Happy New Year – 2014 is Almost Here!

Hey everybody! Happy New Year almost! It was great Skyping with my parents on Christmas and hearing about everyone back home! It sounds like most of the family is doing well and I am excited to hear that I am going to be a cousin again (thanks Barrett & Brandi!).  I also appreciate the positive comments from the blog posted by friends and family!  I’m sorry that I cannot look at the internet and respond to each one but my dad is passing along your posts and comments.  Also, I am limited on time to respond to emails on my preparation day, so I ask your forgiveness if I don’t respond each time I get an email but I love to get them and will do my best to respond when I can!!!

Eating pizza at the S&R (The Philippine branch of Costco)

Eating pizza at the S&R (The Philippine branch of Costco)

Following is a quote that i came up with this week: “Spirituality is the door to missionary work, obedience is the key.”I’m sure somebody has said that before, but I know it’s true! As soon as obedience becomes your first priority next to teaching and finding, blessings and miracles start happening! It’s amazing!

The church building we meet at in Tanza.

The church building we meet at in Tanza.

Christmas was about what I expected it to be. Different in terms of the worldly view, but spiritually it was one of the better Christmases that I’ve ever had. I’m thankful for the birth of Christ and His young life as a child. He was a perfect missionary. For example, at the age of 12 Jesus taught in the temple at Jerusalem to experts of religion and belief. He taught simply, but powerfully. That’s made possible through the Spirit, which is possible through obedience to all of God’s commandments as well as mission rules and schedules.

Anyway, on Christmas after I was done talking to my parents, we went out to work! Our branch mission leader (Roel) Tried to take us to some less active member’s homes, but none of them were home so we ended up just going to a member’s house. He’s the second counselor in the stake presidency. He made us spaghetti and mac salad for dinner! We didn’t have much time when we got home to do anything special so we just got ready for the next day and went to sleep! haha pretty good Christmas though! I love this area, I don’t want to be transferred! I hope all of you are having a good winter break and new years! Stay safe and on the Straight and Narrow. And if you don’t know what the Straight and Narrow is, ask a Mormon!

Also, on New Year’s Eve we have to be in our apartment by 6:00 at night because the festivities get a little wild here I guess. We might watch the long restoration movie, or play the monopoly board game that my parents sent me! We’re thinking about making our own food for once! I’m excited and happy that I now have kabahay (roommates)! They make things more fun and lively around the apartment!

My Philippine friends tell me that Tyler's area is just beyond these mountains!  So close yet so far away!!

My Philippine friends tell me that Tyler’s area is just beyond these mountains! So close yet so far away!!

I’ve come to realize that the Lord has trusted me with a part of His earth. Isn’t that crazy? So, hopefully we can fulfill His desires here as we work in the Tanza area!

‘Til next time,

Elder Hunter Burbidge

A beautiful little lake in my area - just a normal part of my daily schedule...

A beautiful little lake in my area – just a normal part of my daily schedule…

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Christmas is Almost Here

Maligayang Pasko at Bagong Taon!

Merry Christmas to everyone back home and to everybody who reads this! It’s a humid 75 degrees here in Tanza Cavite, Philippines and Christmas is in full swing! A LOT has happened this week. Once again, I HAVE A NEW COMPANION. Elder Doloritos! He’s a super cool guy! He is also serving as the new District Leader of the new TANZA DISTRICT which comprises of six Elders. In Tanza, we now have 4 Elders, so the apartment is now full, which makes a good time for Christmas and the Holidays! The other two elders in the district are in a nearby town.

Out doing missionary work with a local resident of Tanza

Out doing missionary work with a local resident of Tanza

In ways of preparing for Christmas, we’re trying to have appointments, but it’s difficult because a lot of people go back to where they grew up. So we’ll end up visiting a lot of members I think, or we will do finding work if the situations line up correctly (ie. dinner appointments fall through or something). Also, the Tanza Branch had a little devotional and so we attended that a few days ago as well.

A few of the young people in our local congregation after a Christmas party

A few of the young people in our local congregation after a Christmas party

I get to talk to my parents in a few days! I’m so excited!!!!! I hope you all have a great Christmas. Tandaan ninyo si Jesus Christ! Remember Jesus Christ this season! He is the ultimate gift to us. Merry Christmas! ‘Til next week!

Elder Hunter Burbidge

Check out the little youngster in the background!

Check out the little youngster in the background!

Getting Ready for Christmas in the Philippines!

Hello from the Southern Hemisphere!  I heard it has been really cold there in Washington but that is not the case here in Tanza!  It stays about 85 degrees and humid most of the year – so bundle up and think of me wearing short sleeves.  Actually it hasn’t rained here in a while so it’s been hot and drier than usual.

2013-12-02 07.25.10

Elder Hunter Burbidge with some of his fellow missionaries.

Me and my companion are really good friends now, we find ourselves laughing out of nowhere and then it gets contagious and we laugh for minutes. It’s kinda funny. He’s really funny and it’s great to have a companion with some similarities to me!  It is hard though because he only has five months left before he goes home and it’s difficult for me to see that I have so much longer!  But he told me that he’s trying to help me be a better missionary than he is, which is saying a LOT because he’s stellar!!  He’s really good with that stuff and motivating me, so I just need to learn all I possible can from him while I have the chance.

As far as Christmas preparations, they put up some cool festival lights in the streets and hang big stars up in the streets and it looks pretty festive.  It sounds like a lot is happening with the Tumwater Football team!  Nice shot at the title T-Birds! I’m proud of you and hope you’re all realizing the great moments that you’ve had as a T-Bird in the playoffs!

Anyway, just a couple thoughts this week about trials and challenges!  I’ve learned a lot from my trials here on my mission already that there is a reason for every single little tiny thing that happens right down to what you say to somebody. We were tracting (trying to find people by knocking on doors and street contacts) two days ago and we weren’t having any luck at all.  We walked around and tried talking to people, but they wouldn’t really be interested or anything.  Ends up, we got a little lost and ended up finding ourselves where we started.  There was a man that was staring at us and so we thought we could go talk to him, and it ends up that his two nephews are members of the church, and that he’s been taught a little bit by previous missionaries. We talked with him for a while, and got a return appointment to teach him about how the gospel of Jesus Christ can help us in our families and other relationships each day!  I’m excited to go teach him, and I learned that all in all we need to realize that these trials will eventually come to a conclusion with a result.  That result, is the result that God wants for us.  Maybe it’s not the result we want or expect, but it’s the result He wants.  It takes humility for sure to realize this, but it is possible.  In the scriptures it says that God will not allow us to be tempted above that which we are able to overcome.  He won’t give us trials that we can’t take.  It’s true.  I know it!  So keep that in mind when things are getting crazy, and act for the best outcome that will be the most effective in the happiness of your life in the future.  It may be hard now, but will definitely be worth it in the future.  Press forward with faith in Christ and do your part in working your hardest to complete and overcome those obstacles and everything will work out!

This last week was kind of slow in the work, but it’s okay!  The lessons we taught were meaningful…and we finally found out where the cool marketplace is!  Little did we know it was right behind our apartment, we just have to walk a round about way to get there!  We have a zone meeting this week that I’m pretty excited for.  It’ll be fun to see elder Anderson who is from the Puyallup area!  He’s always nice to talk to and we’re expecting the Seahawks to win the Superbowl!!

It’s definitely been difficult being away for the holidays, but it really helps me remember the true meaning of them huh!  I’ve really been trying to be grateful for he things that I have. Not just the things that are with me, but things back home as well as the people here. Speaking of the people back home – it makes me thankful that I have so much support from my family about this part in my life.  It just seems like yesterday when we were in the Tacoma Dome celebrating a state championship huh!  It’s crazy how fast time flies…that was three years ago…crazy right?

Well that is about it for this week.  I am on my last week of my “training” so soon I’ll be a regular missionary!!

I love you all very much,

Elder Hunter Burbidge

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Hello everyone and Happy Thanksgiving!  It was pretty anticlimactic here since it is not celebrated at all, so we had ourselves a nice meal of Top Ramen and hot dogs and made a toast to the good ol’ USA!!  See photo below for the feast!

Thanksgiving feast of ramen noodles and hot dogs!  Nummy!!

Thanksgiving feast of ramen noodles and hot dogs! Nummy!!

Lately I have been busy out of my mind!  My companion treats me REALLY well. He makes me food, helps me prepare for future problems (companions, investigators, leadership) and he’s a good friend to me too and is able to joke around.  We had two progressing investigators at church yesterday which is a huuuuuuge step for investigators here.  Coming to church is important so that they can feel the holy spirit and meet the members.

Elder Hunter Burbidge out doing the work!

Elder Hunter Burbidge out doing the work!

So they know what that’s all about now and we are praying that they will progress in the Gospel.  We met one of them last Sunday and gave her a Book of Mormon and she finished it on WEDNESDAY!!  Crazy right??  She’s 16 years old and her name is Darlin (pronounced “Darleen”).  So she’s probably going to be baptized on the 28th if she goes to church 3 more times before that.  It’s possible, so we will keep praying for her and you can do the same.  And she loves the Book of Mormon already!

Our scheduling of appointments is going better now that we have gotten more organized. We set up return appointments for each person now after we teach them and we coordinate that by the areas that they’re are in. We spend a lot of time now teaching Darlin, and her friends Janet and Dennis, who is a less active member of the church, and Janet is his non-member wife. We go there almost every other day and sometimes a few days in a row.

We’ve also been out to a place called Bunga quite a bit this week. It’s really far away and takes a while to get there, but the people there speak a language called “Waray Waray”, which is the language my companion spoke in Tacloban before he was evacuated due to the typhoon. So they’ve taken a real interest in us and we have a few investigators out there as well.

So as I said, we are very busy. I’ve become more comfortable in speaking to strangers. I can almost understand a lot of what people are talking about, but when It comes to speaking it’s still difficult for me. Just lack of vocabulary and confidence. but the more I speak, the better that will get I am sure!

I miss all of my family a lot, and being able to go to the temple. I’ve been longing to go back, and wish it wasn’t such a long time before I can.  The spirit is so strong there and I really miss it a lot!  Well I love all of you back home and would encourage you to read your scriptures.  Following are a few pictures of my mission area and some friends of mine from the MTC.

Take Care,

Elder Hunter Burbidge

Beach scene near my mission area

Beach scene near my mission area

Missionary friends of mine from the Missionary Training Center together on a Preparation Day activity!

Missionary friends of mine from the Missionary Training Center together on a Preparation Day activity!