When Will Austin Be Home?

  • Austin left on his mission:
    4 years, 11 months, 1 day, 5 hours, 46 minutes, 48 seconds ago

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Baptism #2

Elder Austin Rushton at desk

Elder Austin Rushton praying? Or overcome with fatigue?

That’s right, we got someone on date to be baptized for March 8th! Her name is Elizabeth, and she’s totally converted, has had all the lessons, and has a blazing testimony. She’s 17, but her parents have given their consent, and she’s a really amazing individual. What’s more, I might possibly end up performing one of the ordinances, so we’ll see what happens.

In talking with the Stake Patriarch here, I gained some great insight on baptism. He talked about the difference between converting someone and baptizing someone. I can confidently say that even though I haven’t baptized many, those I baptize I know are going to stay baptized. The goal really has never been simply “to baptize”, but to bring souls unto Christ; to help them become His converted disciples who will remain worthy and enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost. Carl, in Brookings, was one of these. So is Elizabeth. It’s a great feeling to have that reassurance.

So I have news, and I’m really not afraid to say it so I’m going to. I have been diagnosed with Depression. Now, I know the reaction of those who don’t understand it, “Everyone has depression,” but just because a lot of people have it does not make it any less serious. Anyone who has experienced it in their own life or who has watched someone else have to cope with it knows exactly what I’m talking about. Honestly, for many years, I’ve been in denial of it. Now, however, having acknowledged it, it’s become a great strength to me.

For those of you who have never experienced severe depression, I’ll describe it to you. It makes you feel alone and worthless. It leaves you with a longing to escape, only to realize that there is no escape. Sometimes, it makes you think death is the only escape, and so you want to die. Then, if you have a concept of Heaven and Hell, you start to feel like death would only prolong the pain and suffering, that there is no Heaven for you, and you are tempted to feel enmity toward God for ever having created you. It is a painful, dark process, and when you’re in the thick of it, you start to wonder if it will ever leave. The worst part about it, perhaps, is that it disrupts communication between your heart and mind (which makes you question your own sanity), between you and other people, and between yourself and God. You feel as though you have been left alone to experience a sort of living hell.

Now, having said this, it is not impossible to overcome it, even if feel no one understands you or helps you, even if you don’t feel you understand yourself. I don’t think I need to say much more about this, though, because Elder Holland put it most perfectly in his last conference talk, “Like a Broken Vessel.”

The reason I bring this up is because I want to testify of the strengths one can gain through depression, and maybe to help anyone else who may be experiencing the same to take some comfort. I am a firm believer that God has given me this trial for a blessing, and it’s easy for me to see how and why it has been such a blessing. It has shaped me as a person, and without it, I could not be who I am. It has made me more compassionate to those around me who suffer for whatever reason, no matter how small, because I myself suffer sorrow at the height of my progress. It has made me reevaluate my life time and again, always remembering to hold fast to the gospel with renewed vigor. It has kept me from many temptations. It has also allowed me to have compassion on those who have fallen into sadness because of temptation.

Now, on my mission, I’ve used the trial to strengthen my testimony. I even use it to testify sometimes. People’s hearts soften at its mention, and suddenly they realize that I do know what I’m saying. It’s resulted time and again in me helping others feel the Spirit, and I know that Depression is one of the greatest blessings I’ve ever been given.

This all being said, let me return to my week. We found a new investigator this past week in a mansion. He’s the first one who’s let us in in weeks. It was kind of a funny story. We came to the lesson, sat down, and asked if he had anything he particularly wanted us to focus on. So what was the first thing he asked about? The Book of Mormon. Perfect! So we’ll see how that turns out for us.

Love you all. Remember, there is always hope, no matter how bad things may seem.

Elder Rushton

1 comment to Baptism #2

  • LeAnn Rushton

    Dear Austin–
    Yes, depression is real! There are members of our family who fight it. I have had to take medication for it twice. Fortunately, it was for a short time each time because I was busy teaching and keeping up with everything else. I am in favor of the meds if needed. I am also in favor of Priesthood blessings and keeping your name in the temple (which Uncle Darrel can do or I will do). I call the blessings and the prayers using the big guns. Even those who are not members of the Church and know me will mention it when things are not going well for them or for me. I know that the Lord will bless you because you are a wonderful young man doing the work of the Lord. We love you and pray for you daily! Hang in there! Lots of love–Aunt LeAnn

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