December 5, 2011
It sounds like you all had a good week. Finals for Bryce, Britt and Whitney, and then Christmas break will be there! The students at USF are feeling the end of the semester anxiety, which translates into less people wanting to talk to us. We actually didn't experience that too much because we had a busy week in the office. On Tuesday we started fasting, and then on Wednesday afternoon we began working on transfers. By the time 9 pm rolled around we had it nearly completed. We couldn't believe how fast it had gone. Last transfer it took us a complete day of working on it to get it about finished. There are 13 new missionaries coming in on Monday, and finding spots for everyone seemed like a huge task at first, but slowly things started falling into place. President Summerhays is sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit, and because of that we know that the Lord's hand was guiding what happened. During the week I read the talk by Elder Wadell from the Priesthood Session of this October conference. He talked about the Lord knowing who your mission president will be, what companions you will have, and what areas you will serve in long before you get there. It's comforting to know that it's not our decision where missionaries will be serving, but that it was supposed to happen. As far as transfer news for me, I'll be staying here for another transfer with Elder Moffett. I'm excited to be here over Christmas and New Years, and I love the senior couples in the office. At the end of this coming transfer I'll have been serving with Elder Moffett for 7 1/2 months! I can't believe it has been that long. Ha it's still a lot of fun though, so we're happy to be sticking together over the holidays.
On Friday of this week we had a meeting with all of the zone leaders in Sarasota. We trained on keeping commitments and how important it is for us to always leave an invitation for someone to act. I learned a lot from studying that topic, and that when we fail to extend a commitment, then we aren't asking people to repent. Essentially, that's our purpose as missionaries. People come unto Christ when they have repented of past transgressions and decide to follow Him. We used the story that Elder Christopherson shared in his talk from General Conference this October. He quotes President Packer's talk, "The Bright Morning of Forgiveness", and tells of the mental and spiritual darkness that can become forgotten when we are forgiven of our sins. That's what we have the opportunity to do as missionaries: help others experience their own "bright morning of forgiveness".
We had another lesson with Michelle this week, and it went extremely well. Elder Moffett and I have been blessed to teach people that are just ready and willing to accept the gospel i.e. Mike, James, and Paige. We started off the lesson asking about the reading that we had left her with. She read 3 Nephi 11 and the beginning of Alma 32. She really enjoyed what she read, but hasn't prayed about it yet. Michelle has had a bit of an agnostic view towards God, and is currently trying to overcome that. Understanding that we have a literal Father in Heaven and not just some random higher power is an important concept that she's coming to accept. We started off talking about that topic and then moved onto the subject of Joseph Smith. We watched The Restoration with her, and she was able to identify that Spirit that she felt. She loved that Joseph Smith was searching for truth and understanding, and that God cared enough to answer him. Following our discussion we asked her about what she was feeling and thinking. The Spirit was distinctly present as she shared with us that it was all making sense to her, and that she felt God had been guiding her to this new path. We definitely felt directed after that to extend the invitation for a baptismal date. She immediately accepted, and now we're aiming for January 1, 2012 for her baptism! Not a bad way to start off her year.
Well I love you all so much! Have a great week.
Elder Kade Bartschi