Monday, February 29, 2016

The Spirit is such a good missionary...

Feb. 29, 2016
My backyard tree :-)
Dear Friends and family,

  Week was great! We went to the temple again, I cannot remember if I mentioned it a few weeks ago, but this time I got to go with my good friend, Elder Johnson from Washington, who was up in Many while i was in Natchitoches. He followed me down here and is now my fearless leader ;)
  I've really grown to appreciate the people around me, especially in the form of leaders or missionaries or plain wise fold who live about me. It isn't as if I had never noticed, but it is that now I realize it is quite a blunder to not notice the enduring and kind things filled with wisdom that others share. 
People keep telling me I'm great but I fight it always, but the fact it keeps happening must mean that I have great friends!!
When people stick up for me, even when they would probably rather not.
Loving me when I can't even love myself.
  This is why a lot of confidence has come my way. It wasn't a miraculous spiritual phenomena, though at times it felt as such, but a process of accepting the good things inside without seeking after it so much. Letting the Lord do His job through the people He Gives that love me.
 Elder Brown's secret birthday party
 (he's the assistant to the president)

  The Sappy stuff out of the way. A 15 yr old girl of LA agrees to be baptized this week. Pretty wonderful! A 16 year old boy also agrees to be taught and eventually baptized this week, with possible families gettin' involved. 
Lots of work, lots of people that need to come back, and tons of potential. Finding many families, very strange but very fun, indeed. The Spirit is such a good missionary I tell you what. The Lord is doing some good work here in Plaquemine and it's fun to watch Him do it. 

LOVEEEEE - Elder Joshua Dean Rush

Three turns into two....Movin' forward....

Feb. 15, 2016
Dear family and friends,
A pic of the homemade crawfish etoufee
  This week was a spectacular week. It is also a stressful week due to it being transfers, and we have no idea what is going to happen to our trio. It will be sad to be broken up, but its a very likely option, and so it goes in missionary life. 
  The highlights of the week go perfectly together. While teaching one of our investigators, we were able to commit them to church and obtain a number to call them. Sunday rolls around and we call him and then pick him up and he was ready. He loved the whole 3 hours and is bringing his whole darn cute little family with him next week. I said to God in my Prayers that night, "well shucks God thou art ever awesome."
  All of our Less-active members are progressing and feel the Spirit and it seems like everything in the world of the work here is just so perfect it's almost unreal. It helps that all of us in this triforce have such a positive and happy outlook that nothing can go but right, when we are on the errand for Jesus Christ, which makes everything seem much brighter, even when tornadoes are all around! :D 
  Went to Donaldsonville, learned that even when you give your testimony people still use that sweet God given agency to slap you right in the face (not literally) but we don't care we just movvvvvveee onn!!! 
The lessons learned and the moments never forgotten in Plaquemine, it's pretty significant it's only been 3 weeks. Blessings come in the time that the Lord decides. 
Love y'all sooo so much :)

-Elder Joshua Dean Rush

Feb. 22, 2016
Dear Friends and Family,
 Another week gone by, and no longer as three but two once again. Elder Rogers and I are getting quite a bit done despite the newness of my being to this area.
  I Love Plaquemine, it has rough patches just like any place does, but there are so many great people hiding everywhere. Some of those people have already heard the gospel and accepted once but now need to remember and come back to what matters most :) We have been helping several with this. We have seen some tears with one family and honestly sigh's of relief as we showed up at their door, knowing quite well why we were there. 
  Every time we invite someone to act, it's like a little light shines in them, and for a moment they can accept or reject. It is so wonderful when they accept it, even better when they do it. 
I feel like I repeat the same things from week to week, but I guess that is just how the gospel works? At least, I don't say it in the exact some way as far as I am aware. Easier to teach when it is something familiar in your mind ya know?
 So we have been trying this house lately, that houses some members who haven't been in a while, and we show up this Friday and they actuallllly let us onnnn in! They were like wellll sureee, of course, you can come in elders. Good moment. Only one of the family wants to come back and the rest are happy being Catholic, but he is like 28 and was raised LDS so he is pretty top notch. Definitely coming back. Assuredly.
Also found like a bunch of part-member families and that always turns into investigators and for a branch this size, we got some real fine stuff goin' on. Movin' forward keepin' calm and gettin' blessings. 
Love so much -Elder Joshua Dean Rush
p.s. I know I come home soon, but i haven't heard anything from a few of you and it makes emailing short for me honestly, but I definitely would like to know how life is going?! Just...just a side note.  :-) :-)

Mardi Gras...children of God...great week in Plaquemine

Feb. 8, 2016
Dear Family and Friends,

  Another good week. By good, I want y'all to know that in reality its darn good. Super darn great! We have a steady occurrence of miracles and we feel blessed, not knowing the cause for such great spirit to be poured. We don't fear anyone and though it be Mardis Gras, all of the people of the community and in the hood, support and love us and give us the respect that we need. 
sista honey and plumb round 2 mardis gras
  Great things that happened this week: 1) a Less-active member we did now know existed, came to church with her not baptized 15 year old, and he wants to learn more. 2) we were confronted by a lot of friendly and also not so friendly, intense personality type children of God. Drunk people respect you when you say your men of God. So a quote from that "hey what y'all doin in the hood?" "well we are walkin' and talkin'" "well why you doin' that?" "because that's what we do" "aright thas coo I can spect that." 3) Cocaine user investigator of ours committed to read the Book of Mormon, and he and his wife want to join our church, after we spoke to them and told them boldly that no other place on earth offers eternal families in the priesthood given to men by God. 
 Baptism pics from Natchitoches, LA

4) Catholic family asks for help bringing in super bowl food on Sunday as we walk by, then tell us to teach their children and help them overcome trials. They accept Book of Mormon and our contact info. Further help will be asked for, I am sure. 
5) we made homemade crawfish etoufee and unified our companionship.
Crawfish Etoufee
6) we have like 7 investigators and 3 less-actives progressing with lots of potentials on almost every street SOO ALRIGHTTTT
  All in all my dearest of readers, we are rockin' the socks off this sweet little city with its rough neighborhoods and unkindly attitudes. The Spirit is the teacher, and all He wants is for us to open our mouths.
District in Natchitoches, LA
According to some people I'm the "leader" of the trio and they always tell me how much of a politician I am. When in reality my companions are the ones who truly lead me and I just speak hahaha. I love them lots, we are strong together. 

love yallllll - elder joshua dean rush

Monday, February 1, 2016

Plaquemine...Mission Conference...Elder Rasband and more....

the old district in amite ;D sister groesbeck goes home soon sooo had to get this one.

Feb. 1, 2016
Dear Friends and Family!
the MTC homies except Elders Forbush and Rogers....sorry :/

  All is going quite while. Lots of news on what's been happening lately. The most important news was that we had mission conference after I was transferred to Plaquemine (which was last week so check out my new address) and we had Elder Rasband, Zwick and Bluth, a 12, 70, and area 70 come and speak to us and inspire us to go forward. They taught us that we were called here by special revelation and that each place we go to is a sacred place that we must harvest from. The Lord knows what he is doing. He also has servants who know to the best of their mortal frames, what they are doing. If the Lord trusts them then we should too!

 Elder Whittier on the left then Rogers then Skillikorn then Jensen.
(Rogers and Whittier came out with me)

Sister Plumb with dark hair and Sister Honey with blonde
  This week has also been a time of frustration, trial and test, but I refuse to give up, because God refuses to give up on me. Discouragement is a lowly term to describe everything, but it doesn't matter because the Spirit has been really warming me lately with the comforting role that he provides so well. I love this new place and Jesus Christ can help us do all things.
  When we are told to go on missions, it is a commandment to convert ourselves. During this process we can bring others with us if we choose, and that's the joy of the mission.
mission conference reunion Elder Ralph
  Elder Rogers and Elder Jensen are amazing companions, and if you thought that teaching with 2 people was awesome, then you should do it with 3, because people that can feel the Spirit have an extremely hard time saying no when prompted to change, and we are always asking people to do that. Everywhere we go, if the Spirit says go elsewhere or say something, then it can be done. It's only our fear that holds us back, and it's silly to hold back that which we love the most.
my compooooooooooosssssssssss Rogers close and Jensen on back. Rogers is from Gilbert, Arizona and Jensen is from Vancouver, Washington
  WE are determined in our powerful TRIPANIONSHIP of JUSTICE! that we will do what the Lord wills us to do, even if I'm only here for 2 weeks. A part member family we talked to, already committed to be reading and continue learning in there home so that the member can come back to church and hopefully the non-member can come to know the truths we are teaching. 

Love you all dearly - Elder Joshua Dean Rush

My new address:
Elder Joshua Rush
58745 Belleview Dr. Apt. 6
Plaquemine, LA 70764

Birthdays, Fishing and Memories being made....

Jan. 19, 2016
Hello everyone, 

  It was a nice week, pretty mellow, sometimes slow, stressful and trying and rewarding. I will just include the pictures from yesterdays P-day which was MLK Jr. Day, so the libraries were closed and we had to email today. We had the Zone Leaders come down because it was Elder Barney's Birthday! He is one of the friendliest, most fun leaders in all of church history, I think, and we have members that feed us and have a big lake to go fishing, so we did that!! No technology just some poles and beautiful weather. The Smith's are so good to us, and made Barney a cake and had tons of poles and lures. We didn't catch a single thing, except memories!
 Fishing time at Lake Sibley

  I feel like every week sneaks up on me then it's gone, it's so hard to just let it go by, when it seems like things are so slow and that the last 3 transfers have been so long and so uneventful. I cannot say that nothing happened, but maybe it will just take time to see the good that I have prayed to be there. 
  I never thought my faith would extend up until my legs cramped or gave out, but at least I'm not walking in Africa? Positive attitude has been the motto of the week, because if any of you know or knew me, i guess (been a long time), I tend to focus on what lack I yet rather than ye blessed child. It's a bad habit and I am trying to break it. Both Elder Carter and I have coughs, the wind cuts through everything and then our sweat and the outside moisture makes us even colder, doesn't even matter what we wear, the weather has no mercy. Blessings to my family!!!!!!! WOO

Elder Cohen (from Australia/Bountiful, Utah) and Sister Jenkins. plus Elder Johnson in plaid, my comp-Elder Carter behind him, and Sister Bell behind the squinter in the left of the pic who is Elder Nield.

(Just as a side note here from mom, Josh had pneumonia in December, so another cough! Yikes! but he's fine now ;-)

  We took over the primary teaching of an investigator that the sisters were working with, he is great friends with several of the ward members of which we had dinner with this last Friday (with the investigator) and he lived in Colorado and has always had a high respect for the Church and it's members. I believe that in time, hopefully in a short time he will join, because we know he definitely wants to. He likes the eternal family perspective that we all have. I like it too :)
The whole crew playing Catan that my mom sent me
  We taught another investigator about the priesthood. Her baptism is this Saturday and she asked me to baptize her, so that is super exciting :) I only taught her one lesson but she knows her stuff and the sisters have taught her well. Fun fun fun weekend coming up. Stake conference. 
 The fancy deck

  The best part of stake conference was the special broadcast we had this last Sunday that was directed to only the South East region of the U.S. Sister Reeves, Elder Rasband, President Clayton, and Elder Hales all spoke powerfully all to us! All about sabbath day and keeping it sacred, going to the temple more, having self-worth and seeing the worth of others through God's eyes. There was one story about how we can help the missionaries and be missionaries by treating people with respect that maybe they have never been given before. That we are a people full of love and tolerance and of goodness and righteousness. In my opinion, I think it's the vision of the south that President Kimball saw long ago finally coming true. Soon temples will dot it all over and millions will flood in. Hopefully, some of what I have tried to do has helped bring this about or lead into some of those promises. Bless the south.

love - elder joshua dean rush

Freezing in Louisiana!! Christmas, New Year's and Glow Sticks!

Dec. 14, 2015
Dear Friends and Family,
This is my white elephant gift, Chia Squeeze for women

  I don't remember how all of my emails looked or sounded last year around this time, but I really hope they were so much more enriching and actually inspiring. I will try my best despite uhh, lack of actions to make words with. We did have some miracles that if pondered on, are much more significant than I thought.
  We had a slow week honestly, and it's been raining a lot, so that makes finding new people to teach very difficult. That's nothing new though in the lives of missionaries. One day Sister Pfleger was very ill, and we were able to use their car and we saw A LOT of people that we have been meaning to meet and also return to see. The fact that they were sick, was bad, the fact that we made it worth it, was spectacular. Lots of different places in the city are rough for a number of reasons, but REALLY honestly if you know anything, these are the places where most people know who we are and respect us the most. We go there to see if anyone is willing to make some darn commitments now, just keep checking, that's the goal.
 Natichitoches has a huge Christmas celebration, all month long,
including lots of fireworks

The lights are amazing too
  There is an investigator who the sisters have been working with for awhile and he likes to talk to us and invite us to invites from time to time. Went to his First Baptist Church where he was in the choir and they sang lots of Handel's Messiah, so beautiful!! He also always induces such good conversations and gospel lessons when we talk with him. Amazing guy, moving at his own pace, in an honest way. 
  We also were able to enjoy a good Sunday, where the ward expressed lots of love for us and myself personally which really meant a lot to me. People never really know how much they affect us and can bless us when they put forth the effort. God thankfully gives persuasive means (the Spirit) to tell us how to love our Brothers and Sisters.
  It rains, its cold, but that is all just in a short period of life. Soooooo it gets better. Merry Christmas y'all
-love elder joshua dean rush

Jan. 5, 2016
Dear Friends and Family,

  I didn't write last week so I guess I should probably write something this week. Let me say that events have been lacking but I will remember and relate the best I can when something great happened. 
 This is my sad sad Star Wars face because 
I am missing Star Wars episode VII
 My comp, Elder Carter, loves Star Wars too
These are our shirts
This is our memorial fire in memory of missing our show,
just like Vader and Qui Gon were burned as Jedi
  The primary forward motions of the work are with this part-member family we have been working with. The member is coming back to church himself and trying to be active and stay the course and his wife is Catholic and her mother is also Catholic. We wanted to make friends with them so we went to some Mass with them, and then the other day the Many elders and ourselves did service for the mother for a few hours. Helping her rake leaves, not just some leaves, but vast amounts of them, and then we burned them (that was super fun). To makes things even better, she is such a sweet woman, she made us this amazing pasta that we enjoyed for lunch and we had some fine discussions on Faith, The Book of Mormon and the priesthood. She kind of has a testimony of lots of the principles of the gospel that we teach, so that should be good for if her daughter ever wants to join (this being the second time missionaries have tried in the last 5 years). We gave her a triple combo and she is gonna read it haha ;)
Secret Santa
  New years was great spending time with some of the funnest members in the ward, the same ones we helped move their house in from their trailer. Good times and great food down here in the sweet south. 
 Zone Christmas Picture
 so sly with Elder Solomon and Sister P
the "old" district
  It's been freezing lately, humidity just makes me cold. I was a polar bear in the dry cold with wind, but with the humid air, the pain is 10 fold. A vehicle, we are hoping, may fall from the sky soon though. We fasted for it.... 
 So we had a little bit of fun putting glow sticks
on the Sisters car :-)

  I learned something this week (isn't that great?) and it was all about argument, misunderstanding and self-control. We need those things to become the Children of God that we are meant to be, and that when you are upset, it is not good to harbor frustration. When you are misunderstood (which i am allll the time) just clarify according to the Spirit and forgive, then everything becomes sweet again. Bitter is a cause of lack of control, we can control a lot of things that we may not know we could, thank goodness for the Atonement. 

PEACE Y'ALL -love elder joshua dean rush

Jan. 11, 2016
Dear Familia and amigos,
Bro J Paul Storrs, coming to Provo soon. Ladies be wary, too much suave.
  I am not a Spanish speaking missionary just yet, but its liable to change based on revelation! This week was good y'all, we heard that there was some kind of lame lottery, who needs money when you got Jesus right? That's all I got to say about that business.
Sister Jenkins is from Newton (norther part of cache valley)
 Great week everyone, its' been real cold and the wind cuts our souls nearly in half while we ride, but thankfully they are easily repaired by a dose of enthusiasm. It isn't something you can buy, but you can definitely make it even though you really don't want to. I guess we aren't in Utah so it isn't as cold temp wise, but humidity is most likely what threw the earth into an Ice Age, I'm almost certain...
District P-Day and Prep
 Sis Jenkins and Pfleger at the Christmas party at the Gaylords(members) open house

I promised Sister Pfleger I would share this ridiculous photo, this was Christmas dinner with the Smiths.

  We ate at some awesome members house on Saturday and ate fried squirrel including the head. It was dang great so now as a list of crazy food I've eaten includes armadillo, squirrel, alligator, oyster, cow tongue, and probably more stuff that I wasn't even told ;-). 
Everything is going well, we are still working with less-actives and part-member families and we are getting more rides due to it being so particularly cold, people probably feel bad for us now. 
 Zachary house for Christmas yay

Love you all and the work keeps movin -elder joshua dean rush