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