"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.