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Serving for Days–Dec 15, 2014 Letter

Elder Rushton Pocket Badge

Elder Austin Rushton Mission Name Badge

It was a good week, full of assignments and service. We’re not technically stewards over the less-actives or converts in the ward, so generally I consider visiting them a service to the ward. Of course, then there’s the scripture “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God.” The great thing about service, too, is that there really is no downside to it. I’ve yet to meet someone who was angry at me for helping them meet a need.

I got to witness a member be excommunicated from the church this week. He’s a less-active member we’ve been meeting with for awhile, and is in an adult foster home under constant surveillance. Regardless, he’s quit smoking since I came here, and wanted to talk to the Bishop to begin his repentance process, and possibly get approved to attend church. After several months of trying, we finally got the bishop in to sit down with him this week. The member’s care provider had to sit in for the whole thing, and the Bishop invited us to as well. It was really an interesting experience.

Our Bishop asked the member whether or not he still felt worthy to be a member of the church, and the member said no, so the Bishop got his signature and is going through the process of putting together a disciplinary council. Bishop told us and the member that the member was now under our jurisdiction for continuing to teach, because the care provider requested that we continue meeting. The whole situation was a big learning experience for me, and I feel like I finally saw the bright side to excommunication. Now that member can start over on the right road, and even though it may take him several years, he can be forgiven and cleansed. It was super cool.

Next, we got to go with the other 1st Ward Elders to help out with a community funeral at the church. The Bishop had volunteered the building and needed some help setting up and then cleaning up afterwards. So the chapel was filled with 100+ nonmembers! And there were two non-LDS pastors that led the service, so it was interesting to hear that performed. Not one of the 140 extra chairs we set up even got used, but we did get to mingle with some people we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to, so that was neat.

After the funeral, on the same day, the four of us went to go build a tin shed. We’ve been working on that project for awhile, but this week we finally got the roof beams up! I had to stand up on the top step of a ladder, hold the beams in place, and use a drill to get the screws in all at the same time! And in 30 degree temperatures! My hands were freezing afterwards, but our help was appreciated. All that’s left are the roof panels, and then we’ll be done!

Finally, yesterday was our stake Christmas concert. About three weeks ago, I was asked by our Ward Mission Leader’s wife to organize our zone to perform a song for it. I had about an hour and fifteen minutes total practice time, but we pulled it off in time for the concert! We sang “If I Had Been in Bethlehem”, and people loved it! We were the largest choir in the concert. There was no room on the stand, though, so I had all the missionaries stand at the front by the pulpit while I conducted from below. It wasn’t the most orthodox, but it worked, and we got plenty of thanks!

There you go everybody! Missionary service at its finest! Love you all, and I hope you all have an excellent week! Elder Rushton – Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

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