Mission presidents and other local church leaders have always looked out for the Burgess family. When invited, Burgess has spoken at firesides.
“It’s nice to be a member and go to any country in the world and know there will be a branch or ward there,” Burgess said. “Not only do they have the same standards and beliefs, but you can feel a sense of home.”
When teams learned Burgess was a practicing Mormon, his stock increased, thanks to the stellar examples set by other international LDS basketball players.
“Coaches realize, ‘Oh, he’s Mormon,’ and they know they don’t have to worry about us. A lot of players have carried that reputation so they have a lot of respect for LDS players and how they handle themselves,” Burgess said.
During his time in Poland, Burgess was called as the ward mission leader. He delighted in working with the missionaries and strives to be a good example wherever he goes.
“No matter where I am in the world, as a 6-foot-10, 245-pound Mormon, I am always being watched,” he said. “We may not baptize anyone, but we can answer questions and leave a good impression about the church, so we need to be living our lives in accordance with the gospel."
For now Burgess will continue to play basketball. He currently suits up for a team in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. When his playing days are over, he hopes to get into coaching, where he plans to continue learning from his experiences and new perspectives.
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