Sunday, April 26, 2015

More sickness, more trials, more blessings.....

April 20, 2015

Dear friends and family,
   This week the most important lesson to learn is that trials are okay to have. We just have to accept and even love them if we are going to find success, otherwise every single trial is going to blow away our testimonies in the wind. Like the parable of the seeds thrown on different types of ground, let us hope we do not end up scorched by the sun because we have no root. 
  I mention this because this week we went on exchanges with the zone leaders. I have ended up becoming the district leaders companion again, now that Elder Anderson is district leader of our 4 man district including us and our sisters, and the Hammond and Albany districts are combined minus us, we had our first district meeting with our zone leaders present. It was actually a really good meeting, and Elder Anderson, despite no training, did a fabulous job as expected, and our sisters where prepared like they always are. After our very good meeting all about unity, we separate for exchanges and I go with Elder Fowler (he came out with Elder Anderson) to go back to Denham Springs North! I was really excited to visit this area and possibly see some people I knew. We get there and we work real hard the whole time gettin one lesson after another cancelled but still going on and getting stuff done it was pretty great. I actually met this investigator who is kind of not interested anymore but his best friend who is over all the time is very interested in the church and in quitting smoking. We end up going there and teaching primarily his best friend and his cute little 2 year old girl. It wasn't hard for her to warm up to me, then she was all crazy, like little girls are when they like ya, but it was nice to have her get up all next to me just to see the scriptures and see the pictures and ask all kinds of cute questions. It was a successful lesson.

    The main part in this is exchange is that my eye starts to bother me....a lot, like excruciating irritation in the eye. I originally thought it was my contact or something in there but I checked and it wasn't, and this was reaffirmed as I couldn't sleep all night and woke up with a burning red, inflamed eye of straight up pain. In the morning its near sealed shut and feels grainy. It was miserable and so I call the mission nurse and of course...I have pink eye, and then Elder Fowler starts emptying his stomach because he caught flu and then Amite comes up and gets me and they don't have meds for my eye at Walgreens and then I get home and throw up all day soooooooooooooooooooooo I got way sick and it was fun, you know as in not fun. Sorry everybody I got sick again, haha, oh well right? I am now okay, obviously. Therefore all is well.
   The sweet principle learned this week, is don't lose faith in yourself merely because you're afflicted. Like Sarah and Abigail said, its all about having faith in ourselves and our ability to overcome through the Saviour. Sure enough, we are going to have some pretty rough afflictions and weaknesses, but that's what makes us special as Latter-Day Saints. We don't just say "that's who we are" or "that's how it is" we change ourselves and change our environment to better ourselves and, therefore, we overcome the world. It's a huge challenge but we become more fulfilled as God's children, we are his offspring and therefore can always continually go upward, there are no real limits, only the ones we give ourselves and the ones that Satan deceives us with. We have an investigator who can't get baptized because of false court charges and lots of hard tings have been happening that would weaken anyone with little faith, but he comes to church every single week, no matter what, because that is where he should be. Where are we? We are temples, so does God reside in us? I sure hope so.
   I hope you are all well, I love you dearly and miss many of you, more so as time passes by and I remember the history of goodness I have enjoyed with many of you. It is a great gift to be charitable, sometimes we think that giving all of ourselves to everyone and to God will tear us down when it will only build us up, we can never grow tired from having charity and love one towards another. In Jesus name amen.
-Elder Joshua Dean Rush

(this was to his sisters, but I want it included in my blog book, so here's a cute extra)
 First of all before my letter, I am absolutely proud of you two little sisters of mine. Those talks are printed and saved and I am gonna put them up somewhere I can read them. They really touched me and its real cute that y'all quoted me..I am nothing to quote but I surely am glad that the things I say are of worth. It is as if I needed to hear those words, especially from my little sisters, to realize how amazing the Spirit is, and that even in their cute little mouths it comes out with power. I love ya so much girlies!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Are we gonna wake up and pray?

April 13, 2015
Blythewood Plantation House Amite Louisiana entrance

Dear friends and family,
   I will attempt to make this letter much longer and of a more significant worth. I want you all to know that everyday can either be a struggle or not, it all depends on where you go when you wake up. Are we gonna wake up and pray or are we gonna wake up and forget to access our best hope at a good day? I have unfortunately been slacking at my prayers for the last couple weeks, but I decided that will have to change if I am going to change. Turns out I feel much better.
Amite, Louisiana
The best lesson I learned from this week happens to be the same lesson always learned on a mission, Patience. Let me tell you why this week, so it turns out that I need to be more patient when people don't like specific weaknesses that I have, and its much better for me to be nice and cordial about it then let it upset me. Thankfully, my comp is a real nice guy and always cheers me up, so ya know that's a pretty great blessing.
   News for this week: So Elder Anderson is the new district leader of Amite district, it's just us and the sisters now up in the boonies. Elder Abbott who was in Ponchatoula went home and Elder Ralph got transferred out, so they closed the area and reorganized the districts, therefore, tiny district and I am District Lackey again (I love it, best position ever :D) Because of the Ponch Elders being gone and Hammond Elders having not received their car yet, we went to the Strawberry Days and took them, so we could all get contacts, and with all those thousands and thousands of people we ended up getting like 21 contacts and finding a less active and getting referrals and etc.!! Was a good week and them strawberries sure smell/taste good.

   The best book to read is Isaiah and the only way to understand that book is the D&C and Book of Mormon. I actually read that in the bible dictionary of Isaiah and it got me in a new study to learn and grow in the gospel some more, so I am now doing side by side reading to better understand everything. I get all the poetry and imagery, I just want to see with those spiritual eyes that are so important. They are what leads us every day to those people who need us or need the gospel. Going about spiritually blind only gives us heartache and pain, because we aren't fulfilling the fullest of our potential to care for others around us. Love ya'll so so much

-Elder Joshua Dean Rush

Sunday, April 5, 2015

9 months out and counting....

March 30, 2015
Dear mom this is a quick one to you (and its probably fine for anyone else curious to read my quick email this week.
I will be writing more probably tomorrow so no worries on it being like a paragraph long, but I will get pictures first this time so you can enjoy. I really love Elder "Bo" Anderson who goes by his middle name as well, he is a super super sensitive kid just like me and he is way good at personal fitness so we are going to work out a plan for me because I am really not healthy so I would like to drop a little weight lol. I've enjoyed our district meetings, and it turns out Sister Jenkins in Hammond is from Cache Valley as well and I'm sure I already mentioned that but it's still cool to have more homies down here. I love the mission and even though it may get difficult at times, prayer always seems to alleviate any kind of stress that I am experiencing. I have been feeling extremely happy since I got here, and so many great things are happening. I haven't been here long but I have heard the Sisters testify on the radio because they have an investigator who has hookups. Her name is Pastor Dixon, quite a sweet lady if you ask me. Also we have had a lot of people coming to church including some people we never expected, like Brother Duncans (coolest member fam out here) mom who has been catholic for a little while. It really was a good Sunday too because of fast and testimony meeting. I sure love it here and I sure love all the fun times I am having on my mission. It's crazy that it has been 9 months already and soon it will be a year. I would never trade it for anything else, even with all the trials I have had thus far, they have taught me many lessons and brought me to a new sense of humility and trust in the Lord. Write more soon love y'all.

April 1, 2015

So here is an update since like two days ago, we have 2 people coming so close to baptism and the sisters were on the radio. They had met this Pastor Dixon lady and she loved them so much that she had them testify and share some of our beliefs over the local religious radio station. We hope that now people will look at us like we are, which is nice normal Christians haha. One of our investigators thought we worshiped Joseph Smith for a long time, but he finds out after reading a pamphlet that we don't and now he says he wants to get baptized as soon as he learns more, so make sure y'all mention Jesus Christ a lot if you ever want to share our faith.

We have p-days in Amite and down in Hammond but this week it was in Amite and the sisters made tacos and most of the Hammond District came up to spend time with us, cause we don't have the miles to go down every p-day.
 I have decided because my comp is a nutritionalist and a bro at exercising techniques that I need to follow the word of wisdom more closely and watch my intake of useless foods and have a real exercise plan. The goal is to go from 192 to 175 y'all, so we will see what happens. The Lord gives us a temple to take care of, so I decided if I was a good disciple I would take care of what God gave me.

Love y'all so much and miss ya sometimes, but its nice to occasionally hear from you so keep popping in, and know I pray for many of you and that the work down here is a great work but it was never an easy work. It is always worth it and I love it so much.

-elder rush.

Back in Amite ya'll...

March 24, 2015
Dear Friends and Family,
I left Oakdale, and I think I am finally ready for it, now I am in a small city called Amite in another branch, it's in the Albany District where I was when I first came out in the mission field
to be continued...

March 25, 2015
Alright, as I left off, I am now in a brand new small city, that has a really big Wal-Mart, which was surprising, and now we have time limits on computers so I have to email speedy fast and not get distracted. I love you all so much, and ya know I am gonna miss Elder Barker and Oakdale but I actually really love Elder "Bo" Anderson so much, he is a real sweet kid. He is a lot like me in a whole lot of ways, in that we both tend to be very emotionally sensitive and what not, it turns out to be great when we are teaching and helping one another everyday. I see the beginnings of a new everlasting friendship!! haha.
Back in Amite, ya'll

   He is from Sandy, Utah and went to Alta High School and is, I believe, a year older than I am. Much closer in age and circumstance than my other 3 companions. It really blows my mind that now I have only been out 9 months but have had 3 areas and 4 companions already, my mission is looking to be a fun one with lots of change (which is good). It has been an interesting time adjusting to an area that I am already familiar with. It is nice and I should have known I would come here when some of the members said that I looked just like a previous missionary who once served there and my personality "fit" the part of the missionaries here. I hope that's mostly a good thing, but it gets me excited to have people who appreciate the work we do.
Most of my new zone

   We have a super nice apartment with 2 bathrooms, so that's pretty darn nice, and our district/Hammond district(cause we are kind of like a mega district yet we have two different meetings but we are all serving amidst one another) are amazingly awesome. Matter of fact, the Hammond sister who's name is Sister Jenkins is from Cache Valley, she graduated with my year up in Sky View and she is from Newton and is cousins with Braden Jensen(my homie) and so making that connection was pretty darn tight. The mission makes the world a small place, and the gospel makes it even smaller, because it brings us all together. Darn great if you ask me.
Elder Barker and I, sure gonna miss him!

   My last days in Oakdale were really great, we went fishing on a bridge and all hung out and wrote in transfer journals and the day happened to be perfect temperature all around. I made a lot of friends up there in Alec (Alexandria) Zone, and surely those friendships will continue. The Lord knows I make quick associations with people, so it looks like a new part of the vineyard needs tending, and I will try my best to be the servant that I have been called to be.
Sister Kay and Sister A and me
 Elder Olsen and Elder Barker (looking lovely)

   The shortness of this letter is surely a disappointment (sarcasm) but life as a missionary goes so fast and so many things come and go I can't keep track of them all. One thing I have learned is that when mortality faces you with troubles and adversity, there is always an escape and always a way to relieve the pain, thankfully to that great Saviour we all can call our friend. Go show the Saviour you value his friendship and value one another.
CK is driving and she is going to BYU from Utah and Sister Fredrickson is going to BYU from Nebraska and then me and Elder Anderson

-Elder Joshua Dean Rush