When Will Austin Be Home?

  • Austin left on his mission:
    4 years, 3 months, 3 days, 15 hours, 53 minutes, 17 seconds ago

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Today Our Missionary Comes Home!

As I post this, it’s just about 3 hours until Austin comes home! As a family, we are so excited to see Austin again! We are so proud of him and are so grateful for family and friends and your support–financially and emotionally.  Only 7 more weeks until Skyler also returns home from Canada. (Aug 5th) We haven’t been all together for 4 years!

 

Photos to come!

Thank you for your support!

Trippin’ Tripans: Austin’s Final Week in the Field

Elder Austin Rushton with Companions

Elder Austin Rushton with his final replacement.

Good news everyone! I get to spend a week with my replacement before I leave! Unbeknownst to me, a bunch of emergency transfers happened this last week the day I left for the Portland temple. Tuesday, Elder Flora and I left around 2:00pm from Alturas to get to Eugene by 10:00. Literally about two hours after Elder Flora and I left, I got a call from Elder Townsend and Elder Earl (Elder Flora’s companion, whom we left in Alturas with Townsend). It went a little like this:

Me: “Uh…hullo?”

E. Townsend: “Hey…uh…I have some weird news for you. So Brother Gilliam (our landlord) just called and said that Elder Christiansen from the Mission Office just called and said we’re getting another missionary down here.”

Me: “…You’re lying.”

E. Townsend: “No I’m serious!”

Me: “Yeah right! That’s so convenient that would happen the day I left. And no one from the mission called us?”

E. Townsend: “Dude I’m not kidding!”

Me: “Uh huh, sure.”

E. Townsend: “Fine. You’ll see.”

*click*

A little later we picked up five other missionaries in a minivan in Medford. I polled them with the situation and asked if they thought it was a joke or for real. Unanimously we decided it was a joke. The text conversation afterwards went like this:

E. Townsend: “It’s Elder Simpson coming. I just called Christiansen. I don’t know why. But he goes home with me so they will have to either whitewash the area or close it after we leave.”

Me: “I still think this is too convenient that you got this news the day I left.”

E. Townsend: “I’m NOT KIDDING!”

Me: “If it’s true these last two weeks are going to be super weird.”

E. Townsend: “Haha yep.  He has this little cot that Brother Gilliam just brought over. Lol. It’s like a jail bed.”

Me: “Well everyone in the car is agreed that it sounds fishy and none of us are sure if it’s true.”

E. Townsend: “Lol”

Me: “You’re totally joking aren’t you?”

E. Townsend: “I guess you will see.”

Me: “Gah…you’re going to do this to me huh?”

E. Townsend: “You little rat! Lol.”

Me: “You are SO CONFUSING ”

I didn’t hear anything more from Elder Townsend that night. I got to the APs’ apartment and chilled with about fifteen other missionaries there for the night. One of them decided to eat a 2000 calorie summer sausage and threw it all back up just before he finished. It made for an exciting night. I was able to find out that Elder Townsend was telling the truth, though, and Elder Simpson had left from the Eugene YSA that day as part of a massive emergency transfer that seemed to have started in Springfield. I texted Elder Townsend the next morning and said, “I’m sorry I ever doubted you.”

The next day, though, I enjoyed going through the Portland temple. We all had been assigned to different cars and I was the lucky guy out of all the 27 Elders going home to be crammed in the back of the mission president’s wife’s SUV with four sisters and one other Elder. After the eight hour trip from Alturas to Eugene, though, the two hour ride to Portland felt short. We did an endowment session, then President Russell bought us all lunch in the temple cafeteria.

Finally, we drove back to Eugene, got our group back in our minivan and drove the rest of the day down to Medford. The five elders serving there went back to their areas, but Elder Flora and I spent night #2 away from our apartments. I only packed one extra set of clothes, so I was out of them by that night. Luckily the Medford ZLs had a washer and dryer they let me use, though, and I figured we’d be back in Alturas by the next day. I called them and found out Simpson was already down there, so I was a little anxious to get back. It’s not every day you leave home and come back to find someone else has moved in!

Thursday morning we left for Klamath Falls, but then a plan was formed. We would have to come back to K-Falls the next morning anyways, so why waste the miles? We got permission to go on splits all day in Klamath with the 4th Ward Elders—Grantham, Sharp, and Meacham. It was super fun! I had spent so much time around Grantham but had never actually done any work with him, so that was cool. Then he and Elder Sharp went to contact some folks while Meacham, Flora, and I made and delivered some cookies to people. I also washed my extra set of clothes again. Finally, Elder Sharp had his birthday party that night and it was great! Steak, cake, other food….perfection. We slept over at the Zone Leaders’ that night.

The next day was a great reunion. Elder Flora had basically become my new companion, but we got to ZTM and I got back with Elder Townsend and met Elder Simpson. I had more fun with that than the meeting by far. I was so glad to get back to Alturas that night, too, and have all my stuff again. Sure was weird to come home to a new arrangement of everything to accommodate a third guy.

After that, though, we had a great proselyting weekend. We met with a bunch of people, had some new contacts come up, and we’re real close to setting a young couple on date for baptism. Fun stuff!

I sent a bunch of boxes home today. Sure is weird to think I’m coming home a week from tomorrow. Exciting, scary, but mostly weird!

Thanks again to everyone who has supported me through this whole mission thing, and especially those who have contributed financially. I could not, would not, be able to do this without you. I have loved this, and I will finish strong this week!

Elder Austin Rushton

Allergy Season

Alturas California Members and Elders

Alturas Members and Elders

My theme for this week has been my constant allergy attacks. I know that’s not very exciting–trust me, I don’t enjoy it either–but it is the truth! I remember back before I turned 16 I never had to worry about allergies. Now it seems like they get worse every year! So every morning I’ve been waking up with my eyes flooded, my nose plugged, and my throat swollen. It usually starts to subside around 10:30 after we’ve been walking around for a while, but it makes for some rough mornings.

Aside from my allergies though, this has been a good week. We were able to get a lot of the members of the branch out to lessons, as per the new requirements for the mission. We even got a less-active member of the branch to come to a lesson with an investigator and it went great! He testified that he did feel better when he was attending church.

We also had a Zone Conference. It was all about creating “ripples for good”: the promise that no good work is wasted. We were reminded that even if our good works don’t yield immediate results, we should not refrain from doing them. I enjoyed it a lot. I also got my Temple Recommend renewed, which was cool. I have a trip to the Portland Temple this week. I’ll be driving to Eugene tomorrow, and then Wednesday all the departing missionaries will head on up there for our final session as missionaries.

Finally, I want to mention that I likely won’t be writing many paper letters anymore before the end of my mission, as they would all reach their recipients only a week before I actually returned. So, there’s the heads-up.

Okay everybody, thanks for reading this letter! A big thanks to everyone who has supported me along the way, too!

Much love,

Elder Rushton

IPad-Less

Elder Austin Rushton bowling

Elder Austin Rushton and his companions bowling

So this P-day I’m emailing the old fashioned way: in our church’s family history center. Meanwhile, my iPad is fifty miles away in Lakeview, OR. What is it doing there you ask? Well you see, a man in a teal bowler hat came in a time machine and took it away from me.

Ok, ok, that didn’t happen, but we did drive with the Lakeview elders to district meeting this week, so I must have left it at their apartment on the way back on accident, along with my side bag, camera, and other stuff I use all the time. So the past few days have been…different. Without my side bag, I feel pretty casual and light. I’ve been using my backpack in the meantime to carry a few pamphlets and copies of the Book of Mormon, but without all the heavy stuff in my side bag and with the weight centered on my back, it’s just not the same. And of course without my iPad, my companion and I have been having to cope with only being able to use his to update our area book, plan, and show digital presentations in lesson situations. It’s really not so bad, but it is really very different now that I’ve had my iPad for the better part of my mission.

On the bright side, we finally got some rain here! There has been a terrible drought, so this was much needed. I haven’t seen a good thunderstorm in awhile either, so the lightning and thunder was a treat! Too bad I left my umbrella in my side bag, though! I’ve had to rely on my raincoat to get me through the weather.

We also got around to doing some service this week. We got to weed-whack a less-active member’s driveway! It was on a ranch, so the driveway was pretty large and it took us about an hour using two gas-powered weed-whackers.

The Oregon Eugene Mission, meanwhile, has instituted a new rule: no more lessons without members present. That means, after the first discussion with an investigator, we are no longer authorized to go back again without a member accompanying us. All of our bishops, branch presidents, stake presidents, and mission leaders have been informed of the change, too, so no taking any liberties either! It’s going to be a challenge with our limited number of available members, but we’ll figure it out.

Our investigator  has been found! She went missing on us for about two weeks after she lost her phone, but now hopefully we can get her back on track to be baptized.

Let’s see, what else should I mention…

OH! Elder Townsend and I took the Lakeview elders’ keyboard from their apartment last Monday and have been recording some great new Mormony songs that I think will entertain everyone when I get back. I’d send them now, but the files are just too big!

Alrighty everyone, that’s it this week. I hope you’re all having a fantastic week and that all your wildest dreams are coming true.

Much love,

Elder Austin Rushton

Fiesta!

Elder Austin Rushton Fiesta

Elder Austin Rushton has a Fiesta

Family, friends, and acquaintances who read this,

Today we are going to a zone activity. We will be hiking somewhere around Klamath Falls. To save ourselves about 100 miles, we drove an hour up to Lakeview at 7:00am this morning, and are now driving the two hours from there to Klamath. It’s exciting, though, and worth it because we never get to hang out with other missionaries! We’re just too far away!

Over the past week, Elder Townsend and I had some more great times. We had one newer investigator to the church show us that he had read all of the “Restoration” pamphlet and had answered all of the questions in
the back and looked at all the cross-references. Wow, that almost never happens! So we taught him the Plan of Salvation and he LOVED it, especially the principle of agency. I really think this guy could end up a member of the church!

For church this Sunday, we went on over to Cedarville. I’m finally starting to get used to the tiny branch there! There are only 15-20 people there to get to know, though, so I guess it wouldn’t be too difficult. :)  I did decide that the building smells like old people though, hahaha! Almost all of the active branch members are over
fifty, though, so I guess that makes sense. Even the branch mission leader is in his 70′s. We did have a mother and her children visit yesterday, though, so that was a nice change for the elderly branch.

Elder Townsend and I had a sleepover Thursday night with the Tulelake elders in preparation for ZTM the next morning. They had a bunch of Mexican birthday party favors, too, so we had fun with those! (See picture)

ZTM was the same old stuff. More announcements, calendaring, and testimonies with a new rule or two thrown in there. Pretty basic stuff, but I did finally get my official OEM t-shirt afterwards!

That’s all this week! Thanks for all the emails, letters, and prayers everyone!