Monday, November 26, 2012

Feet, Food and Finding

Hello, hello, my Wonderful Friends and Family!

So nice to be writing to you again!  This week has been so very interesting.  Good, but also very difficult.

So I am pretty sure the mission is basically some kind of a time warp.  I left Utah in six inches of snow and there were Christmas lights going up at the MTC and now here I am in the beginning of a very HOT summer.  I´m pretty sure there´s no possible way you all had Thanksgiving this week, because it definitely doesn´t feel like November here.  Some people are starting to decorate for Christmas here, but it´s almost laughable to me, tinsel and baubles on fully-blooming rosebushes!  We have a little tree up in our house, but there aren´t any decorations on it yet.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we hosted a Noche de Gratitud on Saturday for the two wards in our building (Hermana Bowns and I and the two sisters who live with us, Hermanas England and González).  We had everyone write down three things they were grateful for in different categories, like "Things in Nature" and "Modern Inventions" and such and then we played a gratitude version of "I Have Never" which was a hit.  We asked people to bring treats made from squash (pumpkin does not exist here and the idea of squash being a dessert was strange to most of the people we talked to) or chocolate.  We bought squash to make cookies but didn´t have time so we´ll be doing that today!  Anyway, we had a great turn-out and lots of our investigators were there and that was how we celebrated Thanksgiving.

I had a few weird food experiences this week.  I told you the food is mostly normal (except that the vegetables are cooked to within an inch of their lives and everything is swimming in margarine and mayonnaise), but that we have to eat ALL of whatever we´re given.  Well I was really put to the test!  On Wednesday, I had to conquer a hard-boiled egg.  I DETEST hard-boiled eggs.  The smell of Easter is enough to make me sick.  But there it was, on my plate, and I had to eat it.  It was rough.  I was trying to inconspicuously gag and choke it down, and at one point I almost lost it, but I ate it and I didn´t throw up.  It was awesome.

So after that I figured that pretty much the worst thing that could happen with food had already ocurred, but I was wrong.  Saturday was a real adventure!  A lot of people here like to give us like breaded chicken patties, and that day the member had cooked them in boiling water or something, but apparently not long enough.  At least not mine.  It was almost completely raw.  I just didn´t know what to do!  The member´s chicken didn´t seem to be very well done and she just kept eating it, and my companion´s appeared to be cooked. So I ate raw chicken for lunch and prayed and prayed and prayed that the Lord would protect me from salmonella.  Do you want to know what raw chicken tasted like?  It pretty much tastes like chicken.  I don´t know why, but that was surprising to me.  And I have not gotten sick from it so far, so fingers crossed.  I gag a little whenever I think about it, but I know the Lord is watching over me and helping me to be able to function because I am trying to be polite and obedient.

My feet hurt a lot.  Mostly because this week we walked and walked and walked and contacted and contacted and didn´t get in very many places.  We know that we must be doing something wrong, so we are re-evaluating the way we are doing things.  I for one have a goal to be more obedient (I´m always running late!) and to try harder to speak the language whenever I can.  I know that the Lord cannot give me the gift of tongues, nor can I teach by the Spirit, if I refuse to open my mouth and SPEAK.  But I am just always so afraid that what I say will come out wrong or won´t be pertinent to the lesson, or something like that.  I need to get over it and do whatever the Spirit tells me to do, but you all know that I can be pretty stubborn and prideful, so I think it might take some time, but I´ll keep working on it.

I don´t have much more time, but I do want to tell you that though we don´t have a lot of success, we are teaching some really awesome people.  We have met with a really awesome couple (not married, but not living together either - hooray!) named Carina and Camilo.  They ask the best questions and our lessons with them always go much longer than we intended because they have so many intelligent wonderful inspired questions to ask.  Like when we taught the Restoration, Carina says, "So, what doctrines were restored?" and "So how do you deal with the fact that the Bible has been corrupted?  Did you prophet re-write the Bible?"  People just don´t say stuff like that!  Most of the time they don´t even get what we´re trying to say, much less understand it well enough to connect those dots for themselves.  We really love them, even though they haven´t come to church yet....

We also met a really special girl named Fransisca.  We contacted at her house because her grandma was an antiguo investigator and I tell you, that little girl is so wonderful.  When we came in to visit, she saw that we had the Book of Mormon and remembered that at one time she had seen one in her house.  So while we were talking to her grandma (who we think is starting to have pretty bad dementia, because she couldn´t keep track of the conversation and asked us several times where we were from) she starts looking all over the house for the Book of Mormon but couldn´t find it.  So I gave her mine and she was so excited.  She sat down and started reading it right there.  I love her so much already and we´ve only met with them once.

The last investigator I want to tell you about is named Angelica.  She is a woman we contacted one day when she was sitting on her front porch.  Our contact with her has been brief, but I am compelled to teach her more.  Whenever we talk to her, she just looks at us with this sad longing look in her eyes.  It´s like she´s looking into my soul, trying to find out what I have there to offer her.  I pray that we will have the opportunity to keep teaching her because I just want so badly for those sad, sad eyes to be filled up with light and joy the way I know they will when she comes to know and accept the gospel.

Here is this week´s commitment:  Find someone to serve EVERY DAY!  Pray for opportunities to do so and take advantage of them!  It doesn´t have to be anything big, but it will make a big difference in your life and in theirs.  :)

Anyway, that´s all I have time for this week.  I love you all and my heart was full of gratitude for you this past Thanksgiving week.  I pray for your health and safety and happiness.


Hermana Burgess

P.S.  Pictures of me singing karaoke at a ward activity (I won some flan), me during planning, me and Hermana Bowns, me with my first "completo" (basically a big hot dog, though it wasn´t very hot and it was covered in tomatoes, guacamole and about an inch of mayonnaise which I wiped off), and me finishing my first completo.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hermana Burgess is in Chile!

She made it to Chile!! You can still write to her through or you can send her mail via snail mail.  Her address is included in her last letter.  Keep writing...



These past two weeks have been so crazy!  My last week at the MTC was good, but it felt really, really long.  Class dragged on for what seemed like DAYS, but the time we had to prepare for departure flew by and my suitcases were not getting filled up very quickly!  But eventually I got everything shoved in somehow and I only had to cheat on the weight of my carry-on. (They were only supposed to be 17 pounds for LAN Chile airlines, but I think I would have had to have sent home half my clothes or all of my books in order to be able to do that, and neither of those things seemed like such a good idea.  But they didn´t weigh it in the end anyway, so it was fine.)  Then Monday finally came and even though I was pretty terrified and I didn´t really want to move to South America, somehow I got on the plane.

Our first stop was in LA.  We got off the plane, went through security again into the international terminal, and then we were waiting at our gate when they announced that our flight had been cancelled and would not be leaving until the following morning!  So we called Missionary Travel and they said to just do whatever the airline told us to do.  The airline put us all up in the Hilton LAX and made arrangements for meals.  So then we hung out at the hotel and kind of tried to be missionaries, but we didn´t really know how!  (This is why there are TRAINERS!)  We talked to people but we weren´t really very well equipped to teach, nor did we have many materials with which to do so.  But Hermana Frandsen and I did make friends with a Korean man who was also stuck in the hotel because he was headed to Lima on our same flight.  He couldn´t speak English hardly at all, but we were able to communicate fairly well with him nonetheless.  He told us that he was a teacher at a high school in South Korea and that they were looking for an English teacher - and then he would look at Hna. F. and I as if he expected us to hop on a plane to Korea and work at his school!  We told him we couldn´t, because we are missionaries and we were going to Chile instead.  Then we showed him a picture of Christ, and he got really excited.  He had a little Korean-English dictionary on his phone that he would use whenever he didn´t know how to say something or we said something he didn´t understand, and he typed the name of the Church into it and said, "I don´t think we have that in Korea."  We assured him that they do, and told him to visit  He said he would "hunt for" the Church in Korea once he got home.  He also took a picture of a scripture Hermana Frandsen wanted to share with him (2 Nephi 25:26) so that he could translate it later.  He gave us his email (I think in case we wanted to be teachers at his school) and I passed it along to AnnMarie, because I figured she speaks Korean and she could help him.  Also because she could take that teaching job if she wanted, I guess!  He was really awesome.  I think he is like a principal of some kind or a department head or something at his school, because he kept saying "captain" or "King!" when he talked about his job title.  And then when we would do something well, he would call us "King!" too.  It was so great.  He also kept taking pictures of us with his phone.  We were basically best friends with him in like 30 minutes.  Too bad he doesn´t live in Chile or I´d try to find him and teach him, too.

So we were in the hotel all day Monday, and I just kept saying, "this is the weirdest day of my entire life," and it really kind of was. Some kind of strange mission "limbo," where we were "in the field" but we weren´t and it was just so strange.  But interesting!

Then the flight to Santiago left the next morning.  It was long, long, long and they fed us at really weird times.  We had a couple hours to sleep in the airport, then a connection to Concepción, and then we were here!  President Humphrey and his wife and some office elders and the senior couple in the office came to meet us, we went to the mission office in the city, had interviews, got pictures taken for our visas, and then went to our transfer meeting, where we had lunch and met our trainers!

My trainer is Hermana Bowns, and we are serving in the city Chillan in the Cordillera sector.  She is originally from California, but her family followed her to Utah when she went to BYU.  She is tiny - like 5-foot-nothing.  It doesn´t stick out that much in Chile but it is strange for me to tower over someone for once.  She´s awesome, though.  She has been taking really good care of me!  And when I even taught a little in Spanish in our first lesson together, she was really impressed.  She said she didn´t speak in a lesson for an entire cambio (transfer).  I´m not sure that I believe her though, because her Spanish is really awesome.  Mostly I just stand there and stare at people while a bunch of white noise comes tumbling out of their mouths.  Church was especially weird, because it was like supposed to be so familiar and yet I didn´t understand like a single word of what was happening.  I had to get up and bear my testimony and when I have to do things like that mostly I cry because it´s just overwhelming to try to express thoughts and feelings that are so important and so close to my heart in a language that I have to struggle to use.  Sigh.

The culture shock hasn´t been too bad.  Everybody "saluds" everyone else (I mean EVERYONE) both coming and going, by giving a kiss on the cheek (well, in the air next to your cheek).  If you don´t salud someone when you come or leave they could be offended, so like when we leave Church meetings and stuff we have to run around the whole room kissing everybody (well, we shake hands with the boys and men).  Food is not different here really at all, but meals are.  They eat like bread and juice for breakfast and then have a big lunch and everyone comes home from school and work for it.  Then they eat "once" sometime between 6-10 PM and that is bread and butter with like a hot drink.  We feed ourselves breakfast, and then we are fed by ward members at lunch every day except Saturday and Monday (which is P-day).  Hermana Bowns says I have been lucky and so far no one has fed us too much.  But in almost all the houses, they plate your food and you eat everything on your plate.  But it is against mission rules to eat máriscos (any seafood except fish), so I am safe from that!  And mostly it´s been normal stuff, lasagna, stroganoff, chicken and mashed potatoes.  But I still feel weird at almuerza (lunch) because I don´t really know yet if I am conducting myself properly, and I don´t have anything to say because I can´t understand the conversation, so I just keep eating until my plate is clean and then I get finished way before anyone else.  But Hermana Bowns says I´ll figure it out.

We had a weird teaching week, Saturday and Sunday we didn´t teach any new investigators.  We just knocked doors and did street contacts all day and no one wanted to let us in.  But she says that is unusual, and on Friday we had 6 new investigators, so I am hoping that she is right.

Well, my time is up!  I will tell you more about the people and everything here next week.  I love you and miss you all.  Keep writing to me and know that I love you even if you don´t hear back.

Here is your commitment this week:  Will you commit to pray every night before you get in bed?  If you are already doing so, GREAT!  If not, START NOW!  Heavenly Father loves you and wants to hear from you and He WILL answer your prayers.  :)


Hermana Burgess

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Twist in the Travel Plans

Hi All!  It's Jordanne's mom.

Jordanne and her companions left the MTC early this morning for the airport where they would fly from SLC to Los Angeles, and then from Los Angeles to Santiago.  She sounds like she is doing well.  She is excited, and a little frightened.  She is grateful to have 3 sisters and 7 elders who she knows from the MTC to travel with.

She asked me to email her a copy of the addresses that had been posted on her mission address book.  I wasn't aware that there was a mission address book, so you may not have either!  Before I email it to her, I'm going to post the address to it here so that those who didn't know it existed will have a chance to fill it out.  This information is transmitted to a private document that only Jordanne and I have access to.  Here it is:

So now for the twist.  We got up early this morning to await a phone call from the airport.  Jordanne did call, just before 8:00 AM and several of us had a chance to talk to her.  She mentioned that she may call again during their layover in Los Angeles, but when 3:00 rolled around and I still hadn't heard from her, I figured she couldn't work it out and I would hear from her mission president when she arrived in Chile.  Then, at about 3:30, Jordanne called again.  She said that their flight to Chile today had been cancelled!!  They will stay in a hotel in Los Angeles and catch another flight in the morning.

So Jordanne and her companions will arrive in the mission field a day later than originally planned, but they will probably be a bit more rested than most missionaries are when they first arrive.  That's probably not a bad thing.

Keep the letters coming!  Thank you so much for your support!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Yeah!  Travel plans!  She's finally going to break out of the MTC!  She survived it!  Fun... and a little scary!


This week was a CRAZY one, and there´s no slowing down now!  A few highlights:
So, I have this shower caddy, and instead of taking it dripping wet into my dormitory to rot the carpet after I get out of the shower, I usually hang it on one of the handy-dandy hooks in the bathroom until it's dry (or until my next shower, because I usually forget that I left it there).  Every couple of weeks when they clean the bathrooms they empty off all the hooks into the lost and found, but then I just go get it and everyting is peaches and cream again.  So one day I grab my shower caddy off its hook and hop in the shower and after I'm soaking wet and my hair is lathered up with shampoo, I come to the realization that both my bottles of face wash and my body wash are MISSING from my shower caddy.  This is very strange, because they didn't clean the hooks into the lost and found anytime since I'd last used it, and it's PRETTY obvious (I would think) that those things belong to somebody, seeing as they are neatly packed inside a container that doesn't have a "FREE STUFF" sign taped to it.  So anyway, I had only shampoo with which to wash myself that day, which wasn't too awesome.  So I check the lost and found, the free box, all the empty showers, and my stuff is NOWHERE.  Well, the next day I recovered one bottle of face wash, but mysteriously nothing else.  So I picked up a new bottle of body wash from the bookstore and last P-day I went in to shower and THERE WAS MY STUFF!  But only it was being used by SOMEONE ELSE!  (There are these like shelves on top of the shower heads, so if you are tall enough to keep your shampoo there while you are showering, everyone can see which products you are using.)  I didn't really know what to do.  The MTC doesn't really seem like the place to accuse someone of stealing your stuff, but then again, the MTC doesn't really seem like the place where your stuff should get STOLEN!  I waited a few minutes to see if she would come out.  I thought maybe I could ask her if she'd found it in the free box or the lost and found and explain that mine had gone missing, but it just seemed so awkward.  And she was taking a really long time tp shower.  So eventually I just got in the shower with my new bodywash and never did find out who the mysterious soap thief was.  I was going to leave most of my shower products behind anyway, to minimize the weight in my suitcases, but sometimes I really miss my minty face wash.  Especially after gym.  Sigh....  Moral of the story is - don't leave your soap out or someone will steal it, even at the MTC!
Wednesday, as you all know, was Halloween, and as it is one of my favorite holidays I was sad to be missing it this year.  BUT our elders did a really good job of wearing "costumes" and it really brightened my day.  Elder Kunz wore my Harry Potter tie (thanks for sending it, Mom, it came just in time!) and he carried around a wooden dowel (he said he found it in his closet - it appeared to be the cross-bar from a wooden hanger) and drew a scar on his forehead.  Elder Morgan wore a Slytherin-ish colored tie and also carried a broken hanger rod around and used it as a wand.  Elder Kunz kept slipping his up his jacket sleeve and trying to pull it on people unawares.  He "stupfied" our teacher and he and Elder Morgan would have silent duels from their desks across the room.  Elder Anderson hiked up his pants and parted his hair down the middle and went as a nerd.  Elder Stephens, who everyone thinks looks just like Russell from "UP," tied together two exercise bands (which come in our missionary health guides) and Elder Morgan pinned a little blue ribbon to it and he wore it like a scouting sash and carried around a backpack with a little American flag and stuff sticking out the back, it was so great.  Elder Shumway went alternately as a vampire and as another elder from our zone, Elder Parry, who never buttons his top button and speaks in this really low voice that Elder Shumway is perfect at imitating.  And in the cafeteria at breakfast he was just walking around wearing vampire teeth and carrying a glass of cranberry juice.  It's hard to explain why, but it was quite funny.  Maybe you had to be there, though.  Anyway, I got a picture of them (Elder Archibald is the one in the back sans costume, but he is waving Elder Stephens's pumpkin flashlight), and then one with myself (I went pretty incognito since I couldn't have a tie, but in my heart I was Hermione) and the two "wizard" elders.  My "wand" in the photo is really just a pen, but don't I pull it off?
On Thursday, the MOST EXCITING THING HAPPENED.  (Drumroll please...) We got our TRAVEL PLANS!!!!!!!  We are flying out next Monday, November 12, and we have to leave the MTC at 5 AM!!!!!!  So, this is the last email you will be getting from me in the MTC - isn't that crazy!  We are so excited.  But I am also really quite terrified.  When it comes right down to it, moving to South America doesn't seem like such a good idea after all....  But I know that this is what the Lord wants me to do and I pray that He will help me to not be too scared and to adjust quickly to "real" mission life.  Packing and getting everything ready is going to be INSANE this week!  I can't imagine how we are going to get everything done!  But I know that we will.
Anyway, the time has come again for me to bid you all farewell for another week.  BUT, I am NOT going to sign off without leaving you with a commitment (because this is what missionaries do).  Are you ready?  Here it is:
Will you commit to reading the Book of Mormon DAILY?  I don't care if it is one page, one chapter, one verse, one line, one book, or one minute, but PLEASE DO IT!  (Even if you have never read the Book of Mormon before in your LIFE!)  Here is my promise:  If you do this, you will find that you will do BETTER at work/school, you will find that you have BETTER RELATIONSHIPS with your family and friends, and you will be SO MUCH HAPPIER!  I know these things are true, because this is what happens to my life when I consistenly read in the Book of Mormon.  It is my FAVORITE book (even more favorite than Harry Potter), and I want EVERYONE WHO READS THIS BLOG to find the same HAPPINESS from reading it that I do.  If you need a copy, just visit  You can order one FOR FREE or READ ONLINE.  There are even FREE apps for your smartphones/iPhones so you can take it with you EVERYWHERE YOU GO!
I love you all and hope you are happy and well.  We are praying for those who have been affected by that devastating storm in the East (I know that's a week late, but we are slow to hear about these things around here) and hope that they are able to get back on their feet soon.  Keep your commitment to read the Book of Mormon.  Know that the Lord loves you and that I LOVE YOU!
Lovelovelovelovelove for the LAST TIME from the MTC,
Hermana "Herman" Burgess
P.S.  If you are planning to write or send packages this week (thank you Mom Cannon, by the way, for the card and treats last week!), the LAST TIME I will get mail is Saturday morning, so I'd aim for Friday.  :)  But if you'd rather send them on to Chile, you can reach me here:
Sister Jordanne Niccole Burgess
Chile Concepcion Mission
O´Higgins 940, Oficina 502
Casilla 2210
Pouch mail items are sent weekly on Fridays from Church headquarters in Salt Lake and are held for the following week if the letter misses the deadline.  ONLY postcards or one-page correspondences (no envelopes) written on one side of the page may be sent through the pouch.  Notebook or other lightweight paper will not process through the USPS machines.  Photographs are not acceptable. Letter folding instructions:  Lay the letter blank side down.  Fold the bottom of the letter about one-third of the way up the page and crease.  Fold the top of the letter to the bottom of the first fold and crease.  Secure the long side with two pieces of tape about one inch in from each end, but do not seal the ends.  In the top left corner write your name and complete return address.  Affix first class postage in the top right corner.  In the middle write the missionary address as follows:
Sister Jordanne Niccole Burgess
Chile Concepcion Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84310-0150
You can also send POUCH for free through, so if you have been DearElder-ing me, that's a great way to do it!  I am excited to write to you all next from CHILE!!!!