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! 

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 :(

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

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


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