Dear Family and Friends,
Thanksgiving was filled with many blessings of which gratitude was exemplified by the spirit of the Holiday. We had very little actually happen besides mere celebration and simple visits. The Miracle of this Thanksgiving is that we got fed, but, it is even more amazing than merely that. The woman who invited us to her Thanksgiving dinner with her whole family is a sweet nice black lady who's name is Sharoll. She cooked enough food for us, the Hasting's, and for her whole family which included several extended members from Lafayette and Houston. Nothing about the food was special besides lots of rice instead of potatoes and lots of pecan pie and every single thing was delicious. Had some corn bread stuffing and it's the first time I really enjoyed a stuffing, it was full of meat and fish, and super probably not healthy things for me but it was real good ya'll.
The Miracle was that her brother was Brother James Walker, the preacher we had tracted into a couple weeks ago who has been busy with his job, and family, and holidays and hasn't been able to get back to us. We had been praying each night to make contact with the man, exercising extra faith together to see if we could receive together as we asked together. It was answered after a truly short time, he showed up in a hat and when he took it off and shook our hands Elder Barker and I could not believe it. The prayer was answered in the fullest degree and was standing before us. He met the Hasting's and professed his desires to visit with us soon and hopefully more often as his schedule loosens up. Oh geez, we were so happy, I was so surprised, but why? Where did I doubt? I had little faith that was fading slowly that our miracle man had slipped away when simply he was to be placed at the right time in the right place. He and Elder Hastings had an amazing talk about Christ and he wants to be friends with them just like Sharoll his sister and they all seem to love us and we really love them. Joy of prayer is the answer to the blessing of which is yearned for. Always pray my loved ones, it is expedient indeed to always have one within your hearts.
Turkey Bowl Champs
I learned that I have grown up a little bit and got a little tougher (thanks Herzog family) on Monday and Thursday. We had two turkey bowls, the first one on the last Monday where I was on God's Team (DeRidder: Elder Gillen and Sargeant, Sister Abercrombie and Neely) vs. Leesville: Elder Smith and Ryan and Barker, Sister Richardsen and Thornly). I didn't cry! I only got a little frustrated, and the worst part was we lost but like Elder Gillen always says "We aren't number one in the books but we're number one in ya'lls hearts" and it was honestly a really close game, 5-4 and I caught every darn ball thrown to me and made a few touchdowns, so I was kinda disappointment at my lack of victory. Sister Thornly doubted she would get a touchdown so I play QB, and say okay look I am gonna throw the ball and you catch it in the end-zone (btw the Monday game was two-hand touch) and sure enough as soon as I say that she gets a touchdown. Guess I could learn a thing from myself about doubting right?
Sister Thornley amid the sunglare
Turkey Bowl Teams, we are all friends here
The Second game was in another part of Leesville (not right by the Bibles's/sisters apartments) on a real Soccer Field. It was too wide and we ran the whole thing the entire time, we were sore from the last game and Barker was separated from me again...He is quite competitive. Thankfully, we just have so much of this brotherly love that he didn't try to smash me, but only once during these games haha. This time we played flag football, and a ton of members from Leesville Ward showed up to play. I was on Gillen's team again and we tied that game cause we all got tired and it was Thanksgiving so Elder Barker and I needed to leave to clean ourselves for delicious food at Sharolls. I apologize for the lack of chronology in my writing this week, I am not actually an amazing writer like I have been told? I don't know, I just say what I would articulate to each of you as if it was a personal conversation.
Just a quick interjection right here, because I was almost done with my letter upon remembering this little detail, but the Christmas pageant is on the 21st of December and it's coming along fantastically (we even ate at the Bradley's home on Friday after we did about 5 hours of service for them!) it was a good day and I feel like a real good thing is gonna be happening this year for Christmas.
Service at the Bradley's (5 hours worth!)
I received a strange book called Gethsemane the other day from a sender I do not know. It was sent by someone but no name was included and it is a used book. I appreciate it greatly, I feel my Savior's love is a manifest theme in the entirety of the book. It was only 150 pages so I finished it fairly quick. It has so many scriptures and references to modern revealed truths from inspired men. It brings me great comfort to know that even when I struggle and stumble that Christ knows what it is like to be me. His sorrow in the Garden was an experience like no other, the God of all was suffering out human pain from mistakes and wrongdoings from us or directed to us. His heart was broken into pieces as he felt my struggle and each of your struggles to obtain Hope and Faith in who you are and your purpose in this life. I can honestly say that lately my mindset has been particularly lacking in confidence.
I wonder often if I am who I hope am becoming and that I have truly overcame the terrible choices I have made. I want to know as Alma did the great change of heart and the "exceeding joy" of conversion. I seem to always apologize, but I must again, for it is just who I am. I do know one very simple thing now, that the Atonement can heal and can bring a breath of new life into those who have lost. A family of our members, the Devilles lost their entire home to a fire just a few days ago, burnt all the way to the concrete slab. I hope they remember the Redeemer in this trial just as we all must. Remember that he felt all of our joy and has meted unto us all that He and the Father hath. When we ask for and want what he has we must fulfill the requirement he did, which was that of Meekness and Submissiveness. I understand now that Meekness isn't weakness and Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking less about yourself. I can feel your prayers about me someday's when I am quietly pondering the man who is God the Father. Each of us has power to choose and that is all we have to give that is purely our own. I love you all very much, and think well of every single person I have seen or heard from or remember, and often I plead that you be lead to know and read these words I write are to you. I can't understand what it is inside of me that has changed or some would say exemplified when it comes to loving others, I just do not know, but I know it is a portion of the Saviors love. A bitter cup hath he drank and his arms are round about us. Remember the gift. Understand Him and you can understand yourself and your Father who is in heaven.
Love you all so much in an indescribable immense and passionate way that could not begin to fill the endless creations of God.
-Elder Joshua Dean Rush