"Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question - Unto what were ye ordained? To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth."
-D&C 50:13-14

Tuesday, 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