Sunday, December 13, 2015

Catch up time!!! Transfers...Fireworks....Sickness...Work

Nov. 9, 2015
Our Backyard View
Hello Friends and Family,
  Well there is a lot of crazy stuff happening in y'alls world back home. I don't really know the extent but I think everyone should just take a deep breath and chill out. :) I mean I have hardcore anxiety so that's a hugely ironic comment, but it's out of love! (This is in reference to a church statement that was released that had some controversy associated with it)
  Lots of things happening this week, mostly rain and cold temperatures and early nights. We still bike in rain and in the Dark but we try not to do that as much as possible and still, of course, stay with our hands to the plow in the work. A servant who, "having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." therefore we continue. 
Because they had my camera i get to share these ;) this is Sister Whitney Carpenter from Austin, Texas
Sister Ariel Pfleger from Idahooooooooooooooo

It is so much easier to appreciate the world around you when you try to look through God's eternal eyes which sounds like it could be a difficult task, and it is, but it is a noble one to pursue.
  I learned a lot about patience, just like I always do because I am naturally very impatient and want things to move fast, but it brings a lot of peace to know that after waiting a man willing to change was found. This man we found was a random number of about 160 people in our phone who were labelled as some sort of investigator or that had potential to become one, and I called and texted ALLLL of them (so painstaking) and our finding this guy happened as result. Nice guy, we had one lesson, then he said he was moving to Florida, we told him we would get the missionaries there, he decided not to move and now with one thing leading to the other and lots of exposure to the church, he wants to get baptized! Hurrah!
  I randomly texted him if he made it to Florida safe, and he was reading the Book of Mormon at that exact moment and, therefore, took that as a huge sign and we came and taught him and he has the starting of a wonderful testimony.
  Not much else to report, the days are short, it's getting cold, and our bikes are made of metal and run by our pedals. Hope y'all are taking care of  yourselves feel free to write, send a package, email or pray for me, all is acceptable hahahaha.  But seriously, Thanks for the support :)

-love elder joshua dean rush

Nov. 16, 2015

Dear everyone,
  Things are always great right? Yes, indeed they are. I am now going to give you some descriptions of events.
This time around Christmas everything gets busy in Natchitoches, they now have lights all over the city, especially downtown which are starting to turn on at night, and it is quite the sight. Lots of lights, and moving lights, and singing lights, and all kinds of sweet amazing Christmas and New Year's spirit. 
NSU vs SFA game!! NSU won

  Okay, so investigator Man who is 19, we do service with him and he is great and now we just need him to find a testimony of the sweet record of Joseph. The investigator guy who didn't move to Florida has some struggles from being a war veteran and tried to drop us, but he is doing fine now. He needs to come to church, but he is reading the Book of Mormon and just being a little trooper :3. One of our ward missionaries has a friend who is sincerely investigating, and if we can coordinate meetings with him he is our highest hopes of conversion. Nice guy, real fun, super smart, if he reads, he will succeed. The rest of our investigators need to learn how to search, ponder and pray (but that's pretty much anyone) so they are stuck in the mud when it comes to concerns, oh well.
sis carpenter on the left sis pfleger on the right

  Our Climate recently has been dropping and the 65 with 80 percent humidity makes it real real nice for me. Short sleeve white shirts and everyone thinks I'm crazy but I think the white shirt black name tag signs of a Mormon missionary are like the Title of Liberty, ya know? People notice and, in my perspective, surely enjoy the sight.
Well I hope you're all doing so lovely thanks for all the wishes, prayers, emails and support from the homeland.
marching band because #throwback
trumpet section :')
Keep on
love elder -Joshua dean rush

Nov. 25, 2015
service after much sawdust and paint
Hello dearest Family and Friends,

  A lot of events have transpired and a lot of informative things have happened in just this last week. It's been one of the busiest weeks of all transfer. I can't complain because usually when life gets busy the Lord seems to take over. I can't lie and say it hasn't been extremely stressful, but it has made me stronger and I feel quite happy and satisfied to have grown because of it. 
elder allen and myself (aren't we great?)

  For the next month all you will hear about will most likely be the Christmas Festival here in Natchitoches, and I hope it's not boring but you just gotta know!!! It's the most beautiful and amazing thing I have seen to see an entire city filled and lit with the Spirit that comes when Christmas rolls around. On Saturday, we got to attend the opening ceremony where they have a fireworks show, and it was great! Apparently, they have that every Saturday for awhile, with thousands of people coming in, so we will be able to talk to a lot of people.
the good ole district

  I am not entirely sure how to get around just yet here, and I just got a new companion who's name is Elder Kyle Carter from Washington State. Great guy, it's gonna be real good! When I get lost, I guess, I just have to try to find those people that need to be found right?


  I usually don't talk much about transfer meeting, but this time around it was really extremely hard. I am getting to the point on my mission where everyone I've known and loved and served around are ending their journeys. The Hastings and The Bibles (senior couples in Oakdale and in Fort Polk) are leaving this month, and I spent 6 to 9 months serving around them. There isn't a more perfect example to me of what true love, discipleship, and marriage is like than what I saw in all of them. 
  There is something to be learned from those who have lived longer than we have on this life, and we should use this resource more often. 
Fun Timessss

  There has been a lot of discouragement and loneliness in my life and on my mission, but now through the lens of the gospel it isn't of any significance. Too much of what those feelings represent is our tendency to look inward rather than out. This is wayyyyyy obvious I know, but I love the people I have been working with and teaching here. They may not always progress or do all the things I know would bring them closer to the Saviour, but they bring me joy when I can serve them and help them. 
  We have a Less-active who we hope to get back to church soon, a 19 year old guy we do service with who we hope will open more to our message and a good man that is a friend of a member of ours who is very very interested and open to what the gospel has to offer. 
How great the peace the gospel brings.

I love you all and miss you in great abundance.

-Elder Joshua Dean Rush

Nov. 30, 2015

So Josh had pneumonia this week and was super sick, so no group letter this week :-(

Dec. 7, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

  Sorry for the lack of a letter last week, nothing to report besides sickness and coldness! This week is much more noteworthy and, unfortunately, I don't have pictures to send until Sister Pfleger gives them to me. It's easier for us to all bank on one person taking pictures as long as they get circulated. 
nice picture of fireworks -by sis pfleger

  We had the opportunity of attending a few wonderful Christmas events this week. We went to a Gala put on by the NSU art department that literally made life a more beautiful thing to live. The tap dancing soldiers were definitely the highlight of the performance (there was a member who was the star, of course.)
the "old" district

  The next event was the Christmas Festival and I wish i could describe it to you. 2 hours of parade and singing and bands and music. The festivities here go above and beyond usual, and it suits me well. I am usually a Grinch with Christmas, but on the mission my hearts gotten real soft for it.
so sly with elder Solomon and sis P

  This letter is going to be really short and to the point and I am sorry again. It gets difficult to stay focused on long explanatory emails, y'all will just have to get an account from me personally when I return home. The 18th month mark of my mission is coming soon and I feel really proud to have made it so very far and done so much (hopefully) good unto my brothers and sisters. This time of year is a good time to remember Charity and to feel love for God's great gift and the gifts of our lives in such a wonderful place wherever that may be.
More Fireworks!
love you all and take care - elder joshua dean rush

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Finisher of things I start.....

Oct. 26, 2015
Us after the Ward Trunk or Treat
Hello Dearest Friends and Family,
  I truly love it in this beautiful city. Even the cracked roads with bumps. With new and improved potholes filled with wonderful rain water. It's quite lovely to splash all over. Other news...Uhh the members children really like me, not sure what it is but children and animals are always my best friends so maybe pediatrician or veterinarian is a destiny, or if I really want to do some service, a teacher. 
Our district leader on P-Day, yes he ripped right through the tramp
  We have about 3 investigators. One less active guy who is progressing really well and he is one of the nicest guys, I tell ya.. The investigators struggle a bit with coming to church, but pretty much anyone struggles with that as far as I have seen. Finding people requires much effort, so now I feel all the more motivated to really bother/save/talk to people because we just ain't got time to be dilly dallying! Y'all who pray for rain remember one thing, pray that it will rain at opportune parts of the day or night instead of during the most active times of the day, it would really help!
I ate too many Reese's Peanut Butter cups
Learning day by day and trying to help others learn is the best way to keep trying. Because at least we know something so we can potentially learn more and learning is doing also, which is great for progressing the testimony.
this is Elder Allen on the phone yay
our bikes...wahoo
I don't really remember much of what happens anymore beside biking raining and the blessing of being fed on occasion by charitable saints, but I do know it is quite the work and it's hard and its long but it's very special and oh so sacred to the Lord. Love y'all so so so much mmk
-elder joshua dean rush
 Lights and more partying, 80's Rock Band for Homecoming

Nov. 2, 2015

Hello my dearest Friends and Family,
  I won't lie to ya. Helaman 5:12 surely is literal. I've had shafts in the whirlwind, fiery darts, and all sorts of the wiles of Satan coming at Elder Allen and I this week. Unfortunate for him (satan), we have the hope of God in us, and he was unable to deter our efforts.
This is the Caine River, I think
   It has been raining quite often which makes biking difficult but even amidst that we overcame and had more progress on days that didn't rain than we have on just average days. We have found several people who we hope to continue to visit, but if not then we keep moving. I don't think a day this week we have really been able to go home for anything, we just have to have an early lunch and find water to drink on the way so we can do all we can. 
These are the beautiful gardens on Front Street
   It's been a lot of high and low points, and it's hard to bounce back between the two, but praying helps, and studying helps and the fact that I have many of you rooting for me helps. There is just no way that I can give up this far or with all this effort put forth, too much at stake with Gods sweet children. I would never consider giving up because I have decided that I am a finisher of things that I start. 
 Homecoming Parade for NSU (Northwestern Sate University)

   Even when you don't know what is going to happen and the uncertainty of life hangs over you as a constant reminder of the unknown, there is one hope that Christ, who knows all, knows you're future and He promises blessings as long as you do what He says. He asks a lot of things, and they are simple, but in application they are quite difficult, the most important call is to share His love that is called charity. It's so hard to have this feeling all the time, it requires the Spirit which requires efforts of great immensity to have an effect on the heart. 
 Drill Team and Cheerleaders

  I wish you all the best and hope you all joy and goodness in life. Don't forget the Saviour, it's much too painful when we do. I wish, has become, I will! We will find a family y'all, and if not myself then hopefully through my efforts for this vineyard I care infinitely about. 
Love - Elder Joshua Dean Rush

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Transferred....Natchitoches, LA

Oct, 19, 2015

Dear friends and Family,
  Apparently the Library in Natchitoches doesn't let us upload photos, so I don't know how I will ever get y'all any more any case. I am in Natchitoches, and 9 times out of 10 you are all likely saying it wrong, if you don't know how to say it look it up. (But try saying it like Nack-a-dash). We have a huge ward...not in Utah terms huge, but it was bigger than all the places I have been for my entire mission (when i was in Albany ward there weren't but 40 people or so maybe every week now it's like 150). It threw me off because I won't be able to learn all the members names in like 4 days, like I usually can. 
I think this is Front Street
  We have to bike so we only have time to see investigators half of the time cause it takes awhile between appointments. We have to contact constantly which works well because I love talking to people. It is a car share area but Sister Carpenter's knee is getting a surgery soon, so they kind of need the car, which is no problem, we are just gonna try extra hard, right? 

  Some miracles that happened; We found 3 new investigators one day and 5 the next, we contacted all kinds of people and we got to go to this SUPER AWESOME parade for NSU (Northwestern Louisiana State) Homecoming and then they had this amazing 80's rock concert on this place called Front Street. It's from the year 1800 or something, because Natchitoches is so old, and so beautiful, it's so darn gorgeous up here I'm kind of upset about not having any way to send you all these amazing pictures.
Prudhomme-Rouquier House in Natchitoches, La
   Some amazing things are gonna happen this time around. Elder Chandler Allen is the best companion eva so we are going to see the work explode or die trying. He is from Eagle Point, Utah goin' to BYU and he is quite mellow. So things are good up in the mission dear people. 
Work hard, get blessings, praise the Lord holla
love - elder joshua dean rush

I found some pics to show how pretty Natchitoches is, hopefully we'll figure out something for his pics...Michelle

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fishing, Armadillos and Texas.....

Sept. 28, 2015
We went fishing!
Dear Friends and Family,

  Everything is GOING SUPERB, let me explain to you exactly why. We have about 1 and 1/2 investigators progressing, the doors keep on slammin', until today, it's still been hotter than Hades, and it's still extremely stressful to be a missionary in the Last days. Now that wasn't particularly positive, but splendidly it doesn't have to be, because it's how I feel about these things. 
   I feel stronger, more firm in the faith, more in control and more fired up than I have been on this 2 year excursion. Something happened one day this week, I was really searching my soul for my reasons and my motivation and I have been studying the protestant "salvation by grace" concept (Read john 2:16-19 for salvation) really applying myself with all my heart to access that power that these people seem to have knowing there Saviour, even in the possibly skewed way that they do. They truly know who He is, and what His Spirit feels like. As sudden as a rush of Autumn winds, I felt it. I feel as though weights off my trodden feet and off my hard heart have been lifted. 

  The Love of these people has finally spilled into my own little, over critical, analytical heart, and it feels swell. I've found that the sacred power of the Hymns comes in singing them often, feeling them, applying your heart as you sing them! How important those soft words are to one who is troubled by the hardness of the world. Take it from me, I know those are inspired beautiful pieces of scripture, use them as such.
 We also have been helping a friend of ours quit smoking, which will turn into conversion? haha pray for it. Take care brethren and sisters, share your hearts and cling to the Spirit.

Hey sure love ya'll, and I like being a missionary it's pretty cool ;)

Peace and Love and Jesus 

-Elder Joshua Dean Rush
Oct. 4, 2015
They went to the border of their area for Texas pics!
So this week Josh didn't know what to write about so I asked him a bunch of questions and he replied to those....So here's our Q & A:

Anything happening with the teaching? Are you still trying to get that guy to stop smoking?
So It's a girl to stop smoking, and she has been sick for weeks. 
Meet any new people?

We haven't taught anyone...we don't have anybody but less-actives and this week was particularly slow.
Haven't found anyone in all the tracting we have been doin'.
We did however meet a nice first baptist family that invited us back.
What's the weather like?
The weather is cool 70 or lower its been reallllll nice.
Have any good food?

 Sister Cornia
Sister Tomblin
The sisters made peanut butter pie which i ate half of during conference potluck.
Read any good scriptures? Ones people could "ponderize"?

and yes Isaiah 51:3 
How's the ward? Any interesting people?

The ward is doing better.

What's up with the armadillo?
Yes we caught an armadillo last night. 

Story goes: For the past few weeks we have been trying to catch this little critter (armadillo) and he has been digging and literally destroying our little apartment complex. Though the owners or maintenance didn't notice, Elder Rush did, and Elder Ralph really likes to catch things. So we tracked it and tried to chase it down a few nights in a row due to them being nocturnal. We even tried a little worm bait to get him out of his hole more often. Turns out his hole is under a little shed making the shed unstable, of course, with holes all under it. So we poured some water down his hole, he popped up and...WACK, I use the epic strength and power of Thor's Hammer to get him in the noggin'. He died quickly. We then skin him and clean him and now we gonna make a roast, apparently they taste like steak. :D

#love ya'll -Elder Joshua Dean Rush

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Road is Difficult....But God is Good!

Sept. 7, 2015

Josh participated in a Tri-State Seminary Activity
He's dressed in the robes of Aaron

Dear friends and Family, 

    I am feeling good, we have a water purifier now (water was poisoning us), and the difference in our moods and health is astonishing! Also we have had a very rough 2 weeks, I will be honest, it's been pretty sad and terribly frustrating at times, but, no worries, we have the Lord. It's been nice to feel the great achievements in my mood since becoming a missionary and how Faith can truly build the character  and help you be more sturdy in the face of resistance. No longer weakened, it seems, I won't forget the Lords' hand in every blessing in my life, especially attitudes, these blessings keep me moving forward.
 the Arc of the Covenant

  So The Law of The Gospel by Brad Wilcox is a BYU-I devotional that he recently gave and his imagery really moved me. He said something along the lines of a game you play on the bus to get to the front (like Big Buddha for those of you that know that) and when you messed up you went to the back. How disappointing it feels to go to the back right? It's like the atonement and our individual sins bring us to the back of the bus, as long as we keep trying, the bus continues to move forward on it's own, no matter our position in the bus. So we must stay on the "Bus" of the atonement and we will always keep moving forward.
 Inside the Ark
the Big 10

  Even when other people revile and say all manner of evil against you, blessed you can be, if you keep that eye single. Our recent convert from several weeks ago has gone back to another church and has given up on ours, which is sad, but agency is agency. We have had many other peoples and situations come up in our ministry as of late, thankfully God the mighty man that He is, is always aware of our deepening commitment to keep on. Christ had a difficult mission, I don't expect mine to be much easier. 

Love y'all -Elder Joshua Dean Rush

Sept. 14, 2015
 The Breastplate of Righteousness 
The Robes of Aaron
Dear Friends and Family,

  Everything is hard, WOAH surprise, but hey if I wasn't honest y'all wouldn't read my emails right? Well really the hardest thing is getting up and trying to find/see people who actually want to see you! Who actually want to hear the good news, who don't want to argue, who are truly seeking for some light. Elder Ralph and I sure do have fun though, I mean it sounds like a struggle but even though every door we seem to hit, we get a negative response, sometimes we get some hilarious encounters. I guess young, well groomed boys is threatening haha. We had this poor older woman who just looked SO scared of us and she just slowly shut the was weird, but it was funny. One person asked us why we hate the bible and we said that we didn't, then they just closed the door saying "I don't believe you!" daww haha, keep on walkin' right?
 Yep, that's me
the Table of Shrewbread
God is good, the south is wonderful, and we just keep on walkin' in the path of Jesus Christ.

Repenting daily, saying sorry, and giving our lives for the good cause, lifts us up so we can keep on movin' down the river of life. Remember the good and the bad for that is the purpose of life.

love y'all -Elder Rush

Sept. 21, 2015
 Rush Road

Dear Friends and Family,

  Great week with some good moments and some good stories. First thing in the list of experiences is something important for everyone to know: We need to say nice things, and we need to not take offense at everything, and we need to respect one another a whole lot more, if the world is ever going to be positively affected by us. Turns out not everything we say is always the best thing to say, even if its true, we gotta watch the way we say our words. It seems like a hassle, but its a principle of the gospel, just read James and Romans 11, saints say saintly things. 
  Okay, so on Thursday, we went to this Foster care meeting thing that all these adults in the community all meet and plan and make sure the kids of foster care and adoption are taken care of. We as missionaries don't have much to do with this, in the case with children, but they were using our building to show the video "the drop box" and what a touching one indeed. It was also a good time to share the restored gospel, especially concerning children with special needs and the responsibility to raise and rear children with love and kindness. We contacted quite a few very kind and open people.
Thanks Elder Toone!!
   Another amazing thing that happened was that this week, we really had the bishop and some members really encourage us to keep going, because we have been having such a hard time finding new investigators and keeping motivated, but the members saw our need and lifted us up. I am very grateful for the Spirit led timing that came with that surge of love. 
   Things get hard, things are easy, but the main concern is what do I take out of those experiences? Let yourselves grow is the best thing I've learned on this great mission. Take whatever you can and improve upon it. 
   Love y'all, take good care and let me know how y'all are doin'.

-Elder joshua dean rush