Dear Friends and Family,
When you are hurting, God will heal your heart. Christ can and will comfort your soul and give you peace. This week not a whole lot happened. All I can remember is all the miracles and joy that I had this week! I got to go to the temple again this week, three members went so we were allowed to come and enjoy. The Vezay's (Sis. V got her endowments that day too) got sealed in the temple and Bro. John got his endowments out. They all grasped the vastness of the whole thing quite well and I know that they will be happy forever onward, because of the great choice they have taken to enter into the kingdom of God. Elder Barker didn't actually go on this trip with me. The Hastings gave Bro. John and us a ride, but the other Elder was actually our District Leader Elder Ryan. We decided to go on exchanges because Ryan hadn't been to the temple in a really long time and needed it, ya know, so Barker said he has been lots and lots and would love to go on exchanges so that's what we did.
Brother John is black and the Vezays are the older couple, and then us missionaries and the Hastings too
Elders Ryan, Smiley, me, and Mayers
It was a beautiful experience and not until that day had I yet to see a sealing in the Temple, it was way cool and super interesting to learn some more things and also realize that someday I will be doing that same thing (YEESH...) but the best part was.....That elder Smiley and Elder Myers where there. From my old district and my old zone leader! Elder Myers is going home this transfer and he served in Oakdale with Smiley a really long time so they love him bunches. I was so pumped to see them be able to make it, cause I had invited them and they weren't sure but...bam! Then they were there, oh how I love those black Elders and how much I have missed them.
shepehrds and Bradleys and Hastings and stuff and the Mayor of Oakdale
It is almost Christmas and almost time for the Christmas Pageant by Miss Lily Bradley, and we are stressin, and she is stressin, we took some awesome pictures in our shepherd costumes and we had rehearsal almost everyday and Barker might have a solo (he has stage fright..) and it all really only mattered because we have a stern sense of duty to finish what we started, and we may have a family start investigating! They have been working with us and we got their info and we are all friends now and just the Lord works in mysterious and often times fun/hard little ways. I now feel the significance of the Shepherds, because I am one, and they may have been lowly and poor and only raised sheep to be sacrificed, yet they revered their sacred calling and the Lord allowed them to know and witness the baby Christ, maybe one day I can live up to the title of good steward for the Good Shepherd.
We had Specialized training this week, and President Hansen gave a wonderful and symbolic talk on the meaning behind some of the things in the nativity and ya know it was right up my alley when it comes to studies and the dear Holy Bible that I love so much. It is a strength that I have that is not my own, but the Lord has given me great knowledge pertaining to the scriptures and I do dearly treasure them and exhort you all to do likewise, for they are Gold in the hands of them who treasure our Saviour. We also had a huge Christmas parade in Pineville later that day with the whole zone so we had a party and handed out 'He is the gift' cards and other pass along and candy (so awesome).
Parade with friends and cool truck and stuff
Nene is progressing and getting baptized Jan 17th as well as Justin who will probably get baptized the end of Dec. So everyone send up your prayers and give thanks because some more children are entering in the kingdom soon and what a good day that's gonna be.
Finally I shall declare unto you the most wonderful thing that happened to us the other day. It is P-day today but we were going to be in Leesville (where I am right now) so we needed to do some shopping for essentials. We go into Wal-mart all dressed up and such because we had rehearsal again later that day and because we always look nice as missionaries. We are buying groceries and minding our own business and trying to be quick because it wasn't time to buy stuff, but we really needed toilet paper, and we go down the Christmas candy aisle because, well, I like candy so I was curious. We stop to look and a sweet lady named Mandy walks up to us and asks us questions and asks for some materials to read. So at first we were confused and super happy someone wanted to talk to us and she just came up. It then gets even better due to the fact she really wants to talk to us right there and then. Telling us about her struggles and how she prayers all the time and is trying to move out of her house and get a job and help her two little kids (one 6 yr. old girl and 4 yr. old boy) and then she stops and asks us to pray right there in the middle of the store. We bow our heads and Barker offers a lovely prayer to help bless Mandy and us and gives thanks and it was such a heartfelt prayer in that busy little store. No matter where you are, you can pray, God will listen, and he will help you. We are about to finish up and we start getting her contact info and address and talk about us coming and teaching and how she is looking "for something to read that can inspire and help her" we had what she had earnestly been seeking for."We have what she needs, and now we send her Scriptures every day through text now.....THEN She buys us groceries, she literally buys us tons of food fit for only the richest of men and she asks nothing. She just does it because she says she cares and is thankful for our spirit and that she felt in her heart to talk to us. One thing is for sure, God loves us, and Christ is a real man, and is the Real and true Messiah.
We went to Bond Louisiana
Our sweet sexy awesome ugly sweaters
My gingerbread house
My mind is still so baffled at the confusion and new investigator and groceries and just sweet tender mercy that was given to us. I want you all to know that I struggle, but The Lord God on high will deliver his servants out of bondage as long as we pray, and ask, and seek, and endure. Only through the atonement would Mandy have felt so much love for us to do such a kind thing, and a pure heart like hers is one that is ready to have her sins be forgiven. Ask often my people, ask if we are ready to receive and give and to love, who is the Gift and why is He our one and only gift. Because Love is the eternal principle of what all great things are based upon. I know as we care for others we can have an increase of love for all men despite the adversaries buffetings. Peace and Good Will towards men the angels once said, and so I add my witness to theirs in The name of Jesus our Lord -Amen
Love yall so very very much dangit it hurts some days but my heart is full and your are all in my prayers (yes all of you)
-Love Elder Joshua Dean Rush
my funny face and Sis Thornley who is going home tomorrow and is from Box Elder and going to USU and stuff