Happy birthday dad!
This morning there was an article in the paper talking about the most violent/dangerous part of Flint. It’s in my area on the South East side. I find that strange though because that’s not to far from where the University of Michigan Flint campus is and Mott Community College is over there too. Guess we’re going tracting there though 😉
This week was a pretty good week for us. If all goes as planned we should be having a baptism this weekend. The work in Flint has been going well and every area is planning on baptizing in the next 3 weeks. It should be great! In ward council Bishop Berger commented on how the ward is lucky to have great missionaries and two veteran missionaries (Elder Olsen and I) right now and all the presidencies need to be ready to work with the investigators and converts that we bring in. The ward is going to have a hard time finding a Ward Mission Leader to replace Brother Partridge when he leaves in July because he’s been one of the best WMLs of my mission.
If all goes as planned, our investigator’s baptism should be this sunday after church. Another Flint area is hopefully baptizing someone as well so that will be really cool. This will be the first time in my mission that I’ve baptized two months in a row. That is of course assuming things go as planned. Now is the time for things to start going wrong if they’re going too. The only thing I’m nervous about is that this will be the fastest I’ve ever baptized someone so it’s tough to cover all the material. In Warren we baptized an investigaor in five weeks but we’ve really only been teaching her for almost three. She’s come to church five times though and comes to BOM class every week. I always get nervous leading up to a baptism though.
We didn’t have a lot of major stuff happen this week. We had a training meeting on Tuesday and that was pretty much just the usual stuff. We’re going top have one more Zone Conference before President Holmes goes home so that one should be pretty fun.
On Saturday we had no appointments so we decided to save the miles on our car and just bike all day. We’ve been struggling at finding new people to teach so we figured if we biked we could meet more people on the street as we went to some potentials, investigators and less actives we wanted to stop by. Plus is takes time to go from appointment to appointment so we’re not just endlessly tracting all day. We had two 40 minute bike rides that were killer but fun. It was nice to get out and exercise our legs a little. You get super sweaty though! We didn’t end up teaching anyone that day but we made a lot of good contacts and a couple of the people we stopped by to see came to church.
The mosquitoes have finally come out during this past week and they are MONSTROUS. They have to be at least 3x the size of Utah mosquitoes. We had a couple late frosts that hopefully killed a lot of the population, but I got bit three times last week. Remember when we went to Illinois and we stopped at a gas station at night and saw all the weird bugs crawling on the car? Well that’s what being in Flint right now is reminding me of. We helped someone out with their garden this week and I kept running into these weird bugs I’ve never seen before. The Cicadas should be coming out soon and you know how much I hated those in Iowa and Illinois. The Fireflies are starting to come back though so that’s nice.
Ziggy Ansah is going to be the speaker at our mission fireside this week in Livonia which should be sweet! I was super excited to hear they got him to come out and speak to our investigators. Hopefully it will draw in a lot of people.
Well hope you guys have a good week! I haven’t been able to find a cool gift for dad for his birthday, but I’ll try and find some sweet gifts to bring home with me when I come home.
Elder Erik M Rushton
New Companion Time!—May 9th Letter
Transfers are tomorrow and we found out last night that Elder Nelson is getting transferred. I was very surprised because he’s only been in Flint for 3 transfers and with me for 1. Our mission president usually transfers people out of areas at 2 transfers or 4 and leaves companions together for 2. But I guess I have to get ready for a new adventure. This will probably be the last companion I get before I go home. Crazy to think about that.
This week was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. We had stake conference this week so we went to the adult session on Saturday and then stake conference was on Sunday. This stake conference was a broadcast from SLC to all the stakes in the Eastern United States. We heard from someone in the Seventy, the General Primary President, Elder Hales and President Uchdorf. It turned out to be a really great conference and I actually learned a lot. I figured the adult session was going to be all about marriage and helping our families and that I wouldn’t get much out of it. It actually turned out to be an open discussion between the congregation and the all the stake presidencies about different topics. It was really cool but I don’t think it work on a large scale like in the battlecreek stake.
Thursday was a stressful and busy day. We had appointments every hour of the day but one and we kept having people call us asking for help.
Plus, the Flint North Elders needed to pick up their car from the shop and couldn’t find anyone to take them. We ended up having to drive them out there and we ended up putting 123 miles on the car. We usually average 35 a day.
The weekend was the same old same old except we HAD to hit up free comic book day on Saturday haha. We were driving around looking for a place to tract and I noticed a sign outside a comic shop that it was free comic book day. Elder Nelson loves comics so we had to stop in and get some. It was a fun break from routine.
We have a couple potential people for baptism in May. We finally had our first lesson with a lady who just decided to show up at our church a couple weeks ago. I asked her why she decided to come to our church and she said “it was just the closest one.” I asked her how she’s felt about it so far and she said “It feels like I’m coming home. Everyone is so friendly here!” We committed her to read the BOM and continue coming to church and she said she would. She wouldn’t accept a baptism date yet but that will come in time.
Well I hope you guys are doing well and having fun. I’m looking forward to talking with the family this sunday! Thanks for all the letters and everything!
Elder Erik M Rushton
Mother’s day is an interesting time for a phone call because the next Monday I have absolutely nothing to say. I’m pretty sure I told you everything that happened to us last week. But I guess I reiterate some things for blogging purpose. And because I suck at keeping a journal!
I didn’t tell you about our awesome appointment we had Tuesday. We’ve been teaching an investigator named Michael for about three weeks now.
He found the church through working at the University of Michigan. One day he just decided to stop in at the institute building and talk to one of the senior missionaries there. They referred him to us and we’ve been teaching him ever since. Well he’s been reading the BOM like crazy because he loves religions and he told us it has been his favorite book out of all the scriptures he’s read. He’s read the Bible, the Koran, the Torah and a lot of the dead sea scrolls. It was great to see the BOM have that effect on someone.
Sunday was easily the best day of the week. Elder Smith and I prepared an awesome lesson for the Gospel Principles class on the Great Apostasy and Restoration of the priesthood. We showed a short video called the Great Apostasy from the Doctrine and Covenants DVDs that detailed how Wilford Woodruff found the church. It’s a really great video. After class our investigator asked if she could talk to me for a minute. She just decided to show up at church one day and she’s been coming for about a month straight. We’ve only had one actual lesson with her because we’re not allowed over at her house because of the people she lives with. We finally were able to meet with her last week and get her a copy of the BOM. After Gospel Principles she told me about a talk she had with her daughter after the first lesson we had with both of them. She said that after that lesson, she knew she wanted to be apart of this church and would do anything she could to be baptized. She asked me what she needed to do and I was in shock and lost my words for a minute. I told her about the missionary lessons and told her that she would be able to fly through them. We have an appointment with her this Wednesday and we’re going to put her on a baptismal date!
Other than that we didn’t have a lot of anything special going on out here. Sunday night we went over to a members house where Elder Smith called home while I played pool with the other Elders. I played my best game yet but it’s not like that counts for anything haha. We had a great lesson with them and then came home and now it’s today.
Well, I hope you guys have a great week! It was good to hear from everyone on Mothers Day!
Finally finally finally a break in the rain and cold. We finally had a pretty nice week and it only rained on Sunday night.
This week was a great week for us. We got a ton of referrals from our Bishop and they’ve all turned out awesome so far. We started teaching a part-member family and have a potential 3 baptisms there and we have another part-member/less-active family we will hopefully get to meet with this week who want to get their daughter baptized. Our Bishop also hooked us up with another referral he just met on the street and I got to talk to him Friday. He was really excited to meet with us this week and really wanted to come to church Sunday but he was out of town. We also picked up a new investigator that just decided to come to church last week. She lives across the street from the church and just decided it was time for her to check us out. She’s come to church twice already, came to a ward-activity we had last week and also came to Book of Mormon class on Wednesday. Prayers for finding are working!
We had a great turnout for the mission fireside on Thursday. We had 5 people there and they all had a good time. I can’t believe that as of tomorrow I’m down to 3 months left. It’s pretty crazy.
On Friday we didn’t have a ton to do but we were able to contact a bunch of former investigators and old referrals and had a lot of people tell us to come back. We met up with the Flint North missionaries for lunch. On Saturday we went to a member’s house house and helped him clean up a bunch of wood in his yard. We were pushing a bunch of big 2x4s and other boards through a wood-chipper and it was pretty fun.
Sunday night we stayed the night with the Flint North Elders so they didn’t have to come pick us up Monday morning to do laundry. It’s the end of the month and we’re all only allowed a certain amount of miles to drive so everyone is stretching. Plus Elder Nelson and I are on bikes Sunday night through Wednesday so someone has to pick us up to go shopping and do laundry.
We played a bunch of board games again and I’m still Stratego champ (10-3 against Elder Nelson and 15-3 everyone else) and I’m tied for Jumangi champ at two wins. I suck at everything else though –haha.
- Sweet Ghetto-Rider
So that’s a run down of our week last week. I’m attaching photos of the baptism we had with Ryan and also of a sweet ghetto-rider we saw in a parking lot. Hope you guys are doing awesome! Thanks for the letters and prayers! Transfers are this week! I don’t think I’m leaving but I hope Elder Nelson doesn’t either!
Erik rides a fish in Detroit.
This week was really slow due to horrible weather. We only have a car Thursday – Sunday so Monday-Wednesday we got stuck biking in the rain. Not just a light rain, a full on downpour. There was a flood watch all over Flint and they closed a couple roads down due to flooding dangers. It was a crazy week.
We had one really sweet miracle this week. We have an investigator who’s been learning about the gospel for about 5 months now. He comes to church every week, he reads every day and he was following all the commandments but one – smoking. The first time I met him we put him on baptismal date for April 20th and committed him to quit smoking. He’s had multiple baptismal dates in the past but just hadn’t been able to kick the smoking habit. Well last Wednesday we had an appointment with him and we were trying to figure out what we needed to teach him. Everything we practiced just felt dull and it always led to the same commitment – quit smoking. We decided to just go over and tell him to keep up everything that he is doing and when he feels he’s ready to quit smoking and get baptized to let us know.
So that’s what we planned to teach. We went over there and started with the routine question, “how has quitting smoking going?” I was expecting the usual answers, but he surprised us by saying “it’s going great. I haven’t smoked in 4 days.” My jaw dropped and Elder Nelson didn’t quite know what to say. I asked him what was the difference trying to quit this time as opposed to times in the past. He told us that he decided that he really wanted to be a part of this church and he realized the only way he could do it is to quit. He’s getting baptized this Saturday!!!
Other than that not a whole lot happened around here. Some tracting, some teaching, some pawn shop hopping, just normal missionary life. I’m going to be sending home a letter/package later this week when we have the car back. It’s got a couple cool pages for Austin and Sky to look at that have really helped me on my mission.
Well, I hope the family is doing well. Tell everyone at home hi for me!
I don’t know if this is true or not, but awhile back a member of the church in one of my past areas told me that a popular magazine (I believe it was Forbes) came out with a list of the Most Depressing Cities in the US. Rounding out the top three were Detroit, Warren and Flint Michigan, although which order they went in I don’t remember. Well, Detroit has always been fun for me but that may be more because of my companions and the fact that downtown is one of the nicer areas. Warren wasn’t bad either although it was hit pretty hard by the collapse of the auto industry in 08. But Flint easily takes the cake on most depressed city. You can definitely see it as you drive through the city and interact with the people. The only two bright spots in the city are the community college, and the University of Michigan branch. Downtown is pretty nice too but it’s more like walking around downtown Lehi, but with less people out.
Overall I have enjoyed the area so far though. Conference was awesome too and a great up-lifter to the week. We had a ton of meetings this week through which destroyed a lot of our productivity. Besides the 10 hours of conference we attended, we also had two days of Specialized Training to attend. Those went from 9-4 plus it was about an hour travel time. So that took up a lot of our week but I did learn a lot. Our mission president talked a lot about the gathering of Israel and how the tribe of Joseph will be gathered first. I’ve heard his instruction on that about three times now but it’s a good one and gives you a lot of things to think about. He had everyone raise their hand if they were from the tribe of Joseph (Ephraim of Manasseh) and every single missionary raised their hand. He talked a lot about how it’s Joseph’s duty to gather the lost tribes, but first we have to gather each other first. So basically if someone doesn’t want to listen to us they’re probably just some Reubenite or from one of the other tribes. It’s a really interesting thing to think about.
On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning we had a little bug scare in our apt. I woke up with a lot of bites on my right arm and I was like “crap this better not be bedbugs.” Luckily we had specialized training that day and we were riding with the senior couple assigned to our ward. I asked Sister Picket if the bites were what I thought they were and she said no. She thought they were spider bites. I also asked Sister Holmes and she said the same thing. And I asked another missionary who has dealt with bed bugs before and he said I didn’t have anything to worry about. I shook my bed sheets out and vacuumed around the bedroom and I haven’t had anymore spider problems since then.
We’re teaching a lot of cool people right now that I hope can get baptized soon. If not this month than early next month. We’re teaching two full families that I’m really excited about. My whole mission it has been a goal of mine to help bring a family into the church. So far it hasn’t worked out but hopefully this area will change that.
Well, hope everyone at home is doing well. Thanks for all the letters and all that good stuff! Talk to you next week!
Erik’s new address is:
3453 Rangeley Drive Apt 6
Flint MI 48503
Erik said he always wanted to serve in Flint so I guess it’s a good replacement to downtown Detroit!
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!
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!)