Monday, March 30, 2015

I have a new son, but my father died

Boat on the Mekong

Wow big news this week! First off, I have a new companion! Elder Osborne, fresh off the plane from the MTC! I went to the mission home on Friday to pick him up. I love the trainers/trainee meeting on transfer mornings. All the trainers and trainees meet in President Moons office and President Moon and the assistants teach us for a while and then everyone finds out who'll they'll be with! There's always so much excitement and fire. So much fun. When President Moon called out my name and then Elder Osborne's name he was like "No way! I read his blog back home! I told my mom he was going to be my trainer." Haha, what a funny coincidence. He said a bunch of people in his group had read my blog before coming out. I promise I'm the most confused person about this; my emails even bore me sometimes. But there you go mom and dad, hope you're happy that that blog y’all post is read by more people than just y’all two. Later that day we went to a member's house and they asked him whether he had known of any missionaries before coming out and he was like 'Yeah, I read two missionaries' blogs. Elder Nelson's (which is actually the one I read all the time before my mission) and Elder Burger's." Small world. Sister Sheffield, one of my friends from BYU, actually came in with this group too. That was fun. I thought she was coming in the June group so it was a surprise to see her for sure.

Elder Johnson with his two kids (Me and Elder Carter) with my two kids (Elder Osborne and Elder Uhi)... aka Abraham and his posterity

It was super sad saying goodbye to Elder Uhi and Elder Johnson on Friday. At least I know I'll be seeing Elder Uhi sometime in the coming months. Elder Johnson I don't get to see for at least a year. It was the weirdest thing saying goodbye to him, because Friday was just the second time I had seen him since I ended training (I saw him on Christmas as well). I was like "How are you dead? When I left you, you still had a decent amount of time left!" Missions are so short, its unreal. Really put it into perspective seeing my trainer finish his mission. What a great guy! I'm going to miss him. I'm glad he got to meet his two grandchildren before he left though.

Me and Elder Johnson right before we said goodbye :'(

On Sunday we had ward conference. We had 115 people at church! Unreal! The stake presidency came to speak to us. AND GUESS WHAT THEY ANNOUNCED! They said this Saturday there is going to be a special fireside at the stake center and they are going to announce THE FIRST PATRIARCH IN CAMBODIA! Oh WOW! So exciting. What a great step in the work here. Its funny though because people don't really understand anything about patriarchs because basically nobody here, even the super active endowed members, has a patriarchal blessing. Elder Kim actually has his, but its in English and he just happened to get it because there was an available patriarch in the Philippines when he was at the MTC. Elder Osborne, Elder Allred, Elder Sok, and I had a meeting with Bishop Sunday afternoon and he asked me "So is the patriarch presiding when he's here?" I was like "Haha, ummm no, no he doesn't preside.” It is common sense to people who have grown up around patriarchs but it was a perfectly honest question from the bishop. Oh man I'm so excited for the work here. Yesterday Elder Sok and I had a lengthy conversation on whether they will announce a new temple or a new mission in Cambodia first. Who knows...

Elder Osborne is a great missionary. Reminds me of Elder Uhi. I've been blessed to have two kids who both already speak Khmae way clearly coming straight out of the MTC. Elder Osborne is a go-getter and isn't afraid to contribute in lessons or in studies or in contacting. We're going to do work together here (hopefully for the next 2 transfers. I don't want to half-train him. We'll see what happens though). He just did 2 semesters at BYU (summer and fall) majoring in computer science. He's from New Mexico but he's lived all over the world, in China, Guam, Idaho, etc. 

Stung Mean Chey. Gotta love it!

So since the sisters were taken out of our area that means we have to teach women, which is something I have never done on my mission. It makes it really hard, because we HAVE to have a male over 18 with us to teach them, and there aren't any over-18 males that are available in the morning or afternoon, which is when most women can meet. So we'll see what happens with that.

Several of the Stung Mean Chey elders after English class on Wednesday

I am so excited for General Conference. I have no idea when we're going to watch it here. Probably in 3 weeks. Please do me a favor and don't ruin any of the jokes or crazy highlights of it. Feel free to send all y’alls favorite doctrinal points from the talks, but don't ruin the fun parts that you have to see in the moment. I hope y’all (mom and dad) have tons of fun up in Utah at general conference. It feels so good there this time of year! That’s in exact opposite to Cambodia. We have now descended into the Inferno. It is ridiculously hot here. I love it though. Being absolutely drenched in sweat is a blast. But in order to make up for the ridiculous heat, Mother Nature has given us a consolation gift in the form of mango season! I'm about to start eating nothing but mangos. Can't wait.

Me and Vichika doing deep sentimental poses.  Vichika is 17.

Well that's all I got for y’all this week. Sorry if I missed out on anything. Everybody make sure to watch ALL THE SESSIONS of general conference. What good would it have the done the people of King Benjamin if they had gone and set up there tents and then just gone inside, set up their hammock and slept? When we watch all the talks we can have a spiritual feast instead of just a spiritual snack. Love y’all! Stay safe and have fun!

Love Elder Burger

Riding along the banks of the Mekong last pday

Our district before we split. Elder Uhi to Kompung Thom, Sister Matthews to Siam Riab, Sister Davis back home, Elder Kim to Posat

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