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