Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Everything is Awesome....

So I was able to get some pictures from Josh's MTC mission companion Elder Dalton Gordon...YEAH! So here are a few pics from the MTC :-)

I believe this is his district
 Elder Rush and Elder Gordon
 Elders Gordon, Rush and Makin

Ok, so now for this weeks letter....

July 28, 2014

Dear Friends and Family,
    So The Greenie Exchange was a party, and I totally learned that I can do this well!  So that was pretty awesome!
    Elder Hillam and I were tight in the MTC so it pretty much rocked when we got like 8 lessons and like 4 investigators (exaggerated) but we did prettttttty great!
    I happened to give a release blessing, on a sad note, to an 85 year old man who had come to his time. The children that asked us to come, called us after the blessing, and told us he passed away about 5 minutes after we had given him the blessing.  So that made my heart flutter a bit and it was a strange feeling that the veil had just been, oh so thin, and I had felt a part of heaven as I laid my hands on him. I felt that again after I had found out he had passed so soon.
    Also I witnessed somewhat of a drug deal I believe...trying to help someone, but yeah I guess you can't always help someone especially if they don't need help. 
So I got the rest of the story here from a family members email.  I guess that he saw a lady pulled over to the side of the road with her lights on and he told his companion to pull over so they could help her.  His companion did, but the lady said she didn't need any help. Josh got back in the car and his companion chuckled at him and explained about the bag the lady had, and that it was a drug drop off. Yeah, I guess some things are learned on the fly. YIKES! back to your letter....

This is a pictures of Albany, his area
    I am biking a lot due to having no miles in our car left, so all the good food isn't making me chubby and/or unhappy so that's pretty awesome to! I had a lot of experiences this week, and I pretty much love Elder Larkin to death and want him to stay the rest of his 6 months with me (totally possible...) and I love everyone so its awesome!
    I really want some letters! Y'all better get with the program, and I'm kidding, but at the same time I would really LOVE mail...so ya.  Also, No depression since I've been out in the field! No swearing since the MTC and now no Depression in the field, this mission thing is going to be sweet! I'm honestly surprised he didn't say awesome here...heehee...
    I learn something new everyday and pretty much have an endless flow of information going in my head and it feels amazing! I love the work and all of you! And just so you all know Optimism pretty much wins against the adversary like every time! Seeing where Paul and Alma came from makes me feel like I wasn't that terrible of a person to be serving a mission so... yay!
    I had a dream last night cause I asked for it, and for God to give me knowledge on the subject of change in my heart.   I now have an absolute bright feeling in my chest, always for Christ, and to serve him.  It is the feeling described often in the scriptures and its the best feeling you will ever experience in this life. I wrote this after marking several BoM scriptures and lots of study after my dreams last night, so it's pretty much what I learned this week. 
"Last night I had a dream that revealed great truths to me. This was of no coincidence, I had asked God in prayer the night before to let me receive, because knowledge I was told can be granted unto all of Heavenly Fathers children, if they but ask. Due to a spur of inspiration I marked a Book of Mormon with several colored markers which pertained to thoughts I had about my Patriarchal blessing. I am made humble due to this experience and as I strive to focus all my being in the Lord and his work I realize it is no easy thing to surrender a heart to God and to God alone. It is, however, the only way to Eternal Life and Celestial Glory. As read in Alma 24:16 "even we will bury them deep in the earth, that they may be kept bright as a testimony..." As they promised unto God with physical things so do I in spiritual. I will bury pain, envy, trial and heartache that I have had in the past and will have in the future so that it never again stains my sword with Pride or ungratefulness unto the Lord. Even will I stand strong when the Death of my feelings and the utter destruction of my character will be had among the eyes of men. I will no more be burdened by the loads upon my own shoulder, but with those of my brethren and fellow men. I cannot shrink from the work or sorrow in my weakness, for all things are done so "that all these things shall give the experience and shall be for thy good." D&C 121:7. In all of my heart, I wish to be chosen and not merely called. So that I may ever preach, teach, and exhort, unto all, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So many brothers and sisters that dwindle and do not know where to find, I wish for them to sit by me in the Kingdom of God, what joy and peace these desires give unto my soul. Never can I be Idle in learning the wonders of this salvation through Christ. Always I must be seeking the truth line upon line precept upon precept, here a little there a little until I come to perfectly know my savior even Jesus Christ, Amen"

Elder Rush
Denham Springs Zone/District

Monday, July 21, 2014

I get to drive...pray for me!

Quotes of the week:
Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. - John Wooden, 1910-2010

Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. –Charles Swindoll

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain
Hello all,
So Josh sent me his SD card....and so sad news....no pictures! We are very sad about this, especially Josh, because he would have loved to share and have MTC pics.  No matter what I tried, I couldn't find pictures on the card, something may have happened to damage it :-(
It was fun to read the back of his letter with the SD card in it....it read, "Please (and I'm not kidding) could y'all maybe send me a nice harmonica? I have a fiery burning to learn how to play." 
I thought I'd send him a surprise, he'll be receiving an Amazon box tomorrow with this....
We'll see if he comes home and knows how to play it! :-)

July 21st 2014

Dear Family and Friends, 
This week has been full of miracles and amazing things and a whole bunch of new kind of challenges. It's hard to balance miles in our area when everyone is spread out so far, but it should be okay.  

Also send your prayers to the Crutchfields and Aultmans, in the last 3 months David Crutchfield lost his mom and the Aultmans lost their father, Red, who was apparently like a legendary member, I never met, so that's been hard. 
The rule changes are stressing missionaries out, but as we listen to and be obedient to the president we will succeed, so me and Elder Larkin are gonna be okay.  (I'm not crystal clear about the changes, but they have a brand new mission president as of July 1st. He has implemented new rules like the Elders and Sisters are no longer able to have joint dinner appointments with the members and no more ward volleyball, and things like that)
Y'all should have been there on Friday when we gave the whole Rendine family blessings for sickness and council  to comfort them on their vacation, it was pretty darn amazing! 

Also a less active family we visited, the Telfords, are a part member single couple with a wonderful background. Brother Telford was healed of cancer by a priesthood blessing by the bishop of our ward 5 years ago but hasn't seen church or missionaries for a long time, and his wife is a baptist who actually asked us again to give him a blessing of healing for his heart troubles. It was so very humbling to use the Lord's authority and watch as this women, who only knew a little about the priesthood, teared up as we gave him an anointed blessing. We were invited for dinner tomorrow and I will be excited for that because me and Elder Hillam, another greenie that I was buds with at the MTC, will be coming down to have dinner.  My companion, Elder Larkin, is taking care of district business and doing splits with Elder Hillam's trainer/companion. I get to drive and run the area so please pray for me... 

We have two possible investigator families that we will be seeing this week along with many more part member families and single investigators, so the work is heading forward. 

The first family I contacted at my first door knocked accepted a Book of Mormon and have had to reschedule but really do want us to come over and talk to them so I am so excited for this miracle family and to see the fruits that will be bore if I work hard and truly love them as Christ did. 

Sister Cutshaw is an active member who is actually going to help us teach one of her neighbor friends Jessica, so hopefully we will see them soon.

So the best, and my most favorite, thing to do is go over to Matt and Jessica Musics house for dinner, they are like the funnest members (I may or may not have been tazed, but I agreed to it, so its okay.) Jessica always makes the most delicious foods, and I have a hard time not overeating. I thankfully have good news, hopefully, in the fall they will be going to the temple in LOGAN!  So this fall look out for them, okay?! 

I am really loving the work! It just is so great with all these amazing members and people and missionaries that I just love love love with all my heart, every single one of God's children that I meet just fills me with this wonderful and happy feeling.
-Love Elder Rush
Amite and Tickfaw River
Josh also says that he's in the Denim Springs Stake, Albany Ward, and that they cover a lot of little towns like Tickfaw and Hammond, and that it's a huge area.  He also says the people are crazy fun and there are still lots of people that are hard to understand. He also says he hasn't seen an alligator yet :-)

Monday, July 14, 2014

I Have Arrived!!

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. –Babe Ruth

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover. –Mark Twain

Founders Tree in Hammond, Louisiana

July 14th 2014

I just love those inspirational quotes!

Dear Friends and Family,
I have arrived! 
It is so very amazing and wonderful and extremely warm here!
I am in the Denim springs stake/zone in the Albany area, it is a Car area and my trainer is from Provo Utah and is named Elder Larkin. He is laid back and fun, so I ended up in the best area with the coolest members and an amazing companion....so lucky me! 
So just as an fyi....Albany is a little town about 5 miles northwest of Hammond, Louisiana where Josh is living :-)

Our District is super cool consisting of Sisters McEntere and Smith and Elders Smiley and Hillam and Sisters Garfield and Pearson, who are all great. 
First interviews with everyone, leader wise, was all good. The Costa family welcomed me on their weekly Funday Sunday by wearing and eating all green with us cause I'm a "greenie". 
No one can fathom how young I am and that I just turned 18, but I think people still respect me here.
I passed out a couple Books of Mormon and have a New potential investigator family on my first door knocked so God sent a blessing there.
It's just too much fun with volleyball every Friday night with the members, it gets intense but I rocked it just for my mom. 
I am enjoying everything and learning bunches, I am constantly tired but it is okay, Christ won't let me suffer all alone. He is our Savior and there is but one God and One way and I am his messenger and through the Holy Ghost I can manifest the Truth unto others. 
Have fun and I miss you all, keep up the mail train, 6 months in I don't wanna be begging y'all. Also seriously help the missionaries in your area...and be nice, our calling isn't an easy one.

Love Elder Rush

He's still having troubles with his SD card so he's mailing it to me....pictures soon....everyone cross your fingers that the SD card kept his pictures!!!

So here's his new mailing address:
Elder Joshua Rush
42679 Walker Lane #Q
Hammond LA 70403

and his email stays the same the entire time: joshua.rush@myldsmail.net

Oh and one more little note...the Baton Rouge Louisiana Mission has their own website if you want to check it out....www.thelbrm.com

Known locally as the Depot, Hammond's Amtrak station dates from 1912. And it goes right through the middle of town!

Afflictions and Blessings....MTC week 2

So here's Josh's letter from his second week in the MTC.....I asked him about pictures and he's having problems with his camera or his SD card...he's not sure which, but hopefully we'll eventually get some pics! :-)

July 5th 2014

Dear Family and friends,
This week is my final week before I finally get into the field. So on Sunday I got to speak (which was a random pick but I knew it would be me) and I talked on the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
All week from devotionals and teachers and..unfortunately not any Apostles but I have one more Sunday, tomorrow, so hopefully! Monday we were tired and I honestly can't remember much besides I got a new TRC investigator named Chae who is way sweet and we honestly don't know if she is a real investigator or not. Me and Elder Gordon are actually so similar sometimes we have a hard time syncing up, but we both are soft spoken in the spirit. 
I have been reading Isaiah and the Book of Mormon again and found that all things point to Christ in every single lesson and that conversion to Jesus Christ is the TRUE way. Salvation is not in the church, or its members, or its leaders. I am but a small insignificant part of the grand work, but I will put forth all my heart. 
On Tuesday, I got reprimanded all day but really I had a hard day so I misunderstood my leaders council and it all got cleared up by Friday. 
I actually asked him about this when he called and he said that his teacher just wanted him to be enthusiastic about the work, but not so excited that it detracted from the work. From what I gather, Josh was just having a Josh moment ;-) ok, now back to the letter.
I love my Teachers, Brother Pitt and Brother Welch, who are very different but both went to California on their missions in the same place. Bro. Pitt is also our investigator Nick, who has a hard time prioritizing the Gospel. I have really really learned how to love through my afflictions here. To turn outward despite being in. 
As a matter of fact, the other day I was working with Sister Smith in a Role play and I played my Dad before he was converted, and some of the things she said about her life and what the spirit taught me touched me so closely. I knew how dad felt and I know how much I really love him and that through his doubts he found truth and I really should have been nicer to my family before I left, and I let the Deceiver stress my heart. I felt my dad's empathy and confusion and I continue this week to feel for those around me in such a new way. 
I love everything here and even though I have lost much and sacrificed much, but compared to Christ and my Ancestors, I have done it seems so little. Further the work all of you. Give your agency to God, revel in the happiness of others. Love you so much Dad, thank you my family and friends who still support me, I love you so much!
-Elder Rush

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Goof Balls and the Spirit

So got an email from Josh on Saturday....I think that's his P-Day while at the MTC.....

June 28th, 2014
Dear Everyone,
So far Elder Brown (another missionary from my district) and I really have been hitting it off.  It seems like even the sisters in our district are goof balls, full of fun and hard work.
I will Pray for all of you each day in the several and many deep thought out prayers I have each day. I really have learned that through prayer and the gift of charity, if I really tap into and humble myself I can feel as though Enos felt in his earnest prayer for forgiveness, testimony, and the saving of his brethren.
WE have so far been doing lots of Role play investigators, including Nick, who is our teacher Elder Pitt, and we have a new one who we don't know coming in on Monday named Chae.  Our first lesson went well, but we needed to put more questions out there in love.  Elder Gordon and I plan on praying earnestly for the love of the Savior and for the Spirit; we both need to sync up and do well. 
I did happen to get everything I needed packed in all my bags so no worries there.
The second day after we woke up, we exercised and that was nice, but we were still new and also uncomfortable at first, but today and yesterday we have had the most amazing time doing this work, and we have so much focus I just can't believe how I am even so awake and aware and I feel so full of joy and don't really need or want to do anything but work until the Spirit tuckers me out. 
Yesterday, which was Friday, was amazing because we had Gym time so we played a game of infinity tied soccer that really helped us unwind and meet the members of our zone (which are not rooming with us) and now I have so many friends that I have made, and ones I SEE all the time.
Elder Guymon is in the West Campus so it’s unlikely I will see him, and I hope he is doing well! WE are going to the temple later today, and I am ready for a nice relaxing session of learning. Thank you so much for the love and support! I will continue to both email and write as long as I have something to answer! The food is great...and gas inducing but oh well. This is pretty fantastic and I finally don't feel so worried that I won't succeed. I love you all, and so does Jesus Christ so remember that.

Elder Joshua Dean Rush

If anyone wants to email him, he would love it, his email is joshua.rush@myldsmail.net

Hopefully, we'll get some pictures soon :-)