"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, January 31, 2011

Hey my family!

Well it's been a pretty good week in Gulfport. Like always I can't believe it's already P-Day again! The weeks seem disappear everytime you blink.

Ha well there was a lot of walking involved, and some some wet weather. I think I forgot to mention that Elder Ames' bike got stolen a little over a week ago. We were visiting an investigator in the middle of the day, and so we just ditched our bikes on her front lawn and then talked to her for about ten minutes. Well when we walked back outside his bike was gone, but they were courteous enough to leave his helmet. Ha and since it was the last week of the month we didn't have any more miles that we could drive with our car....which means I had to pretend like I was Ty in NY and walk everywhere. We were able to same some miles on Tuesday though...We went tracting that morning and then went over to Marquesha's. She has been doing well, and committed to coming to church with us this coming Sunday if we could get her a ride (it was her son's birthday this last Sunday). After discussing the Restoration we asked her to continue reading the Book of Mormon and set up a time to come back and have a lesson. We grabbed some lunch after that, and when we took off to go visit some people we got a text message from the mission office telling us about a "sever storm/tornado warning" and to "return to your apartments immediatly and stay for the rest of the day". There's not much we could do about that, so we got back to our apartment and watched the weather get pretty bad. Pretty crazy but amazing to see.

Also this week we had a good lesson with Roderick Lovett and his family. He ordered a finding faith in Christ DVD and when we dropped it off they asked for a Book of Mormon and a Bible. When we went back on Friday we got to have a good lesson with them. They love talking about God, and when we discussed the first vision they accepted it right away. They've had kids die in their family (one of them was killed by a stray bullet from a fight), so when we teach the plan of salvation I think they'll love it.

Well time is running out, sorry for the weak letter!

I love you all and hope you have a great week. (I have 30 seconds before they kick me off).

Love you,

Elder Kade Bartschi

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hey my family!

Well it's been a good week here in Gulfport! Sorry to hear that you didn't get out of school for MLK day, the kids here sure did. Actually there probably would have been some severe rioting in the streets if they didn't honor that day. What makes that even funnier is that I'm not kidding.
It's been a crazy week, but that's what I'm coming to expect here in Gulfport. We ended up dropping our investigator, Linda. If you remember what I wrote last week she's the one that's had a really rough life and has shared a lot of it with us. Well on Tuesday we were able to take her to the church and give her a tour of it and teach her a lesson...That night she got a little crazy on us. On our way to the church she was telling us about this lady that lives next door. Linda has nothing in her apartment: no electricity, running water, furniture, etc. Well there's an older lady that lives next door to her that's been taking pretty good care of her. Letting her sleep over and even feeding her. Linda informed us on Tuesday night that the Old lady is out to get her and has been trying to poison her. I was a little concerned, but let that one pass. The tour went fairly well and we were able to show her The Restoration DVD. After that we took her home, and on the way there we found out that she has two restraining orders placed on her....and one was because a guy was afraid that she was going to kill him. Another red flag. We walked her up to her door and were saying good bye, and she started going off on all of the bad things that have happened in her life...I'd heard this multiple times, and finally said, "Linda, we can't help you with any of those things. The only thing we can do is help strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ"....then she snapped and yelled "That's not good enough!!". Linda then told us about the tracking device that a dentist had sown into her gums and that Obama wouldn't be in office if it wasn't for her. Elder Ames and I were blown away and finally found a way to tell her we had to leave. Obviously you don't get to know a person unless you spend some time around them. Unfortunately, Linda has now become a former investigator. As we drove away the branch member said, "you get some real winners in this neighborhood" haha. And some good stories.
In other news we weren't able to meet with the investigators that we really wanted to (Marquisha and Brooklyn). Brooklyn just got a job and Marquisha was going to a job interview. We've rescheduled with both of them for this week though. I really hope it works out. So another short story: while tracting this week we meet an older white guy named Joe. He was sitting on a lawn chair in his drive way listening to his country radio station and shelling oysters. Ha he was really nice. Not very interested, but he was willing to talk. Before we left he offered to let us try one of the oysters. He had a bowl in front of him with a bunch the "meat", I guess you'd call it, already shelled out. I figured, why not? It looked like a bunch of snot (haha sorry for the visual) floating in there. So I reached in and grabbed one and threw in in my mouth. It wasn't the greatest thing I've ever tasted, but it wasn't too horrible. Ha after that he pressured Elder Ames into it, and I was sure he'd throw up. Fortunately he didn't, but the old guy loved it. If nothing else, Joe will have memories of the Mormons that read some of the Bible with him, prayed, and ate his raw oysters.
One more good experience this week was with Amelia Barnes. She's about 23 and was baptized last August. Right after the baptism she kind of disappeared and no one knew what had happened to her. We regained contact with her a couple of weeks ago and got to meet with her this past week. She has had some amazing experiences in her life that blew me away. We were talking about how God loves and blesses us. Amelia really opened up then and shared part of her conversion story with us. She had been raped her senior year in high school and got pregnant from it. She was really upset and wasn't sure what she should do; consequently she found herself at an abortion clinic and figured that was her best option. She was admitted into the clinic and was in one of the rooms waiting for the doctor when she said she could feel the baby moving around. Amelia knew at that point she couldn't go through with it. While surfing the Internet that night an ad for an adoption company popped up. She looked into it more and decided that was her best option. The couple she finally decided on were members of the church out in Salt Lake. She was hooked up with the missionaries that way and the rest is history. I love hearing how people accept the gospel because it really strengthens my testimony. When you hear things like that you know there's no such thing as coincidence. The Lord has his guiding hand in all that we do. When we do our best to listen to his promptings we'll be lead in the right direction.
I love you guys! So one of my recent favorite scriptures is Ether 12:4. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the negative things in the world and focus on the downward spiral, but we always have a reason to have faith. Have a great week!

Elder Kade Bartschi

The first picture is of a really classy yard here in Gulfport,
The remains of Connie's bbq. E. Ames grabbing an oyster out of Joe's bowl, Then him posing with it before he threw it in.
Downtown St. Pete last night.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hello Family!!

Well It's been a really good week here in St. Pete! We've been working really hard in this area, and we've seen some awesome results. The first part of the week we went on an exchange, and for some reason I was the one that stay in the area. So me and Elder Moffitt (zone leader), had absolutely no idea who people were or what to do. Consequently we went tracting quite a bit and visited names in the roster....that we had no idea who they were. Ha it was pretty funny knocking on a door and not knowing if you were going to run into someone who was less active, fully active, or find out that the person no longer lived there. We were able to set up some return appointments with a few less active families, and after that exchange things really seemed to begin falling into place here.

One of our new investigators is named Marquesha. And I'm not making that up. Ha we were going through some old records in the apartment and found her name. After calling her she invited us to come over. Well we went over one morning and were able to teach her the Restoration of the gospel, and leave her with a Book of Mormon. She's really funny and seems to have a sincere desire to learn more about it. We'll be visiting her again this week, which should be a lot of fun.

Another new Investigator is Brooklyn. She ordered a Book of Mormon and a Bible online, so we got to go take it to her. She's 21 and just moved for Syracuse, NY. She has two kids and is currently living with her mom. She's really open to learning about it, and we were able to share the first lesson with her. Brooklyn loved the promise at the beginning of the Book of Mormon, and she said that she'll definitely be reading it. We have a return appointment with her this week as well.

Someone else we found was Linda. We went to go visit with a part member family only to find out that they'd moved out, but Linda had moved in and was interested in what we had to share with her. She has had a really tough life, and is struggling financially. She wants to know more about what we believe, and took us up on the invite to come to church with us. We got a ride for her, and even though I wasn't completely expecting it, she showed up! Ha she was participating in all the meetings as well. We will meet with her today.

Other then that we're just working with some of the less active members of the branch. It's a pretty cool environment to work in a church unit that's so close knit.

I hope you all have a great week! I love you and am praying for you.

Elder Kade Bartschi

President Summerhays Letter

January 17, 2011

Dear Sisters and Elders,

I love serving with you in the Florida Tampa Mission-the best mission in the world! We were very blessed to have a short visit from Elder Larry Gibbons of the 2nd Quorum of the 70 this week. We were blessed to have him come and provide us training, insight, inspiration, and confirmation that we are a very good mission and that we are on course to becoming even better. My only regret is that every Florida Tampa Missionary was not able to meet him and hear him. I took careful notes and I want to share some of his thoughts with you. I’ll start with something that Elder Kikuchi expressed to me. He said that one of the latter day miracles was our missionaries -That they could be faithful and worthy in this latter day world that we live in is indeed a miracle. Elder Gibbons reiterated to our missionaries, “You are worthy spiritually and morally. You are an elite, elect spectacular group. But, he also told us that we can always do better.

He reminded us that our calls were seriously considered by those having the keys and that each call is a personal call. He also reminded us that we were all set apart-In D & C 36:2 And I will lay my hand upon you by the hand of my servant.. The Lord’s hand has been laid upon your heads. I echo his words. You are not imposters. You are servants called and set apart to preach His gospel in the Florida Tampa Mission.

Don’t hold back. These are your days. Nothing that you could be doing is remotely as important as what you are doing. You are in the middle of your mission whether you have been serving 2 weeks or 23 months and 2 weeks. Stay in the middle. Again, don’t hold back. Open your mouths. You are the only people in the world who have the Savior’s permission to teach in His name—the only ones. But with that permission there is a tremendous responsibility. We are up to that task. We are going to do it. Now, this very day, is the time to make our missions great. A mediocre today will never inspire a sweet memory for tomorrow. This very day is the time to move your mission from fair to good or from good to great. Your lives are meant for excellence. That is my desire for you. That is what I see in you.

I love you and I believe in you!

President Summerhays

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Letter from Brother & Sister Beck

Yesterday we had the incredible experience of having five young Elders to dinner. It was such a blessing to us to have them in our home.
They were all very polite and exclaimed often during the meal how wonderful it was to have a home-cooked meal.
We have a grandson serving in Honduras, so we like to support the missionaries here in St. Petersburg and Gulfport.
Hope you enjoy the photos.

Marva & Warren Beck

Elders Young, Carlile, Kitchen, Ames, and Bartschi

Monday, January 10, 2011

President Summerhays' Letter

Dear Sisters and Elders,
At the beginning of the year 2011, I want to echo the words of our beloved Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. “Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed--------The courage to say no, the courage to say yes. Decisions do determine destiny. I plead with you to make a determination, right now, not to deviate from the path which will lead to our goal: Eternal life with our Father in Heaven.” I make that same plea for you.
So Sisters and Elders, what choices shall we make this year? Have you determined your course? As you partook of the sacrament yesterday, did you make a conscious decision to choose to be better? Did you say, “Ye shall observe to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or the left. Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you.” Deuteronomy 5:32-33
Have you chosen to truly accept that you are a child of God—that He loves you—that He has power to help you?
Have you chosen to put everything---literally everything---on the altar before Him?
Have you chosen to put yourself in a position to have experiences with the Spirit of God through prayer and in scripture study?
And have you chosen to believe in and use the Atonement of Jesus Christ? And accept the Savior’s forgiveness and then forgive yourself? Because of His sacrifice for you, He has the power to Remember your sins no more. You must do likewise.
And finally another quote from President Monson, ”We are engaged in the work of the Lord, Jesus Christ. We, like those of olden times, have answered His call. We are on His errand. We shall succeed in the solemn charge: ‘Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord’”
Thank you for all that you do and for all that you are. Thank you for your faithful service. Thank you for the love that you express in your words and your actions. Thank you for the study, prayers, planning and work that you devote in helping others come unto Christ. I love you. I love serving with you in the Florida Tampa Mission-the best mission in the church. I love serving you. With all of my heart I believe you will make courageous choices. I truly believe in you. “Courage for the Lord is on our side!”
President Summerhays
Hey Family!

Sounds like it's been another eventful week. Life never seems to be slowing down. I haven't written any letter the last couple of weeks due to lack of time, but I'll try and get one off this week.

Well I've jumped to the other side of the mission and I'm in St. Petersburg now! I'm in the Gulf Port Branch (my first time ever being in a branch), and it's been quite a difference from Citrus Ridge. Where that area was rural and redneck (I'll have to take you to Polk City someday....puts Idaho to shame), this is city and ghetto. Ha I can describe it like that because all the Branch members do as well. I am right on the ocean again though, and it's beautiful. Well I'm serving with Elder Ames now, and it's been a lot of fun. I don't think I've laughed this much in the past 5 moths as I have the last 5 days. Haha Elder Ames served with my trainer (Elder Johnson), and it's almost like a flashback of serving with him again. There's a lot of work to get done in this area though. The Branch has about 50-60 people on Sundays, but there's over 400 people on the roster! That means there's a lot of opportunity to reactivate, and work with part member families. So another aspect of Gulf Port is that I'm on car-share again. Ha my bike hasn't got much use the last 4 transfers, but I broke that cycle pretty fast. My second day here we biked about 30 miles. Fortunately I don't think I'll have to worry about gaining too much weight here. There were some less active visits that we tried to make contact with and ended up going from the bottom of the St. Pete peninsula across some bridges to the little keys off of there. It was a little frustrating because no one wanted to talk to us, but it was made better by ice cream at the Don Cesar hotel. You'll have to look up some picture of it. It's pretty amazing that we can just bike to the little islands haha.

Well we had some good experiences this week as well. We got to have some really good contact with a less active member named Ben Sandrowitz. He had a guard at his front gate so we thought we wouldn't be able to get it...we pedaled by just in time to see a kid go through a part in the fence that was missing a pole. We chained up our bikes by there, and then slipped through in the same spot. We walked to the back of the complex and found the building. There was a door to get into where the apartments were, and we were sure that it would be locked. Well it turns out that the person that went in before us didn't close it all the way so we got it. Ha so by the time we talked to Ben he was shocked to see that we'd gotten that far. "Normally I wouldn't talk to you, but I'll let you in today" was the first thing he said. Not only was it perfect circumstances to get us that far, but it was perfect timing for his life. His wife had just left him the night before and he'd recently been let go from his job. We sat and talked with him for a while and he said "I know that there has to be truth in the church because there's been too many times where people have just shown up when I needed them". It was a great experience that was made even better when we saw him show up to church on Sunday. He met with the branch president and has asked us to reteach him the lessons.

It was definitely a faith building story to see that. It can be so easy to fall away from what you believe, but it takes a lot of courage to make come back. It's reassuring to me to know that wherever you go the work is the same. The Spirit can be just as strong back home as it is in Gulf Port, Florida.

I love you and hope you all have a great week!!

Elder Kade Bartschi

Last P-Day in the Lakeland zone.The Jewell Family (Lisa, Tyler, and Alison). Me in front of the entrance to champions Gate...yeah I lived in a place with pillars and an archway to get into the town haha. The Sensors (cool couple from Oregon).
Bro. Staber and I before I left. Elder Ames and I before we take off for a day of biking...yeah our helmets make us look really really cool.
And then some "Welcome back to the Gulf!" pictures. haha those ones of the ocean are literally a few blocks from our apt.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pictures from Chmapion's Gate

Elder Larson and I showing off our pajama pants on Christmas eve Bro. Termini (less active that I've been working with my whole time here) Bro and Sis Doubleday (awesome couple that have taken good care of us) The Wentzel family (he's in the bishopric and hilarious. they went to byu-i).
Bratsman family (bishop, really great family)
Us being gangsta with Bro Doubleday
With the Bish family (he's the one that's not a member and gives me lots of disney and harry potter souviners haha)
The Gooch family (he's the pedodontist and they are an awesome couple)
Frost to show you that it does get cold here. not -14 kind of cold, but still cold haha.

President Summerhays' Letter

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Happy New Year! I love you and look forward to the great opportunity to start a new year and a new transfer at the same time with you. A new year is a time to pause and recommit to serve the Lord Jesus Christ with all of our heart, mind and strength. I wish to express a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have served so valiantly in your former positions and who have now been given opportunities to open new areas, become trainers, or to serve as a missionary with a new companion. Remember that the most important calling in a mission is that of a missionary. Thank you to those who replied, “I will serve anywhere, with anyone, in any capacity. “

As I look at the transfer board, my heart is filled with love for the beautiful Sisters and Elders in the Florida Tampa Mission. It is a sacred place. It is where the Lord’s hand is at all times. The board has a sacred feeling because the Holy Ghost guides the rearranging of companionships. The spirit is strong and I know that every companionship can succeed in the sacred work of preaching the gospel. I hope you will see His hand in this transfer. I know that each companionship is designed by Heavenly Father for the growth of the missionary. I know these purposes can only be accomplished through companionship unity. We must apply the following admonitions:

I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. D &C 38:27

“Verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with and anger one with another.”3 Nephi 11:29

“ I would ask you…to be the best companion—the most divine companion—you can be to that elder or that sister…”regardless of what problems arise and however fatigued or stressed you may feel…if you have not yet learned that it is more important to help someone else succeed than it is to focus on your own success, then please start learning that divine lesson now. It will help you understand the Atonement of Christ.” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Please cultivate companionship unity. Please cultivate that unity based on obedience, diligence and a loving passion for this work. There will be not true unity that is not centered in a deep devotion to this work. Be one and be His. Cast out the spirit of contention. Forget yourself and focus on your companion’s growth, happiness and success. Love and serve each other. Learn in greater depth the Atonement of Jesus Christ by service and love of your companion based on obedience, diligence and love. You will discover that your happiness and gifts will blossom. I feel His love for you and His great desire that you reach your divine potential. We can do it by remembering Him because we “Remember This”. PMG I love you and I believe in you and I love serving with you.

President Summerhays
Happy New Years!!

It sounds like you all had a great last week of Christmas break. Gained a few pounds and hid from the snow: yep, that sounds just like what I remember. I'm sure I've gained a few pounds, but not too much white stuff here in Florida. In fact it was 86 here the other day haha. It's great starting a new year, and I'm looking forward to people's schedules slowing down a little bit. "Call me after the Holdiays" can't be their excuse anymore ha.

One really good highlight of this week was another lesson with Frank Jones. He called us about two hours before the time he wanted to meet, which works for us because our schedule has been pretty flexible, but finding a member to be there that quickly can be tough. We made some calls and got Brother Briggs to do it. He's from Rexburg, and he and his wife just moved into the area because he's an actor at Disneyworld. Anyways, he's a great guy, and we ended up being able to get Frank to meet us at the church. Our lesson covered faith in Jesus Christ, and when we discussed that we started showing Frank around the church and kind of explained how our meeting process works. We got to the picture of Christ being baptized, and starting talking about that example that was set for us. I asked Frank that if when he finds these things to be true for himself if he'd be willing to be baptized...I didn't even get to finish the question before he answered "Yes, definitely" haha. I was pretty excited about that. He hasn't attended church yet, but once he does I think that setting a baptismal date would be possible. We then watched The Restoration, which brought a great feeling to the end of the lesson. He identified feeling the Spirit, and promised to keep reading and praying. He works on Sunday mornings, so he's working on getting that changed.

In other news, I'll be transferred on Tuesday. We found out on Saturday that my over 5 month stay in Citrus Ridge is coming to an end. I'm being moved over to Gulf Port, which is a small branch just south of St. Petersburg. I hear that there's a lot of work to do there and good people. I'll be serving with Elder Ames from St. George, UT. He's been out one transfer less then me I think, and I've heard a lot of good things about him. It's really odd to think that I'll be leaving this place! I know that I've been spoiled here way more then I probably will be elsewhere, from always having a car, to an awesome apartment that anyone (not just someone with missionary standards) would want to live in, to great ward members. But what's comforting is knowing that I know I can love this next place just as much as Citrus Ridge. It may be different in some ways, but the gospel is the same no matter where in the world you go. Also, it will be fun going back to the St. Pete zone. That's what zone I was in when I served in Palm Harbor, and I really enjoyed it then.

Well the last couple of days have been filled with goodbyes and promised return visits. Also I've been guaranteed free tickets to Disney. Any takers?? And they told me to come back on my honeymoon....I'm not quite ready to think that far ahead haha.

I love you all, and hope that getting back into the swing of things goes well!

Love you,

Elder Kade Bartschi