Friday, November 30, 2012

Big News!

Alright so the big news first (in case you haven't already heard). I'M GOING TO CHICAGO! Haha I'm so excited to get out there and start teaching actual people the Gospel! I'm a little nervous now that it's finally time to go, but I'm really really excited. Chicago is going to be a lot colder than Mexico that's for sure! So if you want to send me letters and any cold gear for Christmas that would be the best thing in the world. Please and thank you!

The mission home address is:

1319 Butterfield Road Ste. 522
Downers Grove, IL 60515

I think it's kinda random because I thought that they usually only temporarily reassign missionaries to places close by like Idaho and California, but that's just fine with me because that's where the Lord wants me right now. The other reassignments in my district were to Salt Lake City West (I think that's my house), St. George, San Jose California (lucky! they get to be warm!), and the Elder who was supposed to go to Peru forever ago finally got reassigned to Alabama last week. I'm pretty proud of my new call though and I can't wait to get to work.

So my week was pretty crazy, but really fun. On Sunday I had tons of stuff to do including writing my weekly talk in Spanish, teaching our District meeting lesson with my comp, and our district need to practice our "Swan Song" which is a hymn the district that's leaving sings the Sunday before in Sacrament meeting. We chose A Child's Prayer (the district favorite) and pretty much all our practices went better than the actual performance haha but it was good.

Me and my companion's district lesson went a lot better than the first time by the way. Because we weren't really prepared we didn't rush it like last time and the Spirit was like 10x stronger. Plus me and my companion finally don't bug each other that much now that it's our last week. Ha last night we actually planned our lesson with our new investigator really well even though we still didn't agree on everything. We compromised and it made a huge difference. Hopefully it doesn't take this long to get along with my Chicago comp!

I'm feeling really confident with my Spanish right now, but I just know when I finally get to talk to real people I won't be able to understand anything they're saying. I'm already loving teaching people and giving them what they need to be happy forever like we do. I'm seeing how we can really take the blessing of the Gospel for granted so I invite everyone to start reading the scriptures and talks from General Conference more. We have so much and we don't even use it. Thanks to Glen Reber I have a General Conference Ensign and it pretty much become scripture for me. There's so much good stuff in there so take a look! Check out too, because it's got everything.

There are physical changes happening at the MTC. Workers have been working on our classroom building a ton lately for some reason and then finally yesterday we got kicked out of our classroom because they're going to turn it, and all the other classrooms in that building, into residences for all the new sister missionaries. I'm glad we could contribute haha. It's kindof weird to think that Sarah or any other sister missionaries might be living in the same room where I had class. We now have class in a lot smaller and warmer room with tiny desks and not so great chairs, but I'm not complaining because I'm out of here on Monday!

Thank you everyone for all your letters! I don't want to put up the rankings, but Sarah has got all of you beat thanks to her weekly letters so you all need to step your game up. Haha I got surprised to get some from Robbie, Steph, Toni, and Jason so they are my favorites now too. Of course it's a given that my parents are up top because they get to e-mail. THANK YOU everyone for all you love and support! You're awesome! Have a good week, the church is true, read the Book of Mormon AND CONFERENCE TALKS and stay safe!

       Elder Adam Shurtliff

Adam's mom here. The Chicago mission will take care of Adam's needs and won't let him turn into a popsicle.  If you have something in particular you feel he may need/want let me know and I will find out if it's a good idea to send it. My biggest concern is that he only has one suit (in Mexico they don't wear suits) and I don't want to have to get him a new one that he may only use for a couple of weeks. Stay posted and if he has any needs, I will let you all know. Thanks for all your love and support. It warms my heart to know that so many are looking out for my boy.

Oh. And I don't know why there were no pictures this week. He didn't explain. So unlike him.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

¡Hola Compadres!

I hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving. This week has been kinda weird because two days ago was Thanksgiving, yesterday was our In-Field Orientation (even though we don't know when we are leaving), today is P-day and tomorrow is Sunday so I haven't had a normal weekday for a while so it sorta feels like a vacation (but not really).

So last week I had the opportunity to do some more temple sealings which was just as awesome as the first time. The sealers are always so friendly and talkative and want to tell you everything they know about the place where you, the people you're with, and the people you are doing temple work for are from. Those old guys have been around.

My favorite part of the MTC right now is being able to teach each other as investigators in our district. It really lets me see from the investigator's point of view and helps me see what I might be missing in my lessons so I can concentrate more on how they feel and what their needs are.

Since our favorite teacher left for Thanksgiving break last week we have had a lot of subs which gave us the chance to teach a lot of different people which was really cool. One was the first time we have even taught a girl and our sub was playing a 16-year-old girl and I was thinking it was a little weird all throughout our lesson with her. Finally I realized that it's probably really bad to teach a 16-year-old girl with no one else around. I guess we all failed that test.

Sunday Elder Vrska was sick so I just hung tight in our room giving him some rest and studying. I don't know why really but after that we have been doing a lot better as a companionship after that. Maybe it was because I did such a good job being his mom and taking care of him haha.
So also on Sunday we took a fun temple walk in the rain and saw a double rainbow go behind the temple. WHOAH!!! Ha you know I had to get a picture. That night for our Sunday movie we watch an awesome movie called Mountain of the Lord about President Wilford Wildruff (not the real one) telling the story of the building of the Salt Lake temple to a news reporter. It was so cool to see how much time and work went into building the the temple and made me really interested in pretty much all church history. I actually want to read books about old prophets and the history of the church and temples and stuff now.

Oh and by the way November 26 is the day the best mom in the whole world was born and that mom is MY MOM! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Thanks you for all your work and support you gave me so that I'm able to be here right now. I love you so much!!!

Now for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was actually really fun here at the MTC and definitely not one I'm going to forget any time soon. First of all we were blessed by the presence of my favorite apostle of the church, ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND. It was literally the best day in the MTC just from that Devotional alone. He had a lot of his family there to do a little musical program for us and he said that, "For today me and Sister Holland have adopted all of you into our family. And just like the rest of our family, you have no agency in this". Haha it was the best. I wish I had more time to tell you what he talked about, but I will say that he gave the best Thanksgiving "I'm Thankful for.." speeches I have ever heard. He talked so passionately about the blessing we all have to live in the Final Dispensation with the fulness of the Gospel on the Earth. A lot of the time we really take this for granted and I'm going to live up the reputation of being chosen to live in these Latter Days. So to end an my awesome Thanksgiving day, we were all gathered in the big conference center and they started throwing out bags of kettle corn at everybody and we watched 17 Miracles for my first time. That was really really cool and made me even more thankful for what the pioneers did for us.

I'll wrap this blog post up with some exciting district news. Elder Fullmer was able to get his wrist cast off a lot sooner than the doctors told him he would and so now he is able to leave with us when we get to leave. Still no news about our visas, but a lot of Elders that are called to Mexico are getting reassigned to places like California, Vegas, and Idaho so I'll keep you posted. Elder Aiono (the one that was supposed to get his visa 5 weeks ago) finally got reassigned to Alabama which is really exciting. Yup, it's Spanish speaking too haha it's weird but it's where the Lord needs him.

Well, that's about it. I hope you all have an awesome week and stay safe and warm!
Read the Book of Mormon and THE CHURCH IS TRUE.

       Elder Shurtliff

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hola muchachos!

How is everyone liking the snow?! Haha. I knew when I was writing that last entry that it was going to come down before I could even tell you to enjoy the nice fall weather. I hope you all enjoyed the snow pictures. We had a lot of fun with it when it first came, but now we are already pretty much over it.

Well I have had an awesome week here as always! We celebrated one of my roommates birthday and smushed everyone from our zone in our room to surprise him. That reminds me, HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATALIE. I have to say that in here because I couldn't send my card til today so you will be getting it a little late.

The temple on Friday was surprisingly busy even with the snow, so we only got to do three initiatory names, but it was really good and relaxing.

This week I have learned a ton about some stuff that sounds obvious, but is hard once you actually do it like just being relaxed and confident when sharing the Gospel. I wish everyone could see how nervous us missionaries get when just practicing first contacts. Its pretty funny.

The Devotionals have been really good. On Sunday we heard Elder ??? was on campus again, but he didn't speak unfortunately. On Tuesday we had Elder Foster for the Seventy talk about the Law of Consecration and we watched the movie of the John Tanner story which was amazingly awesome. If you haven't heard of it you better check it out.

We had the oldest district leave this week so it looks like we are the seniors now teaching all the newbies how to do stuff which makes me feel like I actually know what I'm doing enough that I can give some advice. It was fun hosting the new missionaries on Wednesday. There are so many Sisters here now! Its absolutely crazy and a little weird I'm not going to lie.

One of our teachers, Hermano Stoddard, left us early for a vacation which stinks because he's our favorite but we might actually be able to see him again because...wait for it...WE DIDN'T GET OUR VISAS! I would be under exaggerating to say that it really stinks and we were all really bummed, but it looks like our Heavenly Father has a different plan for us and we should have faith and patience and know that He knows the best for us. We are trying to keep our heads up so keep us in your prayers if you could. We need all the help we can get!

I miss you all! Remember to find ways to serve others and read the Book of Mormon!
       Elder Shurtliff

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Christmas and Care Package Ideas

Adam's mom here:

I know that some of you have shipped packages already, but many haven't yet. I hope this blogpost will help give you some ideas if you are planning to send Adam a package. Most of these suggestions I have gleaned from other missionary moms and from a mission president's wife. Not all will apply to Adam's mission.

Many international missions are now saying "no" to missionaries receiving packages. If the package costs a lot to mail, they advise sending the missionary extra money rather than spending so much on postage. Also, clearing packages through customs has become very difficult, and they are assessing huge fines. It takes a lot of time (hours) for mission office missionaries to retrieve packages, which takes away from missionary work. Just a short explanation as to why so many are saying "no" to packages this year.

No sneaking items in packages. A missionary was interrogated for hours because his mom tried to hide allergy pills in the package. Scanning equipment (like at airports) are used to see inside every package. To find out what is restricted or prohibited in packages, please go to the following website:

Use USPS. Do not use FedEx or UPS.

Also, you write down the VALUE of the item, which may not be the retail price. The clerk at our post office told me it was the manufacturer's price, or cost you paid for it (on sale with coupons, or yard sale, thrift store), etc. To get through customs you need to list what is in the package. Most moms suggest being very vague, stating missionary supplies, pens, notebooks, etc. (they always send these items with the package so that they can honestly list them.) They suggest filling up all the lines with the simplest items and when the lines are filled, leaving the rest off of the list. It is also suggested to cover the entire package with packing tape to make it harder for would be thieves to open and rummage through. Another suggestion is to put Jesus or Christian stickers on the package. The thought is that the people are superstitious and don't want bad karma so they will not mess with those packages.

Send duplicate items (stockings etc) for their companion. Most companions will be native and probably will not receive much, if anything at all.

One mom has sent CTR rings (HLJ? in Spanish) several times for him to give the kids in his ward. Chocolate is on the "no, no list" but lots of moms have sent chocolate and list it as "confection" on the customs order.

From another mom:
They like any kind of treats, yoyo's, door-frame nerf bball, frisbees, hackey-sacs, new PJ pants, pudding mixes, pasta-roni, grooming things (fav deoderant), their favorite cereal, pens, post it notes, pictures of Jesus for them to give.  I sent a keychain with digital pictures of the family before, a little tree with small ornaments. I did a 12 day of Christmas thing with little corresponding gifts (hot chocolate mix, small toys for him to give to the kids, a treat to make and take to a family etc!)  I also sent fake snow (add water - I got it online) since he is a snowboarding buff! It is also fun to purchase tons of Christmas cards and give them out to family members, neighbors and special ward-member friends and have them fill them out and return to you - so that lots of greetings are included.

From a Mission President's wife:

Last year as I was doing interviews I asked the missionaries for ideas and suggestions for Christmas gifts. The things they want most are things that they need and use on a daily basis and don't have the money to buy. Not all missionaries think the same, but these are some of their ideas.

Most of the missionaries said no candy, no junk food. They get candy and treats from the members. However, if there is something that you know your missionary loves, then send it.

Toiletries: shampoo, deodorant, lotion, a new toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, toilet paper, soap, laundry detergent. These things are expensive and they don’t like spending their food money buying them.

Socks: everyday socks as well as running or exercise socks. The sisters mentioned peds; the little foot socks that you wear with shoes, but they cannot be seen.

White shirts, ties, garments, slacks, slippers, skirts, blouses

CD’s of appropriate music (music that could be played at a baptismal service), General Conference CD’s, talks by General Authorities.

Stamps, stationary, good pens, return address labels (with the address of the mission office), journals, a Book of Mormon cover (, memory card for camera, flash drive.

Jump rope, resistant bands, things to help them exercise.

Pictures of family and of home; a homemade calendar with pictures on it. However, it was mentioned multiple times that the missionaries dislike when reference is made as to when they will be coming home, or how many more days until they get home, or any kind of countdown thoughts and numbers.

Money or money in their account so they can buy things they need or want.

They are disappointed when they get a package and there is not a letter or any type of communication in the package. They love notes and letters. They would love to have a hand written testimony from family members. Missionaries love ‘snail mail’ as well as their weekly emails."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dia de Nieve! Hace Frio! ¿No?

¡Viva Mexico!

For Aunt Mel and Cuz Toni

Well surprise! This week went by even faster than last week!

Let's see here...last weeks temple trip probably has been my favorite so far. It was just so chill and peaceful and I just felt...joyful is probably the word. So dang happy! ha, I'm really hoping that we get to go to the Merida Temple a lot because I'm getting to love that little break from the world. Maybe we will get to do it on our P-days since I heard the current Mission President doesn't like missionaries going to the Mayan Temples because of the skanky dressed tourists. Why go to the Mayan temple when you can go to Heavenly Father's temple which is pretty much heaven on Earth, am I right?!

So the devotionals have been awesome as usual. The one on Tuesday was Elder Zwick of the Seventy who talked about what it means by being an actual disciple of Christ. Every time I go to those things it makes me feel kinda bad about myself, but in the best way possible! Ha every week is a mind-blowing spiritual humbling experience that makes me feel like I still have a whole lot to work on. It's hard to explain, but it's the best and I'm going to miss seeing a General Authority every week. By the way, it will only be about three  more weeks until I'm baptizing Mexicans in the ocean! That's the plan and I'll let you know how it goes.
Everyone stay safe and enjoy this nice weather while it lasts! Hopefully when you read this it won't be a blizzard outside.

THE CHURCH IS TRUE and read the Book of Mormon TODAY,
                                                             Elder Adam Shurtliff

PS. I get my first haircut at the MTC today. Wish me luck!
PPS.  I keep on forgetting to tell everybody the drama of our district. So about four weeks ago one of the Elders in our district got reassigned to Portland, Oregon and one was only here for three weeks because he was "face training" which is when you go to the MTC in Provo for three weeks and then you go to the MTC in whatever country you are called to. So he's in the MTC in Peru right now (for his mission in Cuzco) but his companion (Elder Aiono) still hasn't gotten his visa so he's stuck here with us until he gets it or gets reassigned to somewhere state-side. And then there were four sisters in our zone who got called to Spain but were here for like 9 weeks so they got reassigned to California, Idaho, and Arizona. I'm trying not to worry about my visa, but that kind of gets me thinking that it could happen to me. Pray for me! They say that no news is good news. 
Also, we were playing basketball in gym a couple weeks ago and Elder Aiono pretty much broke Elder Fullmer's wrist so now he is going to have to stay here for a couple months longer than we are, if we leave on time. BUMMER. Don't worry about me, I'll try not to get into any fights. So there's my MTC district gossip for ya! Adios!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Como estan amigos?

Classic laser picture

Happy Halloween!
Weeks here just go by faster and faster! It's hard to think it has only been a week since I was sitting in the MTC laundry room writing doing what I'm doing right now. I have been doing really really good! Our whole district has been trying to speak Spanish more at all times rather than just in class. They tell us to do this thing called Hable Su Idioma (Speak your language) where you try your best to say what you want to say in Spanish first and then if you have no idea you can say, "Permite me hablar in Ingles? (Will you allow me to speak in English?"). It's really helping a ton, but a lot of the time I forget. Like my wise friend, Glen Reber, told me, "The last half of your time at the MTC can be the part where you learn the most or learn the least depending on how much you push yourself". Or something like that. Well just from last week I can tell you that it's working! I'd say that this last week has been the time where I have learned and progressed the most. Here's hoping for next week to be even better!
On Sunday we had an awesome Devotional where Elder Clarke of the Seventy came and said that our purpose is to help people to come to Christ rather than just telling them to do stuff. He said we need to help people read the Book of Mormon (because no one can be truly converted without it), to help them pray and have their own spiritual experiences without us (because what happens when we leave?), to help them actually keep commitments, to help find lost sheep (inactive members and recent converts that aren't as strong now), and tons of others I can't perfectly remember. Elder Clarke helped us remember that the worth of every soul is great in the eyes of our Heavenly Father and that He loves everyone more than any of us can ever imagine and we need to try to have the same love for them. This means actually caring if they keep commitments and how they and their family are doing rather than just checking them off the list. He told a story of how this one recent convert had the missionaries over the night before and that they haven't asked where she was in the Book of Mormon since she was baptized. I don't know about you, but that's just wrong! We aren't just using people for a baptismal statistic! This is the eternal salvation of people's lives we're talking about! I'm going to try my best to not see how people are right now, but how great they can become with my help and to actually care how they are doing both before and after baptism.
Other than that, me and my comp are doing a lot better. I started not to let all the little things he does bother me. I used to get annoyed at something as small has him saying "listo? (ready?)" so much even though it was obvious that I wasn't ready yet because I didn't have any pants on. Now I just brush it off and try my best not to let it affect me. We are talking a lot more and are lessons are getting a lot better so we can teach from the Spirit more which is what really matters.
I hope everyone had an awesome Halloween! Nothing happened here besides people getting Halloween treat packages (THANKS DAD!) and new missionaries getting here. Wouldn't it kindof stink to come the the MTC on Halloween? I'm so glad I came when I did. The weather is nice and fresco (cool). I'm so glad the snow only lasted a couple days because I didn't want to miss my last chance at autumn for two years.
Thanks everyone for all your letters! Let me know how you're doin!
       Elder Shurtliff