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Erik’s Homecoming date –as of now it’s July 31st, 2013!

March Came in With Miracles! Email from March 11, 2013

Erik Rushton Christmas Eve 2012

Erik on Christmas Eve 2012

We had a great week full of a lot of miracles. Plus the weather is finally changing to spring which is awesome!

Church was pretty interesting yesterday. One reason is because we had a parade going on a couple blocks away the whole time that we could hear ha-ha. Our Mission President and his wife came and spoke yesterday too. Usually we divide the chapel in half with one side in Spanish and the other in English but this week we were all combined so everyone could hear Pres. Holmes speak. They would speak a few sentences and the we had someone translating it to Spanish. It was kind of funny watching President and Sister Holmes get used to speaking in short sentences so that the translator could keep up. After church one of the areas had two baptisms too so that was great to see.

We had a couple cool finding miracles this week that I thought I would share with you. Tuesday night we had an appointment fall through and we found ourselves on campus of Wayne State University trying to figure out where to go. We had passed an apartment complex so we decided to go back there and knock all the doors. After not much success we tracted into an investigator who had actually met with missionaries 15 years ago. We set an appointment to come back the next day and left her with a new BOM. We went over the next day and had a really awesome first lesson and put her on a solid baptism date. Toward the end of the lesson I felt prompted to ask the question “have you had any questions in your life that religion hasn’t been able to answer for you?” She told us that she really wanted to better understand the concept of faith and that every time faith has been taught in her previous churches it felt really weak. I decided to leave her Alma 32 to read and gave her the background story to the chapter. After I got done explaining it she said “That sounds exactly like what I need to hear.” We went over again a few days later and she hadn’t read because she had been very busy so we decided to read the chapter with her. When we got done she had a ton of questions we were able to answer and she told us she had a warm fuzzy feeling the whole time we were reading. We explained that it was the Spirit telling her what we shared was true and she agreed. We recommitted her to her baptism date and she said she is looking forward to it.


On Thursday night we had an appointment fall through and our backup was to knock doors in the apartment complex we were at. Elder Guest asked if we should go try another of our investigators instead and Elder Jones and I both agreed we could give it a shot. Well that investigator wasn’t home either, so we decided to walk up the street a little ways and see if any houses stood out to us. We noticed a house towards the end of the block we all agreed we should knock on so we started heading that way. There was a man walking on the sidewalk towards us so I said ‘let’s talk to him first’ and Elder Guest and Elder Jones agreed. He turned out to be a miracle find! We had him on a baptismal date in 10 minutes and he agreed to hear our message. We were going to set up a time to come by and see him but I felt prompted to ask if he had time now. He said he did an lo and behold we were literally right outside his apartment complex. We had a great first lesson with him and he’s really excited for us to come back!

Well, just thought I’d share those cool miracles with you guys. Hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for all the letters and packages and stuff. Tell Luke I’ll write him a letter for his birthday but I probably won’t be sending any cool Detroit things this year. Our post office is really far away and we’re never around it. But I’ll get everyone some sweet stuff before I got home or leave downtown.


Have a great week!

-Elder Rushton

Snow in the D–letter from March 4, 2013

This week was a pretty slow week for us because of all the bad weather. It snowed virtually every single day this week and the only break we got from the bad weather was on Sunday when it was just cloudy. On Monday night we found out that there was a severe weather warning out for Detroit that called for 7 inches of snow to fall over night. Well we didn’t get that much but we still probably got a good 5 inches. It made it really hard to ride around on a bike that’s for sure! It really made our traveling really slow so we weren’t able to accomplish as much this week as we were able to last week but we still saw some good miracles.

On Thursday we took a few people to the mission fireside with us in Bloomfield Hills. It was easily the best mission fireside I’ve ever been too! Three recent converts spoke and talked about their conversion story and why they joined the church. Every fireside I take someone too I’m always a little on edge about what the recent converts are going to say. You have to be prepared to do some damage control in case they bring up things you haven’t taught your investigator. Things like the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity and Tithing get brought up all they time and usually one of the speaker’s ends up bashing on other churches. None of that happened this time though and each of the recent converts bore really powerful testimonies. After they spoke the Stake President of the Bloomfield Hills stake, Pres. Parsons, spoke and did an awesome job as usual. My first Sunday in Warren was the stake conference where President Parsons was called to be the Stake President. He’s easily my favorite Stake President in the mission and I was sad when I got transferred out of his stake. He’s SUPER missionary minded and is a really powerful speaker. All in all it was a great fireside.

Last week I told you about the guy Elder Jones and Elder Guest found at the library while I was emailing. On Thursday we found out that he didn’t actually live in our area so we had to turn him over to the missionaries who actually covered the area he lived in. It was kind of disappointing because he was super elect and ready for the gospel and I wanted to be the one to teach him. But we got over it and it’s actually going to work out a lot better for him. He was riding the bus about 6 miles to come meet us at our church building when he actually literally lives right around the corner from another LDS building. He came to the fireside with us and we introduced him to the missionaries that would be taking over his teaching. He was kind of sad he wouldn’t see us anymore because he really liked us but he understood how this would make everything easier. I know the missionaries that are taking over his teaching pretty well too and they’re both awesome so I’m not worried about anything going wrong.

Also on Thursday we went back to the Presbyterian church downtown to help out at the food kitchen. There was a school council from a high school in Grosse Pointe that was there helping out too so we had a lot of volunteers. All three of us ended up working the floor and filling up drinks for people and it was a lot of fun. You definitely meet some interesting people that’s for sure. One of the girls from the high school kept asking a lot of questions to Elder Jones, Elder Guest and I. She had a lot of questions about what we do as missionaries and what our church believes. We ended up talking to a lot of people about the church and it turned into a good proselyting situation.

This week we have some good appointments set up so hopefully they all go through. I know I’m looking forward to a great week! Hope you guys are doing well and having lot’s of fun! Thanks for the packages and letters!

-Elder Rushton



Downtown River Week 1 –2/25/2013

My first week in downtown Detroit was an awesome week. I’m really loving being in a tri-panionship and Elder Guest and Elder Jones are great. I really really hope I stay here the rest of my mission.

We didn’t have a lot happen on Tuesday and Wednesday. Just a lot of me getting settled in and shopping and emailing you guys. On Wednesday we had a cool experience at the library. While I was emailing home, Elder Guest and Elder Jones were sitting at a table behind me just reading scriptures when I guy walked up and started talking to them about the church. They taught him a quick lesson on the Restoration gave him a Book of Mormon and then set up an appointment to meet at the church on Saturday We taught him again on Saturday and it was an awesome lesson! We put him on baptismal date for March 23 and he committed to come to church next week. Truly a miracle find!

On Thursday we went and did service at a food kitchen that was at a Presbyterian church close to downtown. We got there at 8:30 and left at about 11:00. I was really surprised by how many people showed up! We served probably about 150 people. We also met a lot of cool Christians from other faiths that come and help out and there were also some LDS members that came and helped out too. It’s a service activity that we do every Thursday. Thursday night we had a great lesson with and investigator and her daughter and took a member of the branch presidency out with us. We’ll be seeing them twice this week and hopefully taking them to the mission devotional on Thursday.

Sunday was a pretty cool and interesting day. We started the day with church and church in the Spanish Branch is a little bit different. The chapel is divided in half and one half is the English side and the other is the Spanish side. Both sides start at 10am, sing the same hymns, and have the same speaking topics although the speakers are different. It’s basically two wards that meet at the same time in the same building. Basically 2 branches that operate under one branch presidency. In our branch we have 7 elders and one senior couple for a total of 9 missionaries. Elder Guest, Elder Jones and I are the only English speaking missionaries assigned to the branch. After church service one of the other Detroit River areas had a baptism and they’ll also be having a baptism next week which is awesome. Our goal as a district is to have 10 baptisms in March. So far my area has 2 people lined up and we’re hoping to have 5 by the end of the week.

Sunday evening we had a lot of cool miracles. Elder Guest and I had one of the Zone Leaders, Elder Davis, come out with us on an exchange while Elder Jones went to a different area. We met some really cool people as we were biking around and had two street lessons. We also set up 5 other appointments for the upcoming week. Finding in our area has been pretty awesome lately.

Being on a bike was killing me the first couple days! I was so sore after the first two days it’s ridiculous. I guess I was really out of shape for some serious cardio work out. Of course it probably didn’t help that Elder Guest is a pretty serious mountain biker and snowboarder and is going to go to school to be a personal trainer haha. My body is finally getting back up to speed and in shape again so hopefully with resting most of Pday I won’t be so sore.

Well, I hope you guys have an awesome week! I’ll try and send an SD card home this week so you guys can check out all the pictures I took in the city last week. Tell Skyler congrats on finishing up hi mission papers!

-Elder Rushton

Detroit River East Letter from Feb 20, 2013

Erik in Detroit with Book of Mormon

Erik tracting in Detroit

Hola Mi Familia! I guess I better start learning some Spanish since I’m now serving in the Spanish branch!

My last week in Warren was a pretty fun one but it is always kind of depressing to leave. We spent a lot of time preparing Warren to receive 2 more missionaries and organizing the new apartment and area. I’ve had 3 areas that I’ve spent six months in and I love staying in areas for a long time, but when you have to leave it sucks. You grow really close to the members you are with and it’s tough to leave. I spent most of Sunday evening and Monday evening trying to see everyone I’ve grown close to in the last 6 months. It’s really hard to say good bye knowing that you’ll probably never come back!

Transfer meeting yesterday was pretty interesting. We had 25 new missionaries come into the mission (about 5 of them were 18) so there were a ton of trainers called. Elder Jackson was called to be a trainer so we had to be there at 9:00. With all the new missionaries coming in our mission opened up 16 new areas and opened a new zone called the Detroit Zone.

There was so much logistical stuff for the Mission President, Mission Office and Assistants to work out it was ridiculous. Imagine not only finding 16 new apartments, but purchasing them and moving in all the furniture in less than a month! I did not envy their position that’s for sure. The mission has only been able to purchase 2 new cars as well so most of the new areas are bike areas. When they called my name to announce my new area, I learned that I would in a tri-panionship with Elder Guest who has been out about 14 months and Elder Jones who has been out 2 months. I knew Elder Guest from serving around him before so I was really excited to
be with him. The funny thing was, they weren’t at the meeting! I loaded my stuff up with the Assistants and they drove me to my new area.

As hard as it was to leave Warren, I’m really excited to be in my new area—Detroit River East. I love serving in a branch and I’ve always wanted to serve in the Detroit River branch. It’s the Spanish branch of the mission and there are now 7 missionaries total that serve in it. 4 of them are Spanish elders and I’m back around Elder Gonzalez again which I was really excited about.

The really cool thing about this area is that we literally cover downtown Detroit. My apartment is really close to Ford Field where the Lions play and the Motor City Casino. Last transfer I heard they were opening an area that specifically covered downtown and I was really hoping I’d get to serve in it. My dream came true and this will probably be the last area of my mission! How much better does it get! I’m back on a bike which is really killing me right now-since I’m used to a car.

Our area is very new too so we’re doing a lot of tracting and trying to get some new investigators. I have a feeling we’re going to generate a lot of referrals for other areas since we’re spending time downtown doing street contacting.

Our apartment is suuuuuuuper small and run down. All of our windows are covered in bars to prevent people from breaking in and I’m back to sleeping with my butterfly knife by my bed just in case…….. Don’t be scared mom! I got Jesus on my side! Our shower has a concrete floor and our bathroom overall is tiny. We have antique radiators for heat and all wood floors and we have to lock our back door with a bike lock. I’ve also never seen a stove as tiny as ours, and trying to cram 3 people’s food into a tiny fridge is tough. Plus we’re surrounded by abandoned buildings. So yeah, I’m back on the poor side.

Have an awesome week!

Elder Erik Rushton

Snow in the City-letter from Feb 4, 2013

Hey family! We had people updating us with the Superbowl score all night haha. I’m glad the Ravens were able to pull it off.

We had a fairly common week with a lot of rain and a lot of snow mixed in. I swear the weather really contributes to if people want to listen to us or not. When I first got to Warren we were teaching 20+ lessons a week and finding around 6 new people a week to teach. But now in the cold it’s a struggle to get over 12 lessons and find anybody new to teach.  It also doesn’t help that we can’t go into a house without another male at least 16 years old present. In the fall it wasn’t such a big deal because we taught a lot of people on their porch or other places outside. But obviously nobody wants to sit outside in a foot of snow and 15 degree temperatures! This week we had a lot of success with part member families though and ended up finding 4 new investigators. We also had 7 less actives show up at church and two investigators. The chapel looked packed for once!

This upcoming week we have a few things going on that are out of the normal routine. We’re going on exchanges tonight with the missionaries in Troy. I’ll be staying in Warren and going with Elder Clark who I went on two exchanges with before when I was back in Howell. And then on Friday I’m going out to Roseville to go on an exchange with my favorite dutchman Elder Riekwel again. I told him to schedule with Sis.Hubbard too so she’ll probably commit me to bring Bonne Nuit to Detroit again haha. Other than that though this week should be pretty standard. We’re waiting to hear back from the mission office on when we’re going to help open up the new apartment for when they split Warren next transfer. We’re probably going to be preparing for that a lot in the next two weeks.

We had interviews with our mission president this week and that was kind of cool. He told us that there is going to be 23 new missionaries coming in next transfer, but only one of them is a sister. There are going to be so many missionaries that they might open up a new zone too. Right now we have four zones and our mission president told us that they’re all really big. The zones on our mission are just divided up by the four stakes that are in our mission. So I have no idea where they’d open up a new zone. It would totally throw off the current logistics of the mission.

On Saturday I had a pretty funny experience. Well… It’ll be a funny experience once my hair grows out longer. I decided to cut my hair down again on Saturday night. I usually do it every two weeks or so and I’ve probably cut my own hair about 18 times now and I’ve only ever made one mistake which was the very first time I’ve tried. So I’ve been pretty dang good at doing it! Well I got a little impatient which was my first problem. I must have been pushing to hard with the guard or something because it slipped and I cut an nice line down the center of my head. I was like ‘crap I’m going to have to really short to even that one out!” So long story short… I usually cut my hair down to a half inch, but to even it out I had to go down to a quarter inch. Now I just look like I went through boot camp! The whole time I was cutting it short I kept thinking to myself ‘at least I don’t have to see the mission president for another two weeks!’

Well I gotta bail but I hope everyone in the family is doing well. Tell Sky I’m proud of him for getting his mission papers done so quick. And tell Austin that chicks aint worth it!! When I go home, the mission president is going to have to put the marriage pressure on me reeeeaaaalllyy hard because I really have no desire to get a girlfriend or get married haha. Missionary for life!

-Elder Rushton

North American Auto Show 1/22/2013

Erik Rushton at Detroit Auto Show

Erik used his picture on the Toyota Fun-Vii paint job.

We had a pretty good week last week with a lot of success. We had a pretty cool miracle on Saturday. We received this referral from another set of elders but he wasn’t home. Preach My Gospel tells us that we should tract around the area of the referrals we receive because sometimes the Lord sends us to places to find someone else. Well we had planned on just knocking the street that the referral lived on but for some reason I felt we should drive to the end of the block and start there. When we got to the end of the block we noticed there was a small apartment complex across the street and I really felt like we needed to knock doors there. After about 10 doors of nobody answering, we were getting ready to head back to the car because we were cold, but then on the next door someone answered and let us in! We had to make the lesson quick because she didn’t have a lot of time, but she invited us to come back later this week. We kept knocking in that apartment complex for a little while after that and found another person who invited us back too.

On Sunday we had another awesome miracle happen. As soon as we arrived at church, all the investigators we had planned on coming called and told us they weren’t going to be able to make it. It was really disappointing. We headed to the foyer to welcome people like we always do. Even when we pretty much know we have nobody coming to sacrament meeting, I like to stand in the foyer and welcome people until the first hymn starts. I feel it shows the ward that we’re optimistic (even though sometimes we aren’t haha). Well it turns out that a couple members invited their friends to come to church and they showed up! We ended up having four non-members at church and we had two of them that were interested in us coming by and sharing our message with them. And to top it all off, we still had an investigator show up. It was a really good Sunday. The Lord truly is preparing people!

Yesterday we went to the North American International Auto Show and it was pretty awesome. I’m glad I got to go this year because last year we couldn’t find anyone to give us a ride. The show was HUGE and they had a lot of cool concept cars to check out. My favorite was the Toyota Fun-Vii. It’s a super futuristic car that’s nowhere near showing up on the road but it had a lot of cool features and ideas. The whole thing was automated and it has no windows. Instead it has a bunch of small cameras on the exterior that project the outside world on the interior of the car. The coolest part though was the exterior of the car. The “paint” can be fully customized  to look anyway you want it to look. So you can pick red, blue, green, yellow, zebra stripe, you can draw your own picture… just whatever you can think of. We had the guy running the car take a picture of us and project it on the outside of the car. I’ll send you the picture I took of it. My favorite car is still the newest Dodge Challenger though. Even among all the Ferrari’s and Porsche’s it was still the one I wanted to check out. The new Dodge Dart is really cool though too and we watched one of the presentations on it. They had a new Jaguar there too that came with a 7.1 surround sound system and a super charged V8 that was cool too. The lady showing it off too said it was “on sale for the low price of $89,000!” But overall it was a fun car show and I’m glad I got to go.  It was funny to walk around and see pretty much all of the missionaries from our mission there too. We got stopped by a lot of members too that thought it was cool our mission president allowed us to come down.

We got a call from the mission office yesterday too informing us that next transfer (Feb19) they are splitting Warren in half. I already knew it was coming so it wasn’t a big surprise. So this week we have to locate an apartment for the new missionaries to live in so that’s going to take up part of our week. The mission office wants to be able to start moving furniture and stuff in on February first so we don’t have a lot of time to figure it out. We’re planning on doing some hunting today. It’s kind of exciting preparing the ward for another set of elders to come in.

Well, I hope you guys are doing well and having fun. Thanks for the letters and everything! Have a good week and I’ll talk to you guys next week!

-Love Elder Rushton


6 Months in Warren—letter from 1/7/2013

Erik Rushton and Elder Mayfield

Elder Rushton and Elder Mayfield

So like I said in chat, I’m staying in Warren for another transfer. That’ll keep me in Warren for a total of 6 months by the end of the next transfer which would make Warren my 3rd straight 6-month area. I stay in wards for a really long time! President Holmes called me Sunday night and asked me to be district leader again. I don’t mind doing it and I actually really like writing district meetings and instructions.

We’re getting a ton of new missionaries in these next two transfers. Tomorrow, 11 new missionaries come in and then the next transfer something like 23 new missionaries come in. We’re opening a ton of new areas in the mission. Warren is going to have two sets of Elders starting in the end of February. In fact, this whole district is getting 4 new areas opened up. My district consists of the Warren, Roseville, and North Shores ward which all right now have one set of Elders each, plus a senior couple serving in Roseville. By the end of February, Warren will have two sets of missionaries, Roseville will have two sets of missionaries, and North Shores will have three sets of missionaries, plus the senior couple in Roseville. That would mean this district would have a total of 16 missionaries which is insane. We’re thinking they’ll have to split the district in half because the District Leader has to go and spend a day with each missionary in the district once every transfer. If I had to do an exchange with 14 different missionaries, it’d take up half the transfer! But chances are I’ll leave Warren before all the new areas open up.

Our week this week was pretty great. We made a special point this week to go around and visit all of the part member families in the ward and we had some pretty good success. We have appointments set up with a couple of them for later in the week. We also had two part member families show up and church for the first time since I’ve been here and I attribute that to the fact that we made a special point to go and visit them. We had a very good turnout for church this week too and that’s probably because we’re at 11:00 now ;)

We’re really making an effort to get the home teachers involved with the less actives we’re teaching too. At correlation with our Ward Mission Leader this week we went over how the process of the Less Active ward referrals should work and then yesterday we brought it up with the bishopric as well. We’ve also been reporting to the home teachers about any time we see someone on their list, and we’ve also been making an effort to get the home teachers to come and teach with us when we see people on their list. We decided to do this after we met with our WML and he commented to us that he has 12 families to home teach and he doesn’t even know everyone on the list. I’ve heard similar things from other members so I decided that the best thing to do would be to try and introduce the home teachers to the people on the list they don’t know that we see. So far it has been working pretty well and we’ve really been trying to make the transition from us visiting less-actives every week, to the ward being much more involved in the reactivation process.

I can’t believe that time is flying by so fast! This last transfer was probably the fastest transfer of my mission! I’m starting transfer #15 today and you only have 17 total. It’s crazy how fast the mission goes!!

Well, hope you guys have an awesome week! Thanks for everything!

Cold & Snowy-Letter from Erik Jan 2, 2013

Happy 2013!! I’m glad we all lived past the end of the Mayan calender except for the fact that I was planning on the world ending while I was a missionary so that I could just continue to be a missionary in the spirit world. Oh well… Guess it will have to wait.

Not a whole lot of new stuff happened this week. Just pretty much the same old same old. It’s been really cold lately. Most of the time temperatures are below 25. I was really hoping our winter this year would be as mild as last year but I don’t think I’ll get that wish. Last Wednesday it ended up snowing about nine inches. Elder Jackson really wanted snow because he never gets to play in it in California. I kept telling him “You’ll like it for about 2 days, and then you’ll want it gone’ but he didn’t believe me. Then just the other day he was like “ok, I’m really getting tired of this.”

On Saturday one of our members daughters got married to someone in the ward. We went to the ceremony because they asked Elder Jackson to play piano.

We did have 2 less actives come to church that are pretty much reactivated. We just want to confirm with our Ward Mission Leader and ward council that we can officially call them reactivated. Their story is pretty cool too. About 2 months ago Elder Stark, our Ward Mission Leader and I brought an idea to the ward council that these 2 less actives should get callings. The council was kind of hesitant about it, but the Bishopric ended up giving them callings. Not just any run of the mill callings either, they gave them serious ones. One got called to be the Sunday School President, and the other is the Ward Bulletin coordinator. They’ve been doing awesome in their callings and have come to church 6 weeks in a row!

This Saturday we get transfer calls. I can’t believe it’s already been 6 weeks from the last transfer. Time flies to fast! I most likely will stay in Warren for another transfer but I’m not really sure. I would be happy to stay another one but at the same time I wouldn’t be really sad to leave. I’m pretty much indifferent to the transfer process now I guess haha. I’ll just go where the Lord wants me to go.

Well I hope you guys have a good week.  And tell everyone thanks for their Christmas letters!

Love Erik

A Nice Rainy Christmas –letter from 12/17/2012

Hi family! I’m really glad you got my Christmas card and thought it was funny. When I saw those cards I just knew that I had to have them. (Erik sent us a Christmas card with a black Santa Claus on it)

Not a whole lot of things new happened this week for us except for the Warren ward party. We had a good turn out for it and had a couple non-members there. I didn’t get to play guitar like I thought I was going to but that’s ok. The Primary, YM and YW put on a little nativity play that was pretty funny. Our primary here is really small – only like 12 kids with the oldest one being 8 years old. It’s a pretty big change from home!

This week will be really busy for us. This weekend is jam-packed with stuff we have to do. On Thursday we are going to the temple in the morning and then the mission devotional for investigators is that night at 7:00. Elder Jackson is playing the cello at the devotional too so we have to be there early so he can practice with a pianist. Plus it’s like an hour drive to the chapel we’re going to so that pretty much kills our evening. Then on Friday we have our mission Christmas party which should take up most of the day. Then on Saturday we have a baptism for our investigator in the Morning. Then Sunday is church. For Christmas Eve we’re going to spend some time over at a members for P-day and dinner and then Christmas is Tuesday  So we have some pretty busy days coming up. But I like busy days so that’s ok.

We had dinner at a members last week and it was pretty cool. They always go out of their way to make us some cool Philipino dishes that we’ve probably never had before. This past time they cooked us this soup that had the full on you-peel-em shrimp in them. Elder Jackson was kind of weirded out by them for a minute which was funny. The next time we go by they said they’re going to cook us Belute (I think that’s how you spell it), which is partially developed duck embryo in a shell. It sounds pretty weird haha. But I told them I’d try anything once! Elder Jackson doesn’t know if he will try it or not yet – I can’t blame him.

Thanks for all the gifts and stuff! I really enjoy the 12 days of Christmas package and look forward to opening a present everyday. I hope everyone is having a good Christmas season. It’s kind of hard for me to get in the Christmas spirit when I’m so far away from family traditions and stuff. Plus it’s been in the 40s and 50s here with no snow. Not that I’m complaining though because doing missionary work in the snow sucks! I’m hoping for another nice mild winter like last year and so far we’ve been pretty lucky.

Well I hope you guys have a good week and I look forward to talking on Christmas!