Monday, August 22, 2016

Week 3 in Nicaragua - Elder Brigham Rush

 Written by Elder Brigham Rush, in the Provo Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is assigned to the Nicaragua Managua North Mission, speaking Spanish.

Okay, week 3 was pretty eventful so get ready for an action packed email. So to start off the week, Elder Perry (the other white elder that got here the same time as me) got super sick and the nurse thought he had zika. Turns out he just drank some bad water and got some super nasty parasites. He was out of commission for about the entire week, but now he's doing a lot better.

The highlight of my week has to do with the funny t-shirts I was talking about last week. So this whole time I've been hoping to see a t-shirt from a high school I recognized or something like that, but I saw something better. As I arrived at my bus stop on our way to our area, I saw a man in a plain white basketball jersey that I thought I recognized. Upon further inspection I look and see the he's wearing a JUNIOR JAZZ rec league basketball jersey. Funniest thing I've seen all week. Along with the herd of cows walking down the street that I sent in my pictures. 
Also, if you were wondering, the game "nose goes" where you touch your nose so you don't have to do something, is a world wide game. Everyone here knows what it means and it's hilarious.
On another note, as you can imagine, my area is a very humble place. Almost all the houses are just tin walls and roof and a dirt floor. If you've ever seen "the Little Rascals" just picture their club house, divide that by about a fourth in size, and you have the houses here. Usually with cable tv though so that's pretty cool. At least they know their priorities. Anyways, one night I walked into this house, it was built very nicely, and the tin all lined up well. The dirt floor was swept (I'm not sure how) and everything was put away in its place. The first thing that came to my mind was "hmm, this is a nice house". In that exact moment, I knew that I was getting used to Nicaragua. 
The last funny thing I want to talk about is the stores here, specifically the advertisements. Every single house has some special thing that they sell, and the way that they advertise that thing is by taping a piece of paper on the door that say "Hay" (which means there is) and then the thing after. My personal favorite is when people are selling popsicles. The signs say "Hay Posicle". Yes, spelled like that. 
I want to finish with a story of a less active member named Lucia. when we started visiting her, she though she had cancer, had no job, and her husband left her and her daughter to be a drunk on the street. Since then, she started going to church, found out that she didn't have cancer, her husband came home one night and we talked to him. He stopped drinking and smoking, and the next week they both found jobs! Not taking any of the credit at all, but God truly is a God of miracles. So I want to leave you with that! I'm sorry if I don't email you back, we only can email for about an hour here so I try to put as much as I can in here. If you were wondering, I still find some fleas in the house, but the epidemic is pretty much over. I love all of you! I hope you have a great week! (still no baptisms) :(
Go to church, it is very important.
- Elder Rush
*currently no links available for this entry* (August 29, 2016) 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

An AWESOME Week - Elder Joshua Avery

 By Elder Joshua Avery, serving in the Singapore Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Mandarin Chinese.

This week Elder Avery sent a voice recording and several photos. The following is transcribed from the voice recording:  

Alllrighty!  I’m a little short on time, so I’m going to have to do this AUCTIONEER style….

Just kidding, I won’t be an auctioneer, I’ve never done that... But Monday was an AWE-SOME day.  After our preparation day activities, we went out proselyting and we ended up being able to talk to some awesome people and we found a really cool potential investigator, we went to see a less active, the less active wasn’t home and then his son was, turned out the less active moved somewhere else. The son was willing to let us share share with him later, but so far he’s flaked out on his appointments, because he’s scare what his wife will think, so we just have to get him to be less scared.

Then Tuesday, was an exciting day, we ended up having our zone meeting that day, and our zone meeting was amazing and really powerful. So we went out and had an awesome day, found some cool people that we were able to set up for later. One of which was, while we were walking, Elder Harker he saw this park and he said, we have to go the park and talk to people at the park. So we’re like, "Okay". So we went to this park that was by this member’s house and we talked to some people that were saying “no” but we saw this old lady and we talked to this old lady and she was like “Hey! I’m from the Philippines and I’m Mormon and I used to be a temple worker in the Manila temple and we’re like “What the... like, who are you?” So then she’s like “yeah, yeah, and I live right here”  She's been here for like a month or two, and she had no idea where the church was in Singapore or anything like that. So going to that, we were able to teach her son-in-law who was home, who’s not a member and we taught him and he had a couple of concerns, but he was pretty good. But he also ended up skipping his return appointment, well I guess technically, it was his first appointment so he ended up skipping that, so we’re going to have to try to reschedule with him and try to catch him one of these times, but it was an awesome miracle.

Then Wednesday, we ended up having a lesson with Sister Em*, she’s the Indonesian that we found a couple weeks ago and she’s just cruising towards baptism she accepts everything, we taught her the law of chastity, the word of wisdom and all sorts of things and she just eats it right up. She just follows it without any question, which is just AWESOME and so… and we even taught her about modesty, which like no one in Singapore cares about and she’s committed to modesty. Like, that is amazing.  If we could get our other recent converts, to dress modestly, then we’d be getting somewhere.  So and we also found 8 potentials that day, so that was a really great finding day, had an awesome lesson… really, really good.

Thursday after our weekly planning, we went out and had a lot of lessons scheduled, some of them fell through, but the highlight of the day definitely was teaching Annabelle, which she’s doing good. After that we ended up teaching the Stake Patriarchs wife a lesson, she’s been investigating a really long time and I guess this sounds weird, because people don’t understand. So how this is working.... um, the stake patriarch married a member and then she passed away a couple years ago so now he’s remarried, but she is not a member and she’s pretty stubborn like “I’m not going to join the church for like, my husband, or anyone like, only if God lets me know if it’s true".  And so this past week, she says that she feels like it’s true and  she wants to be baptized. Only concern now is that she’s scared to give a talk or accept a calling and she and her husband are talking about it and they’ll let us know about the baptism date.  It will either be this month or September.

Then, after that, on Friday, we ended up teaching sister S*, she’s doing really well.  Then Saturday, we had a lot of potential lessons, we were sad because they all fell through, except for one. Um but he was way awesome. His name is R*, and he is from Myanmar, but his English is amazing. He’s been here for a really long time, so his English is completely normal.  And he is a Buddhist, but open and willing to learn. We taught him about the restoration and he understood it really well and he’s like “so, pretty much what you’re saying is that your religion has the connection between like what your religion teaches and God and others, it’s just like beliefs”  and we’re like, "yep, that’s pretty much it” so he’s like “Wow, okay, I’ll read this book and pray about it” so we’re meeting him on Wednesday, I’m excited about him. He wants to come to church next week.

And then, Sunday was another good day, we had (yawns) quite a few investigators at church and then another really cool thing that ended up happening was earlier this week was on Wednesday, I forgot to say something, so on Wednesday we went and got together with Brother Y*, he’s a recent convert that we’re teaching, so we went to go in and share with him and as soon as we’re about to start the lesson, we get a call from one of our investigators who’s name is G* and G*, for a while, we were meeting with him. He’s a really nice guy, had a good spirit, but he just wasn’t able to progress because of his working situation and he finally got a new job, so we’ve been able to share more with him the past couple weeks and then all of the sudden, we just get this call from him: “Elders I need to get baptized like right away”. And we’re like, “What?”, and he’s like, “Yeah, like as soon as I can, I need to be baptized”, and it was way exciting, and so we talked to him about it on Saturday, and he scheduled for baptism on the 17th of September and then Em*s on the 18th and then the patriarch’s wife, should be sometime before then, which is really cool, so then baptisms are coming up, but we need to find some people. 

Our finding has been down, so that’s always hard, because finding is the life-blood of missionary work. Baptisms are awesome, but if you don’t find, you don’t baptize. So we’re a little stressed about finding right now, but we’re gonna keep goin' strong!  Great day ahead... and next week, when I talk about all the crazy awesome finding miracles and awesome investigators we have, just know it’s because God loves us and He likes to test us and this was the testing week, so I hope this next week is the miracle week.  Awesome. 

Love you all!
Elder Avery

August 28, 2016
Learning Malay with Elder Harker and Elder Gara - August 14, 2016

Monday, August 15, 2016

Adventuring Through Central America - Elder Brigham Rush

Written by Elder Brigham Rush, in the Provo Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is assigned to the Nicaragua Managua North Mission, speaking Spanish.

Hey all!
So if you were wondering, I'm doing a lot better this week. I'm picking up the language fast and we are getting a little bit more work done. But I just want to share this story before I say anything.
The Bane of my existence -
So on Tuesday I finally got a pillow delivered to me by the wonderful senior missionaries. I love them they are the best. Before I was just sleeping on my towel every night. But anyways, that day we went on splits with the Zone Leaders and Tuesday was just an awesome day. Wednesday we woke up and I had to go get tested for parasites (I don't have any by the way, woohoo!) because I've had some serious problems since I've got here. Turns out its just that my body isn't used to eating rice and beans every meal. 
Okay, so here's the bad part. I was living life, happy that I didn't have parasites, and we just went grocery shopping in the nice part of town which was awesome. I even bought some fruity pebbles to remind me of home. I finally felt like I could make it past these next 2 years until we got back to the house and discovered that we had fleas. FLEAS!!!!!! Literally the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I can't sleep at night because I'm so paranoid. But today for P day I spent the whole day mopping every thing in my house with insecticide. They say that will work. Pray for me. 

So let me get into my missionary life a little bit. Our area is 2 little towns called Lucida and Sor Maria. They don't have any running water and its pretty much a bunch of jungle shacks, which is awesome. Every person here believes in God, which is awesome, but also challenging. Most of the time when we contact, we ask the person "do you believe in God?" and the answer is "Of course! Everyone Believes in God!" 
One of the best things I saw all week was yesterday, it started raining crazy hard, like hurricane level stuff. And instead of going inside, everyone sprinted out of their house to get their water barrels in place to catch the water so they can use it! It was quite a sight to see, it just shows you how awesome the people are here.

Our Branch, (actually called a nucleus, which is a pre branch)  consisting of around 30 people held in the nucleus presidents house. Our job is to convert that into a ward with 100 members so we can get a chapel built in our area and our district will become the Stake of Matagalpa! It sounds like a lot of work, but there's around 40 non active people alone that live in the town, so our job this whole week has just been reactivating. which is kind of sad because that means no baptisms, but its missionary work all the same! 
2 of the members we recently activated is a around 45 year old woman named Genada, who lives with her 85 year old Mother, Juana. I love Juana so much. She is missing her left leg, and all her teeth, and I can never understand her, but she was very happy when we came by and told her about the new branch that was just down the road from her house. She is confined to her wheelchair, which is a plastic lawn chair with wheels. And we go get her on Sundays and push her to the church at 8 am.
Another one of our Investigators is named Juan (very common name here) and he owns a cow and pig farm right next to the city dump. He owns 83 pigs and around 20 cows on a little plot of rocky land! He loves visiting with us and teaching us about his farm though. He's a good friend of mine at this point.
Another great thing about this country is the Shirts they wear. Not 1 person here speaks English (except one man I met the other day from Seattle, which was awesome) and they all wear shirts with English words or phrases on them of which only I can understand. So that brightens my day a little, its kind of like my own inside joke. I saw a 40 year old man walking down the street the other day wearing a shirt that said "I traded my sister for video games". 
My best friend here in Matagalpa is named Elder Alofipo. He's from Highland Utah so maybe some of you out there know him. He's been out here for 3 months so we can kind of relate.
Here's something awesome, at the end of this change I will be over 1/8th done with my mission. Wow time is flying.
I want to end by saying that God does answer prayers! If you need help or are having a hard time in your life, I would encourage you to pray to your Heavenly Father. Remember, faith without works is dead. Always do everything that you can, and count on God to make up the difference. I have a strong testimony of this and I know its true, because I live it every day. 

Another thing. The number 1 thing that I've learned here is how to be happy as a missionary. 3 main points that came to me were
1. Prayer
Always ask God for help and trust in him
Never think about yourself and get lost in the work - President Hinckley
3.Always be learning
Even when your sitting at the bus stop or waiting for lunch, be practicing or learning something. Read a book or contact someone.
These are principles that apply directly to my life. I'll leave it up to you to try to translate that into a normal life hahaha. 
I love it here even though its hard! This church is true and we are doing the Lord's work to bring happiness to the people of Nicaragua!
I love you all!

- Elder Rush

Welcome to Nicaragua! (August 8, 2016)
Week 3 in Nicaragua (August 22, 2016)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Learning Malay with Elder Harker and Elder Gara - Elder Joshua Every

By Elder Joshua Avery, serving in the Singapore Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Mandarin Chinese.

This week Elder Avery sent a voice recording and several photos. The following is transcribed from the voice recording:  

All Right! (In kind of a southern drawl voice for most of the time) Let’s jump into things, “MY WEEEEK”. 
So, this past week was just superb. On Monday, we had an exciting turn of events. Um, we went to the hospital to pick up a missionary named Elder Gara… from Malaysia. No worries, he’s fine. He had gotten in a bike accident earlier, and then before that, I guess he got in a bike crash like months and months before. And he hurt his wrist and then hurt it again, and it was actually good that he hurt it again, because sometimes Malaysian doctors miss things and it  turns out that his wrist, like his hand wasn’t like,  really fully attached to, like bones or anything. So he needed to come and do surgery in Singapore, glad he didn’t stay in Kuching, because the doctor there was gonna do something different that was going to be terrible. So we brought him into Singapore then. He’s been our companion this whole week. He’s really nice, he’s from Sarawak and he is Iban, which is one of the dayak tribes here.  He’s a really nice elder, we’re glad we get to work with him. We did another family home evening with Brother Y* P* and his wife Yu* and their cute little daughters, one’s like 3 or 4 years old and the other is a little baby and we went over how to increase faith in Jesus Christ. It was a lot of fun, we drew pictures with the little girls, the ways they were going to increase their faith- it was way fun. 

And then, after that, it was Tuesday.  After our reporting we ended up just going out and doing work and… pretty good day.. I would tell you more, except that I don’t have my previous planner to look over, because while I was going over my planner, my planner, random days were out of order and upside down and stuff… so I had a misprint planner, so I have a new one now.  So I don’t remember what else happened on Tuesday.. (haha)  Um.. so.. skippin' forward to when I got a new planner! (Pause)  Um… oh, this is awkward, I’m trying to remember my week and I can’t remember everything I just got Elder Harker’s planner and I’ll just go through his except that it’s all in Malay so I don’t know what to do… (Elder Harker laughing)  (Elder Avery) What?... (Elder Harker) So what day?  (Avery) What is Raboo?  (Harker) Wednesday.  (Avery) Aww! That’s the one! Raboo!  

Okay so then, Wednesday we ended meeting with an investigator named Er*, he’s older.  He used to be, well…I shouldn’t say older, he’s like early 40s.  (Elder Harker chuckling) But, he used to be Christian and he kind of left religion and Christianity because of depression and other things and so, he was just talking about like.. I don’t know, he kind of got on the whole (southern accent in higher pitch) “Yeah, well why did Joseph Smith get to see God, like, I’ve never seen God… or like an angel and he got to do this and we just have to go off like faith and stuff”  like I’ve never seen God”  So we had to explain that, do you go off faith… but I got a little fiery because sometimes it heats me up a little bit, when people say things like that.  So I was like, “Yeah. Joseph Smith got to see God and Jesus Christ.  Because after he was beaten nearly to death, multiple times and tarred and feathered, multiple times, lost multiple children because of the ramifications of things that mobs did and other tribulations they were going through and his people were  marched through snow and left like blood in their footsteps and all that stuff… and then HE DIED. He never denied it, whereas any other human being, any other person, would have done that. Joseph Smith was an exceptional man and not only that, but of course he had to exercise and use faith before he received a witness just like it says in Ether 12:6.  So, we told him that and hopefully that will help him, I think he should be good. 

Then also that day, we taught an awesome investigator from Indonesia named Sister Em*, that we found a little while ago and now like even now,  my phone is going  off cause her and another member in the stake, who’s Indonesian, named Sister I*, they just talk all day about what’s happened, just message each other and talk about gospel stuff.  But, on Wednesday when we taught Sister Em*, which was a super good lesson, which was really short, because she only had 20 minutes, because she is a domestic helper and doesn’t get a lot of spare time. And she really like it, we reviewed the restoration and she was like, “of course I’ll be baptized on September 17th, like why not?” And that’s really cool, she’s doing really well with the Book of Mormon, she’s reading it and then…. …
Oh, yeah, (in a fast then drawn out funny voice…) 

Fast forward to Thursday, evening after our weekly planning, we had to go pretty far out of our area, because one of our recent converts named Ro*, her friend’s grandma needed a blessing so we went way far to, I forget the name of the place..but we went really far to there, to go give the blessing (Josh yawning and talking), but we felt like it was … sorry that was a yawn… but we felt like it was necessary because, I don’t know, Ro*... um... never mind... this.… Members are great. I love them… But sometimes... it’s hard to go to your home teachers and stuff like that, when they are not close to you, when you have things like that pop up. Sometimes recent converts just have to go to the missionaries.  Anyways… (laughs)... so that was out of our area, but we did that for her and because she really wanted us to do and not a member. 

And then after that, it was Friday and so, Friday... let’s see Friday… (some foreign word for Friday) Juoomant.. is that what it is? And Friday was a finding day and we ended up kind of finding this really awesome guy from China, I feel bad, we keep finding awesome people, but then they’re not in our area, so HA! I need to be careful about that.  But, we found this really awesome guy from China, so we passed him off to some Chinese elders that day, so that was cool. We also went to "Singbon?" park and met this really cool girl who is also from Indonesia and we like, when we first ran into her she was not open at all and we were like “Are you kidding me.. do you think God doesn’t talk to us like he did in the Bible, that would mean God has changed. And if God has changed, then God has ceased to be God. So then she was like, whoa, ok..she was kind of like.. ok, I’ll read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and we were like, Wooo!” It was exciting. 

And then “saptoo”, that’s “Saturday”… I’m learning Malay!!  We ended up teaching…let’s see… a lot of these lessons fell through I realize, let’s see which ones actually happened.  Oh, G* and M* happened… so then we ended up being able to teach Brother M* at Brother W*'s house and he’s amazing and he’s like “Yeah, okay, but Sunday I don’t want to go to your church again, because I’ve been going to the Catholic church for the past 7 years and I feel like I should tell my priest what I’ve been learning and see what thoughts he’s had” and of course, like always, we’re like, “what? that seems like kind of a silly idea, we all know what your priest is gonna say, like he’s gonna say like stay in his church, it’s like been 7 years… bla bla bla… “ok, fine, we’ll letcha do it. And so we did it and we prayed really hard, and then yesterday we talked to him and his priest was actually cool with it, and he was like “it’s your choice” and we were like, “woohoo!” and so… we’re excited, because we’re pretty sure we know what his choice is going to be.  (clicking sound with the side of his mouth like people do when they then point after… like some people do and wink at the same time they point… haha.)  BAPTISM!!
Then… after that, brother G*, we taught brother G* again and he’s been doing well, he has his work figured out and stuff, he should be able to come to church more… um, so that is exciting.  Sunday we taught Sister Em* from Indonesia again- it was a really good lesson, and then after the lesson, she gave us nine referrals who are also Indonesian and Christian so that’s amazing.  Only 2 or 3 of them are in our area, but that’s still amazing nonetheless.  And then we also were able to teach Brother Y*, who is a recent convert who came back from Brunei and then we were able to meet with Ro*, which is always amazing.  Then we came back… Oh, and then Sister Ri* ended up coming church, which was so good, because her phone has been having problems, so we haven’t been able to contact her and I’ve been waaay stressed about Sister Ri*, but she ended up being able to come to church, but she came with the 2 kids even though they live out in Compassvale, and we were able to go teach her and her husband later last night, down in- not in Compassvale, down in Queenstown and I guess they’re only going to be there for the month, then they’ll come back to Izhevsk, then we’ll be able to meet with them again.  So we’re excited.  

Um,  yeah, so that was our week! Love you all!! Be good.  Bye!!
Elder Avery

An AWESOME Week - August 21, 2016
A Rough Week, But A Good Week - August 7, 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016

Welcome to Nicaragua! - Elder Brigham Rush

Written by Elder Brigham Rush, in the Provo Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is assigned to the Nicaragua Managua North Mission, speaking Spanish.

Hey guys!

So, I got to my area. Sorry if some of my grammar is bad and what not, I'm typing on a Spanish keyboard. So, I'm in an area called Matagalpa and its in the mountains and it is seriously the most beautiful place you have ever seen in your life. My companion's name is Elder Reyes and he is from Guatemala; he doesn't speak English. Matagalpa is about 3 hours north of Managua, so we had a very long bus ride yesterday. Here is supposed to be the coldest area of Nicaragua, so it gets to probably 70 degrees in the night time and it feels amazing. It is raining right now. We study for 4 and 1/2 hours every morning and the showers are always cold, but it feels good because its so hot. My house is at the top of like 4 other houses, so we have to take a little spiral staircase all the way to the top. It has 2 rooms and 2 little pull out tables that we use to study. It has 2 beds and that's about all. The church just barely bought our house so there is literally nothing in it. All the walls are completely teel. I can't wait to send you pictures on Monday, I'm about to go out and teach/contact for the first time! I love you guys! The food here is good, I will write you all on Monday :) Haha! Adios!  I haven't spoken English in like 2 days. I am doing good, kinda hungry but we are about to eat lunch. This place is craaaaaaazy but I love it so much.

Last Week in MTC (July 30, 2016)
Adventuring Through Central America (August 15, 2016)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Rough Week, But A Good Week - Elder Joshua Avery

By Elder Joshua Avery, serving in the Singapore Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Mandarin Chinese.

This week Elder Avery sent a voice recording and several photos. The following is transcribed from the voice recording:  

 Alrighty! Time for my week!

This week was definitely an interesting one to say the least. To start off, Monday was transfer news and we spent all of Monday - before we went to a lesson that evening -helping with stuff for transfers (he chuckles) and that was good. And then after that, that evening we went to a Family Home Evening with a less active named Y* P*, he's from China, his wife is Japanese, named Sister Y*, and so we're going to start doing weekly Family Home Evenings with them. And- the Family Home Evening was pretty good, we taught about prayer 'n did we did like a little object lesson with like a  fishing pole and like taught prayer (pauses), 'n it was all going well but then (Umm) as we're talking about prayer, we're talking about how like sometimes our prayers aren't answered the way we want and so then I started sharing with her about how like, yeah like sometimes prayers aren't answered the way we wanted, which didn't go over the greatest just because, it's kind of a difficult subject, but that's okay. (laughs) Yeah, Brother Y* P* seems awesome though! He wants to bring his family back to the Church, he wants to bring his daughters in the church, so that looks good.

Then, Tuesday was just crazy! We spent the whole day in the office and we were helping to do flights for all the transfers. So, how it used to work is: when Elder Spurrier and I were together we had a travel agency and we would just email them the stuff for transfers, and they would book all the flights, and it was nice and pretty- it was just real simple. But, because that's really expensive, the way that we've been asked to do it now is to book all of the flights on our own. So, us as the assistants we don't have much of a responsibility with booking all the flights, it's mostly one of the senior couples in the office here, but they were just way overwhelmed with stuff like, so then we went in and we helped and we were helping with that the whole day until like, 9 o'clock at night. (Umm) And so that... that was tough, we were just like at the office ordering flights and it was way stressful, and we were getting missionaries and senior couples just calling in unhappy with what we were doing (chuckles) so that, (chuckles) that was tough. But we got through it!

And then that evening Elder Lindall-Wolford from Miri, he came, and he was just a little ray of sunshine. He made me really happy! He had to fly in from Miri to Singapore because of a medical thing that he was getting looked at in Singapore, and his flight was delayed and he didn't land 'til after 11, so after curfew, but he was staying at our apartment so that meant that we had to wait for him. So we were following up with him, and he was in a jam, because they lost his baggage and they left it in Malaysia. And so he was bummed. And so then finally we just get the funniest text, and Elder Lindall-Wolford at this point was really sick and like, it's late and we just get this text that says, "Elders! The lady at the airport just gave me $130 Sin for my luggage, I bought a Big Mac, and I'm coming home!" and so then we were like, "Woohoo!", and so then he showed up at like, 1:30 with McDonalds and $130 Sin that the lady at the airport had given him, and it was just.... It was just a really funny situation, just how it worked out.

And then after that (Umm), Wednesday was also way crazy. Wednesday we picked up all of the new missionaries, and that was fun. We actually ended up getting some pretty cool potentials while we picked up the new missionaries. Usually when we pick up the new missionaries we don't see a lot of return from it, but we actually had people that like messaged and called later, which was really cool. And we actually had a really strong group - it wasn't the largest, but it was a really strong group.

And then after all of that craziness Thursday came!

So, Thursday in the morning we had to train the trainers, and we also had MLC that day. Then at "train the trainers" we realized that the senior couple who booked the flights, who are the very best and did a very good job and I do not blame them at all, but they just didn't realize what time the missionaries for the New Mission Orientation Thursday morning had to leave, so they booked almost (sharp inhale) I'd say it was like a third - about a third of the flights too early for these new missionaries, so it was like, right during the thing. And so that, that was kind of a disaster, so we had to like, we were like trying to book 'n cancel the flights in time, because Expedia has the free cancel thing, so we're trying to cancel the flights on time and we book them new ones, 'n tryna figure out how we can have the meeting while some missionaries are like, trying to leave earlier.... (chuckles) So that was just completely crazy tough, and then there was also like someone else's flight, they forgot their baggage that they needed, and so I called to change the flight, flight company wasn't gonna let me change it, so I had to like, had to talk and probably not the most Christ-like way I've talked on my mission. Like, with this Malay lady for this one airline in Malaysia for a long time, and had to read out for her the terms and conditions, 'n go through like a mock-booking with her, 'n like she- she didn't budge though. So, we lost that one. That was kinda sad.

But then Thursday's MLC was amazing! That was a huge boost after all that craziness in the first half of the week, it was just a really spiritual MLC, which was really nice to get a little spiritual food, because I felt like we were just running 'n doing so much in the office, and so much administrative stuff that like, I felt like we were definitely spiritually starved. So it was awesome to have a spiritual MLC.

And then Friday was our first Proselyting day of the week! (Yawns) Sorry. And Friday... Friday was a solid day. We went and we had a lesson that day and then after that we had in our plans to call members. And at that point we had multiple investigators drop us earlier in the week and things were just kind of tough, so we were just thinking like, "What? What should we do?" And so while we were gonnna  call members, we felt we should go to the park. So, we went to the park and we ended up talking to this amazing lady from China. She was just awesome! Like she was Christian, she just loves Jesus, she was so excited, fascinated by what we were doing, and so she ended up coming Sunday. We were able to teach her before church, she wanted to go to church in English originally, because her major right now is Business English, but she still struggles to understand it, and also her husband, whom she had brought, he.... I don't think his English is as good as hers, so we ended up figuring it out so we ended up passing them to the Chinese Elders, but that was just a really cool miracle find.

And then Saturday, I'm trying to remember, Saturday had a lot of lessons. We ended up not teaching all of them (chuckles) but it was still good. Saturday we ended up being able to teach one of our investigators named Er*, he's doing good, he just needs to increase his faith a little bit. And then we ended up being able to teach Brother S*, and he's doing awesome! Right now he's teaching us the missionary lessons and he did a good job. And then..... Then that was it, I believe.... Oh no, we also taught M*, who was amazing. We taught him with Brother W*, he came to church on Sunday, he's doing really well.

And then Sunday- Sunday after church was pretty good, we went (Umm) and we did a lot of finding. We didn't have as much success as we wanted to while we were finding, but that's okay! Y'know, it's all good!

Something that I've witnessed though, this week, is.... I mean, the cool thing is just to know that even when things happen, we don't have to take offense over criticism and judgement we receive from people because we've been given direction in Preach My Gospel and Apostles and visiting authorities that have directed us otherwise, that let us know the way we need to go 'n it's just amazing that we have living Prophets and Apostles so that we know what to do. So when people tell us that we're wrong and that we're doing things wrong, that we can take the reprovement with grace, and in our hearts know that we're doing the right thing.

And so that was our week! Love you all! Bye-bye!
Elder Avery

Learning Malay with Elder Harker and Elder Gara - August 14, 2016
July 31, 2016

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Last Week in the MTC - Elder Brigham Rush

Teaching Hermana Meza
Written by Elder Brigham Rush, in the Provo Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is assigned to the Nicaragua Managua North Mission, speaking Spanish.

Hola Hermanos y Hermanas
This week was awesome, but more importantly WE LEAVE TOMORROW. 
I guess technically we leave Monday morning at 3 am but I probably won't be sleeping tomorrow night so basically tomorrow. Crazy huh? I am soooo excited to leave. 

So my Spanish is about as good as it's gonna get in the MTC, and I think I've prepared myself as much as possible to get to the field and "hablar en Epañol". But everyone says as soon as you actually get out into the field it's pretty much like you're back at phase 1 for understanding spanish again. So I've already come to terms that I will pretty much be talking to myself for the next couple months hahaha. 

Other than that, like Elder Ward said, "Being a missionary is THE LIFE". Being a missionary is literally the best. Having this spiritual power with you all the time is awesome, and I know I'm gonna miss it when it's all over. Have you ever felt that feeling like you already miss something but it hasn't happened yet? That's how I feel about being a missionary. I guess I can't really say much until I'm there in Nicaragua, but I get sad when I think about it ending in 2 years. Then I get excited for when I turn 65 and can go on a senior mission. Only 47 more years! (only a joke, don't worry guys hahaha). Being a missionary in general is awesome. This is probably one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. 

Ok sorry for all that pep talk I'm just pretty pumped up. OK so Sunday was pioneer day so we got a special devotional where The Nashville Tribute Band came to the MTC and pretty much preformed a concert for us. But we weren't allowed to clap. Pretty weird huh hahaha. They are awesome though, if you like country music you should look them up. If you don't like country, but like the church, you should still look them up. They have a lot of good music. Maybe I'm just saying that because I haven't heard any music besides Hymns in over a month though. So don't judge me if they aren't as good as I think they are. 

Continuing from Sunday, we didn't get to teach any of our TRC investigators like Hermana Meza :/ But we did start teaching the other district in our zone that leaves tomorrow too as "investigators". So me and Elder Mower had the opportunity to teach Ethan and Enrique (Elder Hatch and Elder Packard) and we also got to be their investigators as well. Elder Mower was Rico (because that means rich in Spanish) and I was Pablo, which is Paul in Spanish. That was really cool because we we realized after the 2nd lesson that we just talked to each other completely in Spanish for like 40 minutes in a room by ourselves, no native speakers that could help us out with the language or anything. I don't know why, that was just really cool to us. 

The rest of the week went by super fast, and we have been preparing as much as we can to travel to our respective missions. We also all got matching ties (shout out to Elder Dean and his Family) and matching socks (shout out to Elder Slade as well) so that was super fun, we looked like a barber shop quartet all of Thursday. Also, we learned that as we focused on doing as much as we can each day, and focusing on the now, we were able to get a ton more done and the days went by quicker too. I'm not sure if I said this in my last email, but my mission and pretty much for the rest of my life is "happy always, content never". Feel free to take it and use it as your own. But it motivates me to be just a little bit better every day, progressing line upon line and moving forward step by step. Progression is purpose to our lives, so I want to challenge you all to try to become a little bit better every day, even if it's something small. Then make that thing a habit and move on to something else. Always be happy with yourself, look at yourself and say "wow look how much I've progressed" but always realize your potential to grow and how much better you can become. 

I know this email is a little preachy, but I swear I'm not a missionary robot. I just hope I can help out a couple of you in your lives because I love all of you and want you all to be happy :) I get to call my family on Monday and I have a 5 hour layover at the airport. So if you are part of my family, and would like a call just email me your number and I may be able to talk to you for a little bit :) I love you all and I hope you have a great week! Remember to read you scriptures and pray and go to church and all that good stuff. This is officially my last group email in America!
- Elder Rush 
MTC Week 5 (July 23, 2016)
Welcome to Nicaragua! (August 8, 2016)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

MTC Week 5 - Elder Brigham Rush

Written by Elder Brigham Rush, in the Provo Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is assigned to the Nicaragua Managua North Mission, speaking Spanish.

Hey everybody! This week was super awesome. We started out the week with our regular Sunday night devotional. For the devotional we watched the Character of Christ video by Elder Bednar, which is a really good devotional talk that he gave to the MTC a couple years ago on Christmas. And when the movie got done about an hour and a half later, Elder Bednar was sitting on the stand!! Nobody knew he was coming, so it was like the coolest surprise visit. Me and Elder Dean went to choir that day, so we got seat's on the floor part near the stand. He then did a big question and answer session with the whole MTC that took about an hour and a half. That was an awesome spiritual experience.

The next fun thing about this week, is that this week was the last week without our flight plans (which we got last night) so it pretty much felt like we were going to be here forever. So our whole district is kind of going insane. But God breaks us down so he can build us back up stronger again, so the district is as strong as ever. I feel like every night we have a deep motivational conversation with the District in Elder Dean's room, and it brings us closer together every time. Oh and Elder Harrop is the new district leader. He's the tall one. 

So back to our flight plans, we leave the MTC on Monday morning at 3:30 am and our flight leaves at 7 I believe. Then we have a 5 hour layover in Atlanta, and we will arrive in Nicaragua around 8 pm. Sp in the word's of Elder Ward, "I can see the light at the end of the tunnel". I feel bad for Elder Avery because he still has like 3 weeks. And Elder Shetlin got in on Wednesday and me and Elder Avery got to go greet him so that was awesome. And the gym opened up again so 

Just a couple more things, but yesterday was our very last time teaching Hermana Meza :( And the worst thing about it, is they didn't even tell us it was our last lesson until after it was over! The MTC is so overcrowded these days. I guess they needed to free up the rooms for the new missionaries to teach. But it was an awesome lesson to end on. We taught her about the importance of studying the Book Of Mormon in depth, and searching for answers in the scriptures. I have a such a strong testimony that the Book Of Mormon literally has the answers to all of our problems in life. I don't know how, but it's truly amazing. That lesson with Hermana Meza was one of the best that me and Elder Mower have ever taught. I really need to take a picture with her, she's just the cutest little Guatemalan grandma ever. Teaching her is probably going to be the thing I miss most about the MTC, besides my teachers and my district of course. Our Spanish is coming along pretty well though. It's amazing because we can always speak in Spanish so much better during our lessons. 

Last thing I promise. So we threw an awesome Fiesta for P-Day Eve in our dorm room last night and Invited the whole zone. It was lit. Somehow someone had canned sardines so we opened them up and they spilled everywhere, leaving our whole room smelling like fish. So along with cleaning up after the party, me and Elder Mower scrubbed the carpets until like 11 pm. Which is crazy for the MTC. It was worth it though.

I'm just gonna leave you with a couple of my favorite scriptures. Alma 13: 27-29 I love to share this one with my investigators. 29 is actually my favorite scripture but the 2 before just add some background to it I guess. Yeah, the scriptures are awesome so if you need some guidance the answer is in there somewhere I promise. I hope you're all doing awesome, and I'll leave some pictures in some other emails. Have a great week!

- Elder Rush
MTC Week 4 (July 16, 2016)
Last Week in the MTC (July 30, 2016)
Elder Lund


Saturday, July 16, 2016

MTC Week 4 - Elder Brigham Rush

 Written by Elder Brigham Rush, in the Provo Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is assigned to the Nicaragua Managua North Mission, speaking Spanish.

Not to sound super anxious about leaving the MTC, but I am. We get our flight plans this week!!! And after that, we only have 10 more days left here. Also, me and Elder mower were called to be the branch sacrament coordinators. This may not seem like a very important job, but we have the power to make anyone in the zone prepare and bless the sacrament, which sucks because we have to do it completely in Spanish as well. This week has been super awesome though, the highlight's of our week is always teaching Hermana Meza. This Wednesday she committed to be baptized, which was super exciting for me and Elder Mower. Even if she is just an actor hahaha. But since she has committed to be baptized, the lesson's have gotten really fun because she just asks us all these questions about the church and we get to answer them for her. In our lesson on Friday, we started out the visit by talking to her for like 15 minutes about Central America, because she really is from Guatemala. And she actually is a pretty recent convert to the church. But she's never aloud to tell us that, we have to find out from our teachers and stuff. Oh but a really cool and kind of funny experience we had, was in the lesson where we asked her to commit to baptism on Wednesday.

So in our Monday lesson, she started it out by showing us some Catholic-Pop Jesus song is Spanish. I think that's the best way to describe it. Anyways, as she was showing us this song on her laptop she was telling us about how much she loves songs about Jesus, because she is a really adamant Catholic lady. So we told her that we have a ton of songs in our church about Jesus and we think she would really like them. Long story short, me and Elder Mower told her that we would sing a Hymn for her in our lesson on Wednesday. So me and Elder Mower come in to the lesson on Wednesday, and of course the first thing that comes out of her mouth is that she wanted to hear us sing before we started. Neither me nor Elder Mower have much of a background in singing, especially Hymns, and especially in Spanish. So we sing "Mas Cerca Dios de Ti" (Nearer my God to Thee) out loud to our investigator and we gave her a Hymn book to follow along and like read the words if she wanted. It certainly wasn't a beautiful performance by any means, but be the end of the song she was driven to tears. Now maybe she was just a really good actor, but the spirit was very strong in that room. We then asked her to be baptized that lesson and she said yes. God works in mysterious ways.

But my favorite story of this whole week, is the story of the tiny trumpet. This may not be as funny to you guys, so I hope I can explain it well. I couldn't even write it in my journal without laughing out loud. So as you may know, me and Elder Mower share a dorm room type thing in the MTC with 2 other companionships. Elders Wright and Ward, and Elders Lund and Bassett. Pretty much the only things in there is 3 bunk beds, and 6 dresser/closet type things. Most rooms are only filled with 3-4 missionaries, so you can imagine how cramped we are in there. I am on the top bunk in our companionship, and there is a metal ladder that is leaned up to the side of the bed so I can climb up there. One night, my metal ladder was positioned kind of weird, and I noticed that any movement I made moved the bed which caused a pretty loud squeaking noise. So I made sure to stay really still to fall asleep that night. The next morning, we get to our classroom and Elder Ward is just pissed. We ask him what's up and he was like "did no one else hear the person practicing on a tiny trumpet this morning at like 5 am? I laid there for like 30 minutes contemplating whether or not I should get out of my bed and telling them to shut up" I realized right away that it was actually by bed making that noise, so I told him what the case was. and he was like "That makes so much sense, I thought someone was practicing for a church performing or something and they were trying to be really quiet. They would only play for like 6 notes at a time and it didn't even sound good!" It's probably one of those things where you had to be there, but that was one of the highlight's of my week.

So like I said, we get our flight plans soon. And our talk's with Hermana Meza about what it's like there made me want to leave so much more. These weeks go by fast though, I'm sure I'm gonna be there really quick. If the people there are anything like Hermana Meza, it will definitely be the best 2 years of my life. Oh and we got 750 new missionaries at the MTC on Wednesday, so I saw a ton of my friends that just got here. And a bunch of missionaries come in next Wednesday too, so it's gonna be like a party at the MTC by the time I leave, I see my friends walking around every day. Me and Jared actually got to play volleyball together this morning because we have the same P day schedule. That's about it for this week. We still have a ton of class all the time, and we taught about a million lessons this week. We get a new investigator on Monday I think, so that's exciting too. Oh we found on of those old office chairs that have the wheels on the bottom and can lean back really far and brought it in to our classroom. So Elder Mower we leaning back in the chair and "was trying to pop a wheelie" and the chair totally snapped in half and he fell straight on his back. That was another great part of the week.

So yeah if you want to send me an email, I'll get on here though out the day and I will definitely respond to you. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to serve a mission, it has been awesome here. That being said I don't want to stay here any longer, but you know it's good to have these experiences haha. The Lord has helped me overcome so many obstacles even here at the MTC, the Holy Ghost has been such a blessing in my life. And the Temple opened back up again this week! That's super exciting so we have to go get ready to leave now. I love you all!

-Elder Rush

MTC Week 3 (July 9, 2016)
MTC Week 5 (July 23, 2016)

Saturday, July 9, 2016

MTC Week 3 - Elder Brigham Rush

Elders Austin Ramsey, Jared Avery, Brigham Rush
Written by Elder Brigham Rush, in the Provo Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is assigned to the Nicaragua Managua North Mission, speaking Spanish.

Hola cada gente!
That may be really bad Spanglish (Spanish-English for those of you that weren't aware) but I don't know. I just liked it because it has the same amount of syllables as everybody. Anyways, there has been a lot of things happen this week so I'm not sure where to start. Jared got to the MTC; that was exciting. I went on an exchange with Elder Wright and we went and greeted him and took him to his room and his classroom and what not. It also happened somehow that we have the same exact schedule, so we have gym and every meal at the same time. He also has his P day today so we are just sitting next to each other emailing all of our friends now. I've been teaching him the ropes so he doesn't get too lost around here.

Me and Elder Mower have been teaching lessons like crazy. We've taught somewhere around 14 lessons since we've gotten to the MTC. All around 30 minutes long and completely in Spanish. The other day we got to teach lessons to people who were actually members so that was nice for a change. We also have 3 other "investigators". One's name is Hely Meza. She's probably 60 years old and she's just a really small catholic lady from Guatemala. She's probably the nicest lady in the world and she's like our main TRC investigator, that we prepare the most for. Our most recent lesson was about the plan of salvation and it was awesome. Then we have Alberto and Ulysses. They are actually just our teachers Hermano Meyers and Hermano Harris, but we do role playing teaching like every day here. It's way tougher to teach them because they are a little harder on us and also it's hard to take them serious most of the time. We used to have an investigator named Santiago, but unfortunately he moved back to Argentina :/ (actually just got assigned another class) but we taught 5 or 6 lessons to him so it was sad that he just dropped off the face of the earth.

Last Satuday we had our International Celebration of Freedom day at the MTC. It was pretty much just 4th of July, except it was on the 2nd and they didn't want any of the missionaries from other countries to feel left out I guess. But we had a big devotional that night, then after we got to go out and watch the fireworks from the Stadium of Fire. Those started at like 10:30 so we didn't have a curfew that night and it was super fun. We got a lot of pictures there so I'll send some of those as well.

Then Sunday was fast Sunday and that was pretty tough. MTC fast Sunday is super intense, then don't give you any options to eat any food so the times that would be breakfast and lunch are actually just more study times and another super huge devotional. Also, we had to be awake at 6:30 AM so it's not like you can just sleep through the hunger. You have to suffer the entire day. But we got some cool devotionals and a nice dinner so it was a nice day I guess. As well as all the blessing from fasting, but that kinda goes without saying.

So all together the MTC has been an awesome experience. I'm not gonna miss this place at all, but I'm glad I get to be here. I love my compañero and my district so much, I'm actually gonna miss this guys when we all go our separate ways on our missions. Half of my district isn't going to Nicaragua either so I'm not going to see them forever. I guess I'm not going to see any of you for that long either... It's super weird to think that I've only been here for like 2 and a half weeks, it feels like this is just my life now. I wouldn't trade these experiences for anything though, I feel the spirit here more and more every day. I can definitely testify of the power of the spirit because I don't know how I would be able to study in a classroom for 9 hours every day without it. I can't wait to be a missionary somewhere where there isn't 2 thousand missionaries around me at all times as well. It will be cool being out in the field, I'm almost half way there.

I hope you are all doing well out there in your lives. Have a good day :)

MTC Week 2 (July 2, 2016)
MTC Week 4 (July 16, 2016)

Elder Brigham Rush (Nicaragua), Elder Jared Avery (Germany)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Reporting to the Provo MTC - Elder Jared Avery

Elder Jared Avery reported to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, July 6, 2016. He was welcomed at the MTC by his best friends, Elder Brigham Rush (Nicaragua Managua North) and Elder Austin Ramsey (Baltic Mission - Estonia), who entered the MTC two weeks ago.