Erik by Graffiti that reads “The Dream Is Now”
Well, I’m all packed and ready to go. It seems surreal that the day is finally here when my mission ends. Tomorrow I’ll head to the mission office, go through the job and marriage seminar, go to the temple, stay at some other missionaries apartment and then travel home Wednesday, I can’t believe the day is finally here.
This whole past week flew by. We had a lot of members that wanted to have us over for my last week so that took up most of our evenings. I also had to run errands throughout the week to get everything done that I needed to – dry cleaning etc. We also had a couple good lessons thrown in the mix plus three investigators and five less-actives at church. So I’d have to say that all in all it was a pretty great and eventful last week.
It’s been said that when your mission ends the people around you make a bigger deal out of it than you do. Not to say that I’m not excited to come home, but that statement is pretty true haha. I can’t tell you how many members at church yesterday gave me their advice on school, marriage, work, kids etc. I also haven’t had to keep track of how many days I have left on my mission because everyone else does it for me. I’m excited but I think I did a good job of containing my enthusiasm and focusing on finishing my mission strong. It really was a great two years.
Well, I guess I don’t have much else to say. I’m going to go fishing, hit a dinner appointment and that will round out my last day in Flint.
Well, see you on Wednesday!
Riders Under Satan’s Hand!! (A silly Seminary joke about the Rush concert on Wednesday July 31st, 2013!!)
-The Original Elder Rushton
Elder Erik M Rushton
Erik with his Aunt Jill.
Whenever I’m in a dangerous part of Michigan I always joke about having to go to the ER for a gunshot wound. It’s a joke I’ve been telling since before my mission began. Well I finally made it to the ER, but with pneumonia.
So here’s the short version of my journey. Two Sundays ago I started feeling sick. On Tuesday I got permission to call the mission doctor and he diagnosed me with strep over the phone. By Friday my strep felt fine but I still had a fever of 103 degrees so I went to an urgent care. That doctor found nothing and said give it more time. On Saturday night I woke up at 3:30 and knew I was going to have to go to the ER. I had Elder Smith call the mission president (I couldn’t talk at all) and we went it. They did a chest x-ray on me and admitted me into the hospital with pneumonia. I spent two days in the hospital and was let out Tuesday morning. It was the only time I’ve missed church as a missionary! I had a lot of visitors in the hospital and I even got a phone call from some members I knew in Howell which I was grateful for. It really broke up the boredom of just sitting there looking out the window. Jill (my Aunt) came by on Thursday after I was out of the hospital and it was fun seeing her again.
Needless to say, my sick week was very unproductive. I think I left the house three times that whole week. This week was much more productive. We had a good amount of new investigator lessons and we had two members give us two awesome referrals. I’m kind of sad I won’t be here to watch them progress. Hopefully this week I can help give them a big push in the right direction and help them prepare to be baptized after I leave.
It’s weird to think that this is my last full week as a missionary.
There were times I never thought the end would come! It’s strange to think that I’ll never be doing something like this. I’m really glad I came and it was a great experience. That being said… I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was super excited to come home! I’m looking forward to hanging out with everyone again!
Well, other than that there’s not much more for me to report on. Next week’s email might be even shorter!
Elder Erik M Rushton
Elder Erik Rushton in Flint, Michigan
5 weeks left… Crazy to think that next Sunday will be my last fast Sunday of my mission. It really is bittersweet!
We had a pretty good week this week and we had a lot of service projects that we participated in. Monday night we helped a lady clean out her 5 weeks left… Crazy to think that next Sunday will be my last fast Sunday of my mission. It really is bittersweet!
We had a pretty good week this week and we had a lot of service projects that we participated in. Monday night we helped a lady clean out her gutters. You know those trees that drop the “helicopter”seeds? Well they had landed in her gutter and started growing. Tuesday we helped a older sister in the ward mow her lawn. Thursday we helped a part member couple clean out their horse stalls which was pretty gross. They fed us a super sweet lunch though so it was all worth it.
Then on Saturday we went back to the non-member family that we’ve been helping build a brick path to their dock. All in all it was a pretty fun week this week for service. This upcoming week we already have service projects scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Monday night we had another tornado warning come through. There was a super fast super low thunderstorm coming through and it looked crazy.
It moved from us out to the Great Lakes it under a half hour. It was small but pretty violent. There were no tornadoes but we had golf ball sized hail and 70mph winds. We had our emergency packs in our basement fortress all ready to go again in case a tornado did touch. It ripped some siding off our building and took down a bunch of limbs and small trees.
We had a great week this week especially in working with the members of the ward. We have been getting anywhere from 2-3 referrals a week from members in the ward and they have been much appreciated. It really started out with Bishop Berger and our Ward Mission Leader, Bro.Partridge, each giving us a bunch of referrals. We have a Sister in the ward who has been giving us some great less-active and part member family referrals that we have been able to set appointments for for this week. I’m very excited about a great number of referrals from the ward. Bishop Berger and Bro.Partridge have really been pushing hard for member referrals to happen and it is starting to pay off. We also just had a dinner calendar coordinator be called for the ward so hopefully that will further help us.
We met a pretty sweet part member family this week that I’m pretty excited about. The Father hasn’t been to church in 20 years and was labeled as a “Do Not Contact” in our GPS. A member of the ward told us we need to go buy because for some reason he had become really receptive all of the sudden and she didn’t know how long it would last. When we looked up his name in the GPS Elder Smith was like “oh crap he’s a DNC.” I told him that there’s no thing as a DNC in missionary work. We went over and he was super receptive. We were only able to meet with him but his wife and daughter are non-members. We committed him to talk to his family about taking the missionary lessons.
The Leadership Training Broadcast on Sunday was awesome! I kept trying to look for Austin in the MTC choir but I figured he got into the MTC a little to late to be a part of that. I though Elder Holland was pretty hilarious with all the jokes he was cracking! Especially at the beginning. It was really cool to see all the new technology that missionaries and the church are starting to use. I really appreciated Elder Perry’s comments on how the nature of missionary work is changing. I liked how he basically pointed out that going out and knocking doors is becoming a less and less effective way for missionaries to find people to teach. I really liked how he encouraged members to embrace the new technology and social media that are available to help share the gospel. The video they showed of the family all sharing the gospel in different ways was pretty cool. I have definitely seen new technologies affect my missionary work.
The girl I baptized in Romeo/Rochester, found the church through Mormon.org. And another in Warren was on Mormon.org all the time. It’s pretty cool to see missionary work changing for a new age.
We have some fun stuff planned this week. Today after we email and shop we’re going fishing at a members pond. They have so many fish that they had to buy a snapping turtle to keep the population under control. On Tuesday we’re helping to move out a senior couple who just finished their mission and we’re moving in another senior couple who is about half way done. We also have the mission fireside this week and a “meet the new mission president” day on Friday. Should be a fun week!
Well, hope you guys have an awesome week and don’t miss me too much! I got my “don’t get trunky” letter today so I guess that means the countdown begins! Love you guys!
-The Original Elder Rushton
Elder Erik M Rushton
Erik by “Eastside Mission” Graffiti
So we had a pretty eventful/crazy week this week. I don’t even know
where to start. We had a ton of stuff to do and we were super busy all
week long. But I like busy weeks so that’s ok.
Monday and Tuesday we’re pretty standard days. Monday’s routine is
virtually the same every week. We get up and go do laundry and
breakfast at Bro.Greens from 7:00-noonish, then go shop and hit the
library. After that we sit around and I play music and stuff until we
have a dinner appointment at 6.
Wednesday was messed up! When we turned on our car in the morning, the
check engine light came on. We went to district meeting and afterwards
called our vehicle coordinator to ask what to do. He sent us to Bel
Tire first and we ended up spending two hours there before they told
us there was nothing they could do and sent us to the dealer instead.
We drove to the dealer and they weren’t going to be able to get our
car in until Thursday morning.
Thursday we got up early and drove to the dealer. They told us we
wouldn’t get our car back until at least 2pm. We called the Flint
South Elders and they came and picked us up. We spent most of the day
with them. We finally got our car back at 6pm. It turns out the last
person who worked on the car installed the air filter cover wrong and
the air sensor got contaminated. All in all it cost the church around
$350. Needless to say we had nothing happen those two days.
Saturday was pretty sweet. Elder Christofferson come down with two
members of the Seventy and the Presiding Bishop to speak to us. They
actually came down to do leadership training but while they were here
they decided to speak to the mission. It was a really cool meeting and
Elder Christofferson cracked a lot of jokes. He also let us have a
question and answer session that was pretty cool.
Saturday evening we found out that neither Elder Smith or I are
getting transferred. So Elder Smith is officially my last companion.
In fact everyone in our district is staying but Elder Olsen and he’s
only leaving because he’s finished his mission. Flint North is going
to be a tripanionship but that’s about the only real change. It’s
strange to think that this is my last transfer and I’ll be ending my
mission in Flint. Everybody keeps asking me if I’m “trunky” yet. I’m
not really, or at least I don’t think I am. Part of me is excited to
go home, but most of me doesn’t want to have to deal with real life
On Sunday we had a special stake conference where a member of the
Seventy came and spoke to the stake. Since they were all in town to do
leadership training, they decided to host a stake conference as well.
It was pretty sweet but the best part was I got to see some of my
favorite people from Romeo again. It was good to see them all again
before I go home.
This past transfer with Elder Smith has been a blast and I have
enjoyed the success we have had. Betty’s baptism was obviously the
highlight of the transfer but we also had some great success with
referrals from the ward. We’ve also had two less-active families that
have started to come to church pretty steadily again. We’re looking
forward to building on this transfer as we move into the next
together. It’s very surprising to think that I’m entering my last
transfer as a missionary. Last week I set some goals for myself that I
want to accomplish in my last transfer. I hope they will help me to
stay focused on my work and end my mission strong. My goal is to leave
Flint East with it being an area with a lot of good things happening.
Hopefully we’ll be able to pull off one more baptism before I go home
It’s crazy to think Austin will be entering the MTC this week. Tell
him to not be to worried about it. The MTC is basically like being in
seminary for 24 hours a day, every day. He’ll probably like it a whole
lot more than I did. Plus, since the church shortened the amount of
time you’re in the MTC, he won’t be in as long as I was. Like I said
on Mother’s Day, it was like a prison for me haha. Especially since I
had to sit there and hear the BYU game going one Saturday! Haha he’ll
do fine though. Good luck on your mission Austin! And I need his MTC
Well, hope you guys have an awesome week! Don’t cry too much on Wednesday!
Elder Erik M Rushton
Elder Erik Rushton by Graffiti wall in Detroit
This week was a pretty busy week for us which was nice for a change.
We had Zone Conference on Wednesday and that was a blast. The whole
conference was focused on converting ourselves before we can help convert someone else.
President Holmes again shared the story of one
reason President Hinckley decided that now was the time to have Preach
My Gospel. Before PMG came out, President Hinckley was disappointed
in the number of returned missionaries who go less-active when they
come home. Our church leaders put PMG together as a way to convert the
missionary before the investigator. And that’s so true because
virtually every single chapter is focused on the missionary and not
the investigator. It was a great conference.
Betty’s confirmation went well and she is super excited to be a member
of this church. We found another person last week who’s uncle is a
member. She was interested in what we taught and also came to church
On Saturday our whole district got together for another service
project for a less active lady in the ward. We helped her clean up her
yard because it was a jungle. I was seriously wishing I had a machete to cut through everything.
Well, that’s about all I have time for right now.
Elder Erik M Rushton
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!
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!)
Erik tracting in Detroit
Hola Mi Familia! I guess I better start learning some Spanish since I’m now serving in the Spanish branch!
My last week in Warren was a pretty fun one but it is always kind of depressing to leave. We spent a lot of time preparing Warren to receive 2 more missionaries and organizing the new apartment and area. I’ve had 3 areas that I’ve spent six months in and I love staying in areas for a long time, but when you have to leave it sucks. You grow really close to the members you are with and it’s tough to leave. I spent most of Sunday evening and Monday evening trying to see everyone I’ve grown close to in the last 6 months. It’s really hard to say good bye knowing that you’ll probably never come back!
Transfer meeting yesterday was pretty interesting. We had 25 new missionaries come into the mission (about 5 of them were 18) so there were a ton of trainers called. Elder Jackson was called to be a trainer so we had to be there at 9:00. With all the new missionaries coming in our mission opened up 16 new areas and opened a new zone called the Detroit Zone.
There was so much logistical stuff for the Mission President, Mission Office and Assistants to work out it was ridiculous. Imagine not only finding 16 new apartments, but purchasing them and moving in all the furniture in less than a month! I did not envy their position that’s for sure. The mission has only been able to purchase 2 new cars as well so most of the new areas are bike areas. When they called my name to announce my new area, I learned that I would in a tri-panionship with Elder Guest who has been out about 14 months and Elder Jones who has been out 2 months. I knew Elder Guest from serving around him before so I was really excited to
be with him. The funny thing was, they weren’t at the meeting! I loaded my stuff up with the Assistants and they drove me to my new area.
As hard as it was to leave Warren, I’m really excited to be in my new area—Detroit River East. I love serving in a branch and I’ve always wanted to serve in the Detroit River branch. It’s the Spanish branch of the mission and there are now 7 missionaries total that serve in it. 4 of them are Spanish elders and I’m back around Elder Gonzalez again which I was really excited about.
The really cool thing about this area is that we literally cover downtown Detroit. My apartment is really close to Ford Field where the Lions play and the Motor City Casino. Last transfer I heard they were opening an area that specifically covered downtown and I was really hoping I’d get to serve in it. My dream came true and this will probably be the last area of my mission! How much better does it get! I’m back on a bike which is really killing me right now-since I’m used to a car.
Our area is very new too so we’re doing a lot of tracting and trying to get some new investigators. I have a feeling we’re going to generate a lot of referrals for other areas since we’re spending time downtown doing street contacting.
Our apartment is suuuuuuuper small and run down. All of our windows are covered in bars to prevent people from breaking in and I’m back to sleeping with my butterfly knife by my bed just in case…….. Don’t be scared mom! I got Jesus on my side! Our shower has a concrete floor and our bathroom overall is tiny. We have antique radiators for heat and all wood floors and we have to lock our back door with a bike lock. I’ve also never seen a stove as tiny as ours, and trying to cram 3 people’s food into a tiny fridge is tough. Plus we’re surrounded by abandoned buildings. So yeah, I’m back on the poor side.
Have an awesome week!
Elder Erik Rushton
Erik used his picture on the Toyota Fun-Vii paint job.
We had a pretty good week last week with a lot of success. We had a pretty cool miracle on Saturday. We received this referral from another set of elders but he wasn’t home. Preach My Gospel tells us that we should tract around the area of the referrals we receive because sometimes the Lord sends us to places to find someone else. Well we had planned on just knocking the street that the referral lived on but for some reason I felt we should drive to the end of the block and start there. When we got to the end of the block we noticed there was a small apartment complex across the street and I really felt like we needed to knock doors there. After about 10 doors of nobody answering, we were getting ready to head back to the car because we were cold, but then on the next door someone answered and let us in! We had to make the lesson quick because she didn’t have a lot of time, but she invited us to come back later this week. We kept knocking in that apartment complex for a little while after that and found another person who invited us back too.
On Sunday we had another awesome miracle happen. As soon as we arrived at church, all the investigators we had planned on coming called and told us they weren’t going to be able to make it. It was really disappointing. We headed to the foyer to welcome people like we always do. Even when we pretty much know we have nobody coming to sacrament meeting, I like to stand in the foyer and welcome people until the first hymn starts. I feel it shows the ward that we’re optimistic (even though sometimes we aren’t haha). Well it turns out that a couple members invited their friends to come to church and they showed up! We ended up having four non-members at church and we had two of them that were interested in us coming by and sharing our message with them. And to top it all off, we still had an investigator show up. It was a really good Sunday. The Lord truly is preparing people!
Yesterday we went to the North American International Auto Show and it was pretty awesome. I’m glad I got to go this year because last year we couldn’t find anyone to give us a ride. The show was HUGE and they had a lot of cool concept cars to check out. My favorite was the Toyota Fun-Vii. It’s a super futuristic car that’s nowhere near showing up on the road but it had a lot of cool features and ideas. The whole thing was automated and it has no windows. Instead it has a bunch of small cameras on the exterior that project the outside world on the interior of the car. The coolest part though was the exterior of the car. The “paint” can be fully customized to look anyway you want it to look. So you can pick red, blue, green, yellow, zebra stripe, you can draw your own picture… just whatever you can think of. We had the guy running the car take a picture of us and project it on the outside of the car. I’ll send you the picture I took of it. My favorite car is still the newest Dodge Challenger though. Even among all the Ferrari’s and Porsche’s it was still the one I wanted to check out. The new Dodge Dart is really cool though too and we watched one of the presentations on it. They had a new Jaguar there too that came with a 7.1 surround sound system and a super charged V8 that was cool too. The lady showing it off too said it was “on sale for the low price of $89,000!” But overall it was a fun car show and I’m glad I got to go. It was funny to walk around and see pretty much all of the missionaries from our mission there too. We got stopped by a lot of members too that thought it was cool our mission president allowed us to come down.
We got a call from the mission office yesterday too informing us that next transfer (Feb19) they are splitting Warren in half. I already knew it was coming so it wasn’t a big surprise. So this week we have to locate an apartment for the new missionaries to live in so that’s going to take up part of our week. The mission office wants to be able to start moving furniture and stuff in on February first so we don’t have a lot of time to figure it out. We’re planning on doing some hunting today. It’s kind of exciting preparing the ward for another set of elders to come in.
Well, I hope you guys are doing well and having fun. Thanks for the letters and everything! Have a good week and I’ll talk to you guys next week!
-Love Elder Rushton