January 26, 2015
Dear Friends and Family,
I hope that everyone is doing great and feeling great. I just don't know what goes on so I just have to assume that y'all are alright ya know? I pray for you everyday, so surely you should be doing somewhat well right? Anywho, I really appreciate all the letters and emails, I always answer, so those of you who do contact me, should know how happy and blessed you make me feel. :-) This week went by pretty quickly so I will try to relate every spiritual and humorous occurrence as best I can.
First of all, for those of you who think I am good at writing on my blog, it is actually my mother you should be praising. She always edits my writing and makes it like a 1000x better, so encourage her to write a book because she is awesome (and quite a lot like me so she is fun too!). (ahh, I have the sweetest kid :-)
This next week is transfers and the great 7 weeks will be coming to an end sadly, hopefully the Lord lets us stay one more together, but it is always a mystery. I love Elder Barker much, for he is my dear friend, and a dear brother. The 31st is also a possible visit from Elder Cook, but we haven't been informed about it clearly yet. It happens to be warming up again, which usually is a good thing after an eternity of winter in the valley, but here it just means sweltering humid air shall return. I will begin to melt again, and I will pray this year for thinner more breathable skin.
Random basketball court in the middle of nowhere
When you look at a week as a missionary, you don't look at days or minutes, you look at experiences, and I believe that is the best way to look at life. You see time doesn't really make sense to us, because we are all of an eternal nature, destined for unbound experience and power. Limits don't make sense either, so don't make them for yourselves. When you learn to look at others with love and patience, you will exhibit humility, which will change your days to peace and faith. All that you don't like about yourself suddenly won't matter, because you will put God and his children first. Self sacrifice is key to success and it is key to this gospel. Christ gave up all and that is why He has such great love for us, how much more love could we have for one another if we gave up a little bit more?
Miracles happen everyday, but one of them that occurred while I was on exchanges with Elder Bennett, who was my first zone leader in Denham Springs Zone, and he is one of the best elders you could meet. Exemplar leader and one of my friends, he promised me that we would go on an exchange, because I was the district leaders companion and so DL's (District Leaders) and ZL's (Zone Leaders) go on exchanges. I left shortly after that promise to come attend to the work here in Oakdale. He followed me into Leesville and so our promise was fulfilled in splendor. We taught Jimmy and Nene and invited both of them to baptism on the 14 of February. They both accepted, now we must make proper steps so that the date doesn't have to move, even if one of us leaves Oakdale this next transfer. We decided to not teach Nene English because we have a Vietnamese sister in Leesville ward who talks to her often and will visit and help us teach her, and it works out well, she very clearly understands. Jimmy has come to a realization that the Book of Mormon must be true because it all makes so much sense. As he reads he looks at the cross-references (thank you Bruce R. McConkie) and goes to the bible and it all adds up. I hope that they will come unto the fold because this fold is the happy fold.
We had 40 people come to church and 2 member families invite us over for dinner and lessons! The best part is Sister Hazelton has these to little nieces who want to be taught the gospel so we are possibly gonna have more investigators! (We have a large pool of P.I.'s (possible investigators) and I's (investigators) right now, like 10? so we are doing really well!) And this part member single couple invited us as well so more investigators. We just are so blessed everyday, and it just gets me so very excited. It is the best feeling in the world to wake up and just be so pumped out of your mind and enthusiastic about missionary life (which is normal life honestly) being able to say that this day will be great because I will make it great!
While we were searching for a new investigator and contacting a referral, both from the city kinder, we accidentally overshot the man's house by 15 miles. He wrote the street as St. not Ave. and thus we went on wild goose chase to an empty lot where a house should have been. The man we were referred to was in federal prison...so that was a no go, unfortunately, but we may get the stake to get someone to go visit him! The next 5 referrals answered the phone, except one, and were so friendly until they found out we were missionaries then they just hung up. That makes me sad, but nonetheless, their choice and we have people who want to be taught and such, so it wasn't as sad as it would have been if we'd known them already. I sorrow that they do not like us, but I cannot be discouraged.
This area is beauty and peace, and this work is true, it is to preach the gospel in its fullness. To proclaim a prophet has once again been called, and Christ himself has spoken to him. The Man was Joseph Smith, he was gifted to translate the holy writing titled the Book of Mormon. It is by this book you will find all peace and truth and all doctrine in simplicity that the gospel has to offer. The Saviour was born in Bethlehem during the millenium of time and visited the Jews in Jerusalem and in this country. I know He lives now again, and has suffered so that we may come unto Him and the Father again. Look forward with a hope, for salvation and its ordinances are had again among the earth. I testify that love is the greatest power given to any man, learn to access it and to humbly ask for it. It is the root of all goodness in the name of Jesus Christ amen
-Elder Joshua Dean Rush