Sunday, September 2, 2018

Home at the Airport


before and after shots with Connor and Nate Burbank

With Elder Graf at SLC airport

Whole family together again

Last Pictures




Even more pictures!





More Pictures!





The End of the Beginning

The last two weeks of my mission have been so so awesome! A ton of things happened. Ill start with the preparations for Jack and Julies marriage. On P-day we went to help Jack and Julie in town to help them get the paper work they needed. Their marriage was on Saturday the 25th :) the day before I started my long voyage back to SLC.

A week before Jack and Julies big day we also had a baptismal service in the ocean :). Peter and Anna finally chose to become members of the church and it was such a good day! We were planning on doing the baptism in a river at first because it is much more convenient however all the rivers were too low/dry! We defaulted to the ocean in a calm little area beside a tiny tiny little island. Everything about the baptism was simple calm and dignified. I had the opportunity to baptism Anna and Elder Hales performed the baptism for Peter. Sunday was a really good day too. We did their confirmations and then had a long talk and lunch together afterwards :). The following Monday I had my last zone conference. Elder Hales and I gave a few trainings with president and it was good! At the end we had a testimony meeting and I took the opportunity to bear my testimony for the last time in front of the zone. Probably one of the longest testimonies I have even given and the spirit was strong. Following zone conference I had a really good last week. I spent a lot of time just seeing everyone in the area and writing them letters. Some of the best moments I had was with the Tanovoli branch, Peter and Anna and Pauline the member from Wallis. My last "kaikai" or meal with Peter and Anna was especially good. We ate a roasted chicken and some taro mashed up into this stuff called "Nalote". It was really really good. They also did a custom where they adopted me into their family! My islander name is Malieu and now I can officially say I have family in Vanuatu even though everyone is my family over there :). It was a tender moment.

One of the last things I did was go to Jack and Julies wedding. They got married in the district center chapel and it was amazing. Julie should be getting baptized in a couple week too which is awesome! Im so happy for them and for all the efforts they have made to come closer to God and follow his commandments.

On Sunday I had me last kaikai with the Tanovoli branch which was awesome too. They sprayed a bunch of baby powder on me and my companion haha. At 6pm I flew to Vila and it was surreal to be on the other side of the leavers group. I was no longer the travel elder taking leavers home I was leaving!!!

Monday we took our last Pday and bought some souvenirs. We walked around a crazy amount. Practically the whole day but it was good.

Tuesday we had our departing interviews with President Duquette and our departing devotional. We all got to bear our last testimonies and the spirit was crazy strong. We all shared one defining experience of our missions.

Early early Wednesday morning we were off. Elder Graf and I, the MTC comps, were heading back to SLC together!! We flew to Aukland first with another stud of an Elder named Elder Tini who served in the Solomons. When we got to Aukland his family greeted him with a haka. It was super cool. His family took us in for the 8 hour layover too and we got to play a little B-ball and ate at KFC haha. First time having real fast food in a while :). Once we landed in San Francisco I felt torn in two. I couldnt really accept the fact that I was out of my mission country. Im not sure what threw me off. I wanted to see my family but I didnt want to leave. The very last person I contacted as a missionary helped me however. On the flight to SLC from San Fran I sat next to a nice girl named Sandy. Although she didnt really believe in anything I did she still taught me how important families really are. She valued her family more than anything else it seemed and that helped me realize that coming home is alright. We will always be servants in God army but not always as a full time missionary. Our work in the kingdom of God may change but our identity never does and for this I am grateful. I am so grateful to have been able to serve the people of New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Their influence will forever change me for the better. I know God and his son Jesus Christ lives. I know this is his kingdom here upon the earth and I leave this testimony to whomever wants to receive it in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.





Sunday, August 12, 2018

Malekula!

So this week was actually super cool! We got to do an exchange on an outer island, Malekula. We did exchanges with two companionships. The first we did with the Elders in Norsup. I went with Elder Hatch to a small branch called Litzlitz. The area and people were super nice. I met a girl from south santo too named Laymonday. Everyone calls her Monday haha. She knows tons of people that we talk to everyday in Santo. Small country eh? We also spent a lot of time with the leaders of the branch to try and encourage them because the branch is a little week as of now. When we got back to the house we found out that our luggage never came on the small plane so we just slept on a cold hard mat in the District leaders house haha. 

The second exchange we did was with the District leader trio in Wala. I went with Elder Mii and Elder Saluone to this branch called Walarano and Elder Hales went with Elder Stapel. The village we went to was kind of dead unfortunately because everyone was at an important meeting but the people that were there all speak french which was awesome! We also got to go out to a small island called Wala on a tiny boat just to talk with some of the members and some potential investigators out there. The first and unfortunately last time I will get to be on a boat on my mission. To end the exchange we had a family house night with these recent converts and they made some of the best laplap banana I've ever had. It was life changing. 

As for South Santo... it's going well! Peter and Anna's baptism will be next Sunday after district conference and then zone conference will be the day after. Jack and Julie will also be getting married on the 25th so we are getting hyped to see that too! I'm grateful to be serving a mission and I am especially grateful to be serving where I am! Its going to be hard to leave this place. Especially the members, the beauty, the culture. This is the kingdom of God on earth. I know it. That's it for this week! 

Love,
Elder Burbank
Sorry I left my camera at home! I'm snagging a few of Elder Hales' photos from the exchange.









Sunday, August 5, 2018

Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel

 Last Tuesday was practically our Pday but we really didn't do much. We
did get to show The Testaments again however in Rata. A decent amount
of people all came over to watch. I think it was well received.
Sharing our testimonies afterward is always powerful.

Wednesday we found 2 new investigators, Tavon and Seule in Saradei, a
village where there isn't our church yet. We found them through our
investigator Peter actually! Peter isn't a member yet but he's already
sharing the gospel and talking to a bunch of his friends its awesome!
What's cool too is that he has other family members that I met in Vila
from Tanna who I taught and are now members of the church! Small
world.

Thursday we went over all the baptismal interview question with Julie.
She seems pretty solid. She needs to work on a few small things but
she's almost there! Her marriage will be on the 25th of August and she
may or may not get baptized the same day we'll see. We really really
want her soon-to-be husband to be able to baptize her but we are still
working through some things. Later the same day we tried contacting a
bunch of former investigators but it didn't really lead to much :(. We
did get some referrals from this old man from Solomon's though! He
said it would be good to teach his adult sons. We have an appointment
next week with one of them :). At the end of the day we tried to hike
it out to this village where they are trying to repair the road to get
to it but it was a bit of a disaster. There was sooooo much mud that
it was hard to even walk haha. My flipflops got so caked in mud that I
couldn't even wear them so a just sent it bare foot for like a mile. We
then found a dirty cattle pond and I washed my feet and flip flops but
it was not fun. Mistakes were made haha.

Friday our plans got changed up a little bit. We were suppose to have
another family house night in Rata but a guy in the village actually
died so tons of people were there to mourn and do the island crying
like on the other side of heaven. Later, further in the area we went
to another former investigators house but then this guy, the
investigators older brother came storming after us and yelled at us
for a good while haha. Caught us way off guard cause that never
happens in Vanautu. We talked for a while and tried to cool the guy
down and by the end of it all he ended up apologizing. Not sure why he
was so mad at us honestly. I think he felt like we had no right to be
here at first.

Saturday it just seemed like nothing really interesting happened haha.

Sunday one of the less active papas in Tanovoli, Rolong finally came
back to church!!! It made me pretty happy. After church we had a
really really long lesson with Peter and Anna up in Jarailan, Elder
Hales invited them to share their testimonies of the church thus far
and the spirit was super strong and we collectively set their
baptismal date for the 19th :). Later in the day we also had another
lesson with Melodie and her pops Savauli. They are pretty strong
Presbyterian but are really open to learn more about our church.
Somehow the lesson went from explaining the Book of Mormon and how it's
divine prophesy to explaining the restoration of priesthood keys for
the gathering of Israel. Bit of a deep doctrinal fire hose of a
lesson. 
I'll close with the first verse of Put Your Shoulder to the
Wheel!  "The world has need of willing men
Who wear the worker’s seal.
Come, help the good work move along;
Put your shoulder to the wheel." 
That's about it for this week!

Love,
Elder Burbank






Monday, July 30, 2018

Independence Day


So this week was pretty hard to get any work done. Lets start with Tuesday

Tuesday we just had our normal district council and talked about the virtue of patience :). Afterwards we found out that our flight to Vila for MLC got changed and it was at night which gave us an awkward amount of time to proselyte but we made things happen. We went to the really near part of our area and had a quick spiritual thought with a bunch of random guys we had never really met before haha. Not sure if they were too interested but they were super kind to us. We then flew to Vila that night and I got to see my two trainees again, Elder Champoux and Elder Tetuaiterai who are both zone leaders now! Righteous family pride haha jokes. 

Wednesday was MLC day and it was awesome! We took to whole day to just talk about everything in the mission. It was quite different than how President Granger did it but it was still good. 

Thursday our flight back to Santo got changed so we had another awkward full day stuck in Vila. I showed Elder Hales around then we went to the airport early, checked in and then went to see some of my past families and investigators in Blacksand! The ones I never got to say goodbye to :) It was so good to see some of them again! 

Friday was the opening of the independence celebration across the whole island. We did our weekly planning in the morning then tried to go sing in the celebration because our church was invited to open it with a choir and a hymn but then the truck wouldn't start in the morning cause the battery was dead haha. We tried to get a bunch of dudes to push the truck but couldn't get it fast enough to jump start it with the clutch haha. We ended up just leaving the truck on the side of the road and walking. We got to the celebration but apparently they were not going to start for another little while so we figured we'd go get the truck fixed so we got a bigger group of members together and finally got it started. We ended up replacing the battery later. We went back to do the opening ceremony but they had already started without us!! They started the program way earlier than they told us and not a single member was there to sing :(((( Oh well. 

Saturday, Sunday and Monday were all really hard days to get out working. We went to all the villages and everyone was busy celebrating or watching football matches all day in various places. We still did our best however and got a few lessons in. On Monday we even just watched a football match just to talk to some of our investigators because Monday actually was independence day, the 30th of July. That's about it for this week! 

Love,
Elder Burbank

Pictures wont send for some reason :(

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Slow and Steady


Another solid week. 

Monday we helped some sisters move into a new apartment and we got some new tires on the truck. We also got to go out and play some volleyball with people in our area which was fun. I think the Nivans think it's awesome that we play in our proselytizing clothes haha. After a match of volleyball we watched a restoration video with basically everyone we played volleyball with. Videos are really helpful I think because Nivans are such visually learners 

Tuesday we saw Peter and Anna again. Peter was really concerned that when he joins the church he is going to receive a huge calling like 2nd counselor in the branch presidency or something. We assured him that new converts get easier callings haha. 

Wednesday morning we had to figure out how to send stuff to Gaua. No-one really told us how to do that so we basically just threw a bunch of supplies in a box and walked right up to the boat dock and asked around if any boats were going to Gaua haha. Once we found the boat we just walked on and asked some dudes how we could send stuff. All this made me feel like I'm in a 3rd world country again. 

Thursday night we watched another movie with some members and less actives. We spent the evening watching The Testaments and explained the Book of Mormon a bit. I thought it went well. I think I'll spark the interest of some people too. 

Friday we basically ran around trying to teach people that there is only one true way that God has showed us. Almost everyone in Vanuatu believes in Jesus Christ but then almost everyone too believes that it doesn't matter how you worship him. It's a tricky thing to address. 

Saturday we helped this couple Angela and Vira get a study plan together because they are on the turn around. Vira is coming back to church and Angela is investigating! We basically tried anything to help them remember to study lol. We made signs and had them put up pictures of Jesus in their house. We also told them to leave the Book of Mormon on their pillows :). 

Sunday we had some really long long time less actives come back to church in Tanovoli! It was super good to see them. We've been working with them quite a bit and I think they were all glad to be back. We also had this really great lesson right on the edge of this huge cliff with this guy named Mele. He had a question about temple sealings and wanted an answer so we gave it to him! The view was super cool and the lesson felt so dramatic haha.

Bout it for this week! Sorry I didn't even remember that I had a camera this week :(

Love,
Elder Burbank

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Fruitful exchange and a flat tire


The highlight last P-day was definitely our family house night with Edwin, the branch president, and his family in Tanovoli! We gave a message on the temple because their family is preparing to go to be sealed in the Fiji Temple by the end of the year. I don't think I have even gone in more depth on the temple in any lesson before haha. Elder Hales and I also printed off a bunch of pictures of important temples in our lives. It was pretty awesome! What made it even better was the bougna they made. Its basically just a bunch of random island food that they bury/bake in a hole with hot rocks. It was pretty dang good. 

Tuesday the highlight was teaching Julie and Jack again. They fed us a nice little meal and we got to talk to and play with a bunch of random people playing volleyball and soccer. 

Wednesday we saw Peter and Anna again up in Jarailan. We taught the word of wisdom and they totally understood everything already. They didn't even question that it was all inspired cause this couple has been prepared by the Lord already!! They also said that they will be doing a huge last dinner with me before I come back home and they are going to custom adopt me into their family :). They said to make sure I tell my parents at home that I have a mama and papa in Vanautu. They also gave me a custom name in their family, Maliu. Pretty cool! I am going to have to see this family after my mission one day!! 

Thursday we met this new potential investigator named Mele! He is super nice to us but had a ton of slightly aggressive questions about the church haha. We promised we'd come back to help him understand everything. Its crazy that even in the far corners of the bush of the world, people hear crazy rumors about Joseph Smith haha. 

Friday we had our exchange with the Palon Elders. Their area is the single most far area from ours on all of Santo lol. Alot of driving back and forth to say the least. I stayed in south Santo, Jarailan and Tanovoli with this really cool elder from Malaysia, named Elder Sylvester. We were busy all day long. We started off teaching Mama Pauline and her family again. We talked about the Book of Mormon again. We read 1 Nephi 1:1 just to show them that you can learn a ton of things just from one verse of scripture. Next we met this inactive member in a village called Saradei. This lady is practically the only member in the entire village just because the other churches are so strong there. She really really wants to go to church and has a strong testimony but her husband wont let her, to make it worse the village is pretty far from the church building to walk :(. We are hoping to work with her husband soon :). She actually shared her family verse of scripture with us in Romans 8:16. This just happens to be one of my favorites in the new testament! I recommend reading the whole chapter, especially the last couple verses of the chapter. To end the exchange we were heading back to Palon, the opposite side of the island but the truck got a flat tire! We had to get our proselyting clothes all nice and dirty to change it on the fly haha. We were a little late to Palon but were still in time for their baptismal interview of a recently married couple up there. We did the interview then exchanged back. Twas a good day. 

On Saturday the highlight was definitely the lesson with the big Presbyterian family again. We talked about the Book of Mormon and a ton of people came and sat in on the lesson. Some how everyone just seemed captivated. Normally Ni-vans have pretty short attention spans but everyone was well engaged in the lesson. Twas cool to see. I probably gave one of my most sincere testimonies of the Book of Mormon I have ever given. The spirit was strong. Rest assured I'm trying really hard not to be trunky! :)

Sunday we had all 3 hours of church for the first time since I've been there! A solid members recently came back to church and received a calling as well! Right after church we went and saw some family members of the young men's president in the branch. He came with us and introduced us to them. They are two really solid new investigators now I think! Awesome to see members getting out and doing missionary work!! 

That's about it for this week! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Pictures:
Family house night!
A copra drying shack! Ill explain a bit haha. So there are tons of coconut plantations here on Santo and when the coconuts dry out and fall off the trees there are a ton of dudes who run around collecting them and then they "shell out". That just means they scoop out all the dry flesh and throw it into these little shacks over a fire. They then send it off to the factories to make coconut oil. Cool eh?





Sunday, July 8, 2018

Meet the new Mission President


This week was pretty awesome! We had all the Malekula Elders fly in as well as the Gaua Elders. Another super full house. It gets a little chaotic at times but its alright. Ill start with Monday.

Monday we had a district activity, one of the first I've had in a long long time. We all chipped in to make this huge laplap sosor with this member mama. We made it with tons of chicken, wild yams, manioc and coconut milk. Twas good. We didn't even get close to finishing it so we gave the rest to a bunch of random kids who came into the church to play b-ball. After we ate we all played B-ball too. Good times. 

Tuesday we spent a little time with one of our branch president in Tanovoli. Apparently a Jehovah's Witness pastor who happens to be their neighbor came over and shared alot of their doctrine. We had to clear some things up a but because they got pretty confused. Being so intensely bombarded with so many Christian views on my mission has been rather interesting. Lets just say that we are in the true church :).  We also had a really good family house night about the title of liberty with a bunch of members in this little village called Rata. I felt like it got them all motivated to come back to church and or stay strong in the church. 

Wednesday we saw Julie in the morning and she said she'll choose a baptismal date. She still needs to get married but I think the plan is for her to get baptized sometime next month. We also saw Peter and Anna again. The lesson got waaay off track again but it was still super solid. They ask so many questions which is awesome! We talked about marriage services and funeral services in the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We then taught this less active mama how to pray. Turns out she never really learned how to pray which was sooo good to know cause now I feel like we can help her. We had always invited her to pray and to read but never knew the whole time that she didn't really know how to! 

Thursday I woke up early to what I think was food poisoning. Twas not fun at all but later in the day we finally got out to the area. We taught two old guys, Vuti and Phillip about the importance of having a church. So many people in Vanuatu believe that it doesn't really matter what church you go to because "a church can't save you" or "it doesn't matter what church you go to." I've heard those two things more times than I can count. I would like to agree with these people but its just not true. Its so hard to explain nicely too that that is just not the case. One scripture that I've been thinking about lately is in Ephesians 4:11-15. It explains so clearly why we have priesthood governance and why we have an organized church. 

Friday we got to meet President Duquette! I actually really really like him. No-one can replace President Granger but President Duquettes style is just so so different I cant even explain it. Apparently he has alot of family that lives in Mike Mertens stake in Quebec and I didn't realize how well they knew the Christensens haha. Such a small world. During my interview with president we had a little exchange in French which was cool too :). Somehow I got to keep my French up. Not sure how I'm going to do that though. 

Saturday the highlight was definitely our new investigator Amanda! She said she already is looking to join the church and now we just have to teach her the doctrine! She'll be the first member in her family if she gets baptized which is super cool :).  

Sunday we were literally speed walking around Nasanoon for like an hour to try to get all the members to come to church in Tanovoli. We were zipping through the coconut plantations trying to get to church on time too cause it turns out quite of few of them couldn't come so after waiting for them for a while we just left. We unfortunately missed sacrament though :( but it was for a just cause I think haha. We also saw Peter and Anna again and talked about the temple. I think they were just pretending to understand but in reality they were glazed over haha. I don't think people realize how different our church really is :). We also got to teach this Presbyterian family who is super nice to us. They bombarded us with a ton of good questions, anything from tithing to marriage. One of the women in the group said she needs to go to Utah now to get married to a white guy. She also asked both of us if we are going to come back to Vanuatu to find a wife. Not sure what she was implying 0_0. I had to explain that that would be pretty difficult for both families involved haha. Anyway that's about it for the week! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Pics: 

The sisters in the district eatin laplap
Good views 
Crossin creeks








Sunday, July 1, 2018

Roasted Pig and Volleyball


Hello everyone! The internet today is suuuuuuper slow so I'm going to
make this quick.

This week has been pretty solid! As of yesterday we got a new mission
president, President Duquette. He will be coming to Santo on Friday
and all the missionaries in the zone will get to meet him!

Weekly highlights:

We had a branch activity on Saturday for everyone in Jarailan. Tons of
people came! Members and non-members alike. Also a ton of less actives
came back to church as a result of the activity! We were hyped! It's
amazing what a roasted pig and a little bit of volleyball can do to
get people hyped about going back to church haha.

We have also been working with the perspective priesthood holders in
the Tanovoli branch. There are two boys, Alex and Siras who we are
both trying to get motivated to get the priesthood and do the
sacrament in the branch. They both seemed to be willing and I think it
would help the branch a ton if they came. Also, the branch is going to
be getting a proper church building finally! Recently we've been
meeting in this unfinished house of this less active member but now
were are going to have a proper traditional ni-van shelter built to
have church in.

This week we also found 3 new investigators! All in this one village
called Mavun where the church hasn't really touched yet. We've been
seeing some members relatives who are not members of the church. We
also found this investigator named Melodie. She asks tons of good
questions and really wants to understand. At first she thought we
needed to take the sacrament everyday but now she understand pretty
well that God commanded to take it once a week. We are excited to work
with her!

That's about it for this week!

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Work


This whole week was a blur. Worked day in and day out and lost track of time. 

Highlights:

Last P-day we taught a lesson to this guy named Jack who just came back as a seasonal worker in New Zealand. He is already a member but his spouse isn't yet so now they're going to get married in a couple weeks and she is going to get baptized!

Tuesday we worked with this 16 year old boy named Alex in Tanovoli. He hasn't come to church in a long time so we are trying to get him hyped about the gospel again so he cant start doing the sacrament every week. We are trying to work with all the Aaronic priesthood holder in general because the branch has very very few. I like working with kids our age because they are so much easier to relate to and then we get all the update dates on the world cup haha. Go Germany! 

Wednesday we met this less active family who are actually half Wallisian. On Sunday we walked with one person from the family named Jenny. Everyone was going to come walk with us but they were all sick with the flu :(. We figure that since we cant take members in the truck that we'll just walk with them all to church haha.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday I also got the flu. I basically just popped Ibuprofen and trucked through it. I did my best to put a smile on my face haha. 

The area is going well. Peter and his wife Anna are still progressing well. I think sometime next month they will be getting baptized. It's nice to be working hard and seeing the spirit working through us everyday! 

Love,
Elder Burbank

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Trio


Weekly highlights:

Well last P-day wasn't much of a Pday at all. We just ran around doing errands and sorted some issues out. Probably one of the hardest P-days of the mission :)

Wednesday we got a third member to the companionship - Elder Mariteragi! One of my previous companions from New Caledonia haha. He was even Elder Hales' companion for a little bit too so we all kind of had a companionship reunion. He is getting transferred to Port Vila again and is just waiting for his flight. He'll be flying back tomorrow. Its been fun catching up on whats been happening. This is his last transfer on the mission! Crazy to think that he's going back to Tahiti in 4 weeks! Talking with him really makes me want to go to Tahiti now :)

Thursday we found this new investigator named Kal! He had tons of good questions about the priesthood. At first he thought that Paul never received the priesthood and that all we needed was the holy ghost to minister the ordinances of the gospel but it was really cool to see how he really came to an understanding that he did actually receive the priesthood! Not sure if hes super potential or not but we'll see. I also got to talk with Elder Hoose, the district leader on another island, Malekula for a good while. They all flew in for zone conference but we took them to the airport to fly back. Hes actually from New York and said he'd take me on a tour of Manhattan one day. I got a running list of places I need to visit now haha

Friday we taught a less active guy named Rolong who has huge potential to become a priesthood holder in the Tanovoli branch. We are arranging transport for him to come next week! Slowly but surely this branch is going to be at functioning capacity again! Nothing is going to stop the work of God from progressing!

Saturday we had another solid lesson with a new investigator named Grinsilla. She lives literally like 10 steps away from the church building in Tanovoli lol. She could get baptized in the next month I'd imagine but she is actually going to be going back to her tiny little island in northern Vanautu called Mota :(((((. She's not the only one though. There is this papa that lives close to the same place named Richard and he seems like he could progress really well too but hes going back to Mota as well :(((. C'est la vie.

Sunday we went to church in Jarilan. There were actually a ton more members there this week!!! About 70 I think which is waay up from before. Exciting to see. We also had Papa Peter with his wife come to church! They are by far our strongest investigators. Both parents are super glad to go to church so I think that the whole family could join the church! Really cool to see. He said he knows the rest of his family is going to persecute him for following "The Mormons" but he said he really believes its true.

That's all the highlights for this week! 

Love,
Elder Burbank

Santo zone photo



Sunday, June 10, 2018

Granger's Farewell

Twas a bit of a crazy and sad week. 

Here are some highlights:

Last Monday we had an awesome family house night with some less actives in the Tanovoli branch. The less active guy came back to church on Sunday too! We talked about family unity and becoming Zion as a family. Twas good. 

Tuesday we had to do a specialized zone training. Everyone on Santo came in and we talked about the power of "small and simple things." Small and simple means can either destroy or make our missions.

Wednesday we found a bunch of really cool members in this place called cross road. These people live right on the beach across from another smaller island called Tangoa. The island is so close you can talk to people on it from santo haha. Super cool. The beach is straight up black too which is even cooler! We are arranging for transport to pick them up to go to church cause they don't really have means of getting to church. Hopefully this upcoming week they can all come.

Thursday we were talking with another less active in Tanovoli named Jenny. She lives alone with her kids because her husband is gone as a "seasonal worker" in New Zealand. He picks fruit or something like that. There are actually a ton of Ni-vans who get hired on by companies abroad to do hard labor. We also found out that she has a "house girl" who lives with her who seems really interested to take the lessons so we are excited to teach her too. 

Friday we literally drove all day long. We had to do some baptismal interviews in the bush in a place called Palon. We then had to pick up new incoming missionaries and drive them to another bush place called Fanafo. In total I probably drove our truck for like 7 plus hours. Somehow in the mist of all the transfers movements we found this lady named Julie who's husband gets back from New Zealand on Friday and they should be getting married right away so she can get baptized into the church! We just starting re-teaching the lessons to her because she feels ready to join the church after so many years. 

Saturday I ate this fruit called corossol and it was probably one of the best tasting things Ive ever had haha. Its like eating a fruit salad cause it tastes like so many different fruits at the same time. We also went to a bunch of small little villages. The first being "usa" lol pronounced "usha" then we went to "Berol" then we went to "Rata" we met a bunch of random members and non-members. We are still trying to figure out who the Elders before taught in this area since this whitewash was kind of intense. Nobody had any notice that they were changing so it all got left opened ended. 

Sunday we had 2 members of the district presidency at the tiny Tanovoli branch. The branch got a well needed boost I'd say. It was a solid church sesh. After church we went upto Jarilan to see how church up in that branch went too. Attendance was up a little. We also found this guy named Peter who is definitely our most solid investigator now. He said he's literally gone to every church he could go to to find the truth. We taught him about priesthood power and he totally understood! I'm super hyped to teach him again. Especially because he has distant family that are members which means there will be good member involvement to help him progress. 

Monday we had our farewell zone conference with the Granger's! It was only one day and it was kinda rushed but it was good. Crazy to see the Granger's go because Ive spent my whole mission with them! Just a few hours ago when we dropped the AP's off at the airport will be the last time ill ever see them in person. It was a sad moment. 

That's it for this week! Running out of time! 

Love,
Elder Burbank

Pics:
Last Photo with the Granger's
Cows are always on the road






Monday, June 4, 2018

MLC


Well this week we spent mostly in Vila again. We flew to Vila early Tuesday morning and got to meet up with all the leaders around the mission! I got to see Elder Graf, Elder Secreten and my son Elder Champoux again which was super awesome!! We all learned a ton and I feel like president went all out because this is his last MLC he'll ever do! We learned lots about the importance of prayer and the importance of sincere repentance through small and simple things.

We flew back to Santo on Friday and then went straight to the area that we know nothing about. We drove an hour and a half out there and met with a bunch of random members. We then were told that there is a solid investigator in an outer village called Vilijo so we got our squad of kids to show us the way through the bush for like 30 minutes. We were literally crossing coconut plantations, rivers and climbing cliffs to get to this place and it turns our only this investigators father was there :(. We still taught him though with some other random dudes in the village. 

Saturday we were busy taking missionaries around and doing some errands. I got to see Elder Nulak again. My long lost companion from New Cal haha. Later in the day we finally got out to one of the branches in our area called Tanovoli. The branch is really small like I've said before but the members are cool. There is this mama named Rose that we spoke with and we had a huge spiritual lesson with her. We talked about how powerful a simple a testimony can be. Mom I shared your experience of when you were talking to your bishop when you were young about how you knew that you were a child of God. It was a tender moment. 

Sunday we went to church in the other branch "Jarilan" and spoke with a ton of less actives. Unfortunately the church has had some unfortunate difficulties here so as missionaries we really get to be involved in the administrative part of the church. We are literally helping the church grow and helping the members through growing pains. Up here in Santo it's a district so it's all under the direct of the mission president. We are really trying to get people to understand their responsibilities and callings. That's about it for this week! The white wash has been good. I feel like I'm always on my toes. 

Love,
Elder Burbank

Pics:
-MTC district reunion! Unfortunately without Elder Walton :(((
-MLC dinner
-New Cal leaders! 
-View from the Jarilan village
-Walking to Vilijo with the kids







Sunday, May 27, 2018

Surprise


Turns out president needed me to switch islands so I'm on Santo now! Our house is huge and the area we just got whitewashed in is really far away. Takes about an hour and a half drive on an awful road up a mountain to this little village with a tiny Branch of the church called Jarilan. Not going to lie it is a really cool place but I'm hearing that the missionary work up there is pretty hard. Should be a good challenge! My new companion is named Elder Hales from Lehi. He has been out for about 8 months and has spent his whole mission so far on Santo. He's a good Elder. 

I've only been in Santo for like 3 days but the highlight was definitely at church! We went to this branch called Tanovoli and it is TINY. Only about 15 members. We had church in a tiny tiny shack and it was a super tight knit group. Cool to see the church at its smallest extremities. 

This week I've also been a little down cause I had to leave Blacksand so soon! I really got so close to those members and investigators in such a short time. I'm pretty sure Tino and Kawia were baptized last Saturday but Ill find our in a couple days because we are flying back to Efate for MLC. I had to leave on such short notice so I never got to say goodbye to anyone! :(((

This last week we also had another 2 exchanges. One where I went to Pango with Elder Dickes and one with Elder Eagar as the travel elder again haha. It took me to leave travel to realize how much I didn't like office work haha. Both exchanges were pretty solid. I saw a ton of less actives with Elder Dickes and basically just did travel stuff with Elder Eagar. We found a little time to get to the area and I got to see some of my Teouma buds again. Twas a good week! Happy to be out here serving a mission! 

Love,
Elder Burbank

Pics:
-Elder Hales
-Jungle roads
-Farewell to Jonathan in Teouma
-Farewell to David in Teouma
-Recent converts and Elder Dickes on our exchange! 







Sunday, May 20, 2018

Back to Back Exchanges


This week was pretty loaded. We had two exchanges and 20 lessons. It felt over before it started haha. 

First exchange was with Elder Johnson from Arizona! He just got out on the mish 4 weeks ago. Hes a stud. He surprisingly has no culture shock whatsoever. We spent the day just seeing a bunch of less actives and had another good lesson across the river with Mary and Steven. 

Second exchange was with Elder Desir from Aruba! Also a solid exchange. Didn't have a whole lot planned but we were busy just about all day seeing more less actives. 

Friday we were packed full with doing baptismal interviews from other district leaders. We went down to Pango and did one for a 14 year old girl then went to Etas and did one for this handicapped girl at the bottom of this cliff in the back of the bush. We were basically slipping our way down this cliff trying not to die to get to this investigators house haha. 

Saturday we saw this less active teenager named Mike. Not going to lie he did not look happy to see us but after talking for a while it was all good. Had a good lesson on Ether 12:27. Later we had a family house night with this really cool family that just moved into our ward. The father is from Pentecost (famous for land diving) and his wife is from Fiji. She apparently remembers my HEFY group that went to fiji summer 2015 which is crazy. Their family is also hosting a few Muslim dudes from Bangladesh who work in Fiji. They were pretty chill. They made us some super good curry for dinner. The whole lesson was in English which was even weirder cause....English. 

Sunday we walked our church squad down to the chapel again haha. We had 6 investigators come and 2 are getting baptized next week! Also another miracle: Papa Kamie's divorce papers are finally going to come through and they don't have to go to court! He should be getting baptized with his daughter Nana in about 2 weeks I reckon. 

That's it for this week! It's good to be on the mish! Wouldn't want to be doing anything else right now!

Love,
Elder Burbank

Pics:
-Walking down the cliffs in Etas. Elder Johnson at the bottom, Elder Gunnel in the middle and Elder Hardy up close.
-Big tree that fell down but its still alive and grows lol. 




Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day


Had another solid week. Last P-day we had this awesome FHE with a massive family from Tanna. There were a ton of kids so it got a little disorganized and crazy but its hard not to love the kids haha. For the closing hymn Elder Hardy and I basically sung "As Zion's youth in latter days" by ourselves. Twas funny.

Tuesday I gave our districts training on revelation. I spent a good while studying the prophets talk on the subject. I really like the quote he used from D and C talking about how we as mortals cannot stop the flow of revelation that God wants to give to us. He compares it to a man putting his hand in the Missouri river. Anyway after we had to do something president calls "train the trainers". We just spent a little bit of time with the newbees and their trainers and talking about the expectations of the mission. It went well. 

Wednesday we found 2 new investigators in the village on the other side of the river, Mary and Steven. They are pretty young but their parents want them to go to church with us so voila. We also saw Tino again who really perked up this lesson. He actually talked so that's some progress! He has a baptismal date for the 26th :). 

Thursday we saw Kawia again and had a solid lesson with her. She seems on track to be baptized. Shes been coming to church but now we just have to get her Mom reactivated!!! Later we also had a meeting with the mission president and the state president on Efate. The meeting went really well I think. We were just discussing some of the needs of the mission and the state and how we can work together and what not. 

Friday we did some baptismal interviews in this area right next to the beech called Pango. We interviewed 2 super cool little kids who seemed hyped to join the church. Cool to see such strong testimonies at such a young age. We also found out that one of our solid potential investigators just kinda fell off the map. We think shes avoiding us and she keeps making stupid excuses. She really liked taking the lessons I think but she doesn't want to let go her party life quite yet :(. Them Ni-vans and their partying...sigh. 

Saturday we did another baptismal interview then went back across that river. We found two new investigators again named Natu and Juliet. They are both related to this inactive dude who loves talking to the missionaries named Thompson. We're hoping to get them all to church next week. 

Sunday we had 5 investgators at church. We walked Mary and Steven with a mob of pikininis (kids) to church. We cant take people in the truck so we figured we'd just walked all the way with them haha. After church we saw Kawia again and got to know her family a lot better I think. Next lessons we're planning on giving her a baptismal date. She just learned how to pray and really loves coming to church. Cool to see! 

That's all for this week! 

Avec amour,
Elder Burbank

Pics:
"Lyn" from this awesome member family 
Blacksand church building
Helping move a bunch of wild peanuts
Bush walk