Monday, June 27, 2011

Look Ma, No Hands!

Look at me go!

A year ago I was in Syracuse.  I remember it being so stink'n (and it did stink) hot!  Plattsburgh is a bit better, not really getting above 80's.  But it sure does rain a lot more.  This year has been a record high in rain fall.  The lake and rivers have been flooded the last month or two.
We met with Nate and Marky on Tuesday and set Nate with a baptismal date for the 17th of September (the week after his wedding).
Carlos and Shaunna are a young couple.  They both just lost their jobs in the last month, Shaunna is 6 months pregnant, and their house was set on fire Thursday night/Friday morning.  We did not know, till we rode by their house on Friday and Carlos was standing outside.  We got off our bikes and started helping salvage stuff.  Luckily, they lived on top, and they only got a lot of smoke and water damage.  Someone set fire to it (and 2 other homes and businesses that night) at the bottom.  We smelled so bad of smoke, we took showers during our lunch, then went back after a few appointments to help move the stuff to some storage.  They are doing so well.  Currently they are bouncing around place to place, but we will see what happens.  They are so awesome. 
Then the next morning we helped some random people move out for a few hours.  It drove me nuts because they did not know how to pack effectively, but they had us lift all the large and heavy stuff.  (no piano, which is always a plus)  I was so tired after that!
That night, we went to a graduation party of the daughter of the branch missionary leader.  It was strange, but thanks to Corrine, a sophomore back from Dixie, introducing us, we have two teenage girls we hope to start teaching this week.  One of the girls name was Mary.  She must have asked Corrine (who she did not meet till that night) what was up with the peeps in the shirt and ties, because Corrine, with a loud voice, starts talking about the church and how most of the people at the party are members, answering her questions about how we are Christian, and what missionaries do, and how she has been writing a few missionaries in the last couple of years.  We were introduced.  A little strange, because she asked if we could write each other, but awesome because when she found out we couldn't, she still accepted an invitation to learn more about the church.
Sunday, was awesome as well because we asked Sister Maulding's aide who has been coming to church with her, if she would like to take the missionary lessons (she has such a sweet spirit and awesome personality), which she said she would love too.  She has been loving church the past couple of weeks she has gone, and even started bringing her kids!  We also had 3 lessons with investigators, and dinner with the Branch President and his wife (both from Mexico), and two non-member friends they wanted to share the gospel with.  They are a little too excited, and share maybe a little too much, and the people are not all too interested.  But they are so excited to share.  And I feel they have gain a trust with us, to try and share the gospel with their friends.
Well, we got to get going.  Elder Perkins is leaving tonight from the Palmyra temple trip tomorrow and I am staying here with Elder Bowels (Zone Leader).  I got a lot of laundry today as well, and the spin cycle on our washer does not work!
Love you,
Elder Shurtz

Monday, June 20, 2011

Boyd K. Packer!

Things seem to be working out, and moving!
Mark and Mindy, who we have been teaching, came to church.  We also had Amanda, a less-active young adult, who we have been working with there as well.  It was an awesome Fathers day service.  Great talks that our investigators could relate to easily, awesome Gospel Principles class of Gifts of the Spirit, and talking about Eternal Families in Priesthood.  We also had 98 people in Sacrament!
We are teaching 8 people right now.  6 of whom we have picked up in the last 3 weeks.  Mark, we have been teaching before I got here, and Mindy (his girlfriend) we just started teaching.  Nate is a member's fiance, who is planning on getting married in September.  Jamie and Leona are awesome people, with 6 kids.  The hard thing is going to be getting them to church because of other Sunday meetings.  Jessica was taught by missionaries in the past and is a great lady, with lots of potential.  Brian and Patty are boyfriend and girlfriend, who we hope to help out.
We had an awesome lesson with Amanda yesterday, where we talked about repentance.  We read Alma 36, then turned to D&C 130, talking about commandments and as we obey more the more blessings we receive then turned to D&C 18 which talks about the joy God and Jesus has when we repent.  The spirit was there, and she said she was going to repent of something (I don't know what). 
Elder Checketts is back in Lake Placid.  He left Saturday afternoon.  He is working with a VISA waiter going to Russia.  So hopefully he is here till we get another missionary, or we will have to work two areas again.  Before he left, we went on a blitz with the Zone Leaders (both work in our area with us).  It was awesome!  Had great lessons and got a lot done with one companionship of 2 and another of 3.  People looked a little scared as they saw 3 elders walking and two more riding past them on bikes.  'O NO!  THERE'S MORE OF THEM!'
I've never been in an area where we got yelled at or honked at so much.  I'm not sure how many are friendly vs not-so-friendly.  There are many college kids, and the college does not have a liking for the church (it is also one of the top party schools).  Our favorite yell this past week was from someone in a car passing yelling: 'Boyd K Packer!'  We don't know why him, but we got a good laugh out of it.
Hope you all have a good week!
Elder Shurtz

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mission Tech Support

It has been a crazy week.  Wednesday we went down to Lake Placid to work in our other area, but all our appointments fell through, so we did lots of tracting in the 80-90 degree weather. 
Thursday, President Bulloch trained at our district meeting on studying the scriptures - showing great examples of how symbolism and different poetic styles of speech can bring greater meaning to the scriptures.
On Monday, President called me and asked me to go down to Utica to fix the computers at the Mission Office.  They had two new computers they needed to set up, and their person in the ward who normaly helps with computers, does not have great computer skills to start with.  After District meeting on Thursday, President and Sister Bulloch took me to Albany (3.5 hours), where we met up with the AP's, who took me into Utica (2 hours).  In the car with President, he had me review all the directions the church gave, and basically told me I had free reign.  If I needed to buy something - buy it.  If I needed to use the internet - use it.  Don't do the morning program, or anything, just work on the computers and get them going.
I got into the mission office around 6 that night, and started working.  I had Elder Riedelbach (Senior Elder who works in the office) as my companion.  Started working and spent the night with the AP's who then dropped me off at the office at 8 the next morning.  I got all the computers working, and office staff happy by the end of the day.  President then asked for some help on his home computer recovering lost pictures and documents.  I finished around 10:15 Friday night, then slept at the mission home that night.  The next morning, President and Sister Bulloch drove me most of the way back to Plattsburgh and Elder Bradley from Plattsburgh drove me the rest of the way.
I'm glad I am back in the field.  Working on computers is fun, but missionary work is so more rewarding.  Saturday night, Lawrence Hooper, the investigator in Saratoga, just got baptized.  We originally had a date for the 25th of this month, but his date was moved to the 11th, because he was super prepared.
I was reading in Alma 30 and 31 this morning (first morning study since Thursday).  Elder Hall said if we don't do the simple things, we could end up like Korihor.  Then in 31, the Zoromites fall away because they would 'not keep the commandments.'  It is amazing how it is truly the scripture study, prayer, and church which keeps us on the right track. 
Elder Shurtz

Monday, June 6, 2011

4 New Investigators!

The week goes by so fast!
This week we found 4 new investigators.
Jessica is a former investigator, who has a crazy life, and doesn't really believe in anything, but felt something, so wants us to come back.  She was going to come to church last week, but her kid got head lice!  So no fun.
Brother Lee, missionaries have been teaching for the past 6 years, so we are picking him up again and see if he will keep commitments.
Brian and Patty have met missionaries in the past, and actually called us over as we where walking by.  We taught a little bit about the book of mormon and then set up an appointment for this Saturday.
Thursday we went down to Lake Placid, to work in Elder Checketts area.  He has some sweet people he is working with, so we hope a VISA missionary will be able to get here, but no news yet.
Instead of district meeting this transfer, we are having zone meetings (not zone conference - just a big district meeting with the whole zone) every week in our zone.  It is going to be intense.  We started the transfer with an MTC address from Elder Holland from January, talking about the areas where missionaries need to improve: 1)study effectively - 2) plan effectively - 3) teach clearly and towards commitments.  This week president is coming, and teaching on effective study.  I am way excited!
I love you all, and hope you have a great week!
Elder Shurtz