Thursday, February 21, 2013

This week has been awesome! Although I don't feel like I got to spend very much time in my area. The transfer schedule that we are on now at the VC is divided into two 6 hour shifts instead of split up into 3 shifts, which allowed us more time in our area in different times of the day. I had ZLC this week. It is a 6 hour mtg held at the mission home for all the Zone Leaders and Assistants to attend. It is the time that President councils with the leaders in the mission. At the meeting we get taught and trained. President gives us the info that he wants us to pass down to our zones (and VC) and then we do trainings on it. It was a very spiritual meeting. The Beckstrands also came and we all received insight on how to help the Visitor Center. We received training on how to better give commitments and teach towards those commitments that we are planning to extend throughout the whole lesson. We also received a training from Sister Ellsworth on Faith and knowing, accepting and following the Will of God. 
I am excited to be back with Sister Crawford. We are doing well in our companionship and it is easy since we already know how to work with each other and what each other expects of the other.  Sister Crawfords personality is a magnification and reflection of her mom. I am seeing how much influence our parents have on us and the people we are. 
I am so blessed and grateful to have grown up in such a great home with incredible family and parents! Mostly everything that is good about me, is because of that. I probably wouldn't be any better than any other person that struggles with different things had I grown up in their situations. I am no better than most people. I just grew up in better situations. With great blessings comes great responsibility. Because I have been given much, I too must give! I have so much responsibility to love and teach and serve others. I have no excuse to be wayward or disobedient. I will be judged harshly if I choose the wrong path or stray from the right one because I can truly say that I KNOW what is right. I don't know everything, but I know enough. I know enough to help others, and to share my blessings with them. I hope and pray that I can be better so that I can not focus on myself, but focus my efforts on helping others. The scriptures in Luke 22 where the Savior tells Peter: "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." keeps circling in my mind. I want to be converted, so that I can more fully strengthen and help my brothers and Sisters!
Well I love you all! I hope things are going well! 
Thank you so much for your love, thoughts and prayers!
~Sister Shurtz )( O
P.S. Did Tonya get her mission call yet???!!! I can't wait to hear! My guess is Mesa Arizona Mission Proselyting and VC Spanish speaking :) haha. If she doesn't go here, then she will go to Washington DC Visitor Center and proselyting mission. Or she could go to Brazil, or El Salvador. Or she could go to Tennessee.. I really want her to come here though. I think she would love it and do so well! I hope she gets to serve part time at a VC.. But I know wherever she goes will be perfect for her!
P.S.S. Thank you So much for the Package!! I loved it! Sister Crawford says thank you too! I opened it already.. before Valentines Day.. whoops.. :) thank you! You spoil me! 
Also the 525 e Main st address works great for you to send to! Thank you! :)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hello Everyone!
It has been a rainy week this week! It's been fun. I love the rain! It sure is cold though! But then I look at pictures from home and it helps me not complain about the cold anymore!!! haha I don't even remember what it's like for it to get that cold!
Well this week has been good.Transfers are coming up again.. which means that I am going to be super busy again! On Tuesday Sister Sordes and I will do the conference call with President and the Beckstrands, and we will talk about the Sisters and make recommendations for companionships and areas etc  Then on Friday we get to work on the beast (the transfer schedule) which takes like 5 hours! And Sister Mackenzie goes home on the 5th so she'll be packing and going to scottsdale at the end of the week. It's so weird. I am really going to miss her a lot. I sure love her.

Destiny and her kids are doing SO well. It has been so fun to teach a cute little family. We have been reading the scriptures with them and the kids are really listening and understanding and seem to be enjoying it. They came to church and love it. I really want to set a date with them, but it's hard because the husband is in Mexico for a couple months and they don't want to do it without him. This family is so prepared! I really hope I can help them to be baptized before I go. I love them a lot. 
Lindsay Ashworth finally came to CHURCH!!!! :) we are so happy! She is actually doing so well. She has read everyday except once since the beginning of the year and hasn't smoked since then either! 
Eileen Madden is doing really well. She loves the Book of Mormon and is finding her answers to her questions in it. She can't come to church though because of work. We are going to teach about that tomorrow. Hopefully she can understand the importance and make a way to come. 
Sammi is doing amazingly well!!! I LOVE her.(I love all my investigators- but she is just extra loveable...Sidenote: I want to be like that. I mean, Jesus says love everyone- but I don't want to be that person that people have to pray to love and have charity for. I want to be easy to love. I want to be loveable!) She is progressing amazingly well. She loves the scriptures and understands them so well! For example, yesterday at our lesson when we were talking about tithing, she said "so in our lesson at church today they briefly mentioned Cain and Able and their burnt offerings of animals without blemish, is that how they did their tithing back then?" It was a bit off but I was so amazed that she was already thinking and applying the scriptures to our day! She is so ready for this gospel and will be an amazing leader and example! I am blessed to be her missionary  I feel like she is kinda like a freebie. One I don't have to sweat bullets for, but still feel the joy of teaching her and watching her learn and grow. She is done with all her lessons now. So we will just be reading with her, and having her teach us and clear up the questions and concerns she has. 
The Visitor Center sisters and doing so great. I love serving in the Visitor Center! I have been able to have more opportunities to talk to the sisters individually and uplift and encourage them. It has been good to get to know some of the newer sisters and encourage them. I have also been really looking for opportunities to serve the sisters at the VC so that I can show my love and help them to trust me. I want them to feel loved and respected. We will be incorporating some of the 8 fundamentals from PMG in the trainings that Sister Sordes and I give in our upcoming Trainings at the VC. Oh.. actually it will be me and the new VC Trainer.. Sister Sordes goes home on the 5th of Feb too. So now I will be training the new VC Trainer as well. But I already know who she is. She is going to be Awesome! 
This week in church I received a lot of revelation/inspiration for myself and for the Sisters at the VC. I have just really been struggling with being who the Lord wants me to be, and knowing exactly what that is. I know that no matter what the person in church is speaking about.. or how uninteresting it is.. we can and will receive revelation as we attend our church mtgs and listen and apply ourselves. I am so blessed to be able to attend so much church. We go to about 2 to 3 sacrament mtgs each week and several sunday school classes!
I love being a missionary!
This is Gods Church, given to us with Jesus Christ at the head and a Prophet called by God to show us their ways.
We are so blessed to be a part of this ever growing Marvelous work and wonder! I love you all!
Sister Shurtz

So I feel really bad. I haven't written anybody for over a month now.. sorry! I honestly don't really ever have a long enough p-day to get time to write. 
Sister Mackenzie has been sick this whole week again. The first 4 days we didn't go out.. but these last ones we have been able to go out, but my poor comp still has the sniffles and is sneezing like crazy! Like you said mom, I am super blessed that I haven't gotten sick at all! The Lord has truly blessed me with health and strength on the mission! I am so grateful!
We had our interviews with President this week. It was really good. I had asked him a few weeks ago if I could have a blessing from him to help me with my calling as a VC trainer and with my companion. When we were in our interview he asked if I would like that blessing then, I said yes! It was such a wonderful blessing. I am so very truly blessed. Our Heavenly Father truly is all knowing. He knows exactly what I need to hear and gives me the Loving advice and comfort I need. In the blessing I was blessed several times to have health and strength, which I think is the reason I haven't gotten sick at all even with a sick comp. He told me that this calling was a special calling that is much like an assistant to the President, but that a specific calling in the church was not necessary for one to be a leader. He said that this call was given to me to allow me to learn and exercise Christlike attributes especially kindness and compassion. He encouraged me to search the scriptures for answers to my questions and concerns. He emphasized many times that I would fulfill my calling best by leading by example. He blessed me that I would be able to fulfill my calling in a manner that the Lord would be pleased with. I was told that the Christlike attributes that i learn here will help me as a wife and mother and in raising my kids, and the leadership callings that I hold in the church. There was more but those are the things that stuck out to me. 
We had a great lesson last night with a lady named Eileen. She has been raised Catholic but has since decided that she doesn't believe it because her priest told her that the book of Genesis was a made up story. He told her that because she asked him why God would command Adam and Eve not to partake of the fruit and yet put the tree right there in front of them. He didn't know the answer, so he just said that it was all an example to teach them and not a real story. That bothered her. She also had questions about infant baptism. It was fun to be able to go over there and give her the answers to her questions in the book of mormon! She has been reading the BOM and loves it. She read 2 Nephi 2 and said, well if he woulda just told me that I would have been fine! haha we explained to her that he didn't tell her that because he doesn't know it because he doesnt' have the Book of Mormon. I think she is starting to get why this church is important. She is really nice. Her daughter is living in one of our other wards and has expressed interest in taking lessons as well. Her name is Courtney so hopefully we'll get to start teaching her daughter Courtney and her husband and kids!
Sammi Miles still has her baptismal date for Feb 16! She is SO stinkin cute! I love her to death! She is basically already mormon. We talked to her about the Word of Wisdom today. She was like "well I heard ya'll don't drink coffee so I already stopped that. But tea I had no idea about.. man I love my 99 cent peace tea.. but oh well." She is so cute. She is in the YSA ward and already has so many friends in the ward. Everyone loves sammi.
Well The VC is going well. We are starting to get everything ready for Easter Pageant already! We are trying to figure out what to do for the exhibit in Theater 1 for the pageant. We usually do picture taking with the soldiers and cast members.. but I have some concerns about all that because it really takes away from the spirit in the VC along with some other issues. I am kinda nervous but excited. I really want this Easter Pageant to be special and really spiritual. I am sad I won't be there. 
I should come home on the 12th of march! Too soon...
But I am excited to see you all!
I don't know if my mail is getting lost but mom I never recieved the OFY AFY EFY stuff and I haven't received any mail for a while. It's fine if i haven't gotten any but just in case some has been sent.. I would send it all to the VC at 525 E Main street Mesa AZ 85203 or 85205... I can't remember right now for some reason.. sorry! We live with members and our mail gets mixed in with theirs.. so it could get lost more easily! 
Well I love you all so much!
~Sister Shurtz

Friday, January 18, 2013


Wow I'm to the point that I just don't even know what to say or write anymore. I just feel like my life is a big blur. I can't even remember what I did this week! It's all passing me by so quickly. I feel like it's sand slipping through my fingers and I can't hold on to it no matter how hard I try! I am loving this mission. I love what I am doing. I love the Lord, and I am so excited for this new year! It's going to be the BEST one ever. I am pretty sure I have learned more in this one year of my life than in many many of my others all put together! It's incredible what the Lord teaches you as you leave everything else behind to serve Him.
I hope I can be a better servant and better person altogether this year.
I am so excited to change more and repent more and be even better (hopefully) than the years before. I am realizing more and more how this life is really all about changing and progressing and becoming better and helping all those around you to do so as well! If we aren't changing and improving then we are wasting this precious probationary time that the Lord has given us. This time is short. I am seeing that now. People compare a mission to a lifetime. They call it a mini life. I can see why. It definitely helps you learn a lot of lifes important lessons!
This week has been good... Guess what!? A girl in the YSA area that we have been working with named Sammie set a baptismal date this week! She is getting baptized on  Feb 16th! She is so ready and so cute! She actually has been ready for awhile but her parents wanted her to take it slower and not get baptized when she wanted to. They said that if she took her time and really searched it out that they would support her more. So she did. They sat down together and set a date together. She is so excited and so are we! She came to the mission Presidents fireside on Sunday and loved it. She is from California and won Miss Teen rodeo a year or so ago. She is really fun and will be a great asset to the church. She feels and recognizes the spirit so well. She amazes me!
The family that we found. The Nieto's are doing well. They won't be baptized for awhile though. We weren't able to meet with them enough before the Dad Ivan had to leave to Mexico for residency so we will keep working with the wife and daughter and him through the phone at the VC while he is gone. He could be gone for over a year.. so we'll see what happens. The wife (Destiny) is leaving with Ivan tomorrow and then she will come back in a week. They are such a great and prepared family. I gave them my card with my name and address and phone number on it. They were trying to get a hold of us (me and sis mackenzie) once and they called the number on the card (I think dads phone) and they heard the Voice mail and realized that it was dads phone! haha! They joked with me and told me that they talked to you and told me that they told you they met me at a bar etc.. haha it was funny they were trying to get me worried but I told them that even if they had told you that- you wouldn't believe them because you trust me. They were really impressed by that. The fact that I wasn't even worried surprised them! They are really impressed with the people in this church and our values etc. Ivan said that when he gets back from mexico they want to come visit us in "Ogden" they might move there! I told them they could come!

We are working on a new program with the Sisters. It's called Media Planning. We are hoping to help the Sisters get organized with their contacts and referalls that they receive from everyone. 
Well I sure love you ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sister Shurtz 

So this has been such a CRAZY week full of so many changes and experiences. 
I guess I didn't explain very well last week what happened. So I was called to be the new Visitor Center Trainer last week. I didn't know what transfer news was yet last week. I just knew that I was being called to be the new Trainer at the VC. Sister Carlson who has been the english VC Trainer is leaving tomorrow so they had to call a new one. They sustained me just this last week during prep mtg. 
Last week Sister Carlson, Me and Sister Sordes (the spanish VC Trainer) and Elder and Sister Becktrand sat in Elder Beckstrands office on a conference call with President Ellsworth and talked about all the Sisters in the Visitor Center and how they are doing and what we feel they need and who would be a good companion for them etc. It was so neat and amazing. I was able to see how the spirit works in these meetings and we were able to discuss some really important things. I didn't even know that the Trainers in the past ever did this with President. I just thought he made all the decisions by himself. And ultimately he still does make the final decision- Well he and the Lord do, but it makes sense that he would get information from those who are around us all the time. 
Also this week I sat with Sister Carlson and Sordes and made "the Beast". That is the schedule for the Visitor Center sisters for the full transfer. It's called the Beast because it is a beast to make. It took us 5 hours! It is done in excel... which I am no good at! But I was able to learn enough that I think Sister Sordes (from France) and I will be able to do it by ourselves next year. Sister Carlson really knows what she is doing. I am so nervous for her to leave. I haven't learned all that I need to from her yet! But it's okay, Sister Sordes will teach me and Elder and Sister Beckstrand and the Lord of course. I guess I'll just have to fake it until I make it!
So basically with this calling we just correlate with President Ellsworth and Elder and Sister Beckstrand on how to help the Visitor Center Sisters. We are the Assistants to the President for the Visitor Center. We give trainings to the Sisters every other week, and we plan all the meetings, and run all the prep meetings for Christmas lights every day. We get to train the awesome Host couples that come to volunteer on the grounds during the lights and invite everyone to come in. I know we do a lot more, but those are the main things that I know about so far! I am excited, but extremely overwhelmed! The only reason I am excited is because I know that the Lord will qualify me and because i know that I am going to learn a lot and grow a lot. I just hope and pray that I can be humble enough and trust in the Lord enough to do this. I CANNOT do this without Him. 
Well I am getting transferred also. I am leaving this area! I am actually really sad. But it's good. I've been there for 5 transfers now so I guess it's about time! I am going to be companions with Sister Mackenzie from Kenya. This will be her last transfer.
I love you all so much!
~SIster Michelle Shurtz

ho Ho HO! Here we go!
It's the Holiday season again! Wahoo! I love this time of year and I love CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!!!!! I love more than anything what we get to do there in the Visitor Center! I love seeing the spirit work through me to touch the hearts of so many people. I am so grateful to be an instrument in His mighty hands. I have seen such a change come into the eyes of so many as they feel the spirit and desire to learn more about this. 

Well Jesus Valdez one of our investigators in the YSA ward got baptized! The baptism was wonderful! The spirit there was so strong and so incredible! We had 5 non members there.  His mom and his sisters and then another of our investigators came. They all felt the spirit so strong there. They cried and smiled through the whole thing. My companions and I sang "I know that my redeemer lives" I was so nervous because Sister Beckstrand asked me to sing the whole 3rd verse by myself. I told her that I didn't feel comfortable but she wouldn't take no for an answer (she was our accompanist). I sounded awful and shaky during every single practice that we had (which was like 2 haha) I was so afraid that I would ruin the spirit because I was so nervous to do it. I prayed right before we sang with my companions and I just asked for help to sing well and help those there to feel the spirit. I asked for angels to sing with us. 
Can I just say that I know that during my Solo I was not really singing alone. I did so well. I am not bragging because it wasn't me. The spirit was so strong, and when I started to feel nervous, the thought came into my mind, just focus on the words that you are singing. Wow, that changed everything, I felt and was somehow able to express the way I felt through music as I sang. Such a special experience. 

 Jesus told us that his sister told him that he didn't want to even drink anymore after watching Jesus get baptized and seeing the person that he has chosen to be and work towards becoming. Jesus' confirmation also went very well. He even fasted and paid fast offering on sunday and tithing as well! He had a neat miracle. He wanted to pay tithing and fast offering but doesn't have any money right now. He was praying about it, and he found a 20$ bill. It wasn't his he just found it out of nowhere on the ground! He was so excited, he paid tithing on it, and then gave the rest to fast offering. We told him that he only has to pay tithing on what he earns but he just wanted to! He is so pure in heart. He really is amazing and will bring many into the gospel. He is excited about preparing to receive the priesthood and hopes to be ready so that he can someday baptize his mom and sisters if they choose to meet with missionaries. They have said they would like to but they are in the process of moving so they don't have an address yet. But we will stay in contact with them until they move. :) Jesus said that he even wants to serve a mission! He thinks that if he gets to that he will get called to China because every time he eats at Panda Express his fortune cookie tells him that he will go on a long journey to China! haha we all laughed about that. But it is a possibility. 

Guys I just want you all to know that I KNOW that God lives. He knows your name, He knows your doubts, worries, insecurities, and fears. That is why He sent His son Jesus Christ! He came to make all things that are wrong in this world right. All things can be overcome and can work together for our good if we will only learn to rely and trust more in His atonement. I think that is the problem. We as members of the church believe in Christ. But how much do we really rely on Him in the hard times? Do we cast our burdens on the Lord? Do we even know how? I have been thinking about these things a lot lately. 
Well I love you all! I love to share and expand my testimony of Jesus Christ. I feel like my testimony just keeps growing and growing! I hope it never stops! 

I love my companions. I love being in a trio. We are learning a lot together and all growing in love, patience, and understanding. We are feeding off of each other and helping each other to be more diligent and work harder and talk to EVERYONE! We are already seeing great blessings in doing so. :)
Also, I saw the title of your emails mom and dad. I AM getting them every week! So sorry for not replying in the emails about them! I usually try to print them off. Because i don't have time to look at all the pictures, email president Ellsworth, turn in numbers for the week and email you all. Sorry! I love and cherish every word that I read in your emails. Thank you for your concern and love! I truly am doing well! Thank you So much! i love you!!!!
~Sister Shurtz

Sister Shurtz here.... Haha
Well things are going pretty well here in the East Mesa stake. I am getting so excited for Christmas Lights again! WOOT! They are so beautiful! Wish you could see them. I like them better than Salt Lakes even.. probably because I'm partial to Mesa since it's my mission! But also because they are like really blingy haha the temple grounds are really small and so there is not much space to put the lights. They have lots of them though so they are just a lot squished into a smaller area. Whereas in SLC they have them more spead out and such. Plus the lights here are more bright and fun and colorful although I guess the ones on Temple Square in SL are more elegant. Anyway.. it's fun to have the lights up! Neither of my companions have been here during Christmas lights so it's fun to be with them! 
We just got done practicing some songs with Sister Beckstrand for our little Choir. We will be singing for a few minutes on Christmas day. Sister Michelle Baer came to the VC today to give our little choir some tips on how to make it sound better and how to sing in general. I really enjoyed it. She is amazing. She sang "Where can I turn for peace?" to us and it was incredible. She puts so much feeling and emotion into her voice. I almost wanted to cry just watching her and listening to her. I felt the spirit so strong. She has a few CDs out. You can buy the one with "where can I turn for peace" on it at Deseret Book she said. Also she has three other CDs she said that you can buy her songs on itunes too. Just so you know!
Welll things are going really great in our area. We still don't have very many people to teach but we also don't have much time either so it works out. I have been praying to get more investigators and find the prepared. I wanted to share a neat answer to that prayer that I prayed. I remember asking for the Lord to help me know what to do to find the prepared people to teach. I know that we are always supposed to be focused on finding no matter how many investigators we have. Which we don't have very many.. anyway so as I asked the Lord to help me know what to do to find. I felt like I needed to just be patient and continue to do what I am doing. Talk to everyone. Ask for referrals from EVERYONE, and be EXACTly obedient. Then I remembered a talk in conference talking about helping those that need to be lifted 'one by one'. I felt strongly that I was going to get it one at a time. I was going to help prepared people in this area one by one. The Lord knows that we have little to no time in our area. He knows that we are doing our best to use His time effectively and He knows that we are striving to be worthy to receive the prepared children. He has asked me to be happy and sufficient in helping his prepared children one by one in this effort at this time. I don't know why, but I am grateful for that confirmation. I also felt that I was being an instrument in bringing MANY to the truth through the wonderful tools and spirit at the Visitor Center. I am gaining a strong testimony of the power of Visitor Centers. They are amazing. They truly are dedicated bldgs and there is a power there. I love serving there. The tools we can use to teach and illustrate our testimony of Christ and the BOM ect. are so perfect. I love teaching there! I love to see people feel the spirit and have a change of heart. I love to teach! I love to learn! I believe it was Elder Holland who said that the spirit that can be felt in the Visitor Center is second only to the temple and the Sacrament hall. I have seen miracles daily there. I am finding that at the Visitor Center you get out of your day what you are willing to put into it. It is so easy to just sit there and not have an effective eventful day. Its easy to not talk to or 'interrupt' the people that come into the VC. It's easy to just keep to yourself or talk to the other Sister or senior couples and waste time rather than seeking to talk to everyone that comes in and finding those who have questions or could use your help or testimony. If I pray for an experience to help someone while I am there, I always get one.
   Jesus (Haysoos) is ready for baptism. We took him to two baptismal services last week. He is sooo pure in heart! Such a great kid. I am so impressed with him. He has incredible fellowshippers. His baptism is still set for Dec. 1st 2012 at 2 pm. His birthday was this Sunday. He turned 22. He chose to go to church and meet with us rather than go on a road trip with family and friends for his birthday because he knew that he needed to be at church and he knew they would be partying and drinking etc. He said, I don't wanna do stuff like that. I don't even want to be around it! I am so impressed with him. 
Mark Devine... I don't think we'll end up meeting with him. He keeps saying he's ready to do all this and wants it but then flakes out and never shows up for appts or church or anything. I know the Lord will keep working on him. 
We have an amazing YSA WML. I am so impressed with his willingness and dedication to his calling. He is so on top of things and so ready to jump at our slightest suggestion. I know that much of the success that we are having in our YSA ward is largely because of him. I am so grateful to be working with great ward leaders. His name is Jared Despain. 
We are now teaching Heather Payne in the 30th ward. She is a prepared one! Her husband is an inactive member that wants to come back. She knows a lot and has come to church for the past two weeks. She has great member support and is SOOO so sweet. I love her already. She has a 4 year old daughter that means the world to her! She has lots of real intent. She really wants to know if this is true. 
I want to stay here forever! Being a missionary is too good. It's so great. I don't want to think about having to go home and 'be' the person I'm trying to become. Thats the scary part of all this. That's why I want to make sure I have really changed my heart. 

I want you all to know that I am sure and have no doubt or wonder but rather, I Know that Jesus is the Christ. He has redeemed all mankind from the fall. We are His children. He loves us perfectly. We cannot make it back to God without relying upon the Atonement and mercy of Christ. God is our Father. He wants us to come back to live with Him. Christ lives. We will see our loved ones again. Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration of this great and perfect Church. Thomas S Monson is the prophet. He speaks with God. I love this gospel with all my heart. 
Thank you THANK you THANK YOU! for all your love prayers and support and love! 
I am so thankful for all of you! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!
May turkey and stuffing fill your bellies and Thanks fill your hearts! awwww ;)
~Sister Shurtz