February 23, 2015
Elder Rush and Elder Barker
Dear Friends and Family,
Number one first thing I need all of you to do. Read "what if love were our only motive" by Elder Osguthorpe. That is the best talk in all of this whole world, it changed my life and my mission. Why we do things, is much more important than what we do. I try to live by that. We had so much happen this last week that I will just have to summarize and teach the best way that I know possible.
Number one day would be last Monday night after emailing, we had a lesson with our investigator and we had this lesson rolling so good, he was understanding and Elder Barker and I were just on a roll, and the spirit was strong and powerful. Suddenly, he gets super sick and leaves the room to go take care of that, he apparently got some food poisoning from earlier that day. What we think is that the poor man needs to stop chewing tobacco (which is a really gross habit btw) and follow the Word of Wisdom, we have been trying to help him overcome, because he wants to be baptized but just can't seem to give it up. I hope that somehow he will realize that his health will improve and the Lord will bless him, if he follows the commandments, I just want him to be healthy more than anything else. You just learn how much more you can care for people when you see them all the time, and try to help improve their life every time.
So this isn't as spiritual, but it's fantastic! WE went to 2 parades this week after we went to the one in Leesville, we heard about a chicken chasing tradition down in Mamou (which is a town in our area) That happened on Monday, we missed it! but they had a parade and celebration on Tuesday! So we decided to recruit the DeRidder Elders to come down and help us pass out cards and books and anything else related to the church down in there! It was for the lack of a better word, pretty ghetto, and like always the music was boomin' like crazy. I got tons of beads from all these parades that I will mail next month, so get excited for that. It is just so much fun to spend a little time with the people you love everyday seeing them happy and smiling in a (mostly) family friendly environment. After the parade, they played some awesome Cajun style music, and what we didn't know at the time is there were two parties happening, one of them dominantly black (except for us 4 white missionaries haha) and the other side, a redneck white people. We stayed on the black side cause they loved us and took all our cards and were super friendly, we got all kinds of pats on the back and chest bumps and "waddups!" We passed out a lot of things so hopefully that will pay off. Humility always was the best door to love, when you decide you are no better than any other, that is when your heart opens to really love all of God's children.
The next parade was about 10 miles south of Mamou in pleasant Eunice, Louisiana. The reason we went down there was to see another parade and help the brand new Eunice Elders make some contacts, they just got sent in this last transfer and they are new like me. Elder Whitmarsh actually came out with me and was in the mission home with me. His companion, Elder Pederson is only 6 weeks ahead of us. They are both Spanish missionaries, which we actually have too many of, so when president hears that Spanish speaking is in any area he sends them there. Eunice is near Opelousas which is where Sister Worthington, Earl, and Elder Ruecsh, Erikson are all Sister training leaders, and Zone leaders for the Lafayette zone. Back to the parade, we got there and it was a huge parade, with a huge party going on. The sisters and Eunice Elders where there so it was good to see them all! love my friends out here. We saw the very last of the parade, but went and contacted, got free cake, Elder Whitmarsh boxed a drunk man with the man's chicken, we met two drunk girls with a chicken who were super friendly, and plenty of other super nice people who just walked up to us and said hey. Passed out a bunch of stuff there too and it was a dang good story. More beads, and some things to buy that we didn't buy. Then the road trip back to Oakdale and we make another random contact on a dirt road with a guy who lives in Texas and totally wants us to help him on his land for service. Best day eva.
Then comes district meeting the next day, always a phenomenal experience because my companion is the best leader there ever was, and the spirituality of his directions makes the meeting a huge boost for the week. Then I got to go on Exchanges with the Zone leaders!!!!! I love exchanges! So much fun! I stayed in Oakdale with Elder Smith who just got transferred up from New Orleans where he has been most of his mission. He and I hit it off so well, he is such a nice cool kid, comes from Ogden, Utah and he is a pro golfer. He says he comes to Hyrum dam & reservoir all the time with his boat, so he wants me to come with him back home! Best friends are made everyday, you just got to love them the right kind of way! Anywho, we had a few miracles happen, We went to this random house in the country and met a retired Baptist Deacon, who accepted a Book of Mormon, a restoration pamphlet, and our number, and we offered anytime he needed it, for us to come help on his 30 acres of land, so another service farming opportunity. Then we met Dan the Taxidermy man, who is now investigating the church, and invited us to his own church. He hasn't found the right one, so we hope he likes ours!
The next Great thing to happen was the trip down to Denham Springs for a multi-zone conference with another general authority. Elder Kapishke who is in charge of this area came to speak to us and have a discussion on finding people, he told us we needed to talk to 10 new people a day and 20 as a companionship and our investigators would go up. He wants us to be bold which is super fun for me, and I didn't even think of how to do it, but general authorities sure help. He taught a lot about love, and that what motivates faith is love, which is right up my ally when it comes to interests in specific gospel principles. He even said what if love was our only motive word for word, I looked at Elder Smith because I shared that talk with him on exchanges and he smiled and we both thought it was awesome. We had a sleepover with Pride Missionaries for this just so we wouldn't drive down all 2 hours in the morning. Super fun life.
Vietnamese New Year Celebration
Next on the thousand of things that happened this week. On Sunday, after church we got to go to Vietnamese New Year, to support Nene. We drove up to Alexandria with the Hastings, and arrived at the big hotel at around 5:00, and boy do they know how to party. I had a bunch of crazy food I had never seen, but that I loved, Nene was so excited to see us there. They all spoke Vietnamese the whole time and we were among the very few white people who were there, so we understood nothing. It was a blast anyway, and really loud, and they had this celebration where they had dancing dragons with thousands of firecrackers exploding all around as they danced, so so wonderful to see, not so much to hear. Made some contacts, and enjoyed the atmosphere of a whole nother culture and country in the USA.
I am super tired of typing, so I apologize if you want to know more, just email me, and if you want pictures and or videos Elder Barker has them all. Also the Hastings have pictures. Silly Elder Rush forgets his camera sometimes.
Love so much -Elder Joshua Dean Rush