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
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.