Saturday, August 22, 2015

Be the Beacon of Hope....

August 16th, 2015

Dear Friends and Family,

  I always proceed with these letters hoping to say something that isn't boring or that makes ya feel good or something like that. All y'all people gonna have to forgive me if one week isn't as fabulous as the others...
  This week we had another baptism!!! YAY. I say we as in the area of DeRidder, in the Rosepine Ward, because technically he was the Sisters investigator, and primarily learned from them, but we had one lesson with him before his baptism so that's like helping nudge the pirate off the plank ya?
  The ward is really starting to get all warm and fuzzy and lovey and stuff. All of them are so sweet and so powerful, some of them don't know it, and that's possibly why others are not very active, but they are all such a blessing. I don't think one human in all this little ward doesn't have my heart! It's so powerful to serve our brothers and sisters on so many levels. 

So they've had record breaking super hot days this summer in Louisiana!!

  I don't think that because my full-time mission will end that my want for goodness to my great earthly family will change, missionary work and doing great good for others is something that we must all remember to do daily. I finally learned to be good, say good, feel good, when I let the love go forth without any restraint due to selfish desire. 
  "cast away your pride" says Alma, and every single day I add! I have really truly done nothing in retrospect to what God has done. He has used me and indeed it is an honor, but all that is worthy of report or praiseworthy is from Jesus Christ, I am very grateful, and all of you should be too! Share it with others, be the beacon of hope for the hands that hang down and the feeble knees that fall. :)

love ya'll so much 
- Elder Joshua Dean Rush

First Baptism in Deridder...Welcome Welcome...

August 9th, 2015
Our Special pic
Brother Eastwood and me

Dear Friends and Family,
  Things are goin' real good. DeRidder has a lot of churches and sometimes we get invited. Since that is the closest thing that I can remember, I will start with our Sabbath, yesterday. The Pentecostal Lighthouse church is quite a church, with excellent fellowship and inspiring (particularly loud) motivating sermons. We happened to be invited to the 6 PM sermon and that was some kind of ride, though it wasn't as extreme as some were leading me to believe. I felt an intense love from the people and it reverberated within my heart the love I had for them. Though it seems that doctrine and practice among Christians is widely different, the love of God and fellow man often resides among all those who follow Jesus Christ. It was a nice time with a special charge to reach out more, to love harder, and to seek the very elect of this city.
Elder Forbush and Elder Jensen in the background

   Can I tell you all that I really just adore my companion? Elder Ralph is a real darn good guy, I mean he is so nice and kind and he teaches well and stays positive and focused, we are some kind of force to be reckoned. We have had nothing but fun and success since we got here. The successes are small and of no worthy mention but things are set in place for the Lord to set his hand to provide miracles soon. The Ward is finally beginning to feel our excitement and love for them, and even comments are made in relation to our, what I would call "excited celebrations" concerning, the work of God.
   The gifts that God has given to me on my mission are special and precious, I have had the opportunity now thrice to turn some hard places into some hard-working places and it's given me great joy, I wish I was more perfected in Christ but the steady process is in the Lord's time and for the Lord's eternal purposes. 
   We went on exchanges this week, and I love Elder Dalton Jensen who is from Washington State, quite a good kid, no doubt he will be an amazing missionary. 
the man in the middle is Andy Eastwood, new member of the church and
 Sister Tomblin on one side and Cornia (her trainee) on the other
  I have pictures, but I will explain a bit. Our sister missionaries Ririe and Honey had a baptism this Saturday and confirmation Sunday and it was in simple terms, serene. I miss those outpourings of the spirit that I had toward the beginning of my mission where I was more receptive than present. It is nice to get a boost from time to time, and thank goodness for the sacred ordinance of sacrament to do just that. 
It's about what we can offer that we can call our own, and all that we are is His, but the one thing we can give is our hearts and devotions and wills. We can also give to our brothers and sisters for their benefit and to love them as ourselves, but the giving is not materialistic, but rather the more worthy alternate, spiritual.

I love you all and miss you, good luck with school 

Love- Elder Joshua Dean Rush

Saturday, August 8, 2015

From the heart....never walking alone....

Aug. 3, 2015

Dear Friends and Family,

  This week was a fast one, and a real hot one! The heat index over in this little area is around 107 on most days and I think it's because we are getting into the Texas desert a little bit? Not sure, but somehow it's hotter here than anywhere else in the mission, we don't have to say that twice when we go knockin' on doors. Turns out work here is near non-existent except for what the sisters have been doing, so we kinda have to start fresh..but that's okay we will do what the Lord needs us to do, hard work isn't a problem.

  I think I learned a lot about forgiveness and good ole prayers bein' answered. I don't know exactly what I've learned as much as I have felt like I've learned something? I will try to explain clearly my feelings. When the Nephites were getting along and prosperous, I believe, the first mention in scripture happens to be that there were no "contentions" among them and that no more were there any "dissensions" either, and those two things were huge problems back in the days of the Alma. I think that happens in the church today, we just seem to get a bit too distracted on what everyone isn't doing or hasn't done, that we can't forgive others for what (negative) things they have done, and it makes a heart hard. The church really can't grow under these circumstances and, of course, it is hard to look at all brothers and sisters the same regardless of any circumstances but maybe if we tried a little more, we would have a bit more Zion in our midst.

 For awhile in Amite, I felt very alone, and I am sure very few of you, if any, besides maybe my own mother could tell. She always ends up saying something to someone though, I'm sure, because, coincidentally, I get more emails of encouragement directly after the week of trials...In any case, I prayed for deliverance and peace and tried to do all that I could on my own to be aligned with the Lord's will and pleasure, not ever nearing perfect but feeling quite on task, yet I never seemed to get any relief from the anxieties of my heart. Thankfully, the Lord did answer, and it was now that he decided, I really don't know why this is, but even though I did need comfort for quite some time the Lord saw fit to let me be for just a bit longer. It doesn't seem like it was for any reason or because it was the right timing or anything, it just seems like the timing was merely on the eternal clock.
  I know the Lord doesn't force us to believe or force us to follow or keep commandments. I know he gives us moral agency to do our best. I have seen and heard a lot of negative evidence and discrediting things about this church and all that it is, but I sure like it, it seems to push me in a good way and toward a growing mind and a larger view of life. I certainly know it's true, but I guess it just isn't for everyone, and I am certainly okay with that. It isn't an easy thing we ask as the "Mormons" but I believe it is often worthwhile in it's results to create a better people for our Father in Heaven. Cling to the truth, farewell until next week.

Love yall, Elder Joshua Dean Rush

A picture is worth a thousand words.....

July 28, 2015

This is me and my new comp, Elder Ralph, he's from Cincinnati, Ohio

This week, (me) mom "Are you going to write this week"
                           Josh "Kinda"

I will let my pictures tell you the story of the last week. We went to an alligator farm and a luau and had good p-day and I kissed (not really) a turtle that was really mean and snappy.



swampland is cool

more alligator
moreeee gator

I like to kiss alligators

Goin' to get caught

cute posing.....I guess (I bet the sisters made him do it ;)

first district meeting, cause rush is bak! this time with elder ralph yeaaaa

jeep love (They have a brand new jeep and 
as senior companion Josh gets to drive, he loves it)

more jeep love

Sister Kay set up the luau on Friday. (It had Somoan and Tongan and more Polynesians from off of Fort Polk come and dance.)


even Elder Forbush (on the left) and Elder Jensen (on the right) got to do the haka ;)

more dancing

God is good, the mission is great, it's 103 degrees outside but we still kickin!!

love -elder rush