"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, August 30, 2010

Hey family!

So this had been a slow week, but pretty good as well. It seems that some of our more promising investigators are losing the fire that they had a couple weeks ago. A lot of unreturned phone calls, but still a lot of positive has gone on as well.

We have a new investigator named Tracie Vaughan. She was working with the Orlando missionaries because that's where he mom lives, but since she lives in our area she'll be finishing the lessons with us. We've been trying to call her for over a week, but she wasn't answering or returning the calls, so we decided that we were just going to stop by. Well she was home and we got to meet her and her boyfriend and set up an appointment with them for Friday. Her boyfriend is from Kenya and he's not too interested in the church, but he's a great guy. We showed up while he was cooking lunch, and when we were getting ready to go he said, "You showed up while I was cooking. Now you can't leave until you eat!" Ha it was authentic African food, and it was really good. We had a really good conversation with both of them, and we're hoping to get Tracie to our ward soon. There's a bunch of awesome young couples in our ward that will make good friends for her.

We also had a couple pretty good visits with some of the less active members in our ward. A new family just moved in and the mom and daughter are active, but the dad isn't. Well we had a meeting scheduled with him and got to have a really good discussion about the Spirit. He knows that it's something that has been lacking in his life and it's something that he is really wanting to get back. Before we left he asked for a blessing and we were able to do that for him. He's had bad health problems for a while, but he has such a strong desire to mack it past those and get back to church. We're really praying that his motivation doesn't burn out. He was married in the temple, and his goal is to get to where he'll be able to baptize his daughter in May.

Now about transfers. Not much is changing around here. E. Kitchen and I will stay in Citrus Ridge for another transfer. I'm glad to not be leaving. I really like the members in this ward, and I know that there's people in this area that we'll be able to get to progress. We seem to have a lot of people that are potentially ready to learn more, and when we talk to them they get so excited about the gospel, but then once we leave them they lose the fire. Kind of frustrating sometimes, but it always seems that the positive experiences we have really outweigh the negatives. It's just a matter of choosing what to focus on.

So a couple of funny stories from the week....We were tracting the other day and it was getting a little late. It was probably a little after eight and the sun had basically gone down. I'm learning that once that happens a lot of people forget what being friendly is. Well I knock on the door and I guy yanks the door open and says, "What do you want?" I told him that we were missionaries and he immediately informs me that "We're Lutheran. We do Lutheran things!" And then slammed the door. Kinda rude, but pretty dang funny as well haha. Also we got caught in a pretty nasty rain storm the other day. We were on our way to the ward mission leader's house, so luckily we didn't have to bike all the way back to the apartment. Well I was drenched and so was my stuff. I decided that maybe if I warm my planner up it'll dry faster. Ha so I stuck it in the mini oven that we have for toast, and well...it looked like toast when it was done. Haha I think it just adds character. I'll have to send you a picture of it.

Well I love you guys so much!! Keep working hard and let me know how you're all doing!


Elder Kade Bartschi

Just a cool lizard that we saw. They're everywhere here.
And then that's the result of my fried planner. haha Hey these are pictures of the zone, me and a pretty funny sign i saw in the red neck part of our area, and then the cow field in front of the giant resort. Obviously not all the construction took place that they wanted ha.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hello from Citrus Ridge!

This has been a pretty crazy week. Ha actually just about every week in the mission is packed, so it's something you come to expect, I guess. Well a couple of cool stories first:

On Thursday Elder Kitchen and I went to visit a potential investigator in our area named Rocky. He's good friends with a member of our ward, and the missionaries before I got here had done some service for him. He runs a cleaning business, so he's normally up all night getting places ready for the next day. Well we had a great conversation with him and he told us that he'll really try to be at church on Sunday because there's a chance that E. Kitchen or I will be getting transferred next week (we'll get transfer calls on Saturday, so I'll keep ya posted). Before we left though, he fed us an awesome lunch and then his wife handed us a 100 dollar bill! I was blown away. We told them that we don't accept payment for service, but they told us that is was for our groceries and we couldn't give it back. It's amazing to see how generous people are, especially towards missionaries. Well they didn't end up going to church, but we'll be visiting them again in the near future.

On Friday evening we were with Brother Staber, our ward mission leader. He's a really great guy, and would do anything to help us out. Well he was going to visit some less active members in the area and he needed some help going out. Well after we had finished we stopped at Publix (a popular grocery chain here) so that he could grab some stuff. While Bro. Staber was grabbing some stuff I noticed a big Indian guy was staring at us. I'm used to that by now, but I nodded and smiled at him. He didn't acknowledge me at all, and I just kind of brushed it off. Well a few minutes later E. Kitchen and I were grabbing some milk and when we turned around that guy was right by us. He asked us what church we were from, and when we started telling him he just started to break down. Tears rolled down his face as he told us how his mother had just recently been killed in a car accident and that he was at the end of his rope. Something had prompted him to talk to us, and he didn't know what else to do. "I'm financially stable, but spiritually robbed" he said, with the smell of alcohol on his breath. We talked to him and bore testimony that there is more to life then just getting by, and that he will be able to see his mother again. He wants to meet with us tonight, and I'm praying that all goes well there.

One other awesome story: We've been trying to finish up a neighborhood that we started tracting a while ago, and earlier in the week we ran into a family from the U.K. They were really nice and funny, and then we went on our way. Well a couple of days later we were back in the neighborhood and the dad saw us out on the street and he waved us over. He invited us in for a drink, and so we got to talk with the whole family. They had a lot of questions about the church (are all Mormons like the Osmond's? Because Marie must be a factory with all those kids! haha), and we were able to have a an awesome talk with them. The dad is really cynical (he calls himself a christian atheist...I didn't understand it either), but I made him promise that when he comes across missionaries like us in Britain that he has to try to be nice ha ha. He said he'll try his best. Then he made me promise to have some fun while I'm out here. Ha he suggested drinking, but I'll have to ask President if that makes the approved list.

Thanks for all the support and letters! I love hearing about how things are going with you all. Mom, that was the Wentzel family that you talked to. They fed us dinner yesterday, and they're really cool. The ward here is so great. Definitely people that you'll have to meet some day. I can't believe that they didn't have school until today! Ha that's great to have a couple of days off. Oh and Grandma, they have had a bunch of leadership meeting here. They go for three days from about 9-3 or 4 and just role play and learn more. I'm excited to get the new program rolling here. We haven't learned much about it yet.

Well I hope you all have a good week! Love ya!

Elder Kade Bartschi

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hey everyone!!
This has been a really good week for us in Citrus Ridge! We had a zone conference, met with some awesome investigators, and of course made some friends from the UK.
We had our zone conference on Thursday, and that was a pretty awesome experience. President has a lot of love for each of his missionaries. We were all waiting for a bit of rebuke coming our way, but we didn't any from him. He told us that he only wants us to do what's right so that we can be fully blessed in our efforts to bring souls unto Christ. Pretty amazing guy if you ask me. It was only a mini zone conference because next month we'll have another zone conference with Elder Kikuchi from the seventy! He'll probably focus on being exactly obedient from 6:30 till 10 in the morning (waking up and studies basically). Also it was pretty awesome to have a good meal prepared by the local relief society. I wish it could have been cooking by some of my own family or that Hawaiian food didn't sound too shabby either, but it was pretty great.
Well in order to build our teaching pool here we decided that it would be productive to call some of the people that were in our area book. I was extremely surprised when at the end of calling a bunch of people we had 5 appointments set up! Ha but two of them have been especially positive. The first is Marinette. She's a Jamaican/Haitian lady that met with the missionaries about a year ago. Her story of coming into contact with the church is pretty amazing. It was around Christmas time last year and she was driving home from a really long day at work. Suddenly she had the impression that she needed to stop at a church...well the first one she came to was ours. Normally there aren't people handing around in the church at 7 pm on an ordinary weekday, but she walked in and saw the ward choir practicing for their Sunday performance. When Marinette heard them all singing the Christmas songs she got down on her knees by the pew and started to cry and pray. Now fast-forwarding to present time, she's more then happy to talk with us as missionaries. She can't make it to church because she always has to work, but we'll be teaching her and hopefully we can find some time to get her to attend a church service. The next one we came into contact with was Eddie Rig. He's a big black guy with a deep bass voice. Elder Kitchen has a really deep voice, but this guy made him sound like a squeaky twelve year old boy (sorry Blake and Stockton...haha). Well he had ordered a DVD from the church about a year ago but it had never been delivered to him. We were able to take it over to him, and the guy really warmed up to us. He kept asking us questions about the church, and we ended up teaching him the entire first lesson. We started telling him about the Book of Mormon, and he said, "Now that is a book I'd definitely read!" haha. He also promised us that he'd attend church with us next week. We're really praying that he's able to come.
Well Cheryl Comini got baptized! I wasn't able to make it back to the baptism which really bummed me out, but I hear it was amazing. I called her yesterday to congratulate her, and she was so excited. "I'm all clean!" is what she told me, and I know that she really is. He husband was less active for a long time before she started to investigate the church, but he's been going with her and the kids and he was able to baptize her! They're an amazing family. Definitely people that will be my good friends for a long time.
Wow, I can't believe you guys are already getting ready for school to start! This is the first time in 13 years that I'm not getting all ready for another school year....haha and it feels pretty weird, but in a good way. I guess I better enjoy not having school while I can! All of the kids in Florida go back in a couple weeks and I know that none of them are very excited about it. But it will be nice to have everyone in our ward back from vacation! There's a couple people that we're waiting to work with because they've been out of town for a while. Having everyone back into the swing of things will make it easier on us to get some missionary work done.
I love all of you! Have an awesome week, and good luck starting school! Work hard academically, but make sure you're staying up on your scripture studies too. There's so much that I'm learning about the gospel, and the more I learn the more I know that it's all true.
I love you!
Elder Kade Bartschi

Hey these pictures are of my favorite doors (no soliciting haha)And then remember Braydn's letter she sent to Japan?? Well I got it this week! Haha it was pretty dang hilarious
This was the sunset last night. Pretty cool, huh??

From President Summerhays

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Tonight I received an email from our former Elder Spike Cheever. He expressed his love for all of us in the best mission in the church, The Florida Tampa Mission. He encouraged us to “Have fun and hold on tight. The Lord’s pace is quite fast!”

That reminded me of a talk that Virginia Hinckley Pierce gave in the 1997 Young Women’s Conference. She spoke on the fact that “The courage of the pioneers was really just getting up every day and doing what needed to be done that day. For most of the pioneers, most of the time, the trek westward consisted of getting up, building fires, cooking breakfast, feeding and watering the animals, breaking camp walking 6 miles, stopping for lunch and to rest the animals, feeding and watering them again, making any needed repairs, stopping at rivers to gather water, wash clothes, maybe walking another five miles and then setting up camp, building fires, cooking dinner, eating, praying, singing, maybe some dancing and getting to bed to do it all over again tomorrow. They made little progress each day, but each step, each mile brought them closer to an amazing and timeless legacy. We may not see the far reaching effects of our day to day diligence, but it is being built none the less.”

The pioneers were just ordinary, good people who pressed forward day after day after day repeating with diligence simple acts of labor and courage. They made just a little progress each day, but each step, each daily effort brought them closer to their goal. Most chose not to be distracted but held in their hearts the promises they would secure for their families and the kingdom of God. Each of us must ask ourselves if we are doing our part day after day after day after day. Can our Savior count on us? Ponder these words of the Lord to Nephi, how much the Lord loves those who demonstrate daily diligence and obedience:

Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou has done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word which I have given unto thee, unto this people….but has sought my will, and to keep My commandments. And now because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever…” Hel 10:4-5

I promise you that your daily diligence and obedience, that at times seems very ordinary and fast paced, will have a lasting imprint on your hope and happiness for the rest of your life. I love you.

President Summerhays

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Letter From President Summerhays

Hey, I really enjoyed the letter this week! It definitely applies to all missionary work...I always think that we should have people coming up to us and asking to be taught! Ha but unfortunately that's not how it happens...it is rewarding when it all works out, though.

Dear Sisters and Elders,

I recently have had occasion to ask, “Why is this so hard?” But it came as no surprise that I ran into this talk given in a Mission President’s Seminar by Jeffrey R. Holland where he asks these same questions. Why doesn’t it get better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the church? It is the truth!!! We believe in angels! We trust in miracles. And Elder Holland asked, “Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why do they reject us? Can’t they see?”And I have thought hard about this myself the last few days as I have had the opportunity to attend two recent baptisms. Elder Holland taught, this is not church doctrine but I feel to offer a personal feeling about this:

I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation was never easy. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. Why would we believe, why would we think, that it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? As missionaries we are proud to say we are disciples of Christ–and we are. But mark my word. That means we must be prepared to walk something of the path He walked, to feel something of the pain He felt, to at least occasionally sometime in your mission shed one of the tears of sorrow that He shed. Now please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying you have to look for suffering and I am not saying we experience anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and frankly, sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators to come to truth, to come to salvation, to come to repentance, to come to know something of the price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price—it will only be a token, but I believe it has to be paid. I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continual faithfulness in the church is. I believe it is supposed to require something of our soul. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane. The only victory is the victory at the summit of Calvary. Welcome to the journey of the Disciples of Christ. Missionary President’s Training Seminar

So as I have said from the very beginning, when the storms come, when it gets so hard, when success doesn’t come rapidly, when we wonder why we are here, let us offer a little smile and have a happy spirit to know we have felt in a small measure something that Christ has felt in a much larger measure. ‘We should remember that we are not the first ones to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot better asked it a long time ago, but He said, ‘Not my will but thine be done.’

Let us all press forward with steadfastness in Christ as we get up, go out, and FIND, TEACH AND BAPTIZE. I love all of you very much, believe in you with all of my heart, and I pray that we might bring souls unto Christ with a happy spirit. J

President Summerhays
Hey everyone!

Wow, it sounds like you all had quite the week! Going tripping through Arizona and Cali sounds like a blast. Well things here in the Sunshine state have been progressing. E. Kitchen's last companion had mono (ha i have no idea if that's how it's spelled...it sounds right, though!) for almost the entire transfer, and so we're trying to get the ball rolling again in this area. We are having some success along the way! This area focuses on something called "Elder Perry's Top 20 Program". We basically have a list of twenty names of either part member families, less actives, and recent convert families. We work with the ward members to set up visits, and then we as missionaries have the opportunity to teach them. Something that I'm learning right now is that our job as missionaries is to bring people closer to Christ, even if they have already been baptized. One guy that we've recently started working with is named Elvis Maleko. He's a less active returned missionary, and he's Hawaiian. This guys is a stud! Haha he's a fire dancer for the Lion King show at the Animal Kingdom. He told us that during some down-time he was in the break room at work, and someone in there said something about how they were a member of the church. Well after that person said they were, someone else said they were a member, and then another, and another, and finally Elvis said, "well, yeah, I guess I'm one too". A LOT of members work for Disney. After that conversation his interest was really spiked to return to church. While we were teaching him he really started to reminisce about his mission in South Korea. He could really feel the spirit in the lesson, and commented on how the gospel doesn't change. Right now he's just waiting until he can change his work schedule so he doesn't have to work on Sundays anymore.

Well, yesterday in church was pretty awesome as well. So something I've noticed in Florida is that no one is actually a native Floridian. Honestly, almost all of them have moved here from somewhere else. Ha so our ward is full of people that are actually from Utah or Idaho. One of the counselors in the bishopric talked to me about Rexburg for a long time after church on Sunday, and I guess his wife is related to the Klinglers. Well anyways, during Sacrament the first speaker got done really fast, and I was thinking "that last speaker is probably stressed because he has a lot of time to fill! Glad it's not me...". Right about then I see Bishop Bratsman whisper in one of the counselors ears, and then he stands up. "Since we have some extra time before our last speaker, we will now hear our new missionary, Elder Bartschi's, testimony". Haha I guess I deserved it, and when I got up to the stand Bishop leaned forward and said "You're never safe as a missionary"...how true that it. Well I got up there, and in the end I was pretty grateful for the experience. Whenever you testify about the gospel it becomes an even stronger conviction than before. I love this gospel that we have to share, and I know that serving a mission has helped my testimony grow like never before in my life. It's the only way that you can be eternally happy with your family forever. After sacrament one of the many visiting vacationers walked up to me and said that he's from Blackfoot! He was a really awesome guy and he shared an awesome mission experience that he was able to have while serving. He got my home address info, and told me that the Maupin family from St. Anthony (like Trevor and Krista) was with them! It's a pretty small world out there, and it's even smaller if you're Mormon it seems.

Now to answer some of your questions: I actually haven't heard about the oil spill here in quite a while...When I was in Palm Harbor I heard about it alot, but I know that it never spread that far down the coast (hopefully). And right now we're trying to work out the mileage thing. We get 1100 miles a month, but that only works out to about 23 miles a day because we have to drive to our zone meetings ever week. I don't really know what we'll end up doing about that...ha this entire area is interesting because it was supposed to be a big development area, but when the economy turned south nothing else could be built. So basically we have random housing developments all over the place. ANd actually a lot of it is vacation housing. I don't even know how many doors I've knocked on that were answered by someone from Britain, or just some random place. Ha but maybe we're planting seeds for missionaries to work with when they get back from the Disney vacations. Well we have zone conference on Thursday! I'm pretty excited to hear from President Summerhays and his wife. I'll let you know how it all goes.

I love you guys so very much!! Thanks for all the support and love. Keep working hard and have some fun!


Elder Kade Bartschi

P.S. my letters are still screwed up...the office got confused because I was moving all over the place so a bunch of my letters got sent to Venice and Sebring still. The missionaries in those areas have tried to forward them to me, but I've only gotten two out of the six they've tried to send. They read me the names before they sent them, so if you could let Britta, the Palmers, Alexis Dayton, and Joy Cooper (friend from IF) know that their letters might get returned to them..hopefully they get that fixed soon. Ha I like hearing from you all.

That's our awesome apartment in the first one with a hot air balloon flying by (that happens here a lot).
The second one is a massive spider that was in a doorway that we knocked on. I was slightly freaked out.
And the third one is proof that Disney World is right next to me ha.
OKay that first one is of the butterbeer mug a non member guy gave me! Haha so funny story... Well the other day we visited a part member family, and the husband who isn't a member and actually doesn't normally like the missionaries at all was in the room. I started to talking to him and I got him to talk to me for over an hour! Ha he went on and on about hiking and California and Disney and harry potter and I just kept him going. Well he really liked me, and when we were done visiting him he gave me that mug from the universal park! ANd then the other two pictures are of the apartment.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hello my Family!!
Wow, well that has been quite the week...No longer am I in Sebring, but I got moved AGAIN on Friday. I think that I've set the missionary record...I'm just over two months into my mission and I've been in 3 zones, 4 areas, and had 5 companions. Haha by the end of the week I wasn't quite sure if I was even in Florida anymore. Well, I am now in Citrus Ridge and Elder Kitchen is my companion. I'm pretty sure the president thought I was going to be on the verge of an emotional breakdown by Saturday because E. Kitchen informed me that he was told not to mention the week I'd just gone through. Ha but no worries, I'm adjusting to the changes. Missionary work is the same everywhere you go, and it will be a fun area to be in. It's RIGHT next to Disney World; in fact, part of the Animal Kingdom is in my area! Ha but unfortunately that doesn't mean I get to go there because the actual entrance isn't even in the Tampa mission.
A bunch of the missionaries did end up getting sent home, Elder Nielson among them. That's probably part of the reason why I didn't get to stay in Sebring. One of the missionaries there was on the list of potentials to leave, but in the end he got to stay. I really wish I could have stay in the trio though. The three of us got along REALLY well. Just imagine me, Tyler, and Brandon in a companionship....actually maybe it was inspired that we didn't get to stay together haha. But speaking of Tyler, I haven't been getting his emails for the past couple weeks...could you start that up again? I was able to meet a lot of great people there, and they even have a really strong investigator that I was able to help teach. Luckily there's people to teach everywhere, though.
Grandpa, thank you for the talk you sent! Honestly, it really helped me when I read it. Going between three different companionships in a week has been a roller coaster of personalities. Elder Nielson and I got along socially but missionary work wasn't his favorite activity, E. Orr and Dougherty were hilarious and we got stuff done, and then E. Kitchen and I are doing pretty well together. He seems to like to argue with everything I say, which occasionally provokes verbal retaliation from me, but I'm working on being more kind. Haha I'm going to blame that trait of mine on my sweet 'ole Mama. I just don't enjoy it when people try and talk down to me...maybe that issue with authority (or at least people who think they have authority) comes from my Dad?? I'm not sure. I guess I'm just screwed up genetically...haha jk.
The ward here is great, though! When I introduced myself to the bishop we started talking about where we're from. I was first tipped off because he could pronounce my name correctly without me saying it first, but it turns out that he's from Sugar City! Ha he asked if I knew Arlin, and I just laughed and said, "that's Grandpa!". Apparently he grew up in their ward. His name is Dayne Bratsman and his family owns the lawn and leisure store in Rexburg. It's a small world out here, especially if you happen to be LDS. Also, nearly half the ward works at Disney World, and I'm not exaggerating. Not only that, but they love it. Ha one of them told me that he thought the magic would disappear when you work there, but he said it doesn't at all. Plus they all get free tickets there! When the AP's called to tell me I was going to Citrus Ridge they said that I'd be there for a while and would be able to "put down some roots". Ha so I'm thinking that I'll get to be here for quite some time...but who knows, right? The apartment building here is extremely nice, and we're able to email from the front office, so I won't be complaining about that at all.
WHITNEY!! I'm so dang proud of you! Haha when I read that (on the car ride to Sebring) I just started laughing and shaking my head. And then I had to tell the rest of the guys in the truck. Ha I couldn't help it. Do you know how great that is?? I'm sure you do, but I'm really excited for you. Yes, I would like you at school with me, but I guess if not me then Britt is a pretty good option to. Ha but let me know what happens!
Now I have a few questions....missionaries here are heavily dependent on having a GPS. Dad, or the rest of the family for that matter, if you see a good deal on a nice one (garmin, maybe?) maybe you could get it for me? There's plenty of money in my account for one, so let me know if you see one and could send it to me. My address here is 8117 Champions Cir. Apt. 304 Champions Gate, FL 34747 (maybe you could check the zip code to make sure).
I love you all so much!! I really appreciate your letters and support. Let me know what's going on in your lives because I love hearing it! I know that this gospel is true and every time I have the opportunity to teach someone new it helps my testimony grow. I know without a shadow of a doubt that what I'm doing and where I am is exactly right for me. In the MTC they told us that the field is white already to harvest, so until the prophet announces that it's turned brown and mushy we are to work with the faith to find. That's a promise for each and every one of us.
I love you guys! Have fun in PHX and Cali!
Elder Kade Bartschi

These were my companions throughout the week. Ha Crazy huh?
Elder Nielson

Elder Orr and Elder Dougherty

Elder Kitchen

This is one of the P-days from the last transfer at Clearwater Beach. It was beautiful!