Christmas Season #2: Share the Gift

Elder Rushton and Elder Wood

Elder Skyler Rushton and Elder Wood

All of my fellow missionary comrade’s will get the hash tag! If you don’t, check out Christmas.mormon.org and watch the video! Then you will get it!

So, hello friends and family! It snowed up here on Friday–the day we had a nice Filipino-American Thanksgiving dinner!– and the snow has been around ever since. That is NOT normal for here in the Lower Mainland, but since we are in Canada, I’ll take it! At least I’m not up North with my missionary buddies where it hit -30 yesterday. Now that… Is cold.

So transfers! I’m still here in New Westminster and my new companion is Elder Alden! He just came from the Queen Charlotte Islands–Haida Gwaii–where he served for 6 months. There is pretty much no civilization up there, so it has been quite a change for him here in Metro Vancouver on public transit! My trainer, Elder Sly, served up there before he trained me (a whopping 15 months ago!) and from Elder Alden’s stories, the work is progressing really well up there! When my trainer was there, they had a congregation of 6 whole members! Now, it’s up to 19 with a senior couple acting as the branch presidency! Crazy stuff.

So we got our transfer calls on Monday, spent every hour of Tuesday visiting members, less-actives and investigators so Elder Buchanan could say goodbye, and then he left on a plane early Wednesday to go to Burns Lake up North! I spent the rest of Wednesday with a Japanese Elder, Elder Lawlor (who I came out with!), and took advantage of that by visiting some Japanese former investigators! No luck there, but finally Elder Alden’s plane came in and we were able to meet up and go to mission coordination that night. The Sisters in our ward got shut down… so now we have their area book and are splitting the work with the Burnaby South Elders who are now in our district! They had a lady getting baptized next Saturday, so we gave her to the Burnaby South to teach because Elder Hall is training a new missionary there, Elder Ellis, and we felt like that would be a good way to get his mission started. In the baptismal font! It should be really good.

As for us, this week was pretty hard on our area. All of our investigators weren’t able to meet with us this week and everyone outside was freezing and didn’t want to talk to us haha. But now it’s p-day, and things should get better this next week! We did meet this sweet East Indian guy that we set a baptismal date with on the street! He didn’t come to church, but hopefully we are able to meet up with him this week.

I can’t believe that it is almost Christmas again! It feels like last year’s wasn’t long ago at all. I’ll be here in the Burnaby ward for Christmas, and we’ve got a Christmas dinner planned for this Saturday that should be a good time! We’ve got a couple assignments from the ward council to hunt down some “missing members” and get their records updated, so it looks like I’ll be part missionary, part detective this week! Hopefully it gets warmer this week… But winter is just beginning! Well that’s about it for this week! Have a great week everyone! I love you all! Talk to you later!

–Elder Rushton The Third

New Westminster: The Royal City

Skyler and Vancouver Elders

Skyler with the Vancouver Elders.

Hello everyone! This week was pretty great! I saw this morning on President’s e-mail that another person I taught in Langley YSA got baptized!. Crazy stuff! There was also a baptism in Vancouver 1st ward that we went too on Saturday and Elder Buchanan and I got to sing with a bunch of missionaries at it! I guess this weekend was just a baptizing weekend!

So New Westminster is the oldest city in B.C. and used to be the capital until Victoria, on Vancouver Island, was chosen by Queen Victoria to be the new capital. New West has a TON of old buildings and is filled with lots of historic stuff, so it’s cool to walk around and see a bunch of plaques, monuments and whatnot. In today’s age, it is also a gathering place for a bunch of African people!!

The New West sisters gave us a super solid investigator who is from Nigeria! They set up a lesson for us to go visit him and a member from the ward. The member from our ward is from Ghana. The lesson went super good! The investigator and the member talked a lot about how corrupt Africa was while we were there… one of their cousin’s had just died in a hospital in Nigeria because they medicine they gave her was really just water in a bag! He was pretty upset about that. But we teach the Plan of Salvation and he REALLY enjoyed it, so hopefully we can get him baptized in December! His wife is from Croatia and she is pretty anti… But he is a solid guy. There was one awkward moment in the lesson though where our member Brother said, “If she’s not ok with you getting baptized, just divorce her. Those white people don’t understand us anyways.” …….   Oh man! That one went in the journal —ha-ha!

We taught our friend and his wife again this week. They are from Ghana and after the lesson, they fed us this SUPER spicy African soup!! I like spicy Mexican food, but that African food was another level!! They are a solid African family, but they are super busy so we’ve been having problems trying to visit them. Hopefully we will be able to meet with them more and they can get baptized in December! That’s the plan!

This week we gave a blessing to a baby in the hospital. It was actually the same baby we had given a blessing to a couple weeks ago when she was first born (I think I might have mentioned her.) but this time she was back because she wasn’t eating. The family are non-members, but the mom’s brother is a less-active member in Vancouver 1st ward. The mother of the baby was very appreciative that we came to give her baby another blessing! Then we kept texting her to follow up and by Saturday (about 2 days after the blessing) the baby still wouldn’t take a bottle or anything, but she would eat some other baby food! So they should be out of the hospital by today. Miracles! It was pretty sweet.

This week is transfer week so I added a picture of my district and the place where I come to e-mail every week! In the picture are Elder Buchanan and I, and then Elder Kim, Porter and Robinson who are the British Columbia Korean Missionaries! There aren’t any other Korean missionaries in the province, so literally the whole province is their area. Exchanges are always fun! I don’t think I’ll get transferred and I really like the ward here, but we will see tonight!

The Elders Quorum President fed us Deer wrapped in Bacon last night and it was SUPER good! Then they gave us a jar of homemade applesauce–which I haven’t had since I was serving in the Okanagan last year! They are an awesome couple! He is 24 which makes me laugh because I think he is one of the youngest members of the Elder’s quorum! Another member of our ward is probably our best friend in the ward because he always travels to the states and brings us back milk, eggs, and of course, American Oreos! If I do get transferred, I’ll miss this ward! (Skyler Loves the American Oreos and they don’t have them in Canada!!!)

I was on exchanges with Elder Kim on Tuesday and we visited a less-active family. This Brother is French-Canadian and his wife is from Vietnam and speaks little English. They met online and got married ha-ha… Now they have a five year old son named Manny who is a little ball of energy! So anyways, while we were over there, She was talking to Elder Kim (who is Korean, but has citizenship in America too) and was trying to get him to marry her niece in Vietnam so she could come to North America! Elder Kim freaked out and threw me under the bus by saying, “Elder Rushton doesn’t have a girlfriend! And he’s American too!!” So then she pulled up this dating website to show me pictures of her niece who, “speak real good English!” Apparently she loves doing dishes and cooking too… Maybe she is the woman for me??? Ha-ha-ha?! President Marr was with us and he was just laughing to death. Luckily we got out of there single and then this Brother and his wife came to church on Sunday! The first week I was here was the first time missionaries have visited them, and this Brother has come to church the majority of the week’s I’ve been here! That family is definitely my biggest success story of New West thus far!

Well everyone, that’s about it for the week! I love you all and I hope you all have a really great week! Talk to you later! Love you bye!

–Elder Rushton The Third

 

Queens borough Ghetto, the Cold and a Ghanaian Guy!

Elder Rushton and Companions Vancouver

Elder Skyler Rushton with companions at Vancouver Temple

Ha-ha, my email titles are getting less clever as my mission goes on… Hello good friends and family! I hope you had a wonderful week! It has been deep freezing up here lately; every morning there is frost on everything! It didn’t rain ALL WEEK! That is definitely some kind of miracle; but it sure got chilly! Time to break out the thermals again!

So there is an island in our area called Queens Borough Island and man, it is ghetto-y. So obviously, it is my favorite place to go do stuff! We were there most of the days this week, and it is kind of like a mini-Surrey. Queens borough is part of New Westminster, but unlike the people in New Westminster (who are mainly single or a young couple) the people of Queens Borough are family-oriented! They have a lot of schools and parks and stuff; which is nice, but still kind of ghetto-y.

Our friend from Honduras, lives on Queens Borough and this week we had dinner with a member family that lives a couple blocks away from him. We tracted a couple streets on the island and it went pretty well, so we will probably be back next week! On Sunday we taught our friend from Honduras the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom and he committed to live both of them. If all goes well, he should be getting baptized in December!

This last Saturday, the Langley YSA Elder baptized an investigator who I taught while I was there, so that was sweet! I’m pretty sure I mentioned him in previous letters… but I was super stoked to see his name on President Burt’s email this week! We also had the Vancouver Stake Conference this week and it was awesome! This stake has a Chinese ward, a Korean branch and a Spanish ward. A member gave a talk in Spanish with someone translating for her, another member said a closing prayer in Korean and some of the Chinese members did a spectacular musical number! An opera singer from our ward sang “More Holiness Give Me” and that was amazing as well. The Spirit can totally be felt in every language as well as in music! It was great! On that same general note; I was on exchange in the Korean work on Tuesday and we taught this guy in a McDonald’s and while I didn’t understand about 99% of the lesson, I totally felt the spirit! The Elders I was with are fairly new, so our investigator had a concern with the Book of Mormon that they didn’t fully know how to resolve. So they explained what was going on to me in English, and I had Elder Kim (a native Korean speaker thank goodness!) translate what I said into Korean. Turns out what I said is exactly what he needed to hear, because at the end of my response I asked him if he would be baptized on November 29th and after a pause, he said yes! Total miracle; God is real; hands down one of the most miraculous experiences of my mission.

 

We taught another friend from Ghana some more this week. He fell out of a four story window about 3-4 years ago and destroyed his legs, so he has had a lot of surgeries on them since then. He was recovering from one he had about a month ago and hasn’t really been able to leave his house since, so we have been able to come over multiple times a week to teach him! That was great while it lasted… but now he is regaining his ability to walk and is almost never home, so teaching him has been rough! I almost just want to go over and break his knees……. but that wouldn’t be very fitting for a servant of the Lord! So we’ve just been trying to meet with him and the one solid lesson we had with him this week went super good! We read 2 Nephi 2 with him because he was super into the “Original Sin” doctrine, and we cleared it up pretty well! He is awesome, and hopefully we can get him and his whole family baptized in December!

Well those are some of the highlights of my week! On more of a spiritual note, I read Elder Jörg Klebingat’s talk “Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence” this morning and it sums up what I have been learning about being happy over the last few weeks. These two paragraphs were some of my favorites:

“Whenever the adversary cannot persuade imperfect yet striving Saints such as you to abandon your belief in a personal and loving God, he employs a vicious campaign to put as much distance as possible between you and God. The adversary knows that faith in Christ—the kind of faith that produces a steady stream of tender mercies and even mighty miracles—goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right. For that reason he will seek access to your heart to tell you lies—lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of that same evil theme.

As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can’t approach the throne of God with real confidence. Whatever you do, whatever you pray for, whatever hopes for a miracle you may have, there will always be just enough self-doubt chipping away at your faith—not only your faith in God but also your confidence in yourself. Living the gospel in this manner is no fun, nor is it very healthy. Above all, it is completely unnecessary! The decision to change is yours—and yours alone.”

Love it!

My Brothers and Sisters, friends and family; I want to bear my testimony to you that as you more fully understand and utilize the Atonement in your life, you can be more happy and confident in your life as you rely upon the merits of him who is Mighty to save. Seek to understand the words of Christ as they are used in the scriptures; I promise you that as you more fully understand your relationship with God, your purpose here on the Earth and where joy really comes from, you can obtain that everlasting joy and happiness promised to us by our Savior, Jesus Christ. I love all of you! I love the gospel so much! Have a wonderful week everyone, may the Spirit of the Lord be with every single one of you. Talk to you all later!

–Elder Rushton The Third

Another Week of the Crazies!

Elder Skyler Rushton and Elder Sly

Elder Rushton and Elder Sly

Hello everyone! So I don’t have a ton of time left today, so this weeks’ e-mail will be shorter than others. We helped a member of the ward move a bunch of heavy furniture out of a house this morning because to him it was our “day off”, and we are going back to finish up after e-mailing. Bye bye to P-day! But it’s alright because we didn’t really know what we wanted to do all day anyways. P-days on transit are rough sometimes because you spend half the day traveling. But being on transit, you sure meet the craziest people!

This week, I had a “donair” for the first time! I would describe it as a Middle Eastern burrito or something, but it was super good! The owner was from Iran, and he sure knew what he was doing! Later that day though, we met a super intense Muslim guy. He said the typical things like, “God doesn’t need a Son. The bible isn’t true because there is some CRAZY stuff in there! And Jesus was just a prophet.” We had a pretty intense conversation, and during the whole thing I kept remembering what one of our less-active members had said earlier in the week, “Muslims in Saudi Arabia LOVE to cut off hands! That is the penalty for getting caught stealing, and shop owners will intentionally leave their shops unlocked while they go to pray just so they can catch a thief and cut off his hand!” Not sure why I kept thinking that… But anyways; I brought up the Book of Mormon, modern day prophets and receiving revelation from God through prayer, and he ended up just walking away ha-ha. Oh well.

But then another crazy Catholic guy we ran into later in the week (who used to be a Muslim actually!) told me something that I want to try next time: The angel Gabriel is the one who appeared to Mary and told her she would conceive the SON of God; the Muslim’s also believe that Gabriel appeared to Muhammad and had him write the Koran. Conclusion? They believe that what the angel Gabriel says is scripture, so if he said THAT to Mary, then Christianity must be true. That’s why he became Catholic apparently. So, I’ll keep that for future reference!

We ran into one of our Christian friends from Iraq again on the bus, and when we got off we had a good 45 minute lesson with him on the street. He decided that if he couldn’t convince us the Book of Mormon was false, and then he would try to prove everything else we believed was false. Like the law of Tithing, Sabbath day worship and the word of wisdom. I was thankful that I had read most of the Old Testament prior to that encounter, because I’m pretty sure every scripture I used was out of Leviticus ha-ha. By the end of our “discussion”, he finally gave us his number and we’re going to see him again this week! Have miracles ceased? I say unto you, nay. (Side Note: “Nay” means “Yes” in Korean, so when I used that phrase the other day around them, they just laughed at it ha-ha. Good times with those foreign language missionaries!)

On Tuesday, we were on exchange with the Korean Elders and I got to have dinner at a Korean member’s house! It was awesome!! I’ve gotten pretty good with chop sticks on my mission, so I didn’t embarrass myself too much in that regard, but when it came to the conversation… Ha-ha, they just kept laughing at me because I had NO idea what they were saying ha-ha! It was a good time. They also fed us Oreo birthday cake ice cream for dessert! Man that was good stuff!

 

Well there are a couple highlights from my week! I also learned that John Beck (former BYU quarterback) plays for the BC Lions now, so that was pretty cool. Its drier now, but starting to get much colder up here! The humidity makes it very different from Utah cold, but it could be worse; I could be up North!! Have a great week everyone! I love you all so much! The gospel is so true!!!! Talk to you all next week!

 

–Elder Rushton The Third

What do Koreans, Chili and Halloween Have in Common?

Elder Skyler Rushton Scripture

Skyler’s Weekly Scripture

Hello everyone! This week flew by and I learned something new this week: In British Columbia, it is a tradition to shoot off fireworks on Halloween! So on Halloween, we had to go in at 6:00 to weekly plan and the whole time we were inside, it sounded like the Revolutionary war outside! Tons of bottle rockets, firecrackers and things of that nature. The days before and after Halloween, there were teenage kids all around New West blowing stuff up with fireworks too. It almost made me wish I grew up here ha-ha! A member brought us some pizza while we were planning and we got some leftover Halloween candy from the ward on Sunday. Another successful missionary Halloween if you ask me!

So, what do Koreans, Chili and Halloween all have in common?? Well, this week I got to go on an exchange with the Korean Elders, and we had a Halloween chili cook-off on Wednesday! The missionaries got to judge the chili too; that was definitely the best part! I got to help teach an English class Tuesday to Korean people, and that was a lot of fun! It would be hard to learn English if you only knew Korean. I say that because I’ve been trying to learn some Korean when I’m with those Elders and holy cow that is a TOUGH language! Easy to read, but hard to pronounce and get the grammar right. During language study with them, I finally gave up on Korean and read the Book of Mormon in Spanish instead. That was MUCH easier ha-ha!

On Saturday, we had a surprise wedding with a Less Active and an Investigator! I say it was a surprise, because they didn’t tell anyone that it was going on until the week of, they wanted to use the chapel, and they expected Bishop to be the one to marry them! It was pretty hectic for a couple days ha-ha. But miraculously enough, everything worked out pretty well and the wedding went off without a hitch! There were only about 20 they had invited, so it was pretty low-key. We helped set up and take down with another member of the Bishopric, and the Bishop was able to get an hour off of work on Saturday to come and marry them! Turns out miracles have NOT ceased!

This week we had a surprise zone conference with an even bigger surprise… President Burt had snagged a copy of “Meet The Mormons” at his mission president’s seminar and we got to watch it!!! It was super good! I was really surprised actually because I wasn’t expecting much, but it turned out really well! I definitely recommend it. I finished the Book of Mormon again this week too, and it turns out… That it is still true haha!! The way I understand the scriptures has changed SO MUCH since I’ve been on my mission. Every time I read them they get better and better! If you just want to feel “good” and need a pick me up, just go read the scriptures! They’re awesome!

We taught two awesome investigators this week; They are from Ghana, and from Honduras. We had our first real lesson with one of them last night, and he committed to get baptized and the way I see it, he’s as golden as it gets! He even went to a church and picked up pass-along cards that he uses as book marks! Awesome guy.

The other investigator has been meeting with missionaries for a while following an accident he had where he fell out of a fourth story window and destroyed his legs. That was four years ago, and he finally had his last surgery and moved back to his house here in New West. So we just started teaching them, but they are golden as well. They love us to death and every time we go over there, they feed us so much food I feel like I’m going to explode!! Immanuel just regained his ability to walk and he is finally down to get baptized! He was super humbled by his accident, and he and his family are just great!

Well that’s about it for this week everyone! It has rained every day and the forecast for this next week is… More rain!!! Yay!! Ha-ha, so hopefully this week goes well too. I love all of you, and I hope you all have a spectacular week!

–Elder Rushton The Third

Skyler has been home this long-

  • Skyler has been home for:
    2 years, 4 months, 12 days, 4 hours, 5 minutes, 17 seconds ago