It feels like I was just barely emailing, but at the same time we've had a lot going on since last week. Zone conferences in Venice, Tampa, and Lakeland took up most of our days, but they actually went pretty smoothly. President is incredible at training and knows how to help us feel his love and confidence in us. He showed a talk given recently by Elder Holland at the MTC. Elder Holland talked about the things that missionaries need to get better at (studying, preparing, teaching), and then ended by talking about the apostle Peter. After Christ was crucified, Peter and the other apostles went back to their fishing because that was all they knew before serving with the Savior. Following His resurrection, He came back to the apostles and stood on the shore as they were out on their boats. After having them cast their nets on the other side, they realized who it was and came to shore. and told Peter that if he truly loved Him, then to feed His sheep. Elder Holland went on to say that we cannot go back. We can't go back to our "nets, and our boats, and our oars". We have given those things up and can never look back. It was an incredibly powerful meeting.
Elder Hansen (from Logan, UT) and I trained on a family mission plan that we had put together last transfer with his comp and Elder Cook. That went pretty well and I think it made everyone more excited about working with members. President is putting a really big push on working with the members because he knows that that's the most effective way that we can do missionary work.
Following that Elder Moffett and I trained on The Fourth Missionary. That was a talk that Grandma and Grandpa Kunz sent out at the start of my mission. The talk goes through the different types of missionaries that there are, and according to those traits places missionaries into four categories. The first two missionaries are disobedient and have little or no regard for the mission rules. The heart of the talk is in comparing and contrasting the third and fourth missionaries. Both are obedient. Both enjoy the companionship of the Spirit and bring souls to Christ. The only difference between the two is that the third missionary withholds his heart. He wants to do what he wants to do, but because there is a rule he compromises his will to follow it. Essentially he approaches the mission with a "bite the bullet approach". The Fourth missionary withholds nothing. Slowly but surely, his will is changed to the Lord's will.
One of my favorite quotes from the talk is by C.S. Lewis, where he is saying that the Lord is telling us: "Give me all. I don't want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work: I want You. All of you. I have not come to torment of frustrate the natural man, but to kill it. No half-measures will do. I don't want to only prune a branch here and another there; rather, I want the whole tree out. Hand it all over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them all over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart." We went on to share that we can't put the 4th missionary up on a pedestal. Each and everyone of us can become that, but it has to be our choice. The one and only thing we can offer is our will. Becoming that fourth missionary is the only smart way to serve a mission, because in the end he's truly the only one who benefits and is changed by it. "The purpose and central blessing of life is change. It is to be changed to become more like Jesus Christ. It is to incorporate into your character, the qualities of His character. It is to move from one degree of intelligence and capacity to the next, and from there to the next, until you see God fact to face and know Him as he knows you."
I love you all! I'm so grateful for this gospel message. Because of it, we have the purpose and direction that we need to reach our full potential. I love our Saviour and I'm understanding more about the Atonement each day. We can become what our Heavenly Father needs us to be because of it.
Have a great week!
Elder Kade Bartschi