately but it was sketchy. Also caught a cold as well. The rest of the day was me being sick which was not fun but makes for a memorable birthday. Thats it for this week! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Pics: Mcdonalds, Dumbea River, The "caz", Sister missionaries going home

Monday, May 22, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

This week was....interesting. Last Pday our original plan for our district activity fell through so its turned into souvenir shopping in downtown Nouméa, which turned into fabric shopping because all the sisters in the district wanted to make their own dresses haha. C'est la vie. We also met with a long time investigator for that first time. He's a 15 year old kid named Timiona who wants to get baptized but his dad wont let him. Its a tough situation but we are still trying to help him out.

Last Thursday I made this board game about the plan of salvation for a big dinner appointment with multiple families and investigators. I think it went pretty well. Everyone got a good laugh out of it.

Friday it took a while to get out of the house but once we did good things happened! Found 3 new potential investigators and had another lesson with Nels who had tons and tons and tons of questions about the Book of Mormon. We did our best to explain everything. He even prayed at the end of the lesson which was great!

Saturday we had a "lesson" with this super nice guy named Jean Hugues. Turns out he is a super active member of the Pentecost Church but he loves the missionaries. He basically just talked the whole time about why Christianity is needed on the earth today. Super interesting guy. I shared a few verses from the Book of Mormon that he really liked I think. Next time he said we'll get to do some more talking. I hope. We also had another lesson with Fanny. I gave her a baptismal invitation this time around because she told that she knew that the Book of Mormon was true but she said she wants to know more first. I think we are going to try to set a date for her soon because she is READY!

Sunday we gave our Aaronic Priesthood Celebration performance in sacrament meeting. All the priesthood holders sang Ye Elders of Israel which was cool.

Monday we went downtown to go get Elder Nulaks Carte de Sejour which is basically a visa. After we went straight to the office for mother day calls which I am super grateful for! Its hard to miss Katie's wedding but it was good to hear that all is going well at home! After we also did an exchange with the zone leaders. I went with Elder Watkins and basically all we did was have meetings with stake leaders haha. Got to meet with a High councilor and the stake president who is a super cool guy who was raised in France and served in England. Almost all his family speaks English and they prefer to speak English when they have the chance so that was cool.

That's about it for this week! Transfers are on Monday so we'll see what happens.

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Pics: Family night, In the car, When investigators just give you random fresh fruits and veggies, oh and SMARTIES

 A better picture of that train tunnel and the stake center on new cal!, our apartment.