Monday, January 31, 2011

A Day in the Life

A day in the life as a missionary:
-wake up at 6:29; pray.
-throw on some sweats, and go running.  (This morning it at 8 degrees
and we had some twilight!)
-throw a note card with a scripture on it in ziplock and memorize it
while taking a shower
-listen to your companion sing hymns in the shower (slightly off tune
:) as your trying to decide which tie you will wear today (of course
it has to match your outfit)
-eat instant oatmeal and pop tarts as your reading from the Book of Mormon
-frantically try to study all your questions in an hour of personal study
-figure out how and practice teaching those we will be teaching that day
-rush out the door at 10:00 after prayer, throwing on coats, boots,
hats and gloves.
-stand behind our 12-passenger van as your companion is backing it up.
-travel around, dressed in black, in a big van all around town,
getting out an knocking on peoples doors .  (scary to some people;
unsure why...)
-walk, talk, and knock the majority of the day.
-teach an awesome lesson
-walk, talk and knock
-pray with people on the streets and on their doorsteps
-invited into random people's homes.
-get slobbered by the dogs (don't forget the dog hair)
-stand behind the van as your are turning around
-eat lunch and dinner sometime in there.
-find someone awesome to teach
-find someone
-get back to the apartment at 9
-plan for the next day
-crawl up the stairs
-brush teeth (with my new tooth brush:)
-write in journal
-pray and bed

Jaymie and Alicia (I guess I have been spelling it wrong) have been

doing great (or at least spiritually).  Alicia had her tonsils pulled
out on Tuesday, and there might be an infection so she is not feeling
too good at the moment.  They did not come to church because of it.
Jaymie told us on Friday though that when the people at the Hospital
asked her what her religion is she said 'Mormon!'  We did meet with
them Monday and Friday.  We talked about the Plan of Salvation and the
Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jaymie is starting 2 Nephi and loves to read
from the Book of Mormon.

We met with Hope on Saturday, and she can to church on Sunday!  I have

never seen a person with more 'bad luck' than her.  But she is a
strong woman.  She is a blessing and example in my life.

We are in a need to find more people to teach!  We are only teaching 4

people at the moment (Jaymie, Alicia, Hope, and Heather).  But, we
have Zone Conference this Wednesday, so that might give us the extra
boost we need.

The church is coming out with a new campaign in advertisements: 'I am

Mormon'  It focuses a lot on people getting to know members, even by
the internet.  Members can put a profile on and talk about
their life as well as answer questions that frequently asked.  We have
new cards to hand out and everything.  As missionaries we are asked to
get on the computer for an hour during the week and study
as well the advertisements the church are using.  We do this so we can
direct people we meet to certain profiles and movies which we are
inspired to give.  We can also use it so people can meet some of the
members in the area; especially when there are very few of us
relatively on the east coast.  Helps people to see we do not dress in
white shirt and ties all day, going around knocking on people's doors.
It allows us to address misconceptions, like Jen was talking about in
her email.

So the challenge for each of you is to go to and create a

Also check out some other profiles and movies, in addition checking out
some advertisements the church is using at:

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Brother/Son/Friend in Christ,

Elder Shurtz

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Many are called, but few are FROZEN!

Wise words of the mission president:  'Many Are Called (sometimes cold), But Few Are FROZEN'
It has been a cold weekend!  Nostrils sticking together, scarf freezing, sneezing, sniffling, etc.  This morning the thermometer  was below 0.  Last night, with the wind chill, it was around -15.  What a fun time, isn't it?
Well, the highlight for the week is the lesson we had with Jaymie and Alesha last Monday which I talked about last Tuesday.  But, it was cool to hear that Alesha had an amazing time at both Mutual and the ice sculpting stake activity on Saturday in Rome.  She then went out with some of the women in the stake and went ice skating.
Then Sunday Jaymie, Chris (husband) and Alesha came to church!  We have another appointment with them tonight.
I was reviewing some of my Book of Mormon notes and came across this scripture in Alma 28:14 'And thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord.'  We got to work.  And we got to work hard with diligence.  For there is a great need and a great calling.  Hopefully, we all don't have to be frozen.
Have a great week!
Elder Shurtz

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Transfer Calls!

Elder Robinson and I are together for anther 6 week! Oneida has been the longest area so far. I was in Syracuse for 14 weeks, and I am something like 18 or 19 weeks so far in Oneida. We are excited, though we got a lot to work on!

Monday-Wednesday of last week was full of appointments falling through and tracting; But Thursday we taught Hope, Jaymie, and two less-actives (every lesson with a member too!). Friday we met with Craig, and Brother French. And Saturday-Sunday was more appointments falling through and tracting. All-in-all, it felt like a good week; especially Sunday at church! We had a good turn out at church. Even President and Sister Bulloch came to visit!

Hope came to church! (first time in 6 weeks) We hope to keep working with her. We meet with her almost every Thursday. She is ready and wants to be baptized, but she just have to wait a bit and work with the family a bit as well. But, I am sure things will work out.

We also had Jaymie come to church too! She also brought her 12 year-old daughter, Ashley. Jaymie could not stay all three hours, but Ashley did! Ashley went with Victoria, President Colbert's 12-year-old daughter who goes to the same school, to Sunday School and YW.

Yesterday, the day after church, we had a lesson with Jaymie, and Ashley joined us as well. We were trying to figure out what to teach them all week, and decided to review the restoration because it 'felt right.' Then, when making a lesson plan we felt silent prompting to focus a little more on the dispensation/apostasy cycle. It end up, that is exactly what Jaymie needed to hear! She said she was feeling uncomfortable about the whole Joseph Smith thing, but after realizing that there is this cycle and Joseph Smith is but one of the prophets God has called to restore truth, she became excited. It was amazing to see the 'light' in Jaymie's eyes and how happy her daughter was. The spirit works within us, sometimes when we don't even notice it! It was so awesome to feel like Jaymie had a stronger direction, peace, and joy, as from other past lessons. We had President Colbert and Victoria (12-year-old daughter) with us for the lesson. It was so awesome! We had both Jaymie and Ashley pray. The spirit was so strong. Ashley is going to YW this Wednesday night, and to Rome this Saturday for YM/YW ice sculpting with the stake. We just need to talk to the father more now, but I am confident in the arm of the Lord, what ever happens, he has a purpose.

After our lesson, we went out to a small town and started talking to the Amish and the Mennonites (sorry if I spelled it wrong!) for a few hours. They are so cool! Yesterday they say it dropped down to negative nine degrees where we were. It is cold out here! I hope everyone has a good week.
I love ya! Elder Shurtz

Monday, January 10, 2011

Treasure up the words of life!

It has been a good week.
Tuesday, I went on exchange with Elder Bamrick** (he is the one who kicked me out of Syracuse).  He is not allowed to go tracting because of his leg, so we had a whole list of people to see.  We tought two lessons with members (Jaymie and a new investigator Roger).  It was good to talk to him about Syracuse.  I miss the place!
Thursday, we met with Hope and talked about church since she has not come in awhile.  Said she might be able to now, since things are getting a bit better (court case, car accidents, ect.).  It is frustrating when they are ready, but trails happen.  I guess the Lord sees fit that she was have a trial of her faith before being baptized. 
We have also been seeing a lot of less actives (expecialy since are numbers are so small now and they are finding it difficult to find people who can fill callings).  But we only have 144 people on the branch list, and most have been visited or we can not find.
Yesterday (as we were shoveling the sidewalk at the church before the services), Branch President (President Colbert) asked me if I could speak becuase the one assigned was sick.  Nothing like that to get your heart pounding.  But it was amazing, because I got up there, and spoke about God's love through the Restoration of the Gospel and words came to my mind and scriptures came to my lips (ones that I do not have memorized).  It was a testimony to me of the power of God.  Tresure up the words of life!
We had Jaymie show up to church!  That was exciting.  She could only stayed for Sacrament.
It was SO cold yesterday.  I can stand snow and rain and sun, but wind... we don't get along to well.  Luckily it was in the 20's, but it was windy and snowing.  Nothing like walking door to door for a couple of hours in that.  I decided I like the summer, 90's and 80% humidity.
I hope you all have a good week.  I love you and miss you all.  

Transfer calls are this Saturday.  It will be intersting to see what happens!
Elder Shurtz

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

It is so great to read all your emails, and see how much fun everyone has had.
This week has been a little slow.  Everyone had the Holidays on their mind, so we did not have too much going on.
We did meet with Heather again, though it was Wednesday instead of Monday, and we are so excited for her.  We taught her about the Gospel (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, Enduring to the End) and had a great discussion with the branch president there.  This week we are going to start teaching about the commandment.
We also met with a less-active who is coming back to church.  His name is Brother French.  He once was in the branch presidency (before they had a building and they met in a farm house) but had stopped coming.  He has come to church 3 or 4 times since we been seeing him (first time in like 17 years).  We asked why and he said it was all timing.  He took time off to get things in order, and just never came back.  But he realized the blessings he was missing, and is coming back.  It is so exciting!  He does not know almost anyone in the branch, because they are all new people to him; so we hope the branch can help.
Sunday, we had about 16 people at church.  A family of 5 (3 included in the 16 people) are moving out this week.  They are moving to Utah.  So are numbers are dropping, and people are getting a little nervous about it.  Brother Sanders was telling us how they use to have 120 active people before they boundaries changed, and people moved out.  We seem to need a big push on reactivation, and missionary work.  But it is a slow work with only a couple of families and a few single people.  Elder Reidleback, a senior missionary at the mission office comes to our branch with his wife, and was just assigned to be the 2nd consular in the branch presidency; so maybe he will push a little more missionary work.
It is exciting times.  I try to think about the beginnings of the church and how they grew so rapidly.  I realized it was because they were all converts and were excited to share this glad message.  Sometimes us born into the church, or convert of many years, loose that urgency.  That is why Preach My Gospel tells us to teach ALL the message of the restoration.  It is a means to invite the spirit to reconfirm truths we already have.
I love this service.  I have a new look at goals, and I'm excited to tell you more next week on how this week turns out. 
  • I wish to extend a challenge: be more involved with the missionaries and their investigators (even a little bit).  Here are some ideas:  Invite missionaries into your homes for family home evenings and invite them to share a missionary lesson or how to be better member missionaries (don't invite them to a play a game though, they got work to do!).
  • Tell them what nights your available to have investigators over at your house, or when you can go out with them. 
  • Don't wait to be asked to help 'fellowship'.  Invite them to do things with you; ask them for their phone number; talk with them.  Keep missionaires informed on missionaity experiences you are having with friends and family.
Have a good week everyone.  I love you and wish you all well!
Love, Elder Shurtz