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.