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Little Children – August 26th, 2013

Elder Austin Rushton

Elder Austin Rushton

Little Children

Often, in the mission field, I’m given the opportunity to interact with children. It’s not very uncommon to see us, the missionaries, visiting a Primary class (at the request of the teachers, of course) to share with them our testimonies or teach them about missionary work. When we visit members, we always seem to be the center of attention for their younger children.

One child in particular we see often is a five-year-old, red-haired boy named Porter. Porter is one of the member’s children here, and I’m absolutely his favorite person in the whole world when we come over to his house. To put it delicately he’s….a handful. He climbs on everything, scales the walls in his house, and actually used to get up on the roof so much that his family now leaves a ladder on the side of house at all times just so he can get back down safely. All things aside, though, he’s a pretty sharp kid.

I remember in great detail the day his mother, his Primary teacher, invited us to sit in on her class. The subject was on how each of the children could “bee” missionaries. Porter not only offered about half of the class’s comments, but also felt it necessary to dig out his “future missionary” badge that day. That week, when we came to that particular family’s house, we got Porter to go hand out about four mormon.org cards to his friends, just like a little missionary!

That’s pretty much been the pattern with Porter ever since. He’s more than willing to help us out every time we come over! He even asked us for some cards yesterday when we went and visited him and his family.

It makes me realize just how amazing children are, and brings home that message the Savior taught. We truly must humble ourselves as children–to accept that we can’t know or be anything without our Heavenly Father–in order to gain knowledge. To put it Socratically, once we realize and admit that we don’t know anything, then we have truly begun to know something. The door is opened for us to understand and learn through the Spirit.

True understanding comes only from the Spirit. How else can we know of anything? Some believe that they must see to know of a surety, but even when we see something, does that make it true? Does that make it right? Does that even make it real? No. All it does is tell us that we can see something. There is, in fact, a philosophical idea that states that anything our senses feel is merely a perception, and not necessarily a reality. But the Spirit, He is real, and He testifies of truth.

Through the Spirit, we can know the truth of all things. Eventually, this will extend to our knowledge of the truth of every thing. So often we find ourselves caught up in trying so hard to understand what truth is that we cannot hear the truth being testified directly to us. Such is the case in missionary work. This is the reason our job is merely to speak truth to those around us, and allow them to feel the Spirit testify of this truth to them.

I would encourage all members and missionaries everywhere to do exactly this: to speak the truths that we know to those who surround us. This is how we invite the Spirit to testify. This is where conversion starts. This is where any real learning begins, and is the start of our knowledge.

I love you all, and I hope you will all realize this. I appreciate all the support I’ve been getting as a missionary. That being said, my companion, Elder Argyle, almost never gets mail.


He actually knows of letters that got sent his way but never made it. I invite anyone who will hear me on this to write him a letter of encouragement. He would love this, as any missionary would, and I’d love to see him get a letter he’s not expecting. It will be funny, I’m sure, but the significance will not be lost, I guarantee it. That all being said, write to the missionaries. Any missionary. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of saying “I’ll do it later” or “I wouldn’t know what to say”. Say anything, just write. Missionaries need those connections back home so that they can make it through every day out here. It gives us confidence to know we have the support of those who love us, no matter how many times we get a door slammed on us. Often, we need to draw on that support so that we will not falter. Build the trust with your missionaries, and establish a bond with them. As you do this, you guide the missionaries to learn charity, and allow them to express ever greater love for those around them.

These things are of Christ. Every day in the mission field testifies more strongly of his divinity, love, and the truth of His message. He did the will of His Father. His Father is your Father. He loves everyone. He loves you. You are His child. He has provided a way for you to be happy, to be with everyone you love and who loves you again. This is the good news of the gospel. This is our message.


-Elder Rushton



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