January 12, 2015
There is a picture of all of us in DeRidder for the last night
Dear Friends and Family,
Hello brethren in Christ, how bid thee? I hope well indeed. My Prayers are ever heavenward for you as I know that God blesseth the servants of His Son. I would have you know specifically what my companion and I have experienced in Oakdale this week. Quite a bit of finding to tell you all the truth. In order for us to harvest seeds or to plant and sow a garden to reap the great fruits we must first find those willing to accept the seed? Therefore, we have searched oft for those special souls. I can tell you that knocking neighborhoods of doors is actually very hard and always slow to reward, but nonetheless the rewards come. On Wednesday, we found a large neighborhood in a nice part of the town and stayed there for about 4 hours trying to find people willing to accept the gospel. We actually played hoops with a young adult and a young man who seemed very interested and very smart. The older one being 29 years has a particular liking for the Methodist church but we hope that he will still wish to meet with us. Then we found a young girl who had been overseas in her studies and met some Mormons in Bolivia who she associated with on a regular basis. We are not sure if we will be able to go back considering she may have just liked how handsome we/elder barker were/is and what not.
so thats a solicitor sign with a pamphlet in it...tracting
Another middle aged guy named Ben is going to be meeting with us in the future who we met earlier this week. He is a cousin of Sister Alsbury and has met with missionaries before, he is a very analytical man and very well versed in his bible and in logical evidence so we will see what kind of discussion comes from that. All I know is that I am glad the Lord has blessed me with a firm knowledge concerning the New and Old Testaments, otherwise I am sure I would be having some serious struggles in understanding. I know that they now have a complete JST bible in print so I bet those are a huge help considering the prophet clears up almost every controversial verse in scripture that I can think of. He truly was a prophet inspired by God, and he knew more than any other man has on this earth because he knew his Father so very well. The Saviour is the source of all truth and of all knowledge, if you invite him into every aspect of your life you can learn and love so much more fully.
Quick non spiritual right now. So on P-day we went down to Leesville because Elder Gillen is going home (today probably right as i am writing this) and we wanted to have a good p-day and district meeting the next day because he has been here for 6 months or so. One of his beloved companions (considering he has two) Elder Sargeant decided to take upon himself a great challenge to test the might of his stomach. This Elder is from Idaho and is one of my favorites (he is a brony just FYI). Anyway the challenge was two 3/4 pound burgers with every topping, 2 large fries, and a 44 oz. shake all to be eaten in 30 minutes. Well he nearly finished...but alas that was a great amount of food and we had a great scene in the restaurant with a trash can. All of you can imagine what i am talking about so I will let imagination take its course on this one. Then we played dodgeball and had another sleep over at DeRidder's apartment.
This day just gets better because I locked the keys in our trunk and we had to get a locksmith to come out and pick it...we were in Deridder all day because of that...my bad. It was expensive..and I am a very accident prone person who forgets things...yay stories.
The next day was district meeting, and it was a super awesome one, because Elder Gillen gave his last instruction as district leader and then bore his testimony, I sure will miss him, he taught me a lot and was a really good guy, I mean biggest heart you'll ever meet kinda guy. I love him bunches! Colorado has some gems out there for sure. Elder Barker is the new district leader so I get to go on awesome exchanges again...I'm super pumped!!!!!
pictures of when barker smothered me in stuff and took a picture of me with weird stuff in my bed
We had another meeting this week on Friday! We had Zone Training meeting. This meeting was a great spiritual boost for everyone present, at least for myself. It was Elder Mecham's and Elder Gillens last one so they both bore testimony, I love Elder Mecham, he was my first assistant to the president when I got in the mission, and finished out training in Natchitoches. Gillen went home a little early to start school on time and Mecham goes in February. We also got to share an experience of when we felt the Holy Ghost very strongly in our lives. I just shared my little sob story but with a twist on conquering pride and embracing love. I will give you a little bit of what I said to inspire, but this letter is so long right now and my fingers hurt...
I gave my testimony, by inspiration of the Spirit, and also by the awakening of my mind as I read the talks "what if love were our only motive" and "beware of pride" both of which struck deeply with my emotional character. Anyway...
The great stumbling block, is the opposite of love, and is the enmity towards God as spoken by all the prophets in ancient times and in modern. Pride destroys souls and nations. I know that I have tried and continue to try to conquer pride. The Lord has brought me very low due to my excess of pride and my great fall was indeed to bring me to humility. It doesn't make us happy, when we wish to exalt ourselves, it makes us much smaller spiritually and therefore bridles the growth of our souls. I believe that love will replace it as we consciously choose to love and speak no ill to one another and to serve understand and forgive one another. Though it is hard, I know that it can be done, it is a great happiness. It is so great a joy that once a state of love and of humility is gained we are driven to give unto others. First love God in humility, then love all others about you, and all will be great and equal and lovely. The way Christ sees us is the way we can become, He sees us as we are and as we shall be if we but come unto him. Try to be nicer this week and you will be able to lose all your pride and contention and therefore share the gospel. I love you all and apologize for the lack of strength and spirit, and length of my remarks, but know that I love you more than can be written anyway. In the name of Christ our Saviour, amen.
-Elder Joshua Dean Rush