Hello to all from Kawit, Cavite, Philippines!
Elder Burbidge and his previous district prior to transfers.
It’s Elder Burbidge here. I just started training my new trainee, Elder Pedong, this week and it has been pretty crazy! He is awesome. He is actually one of the most dedicated missionaries I have ever met and I have already learned so much from him. He doesn’t speak much English, so we have to speak in Tagalog all the time. It’s sometimes difficult to know exactly what he is saying, but it is really amazing the different gifts that we can gain from the Spirit from our Savior.
Elder Pedong is from the island of Samar here in the Philippines that was most brutally hit during Typhoon Yolanda. But his town was in a more protected area so they mostly just got a lot of rain and not much destruction. He has been a good companion and is eager to serve the Lord!
It is consistently really hot here in Kawit. It is usually at or around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), and when the wind blows, it’s hot. I really wish we had air conditioning! Haha but it’s okay. I heard that the hot season is almost over. In about three more weeks it will start raining again and cooling off a little bit.
Time is really flying. It seems like only 2 hours after I wake up, the day is already over and the alarm clock is going off again for the next day.
Sorry for the short blog this week, but a scripture that I’d like to leave with you all is in Jacob 4: 4 and 6. It’s about prophets and their role for us through time! Be safe always and rely on our Heavenly Father for help! Have a good week!
Elder Hunter Burbidge
Elder Burbidge and members from his zone at a bowling activity
Elder Burbidge and his former companion, Elder Doloritos, at a zone bowling activity.
Hello! I hope everybody had a good week this week. This week was pretty hectic. We had a lot of meetings and we tried to get in as many lessons as we possibly could. I’ve learned a lot this week about leadership and being an example. On Wednesday I attended a leadership training that was taught by our Zone Leaders along with President and Sister Tye. It was great to have a refresher and to learn about some things that I hadn’t come across yet that I might in the future. It was a neat experience to meet with the other leaders and get their point of view on things as well.
On Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend the “New Trainers Meeting” for the missionaries that will be training this next batch of new missionaries. I found it interesting how diverse the new trainers were. Not just in terms of nationalities, but different personalities as well. There were also missionaries that had just been trained and will now train, and missionaries who had been in the field for almost a year and a half that will now train for their first time. There were former zone leaders that would train, which was interesting, but it really illustrates the importance of a trainer. The trainer is one of the things that is the most influential to a new missionary’s entire mission. The trainer gives the new missionary a picture of what the mission should be like and is almost like a little sibling who follows everything that you do. I’m excited! I know that it will be a Filipino, so I’m hoping my Tagalog will prove me well!
The Cavite Zone!
I had an experience this week that I would like to share with you! I was watching one of “The District 2” episodes for my additional study one morning this week and at the end of the episode, each one of the missionaries was talking about what they have been learning and what they are thankful for from their mission so far. It made me really ponder about what I was thankful for, and I realized that although this has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it has also been the most rewarding. I’ve learned to get along with others better. I’ve learned to solve difficult problems in the lives of others. I’ve learned how to be happy and grateful even if things are pressing me to the limit. I’m thankful for my each one of my companions so far, and as I look back so far I’ve learned a lot of things from each of them. I’m thankful for where I am at right now in my mission and have learned to be patient with myself. I don’t list these things to brag or boast, but to show you what God has done with my life in just these short eight months. I never thought I’d be thankful for a challenge because I used to be scared of events that would stress me out! But now I see it as a point of improvement. So that being said. . .LIVE IN GRATITUDE. Be thankful for the things that will eventually make you stronger! Be ready for trials to arise that you don’t know how to handle and then ask questions. Be humble and patient with yourself and ask for help. Ask your parents, brothers, sisters, friends, and ultimately, ask God. He will help you – I know it.
The baptism of Renren. He was taught by the sister missionaries.
I’m thankful for all of you! I miss all of you like crazy, but I know that this work is TRUE and REAL, and worth it! Keep on Keepin’ on. Things will work out, just have faith.
Have a good week everybody! ‘til next week…
Elder (Hunter) Burbidge
Our District on an excursion to Ternate Beach.
I wanted to tell you an experience we had on our last preparation day (P-Day), which is a day when we can do a little bit of touring or fun activities as a group of missionaries. So we had decided to go to a beach area but that morning was pretty hectic. We had no cooking gas and had just barely gotten water into our apartment, and we had to be to a place called Rosario by 11:00 am to catch the bus to a place called Ternate. The bus was just like any other one here (which is barely in working condition) and so when I heard we were going up in to the mountains I thought to myself, “This is gonna be fun.” As we started getting more into the (Bukid) wilderness like terrain and mountains (bundok), the bus started having some troubles. We finally got to the marine base where we had originally planned to go to the beach, but the soldiers wouldn’t let us in because we had too many americans. So we had to settle for the next best beach about 30 minutes away. While we were going to the second beach, the bus was starting to smoke a little bit and sounded like it was about to split in half. So the Elders all jumped out and started pushing from the back while my roommate and good friend, Elder Prospero (5’5″ 120 pounds) jumped on to the side of the bus and hung on for dear life… haha It was great! We finally got to the beach and it was beautiful.
On the bus to the beach!
Beautiful beach at Ternate.
A big thing that has had a large influence on our work this week was a big fire that destroyed about 250 homes in a very concentrated area. A lot of our friends and people that we teach live there. It is hard to see them suffer and try to live on very minimal food and water. But they have opened up shelters at the high schools and elementary schools in Binakayan. So a lot of people are now living there and get food and water I think every other day. We have been teaching one family who now lives there. They lost all of their money in the fire and are relying heavily on support from outside sources. Also, we do our best to help them with the Gospel. I’ve learned one thing this week, that even if we don’t have material things, or even food or water, we still have our Heavenly Father. We still have Jesus Christ. And we have the Holy Ghost to guide us through even the hardest trials. These people are amazing. They smile even though they have nothing. They support each other, even though they don’t have very much to give. They let us teach them of faith, even though they have little to base it off of. I know that this Gospel of Jesus Christ can mend hearts. It doesn’t happen right away, but things that are most needed, usually take a little bit of time to come to pass. Some people ask us about what is different between the “Mormons” and all the other churches. We teach them of the Restoration and of the Book of Mormon. It’s so amazing that we have the FULL GOSPEL. Not just a little bit of it, where we have to guess and stab in the dim light, but the FULLNESS OF THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL. It’s God’s plan. It’s a map. Use it.
Burned area – many families were displaced and had to seek shelter elsewhere.
Sorry I haven’t written much lately, I’ve been pretty busy. Things are happening really fast and time flies by quickly. I hope all of you are doing well! Ask my parents if you have any questions about our church!! Be safe always and focus on your feelings as you go about your day to day activities. Are they happy feelings? Well they should be – and can be – with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Til next time!
-Elder (Hunter Burbidge)
Buddies in the Philippines!
Well, I am finally getting settled in my new area. Kawit is actually a pretty big town. It was one of the pioneer cities pertaining to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. At the beginning of the Church’s influence in the Philippines (early 1960’s), 5-7 of the original members lived in Kawit. The area that I am specifically assigned in is called Binakayan. IT’s a VERY densely populated, busy, mini New York…without the tall buildings! Life here is super busy no matter what, which is good! It helps me forget myself and dedicate this time to the Lord.
There are a few ponds and lakes, and there are a lot of houses built out over them. Just yesterday though there was a really big fire that burned about 200 houses and displaced a lot of families. Please keep them in your prayers. I think that a lot of service opportunities will arise from this, we’ll just have to wait and see! The ward here is really big, with a lot of members. Which is good! But since the chapel here in Kawit is still being renovated from last year’s flood, we meet at the Noveleta Chapel which makes it challenging for a lot of members to get to church.
On a positive note, these are some of the nicest people I have ever met! Sometimes we’ll just be walking down the street and somebody will offer us water, something to eat, stuff like that. It’s a great way to meet people and help them understand about our purpose here as missionaries!
It’s so fun to meet people here! They’re genuinely interested in me. Maybe just because I’m the only white guy here, but hey! whatever works!
I know that this work is true and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. READ IT! I love all of you! Be safe and P.A.T.! Pagpili Ang Tama! (Choose the right!)
Elder (Hunter) Burbidge