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What Did Erik Do That Day?

August 2017
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Two Year Expiration Date —Letter from 9/24/2012

 

I think it’s kind of funny and sad that once the stuff you bought for your mission reaches the ripe old age of two years, it starts to fall apart. The first thing that broke was my original badge from the MTC. It literally split in half on August 29, 2012 – almost exactly two years from when I entered the MTC. Other two year items – my bike which has been giving me issues lately, my backpack has needed a few stitching repairs, one of my suit pants pockets ripped the other day, I’ve had to re-stitch a couple buttons on my white shirts and I had to through two of them out last week, and the watch I bought in the MTC just died last week. Missionary stuff really does have a two year lifespan!

Our week as a whole was really cool. On Monday I had a cool experience regarding my guitar. We were just getting home and as I was unlocking our apartment door, one of our neighbors came downstairs and asked “so which one of you has the guitar?” I started thinking “great, I’m playing to loud for this guy,” and I told him that I was the one playing. He goes “You’re pretty good! Do you play any Christian music?” I told him that’s pretty much about all I play right now and I told him about the church and how we’re missionaries. He told me he gets together with a couple guys every so often to have a jam session and play Christian soft rock and that I was invited. I told him to let me know when they get together because I’d love to come and he said OK! It was pretty cool.

Our baptism that we have set for Sept30 looks like it will happen! He is 19 years old. He has a pretty cool story too. He’s been taught by missionaries since he was about 11 years old but never really got all that into in until his dad passed away. His dad was Mormon, his mom isn’t, and they took their kids to a lot of different churches to see what they liked. He was the only one that really wanted to keep meeting with the missionaries, but he never really had a desire to be baptized. Everyone in the ward already knows and loves him too!

We had are next strongest investigator at church yesterday which was awesome. She’s on date to be baptized at the end of October and is progressing really well. I really like it when we find the people who have the perfect questions, read everything we leave and take a ton of notes. The Lord really does prepare people for us! That makes it really easy to forget about all of those mean people that we run into.

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of the “Legacy” series that mormon.channel.org broadcasts. They’re really good! They have an episode all about Mormon Myths that I like but my favorite so far is probably the one about Porter Rockwell. You guys should check it out!

Well, I hope you guys are doing awesome and I hope you’re enjoying the new dog. You can break her in for me so when I get home I can hang out with her. Thanks for everything!

 

-Erik

 

Guns, Pimps and Weed, Oh My!

 

This week was an AWESOME week for us! For starters, we hit 27 lessons this week which ties my record for number of lessons taught in one week. Plus we have an investigator that is on baptismal date for the 30th come to church! We have 3 people on baptismal date right now and 2 of them are really promising. So pray we can have this one on September 30th!

Again this week I found myself realizing just how inner city the inner city is!– haha. I remember all the stories people told me about Detroit before I came out here… and now I’m living in the heart of it! And the funny thing is, after living in it for about a week, you start to just become desensitized to everything. Like on Saturday, we were having a lesson with a member on his porch and we heard “BANG BANG!” maybe 3 or 4 streets over. We all turned to look at each other and then all at the same time we said, “gunshot,” then we resumed with our spiritual lesson. Not to scare you guys or anything, but that stuff just happens everyday out here.

The other day we were stopped at a red light and we saw this group of girls all talking to this guy who was dressed in a really nice suit. Elder Stark goes “wait are they doing what I think they’re doing??”  Add that to the number of people who don’t try to even hide the fact that their smoking weed, and that’s Detroit.

I finally got to meet the whole ward this week and they are pretty awesome. We had about 70 people at church this Sunday which is expected when you have a ward that takes in part of Detroit. We had a new ward mission leader called and he is going to be great. They picked the perfect person for the job and I look forward to working with him. We talked a little bit yesterday about some needs for the ward and we set up a correlation time with him for later this week. We’re going to be starting to do some serious member work in this ward to in hopes of raising our number of referrals and getting more members to lessons.

Well, I’m almost out of time so I better bail. I hope you guys are doing well and having an awesome fall. I hate the fact that the weather is getting cooler, but it’s been nice to work in cool temperatures again!

The Inner city is My Element—Erik letter 9/10/2012

My first week in Warren was a pretty eventful week and I was really happy with it. This is my first time in the Bloomfield Hills stake so I have now officially been in all four stakes that our mission covers. But I don’t know anybody in leadership or anything in the stake so when we had stake conference yesterday; I had no idea who anyone was! Plus the stake presidency got reorganized yesterday so there’s probably going to be some mass confusion these next few weeks.

We found a bunch of new people to teach this week which was awesome! Of course, it’s not too hard to find people to teach in Detroit, it’s just hard to get them to actually learn and keep commitments! We ended up finding 5 new investigators this week and 13 potential investigators which is almost my record amount of potentials in one week. I looked through the past few months of records for Warren and found that missionaries are only teaching about 2 member lessons a week so Elder Stark and I set a goal to work with members more. I’m happy about that because in Howell I was teaching about 7 member lessons a week and it really helped build our relationship with the ward and secure a lot of referrals from people. Plus it gets us free food!!

We currently have 4 people set on a baptism date and two of those are really really promising. Plus, we had one investigator make the long trip to stake conference which was amazing! We talked to him afterwards and these are his exact words – - “I’m really glad I came today, God told me exactly what I needed to hear.” It was really cool! We have a couple of investigators that are really promising and I’m really happy about the new ones we found this week too.
 
Overall things with me and Elder Stark are going well. I was able to work with him a little bit while I was in Romeo and he was in Rochester but that was almost a year ago now. I was surprised by how much better of teachers we have become and we’ve been able to work together pretty easily. I’ve had to change my teaching style a little bit to fit the city again, and Elder Stark and I have been trying to balance our teaching evenly but overall everything is going well. 
 
So I think I told you guys about the missionary series called “The District” that the church was only allowing for missionaries. Well I just found out they put it online at missionary.lds.org. If you go to the website you have to log in (I think you can log in just with your lds.org username) and then on the right hand side click on “pre-mtc training.” That takes you to a page with a bunch of things that get you ready to go to the MTC and at the bottom is a section titled “The District.” It is a SWEET series that is filmed in the same style as the Office and it takes you through all the things that missionaries do in terms of planning and teaching. The District 2 is the best and one but District 1 has some awesome moments in it to. If you really want to know what it’s like for me out here, these episodes highlight it all. So check them out for Family Home Evening or something. I watch them at least once a month ha-ha.
 
Well hope you guys are all doing well. I’m sad Hanna is gone, but if you look in the Bible dictionary under the Revelation of John it confirms that animals go to heaven too!
 
Love you all!
 
-Erik
 
 
 

Transferred to Warren Michigan!

So I did end up getting transferred out of Howell and I was pretty sad about it. I really really liked the ward and we had a few investigators that are SO CLOSE to baptism! Hopefully I’ll get to go back for those and hopefully I’ll have a chance to see the ward again. It is nice to get a fresh start in a new area though, and I’ve been around a couple of other missionaries that have loved it. The area is pretty big – about as big as Romeo was – and we cover a small part of Detroit as well. Our apartment is ok but nowhere near as nice as Howells, but I was expecting that. My new companion says it’s a pretty middle class area with a lot of white people kind of like Howell. It sounds like there is a lot of good things going on here right now so I am pretty excited!

My companion’s name is Elder Stark and he is from Alabama (so far I’ve only had one companion from Utah which amazes me.) He used to be in my missionary district when I was in Romeo so I already knew him pretty well. He’s been in Warren for 5 months which is nice because he already knows all about it. I’m glad I get to work at least part of the city again too.

Other than that not to much new stuff is happening. I’ll have more info on the area next week. I’m no longer district leader but Elder Stark is— so I’m still near one. I actually liked being a District Leader a lot, and I hope I get to do it again if Elder Stark leaves next transfer. But that is at least six weeks away.

I’m on the watch for cold weather so I’ll let you know when I need my thermal stuff. It probably won’t be until November. Last year it didn’t even snow until the week before Christmas. I just get nervous because the leaves are already starting to drop out here and in Utah that means it could snow any day!

Well, hope you guys have an awesome week!!

 

-Erik

NEW APT ADDRESS

31355 Mound Rd apt D

Warren, MI

48092

 

 

Last Week in Howell? Letter from Aug 27th 2012

 

This week was a pretty awesome week for us. I spent two days away from home which was kind of lame but I got to finally go down to Ypsilanti and meet a couple people that Elder Erickson told me about.  I spent a day and a half in Chelsea too with Elder Minick and that was really fun. Our district is doing awesome and I’ll be sad to leave it. We have 3 districts in our zone and we always have the highest numbers. Which is especially awesome because they other two districts have 4 companionships and we only have 3!! In the end though, numbers don’t really reflect your effort, but it is nice to have some stats to back up your decisions.

Nothing really new happened this week, but we had a lot of people make good progress. We had two investigators come to church and that was pretty sweet. Plus we had a lot of less active people that we have been working with finally come to church. Hopefully we can keep them coming out and get activated again. We helped another person move this week so I was a sore for a day or two again. It sucks not really having any time to work out at all except for the 30minutes we have in the morning. Oh well, I’ll fix it when I get home!

I don’t really know how emailing around labor day will work. I know our library will be closed and normally we would email Tuesday morning. But chances are I will be transferred that Tuesday but I’m still not sure how it’s going to work. We get transfer calls this upcoming Saturday and I’m still on the fence about leaving or staying. I would love to stay, but at the same time it’s nice to get a fresh start in a new area. Plus two of my favorite families have already moved out. And I don’t want to leave Howells apartment because it’s so awesome and big!

Last week I also taught someone how to change the strings on their guitar. I’m using skills from home more and more everyday! I ended up pulling out my guitar for awhile too because I was missing it. I’m starting to finally get ok on one of the songs out of the book you sent me while I was in Detroit. I’m going to be taking it to a family home evening tonight too so that should be fun. Other than that we don’t have to many special plans for this week. We have a lot of dinners set up though! Which is great because I’m starting to get tired of Wal-mart rice, tortillas and potatoes! Haha I have other stuff though so no need to worry.

Well, hope you guys have an awesome week! Love you and talk to you later!!

 

-Erik

 

21 Still Feels Like 19 When You’re a Missionary

Note: Erik just turned 21 on the 19th of August! (check out his link below!)

So this week was pretty hectic and crazy for me. I had my one year temple trip on Thursday and that was pretty sweet. But then I got sick and was totally out of it on Saturday and Sunday. I’m still getting over the last of it today too. The temple trip was pretty cool. I forgot that all the temple workers from Howell work on Thursday so I saw about 5 people from the Howell ward there. I was hoping to see a couple from Romeo, but they don’t work until the evening usually. The Detroit Temple is pretty nice. It’s really small though. You can really only fit 20 people in the celestial room before it starts to feel crowded. It was good to go though and I got to go with a couple of my missionary friends too. Afterwards we had a big lunch and testimony meeting at the mission home and that was good. It’s always good to be fed well too!

On Saturday we went to downtown Howell and checked out the Mellonfest that was going on. There were a lot of cool booths and a pretty good band that was playing so that was a lot of fun. I always like to get out in the public eye and show everyone that missionaries are normal people who like to have fun too. We stopped in at Howells music store and I talked to the owner for awhile about Bonne Nuit and how I gave it all up to be a missionary but I’m lucky I get to use my guitar occasionally! We had a good talk for 15min or so and then I left him a mormon.org card and told him to check out my profile there. I forgot to tell you guys that I created one. You can check it out at http://mormon.org/me/7T1N/Erik. (check out his link!) And if you get time, you should make one too. It’s the easiest way to share the gospel! I’ve encouraged all the members to get online and make a profile.

Other than that our week was pretty standard. Our numbers were low this week with me being gone for an entire day and then mellonfest going on and also me getting sick. It was kind of dissapointing but what’re you going to do? We have a couple baptisms coming up that will hopefully happen in the first few weeks of September so keep your fingers crossed. My time is Howell is probably growing short too. I put in a special request to President Holmes when I had my interview with him that I wanted to stay for another transfer. All he said was, “Well we have left missionaries in an area for a long time before…” I really would like to stay even though one of my favorite families just had to move out. I’m pretty sure I’ll be leaving in two weeks though so I’ve already started having people write in my mission memories book. Well, thanks for all the birthday wishes and tell everyone at home hi for me!

Love, Erik

Erik’s Letter home from Aug 13, 2012 (Photo’s coming!)

So like I said in our email chat earlier, we have an investigator on a pretty solid baptismal date for Aug 25. We have to wait for him on a few things so that may take until the middle of September… But hopefully it doesn’t! We also have another investigator on date for Aug25 but that one is a little more flaky.

Yesterday at Ward Council, the bishop brought up the fact that in the past 6 months we’ve lost a ton of power families. All in all about 20 people. He told everyone that we all need to step up our game and re-build the ward. Every Presidency is now re-assigning home teachers to everyone and we’re placing a huge emphasis on easy missionary work. Stuff like inviting your neighbors and friends to ward activities, inviting them over to dinner etc.

Other than that, things have been pretty standard. We had 2 long meetings this week on Tuesday and Thursday. Each of them were from 9:00am to 4:00pm. We usually have one long meeting a month and I can do that, but 2 huge ones in the same week is tough. We always hit rush hour through construction on our way back to Howell to so we usually don’t get home until around 7:30PM. The meeting always runs over too so that doesn’t help. Still, we learned a lot of cool things to help us teach better. And training meetings have awesome food we don’t have to pay for so that is a plus :)
Well, I don’t have much more time so I guess I better. I’m attaching some pictures of our apartment so you can see my awesome district leader wall and just how nice our apartment is (we easily have the best in the mission; another reason why I want to stay). Also how hard the rain was pouring the day that the bottom floor apartments flooded.
-Erik
ps: that storm brought in a tornado warning in Chelsea which is about 45 minutes away from us.

 

Erik’s 21st Birthday, Sunday August 19th!

It’s Erik’s 21st birthday this coming Sunday, Aug 19th!  If you have a minute or two, send him a letter or a card.
Can’t believe he’s 21!

Elder Erik Rushton
602 Curzon Ct Apt 301
Howell MI 48843
 

 

Thunderstorm Week July 30th, 2012

This week was a tougher week for us. For starters, we’re coming up on the
end of the month so we had to cut back on our car miles. On top of that,
the Fowlerville fair was going on all week and I swear EVERYONE in Howell
and Fowlerville was there. It made tracting almost useless because nobody
was home. We couldn’t go walk around the fair like we did for Balloonfest
because you had to pay to get on the grounds and the city told us we
weren’t allowed to pass out cards or pamphlets or anything. So that made
things a little tough. We did get to go check it out with a member for a
little while though. It was reeeaaaally big and we got to hang out by
the monster trucks for a little bit. I wish I would’ve brought my camera
but I completely forgot it.

We had to sit through 3 crazy thunderstorms this week. They all dropped A
TON of rain and Friday morning our apartment complex had to send some
people out to drain out the bottom floor apartments because they flooded.
They also ripped out all the rain gutters and put new ones in. I guess the
winds got pretty strong one night too because there were a ton of downed
branches everywhere on Saturday and the power was out all over the place.
The power in our apartment never went out but the lights in the courtyard
kept shutting off and on. Also, somehow my bike got a flat tire sitting out
on the deck. I haven’t even ridden the thing in over a week!

Our teaching this week was not so great. Our two most “solid” investigators
have mysteriously disappeared. Both of their phones have been shut off and
they live so far away from us it’s a pain to stop by everyday. So now we’re
stuck only being able to potentially contact them when we’re in the area.

It get’s really frustrating watching people just up and disappear. Our
investigator teaching pool is getting really low so we’re probably going to
be doing some serious tracting this week.

We did have one really cool miracle this week. About 3 weeks ago we ran
into a less active at the library that nobody knew lived in the area. He
recently moved out here and is living in a 3/4 house for alcohol and drug
abuse recovery. Anyway, he found us at the library and told us that he
wants to change his life around and he knows the only way he can do it is
through God. We’ve invited him to attend church like 6 times but he’s been
going to a whole bunch of different churches to see what is out there. He
hasn’t actually been to an LDS church for about 6 years so he doesn’t
remember a whole lot. Anyway he showed up at church on Sunday and loved it!
He could only stay for sacrament because he had to get to work, but he
came! After sacrament the Bishop went and introduced himself and he is
going to meet with him this Thursday to get all his records transferred out
here and everything. It was pretty sweet!

Well I gotta bail but I hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for the letters
and everything!

Love Erik

4th Transfer in Howell

This week was a pretty good week for us. We had a lot of success even though I had to leave the area for two days this week to finish spending a day with each missionary in my district. I like all the missionaries in the district and I’m glad only one of them is leaving for the next transfer.

On Saturday we had two graduation parties in the ward that we got invited too. At first we weren’t planning on going, but then we realized that there would probably be a lot of non-members there as well. We ended up being able to talk to a lot of new people and it was awesome to have a lot of people from the ward there too. It was our chance to show members that we are capable and confident as missionaries. We got a couple potential investigators out of it as well.

We had a missionary return home from Mexico a couple weeks ago and he had his homecoming talk in church yesterday. We’ve been taking him out with us a lot and he is a huge help. Plus he’s having missionary withdrawals too and I guess he went out knocking doors by himself in his neighborhood. It was pretty funny but I can kind of relate. Missionaries always talk about how their ‘home life’ seems like a fantasy after they’ve been out on a mission for so long. I never really believed them when they said stuff like their family felt like a made up dream and stuff like that. But I’m starting to get that way too. I’ve come to a point where all my dreams are about missionary work, I   sign my name ‘Elder’ instead of ‘Erik’ all the time without realizing it, I think in ‘transfer periods’ rather than months, and I celebrate when we drive less than 30 miles in one day. So yeah I can definitely see how it’s hard for a lot of people to go back to normal life after a mission. You get to a point where nothing else really matters anymore. I forget to even check the mail most of the time. Elder Mayfield is always the one to run back downstairs and look in our mailbox. It’s not that I don’t care about letters or anything, it’s just that they’re not at the front of my mind anymore.

The ward has been getting better and better for missionary work lately. I think the baptism we had last week really helped spark it. We’ve been getting a lot of less actives back to church as well an hopefully we’ll be able to count some reactivations really soon. I really like this ward a lot and would be happy spending the rest of my mission here but this will most likely be my last transfer here. Howell’s apartment is easily the best in the mission too so I don’t want to leave ;)

Other than that not to much has changed. I’m having a lot of fun in Howell and we’re starting to see some true success. I’m really excited for the next transfer. I hope all you guys are doing awesome!

-Elder Rushton