Christmas Call with Erik 12-25-2011

Elder Rushton and Elder Erickson Christmas Card Picture

Erik called us about 4 PM our time and what a wonderful Christmas Present!  We put him on the speaker phone and recorded the whole call with the Family.

Since Elder Erickson went home last week, Erik has been serving with Elder Gonzalez, another missionary that has been out about 4 months.  He speaks Spanish so they have been doing alot with the Spanish investigators and even had a baptism on Christmas Eve! (See Erik’s post about the details)  The font takes about 6 hours to fill all the way so they had to get to the Stake Center at 4:45 in the morning!

He has a small 3 foot Christmas tree they found in the closet and he had to so some repair work on it. He also got the small one we sent him.  He’s been eating alot of Ham at all the member’s houses and lots of yummy food they all give him.

He spend Christmas Eve with a family that spoke both English and Spanish fluently so they had tomales and ham for dinner and then went home with about 20 gifts to open on Christmas which included new socks! He also inherited a bunch of ties and white shirts from other Missionaries that have gone home.

He really liked the 12 days of Christmas stuff we sent with treats and a gift to open every day.

He is getting a new companion today and he will be the trainer!  He said there were 11 new Missionaries coming in!He was the Temporary District leader after Elder Erickson left, but he is ok with giving up that responsibility to be a trainer.  🙂

We learned from Erik that if they are teaching a family and it’s time for “Jeopardy”–the show that everyone in Michigan loves– then the visit is over!  (Pretty funny)

In his apartment building they have some really good neighbors.  Fed Ex leaves his packages with one of them and an Asian family gives them a good deal on food at their nearby restaurant.

He thinks that he will be coming home in June or July of 2013 although we are not counting the days yet–it’s just nice to know when it will be. Austin will probably leave on his mission in the Spring before Erik gets home but we knew that would happen.

All the roads except 2 in Romeo are dirt so they don’t wash the car and don’t ride bikes because the homes are all about 10 minutes away from each other out in the country.  They are going to try tracting again in town now that he is getting a new companion -they can retry some of the areas that Elder Erickson did before Erik arrived. The weather has been good, no snow and warmer than usual  like it has been in Utah.

He is healthy, sleeping well, and eating good–all the things mom’s worry about.  Matt asked him about being homesick and he said he had been a little over Christmas, but the letters really help.

We are so proud of him and that 2 hour phone call felt like 10 minutes!

Grandpa and Grandma weeks came over and got to talk to him as well.

We are thankful our missionary is safe, happy and doing so well!

Thanks for all your prayers!

Happy New Year!

A Baptism on Christmas Eve

It was sweet to talk to you guys on the phone yesterday! Everyone all morning has been asking us how fun it was to call our families. After I called you guys last night we went over to Emilio’s for some turkey and just hung out over there for an hour.

So yesterday I found out that I’m training! I’m pretty excited. I have to be clear out in Livonia though by 9:30 which neither I nor Elder Gonzales is happy about. Livonia is about an hour drive from our apartment. Pres. Holmes thanked me for being District Leader for a week too but he’s giving that position to someone else now so I can focus on training. But I’m ok with that.

We got to play some basketball this morning at the church which was fun. There were 12 people there so we split in to teams of 4 each and rotated teams every game. It was wild though because 4 of the guys there were from Pontiac and we played some backyard ghetto basketball. It was really fun. At one point I got stuck guarding a guy who was 6-4 and he totally schooled me—haha.

The baptism on Saturday was really awesome! When you get someone to accept to be baptized it really makes you feel like you’ve done your missionary duty.  The Rochester ward took care of everything for us this time which was sweet. The only thing Elder Gonzales and I had to do was schedule the baptism interview, and start the font at 4:45 in the morning. It was really cool to have a baptism on Christmas Eve and then have her confirmed on Christmas day. She was a little nervous because she didn’t know there was going to be so many people at church on Sunday. (Because it was Christmas) With both wards and a branch combined there was about 300 people there. But it was still a good baptism.

I don’t really know what else to write since I just talked to you guys yesterday– haha. I guess it’s been fun hanging out in Pontiac for a week. It reminded me of all the fun time I had in the Detroit Ghetto. Pontiac looks a lot like Detroit, but the crime isn’t as bad. We spent some time in Rochester Hills last week too and they had a really cool Christmas display on main st. Every single store had strands of lights all down the walls. It reminded me a lot of the house in Christmas vacation!

Well I’m pretty much out of time. Thanks for all the letters and Christmas presents! I was a little homesick during the Christmas season (which is understandable I guess) but the gifts and letters made home feel not so far away. Thanks for everything, and have a great week!

-Love Erik

New Companion 12-19-2011

We picked up my temporary companion Elder Gonzalez last night. We’ll be companions until the 27th when we’ll both get new companions. He’s a pretty cool guy from Puerto Rico and is a native Spanish speaker so we’re going to through the Mexican town of Romeo. We have to cover 2 areas though so we’re going to be driving a lot this week.

We picked up out new Ford Fusion on Wednesday too. It’s a pretty cool car. We named her Faquita because she’s a white car with a black personality. And because she’s from Detroit.

We had a weird experience we had last Saturday.  Elder Erickson and I were about to go tracting so we picked a street we had never been to before. We knocked on the first house and a lady opened it and said “boys! Come on in!”   That never happens so we were kind of hesitant but we decided to anyway. As soon as we walked in we noticed the house was packed with women and they all cheered when we walked in and started singing Christmas songs. Apparently they were having a Christmas Cookie Exchange (they’re all the rage in Michigan). So they started loading us up with food and cookies to take home with us, and then all of them started asking questions about are religion ALL AT ONCE. Imagine how fast women talk to each other, and then imagine Elder Erickson and me talking to 5 each all at once. It was crazy!!

Everyone has wanted to have us come by so Elder Erickson can say goodbye. It’s been an interesting experience being with a missionary who’s going home.  I am ready to take over this area though and lead.. Plus, since I have Elder Gonzalez for a week, we’re going to be seeing a lot of Spanish families! And I guess his area has a baptism scheduled for this Saturday so now we have to work that out too.

-Love you guys

12/12/2011 Last Week with Elder Erickson

This is Erik’s Companion’s last week in the field before he returns home to Bluffdale Utah!  They have really liked working together so it’s going to be hard until we know who his new companion will be!

Next Monday Elder Erickson leaves and I’ll be left without a companion for a week.  I’m moving to Rochester Michigan for a week to work with Elder Gonzolez until I get a new companion on the 27th.  Then I’ll most likely go back to Romeo.  I’ll get you the apartment address before then.

This week we got stopped by a cop who told us we had to register with the Township (in Michigan they have cities and townships) to knock on people’s doors. We left the area but we called Pres. Holmes and he told us that was FALSE. I guess the Jehova’s Witnesses fought a battle in the Supreme Court and got a law passed that says Missionaries are not Solicitors. So at least the JW’s did one thing for me I like.

Regarding Sports—The Lions are getting fined all over the place now too! Everyone says they need to stop playing like they’re from Detroit.

 Not too much happened this week. We had our branch Christmas party on Saturday and it was pretty fun. We had a lot of less actives show up and were able to get a couple of investigators there as well. We had a pretty fun white elephant activity but I think I wrapped the best gift – 2 potatoes and some tic tacs. It was pretty funny when a little 12 year old girl opened it and went “Potatoes and tic tacs!?!”

We went to the temple on Thursday and that was pretty cool. The Detroit one is really small. I mean REALLY SMALL. Even the picture of it looks about twice as big as it actually is. It probably wasn’t much bigger than our stake center at home. It was still really pretty though. Bro. Robertson drove us there and then on the way home he drove us through the GM technical center. We couldn’t go inside any of the buildings, but it was still cool seeing the test tracks and wind tunnels.  Even if they were GM.

We’re getting a new car on Wednesday and I’m pretty excited. The dirt roads of Michigan really beat up your car and our Malibu’s tires are pretty bald which makes me nervous. So I’m glad we’re getting the new 2012 Ford Fusion. Plus I’ll be the driver so I’m pretty excited!

Tell everyone in the ward thanks for the Christmas cards. It’s nice to get a taste of home. If you get a chance too tell everyone in the Singles ward thanks for their Christmas letter too. Oh and congratulate Andrew Law for me too! (on his mission call )

Tell Alexa I’m working on naming her puppy and sending her card back. (Alexa sent him a puppy Christmas card and asked Erik to name it) I just didn’t have a big enough envelope for it! Oh and thanks for the family cards everyone but I think Sky’s Hanukkah card was the funniest.

Well, hope everyone is doing well and getting ready for Christmas. I’ll try and get out a hand written letter today if I get a chance.

Tell everyone Hi from me!


12/5/2011 Letter from Erik

This week was pretty great. One of our investigators was able to get out of the hospital again and he came to church. We also put him on a soft baptismal date and he’s going to work toward it. It was really great to be able to teach him again.

We also have been teaching one of Emilio’s friends more lately. She has been involved with the church for a long time and goes to a lot of young women’s activities. It’s hard to meet with her though because her family doesn’t like us over so lately we’ve been teaching her at Emilio’s house.

We had a good lesson last night though with a Spanish couple. They asked us if we believe in the Virgin Mary and we of course went through the whole discussion of how we believe she was called of God but we don’t worship her. He they went on the normal Catholic tirade of how you have to pray to Jesus through Mary and what not. Then Adrian, our member from Mexico, totally backed him into a corner. He said ‘When you get sick, do you call the doctor or his mom?’ He responded ‘Well the doctor because his mom isn’t a trained medical professional.’ Then Adrian said ‘Which is why we worship Jesus because he’s the one that died for our sins.’ It was a pretty sweet example and then they totally threw down on the Catholic church because she’s always believed you don’t need to worship anybody but God and Jesus. So hopefully they go somewhere.

We did run into a tricky question this week. We were tracting a road and a lady told us we need to leave because the road was marked ‘Private Property’ and she would call the police. We usually don’t pay attention to those signs because half the roads in Romeo are marked ‘Private Property’ and nobody’s ever said that to us before. I know that by law we aren’t labeled as Solicitors so we don’t have to follow ‘No Soliciting’ signs, but we’re going to ask Pres. Holmes about roads marked ‘Private Property.’

Other than that not to much has happened this week. Thanks for sending the packages and letters. Tell everyone at home ‘hi’ for me!