Typhoon & Transfer – Busy Week in the Philippines!

Hey everybody!

This is just a quick post to let you know that I am safe and sound after Typhoon Glenda blew through Calamba.  It’s been crazy, but in addition to the typhoon I got transferred, so I’m not anywhere to close to Hunter anymore.  I am in the the town of Siniloan which is still in the Laguna Province but on the East side of Laguna de Bay.  I have been called to be a zone leader, which means I am responsible for about 24 other missionaries in this area.  My new companion is a big Tongan from New Zealand and he’s super funny and nice.

I will be bale to post more on Monday, which is our P-Day, but our mission president said we could send a quick email to let everyone know that we are safe and have power and services back after the storm.  Being called to serve as a zone leader freaked me the heck out at first, but it’s going pretty well and it’s helping me so much to become more like Christ.

The storm was INTENSE!  I watched a roof get ripped off around 4 am, but it wasn’t ours so that was good.  At one point through the night I was getting rained on inside of my apartment through the windows and the air conditioning unit, so I got up and walked out into the living area and water was pouring through the back window!   It was freaking loud as heck… so yeah it was flippin’ scary.  But, alas I am yet alive and well in a new zone with some of the members of my MTC district back in Utah, so that is fun to re-connect with them and do good work.

Location of Siniloan in the Laguna Province.

Location of Siniloan in the Laguna Province.

I’ll write more in a few days and hopefully send photos of my new area.

Love,

Elder Tyler Burbidge

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Safe & Sound After Typhoon Glenda!

 

People being rescued near Elder Burbidge's work area.

People being rescued near Elder Burbidge’s work area.

Editor’s note:  The following is an email from Tyler’s Mission President that we received yesterday.  We are thankful that he is safe and are excited to hear from him whenever power and internet connections are restored.

Dear Parents,

Most if not all of you are aware that we recently had a typhoon visit our beautiful Philippines San Pablo Mission. It arrived Tuesday evening and lasted through the night into the early morning hours of Wednesday. We had warned all of our missionaries Tuesday morning of the pending typhoon and that its path would cut across our mission, so they were well prepared and had taken cover well in advance of the storm.

Following the storm, our first concern was to assure that all of our missionaries were safe and in good condition. The storm knocked out our power, cell phones, internet, and water in virtually all areas of our mission which limited our ability to establish contact immediately. Many of the roads were closed or clogged with downed trees, power lines, etc. Our cell phone service was the first of our services to be restored on Wednesday and we started reaching out to our missionaries. Thursday morning we went forward with our transfer day as planned and about half of our missionaries were at the Mission Home that day to pick up their new companions allowing us to check on them. We have been in contact with all of our missionaries and I assure you they are safe and healthy. I am amazed at the resiliency of these great missionaries.

Much of our mission still does not have power as I am writing this message my Friday night. Power was restored to the area around the Mission Home about noon today. Tomorrow we will need to drive outside of our mission to the closest location with internet service in order to send this email. Local crews are working around the clock to restore power to the balance of the areas as quickly as possible. Each of our missionaries are well prepared with sufficient supplies and we will continue to monitor the situation from day to day and take any necessary steps to assure their wellbeing.

Depending on when power and internet services are restored, you may or may not receive an email from your missionary this Monday. If they are unable to send an email Monday, we will have them send one as soon as possible following the restoring of services.

Sister Mangum and I will begin a two week tour of the mission next Tuesday to conduct interviews with each of the missionaries as part of our normally scheduled interview cycle. We look forward to seeing each of the missionaries and being able to check on them personally.

Thanks for sending us such well prepared and consecrated missionaries. You can be very proud of them for their dedication and devotion to this sacred work of the salvation of our Heavenly Father’s Children.

Sincerely,

President Bart A. Mangum

Sister Renae J. Mangum

Winds from Typhoon Glenda reached 150 mph.

Winds from Typhoon Glenda reached 150 mph.

 

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For Unto You This Day, In the City of Calamba, A Child is Born – Even in a Tricycle!

Hey everyone!

This is a photo of my group of missionaries right now (it’s called a Zone)!  There are more missionaries in our zone, but some of them decided not to come to the activity.  The photo was taken at the University of the Philippines, Los Banos campus for our zone p-day.  I’m in my yellow “King Felix” T-shirt and next to me is my buddy, Elder Bland.  My companion is the one holding a rugby ball in black behind me. We got some sweet floral hats!

Our Zone activity at the University of the Philippines

Our Zone activity at the University of the Philippines

So as you can tell from the title of my blog post, I’ve got a story for you.  So we went to 7/11 early in the morning to meet with our fellow missionaries and travel to our meeting NEW MISSION PRESIDENT!  We arrived several minutes late to 7/11 (but were still ‘early’ compared to our other elders). Outside in the parking lot was a woman who was screaming, and before we know what’s going on, a man is laying down a NEWBORN BABY on the seat of a filthy, dirty, germy, tricycle!!!  They then moved the baby (who was still tied to the mother via the umbilical chord) and the mother to another tricycle and took off to, hopefully, the hospital!  Yeah, sooooo… that was a FREAKING CRAZY EXPERIENCE.  Ahh the miracle of life!

Well, this area is testing me!  It demands EXACT planning, EXACT patience, EXACT love, and EXACT understanding, which is hard for a human being like myself.  It’s helping me to grow and to change expectations for myself and for others to a realistic level.  That doesn’t mean giving less effort, rather adjusting the fruit that will come from the effort to a realistic level with consistent progress, be it fast, at a jog, or at a crawl.  I have to keep reminding myself that God has a plan for this area, and it doesn’t depend on my opinion, my companion’s opinion or anyone else.  As long as we’re obedient to the counsel that we receive from HIM, we should be doing well. We were going to have a baptism, but it fell through because our investigator didn’t attend church, but God’s will is right in the middle of it all so I am sure it will all work out.

We’ve got one progressing 10 year old kid right now in our teaching pool.  His name is Clarence.  He’s funny.  I like teaching kids because their faith is so strong, but we are going to find a golden family this week, I can feel it!
We also met the new mission president named President Mangum and he is awesome!  He’s a jokester and he seems like the perfect fit for the mission right now.  He’s very kind, he’s kinda short, is a great testifier of the truth, AND he loves baseball.  Unfortunately, his favorite team is NOT the Seattle Mariners, but i guess that’s okay, at least there’s SOMEBODY to talk baseball with here.
I miss and love you all and can’t wait to hear from you again!  Malapit na ako sa one year mark ko! grabe! quente pang oras dito sa mission!  Have a great week!!!!  Be happy and smile =)
love,
Elder Tyler Norwin Burbidge

 

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Loving the Work in Calamba

Hey Everyone!

This week was good!  We found a new apartment, got it approved, and are moving in tomorrow!  I’m super excited to move in because it has a microwave!  We are now teaching several people.  Our upcoming baptism is brother Geo who is 16 years old and part of a family who are already members of the church.  He’s really cool.  We’re also teaching a senior couple who are both 76 years old, but have this strangely strong desire to change!  It’s awesome because our area is kind of hard to find new investigators in, but we’re doing it in faith!

We are basically starting a new branch of the church here in Calamba, so it is kind of hard, but I know it’s got to be important for me to be here and witness it!  It’s a strong witness to me of how true the church really is!  The organization of the Church is perfect and as I watch it happen here with this new branch, my own knowledge of the truth is strengthened.  It’s also humbling to be around great members that have a desire for true growth in their area of God’s Kingdom.
My companion is still hilarious!  We are pretty good friends now and everyday there’s always something new we learn together.  It’s so cool to me that I now have friends from all over the globe from the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Canada, and throughout the United States as well.  I’m loving the social aspect of a mission such as meeting new people every day that love to do this same work.
It is still the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, but I’m loving it.  I’ll never be able to express the change that this mission has wrought on me.  I’m changing every day for the better.  This is absolutely the best and the most important thing I’ve ever done before, and I’m grateful for the support of those that I love!  I love and miss you all and am almost half way to coming back, so watch out!!!
Love,
Elder Tyler Burbidge
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Hey all!

We have had a pretty busy week of missionary work here in Calamba.  We found 10 more investigators who we are excited to teach the gospel to.  And we also possibly found two apartments in our work area so hopefully we can secure one of them and move a little closer to our district.  We also talked to a group of about 20 Iglesia ni Cristo members who are a split-off from our church – which was interesting but didn’t lead to any serious prospects!

I have been missing home a little bit, and sometimes I just feel so disconnected from all of you back home.  I realize that I’ve been gone for about a year, and I get a little bit too excited sometimes about being home to be with you all again.  I don’t think about it too much but my mission president encourages us to ponder what we will do after the mission, so that’s when I get a little homesick.  Most of the time we are just so busy that I can’t think much of home – so it’s all good.

I am sorry that I haven’t been taking many photos lately!  I need to start doing it more.  I am looking for a new book bag since the one that I brought out with me is almost in tatters.  The humid climate takes it’s toll on stuff like that!

I am looking forward to meeting our new mission president.  We get to formally meet him on the 4th of July!!!  I’ll make sure to wear my red, white, and blue tie and bring my America handkerchief, just so he knows that I’m still true to the red, white, and blue!

I guess that’s about it for this week!  I love you all and appreciate your support!

Elder Tyler N. Burbidge

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Getting Settled in Calamba

A highway outside of Calamba on a clear day

A highway outside of Calamba on a clear day

Hello everyone – I am going on my second week in my new city of Calamba and I am still getting settled into the routine here.  Calamba is an urbanized area so it is pretty smoky (hazy), polluted, and grey – sort of a “concrete jungle”.   This area is a stark contrast to my previous area of Atimonan, which was lush and clean and remote!  My first area of Lucena was a mix of this area and Atimonan, so I am feeling like I have experienced a broad spectrum of living conditions in my first year on the mission.
High Rise buildings

High Rise buildings

I have been assigned to open a new area for missionary work and so our apartment isn’t even in the town where we work.  We commute into our work area about 45-50 minutes each way, every day.  They didn’t even have a house for the missionaries before we get transferred here!  So, regarding our apartment – it is still a work in progress. The sink doesn’t really have a functional drain pipe, so there’s constantly water covering the floor!  But we just mop it up and it is not that big of an inconvenience.  I’m going to be thankful for living in a functional house when I get back to the states!
In other events, the week before I left Atimonan we baptized that little girl named Hershey!  She’s so awesome!  We were also teaching a sister named Venus who is mom’s age!  She would call us her “mga anak”, or children, so we are definitely loved here!  Church members are always watching out for us wherever we are!
This last week we had zone conference with the missionaries  and stake conference with the members where we learned about preparing for future family relationships, so that was pretty cool!  Also, I’m in a zone with my companion from the Missionary Training Center, Elder Bland, so that’s always a riot when we get together.  My companion is a riot too!  We make fun of each other’s accents.  He is from Sri Lanka so has a very thick accent and he thinks I sound funny too.  So that makes things fun around here and I am very happy on my mission.
A couple of insights I have had lately and I shared with Hunter is that there is always light, or truth, around us.  We’re literally surrounded by it, we just need to reach out and grasp it.  The scriptures teach us about the reality of the Spirit and how everything is based upon light and truth.  We are constantly surrounded by spiritual matter that we can’t see, so we need to feel it.  I’m working on understanding that too, but that means that even in the darkest situations, there’s always a glimmer of light and hope, so don’t get too discouraged!  Whatever it is, it can be put on the Savior and then we have to keep walking in the darkness and he’ll light the path eventually.  He requires that. Trials of faith aren’t easy, but they’re necessary for our progression.
Another thought that I recently shared with Hunter is that the spirit doesn’t actually manifest itself to us until AFTER we have acted.  God wants us to grow.  He’s not going to just give us the direct path.  Every single little thing requires our agency.  If we are to become like God someday, we need to be able to decide for ourselves and for our posterity what is right and wrong.  I like to think of the Holy Spirit kinda like coach Weeks back in high school football.  He was a great at coaching us up during practices, but during the games we had to make the calls for ourselves.  At quarter-break or halftime we’d come in and then we’d adjust according to his teaching and guidance.  Then we’d go out and execute – or not execute – and receive the consequences either way.
Anyway – it’s not that everything spiritual can be linked to T-Bird Football – but almost everything 🙂
I hope all is well back home!
Love,
Elder Tyler Norwin Burbidge
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Moving on to Calamba

Good afternoon sa inyong lahat! ito ang tanging Elder Burbidge at gusto ko na sabihin sa ‘yo na I’M TRANSFERRED!!!! nasa Calamba 3rd Branch na ako kasama ng isang taga Sri Lanka! 21 years old po siya at magaling siya na magkaibigan! masaya talaga siya kahit anong nangyayari sa oras namin! kahit mahirap ang trabaho namin ngayon, alam ko na sa pamamagitan ng pananampalataya at panalangin, magkakaroon kami ng dakilang mga biyaya galing sa ating Diyos. 18-20 mga membryo lang dito sa Calamba 3rd, pero malakas sila. ang branch president po namin ay sobrang mabait at masisipag. alam ko na may potential talaga dito. naranasan ko and bagong pakiramdam kaninang umaga. talagang wala nasa isip ko. kalimutan ko na kailangan ko na naaalahanin palagi and kabutihan ng Tagapagligtas natin upang magkaroon ng mga biyaya niya sa atin buhay. iyaw ko minsan ang buhay ko bilang isang misyonero, pero ito ‘yan panahon kung saan kalimutan ko ang patnubay na tinangap ko galing kay Jesucristo. alam ko po na mabuhay pa po siya at mahal niya tayo. talagang walang ibang paraan na maging masaya maliban sa pamamagitan niya. mahal ko kayo! ingat po kayo ‘lagi sa inyong mga paglalakbay at huwag na kalimutan  na isulat sa akin! namiss ko po kayo! kayong lahat ay sa panalanging ko lagi!

mahal ko kayo,
Elder Tyler Norwin Burbidge
For those who can’t read Tagalog, following is what Google Translate said the above means:
Good afternoon to you all!  This is Elder Burbidge and I want to say “I’M TRANSFERRED  to the Calamba 3rd Branch.  My companion is from Sri Lanka and he is 21 years old.  We are already becoming good friends!  He really enjoys going out and doing missionary work any time so we work even harder now.  I know that through faith and prayer, we will have great blessings from our Heavenly Father.  There are only 18-20 members here in Calamba 3rd Branch, but they are very strong.  The branch president knows that we are very friendly and hard working.  I know this area really has potential.
I experienced a renewed feeling this morning that I need to always recognize the love and goodness of our Savior and be thankful for the blessings he gives us.  I love my life as a missionary, but there are times where I forget to accept guidance from Jesus Christ.  I know if I listen to the Holy Ghost I would do more to please him.  He loves us and there really is no other way to be happy except through him.
I love and miss you all back home – you are in my prayers always!
I love you,
Elder Tyler Norwin Burbidge
Map of where Elder Tyler Burbidge is currently serving.

Map of where Elder Tyler Burbidge is currently serving.

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Baptism of Hershey Mae

 

Hello all!

Well the month of May absolutely flew by! I was not feeling very well earlier in the week, but I won’t go into details!  I’m doing better now, it turned out to be just a sinus infection and mucus in my chest, but I’m on antibiotics so I should continue to improve – and I’m feeling better already anyway.

We had a baptism on Saturday for Sister Hershey Mae! She turned 10 on the day of her baptism and has been smiling nonstop since! We are now teaching her grandmother that attended the baptismal service. We are also teaching another sister who is a 47 year old widow with two daughters. She’s had a baptismal goal date for 2 or 3 weeks now and is progressing so well! She even bore her testimony in sacrament meeting and she hasn’t even been baptized yet! She calls us her kids and loves to have us teach her! Her name is Venus and has been so prepared! It’s amazing to see her to continue to progress!

Baptism of

Baptism of Hershey Mae

Today I missed home a lot, but I’ll get over that! Transfer day is on Thursday and I feel like I’m leaving this area, but I don’t want to make any guesses because whatever the Lord says goes!!! I’ll be happy either way.  I’ve finished training my companion, which is why I think I may get transferred so that he can have a chance at leading the area for a transfer, but who knows!

Thanks to everyone for their love and support!

Elder Tyler Burbidge

 

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Missionary Work Continues in the Philippines!

Hello everybody back home!

DSCN2645

This is a photo of the beautiful land that I am serving in!

Well, we had some baptisms this last week.  They were great.  I got to baptize the twins!  The water in the font was cold and they are both very skinny and so when they got in the water they were FREEZING!  But then it was okay!  on the first one I messed up the prayer so I had to say it again, but I baptized both of them well!  One of them didn’t close his eyes under the water!  He just was staring at me the whole time, it was kinda cool actually! 

Baptism Day!

Baptism Day!

The other young man, JM, who got baptized is 16 years old and will be the only member on his island when he goes back on friday, so he’s a pioneer in some aspects!!!  Pretty crazy right??  But he’s COMPLETELY transformed.  It’s so amazing to see the change that happens…. you know?!

I have attached a few photos of me and the recent baptisms.  There are also a few photos of the surroundings around Atimonan.  The rice patty is so brown because it’s so dang hot here all the time!!!  In the “ber” months (October, November, December) its all nice and green but for now we bake!!

Love to you all,

Elder Tyler Burbidge

Elder Burbidge outstanding in his field!

Elder Burbidge outstanding in his field!

Elder Burbidge and the twins being goofy!

Elder Burbidge and the twins being goofy!

 

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Enjoying Missionary Life in Atimonan

Magandang tanghali sa inyong lahat! How are you all???   It’s very very hot here in the Philippines at this time of year.  I was dripping with sweat in my apartment.  It’s like being wetter than taking a shower.  I hate it… but hey – you can’t control the temperature!  At least the inside of my nose isn’t freezing like it was at college in Rexburg, ID.  

DSCN2548

Looking forward to another baptism like this one!

I had some cool experiences this week but i’m pretty short on time!  I talked to a sister on a bus the other day that had a life similar to Job in the Bible.  If you know anything about Job, you know that God tried him to his limits.  This sister’s life was very much like his.  I’m not going to share details, but it was such an amazing experience for me because I was able to give her the “cure” for her adversity which is my testimony of the Plan of Salvation!!!!  Anyway, we talked for about 35 minutes on the bus and she is so humbly thankful for all of the blessings in her life.  Hopefully she’ll go to church where she lives next week. 

We are also teaching a sister who lost her husband 8 years ago, but is so happy.  She came to church and has expressed to us her feelings that she’s making the right choices in order to be with him forever throughout the next life too, which is very inspiring.
We have 3 baptisms coming up!  One is a 16 year-old young man and the other two are a set of 10 year old twins!  I’m excited for them!
I hope all of you are happy and are doing the right things to receive strength in your lives!  If not, or if you don’t know where to find it, well, look up.  He’s got a plan for you. I love you all and can’t wait to hear from you and see you all again someday!
Oh, I also scheduled a temple marriage for July 28, 2015… pretty cool right??  Let me explain:  We are teaching a family and we decided to get them motivated by teaching them about temples.  Well, there is a temple goal date card that we typically give to families in order to help them prepare to enter the temple a year after their baptism.   I’ll probably go to the Manila temple before I go home on July 28, 2015, so I told them that I will be at their temple wedding if they commit to set that date as a goal!  I hope and pray that it will happen!
Well, I guess that is about it.  I miss you all!
Love,
Elder Tyler Norwin Burbidge
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