The Freezing Cold North

Panoramic view from Skyler's Penticton apartment

View from Skyler’s Penticton apartment

Man, it was -20 this week. Enough said. But apparently it’s been about that cold where the rest of you are, so I can’t and won’t complain about it! I do kind of have one thing going for me, it hasn’t snowed a whole lot… It’s just been windy and humid haha. It isn’t the Great White North for me, it’s just the Great North. But anyways, on to the week!

This week was spectacular! The Lord is truly pouring his blessings out upon Elder Bolkcom and I. We’ve found more new investigators and taught more member present lessons these last three weeks then I did my first two transfers combined! The work is truly hastening! We’ve got a ton of investigators coming along, but so far only ONE of them has come to church! So that’s the next mountain that we need to climb! If we can just get them to church, I’m sure that baptisms will follow!

On Monday, we had, not a YSA, but an OSA (“Old Single Adults”) dinner. It was awesome and there were non-members there, so we could go! They gave Elder Bolkcom and I Christmas presents and we were so very thankful for them! It was really fun and one of those, “Only in Penticton…” moments and I don’t even care that it cut into P-day!

Tuesday, we taught our First Nations friends, again. They taught us how Okanagan Natives pray! They burn sage in a seashell and then bathe in it while chanting. It was… interesting haha. But they’re both really cool and they’re taking us to the Native school next Tuesday! And just so you know, we do teach them the gospel while all this stuff is happening haha.

Wednesday was pretty good…. but stressful. Elder Mandin, a new greenie in our district, was on exchanges with me in Penticton. Bro. Angevine (our ward mission leader) came with us to four appointments… and three of them stood us up. But the one that happened was good, I set a baptismal date with our friend T. He’s really cool and has mild schizophrenia. As do all of my investigators as Bro. Angevine kindly pointed out. Now you might think that I’m kidding, but last night I counted the number of people that we’ve found and are teaching that have mental disorders and here’s the count: Out of 20, 16 have some form of mental disorder. And that’s just the last three weeks! I’ve had more while I’ve been in Penticton. We have to be careful with them but what it all comes down to is whether they’re accountable or not. That is usually the biggest factor in our teaching people.

Not a whole lot happened Thursday, we weekly planned for five hours like usual.

Friday! We got two referrals from the Family History Center workers. Someone called them and asked about “Joining the church” so they gave us their information and we went and contacted them. They… are different. They also have mental disorders, but are very nice. However, after we were talking with them Elder Bolkcom and I started to realize that they are just more interested in getting free food as opposed to gaining a stronger relationship with God. We’ll teach them one more time and we’ll see where it goes.

Saturday! We were going to teach a new investigator , but she called us and cancelled. But, she said that we could still come over and teach her 15 yr-old son.  So we went and taught him!  He’s a really cool dude! He free-runs (Parkours) and lifts weights so he’s jacked. Younger investigators are generally more interested in the Plan of Salvation as opposed to the Restoration, so we taught him that. He really enjoyed it and said he was coming to church yesterday, but he slept in… until 2 p.m. Haha, silly kids. Anyways, he’s awesome and we’ll be teaching him again this week!

Sunday was awesome! We went to the first presidency Christmas devotional with an investigator and then afterwards went and taught another couple. They are East Indian and really, really nice. We tracted  them last week in the rain and she felt so bad for us, she invited us back! So we taught them the Restoration and they really enjoyed it. We will be going back next week!

Overall, this week was awesome. And I know that it isn’t anything Elder Bolkcom and I are doing. The Lord is truly blessing us with many people to teach and we’re just doing our best to bring them closer to Christ! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Stay warm friends and family, I love all of you guys!

–Elder Rushton

Penticton, A Canadian Missionary’s Paradise‏

Skyler in the MTC

Skyler in the MTC

Hey friends and family! How are all of you?? Good… Good… So onto my week!

So, British Columbia is basically the California of Canada. It’s warm, on the coast and pretty weird. And Penticton is basically the St. George of Utah so that’s a double bonus making the Okanagan Valley one of the warmest places to live in Canada! Now how warm was it last week?? Only Negative Five Celsius! Yee-haw! I felt like running around with my shirt off it was so warm! Haha but in all seriousness, Penticton is a LOT warmer then the rest of Canada! I’ve learned that I can’t tell locals that I’m cold because they will not understand what I’m saying. Sometimes I feel like they think it’s still too warm! Haha, crazy Canucks.

This week was filled with miracles! We got a ton of new investigators and taught a lot of MPL’s (member present lessons)! I’ve got a little less time to e-mail today so I won’t be able to talk about all of them, so I’ll just hit the highlights!

So my first story actually just happened about an hour and a half ago, we were Christmas shopping downtown and this lady saw us walking towards her and called us over. She told us that her and her 9-yr old son were member’s from Ontario. They had just missed their Greyhound bus to Osoyoos (which is about an hour away) and didn’t know what to do! They really just asked us for help so, of course, we were going to do our best to help them! So we called the Osoyoos sisters and asked them if they knew any member’s that could give her a ride down. They made some calls and got their Branch President to come pick her up. It was going to be about an hour until he was there, so Elder Bolkcom and I just had to hang out with this lady and her son for an hour. They were super cool and her dad was the creator of Captain Canuck! (The Canadian Captain America) I guess they travel A LOT; they told us some crazy awesome stories from their travels and then she bought us lunch! They took about two hours out of our P-day, but I couldn’t feel happier that we were able to help them out! It’s always such a nice feeling to help someone!

Last Monday, we were walking on the streets after P-day and some dude pulled up to us in his car! He asked if we were latter-day saints and we said yes! It turns out he is a less-active member who moved to B.C. shortly after being baptized in Edmonton. He’s a pretty cool guy and we met with him a couple times this week. However, he is a really… interesting person. For a few examples: he practiced witchcraft at one point and says he was literally picked up off the ground by a demon, he speaks Arabic and reads the Quran (even though he’s Mormon now…), he has a lot of Jehovah Witness friends and Satan’s always telling him to do bad things like crash his car through houses and stuff. Still, he’s a really cool guy! He introduced us to his girlfriend and specifically gave me permission to baptize her. So that will be cool hahaha.

On Sunday, we met with a part-member family. They are really cool and their little boy we’re trying to baptize,, reminds me a lot of my little brother Luke. He and his sister are investigators now and if we can get their mom on board, we will get them baptized!

Well I’m about out of time for today but apparently Thanksgiving is this week in the States so I’ll talk about being thankful! Gratitude is a wonderful thing. Gratitude is the way we can go through life happy no matter what life throws at us! So develop an attitude of gratitude today and you’ll be that much happier when adversity comes your way! Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! Love you all!

–Elder Rushton

Transfers

Skyler taking photo of Book of Mormon

Skyler taking a photo of the Book of Mormon

This week was transfer week!! The result: Elder Sly got transferred to be a Zone Leader again and my new companion in Penticton is Elder Bolkcom! Elder Bolkcom was already in my District so I knew him; I was super glad when I heard he was my new companion! He is from Idaho Falls, he was the first 18yr old missionary in the CAN-VAN mission and he’s super chill. Our first day together we found two new investigators! It was pretty great.

Alright, time for the weekly re-cap:

Monday: We had a great P-day and watched the Doctrine and Covenants DVD’s at the church. Then we went and taught an investigator who we always teach on Monday. He’s been investigating for a long time and isn’t progressing. He’s really smart and loves to talk with us for hours… but mostly about cars. We’re going back today but hopefully we’ll talk about something other than cars for a change… Like getting baptized? Yeah, hopefully. Then, we got transfer calls! Elder Sly was going to Mission West to be a zone leader. Elder Sly told me later that the deal he had with President Tilleman is that he would train me and then immediately after my training he would become a Zone Leader again.

Tuesday: We went up to Westbank so we could help them cover some teaching appointments. Since this was Elder Bolkcom’s previous area, I went on “exchanges” with him for the last time. All went pretty good and we had a Mo-Tab dance party that night because it was our last time being together as a district with Elder Sly.

Wednesday: Traveling to Vancouver… It took all day and we took the Coquihalla again so I was scared for my life when we went through another blizzard! But it was fun and we made it!

Thursday: Transfer meeting. Elder Bolkcom and I were officially made companions! We stayed the night with Surrey West where one of my former MTC district Elders (Elder French-Cooper) is at. He’s from Texas and is literally the funniest person I have ever met… and that’s saying something! He refuses to conform to Canadians and has a cap gun he shoots in the air while he yells, “TEXAS!!!” as loud as he can! He also drives like a maniac… but he made things really fun haha. Elder Bolkcom and I went street contacting for four hours that night because there are actually people to talk to on the streets in Surrey! In Penticton, there’s no one so it was a nice change from the ordinary! Anyways, while we were street contacting, I HAD A BLAST!!!!!!!!! Before the mission, I could NEVER have just walked up to someone on the street and talked to them about religion. But now, I just have fun doing it! I love making people feel awkward and I love talking about the gospel with people who are interested! So that pretty much covers every single person we met on the streets! We got two new investigators from it and was probably the funnest night of my mission thus far.

Friday: Traveling again. I slept most of the ride because the lady I was sitting next to on the bus didn’t want to talk to me haha.

Saturday: Weekly planning! It was as good as weekly planning gets and Elder Bolkcom and I really seem to mesh when it comes to planning. Because we planned so well, I’m sure this next week will be filled with miracles! However, this day was also fairly sad… a sister investigator called…. and dropped us. I was shocked. I did NOT see that coming; she was progressing sooooo well! So I was a little sad about that, but I told her that we’d be praying for her and if she ever needed anything we would be there to help! Have a great life ! I’m sure she’ll be baptized at some point but it probably won’t be by me.

Sunday: The couple we have been teaching didn’t come to church!!!!!! I was so mad! We walked over to their house so we could walk to the church with them and they told us they couldn’t come because they’d slept in! Ahh! However, we had a lesson with them that night and they seemed even more genuine that they would come next week. So they’d better or it’s going to baaaaad for them… They still won’t commit to getting married but I personally believe that if we can get them to church we’ll be able to get them married much more easily.

Well that’s about it for this week! Man, every week is such an adventure out here. It isn’t always easy, especially when you meet not so nice people, so it’s super important to have your testimony and Christ to fall back on. I’ve definitely grown since I’ve been out and I do things every day that I wouldn’t have thought I could do prior to leaving. I’ve since been taught that when you’re “set-apart” you are set-apart from the world and everything in it. You are given power AND authority to “preach the principles of the gospel and to administer the ordinances thereof.” This “authority” that I’ve been given is what makes the difference for me. It’s not worldly, it is literally authority from on high! I love it!

 

Have an awesome week everyone! I pray for all of you everyday! Have a wonderful day!

 

–Elder Rushton The Third

The Great WHITE North

Skyler's apartment exterior.

The outside of Skyler’s apartment.

SNOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!! That’s all I have to say this week, so have a great week everyone!

Nah, just kidding; but it’s true! We got snow last Tuesday and it’s snowed a couple times since! Most of the snow melts down here in the actual valley, but all of the mountains around us are covered in snow. I finally caved in and bought a scarf and some nice red Canada mittens. I wear them while I go tracting and people have made fun of them… but they keep my hands nice and toasty warm, so I’m going to keep wearing them!

This week was pretty good. Funny story true story: Elder Sly makes me knock every single door so I’ve actually developed calluses on my knuckles. I didn’t even know that was possible ha-ha. We had mission conference on Thursday this week and Elder Paul V. Johnson of the First Quorum of the Seventy came to speak to us. So that was definitely the highlight of the week.

Tuesday, I was with Elder Fitzner (a zone leader) and we desperately searched for someone to take to a dinner that night so we could eat something other than potatoes! I’ve told all of you this a few times, but we aren’t allowed to eat at member’s houses unless there is a recent convert, less-active or non-member there. So that’s why we were searching for someone! Anyways, so we found a less-active and took him with us. We went to the Masons home and had real-Canadian Poutine! It was soooo good!!! (Elder Fitzner thought it was so good that he ate way too much and… well, let’s just say it didn’t end well). I hope I can have that meal again because it BLEW MY MIND!

Wednesday we spent the majority of the day traveling on the Coquihalla–the most dangerous highway in all of North America. It was super crazy; we drove through a blizzard! We were on a Greyhound bus and it was pretty frightening but wasn’t frightening enough because I still fell asleep on the ride haha. We stayed with the Elders in Surrey for mission conference and spent Thursday afternoon walking around Surrey (the city with the highest crime rate in all of British Columbia). Elder Sly and I got lost, somehow ended up at a forest, walked thru it, and witnessed a car accident, got hot chocolate at Tim Hortons… Yeah, It was a pretty crazy day ha-ha.

Sunday was probably the greatest day of the week. The stake president was visiting the ward and gave an excellent talk and training. Then, that night, we taught 2 investigators. They are a very, very nice couple.  We left them with a reading assignment form the Book of Mormon–3 Nephi 11.  He felt the spirit while reading it and realized from reading it that he did, if fact, need to be baptized. She didn’t read it, but she has encouraged him to accept God into his life for a long time so she wasn’t hesitant at all when we committed the both of them to be baptized! They’re stoked to be baptized and so are we! Now we just need to get them married and coming to church so they can be baptized December 14th! It’s a good thing I like a challenge and know that the Lord can work miracles.

I have a testimony that the Lord rewards His servants that work their hardest. We haven’t had a whole lot of success the last few weeks, but we kept pushing through and the Lord has started to reward us openly. My message is for all of you to do the same! I’m sure most of you are because my friends are generally the coolest people in the world, but if times get hard sometimes just stay on the straight and narrow; the Lord will bless you for your efforts! Have an excellent week friends and family!!

With Love,

–Elder Rushton The Third

The Great Gray North

Skyler Rushton in MTC dorm room.

Skyler’s dorm in the MTC

This last week was super good! However, I haven’t seen the sun for about a week and half. Nothing. But. Clouds. But it’s still been fun! It’s getting colder here–about 40 degrees at night (however, “night” is five o’clock because the sun is down by then)–but it hasn’t snowed yet! We drove up to Vernon on Sunday and saw a lot of snow on the mountains up there; but down here in Penticton we’re still snow-free! So, let’s recap the week:

Monday: James, one of our investigators, dropped our appointment for Monday night (this is the third week in a row!) so we went out finding. We were out street contacting when we ran into Alex and Jason. They told us they were on their way to buy smokes, so of course I asked if we could come with them! So we walked/talked with them and they ended up becoming two new investigators! Can’t complain about that!

Tuesday: Elder Sly and I filled the font for a baptism! However, we didn’t start early enough so we ended up having to take loads, and loads of warm water from the kitchen to the baptisimal font! It was a lot of fun actually! Then the guy who was baptized came over with tears in his eyes and thanked us for everything we did to help. I didn’t even know him, but I felt so much love for that man that I hugged him! He will be a great member of the church for years to come.

Wednesday: We had another lesson with a Sister.  Things are moving along well with her. She would be an amazing missionary; in fact, she is going tracting with the Penticton sisters next week. Haha, I’m sure that will be fun for them!

Thursday: It was halloween! We had to be in by 5:00 but before that, we met with another investigator. We read the BOM with him and it was all fine and dandy until he told us that he thought his son was posessed with an evil spirit… So if I mention casting out an evil spirit next week… Don’t be surprised haha. Then we went back to the apartment to daily plan. Outside in Penticton, there were gunshots, fires, death; all that fun Halloween stuff… Haha nah, just kidding! It was nice. Then our doorbell rang and we freaked out because we thought it was a child… so, naturally, we turned off all of the lights and hid under our desks. We waited for five minutes and the door never rang again, so we figured it was all clear. We opened the door, looked down and what was sitting there? A pile of candy! Our wonderful neighbor Rose had left us some halloween candy! It totally made my night.

Friday: My halloween package from my family came! It was awesome; Elder Sly and I were thrilled to get it!  (Oreos and fun Halloween Stuff)

Saturday: Our Sister investigator came to the adults session of stake conference! She loved it and we’ll talk to her about it next Wednesday.

Sunday: We drove up to Vernon for stake conference. We met President there and the first thing he asked us was, “Who do you have on baptisimal dates for November?” We had to tell him, “None.” Haha— well, he wasn’t too pleased about that! He cancelled our interviews with him after stake conference and sent us home to find someone to baptize in November. We spent literally all day knocking doors and couldn’t find anyone… at least not yet! We will eventually, but we didn’t yesterday! However, we DID go to one of our investigators houses and had an excellent lesson with them! They are great and they love us! We will hopefully be baptizing them soon.

Well that’s about it for my last week! I hope none of it was too boring! Haha, I love getting letters/e-mails from all of you and I hope you all have a spectacular week! I love you all and miss you all dearly but this is truly the Lord’s work. Have a wonderful week everyone!

–Elder Rushton The Third

Skyler has been home this long-

  • Skyler has been home for:
    2 years, 0 months, 12 days, 13 hours, 46 minutes, 34 seconds ago