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Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Dear friends and family,

I am alive.

The past couple weeks have been something else! So I'm sure many of you are wondering, "Where is Elder Burgess?", well I come with an answer. I'm in Mpumalanga, South Africa. That's the province anyways. The town we live in is called 'Witbank' but the area I'm serving in is just outside of Witbank. It's called 'Kwa-guqa'. Now there's a click in there so the ending sounds like a pop. Maybe one day I'll share with you all how these places are pronounced. 

Anyways, to answer the real question at your hearts...yes, I was evacuated out of Botswana. It's a shame, yes, but now the church knows how to go about things. So we hope and pray that the problem can be done and over.

I was told I was going to Kwa-guqa the Thursday before last. Now I've heard and known about this very ward from previous companions so I was excited. I'm now here with Elder Shorthill, my new companion. He is officially my first American companion (unless you count Elder Phillips in the MTC, which I'm not really). He's a great kid and he just so happens to be from Orangeville, Utah. What are the odds two Utah kids white wash an area? Actually likely... but that's beside the point. 

So to inform you all, I'm well. I'm healthy, I'm happy and there are no complaints.

The work is a bit slow because we're opening a new area (again) and the missionaries that we now share the ward with were only working on the side that was divided to them. It's understandable though. The area is quite large and they were working close to the chapel and where the work is progressing. As for us, most of our area has some distance from the chapel. Nothing new though. I'm grateful for the chance I have to take the gospel to the people here.

More will come, I'm sure, as we spend more time here.

Love you all,
- Elder Burgess

My new companion, Elder Shorthill.

My new chapel.

Oh I mustn't forget this one. Saying goodbye to President Mangenela was a bit tough. I'll miss you Caiphas!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

When the necessary becomes frustrating.

Hello Friends and Family!!

I hope you had a great week; I know mine was interesting to say the least.

So Monday I drove a Ranger to Pretoria. It's a big vehicle compared to my little Hyundai i20! But it was really cool! I did however get lost in Pretoria. I made a wrong turn and ended up in an area called Sunnyside. Luckily (and prayerfully) we made it to the mission office. 

It was great because some elders from Namibia (my companion included) flew in. I was able to reconnect with my old friends Elder Voyles and Elder Reber over a game of pool. But on Tuesday we eventually made our way back to Gabs. We crossed over late and stayed the night in Broadhurst's flat. The following morning I had to go back to immigration (yay.. .) and wait, yet again. We went in and waited until they finally said that we should come back after lunch... so we did. 

But they still didn't have our extensions. We went back Thursday, still nothing, that is, until right before closing. I get called up and a supervisor was there. She then started explaining that our way of going about things isn't right... it became apparent to us that the agreement made concerning our stay in Botswana, was not discussed with the bottom of the chain. I was however able to get a few days, until September 20th. We're waiting to find out what will be happening, but there's a chance that I may be evacuating the country... We'll see!

It's been great fun with Elder Malemo again though! Although we didn't get to Moleps until late Friday night, we still had a nice couple of days. Today we went and hiked a hill with our district and went to lunch after.

Overall, my life is going alright. It's been hard not being able to do proper missionary work for such a long time but these things are kind of necessary. Other than frustration of waiting at immigration and having a cold, I'm doing great! I can't complain! The gospel is true and I'm here to proclaim it!

- Elder Burgess

Reunited and it feels so good!!

District hike!

2017 Ford Ranger!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Hello to you all!

I hope you're doing well this fine day. I must say, I have news for you.

So this past week was alright. I was only in my area for two days and I'm leaving again today, I went home, and transfer news came... allow me to explain.

So Monday we went into Gabs for interviews. Then on Tuesday we had Zone Conference. Zone Conference was quite nice. We talked about Christ-like attributes. One of which is patience... mine was tested this week.

So then on Wednesday we had exchanges and I was with Elder Mills, the newest elder to the mission. It was great fun and good. Thursday rolled around and I (and four other Americans) had to be to the immigration department at 8 in the morning to apply for a visa extension to stay in Botswana. Well first we went to the American Embassy to certify copies of our passports, but that department didn't open until 1:30... So we had lunch and waited. We went back and entered the Embassy. As we're entering the waiting room, a video advertising things in American was playing. Just as we're entering, it's playing about Utah.... The timing was impeccable...

Finally we got out of there and over to immigration, only to discover that the finger print machine was offline. They told us, "come back tomorrow". So I ventured with some other elders to Mochudi so they could get a change of clothes. We then had dinner at Pizza Hut (not quite the same as home, but still the same company and good), and slept.

Friday rolls around and in the A.M. we were back at immigration. BUT the machine was still down. We then had to wait until 12 or so, where one elder was able to do his prints but the lady then said she had to go on lunch... so we waited... again.

The good news, everything is taken care of. Elder Motaleng and I got back to Moleps late on Friday and worked Saturday and Sunday. Saturday Sister Melney accepted to be baptized and we got transfer news.

Transfer news... *drum roll*..... I'm staying and Elder Motaleng is going to Kanye. My new companion is none other than my old friend, Elder Malemo. That's right, exactly one year after being companions in Lenyenye we're going to be back together and he's finishing with me this transfer. I'm quite excited!!

Sunday Elder Motaleng was saying goodbye to people and I received interesting news. The Assistants to the President called me and told me I'd be driving some elders to Pretoria today. So I'll be taking a 2017 Ford Ranger from Gabs to Pretoria... Booya!!

Oh what a week... I love you all and I know the church is true.

- Elder Burgess

Elder Motaleng and I for the last time.

Elder Mills and I. We're 3rd cousins, once removed. However, we met in Africa! Crazy story.