Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas has come and gone...bring in the new year!

Family Testimonies
Hello Everyone!
What a great week!  Monday we had another lesson with Heather, talking about the plan of Salvation (we spent Wednesday as well talking about it).  She had many questions, and on Wednesday she had all the questions in the pamphlet filled out, even when we didn't even tell her about it!  It is so amazing to see someone gain that desire to follow Christ, even when they do not fully understand that desire.
Tuesday, we had a lesson with Jaymie, which went good.  She want to figure this out and not be fake.  She also wants to include her family in this, which we are excited for too.
Thursday, we met with Hope.  She is going through a lot of things right now, but yet has the best attitude I have ever seen.  What a great woman she is.  The whole court thing is going to carry into January, so we are anxiously waiting for it to go through.

Christmas Eve, we decided to go out to those areas we normally don't get to.  We spent most of the day tracting.  In fact, when we where just leaving a cop pulled us over, because some people thought we were 'casing the houses' so we could be Grinches and burglarize all the homes.  He said we where the best dressed burglars he has seen!  We then had Pizza and Wings (a big thing here in New York) at the Sanders.  The Sanders are the best.  They are always helping us out, despite there many health, and other problems.  True servants of Christ.
Christmas Day, we woke up, and when through our normal daily routine (exercise, shower, dress, breakfast, hour for personal study, and hour for companion study).  Then we opened presents.  We then went over to the Sanders again for dinner, where there was enough food to feed 40, yet we only had 6.  (In the pictures: Teddy in the black guy, Sister sanders is next to him; Brother Sanders is the guy by the chair; and Brother Capron, a strong recent convert, is at the dinner table).  I ate way to much.  Then we stopped by a few less-actives and even read a bit from the book of mormon with one of them.  That night, we called home.  It was so weird to dial home on the same phone we work with every day, and even weirder talking to family on it.  But it was nice to hear everyone voices.
Sunday we did not have any investigators to church (grrrrr...), and it was a record low for the year of 14 people.  It was so cold last night, spent most of the day visiting old investigators and others who said they might be interested.  A lot of time tracting too.  And I loss one of my gloves!  So today I need to buy some more.
Thank you everyone for the gifts!  My life is truely blessed.  The Books of Mormon made me tear up and will find good people to give them to, to bless their lives.
I love you all,
Elder Shurtz
Elder Robinson's Loot

Candy, Candy, Candy!

Teddy & Sister Sanders

Brother Sanders

Brother Capron


Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Week!

Tis the Season!  The question on my mind all week has been: Why have I been so blessed?  I can list all the things I am blessed with (Family, gospel, friends, people, ect...) but why?  Then I think about how important it is for me to share what I have been given, and maybe that is the reason why, so that I can share it with others...
Tuesday we found a sweet lady named Jaymie, who is excited and has been reading from teh Book of Mormon.  We are seeing her again tomorrow.
We saw Hope thursday.  She is going through a hard time (has not been able to come to church now for about a month) because of one good reason or another (car trouble, can't find anyone to babysit, ect...).  THis is a stressful time for her, and we are praying real hard everything will work out.
Friday we found another sweet lady.  Her name is Heather and she lives in a small town called Clockville.  Her father just passed about a week ago, and almost the first words out of her mouth was 'I have some questions for you!'  She asked a lot about life after death and where we think her father is.  She is an awsome lady.  She has not been too religious in the past, but says she has a desire to be baptized.  So we set a goal for Febuary 5, 2011.  We are seeing her for the secound time tonight.
Things are slowing down with the season, everyone is telling us to try back after the holidays.  We have been invited to Chrstmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner by the Sanders Family (same people for thanksgiving).  They are so wonderful, and are so helpful.  Real deciples of Jesus Christ.  I have no idea what we are doing the rest of the day.  Maybe tring to see the fatherless, the widows, and those who will just be alone for the Holidays.
I was watching the nativity last night with a recent convert, and I thought about Joseph.  Could you imagin, trying to find your new wife a place to stay and give birth to the Son of God, but could only find a manger?  Imagin what it would have been like to tell her that this is the only place where there is room.  How amazing the Christmas season is.
I Love you all!  Merry Christmas.
Elder Shurtz

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Transfer Five

It is a new Transfer.  I can not believe I have been out for six months.  Where has the time gone?
I will be honest.  This will be an interesting transfer.  Elder Robinson has been out about 11 months, and we have different personalities and we work at different speed.  So I am going to learn much about patience, as well as working with different people.  It is an exciting time.
My new companion is Elder Robinson
I'm not going to write much, because I am short on time.
Amy came to church! and we are seeing her on Thursday.  We haven't been about to meet with her for about 3 weeks now, and so it will be good to see her again.  She KNOWS it is true and that she will be baptized.  It is the date that is the question.
Hope, did not come to church.  She is having a hard time to get a baby0sitter for the kids, especially since her husband does not want the kids involved.  But, we hope to meet with him this season and just meet him at least.
Dana, no real update there.  She did not come to church nor did we meet with her this last week.  But I hope this week.
It seems like we did not meet with too many investigators.  but we have found some awesome people who have the potential of becoming an investigator.  We have also been visiting a lot of less-actives, trying to straighten the 'root' of the tree (Jacob 5:73)
We had 2 less-actives come to church.  One who came 3 weeks ago, and haven't been to church in awhile.  I'm excited to see him come back, he [bro french] is so awesome!
I have been reflecting a lot on repentance and the atonement this week.  What a wonderful time of the year to come closer to our savior.  The president just happened to quote the scripture that has been in my head all week (D&C 18:13).  How much our Father loves us when we follow him, despite our past rebellion.  Feelings of fear towards repentance is Satan trying to hold us back.
I love you all.  Thank you for all that you do.  I hope to be getting a copy of all your Christmas cards this year!  'What a most wonderful time of the year'
Elder Shurtz

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


The Twenty-Seventh Email Of Elder Shurtz The Missionary
To The
Elder Shurtz, called to be a missionary of Jesus Christ through the will of God, to all his family and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
What a great last week!  Tuesday we met with Craig, someone we met 8:45 at night with his son on the streets.  He is an awesome black man, who is just wanting to come closer to the Savior and help improve his life for his children. 
Wednesday, it was raining mightily hard.  After District meeting, Elder Potter and I went tracking for about an hour, and are pants were completely soaked by the time be got back in the car.  We grabbed to lunch and Subway as we went the the extended care building for some service.  As we where getting lunch and the rain turned to snow.  It was pretty bad (especially for a 2 wheel, 12-passenger van).
Friday, we was tracking in the city of Onieda and decided to drop into the funeral home to see if we could sign up and help out in any way.  The coordinator knew exactly who we were, had us come into his office, and showed us a scrapbook of missionaries from the 70's who used to stay at that funeral home!  There was some funny elders back in the 70's.  He asked us if we could give 5-10 minute speeches as funerals if they needed somebody, of which we said we could.  We also found a new investigator, Judy, who loves Glen Beck and is interesting in learning more about the church.  Her daughter next door said she would be interested too! 
Saturday, we got transfer calls.  Elder Potter and I thought for sure we were staying together.  But I guess not!  Elder Potter is being transferred south to a small town called Green.  My new companion is Elder Robinson*.  We switch tomorrow.  I went on exchange once or twice with him my first transfer.  It will be a learning and growing transfer.  I am excited.
Sunday it started snowing (and has not stopped since).  Hope did not make it to church for the second time in a row, but we did have Dana, an investigator we tracted into at 8:20 the same night we found Craig.  She is awesome.  A little uneasy because she had not gone to a church in years.  It is so amazing/joyous to see people progress closer to their Savior.
The First Presidency Message was amazing!  I am excited to focus more on the savior this Christmas Season, than my more selfish self in the years past.  What a great time to come closer to Him!
Yesterday it was still snowing (lots of it, but is is very light and it is drifting a LOT).  But we has people to see.  It is so amazing to see the hand of the Lord work, where we wont be outside in the cold everyday without end.  It seems like we are able to see more people on horrible days.  A blessing of the Lord.
Today is still snowing!  What a wonderful time of the year.  I love you all!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Sounds like it has been a busy week in the family!
Congratulations to Erin, Dave and Nolan!  I can not wait to see pictures!  I am also excited for Melinda and Brian for #4 due in July!  What a great blessing family is.  I know I have taken my family for granted too many times.  We truly find the greatest happiness when it is with our family centered on the teachings of Jesus Christ.
I would also like to congratulate Dad on his traffic ticket.  Well done!    Before my mission (pre-missionary life) I would love to speed.  But I guess the guilt got to me, and I'm not doing it any more (at least knowingly).  It is amazing how it it the 'little things' that get us.  The frog in the pot of water is exactly how it works!
This has been an interesting week...
First off, Hope.  She was delivering newspapers and her son jumped in the trunk while she ran inside to drop off the paper.  Somebody saw him jump in their and called the cops.  Apparently that's like a huge No, No.  So she has to go through a bunch of court stuff.  The stress of it all is just building up.  There are a lot of trials she is going through right now.  So until it is cleared up, or taken care of, we have to move the date back.  Pray for her!
We have not been able to meet with many of our other investigators, but I guess that could be mainly due to the fact of Thanksgiving.  We did find a new investigator though!  His name is Bob, and he has been going through a hard time, fighting cancer.  He is SUPPER humble.  We have not had too much time with him (we are seeing him tomorrow), but what a awesome guy.  People are so wonderful!  Sometimes we can get caught up in thinking about their faults or negative attributes, but they are children of God!  Why do we do that!  We are all brothers and sisters.  I am always humbled when I try to see people the way Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ sees them.
Thanksgiving was weird.  No way around that.  We started out our day tracting in the morning for two hours.  We found someone going to school in Buffalo who said he would be interested in missionaries vising him there.  We had dinner with the Sanders family who also had Bill Capron over (baptised about 8-9 months ago).  Dinner was good (though not as good as the cooking at home)  What wonderful people though, the Sanders.  They have so many things that gives stress into their lives, yet they sacrifice and consecrate hours of time to the Lord.  We also had weekly planning (3hours) and we visited some less-actives and people who might be alone for the holidays.
Saturday we took Dana, a new investigator on a church tour.  Our first time doing that before!  It went well, and she understood the importance of church and sacrament vs. staying at home and worshipping.  She is an awsome lady, who we tracted into at 8 at night, and said we could come back. 
We had no investigators show up to church on Sunday (first time in awhile).  But we are excited to find those prepared and helping those who are we are meeting with progress.
Today we are going to play some basketball with some of the district.  It is going to be a busy day.  I don't know if we even have enough time to go shopping today!  We will see, and survive.  It is the best thing in the world, that we are able to dedicate ALL our time and effort to the Lord.
Have a great Week!
Elder Shurtz

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a wonderful time of the year!  I love serving the Lord.  It is
hard trying to be exactly obedient in both law and spirit, but I truly
believe that is what a companion is for; to help uplift one another.
This is why the Lord has given us our weaknesses, our strengths, and
our spiritual gifts, so that we can come and rely on each other.  In
similar fashion, we all need to rely on the Savior.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to recognize our blessings and give

thanks to God for what we have.

President Bulloch included this in his email:

On October 3, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln, recognizing God as the
source of all blessings, and the need for all people to do the same,
sent a “Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day.” President Lincoln
said in part, “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been
filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.  To
these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to
forget the source from which they come…[as] the ever watchful
providence of Almighty God… [Therefore], It has seemed to me fit and
proper that [these blessing] should be solemnly, reverently and
gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole
American people.  I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every
part of the United States… to set apart and observe the last Thursday
of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our
beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.“  Thus, Thanksgiving
Day was born.  It was not a day about pilgrims, Indians and turkeys,
but a day about recognizing God’s hand in our life, and giving thanks
to Him.

President Monson commented on this beautiful principle of an attitude

of gratitude.  As we show thanks to the Lord for our blessings,
letting him know that we truly care for his sacrifice and love for us,
he is willing to bless us even more with greater joy.  Ingratitude in
not in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is not a part of the plan.  It
is a device Satan use to trap us within selfish, prideful thoughts.
If we are constantly thinking of what we do not have or what I lack,
or the misfortunes of life, we will miss the beauty and blessings
around us.

I am so thankful for my ability to serve the Lord.  For my family and

friends that support me and have helped me come to this point in my
life.  For our church leaders.  For President Bulloch, his wife, and
other missionary leaders.  But most of all, I am thankful to my
Heavenly Father who loves me.  Who sent his Only Begotten so that I
may be forgiven of my sins as I strive to follow His example.

Hope is going great!  She has been going through a ruff time right now

with family and her kids, yet she is still comes to at least
Sacrament, when many would not do such under the same conditions.
Elder Potter and I have realized on how she is understanding things
better, feels the spirit more since she has stopped drinking coffee
and has been living the Word of Wisdom.  What a great witness of
blessings that the Lord has promised us as we obey this commandment!
We taught her about tithing this week, and she is readily willing to
obey this commandment as well, despite the financial difficulties she
has.  What a great woman of faith!  She is still scheduled for baptism
on December 11th, the Saturday right after transfers.  Elder Potter
and I are hopping that both of us will be here for it!

We were not able to meet with Amy this last week.  But last Sunday

(14th), her daughter was blessed at church.  It was a beautiful
experience.  The electricity went out right before church so we all
crammed into the Relief Society room, and has one of the most
spiritual sacrament meetings I have been to in awhile.

We have not been able to meet with many of our other investigators

this week, for some reason or another, but we where able to see many
more less-actives.  Yesterday at church we had Hope come.  Also we had
2 less-actives who we saw this week come.  They had not come in
awhile, so it was great to see them, and the branch was so excited

I went on exchange with Elder Call on Friday.  It was strange working

with him again.  He has changed so much since I worked with him last
time.  He asked me a question: If a lot of people got baptized in
Oneida right now, would the unit be able to handle it?  He talked
about the Jacob 5:73, where the root of the tree and the top grew
equal, and how this is how it works in our branches and wards.
Straighten the roots, and new growth will happen.

Love you all,

Elder Shurtz

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tract (n): a continuous expanse of land [Webster]

Tract (n): a continuous expanse of land [Webster] - Tracting (verb): two guys in white shirts and ties going door to door which seems like a continuous expanse of land [Elder Shurtz]
This week has been amazing!  We had Zone Conference of Thursday.  It was my second one so far (we only have it every other transfer now, and we had a all-mission conference last transfer).  The Lord truly does work by revelation. 
Brent mentioned in his letter to me that the high council has been talking about the Handbooks, and how they are suppose to be more condensed and gives more opportunity (or agency) for revelation on the local level.  It seems like this is what the whole church is gearing towards!
President Bulloch keeps sharing when he got set apart as a Mission President, Elder Scott told him to 'trust his missionaries.'  It seems like every time we receive guidance from him, this is was he mentions.  He has also been pondering on how we as a mission can keep the work progressing, and of course he came back to the advice to trust his missionaries.  He and Sister Bulloch just got back from a yearly Mission President seminar.  The general authorities mentioned to 'rip up' any rules in the mission that are added upon the white handbook (except for those made to adapt to the culture).  It seems like every mission has the written and the unwritten rules (like only MOTAB or Hymns).  The President and the general authorities are guiding the church to a new level it seems like.
As we have greater 'agency' of choice, we can gain greater faith through the righteous acts of that agency.  Through greater faith, greater things happen, for Faith is Power. 
Thus the added rules are officially 'ripped up.'  The church has also authorized mission presidents to allow all missionaries the ability to TXT on cellphone now for missionary purposes.  This will help so much!  So many people we have trouble contacting, are so much easier to keep in contact through TXTing.
We are excited to use are new found 'agency' in faith to see a marvelous work and a wonder take place in the New York Utica Mission.
We had a huge discussion on Faith.  Often Elder Potter and I ask each other 'why do we doubt?'  President led us into the gym where he had a string tide to the basketball hoop with a weight at the bottom (creating a pendulum type thing).  We talked about the 'laws of physics' and how they are true principles, that both gravity and friction will not allow the weight to reach the same height as the release point of it is just dropped, with no other acting forces.  We all agreed it was true.  Then he had some of us (I was one) stand with the weight to our chin, and let the weight drop without moving our chin.  Do we still have that 'faith' in laws are true when that weight is coming back at you?  It was so sweet!  (I did not move :)
Faith is Power
Love is the motive
Obedience is the price
The Spirit is the key
The Restoration is the message
The Members are the means
Christ is the reason
Baptism is the way
Joy is the reward
Elder Shurtz
PS - Elder Potter's cousin said a fun little thing in his email:
The Church is True; The Book is Blue; and Jesus is a Mormon

Monday, November 8, 2010

Busy week, sweet investigators!

Hey Family!
Elder Potter and I have been so blessed the last couple of weeks with people to teach.  We have about 7 people we are teaching, and they are all sweet.  We met with most of them this past week!
Hope, we have been teaching since I got here, and she is so sweet.  She has come to church 4 or 5 times, and she loves it.  We are helping her overcome drinking coffee, but we are excited for her.
Amy is so sweet!  She is nice to everyone.  She has 2 kids, both under the age of 2.  We give her a scripture to read, and we don't even have to explain anything.  She is like, 'o, ok! This is how this scripture applies in my life.'  Her husband is a member, but is not active.  Their life is busy, but they realize that this will bring greater happiness and joy to them and their family.
Sorry, for the short email this week.  Love you all.
Elder Shurtz

Monday, November 1, 2010

No Sweat!

Things are going wonderful here!  The Lord has really blessed us.  We have found one new investigator, and today we should be meeting with the family I talked about last week.  It has been weird working in a twosome again.  We went tracting after we dropped Elder Jensen off, and we both felt like we were alone.  But, now we are back to normal (as normal as missionaries are) and have been working hard. 

Thursday we had a lesson with Amy and her less-active husband.  They are the sweetest and most awsomest people ever.  They know the gospel is true, and everything.  But they run a crazy life: getting up at 3:30 in the morning to go to work with 2 kids and getting to bed around 9:30.  We had planned to go over the Word of Wisdom, but she wanted to go over prayer, so we had this AMAZING lesson on prayer.  She can pull out of scriptures things that are so deep, and on so many layers.  Then at the end of the lesson, she gave the most beautiful and sincere prayer I have heard in a long time.  Both her and I were crying by the end of it!

Friday night we had a branch dinner, where we had a open fire outside of the church and we cooked tin-foil dinners.  It was sweet stuff!  but what was even sweeter, was the fact that we had an investigator there!  Kazim, a 17-year-old kid.  He is real sweet, and he is very outgoing in talking with people.  We had a meeting with him an hour before the event, we told him about it then and there, and he said he wanted to come.  (he did not have a phone number, so we would not invite him earlier).  We called someone up, and got a ride for him, and he had a great time.  He has been reading this history about Mormons from an LDS author, and he is so intrigued.

Sunday we had two investigators at church; Hope and Amy (and her husband and two kids)!  You have no idea how stressful Sunday mornings are for missionaries; Seeing who will come out of those you invited.  We both also gave 15-20 minute talks on missionary work, which we talked about how members can be missionaries.  It is funny how I don't sweat as much about talks anymore.

Well I hope everyone had a great week!

Elder Shurtz

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Power of Faith

It is transfer week!  Little different though, P-day is still today,
and tomorrow is the day.  Elder Jensen is being transferred to
Liverpool, right above Syracuse, boarding the Sisters in Syracuse
East.  Then, Elder Potter and I are going to be staying here is Oneida
for another transfer.

We got a little snow of Friday.  A few flake here or there.  But I
hear tomorrow it is suppose to jump to the 70’s.

What a wonderful week! The Lord has truly been blessing us.  With the
stark difference of last week with only one lesson (an inactive
member), we have found 3 SOLID investigators (2 former investigators,
and one 17-year-old from tracting), and a GOLDEN family with 5
children we are going to be picking up in the next week or so.  As we
met with the mother, father, and 16 year-old daughter, they relayed to
us of the role of Religion in there life.  My companions and I just
sat there with our mouths wide open (figuratively).  They understand
about commitment to the Lord and how putting Him first in their life.
The wife expressed how she felt that we had a message for them that
they must learn.  The daughter says she prays 4 times a day and have
been praying that her family could find the right church and she
believes that we also have a message for them.  We are calling them
today to see when we could try and sit down with the whole family and
share with the wonderful message of the Restoration of the Gospel.

At the All-mission conference, Elder Grow from the Seventy talked
about planning with faith.  As we plan, we plan 4 weeks (or so) out in
advance for how many people the Lord wants to be baptized, and then
make plans accordingly.  Although we did not meet our weekly goal so
as to be able to meet our 4 week goal, we were still greatly blessed,
with the effort and faith we put into it.

Faith… What a wonderful thing.  “If God had commanded me to do all
things I could do them.  If he should command me that I should say
unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should
say it, it would be done.  And now, if the Lord has such great power,
and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it
that he cannot instruct me how to find those whom He has prepared to
receive the gospel?” (a slight misquote of 1 Nephi 17:50-51)

I have been reading about the Anti-Nephi-Lehi ‘s and how they were so
converted to the Lord, that they would not even raise their weapons to
defend their own lives because of the many murders and violence of
their wicked past.  Are we than converted to the Lord? Are we stung
with the bitterness of our past transgressions that we will do all
that we can be cleansed and our weapons made clean though the blood of
the Lamb?

Another cool scripture is Alma 26:21-22.

Have a great week everyone!  The Lord will bless us when we not only
do what he asks of us, but we do it all not only in repetition or
habit, but in FAITH!


Elder Shurtz

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let it Fall, Let it Fall, Let it Fall!

 I guess it has just been one of those weeks.  We 'hit pavement' it seems all week, with even our most reliable investigator falling though due to her daughter being sent to the hospital.  But despite last week, I am excited for this one!  We are out to find!  I love finding!  With our efforts last week, we found some sweet potentials and received 2 referrals that we are excited to follow-up on.
It has been cold out here!  (40-50's)  It rained for about 2 days (I think Thursday and Friday).  On the second day I was driving the car (shamoo) and got it stuck on the side of the road!  It was a soft patch of grass with a little slope from off the road, and the wheels started spinning!  What joy that was.  We tried to push it out (a whatever ton 12-passenger van) with little success, only digging it deeper into the ground.  We walked a little while till we got to a farmer's place, where the lady was quite nice and called her husband to get his explorer and a chain.  We hooked it up and it came out.  The damage to the grass was not bad, after fixing it up a bit, and the owner of the property (though not sure if it was technically part of their land) was fine with it.
Saturday we met a Farmer when out tracting.  We were surprised on how well he knew his own religion (Catholic) and how he tried to convince us to join.  Though some of is interpretations of the scriptures are off-base, he spent 20 minutes explaining to us how the water and bread 'really does' turn into the body and blood of Christ in Communion.  It was interesting to understand a little deeper the reasoning behind it.  He just wanted to argue the whole time so we left soon after.  Friendly guy though.
Yesterday we had Stake Conference in Utica, and President Bulloch spoke.  He talked about a study about other's perceptions of Mormons in America.  86% 'don't know beans' about Mormons.  He talked about fear, and how that is one factors that stop the spread of the gospel.  Also how fear is based off of not knowing.  How many fear us because they simply don't know anything about us but a name or a misconception.  So he has urged members to speak about the church to others, even if it is to simply tell them about our unique message: that God, just like times of past, has called and appointed a prophet to reveal His gospel and saving ordinances.  And we can know the truth of this as we read ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon.
Have a great week!
Elder Shurtz
It's so pretty here!

Friday, October 15, 2010

I looked out the window and what did I see? Leaves are falling off the New York trees!

 It is so beautiful here!  The trees are changing colors and the weather is perfect/chilly.  I haven't been liking waking up when it is still dark outside, but at least I am excited to dig into the Scriptures and learn something new that morning.

We had an all-mission conference this last Friday!  It was so amazing.  We had Elder C. Scott Grow from the seventy come and speak to us.  

The main point we hit on was faith.  Faith is was brings power and everything is accomplished.  It is an amazing principle; so simplistic, yet so vast and deep.  I often thing about Alma, how he and the church had enough faith that an angel would come down to his son (Alma the younger) and convince in of the errors of his ways.  Do I have enough faith to find those that are prepared for the Lord?  Do I have the faith that is convaied to those we meet, and allow them to feel the spirit?  Faith is kendled by the sharing of testimony; so do I share my testimony with all those I meet?

It was an awsome experience, expecially to see all the missionaires from the past.

I have included some pictures from around here as well as pictures of Elder Potter and Elder Jensen.

I hope everything is going great.  Thank you for your letters and emails.


Elder Shurtz

Elder Potter

Elder Jensen

Elder Rickords and I

Monday, October 4, 2010


My new view of the world

Dear Everyone,
Wasn't Conference amazing!  I loved what President Monson spoke about (both Priesthood and Saturday Morning) about choices (the three R's - Right, Responsibility, & Result) and gratitude which Elder Holland also spoke about.  I also loved it how President Monson called people to missionary services right at the beginning of conference.
This week has been packed full!  I can't believe what has all happened in the last week!  Monday night around 10:13, President Bulloch called, but we missed the phone call because we were helping Jeannette, our neighbor with her eye drops.  So we waited for morning to call.  Tuesday morning the President informed us of a missionary coming out late because of medical reasons, and he wanted Elder McCleve to train him.  We thought we were going to be in a threesome, but instead President asked me to be emergency transferred.  So Wednesday night the President dropped of the new missionary, and took me to my new area.  I am now working with two elders, Elder Potter and Jensen in the area/town of Onieda (about 45-60 minutes east of Syracuse).
Where to begin... the town is small, mostly farm land.  We have a branch with about 30 active members.  Elder Potter has been out for a little over a year and is a great example of sacrifice and diligence.  He has been memorizing a scripture a day and is now on his 300-something-another scripture.  He is a farm boy for Utah.  Elder Jensen is from a air force base in Japan.  He is a hard worker.  He has autism, and is quite a blessing to be able to come out.  He had to do a mini-mission for 3 months before he could come out for the full time.  He is a sweet guy, and is teaching me how to love and have patience.  I am also in the Rome/Utica zone, so Elder Call (my trainer) is my zone leader!  It is sweet!  I have not yet talked to him, but it will be fun to associate with him again.
We have a car!  or i should say a van!  We are allowed to use the mission 12 passenger van when it is not in use.  We call is Shamoo.  It is huge and bulky, but it works!
I love the view here!  It is magnificent!  This week the leaves will probably completely change, and we will have to take some sweet pictures.  Yesterday we were tracting in the middle of no-where and we rang the door bell, then knocked on the door when no one answered.  We were about to leave again, but I felt like we needed to ring the bell again.  In doing so a young single mom with three kids came to the door.  We shared with her our testimony how the gospel of Jesus Christ will bless her family as it has ours.  She was interested and we have an appointment with her Wednesday night.
We also had an investigator come to Sunday afternoon conference!  Her name is Hope, and she is a sweet lady.  She has a little bit of a learning disability, but is one of the sweetest ladies, and always brings a smile to everyone's face.
Well I hope everyone is doing great and enjoyed conference as much as I did!  Have a great week!
Elder Shurtz

Monday, September 27, 2010

5 Days!

Hello Everyone,
Fall is coming!  Conference is coming!  The Lord is coming!  What a wonderful time to live! 
This week has been a little slow.  Many of our appointments have been falling through.  But I get a little comfort to hear that it has been the same for everyone in our zone recently.  The weather has been nice.  It has been slowly warming up to Friday when it hit 90 (the day we spent most of our time knocking on doors and walking [even had a guy said he was calling the cops on us for waking him up at 1 in the afternoon]), to dropping back down in the 60's for the weekend.  Right now it is pouring rain.
My companion and I were riding down town on Tuesday when we stopped to talk to a group on the street.  One guy (latter find out his name is Sammy) in the party asked us if we where the Latter-day Saints.  He told us he remembered this Elder, but not the name.  After describing it, we realized he was talking about Elder Warr who just went home about 7 weeks ago.  He told us that Elder Warr never knew, but he saved his life.  Apparently we was about to commit suicide (had the noose tied and everything up in the attic), when Elder Warr knocked on his door.  He described Elder Warr as being an angel.  They never saw each other again, but what a difference that little encounter made!  You never know when you make a difference (for better or worst) in someones life.
Friday, Elder McCleve and I were washing shelves at a local library as our weekly scheduled service.  We took books off and wiped everything down, then put the books back.  One book caught my eye.  It was a little picture book and it was entitled Our Mom has Cancer .  I deiced to look at it.  It was about these two little sisters who find out their mother has breast cancer.  They talk about how sad it was with mom loosing hair, going through chemo and radiation, and being sick a lot.  But it also talked about how they spent more time with their mother, and grew closer to her.  I was curious how the book was going to end; was the mother going to survive, or was she going to die.  It turns out that she lived, and the little girl realized how hard at the time it was but that they where blessed.  They grew a deeper relationship with their mother.
I thought about how this applied to our lives.  I thought about the Savior and how through him we live and are all given the gift of being resurrected.  "The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame" (Alma 40:23) and "the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow (Alma 40:12).
I love reading the scriptures!  We do not get enough time to study!  I feel selfish for wanting to spend a whole day reading and studying.  But o'well!  I guess we will never fully satisfy our desires to do such.  General Conference is going to be amazing!  It will be weird having it start at noon instead of earlier and having priesthood end at 10!  I have just finished reading the last conference issue and been soaking it up!  My companion told me how when he was not old enough to take notes at conference his parents would have him draw in a notebook what the speakers were talking about.  I thought that was really cool, so we have been suggesting that to some families who have been wondering how to involve their children more at general conference.
Just think about it!  We get to listen to a prophet's voice!  It is like listening to Adam, or Noah, or Abraham, or Isaiah, or Moses, or Joseph Smith; BUT IT IS FOR OUR DAY!  IT IS FOR US.  DIRECT DIRECTION FROM THE LORD TO HIS PEOPLE AS A WHOLE! 
I hope everyone enjoys their week, and especially conference!
Elder Shurtz

Monday, September 20, 2010

Barbershops in Syracuse are to Dental Offices in Wenatchee

I LOVE the rain!
What an interesting week this has been!
Its been cold all week!  some mornings as low as 45 and highs of 60's.  sort of right in between of knowing if I should wear a sweater or not.

We found an electric razor with guards in our apartment about 6 weeks ago, and I cut my own hair for the second time last Tuesday night.  It is not that bad of a job if i do say so myself (3 on the sides and 5 on top).  It is interesting though not caring as much as I use to about what my hair looks like.

Wednesday, we were starting out our morning on our bikes when about 1.5 miles out Elder McCleve got a flat tire (2nd time, getting his first exactly 3 weeks earlier).  So our morning was shot walking back to the apartment to patch up the tire (it has made me grateful for the times dad had shown me how to do it).  But something cool happened that afternoon(sortof).  We had a dinner appointment at 5 with Brother and Sister Rounds and was dropped off at the church around 6:20 which gave us 40 minutes before our mission coordination meeting with the ward.  So instead of waisting time at the church we headed back down to a main street on our bikes to talk to people.  One person we talked to, named Robbie, ended of leaving her with a pass-along card (which we do with about every other person who does not have time to talk or seem to not be interested) with a offer for a free Book of Mormon.  She said that she would diffidently call in and get one (which I have heard a couple of dozen times before too, but they never did).  But, the next morning, we got her has a referral from Church Headquarters!  We are meeting with her tomorrow and are interested to see what happens.

Thursday morning, we where following up on someone we met on the streets a few days earlier who said we could come by.  As soon as we are about 4 miles away from the apartment, rain starts down pouring!  We got inside the building and found this potential investigator just leaving with her daughter.  So we set up an appointment for the next day and start going down the stairs of this apartment complex and somebody started talking to us from the top of the stairs.  It "just happens" to be Mayhon, somebody we lost contact with about 3 weeks earlier on the other side of town and have been praying to find.  I know that it was by the hand of the Lord we found him there.

Friday morning, Elder McCleve got another flat tire (we need to buy more patches now).  Luckily we were at the library where do service at and Brother Haase (great member who lend us him bikes to use) came over and fixed the tire for us.  That evening we visited a potential, Tatiana, and taught her and her friends (they are Juniors in High School).  They seem interested and we have a return appointment with them tomorrow. 

Saturday, was a beautiful day!  Chris ran away from the homeless shelter on Monday, and we had not seen him since till we saw him walking on the street.  We stopped (we had the car at the time) and started talking to him.  He got a part time job, and should be meeting with a GED program today, but things seems to be going down hill for him.  He did not show up to church on Sunday and we do not know where he is, so we are currently not teaching him. ;(  He has so much potential, if only he would commit himself.  A lot of it is based upon how he was raised, but we hope he comes back.

Saturday night we brought over our ward mission leader, Brother Bush, to meet with our neighbor Jeannette (80 year old lady missionaries have been helping for over a year now).  About 2 weeks ago she had eye surgery, and so we have been helping her every morning and night put in her eye drops (because she has Parkinson and has a hard time doing it herself).  She is a little fearful about trusting people but she seems to have this unlimited trust in us missionaries.  Through service, it has open her heart to listen to what we have to share; where otherwise she would not have listened.  She loves the Book of Mormon, and believes that Joseph Smith really did have the vision.  We need to help her over some fears, but we are excited to be teaching her "officially" now.

I have seemed to pick up a cold within the last 36 hours.  I have been coughing up a storm, sore throat, and aches and pains all over.  The last two night I did not sleep well, and even took a shower at 4 this morning to try and warm up.  But I seem to be doing better now, and hopefully when we head out tonight I will be feeling great (or at least good enough to ride the bike).

It is amazing what the gospel can do in a persons life.  I love reading from the scriptures and preach my gospel every morning.  The spirit teaches you something new everyday.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Shurtz