Saturday, August 30, 2014

Be missionaries everyone....

August 25, 2014
Dear Family and Friends,
    I love receiving your letters and packages considering that this week I got like 6 packages including one for my companion (oh mom) he thought we were crazy but I told him my family was like I am and he soon understood. I got a letter today and, to tell you the truth, feeling those and being able to read them and touch them over and over brings a special and intimate feeling of support from home. I have gotten over the bits of homesickness that they give me and embrace the fact I truly have those who won't forget me while I am out here and still care and it makes me so very happy thank you!
Selfie being silly :-)

    I have been sick this week, but as I push through and serve with all my heart, Satan cannot stop the positivity and happiness I have within from learning the glorious gospel in it's entirety and for the ability to share it to souls who are down trodden and need their burdens lifted. I am doing phenomenally well for the first 3 months and today is my 2 months of being gone from you all. For being the hardest part of the mission I feel so much Godly strength and even as trials appear and as investigators continue not to show up for churc,h the blessings willingly flow as I remember the Savior. 

    Nikki hasn't got a date yet because she still didn't make it with her family to church this week, we aren't sure why, due to the fact they got a new car. The car has needed fixes so hopefully that's their good excuse for not showing up, otherwise I will be in utter despair for the Kingdom of God isn't worth anything this earth has to offer. We actually have another appointment with them tonight which will be sweet and they always have the best food. Hopefully, this time around we can continue the Spirit and teach what is needed.

    We met a new investigator late the other day as we were biking. We knew he was living with the mother of one of the bishopric in Hammond Ward (not our ward) and that he was also the half brother of this member, brother Garland, and so he let us in. He took the first lesson, fed us and invited us back, and is coming to church this next week. We don't know how it happened but he just was so kind and so loving, his heart was so very open and ready to accept the Gospel, so hopefully he will be able to be baptized sometimes soon as well

    Joe Gachetti (I always spell his name freaking wrong) came to church by himself with his two sons yesterday. Even though his wife was sick he still wanted to make it to sacrament. I will just let that one sink in on how amazing that is!

    We continue to work with many less-active members and we work closely with our only ward missionary, Joe Ribando, who is one of the most amazing people I have ever met, even in his older age and with all the struggles physically he has and all the pain he has, he takes us out every week to go to these people who live so far away who we normally can't reach due to mile limitations and it has blessed this work.

Elder Ribando, the ward missionary,
drove them by some southern mansions

     Be missionaries everyone. That is what I ask for you all to do this week and continually, I actually am speaking in church this last Sunday all about Hastening the Work so my mind has been racing at the thought of this Gospel and how absolutely perfectly crucial it is. We should be searching all the time in a desperate way full of love and, of course, never in an overbearing way, to teach this gospel. We just don't want to appear before the Savior in the Judgement and say that we only half-heartedly tried to share His Message with the world. That we just got too busy in this life to give our time and resource to the work. This life is nothing in the eternities! The Savior didn't die to save some of us who just happened to be born to a wonderful family under the covenant, NO! We came down in that circumstance to fill the world with the word without hesitation without fear without restraint. Our Father needs us now, our Savior needs us now, our Brothers and Sisters need us this very moment to share with them the true meaning of this life. Keep that in mind, my dearest comrades in truth. I love you all so much. so very very much I cannot explain it in words alone. Peace unto you all in Jesus name Amen.
-Love always,
Elder Joshua Dean Rush
Elder Brown boringly writing letters
This is P-day before transfers (I let Elder Hillam take pictures of us playing a game called "werewolf" and he got carried away.) 

p.s. this is some extra he wrote to us this week from the "mom" letter :-)
 I have been sick for 3 days and two of those I biked but we got 22 lessons this week and a new investigator to pay off so I don't even care, and I try not to complain. 
Also if you can find any christian music at all it's like all okay but hard for me to download or buy/get down here, including a rapper named LeCrae totally christian and appropriate he is like my favorite I have found down here (next to frozen soundtrack lol

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Friends in the Celestial Kingdom

Aug 19, 2014

Dear Friends and Family,
    I got like 4 packages this week and that includes the nicest camera ever, and like tons of healthy good stuff that only made me feel kind of like I was fat..but it all works out because I got bow-ties for my duck and he looks pretty darn good that Elder Quack. Anyway, I also think it's pretty great our ward has so many missionaries out as well and it's pretty magical. 
Love Amazon, sent an entire case of oatmeal

 Obviously the oatmeal was meant for Josh/Elder Rush
 Sarah made bow ties for Elder Quack Clean

   We made it through transfers down here! My first transfer is all done and I get to stay with Elder Larkin!!!
   So reasons that Elder Larkin and staying in this area is so awesome. First of all, he is pretty smart and also he talks quickly enough that I keep up and learn a lot. He is from Provo and is going to BUT he is very kind and thankfully accepts me in all my weirdness and strangeness that I am. It is true that I am who I am and he doesn't like being touched too much or stood close to but he accepts me and loves me anyways so that's all I could ask for in an awesome companion.   

 Albany District
Elder Hillam, Elder Smiley, Elder Rush, Elder Larkin, 
Sister Pearson, Sister Garfield, Sister Smith, Sister McEntire
 Albany and Hammond Districts Together
Hammond District
Elder Beach, Elder Whittier, Elder Brown, Elder Strattford
Sister Worthington and Sister Pike 
     Albany is picking up when it comes to the work y'all, we have Nikki Horton who said yes to baptism and hopefully their family will get a car from good old Jack Murphy who is kind enough to spend all his cents to get them there so she can be baptized. 
    We have a man named Joe who's wife and kids and father in law are members and he actually likes us, I think, as missionaries and wants to take the lessons after his sons finish with their lessons (they were recently baptized). So I mean stuff is getting done and it is really amazing and every day I learn the truth of the work and how happiness is found in giving to other people what they cannot find for themselves, so we can all rest as friends in the Celestial Kingdom.
Sleepover with the Amite Elders
Elder Smiley and Elder Hillam
They sleep over before District Meetings and Transfers to save miles

    I have really been studying Joseph Smith and his words of revelation, he just speaks to me and it is so plain and wonderful and now I know the truth about eternal marriage, of the family and of our worldwide family of Gods' Children. Christ did not die for some of us to get back to him he died for ALL of us! So it is our duty as saints to gather as many as we possibly can to this happy and true fold. I hope and pray that each one of you wants to be a missionary whether it be full time or not, we are all called to this work, we have the knowledge and we can be saved, so why shouldn't we bring everyone else the same joy as we have!? I am having the funnest time and now I have been gone almost 2 months which is insanity that things are fast like this, because some days I feel like the day will never...ever end. But, nonetheless, I live for the good that is in the sorrow because how great was Alma's Joy? It was so much more exceeding than his sorrow, so I am always happy and ready to give and love and support and help. I love it a lot! :D
    So I am really bad at typing for like 2 hours and sometimes I get bored, but I try to remember as much of my week as I can and to give you all highlights and such, but I send so many different people stuff that I am sorry if some don't get like the full picture because my memory is induced at different occasions. Also, eternal truth's are everywhere in every line of the holy scriptures and in our lives. We must search if we are to know so that we can share. Oh how much I miss some of you especially:
My dear Samantha Petersen, I hope you are reading this because you are an amazing and beautiful friend and I love you very much. Keep being wonderful kiddo and I am through my words and prayers ever supporting you.
Bryan Daines, If you are reading this (which you probably aren't you lazy bum) haha then know I love you immensely and your deep and caring friendship we have formed will be with us always through the eternities. I know that is our promise as the Children of God that we may spend time with our families forever, and I hope that you count because in my heart you surely do. 
Good luck all, My burden is indeed light and His yoke is easy. 
Elder Joshua Dean Rush

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Toilet Trees and the Tree of Life

So got a couple more MTC pictures from Josh this week, so I'll start with those :-)

August 11, 2014

Dear Family and Friends, 
   This week we got an astounding 18 lessons and 7 of those were member present lessons, so we rocked it hardcore. I went on some exchanges this week, as well, with Elder Smiley and that was one of the hottest longest days I think I might have ever experienced. The air was like boiling water. It was PAIN! Transfers are coming up, so all of us are terrified that we might leave especially after all this amazing work we have had given to us lately, and all the closeness of our district. Oh well, as the Lord wills. I have been studying the thoughts and feelings I receive as I ponder on the reality of my soul and my personal salvation. That in reality if I am not giving then I will not receive, and in order to change, I must do something good even if I don't want to do it, as much as possible, so that I may be formed by Christ's hands.
Elder Rush and Elder Smiley

   We have district meetings every Tuesday and can I tell you that they are the most amazing things, it's like a giant learning party with upliftment and joy in every step, and I seldom ever leave not feeling a renewed strength and conviction. I really enjoy missionary work and for those that were worried about my crazy attitude and high levels of anxiety and depression, don't worry. The Lord blesses me immensely with my personality being so bouncy, everyone seems to really like me and think that my constant optimism and energy is a positive thing. I love making friends and hugging missionaries and those who allow in the ward. The South is a hug place and I love it. I am crazy and people tell me that, but then they go and say how much they appreciate the way I can stay so high energy for them and it makes me happy to help and lift others because that's what I believe I was called in this life to do.

   When it comes to investigators we have 3 very important points of progress. We have a man named Joe whose young boys were just baptized, his wife is a member, they go to church every week, and this week after 18 years of not actually taking the lessons himself and just recently coming back to church and enjoying it, he asked if when the boys are done with their lessons "when are we gonna get to mine?" and we seriously made a huge deal out of it. Another Investigator, an old Black woman named Thelma Collins is finally deciding on getting baptized and we probably will have a date for the end of the month when it comes around to it, so that makes me so happy. Finally we have a wife of a less active member whose name is Nikki who is super really interested and by the time we finish the lessons she will want to be active and keep on keeping on. Her husband really wants to get back, and really wants to be sealed to his wife and kids so he will try his hardest to get to church (based on work and volunteer service) they have fed us and honestly she made this caramel carrot mushy stuff and chicken pasta that made sweet tears of joy roll down my face. They are great and we are excited to keep going back!

   Speaking of food, I had me a shrimp Poe-Boy the other day and DANG that stuff is good. Everything down here tastes so good and it's going to kill me, I know it! I am really trying to watch it, but I am having an increase in appetite and only eat until full with minimal desert. Hopefully, I am hitting a growth spurt and that's why which, man, I really need to even out my uncomfortably enlarging belly. Also Gumbo is good, just saying. And anything anyone makes down here is like homemade and makes your taste buds dance like you just tasted the sweet fruit of the tree of life. Yea it's that good!

   I hope you all are doing fine, I like hearing from you and I love letters and emails that I receive from every single one of you out there doing it, I love you with all my heart, and continually press to perfect myself and teach like the Prophet Joseph would, and to always have patience and be humble and love even through the afflictions and pains. How great it is to know the sweetness of Jesus Christ, all of you remember this in your hearts each day. I pray much for many and you all are often said by your names if I am prompted, may Heavenly Father grant my prayers of safety and comfort to you all.
Love always,
-Elder Rush
Awesome pics of the week....Toilet Trees!!
Yes, those are real toilets sitting on top of the trees :-)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pictures!!.....And "Honk For Jesus"

August 3rd, 2014
Quotes of the week:
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
I do believe we're all connected. I do believe in positive energy. I do believe in the power
of prayer. I do believe in putting good out into the world. And I believe in taking care of each other.
A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success.
This is my favorite pictures this week! They were giving away
free Lemonade, and I love the poster that says
"Honk for Jesus"
Josh got hurt playing some volleyball, they have carpet in the gym there.
P-Day playing some basketball
Sister McIntire and Elder Smiley

Our Apartment

Elder Clean
I love DR. Pepper! Down here it's made with real sugar!

Dear Family and friends,
    So far this week has been great, despite the fact Elder Larkin has gotten hurt and we haven't been able to bike. Because him being hurt we were also short tons of car miles. BUT I got y'all tons of pictures so I hope you enjoy that! I am going to gather the Coke named bottles and line them up with names of people I know back home and take a picture of it sometime so watch for that. :-) I really really like Dr. Pepper but I have got to stop drinking it, because the caffeine is killing my head, so no more soda, but that stuff is good!
 It's so green here!
Elder Rush, Elder Larkin, Brother Ribando our ward missionary, Sister McIntire and Sister Smith

    I can't remember all that happened this week to tell you the truth, and I am way sorry but things go by so fast and yet so slow and draw out way bad, I do however know that no one came to a Fireside we had Saturday at the Gardiners, but we just watched 17 Miracles and shared with their family our message. We ate there last night again and I think they might like me and are starting to warm up to me as the new missionary so that's way nice. I might help them with family history training, so sweet! 
    I have been asked to speak on the last Sunday of this month on hastening the work. I will diligently be studying the Joseph Smith teachings and Brigham Young teachings books to gain what they have to offer about the important duty of saving souls of our fellow men. So dad isn't going to like this but Brigham Young is my new favorite prophet I  mean some of the things he said were crazy and not even church doctrine but he spoke his mind, got things done, and was so amazing to lead the saints and set up the Salt Lake valley like he did. Just as a side note here, Ben is actually totally fine with the Prophet Brigham Young now.  He had to pray about him, and realized that prophets are just men and are human with faults, but they can also be called to do the Lord's work despite their shortcomings. Brigham Young was the right prophet to lead and organize the Saints of his time. I ordered his manual and hopefully will get it soon so be excited cause I am PUMPED!
Denim Springs missionaries
    We went on exchanges on Thursday and I went up to Denim Springs north area with Elder Myers who is one of the zone leaders, we had lots of fun and we talked to the assistants and so far mine and Elder Larkin's names have not been discussed to be transferred because I love my trainer and this area and if I can stay awhile and keep him then I would love that to death. I appreciate the support that (some of you...) have been giving me and those who haven't written get on the program...please :-), I wanna hear from y'all and I always write back. I miss you all very much and know this is a good work to be doing, and I really enjoy everything about it and can tell you even through the struggles, that my unending positive attitude keeps me going and never lets me down so ya'll keep your heads up!
-Love always,
Elder Rush