"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

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

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