"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, December 27, 2010

President Summerhays' Letter

December 27 2010

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Thank you so much for all of your Christmas President’s letters. They were so uplifting and full of the Christmas Spirit. I am overwhelmed by the beauty and the sincerity of your service. Thank you so much.

Well, Christmas is past and we begin looking to the New Year and thinking about resolutions –about throwing away the bad and starting anew with the good and better things. At this time of year, I wish to warn you of something that will destroy your motivation and effectiveness as a representative of Jesus Christ. The adversary is very crafty in his use of this specific temptation. He makes this temptation look innocent. He can convince you that it is not evil. But, I repeat, yielding to this temptation will destroy your motivation and effectiveness as a representative of Jesus Christ. This destroyer of motivation and effectiveness is called: “distraction”. A distraction is anything that diverts our attention from your purpose of Finding, Teaching, Baptizing and Retaining those individuals that the Lord has prepared to receive His Gospel in your area. When you accepted your call to serve you agreed to: “devote all your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs.” You have committed to serve Him with “all your heart, might, mind and strength.” Your consecration of all your heart, might, mind and strength insures that you will receive the Promise of: “more happiness than you have ever experienced.” I ask you the question: “Are you enjoying more happiness than you have ever experienced?” Could your mind and attention be distracted from Finding, Teaching, Baptizing and Retaining? I loved his sentence from a former General Conference: “…a distraction does not have to be evil to be effective.” The adversary knows that if He can distract your attention from your purpose, he can cause the Spirit to withdraw and you will be left dull, listless and without motivation. You will wonder why you are not motivated and happy when you have done nothing evil. Remember: “..A distraction does not have to be evil to be effective.” In a prior letter I quoted from President Eyring and I desire to say it again. “We are to act in all diligence, never being lazy or slothful. The pattern is simple but not easy to follow. We are so easily distracted…sitting down to rest can be more attractive than making appointments to visit those who need our priesthood service. When I find myself drawn away from my priesthood duties by other interests and when my body begs for rest, I give to myself this rallying cry: “Remember Him.” Elders and Sisters I hope you are “remembering Him” by memorizing and internalizing, “Remember This” found on the back page of Preach My Gospel. This will be our Rallying cry and our Title of Liberty for the New Year. Elders and Sisters I warn you to keep your thoughts, hearts and actions centered on your mission because distraction will destroy your motivation, your effectiveness and your happiness as a Representative of Jesus Christ. Please devote all your time and attention to serving the Lord. I promise as you do this: more happiness than you have ever experienced.” I love you and I believe in you. We can do it. We will do it!

President Summerhays
Hey my family!

It was great talking to all of you on Saturday! I'm a pretty big fan of being able to skype home. It was also nice to see that you're all just as I remember you haha. Maybe a few small changes here and there, but definitely the same people.

The week of Christmas....a completely different time of year when you're on a mission. It took me a while to figure out that even though it didn't quite look like Christmas, it would still be coming. But I don't think I've ever really focused on the real meaning of it all as much. A lot of the people that we've been working with canceled on us this last week due to the Holidays, but we still had some awesome experiences. The first of which was with Alex. We're were a little out of order as far as teaching the lessons go, but we were able to teach him the Restoration of the Gospel this week. Some people are blessed with the ability to accept and understand things easily, and he's definitely one of them. When we shared the first vision with him, he honestly didn't even question it. He shared some miraculous experiences that have happened in his life and made it so that he knows for sure that God cares and loves him as well as the rest of His children. When we started teaching him about the Book of Mormon he got a really big smile on his face, and I asked him what he was feeling. At first he wouldn't try and describe it to me because he felt dumb, but then he let us know that when we were talking about the book he had the strongest impression that he had to have a copy and to read it. He said that he's had that feeling a few times in his life, and whenever he feels that way it always works out for his benefit. After our lesson we couldn't give him the book fast enough. Alex isn't sure if he's going to move to Texas or not right now, but hopefully we have more opportunity to work with him. I know that he's been prepared to hear this message, and whether he accepts it here or in Texas I'm excited for him.

We had a good lesson this week with Frank Jones as well. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation, and he really enjoyed it. He likes to understand all the little details as well, which means he asks a lot of good questions. His Dad recently passed away, and I think that what we covered with him really made sense. He's been listening to the Book of Mormon on his phone as well as reading it, and he said that he's praying about all of it. Frank is really open to all of this being true, and I know that as he continues to learn more he'll come to know that it is.

Christmas was a lot of fun though. On Christmas Eve we went over to Bro. Staber's and he made us Manhattan and New England style clam chowder. It was awesome, and we got to open our pajama pants (thanks Mom)! Then on Christmas morning we went back over there and opened our packages from home. Thanks so much for taking care of me! All of it was awesome and I really appreciate you guys. I saw that pictures that Dad sent, and it looks like you all had a great time. I love you all and hope that the start of the New Year is fun!

Love you all!

Elder Kade Bartschi

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hello my family!!

We had a really great week here in Citrus Ridge! No, we don't have snow like you do back home, but the leaves are starting to change colors and fall off the trees! Yep, Florida is about 3 months behind you. But we did have a lot of really good teaching experiences this week!

Our first official lesson with Frank took place this week. For a quick refresher (I know that I talk about a lot of different people), Frank's dad was a member of the church and when he passed away the church really stepped in and took care of his family. His dad never shared much with him, and so he's very curious and willing to learn. Well his lesson came at the perfect time....We were out tracting right before that, and ran into a VERY unpleasant man. He really disliked what we stand for and let us know it....over and over again. I'd never ran into somebody that negative before. By the time we pulled away from the door, E. Larson and I just felt awful. Fortunately Frank's lesson was right after that, and when we bore our testimonies to Frank it was just as much for us as it was for him. We taught about the restoration, and he soaked up what we were teaching. He promised to start reading the Book of Mormon and he even one upped us by downloading the audio version to his phone. Ha which I'm certainly not going to complain about. We have a return appointment with him on Tuesday and hope it stays this positive.

Another great experience was with Alex. He's living with a family that just moved into the ward. Kind of a confusing background, but I'll try and explain it: The Macias family is from Africa, and they moved to Spain, then Nevada, and now to Florida. Alex is a cousin of the family and is from Africa as well. He's looking for answers to religious questions that he has, and when we offered to meet with him, he took us up on it. Well we normally teach about the restoration first, but right when we sat down he asked us "Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?"....Well that sounds like some question the Plan of Salvation can answer. Now Alex has some conflicting beliefs going on....he was raised in Africa which means he has his tribal beliefs instilled in him, and then there were catholic missionaries that visited him there, and so he has that going on as well. And then he decided to try being Muslim for a while. Ha but when we were answering his questions he kept shaking his head and saying "That makes so much sense". He said that he'd asked lots of people these questions before and no one had been able to give him a satisfying answer. I'm so grateful for the gospel! It answers the "questions of the soul", and helps you feel at peace, and that's what Alex expressed as well. He wasn't able to make it to church on Sunday, but we'll be seeing him again this week.

Now on Sunday we didn't have the turn out we were expecting....we were hoping for Alex and Frank to show up and were disappointed when neither of them did. But we were able to spot a family that we didn't recognize....which means we quickly introduced ourselves. I'll make a long story short (sorry, I have to go), but it turns out that they're a family from Columbia that are going to be visiting for the next 5 weeks. They're staying in the same neighborhood as a member of the bishopric and due to some circumstances were invited to go to church on Sunday. Well they decided to attend and loved it. We taught them during the second hour with some help from a few members that worked as translators. They are planning on being back next Sunday and they took a couple copies of the Book of Mormon with them.

Well I can't believe it's the week of Christmas already! I'm looking forward to talking to you all, and will probably be calling around 12 here (10 am back home). I'm especially grateful for all of you this time of year. Know that I love you all! Thanks for everything.

Love ya!

Elder Kade Bartschi

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hello my Family!!

So it sounds like nothing has been slowing down at all back home. Especially with Ty going home on Wednesday! I've enjoyed having us both out here serving together. Well it's been a really good week here in Winter Haven/Citrus Ridge. I was on an exchange for the first part of the week in Winter Haven with Elder Savage, one of our zone leaders. That's the first exchange I've been on where I've left my area. Ha I felt so useless as far as trying to figure out what to do, but we had a lot of fun. There were some great people that we were able to talk to, and of course I was able to make a connection from home...We were talking to a lady in their ward and were trying to encourage her to make it back to church. Anyways we were talking about her conversion story and mentioned that her missionary had been from Idaho...well of course I asked where in Idaho, and it turns out that he's from Ashton! Which of course means that we are guaranteed to know similar people. Ha so she texts him (his name is Tyler Cude), and it turns out that he fills our propane tank. Small world? I think so.

Also this week we had our Christmas Conference. It was a really great program. Sister Summerhays had called a couple of weeks ago and asked E. Larson and I to sing Silent Night with another elder, and we were accompanied by E. Marshall (MTC comp) on the guitar. It was a little thrown together but I think it went over pretty well haha. There were a bunch of other musical numbers, and President and his wife got to talk to us for a while. So while I was gone in Winter Haven some really neat things happened. E. Larson tracted into Frank Jones. His dad was a member of the church, but he hadn't raised Frank that way. The dad got really sick and passed away a few years ago and the family was really hurting financially, so they weren't sure what they were going to do. Well sitting on top of his Dad's dresser was a pass-along card from the church. Frank called the number and he said the the help was amazing. They completely took care of the funeral and put together a very nice service. He's always wondered what it is that the church believes, and he accepted the invitation to begin taking the discussions! I got to meet him for a few minutes on Thursday night, and he's really an awesome guy. We stopped by Joan and her families home on Friday night and got to share a message with them before they took off for Virginia for the next couple weeks. They had Christmas cards all ready for E. Larson and I, which was really cool. We gave them the Joy to the World DVD and promised to see them when they get back.

Sunday was great as well. Jonathan has been really sick the last couple of weeks, but we finally got him confirmed yesterday! We gave him the option of having the Bishop doing it, or anyone else with the Melchizedek Priesthood. He pointed at me and said, "I want you to do it"....I was really nervous and asked him about three times if he'd rather have the Bishop do it, but he wasn't changing his mind. Ha I was a little stressed beforehand, but it was a really neat experience. Knowing that Jonathan has been baptized and now has the gift of the Holy Ghost is an awesome thought. He made E. Larson and I promise that we'll come back and visit him after our missions.

Well I love you all so much! I really appreciate all you do, and hope you have a great week!


Elder Kade Bartschi

President Summerhays' Letter

December 12

Dear Sisters and Elders,

It was wonderful last week to be with you at our Christmas Zone Conferences. I have always said this is the best mission in the church and that we have the very best missionaries, but I was impressed with the talents you shared and the testimonies you bore. Most of you are obedient and diligent and are serving the Lord the best you can. Many of you commented that you love hearing how your fellow missionaries are doing. So, here is another excerpt from a fellow missionary:

This week I’ve really caught hold of why I’ve changed so much...or at least a reason. Think with me for a sec...When you take away unlimited phone and car use, TV, radio, favorite songs, video games, friends, clothes, work, and school....what do you have? How much are you worth? More importantly...would you be happy? Right now...I have pretty much nothing...and I've never been happier in my entire life. As a matter a fact, I feel like I could fly. It's interesting to think about I think. It really changed me. What are my priorities in life? Anyway....that's my little spiel.

I desire that all of my missionaries feel this change of heart . As you do, you will be filled with the right spirit and you will be happy and successful. Here is a little gift for you to help you get this change of heart and to continue your perfect mornings. It is a 12 Days of Christmas Companion Study exercise. If you like it you can print it off and enjoy:

December 14
Scripture: 3 Nephi 17:12, 21, and 24, Christmas could hardly be Christmas without children. They are so much of the magic in the season. The Savior loved children. In both the new world and the old, he called the little ones to him. Song: I Think When I Read That Sweet Story (Children’s Songbook 56) or As I Have Loved You (Hymn 308) Assignment: Pray for each child that you are teaching. Discuss ways you can be a blessing to the children of your current investigators. (Can you improve the way you are teaching to help each child?) Discuss ways you can be a blessing to the children in your branch/ward. (Can you volunteer to do a sharing time in Primary or help with Primary Activity Day?)
December 15
Scripture: John 14:15; Matthew 7:12; Mark 10:43-44 and John 13:34-35, Turmoil and strife, combat and competition—our world is full of the consequences of man. But the Savior told us how to try to succeed, through peace on earth and good will toward men. Song: Our Savior’s Love (Hymn 113) Assignment: Today tell someone that you love them. Sincerely express your love for the Savior in your prayers.
December 16
Scripture: Matthew 18:21-22; Matthew 6:14-15; 3 Nephi 12:44, Jesus came to lift our burdens. One of the heaviest burdens we carry is that of hate. In teaching us to forgive, the Lord set us free. Song: Did You Think to Pray (Hymn 140) Assignment: Try to forgive someone who has wronged you. If appropriate, discuss the situation with your companion and get his/her ideas for ways you can go to that person and be reconciled. (You may want to write a letter next P-day to ask for forgiveness.)
December 17
Scripture: 3 Nephi 18:1,3,5,7,9-11, Have you ever wished you could be baptized again and start over fresh: When we repent of our sins and partake of the sacrament worthily, we renew our covenants and are clean. Song: While of These Emblems We Partake (Hymn 173) Assignment: Discuss with your companion your feelings about the cleansing power of the sacrament. As you partake of the sacrament this week, make a special effort to think about the Savior and your covenants.
December 18
Scripture: Matthew 8:23-26, We all have storms in our lives—storms of fear, anger and regret—storms at home, school and work. The Master’s hand can calm all our tempers. Song: Master the Tempest is Raging (Hymn 105) Assignment: Think back to the last time you lost your temper. Discuss ways you might have handled the situation differently. Today, be a calming influence on those around you--try extra hard to control your temper.
December 19
Scripture: Matthew 25:39; D&C 19:16-19, The greatest victory of all time was not won on a battlefield but in a quiet hillside garden. We cannot fully understand the cost of that triumph, but as Christmas draws hear, we should at least try. Song: How Great Thou Art (Hymn 86) Assignment: Accept the gift of forgiveness. Think about one of your weaknesses. Pray about that weakness and ask for help in repenting of it.
December 20
Scripture: Matthew 27:28-30; Luke 23:33-34 and Mark 15:29-32, Some things are very painful to think about. To see our Savior mocked and murdered is one such thing. And yet, through the scriptures, we should visit Calvary from time to time. We must never forget Jesus died so we might live and live more abundantly. Song: There is a Green Hill Far Away (Hymn 194) Assignment: Read the scriptures above and then share your testimony of these events with your companion. Write your feelings in your journal.
December 21
Scripture: Matthew 28:1-6; Isaiah 25:8, The morning of Christ’s resurrection was the brightest morning in all history—a time of transcendent joy following the gloom of the crucifixion. The worlds of the angel still echo down the centuries undiminished, “He is Risen!” Those words proclaimed the supremacy of life over death. As we celebrate Christmas, we also celebrate the free gift of immortality for all mankind. Song: He Is Risen (Hymn 199) Assignment: Study the accounts of the Resurrection. (See Matt. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24, John 20 and 3 Nephi 11) Discuss these scriptures with your companion and then record your feelings in your journal.
December 22
Scripture: John 6:35; John 10:14; John 11:25; John 8:12, As the holidays get busier and busier, we become involved in so many things. Even as missionaries, our calendars fill up with branch/ward activities, dinner appointments, sending Christmas cards, etc. It’s easy to become focused on material things. Instead, let us remember where our lives ought to be centered. Song: Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful (Hymn 202) Assignment: As you walk home tonight, pause and look at any Christmas lights you might see. Discuss ways you can become more a more faithful missionaries and also on ways you can focus on the true meaning of Christmas this year.
December 23
Scripture: D&C 76:19-20, 22-24, Jesus is no mere figure from the past, captive in the pages of scripture. He lives today! He holds the universe to its course, and guides the work of his servants on the earth. Song: Once in Royal David’s City (Hymn 205) Assignment: Go caroling to several of your investigators homes. Bring the joy of the season to others and you share a few Christmas songs. Think about adding a few different hymns that tell some of the aspects of Christ’s ministry. (As I Have Loved You, Come Follow Me, etc.)
December 24
Scripture: Matthew 24:27, 29-30, 36, 42, Jesus came to Bethlehem a humble babe, born in poverty. But he has promised to return to earth in majesty. Then heaven and earth will be reconciled and the King of Kings shall reign. Song: Away in the Manger (Hymn 206) and When He Comes Again (Children’s Songbook p. 82) or Redeemer of Israel (Hymn 6) Assignment: Try to live this day as if it is the day of Christ’s second coming. Discuss with your companion what you would want to do to prepare for it.
December 25
Scripture: 1 Nephi 11:14-15, 18-21; Luke 1:30-32, 34-35 and 38; Luke 2:1, 3-16 Jesus was born in the meridian of time, thus giving an ideal vantage point from which to look both backward and forward. For the last 12 days you have stood, as it were, in Bethlehem, gazing in both directions. You have seen him minister, suffer, die and rise again. You have watched him return triumphant in the clouds of heaven. Now, you are ready to focus with greater joy on that moment when heaven came down to earth. Song: Joy to the World (Hymn 201) AND Silent Night (Hymn 204) Assignment: Consider what gift you could give the Savior and determine to give it all year long. Write it in your journal and refer to it often. Bear your testimony about the Savior to as many people as you can today!
Open this gift for you:
In your scriptures, turn to the Topical Guide and look under Jesus Christ. You will have 18 ½ pages of references! Christmas may pass, but you can go right on reading about the Savior’s life and mission. In fact, what you received during these past 12 days has only been a small taste of the scriptural feast available. The suggested assignment for the rest of our life is to read and enjoy the word of God as found in the scriptures. Give yourself a gift that fills every day of your life with the real spirit of Christmas! It will help you be happy and successful. That is my heartfelt desire for you. I love you and I believe in you.

President Summerhays

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hello my family!
Well it sounds like things are going well back at home. You're all busy and getting things done. Things are going well here as well! It's been a little discouraging because we haven't been able to meet with some of our investigators that we would like to, but hopefully that changes. It seems like Luis has fallen off the face of the earth. He was really progressing and attending church, and then suddenly he's not returning phone calls or coming to church. We're not sure what happened there, and it can be a little frustrating. But on the plus side, Joan and her grand kids are doing really well! We had our Christmas social at church on Saturday and we had called Joan to invite her. I wasn't banking on them showing up, and it seems that whenever I feel that way they do. Ha maybe I should just always plan on them not being there. Well anyways, they showed up and our ward was awesome. Immediately the Relief Society president grabbed Joan and insisted that she come sit with her, and the kids came and sat by E. Larson and I. Joan really hit it off with a couple of ladies in the ward, and we were actually some of the last ones to leave the party because they were all talking so long. Ha but that's the way we'd like it to happen. All of the ladies asked Joan if she'd be to church the next day, and she let them know that she'd really try. Well fortunately it worked out again, and they were there yesterday! Karys and Kelsey were able to go to Young Women's and they really liked it, and Khyser went to Primary. He feels a little old to be in there, but I felt that same way at his age. Ha I remember being mortified at the idea of singing in the Primary Program when I was 11. Ha but we're planning on meeting with them this week and hopefully are able to teach the Plan of Salvation.
Another great story from Sunday...We were walking down the hall after sacrament when a member in the bishopric flagged us down. He was talking to a guy that wanted to talk to us....Al is his name and this is pretty crazy, but he had been shopping in a local grocery store and found a Book of Mormon in there. Don't ask me how or why there would be one laying around in there, but he took it home and started reading it. He's read through 1 Nephi and let me know the the "Isaiah chapters were really tough" but he's on his way to finishing 2 nephi right now. Oh and did I mention that he's been listening to D&C on audio tapes in his car? Ha I was pretty floored as he was telling us all this. He's still very apprehensive about it all, but he attended a great fast and testimony meeting and told us that he had a really good feeling during the meeting. Al wasn't about to tell us where he lived just yet, but he took our phone number and let us know that he'll be in contact. It was a lot of fun having them all at church and it probably looked like were were running all over the place trying to play host, but that's because we were. Ha but I'd much rather have it like that.
I love you all and hope things are going well back home! I'm really grateful for all of you this holiday season. I also feel so fortunate for the message of the restored gospel that I get to share with others. It has made all the difference in my life, and I know that it does the same for everyone that accepts it. I'm grateful that we have a Heavenly Father that loves us all so much that he sent his son to suffer for us so that each and every one of us has the opportunity to make it back and live with him again. But not just as individuals, but we can be there as families. I love this gospel and all of you as well. Have a great week!

Elder Kade Bartschi

Here's a couple pictures from off-roading last p-day, our Christmas tree that we have, and then Holy Cow Rd. Haha I was laughing so hard and we had to snag some pictures of it. Oh and just so you know, I'll be home for Christmas is playing....again....ha

President Summerhays' Letter

December 5, 2010 Dear Sisters and Elders,

I desire your happiness now and forever. The lessons you learn while serving a mission will help you be happy. Let me share an excerpt from a letter from one of your fellow missionaries.

“On another note, I have learned a lot of life skills and treasures this week that will stay with me forever.. This week I had some amazing learning activities. I have been yelled at, rejected, and had doors slammed in my face all week. Its soooo good. I love it. I realized that people reject and accuse me because I stand for something. I have a standard. I have never felt better. Obviously I want everybody to meet with us and accept the gospel. But the rejection is great. Never let an experience go by without learning from it. I have learned how to learn, if that makes sense. The only way we can change is by applying what we learn. If we learn more, there will be more to apply. Change is the best part of being alive. I can’t believe I was afraid of it.”

President Hinckley has admonished us that we need to Stand for Something. Do we stand for the Savior as His representatives? This Christmas season let us stand for our Savior Jesus Christ. President Howard W. Hunter once gave us some advice on how to do that. He said:

This Christmas we must know Christ

Better than we know Him;

We must remember Him more often than we remember Him;

We must serve Him more valiantly

Than we serve Him.

I pray that we might treat each other with

More kindness, more courtesy,

And more humility, more patience and Forgiveness.

These are simple gifts we can give to our Savior. Can you think of others? I would love to hear about them. This Christmas season, let us as consecrated missionaries focus on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let us offer our whole souls as an offering to him. Let us learn to love the work even when we are yelled at, rejected, and when we have doors slammed in our faces. If this becomes our attitude, we will know Christ, we will remember Him and we will serve Him more valiantly. If we learn this here, we will be happy and successful now and in the future.

I love you and I believe in you. You are the best!

President Summerhays