Thursday, August 11, 2016

Last Email August 8, 2016

Well it all hasn't sunkin in yet. It still doesn't feel like I'm coming home this week. This past week was really good but I'm going to share my testimony of how important this mission has been to my life. So yesterday as we were making rounds to say bye to people we said bye to this one recent convert. As we were getting ready to leave he gave me a hug and said " Thank you so much. You're what makes it possible for our family to live the gospel." I pondered a lot at that phrase. It then hit me really how much of a change the gospel contributes to our lives. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ONLY thing that can help us in this world that we do now and will yet live. The purpose of a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. That is simply our purpose to invite, and man do we invite people to do a lot. We ask them to give up smoking and other bad habits or addictions, to come to church, and to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone who holds the priesthood authority just as John the Baptist held along with many others like the Savior and his apostles.

 Over the course of my mission i have been able to work with a lot of people. I have worked with the lowest of lows and people who were very well off financially. The gospel is for EVERYONE and it can bless our lives so much if we allow it to. At the beginning of my mission i was such a different person. I didn't understand the atonement, the scriptures, or even how to talk to people about the gospel. But now with it ending and looking back at the growth i have made i think i get it now. I understand really what life would be like without this gospel. My testimony has grown so much. This verse really describes how i feel. 3 Nephi 5:13 "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."

I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father and he has such a divine plan for each of us. He has placed us in our families so that we can experience joy and happiness together. It is in our family units that we are supposed to live the gospel and together prepare to meet our Heavenly Father again one day. Men called prophets over time have taught the gospel. Men like Noah, Abraham, and Moses. They received revelation from God and taught his word to the people. They held an authority to speak and act in Gods name. That authority is called the priesthood. Jesus Christ while he was hear upon the earth organized and established a church and called 12 apostles to aid and assist him in carrying out his work. The Savior knew his life would be short here upon the earth and he performed the greatest act of love by suffering for the sins of you and me and anyone that has ever or will ever live. His apostles were shortly killed after him. That priesthood authority was taken away from the earth for a period of time but when the time is right God would always bring that authority back. In the time of the 1820's Joseph Smith wanted to join a church but was confused with all of the difference in churches in his area. He was told he could find guidance in the bible so he one day turned to new testament in James chapter 1 verse 5 which reads "if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and is shall be given him." That verse touched Josephs heart so much so that he wanted to pray and ask God to resolve this question he had. One morning Joseph went to a grove of trees to pray and ask God which of all the churches were true and which he should join. As he prayed he had a marvelous experience in which he describes in his own words as this " I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description. Standing above me in the air one of them spake unto me calling me by name and said pointing to the other Joseph this is my beloved son, Hear him." I know that Joseph saw our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. With this experience we learn 3 important things. 1st we learn the God the father and his son Jesus Christ are two separate distinct beings. After Jesus Christ left the earth there was much confusion on the Godhead. 2nd we learn that God still speaks to men today. Some think that revelation stopped after the savior but we know that God still loves us today so he would continue to speak to us. And 3rd we learn that God knows us each individually by name. That is one that is really important to a lot of people. God knows who we are and whats best for us. He gives us our experience to prepare us for lesson we are to learn. In answer to Josephs question he was told to join none of the churches for the church that Jesus Christ has established while he was hear upon the earth at that time. Just as God had done with Noah, Abraham, and many others he called Joseph to be a prophet. He later received that priesthood authority by 3 of Christ original apostles Peter, James, and John. God has provided us evidence to know if Joseph was a prophet or not. God brought forth and ancient record of scripture known as the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and contains the fullness of the everlasting Gospel. It is Gods dealings with his children here in the ancient Americas. There is a promise in the Book of Mormon where we can test to see if this is all true. It is in Moroni chapter 10 verses 4 and 5  4.) "and when ye shall receive these things, i would exhort you that ye would ask God, the eternal father, in the name of Christ if these things are not true. And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the holy ghost. 5.) And by the power of the holy ghost ye may know the truth of all things." If we ask in faith we can receive our answer by the power of the Holy Ghost. More importantly we can know the truth of ALL things. I know that if we pray and ask we can know of truthfulness of the restored gospel. 

My mission has brought conviction to my heart of this gospel. I know it is true. I know this is what will bless our lives more than anything else. If we turn our will over to the father he can make so much more out of us than we could of ourselves. I will forever be indebted to my mission. It has changed my life eternally.

See you all this week. 

-Elder Loertscher

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Miracle Week August 1, 2016

So some really cool things happened this week. To start off of course nearing the end of my mission I have been thinking a lot about the things that I have done and accomplished. And like normal I was going to have some doubts. It really was getting to me though. I kept saying man I wish I would have talked to one more person, tracted one more house, etc. Well this week we had interviews with our mission president. He asked me to offer the prayer to start it and then he just sat quietly for a minute and then said "I just want to let you know Heavenly Father is very pleased with your mission and the things you have done". It definitely helped my discouragement go away.

 A little later on in the week we went on exchanges in palmdale with the assistants to the president. Something really cool happened. So over a year ago before I got called to be a zone leader we went on exchanges with the assistants then. On those exchanges we were tracting and I remember getting the impression that we needed to knock this specific door and i said that to the other missionary and he agreed. So we knocked and this lady answered and at first told us about how she was already part of a church and she didn't believe the same things as us. We taught her the restoration upon her approval and she enjoyed it a lot. Well i got transferred a few weeks later to bakersfield so I wasn't even on this side of the mission. I never heard anything about her after that. (mostly because I didn't ask). So now fast forward to exchanges this past week. We had an appointment to teach an investigator and we went and picked up this recent convert of a year. As we were pulling up to the street it looked so familiar. I kinda had a mini flash back. We stopped and walked up to this door to get the member. As we stood there I realized that this was the same house from a year before. That lady who we taught ended up getting baptized with her two kids. We took one of the kids out to a lesson with us. It was just a really cool experience. 

This past week I had my last district meeting which was a little weird. It is all ending so fast. 

We had another miracle this week. So these sisters were about to start teaching someone but due to circumstances our mission president told us to go by and teach her. She accepted a baptismal date which she hasn't done before and she came to church so that was really cool. 

This morning we got to go golfing with this member. It was so much fun. We went up to lone pine so it was not as hot. 

Other than that I cant believe this is my last full week. I am so excited. I have my departing interview with the mission president this Tuesday. Then we have tons of meetings so the week will go by so fast. 

Until next time have a great week.

-Elder Loertscher

Monday, July 25, 2016

Steadfast and Immovable July 25, 2016

This past week was full of excitement. We got to go to the most coveted place in the mission. Mammoth Lakes. It is a big tourist city. There are a set of Elders in our zone up there so we went up to do exchanges with them. It takes 3 hours to get there from Ridgecrest. So it was a fun drive. We went up Tuesday night and came home Thursday late afternoon. The exchange went really well. We were able to find someone for them to teach and a few people that may be interested. It is really hard up there because not very many people are permanent residents. We walked around a lot and talk with lots and lots of people. At lunch the funniest thing happened. We went to McDonalds. While we were there we saw this lady who was sitting there by herself and I looked to Elder Puyogao and said what are the odds that you will go sing to her i am a child of God. (Elder Puyogao has an angelic voice) (also odds are is a game that we play where the person picks the odds. Ex. 1 to 50 and on the count of 3 we say a number. If we pick the same number then the person has to do whatever was suggested.) So he said 1 to 50. We both picked the same number so he went over and sang it to her and she loved it we got her number and are going to send it off as a referral to the missionaries in San Diego where she lives. It was awesome. 

Our ward also had an activity this week. It was a country dance/ pie party. (we got permission to go). It was awesome. Several non members came and we got to talk with them. It isnt everyday that you get to go to a dance on your mission. It was a very casual setting and tons of fun. Because i was from Texas everyone thought that i knew how to do all of these dance. Which i didnt. But it was fun to just be goofy. 

In our area it was a little slower this week. We got lots of referrals from members which always makes it easier. 

We were listening to this talk this week and i love what was said by Elder Bednar.

"In order to better understand this principle, please consider Aesop’s fable “The Hare and the Tortoise.” After being taunted repeatedly for being slow, the Tortoise challenged the Hare to a race. As the race began, the two started off together. However, the Hare ran rapidly towards the goal and, seeing that he could easily win, lay down and fell asleep a short distance in front of the finish line. The Tortoise maintained a slow but steady and consistent pace toward the finish line. When the Hare awoke from his nap, he started running as fast as he could, only to find that the Tortoise had won the race. The Tortoise is a classic illustration of steadiness and persistence. The Hare, on the other hand, is an example of a “spurter”—one who is given to short bursts of spectacular effort followed by frequent and lengthy periods of rest.

A spurt may appear to be impressive in the short run, but steadiness over time is far more effective, far less dangerous, and produces far better results. Consecutive days of fasting, ultimately, may not be as spiritually edifying as successive months of appropriate fasting and worship on the designated fast Sunday. An attempt to pray one time for several hours likely will not produce the same spiritual results as meaningful morning and evening prayer offered consistently over several weeks. And a single scripture-reading marathon cannot produce the spiritual growth of steady scripture study across many months.

The importance of steadiness and consistency in our spiritual development and progress is beautifully illustrated in the parable of the ten virgins (see Matthew 25:1–13). Ten virgins took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom. Five of the virgins were wise and took oil in their vessels with their lamps. They were prepared to welcome the bridegroom. The five foolish virgins took their lamps but took no oil with them. The foolish virgins knew they should have oil but procrastinated, were unprepared, and were shut out from the wedding feast.

The oil of preparedness and steadiness is accumulated each day through consistent, wise choices. President Spencer W. Kimball described it this way: “Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures—each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions, marriage in the covenant for eternity—these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps”

​This was the view from the elders balcony. It is nice and green up there and 15 degrees cooler.

Anyways have a great week.

-Elder Loertscher

Departing Temple trip July 18, 2016

This week was better. We continued to contact people on the part member family list and we got a hold of one. We picked up a daughter and she has a baptismal date so hopefully we can continue to help her progress. 

It was really cool this week from one of my past companions is that someone investigator i found got baptized. The story is really cool. So it was when i was in Lancaster in the YSA ward. We were on exchanges so I wasn't with Elder Burke i was with a newer missionary for the day. We had an appointment to teach Brian one of the investigators that got baptized right after i left. Anyways for that lesson we asked a recent convert to come help us teach. He last minute was going to cancel because he and his friend wanted to go somewhere so they were at the bus stop and about to leave and i called the recent convert and begged him to come help because we really needed it. He asked well what do i do with my friend I said bring him along. So they both showed up. We taught our investigator Brian at the time and then we taught the recent converts friend the first discussion and set him with a baptismal date. Well a week or two later was when i got transferred so they continue to teach him. He had to get rid of some habits but he finally got baptized so that was cool to see the story play out of just asking a member to bring their friend to hear the missionaries discussions. 

How I heard that he finally got baptized was all the missionaries that go home this transfer went to the temple this past Friday. It was such a cool experience. I will say there is no greater feeling then sitting in the celestial room and asking Heavenly Father if he accepts your two years of service and getting the response that he does. Working hard really does pay off. It was cool to be able to be with all of the people we came out with.  It felt like we were at the MTC again all together. 

Other than that just another week. It is weird with the time flying by this fast. 

Hope you all have a great week.

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-Elder Loertscher

Monday, July 11, 2016

Interesting Week! 7/11/16

Well this week was another interesting one. It was pretty busy. On Tuesday we had our Mission Leadership Council. It was a long one. We ate lunch at 1230 and then from 1 to 445 we had our meeting. We left directly from the church building in Tehachapi to go to the stake center in Ridgecrest. We had a meeting at 6 with the Stake President and the Mission President. That was an interesting one because it was so different with President Layton. He has the same vision just a way different way of going about it. After our meeting we went and visited a recent convert with our mission president. We taught about family history and temples using the new pamphlets we have. It was interesting we got a phone call from that recent convert Wednesday morning and she said that her sister had just passed away. So the timing of the lesson was really good because she understood the importance of the temple and how it can help her family. She is the only member so she has a lot of work to do. On Wednesday we had to plan for our zone training meeting on Friday. After we finished that we had splits with our members Wednesday night. Elder Puyogao and one of the members went and visited a recent convert and i went with our ward mission leader tracting. That was pretty interesting. On Friday we had a really good meeting with our zone. We hope that we will be able to make July a good month. On Saturday we were contacting people on this part member family list that we have and one of the people on the list were really inactive. They almost called the cops on us. That was an interesting contact. Then on Sunday morning we woke up and someone had egged our truck. We were going to clean it after church but when we walked out of church someone had already cleaned it in the parking lot so that was pretty cool. Sunday night we got together with the high council representative over missionary work and all the ward mission leaders in the stake and we talked about how we can get the missionary vision to the members of the wards. It was a good little meeting. Other than that this week will be good. All of the missionaries that go home this transfer are going to the temple on Friday so that will be fun and interesting. 

Oh something that is interesting. Our mission presidents great grandfather founded Layton, Utah. 

Hope you all have a good week.

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Here is our new mission president and his wife. She is pretty tall.
-Elder Loertscher
Attachments area

Happy 4th of July! 7/4/2016

Happy 4th everyone. Boy are we lucky to be American. I hope you all enjoy your firework shows and events today. This morning we went to a 4th of July program. It was like a musical. It was put on by a bunch of kids in Ridgecrest. It was pretty good. Today our plans are to go to a bbq for lunch and dinner and then we have to be inside early due to people drinking and driving. But it will be fun. 

This past week we got a new mission president as I mentioned. He is settling in quickly. This next week we have our mission leadership council. It got moved to Tuesday and it is from 12 to 5. Talk about a long time. Right after that we have to drive to Ridgecrest to have our meeting with the stake president and him. And then after that meeting he wants to go out with us to visit a few people. Then on Wednesday we have a mini zone conference for him to get to meet everyone in our zone. It will be a lot of fun. 

This past week we did our district blitz and it was a lot of fun. I always love being able to work in different areas. It has a good new feeling. We honestly didn't see a whole lot success. It was pretty funny this one street everyone either bashed us or was being really weird. There was this one door and this guy opened it and I said "hey nice to meet you what's your name" with my hand out for him to shake it. He totally shot me down and said you don't need to know my name and then shut the door. He didn't even shake my hand. I'm missing some southern hospitality. Its totally okay though because Elder Puyogao and i just laugh when things like that happen. There was another door on that street as Elder Puyogao was talking she shut the door. But she shut it very awkwardly and slowly. It was super funny. 

I've been contemplating something these past few weeks. Up to this point in my mission I've never had to experience anything really hard. Success has always just come. We have been having a hard time finding the elect lately. We spend countless days out in the blazing heat to come up empty. I am finally starting to experience a hard part in my mission. It brought questions up. and a lot of prayer. I wanted to know why now i am experiencing so many hardships. So side note. We are the district leaders and the zone leaders. So every week Elder Puyogao and I switch off  who conducts district meeting. Well it was my week and I asked Elder Puyogao to give a talk. In his talk he quoted a talk from some elder who served a long time ago. it is a famous letter. President Ucthdorf even quoted it in an address he gave to missionaries a while ago. Anyways part of it says this. "Then I heard this message: “Elder Humphrey, I am here. I know who you are. I sent you to those neighborhoods, the very ones where you experienced nothing but rejection. I prompted your changes in direction to even more difficult neighborhoods. I know where each of the elect in your area resides. I know their names. I could send you to those addresses only, and save you the time and sacrifice looking for them. BUT ELDER HUMPHREY, WHAT GOOD WOULD THAT SERVE YOU? The mission experience is to do what you are told, when you are told, to go where you are asked, and know that the blessing comes from enduring what I ask of you. This is not about you; it is about opening your mouth at all times in all places. Doing my will without thought to the end result or consequence… this is what serving a mission is."  As i was reading this letter this spirit told me this. " You are going to be the last convert of your mission" I am the last "soul" that needs to completely come unto Christ. If i let Heavenly Father i know that this last month he will teach me a great deal. 

This week we did some service for some members. Elder Puyogao mowed a lawn for the first time. That was pretty exciting to see. Other than that it was a fun week because of the blitz. This next week is going to be jammed packed.

I hope you have a great week.  

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-Elder Loertscher

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lot's of Fires June 27,2016

So many of you have probably heard that there are 6 major fires burning right now in california. The largest one is about 40 minutes from where we are at. It has burned over 30,000 acres, killed two people, and has burned down over 150 structures. There hasnt really been much effect for our area other than smokey skies and it smells like smoke. I am interested to see if we will offer any relief for them. 

This week was pretty good we had a very interesting experience with this one parent. We can talk about that another time. We tracted a lot and it was really hot. Sunscreen and water are our two best friends right now. We are still trying to find new people. We found a couple new individuals this week, dont know how much they will progress though.

This friday President and Sister Wilson leave the mission and President and Sister Layton arrive. They are allowed one hour with each other and then President Layton takes over. I am excited to get to know him briefly. 

This upcoming week we got approval to do a district blitz. We will be as a district working in each others areas. So like everyone will go to one area one day and then the next day a different area. It will be so mch fun. 

But yeah nothing crazy happened this week. 

Hope you have a great week,
-Elder Loertscher