When Will Austin Be Home?

  • Austin left on his mission:
    4 years, 11 months, 1 day, 5 hours, 47 minutes, 9 seconds ago

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The Second Transfer–letter from Aug 12, 2013

Austin at zone conference.

Austin at zone conference August 2013

Well, I’m….STAYING IN BROOKINGS! How anticlimactic, right? Nah, but it’s all good. We’re on track to have probably 4+ baptisms this transfer and now I’ll get to be here for them.

This week was pretty eventful, and a few experiences really were miraculous. We found three new investigators this week, and that was great, but one of them in particular was really amazing to me.

We had a few extra minutes Sunday before dinner, so we were biking around looking for a street to tract. Out of nowhere, Elder Argyle said, “maybe we should go back to that really old guy” ( he’s 96, and goes to the Christian Science Church). Right as we arrived, he opened the door and said to us that he’d just got done reading the Plan of Salvation pamphlet we left him about a week and a half ago. We were able to discuss it with him as well as certain truths of the gospel. We explained to him why Baptism was necessary for exaltation, and invited him to be baptized. He told us he would think about it, and was not opposed to it. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll be the oldest baptism I’ll have out here.

The next and last thing I’ll talk about regards another investigator. He is an older man, maybe in his 50s, is balding on top, only has one good eye (the other got hit by a dart when he was little and is all but blind and points in a different direction), lives alone with his dog, and is very smart. But, to say the least, he is a little off-kilter; his house smells a little funny, he talks slowly, and he has had experiences in his life people might call him crazy for. But, ever since I’ve been here we’ve gone to his house weekly. Typically, he just talks to us about what he’s been studying, but recently we had a breakthrough with him. Here is an excerpt from my weekly letter to my Mission President:

“…we had an investigator,  who we’ve been meeting with since I got here, receive a very personal revelation. He has been studying for years several books of scripture, but seemed to associate most closely with some of the books of the Old Testament, which were compiled in what is called the Tanakh. He hoped to find truth by cross-referencing everything, so ever since we’ve met with him he’s told us his ideas of God, which for the most part are accurate. Still, all he was really expecting from meeting with us was to get some more information to cross-reference. One day, he hurt his back while pushing a car. He called to cancel two appointments we had set up, and we planned to come back in a couple weeks. Elder Argyle and I both got the distinct impression to visit him, though, so we came to his door and he called to us from his bedroom to come in. Without having him get up, we spoke with him, and really just listened. Before we left, Elder Argyle marked a chapter for him in the Book of Mormon to read since he was pretty much incapacitated for the time being. This week, when we met with him, he was all business. He sat us down and explained to us two experiences he had completely forgotten about until reading the Book of Mormon, and was in awe at the things it taught him about those experiences. He expressed his profound trust in us–he never before had shared the experiences with anyone for fear they would call him crazy–and said that he had found more truth in the Book of Mormon than even the Tanakh. He wants to learn more now, is even considering baptism, and said as we were leaving “I think a lot of people in the next life are going to be very surprised.”

So here was a man who really hadn’t thought any religion had ALL of the truth or even could, who had searched deeply for eternal truths, who it had taken the Jehovah’s Witnesses two years to bring to church, and who now has asked to attend one of our services and thinks we have the truth. It’s honestly a huge testament to me of the truth of the Book of Mormon as well as that this is Christ’s church established again on the earth. It’s also a testament to me of listening. If we had not been actively interested in his life, he never could have trusted us and we never could have related his life to the Book of Mormon. This investigator is not your average man, and typically one people might even avoid, but as we reached out to him, I know he was able to feel the love of Christ through us and recognize us as servants of the Lord.”

I can’t express what I felt when he told us that he found more truth in the Book of Mormon than any other book he’d studied. He seemed happier than I’d seen him in the past, and I felt happy for him. I really hope he doesn’t ever doubt what he’s felt now, because if he doesn’t it will only build the faith that’s begun to grow inside of him.

This week wasn’t out of the ordinary, though. These miracles happen every week. Not the same way, but each and every week–every DAY–people receive revelation that changes them. It’s amazing to see the difference it makes in people’s lives, the happiness it brings them, and I feel privileged to stand stand witness to it.

Miracles happen every day around us. Miracles happen every day TO us. As we recognize the gospel truths each one highlights, we can find the happiness promised to us and have our faith and hope increased. It really is just a matter of recognition.

-Elder Rushton

Austin having fun with the missionaries.

Austin at Zone Conference August 2013 having fun!




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