Monday, August 29, 2011


What a beautiful week! (Except Yesterday)!

Tuesday we spent all day out on Cumberland Head Peninsula.  It was gorgeous!  (see pictures near lake).  We also found some great people out there to try back.  One was a cool guy who ordered a BOM 5 years ago, read it, and liked it.  So we hope to get back in there next week when he his home.

Thursday we had a great lesson with Carin watching Finding Faith In Jesus Christ and talking about the scriptures and prayer.  She invited us over to her house for dinner, which is a huge step!  So we are excited for Friday.

We also started teaching a former investigator, John. He is so cool.  He already owns a quad and loves reading every night a little bit.

We are going to be helping Mrs. Edmund stop smoking this week!  It will be fun, and she is excited!

Saturday we helped out at a fundraiser to help family with kids who have cancer.  It is called Run for John.  John was the Relief Society's President's son that died at age 16 or so.  It was an awesome event with about 350 people there.  Really good people.

Sunday it was raining and windy all day long.  Apparently the hurricane did hit us, but it was only 50mph when it did.  So some lost power, and many trees are down.  But, nothing too bad, as compared with down south.  We did not do too much work in the rain (it was coming down so hard), but we still managed to get to 2 appointments that night.  It was still raining when I went to bed, but this morning was again sunny!  The water level has gotten so high!

Have a great week!  I can't beleive it is September!

Love you all,

Elder Shurtz

Monday, August 22, 2011

Preach My Gospel Class

Greetings from the other side of the United States!

It has been a relatively cool week.  Highest it ever got was in the 80's & lowest in the 50's.

We could not meet up with Carin again this week. (GRRRRRR)  but we will see her Thursday.  We are also trying to get her and the member she aids to the Preach My Gospel class that we are teaching Tuesday nights.  That will be a fun twist with a non-member there!

The class was awesome on Tuesday.  A member commented on how she has been in the church for 40-something years, and how she never realized the spiritual and social conversion needed and the vital role members play in that.  So I hope it is helping and we can get as many members as we can through it.

Yesterday we taught the second lesson in Sunday School centering around how to talk about the church and following the simple steps of Listen, Share, Testify, and Invite.  I'm going to send some of the articles we are using.  President has given us permission to use computers to prepare for the classes.

We started teaching a college kid named Ben last Wednesday.  He seems awesome, and has a good head on his shoulders.  He said he is 'kinda excited' to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.  He has always had an interest in learning about different religions, so we had a great discussion with him.  We see him again tonight, so hopefully things go well. 

Other than that, It has been a slow week.  We put in a lot of miles on our bikes.  We did about 27 miles on Saturday.  We sleep good at night!

Yesterday it started raining really hard.  I took some pictures, which are included as well.  The bridge has just re-opened and is so awesome!  It saves us about 7 minutes of bike-riding from our apartment and church.  It has been closed for the last month or so.  When the rain really hit, we had to take shelter in a high school football ticket booth which was luckily open so we could keep ourselves from getting completely soaked and so we could dump the water out of our shoes.

The other picture is of us with the Senior Couple, the Bradley's, and Peck.  Peck is from China, investigating the church in California, and came here for little summer schooling and sightseeing.  He has such an awesome personality.  He left today and is going to Maine for a little while, then going back to California.  We had dinner with the Bradley's and him last night (YUMMMM).  He will be missed by the branch.

Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Shurtz

Monday, August 15, 2011

In My Dreams!

Renae asked if I have had any sleeping stories like sleepwalking, etc... I do not. 

But I have had some wicked dreams on my mission.  Last night, we (the family) had the quorum of the 12 apostles over for dinner at our home (Wenatchee home).  Then the next thing I know, a bunch of people from school started showing up as well.  It was strange, but now I can at least say I ate with the 12 apostles (in my dreams).

When Emily got her mission call, I had a dream that we were companions exercising in the morning.  Then it switched to me waltzing with this really tall black guy who we were teaching at the time. 

I've also had multiple dreams of teaching people back home, or being home, yet still a missionary.  In another dream, dad was my companion and we went tracting all day.
I guess when your mind and body are constantly going, so is the 'dream maker' part of your mind.

Tuesday morning, 5 minutes from leaving the apartment, this little girl on her bike ran into me and my bike.  She is fine.  As she went her way and we went ours, I noticed that my front tire was all bent up!  Luckily, we had a spare tire, so we pedaled back up to replace it.

Transfers are this week ,and both Elder Rammell and I are staying.  Elder Potter is going home!  I'm going to miss him.  I served with him when he was 14 months out, now he is going home, and I am 14 months out! 

This week we did not see Carin!  It was sad.  She also couldn't come to church, so we hope to see her this Wednesday.

The weather has been nice and cool.  A few showers (or buckets of rain) every so often.

We did not have the Preach My Gospel class this week because it was Branch Conference and the District was in charge for all three hours.  But we will be starting a second class that will run at the same time only on Tuesday nights.  So we will be starting that tomorrow.

Hope you have a great week! 

Elder Shurtz

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Week in the Life

Zone Conference - July 28, 2011

This past week has gone by so fast!  It seems like days just blend together.

Monday - We picked up a new investigator, CJ.  It is a friend of a member who is less-active.  We hope to get him at church some time.

Tuesday - We started teaching a lady named Shannon.  She has two kids, one with Autism.  She is curious, and busy.  We will be seeing her again tomorrow.
We also met with Mrs. Edmunds, and we are still chugging along with her.

Wednesday - Met with Carin and taught her the Word of Wisdom.  It will probably be one of the hardest things she will have to do, and she is stressed out about it.  We are praying she will find peace and courage to do it.

Also met with a less-active who seems to have brightened up.  She even fed us dinner on Saturday, and came to church yesterday.

We also met with Jamie, and read a little from Alma 32 with him.

Thursday - Elder Rammell and I talked-trained on Christlike attributes in district meeting.  Then I went to Lake Placid on exchange with Elder Natrace.  He has a great spirit about him, and is so bubbly.  We had a great time talking to people all night at a public celebration and on the streets.

Saturday - Met with Shannon and CJ again.  Shannon loves to discuss things, where CJ is a little more quiet.

Sunday - We started a 3-week Preach My Gospel class, with 7 people in attendance (invited by branch president).  It went well.  We are excited to see what happens.  It is weird teaching adults AT church.  We walked the majority of the day around the church.  But, when we decided to go get our bikes, it started raining!  So we had fun in the rain.  Visited a few more people and had a great night.

I am excited for the work this week, and I hope it goes well.  I love you all.  Have fun on the lake.

Elder Shurtz

President's Weekly Message

August 8, 2011

Dear Elders and Sisters,

       There is a phrase in the “Standard of Truth” statement made by the Prophet Joseph Smith that we often quote, yet I sometimes wonder if we understand it.  It refers to one of the ways that Satan and his followers will oppose this work.  It says, “calumny may defame.”  The dictionary defines calumny as “a false statement made to injure someone’s reputation.”  Defame means to “attack the good name of; harm the reputation of; speak evil of.”  Moroni’s prophecy to the young Prophet Joseph that there would be “both good and evil spoken of [his name] among all people” (JSH 1:33) has certainly come to pass.  Unfortunately, too often the proportion of evil that is spoken seems to outweigh the good.  As a result, there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the Church and its members.  In a talk given at Harvard University by Elder Oaks, and later referenced in the Ensign (January 2011) he said, “We Latter-day Saints know that our doctrines and values are not widely understood by those not of our faith. This was demonstrated by Gary C. Lawrence’s nationwide study published in his recent book, How Americans View Mormonism. Three-quarters of those surveyed associated our Church with high moral standards, but about half thought we were secretive and mysterious and had ‘weird beliefs.’”  The Church News also referred to Brother Lawrence’s study by saying that “more Americans currently have a strongly unfavorable impression of Mormons than a strongly favorable one—by a ratio of five to one” (Church News, September 11, 2010).  It seems calumny has defamed—at least to some extent.  That is why it is so important that we “go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till [we have]… sounded [the truth] in every ear.”  The Church News article previously cited pointed out that the purpose of the campaign is “to dispel myths about our religion [by having] Latter-day Saints speak for themselves.”  The article goes on to say, “the best way for a person to change his or her mind about the Mormons is to meet one.”  We must do all we can to engage in conversation with as many people as possible in a positive way.  We must do all we can to clarify any misunderstandings that may exist about the Church by teaching truth every opportunity we get.  We must do all we can to leave a favorable impression on those we meet.  We must do all we can to help the members of the Church do the same.  We know that “no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing,” (HC 3:30) but if the adversary is more active in spreading rumors that we are in spreading truth it will certainly slow the work.  “Therefore, dearly beloved brethren [and Sisters], let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power” (DC 123:17) to undo any calumny that may have defamed the beautiful truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and invite all to partake of its blessings.

       We congratulate the following on their baptism this week: Marlene Flanders in Albany, taught by Elders Checketts, Christensen, and Bergman;  Jayden French in Greene taught by Elders Vicchrilli, Olson, and Spencer;  Edwin and Irene Baker in Elmira, taught by Elders Call and Butler; Harley Ledbetter, taught in Carthage by Elders Nielson, Stanton, and Daniels-Brown.

       Our thoughts and prayers are with you always,

       President Bulloch

Monday, August 1, 2011

Zone Conference

This will probably be a short email.  Weather was better.  A few days of rain, and I don't think it broke 100.

Rebecca dropped us. With her handicap we think she got too scared and
stressed out.  So we are no longer teaching her.

Carin was gone this week.  We have an appointment with her on Wednesday.
Jamie and Leona STILL have not come to church! 

We seem to be cleaning our teaching pool right now.  But, we are
having a hard time filling it!

Yesterday, we gave half of the lesson during the 5th-Sunday Relief
Society/Priesthood talking about missionary work and introducing the
members to the mission plan.  We hope to have the Preach My Gospel
class going next week.

Zone Conference was amazing!  President talked about Repentance and
Pride (can you have a better zone conference than that!) :)  We had a
scripture chase.  Elder Potter was first, President Bulloch second,
then I was third.  (Is that prideful????)

We talked about how repentance is about changing.  I loved what
president put in his email this week: "We all have things we need to
change, and the “enabling power” of the grace of Christ provides us
with the “divine means of help or strength” (BD, 697) to make those
changes.  A key to making lasting change is focusing on “small and
simple things” (Alma 37:36).  President Eyring has said, “My
experience has taught me this about how people and organizations
improve: the best place to look is for small changes we could make in
things we do often” (CES address, 6 February 1998).  In other words,
improvement comes best by changing little things we do often, rather
than making drastic changes all at once."

Elder Kunzler (AP) at Zone Conference asked me how long I have been
out, and my heart sunk when I realized I have been out 14 months
tomorrow.  Time goes by fast.  Don't waste it!

I was reading in 3 Nephi this morning about the Lord blessing the
children and how he wept.  It reminded me of the question Enoch had
for the Lord when he saw Him wept:

 25And he saw angels descending out of heaven; and he heard a loud
voice saying: Wo, wo be unto the inhabitants of the earth.

 26And he beheld Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it
veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and
laughed, and his angels rejoiced.

 27And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony
of the Father and Son; and the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were
caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.

 28And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue
of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How
is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain
upon the mountains?

 29And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep,
seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?

 30And were it possible that man could number the particles of the
earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning
to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out
still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou
art just; thou art merciful and kind forever;

 31And thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy
creations, from all eternity to all eternity; and naught but peace,
justice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go
before thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst weep?

 32The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the
workmanship of mine own hands...

What great love He has for us!  Can we but come unto him and be
healed?  Can we come to grasp the depth of his understanding and
wisdom, love and devotion?

Elder Shurtz