Sunday, April 30, 2017

Progress in Dumbéa!

This week went a whole lot better than the last. Elder Nulak and I are finally settling in and Learning the area and investigators. We actually had lessons this week! Ive never been so grateful for lessons in my life!

Thursday we taught and super potential investigator named Beniot. He speaks English and French so he actually wanted me to share a spiritual experience I've had in English which was cool haha. Beniot is truly a miracle. He first learned about the Church by one of his friends from England. She visited him here in New Cal and took him to a sacrament meeting or two. Even after she left he kept going to Church by himself! Everyone thought he was already a member because he's been going to Church since I think October of last year! The Elders before us finally started meeting with him and now we just set his baptismal date for June 10th! He would get baptized sooner but he's going to Australia for a month so we are going to have to wait a bit. Super cool though. I don't think Ive met an investigator as ready as he is to be a member!

Friday we taught a former investigator named Marie-Noel. "Marie Christmas" haha... She lives in a tiny squat that I have to bend down to stand in haha. She is slightly interested in the Church but doesn't really have a way to get to Church. That's a pretty big problem here. The chapel for our ward is about a 25 minute drive away and alot of people here don't have cars and there are really not that many members in our area to drive them.

Saturday we did a little service project for Marie-Noel. We helped her weed her garden and I learned how to plant manihot. Its kinda like taro or other root veggies.

Sunday was pretty normal. Church was good as always but the rest of the day was contacting and we didn't really have much success with that.

Monday we had a lesson in the morning with an investigator named Fanny Xewe. She told us she was super curious about the Church so I think there is alot of potential there. We also had a lesson with her sister in law, Celine, that evening. Celine isn't quite as potential to progress but really loves the missionaries anyways. We also had our first dinner with members here in Dumbea, with Bishops family! Not gonna lie I really miss having meals with members every night in SLC.

Tuesday we had a lesson with a recent convert named Victoria which went well I think. We also found this really strange abandoned train tunnel full of bats while trying to find former investigators. Pics below. We also met this family from Vanuatu. Elder Nulak did all the talking in Bislama while I just sat there and smiled haha. That's about all for this week!

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Pics: Views, Tropical food (Sugar cane, a lemon, bananas, Manihot), The river that flooded the bridges after the cyclone, The mediatheque that we do our emails, Our car,

Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 1 Dumbéa Nord

This week I learned that White washes are kinda hard!! Especially because I am the senior companion this time round. Last Thursday I woke up and it all kinda hit me all at once. I had to lead a new area that I know nothing about with the little French I know. The funny thing was Elder Bybee, the last Elder in the area who got transferred to Vanuatu took our phone!! We eventually got it back but we couldn't call anyone for the first half of the day and we really couldn't do much! Also Elder Nulak apparently kinda of died during the night. He had all these pains in his gut that basically incapacitated him. Lets just say we didn't get off to a very good start haha.

Friday we did a big service project for a member in our ward with two other Tahitian Elders, Ly and Tao. We also met with some members in our area to help learn our area and such.

Saturday we went to an 8 years old baptism in our ward. It was really helpful actually. We got to meet lots more people in the ward.

Sunday we bore our testimonies and introduced ourselves to the whole ward. We also did a little exploring to continue to learn our huge area. There is this one neighborhood that goes straight up a mountain... it's kinda crazy. It's pretty hard to contact here in Dumbéa actually because literally every single house has a big fence and a gate around it. We have to yell to get people out of their houses which kinda comes off a little aggressive haha.

Monday I got to do my first baptismal interview which was a little scary but it actually went well! The guy I interviewed, Ivon, only had one eye which was kinda cool haha. We had to drive up to Tontuta to do it which is about 30 minutes north of Dumbéa. Driving here is a little sketchy. A lot of the drivers here are insane. We've had a few close calls.

Tuesday we had a zone meeting up in Tontuta again. That's about all that happened though because our lessons fell through. We had yet to have a lesson here! Every lesson fell through this first week. Its a little frustrating but were gonna change that!

That's its for this week!

Avec amour,
-Elder Burbank

Pics: Sun in my eyes, Cool views 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

White Washed, Baptism, Cyclone Cook

This last week has been pretty exciting. Last P-day we got to do our final activity as a district which was bowling! Elder Nulak, who has never bowled in his life won! A hidden talent he didn't know he had I suppose.

Thursday was a pretty typical day. A little bit of door to door and we had 4 lessons!

Friday we had a really good lesson with Heirani again. Her baptismal date had to get moved to April 29th but I got transferred! Wont be there for that but that's the missionary life! I got transferred to an area called Dumbéa Nord with Elder Nulak from Vanuatu. Dumbéa is about a 30 minute drive north of Nouméa and it is waaaay different up here. The area is much much bigger and basically jungle so we get a car. Way more people up here live in "Squats" and everyone is much more spread out. Just today we had to drive through a few flooded rivers and help out people clean up all the debris from Cyclone Cook.

Saturday and Sunday the stake came together to Watch General Conference. We watch it a week later because of time zones and everything. All the talks were suuper good. Watching conference as a missionary is the best! All ten hours fly by and you can't get enough! After the final session on Sunday we had our baptism for Fabianne right afterwords. Tons of people showed up and it went well! I don't have pictures on my camera so ill have to ask Elder Conger to send me some.

Monday was Cyclone Cook! President told us we had to stay Inside for the entire day. It didn't get too crazy around where we lived. There was definitely some strong Wind but nothing too serious. The northern parts of the island got hit alot harder. I can see a lot more damage now that I am further north. The chapel down South in Nouméa did get damaged quite a bit though. They found out that it wasn't constructed very well to begin with.

Tuesday we had our white wash transfer. Thankfully the Elder that served here before, Elder Bybee, had to stay with us because he was going to be transferred to Vanuatu but the flights got delayed because of the Cyclone. He has been showing us around and helping us learn the area.

That's it for this week! I'm a little terrified for this new area but I'm sure it'll work out!

Avec amour,
-Elder Burbank

Pics: Crazy Sunset, Cyclone, Conference, Huge Cricket field, strange gas plant, 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bowling in New Caledonia

We had another crazy week this week! Last Wednesday we had a great lesson with a super long time investigator Fabianne. She will be getting baptized this Sunday right after we watch General Conference at the stake center! That also happens to be the very last day of the transfer. Its been a while here in Ducos so I might be getting transferred. No idea though. Ill let you all know next week! When we were walking back in the dark from her lesson that night a big black dog busted through a gate and ambushed Elder Conger. I've never heard him scream louder in the 4 months that I've known him haha. The dog ran right up to him but stopped right at the last moment. He lost his footing out of pure fear and basically fell on me. I could not stop laughing. I've noticed that the dogs never really attack but they will threaten. Also that night there was a huge car crash just below our apartment. Some drunk driver hit a street lamp and smashed it into pieces. I don't think he got that hurt but I'm honestly surprised this doesn't happen more often. It seems like everyone here is drunk all the time...

Last Thursday was a little rough. We had a whole day planned out with 6 solid lessons and every single one fell through!!! A little frustrating but the day turned out anyways. We had 2 unplanned lessons and found a new investigator! Also another random Italian guy stopped us on the street with his car asking us for an English class. Luckily we have one! At first I kid you not he told us his name was Pizza. Elder Conger and I were well confused. We later found out his name was Joseph though. :( No idea why he told us otherwise haha.

Last Saturday was the "Poisson d'avril" or april fools. We went contacting with a recently returned missionary who served in the States named Melem. Conversations with him are kinda funny. He likes to speak English so sometimes its just a mess of French and English between the 3 of us haha. Later in the evening we tried stopping by a less active member but turns out only her sister was there. We talked to her for a bit and she told us she was from "Canala" which turns out is a northern city on the island. We had no idea. The whole time we thought she was saying Canada so we were super lost. The language barrier is REAL sometimes! Once we cleared things up the 3 of us all got a good laugh out of it. 

Monday I lost my legs. The whole day was walking and contacting besides 1 lesson with Heirani! She hasn't been able to come to church as of recently so we had to move her baptismal date to April 29th but she is still solid. 

Running out of time so I got to go but we got to go bowling today for P-day!

Avec amour,

-Elder Burbank

My new companion below, Elder Nulak from Vanuatu

Je suis la vache avec deux tache

Another week has flown by! The activity of choice last P-day was sleeping, and that's about all that happened haha. 

Thursday we had some great lessons with a few of our investigators. We tried to invite the couple we are teaching, Raimanu and Mareva to be baptized by they were a little hesitant. I think they know the church is true but they just have to get married and all that. They did come to church this last Sunday though which was awesome! Its the first time they've come since I've been here so thats progress! We also taught Heirani again who is still having a hard time with some word of wisdom issues but she really does want to quit! She still wants to get baptized on Easter Sunday but we'll see! 

Friday we had a lesson with a super long time investigator who has been investigating for about 11 years named Fabianne. She is practically a member she just hasn't been baptized and she recently told us she wants to get baptized in a few weeks! We had the lesson scheduled at the chapel but the member who was suppose to take us completely forgot! We had to hop the bus and ended up being 30 minutes late to the lesson! She had to get home soon after so we had a super short lesson and she told us why she wanted to get baptized. She is suuuper ready. She did tell us she wanted to move the date back a little further into May but I think she doesn't realize how ready she actually is haha. We are going to see her tonight so we'll see what date It'll actually be. 

Saturday we had a bunch of lessons fall through but we had a few good lessons to make up for it! We met with a former investigator named Maleko. Its been quite some time since any missionaries had visited him so we decided it was time! Turns out he already had a bunch of great questions! We taught the plan of salvation and he made a ton of connections to the Bible on his own! It was cool to see. That night we had a fireside that was specially for investigators but not a single one showed! It was still good non the less. We talked about the atonement and Bishop bore an amazing testimony at the end. Though only members were there I think we all got something out of it!

Sunday we had 3 investigators at church which was super good to see!

Monday we had a family home evening with the partially member, partially less active and partially non member, Tahitian family again, the Teura's. They are just awesome. We are still working on getting them to come back to church and all but slowly but surely haha. While waiting for the super super good Tahitian food to finish cooking we played a little game that literally translates into "The cow without tasks" Its kinda hard to explain but its safe to say that I was NOT good at it haha. I became the cow with many tasks.... aka ->(Je suis la vache avec deux tache)

Tuesday we had another zone conference! With the new missionary standards we have a zone conference every transfer now which I really like. Its always good to see President Granger since we so rarely get to see them :(. For the conference I got the opportunity bear my testimony and share a thought on Preach My Gospel! It was good day. 

That's it for this week!

Avec amour,
-Elder Burbank

Pics: (A weird fruit they call sugar apples. Has the texture of a banana, full of seeds like a pomagranite, tastes like an apple and a mango haha) (More views by Raimanu's house) (A tribal "fleche" or "arrow" in French on the side of an apartment)