Monday, April 30, 2012

On the Move...Greenville, Here I Come!

Hello from the wonderful Greenville.  Yes, it is very green (and that's
what everyone says when I ask about the area).

So last Tuesday, while I was still in Elmira, we got some posters
printed off, and started hanging them up in Elmira.  Elder Duffin
showed them at ZLC meeting Friday, and I think all the zone leaders
took copies of them.  I do miss Elmira, it is a good area.  Wednesday
Elder Duffin and I traveled to Greene, where we met other
missionaries.  Elder Erdman (my replacement) went back with Elder
Duffin, and I went with Elder Robertson who was going home.  Talk
about a trunky car ride!

So Greeneville is my 7th area.  Elder King is my 14th companion.  The
longest area I have been in was Oneida for 22 weeks.  The shortest is
going to be Greenville, with Elmira and Saratoga Springs tying at 12
weeks.  Wednesday was also my 10th time going to Utica for transfers out
of my 16 transfers (a lot!).  I guess I was born to move around - a

Greenville is small (a phase I building).  It is smaller than Onieda's chapel. We have
about 20 active people.  I helped bless the sacrament, said the
closing prayer in sacrament meeting and priesthood, conducted music in
priesthood, was asked by the branch presidency to gave a member (that I
just met) a blessing, and I am sure I'm going to get a call this week
to give a talk.  Yep, it is surely a branch. :)

I'm trying to not let it out that I am gone in six weeks, but the past
elder let some people know, so I'm telling them to hush up.

They had zero investigators when I got here.  And looking at past
numbers, it has been a rough time finding and teaching not finding
more than one maybe every other week.  Luckily, the Lord has blessed
us with four new investigators since Wednesday, and we have been able
to sit down with the branch president and mission leader to start helping
with reactivation.

Yesterday we were out tracting, and we talked to a man who studied
religion for 12 years, preparing to become a minister, and concluded
that God was not there because he 'felt nothing'.  He was a little
contentious with raising his voice.  But, we felt the spirit to
testify and teach him (and I might have raised my voice too :).  As I
told him about the priesthood lost, then restored through Peter,
James, and John, he felt the spirit (he said 'something changed in
him').  We asked if we could come back, and he said we could.  It was
an amazing experience (and of course, it made us late for a dinner

Dinner appointments are scarce (might help me lose the 10 pounds I
gained).  And we do a bit of tracting (I'm trying my best to avoid
it).  I forgot what it is like serving with a missionary who is more
shy, quiet, and reserved than I am.  Elder King has been out 4
transfers.  So I need to learn how to hush up, and him to speak up!

All-in-all, it has been a good week.  It is stressful trying to learn
everything, and keep focused, and try to help both the area,
companion, and district, but I am at least glad we are working hard.

I love you all-
Elder Shurtz

Meacham Family


Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunburn, Snow and Surprise!

With getting a sunburn on Monday playing golf, to 4 inches of snow this morning, being hampered with a cold and a never ending cough, and bug bites, it has been a good week.  Then, to top it off, it is transfer week.  I thought I would be staying in Elmira for my last transfer, but NOPE!  I'm going to a small town called Greenville, which is just south of Albany. (not to get confused with Greene or Greenwich).

President called Friday night and we talked for about 20 minutes about some of the needs for the upcoming transfer.  He felt prompted to explore the idea of me being released as Zone Leader and see what I could do to spark Greenville my last transfer.  We even talked the next morning for about 10 minutes and he felt prompted it do it.  He has done a similar thing with past Zone Leaders, and it seems to really give the areas a boost.

I love being a Zone Leader, working with everyone, and especially ZLC.  But, this is going to be a great last transfer!  The district is going to be awesome (I was called to be the district leader).  It is going to be with The Albany Zone Leaders, Albany downtown elders, and Hudson Elders.  Elder Bowles was also released as a Zone Leader and is going to downtown Albany to serve with Elder Gnesatoto, who is from Samoa, and is the only missionary in the mission learning English as a second language.  My companion is going to be Elder King, who came out with Elder Simmonds (last Elder I trained in Carthage).

President Bulloch likes the posters we have made, and will even look into financing them if we need to.  I hope to get them going in Greenville.  With investigators in Elmira it has been going slow.  We had none at church yesterday. :(  but, Elder Duffin and Elder Erdman will whip the area into shape.

To answer Renae's question: Chocolate is an awesome black guy who converted to the gospel a few years ago.  He lives in the Ghetto of Elmira, but everyone knows him and that he is a Mormon, and they love him.  He is kind of the heart for all those who live in a bad situation.

We had an awesome lesson with the Meachams on Tuesday with our ward mission leader, Brother Scott.  We had the kids teach us the Plan of Salvation.  What a stellar family!  I am going to miss them!

We also went on an exchange in Trumansburg, which is mainly dirt roads (Greenville is smaller).  I worked with Elder Burton, who is a new missionary.  We had a good time, and got a lot of work done.  He was a little discouraged, but I hope he will continue to keep working.  He has a lot of potential.

Well, I better pack and get going.  Love you all, and hope you have a
great week!

Elder Shurtz

Monday, April 16, 2012

Time Flies When You are in the Service of the Lord!

Hello Family!

The weeks go by so fast!  Last Monday we started teaching a lady named Mary.
She is a home nurse who we met while she was on the job.  We came
back Monday night, and she let us right in and we taught her about the
Restoration.  She said 'I think I will just have to come and try it
out!'  She is going to try and come this Sunday.  It will be

We also stopped by Jen's house.  She is a lady who is going through some hard
times in her family.  She is Jewish, but never was sure what to believe in
life.  She knew a little about Jesus Christ.  We came back Thursday
and had a good lesson with her.  She really liked understanding what
the sacrament and baptism are all about; especially how it relates to
Jewish ceremonies in the Old Testament.

Tuesday we had a good lesson with Daniel, talking about the Plan of
Salvation.  He knows a lot about religion, thus he can get
confused with what everyone says.  But he likes the Book of Mormon,
and believes it is of God.  We also watched with him the "Prophet of
the Restoration" video, which he really liked.

After district meeting on Tuesday we went on a two night blitz with
Endicott and Binghamton elders.  It was a blast.  They have some good
things going on.  We went tracting Wednesday morning, and a lady answered
and let us right in.  She knew some Mormons in Utah, and she is
Catholic, but has a hard time with faith and some of the commandments.
 It was funny because she is a book editor, so we was correcting my
bad grammar the whole time we were talking ;).  She is going to let
them come back.

Friday we went to the Food Bank and did some service, packing over one
ton of donated candy from Valentine's Day and Easter.  It was CRAZY.  But
afterwards the Lions Club members invited us for lunch at
Friendlies.  It was a good lunch!  No one was too
interested in hearing the gospel, even though most of them knew some Mormons.

We also met with Chocolate's grandkids again, and we are hoping they
will be ready for baptism by next month.

Yesterday we had 3 investigators at church.  Awesome!  Then we also
had a lesson with Jim Mallory.  He heard that we don't drink or
smoke, so he doesn't like that too much, but we are still slowly
making progress with him.

Today we are going to go golfing!  It is going to be great!  I hope to
include pictures next time.

Also we are working on a poster for  I will send a copy,
even though we still haven't gotten approval yet. We don't know if it breaks any
copyright laws.  So don 't be sending it to people!

Love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Shurtz

Monday, April 9, 2012

He is Risen!


Happy Easter!

It has been a good week.  A little cold and windy, but spring is for sure here. 

Tuesday we had President Bulloch give training on studying the scriptures.  It is amazing how much you can learn, especially with the aid of the Bible Dictionary, Topical Guide, and other LDS resources!

We had Stake Correlation at President Beck's home.  I am still amazed at his leadership skills.  He goes forward with optimism, even when others are telling him "good luck!"  No wonder he is one of the main executives for Corning.

I also went on exchange with Elder Richins in Elmira.  He is a good missionary, who likes to have a good time while doing the work.  Wednesday morning, we helped a lady transplant some tulips (did not work too well).

Yesterday for Easter we went to the Rodriquez family for dinner.  It was good stuff!  We also had two investigators show up for church. YAY!

Sounds like Grandma's funural was great!  I'm excited to hear it.

Sorry it is so short!  Don't have too much time.  I love you all, and hope you have a great week!

Elder Shurtz

Monday, April 2, 2012

Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice!

Conference was amazing!  We had 3 non-members come and watch one session each.  It was a good experience for most.

Tuesday we went to Binghamton for District Meeting, then ran back to Elmira for another district meeting.  In both, we trained on how to use Preach My Gospel more effectively in our studies.  We also had a lesson with Mazie which went pretty well, we hope to be getting her to church within the next two weeks.

Wednesday we went to Ithaca to give our final district meeting training then I went on exchange with Elder Cutler in Ithaca.  He is a very smart Elder.  He will also be back at BYU this Fall.

Thursday we had a lot meetings and planning sessions, and good dinner (steak!), and a great lesson with some recent converts.  I was so tired by the end of it.

Friday we had a good lesson with Steve and Daniel.  We taught about the restoration.

In between conference sessions we worked on stake reports for a coordination meeting this Wednesday at the stake president's house.  We did not find too many people this week, but it is one of our goals for this coming week!

This morning Brother Cleary took us to Watkins Glenns.  Great scenery and waterfalls and rivers right at the bottom of one of the finger lakes.  What a great morning!

This week I have really been enjoying studying the last week (Passion Week) of the Savior.  It is amazing the things he taught, and the things he did.  I was watching the Lamb of God video and thought about what it would be like to sit on the hillside and listen to him teach.  I Love the Scriptures!

Love you all.  Tell the family I say hi.  I'm sorry I can't be there at Grandma's funeral.

Elder Shurtz