When Will Austin Be Home?

  • Austin left on his mission:
    5 years, 0 months, 28 days, 1 hour, 41 minutes, 25 seconds ago

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The Fortune of Misfortune

Austin with Oregon Missionaries

Elder Austin Rushton with Oregon missionaries

You know, bad luck seems to follow me wherever I go, but it’s rarely on me. I WITNESS a lot of it, usually in the lives of those around me. Companions, investigators, members, friends, family….they all seem
to fall on hard times a lot, while I seem to just avoid it all. It really bothers me sometimes, and I try to do all I can to prevent and/or stop it. But invariably there is always someone somewhere who falls back on hard times.

Why does it happen that way? Why aren’t the hard times just given to me? It bothers me to no end to have to be no more than the cheerleader filled with empathy for those who struggle, having had little to no
experience in such things from which to draw sympathy. This would be enough to still help, but many who fall on hard times often become hardened toward empathizers, choosing to disqualify them based on
their lack of experience. It makes it difficult for me to reach out to these people in many situations.

Regardless, after having stood witness to so much misfortune without having to experience my own, I have begun to realize many truths that may be lost to one who is caught up in their own trials. One of these state thusly:

A problem or trial someone deals with, whether real or imagined, is still very real to the one experiencing it, and must be handled always with delicacy and kindness. It will avail us nothing to argue with the
victim that their problem is lesser than they suppose it to be. Instead, we listen, sympathize (or empathize), and try to help as best we can, trusting in the Lord to enlighten their understanding and
guide them to a brighter future.

It is a strange outlook to have, and a rarity in the world to practice. But I have seen it help those who otherwise would have closed off and become estranged from reality. It is, I believe, the outlook the Savior would have. It is what I think motivated him to perform the atonement.

If all of us could just be a little kinder, gentler, and understanding, I believe we could gain more knowledge of God than we could possibly imagine.

So, now I’m sure all of you are wondering what went on this week, right? Well, to make a long story short, we have one girl really close to setting a date for baptism, and we had SEVEN less-active members at
church this Sunday. It was great, although half of the regularly-attending members including the Bishop were away for Memorial Day weekend.

Well everyone, I hope all is well with you. I wish I had lots more to report, but frankly there’s nothing really to update with anyone. Although I will say that strengthening our relationship with those we work with is the only thing that works. Without that, I doubt we would have had any less-actives at church this week. But no, we just go see them, talk awhile, leave a short message, and lo and behold here they are coming back to church. Missionary work is effective when you take it easy, but not so much when you’re really gung-ho about it, at least it has been in all my experience. Usually people just need a friend or someone just to talk to for a while.

Okay everybody, that’s it for this week. Love you all!

Elder Rushton – Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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