Picture sent via Detroit Member on Halloween!

Erik Halloween 2010

Celebrating in Detroit Halloween 2010

We got this sent to us on Halloween directly from a member in Detroit!  Looks like they are enjoying themselves!  Elder Erickson is to the left of Erik–that is his Companion.

We shipped Erik’s Acoustic Guitar to him this week since he got permission to get one so he can play hymns at a baptism.  We will find out if he got it on Monday  (Pday)

Family Letter Oct 18th, 2010

Dear Family,

So I ended up not getting a guitar again.  (Erik was given permission to find a guitar so he could play hymns at baptisms)  There were no music shops that we could find in Detroit! Downtown Detroit is just as bleak and gloomy as where I’m stationed.  You can tell that the entire city is just poor and rundown.  So overall our trip downtown wasn’t too exciting.  But then again, I bet it would be funner if it was warmer and if we had a car.  Detroit isn’t like Las Vegas where you can just walk everywhere so see stuff.  Plus it probably would’ve been funner if we would have had more time to spend down there and alot of that time was spent riding the bus. 

We spent most of our time today in the GM building.  It was a pretty cool building and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen that many white people in one place.  I got my picture taken next to a camaro and a corvette.  We also got to look across the river at Canada there too.  We ate at a place called Nikki’s pizza that was pretty good.  I’ve never had lamb on pizza but it was pretty good.  I go some cool pictures of some statues too. 

We really didn’t have much time to do anything downtown today.  I’d like to come back one day after my mission and really check everything out.  Transfers are coming up on November 2nd and I’m hoping not to be transferred but it may happen.  I really hope I don’t get transferred though because I want to stay until Dorothy gets baptized on the 13th of November.  She’s all set and ready to go.  We were going to baptize her on October 30th, but she had to get surgery this week and won’t be able to get baptized for 3 weeks–I guess we will wait.

Love Elder Rushton

Email from Erik Oct 18th, 2010

We had another tough week. We’re dropping 6 of our investigators this week because they are not progressing. They only really good lessons we had this week were with Kenyatta and with an 18 year old kid named Jeremiah. 

Kenyatta’s lesson went really well. He took us into his library and showed us all of his religious books and that was really cool. He has a copy of the Egyptian Book Of The Dead so I got to thumb through that and it was really cool. We didn’t have a lot of time to teach him but we started into the plan of salvation and he was really liking that. So this Wednesday we’re going to go more in depth with it. Those plan of salvation cards that mom gave me are AWESOME. They make it so much easier to teach. 

Last night we taught Jeremiah and had a good lesson with him about baptism. We took the senior missionary couple that’s assigned to our branch with us and they loved teaching him. 

The senior missionary couple that we work with are the Hoopes’ and their really sweet. They’ve been out as long as I have. They have a blog as well and I think there will be some pictures of me coming up on it so you’ll have to check it out. It’s – motorcitymissionaries.blogspot.com . I’m not allowed to look at it so you guys will have to tell me how it is.

 Other than that it’s just been same old same old. I sent out more journal pages today so you guys should get them soon. They explain a little more. Tell Alexa thanks for the pictures!

We asked Erik about how Detroit handles Halloween Night:  We’ve seen a lot of burned down houses out here and there are a lot of abandoned ones too. We heard that they set a curfew at 6:00 and a big police patrol guards all of the abandoned houses. It sounds like it gets pretty intense.

Below is what the other couple wrote on their blog about Erik and his companion, Elder Erickson.   Pretty neat!

This evening the missionaries invited us to a teaching appointment and we loved it! Elder Erickson is the taller from Sandy UT and Elder Rushton from Pleasant Grove UT. They both spoke in Church today and gave amazing talks. Elder Rushton who has only been here for five weeks, spoke of keeping our baptism covenants. Elder Erickson spoke of the good guilt which brings one to repentance and the guilt from the advisary which causes one to feel hopeless and unworthy for baptism. Both gave excellent and spiritual messages. These two Elders were also in the picture at the Palmer Park Ward on the day of Conference. We are grateful to serve with and learn from these young Elders.

The picture with me & the Elders shows pictures of Christ on their bikes. They do that to thwart any who would want to steal their bikes. They also keep their car clean and keep pictures of Christ on the dash board for the same reason. When the car does not have things piled up it is not so inticing to break in to.

Journal Entries Oct 5-8th 2010

Erik's Church In Detroit

Erik's Church In Detroit

Oct 5th, 2010 Tuesday

We have exchanges with the zone leaders tomorrow. I’ll be going with one of them and staying in a new area of Michigan for 24 hours.  I’m a little nervous because I’ve never met this missionary before and I’ll be teaching people that I’ve never met. My companion says not to worry though.  He says I’m the best missionary he’s trained so far and that he’s surprised how fast I got used to the mission field.  So that’s comforting. 

Detroit Story:

Last night we biked past a house that was completely in flames.  The fire department was just barely getting there to put it out as we biked past.   It was pretty intense.

Oct 7th, 2010

Exchanges were pretty fun. I went and stayed a night with Elder Bowler in Canton Michigan…Canton is kind of like Pleasant Grove.  It is much richer than Detroit.  It was weird seeing so many white people—ha ha!  We taught a few lessons and did a lot of tracting.  Everyone out there has jobs though so we didn’t get a lot of answers.  I got back to my area about 4PM and my companion and I did some teaching.  It was a rough day.  We only ended up teaching one investigator and she’s different.    She basically believes she’s a Prophet and receives revelation for people and she’s just very hard to teach.  She also believes that the Holy Spirit causes her to have an outburst in another language so we will be teaching her a lesson and she will randomly shout out something in gibberish.  It’s very frustrating.  Hopefully tomorrow we’ll have some good lessons.

Story from Detroit:   Have you ever seen an ambulance with chrome rims?  I have now!

Oct 8th, 2010

Just another good ol’ day in Detroit.  I learned a new gang handshake.  We met a kid from the Plymouth –or P-Rock Gang and he taught us their handshake.  We got another one of our investigators on a baptism date.  Her name is Ariel and she is pretty much set to be baptized on Nov 13th.  She wants us to start teaching her fiancé too so that their daughter will grow up in a church going family.  So that was pretty exciting.  Other than that, it was just the same old lesson—teaching and tracting all day.

Detroit Story:

We get stopped about 3 times a day by people who want to pray with us.  And then after the prayer they ask us for money.  I’ve stopped carrying any at all.

Note:  We asked Erik if he and his companion had gotten into any arguments with anyone or been robbed yet: (Mom’s biggest worry!)–His response was: We get in arguments with the Jehova Witnesses a lot.  There is a big Islam population in Detroit too and they argue with us sometimes.  But I haven’t been robbed yet!

Email from Erik Oct 11th

Week 3 in Detroit was tough.

We started off the week great and had nine lessons in one day! But just when we started thinking how awesome this week was going to be, that’s when everything started going wrong. All of our appointments started getting canceled. People would call us ten minutes before we had them scheduled and they would cancel. So we ended up doing a lot of tracting this week. On Wednesday we only taught two lessons; on Thursday we taught 1; on Friday, Saturday and  Sunday we taught a whopping zero.

Last night we had to break up a domestic dispute between one of our investigators and his mom. Since when did I become a family counselor?

Also last night my companion got a flat tire and we ended up having to walk home in the dark through one of the more dangerous parts of our areas. That was exciting.

I never realized how sheltered we really are in Utah. Detroit is really…. bad… ha ha. All we have to worry about in Utah is having the cops tell us to turn our music down. In Detroit, it takes the cops 40 minutes to respond to a break in call. It’s crazy out here. I’ll just put it that way.

Well it was a tough week but it can only go up from here. Hope you’re all doing well.

-Elder Erik Rushton

Another Letter today! It feels like Christmas!

Elders in Detroit

When we checked the mail today we were so excited!  Yes, another letter from Erik this week!  It is so awesome!  Now I know why parents always say how great it is to hear from their Missionaries!

Oct 4th Monday

Dear Family,

I ran out of time to write a long email home on p-day (today)  We had to take a survey from our Mission President that took a long time to complete.

Things here in Detroit have been going GREAT!  We have been having some great lessons and have been teaching TONS of people.  Last week, we taught 17 lessons which is a lot for our area.  We got that many lessons in 5 days because we couldn’t teach on Saturday or Sunday with General Conference on.  We got 2 new investigators last week too and I am very excited about them.  One of them is Kenyata which I think I already wrote home about him. He is a great guy that was really impressed with the Book of Mormon.  He couldn’t believe it had only been translated 1 time.  Every time we study with him, he pulls out 4 different copies of the Bible that he studies from.  He says he likes King James the best though which is good. 

I’m sending home some pictures for you guys in this letter.  I don’t have any from Detroit yet-next week I will.  Notice my bike has a light on the front which I duct taped it on! 

We also sent Erik another question and answer form so he could fill in the blanks:

The best thing about my companion–Elder Erickson knows how to answer every question people throw at us and he knows the Bible REALLY WELL!

My favorite breakfast:  French Toast and Apple Juice–Michigan has tons of apple orchards and so every Sept all the stores start selling un-pasturized apple juice–it’s the BEST!

But most of the time we eat–Cereal, yogurt, scrambled eggs, homemade breakfast burritos

My favorite lunch is….food!   But we eat mac and cheese, nachos, and sandwiches on a normal day.

My favorite dinner is tacos, pizza, and enchiladas, but we eat chicken, beef tenders and all the cheap meat.

I wish I had more—-REAL mexican food to eat and less cheese wiz type mexican.

I can’t find any watermelon sour patch kids and granola bars so please send some!

The best spiritual experience I had so far this week was:  One of our investigators, Dorothy Johnson, agreed to be baptized on October 30th and is the only one of our investigators that is FULLY committed.  I can’t begin to explain how AWESOME is feels to see someone’s life change like hers and to know I was a part of it. 

My spiritual scale from 1-10 this week is 10!!  Conference was awesome and all of our appointments this week were great!

How would you describe the area you are in now?  As my companion put it, “Everytime we go into someone’s house I feel like we’re in an episode of Cops!”

I feel the spirit of the Lord the most when ITeach  If we can get the investigator focused, the spirit teaches.

My favorite scripture this week is: Alma 32.  We read this chapter with investigators and less actives ALOT!  It’s an awesome chapter about exercising faith in every gospel principle. I encourage everyone to read it for family home evening.

Love you all!  Elder Erik Rushton

Dear Family…..from Erik Sept 28th-30th

Sept 28th

 It was just business as usual today.  Like usual, all of our appointments fell through this morning and nobody answered their doors while we were tracting.  It rained all day until around 5.  We got so soaking wet!  Tracting in the rain and biking in the rain was even worse.  My pants were soaked straight through.  We took our lunch break at 3 PM and changed into dry clothes.  Luckily the pants I have dry-out pretty quick so they should be dry by tomorrow. 

Sept 29th

We taught Kenyata today. Kenyata is the guy that just randomly walked into our church on Sunday.  He was very knowledgeable about all religions.  He’s already read the first book of Nephi, some of D & C and all of the Book of Moses.  It was great having a discussion with him because he was so open to learning about our gospel and had a lot of questions.  We set a return appointment with him because he was very interested.   So it’s official!  I finally have my very first investigator that I found!  Up until now I’ve only been teaching investigators that other missionaries found.

Sept 30th

Tomorrow is my 1 month mark!  I can’t believe I’ve already been gone that long!  Well, I don’t have much to write today. It was just a normal day of tracting and teachings but I figured I would answer some of your letters.

Dad, I haven’t seen of downtown Detroit yet.  We are planning on going downtown on our next prep day.  I’ll be sure to take a bunch of pictures.  Our Church is very small and it’s in a building that the LDS church bought from the Jehovah Witnesses.  There is no chapel, only an “Assembly Room” and only about 5 classrooms.  We are the Grand River Branch.  Our area is pretty big.  We ride our bikes about 15-20  miles a day and one day we actually rode about 30 miles.  I’ll take a picture of our maps so you can see our area.

We ride our bikes 90% of the time.  We have a car to use but we only take it to church, District meetings and any meetings the Mission President calls us too.  We will be taking the bus when we go downtown on Monday. The members of the church have warned us though to never take the bus at night.  We didn’t ask why…..

It sounds like BYU is doing awful.  BYU better beat Utah State or I’ll never hear the end of it from my companion.   

Mom, here is my typical day.

6:30 AM Wake up, exercise, pray
7:00 AM Shower, dress, eat breakfast
8:00 AM Personal Study
9:00AM Companion Study
10:00 AM Leave to go tracting, teach, etc.
3:00 PM Return to apartment for lunch, eat, short nap
5:00 PM Leave to go teaching
9:00PM Return to apartment for planning for the next day
9:30PM Personal time–eat, journal writing, shower etc.
10:30PM Bedtime.  I never thought I would be exhausted by 10:30PM!!

Love Elder Erik Rushton

Letters from Erik Sept 24th-27th,2010

This week we hit the jackpot and got 2 letters !!  We sent a form letter to him to fill in the blanks and to circle answers and we found this worked really great! 

In response to our questions —he said the flight to Detroit from SLC was long and boring.  He misses Chalula sauce (all they have in Detroit he could find was “Franks Red Hot” hot sauce and he didn’t like it. )(so …..I sent him some today)  I think this might mean he is eating ramen noodles–he used to put this sauce on them at home.

When choosing a word for the weather there Erik said:   The weather is weird–Detroit went through an indian summer and now it’s starting to get cold. 

His companion, Elder Parker Erickson from Bluffdale Utah has been in Michigan for 9 months.  He really likes him because he is spiritual, strong in the gospel, determined, nice and smart.

The best thing so far?  Being in the poor part of town—-The worst thing so far? Being in the poor part of town

His favorite scripture right now is 1st Nephi 3:7  (because with God all things are possible)

9/24/2010 Excerpts from his letter:  Well I’ve been here for a few days.  Not much has happened though.  Everyone keeps canceling their appointments and we haven’t had success anywhere.  We keep running into weird people at all of our investigators houses.  It’s like someone’s brother will show up right in the middle of a lesson and totally throw everything off.

We took one of our investigators to a fireside with us and that was pretty cool.  His name is Glen  and he is a pretty cool guy.  I guess that he just barely started meeting with the missionaries but he has been reading the Book of Mormon everyday.  He was asking me questions throughout the fireside and it was really cool to be able to answer him.  If he comes to church this Sunday, we will probably ask him to be baptized when when we teach him the next lesson. 

Story from Detroit:  I heard gunshots for the second time today. They’re always really distant but you can tell it’s a gun.  My companion told me that most of that stuff happens on the East side of Detroit.  All of the gangsters live on the West side but do their dirty work on the East side.

9/25/2010  The day started out crappy like usual.  Everyone canceled their appointments except for Charles.  We had to stop teaching Charles though because he’s been meeting with missionaries for a month now and hasn’t progressed at all.  So unless he shows up at church tomorrow, we’re going to have to quit meeting with him.

We got one great lesson in today and I really  needed that confidence boost.  We met with Jeremiah, Tyree and Phil.  They are about 20 years old and really cool guys.  We taught them all about Christ and the Book of Mormon and then committed them to baptism!  Next time we meet we will put them on a baptism date and then it’s just a matter of teaching them the lessons.  They should be baptized around the end of October.

Story from Detroit:I saw a squirrel get run over today.  It was gross!  I heard gun shots last  night around 2 AM. They were pretty far away but still close enough to wake me up.

Sept 26th: We had church today.  Our branch is only about 25 members.  It’s so small that it’s not even a ward, it’s a branch.  Two of our investigators showed up which was kind of disappointing because we had about 12 say they were coming.  I sat with one of our investigators that is kind of weird.  She believes that when she feels the spirit she can speak in the gift of tongues.  (But really all she is speaking is gibberish)  She’s been very hard to teach because of all the different things she believes in. 

There was one really cool thing that happened today at church.  We met a guy with really cool dreadlocks named Kenyata.  He just wandered in and sat down for the service.  Nobody knew who he was so my companion and I went and talked to him after church.  We found out he was a college professor and was doing some religion hunting.  He saw us out tracting the other day and then decided he would come to our service.  He was very interested in the Book of Mormon and we set up an appointment with him.  He could very well be a new investigator by the end of next week.

After church we went and taught Sister Lockhart.  She’s been inactive for awhile so the missionaries drop by to talk to her from time to time.  We had the best lesson that I’ve had so far!  It was amazing!  She really opened up to us and told us that she picked up a cigarette about two weeks ago and felt horrible about it.  So we taught her all about the gospel of repentance and forgiving ourselves and we ended up having a great discussion.  We’re going back to her house next Sunday for General Conference. 

Detroit Story:  I saw a Cadillac today that had 30 inch chrome rims, hydraulics and a really bassy stereo.  It was wild watching it move up and down.

9/27/2010 Detroit has been an alright place so far.  Very poor though as you’ve probably seen from google maps.  We don’t do too much tracting around our apartment.  We usually only tract when one of our appointments falls through so we end up tracting by where our next appointment is scheduled.  I don’t think I will ever be a door to door salesman!

My companion tells me it’s pretty safe here.  He’s only been robbed once and that’s because he ignored a prompting from the Holy Ghost.  He said that as long as you listen to your feelings, you’ll be ok.  The gangs don’t mess with us.  We’re actually teaching a kid right now who is a member of the 6-mile gang.  As long as you put a picture of Jesus on something, it won’t get stolen.  We have a picture of Jesus on our car, our bikes and our apartment door.  My companion said that sometimes our apartment complex gets broken into, but nobody messes with ours because we have Jesus on the front door!  But like I said, there haven’t been any incidents involving missionaries.  I guess if it was truly unsafe, our Mission President would make us move.

Love you all!  Elder Erik Rushton