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.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

MTC Week 2 - 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! I guess I'm just gonna start off by saying the MTC has been the best experience of my life and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Haha but seriously it is awesome here. I have the best district ever, all these guys are like 10 of my best friends that I have to hang out with 24/7. We're all very very different people, but we all get along so well. Not to get too spiritual this early in the letter, but this week has just been 1 huge spiritual experience. The first couple days were hard, but after that it's like I've felt the spirit non stop here. D & C 36: 9 I think is the scripture, it basically said that we don't gain faith through miracles, but we experience miracles through faith. That scripture just kinda hit me like a truck mid week and was an answer to my prayers. We've also taught 5, 30 minute lessons in full spanish so far to a young man who doesn't know any English. It's pretty much like a role playing type of thing, but the spirit is always present in our lessons. I get super nervous before every time we teach because I'm nowhere close to being fluent in spanish, but it always seems to work out every time.

Ok now for a little bit of the week, I don't even know where to start we do so many things every single day of the week. I guess first shout out to Jeff for mailing me a Chick-fil-a sandwich, that was hilarious and all of the Elders in my residency were super jealous. And of course there was an elder in the room next to me who packed an entire chick fil a bag of chick fil a sauce so he hooked me up with one of those and it was a great meal. So Sunday we had this awesome meal of steak and potatoes at the BYU cafeteria or something just a little ways down the road from the MTC. We got to take a walk there and it was super nice. We also had the option to join the MTC choir so of course we did that because it got us out of like 2 hours of class time. I guess everybody had the same idea because over 900 missionaries showed up to choir practice and one of the instructors told us that we were officially part of the biggest organized choir in the world. I'm not sure if thats true because we don't have google, so if somebody could look that up for me that would be great. Then Sunday night we had a devotional by some guy who's like the Master of All missionaries or something like that, I can't remember his name. He was an old man who was in charge of all missionary things in the church I think. Anyways it was a really entertaining talk. After that we got to watch a talk by David A. Bednar in the main gym. It was the best talk I've ever heard, and I think it changed my life, I'm not sure though. Anyways it's called "the Character of Christ" and I think it's exclusive to the MTC, so all of you out there that are coming to the MTC make sure to watch that talk for your first "movie" sunday.

The rest of the week pretty much went by the normal schedule: wake up at 6:30, class at 7, breakfast at 7:45, class from 8:15 to 11:45 (and our lesson with santiago somewhere in there), exercise time either at 1:00 or 2:30 depending on the day for an hour, 30 more minutes to get ready for class, dinner at 5:05, class starts again at 5:50 and then class all the way until 9:30, and lights out at 10:30. That might not be 100% accurate so don't quote me on that, but that's pretty much how it goes. 3 hours of that class time is personal study, then companion study, then personal language study broken up by hour. Then we have 2-3 hours of grammar instruction from teachers and 2-3 hours of lesson type instruction. All of it is 100% in Spanish. A lot of the companion study time turns into story time though. Me and Elder Mower are getting along great. We're both so much alike it's like a perfect match. Most of the other companionships in my district are 2 Elders that are super different, so we were pretty blessed with that part.

This Wednesday was super exciting because all of the new Elders and Sisters came in so we officially weren't the new kids anymore! It was nice because the entire first day you walk around the MTC and everyone you walk past says "Welcome to the MTC", because you have an orange sticker on your name badge and you aren't allowed to take it off until the end of the day. So it was really nice finally being on the other end of that. We also got the real cafeteria back this week and the food here as amazing. I have gained 9 pounds and thats not an exaggeration. They have scales in the gym and the weight room. I'll send some pictures in a separate email. The best part about the MTC is seeing yourself and the Elders in your district progress so much every day. My testimony has grown so much in just 1 week, I can't imagine how much I will have changed in 2 years. Thank you to everyone that has emailed me and written me and sent me packages, you guys are awesome. I love you all so much, even if I don't know you personally. Yo se que el ivangelio es verdad, y Jesucristo es nuestro Señor ý salvador. :) That´s it for now, email me if you want to talk or send me a note throughout the week through :)

- Elder Rush

First Week in the MTC  (June 26, 2016)

MTC Week 3 (July 9, 2016)