Monday, October 27, 2014

Scary Hospital Stay!!.... but "I felt the Savior right beside me"

October 27, 2014
look at how sick I look, isn't that fun? 

Dear Friends and Family,
    SO this week was interesting per say, I will explain further for all y'all. It all began the morn of long ago (cause I don't remember exactly when it started 2 weeks ago) nonetheless it started long ago. I began having much pain in the stomach, then that in turn resulted in loose bowels which is a common occurrence to missionaries in this mission due to the high spiced and much greased food. I was soon irritated that it would not leave, so I contacted the missionary nurse...

    She was quite upset I didn't get a hold of her sooner, but ya know we tough missionaries are all right until we can't really do any movement without hurting. SO I got Immodium and that seemed to fix it for about a day. BUT WAIT that night I had much of the struggle in the tummy and no movements of bowels and thus I thought merely the medication was doing its job, which it did. Then we had a Zone conference with the president and I was well pleased and gave much hugs to all my brethren and my dear President Hansen, for I squeeze him tightly, which he always braces for, which I find delightful. Anyway, Elder Hepworth decided I needed more practice in Oakdale by myself, so we went on exchages with Deridder and I was with my uncle T., Elder Gillen, who was quite fun to be with and I learned a lot planning things and seeing some things he knew about, but not all was joy for my tummy persisted in much pain every 30 or so minutes, so during the off time I would enjoy, then like a rock it would hit me good. We then went to bed that day and I got no sleep at all, the pain was so very very very intense, but we still went and got me a haircut and also contacted in a more ghetto part of town and I got a good cut by a black dude and look pretty dang good y'all. So still with this increased pain in my gullet, we then went back to the apartment to prep for the rest of the day and so I could shower off my hair and stuff. I was changing my clothes and having so very very much pain but was choosing to ignore it again, when I hear this small voice inside say, "this pain is not normal, and you haven't slept good in two days, you should call the mission nurse Sister Mcillian." I said to myself alright, I guess so maybe I should listen, I mean it felt particularly soft spoken and not a voice of conscience and stuff, then I was like hmm that might've been the Spirit, so I listened. Then she said that I needed to get to the ER immediately. THIS IS WHERE IT GETS REAL Y'ALL
 trying to be positive during adversity

  I was at this sweet little ER in Oakdale which is way ummm not updated and umm kinda scary and ghetto and we probs shouldn't have one there, but ya know what we gonna do but listen to the nurse right? I get some blood taken, some other tests and awesome CT scan where I had to drink this delightful and disgusting liquid in excess to coat my intestines, so they could see them. Then (excuse me) this burning red liquid from Hell itself was put into my IV when I was put through the scanner and MY GOODNESS it was so very very miserable I never ever wanna do that again!! It also made me flush all over and I was very very warm and it was a strange yet uncomfortable feeling that added to the overall pain.

Short story, they thought it was my appendix and that I had appendicitis and what not, so they sent me to the Alexandria Cabrini christian hospital and it was nice that they couldn't get my stupid CT scans from Oakdale because phone lines where down and they were thinking of doing it again...I prayed much! that I would not have to relive that pain and certainly they received the scans and got more blood and more samples and did more testing and decided no it wasn't my appendix, so no surgery! That was relief but unfortunately I wasn't done yet.

Turns out it was a swollen infected colon and we almost did a colonoscopy but nope got outta that one! and also its called cDIF Colitus which is caused by me taking antibiotics for too long (stupid acne meds) and thus killing good bacteria in my stomach then some nasty stuff got in there and did some major business and so it took 4 days of more antibiotic which I still am taking, tons of pain meds including like polyphorine or something? which is like 10 X stonger than morphine which I had on the drive up to that hospital (it was aweful and I got sick) but with less side affects but it made me quite umm dizzy for sure but the pain went away! anyway I am alright and had good nurses and docs, so all is well and I have survived more affliction. 
Elder Gillen
 Me, before I was really sick
 cool tree bridge

I was working on Humility this month and this truly taught me it's real meaning, to look to others and the Lord for help and to accept what life has given to us. We have the power of the Atonement and therefore any kind of difficulty can be overcome and we are invincible with God on our side. That we should be happy no matter what and not be too heartbroken or complain too much when hard things come. We show our love by submission and endurance. I learned to love my mommy more for taking care of me and I got to call her which was funny and stuff. I will keep on because its okay, bad things happen, but its just okay ya know? Elder Gillen and Hepworth were with me part and half the time who loved me lots and lots so I was very thankful. I felt the Savior right beside me, I knew he had felt the pain I had been feeliing and that He cared, that it was okay, and that He would make it better.

He will always make the trial into triumph, the pain into power and the weakness into strength. I am very happy and love you all and miss you all so very much as hard things happen one after another. Don't be afraid to write not for me but for you, because no one loves you as much as I do. :D
Funny zone conference pic
 ghetto yep

Elder Joshua Dean Rush

So this is Michelle, I just want to say that this was the scariest thing ever! It is a missionary moms worst nightmare to get a call saying their child is being rushed into emergency surgery, because that was the very first message we got. Being so far away and not being able to be with your child is a feeling of powerlessness and a total surrender to the will of our Heavenly Father. I had to know that Josh was in his hands and that I had to entrust his care to my Father in Heaven and others who were with Josh when I could not be. I had to let the Savior be the Comforter when I couldn't. This experience has given me a glimpse of Heaven and how much our Father loves us and entrusts others to be there for us when He cannot. I also know that just because I am far away from my Heavenly home, I am still greatly loved by my Heavenly Parents. How grateful I am that others were able to comfort and be with Josh when I could not. How grateful I am to be a mom, it is truly the best (if sometimes very stressful) calling. Thank you to all those who have prayed for Josh, I know that your prayers strengthen him.
Michelle Rush

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Faith, Hope, Charity....a sure foundation that cannot be shaken or washed away.

October 20, 2014

Dear friends and family,
    Truly not much has happened this week besides the visits of members and a few less actives that we check on pretty regularly. The branch has been quite sick so only 25 people at church this week, BUT one of them was a potential investigator and the lesson in Isaiah this week was pretty tight. We lost all our darned investigators this week as well, time to go find more! We helped a little old blind lady in our ward named sister Porter with her VCR setup with her TV, so that was nice and quite a service to her apparently. Uhh so in this area of Oakdale the three biggest towns are Oberlin, Oakdale, and Turkey Creek (which includes a little place called Lake Cove hidden up in the trees in Turkey Creek. Our area is actually huge and is the 2nd biggest in size in the whole mission. It is spread out and real country kinda like good old Hyrum so it's so pretty and fun to look at when we have to drive like 50 miles to get to one little member out in the boonies ha.
Courthouse in Oberlin Louisiana
 Oakdale Louisiana Postcard Picture
 Turkey Creek RV and Recreation Park
   We have this senior couple the Hastings who are pretty great because Sister Hastings plays piano in sacrament and Elder Hastings is just a super nice guy full of love and the work, they thankfully invite us over every Sunday for a nice dinner and they are from AZ so it's western food that is mild and won't upset the balance of my system. They unfortunately had their truck break down and now have to use a rental car, but hopefully that will get fixed soon so that's what happened with them.

    Every time we go to rehearsal for Mrs. Bradley's I seem to understand a little better what she wants to happen and even though we have few people, I think, it will be one of the funnest pageants I have seen, or been in, of course. When we finish Brother Bradley always wants to talk about the gospel and what we do as missionaries so I think our example on the religious community and our efforts, knowledge and patience are paying off after all. She would make a perfect relief society president ;-).
   I really wish I could make this letter longer and stuff but just not much going on and I don't want to bore you all with endless information that isn't that exciting. I also have a hard time remembering everything because it all just kinda happens in one big endless day of work, it's crazy fun I know that much, and it's a challenge that I enjoy meeting.

    I and Elder Hepworth have been listening to a lot of talks and devotionals recently (I think because he is leaving in like 20 days and is prepping to go back into life and school and dating etc.) but one talk that really stood out to me what the "inconvenient Messiah" by Elder Holland, it's probably what I learned the most from this week. IT literally filled me with this unimaginable hope and realization that, no this work is not easy or fun, because the atonement wasn't fun or easy. My life isn't easy or simple because Christ's wasn't, and that to obtain mercy I must know justice, and I must know hurt to know healing. I very much appreciate all that you all do for me and love you all so much. I am doing well, so don't worry about me. Really don't worry at all, I know the way Satan works and I know my weaknesses he prods at daily and he just can't bring me down because the Savior is ultimate and he is my friend. I must live because he died and must work as he worked to walk until I reach where he walked.
    Not much inspiration or details this week, but remember one thing, I love you all, no matter what, all the time. :) It is a real love, for it burns within me, it is the fire in my soul that hits when I testify of Christ, when I know that if I try I can be like He is now and when He was in mortality. IT is not easy to be mortal and weak, but it is easy to be kind, I find it so pleasant to give you all kindnesses and as your minds and faces come to my mind as I pray, I feel a great and eternal charity towards you. My brothers and sisters, you are precious, I am but one man, but I know one thing that many men don't know. I know who Jesus Christ was, who He is, and How to be like Him. The Beloved Prophet Joseph sealed his blood to bring us the truth of the great Jehovah, now let us rejoice because we are saved by grace, after all we can do. Faith, Hope, Charity....a sure foundation that cannot be shaken or washed away.

Love, Elder Joshua Dean Rush

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lord Is It I?....and would love to hear from my peeps!

October 14, 2014
 Mirror Fun

Dear Family and Friends,
Hello and this week I have cried much, but what can you expect from sensitive old me? I am out in the country again, like back home, and members are spread far and wide between, but I will go to any lengths to reach those who need strength to come back, and to those who have not discovered who they are because We are Gods children capable of becoming like God. The world is dark and I hear about the news about homosexual movements and acceptance in churches and Isis in the states and all kinds of darkness, but to tell you the truth, I worry not for the Creator of the universe, even the Son of God, is on my side and on our sides as long as we keep his commandments. 
Our Place
Elder Hepworth's rebel side of the room (country life)
 more of his side of the study room with LA flag
 my side with cute table
 our room where we sleep
 Elder Hepworth really likes Frozen, so he has like a bunch of posters including a 6 foot Elsa, 
and he is from Gilbert ,AZ so that's why Arizona flag
Our living room including Elder Hepworth...sorry not many pics with or of him yet 
 kitchen with laundry
yep bathroom....clean

Don't stray from the path because when Satan sees that we are valiant and beautiful and we fall away just a little he will try to drag us further and further until we feel as if we cannot return but we can always come back. Repentance is change and change does not happen in a day, it happens in the amount of our whole life. I am not sad because I have moved I am just now responsible for this little town and its children and it worries me that I may not be able to affect enough of them, due to my young age and apparent immaturity, according to those around me. I will be the man I am to be and try harder to grow and it doesn't matter how hard it will be because I know how many of you love me back at home and I feel your prayers.

Lord is it I? Wasn't that like the most amazing talk in conference because I feel like it was, I ask myself all the time "Am I like Jesus the Savior?" or "am I like the fallen brother Lucifer?", do I look in or out and often I find myself slipping into bad habits in selfishness not giving my all, I am not perfect and I talk about myself way too much, but I hope that some of you may benefit from what I say and learn because otherwise writing is pointless. 

Elder Gillen on p-day he is in Deridder
 Elder Toone on the left is being trained by Elder Gillen, and I think Elder Hepworth in the background
 Just one more and Elder Gillen posed a lot. Also Elder Ryan is district leader in Leesville training Elder Smith and the Lee sisters are Sister Thornly, who is training Sister Abercrombie, and going home after Hepworth does this transfer so in two transfers, Sister Neely from my MTC district is in Deridder and training Sister Richardson.

Whatever is worth it to the souls of my friends and acquaintances  back at home matters most, this mission is not mine, it is God's. It is the Savior's. It is all of our mission to fulfill our Fathers words and do that which is good, and bring those to their potential to see that they may come with us into the kingdom of God to obtain eternal life. Fear tries to destroy us and tell us we are not who we are, that we have no purpose that we are too small, that we cannot do or be like the Savior but those feelings and thoughts are wrong. We have it within us, we can do all that which is good in any circumstance. Optimism will win any battle against the devil, he cannot stop repentance unless we let him. I didn't come out here for myself, I mean I know that some of it should be for myself, but it just doesn't matter what happens to me. I am trying my best, but if I don't love and help my brothers and sisters I have no gain and no growth, I love you all so much, I did this for my family, for my ancestors, for Jesus Christ and for those who may look at me and need an example. I am a terrible example to follow but I will try my best to do what you and God would have me do, it makes me happy to please and love others, none of you give up.

I have had dreams and feelings that those who read these might not be keeping up or might be getting discouraged in some way, but know that the Savior loves you, read the conference talks and pray and read scripture,s go to the lord for help, and please talk to me. I haven't heard from Rachel Daines or Bryan Daines or Sammy Petersen or Emmeline Swink or Sarah Hall or hardly any drama kids in awhile and I hate hate hate to use specific peoples but If I don't then y'all won't get tagged by mom ;) but I really love y'all!! and want to hear even a sentence of your lives. I cannot just sit back and pretend that I am not responsible for those I call best friends. I really am because I made the commitment to stand by them in any storm and any trial and so I will. I am filled with love for all y'all and hope to hear soon.

Never give up home, always be humble, find yourselves and you will find God

Love Elder,

Joshua Dean Rush

And an FYI for writing:
New address
Elder Joshua Rush
301 Meadow Drive Apt 10
Oakdale, LA 71463
Or email

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Transferred to Oakdale, Louisiana um, it's kinda in the middle of nowhere :-)

So my second day in Oakdale was actually in Derrider because the next day was district meeting down there, and it took an hour to drive so we stayed with Elder Toone who is the one on top (he is 18) being trained by Elder Gillan who is on the bottom

Dear Friends and Family,
    I have been transferred, despite what I thought, and it's in the middle of nowhere with just me and my companion in Oakdale, and several hours worth of driving to see other missionaries or go to district meeting or P-Day and today due to lack of miles (we have 1300 but it takes 250 to get to Baton Rouge and back) we will be staying solo with one another and be biking like we ain't got no car.

I am happy though, my new Companion Elder Hepworth is a super cool guy who is from Gilbert, Arizona, who is super duper sweet and kind to me. He is lovable and super country, this little town is just like Hyrum, so thankfully before I left I got in touch with my country side, so this feels real good up here (Alexandria zone is quite north of where I was). I will be taking over the area in a short 5 weeks because this transfer is a shortened one due to MTC scheduling and what not; and Elder Hepworth goes home this next transfer in November, so I get to kill him (which is what we say when we are the last companion :-)and then figure out this crazy spread out tiny little area/branch. I am a little bit stressed, but certainly not unprepared. 
Thompsons and Gardiners
 Random pic of me and Elder Larkin
 Thompsons and Gardiners

President Monson in priesthood session really gave me the hope that I can be like my Savior and do the work that He wishes me to do, so I am not afraid. I have been sick since I got here with a wicked cold, but don't you all worry because I like all these trials! Anything that the Lord will give unto me, I will praise him forever and ever because he loves me and this will all be for my good. My district is quite fun, considering that Leesville and Deridder are the only sisters (Deridder got split off from the Leesville sisters this transfer so they just opened the new area. One of my old district members from the MTC Sister Neely is now training and opening this new area so WOW) Then we have a Senior couple here in Oakdale by the name of Hastings and Leesville has the Bibles (yep, that's their last names).

    I am glad that my little sister enjoyed the alligator head I sent home, because I didn't want it to get broken! Think about this, that there is a grand wonderful and powerful Being full of truth and Light who is perfect who loves each and every one of His creations, including a little young missionary like me, and all of you back at home. No matter how little you think you are now, there is eternal capabilities that you can fulfill if you can but Hope for a better world :) 

I met a little Methodist Lady named Lillie Bradley today with the Hastings and she is holding her 17th year of Christmas Pageants this year for Christmas where she gathers all the different denominations and churches (which are A LOT) including us to be in it and to be in the nativity story. I will be a wiseman and a shepherd and Elder Hepworth won't even be here. Elder Hastings will be Herod and Sister Hastings will be singing a solo as the lead angel praising Christ, SO YEA I AM PUMPED! I guess the Lord sent me here because I have a bit of theatre experience, I will have pictures and videos I am sure when it gets there so be excited!

I am still driving, which is not too terrible and Elder Larkin has a new companion named Elder Jenson who is a visa waiter who is leaving for Brazil in two weeks then Elder Larkin will get another companion which I though was weird, but God is the great orchestrater and I but an instrument in his symphony of faith and grace.

At first when I found I was leaving my dear Albany, I was upset and then as I learned I was going to the very place I didn't want to go (because I had heard from Larkin and Smiley and others who served) Oakdale, and that is was the most difficult and trying areas where only "certain" missionaries go, I was disappointed and thought to myself, "What have I done Lord?", and the talk "Lord is it I?", from priesthood session, truly spoke to me. I will not be the betraying disciple, and will not give in to the dark feelings of the Adversary. The Hope is that If I do as I am commanded in sharing the gospel with every soul I see that the work will move forward, this is not my work nor my mission it is the Lord's to bring others immortality and eternal life.
Lynlee and Patrick Thompson
 One last one of me and Stephens and McEntire

I have started to find real happiness in forgiving others and forgiving myself, as I have been reading -The Miracle of Forgiveness- by Spencer W. Kimball. I have felt the love of God coming to shine in my eyes. To really forgive in any way in every form to be as Jesus Christ, always full of Mercy, is the way that we can obtain our own mercy, that by our judgments of others shall we be judged. I had a hard time focusing the mornings of conference sessions due to being sick and thus being exhausted, but I do remember the Spirit speaking to me as if a man to his friend. I was happy to know that by working hard and doing all we can both in thought and in deed we can never ever be failures. It is our Father in Heaven who matters most, our pride may blind us to think others opinions of us matter, but in our eternal lives, only the Christ and our Father will truly see us as we are. We have to give up who we are for what we can become. I know this gospel to be true, that every single one of those men and women who have spoken are inspired and their words are now scriptures to be heeded strictly and promptly. We should ever strive to be as the Savior said, to be meek and lowly in heart, offering up our broken hearts and our contrite spirits always growing closer to our family on earth and in heaven. Love unconditionally and give without restraint, read the scriptures often and treasure and ponder them in your hearts in every minute of each day, and the Adversary will have no power. 

God is a true and living God full of love and mercy, we are to be molded in our afflictions not destroyed by them, we came to be tested so face those tests and trials with courage knowing we are the Children of God and thus we can do all things if it be through Jesus our Lord and Savior. He is the Messiah, He is Real, His Atonement is Real, with it we can be forgiven, we can change ourselves. Change and Forgiveness are the greatest gifts that our Father has given to us in regard to using our Agency. We must choose and then we can obtain that which is the sweet fruit of the tree of live, which is the word of God to lead us unto Christ for the obtaining of Eternal Life. I say all these things in Jesus Christ's name Amen.

-Elder Joshua Dean Rush.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Baptism and oh so many pictures!!

Sister McEntire, Sister Stephens, and me

Sad face from Sister McEntire and photobomb 
by Elder Smiley
 Sad our trio is getting split up
 A happy picture

September 23, 2014

Dear friends and family, and other possible readers who don't necessarily fall under those two categories,
    I indeed had a good baptism this week, it is my first one in just 12 weeks and she happens to be black (pictures will be provided) I am exceptionally happy that the Lord blesses me with such great progress, but alas it is to short lived. I am being transferred and that is why my p-day was Tuesday this week and not dear Monday, I do not know where I am going yet but
it will take forever to get to me and that will be aggravating. Wait for my new address next week. The best way to avoid heartache is to listen to the Spirit and to remember what the standards are and why we have them, experience life to it's fullest but remember Jesus Christ.

Me, like a month ago, on Elder Hillam's camera getting a ghecko, which is funny because yesterday at the Thompsons, I screamed like a little girl when a frog on the door, as Elder Larkin was opening it, jumped right smack on my face....bleh
Epic Straightaway

    The Baptism of Nickie Horton was a wonderful experience but a quick one, we just finalized all the paperwork and finished the interviews and suddenly we were there and I didn't expect to be getting any baptisms anytime soon on my mission, but I guess the Lord has need of one who reaps the fields that are now ready. I didn't actually perform the baptism Nickie asked Elder Larkin to do that, but I did Confirm her in sacrament meeting. Such a sweet uplifting spirit was given in the gift of the Holy Ghost. I just know that She and Chris will make it to the temple and I will be right there when they go through :) Their family has changed and grown so much, it's night and day compared to the beginning lessons. I actually felt special warm feelings in my hands and through my chest when I was confirming her, and I knew that all would be well; and even though I am leaving now I know all will still be well. We saw her through the end and now she has started a new beginning. Chris was excited to be at church again, but unfortunately was having some terrible back pain after sacrament that day so they had to leave, but after General Conference (which they are going to watch, they've informed us) they will be coming regularly. :) It's funny when I think about who I am now and who I was even 4 months ago...I just can't comprehend what has happened, but I feel happy. 

Me, Elder Larkin, and Nickie Horton at her Baptism
Sister Pearson was down for a baptism in Amite that day... so hoorah

    Saying goodbye is sometimes the hardest thing in the week and yesterday I had to say goodby to a bunch of the ward members who say they are going to miss me, I hope I have done good, sometimes I worry my special personality doesn't always help people as I hope it will. Jag and Josh Gaichette (they live with the Landry's who took us to Don's seafood after Jag's football game last week) are going to miss me as well as their Dad Joe who is not a member and it was really sweet of them to make extra cornbread just for me. Nickie is glad her husband goes to church every week with her whole family including her dad, Brother Landry, and she is thankful for missionaries that have changed her whole life, can't tell you I didn't want to cry when she said that.

Last District Meeting
Sister Plumb, she's new, giving crazy face

    I hope I helped the Rayborn's as much as I could, I still feel as if I could have done more, but the Lord's will be done always. I don't know who my new companion will be but I am not worried because I already love him with all my heart. I reflect often about people at home who I have wronged or upset, and I am deeply sorry, I hope I can obtain the glorious gift of your forgiveness. I know that forgiveness is real, and is truly part of my dear Savior's Gospel and is the means by which change is wrought and repentance is had. I can know now that I have Hope for my future and for all of your futures, I look forward to being there for as many of you as will allow me. My heart grows full of forgiveness and love for all of God's children, from here in Louisiana to back in Utah and from one end of the earth to the other end. I helped in doing a 6 Am priesthood endowment session this week, and it somehow was worth waking up at 4:30, even though the previous night we got home way later than 9:00, helping with baptisms for the dead we were with the youth; I got to do some proxy confirmations (practice for Nickie I guess).

 the Landry's---Wiley and Marie still in love 50 years later
Gaichette family Joe, Josh(smaller one), Jag (name is actually Jacob who is taller and 12 josh is 9) and Nickie

This is the Bougioux family(yea i may have slaughted that name) they are Jessica Musics parents, she's is married to Matt and they are working on going to the temple.

    God will forgive whom he will forgive but for us we must forgive all 70 times 7. Love and genuine Love are two different things, but I have learned how to foster the other, how to have virtue garnish my thoughts unceasingly and thus creating new actions and behaviors in myself I never thought possible. Repentance isn't just asking for remission of sins but it is an active change of heart from the natural man to a Son of God. I don't feel as if I could fail anymore when I am on Jesus Christ's side, and even when I do it is lessened and I am strengthened for it. All the affliction that I see or experience is for my good says the Lord, and so I know that I can be unmovable and steadfast always, that I make my choice to fall or harden my heart, or to lift of my eyes to heaven and praise Him all of my days. I am so very happy and am so very excited to show the change the Savior has wrought on me to my family and everyone back home. I love doing this work and I can see parts of the eternal perspective now, and it is so beautiful and pure, no man could be happier than I for I know that my Redeemer lives and succors me. I have potential to fulfill and through the Spirit and my studies I can gain all my Father hath, there is happiness and hope in this. My faith is UN-wavered and shall continue as such in Jesus Christ's name, Amen.

Elder Joshua Dean Rush

at brother Ribando's, we were fishing and I caught a fish, and then I caught a turtle which we killed and put in an ant hill cause I promised to get Elder Larkin a turtle shell, cause i loved him and I missed an alligator turtle on the road that we passed by when I was driving, so I wanted to make up for it. So the Lord answered my prayer of love.

 Yep, I caught dat turtle

 sister McEntire readying herself.....with pliers...