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

Transfer, Temple Visit, and Most Interesting Sunday Ever June 20,2016

So we got calls for the upcoming transfer on Saturday. I am................ staying. Our whole zone for the most part is staying which is weird. So I will be spending the remainder of my mission in Ridgecrest. This past week was very interesting as a whole and I think interesting is the only word to describe it best. I'll start with yesterday. There was a moth flying around all of sacrament meeting. Then during the sacrament one of the deacons water trays broke and it fell all over the ground. I felt bad for him he was pretty embarrassed. 

This week we got to go the LA temple. It was so much fun. It took forever to get down there though. We left at 7 an got there at 10 and left around 2 and didn't get home until 5:30 so that was pretty much our whole day. LA is a pretty crazy city.

This week we had a pretty cool experience. On Tuesday we had apartment inspections. Those were at 10:15. Well at 10:00 i had a little thought that we should go to a members house to get ice for our waters. As we got outside our apartment, across the street was this lady who was delivering bread. (albertsons alley entrance backs up to the front of our apartment) She somehow was about to drop like 50 crates of bread so we ran across the street to help her and she felt so embarrassed because she had been holding it for like 3 minutes and no one saw her and could help her so she was pretty grateful. Then when we left there and headed to the members house they said as soon as we got there "how did you know we needed you help". We had to help them push a car somewhere because it wouldn't work. Its little promptings like that where they go a long way. It was cool to see it all play out. And we got a perfect 10 on our apartment so all is well. 

We had a few lessons this week but no one super solid towards baptism. 

This week i was reminded of the importance once again of the knowledge of our eternal identity. That we are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. In church yesterday someone gave a talk based off of my favorite talk from conference. The talk given by Elder Hallstrom. below is a link to his talk.

also here is a great mormon message. 

Anyways sorry for that tangent. As i was pondering upon this topic i was thinking about classic examples of people who KNEW without a doubt that they were children of our heavenly father. What came to my mind was the story of Moses in the Book of Moses. In chapter one Moses is told 3 times from God that he is his son. Of course then comes along the person who wants to take that image away from us. Lucifer. He tells Moses that he is a son of man and Moses' responses is amazing. Let's look at the story. 

 4 And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.

 6 And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.

7 And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son, for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee.

12 And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.

 13 And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?
Moses obviously had a great understanding of his divine potential. As i was pondering this topic the words came to me. "our purpose of coming to the earth is to measure up to our divine potential". The spirit really helped me understand i have a great purpose of coming to this earth and that i am from a noble birthright. 

I hope and pray you all understand that principle as well because it truly does change our perspective. 

I hope you all have a great week. 

-Elder Loertscher

Last Week of this Transfer June 13,2016

We are heading into the last week of the second to last transfer. Next Tuesday will be the start of my last transfer. This upcoming week is going to be awesome. We get to go to the temple. I love the LA temple. We are going on Wednesday. But as far as updates goes for this past week.

We finally found some people. One of them is from San Antonio so of course we had something to talk about. Everyone loves the great state of Texas. We were supposed to teach them with a member later in the week but they went home for our return appointment so hopefully we will get in contact with them this week. 

We are really trying to put an emphasis on part member family work right now because that is where a lot of success is coming from around the mission. So we are going to visit lots of them this week.

This past week the weather cool down a little bit also so that was nice.  

This past week there was an emphasis on humility and gratitude. There were two really good talks on them that you should look up. 

​ The first picture is us "charging" our Tesla. They have these charging stations in some parts of town so we wanted to get a funny picture with them. 

This week it was a sister in our zones birthday so we put about 150 balloons in their car. 

Have a great week. 

-Elder Loertscher

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Another week down June 6,2016

This week flew by. A lot of cool stuff happened. First the weather is heating up the hottest it got this week was 109 and it is going to here in a few weeks stay in the 112 to 120 range. Let me tell you how hot it is. We looked at the weather. The other day the humidity was at 7%. Back home in Texas it was 81%. I cant take this heat. It is out of this world. It is so dry. But we found an awesome solution to this problem. So members go to Lancaster all the time to go to Costco and they got us these water bottles that are called Takeya. They keep your cold water insulated for 24 hours. So we put ice in it in the morning and it stays in there all day. These things are life savers. Then we took the water bottles to a members house and she put some vinyl on it. They look pretty good. 

This week with it being the first of the month we had our normal stuff. We had Mission Leadership Council on Wednesday down in Tehachapi. It was president and sister Wilson's last one. They leave come July 1st. That will be a sad day. We also had our zone training meeting Friday. This time around everyone was relatively quiet which is always frustrating. 

This week was slower and we are still trying to find new people to teach. We have a few appointments this upcoming week that we can hopefully pick up new investigators. 

At MLC we were taught an amazing principle. One that honestly has impacted me the most on my mission. Our mission president taught it to us from a talk by elder Bednar. The talk is entitled quick to observe. I will put the link below. I would highly recommend reading it. Powerful principles are taught. Hopefully we can all be quick to observe. 

Hope you all have a great week.

​Our zone

-Elder Loertscher

Memorial Day Weekend May 30,2016

Man was today a blast. This morning we went to a park and had the wards annual Memorial Day breakfast. We ate and played, soccer, kickball, and softball. It was a lot of fun. After that we went and got haircuts and then we had a district activity at a members house. We ate bbq and hat a water balloon fight. It was a lot of fun. 

But this past week went a little better. We taught this awesome lady who right after we left read the chapter we left with her and then asked us questions. (on Sunday she texted us saying she did not want to meet anymore so that was a bummer)

We have been tracting a lot lately and this next week we are going to be doing a lot of that as well. Its also going to get into the triple digits this week in temperature. My body needs humidity. This dry heat is going to kill us.

This week we did some service for a member. They had popcorn ceiling so we scraped that all off and sanded it, then put texture on the ceiling and then we are going to paint it. 

Tomorrow is going to be one of the most intimidating days of my mission. Our mission president sent us a text and told us before he comes to our monthly meeting with him and the stake president he wanted to go out and work with us for a few hours. His wife will be going with some sisters in our zone. So that will be interesting to see how that goes. Say your prayers for me haha.

Also this week we have our normal 1st of the month meetings. 

Hope you all have a great week.

District photo after our water balloon/ shaving cream fight today


Monday, May 23, 2016

Nag-aaral ako ng tagalog

This week went pretty well. Once again a lot of driving. We said goodbyes Monday for Elder Hernandez and then Tuesday we headed down to Bakersfield. I got Elder Puyogao and we headed back. Elder Puyogao is awesome. he is teaching me a bunch of one liners in tagalog. We had to meet with the sisters that were taking over first ward and explain to them the area and things like that. 

Wednesday we had an hour and meet the assistants to get the new phones. The mission just switched from sprint to at&t. So we went and picked up the phones and brought them back. 

We were able to find a few new people to teach this week so we will hopefully be able to continue to find and progress someone to baptism for June. 

This Sunday I gave a talk in church. It was on "the power of repentance". I talked about what true repentance looks like and the change or effect that takes place within us when we are truly repentant. I talked about how when we find relief from something we want to share it with others. I shared the story from Elder Bednar in the 2014 general conference talk titles "come and see". Its a funny story and a great talk. I talked about how sometimes we have fear in sharing the gospel. We have a fear of rejection or that we don't want our friends to think were just super crazy about sharing the gospel. But there is great comfort in this scripture. 3 Nephi 18:31-32

 31 But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered.
32 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.
Continue to share the gospel with those you know. Your testimony can go a long way. When we bear fervent testimony we are giving the spirit the opportunity to bear witness of the things that what we are saying are true. That is the easiest way to invite the spirit. Bear your testimony.
Other than that not a whole lot happened. Its really slow right now as we are in the rebuilding process. 
-Elder Loertscher

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Transfers and the Last 12 Weeks

So transfers are tomorrow. Elder Hernandez is leaving. I will be getting a new companion his name is Elder Puyogao. He is from the Philippines. He is a new zone leader that just got called to be a zone leader so I am "training" him on the process. He served in my zone in Lancaster so I already know who he is which is nice. With this transfer coming to an end and moving forward i only have two transfers left which means I am going into my last 12 weeks in the mission field. That is a scary thought. 

This past week was a very long one. The temperatures are starting to reach the high 90's with it getting into the 100's this upcoming week. It doesn't help with it being so dry outside. We spent Wednesday knocking almost the whole day. I've never been so worn down from the weather. So we are making to sure to definitely drink lots of water. 

Other than that this week was pretty slow. We weren't able to find a ton of people. Starting from scratch is never fun but we are working hard so we can have that baptism in June. 

This morning got off to an early start. We woke up at 5:30 and a member drove us up to the Mt. Whitney area to go fishing.On the way we stopped to go help this guy stuck way out in the dunes. So we went and pulled him out in the members car. There wasn't very many fish out and about. We fished from like 8:00 to 12:00 and out of the 6 of us only 3 people caught one fish. There wasn't many fish in the area we were at but everywhere else is dried up haha. but at least we caught one and had a ton of fun. 

Oh also they are putting another set of sister in our zone. They are taking away one of the wards that we cover and giving it to those sisters. So now our zone is even more of a "relief society" haha. There are 6 sisters in the city Ridgecrest and just us two elders and then in the zone 8 sisters and 4 elders. Were outnumbered. Not to sure what Heavenly Father is trying to teach me with this one but it will be a lot of fun. 

Me pointing at Mt. Whitney (  like my fishing gear ;)   ) and the second is with my fish

Have a great week. 

-Elder Loertscher

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Changing things Up! May 9,2016

This week FLEW by. But then again almost none of the week was spent in our area. Tuesday we had a few lessons because the next few days we wouldn't be in Ridgecrest. Wednesday morning we woke and drove down to Tehachapi for a meeting. We had our monthly Mission Leadership Council. It went really well. There we decided that we are going to switch up our contacting approach as a mission. It used to be this thing called "No Outs" so if someone said they were busy just kind of distract them from why they were busy and keep teaching them. Now we are sharing a brief message and asking them if they would be interested in hearing more. Those two being polar opposites you could imagine how it would be a little awkward at first which it was. but we are slowly getting the hang of it and it is becoming more effective. The purpose of it is so that we can talk with more people and actually find those that are prepared to hear our message.

 After that meeting we drove down to Palmdale for an exchange with our assistants. That went pretty well also. It was super funny. At night we went to visit one of their recent converts. She has a bunch of little kids, so one of them and I start play fighting. The other brother who is even younger thought we were really fighting so he took the banana peel from the banana he was eating and threw it at me. I wasnt looking at him so out of no where a banana peel hit me right in the face. It was pretty funny how defensive he was over his brother. The elder i was with got a big kick out of it. 

Thursday morning when we left to drive back to Ridgecrest out car battery would start so we had to wait for a member to come jump us. Then we drove it to Pep Boys. They weren't helping us be time effective at all. It took 3 hours for us to get in and get out of there. They put us last on the list. So we did not get home until like 5:30. Then we had to plan for our meeting for Friday which we had not done yet. So we rushed to plan that because we had a lesson at 7. 

Friday we drove up to Lone Pine for our Zone Training Meeting. It went really well also. A lot of information was given. We introduced to our zone the new pamphlets that we received. They are really cool. 

Saturday we had another baptism. It was nice because it was a part member family and the dad was able to baptism his son. it was a nice moment for them you could tell. 

Things are going well. It was nice to be able to talk with the family Sunday night. Hope you all have a great week.

-Elder Loertscher

​this was a picture we took after MLC. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Too Much TO Learn May 2,2016

This past week was incredible. I have never learned so much in one week. A lot of it I'm not going to share because it is not my story to tell. But a lot of the people we are working with right now are experiencing some tough life trials. Hearing them pour their hearts out to you about the trials and if they don't know if they can make it through it really makes an impact on you. When this mother talked about her daughters trial it got me teary eyed and if many of you know me well you know I'm usually not a crier. But it is amazing to see how the Gospel puts a light in them and gives them " a perfect brightness of hope" as Nephi explains to us. The gospel really does changes our lives if we let it. 

On a positive note we had 3 baptisms this past weekend :) :) :) 
I got to baptize one of the girls. It was a lot of fun working with this family. 

On Sunday it was super crazy because we had 4 confirmations to do during sacrament meeting. One of them was from the lady who got baptized last week before stake conference. But it was so cool to be able to see so many people get confirmed. We were really busy this week with lessons, service, and getting stuff ready for the baptism. 

For service this week we did some yard work for a member. We also helped out with this big community service project at the fairgrounds in Ridgecrest. 

A lot of what I wanted to share is probably to personal regarding others lives so today might be a little bit shorter of an email. I'm grateful to be in ridgecrest even though here soon it is going to start getting to be like 115 outside. But rain or shine the work must go forward and it always will. I love this work and the joy it brings to others and to me. Hope you all have a great week. 

Love you all lots.  

-Elder Loertscher

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Stake Conference, Baptism, and Promised Blessings

This week was really great. Its always nice to be able to see the fruits of your labors. But before we get to that. At the beginning of this week we had a bit of a struggle. Everyone we talked to on Tuesday just wanted to be argumentative. A lot of those individuals didn't really believe that there is more scripture. they brought up that verse in Revelations that talks about not adding to the bible. We explained what it meant by that and she still didn't budge. So then I asked her before we left if i could ask her a question. She agreed and my question was very simple. "So you're telling me that you have prayed and asked God if the bible is all that we need and it is the only sacred scripture on the earth. Is that right?" She then began to stumble over her words and then before she answered just closed the door. We saw that a few times this week. I am very grateful for the knowledge that we have this gospel restored back to the Earth with the priesthood and the other things that help us return back to him. The longer and longer i have been out on my mission the less and less patient i get with people who don't want to listen. ha ha but don't worry I'm working on that though.

We had some really awesome lessons this week and were able to continue to help those we are teaching progress. With one of the investigators we are meeting with he finally decided that he is ready for baptism. It is a part member family and he has been investigating a while. We have been teaching him since i got here but we were finally able to make the connection with the fact that he has already gotten his answer. He is excited and ready for baptism. 

As a mission leadership two Mission Leadership Council's ago we prayed and decided that it is possible for EVERY companionship to baptize at least one individual EVERY month. With goals that we set though we must set action plans to measure our progress. So as a leadership council we came up with 4 things that if we do as perfectly as we can then we can obtain the promised blessing to baptize someone every month. The four things are as follows.
1) Set every investigator with a baptismal date for 4 weeks away. (this is for us to be able to sift through those who aren't prepared and don't keep commitments)
2) Give every investigator a copy of a baptismal calendar on the second visit. (on the days we write the things that will help them progress towards baptism like reading and praying everyday, having 2 set lessons every week and the time, church, etc. This has made a HUGE difference with helping people progress. It helps them track their progress towards baptism.) the interview questions are on this side to help them see if there ready.
Inline image 1
3) Have new investigators and all investigators say the closing prayer at lessons. (this one is a little harder. Its amazing how many people don't want to pray)
4) As we are teaching strive really hard to focus on asking inspired questions. (a little harder to measure)

But if we do those 4 things in our work plus other things that we should always be doing we will have a baptism per area per month. 

Since this was decided we have put it to the test and man are we seeing some AMAZING results from it. We had a baptism this past week, we are going to have one next week with 3 people getting baptized, and then the next two weeks after that we should be having a baptism so we are definitely seeing the blessings. 

Stake Conference was this weekend and it was awesome. The talks were so good. I needed to hear a lot of what was said. 

And this weekend we had a baptism. It was a part member family. They are awesome. It was a great service. 

So all in all it was a great week.  I hope that yours was the same.

Have a great week.

-Elder Loertscher

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Faith To Reap April 18, 2016

This week started of on a really high note. We went on an awesome hike on Monday as a district. We went to this place called Fossil Falls. So that was a lot of fun. On Tuesday we had zone conference with our mission president and all of the mission staff. We received training on housing, cars, and missionary work. The housing was more just to remind us to keep a clean apartment. The car was so that Salt Lake could install Tiwi. Many of you know what that is so you could probably anticipate our excitement to have those installed. Which after using it for a week it wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be. Elder Hernandez and I had to give a training on the importance of finding new people to teach by the spirit and then the importance of teaching by the spirit. Our training was about 25 minutes and then President and Sister Wilson addressed us. They spoke or based there thoughts off of a talk given at BYU-Idaho in march of 2015. The talk was titled "Faith to Reap". I invite you all to read that because it gives us great insight if we wish to achieve the goals we set before us. Here is the link to it.

Read over it and study it. I found great help through it. It makes me want to have an exceedingly large amount of faith. Or as put the Faith to Reap. The zone conference gave me a really good boost for the week. This week was just full of really interesting experience. We taught this lady the whole restoration and then extended her the invitation to be baptized and then she just shut the door. It was the strangest thing ever. We also that day ran into a polygamist family that is in Ridgecrest so that was a little awkward. On the bright side though we were able to have lots of lesson and the people we are teaching are progressing really well. We have a baptism this Friday so that will be fun. Other than that things are going really well. Excited for whats ahead. We should be having like 4 or 5 baptisms over the next month. So keep praying for those people we are teaching. We will keep you posted. 

The picture below of me grilling is because there is this family in our ward that invites us over for lunch pretty much everyday we just have to make the food that we want so we ate like kings this week. On Wednesday we had burgers, Thursday cheeseburgers, Friday pork chops, and Saturday just nachos but all of the food was so good. Plus its good practice for my grilling skills for after the mission. 

Hope ya have a great week. Please read the talk you will all enjoy.

-Elder Loertscher