Balloon Fest June 25th, 2012

Erik At Howell Ballon Festival

Erik At Howell Balloon Festival 2012

So probably the biggest event that went on this week was Balloon fest. I only took a few pictures of it because I didn’t want to look like a tourist, but I’ll be sure and send them home. There were TONS of people at this thing. Like if you took all the people that attend Strawberry days events and made them all go on the same day, that’s how many people were at balloon fest. Main street was empty and lots of stores actually closed because nobody was shopping, they were all at the high school.

Parking was insane. Luckily because we’re missionaries we were able to park at our church which was only a few blocks away from the high school. We had talked to a member of the ward who was on the committee that put together balloon fest about what we could and couldn’t do as missionaries there. He told us we weren’t allowed to just hand out cards, but we could walk the festival grounds and if people talked to us we could share the gospel or whatever we wanted with them. We ended up seeing a lot of members there and they introduced us to their friends. We also had a lot of people approach us from different wards. It was cool because EVERYONE was watching us. I think it was a pretty awesome publicity move and hopefully it makes people more open to listening to the missionaries when we knock on their door. We also ended up opening the church parking lot for public parking. We had a lot of people park there because we were the only parking lot out of all the churches schools and fields that didn’t charge for parking. But we did leave pass along cards on windshields and passed out pamphlets and stuff at the front of the church.

Other than that, our week was pretty much business as usual. The weather here has been absolutely horrible. Upper 90s with 90% humidity almost all last week. I’ve just gotten used to being sweaty and sticky all the time. This week I’m kind of missing Utah –the weather sucks, there’s no mountains, skiing would be  a joke because the tallest “hill” they have is shorter than the bunny hill at Brighton, the roads are horrible–which is ironic since Michigan is the auto capital of the world, and the crime rate is ridiculous. I do like the Michigan community programs and the festivals are really well done and there are a ton of them.

Other fun news this week, it turns out that GM put out a recall on the 2012 Chevy Cruze we drive so now we have to get that taken care of. I had to call the dealer and find out what was wrong. Nothing major, they’re just replacing a shield at the bottom of the engine that will make it so when we change the oil, it won’t get all over the car. But on top of that, our front brakes are making a weird squeaking noise that sounds like we’re running over a puppy whenever we stop. The car only has 5000 miles on it!! But I guess I shouldn’t expect anything more out of a GM car –haha. But in all reality I like the Cruze a lot. It has been my favorite of the mission cars by far.

We’ve been having more and more help from members in the ward recently. Elder Mayfield and I set a goal to have a member with us at every investigator lesson we have. It has been paying off so far. Our investigators are getting good fellowship with people in the ward and the members in turn are feeling more involved in the work. Last Sunday we had maybe 10 people ask us about the progress of different investigators.

Well I hope everyone is doing well and having an awesome summer. Thanks for all your letters and everything! I’m trying to write everyone back ASAP.

Love, Erik



My Companion from Texas 6/18/2012 Letter

So this week was good all around. The great news is that all of our numbers are back up now that I’m back in Howell 24/7. And as a district we had the highest numbers I’ve seen since I became the District leader. It was a pretty sweet. They took the two sisters out of the district and we got 2 awesome Elders in their place. In one week they almost doubled the best week the sisters had last transfer. It was really cool.

This week we put an instigator on baptismal date for June 30. She’ll most likely make it. She was just a Child of Record that didn’t get baptized when she turned 8 last year and now that she’s 9, she’s considered a convert and we’re teaching her. We have the primary president involved too to help us teach everything. Preach My Gospel is more focused towards adults, so we’re deciding just how much she needs to know about things like the law of chastity and word of wisdom. But it will be nice for Howell to get a baptism and maybe that will spark something in the ward.

Other than that, not a whole lot has changed. We have one investigator still all ready for baptism. All he has to do is get married to his girlfriend or one of them has to move out. They already call each other husband and wife so I don’t know why they just don’t go down to the courthouse and sign the paper! We’re bringing more and more members to his lessons and the ward is going to assign him home teachers soon. Other than that, he comes every week and we don’t have to worry about anyone fellow shipping him or anything because everyone already loves him.

We’ve had some high temperature and high humidity days out here lately. It’s not as bad as it was in Illinois, but it still gets pretty bad. I try and avoid tracting in the sun and heat if it’s possible.

Well other than that, not to many new things are happening around here. Hope you guys are doing well and I’ll talk to you next week!

The Brighton-Howell MIssions Combine 6/11/2012

Hey family! I hope everyone’s doing well! Congrats again on the Marathon! That’s pretty amazing to win it let alone finish it!

This week ended up turning out great despite the added complications of covering 2 areas. We ended up teaching 12 lessons in each area for a combined total of 24 which was pretty amazing. Plus we had 3 people attend Brighton’s sacrament meeting and an investigator attended Howell’s again.  The Stake President came to our sacrament meeting too and gave a really good talk on missionary work. He met with the Bishop earlier this week and they reorganized the Ward Mission plan and came up with good ideas. I had another good talk with the Bishop about how to build this ward’s faith and confidence. He told me that the problem with Howell is that most members are very content with where they’re at as a ward —–which is exactly what Elder Wenzel and Adair told me too. The Bishop said that when Howell and Brighton split, the Howell ward was basically categorized by 3 main families and those families have always been kind of the ‘popular’ group of the ward.

We had a great Ward Council meeting too and I really tried to uplift the rest of the ward council to set an example. What’s really cool is right in the middle of Ward Council, the Primary President gave me a good referral! I know if we can just get 1 baptism it would be the spark that makes the ward explode!

As for me, I’m doing well. It was a really difficult week for me especially at the beginning. I’ve watched so many missionaries that I’ve served around and become friends with, go home this transfer and my last companion was a breaking point for me. I really felt like he was starting to do better but I guess I was dead wrong. I had a good heartfelt prayer to the Lord a few nights after he left. I think it was the first time I ever really had to pray to the Lord for comfort. This transfer has been a lot of stress for me with the added responsibility of being District Leader, planning all the lessons, running all of companion study, weekly planning and starting all the lessons, and on top of that watching good friends go home.

Plus I’ve had the Zone Leaders and Bishop on my back because of how low our numbers have been. It was tough because I wasn’t allowed to explain to them what was going on so they all just thought I was a bad missionary —haha. (But everyone’s up to date now and the Bishop wrote me a big long apology letter)  I had to tell the Lord that I can’t go it anymore; I’ve done all I can on my own and I need him to make up the difference. Being in the Brighton mission, I immediately found out how much the current Elders were going to try and rely on me for my experience.

I finally had a companion study with them and I told them that they have to lead this area. I just couldn’t do it all anymore.

After that prayer and heart to heart with the Elders, I had a much better week. This past weekend was awesome and probably one of the best weekends of my mission.

So I figured this week that If I’m going to make this ward explode, I better not challenge the members to do anything that I wouldn’t ask my own family to do! So you just got roped into to Elder Rushton’s mission; Congratulations!!!

So here’s my commitment, share the Gospel with someone by the end of June. Whether it’s handing out a BOM, or inviting someone to check out, just do it! The Ann Arbor Stake President gave a really good story about how he didn’t know anyone he could share the gospel with, but then he invited the cashier at a gas station to hear the lessons and she accepted and now she’s on baptism date for July! So I’m not even going to ask you to do it; I just expect it from the most awesome family in the world. So help my missionary work!

Another talk in sacrament yesterday was on repentance and how missionary work is a step of repentance. Missionary work ‘hides a multitude of sins.’ Go figure. So I’ll check up with you next week 😉

Well I’m running out of time because of the looooong letter I had to write President Holmes. Last Monday when we were at the mission home, Sis. Holmes asked me how I was doing and I told her I never want to see their house again– haha.   (I’ve been there too much with Elders going home)  I said ‘when I go home, just take me from my apartment to the plane!’ All that house has is bad memories!—HA HA!

Well I hope you all have an awesome week! I’ll try and write you another letter this week.



6/4/2012 Time to Re-Build Howell

This week was a pretty awesome week for us! We had Zone Conference on Thursday which was a really good spiritual boost that I needed, and also a good reminder for things I need to do better. Plus it’s always fun to hang out with my missionary friends I haven’t seen in awhile!

The best miracle we had this week happened on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday morning we got a call from someone who is in the singles ward. She told us she had a friend in Howell that she talks to alot and they got on the topic of Mormons. She wanted to give him a Book of Mormon, but didn’t have any spares so she called us. We got in contact with him and just briefly talked about the Book of Mormon on his porch. We set up an appointment for Tuesday and gave him a chapter to read before then. We showed up for church Sunday morning and he was there waiting outside for us! We didn’t tell him about church, invite him to church or even leave him the address and he still showed up! It was easily the fastest I’ve ever had an investigator come to church after we meet them. It was definitely a reminder to me that we need to invite EVERYONE to church and not just the ones who have been investigating for awhile.

Other than that our week had a lot of ups and downs. We had 4 people really committed to church and we called them all on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to remind them. I really thought that this was finally the week we were going to be able to get a lot of people out to church. I got in contact with 2 of the 4 on 8:00AM Sunday morning and they both said they were going to come. And then they didn’t… go figure.

We had a good meeting with the Bishop last night. He had a meeting with the Stake President and they discussed the ward mission plan and what they can do to build the ward. The Bishop relayed that information to us and we had a good talk about what we all need to do to help the ward grow. We all agreed that the Howell members in general have become lazy as of late and the Bishop thinks that it’s because the ward has suffered a lot of disappointment in missionary work. In the past year and a half Howell has had 3 baptisms. And the last baptism turned out horribly. The girl was baptized on Saturday, confirmed on Sunday, and by Wednesday was completely anti-Mormon and threatened her husband with divorce if he ever went to sacrament meeting. So yeah, fun stuff.

At the beginning of this transfer I really stressed working with members to the district. It took about 4 weeks of serious member missionary work in Howell, but it is finally starting to pay off. We have gotten about 4 referrals specifically from members in the ward and 3 of them turned into solid investigators. The Bishopric has done really well lately by setting an example to the rest of the ward. The Bishop gave us 2 referrals and the first counselor invited us over to his house to teach his neighbor.

My companion has been making a TON of progress in the past week. I’ve had him be the one to start leading the lessons and that has been helping him a lot I think. Also, we have been planning the best we ever have been this transfer, and we’re having a lot more fun together. It’s always fun when your hard work starts paying off.

Things are going well in Howell. I really hope I get to stay another transfer 😉

-Elder Rushton