Leaning on the Holy Spirit

First off, let me just say that I’m okay!!! I didn’t feel any side-effects of the storm until I got my new companion! He’s been out on his mission for a while (about 18 months) and is really helping me better myself.  The Spirit is so crucial in this work. This week we had a couple of experiences where we felt like we were led by the Spirit. Here’s one:

We’ve set a goal to go finding for at least one hour per day this week and in doing so, we need to find the people that have been prepared for us to teach!  It’s a spiritual experience when finding as well, not just teaching!  We were returning from an appointment in an area called Bunga (in Tagalog it means fruit). It’s kind of out of the way from everything and so we were out in the middle of nowhere.  We saw this cluster of homes and decided to go over and find some people to talk to.  Come to find out, we took the wrong path. We were tempted to head back to the main drag, but I had a large urge to just keep walking. We walked until we were back into the trees a little bit and found some people to talk to.  They were really nice. We started to talk about the message that we usually share, and out of nowhere about 6-7 people showed up and started listening to us and want us to come back!  We’ll see how it goes, but it was just a testimony builder that I had this week.

The work is progressing here in Tanza! We’re really striving to get to know more members so that we can be more effective as an area rather than just two missionaries!  All of the phases of missionary work are coming together for us!  It feels good to be fulfilling our purpose and finding out our individual callings as missionaries of the Lord.  I know this work is true and real, and for the right reason, TO BRING PEOPLE HAPPINESS. That’s what it’s all about. The message that the missionaries have may be a little different than what you’ve heard in the past, but I KNOW it will bring you happiness. Give them a listen! They are there because they love you!

I miss you all back home, keep giving it your best!

Love,

Elder Hunter Burbidge

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New Companion for Elder Burbidge!

Wow, what a week! We had a surprise transfer day! I didn’t get transferred but I got a new companion who was displaced from the Tacloban Mission named Elder Jansrikesorn. He’s from Northern California and seems like a really hard worker.  He was originally assigned to the East Samara area of the Tacloban Mission.  A lot of the areas and cities where he had served in the past are totally wiped off the map. He misses his mission a lot, but we’ve already had some really good experiences in the short amount of time we have been together.  We know we’re supposed to be assigned together.  He has six months left in his mission, so there’s a major experience gap but I’m really going to try hard to serve my hardest and do my best for him.

I never thought the Typhoon would influence my life so much. I had heard it was bad, but I didn’t think it was bad enough to close down a mission!  So now, our main focus is to talk to everybody that we come in contact with. We need people to teach, and missionary work can’t progress if there is nobody to teach!

My mission experience is getting better by the day. I’m really starting to enjoy it and I’m so ready to learn. A lot of the time people think that the missionaries know everything, that we have the answers to everything. But we need to remember that the answers are in the scriptures. We can find any answer from the scriptures. I urge you all to read some book of scripture (preferably the Book of Mormon!) and think about how it makes you feel! It’s great. I know it’s true!

I miss everyone back home, but I know that this work is so important. It can change lives, and it’s changing mine. I’ve learned that we need to ACT if we want to improve. So if you feel a little weak in some area of your life, do something to make it stronger.  I’m thankful for the example that you all are to me back home! Keep progressing, raise the bar for yourself each day, and set goals with real intent (follow through).

Hope you all have a good week!  Love,

Elder Hunter Burbidge

Elder Burbidge doing laundry in a bucket!

Elder Burbidge doing laundry in a bucket!

Safe & Sound in Tanza!

Hello everyone! Just a quick note to let you know that I am safe and totally fine after Typhoon Haiyan passed through (which is called Yolanda here in the Philippines)! Since we are hundreds of miles to the north of the impacted area, it felt a lot like a warm winter storm from back home and that’s it!  Since we don’t watch TV and I don’t understand very much Tagalog anyway I did not understand the full impact of the storm until I got emails today!  It sounds pretty scary in Kyle Oake’s mission area of Tacloban – I will keep him and the rest of his missionaries and Filipino people in my prayers.

Some of the branch threw a little party for me to make me happy on my birthday so I appreciated that very much 🙂  I haven’t gotten any birthday packages from home yet! I’m hoping that I might get them tomorrow at a zone meeting which is where a lot of people get mail from the states.  If not, I will get them eventually!  Also, President and Sister Tye called me and sang me the “Happy Birthday” song so I know they love me!

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A birthday cake provided by local members of the church.

Me with frosting smeared on my face!

Me with frosting smeared on my face!

Here's a picture of a baptism we had on Saturday!

Here’s a picture of a baptism we had on Saturday!

Editor’s Note:  Although Hunter’s area was relatively unscathed by the Super-Typhoon, other areas of the Philippines were devastated.  To learn how you can contribute to the LDS Church’s humanitarian aid efforts in the Philippines and throughout the world click the link below:

http://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/humanitarian-services/funds/humanitarian-general-fund.html#topOfPage

 

 

Blog Post – 11/3/13

Hello from Tanza! This last week I got some pictures from home and they were awesome. I love pictures from home because it reminds me that I have a family back in the USA supporting me!! I’m getting twinges of homesickness throughout the day which is difficult to deal with because it distracts me a little. I think I’m being too serious lately, but I just want this mission experience to be meaningful. I want to lighten up, but I don’t want to be disobedient or loose sight of my purpose as a missionary.

Friends in the Philippines!

Friends in the Philippines!

This is a photo of a family that we just helped reactivate in the church! They’re awesome! They were less active for 8 YEARS. We received their name from a list that the branch president provided and started making more contact with them. I believe that the husband is a tricycle driver, and I’m not sure what the wife does, but they’re always busy and hard working people! The younger daughter has the same birthday as me! Crazy right? It reminds me of Sarah Orgill sharing our birthday! We are also getting two new missionaries in Tanza, so we’re splitting up the area and that family won’t be in my area anymore – bummer!

The weather is a little bit drizzly here today, but still in the 80’s with about 80% humidity. The English language is getting more difficult to remember. I’m starting to understand how to use Tagalog grammar now so I’m getting pretty excited about it. Verb conjugation is definitely important!

Cute Filipino child with Elder Burbidge and his companion.

Cute Filipino child with Elder Burbidge and his companion.

I’m eating pretty good for a missionary! We eat a lot of top ramen and rice, but the members feed us a lot and we pick up little things every once in a while to snack on. I’ve been feeling just a little bit queezy the last couple of days, but we were fasting so I think that was part of it. I’ve also felt more tired lately – more like fatigue tired rather than sleepy tired if that makes any sense!

We had another baptism yesterday of a man who had to wait a long time to be baptized. He’s 25 years old and had his appendix taken out so he had to wait basically 2 months after he was ready to be baptized for the actual thing. THAT TAKES A LOT OF FAITH! He’s diligent and works at a golf course in Cavite so we have to teach him at nights. He’s really cool and lives right on the beach so it’s fun to go and teach him!

We have a current investigator who is having a hard time seeing the blessings of the Book of Mormon and prayer. She has a really hard life, but incredible faith. We recently gave her grandson a blessing because he had a toothache, and right after the blessing he stopped crying and was playing with the other kids and stuff which was a testimony of the power of the Priesthood and prayer. We will keep working with her on her testimony and we appreciate all of your prayers on her behalf!

Well, that’s about it for this week. I love and appreciate all of my family and friends back home but am happy to be doing this work!

Love,

Elder Hunter Burbidge

Elder Burbidge resting on P-Day.

Elder Burbidge resting on P-Day.