Canada Day–Murica’s B-day–Water, Fire and Smog July 6 2015

Fire Smoke in Nanaimo

Smoke from fires in Nanaimo, Canada

Hello everyone! It was a pretty eventful week! We had Canada Day July 1st, a baptism in Courtenay on the 3rd, America’s Birthday on the 4th, a giant forest fire sometime on Friday up until… well, now, and a whole ton of smog here in Nanaimo due to fires! So, like I said, eventful. It was also insanely hot again, but that has been helping with my weird missionary tan, so that’s not all bad. Also, we got massive T-bone steaks from an investigator for the 4th of July! Just another awesome week here on Vancouver Island!

On Canada Day, all the neighborhoods of Nanaimo were like ghost towns, so we started asking everyone where all the people were. Apparently they were all up in Parksville (which is sadly out of the ward boundaries) for fireworks. It is not at all like the 4th of July–not a single person was having a BBQ! That sorely disappointed me and made us rag on Canada, forgetting that Elder Bonfield is actually Canadian ha-ha. There is definitely a cultural difference between here and America. For example, nobody ever knows their neighbors–not even their neighbor’s names! Maybe I just took that for granted living in Utah, home teaching our next door neighbors, knowing even their dogs names–but I would like to see a little more neighborly love up here! Anyways, back to the story (kinda) we got some dollar drinks from McDonald’s and hit all the parks around town to look for families to teach. We scrapped together a pretty good day by the end.

One investigator got  baptized in Courtenay and while I didn’t go, the pictures on this week’s newsletter were super cool. She was one of my favorite people to teach in Courtenay when I was there, but she would just never fully give up coffee and smoking. When I got to go back there on an exchange, we taught her and I asked what finally did it for her. She said, basically, “I decided that I wanted to get baptized and feel God’s love more than I wanted to drink coffee and smoke.” Short, sweet and to the point. Much like the gospel itself! Also, the Muslim dude I baptized in Van YSA just baptized another one of his Muslim friends! Middle East, here we come!

The 4th of July was a big miracle for us. We weren’t looking so hot for hitting standards until Saturday. Then God decided to open the windows of Heaven and bless us out the wazoo! We got a new investigator family from this guy we split wood for, and taught a boat load of lessons–what I like to call MMPL’s (“Miracle Member Present Lessons”). They really were all miracles and we ended the week very, very nicely. We got a new part-member family to teach that are from New York on the 4th as well. Literally the only reason our visit with them was a success is because we were all American’s. Well, minus Elder Bonfield, but he’s a hoser anyways ha-ha. Alright alright, I’m just kidding about that, he’s pretty sweet. Then the only other big event is the forest fires all around the province right now. I’ll include a picture, but there’s a big one right outside of Nanaimo and there is smoke EVERYWHERE!! We got home from church and there was ash all up and down in our apartment. We left the windows open because it’s insanely hot (and nobody in this province bothers to put in AC) but that turned out to be a big learning experience.

Well that’s it for my week folks! I hope you all have an amazing week and keep being wonderful Disciples of Christ! Ta ta for now!

–Elder Rushton The Third



Transit-Transfers-Tacos & My Last Six Weeks June 22 2015

Elder Skyler Rushton P-Day

Elder Skyler Rushton on P-Day

This was another scorching week here on Vancouver Island! A LOT went down–especially near the end of the week–but my email title sums it all up in one great sentence: Transit-Transfers-Tacos & My Last Six Weeks. We took our car into the auto body shop on Tuesday where they said, “Oh yeah, we will have it back to you in three days, tops.” Well, here we stand on Monday with still no car… Come on guys!! So that royally blew sometimes, but it wasn’t all bad. We met lots of cool people we wouldn’t have met otherwise riding the buses all around Nanaimo. I got a nice break from it for a day on exchanges with the Courtenay Elders, but other than that we walked a lot. It was a good week for getting in shape, but after an entire week of being on transit I still weigh the same :(  Oh well, at this rate we may be on transit for another week.

Monday we played some basketball with Nanaimo South and then watched “Meet The Mormons” with some of our investigators for an FHE activity. That was pretty sweet. One of them to come was an investigator and apparently Monday night was the last game of the Stanley Cup Finals (thank goodness we weren’t out tracting during the game–that got ugly last year!) and he missed it to come see the movie. Well, our member with the disc had misplaced it so he was late getting to the activity, so we started the movies late, and our investigator missed the whole game. He didn’t seem too peeved at the activity, but the next day we went to go see him and his landlord told us we were no longer allowed in his building and that we weren’t to contact him ever again… There were a lot of holes in the whole situation, so we might try to contact him later to see really what the heck happened. It wouldn’t be the first time I had to go back into “enemy” territory to contact an investigator!  So that was weird.

On Wednesday we had district meeting and then went to Taco Bell afterwards–hence the “Tacos” part of the title. Later we took out our missionary in the zone sick with vertigo to get him used to working again, and he’s finally back to his own area as of Friday! Elder Higley has been down there helping them out for the last two weeks, and he will finally come back up here today! Yay! I nicknamed him “Dad” because he’s 26 and old enough to be a father. Since I couldn’t call my real father on Father’s day, I called Elder Higley and wished him happy father’s day ha-ha! It was pretty funny. But on that note: Happy Father’s day real dad! I love you! Sorry for not getting you a card! They are grossly overpriced over here–like everything else!

Thursday, we had a lesson with a lady that called us on Monday while we were emailing. She said she wanted to “get together and talk about the bible. Specifically the book of Revelation.” Perfect! So we had our lesson with her on Thursday, and she had actually gotten ahold of the Relief Society President and her husband (the 1st counselor in the Bishopric) to have them come and talk too! So we were all geared up for a weird lesson, and it totally was! Just not how we were expecting! She had all these charts and stuff; she wanted to talk about this “planet X” and how it’s coming in between us and the sun in September, how almost every major bible event is involved with this planet’s rotation, etc. It was… Crazy, to say the least. But she is pretty cool and will probably start coming to church so she’s “ready for the world to end.” Sweet! That’s all that matters to me. So if the world ends in September everyone, “make sure you are paying your tithing!”–Elder Swallow

On Friday we went on Exchanges with Courtenay and I got to go there with Elder Salazar–my favorite  Guatemalan Elder! We had a really good time and I got to see all of my recent converts up there! Another one of our investigators is planning to get dunked on July 3rd, so that will be sweet as well. We took Akshay, who was just baptized last Sunday, to a bunch of lessons with us and he bore some sick testimony on how he felt when he got baptized. He’s so awesome. Elder Burns–one of the senior couple missionaries–bought us and the Courtenay Elders Korean BBQ and Sushi when we exchanged back! It was a great exchange.

Then the last big event from the week was transfer calls! I… Am staying here to finish my mission! Yay! I’m sick of getting new area’s ha-ha. Elder Swallow is leaving to a place called Willoughby, Elder Higley is staying with me and… we are getting another third!!! Elder Bonfield is also coming here!! He started his mission in my district when I was in Langley! Elder Mandin is coming to Nanaimo South and he started his mission in my district in Penticton. Lastly, Elder Wood is coming to Duncan, and he started his mission in my district in Langley as well! So, a super legit zone for my last six weeks! I’m stoked.

Well that’s the update for the week everyone! I love you all and I hope your summer solstice yesterday was spectacular! Let me know if there is anything I can do for any of you, and continue to enjoy your summer!

–Elder Rushton The Third… The Last Elder Rushton On A Mission!

2 Peter 3:12–A Fervent Heat! And Baptisms! June 15 2015

A Canadian Baptism

A Canadian Baptism!

2 Peter 3:12–”Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”

To give you a perspective of how the weather was this week, this scripture sums it up great! We are out here, trying to hasten the work, preparing for the “coming of the day of God” and it feels like the stinkin’ heavens are on fire! It hit +30 Celsius a few times last week and with the humidity it has been brutal. But I still love the island–though I wish it would rain so it would be green again! We did get to work with some water this week though–My old investigator up in Courtenay finally got baptized! I knew it would just be a matter of time. He is so amazing. I went up with the Senior couple–the Burns–Sunday night for the baptism and it was awesome. I got to see all of my old Courtenay ward buddies and converts! Sooo great.

The other big event from the week is that an Elder in Duncan was really sick with Vertigo, so Elder Higley went down to take his place for the week. He was the surrogate district leader down there while Elder Swallow and I were left in Nanaimo to run everything else. It was a good week, but sure a stressful one! We are still in that situation, but hopefully we will get Elder Higley back up here before too much longer! This week we are taking our 2015 Cruze in to get the bumper replaced (a certain companion (Elder Swallow) backed into a pole a couple weeks back because he was only watching the backup camera!) and so we will be on transit for a couple days. Elder Higley probably won’t want to come back for that… But hey, at least now we get to burn off more fat! We’ve been trying to walk more this past week to save Kilometers and burn fat, and it is at least helping us find more people to teach! We were walking on Saturday, and some random guy pulls over and goes, “Hey! Do you guys want to do a good deed?” To which I responded, “Is it something Jesus would do?” And he said, “Probably!” So I said, “Good enough for me! What can we do for you?” He had us get in his car (I know, I know, he was a stranger and stuff–but the spirit didn’t say no!) and he drove us to his house. It was a miracle that we ran into him. He is a potential investigator (someone that missionaries had met before and wrote down to go see him again sometime) and was so grateful for our help. We helped him chop a bunch of wood, and he had this wicked Swedish axe he had just purchased. Elder Swallow had never chopped wood before so I got to use it, and it cut through wood like butter! It was sweet. After that, we did some service for the 2nd counselor in the Bishopric. He rides Harley’s, has two pit bull guard dogs (one of which is autistic) and used to be a bootlegger. So he’s pretty awesome.

That was all on Saturday, but the other days of the week were filled with crazy stuff like that too! We called through a bunch of our potential investigators, one of which was just named, “J, Mike’s brother”. With not a clue what that meant, I gave it a call and J is legit! We set up an appointment, grabbed our favorite Native Priest-age young man—-and drove to his house. He lives in the middle of nowhere–about 30 minutes from Nanaimo town center–but it was beautiful where he lives! We taught him the Restoration and he especially clicked with The Great Apostasy doctrine. After that, he just ate everything else up! It was great. So we taught some amazing people this week, worked our butts off, hit standards and the zone did superb. It was a tiring week, but Sister Tilleman (former mission President’s wife) always said, “A successful missionary is a tired missionary!” So I must be doing something right.

I had better finish up this email before I run out of time! Lastly, I just want to bear you all my testimony, my witness that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings spiritual healing. It repairs hearts, spirits, minds and even bodies. As we live the commandments (even just out of sheer obedience, which hopefully turns into willful obedience at some point!) God gives us blessings–even if that blessing is just us opening our eyes to the blessings God has already given us! Family, friends, our own skills and self-worth–all of these are blessings and gifts from God! As we hearken to the words of Christ and “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having…a love of God and all men [ourselves included!]” (2 Nephi 31:20) we can and will Endure to the End so we can have Eternal Life. We need to keep applying the Gospel into our lives and always be changing so we can one day become perfect. We may not be perfect, but we can truly become perfect at trying. So keep trying, keep doing your best and God will help you out. He will open the windows of Heaven and pour you out blessings. I know these things are true because I have been doing them the best I can over the last two years. I know these things are true for everyone else as well, because I’ve seen it change lives during my time as a missionary. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!

I love you all so much and I hope your week goes fabulous! Bye for now!

–Elder Rushton The Third

Picture: From the left is Elder Robinson, Me, Akshay (don’t know why he has his hand up…), and Elder Salazar!

Never a Normal Week–June 8th Email

Elder Skyler Rushton and Companions

Elder Skyler Rushton with his companions.

Hello everyone! It was one of those weeks where every day seemed to mesh together and I am just pooped! One of my comps (Elder Swallow) always says, “Oh, poop!” And the other (Elder Higley) says, “Aw, Frank!” When things get real; and this week, things got real! Oh, poop!

Haha alright, just kidding. But it was a pretty legit week though! On Monday we got to help an investigator tear a TON of ivy off of his fence (it grows like crazy on the island) but that evolved into us doing some demolition on his fence! It was awesome! Nothing like a judo kick to a fence to end your P-day! Tuesday, I went to Port Alberni on exchange with the Elders there. They were kind of in a rut, so I went there to try and break them out of it. We decided to try some store contacting in Wal-Mart and that worked out pretty good. I got into a discussion on water filters with somebody that thought I worked there, and after about 10 minutes of me trying to bring up Jesus Christ in the conversation, she finally realized that I didn’t work there. Classic.

So the exchange was great and they are doing really good now. We had a zone meeting on Friday too that seemed to affect them a lot, so hopefully they can just go out and be real people as well as disciples of Jesus Christ this next week. (That was what a large chunk of zone meeting was about–being “real” and being a missionary at the same time. Good practice for when we all get home one day!)

After that exchange, we had a missionary from Courtenay–Elder Salazar–come down and be with Elder Swallow and I on Thursday. He is from Guatemala originally, so we obviously took him to every Spanish investigator/less-active family we have! It worked out really well and had some success come from it–I got to practice my very little Spanish too, so that was good! We took him back that night and got Elder Higley back. Then the very next day, we had to do an emergency exchange with the Duncan Elders because one of them had/still has severe vertigo. We’ve been dealing with that all weekend, taking turns being with the sick missionary. The doctor they finally saw today said that he might be out of commission for 10-14 days. Oh, Frank! That will be rough and we will have to figure out what we’re going to do about that. We were down in Duncan this morning with them and drove back this afternoon. It is probably the most beautiful hour drive I’ve had on my mission, so I made sure to get lots of pictures. Duncan is definitely a place I would come to visit post-mission–the scenery is gorgeous!

Hmm, what else happened this week…. We got a cool guy (investigator) to church and have a couple baptismal dates, but they are all for the 4th of July (we did that on purpose because we are in Canada :) so that’s a little ways out. One investigator who I taught in Courtenay, is getting baptized next Saturday so that will be great. Almost everyone I taught this week is on “disability” so we had some pretty crazy lessons. Literally. But that’s about it for the week! I love you all so much! I love Nanaimo, I love Canada as the 2nd best country in my book, I love the people here, the weather, the scenery–living on an island is the bomb. Have an awesome week everyone; talk to you later!

–Elder Rushton The Third

Over Mountains, Plains and Seas

Elder Skyler Rushton rides ferry

Elder Skyler Rushton riding the ferry.

Hello everyone! It was another incredible week here on Vancouver Island and it has been HOT! We went into a water advisory thingie for the city of Nanaimo yesterday because it hasn’t rained in almost two weeks. For here, that’s insane. There are no sprinkler systems because it’s supposed to be wet, and Vancouver Island is classified as a rainforest! But we actually almost spent no time in Nanaimo this week for exchanges! It literally almost felt like a vacation–we were in Port Alberni, Powell River, Courtenay and Richmond on the mainland this week! Richmond was for a meeting, but the others were all for exchanges with the Elders there! Monday, we drove into the Alberni valley where it is beautiful. We had P-day there, and lunch with a family named the Householder’s. They were from Utah, and knew a family member of mine named Steve Rushton–it was crazy! We also went to Cathedral Grove where they filmed Star Wars for P-day–legit!

After the exchange in Port Alberni, we drove up and took the 2 hour ferry to Powell River. No killer whales this time sadly, but the weather was prime for sailing. The exchange there went great, and Elder Swallow and I got to follow up with some people WE met last time we were there. It was sick! They were all totally interested! Miracles followed us around all week.

We travelled back from Powell River and met up with the Courtenay Elders for a bit, then finally headed back to Nanaimo Wednesday night. We had mission coordination so not a lot got done, then the next day we had weekly planning so still less got done. Then, we had to travel to Richmond for a day and by the time we got back Saturday morning, we had literally only worked in our area for maybe one day. We have something called the standards of excellence which is a mission goal for every companionship to hit. It takes into account member present lessons we teach, our quality gospel conversations (QGC’s), baptismal dates, investigators at church and new investigators we find during the week. There is a number associated with each of those, and if you hit four of them you make the standards. So, we were gone almost all week by Saturday, so we had almost no numbers for our area. We prayed, game planned a bit and then went out to hit the pavement. That’s when the blessings started flowing in. We hit the standards that night. HUGE miracle! God is so good. Just goes to show you that when you are doing what the Lord wants you to do, he will take care of you.

5 out of the 8 companionships in the zone hit standards which were tied for the best in the mission. So that was sweet. We had our favorite investigator couple come to church for the first time yesterday and they really enjoyed it! They are amazing. I’m running out of time this week, but suffice it to say that this was one of my favourite weeks of my mission. This is a promised land and being on a mission is the best thing I’ve ever done. I love you all so much! This gospel and church is so incredibly true! Read your scriptures and pray every day so you never lose your way! Have a great week

–Elder Rushton The Third

Skyler has been home this long-

  • Skyler has been home for:
    8 years, 1 month, 17 days, 10 hours, 28 minutes, 53 seconds ago