Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Find, Teach, BAPTIZE

This week was really eventful. We met with the stake president and mission president on Wednesday to report this stakes missionary efforts. It was a pretty good meeting. We also had zone conference this Friday. Elder Fernandez and I presented the Restoration and how it should be taught correctly. The theme of the conference was Find. Teach. And Baptize. Our President talked a lot about how we need to make the things we are doing our top priority. Our zone struggles with being bold. It was super funny. President Wilson was talking about how we can be more bold and he said " I have a gift for you all". He grabbed out a bag of rocks and gave us each one. Then he next remark was super funny. He said " what is this" everyone answered a rock. He quickly corrected us and said "i would like to think of it as being a boulder". So i need you all to be a little boulder (bolder). It was super funny. This weekend we had a baptism. YEY. The water heater at our church building was messed up so we had to do it in really cold water. That's okay though, it will be an experience to remember. 

There was a cool story we heard this week. The story goes like this. There was 3 kids walking home from school. There were two athletic kids and one heftier kid. On there way home they passed train tracks and thought of a game they could play. They wanted to see who could balance the longest on the track. The two athletic boys went first. The first athletic boy got on and fell off immediately. The other athletic kid was able to balance a little longer than the first but fell off quickly as well. The heftier kid got on the track and was able to balance several minutes before falling off. As they kept walking home the two athletic kids asked how he was able to stay on. He said "i kept looking forward". I wasn't getting distracted by what was around me. I just kept my eyes on something that was in front of me. I loved that story. Helps us remember we need to keep that eternal perspective. 

Hope you all have a great week. 
-Elder Loertscher
Here is our zone. 
Meet Joshua. Our baptism

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Rain...Rain.... Rain....

This week was a little slower of a week. We had transfer meeting on Tuesday and one of my close mission friends went home. It was a sad day. He was a great missionary. I will miss him he was a great example to me. So for our week missionary wise we were unable to have our baptism because the bishopric had meetings all day so none of them could attend the baptism so we had to move it to this upcoming Saturday. That was a bummer but it will be good to have it this Saturday. We already got things planned for it and he has asked me to be the one to baptize him so that will be awesome. It has cooled down a lot recently. It is going to be in the low 70's this week. This past week there was a lot of rain this we received. We got 2 and a half inches in an hour which is more than the annual average. Due to the increase in rain received there was a very severe mud slide on one of the highways. The mud was like 4 feet high and over 200 cars were covered and stuck in the mud. Luckily no one was hurt but it was pretty crazy to see pictures. That happened about 35 minutes from where were at. We took our baptismal candidate to mutual this week and he loved it. He really is a great kid. He loves soccer so we found a real easy connection there. On Thursday a member got buffalo wild wings for us. We got the blazin' which is the hottest one they have. They were super good. We were able to find 4 new people to teach this week which was okay we weren't to content with that. 

We had an interesting lesson yesterday at church. We talked a lot about pride and how we make things too complicated. During the lesson a story came to mind that illustrates this principle perfectly. In Numbers ch. 21 we read about Moses and the people he is with and the serpents (snakes). 
6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

 7 ¶Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

 8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

In this story we see how pride gets the best of the people. When they got bitten some of them would go an look upon the brass serpent. Those who didn't though died. I'm sure some of them surely thought that it was too easy of a cure and that it wouldn't work. Or they lacked faith. Or whatever the case may have been they were making it more complicated than it needed to be. All they had to do was just LOOK upon the serpent and they would be healed. Often times much of us are among these prideful people. We are given council to Keep the Sabbath Day Holy and make it a delight and we think it doesn't apply to us. We are an exception but we are very confused. There are no exceptions. We need to let go of our pride and ask ourselves "what more can we do?" All we need to do is LOOK unto the savior and we will find ourselves spiritually alive. It was a great lesson. It opened my perspective of the things that i am still a little prideful over. 

I hope you all have a great week. 

-Elder Loertscher

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Hard work is Finally paying off October 12,2015

Sorry that I did not write this past week. We were short on time and busy. Here is a catch up on the past two weeks. 
We will start with some of the humbling experiences. 
1) For the most part of my mission we have been fed pretty good but there have been a few meals that have been questionable. (Also have gotten to the point where I will eat anything, so not as picky which is good). This past week we were fed menudo (cow stomach) from a investigator. I could honestly say that I would never eat that serving in America. 

2) We ate a meal where they only had one table that was small. My companion and I got to sit in their only two chairs. They insisted on us sitting there. We felt way bad. They all sat on the floor. The family did not really eat anything to ensure we were fed. Literally the most humbling experience in the mission. We often times take everything we have for granted. 

Elder F and I were able to finally have people come to church. It has been the struggle for a while but we had 4 come this past week. With them coming that ensures that we will have baptisms coming up soon. We are supposed to have one this Saturday. And then one next weekend as well. Our zone and our area is still continuing to progress. 

Also this past week we had MLC (mission leadership council) and that was awesome. It is a great place to receive revelation for our individual stewardship. After MLC we had to plan for ZTM (zone training meeting). ZTM turned out really well. The assistants to the president came so we were hoping everything would be good which it was. There was a baptism in our zone on saturday and we had to go (got to go) since we are the zone leaders. The drive down to Kern Valley which is an hour away from Bakersfield is pretty awesome. The baptism went well. Our zone has baptized at least one for the past 4 weeks and we have a baptism a week lined up for the next 4 weeks. 2 months of straight baptizing. The mission is truly changing. 

Today we already had a zone activity. We went to a nearby neighborhood to play sand volleyball and frisbee golf. Transfers are tomorrow and.... I'm staying. I think i will be here for one more and then leave. This ward is pretty cool. the next transfers will be on November 24th. Which will be interesting if I leave to go to a new ward and then two days later it is Thanksgiving. 

Any who I hope you all have a great week. 

Something funny that happened this week was this. We were tracting and ran into a minister. It was so funny when he was going on a rant he was like its the king(dome) not the king(dumb). He was basically saying we need to be smart with our choices. It was way funny. 

-Elder Loertscher

Stay on the Path September 28th

This week was good. We are having a struggle getting people to come to church. It is funny how the Sabbath has changed so much in the past little while. It was the sabbath day then to sunday and now to everyone its just the weekend. We have lost the sense of sacredness and we arent making it a delight. Its so frustrating as a missionary when you teach people all week and they promise to come to church but dont show up. Other than people not coming to church we had a good week. We were able to meet with and teach a lot of our investigators. We were also able to pick up a lot of new investigators. We went on 2 exchanges this week. One with our assistants which was a lot of fun. We saw some great success. The other was with a district leader in our zone and his companion. This one was rough. We went to Arvin which is known as little Mexico. We knocked doors for an hour and talked to one English person. It was so frustrating but that is what we have to do out in our area. We cover a lot of Spanish and have to filter through all of the Spanish speakers and find the English ones. Our area is like 20-30 minutes away from the church so that is also part of the struggle because to them church is in a different town. One of the last doors we knocked was English so it was a big relief. Just goes to show that persistence brings success. This week i came down with a little bit of a cold. That was fun. I was sneezing so much. 

So i chose the title stay off the path because this week it was pretty funny. Elder Fernandes and I were driving to our area one day and there is a back road that no one really is ever on. So as zone leaders we switch off who drives each day. It was his day to drive. So we were driving and we decided to do a little faith building exercise so Elder Fernandes closed his eyes kept driving and we were going to see how straight he could drive. I told him that i would correct him if he got near the edge of the road. We did this exercise over and over again and he couldn't keep it straight. After we stopped we talked about how crazy it is that slowly he went off the road. It wasn't a immediate change but it came gradually. We compared that to the gospel. Not all at once will we just leave the church or quit practicing our beliefs but slowly Satan will work with us and eventually we will get close to the edge. I love how literally everything applies to the gospel. 

I cant express how excited I am for general conference. Make sure you have questions!

There was a baptism in our zone that we went to so here is a picture from that. 

​Here is a part member family we are working with. They are really cool. His wife and son are going to be baptized here in a few weeks.

Have a great week. 

-Elder Loertscher

Testimonies September 21, 2015

Hello all. I hope that you all had a good week. Elder F and I killed it in finding once again this week. So I will let you know of the struggle we are having and those of you who are returned missionaries or on missions advice would be helpful. So we in the past 3 weeks have found 21 new people to teach. We are finding them teaching them right then and there and then we will set up a return appointment. sounds promising but everytime we go back they are not home or them come up with and excuse of why they cant meet. They arent keeping there commitments. Yes we have to cycle through people who arent going to progress but for us that is a large chunk we lose each week. So we are trying to figure out if it is something we are doing wrong and need to change or if its just part of the type of people in California. Some sisters in our zone this past week had a baptism and another set of sisters have one coming up this upcoming saturday. Also this past week we had stake conference. It was really good. An area of the 70 came. His name was D. Zachary Smith. He was a great speaker. His wife was hilarious. The focus of the conference was ward councils and how we can make them productive. It was also focused on Christs teachings. So I wanted to share some things from studies that i looked at differently than before. I started the book of mormon

This is in 1 Nephi 13: 
 18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.

 19 And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.

 20 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord.

 21 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been afflicted with my brethren because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.

 22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did speak much unto my brethren, because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against the Lord their God.

 23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?

So i'll pose a question. How does a bow lose its spring? 
In this case it was from lack of use. Laman and Lemuel were murmuring but weren't even trying. We can take this a few different ways with the gospel but today i am going to go the testimony route of it. Our testimonies are like this bow. When in use it is strong and will have a powerful impact. When we do not use it however it begins to weaken to the point where we may question what we know. President Thomas S. Monson said" regarding ones testimony that which one willing shares he keeps and that which one selfishly keeps he loses". We must look for ways to grow and enhance what we know. I thought that it was really cool comparison. We must make that effort. If it "breaks" be like Nephi and do something about it. Faith is a principle of action. We must exercise our faith. 

​This week we also met with our mission president and the stake president to discuss the work in the stake. These are the spanish zone leaders in our stake. They are really cool. 

​The beauty of Bakersfield.
Have a great week 

-Elder Loertscher

Language of Prayer September 14,2015

I will start off echoing Elder Kade Nielsens words on prayer. Yesterday in our ward council our bishop gave a spiritual thought and he stated that we have become to casual in our language of prayer. We often time use the words YOU and YOUR when speaking to Heavenly Father. We have gotten carried away from the formal THOU, THEE, and THY. He gave a great point stating that we are speaking to a Heavenly King. He is our father. Just like a son wont (shouldnt) call his dad by his first name, it should be the same when we speak with our Heavenly Father.Also out of respect i apply this rule of thumb. When praying "on your knees or on your feet but never ever in your seat". 

Elder Fernandes and I had a bomb week. We taught 6 member present lessons. We gave one of our investigators a blessing to give him strength to live the word of wisdom and he started crying. He said he could feel the spirit and he knows Heavenly Father will help him. We  were able to find 8 new investigators. We set all 8 of them with a baptismal date. We had a ton of dates already but some of them didnt come to church so there date dropped. This past Wednesday we went to Mojave for a District Leader & Zone leader Meeting. On the way back we came through Tehachapi. There was 3 wild fires. It was pretty cool to see one that close but at the same time it was a fire so thats not so good. The meeting was really cool though.  

This week Elder Fernandes and I have really stressed talking to everyone. We need to offer everyone a chance. They all have there agency of course to accept or reject our message but we need to give them that opportunity. We also are hitting hard setting baptismal dates. If we do not at least invite people to baptism we cannot help them repent. and we aren't fulfilling our purpose of INVITING others to come unto Christ. If we dont do those things then our zone wont. But dont worry we are. Our zone is on the rise. We will have baptisms again this transfer in our area and in others in our zones. Its hard to find that constant level of baptizing. This zone has struggled with that alot. They will baptize like 4 one month and then the next have 0. We are attempting to raise the expectation and hope that it will settle with our missionaries and they will sense the urgency. 

D&C 33:3 
"For behold, the field is white already to harvest; and it is the eleventh hour, and the last time that I shall call laborers into my vineyard"

Here is one of the fires. California this year is like either 40,000 or 140,000 acres above average for fires. It is so dry. We need some rain. 

​Here is what happens when you are tracting in 106 degree weather for 5 hourse straight with no water. Yes thats all sweat. 

Have a great week. Love you all.

-Elder Loertscher

Priesthood Power September 7, 2015

This past week was an amazing testimony to me of the importance of the priesthood. Felix our recent convert got the Aaronic priesthood yesterday. It was really cool to be able to be a part of his whole conversion process. I love the fact that he is now able to potentially baptize him mom. This week went really well. Elder Fernandes and i worked so hard and we were able to pick up 6 new investigators and set half of them with baptismal dates. Right now almost everyone we are working with has a baptismal date for October the 3rd. It was surprising that we did pretty well considering we had transfer meeting Tuesday and Mission Leadership Council Wednesday, weekly planning Thursday, and ZTM Friday. Saturday was our first full day of work. Zone Training Meeting (ZTM) went really well. We were really bold with our missionaries and told them that we are living beneath our potential and that we can baptize so many more people. We set some high goals but if we all work hard we will be able to achieve them. Our zone is really awesome with some amazing missionaries so we are expecting great things in the East Bakersfield zone. I hope you all have had a great week. Keep on Keepin on

​Here is the zone

​All 4 of us that were in Ana Verde got to take a picture at Transfer Meeting
-Elder Loertscher

Transfer week August 31, 2015

We had an awesome experience this week. Our recent convert as of last Saturday came out this week to our wards tuesday night visits. He handed out a book of mormon with his testimony written in it and gave it to 2 new investigators we picked up. He is definitely converted to the gospel. Also this week we got transfer calls. Elder F is leaving up to the ana verde ward where i just came from. My new companion will be Elder Fern. He is coming from the ana verde ward. When i was in that ward so was he. We served basically together for 4 1/2 months so i already know him very well. We will do some great things together. Also this week Elder F and I gave talks in sacrament. I gave my talk on the gospel of jesus christ and went over the 5 points. 1) faith 2) repentance 3) baptism 4) holy ghost 5) enduring to the end. I went way in depth to each point though. I thought it went okay but the ward and Elder F said it was one of the most spiritual talks they have heard all year. So i was happy that it went well. I wasnt nearly as nervous as i thought i would be. And as a missionary it is way easier to fill up 20 minutes than it was back home. Anyways the end of the week has been spent saying goodbye to the ward since elder forsey is leaving. He served here for 4 1/2 months so he got close to some families and wanted to say bi. Today we had a zone activity and played volleyball and are obviously emailing right now. After emails were are going to play Billiards with a member and our recent convert so that will be a lot of fun. I hope the first week of school went well for everyone. Have a great week. 

zone activity today

​Elder Forsey and I having a fun super hero moment last night

-Elder Loertscher

Baptism Weekend August 24,2015

We will start with the highlight of the week which was our baptism. Felix is going to be a great member. At his baptism when he was getting ready to walk into the water I felt the spirit stronger than i have ever felt my entire mission. When he came up out of the water I was filled with so much joy. Seeing how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bless someones life amazes me. We are lucky to have the truth. 
       Aside from our baptism this week was pretty good. We had our meeting with President Wilson and the Stake President to discuss the missionary work going on in the Stake. We went on exchanges with a set of missionaries in our zone. One of them goes home next week. It is crazy to see missionaries that are going home. It scares me how fast that day will come. But till then i got plenty of time to bring people into the waters of baptism. We had 2 investigators come to church which was awesome. They both have dates for the middle of next month so hopefully all goes well and we can continue to baptize. There was something that Elder F and I noticed this week. In the picture where Christ is at the door knocking we noticed something. Something missing. Before you keep reading look at the picture and see if you notice what is gone? Did you notice what was missing? The door handle. There is not one. In any depiction of that picture there is never a door handle. We pondered on why that was. Christ will never force his way to be with us. We always have to let him in. He will ALWAYS be there we just have to listen for that knock at the door and be prepared to answer. Another thing we noticed is the way that he is knocking. He always appears to be knocking very quietly. We need to eliminate all the distractions in our life that can be keeping us away from hearing him at the door. 

I have a very strong testimony of this church and of this work. These are the last days so hopefully we all have a sense of urgency to bring others into the fold of God. Look for opportunities to share the gospel. I hope you all are settling into school okay. Have a great week.

-Elder Loertscher

Progress August 17th 2015

This past week went well. We met with a few of our investigators. The one is scheduled to be baptized this Saturday. We are looking forward to that. The sisters in our ward this past week had a baptism. I love the environment of a baptism. It is so spiritual. Aside from that this week was a little slow. We went on exchanges with some elders in our zone. That went well. I went with Elder Johnson (my previous comp.) and we found two new investigators in our area. We also had a bad bug problem this week. We had two black widows in our apartment. Also saw a mouse running around and go under our stove. We found its little hide out and well you can see what happened. We also had interviews with our mission president. It was our interview that we have about every 3 months. It was different as a zone leader because we had to be the first ones there, make a schedule for everyone else to go, and then be the last ones there so that took a while but it was nice to meet with President. I hope you all have had a good summer. It is coming to a close fast. Enjoy your week.
Elder Loertscher

Push yourself don't settle for AVERAGE August 10,2015

This week went really well. We has MLC (mission leadership council) with president and all of the other zone leaders. That was awesome to be at. There was some great guidance given on how we can improve the work in the mission. On Thursday we had weekly planning and we had to plan for our zone training meeting Friday with our whole zone. That meeting went really well. After ZTM we had exchanges with our assistants that we do once a transfer. I stayed in our area and went with Elder Crandall. Boy did we have a lot of success. This was the most successful day of my entire mission so far. We found 9 new investigators and they are all at different houses so hopefully we will start to be able to teach there whole families. This week we also met with some of our investigators and the one is SO SET to be baptized on August 22nd. We are setting up his interview for this week. Today has been a blast so far. We went golfing with two members. We did 18 wholes. Elder Forsey did golfing in high school so he was really good. He gave me a few pointers and i did good as well. I also this week hit 1 year. Time is flying by. Its hard to keep track of it anymore. We are getting fed pretty good in this ward. We are eating ribs tonight which will be the 7th time already since I've been in the ward but hey I'm not complaining there are some great cooks. There was something that caught my attention this week in studies. In the 4 gospels when Jesus Christ says be ye perfect even as your father who art in heaven. The JST to that scripture says that it is a commandment to be perfect. So how do we do that? 1 nephi 3:7 he won't give us a commandment that we don't have a way to accomplish it. He gives us opportunities to be perfect. He doesn't expect us to be perfect at all times but we do have opportunities to try and thats all he wants. Progression. I know school is starting back up again so i hope you all have enjoyed the summer. Have a great week. 

​Here is the East Bakersfield Zone.

Elder Loertscher