"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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hurricane Irene

August 30, 2011

My family!

So to resolve some concern at the beginning....no, we didn't get much of anything from Irene. She went past us, just making for some windy days this last weekend. Nothing too exciting. Yet. Just kidding, Mom :).

Well this has been a really busy week for us. I'll try and get it all written in this email. On Tuesday morning we were helping a family in the Valrico ward move. They have a son that's about my age and we took him out on splits last week. So I was moving one of the boxes into the trailer and read the name written on it, and it suddenly hit me that I knew his older sister. She was one of Tyler's friends that I went on a horse packing trip with a couple of years ago. Her name is Dallas Wightman, and she was in Ty's horse riding class at BYU-I. Haha it was really crazy and once I started talking to her, she remembered right away and was wondering why I looked so familiar. So we go from riding horses in Idaho to me helping her move in Florida. Small, small, world.

Once again, we did a lot of tracting this week. We have a lot of people that we've taught, it's just been really difficult to set up return appointments with them. Which means we have been going and dropping in on them. Jason had really been doing well though. He is the brother of a member of the ward, and we've been starting to teach him. It's so nice having him live with a member, because there's just something about teaching in a members home. The Spirit is there, and everyone is on board about the gospel. We had a good discussion with him about the scriptures and he has promised to read from the Book of Mormon and to pray about it all. He really is sincere, but he just got a job at Lowe's and he'll be working on Sunday afternoons now. He'll be able to go to at least sacrament meeting though.

Friday turned out to be a day when everything just seemed to work out. The members in the Seffner ward are really good about helping us out, and we got one to go with us to all of our lessons. We got Bro. Vijil to go with us to drop in on Leah and Mark, and had a good lesson on the doorstep there. Leah was home and so we shared a message with her about having trials in our lives. She has 8 kids and her husband passed away a couple of years ago. Her kids are all grown now, but they still live in Africa and it's hard on her to have them so far away. She connected with what we shared and although she didn't give us a firm commitment, said that she would try to get to church this Sunday. We had a lesson with Teri that evening as well. She has had some major apprehension about coming to the church, so we had the lesson there to try and get her more comfortable with it. They were pretty late getting there, and we had an appointment right after, so we had to make it really short. I was pretty bummed about that, but we were able to finally teach her about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I got the opportunity to share the first vision with her, and I really tried to focus on helping her feel the Spirit. She did say that she felt something and committed to praying about what we taught.

Also, we had a lesson with Lyndey. Elder Nemelka and Hunter (Dallas' brother that we took on splits with us) tracted into her last Sunday night. She's about 22 and from Colorado where she attended the air force academy and knew some members of the church. She was really open to us coming back, and so we brought a couple from the ward with us. Where we had the opportunity of teaching a couple of lessons that day, it was easy to see the difference between the lesson and the Spirit that was felt. I think the Spirit was there strongest during the lesson with her. Honestly, she's just ready to hear what we have to share. It was so much teaching her because you know she could recognize something different in the message we were sharing. She worked on Sunday and couldn't come to stake conference, but we'll be meeting up with her again this week.

We had the neat opportunity of having Elder Zivic of the Seventy come to our mission. Our stake (the Brandon Stake) got a new stake president, so while he was here he did a mission tour as well. Since he was there for our stake we actually got to hear from him a couple of times which was cool. He's from Argentina and told us how he never thought he would have to speak English, but he did a great job. He talked about purifying ourselves, and then the Spirit will be with us more fully. It's always amazing to hear a general authority talk, and is just reaffirming to me that he is a servant of the Lord.

Well I hope you all have a great week! I love you and appreciate that you do!

Elder Kade Bartschi

President’s Letter

Dear Sisters and Elders,

I love you and it is my sincere desire to see you successful now and in the future. I thought I would share two totally different messages from fellow missionaries.

I am writing this in hopes that other missionaries can learn from my experience. Unfortunately I was not obedient. The lesson I learned was very costly. Unfortunately it was a lesson learned too late. It wasn’t as if one day I woke up and decided to go to a movie. It started with waking up a few minutes late. Before I knew it, things all caught up with me and it was too late. I was watching TV with members, staying up late, sleeping in or breaking any ‘minor’rule. I learned that any rule broken is too much. I had my limits but I walked the line. I return home knowing I didn’t give my best to the Lord. I want to apologize for all those who I disappointed and to those who followed me. I want to share my experience so maybe other missionaries can avoid what happened to me. I wish I could do it over.

Sisters and Elders, my heart broke when I read those words. Now from another missionary:

Well, I suppose that this is my last email. I've learned a lot on my mission. The church is absolutely true, and Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father have been there for me over these last two years. It's been a progression. I've grown a lot. I've felt the Atonement. I've served every single day of the last two years with all I've got. I'm tired, exhausted. I feel like I've fulfilled my calling. As I think back on that night when I opened up my call...I was called of God to do a job and I'm doing it. And I feel that Heavenly Father has accepted my sacrifice.

My heart rejoiced and tears flowed when I read those words. The truth is: if a person cannot give to each day, as a personal representative of Jesus Christ, the best that is in them, then where or when is there greater motivation to give their best? I have discovered there will never be a place or time that will present greater incentive to be the very best we can be. Each of us should ask ourselves: What pattern am I establishing today that I will surely follow for the rest of my life? Is my pattern this day one of exact obedience? Have I planned this and every day focusing on the key indicators? Do I have the courage this day to open my mouth and ask for referrals from everyone? Do I pray often this day for myself and others? Do I study this day and every day? Did I show my love for the Lord this day by loving and serving my companion and those I meet? These and other questions we could ask of ourselves to see if the pattern of this day was one in when weALWAYS REMEMBERED HIM. If we cannot answer these questions today with a heartfelt yes, when will there be a day of greater divine motivation to always remember Him? Most of the Florida Tampa Missionaries are choosing to establish a daily pattern to Remember Him by striving to do all of the Remember This commitments found in Preach My Gospel? For those few who are not daily observing this pattern I pray you will consider what you are doing to the rest of your life. I truly believe in each of you. I know you can establish a pattern of excellence now which can continue forever. You have my love and confidence.

President Summerhays

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