When Will Austin Be Home?

  • Austin left on his mission:
    4 years, 1 month, 3 days, 14 hours, 56 minutes, 2 seconds ago

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Trippin’ Tripans: Austin’s Final Week in the Field

Elder Austin Rushton with Companions

Elder Austin Rushton with his final replacement.

Good news everyone! I get to spend a week with my replacement before I leave! Unbeknownst to me, a bunch of emergency transfers happened this last week the day I left for the Portland temple. Tuesday, Elder Flora and I left around 2:00pm from Alturas to get to Eugene by 10:00. Literally about two hours after Elder Flora and I left, I got a call from Elder Townsend and Elder Earl (Elder Flora’s companion, whom we left in Alturas with Townsend). It went a little like this:

Me: “Uh…hullo?”

E. Townsend: “Hey…uh…I have some weird news for you. So Brother Gilliam (our landlord) just called and said that Elder Christiansen from the Mission Office just called and said we’re getting another missionary down here.”

Me: “…You’re lying.”

E. Townsend: “No I’m serious!”

Me: “Yeah right! That’s so convenient that would happen the day I left. And no one from the mission called us?”

E. Townsend: “Dude I’m not kidding!”

Me: “Uh huh, sure.”

E. Townsend: “Fine. You’ll see.”

*click*

A little later we picked up five other missionaries in a minivan in Medford. I polled them with the situation and asked if they thought it was a joke or for real. Unanimously we decided it was a joke. The text conversation afterwards went like this:

E. Townsend: “It’s Elder Simpson coming. I just called Christiansen. I don’t know why. But he goes home with me so they will have to either whitewash the area or close it after we leave.”

Me: “I still think this is too convenient that you got this news the day I left.”

E. Townsend: “I’m NOT KIDDING!”

Me: “If it’s true these last two weeks are going to be super weird.”

E. Townsend: “Haha yep.  He has this little cot that Brother Gilliam just brought over. Lol. It’s like a jail bed.”

Me: “Well everyone in the car is agreed that it sounds fishy and none of us are sure if it’s true.”

E. Townsend: “Lol”

Me: “You’re totally joking aren’t you?”

E. Townsend: “I guess you will see.”

Me: “Gah…you’re going to do this to me huh?”

E. Townsend: “You little rat! Lol.”

Me: “You are SO CONFUSING ”

I didn’t hear anything more from Elder Townsend that night. I got to the APs’ apartment and chilled with about fifteen other missionaries there for the night. One of them decided to eat a 2000 calorie summer sausage and threw it all back up just before he finished. It made for an exciting night. I was able to find out that Elder Townsend was telling the truth, though, and Elder Simpson had left from the Eugene YSA that day as part of a massive emergency transfer that seemed to have started in Springfield. I texted Elder Townsend the next morning and said, “I’m sorry I ever doubted you.”

The next day, though, I enjoyed going through the Portland temple. We all had been assigned to different cars and I was the lucky guy out of all the 27 Elders going home to be crammed in the back of the mission president’s wife’s SUV with four sisters and one other Elder. After the eight hour trip from Alturas to Eugene, though, the two hour ride to Portland felt short. We did an endowment session, then President Russell bought us all lunch in the temple cafeteria.

Finally, we drove back to Eugene, got our group back in our minivan and drove the rest of the day down to Medford. The five elders serving there went back to their areas, but Elder Flora and I spent night #2 away from our apartments. I only packed one extra set of clothes, so I was out of them by that night. Luckily the Medford ZLs had a washer and dryer they let me use, though, and I figured we’d be back in Alturas by the next day. I called them and found out Simpson was already down there, so I was a little anxious to get back. It’s not every day you leave home and come back to find someone else has moved in!

Thursday morning we left for Klamath Falls, but then a plan was formed. We would have to come back to K-Falls the next morning anyways, so why waste the miles? We got permission to go on splits all day in Klamath with the 4th Ward Elders—Grantham, Sharp, and Meacham. It was super fun! I had spent so much time around Grantham but had never actually done any work with him, so that was cool. Then he and Elder Sharp went to contact some folks while Meacham, Flora, and I made and delivered some cookies to people. I also washed my extra set of clothes again. Finally, Elder Sharp had his birthday party that night and it was great! Steak, cake, other food….perfection. We slept over at the Zone Leaders’ that night.

The next day was a great reunion. Elder Flora had basically become my new companion, but we got to ZTM and I got back with Elder Townsend and met Elder Simpson. I had more fun with that than the meeting by far. I was so glad to get back to Alturas that night, too, and have all my stuff again. Sure was weird to come home to a new arrangement of everything to accommodate a third guy.

After that, though, we had a great proselyting weekend. We met with a bunch of people, had some new contacts come up, and we’re real close to setting a young couple on date for baptism. Fun stuff!

I sent a bunch of boxes home today. Sure is weird to think I’m coming home a week from tomorrow. Exciting, scary, but mostly weird!

Thanks again to everyone who has supported me through this whole mission thing, and especially those who have contributed financially. I could not, would not, be able to do this without you. I have loved this, and I will finish strong this week!

Elder Austin Rushton

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