November 26, 2011
Happy Thanksgiving a couple days late. It sounded like there was a common theme of lots and lots of food going on back home, and fortunately that tradition is respected here in Florida as well. I'm glad you all had a safe and fun holiday. Dad, I loved that elk story. I printed out your email so I could reread all of it.
We had a great week with regards to missionary work. I was a little bit surprised by that because our area consists of a college campus and by Wednesday nearly everyone was home for Thanksgiving. Luckily we have some people in the YSA that are actually from Tampa, so we had some invitations to go to their homes on Thursday. What ended up happening was we had to take a car to Lake Hamilton, so we ran that over early on Thursday morning in just enough time to stop by Bro. Staber's for breakfast! That was a lot of fun, and then we went with the Citrus Ridge Elders to their Turkey Bowl and played there. It was a blast, and I got to see some of the members from when I served there. Following that we came back to Tampa, showered, and then headed over to our lunch appointment. Erin, who we've had dinner with a couple of times, invited us over. Her roommates that aren't members were there, and we had a good time with them. There was plenty of good food, and we got to teach a short lesson on gratitude before we left. Following that we went to Nadia's. She's a member of the YSA and her family lives in the area. We talked and laughed with them, and of course, ate some more food. I was so far from being hungry, but I've developed the missionary ability to override the impulse to stop eating.
The best part of our week happened yesterday. Throughout this week, Gene, a returned missionary in the ward, has been telling us about his girlfriend that he would like us to teach. Coordinating schedules was tough, but we finally made it so we could all meet at the church last night. His girlfriend's name is Michelle and she's a Literature major at USF. She's in the honors program and is currently writing her final thesis to get her degree. We went through the lesson on the Restoration, ad it went incredibly well. Right from the beginning Michelle was open and friendly, and distinctly sensitive to the Spirit. She hasn't had much religious influence in her life, and she feels like now is the time in her life that she's ready to learn more about it. The Spirit was present throughout our discussion, and it was obvious that she connected with it as well. Near the end of the lesson we asked her if she'd be baptized by someone holding the priesthood, if she prayed and received an answer that we were teaching is true. She took and deep breath and then looked at as both and said yes. She promised to read and pray, and we invited her to attend church with us on Sunday. After they left Elder Moffett and I were ecstatic. Nothing makes me more excited than a sincere investigator that's searching for the truth. She will receive and answer, and it will change her life.
Well I hope you all have a great week!
Love you all,
Elder Kade Bartschi
Hey here's a couple of pictures. The first is us dropping Johnson off at the airport. And then that's Brother Staber's house all decked out for Christmas already, and then with him before going over to the turkey bowl.
Dear Sisters and Elders,
There are so many wonderful lessons we can learn as we ‘like the scriptures unto us’. Shortly after Jesus called His apostles, he sent them out to preach His gospel. After they had been gone for a while, he gathered them together for a ‘zone conference’, where they would share their successes and their testimonies. They had just come back from missionary work and they needed rest, and it could have been preparation day. And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart unto a desert place and rest a while; for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.Mark 6:31 Sound familiar?
But as they departed, the people saw them. When Jesus saw them, He was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them. V.34 He was tired- day off or no- he stopped to teach them because they needed it. It was painful for the Shepherd to see people without a shepherd. It reminds me of Moroni 9 when Mormon in his epistle to Moroni wrote, “notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we would be under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay. V.6. The Savior knew He had such little time ‘whilst in the flesh’ to teach His people.
The people are hungry. Jesus asks Philip “whence shall we buy bread that these may eat? John6:5 He knew how He would solve this problem but he wanted to ‘prove him’. There was a lad with 5 barley loaves and 2 fishes. Barley grain is for the very poor. There was hardly enough here to bless the refreshments, so to speak, yet in v.11 He gives thanks. He is so appreciative. This tells us something about our Savior. He is so powerful and magnificent that he can command dead fish to multiply and replenish and feed the multitude. He is more powerful than nature. He commands the bread to appear where the grain hasn’t been harvested or ground or baked or risen. He is more powerful than we can imagine. He can take small things and make them great. He can take you and make you great. Whatever we lack, he has whatever we need. He was dealing with a very small amount-yet when they pass it out, they were fed and they were filled. He can do the same with us. The impossibility of it—you cannot feed 1000’s with 5 loaves and 2 fishes- in fact to normal people it is impossible. But with God all things are possible. His grace is an enabling power to do the things we could never do on our own. Yes, resurrection and Eternal live, but beyond the next life grace is a real practical need that we have right here. He can help us right here.
I am mindful of the Lad who provided the fish and bread. I don’t know why he was there or why he had food, but there is a symbol here. The Savior can take a small offering and multiply it to bless 1000’s and we sometimes need to remember that we might feel our offerings are small in our own eyes, but God multiplies it, and it can bless even 1000’s. A small act can go a long ways. We start with the first commandment-love. A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you. By this may man know ye are my disciples. Love your companion, love your District, love your Zone, love the Florida Tampa Mission.
Elders and Sisters-believe in Him-Believe in yourselves and what you can do with Him. I believe in you and what you can do with him. Please continue to move forward in faith believing that you can do all things in the strength of the Lord. This will bless you on your mission and for the rest of your life. He will magnify your every effort. I love you.