Shortest Area Yet!–Letter From Erik 3-25-2013

Erik Rushton's Missionary Bicycle

Erik’s Bike the Exodus 20:15 “Thou shalt not steal”.

So first things first, I am getting transferred out of Detroit River East tomorrow and yes I am kind of upset still. I was really surprised when we got transfer calls on Saturday and we learned that both Elder Jones and I are leaving. I figured one member of the trio would leave but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be me. I’ve had three areas that I have been in for six months and I’ve only been here for five weeks!! My whole mission I have dreamed about coming to this branch but I never thought it would happen because usually only Spanish missionaries come here. When I heard the mission was opening an English speaking area in the Branch I reeeaaaalllllyyy hoped I would come down here. Plus I love serving downtown and going over to eat in Mexican Town! But, I guess the Lord has need for me elsewhere and I just need to answer his call.

This week was a really slow week for us. It was SO cold! It’s like I’m living in the Siberian tundra out here! Every day is like we’re living in nuclear winter! It’s March 25th and it snowed this morning! I guess I got lucky last year with the really short winter. I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll go back to a car area tomorrow but I doubt that will happen. But anyway the cold really put a damper on everything we did and plus most of our investigators decided to disappear. We were able to find some new cool people toward the end of the week though which was nice.

On Sunday I spoke in sacrament. I was debating all week on what to speak about but I decided to talk about the Book of Mormon and just share stories from my mission and bear my testimony. I told the story about how our family first heard about the Church in England and how Richard sent his son to go check the Mormons out so it wouldn’t hurt his business. I told how they traveled all over the place with the saints and gave everything up because of the testimony they had of the Book of Mormon. It ended up being a great talk and everyone liked the stories I shared. Later Sunday night we went to go see a recent convert and he shared a pretty cool experience he had at church with us. He told us he came to church really desiring to know if the Book of Mormon was true because he felt like he hadn’t received a direct answer yet. He said that the talks in church were made specifically for him and he felt like he got his answer. It built my testimony that the Lord really does influence his servants in all that they do. I know he influenced me in what I needed to speak about.

Man transfers always make me nervous. I’m always nervous to get a new companion and combining that with getting a new area makes me really nervous. It’s like you’re starting your mission all over again because you have to memorize all new names and places and stuff. It’s tough and I don’t like it!

Well, I’m off to go pack all my stuff up again. At least this is only my forth time packing up all my stuff. I would hate to have a ton of areas because I hate packing and unpacking so much. Pray that this is the last move for me!

Tell Austin congrats on his mission call! I’ll send both Austin and Sky some advice and stuff about preparing for their mission and stuff I’ve learned that has helped me. Probably not this week cause all my time will be filled with packing stuff up.

Love Elder Rushton

Note: Erik’s brother Austin was called to the Eugene Oregon Mission!

Always Cold in Michigan Letter from Erik 3/18/2013

Erik Rushton by Detroit Graffiti

Erik by Detroit Graffiti

Hey family! This week was a pretty good week even though it was super cold for most of the week. It just can’t seem to get warm here!

Not a lot of new stuff happened this week to us. We spent a lot of time knocking doors and trying to find new people to teach. We got to bike downtown to the prison again on Friday. The person we are teaching there is getting transferred to a different prison so we won’t be going down there anymore. It was pretty fun to go bike around downtown again. Detroit City looks pretty cool at night and I really wanted to go check out some of the St.Patrick’s Day parties going on.

Thursday we went to the food kitchen again and did service there. As the month begins to wind down more and more people show up to the food kitchen as their food stamps run out. I had a guy talk to me about the church and we ended up talking for about half an hour. Plus I got to help escort a guy out who was being rowdy ha-ha.

We found another 3 people to put on a baptismal date so hopefully they will make it and we will have some baptisms in April.

On Sunday I had a pretty sweet miracle that I’ll share with you guys. Last Sunday the Priesthood President (Our High Priests and Elders are combined because we usually only have about 12 people in the class each week anyway) asked if I would teach chapter 6 out of the Lorenzo Snow book the next week. I had been preparing for it all week and probably read it through 4 times. That chapter was super long and I was kind of stressing out about how to teach it. To make matters even worse I got a cold on Friday night and by Sunday morning it was really bad. I didn’t sing any hymns in sacrament meeting and I had to step out a couple times so I didn’t ruin the meeting with coughing fits. In Gospel Principles class I didn’t think there was anyway I could teach the whole lesson in Priesthood because I could barely talk. Elder Guest was going to cover for me but then the Branch President asked him to teach Relief Society because none of the Relief Society Presidency was there. So before priesthood opening exercises I just decided to say a prayer and ask the Lord to help me teach as best I can. I got up to teach the class and I immediately felt better and didn’t cough once the whole lesson. It was truly a miracle and I know it was because of the amount of preparation I put in that the Lord allowed me to teach as well as I did. I ended up abandoning half the lesson plan I created and was truly led by the Spirit in what I taught. It also helped that the class was very involved in the lesson as well.

Well, I gotta bail because our Zone Leaders are taking us to Wal-Mart to shop. Tell Luke happy birthday and tell Sky congrats on his mission call!

(Skyler was called to Vancouver Canada!)

-Elder Rushton

March Came in With Miracles! Email from March 11, 2013

Erik Rushton Christmas Eve 2012

Erik on Christmas Eve 2012

We had a great week full of a lot of miracles. Plus the weather is finally changing to spring which is awesome!

Church was pretty interesting yesterday. One reason is because we had a parade going on a couple blocks away the whole time that we could hear ha-ha. Our Mission President and his wife came and spoke yesterday too. Usually we divide the chapel in half with one side in Spanish and the other in English but this week we were all combined so everyone could hear Pres. Holmes speak. They would speak a few sentences and the we had someone translating it to Spanish. It was kind of funny watching President and Sister Holmes get used to speaking in short sentences so that the translator could keep up. After church one of the areas had two baptisms too so that was great to see.

We had a couple cool finding miracles this week that I thought I would share with you. Tuesday night we had an appointment fall through and we found ourselves on campus of Wayne State University trying to figure out where to go. We had passed an apartment complex so we decided to go back there and knock all the doors. After not much success we tracted into an investigator who had actually met with missionaries 15 years ago. We set an appointment to come back the next day and left her with a new BOM. We went over the next day and had a really awesome first lesson and put her on a solid baptism date. Toward the end of the lesson I felt prompted to ask the question “have you had any questions in your life that religion hasn’t been able to answer for you?” She told us that she really wanted to better understand the concept of faith and that every time faith has been taught in her previous churches it felt really weak. I decided to leave her Alma 32 to read and gave her the background story to the chapter. After I got done explaining it she said “That sounds exactly like what I need to hear.” We went over again a few days later and she hadn’t read because she had been very busy so we decided to read the chapter with her. When we got done she had a ton of questions we were able to answer and she told us she had a warm fuzzy feeling the whole time we were reading. We explained that it was the Spirit telling her what we shared was true and she agreed. We recommitted her to her baptism date and she said she is looking forward to it.


On Thursday night we had an appointment fall through and our backup was to knock doors in the apartment complex we were at. Elder Guest asked if we should go try another of our investigators instead and Elder Jones and I both agreed we could give it a shot. Well that investigator wasn’t home either, so we decided to walk up the street a little ways and see if any houses stood out to us. We noticed a house towards the end of the block we all agreed we should knock on so we started heading that way. There was a man walking on the sidewalk towards us so I said ‘let’s talk to him first’ and Elder Guest and Elder Jones agreed. He turned out to be a miracle find! We had him on a baptismal date in 10 minutes and he agreed to hear our message. We were going to set up a time to come by and see him but I felt prompted to ask if he had time now. He said he did an lo and behold we were literally right outside his apartment complex. We had a great first lesson with him and he’s really excited for us to come back!

Well, just thought I’d share those cool miracles with you guys. Hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for all the letters and packages and stuff. Tell Luke I’ll write him a letter for his birthday but I probably won’t be sending any cool Detroit things this year. Our post office is really far away and we’re never around it. But I’ll get everyone some sweet stuff before I got home or leave downtown.


Have a great week!

-Elder Rushton

Snow in the D–letter from March 4, 2013

This week was a pretty slow week for us because of all the bad weather. It snowed virtually every single day this week and the only break we got from the bad weather was on Sunday when it was just cloudy. On Monday night we found out that there was a severe weather warning out for Detroit that called for 7 inches of snow to fall over night. Well we didn’t get that much but we still probably got a good 5 inches. It made it really hard to ride around on a bike that’s for sure! It really made our traveling really slow so we weren’t able to accomplish as much this week as we were able to last week but we still saw some good miracles.

On Thursday we took a few people to the mission fireside with us in Bloomfield Hills. It was easily the best mission fireside I’ve ever been too! Three recent converts spoke and talked about their conversion story and why they joined the church. Every fireside I take someone too I’m always a little on edge about what the recent converts are going to say. You have to be prepared to do some damage control in case they bring up things you haven’t taught your investigator. Things like the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity and Tithing get brought up all they time and usually one of the speaker’s ends up bashing on other churches. None of that happened this time though and each of the recent converts bore really powerful testimonies. After they spoke the Stake President of the Bloomfield Hills stake, Pres. Parsons, spoke and did an awesome job as usual. My first Sunday in Warren was the stake conference where President Parsons was called to be the Stake President. He’s easily my favorite Stake President in the mission and I was sad when I got transferred out of his stake. He’s SUPER missionary minded and is a really powerful speaker. All in all it was a great fireside.

Last week I told you about the guy Elder Jones and Elder Guest found at the library while I was emailing. On Thursday we found out that he didn’t actually live in our area so we had to turn him over to the missionaries who actually covered the area he lived in. It was kind of disappointing because he was super elect and ready for the gospel and I wanted to be the one to teach him. But we got over it and it’s actually going to work out a lot better for him. He was riding the bus about 6 miles to come meet us at our church building when he actually literally lives right around the corner from another LDS building. He came to the fireside with us and we introduced him to the missionaries that would be taking over his teaching. He was kind of sad he wouldn’t see us anymore because he really liked us but he understood how this would make everything easier. I know the missionaries that are taking over his teaching pretty well too and they’re both awesome so I’m not worried about anything going wrong.

Also on Thursday we went back to the Presbyterian church downtown to help out at the food kitchen. There was a school council from a high school in Grosse Pointe that was there helping out too so we had a lot of volunteers. All three of us ended up working the floor and filling up drinks for people and it was a lot of fun. You definitely meet some interesting people that’s for sure. One of the girls from the high school kept asking a lot of questions to Elder Jones, Elder Guest and I. She had a lot of questions about what we do as missionaries and what our church believes. We ended up talking to a lot of people about the church and it turned into a good proselyting situation.

This week we have some good appointments set up so hopefully they all go through. I know I’m looking forward to a great week! Hope you guys are doing well and having lot’s of fun! Thanks for the packages and letters!

-Elder Rushton



Downtown River Week 1 –2/25/2013

My first week in downtown Detroit was an awesome week. I’m really loving being in a tri-panionship and Elder Guest and Elder Jones are great. I really really hope I stay here the rest of my mission.

We didn’t have a lot happen on Tuesday and Wednesday. Just a lot of me getting settled in and shopping and emailing you guys. On Wednesday we had a cool experience at the library. While I was emailing home, Elder Guest and Elder Jones were sitting at a table behind me just reading scriptures when I guy walked up and started talking to them about the church. They taught him a quick lesson on the Restoration gave him a Book of Mormon and then set up an appointment to meet at the church on Saturday We taught him again on Saturday and it was an awesome lesson! We put him on baptismal date for March 23 and he committed to come to church next week. Truly a miracle find!

On Thursday we went and did service at a food kitchen that was at a Presbyterian church close to downtown. We got there at 8:30 and left at about 11:00. I was really surprised by how many people showed up! We served probably about 150 people. We also met a lot of cool Christians from other faiths that come and help out and there were also some LDS members that came and helped out too. It’s a service activity that we do every Thursday. Thursday night we had a great lesson with and investigator and her daughter and took a member of the branch presidency out with us. We’ll be seeing them twice this week and hopefully taking them to the mission devotional on Thursday.

Sunday was a pretty cool and interesting day. We started the day with church and church in the Spanish Branch is a little bit different. The chapel is divided in half and one half is the English side and the other is the Spanish side. Both sides start at 10am, sing the same hymns, and have the same speaking topics although the speakers are different. It’s basically two wards that meet at the same time in the same building. Basically 2 branches that operate under one branch presidency. In our branch we have 7 elders and one senior couple for a total of 9 missionaries. Elder Guest, Elder Jones and I are the only English speaking missionaries assigned to the branch. After church service one of the other Detroit River areas had a baptism and they’ll also be having a baptism next week which is awesome. Our goal as a district is to have 10 baptisms in March. So far my area has 2 people lined up and we’re hoping to have 5 by the end of the week.

Sunday evening we had a lot of cool miracles. Elder Guest and I had one of the Zone Leaders, Elder Davis, come out with us on an exchange while Elder Jones went to a different area. We met some really cool people as we were biking around and had two street lessons. We also set up 5 other appointments for the upcoming week. Finding in our area has been pretty awesome lately.

Being on a bike was killing me the first couple days! I was so sore after the first two days it’s ridiculous. I guess I was really out of shape for some serious cardio work out. Of course it probably didn’t help that Elder Guest is a pretty serious mountain biker and snowboarder and is going to go to school to be a personal trainer haha. My body is finally getting back up to speed and in shape again so hopefully with resting most of Pday I won’t be so sore.

Well, I hope you guys have an awesome week! I’ll try and send an SD card home this week so you guys can check out all the pictures I took in the city last week. Tell Skyler congrats on finishing up hi mission papers!

-Elder Rushton