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.