One of “The Brothers” is coming home

For as long as we can remember, our daughter Maren has called them, “The Brothers”. They have done many things together over the years. They both share the same passion for BYU sports, they both love to golf and fish and hike, and they both wanted to serve as missionaries as soon as they were allowed. The older (and formerly taller) brother, Kyle, returns from New Zealand in a few days. The new big brother, Ryan, leaves for his mission to Iowa in August. Before he goes, we get to enjoy another moment with the brothers together as Kyle gives his homecoming address and Ryan gives his farewell address in the same meeting.

Elder Kyle Burgess has set an excellent example for his younger brother as a missionary serving among the wonderful people of New Zealand.  For anyone he has served with, whether you are members, missionaries, or investigators, we thank you for your kindness to him.  Each of you has impacted his life and has caused him to love the land and people of New Zealand.  We look forward to the day when we will return with our son to visit.

God bless you for taking care of our son for two years.  He is now coming home!Kyle_Ryan_BYUkyle_ryan_airport

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Beautiful New Zealand

I am serving in one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand.  It is an amazing country with wonderful people.  We are baptizing another great family in 2 weeks.  It has been an incredible blessing to serve here.

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Prophecy

In 1881, a great Chief among the Maori people made the following prophecy:  “My friends, the church for the Maori people has not yet come among us.  You will recognize it when it comes. Its missionaries will travel in pairs.  They will come from the rising sun.  They will visit us in our homes.  They will learn our language and teach us the gospel in our own tongue.  When they pray they will raise their right hands.  This is the day of the fullness. This covenant will be remembered by generations which follow after us.  We are the people of the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  We will learn of the scepter of Judah; of Shilo; of the kingdom of heaven; of the sacred church with a large wall surrounding; of the increase of the races; of faith, love, peace, patience, judgment, and unity.”

I have been blessed to teach and baptize some of the descendants of these people.  I am currently serving among them in my final area, which is very beautiful.  I love serving the people of New Zealand.

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My Hero

IMG_0146imageIMG_0043 (3)IMG_0035 (4) [Note:  This post is from Elder Burgess’ dad]

Many of us have heroes who we look up to because they performed a courageous act or because they are consistently kind and selfless.  One of my heroes is our son, Kyle, who is currently serving as a missionary in New Zealand.  Nearly two years ago, Kyle was led by the Spirit of God to testify of truth to some people who did not want to hear what he had to say.  Because of fear and pride, they rejected his testimony, they told him he was crazy, they laughed at him and they threatened him.  Through this experience, Kyle became a disciple of Jesus Christ even before his full-time mission began.  He stood and boldly testified of truth given to him from God and he bravely faced ridicule and anger while his testimony was being rejected.  As I witnessed his experience, the Spirit sent these words to my soul, “Fools mock, but they shall mourn.”  I recognized this phrase as the words of the Lord to Moroni when he worried that his testimony and the testimonies of the other Nephite prophets would be rejected because of their weakness in writing.  I have come to know that anyone who is inspired to testify of truth and is willing to stand firm against those who would mock and attack them will receive special support from our Savior.  I also know that those who choose to not accept truth will eventually mourn because of the consequences of their lack of courage.  Kyle will be coming home soon from his full-time mission.  There is no doubt his testimony has been strengthened while he has served.  However, he became a true disciple of Jesus Christ when stood and testified of truth while he was only a boy.  That is when he became my hero.

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Following the Spirit

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I said goodbye to Elder Fanger and Elder Hann last week. My new companion is Elder Fine who I served with several months ago. I am very excited to be serving with him again…

Recently we taught the 4 year old Primary class. We were supposed to teach the Restoration, but after a few minutes I realized that topic wasn’t going to work well with small children. So we decided it would be more beneficial if we showed them pictures and told them stories while they played with the toy men that we use when we teach about the 12 apostles. There was a moment when I realized that Heavenly Father was probably watching and smiling at the situation…

Several days ago I went on trade-off with Elder Smith, who was my District Leader when I entered the mission. We accomplished several goals and in the space of 90 minutes we taught 3 lessons. When we returned from the trade-off we got a call from a member in the Ward who was so excited I had a hard time understanding him. He had invited a Chinese family on the street to tour the chapel. Afterwards, he went with us to teach them a lesson and to answer questions. It was the prefect member missionary scenario…

We introduced one of our investigators to a 15 year old member girl and her mom. The mom had asked us if we knew anyone who could tutor her daughter and we thought of our investigator. It is working out very well. The investigator is going to get baptized soon…

A few days ago, our 8:00 appointment had cancelled, so we prayed to know where we needed to be for the last hour of the day and we were prompted to visit a family whose daughter was baptized in April. We got in the car and made the long drive there, and as we were pulling up to their house we saw the guy who had cancelled our appointment at 8:00 that evening! We were so far away from his house and he happened to be jogging on that street at that exact moment. When he saw us he said, “This is totally a sign. You guys can come over tomorrow.” If we had hesitated to follow that prompting we wouldn’t have ran into him. That entire day we seemed to be in the right place at the right time…

We visited an active member family this week and invited them to participate in the missionary discussion program but they initially said “no”. However, we were persistent and let the Spirit work on them as we stayed longer than an hour. After asking some questions and sharing my experience of receiving a Patriarchal blessing we said a prayer and stood up to leave. They changed their minds and asked us if we would come back the next week to teach them the missionary discussions. I smiled as I shook their hands and then they hugged us. After a little over an hour of the Spirit working extra hard we had a good understanding of one another. Perhaps a lesson to be learned here is that no one wants to hear what you have to say until you have earned their respect by example, or by showing them how much you care…

For a proselyting activity we went to the park and played basketball with some kids. The next day we went back and talked to one of the kids. He said he went to Church and he just started a Christian youth group at his school. He invited us to share a message with his family and gave us his address. Basketball can be an awesome missionary tool!

We have noticed recently the large number of times we have been led by the Spirit to be somewhere or to do something at a specific time. Preach My Gospel tells us on page 10 that, “A Missionary should live so that you can receive and know how to follow the Spirit, who will show you where to go, what to do, and what to say.”

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Missionary Work is Fun

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Last Monday we went to an indoor trampoline park called “Jump”. It was a lot of fun. There were basketball hoops, little kids to throw dodgeballs at =], and heaps of trampolines to do flips on. I wore my Spider-man shirt too so I was extra bouncy…

Later in the week while I was brushing my teeth Elder Crane tried to scare me, but instead he bumped into the wall and the burglar alarm. We didn’t have the code to turn it off so it screeched at us for a good 30 minutes. Eventually we called the Senior missionaries that are in charge of flats. By this time it was nearly 11:30. Elder Reeves already thinks I’m a trouble maker because I got the car towed, so when Elder Crane called him he said, “Is Elder Burgess involved?” Elder Crane responded with, “Of course.” “I knew it. Give me 10 minutes to get dressed and drive to the mission office” was all Elder Reeves could say. Elder Reeves couldn’t find the code so we decided to drive to the Tongan Elders flat and just sleep on their floor. That ended up being the coldest and most uncomfortable night of my life (even colder than sleeping in the ice cave because at least then I had a sleeping bag). We got the code from the landlord in the morning…

We are teaching a lady who got kicked out of her church and her parent’s home when she was young because she asked too many hard questions. She has been looking for a Church her whole life that she agrees with. After sitting down with her, her first question was about whether America was a holy land of promise. She wanted to know if Mormons believe America is a special place. We taught the Restoration with some twists that fit her personality. After some more inspired questions, we agreed to stay for another hour as we taught the plan of salvation. She asked about creation vs. evolution, end of world doctrine, and baptism. She is the most prepared investigator I have ever met…

Every investigator is different and every lesson is different. The best teachers I have seen find a way to relate to people and then just be their friends…

We had two Scottish less-active members come to the chapel so we could help them with family history this last week. Elder Hann was excited. Each of these guys couldn’t remember the last time they entered a chapel…

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2nd Temple Trip

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Here are some pictures taken the last few weeks.  Last P-day while playing basketball, Elder Hann dislocated his thumb.  I won’t send a picture because it was gross.  When we got to the doctor’s office the receptionist handed him a clipboard and asked him to fill out the three pages and then turn it in so they could get a doctor to help him.  After we (the Zone Leaders and I) filled out his forms for him, we waited for 30 minutes before a nurse came to get him and reset his thumb, which took 30 seconds.

The next day (Tuesday) was the long awaited temple trip.  I missed being in the temple so much that it brought me to tears.  It was great to be with several of the missionaries I have served with.  I completed the temple work for the family file name Maren sent a few weeks ago.  The man was born in 1535 in England.  He has been waiting a long time to have his work completed…

One of our investigators helped us move furniture for a member family.  He said it was the first time in a long time he had done service for someone.  He is battling his friends’ poor influence at the moment.  He told them about his baptism and they have been giving him a hard time because now he won’t be drinking or doing other dumb things with them…

I got to attend the Come & See Fireside with Elder Jarvis while Elder Crane and Elder Hann went to the musical fireside at the Sunset chapel (our home Ward).  I got to listen to President Pearson speak again.  I shook President Pearson’s hand before it started and he said, “Elder Burgess, it’s nice to see you again.  How are you doing?”  I responded with, “I’m doing very well.”  He replied, “Good.  You look very good.”  I needed to hear that from him.  Heavenly Father answers our prayers through the words and deeds of others…

Christmas is a big deal here.  Because it is summer, on Christmas day almost everyone goes swimming…

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