"Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question - Unto what were ye ordained? To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth."
-D&C 50:13-14

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Family!!

Wow, so where to begin?? I agree with Tyler, it's hard to decide how to tackle an email home. Well, how about I just give you a quick run through of the week. On Tuesday we got to teach Derek Dillons. He's the one that just got accepted to Med school and is dating a recent convert. He and I get along really well and end up spending a lot of the "how have you been" time talking about all of the things he did in order to get accepted and what he's planning on doing after he's done. He's been working as a successful engineer for the last couple of years, but decided that he didn't want to do that with the rest of his life. So what did he do? Decides that he wants to be a doctor, takes a couple of pre-req classes, rocks the MCAT, and gets accepted to med school...ha it's pretty impressive. But what's more impressive is his recent love of the gospel. When you're on a mission you occasionally hear about these mythical creatures called "Golden Investigators". Normally they're spoken of in awe and hushed voices because they're quite rare to find. Well guess what...Derek is one of them. He called us a couple of days before his lesson asking us for scriptures that he could read to prepare for our lesson on Tuesday, informed us that the scriptures are currently on his iphone, oh and he has an app on his phone for recent conference talks....Haha the guy is amazing. We taught him the second lesson, which discusses the Plan of Salvation, and the whole time he kept saying how it just seems to make sense. Music to my ears because I feel the same way. I really hope that we get to keep teaching him before he moves to go to school. Another person that we were able to come into contact with is Linda Morrison. She's a trip to deal with. Whenever we talk to her in person she just seems to soak it all up, but after we see her the doubt suddenly seems to cloud in. She's called us twice now over the last couple of days to say that she needs more time, but then we'll get a voicemail saying that she's changed her mind and she does want to talk to us now. We try to instill some confidence in her, but she's really struggling with the concept of organized religion. She's 62 and has been a bit of a free spirit all her life, so when she sees herself going to church it makes her feel tied down. Well she committed to going to church with us, but when we showed up on Sunday to pick her up no one would answer the door, and the phone just kept on ringing. This is the second week in a row that we've been stood up by investigators...and I'm not a big fan of it. Ha Elder Johnson keeps telling me to get used to it. Church sounds good to them during the week, but when we show up at 8:40 am to pick them up it's a different story. Persistence is what missionaries are made up of I guess, so I'm working on my patience haha. It just kills me because we come into contact with so many people that have issues that guess what?? The church can help with! One lady that we're visiting every now and again tells us how she's kinda lonely because she's working at home all day because she's on disability and has a handicap daughter, and that she wishes that she could have help keeping up her yard and house because she's getting older...every time she says that stuff I just want to say "Come to church and your problems will be solved!" haha she loves God and talking about him but she's had some really bad experiences with churches in the past. Everyone in life is taking this test, and it's like we have the answer sheet but people don't want to look at it! If people could understand the importance of the church and the amount of change it would have on their lives I'd end of standing in the baptismal font for two years. Haha I know this is stuff you all know, but it just kills me sometimes. Oh and the last person that I want to tell you about is John Saxon....wow, I'm not even sure where to begin with this guy. Actually I'm going to tell you a few of the things he told me, and you can come to a conclusion for your own. Just a few things: He's a prophet, the garden of Eden is in Tarpon Springs, Florida, he's Swiss royalty and is currently in the process of trying to get his castles back, Zions national park is where the Jewish nation is supposed to gather, Poseidon and his merpeople created all of the creatures on the earth, etc...it was a trip talking to this guy. Haha definitely one of the most interesting people I've ever met in my life. Oh the people you meet out here.

You all sound great, though! I really appreciate all the letters from the family. And ma, I did send you a letter this week! I sent it with the cd of pictures...so now I'm hoping that it didn't get lost, or that I put enough stamps on it. Hopefully it gets there today. And Whit I'm so proud of you!! A 26?? Yes, you'd better take it again! But I'm thinking you should get a tutor this time? And it's called the Ambassador Scholarship, and apply for that one too. I'd love having you at school with me! Keep me posted on what you decide, and everything else. Mom, I'm glad to hear that you're getting taken care of! Are you in a cast right now? I'm praying for all of you and know that I love you soo much.

Elder Kade Bryan Bartschi (sounds pretty official, huh? Ha)

Monday, June 21, 2010

President & Sister Summerhays

President Summerhays was born in St. Louis, Missouri while his father was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood which was a German prisoner of war camp. When the war was over they moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, which was where he grew up. His father was a less active member and his mother was a nonmember. President Summerhays joined the church when he was a senior in high school-thanks to good friends who set good examples. In high school he played football, basketball, golf and tennis. He also sang in the Acapella choir.
After high school, he attended the University of Utah where he played basketball and golf. He eventually settled on golf.
Sister Summerhays was born in Brigham City, Utah, and was reared in Salt Lake City. Her mother died when Sister Summerhays was 10 years old so she spent a few years in California until her father remarried. She attended Highland High school (where she met President Summerhays) and the University of Utah majoring in English. She grew up in a less active home but was fortunate to have a good ward who tried to encourage her to attend church. She loves knitting, reading and working out.
President and Sister Summerhays were high school sweethearts and have been married 45 years. They have 8 children who are all married and they have 33 of the brightest and most beautiful grandchildren. After college they moved to San Francisco, California where he worked as a golf professional at the Olympic Club. Their plan was to work for a year or two and then join the PGA golf tour. Their plans were changed when Sister Summerhays became very ill for a few years, and President Summerhays spent the time caring for her and their little family instead of pursuing his dream. These were good years, though, and there was much growth in the gospel, serving as a Seminary teacher and in some Bishoprics. They spent 13 years in the Northern California area ending up as the golf coach at Stanford University.
In 1980 they had the opportunity to move back to Utah and settled in the Heber Valley for 20 years where he was the golf Professional at Wasatch Mountain Golf Course and designed the Homestead Golf Course.
When President turned 50 years old, he had the opportunity to once more pursue his dream to play professional golf. He qualified for the Senior/Champions Tour (the qualifying was held in Tampa Bay so there are many fond memories of the area). The last 17 years have been spent as a member of the tour. Last year we retired and submitted our papers to serve a mission. We were called in January to serve a couples mission in Ireland. A few weeks later we were sent to our knees when we received a new call as Mission President of the best mission in the world.

(Click here for a link from LDS Church News introducing President & Sister Summerhays)

Letter from President & Sister Colton

Dear Parents of Florida Tampa Missionaries,
It is with love and appreciation that we thank you for the wonderful sons and daughters you have sent to serve in the Florida Tampa Mission. We recognize the years of training and preparation you have invested in your children to help them become the fine people they are. It has been our greatest blessing to serve with them in the work of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are eternally grateful for this privilege.
One of the many opportunities we have savored is seeing the missionaries arrive in the mission field often uncertain and unsure of themselves. Over the course of their service we see their transformation into confident and steadfast men and women of God. It is an extraordinary experience to see their personal growth and the great service they render. As they depart the mission at the conclusion of their service, their countenance actually glows. We will cherish forever being apart of this mighty work and will long treasure the relationships we have cultivated in the process.
As you may know, a new mission president and his wife have been called to take the reins of the mission. They are President Bruce and Carolyn Summerhays. The Summerhays' are both excited and eager to meet the missionaries and continue to move the work forward. The Florida Tampa Mission will be in good hands.
May the blessings of the Lord be with you.
President and Sister Colton
Hey Family!!

Honestly, if every week goes like this I'll be home in no time. Saturday was officially my one month mark, and it has really flown by. It feels like yesterday that I was waving at you from the escalator.

Ma, what the heck?? I'm so sorry about your leg! I can't see you handling down time very well, and from the letters from Grandma and Dad I hear that you aren't...I'll be praying for ya, and know that I love you so much. Whenever missionaries here talk about their families I always think in the back of my mind how much cooler mine is. Haha it's not that I'm competative, just proud of my roots.

Well this week has been pretty good! We don't have any new baptisimal dates set, but we're hoping to set one tomorrow. We're teaching this guy in his mid twenties named Derek. He just got into med school, and the girl that he's seriously dating is a recent convert. They're both really smart and successful in what they do, and they have a growing appreciation for the gospel. I love seeing people grow in their understanding. Yesterday he called us and even asked for chapters of scripture that he can read. Apparently he was up the other night really late because he was reading his scriptures and couldn't put it down...talk about an amazing investigator. I don't know if I've already told you this, but Tampa is the second most baptizing mission in the south! A general authority visited the mission before I got here and he told the missionaries that God has his eye on Florida at the moment, and I know it's true. We get turned down a lot, but it seems that every neighborhood we tract through has at least a couple people that seem genuinly interested. I need to get better at holding my temper though...ha I must have some of Mom's fire in me. Every once in a while we talk to someone that jumps across the line between formal and rude, and for some reason the sarcasm in my voice picks up when I say "have a nice day". Haha I'm working on it though. Just a couple of cool stories from this week- We were finishing up tracting on Indian Bluff (a really nice area of houses right on the water), and stumbled across a couple of amazing people. We walked up to this huge gray house and climbed up the staircase to the front door. There's not any basements in Florida, so when you walk up to a big house you normally climb the front steps up to the second story. Anyways, we knocked and this older looking lady walked right out to talk to us. Normally people peek their heads around the door and that's about it, so this was pretty unique. We started talking to her about the gospel and she was so pleasant and receptive. She asked us for some literature to read so we gave her some pamplets, and then she started to break down. Her husband had died two weeks ago to the day in a plane crash and she had been praying for help to get through it. Talking to us had been somewhat of an answer to a prayer. When we left she gave us $20 and wouldn't let us turn it down...I guess giving us money was a way to say thank you, but we plan on going back to visit her. One of the last houses in that area also turned out to be a really neat story. We knocked on the door and a greek looking guy (there's SO many greek people in my area which means a lot of Greek Orthodox people. They're not huge fans of ours haha) opened the door. He listened to us for a second, and I could see his eyes glance to our name tags. He immediately asked "are you Elders?" We told him that yeah we are. A look of relief came across his face and he proceeded to tell us that he had just been diagnosed with cancer. Right before we had knocked he was reading in the bible and came across a verse that said something along the lines of "Elders are to pray over the sick". He asked us if we'd pray with him and we quickly agreed to. After the prayer he asked us where our church was and what time it was at because he'd love to visit it (basically he was asking us all the questions that we ask investigators ha). We also plan on visiting him again this week too. It's so obvious that the Lord is preparing the way. He knows he children, and is continually placing us in the way of those that are ready to hear the gospel. I feel so lucky to be here at this time, and I'm really feeling a passion to learn more. It's when we do our part to prepare that the Lord is able to use us as effective instruments in his hands. And that means I'm really trying hard to ready myself for those experiences.

Well, Dolly and Jim are doing okay...they like the idea of being our grandparents rather then our investigators though. Ha if you want to talk about life they're game, but once you start slipping into the idea of teaching about the church they get pretty reserved. We'll keep working with them for at least a while though.

A couple of quick questions before I have to go...Could you send me some more Benzaclin stuff in a couple of days?? Also, i'm pretty sure that my black belt is bleeding onto my white shirts. Whenever I take my shirts off at night I have black on the bottom of them. Any way to avoid that? I bought some stain remover, so hopefully that should help. And could you send me some stamps? If not I could go to the post office and grab some. Oh, and about my pictures- I went to wal-mart and had them put all my pictures on a CD and I'm sending it home tomorrow. It should probably get there by about Saturday.

I love you all so much, and I hope you have an awesome week!

Elder Kade Bartschi

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hello from Palm Harbor, Florida (I'm sure you're looking it up on Google Earth right now, mom)!
(Editor's Note: Click on "Palm Harbor FL above for a direct link via Google Maps)

Wow, I can't believe I'm already in the mission field. Ah, I feel like there's so much to tell you!! Ha well to begin, we all got to Tampa and I didn't even lose a missionary. I was quite proud of myself. But stepping off the airplane in the Sunshine state was a different experience...I'm walking out the door of the plane and suddenly it feels like someone has slapped a warm wet cloth over my face. I spin around to see if any of the other missionaries have been attacked by this mysterious force, and see that the reactions are all the same...Yep, we were met with open arms by Florida humidity. Nasty stuff. We were all picked up by the AP's, President Colton and his wife. They all seemed very nice, but very intense. Ha Elder Marshall summed it up that night by saying it all seemed a little eerie (spelling? Ha I'm sure Whit will correct it). You can tell President Colton is an extremely intense business man, and so watching him be really perky with us is kind of funny. But, he's a really good man and I like him. I didn't know this, but apparently the Tampa, Florida mission is one of the most productive baptizing missions in the South! The AP's told us that one of the missionaries here had a baptism 11 out of the first 12 weeks that he was here! Needless to say that got all of us pretty pumped.

Well, I'm just happy that they didn't let us email after the first day, because I wasn't exactly sold on the idea of sweating in church clothes while riding a bike quite yet. Ha Well to begin the first full day here, we get up at the mission President's home, and then we go over to the church in that area so we can meet our trainers. All that was fine and dandy, basically just a lot of intoduction stuff so we're not completely lost out here. We then go to the meeting to get introduced to our trainers. Mine turns out to be Elder Maxwell Johnson from Salt Lake City. He's a really cool guy, and it's been fun getting to learn from him. He doesn't really teach me anything unless I ask him, which is kinda weird, but when prodded he'll tell me what to do. Ha but anyways, back to day one on the job. We got our trainers and were told where we were assigned. I'm in the St. Petersburg zone, Palm Harbor District (or something like that). Luckily, all of my stuff was there (thanks for shipping my bike and bedding! It was everything that I needed), and we took off. Our apartment turned out to be pretty nice, and is in a good area. Well we get a car, but we have to switch off every week for it. Unfortunately, we didn't get the car until Wednesday...Ha so I got to experience a full day of bike riding in humidity in Florida. By the end of it you could honestly see your reflection in the sweat on my arm alone. I was disgusting. And felt ridiculous knocking on people's doors looking like I was a homeless street urchin that had a nice tie (thanks for the tie, ma!). Ha but the Lord knows just when to help us out. My first door that I knocked on belonged to the home of Dolly and Jim Mason. She's an older woman, and is seriously one of the nicest people I've ever met. When she saw us standing there she kept calling us dear and sweety and immediatly went to go get us water and grahm crackers. Haha Elder Johnson turned to me when she left and said, "This doesn't happen...". Well it turns out that her husband loves mormons because when he grew up in Missouri he went to mormon Sunday school as a young kid. Ha it was quite amazing. We went back later in the week when Jim was home and the reception was just as warm. They are now two of our investigators and we plan/hope that we'll be able to start teaching them this week. Wow, sorry I keep getting sidetracked! So much has happened though, and organizing my thoughts isn't very easy! Well to finish the day, we ended up biking for the rest of the day trying to check up on people, and when we got back to the apartment I was positive that I wouldn't wake up the next morning because I would die from exhaustion in my sleep (okay, that might be a little dramatic, but I was tired haha).

Well, I did wake up the next morning and it's only gotten better. Every day is full of new people and memories. I have gotten pretty trunkee (Elder Johnson said this is missionary lingo for homesick a.k.a. wanting to pack your trunks. Maybe someone can explain it better for Britta...Haha jk bra!), but I'm trying hard to lose myself and go to work. I don't have much time left, but I'll try to send some hand written letters this week, so you might have to collaborate all of the stories. I love you all so much, and miss you like crazy! The work is true, and I know that the Lord has a hand in everything I'm doing. The Book of Mormon is coming to life like it never has before, and it's amazing when you recognize the Spirit when you teach of it. Check out Galations 5:22-23 ("But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.") and you'll know fo sho (We have a lot of wicked cool black people that we're teaching so I'm now allowed to use fo sho) when you're feeling it too.

Have a good week and keep sending me letters!!
Love your bro/missionary,
Elder Kade Bryan Bartschi

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hello, Hello, Hello!!

Wow I can't believe that it's already P-Day again! This week has seriously flown by. Ah I feel like there's so much to tell you. All of our studying and learning this week has felt like the week before finals. By the time I'm done for the day my head is spinning and I don't feel like I could try and cram another thing in my head even if I wanted to. Ha but it's a really good feeling as well. I know that everything I'm learning and studying is for my benefit and we're promised that if we do our part to learn then the Holy Ghost will be able to bring those very thoughts back to our mind in the moment that we need it...so basically I'm banking off that promise for now. Haha but my companion and I are still teaching and growing as best we can. Sometimes our ideas on how to best approach a subject differ, but the result has always been rewarding. All of our TE appointments have ended with a lot of compliments and some helpful advice. I'm just praying that the people of Florida will be as accepting of the gospel as the people pretending to be investigators at the MTC (I know, that's a pretty far-fetched wish).
But to answer your question, we do leave on Monday!! I can't decide if that thought terrifies me or if I'm excited. Ha but our itinerary is as follows: We meet at the travel office at 4 am (that could be interesting), and our flight leaves SLC at 7:05. We arrive in Detroit at 11:00 and then we take off at 12 and get to Tampa by 4:05. I'm pretty sure I'll get to call you during my layover, but I'll just have to hurry. Oh and I'm the travel leader of our group of five headed to Tampa. Which basically means I have to make sure we all get there, and if something goes wrong I get to call the church travel office and explain why only a few of us made it haha. Oh yay...
We had a really neat experience the other day as a district, though. After the devotional given by Bradley D. Foster of the Seventy (it was awesome), we met as a district and were able to analyze what really stuck out to us. It was awesome to hear the many different things that we felt applied to us. My favorite thought of the talk was the the Lord has prepared a curriculum of life specific to each and every one of us. Also he talked about Moses and when he was tempted by Satan. Satan tries to lower Moses' self worth by calling him a son of Man. Moses then responds with the saying that he's not a son of man, but a son of God. I really love the thought that God knows and loves each of us personally. We're all children of God, not children of man. Following the discussion we decided to sing a few hymns as a district. Personally nothing helps me feel the Spirit better than music. There's a couple guys in our district that have participated in choirs before, so we're able to sing all the parts and harmonize. It was really awesome to stand in a circle as a district and sing I Know That My Redeemer Lives, and Nearer My God to Thee. The Spirit was really there and it even brought one of the Elders to tears. Ha but since I'm "cold-hearted" I was able to stay strong. Sorry for the sappy sounding message, but it was really a cool experience.
Thanks for sending all that stuff with Katelyn!! Ha now not only do I receive a ridiculously large amount of mail, but I have my own personal messenger in the MTC. I wouldn't have it any other way. Also, thanks for all the letters! I love hearing about your lives and getting all the awesome support. But I do have a question...Ma, could you send me some tetracycline to Florida?? I'll make it until I get there, but not long after that. Ha your boy still hasn't grown out of his acne stage yet. I'll buy a calling card today so that I'll get to talk to you on Monday! Also....I have no idea where the trumpet case is...Maybe in the back room?? I'm not quite sure how I have the trumpet but no case...ha but of course that would happen to me. Maybe Mr. Bennett will have one.
Well I love you all SOOOOO much!! Know that I think of you and can feel your support!

Your boy/missionary

Elder Kade Bartschi