Monday, September 26, 2011

Life is Eternal and Families are Forever!

I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Sometimes, even as a missionary, I don't realized to a full extent what life would be like without it.  My heart goes out to the Pass Family.  I know that the Plan of Salvation is real and that Jesus made that possible.  I gained that knowledge at around 6:59am Monday morning, the 20th of October, 2003.  From what witness I received, 'I too can testify: that this is the Christ' ('This is the Christ' by James E Faust & Jan Pinborough).

It has been a warmer week!  Back into the 70's, and it even hit in the 80's.  Very humid!  We are having a huge infestation of mosquitoes.  You cannot stand still, even if you are covered in DEET.  They say it is because of the storm we had a few weeks ago.  So my hands and face are poke-a-dotted right now with bites. (I am grateful they are small, and that I don't react like Katie does to mosquitoe bites). 

We found two new investigators this week.  Yohani (Yo-hon-e) is from Africa.  He was way excited about the Book of Mormon, and when we talked with his brother later, found out that Yohani has been reading it.  YAY!

Neila we talked to on the streets, and then visited her yesterday.  She loves to read (walls covered with books). She is going though a hard time right now.  I pray we will be able to teach toward her needs, simply, and by the spirit.  And may she recognize the spirit's sweet whisperings of truth.

Mrs. Edmunds came to church yesterday!  It was exciting.  She stayed for all three hours.  I taught Gospel Principles class on how a family can be together forever.

It is awesome working with the branch members more!  The branch is more and more missionary minded.  We are getting a few referrals from the branch and the members every week now.  (knock on wood that it continues!)

Transfer calls were Saturday night.  I am getting transferred to Carthage.  It is near Watertown, and is next to a huge army base (interesting because I met a guy who was visiting Lake Placid from the base about two weeks ago, and was interested in having missionaries stop by).  I hear it is a great place.  Elder Potter was trained there, and he thoroughly enjoyed it.  My new companion is Elder Stanton (from Utah.  been out 2 transfers longer than me.  Pure-heart of a guy).  Elder Rammell is getting a great missionary up here as well.  President Bullock wants to keep the member's trust going.  Plattsburgh is going to have great things happening!

Have a great week!  I've got to get packing.


Elder Shurtz

Carin with Sister Maulding. It is aways sad to say good-bye, especially with those we have been working closely with. ;(

The branch president and first councilor and family took us on a picnic for dinner last night on the Clinton community college campus, which looks right out onto the lake.  (Amazing!)

Monday, September 19, 2011


It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

Hello people.  The weather has dropped down to the 30's this week.  It has been cold!  But it is now warming back up a bit (60's).  But Fall is definitely coming!  And everyone is saying it is going to be a bad winter.  JOY!

We had interviews with President yesterday.  It was a good, humbling experience.  He likes what we have been doing with members and gave us some amazing council.  He also helped us realize areas we can work on.  I guess that is what this life is all about: working and changing the less-than-perfect part of ourselves!  I still feel like I have a lot to learn, and lots to do.

We found a new investigator this week!  Her name is Amber.  She is about 19 years old.  Elder Rammell taught her with Elder Natress when I was on exchange in Lake Placid.  We will be seeing her again tomorrow.

I feel like I don't have much to write about this week. Weeks go be so fast.  I am always surprised when Sunday and Monday come around.

Carin is taking a small break from the missionary lessons, though she is still coming to church.  She will continue to learn and grow, but things are really hectic in her life, and having time for the lessons is a little difficult right now.  Pray for her!

Love you and miss you all.  Have a great week!

Elder Shurtz

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fertilizing the Soil!

Hello everyone!

Weather has been a little on the cool side.  We woke up Saturday morning with frost on the car windows.  So Fall is coming.  Winter in Plattsburgh is described as "being too cold to snow."  We are not affected hugely (is that a word?) by the lake effect off the the great lakes, unlike the northwest side of the mission.  It has been a week of appointments falling through, and lots of self-evaluations.

Labor day, we had a branch pot-luck with talents.  Elder Rammell and I did a skit on the spur-of-the-moment.  It was the kind where you have an overcoat, one shares a joke or story, while the other one is behind the person and be the arms and the hands.  It was fun. 

The only investigator we were able to visit with was Shannon this week.  We watched the Restoration DVD with her.  She still has not come to church!  But, we hope to keep working with her.  A week or two after we started meeting with her, she expressed how she prayed, and felt a warmth that she could not quite describe.  She is so busy with 2 kids, being a single parent, and going back to college full-time.  She can make stuff happen, for sure!  I just hope the spirit will keep working with her, and she will be able to come to church.

Carin was talking in Sunday school class about how she received 'an answer to her prayers' about something that has been stressing her out.  She seemed to be refreshed.  We are excited for her.

Besides that, we have been working A LOT with the members and less-actives.  At the beginning of the transfer we would be reporting visiting about 2 recent converts or less-actives, but yesterday we just reported seeing 6.  This is also not including the active members we are visiting to follow-up with the Preach My Gospel class to set goals in inviting their friends.

We are keeping track of who the members are working with (we call them ghost referals).  So we hope things work out!  The idea is to have them choose who and how to do it.  Some will be going into their homes, others will be invited to church!  If everyone accepts an invitation to come to church, we would have about 4 people that are member's friends!  It has been fun to see how the members react when they relize we don't want their 'referrals' (at least not yet).  We want them to get their friends, family, and acquantances involved; help them feel the spirit in their home or at a church (or church function). 

We have been finding joy in the change we have seen in one of the less-actives we have started on seeing in the last few months.  She is in her late 20's, married, with 1 daughter, and a son on the way.  She is the only member, but her husband said he is curious to have some questions answered, and learn a little about the church.  It is amazing to see the change in her countenance after she has started to read the scriptures again, taught her daughter how to pray, and talking a little about it with her husband.  She generally has a few questions when we go over, then teach her a lesson.  She comes to church when she can.  It is hard as a nurse sometimes.

We have also been having a good time with Diane and Eve (most recent-converts).  They are so excited about church.  Diane should be getting a calling soon.  We also got them started with Family History, and hope to get them to the temple soon.  They went to the Family History center (where we do our email by the way) and had a good time.  Diane's non-member mother and son came as well!

President Bulloch called us yesterday to set up times for our interviews.  He will be coming up this Sunday after Sacrament meeting in Saratoga Springs.  We sent him the Preach My Gospel class stuff last week.  He says he likes it.  He also commented on how he has been hearing good reports from the members here about missionary work.  That is always a good thing to hear!  Sometimes to go through your day and you feel like you made so little of a difference.  But, looking back, I don't think there has been a Sunday that has gone by where missionary work has not been discussed.  Branch Leaders are talking about it more.  If anything we are fertilizing the ground here in Plattsburgh (and it really did need it).

We caught the last 10 minutes of the CES fireside last night.  A good talk it seemed.  It was fun to see Uncle Bob Todd up on the stand and to think Katie was there in the crowd.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Enjoy my peaches!  I just had to buy some at Walmart; 3 for about $2.50!  gross!

Elder Shurtz

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bitter-Sweet News

It sounds like everyone is having fun!  I am so excited to hear what you are all doing.

This has kind of been a sweet/bitter week.  Two sister Missionaries in our Zone got into a big car accident.  Sister Bentley (from Arizona) was airlifted, but passed away.  Sister Love received severe injuries, but is fine, and is back home recuperating for 6-8 weeks.  It is a sad thing to hear, but we know she is in a better place.

We did not have dinner with Carin, but was able to meet with her on Thursday.  She is feeling a bit stressed out still.  Only God and time will help right now.

Mrs. Edmunds was not ready this week to stop smoking, but we had a great lesson on the restoration and had a member there who gave such a strong testimony.

Shannon.  We had a church tour with her kids.  We hope to get her to church this next Sunday.

We are making some progress with less-actives, and getting into more members' homes.  So we are expecting to see more referrals, especially as we follow-up with the people in the Preach My Gospel class.

Lots of biking. The weather has been so warm!  My white shirts are going under some major stain removal!

We should be getting more rain and wind a few more days from other tropical storms moving this way.

Have a great week!

Keep moving!  Like Jenny says: Our Family does Hard Things!

Elder Shurtz