November 23, 2014
Dear Friends and Family,
Before emailing, we just cleaned up our flooded kitchen because our washer decided to leak a lot. That was fun and I can tell you all, honestly, I enjoyed every minute of it this morning even though my companion was not as thrilled haha! Btw Shout out to Bryan, Jacob and Rachel Daines. Good luck on your mission Bryan sorry I can't be at your farewell!! love you.
By the grace of God and by Faith in His son we now have 3 new progressing investigators! Kilton and Quesheba are a cute black couple who are dating right now and they want to move from their house in Oakdale, but lets hope they don't haha. The last lesson we had for them they had a notebook page full of questions and her son came in and joined us halfway through and was excited for us to come back. We have Jimmy Dimske, who is the brother of Sue Veazay who is a member, and he is working on understanding and going through the lessons. We have Nene, who is the sweetest little Vietnamese Women living here for years and years! The Hastings met her in a nail shop and are the best for it! She definitely wants us to teach her and her boyfriend Kenny and even though there is a language barrier because English isn't her native language it doesn't even matter. We got her Vietnamese BoM and Pamphlets anyway so this next week is going to be real good.
The area is booming and Elder Barker and I are just on a roll, so much happening and we are just super excited about it all. We love each other even 4 weeks later as much as we did the first week and can I say he is the best friend ever. Teaching is the best and I decided that my original door approach addressing others with a hearty HI! and WE are the LDS aka the Mormon Missionaries and we really want to share a message about Jesus Christ! They tend to answer by saying they are some religion or another and then I just reply with a "well do you want a quick message on Christ because we are all Christians", and they usually can never refuse without being rude after that point.
The Christmas pageant is going well and all of my lines are fantastically memorized and Elder Barker is doing fabulous despite his worries. I am way excited to relive the nativity in a whole new (kinda southern) way. I am sure to get you all pictures and videos as soon as I am able. Shepherds and Wise Men all day every day.
We went to a small and kind of dead town of Mamou the other day and can I say that we probably won't be going back there anytime soon, it's a sad little place and despite our efforts it seemed no one including less active members were interested in the gospel whatsoever. That's okay because we have a huge wonderful area full of Children ready for the sweet good news of the gospel! Today we have a district turkey bowl: Leesville and Elder Barker vs. DeRidder and Elder Rush. I will surely have lots of pictures later and will get them all to you next week. When it comes to growing, spiritually yes, physically no, why did I mention that? I am not sure but for all of you who love me prayers for growth would be a welcome gift. One final event this week, was this Saturday we had a turkey potluck and it was amazing and there was banana bread pudding and that stuff is so very very yummy and I will try and find a recipe for it if I can. The biggest miracle of that was a less active by the name Bro. Kennedy got to come, he's been so sickly lately but he has a huge testimony and always wants to come to church and loves our visits! So that was so the best thing in the whole world.
Learn to be optimistic no matter what, that is pretty much the best way to live life. When times get rough Jesus Christ is ready to help out whenever you need it. Having Hope in Him lets your day go well. Faith in him drives you to action, the action to love in any and everyday. The Atonement is very very important, so make sure that you remember that it's there always. Grace and truth accompany light and who doesn't love a warm light hug? Love you all much.
-Elder Joshua Dean Rush
Bonus Section, this is what Josh wrote for me to read in my talk in Sacrament this week!
(unedited version :)
My Experience and my Mission: Hello Hyrum 4th ward (here in my branch they say hello or good morning back from the congregation so HEYYYYY). Throughout my teenage years I had always seemed to struggle finding happiness and purpose in my life. I struggled with Self Worth, and Confidence. Contrary to those struggles my personality certainly came off as different and most certainly more positive. Unfortunately that wasn't always truly the case. Eventually with Severe Depression and High Anxiety I broke down and Had attacks of all kind mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The Adversary sought to sift me as Chaff in a whirlwind of pain. (D&C 10:27) He unfortunately won for a long time. I looked to worldly happiness (Alma 41:10) and I found no real lasting joy in anything, made to many mistakes to count and essentially lost any confidence or worth or respect with myself God and others. It wasn't until 2 months before my mission when trials began truly pushing on me, after months of repentance and counseling and change of heart before Satan tried ever harder to destroy me and who I was. Then I made it. I remembered that Rock (1 Cor 10:4) and it filled me. I found who I was. That I am Happy I am energetic and optimistic, that I have Hope. This mission gave me hope and purpose and true happiness. I can't tell you how much Love I feel for each of you, and for every single person I see. I don't know where or how but as I loved myself and serve Christ and learn to love Him, then my love for others grows. Its so immense it could fill an entire building I am sure. When I saw my first baptism and also saw some of the hardest trials in my life (on my mission) There was no cracking under pressure. It wasn't me, it was largely my Savior, he pulled me up until I could stand and run on my own. I owe him everything I am. I Hope for a better world (Ether 12:4) that everyone can love one another as Jesus Loves us (John 13:24). It isn't just one miraculous event of my mission, but rather the change wrought in my heart and those around me. Now I can be me, and can be happy, I completely realize the Atonement and its reality. It will strengthen you in every single aspect of your lives, let him in. Write His words on your heart.(Proverbs 3:3) let his mercy fill you. You have every single chance to find Joy. Share the gospel, give it to everyone you see. It is the single most important thing in your lives. It has no price(Isaiah) 51:1) The scriptures are gold in the soul who treasures them. No longer does Depression, Anxiety, Idleness, Doubt, Fear, and Hopelessness rule my life. All because of service and this mission. Love for who they can be. Happiness is a choice, and Joy is also a choice, but we must Ask of God, to receive. May you all run but not faint(Isaiah 40:31) I love you all.