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.
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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

Monday, April 11, 2016

Road Trips, Meetings, and Food Poisoning April 11,2016

So the best word to describe this week is interesting. So it started off with a bunch of goodbye's Monday which were fun. There were so many amazing people in Lancaster. Tuesday with a bright and early start to the morning we were on our way down to Bakersfield. From Lancaster that is about an hour and a half drive. We met down there and found our new companions and made sure the rest of our zone found there new companions and then we headed back to our areas. From Bakersfield to Ridgecrest that is like a 2 and a half our drive. So already we drove a lot. Once we got back to the area we met with the Bishop and Ward Mission Leaders to meet them and to get an assignment. Wednesday we had to drive an hour to Tehachapi for our meeting for all Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. It went really well. We talked a lot about how to turn the missions focus back to baptism. This past month we had 43 which is better than our normal. We average around 30 each month. So we are changing the expectation in the mission. 

Thursday was a big important planning day. We had to plan for Zone Training Meeting which would be on Friday. We also went and did some service for a member. Thursday went by really quick. Friday we had to drive up to Lone Pine which is about an hour and a half away. That is where our zone training meeting was at. The reason it was so far is because our zone is so spread out. The stake covers so much land geographically. The meeting went really well though. It was weird because this zone is so small. There is only 5 companionship's including us. Some district in the mission are as big as that. So it was a little different. We talked a lot about getting rid of the "traditions of our fathers" and setting before us an expectation to baptize. After the meeting we went to lunch with the only other elders in our zone. It is really the only time we get to see them because normally they are 3 hours away from Ridgecrest. We decided to go eat at Subway which was a really bad idea. Friday after we got back we went and taught some lessons. One of the lessons went really well. We watched "patterns of light" by David A. Bednar for part of the lesson. It really helped open up the investigator and we helped them realize that they have already received the answer that its true. Saturday morning when we woke up we both knew it was going to be a long day. We were both super super sick. I wont get into to detail but lets just say its the sickest I've ever been in my entire life. I never want to relive that ever again. Boy does it help you appreciate the small things like good health. It also helps you appreciate your mom more. They do a lot for us when were sick. Its nice to have a companion to help but when there dead lying on the bed next to you there isn't much you can do to help each other haha. 

Sunday we had 6 investigators at church. When i heard about Ridgecrest i heard the work was really hard and that there wasn't a lot of success. But it goes to show that when you are exactly obedient and do all that you can the Lord blesses you. If i was to ask you all what you thought the scariest day as a missionary is I'm not sure if you would have the right response. The scariest day as a missionary is having an investigator come to church for the first time and that Sunday being fast and testimony meeting. You just hope that people focus their testimonies on the Savior and things of that nature and you just hope it doesn't become a thankyoumony. To say the least there were a few times where we were on the edge of our seats but our investigators said they liked it so all is well. Despite the sickness and a few other things we had a pretty good week. To give you an idea of the area and what we are doing. We are the zone leaders and district leaders because there is like no missionaries in our zone. There used to be 16 missionaries just in Ridgecrest but now there are only 3 companionship's. So we cover two of the wards and we cover the Spanish part of another. My companion Elder Hernandez is a English missionary but knows Spanish because its his first language. This week we taught a few lessons in Spanish and lets just say that 3 years of Spanish in high school helps but a lot of it goes over your head. Especially in Gospel Principles class on Sunday when they are talking about the allegory of the olive tree. That's hard enough to understand in English let alone Spanish haha. It is fun though because i always wished i got called on a Spanish speaking mission so I'm getting a little taste of it. Lets just say I'm grateful i got an English call :)

Anyways all is well out here. I'm looking forward to the heat. This is supposed to be the hottest place in the mission. Everyone out here says that it gets up to 120 in the summer sooo.... That's pretty exciting right. Have a great week. I love being a missionary. This is the greatest work ever. 

-Elder Loertscher

​Pictures of our awesome zone. A lot of hard workers.

Transfers, Conference, and Baptism April 4, 2016

So we got transfer news this past Friday night. I am getting transferred to Ridgecrest. It is the smallest zone in the mission so it will be a fun one. This is most likely my last area. 

Aside from the news of me leaving how about that General Conference this weekend. As a missionary General Conference takes on a whole new meaning. I had many questions answered. Plus the council given was superb. Some of my favorite talks included Donald L. Hallstrom talking about our eternal identity. The whole priesthood session was amazing. 

After the conference we had our baptism. It was an awesome service there was a lot of people there. 

This week was a little slower we had to do a bunch of mini-exchanges with a companionship. One of the missionaries in our zone tore his ACL so we took turns staying home with him so they could still teach lessons in their area. 

Hope you all have a great week. 

-Elder Loertscher

Humble Yourself As A Little Child March 28, 2016

So I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. Things were really good over here in California. We had a really cool experience. We went to contact an investigator and when we got there these little kids kept interrupting us every 2 minutes as we were teaching. It was a little frustrating. They had a little lemonade and tea stand and they wanted us to come get some but obviously we were teaching. They kept coming back and the mom was getting mad and told them to wait. After we were done teaching we were walking away and they asked if we wanted some. Unfortunately we didn't have any change on us or money. The children were so excited with the stand they made and wanted to just make a few "sales" so they turned to us after giggling and talking one with another and said "you don't have to pay. God Bless" Now these kids were probably 5-7 years old. When they said "you don't have to pay" and spoke the words God Bless i was humbled. Sounds like a silly story but it had a big impact. I thought it was funny how the mom vocally was getting mad at the kids for interrupting (and us thinking it but not saying anything). But as they said that the words came to my head " Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." It reminded me to looks for ways to always be Christlike. We saw a video of something that is so awesome. That is the link below. Watch and see.


This upcoming week we have a baptism on Sunday of general conference. It will be a few hours after. 

Sorry for not emailing last week and this one being so short this week but things are busy. 

Have a great week.

-Elder Loertscher

Our Easter video we have been sharing with all of those people we get in contact with.

A Marvelous Work Is About to Come Forth March 14, 2016

So I got some great news. Our YSA investigator fasted and prayed to know if and when he should be baptized. He said after church that he received and answer that he couldn't deny and that he was all set to be baptized. Now its just a matter of when so we will figure all those specifics out but it was cool to hear that he was able to receive an answer. 

Also we had the interview for our quartz hill baptism and he is good to go. It was supposed to be this upcoming Saturday but his mom cant make it this weekend so it is getting moved to the 26th. 

We are teaching someone right now who has no real religious background and he is grasping the gospel really well. He can fell how this is going to change his life. He is amazed at how 2 20 year olds could leave there home and go share this with people. In one of his prayers this week at the end of one of our lessons he said " heavenly father please bless me that i wont let these elders down and disappoint them" and he started to cry and then finished his prayer. It is truly amazing to be able to witness individuals make a 180 in their lives. He wants to make those changes and plans on it. Such an inspiring guy. 

This week what really made me ponder how i am living my life is a talk/devotional entitled "Conversion of a Catholic Priest" . I don't know how you all would be able to view that talk but if you are able to find it i would highly recommend it because it helped remind me of how important it is to truly be converted to the gospel. And if we are converted what we are willing to do? Hopefully we are able to look inward and ask ourselves that question. "Where Is My Conversion". If it isn't where it needs to be that's okay because we can always change. Hopefully we make those changes quickly and promptly. But I do know that true joy comes from living the Gospel in its fullness. I love the quote that "selective obedience brings selective blessings"

To hear the talk go to google and type in "Conversion story of Bill Carpenter". Its amazing

​We got to eat with a family we were really close with in Palmdale. So much fun. 

Have a great week.