Monday, May 28, 2012



This last week was good.  The family we are teaching is doing well.  They are beginning to make small changes in their lives to live in greater harmony with what they know to be true.

We also had a BBQ Monday we were invited to and got a sweet member referral what we will begin teaching hopefully this week.

Palmyra was amazing!  Monday night I picked up Elder Shrader in Herkimer and then got to the mission home around 9.  There are only 6 of of left in our group, and we were going to pick up one of them in the morning.  We got to bed then woke up at 4:45 in the morning, then got out the door around 6.

The weather was all over...

We got to Palmyra and went first to the temple.  It was crazy being there again.  We took some pictures, then went inside.  The weather was good.  We sat down in the baptistry and had a 45 minute Q&A with the temple president.  Talk about an amazing experience! Both mission and temple president later said that it was probably one of the best q&a's they have had.

We then went through an endowment session.  AMAZING!  It is literally one of the best feelings in the world (or I should say out of the world).  For the rest of the day, as we visited the other sites, we made reference to the covenants we make in the temple.

Afterwards, we had dinner with the temple president and his wife, who lives next door, because it was the Bullochs last trip.  As we said prayer a huge storm came in.  It did not last long and cleared up as we left.

Then we stopped by the Book of Mormon print shop.  Right when we stepped in the storm took off again, only this time with heavy winds.  It has not changed much since we last went.  But it was cool to listen and watch how the sisters taught as they gave the tour.  Different teaching techniques.  The weather calmed down as we were leaving the shop and bookstore. 

Then we went to Alvin's grave only for a few minutes (it was raining a bit then).  After that we stopped by Martin Whitmer's farm.  Then went to the Hill Cumorah.  We went down to the basement and had a sweet training from President Bulloch about Joseph Smith and Moroni and the training he went through, and how it applies to us.

Then we went up the the hill, took a few pictures, and ran to the grove... and the grove was closed!  (because of the storm they had it closed.)  So we had a prayer, took the tour of the log home and Alvin's home and the other buildings, hoping that it would open before we left.  President even called the other mission president to see if he could pull any strings.  But they made some arrangements while we were on tour and they let us in.  They soon after opened it again.

We had a chance to walk around by ourselves for an hour (no companion), and enjoy the grove.  It was such a powerful experience to be back and to think about what has changed since the first time.  There is a special spirit with both temples so close together, and being in both. 

Then we had McD's and went back to the Utica.  I left this morning, and got back for my last district meeting, and am now just getting back to Greenville.  Today we are going to help one of our new investigators we picked up this last week (Mary) in her yard.

All and all, it was a great trip.  For sure, it was a powerful experience.  This last week is going to be surreal and fast and crazy.  I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Shurtz

The Home Bound Elders
The Sacred Grove

This is where Joseph Smith hid the Gold Plates for safekeeping.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Got a Date!


We have had two lessons this week with the Brittons, but they were a no show at church! :(  We NEED to get members at the lessons, but that has proven to be difficult for them.  Nevertheless, the lessons have been going good.  We set the husband with a date for baptism, but were not able to with the wife solely because she had to help the kids go to bed.  This week though...

I was hoping they would come, especially since I told them I was going to be speaking in Sacrament meeting.  The other speaker was a High Councilman, so I thought that was funny that I will be doing the same thing in about a month.  It was probably a good thing that they did not come to church though, because after 2nd hour, the branch president canceled the last hour because the sewage system was backed up, and apparently you can't have church without a working toilet?

On Saturday and Sunday the temperatures were in the 80's and it was super humid.  I definitely don't have the enthusiasm I once had two summers ago in Syracuse to ride hours on a bike up and down hills drenched in sweat.  On Saturday, we went to Coxsockie to only find everyone in town all downtown at a beer festival.  We didn't have too much success in town that night.  But we did meet a nice man who is helping keep his church up and running, who said to stop by sometime.

Tuesday we worked in Albany downtown, because Elder Bowles sprained his ankle, so he stayed in with Elder King as I went out with Elder Gasetoto.  It was fun to be in the capital.

We also did a lot of service.  We moved wood for a member.  We helped plant a garden for a less-active member, and we put up insulation for a non-member.  I love being able to help out with stuff like that (except breathing in fiberglass).

On Friday the first councilor's dog got into some rat poison, but they were able to get help, and the dog is now doing better.  Note to self: rat poison = bad stuff.


Elder Shurtz

PS: Next week is Memorial Day, and the library will be closed, then on Tuesday I go to the temple, so if I am able to email, it probably won't be until Wednesday.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Family Proclamation - Amazing!

Hello!  The weather here has been amazing!  This weekend it was in the 80's.

Tuesday we had zone conference!  It was amazing.  President gave some training that I remember from my first zone conference which I thought it was fitting seeing that this was my last.

We also visited the New York State Museum on Monday before a meeting that night.  It was amazing to see.  Lots of stuff.  And it was free!  I will include some pictures.

On Friday we had a good lesson with the Brittons (the family we have been teaching).  We went through the Plan of Salvation.  They loved it and asked about families, so we shared the Proclamation to the World.  We first asked if they had any questions, and the wife said that if they were going to join our church they would like to know more about it (SWEET).  Then We asked if there is anything that we can do for them, and the husband answered 'just keep coming back' (AWESOME).  They have 4 children, 1 over the age of 8 (she is a teenager) whom we have not met yet.

Sunday they did not come to church, however :(  They feel a little hesitant with 4 kids. 

Mothers day was awesome.  We had great dinners with members.  And of course, talking on the phone with family is always a treat!

Well, Love you all and hope you have a great one!

Monday, May 7, 2012

5 Hours of Biking, While Fasting = Not a Good Idea

Hello Family!

It has been a slow week all together.  But some good things are ahead, I believe.  This transfer we have set a mission goal to find 500 new investigators (about 2 per area).  We had a mission-wide fast this past weekend to help us reach our goal.

Yesterday we had an awesome lesson with a family we picked up last week.  They are planning on coming to church this Sunday!  It was a good lesson, where the spirit was felt and 'minds enlightened.'  We took our mission leader Bro. Kosorek.
We also talked to the branch about doing a fellowship activity, and on June 1st, we will be doing some form of a game night.  It will be a good experience for us all.

Friday I went on exchange in Albany with the Zone Leaders (one of those apartment buildings hold more people than we have in our entire area).  They live right above a member's dental office so it brought back memories as I smelt the area of a dental office.  It was fun being in a zone leader area again.  Many of the Zone Leaders liked the posters, so we are looking into making more of them.  We found a good deal with one printer in the Albany area.  We will see if the mission will be willing to fund it. 

We have also done a lot of biking (note: 5 hours of biking, while fasting = not a good idea).  We have 1200 miles, but it seems so little with a trip to Albany every week, and with everyone being so spread out.  We might be looking into moving so we can be closer to Coxsockie, which is the closest to a town I think we get.  The problem is, it is in the farthest east part of our area.

The branch president has given us some names of less-actives to try, but so far only a handful have been receptive.  (We already were given a list by the branch of members who will pull a gun out on us if we stop by).  I truly believe the most growth is going to happen if we can get into Coxsockie more often.

Ernie, who was the guy that was a little contentious with us at the door last Sunday, we went back and visited.  It wasn't a good time, but he had lots of questions, and even took a Book of Mormon this time!  It will be exciting to continue our visits with him.

Today we are headed to Albany for a district leader training, and interviews with president (and a temple recommend interview for me) then tomorrow we have zone conference!  It will be president's (and mine) last zone conference.  How sad!  I am excited to go to the temple while he is still here.  (I think we are going on the 29th of May).  I believe we are going to be the last group to go with him.

On Mother's Day I am planning on calling around 9pm our time (6pm back home).  We have horrible cell coverage in our area, so we are the only missionaries with a landline.  So I will call the house with the cell phone (because it is the only number I remember) and then you will have to call the landline with your cell phone.  (landline #: 518-966-4047)

I love you all, and hope you have an amazing week!

Elder Shurtz