Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February, Already?

We have not met with the Mennonites since our first meeting.  Maybe this week.  We are taking a break from Luke since his dad was not too happy about his baptism, and the family who is fellowshipping him will probably move in a few months.

Last Monday, President gave me a call.  Apparently there are 2 kids (over the age of 8) who want to be baptized in the Lowville area (which was closed this transfer) and 2-3 others who are 8 years old getting ready for baptism.  This Friday we will go down and meet with everyone, and see if we will work with them to help them get baptized.

Tuesday at district meeting I trained on using our time wisely.  It felt like there was a lot of silence, but it was a good discussion over all.  We also went tracting (in the middle of nowhere, on a street called Mylady Rd (Not to get confused with the adjacent street Milady Rd) and found an Emu!

Wednesday we had a lesson with Katrina (10 year old, with a date for the 18th).  It is going well.  We also met with them after church on Sunday.  She is a good reader, and can remember quite a bit.  The father is getting ready to baptize her.  YAY!

Thursday we picked up an old investigator named, Jack.  He is an older gentleman, who loves to think things through and figure it out.  We got him to pray for the first time with missionaries and read from the Book of Mormon.  We are excited to see him progress.

Saturday we saw Ginger and her family.  It is really hard for them to come to church because they work night shifts.  But they are coming along.  We took Timothy with us.  He did a great job in sharing his testimony.  I'm sad because his wife leaves tomorrow for basic training, and he leaves at the end of the week.  I saw him for the last time yesterday, and we both had to hold back tears.

Also something interesting that happened on Saturday, we had a lightning and thunder that shook the house as it was snowing!  The flash was super bright.  We were on base, and many of the army people freaked out a bit because it brought back memories of war. (Note to self: don't freak out army people!)

Our fifth Sunday Priesthood/Relief Society lesson was on the ward mission plan.  I think only a few people actually paid attention, and the rest fell asleep (I was leaning on the sleeping side).  Our ward mission leader is not a recruiting officer, that is for sure.  But hopefully as the leadership gets better, we will still be doing our job as missionaries.

Transfer calls were Saturday.  Elder Hale is coming up here to Carthage (it is his last transfer).  I am going down to Elmira (by the Pennsylvania border).  It is the farthest South I will have gone in the mission.  Syracuse was the 2nd farthest South, and it was in the central part of the mission.  I will be serving as a Zone Leader with Elder Duffin, who has been out one more transfer than I have (I have three left).

It will be sad leaving Carthage.  It is really a great area, with great people.

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

Elder Shurtz

Brrrr!  It's cold in the sticks!

Emu!  How about you?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mennonites Know Their Stuff!

Another Monday.  How fast the week goes!  Last Monday night we talked with three Mennonites at the church.  They know their scripture!  Answering several of their concerns, it turned out to be a good discussion,  with an emphasis on the importance of the Book of Mormon.  We had an appointment with them Saturday, but they canceled on us.  Hope to see them again this week.

Also went on a blitz with the Zone Leaders (both companionship working in the same area).  Elder Stanton (last companion) worked with Elder Simmonds, and I was with Elder Bowles.  I enjoyed learning and working with them.

Wednesday night we visited a less-active family and had a short lesson with them.  They said they would come to church, and they did! (except the mom - she was not feeling well).  That is always exciting.

We met with Luetta.  She had some questions about the temple, which is awesome.  We need to get a temple trip organized for the recent converts.  Lateasa has been having some great questions about it too, and is so excited.  She and some other recent converts are taking a how-to-teach-the-gospel course, and will be (hopefully) receiving a calling after that.
Saturday we had a lesson with an investigator, Carrie.  She has shown very little interest in the past, but is now a little more interested.  This Saturday we are going to have Timothy come with us.

We also taught a part-member family, specifically their 10 year-old daughter who wants to be baptized.  She has a date for February 18th.

Yesterday we met with Timothy and Michelle.  We talked about the Temple and how the home is the second most sacred place on earth, and how we have to make it that way (ways to invite the spirit, FHE, pray, scriptures, dinner, etc.).  It was awesome.  Michelle leaves on the 31st for basic training, and Timothy leaves on the 7th of February, for Fort Lee (Virginia).
We have a lot of new investigators we are working with, but it is hard to make and keep appointments with them.  But the weather has been good.  Today it is in the 30's.

Hope you all have a great week!

-Elder Shurtz

Monday, January 16, 2012


The long-dreaded Winter has finally struck Carthage, New York.  It had rained a day or two, but Friday morning we woke up to rain that turned into a huge snow storm.  We had to cancel an awesome day up in the northern towns and work in Carthage.  We couldn't see as we walked around all day, but it was relatively warm despite the wind creating snow drifts that went up to our waist.  But, we found a young family to teach.  The husband's father is a southern Methodist minister, but is open to what we have to share, and is looking for a church in Carthage.

The next day was freezing, and Sunday was even colder.  Our car almost did not start Sunday morning in the -14 degree weather, and our odometer took a bit of time to work.  Luckily we had a good day planned.

Tuesday we had President Bulloch present the training.  Everyone was at the Carthage building (except the president and his wife).  With five minutes to go, I get a phone call from him saying they were in Watertown!  So we packed up and drove to them (25 minutes away) and started the district meeting a little late.  The focus this transfer is planning goal setting.  He talked about all of it.  Good stuff, hope to get it all down before I die. 

Wednesday we taught Luke (11 year-old).  Then we went to his house to talk to his father about baptism.  Was not too willing to talk about steps Luke could do so he could be baptized.  He wants Luke to be perfect, because he wants to be baptized.  So we don't know what to do other than to keep teaching him.

Thursday we met with Luetta.  She is doing awesome! She has lots of questions about the temple, and is curious about it, so we need to get our recent converts to the temple!  But, it seems to be little effort from ward leaders to get it organized.

Saturday we met with Mackenzie (9 year-old).  She is doing good.  Just need to get the family to church!  The mother normally has to work on Sundays, but tomorrow might be getting a promotion that will allow her to make her own schedule.

We also saw Ginger and her family (Olivia, Cody, & Sidney).  We watched the Restoration DVD, which I think helped them understand and visualize it better, and answer some questions.  Two of them work night-shifts, but we hope they will come to church this Sunday.

We had no one show up for church yesterday :( second week in a row.  But, we had the recently called Gospel Principles teacher teach on Sunday.  She was a little nervous, but did a great job.  I think she connected well with the women in the room (way better than I could ever do!)

We just learned that in March tons of people in the army are leaving for a month of training in Louisiana.  The whole bishopric, and many other ward leaders (almost all the priesthood) will be gone.  Can you imagine that?

There are some good potential investigators we will be seeing this week that we hope to start teaching.  Tonight we meet with a guy named Nathaniel at the church.  Good inquisitive guy, who is remodeling his house and seems to be just a good person.  We met him on Christmas Eve.

Things keep on going.  I am thankful for the opportunity to work.  Have a great week!  Love you all!

Elder Shurtz

Monday, January 9, 2012

Enjoy the Time the Lord has Given Us!

It has been a good week.  With it reaching just below zero on Tuesday, the rest of the week has been fairly warm, with little snow, and a lot of green.

Wednesday we had a great training by the AP's on planning.  The Elders in Watertown said it has helped them change how they plan and set goals.  Tomorrow we have President Bulloch coming to our district meeting.

I also went on exchange with Elder Rymer in Watertown on Wednesday and Thursday morning.  We ended up helping this lady in her attic move everything out so they could spray insulation in the attic.  So, I was like dad in my suit moving stuff for a hour or two, half of it was squatting down so I don't stick myself with a nail sticking out of the low slanted ceiling.

Thursday I got back for a lesson with Lateasa.  She had some questions about Isaiah (who doesn't?) so we spent some time talking about that.  She is doing so well.  A great change has come over her!

Saturday we did our morning program at the church because the bishop asked us to fill up a font for a kid's baptism.  The mother went all out, and the food looked great!  I was drooling a little as we left before the baptism started, so we could get out and work.  We found 3 good potentials.  One just got back from Utah, and one of the first things she said as she opened to door 'they sent you didn't they!'  Apparently she was taking the lessons in Utah.  She said we could come back.  Then one of their neighbors was super friendly and said they would read the Book of Mormon.  We will check up on them in a few days.

Saturday night we met with Ginger and Olivia (found them last week) and started teaching two more family members in the household.  We set Ginger with a baptismal date for February.  Also, we might start teaching a ten year-old who wants to be baptized in February.

None of our investigators came to church yesterday :( but, we hope to have Ginger and a few others next Sunday.  Larena was in DC for training, and I'm not sure about Luke.  We also just got two Gospel Principle teachers!  That is going to be good.  Lateasa and some other recent converts are taking the Teacher Development class (I forgot what it is called).

Today it is nice and sunny with a few snow flakes.  I am not complaining.

Have a great week!  Enjoy the time the Lord has given us.

Elder Shurtz

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year!

We rang in the new year drinking sparkling cider as we planned for the following day, and going to bed at 10:30.  It was great!  :)

This week we found 6 new investigators through our tracting and contacting efforts.  It was a better week than I thought for the one right after the Christmas and before New Years.  One couple just had a their first baby a few days ago. 

Timothy gave the closing prayer for Sacrament yesterday!  Also, I hear we are finally getting a gospel principle teacher so we dont have to teach it anymore!  It will be good for people to listen to other people besides the missionaries in their home and at church.

We continue to meet with Luke.  His parents are not too ready to let him be baptized, but time should tell.  We talked about Captain Moroni and the title of Liberty.

We are still teaching Lorena and she is still working towards baptism. 

I cant believe I only have 5 months left.  It goes by fast!  I am excited for the good times ahead as we work here in Carthage.  It is amazing to see what the Lord has helped me do!

One theme for the new year I have been focusing on comes from Elder Holland talking about not living in the past, but to live for the future.  Don't vainly yearn for yester-years!

I love you all, hope you all have had a great few days in the year 2012!

Love, Elder Shurtz