"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

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9, 2012

Happy Easter Family!

We have had a great week leading up to our Easter weekend. We were able to meet with nearly all of our investigators at least once, which was great. Normally someone will be out of town, or just too busy to meet up with us, but things came together for us.

Helen has been doing pretty well this week. We had a lesson with her and talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. She has a hard time understanding the difference between our church and other Christian denominations, so we keep coming back to that. A couple weeks ago we got her a picture Book of Mormon and made flash cards to help her review what we're teaching. We've been praying really hard that she would remember, and this week she could tell us who Joseph Smith is! That's a huge step in the right direction. She told us that he was looking for the right church. And then he prayed. And Jesus told him that none of the churches were true. Helen is a trooper though, and she's working really hard to keep everything we're teaching straight in her mind. She came to church this Sunday though and really enjoyed herself. She loves the Bishop and said that if he tells her that she can be baptized again, then she's be up for it.

This week we also were able to meet up with Helena and Jobiana. We reviewed some of the conference talks and also the Book of Mormon reading that they've been doing. Especially Jobiana's reading. She has become consumed with the Book of Mormon and told us that whenever she has a free minute that's what she does. We've been meeting together for about 2 months now, and yesterday in Sunday School she opened her Book of Mormon and pointed at Alma 50. At first I wasn't sure what she was trying to say, and suddenly it hit me. "Are you at Alma 50??" She just laughed and nodded her head. She and her daughter blow me away every time we meet with them. This Sunday Helena was confirmed in Sacrament meeting! She asked me to perform that ordinance, and I was really excited. Confirming someone is one of my favorite spiritual experiences. Saying "receive the Holy Ghost" always brings a rush of the Spirit that everyone can feel. We've set a solid date for the wedding and baptism for Jobiana. She's getting married on May 10th and then baptized on the 12th. I think Jobiana is more excited for that than she has been for anything else in her life. She cannot wait.

Janelle is continuing to progress as well. She's planning on the 21st still to get baptized! This last week I brought my conference Ensign from May of 2011 to share an article with her, and she asked afterwards if she could borrow it. She's been reading from it, and really enjoys everything that she has come across. Her goal is to tell her parents this week about the baptism. She's really nervous, but has decided that regardless of what they say she's going through with it. I really admire her for that. I have no idea what that would be like, we can only encourage her to have faith and move forward.

Well I love you all! Thanks so much for the Easter package, and I hope you all have a great week.

Elder Kade Bartschi

These are some of the other pictures of the ball game that I told you about last week (David Ortiz hit a homerun, which is that picture of him jogging towards home plate). And then the other pictures are of Helena's baptism! It went really well, and she was so excited for all of it. Jobiana cannot wait for her own now.

President's Letter

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Happy Easter! In sacrament meeting today, we sang “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”. That combined with this beautiful day got me thinking about the words in that hymn. I began to think, “What do I LIVE for? Maybe we LIVE for our family, or soccer, or golf, or our music, or to be a missionary or whatever we love that brings us joy. In the hymn, it says that He lives “to bless me with His love, He lives to plead for me above, He lives my hungry soul to feed, He lives to bless in times of need. He Lives to comfort me when faint, He lives to hear my soul’s complaint” etc. He doesn’t just DO these things- He LIVES to do them. It brought new meaning to me about how much He cares for ME and for YOU. God loves you right now, right here, exactly as you are. We must all repent and improve where necessary, but as Sister Holland has said, “God does not ‘wait’ to love us.” Easter time is a reconfirmation of His love and His Atonement which not only provides a way for us to return to Him but also enables us to DO and Be so much better.

We all want to be good and do good and we can do so much more as we plead in faith and go forward in “the strength of the Lord.” In His strength we can do so much more than we could do otherwise. We are finding more PEOPLE. They are coming to Sacrament meeting, setting dates and being baptized. In His strength you can do great things. We must strive with all of our hearts to tap into this power. Preach My Gospel testifies:

“Faith is a principle of power. God works by power, but His power is usually exercised in response to faith. Faith leads to action, including repentance, obedience, and dedicated service. .. By faith you are able to do miracles according to the Lord’s will. Your faith will be manifest through diligence and work. Through faith you receive answers to your prayers and personal inspiration to guide you in the Lord’s work… (PMG p 116)

Preach My Gospel also reminds us that “No effort is wasted.” If we want to make a difference in this world, we must be different than the world. Jesus Christ atoned for every person who ever walked the earth. He did it because the ‘worth of souls’ is great in His sight. The thing that we can do that is of most worth to Him is to bring souls to Him.

The Mormon.org Easter campaign boldly testifies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is our Savior and our Redeemer. We proclaim His teachings and witness His divinity. Florida Tampa Missionaries also boldly with faith, power and authority proclaim and witness this truth as we FIND, TEACH, BAPTIZE AND RETAIN. We go forward with faith in the ‘strength of the Lord’. I love Him. I love you and I believe in you.

President Summerhays

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012

Hello my family!

We have had such a wonderful week here in Ft. Myers. It was really hectic, and I was a little stressed, but everything worked out the way it was supposed to. We worked hard all week leading up to the weekend and it was well worth it. Nearly everyday we met up with Jobiana and Helena and made sure that she was completely ready for Saturday. I know she was a little nervous, especially because her Mom wouldn't be getting baptized on the same day, but she finally started looking forward to it in the end. Helena has been reading from the Book of Mormon, and even highlights her favorite scriptures from what she reads. You wouldn't believe her comprehension of it either. She's about to turn 11, and understands what she's reading better than the majority of people I've taught. Helena decided all the details and the ward was extremely supportive. By the time Saturday rolled around everything really came together. In between sessions of General Conference, Helena was baptized by Elder Smith. The Spirit was really during the service, and Helena's Dad loved it as well. She and her parents were all there during the morning session, and then after the baptism we went to their house and had lunch and watched the afternoon session. We gave her a journal that we had written our testimonies in, and encouraged her to write that day and record what she had felt. She promised that she would, and let us know yesterday that she had done it. Jobiana was so supportive, and is just using this as more encouragement for her as well. She has talked to Frans, and they will be getting married on May 9th, and then she will be baptized on May 12th. Not bad timing at all.

Another awesome experience this week, was that Elder Paget (a Haitian missionary) and I got permission to attend a Red Sox Spring training game! A member in the ward called us and let us know that his son had tickets to the game, but wouldn't be able to attend, so he was wondering if we'd be able to get out there. After a phone call to president, and deciding that we would take time out of our Pday in exchange, we were on to attend. I think we were the youngest people in the park by about 40 years, but it was a blast. I'd never seen the Red Sox play live, so that was a neat experience. It was the closest I could get to Fenway while still in SW Florida.

Janelle has been making some great progress this past week as well. She is still planning on her date for April 21, and is going to tell her parents soon. I've been a little unsure about whether she would do it or not, but she let us know this past week that she will be telling her parents within the next week. She has been attending the same church since she was little, and is worried about what her church family there will think. Janel le has a testimony though, and has come to the realization that she will have to tell them before she does it, and she doesn't want to put it off any longer. It's hard for us to really know what we can do to help except to just support her and continue to try and strengthen her testimony.

Conference was awesome! I love the Spirit that is felt over that weekend. I felt like my questions that I had were answered, and I was able to learn a lot. I did think of Britta and Bryce a lot though with all the talk on raising children and families. I love you all, and was just reminded of how much I've been blessed to have you. Elder Holland's talk was definitely one of my favorites. We watched that one at Jobiana's house, and she put her hand to her chest after it was over and said, "I love him!". It was a great weekend.

Well I love you all so much!

Have a great week,

Elder Kade Bartschi

I have a ton of pictures I need to send you. I haven't sent any in forever....sorry I haven't had my cord to do it for a while. But here they are...This series of pictures includes fishing last p-day with Brother Burton. We went fishing off of a pier of sorts that leads from Ft. Myers over to the island of Sanibel. It was beautiful. We didn't catch anyt hing, but I did snag a picture of a dolphin! Also...this past week Elder Paget, a Haitian missionary, and I got permission to go to a Red Sox Spring training game! It was so much fun. Obviously coming down to Ft. Myers was inspired if this is where they train. Haha I'll get you some more pictures of the game.

The first couple are of right when we picked up Elder Murray. After that are some pictures of a sweet graffiti wall we found in Ft. Myers. Haha we had to snag a couple of pictures there and...I got pressured into taking a serious one haha. I remembered whit trying to teach us how to do it in Arizona at the temple and started laughing really hard.

President's Letter

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Good morning! I love General Conference! The Lord speaks to us through His prophets. Those who speak to us “serve as mortal messengers with angelic messages.” Each conference He gives us direction that will improve our lives, if we act upon the counsel that pressed on our hearts and minds. The Prophets, Seers and Revelators testify that what you are now doing this day will have a profound effect upon your present and future happiness. They plead with us not to look to tomorrow as the time we will do all the things we desire to do. There will be no tomorrows to remember if we do not do something today. Please do not procrastinate acting on your desires to be excellent. Please do not put off till tomorrow your commitment to be the very best you can be. If you cannot be excellent today, if you cannot do the very best that is in you now, there is likely no excellence or best delivered tomorrow. Learning to do it now, is the great secret of time and eternity. Procrastination is the great thief of happiness and peace. President Monson prayed that we would become even better than we were when conference began. Let’s ponder on some of the truths we heard.

Wasn’t it wonderful right at the very beginning to hear President Monson declare the Standard of Truth? This is a recitation we use and that is what we are doing right now. One of the first hymns sung by the choir was “There is Sunshine in Your Soul Today”. There is sunshine in our hearts as we serve in the ‘sunshine state” with the light of Christ being the source of that sunshine. There was much said about awakening our desires and yielding to His will. All of our life’s actions are the result of our desires. Elder Scott reminded us that inspiration carefully recorded shows the Lord that we treasure it.

Elder Anderson said that ‘being His disciple in this day will be a badge of honor in the eternities.’ How blessed we are to be serving as His disciples! Bishop Edgley reminds us that we have been called to succeed.

Our prophet has asked us to ponder the truths we have heard. I am going to ponder about what Christ thinks of me. Let us listen to our Prophet’s voice and put aside mediocrity in our service. Let us be pure. Let us have faith in Christ and be exactly obedient. I feel a deep and consistent commitment to your present and future success and happiness. As you ponder conference and act on your promptings now, you will be happy. I love the privilege of serving with you. As you know, great and marvelous work happens in the Florida Tampa Mission. Thank you for relying on Him and His strength so we all see the miracles!!! Share with me what truths touched you in conference. I love you and I believe in you.

President Summerhays

PS . Thank you for your March Madness Finding Frenzy. We averaged over 130 new investigators each week. Please continue to strive forward to reach our goal of 180!!!

I can do hard things.

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012

Hey Family!

It sounds like this last week back home could have been made into a movie. I could just imagine Mom sprinting all over the hospital trying to check up on Britta and Whitney. I'm so happy everything went well with the baby getting here. She's beautiful! I loved the pictures. You'll have to send some more.

Well things were pretty crazy this week. It has been a roller coaster as we've continued to work with Jobiana and Helena. On Tuesday we stopped by for a lesson and when we had neared the end of it Jobiana asked us what our church's stance was on people living together if they're not married. We told her a little bit about the Law of Chastity and she got a really worried look on her face. She then let us know that she and Fronce aren't married, but they've been together for 12 years. We let her know that she'd have to be married in order for her to be baptized. Jobiana looked pretty crushed and we did our best to encourage and support her. She already has such an incredibly strong testimony of the gospel, and she was determined to figure out how she'd still be able to go through with it. The next morning Jobiana called us crying, and let us know that her husband told her that he didn't want to get married. We were so disappointed and ended up going over that day and had a lesson with her, Helena, and Brother Burton went with us. We watched a talk from conference on lds.org and she told us that she wasn't going to let this get her down. Helena decided that she still wants to get baptized on the 31st between sessions of conference after some encouragement from us and her mom. We then had another lesson with her on Friday and taught about tithing. We offered to fast with Jobiana on Sunday and she agreed. She and Helena came to church and Jobiana paid fast offerings, and then we broke our fast yesterday evening. We've been praying so hard for her and just hoping that somehow it would all work out. Well this morning as we were getting ready we got a call from Jobiana. She was doing her best to contain the excitement in her voice as she exclaimed, "Fasting works! Fronce asked me to marry him!!". I almost couldn't believe it. More than anything, my testimony has continued to grow so much as we've been working with her. Her faith is so strong, and she just knows that the gospel is true. Plain and simply.

I don't have too much time to write anymore, but I love you all so much! Things are going really well here, and training has been fun. Miracles are occurring and it's amazing to be apart of it.

Have a great week!

I love you all,

Elder Kade Bartschi

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012

Hello my family!

Things sound so busy back home right now. Babies and a broken finger sounds like a lot to deal with. I'm really excited to hear about Britta though! This whole pregnancy I keep forgetting that Britt was pregnant, but now whenever I see someone that looks like they're really close to having their baby I think of my sister. I'm praying that everything goes well with the new baby this week.

We had a pretty good week here. Jobiana and Helena (yeah, we found out this week it's spelled with an "H") are still progressing really well! This week we taught them about the Plan of Salvation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Word of Wisdom. I know that sounds like a lot, but Helena was on Spring Break and we were able to have three lessons with them. One of which was on Saturday night when we got to meet her husband. His name is Fronce and is from Brazil as well. He is a really nice guy and listened intently to all of the things that we had taught. We discussed the Restoration with him so that he could have an understanding of what his wife and daughter have been learning. At the end of the lesson he accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and said that he would read and pray about it. We also asked him what he thought about Jobiana and Helena getting baptized and he just smiled and said, "If it makes them happy, it makes me happy". We also did end up moving the baptismal date to the 31st of March. Both of them will get baptized between sessions of General Conference. You would be amazed by how much they already know and understand. Every time we have a lesson they'll say something that makes me shake my head and just laugh because they're so ready to join the church.

We also had a good lesson with Janelle. She decided that she wants to find out why people don't like the church, which basically turned into her stumbling across anti-mormon literature. She brought that to our lesson and we were able to walk her through all the concerns that she had. Honestly, she is really ready to be baptized. She feels the Spirit and has a testimony, she's just worried about telling her parents. We talked to her about setting a goal date for baptism and that as long as she moves forward with faith, the Lord will prepare the way. After some discussion, she decided on April 21! Not a bad day in my opinion. She came to church this Sunday and we'll be meeting up with her again this week. Oh, and Joy got back from her trip to Italy this week. We didn't have a lesson with her, but we will this week.

Well I love you all! Have a great week and I'm really excited to hear how everything goes.

I love you!

Elder Kade Bartschi

President's Letter

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Thank you for your labors! March Madness finding!! You are really doing it.

I know that as we persist in doing all we can to find New Investigators, we will increase our capacity, inspiration and insight to increase the number of people we find whom the Lord has prepared. We must continue to make finding new investigators a passion, mindset and culture in the entire mission.

Two weeks ago we found 115 New Investigators, this week we found 158 New Investigators!!! This is a magnificent effort! You are giving it your all! We are so close to our goal. I know we can do it. Please continue to do all you can to access the enabling power of the Atonement to positively effect the people represented by the Key Indicators in your own proselyting area. I know your happiness and joy will grow as you access that power.

Miracles are happening in the mission. You are stepping up to the plate. I feel so fortunate to be working with you. I am confident we are on the right course. We just need to continue our March Madness finding emphasis for an extended period of time.

Success on our Mission and in life is contingent on doing the right things, in the right spirit and doing them long enough. Paul knew the secret when he said:

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal 6:9)

I pray for you. I love the feeling that comes to me as I think of you in those prayers. I feel a friendship, confidence and gratitude toward you that is strong and sweet. I am confident that we are a winning team. Thank you for your humility. Thank you for your faith. Thank you for your diligence. Thank you for your love. The work is true. I believe in you.

President Summerhays

March Madness finding: KNOCK and it shall be opened unto you ::180 “If” is the key word.

March 13, 2012

Hey Family!

It sounds like you've all had a great week. Thanks for the updates on how everyone is doing.

We've had a great week here in Ft. Myers. We were able to meet up with almost all of our investigators, and that kept us running from place to place. I feel like we've been constantly sifting and changing our teaching pool since I've gotten here, and I think we're finally having the ones who are ready to accept the gospel rise to the top. As we've been teaching and finding you just keep working hard until things start to fall into place. When I look back on the people that I've taught, pretty much all of the ones that have gotten baptized just were ready and quickly made the changes that they needed to. It's all about timing.

Jobiana is one of those people that have been prepared! We stopped by there this week with the Burtons and she is still doing really well. She talked to her husband and because of how excited she was about the church, he decided that he'd meet up with us this coming Saturday. That will be a big opportunity for us to help him feel the Spirit, and hopefully present us with the opportunity to teach him as well. But for the lesson this last week, we taught again about Joseph Smith the Book of Mormon. She blew us away with how much she has been learning on her own. While we were discussing Joseph finding the plates, she said, "Didn't the angel Moroni come to him once a year for four years before he actually got to take the plates?". We just broke out in smiles after that and let her know that she had read correctly, it did take him four years. Following that we watched The Restoration with her, and about five minutes into it she told us how much she had enjoyed this movie. I was a little confused, and after asking her about how she already knew, she let us know that she had watched it online. It looks like she's about five steps ahead of us, and her daughter is on board as well. After we left last week Jobiana told us that Elena (her 10 yr old daughter) put her hand on her chest and said that she felt a warm feeling in her chest. Their date is still tentatively for the 24th of March, but it could change because the Burtons are leaving town that week, and Jobiana loves them.

This past week we also met with the Zellers. They're actually getting ready to head back up to Indiana, so that was our last lesson with them before they leave. We watched The Mountain of the Lord, a movie on the building of the Salt Lake Temple, at the request of their member son in Indiana. It went well, and Bill actually really enjoyed it. I think that whenever he sees the incredible faith of the early Saints he has a hard time denying the fact that there really is something to our church. We're praying that when they go back home that something will soften his heart. They're such good people, and I know that Sister Zellers is just waiting for it to happen.

Have a happy birthday Dad! I love you and hope that you have a great week.

I love you all!

Elder Kade Bartschi

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5, 2012

Hey Family!

It sounds like it has been quite the week for all of us. Whit is engaged?? That's crazy to think about. I'm glad she looks so happy though!

We had a pretty amazing week here. On Tuesday morning we got up at 3:45 am to catch the mission van up to Tampa to pick up our trainee! We had a little meeting with all the trainers and President stressed the importance of setting an example that will last for their entire missions. I still look back on the time that I spent with Elder Johnson my first transfer, so I know that it does make a huge impression on the rest of your mission. Well we went into the meeting when they paired us together, and right away Elder Smith and I picked him out. We both had a both had a good feeling about one of them, and sure enough when it was our turn to get up there we got Elder Murray from Blackfoot, Idaho. He has actually moved around quite a bit in his life, but most recently that's where he lived. We made the trip back to Ft. Myers after that in the mission van, and started off a great week with the three of us. I told Elder Smith before he got here that when you have a brand new missionary with you, things just seem to work out and fall into place. We got to have some good lessons with our investigators.

We had an incredible experience this last Friday. The week before Elder Smith and I had gone to drop off a Book of Mormon to a lady that had ordered one off mormon.org. She was really friendly, but asked us to come back in a week so that we could meet up. I've seen tons of media referrals, but she stood apart from the rest of them because of how genuine she seemed. I was praying that she was a positive as she seemed, so when we stopped by on Friday I was anxious to see what would happen. We knew she was from Brazil and so we had a member from there go over with us. Her name is Jobiana and she had her daughter Elaina sit in on the lesson with us. Right off the bat she told us about the positive experience she had with members of the church down in Naples when she was a nanny for their family. She said that she would see the Book of Mormon sitting around their house and every time she saw it she had a desire to read what it was about. One day she decided to go online and type the church's name into the google search bar and she found the church website (thankfully). After spending hours going through the pages and watching videos on there, she ordered a Book of Mormon. As we went through and discussed the Restoration she was so sensitive to the Spirit. As Elder Smith shared the First Vision with her she just got a smile on her face and then she told us how good that had made her feel. We then explained the Book of Mormon to her and shared a portion from the introduction. The end of the last paragraph says "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah." She was quiet for a second after that, and then pointed to the spot on the page that says "the Lord's kingdom". "I want to be apart of the Lord's kingdom", she said. The Spirit was so strong as we testified of the truthfulness of the Restoration, and then we felt prompted to extend an invitation for baptism. Before we could even finish she said that she wants to be. We then asked if she would be prepared for March 24. She said yes, and her daughter agreed to the same thing. Jobiana came to church on Sunday and loved all of it. She felt the Spirit and then invited us to come over this week to continue teaching. I feel so blessed to be apart of this. The Lord is preparing people, and when they are finally ready some people just fall into place.

Well I love you all! Have a great week and know that we're doing our best down here in Ft. Myers!


Elder Kade Bartschi

President's Letter

Dear Sisters and Elders,

This weekend we united as a mission in fasting and prayer to increase our faith in Jesus Christ and receive His promise that He will make an instrument of us in His hands unto the salvation of many souls.

In the Wednesday ZLDLC Specialized training, our missionaries expressed a desire to carry our February finding frenzy over to a March Madness finding. There is a sense of urgency to find new investigators. The Zone Leaders counseled in their meeting on Friday and were inspired to hold a mission fast that we may find 180 new investigators one week in March. They also decided to fast for members of the Florida Tampa Mission to have a missionary experience with their family mission plan. When Enos prayed for his heart’s desires and they were granted, he asked “Lord, how is it done?” The answer came: “Because of thy faith in Jesus Christ….” I see this faith manifested in you every day.

The first step in finding begins in our nightly planning. The first key of faith in nightly planning is to start with the key indicator goals you want to accomplish the next day and then plan specific and abundant activities for that next day that will allow you to accomplish those goals. Then we pray and act in faith with real intent or a sense of urgency to accomplish those goals. I am grateful to read of your valiant February finding frenzy efforts and to share in your many miracles. I am also grateful for companionships that reported zero. I knew that they gave their best effort. I knew that they were honest. I loved their honorable report. . We have set ambitious goals. How can it be done? Only through faith in Jesus Christ. I want to again testify that the following promise in the Book of Mormon applies to the Florida Tampa Missionaries:

“But his is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God…And it came to pass that they..fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of His Spirit to go with them…that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren…to the knowledge of the truth…and it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them…I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls. And …the sons of Mosiah…took courage to go forth unto the Lamanites to declare unto them the word of God.” (Alma 17:3-12)

Again, I believe you are ready for the fulfillment of this promise. Please, this week and every week make the finding of New Investigators a Passion, a Culture, a Mindset. We must set daily goals to FIND, we must plan each day with determined finding activities. We must plead with Heavenly Father to bless our finding efforts. We must work with a bright happy faith, with love and an optimism that He will bless us with success and then have the patience and diligence to allow the results to be on His timing. Finding His prepared people is a miraculous and rewarding pursuit when done His way. Remember nothing happens in your missionary work until you find someone to teach. He has proven to us that He can greatly multiply the number of people we find each week to teach. Please remember the Loaves and the Fishes. He can make so much out of so little. Trust Him that He will reward your Faith to Find.

I love you !!!! Thank you for all the great faith you are exercising, the daily diligence you are performing and the love you are living. I pray for your happiness and peace. I believe in you.

President Summerhays

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 27, 2012

Hey Family!

I can't believe it'll be March this week. Our transfer here just wrapped up, and we had transfer phone calls on Saturday. The phone rang at about 8 am and President let Elder Smith and I know that we would be training together for this next transfer! That's exactly what we were hoping for, so we were excited. That means that tomorrow we'll be heading up to Tampa at about 4:45 am to go to our meeting and then to pick up the new missionary. I remember how anxious I was my first day in the mission, so it'll be good to meet him. Elder Smith and I have been working really hard to prepare the area for a new missionary and I know that it'll pay off.

Yesterday (Sunday) was really busy for us! We had been asked to speak in sacrament meeting a couple months ago, and then after we found out about that the stake designated the same Sunday as a missionary Sunday. There is a Haitian Creole branch that meets at the same time as us, so we joined the priesthood and Relief Society meetings, as well as the Young Men and Young Women meetings for the ward and branch. The Creole missionaries and us trained the ward on the Family Mission Plan and helped to get them excited to do their own missionary work. Also, last Sunday I was asked to sing at a Fireside put on by Brother Daniel Rona, a popular church tour guide in the Holy Lands, and I would need to have the song ready in a week. Needless to say I was a little stressed going into yesterday, but it was amazing how everything seemed to work out. Elder Smith gave his talk on Diligence and I talked about Faith and Miracles, and then we each tied it into missionary work and how it applies to every member. It worked out really well, and the joint Relief Society and Priesthood meeting ran smoothly. There was a lot of input from the ward and it'll be fun to see what kind of effect this will have on the ward. We had 5 investigators at Sacrament meeting and I wasn't sure how they would take all of the missionary themed lessons, but they all really enjoyed it. We even had some students from a local college attend the meetings for a class they were taking. After church we had a couple of hours to make some visits and then we went down to Bonita Springs for the stake fireside. The song, I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked, was already picked out for me, so I was able to practice it a few times throughout the week. I was pretty nervous because I would much rather sing with other people, but I don't think it went to badly.

We had some pretty solid lessons this week as well. We met with the Zellers and started to figure out what is holding him back. He just hasn't read and prayed about the Book of Mormon yet, which is crazy to me because he has been married to a member for the last 25 years. His granddaughter wrote her testimony in a copy of it and he said the if/when he reads it'll have to be from that copy. That was a little bit of an excuse because that book is up in Indiana, but I think we did make some progress. We have another lesson scheduled with him for this week so we'll see how it goes.

Well I'm sorry this is so short this week! Since it's the last p-day we're getting together for a big activity down in Estero. Have a great week and know that I love you!


Elder Kade Bartschi

P.S. Braydn, have a great birthday!!

President's Letter

Dear Sisters and Elders,

I want to thank so many of you who are giving your best in His service. I am inspired by your desires and efforts to fulfill your purpose which is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I am so excited about where we are and where we are headed. I love you all and I have complete confidence in your abilities.

February has been our fabulous, fantastic, faithful, fearless, February finding frenzy. The emphasis has been on FINDING AND TEACHING.

Brother Stephen B. Allen, Managing Director of the Missionary Department emphatically stated:

“Those Missions that are seeing growth and increased harvest, fully embrace a CULTURE, MINDSET AND PASSION for FINDING NEW INVESTIGATORS.”

I strongly believe that our mission believes it is time to harvest and I know we must

Fully embrace a CULTURE, MINDSET and PASSION for FINDING that will double, triple and eventually quadruple our new investigator pool each week.

We will:

  • Continue to strengthen each missionary’s faith that the Lord is preparing people to receive His servants.
  • Emphasize all honorable finding methods with the following order of effectiveness:
    • Members
    • Family Mission Plans

      • New Converts
      • Less Actives
      • Part Members
      • Ward Leadership
      • All Quorums and Auxiliaries
      • Ward/Branch Activities

o Performing visible Service in Area Neighborhoods for Members and those not of our Faith

o Contacting (Talking to Everyone)

o Media and Church Headquarters Referrals

o Tracting

I feel with my whole heart and soul that the Florida Tampa Missionaries are ready to continue to meet this challenge. Let us continue our February finding frenzy efforts. I know that we can embrace the hard but beautiful things we are asked to do. I know we are ready to offer our full obedience, our focused eye of faith and our exceeding diligence and tireless labor to the critical need to sustain the real growth of the church. We will thrust in our sickle with all of our might. The challenge will not be easy, but together we will succeed.

We must focus our faith and diligence toward more conversions and greater retention.

We must find far more new investigators to teach. We must be lovingly bold in committing those we teach to live the commandments. We must increase the number of investigators we bring to church. We cannot be content with the past.

Let us continue our February finding efforts to redouble our diligent labor to find, find, find, teach and baptize. I feel grateful for the confidence I have in all of the Sisters and Elders in the Florida Tampa Mission. I love you and believe in you.

President Summerhays

February 20, 2012

Hey Family!

It sounds like we both had really fast weeks. Like Dad said, I'm not totally sure what to write because it feels like I just told you what's going on over here. Well we had a pretty good week down here in the South. We didn't get to meet up with as many people as we wanted to, but we had a few really positive lessons. One of which was with Helen. She's an older African-American lady that has been to church a few times, and she is hilarious. Helen has been Baptist her whole life, and in the middle of lessons she'll sometimes shout "Yes, Lord!". It's great, and we have had a blast teaching the Restoration to her. She loves reading from the scriptures and is very excited to start going through the Book of Mormon.

Some other good lessons we had this week were with Rainer and Christopher. They are cousins (their moms are sisters), and the two of them are extremely similar. Their moms are single parents and neither of their dads are members of the church. Within the last year Christopher's mom, Mila, decided to start getting active in church. She had been inactive for all of Christopher's life, and she speaks mostly Spanish. Christopher on the other hand doesn't speak spanish, and so for his benefit Mila has decided to switch from the spanish ward to the English one. Rainer's mom has decided to do the same thing, and we're now teaching both of them. We've met with them both this week and had some spiritual lessons. Christopher is 14 and has never really had faith in God. Rainer is 17 and his mom tells us that he claims to be atheist. We've been working hard to help them both feel the Spirit, and they both did. With Christopher we started with the Restoration and he definitely understands all of it. He's really smart and doesn't like to act like he's paying attention to us at times, but his mom has a really strong testimony and I know that she's helping him a lot. Rainer's lesson started with a little bit of a question and answer, and ended up with us teaching parts of the Plan of Salvation. He really liked the scriptures that we shared with him, and was very curious about the Spirit World. We're meeting with both of them again this week, and they are reading and praying.

We had a great showing at church this week! Helen showed up for sacrament meeting and really liked it. At one point she asked if she could kneel down and pray and we just smiled and told her to maybe just listen to the end of the talk instead. Joy and Janelle came to church as well and both of them had a good time. We'll be meeting with them tonight at the English's home. Christopher and Mila were there and stayed for all 3 hours. Also, the Zeller's came to church! During splits this week Elder Smith went to their home and had a good discussion with them. Bill is the husband and was the referral from his son in Indiana. He has been attending church with his wife for a long time, and it was great to see him come to church. We're going to be going over there this week to teach the first lesson and I'm really excited to go over there. Other than that, we're having a good time. It's the last week of the transfer and it's hard to believe that it has gone by this fast. We'll get transfer calls on Saturday so I'll let you know next week what's going on!
Have a great week and I love you!

Elder Kade Bartschi

Hey these are some pictures from the week! One of them is of Elder Smith and I after a rough day of biking around....he got a bloody nose and my pants got caught in my bike chain and tore. Ha and then this week was the big Edison Festival of the Lights (for Thomas Edison). Part of it was a 5K run that we got to participate in because the stake president here had a heart transplant a little while back and the stake decided to support him. It was a beautiful evening and we had a blast.

President's Letter

Dear Sisters and Elders,

After two weeks of Zone Conferences, I find myself invigorated! I am so happy, I love this work! I love the Florida Tampa Missionaries! I feel so good about the culture in our mission, and I feel like we have just begun. I believe that the Lord desires to make of us individually and collectively more than most of us can imagine. Your testimonies and the strength of your spirits fill me with confidence for the future. I feel such a desire for your peace and happiness. I testify that what you are doing now will have a profound effect on your present and future happiness.

I asked you in zone conference if you wanted to feel the love of God more powerfully in your life? I asked if you wanted to feel more in tune with His Spirit and if you wanted to have the heavens opened to you daily. When Elder Kikuchi visited us, he promised that if we follow a pattern set by the Prophet Joseph Smith and turn to the Lord for our answers , we can have these spiritual experiences. He counseled us to spend time each morning in prayer, meditation and serious scripture study. He asked us to seek a Sacred Grove experience. President Thomas S. Monson once taught that the key to gaining spiritual strength is to enter a “sacred grove” of our own. We have this opportunity each time we have a perfect morning.

President Hinckley promised, “Every morning…,missionaries should get on their knees and plead with the Lord to loosen their tongues and speak through them to the blessing of those they will be teaching. If they will do this, a new light will come into their lives. There will be greater enthusiasm for the work. They will come to know that in a very real sense, they are servants of the Lord speaking in His behalf. They will find a different response from those they teach. As they do so by the Spirit, their investigators will respond under the influence of the same Spirit.” PMG P 94

Prayer requires great effort. Come to your prayers showered, shaved, clean and dressed for the day. Give serious thought to your attitude and strive to pray sincerely, with real intent and with “all the energy of heart.”

If you continue to meet daily with Heavenly Father, you will come to know Him and our Savior in ways you couldn’t otherwise. Please do not procrastinate your desires to have the heavens opened and to “taste the goodness of Jesus” and to feel “with exceedingly great joy” the power of His eternal love. Learning to do it now is a great secret of time and eternity. Peace is available as we learn to do it right now. Let us fill our mornings with Sacred preparation. Let us not waste this special time with idleness. If you will use this daily Perfect Morning time to gain greater spiritual strength, you will better understand Heavenly Father and the Savior and His Atonement and the power of His great love. You will have His spirit. You will be happy and happy now means you will likely be happy tomorrow. I feel a deep and consistent commitment to your present and future success and happiness. I love you and I believe in you.

President Summerhays

Fabulous, fantastic, faithful, fearless, February finding frenzy

February 13, 2012

Hey family!

Mom and Dad, that's great you were able to get to California for Aunt Betty's funeral. I love that lady and her ability to keep you on your toes. One of my favorite memories with her was when she came to St. Anthony to visit, and she stayed at Grandpa and Grandma's for a while. One day Grandma decided that she needed to watch the movie Charlie while I was there. Before leaving the room to grab the movie, Grandma let Betty know that she would be crying at the end of it. Right after she walked out, Aunt Betty looked at me and with twinkle in her eye said, "Your grandma doesn't know that I haven't been able to cry since my stroke!". Haha I didn't know if that was something I should be laughing at, but once she started to chuckle I knew that she had the personality I wanted when I got to be her age.

It's hard to believe that another week has come and gone down here in Ft. Myers. I love that we're staying busy and have been blessed with the people that we're currently teaching. I still feel like we're sifting through a lot of people, and it makes me a little concerned for a second when we decide to move on from some investigators to focus on other ones. We've been able to see the Lord's hand though, because as we've moved on, individuals have fallen into place for us to teach. There were a couple really neat experiences that we've had this week. One of which was with Bill Zellers. His son is the member that I told you about a few weeks ago that lives up in Indiana. When we tried to go visit his Dad, Bill, we found out that his son had given us the wrong address. We ended up meeting a lady that had lived in Salt Lake for a while and was interested in doing family history work. During our conversation she told us about the "Mormon couple" that lived across the street, and at that point we knew that that's who we were looking for. On Wednesday we went back and knocked on the Zeller's door. Bill answered and asked us with a laugh, "who sent you here?". We started up a good conversation and ended up talking for about twenty minutes. His wife had a migraine, so we weren't able to go in, but he invited us to come back this week. It turns out that his wife and kids joined the church about 30 years ago but he never did. We're really excited to get back over there on Thursday and hopefully teach him.

Yesterday we went out with Bro. Robinson, a long time member of the Ft Myers ward, to go and visit some of his home teaching families. The older couple we went to go visit were the Bogart's. He has been their home teacher for the last 20 years, and despite his monthly visits, he said that they were still a ways from coming back to church. It turned out that they weren't home, so he had us follow him around the side of the house to a trailer in the back. A lady in her 40's answered and immediately let us in. Her name is Mary, and is the daughter-in-law of the Bogart's. She has two kids that are around 20, but her husband passed away 2 years ago from cancer. She and her sons never joined the church, but before her husband passed, Elder Mickelson from the Seventy came down to the area for a conference. He allowed the leadership from the wards to select a few families to visit, and the Bogart's were picked for Ft. Myers. The family knew at that point that Terry (the husband), would be passing away, so it was a very emotional experience for all of them to have him there. While meeting with the family, Elder Mickelson asked them if they wanted to all be together forever after this life. They were all in tears as he told them that there was a way for that to happen, and it would only be in the temple where they could be sealed. Following that experience and Terry passing away, the family lost their drive to learn more about the church. As we talked to her this time, Brother Robinson brought up that experience and reminded her of the things that she had felt. He then asked her if she would want to learn more about the church. She thought for a second and then nodded her head and said yes. With a big smile on his face, he slapped Elder Smith on the back and said, "Well that's why I brought these two!". One of her sons showed up at that point, and we were able to teach both of them about the feelings of the Spirit, and how we're prompted to act on truth. It was a good discussion, and she agreed to have us come over this week to teach more about the gospel.

On Sunday we had a couple of investigators come to the meetings. Joy and Janelle were there, and Michael showed up right at the end of sacrament meeting. It was a little hectic of a Sunday, but turned out well. Darien (a priest in the ward) and I were asked to sing in sacrament meeting, and ended up doing what we sang at the stake priesthood session. It ended up going really well, and following that we taught the Sharing Time lesson, and then taught the Gospel Principles class. Normally we don't have to teach either of those, but it just turned out that this Sunday things fell through.

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

Love you,

Elder Kade Bartschi

February 6, 2012

Hello my family!

It sounds like you had a busy week with basketball and Britta's birthday. The pictures were great, I just can't believe that Britt is due next month. I forget that time back home moves just as quickly as time here.

Well we had another busy week here in Ft. Myers! We've been fortunate to work with a lot of people here, and the support in the ward has been great. There's a younger couple in the ward, the Burton's, that have helped us so much in the last couple weeks. They have a little moving company that they run, so their hours allow them to go to lessons with us during the day. That has helped us a lot with some of the people we're teaching. One of which is Jeanne. She's a retired lady that lives with her husband down here. She decided to take her Mom to a Unitarian church a couple of months ago, and happened to go the Sunday that Elder Smith and his last companion were invited to speak there. It turns out that Jeanne had taken the lessons about 30 years ago in Colorado from some sister missionaries. After the service she found the missionaries number online and we've been over a couple of times to meet with her. She's a really nice lady and we've been able to read quite a bit together from the Book of Mormon, but getting her to act on things has been a struggle. She was raised Catholic and the concept of praying and waiting for an answer is tough for her to grasp. In our last lesson we taught about the importance of church services, and she let us know that she'll come when she's ready. She has gotten a little set in her ways, but we're working hard to help her feel the Spirit and are inviting her to act on the things we've shared with her.

The stake president down here in Ft Myers is actually in our ward, and he is great. He and his wife are converts to the church and they really understand the importance of missionary work. A little over a week ago I went out with him on splits and we visited a part member family in the ward, the Towns. The stake president, President Pritt, is a doctor and the member in the family we visited is a nurse that he works with. Anway, the family consists of Sister Towns (who is currently inactive), her husband (not a member), and they have two kids. Spencer is 11 and has been baptized, and then Nicole is 9 and she hasn't been yet. Well Sister Towns had pneumonia and so we stopped by to give her a blessing. We talked to the family for a little bit and they were all really nice and welcoming. President Pritt asked if I would seal the blessing, and it was a neat experience. Following the blessing I was talking to Sister Towns and Nicole and they mentioned the fact that Nicole was playing volleyball right now. Now I've been to a match or two in my life, and I knew that school ball wasn't going, so it must be club. I asked, and sure enough that's what she was doing. I told her about my sisters that all played club ball, and we had a really good time talking. The next day President Pritt called to let us know that a good impression had been made and the family had agreed to let us come over and teach Nicole the lessons in preparation for her baptism. We were really excited about it, and we are praying that we'll be able to teach Brother Towns as well.

Another neat teaching experience we had this week was with Eric. He's 21, is attending FGCU (Florida Gulf Coast University), and is dating a member in the ward. He met us over at the church and we were able to give him a tour and teach about the Restoration. He was raised Baptist, and had a bunch of questions about the origin of the church and need for prophets. It felt like a pretty good lesson and he seemed to understand everything well. Although he was a little skeptical about the Book of Mormon he agreed to read and pray about the chapter we had left with him.

As for CJ and Lisa, we had a lesson with him them this week as well. They had gone searching throughout the Internet and found some anti-Mormon material. They were really levelheaded about all of it though, and we were able to answer the questions that they had. We also were able to reteach the Book of Mormon and discuss Joseph Smith. It has been interesting to see how Lisa was the one who was originally interested, but now CJ is the one who is the most willing to progress. They weren't able to come to church this last week, but they should be able to come this next Sunday.

Well I love you all so much! Have a great week and know that I'm praying for you.


Elder Kade Bartschi

President's Letter

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Happy February! With all of my heart I believe in you. Thank you for continually striving to improve your service and your lives. Thank you for believing in and for expecting miracles. The adversary is not happy with our depth of commitment and progress. I want to remind you again how important you are to me. Your present and future happiness is a passion for me. I know that you can be happy and successful and protected from the adversary if you give your heart to the Lord and if you build your life on the Rock of our Redeemer. A few weeks ago I wrote about how Peter grew from an impulsive young man to be able to be the Chief Apostle of the Lord. The change in him was so great that some scholars can’t believe he really wrote the epistles bearing his name. This change is possible for all who give themselves to the Lord. The name Peter means small stone. The Savior called him Cephas which means seer stone. The Savior saw a man with the name meaning small rock but saw in him a Seer stone who would later be a rock on which He could rely and from which truth and revelation could come. A man upon whose shoulders the Savior had laid the burden of His kingdom in that dispensation. He could do this because Peter was built on the rock of Jesus Christ. Peter had patterned his life after the teachings of the Savior. As you build and pattern your life upon the rock of Jesus Christ, you will be happy, successful and protected.

Book of Mormon prophets have also encouraged us to build our lives upon the rock of our Redeemer:

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless woe, because the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they CANNOT fail. Helaman 5:12

We have been studying about the promises in the Book of Mormon. Here is a promise. His promises are sure. Many of you have expressed a desire to carry what you have learned here with you the rest of your lives. Here we have a guarantee: if you have your life centered on the Savior, you cannot fail. I love that auxiliary verb in this scripture-cannot. It does not say, might not, or will not, but that you cannot fail-you won’t be able to fail. The fiery darts will have no power over you.

And so remember, remember dear Sisters and Elders to continue to build your life upon the rock of your Redeemer which is a sure foundation. Continue to strive to improve. Come to your studies in the morning ready to meet the Lord and to be taught by the Spirit. Remember your covenants and repent and renew those covenants each week by partaking of the Sacrament. Consecrate your life to His service. Serve Him with all your heart, might, mind and strength then you will have loved the Lord and served him the very best you can. Then you will have patterned your life on the rock of your Redeemer. I love you and believe in you.

President Summerhays

p.s. Have a Fantastic,Fabulous,Faithful,Fearless,February,Finding,FrenzyJ

January 30, 2012

Hello Family!

Well it has been a good week down here in Ft. Myers! We've been working hard and have been able to stay really busy. There are so many people that we're focusing on that are investigators and those that could potentially be, and unfortunately had to drop a couple of people this week. There are a lot of people that are willing to read from the Book of Mormon with us, but keeping other commitments don't seem to be working out. One of the investigators told us that he would never come to church with us, but he really wants us to come over and read with him. It is always really tough to move on to others that might be more prepared because I always think "Well maybe it'll be different when we go over this time...". It was pretty amazing though because as we have decided to stop visiting a couple of people for a while, other potential investigators seemed to immediately take their places. One of which was a referral from a member in Indiana. He called to let us know that his parents had recently come down to Ft. Myers and that his Dad was possibly in a position to accept the gospel. The son (Brother Zeller) was really excited to hear that I was from Southeast Idaho because that's where his Dad had lived for a couple of years. We'll stop by this week and will hopefully have the opportunity to teach them.

Some of the other investigators that we're teaching have been making really good progress. There is a young family in the ward named the English's, and they are awesome at doing missionary work. Currently three of our investigators have come from them. The three of them are good friends and one was a babysitter for the family for a few years and eventually asked if she could come to church with them. Their names are Joy, Kaylee, and Janelle, and they're all about 19. On Monday we started watching Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration with them and the English's and it went well. Because I'm new to the area I got to ask them a lot of questions to see where they're at as far as learning goes, and I think it was helpful for them to see what they've learned. The hard part is that none of the parents are very supportive of any of this, so it is making it hard for us to set solid baptismal dates with them. Hopefully things will turn out well there.

We had a regional stake conference this Sunday, and it was great. It was a broadcast from Salt Lake that went to all the stakes in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. We had the opportunity to hear from Elder Ballard and he talked about the obligation we have to share the gospel. It was a great meeting and we had 3 investigators there. Also for the Saturday Priesthood Session of stake conference I was asked to sing with a member of our ward. We did a duet of Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy. It ended up going really well and was fun to be apart of.

Lisa and CJ were really hard to get into contact with this past week. Lisa did go to a Relief Society luncheon though and had a great time. She loved the ladies that she met and we're planning on meeting up with them this week to reteach the Book of Mormon and about Joseph Smith. We're really praying that things go well there and hopefully they'll be coming to church on Sunday.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Kade Bartschi

January 23, 2012

Hey Family!

It has been a big week of changes for me. On Tuesday we had the Trainer/Trainee meeting and everyone got placed together. It was a lot of fun, and following the meeting I waved goodbye to the north half of the mission and loaded into the mission van. After about 3 hours we got down to Ft. Myers and all split up into our areas. Elder Smith is a lot of fun, and we get along great. He and I really want to work hard together, and help the area continue to grow. It's amazing, this area has so many people that are either being taught right now, or are on the verge of becoming new investigators. By the end of this week we've had one of my highest weeks for numbers of lessons taught I've ever had. It's great that we're teaching so much, and it definitely requires us to plan out our days effectively
We had a pretty great experience this week with a referral we got from mormon.org. A lady had ordered a Book of Mormon online, and so we got the text message with her name, address, and the item that she wanted. We stopped by her place and she was extremely nice. Her name is Lisa, and she's married with two daughters. We talked to her and her husband for a little bit and we bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and answered questions that she had. It turns out that Lisa has a good friend in Tennessee that is neighbors with a mormon family, and they get along really well. Well, we left them with the book after bearing testimony, and then set up a time for us to come back. The next take we got up and saw that we had a voicemail on our phone. It was Lisa, and she had heard some things about the church and had decided that she didn't want to meet up anymore. Elder Smith and I were both really disappointed, but we decided to give her a call back after saying a prayer. I talked to her and assured her that we would answer her questions, and that we would love the opportunity to finish explaining the Book of Mormon. After a little while she agreed, and said we'd be able to drop by on Sunday. We went over yesterday with an awesome couple in the ward, and everything went so well. We got to teach the entire lesson of the restoration, and they were able to feel the spirit, and they kept commenting on the fact that everything just seemed to make perfect sense. They agreed to read and pray about the things we had talked about, and Lisa is going to attend a Relief Society activity this week! Even meeting them was an answer to our prayers because we've decided that we both want the opportunity to teach a family.

Well I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Elder Kade Bartschi

January 16, 2012

Hello my family!

Well It has been another crazy week here in Tampa. Classes finally started up again, but we didn't get over to campus as much as I would have liked. Everything seems get just about out of control the last week of the transfer, and this week was definitely not an exception. We had a couple of missionaries end up leaving this week for various reasons, and we were trying to balance all of it with transfers and preparing for the new missionaries coming in on Monday. President always jokes about it and says that this incoming group must be really good if the Adversary is working this hard to ruin things here before they get there. Fortunately, President Summerhays is the most patient and calm man I've ever met. Not once does he get stressed or lose his temper, but he consistently counsels us that it is always best to just love people that are struggling.

Besides all of the stuff the went into transfers this week, we had a couple lessons with Michelle! On Monday we finished teaching her the commandments lesson, which she actually ended up teaching some of it to us. A couple of weeks ago we gave her a calendar of the next couple of weeks and explained that with her baptism scheduled for January 15, we had to finish discussing a couple of things with her. On her own, she went onto the church website and looked up most of it, so that when it came time to discuss it she was well aware of what we were talking about. Halfway through explaining fasting and fast offerings, Gene stopped me and said that Michelle already had been studying it, and could probably share what she knew about it. Sure enough, she was able to go through and explain the spiritual blessings that fasting brings, and also talked about donating money that you would have spent for the meals that you fasted during. Elder Moffett and I just smile because we can see the huge change that is taking place in her life. She has been so prepared to hear about the Gospel, and we feel fortunate to be apart of it. On Wednesday we had another lesson with her, and since we had finished teaching all of the commandments we went over the baptismal interview questions together. As we asked her questions that ranged from belief in God, to what it means to her to have a prophet on the Earth today, it's really evident that she has gained a strong testimony of the gospel. It all makes sense to her logically, and she has experienced a spiritual conversion as well. She has a personal testimony of keeping the commitments that we've left with her, so all of the questions were easy for her to answer. Friday was the day of her interview, and we had an Elder from Plant City come over and do it. We all met over at the church, and after they had talked for a while she came out with a smile and gave us a thumbs up! She told us that it all went really well, and she is so excited for her baptism on Sunday. It'll be at 12 at the church before our meetings, so she will be confirmed tomorrow as well. I'll let you know how it goes.

So, I told you in a little email, but I'm getting transferred to Ft. Myers! I have loved serving here in Tampa, but it will be really good heading down south to do some missionary work. I'll be companions with Elder Smith, which I'm excited about. He has been out on his mission for about 9 months and is from Farmington, UT. He'll be a lot of fun to serve with, and the area has been doing really well lately. Not a bad combination.

Well I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Elder Kade Bartschi

Hey, so I was finishing that email this morning, and realized that you don't know yet that Michelle got baptized and confirmed yesterday! A bunch of people from the ward showed up, and Gene's mom and sister spoke on baptism and the Holy Ghost. It was a really spiritual meeting, and great to see how well the ward was supporting her. Elder Moffett and I were witnesses and Gene baptized her. We had sacrament meeting right after the service, and I was able to confirm her a member of the church then. Almost nothing compares with seeing someone on the day of their baptism. Elder Moffett and I were completely thrilled, and Michelle was feeling and experiencing a lot of emotions. Mostly she just smiled and let us know how grateful she was for everything that had happened. It was an amazing day, and kind of hard to say goodbye to everyone there at the YSA ward. This has honestly been one of my favorite areas, and I'll miss it. I'll attach a picture so you can see them from yesterday. They decided not to change into their baptism clothes until right before the actual baptism took place so we didn't get a picture with her in the white jump suit, but this works haha. The picture is of us with Gene and Michelle.
I love you all!
Elder Bartschi
p.s. I'll be emailing on Mondays from now on

President's Letter

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Transfer week is here again. Sometimes I feel like Jacob when he wrote that ‘our lives passed away like as it were unto a dream..’ With time moving so swiftly, I continue to ask myself, “what am I doing with this time He has given me?” I feel such a determination to help us all grow together in this wonderful work.

These last few weeks have been very emotional for me. I have been thinking and pondering much about the differences in our desires to serve. Laman and Lemuel, Nephi and Sam were all taught the same things by their parents. I have asked myself why the attitude of Laman and Lemuel as opposed to the attitude of Nephi and Sam? As I pondered the scriptures, I found an answer. “They knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.” 1 Nephi 2:12. Their whining, their blindness, their rebellion all stemmed from that single source. It is clear that someone can go through all the motions of discipleship and still not know “the dealings of that God who had created them.” Last week, I wrote about the importance of knowing God. President Hunter taught us that ‘we must know God better than we know Him.’ Motions are never enough. The heart has to long for God, we must always continue to serve Him with all of our hearts.

I feel that marvelous work is occurring throughout the mission. Many more people are being prepared, found, baptized and experiencing the joy of rebirth in Jesus Christ. We are on course to having incredible accomplishments. I can feel your faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, but it is good to ask ourselves if we could ever be accused of “knowing not the dealings of that God who created us?” Or if we knew once, or know sometimes, can we still say that we are singing the song of redeeming love?

Nephi and his whining brothers have had the same circumstances, the same wind, the same hunger, the same thirst. The difference between them is Laman and Lemuel “knew not the dealings of that God who had created them” and Nephi came to know God better and better each day.

With God, Nephi is supported in his journey. He is not alone in his hardship and his hardship is less hard and he feels peace. Laman and Lemuel yearn for home and each experience made them more miserable. It wasn’t the sandstorms that blinded them, but ignorance of God’s dealings in their lives. Not knowing God’s dealings meant that Laman and Lemuel did not turn to him for answers. They remained in their wilderness instead of being guided by their God. Nephi promised us, “He that diligently seeketh shall find…”

I feel such a responsibility and such a deep desire for your present and future happiness. What you do now is so very, very important. Drawing near to the Lord, not just with our mouths, but with full purpose of heart and real intent will change this journey for us. I pray that we will always remember who we are serving, why we are serving and how we must serve. I pray that each of us can develop a personal relationship with the Lord. I feel His love and confidence in you. I love you and believe in you.

President Summerhays

January 9, 2012

Hello Family!

Well we finally got past the last week of Christmas break! Unlike the rest of you, I've been looking forward to school starting again. Starting Monday (today) we'll have institute classes to attend and people in our area. Not a bad combination.

Well this week kept us pretty busy. It all started last Monday with one of the Sisters going home. President and Sister Summerhays took her to the airport in the morning and found out that her flight had been canceled. The airline offered to get her a flight for Friday, but that wouldn't work because she was starting school at BYU-I on Wednesday. She contacted her family and they immediately began looking for flights. They found one, but she would have to be to the airport in 30 minutes to make her flight....and President had just taken her back to the mission home. Sister Summerhays called Elder Moffett and I while we were on our way to a lesson with Michelle and let us know that we needed to come pick up Sister Wright and take her to the airport.....Now. We flipped the car around and headed to the mission home, and I started making phone calls to Michelle. She was totally fine with pushing our lesson back a little bit, so we got to the mission home and threw all of Sister Wright's stuff in the car and took off for the airport. Miraculously she got there right in time to check in and get her ticket, so we wished her luck and headed to our church. We ended up getting there with a few minutes to spare, so it all worked out perfectly. Our lesson with her went really well. We taught about tithing and following the prophet, and she was totally on board with both topics. In fact, Gene had already taught her the law of tithing, so when we brought it up she actually taught it to us first. We set up a time to meet with her later in the week and we watched The Testaments with her. She really liked how she was able to visualize the Book of Mormon a little better now. It's amazing to see how much spiritual progress she has made over the last couple of weeks. When we first started meeting with her she wasn't comfortable with the thought of praying, but she let us know that at our last visit it's starting to become her first reaction when trials come her way. She also found out that she will be able to get Sundays off from now on. Fortunately someone new was assigned to do schedules at T.G.I.Fridays, so she let them know that she can't work Sundays, and without even questioning it they blocked out all the Sundays on her calendar. That was definitely and answer to prayers. Michelle is keeping all of the commitments we've extended and is really looking forward to her baptism next Sunday!

On Thursday we worked with the Brandon zone leaders and another companionship in their zone. I went with the Elders in Plant City, and Elder Moffett went to Seffner. Plant City is really rural, and like the name suggests, is the home of lots of produce. There are tons of strawberry fields, and they're all turning bright red ripe right about now. Mom and Whit, I could just imagine you walking through the fields with a bowl of Splenda and eating until you were sick. Haha but it was fun to work with them. We were able to follow up with a family has a Family Mission Plan set up, and also we gave a blessing to an investigator that they have. It was a neat experience, and she felt the Spirit during it as well.

Friday was our meeting with all the zone leaders. We went down to Sarasota and were able to train on the importance of prayer. One of my favorite quotes was from President Monson, when he told us that "Prayer is the passport to peace", and he also discussed the relationship that he has with his Heavenly Father because of prayer. It was a really great topic for me to study, and I feel like my understanding of the power of prayer has grown. One idea that we discussed was making sure we are always specific in what we pray for. Many times God is willing to bless us with things only after we ask for them. During that meeting President trained on the importance of the Family Mission Plan, and we had a lot of really good discussion with that as well. At the end of the meeting Elder Larson (who I trained/served with before) and I played a piano duet for the musical number. Remember that song that Britta and I practiced forever? I think it's called "I Know My Heavenly Father Loves Me". Well we were able to practice it a few times beforehand, and I think it actually worked out really well. It's a really nice piece and the reminder of how much we've been given is always good.

Well I love you all so much! I hope you have a great week, and know that I'm praying for you!

Elder Kade Bartschi

We had a really good week here though!

President's Letter

Dear Sisters and Elders,

I have so enjoyed interviews these last two weeks. I love looking deep into your eyes and hearts and seeing the goodness there. Each of you is one of a kind. Each of you has had experiences that are unique to you. We all have a story. But we all have in common our desire to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We know where we came from and why we are here and where we are going after this life. We know what we do and don’t do here is of utmost importance. We know if we fall short our Savior has provided us with His precious Atonement. We know it is our responsibility to share the gospel all day every day. Many of you shared your desire to really know Him and to give Him even more.

If our Savior is to become our Exemplar, we need to not only know about Him, but in a very real way, come to know Him. Elder Holland said that to come to know Him better, we must think about Him more. When someone asked Sir Isaac Newton how he came to realize the law of gravity and his Newtonian physics, He said straightforwardly, “I thought about it all the time.”

“For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” Mosiah 5:13. And so it is our question today: “Is the Savior too much of a stranger to us: Is He too far from the thoughts of our hearts?” It is a good question, but I am confident that he is very near to the thoughts of your hearts.

Here is Alma to his son Helaman, “Cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all they thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of our heart be placed upon the Lord forever: (Alma 37:36) I love that phrase, “the affections of thy heart”. Elder Holland said it would be a good little interview with ourselves to ask, “How much of the affections of my heart are placed on the Lord? How often do I think of Him?” The underlying, fundamental pledge of the sacrament prayer as we offer it each Sunday is to remember. Although there are other elements, the recurring phrase is “to remember”. In fact, “remember” is one of my favorite words. I feel that the way to remember Him always is to have a prayerful heart, a devoted spirit, something in us that says, “behind all of this is my love of the Lord, and I’m trying to remember Him always. I want you to know that I am confident that most of you feel this way.

President Benson said that “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, rather we are spiritual beings having a human experience. When we choose to follow Jesus Christ, we choose to be changed.” Thank you for being driven by your love to the Lord. Thank you for choosing to be changed. Thank you for remembering. I know the love of the Lord is the driving force behind your efforts to find, find, find, teach, baptize and retain. I am grateful that in spite of our unique circumstances, we find ourselves here in Florida on the same team—His team.

I love you and I believe in you.

President Summerhays