Monday, February 27, 2012

Taking Upon Ourselves the Name of Christ

Fun week!  Some days we woke up with snow on the ground, but only to have it disappear before noon.

Tuesday we had Zone Conference. (AMAZING)  It is strange to think I only have one more Zone Conference in May.  President Bulloch is feeling kind of the same since he is going to be replaced at the beginning of July.

After Zone Conference, president had a chance to meet the Meacham family.  After they left, President said that he is impressed with them.  They are an awesome family!  They [the parents and the 2 eligible girls (they also have a 7 year old girl)] are going to be getting baptized on March 10th.  The ward is super excited.  So are we!

At Zone Conference we were given a card with our name on it that coordinates with TiWi (the black box they installed in our cars).  Now we log in with this card by holding the card to the box and then if we speed or don't have our seat belts on or 'drive aggressively' it creates a report on how safe of a driver we are.  It takes a little to get use to, having a box talk to you as you are driving.

We went on an exchange with the APs after Zone Conference.  Both Elder Christensen and Elder McCleve I have served with (MTC and 2nd companion), and was fun to work with them again. 

Yesterday we had a crazy (yet typical for New York) Sacrament Meeting.  We also got doubled stacked with dinners, and we were hurting as we were leaving.  The members sure love to feed us.

Lately I have been so grateful for the temple and the promises we make there.  There is so much power behind it.  I was reading in Mosiah 5 this week about taking upon ourselves the name of Christ.  It made me reflect upon how we do that at baptism, sacrament, but even more deeply in the temple.

Elder Shurtz

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy President's Day!

Happy Presidents Day!  I love having a Family History Center, and a key to get in!  It makes e-mailing a lot easier on holidays that fall on Monday.

We had a lesson with Debbie on Monday.  Talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Great lady.  Very easy going, and likes what she is learning.  We talked about baptism, and said that is something she wants to do.  We are looking at sometime in March or April.

Tuesday we had dinner and met with the Meachams.  Such a great family.  I hope to build a good relationship with them so I can keep in contact when I get transferred.

Tuesday night we drove to Endicott and worked with them for most of the day.  They just opened the area about a week ago.  I worked with the awesome Elder Bergman.  He was in my last district, two transfers ago.  It is fun to see the growth in missionaries that occurs in such little time.  We went to dinner that night at a china buffet.  It was soooo good!  I had lots of crab meat, and spicy chicken of various assortments.  My stomach was not too happy afterwards.

Then we drove to Greene to work with a new missionary, Elder Lewis, for his second transfer training.  Elder Lewis is a great missionary, who is learning a lot from his trainer, and is a hard worker.

We drove back Thursday afternoon, completely drained (how do APs and President and Sister Bulloch do it?)  It was nice to be back in our own area to work the rest of the night.

Friday we had dinner with an awesome couple who invited a recent convert and her non-member husband over for dinner.  It was such a positive experience, I don't think Elder Duffin and I had to say more than a few words.  We have awesome people in this ward!

Tomorrow is Zone Conference!  We are so stoked!  It is going to be on chapter 10 of PMG, and Elder Duffin and I are trying to get our training clear and precise.  We will be talking about listening and helping people resolve concerns.

Tonight we are going to have our interviews with President and the APs are coming to spend the night, then they will be working with us after Zone conference.  We just found out that Brother Joseph B. Wirthlin Jr. [Son of the late Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles] and his wife Kathy W. Wirthlin have been called to serve as the President of the New York Utica Mission beginning July 1, 2012.  It will happen a few weeks after I go home, which makes my group the last one president sends home.

Time goes by fast!  Hope you have a great week!

Elder Shurtz

Monday, February 13, 2012

Another Busy Week...

It is  sometimes hard to remember all that has happened during the week.
Tuesday we went to Binghamton for district meeting, and presented our training there.  We talked about teaching principles and applying that teaching commandments and helping people keep commitments.  We also had another lesson with Yolanda.  The house was busy busy busy, with many grand kids around.  We weren't able to teach very well, but she had a lot of questions we helped her out with.  We also met with the awesome Meacham family.  The parents are getting ready to be baptized in March.  They are the 'golden' family, with three little girls (2 baptismal age), and they have been enjoying church for a few months now.  They are such an awesome family.

Wednesday we went to the Ithica district meeting, and taught the same stuff.  We ran out of time, so it wasn't as great.  We also found out that president is splitting that district, and now we are covering three districts.  Elder Becerrill (who is training a 2nd missionary in a row) was called to be the new DL.  He is a smart, hard worker, and will do good as a district leader.

Thursday we taught a sweet investigator named Debbie, who came to church for the 2nd time yesterday.  She has questions (good thing), and the ward is doing a great job in making her feel welcome.

Saturday morning we helped this non-denominational church clean up and setup their pews after they have done some extensive repair to the old church building.  We met them as we were meeting up with a potential.  We saw they were doing some work, and offered to come back and help out.  And after some persistence, they told us to come back Saturday.  It was an awesome service opportunity.  They offered to help with anything our church needed help with.  So we might be working with the ward to come up with a service activity we could invite that congregation to.

We also got 3 new tires for the van, two were balding and one had a screw in it, that made a slow leak, and it was too close to the rim of the tire for them to fix.

Church was awesome.  It was nice to be in a Ward Council with an agenda, and looking back at the last minutes and following up with assignments.  Especially after the World Wide Leadership Training broadcast, it was a very effective meeting.  As my last ward was very army oriented, this ward is very business oriented.  Church was great with Debbie and the Meachams there.

A member of the high council who is preparing a talk on temples, showed us a book that he said is the only other required read (besides the scriptures and temple handbooks) for temple presidents.  It is Temple Worship by Andrew C Skinner.  That is a book I want to get when I get back home.  Some good insights in there.

This next week is going to be busy.  With getting things started for a baptism, going on two blitzes with Elders Endicott and Greene, doing an interview for baptism in Ithica, plus getting our training ready for Zone Conference the following week (on the 21st).  I love staying busy.

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

Elder Shurtz

Monday, February 6, 2012


It has been crazy!  My suitcase and stuff are still sprawled all over the floor!

Wednesday I was picked up by Elder Nielson who was a past District Leader and was heading home.  Elder Buttler (another Zone Leader) worked with Elder Simmonds for the day.  Transfers were crazy.  We had a dozen new missionaries last transfer, and another dozen this transfer.  There wasn't even enough pizza to go around!  I was handed the keys to our 2010 Dodge Caravan (not my favorite year on mini-vans :), and drove to Ithica with Elder Cutler and Elder Gamble (both in my zone [Owego Zone]).  Then, I met Elder Duffin, and we drove to Elmira.  Elder Duffin is from Idaho.  He is actually a few transfers younger than me.  He loves football, basketball, and golf.  Tall (Katie!).  Great guy.

Thursday we tried to contact a few people, but spent a lot of time planning and preparing for the transfer.  That night we had dinner at a member's home, then drove to Auburn [Syracuse Zone Leaders] to spend the night (1.5 hr drive).  Then early Friday morning we headed to Utica for Zone Leader Council.  ZLC was amazing!  We have 10 zone leaders, so it was us and President and the Assistants to the President.  We talked about some of the challenges of the mission, what we want to train on for District Meetings and Zone Conference.  It was sweet to be in council with some awesome missionaries and president, working together to and receiving revelation on the correct path we should take.  Zone Leader Conference lasted from 9am to about 4pm.  At 5 pm we sat with the president in his office for a stake correlation meeting via phone conference.  The stake president and other leaders here are amazing!  Many are very successful business men, and know how to get things done in a timely fashion.  The ward is super missionary minded, and awesome at fellowshipping.

We are teaching an awesome family who are close to setting a baptismal date.  If you didn't know they were not members, you would assume they have been life-time!  Sweet family, with 3 kids.

Saturday we picked up a former investigator (Yolonda).  A great lady, who tries to do what is right.  We will be seeing her again on Tuesday.

We are also teaching some other people, but have not yet met them.

Today we have a huge to-do list (last of all is unpacking).  I'm going to get some more white shirts.  We have the nicest lady in the ward who washes and irons a few white shirts for us every week.  Yesterday she told me mine were brown not white :(.  lol.

Tomorrow and Wednesday we have to travel to our two districts (Owego East and West districts) to give training.  With the two districts, we have 4 areas each (8 in total, excluding us) and 20 missionaries (including us and senior couple in Ithica).

I think we have an exchange, training, blitz, zone conference, or something planned every week of the transfer.  Lots of time traveling (1800 miles or so a month).

I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Shurtz