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.
Well I love you all so much! Have a great week!
Elder Kade Bartschi
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.