mis-sion-ar-y (noun) - Someone who leaves their family for a short time, so that others may be with theirs for eternity.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Because I Have Been Given Much! June 3 & 10, 2013

Is it as crazy to you as it is to me that I've already been gone 5 months??? Yikes..

About the iPads (the church is piloting a program for missionaries to use them in the field for tracking contacts and sharing video messages & pictures), I had heard something about that! But I didn't know there was any truth to it! That's awesome! One step closer to the Church buying Apple! ;) Now would be a VERY good time to invest! Hahaha

Special World Wide Broadcast?!? (June 23rd, 3 pm Utah time) I haven't heard anything about that!!! What's it supposed to be about?? I'm kinda excited and kinda scared at the same time! What if he says, "Alright Brethren we're going to the Mountains of Ephraim to dwell!"?? Or "We're joining the war! Mormon Battalion 2.0!!"?? Or "Get to Missiouri! ASAP!!"?? This is crazy!!

I know I expect too much of myself... I just don't want to settle for 80%. You know? But there is nothing that anyone can say (except for a member of the Godhead), that's going to change that drive and motivation for me to be perfect. 3 Nephi 12:48==>1 Nephi 3:7 Whether in this life or the next, I WILL achieve perfection.

We rode out to a ward member's house the other day to give her pointers on how to teach the Gospel to her friend who was too shy to meet with Missionaries just yet... We rode about 5 miles in to the middle of nowhere... Grapes as far (or farther) than the eye can see! it took us about 30 min one way and it was about 95 degrees outside! Haha

ALSO!! We had a super awesome Zone Conference this week in which we all sang Because I Have Been Given Much with this as the fourth verse:
"Because of thy life’s mission Lord, I too must serve.
I’ll leave the comfort of my home to teach thy word.
I’ll seek thy sheep who’ve gone astray, and those who’ve never known the way.
I will make Thy work my work, today."
The Spirit was so strong hearing 50+ missionaries singing that. I loved it!

Well, that's it for now. Thanks to everyone for your love and prayers and support!

Love, Elder Zachary Evan Bushman

P.S. Read the talk entitled "First Vision and Religious Tolerance" by Joseph Fielding McConkie. Changed my life.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Goodbye Modesto:( Hello Selma! May 28, 2013

I have a new comp! His name is Elder Lantz and he is AWESOME!!!
I have been enjoying my time here in the Selma 1st Ward! We met a young woman named Jessica my first day here while doing Harvesting Blessings and she told us that she is agnostic but she wouldn't mind listening to what we have to say! We went by last night and she had had a really rough day, and she didn't seem too excited to see us. But we talked a little and got to know her and found out that the reason she doesn't really believe in God is because her Grandfather passed away and she didn't think it was very fair. There were a few other reasons too, but this is the one that caught our attention. We taught and testified of the Plan of Salvation and she admitted to us that "deep down inside, I think I might believe in God..." It was a super awesome lesson and she committed to reading Alma 40 AND baptism (if God answers her prayer)! The Spirit was definitely there!

It's pretty rough being in a bike area covering 6 towns... (editors note...His ward area is 45 miles by 25 miles:/) Especially when I sprained my ankle pretty good playing basketball for Preparation Day yesterday. And guess what!! WE ONLY COVER HALF OF THE WARD!!! Try and look up the boundaries for the Selma 1st ward on LDS.org under maps. It's ridiculous! Selma is pretty nice... more like a glorified truck stop. Haha The ward seems to be pretty nice though! They just don't really like to come out with us. We'll fix that problem.
I'm sorry the snail mail thing isn't working out too well...
In my studies, I've really been focusing on the Book of Mormon! If I can read 13 pages every day, I'll finish it in a single transfer!! I'm excited! Haha Tell Aunt Kristen I'm sorry I haven't written her back yet! I wrote like, four letters yesterday and she was going to be #5! I just ran out of time... :( I hope everything is going well at home! It's super weird to be getting graduation announcements from all my friends! Haha
Our district consists of three companionships, 1 English and 2 Spanish. English is obviously me and Elder Lantz. And then we have Elder Aiken (District Leader) and Elder Arredondo (waiting to go to Brazil) and Elder Varela and Elder Morrow. I love all of these Elders so much! One of them needs to be humbled though. He's a 285lb wrestler though so I might have to humble him on an intellectual level. ;)
I hope you got all the pictures!
One last thing, My last Monday in Modesto (I really love and miss that place by the way...), Bishop White approached me in front of Candice's house and saw that I was sitting on a shiny new bike. He asked where I got it and then said that Brother Putney (in the ward) had approached Bishop at church and told him to tell me to go pick out a bike and he (Br. Putney) will pay for it... Wow. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn't know what to say. But at the same time, I knew that he would be blessed for his actions. I told Bishop I would pray about it and let him know by morning. He called me the next morning and said, "Elder Bushman! I totally spaced out! The Ward has a missionary fund! That being said, it doesn't seem right for either of you to pay for that bike! Seems how you have done so much good for the ward, make a copy of the receipt and slide it under the door to my office and I'll take care of it."
If that is not a direct blessing from God, I don't know what is. I love this Gospel and I love the things that the Lord will do to keep his work progressing! I love you all and I promise you that as you are striving to progress His work and build His church, everything will work out!
Con Amor,
Elder Zachary Evan Bushman

P.S. I have an addiction.... I have eaten about 65 otter pops since I've been in Selma...
Sis. Collins, Sis. Slade, and Sis. Zimmer
Elder Whiteford, Br. Dixon, Br. Gonzales and me
The Wellington's
Sis. Maciel and Junior
Elder Blake
Elder Palupe! From Samoa! A message from him to you (my family):
Oute alofa iateoi! (It means I love you!)
Bishop White
Alysha, Kitty, Me, Candice and Baby Isaac!
The Greens! Br. Green used to be a part of the RLDS church!
SHARON!! Hopefully she was baptized this last Saturday! 
Johnathan Whipple, me and my comp, Thomas Whipple and Austin Taylor
Brenda Hopkins
Br. Rawe! Reminds me a lot of Br. DePriest
The Fairbanks
The Gagon's
Bro Johnson (WML) and his girlfriend Sis. Mote............yeah...

Messed up my ankle pretty good playing basketball! I got like 47 blocks though! Hahaha

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Selma, CA, Here I Come! May 20, 2013

Family & Friends,

You asked if I got your letters...Sorry, but no letters so far... Probably because it's transfer week....
But I did get a new bike and I'm being tranferred to Selma 1st ward in the Hanford Zone! My companion and I are getting doubled out and we're both going to the same Zone! Crazy... My new companion will be Elder Lantz, who was, ironically enough, Elder Swenson's (my trainer) comp in the MTC.
It's really hard to leave all my friends here in Modesto (both missionaries and members). But I'm sure I'll see them again and there is someone in Selma for me to touch... :) I don't really know what to tell you about this week... Because we didn't do a whole lot. We were doing service and I lifted a 40 gallon water drum with my back and threw it out pretty bad so these last several days have been rough. A lot of laying around. :( But I've been saying goodbye to a lot of people and it's really sad...

I promise more info next week;)
Love you!
Elder Zachary Evan Bushman

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

We All Have a Part in This Work! May 13, 2013

Dear Family & Friends,

I remember talking to President Gelwix before leaving on my mission and him telling me that the weather would be a piece of cake since I was from Arizona. But I am here to say that it is HOT and not Arizona HOT, but a humid, sticky, feel wet all of the time HOT. After having 3 bikes stolen (the last of which was taken out of our apartment in the middle of the night while we were sleeping) they are moving us to a better location. But our neighbors and landlord in our old apartment are sad to see us go. The manager even called the mission home to try and talk them out of moving us:) They love us:D 

One of the interesting parts of going away from home to preach the gospel is realizing that not everywhere in the world is like Gilbert, AZ. I am currently serving in the Modesto 2nd ward. They have 38% activity in the ward…that changes everything about how their ward functions! For example, for Home Teaching there are no companionships and every willing priesthood holder has 15-20 families assigned to him. And he doesn't just show up once a month and share a message. He does his best to be an additional family member! A lot of times he is the only priesthood holder. He makes sure that the members of the families he watches over are moving towards their next ordinance, whatever it may be. He also is involved in their temporal welfare and making sure they are okay both temporally and spiritually. And on top of that, they watch over their own families and hold a couple of callings in the ward. What stalwart men! And we are working on adding more men to that list:)

We met a woman by the name of Sharon, 65 years old, who attended the baby blessing of a friend. After the blessing, she had a ton of questions for her friend. So he invited us over to help answer them. We have been teaching her for almost a month and she will be baptized this Saturday! She has had many friends try to talk her out of being baptized, saying that 'the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witness' just want your soul'. But her sweet little granddaughter told her just the other day that if Jesus is leading her to the Mormon church then that is where she should go! Out of the mouth of babes...

Oh wait, we had Specialized Training on friday (zone conference) and three of the missionaries in my zone and I sang I Love The Lord.... We sounded like angels:) I love these Elders!! Well, I miss you all! I hope you are all praying for God's help in finding those He has prepared to hear the gospel. Remember from conference, WE ALL HAVE A PART IN THIS WORK:)

Love, Elder Zachary Evan Bushman
Elder Bushman singing for his supper...
"If you could hie to Kolob..."

Friday, May 10, 2013

Elder Bushman, Lovest Thou Me More Than These? May 6, 2013

***Zac is reminding us this week that a picture is worth a thousand words...you fill in the story***

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dinner with the Howell's May 5, 2013

***We received this email Sunday evening from a family who fed Zac and his companion. We LOVE hearing from people who have actually seen and served our missionary:)

Hi Sisters Bushman and Whiteford,

Tonight we had your missionaries over for dinner. We had Doritos casserole, fudge stripe cookie fruit salad, green salad, chocolate chip cookies and tin roof sundae ice cream (of course everything was low fat and sugarless! wink, wink) I'm a missionary mom, too. My son is in Las Vegas Spanish speaking. Every once in a while, he will eat dinner at someone's house and will love an item so much, he'll ask the mom to please send me the recipe. Well, three of the recipes used for tonight's dinner were these types of recipes. The sister who sent the Doritos casserole recipe said my son liked it so much, he took pictures of it! Another sister said my son ate 11 of the cookies. Your sons seemed to really enjoy the recipes! Elder Bushman's comment when he tried the Doritos casserole was, "I love this place!" They both took home a few cookies. 

Both of your sons seem to be in good spirits and doing well. They shared a message from Mosiah, and Elder Whiteford pointed out that the address by King Benjamin was the first Conference talk. My husband pointed out that since the words were written down and passed around, it was also the first Ensign.

We appreciate all the service your sons are performing for the Modesto area, and their hard work to share the gospel. Thank you for raising such a fine son!

Happy night,
Heidi Howell and family
Elder Whiteford and Elder Bushman

I Love the Lord! April 29, 2013

Dear Family & Friends,

I just heard about all of the mission calls. Tell Josh and Diana I'm proud of them!!
I haven't gotten any actual letters in WEEKS! I think something is messed up with the mail system... :(
Shannon Wright - the man who showed up last week during church - has been a near impossible man to get a hold of. We haven't seen him since that sunday. :(
Sorry this email is super short... Haha
Oh wait, we had Specialized Training on friday (zone conference) and three of the missionaries in my zone and I sang I Love The Lord.... We sounded like angels. I love these Elders!! One of them is actually from Pocatello so Josh will have to look out for his family! Haha His name is Elder Lowman, and he's 26. Basically if he was a woman I'd marry him. He plays Ultimate Frisbee, was a music major and has perfect pitch... He's great. Haha
Also, when would be a good time of day for the Mother's Day phone call? IT'S COMING UP!!!
Elder Zachary Evan Bushman

Monday, April 29, 2013

An Awesome Miracle! April 24, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm nervous. Really nervous. I guess we all are at times. I don't know how to get my inner desires to become actions. But I guess that is the test of this lifetime, the 'proving' that God has told us about in Abraham 3:25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

Please pray for Elder W., my companion.  He is really depressed and I don't know how to help him. He's scared of his own shadow and needs CONSTANT approval or encouragement or compliments. And I'm not good enough at it apparently. I'm doing ALL of the talking. But when we aren't in a lesson, he talks my ear off. And it's usually him complaining about not being able to speak in the lessons because "I don't let him." (Bologna.)
We are moving on May 4th to a better neighborhood. They have been looking for a place for us since our bikes were stolen out of our current place. But we're moving a mile away from everyone else... and up three flights of stairs... but we'll have a washer and dryer!
We had an awesome miracle this week! We had ward conference this sunday which was phenomenal! And a lady from our ward came up after the first hour and said "There is a man in jeans and a white shirt holding a bible in the foyer and he looks lost." So we introduced our selves and he said his name is Shannon Wright and he is trying to stay clean from alcohol and drugs. We promised that the gospel would help him and he committed to baptism on May 4th! This Gospel is awesome!
Elder Zachary Evan Bushman

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Conference Was GREAT!!! April 15, 2013

Dear Family & Friends,

Thank you so much for your emails and letters!! Thank you for your faith in me and your love and prayers! I love helping people (members and non-members) to prepare themselves to enter the holy temple and make sacred covenants with Our Father in Heaven! I love realizing that the Temple is the ultimate goal in this life.
Conference was GREAT!! At times it felt like they were talking directly to me!! Scary but great!
My new companion is Elder W.  He is nice enough and we get along pretty good so far. He talks nonstop when its just us but when we talk to other people, he doesn't say a word. Trial of faith #2,342,135. And yes, we are in the same ward/area.
Curtis is doing awful. He knocked on our apartment door Saturday night smelling STRONGLY of alcohol saying he's not going to come to church because he's intoxicated. Heart. Wrenching. Then LAST night, I was outside on the phone with President and Curtis was outside walking so when Pres. and I were done, I went up and talked to him and he said "I don't know what's keeping me from ending my life right now." It brought tears to my eyes as I testified to him of the Atonement and the love that both the Savior and I have for him. He's almost as stubborn as me though. Pray for him.

You know being on a mission is not all fun and games. It is HARD at times and there are trials and humbling experiences that happen daily. But I know that I can do this. "Thank you, Mr. Gardner, for cutting me down; for loving me enough to hurt me." (Hugh B. Brown, "God is the Gardner") I know God loves me! And I am where He wants me to be!

I hope everything is going well back home! I love you!!
Elder Zachary Evan Bushman

Thursday, April 11, 2013

At Least I'm Alive! April 1, 2013

April 1, 2013

Family and Friends,

Well, this week has been pretty rough… I’ll throw the bad news out first then hit ya with the good stuff. March 28th, we wake up and Elder S. says, “Elder Bushman, where is your bike…?” You guessed it. Someone broke into our apartment a little after 4am and stole both my bikes (one that Elder E., our zone leader, gave me that was only worth about $20, and the one I JUST BOUGHT). Elder S.’s $500 bike was sitting right next to mine but no, they just had to take both of mine! So dumb. I don’t even know what to do. Elder H. is letting me borrow his bike for now but transfers are April 10th so I may be out of luck! Talk about a trial of faith…3 bikes stolen in a little over 4 weeks. Needless to say we’re moving apartments.

Update on our investigators:
Curtis – We took Br. P. with us to go see him and we decided that we’re never bringing him with us again. He is very bold and not shy at all (which is great) but he talks too much and teaches false doctrine. For example, he was saying that very, very few people are going to make it to the highest degree of glory. In his words, he said, “I assume the Prophets…maybe some of the Apostles will make it to the highest degree. But I don’t think guys like you and me have a chance! We’ll probably be in the Terrestrial Kingdom.” You can imagine the look of horror that was on my face. On the positive side, Curtis is really enjoying the Book of Mormon, Church and the Gospel Principles book he got! He still doesn’t feel worthy to be baptized.

Jerry – I don’t know if I told you about Jerry or not. But it doesn’t really matter because we dropped him. We just couldn’t get him to be serious.

Aaron – He’s moving to Northern Iowa to play football at the end of April! We’ve got to get a move on!

Jay – I was on an exchange with Elder W. (one of the zone leaders) and we stopped to go to the bathroom at our apartment. We got a knock on the door and a man (Jay) asked us if we were from the same church that Jesus came from. Perfect! We taught him the Restoration and committed him to be baptized on April 27th! Only one problem… We don’t know how to get ahold of him. Bummer…

Now for the good stuff! I love the music you sent me! Which makes me say something I thought I would never say… “I think I might have a new favorite a cappella group…” ECLIPSE! They’re insane! But I’ve only heard one of their songs, I Believe In Christ. Oh. My. Gosh. Overtones Galore! At least I hope they’re overtones! Incredible chords, killer dynamics, buttery soloist. Just phenomenal. Don’t tell Vocal Point… Also, we’re having a zone cook-off today and we (I) are making Pineapple Chicken and Cake Mix Cookies with the cherry chip cake mix! (I hope it works out!) Hahaha I’m gonna be on my own on this one! Elder S. isn’t much of a cook… Haha Also, Pres. Gelwix called an emergency Zone Conference for last week and pretty much changed how we do things entirely. We used to have Zone/District “standards” (for example, one week we focused on at least one baptismal invite/day) but President vetoed that and said that all we are responsible for is one baptism per month per area. This should be interesting! I love you all! Thank you for your love, support and prayers! (Mom, don’t freak out about my bike’s being stolen or our apartment being broken into. At least I’m still alive!:) 

Love, Elder Zachary Evan Bushman

P.S. So, I accidentally used chicken breasts instead of thighs for the Pineapple Chicken…and I forgot to put the sauce on before cooking it the first time. I blame Elder S. for not helping me one bit. But it still turned out delicious! I didn’t even try the cookies. Speaking of, thank you so much for the package! Everything looks great!! And thank you for that music! I can’t wait! 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Give the Missionaries Referrals! Week of March 12, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - Today was interesting... All the trainers, Zone Leaders, and District Leaders were at Leadership Training in Fresno all day so I was stuck leading my area with two brand new missionaries. One of them, Elder Goettman, was super cool and we get along great! We have a lot of similarities. But the other one... Elder D... We could not be more opposite. He claims to love music but all he ever talks about is rap. *cough-apostate-cough* And he likes the Spurs and hates Steve Nash... HOW?! He’s the nicest! Then the final straw was when he started bashing on Newsies...*sigh* There is just no hope for some people... We did good work though. We did a Harvesting Blessing for this guy named Anthony and the spirit was super strong. We felt it, he felt it. We invited him to be baptized...he accepted! But then he said he’s always busy...dumb. Then we had dinner at the Ballard’s. Super cool family. Br. Ballard is hilarious! Pretty good day over all, but I never want to be in a car area! I definitely prefer biking. It’s a lot easier to talk to people!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 – We had a miracle today! It was awesome! We weren’t having a particularly great day, but we were trying to make the most of it. We decided we should go get lunch. We thought about where we should go and we both said “Panda” at the same time. We ‘joked’ that it was divine inspiration and I said, “Just watch. We’re going to find someone to teach in Panda Express!” We laughed a little and Elder Swenson said, “Yeah and maybe they’ll pay for us!” We laughed more. We carried on to Panda, locked up our bikes, went in, and got in line. We were about to order when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and a lady said, “Hi Elders! Order whatever you want! It’s on me.” *Miracle #1* We asked who she was and she said that she hasn’t been to church in over 3 years and is married to a nonmember and has a kid who is baptismal age but isn’t baptized. She the bought us lunch and invited us over to teach her family! *Miracle #2* LOVE IT!!! Other than that, it was a pretty slow day.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 – Today was Zone Conference in Turlock so the North 4 zones all met together. It was nice to see some of my MTC friends! Elders Chandler and Drapeau were there and Sis. Pratte! They’re all doing great! Zone Conference was great though!! I learned a lot about how to be more effective when teaching and to always ‘teach to a commitment’ so ‘the plane has somewhere to land’. We have some great missionaries in our mission! Also, President Gelwix made the announcement that the First Presidency has stated that missionaries are now allowed to email anyone except members of the opposite sex who are living within or near our mission boundaries. And we have an hour and a half to do it!!!

Friday, March 15, 2013 – So, we taught a prostitute... Modesto is officially the strangest place I have ever been! But let me explain. Remember Aaron? The black guy who holds a Bible study at his house? Well he’s a super good guy and is letting 3 people who he didn’t even know live in his house because they didn’t have a place to live. And two of them (boy & girl) are dating/married and the girl is a prostitute... Sketchy. We’re teaching them all the Gospel though! We set a baptismal date with Aaron for April 13th! We also taught a woman named Sylvia. I think I’ve told you about her. She wants us to come over for dinner next week! She’s awesome! We had dinner tonight with Br. And Sis. McGuffin... Very funny people. They’re both in their 80’s and Br. McGuffin is SUPER gone. He has suffered from severe dementia for quite a few years (which is good because he used to be anti-mormon but when he got dementia, his wife had him baptized! Probably illegal...) He’s really funny though. Also, as we were riding our bikes, we saw a sign in front of a church (kinda like the one on Lindsay and Desert Lane) that said “Bet on the Man riding the donkey”. I died laughing!

Saturday, March 16, 2013 – Today was a rough day. A lot of people don’t like us and as I was wondering, “Why?! What have we done wrong?!” I realized that the world is just a crazy place. And at least they aren’t beating and crucifying us... Who am I to complain about people being a little rude to us?? Oh well. Their loss. We rode around and saw (at least tried to see) all 20 of our investigators to invite them out to church! Hopefully we’ll have some show up! No real lessons today. Sad day. I’m just out of it! I’m not used to getting so little sleep! I need at least 10 hrs/night! Okay maybe 9... Anyways, we had dinner with the Gagon’s... I don’t know if I told you about them... But they’re crazy... Absolutely crazy. But they love us. But yeah, this week has just been different. I don’t like it. Haha

Sunday, March 17, 2013 – The days are FLYING by! Holy cow... Today we had a missionary farewell. Her name is Alexis and she is going to Argentina, Cordova. She gave an awesome talk and it was even more perfect because Curtis was there! He really enjoyed church! After church, we had dinner with the Taylor/Whipple/Priebs family (three families in our ward that are related to each other)! It reminded me a lot of home to have so many people in one house! Also, it was my second time eating Corned beef and cabbage... The first time was yesterday! It’s not bad, but I probably wouldn’t ever make it!  (Don’t worry Mom. I didn’t tell them that!) The rest of the night was spent visiting less active members and recent converts! Getting to know them and asking (more like ‘begging’) for referrals. Which reminds me, give the missionaries referrals!! You’ll make their day! Also, I kinda count this as writing in my journal so please keep these Thanks! Love ya! Bye!!

Love, Elder Zachary Evan Bushman

Ups & Downs! Week of March 5, 2013

Family & Friends!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 – Today was a weird day. We had Zone meeting/lunch until 2:30, then I finally went and got a new bike (thank you SO much mom & dad!). So by the time we actually got going, it was about 4 pm. We had dinner at 4:45-5:45. So all we really had to work with was 5:45 – 9:00. But we still had to do an extra hour of companionship study (because I’m still being trained) so we actually only had from 5:45 – 8 pm. But we still managed to get a new investigator whose name is Eric! He is a family man, about 40 years old and is very open to learning the fullness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! He’s awesome! Then we met with Matt (I’m not sure if I’ve told you about him yet...), and taught him the Plan of Salvation and went over the Restoration. We invited him to be baptized and he said that if he prays and gets an answer, he will!!! Now we just need to make sure he reads and prays! Haha Elder Swenson and I decided we are going to have a perfectly obedient day tomorrow! Wish us luck! Well, I guess by the time you read this, it will be long past... Haha I guess today wasn’t as bad as I thought!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 – Elder Swenson and I were exactly obedient today and it was awesome! I want to do this every day! We could definitely tell that we had the Spirit with us very strong. We met a girl named Brittany who was raised in another church but hadn’t gone back since she was a kid (she looked like she was in her 20’s). She said she doesn’t really agree with some of the things that her church teaches and now that she’s an adult she wants to know the truth. Perfect, right? We just so happen to belong to the ONLY church in which the fullness of the truth can be found! What a coincidence! We taught her the Restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon but she wouldn’t give us her address or phone number (we met her at a park) because she said, “There are all kinds of crazy people out there!" Dumb. We gave her our number though! I have faith. We also met with a man named Carlos who we contacted Super Bowl Sunday. We shared an awesome lesson with him and he said he would read the Book of Mormon! He’s Catholic but doesn’t like it because “no where in the Bible does it say we have to pray to all these different ‘saints’!” He’s prepared. He just needs to stop smoking. We also met with Curtis and had an awesome discussion about the Book of Mormon and prayer! He told us that he doesn’t feel worthy or prepared for the baptismal date we set for March 9th but he is making SO much progress! Also, our Zone Leaders (Elders Hortin and Wright) love us. They told us today when we went to lunch with them that the Assistants asked if Elder Swenson and I would make good leaders and if I could train next transfer... They said ‘yes’ to both! Flattering? Yes. Nerve-racking? Yes. Am I ready? Psh... Born Ready. Wow I’m arrogant.

Thursday, March 7, 2013 – Today. Was. Awesome. For the first time since I’ve been out here, we set an appointment AND the investigator(s) followed through with it! Elder Swenson and his last companion taught this man, John, the first lesson before I got here and we have been trying to get ahold of him ever since! I didn’t even see him until this morning because we got ahold of his wife and set the appointment that’s the key! We sat down with both of them and taught the Restoration and it went really well!! His wife was taking notes on everything we said! We invited them both to be baptized and they said “yes!” We have a follow up appointment on the 15th. Love it. We also met a woman who said, “I’m not a Latter-Day Saint, but I want to be.” Ummm... We can help with that! She had apparently been taught like 30 times a few years back and then moved away and started meeting with missionaries up in Modesto North Stake but she’d moving back here this Saturday. That’s what we call a “Manna Baptism”.  To top off the day, we stopped by a potential investigator’s (Nadeen) house to try to set up a time we could come by. Her husband answered the door (Ricardo) and immediately invited us in! We sat down with them and their two little girls (5 and 1) and started answering questions about missions in general until Nadeen asked, “So what is the goal of the lessons/messages you teach?” Perfect We taught them the Restoration and the Spirit was SO strong! They are both very interested! Especially when we told them that families are not intended to only be together for this life and that through the Priesthood and the Temple, families can be sealed together forever! (I’m so thankful for that! It has brought our family so close and so much joy knowing that we’ll be together forever) We invited them to be baptized and they both said ‘yes’!!! I know that these miracles are direct results of Elder Swenson and I striving to be exactly obedient in every way! We committed each other to be this obedient for the rest of our missions!

Friday, March 8, 2013 – We had weekly planning today so that was super fun... Just kidding, it wasn’t. I never thought I would say this but, I wish we had less investigators! It’s so stressful trying to get around to see everyone! Life’s hard, I know... Haha We’re having a lot of success though and I love it! We had a 45-minute discussion with a devout church goer today. He knew the Bible inside and out but he misinterpreted almost everything. Then we were doing Harvesting Blessings and this lady (in her 50’s) accepted and wanted a blessing. We started asking her about her life and if there was anything in particular that she wants in the blessing. She told us a few things and then some of her friends showed up and the lady said, “You know what, why don’t you just leave and say a prayer for me down the road.” This lady was embarrassed! People are so dumb sometimes...her loss. We ate dinner at the Maciel’s (Brazilians) and then the rest of the night was pretty slow.

Saturday, March 9, 2013 – Well, rough day. We met with Curtis this morning and he said he feels like he needs a lifetime to become worthy of baptism. He doesn’t realize that Christ suffered for EVERYONE so we don’t have to suffer ‘till death! He thinks he deserves to suffer. But he practically invited himself to church, so that’s good! Haha We also stopped by Juan’s house (the guy we found who was baptized a long time ago and now is inactive) and found him super drunk and smoking... Stupid Satan. We got in a really long conversation with a group of guys who, to be completely honest, looked like they would want nothing to do with us. They were all black, tatted up, smoking, cussing, etc. But we got talking to them and found out that one of them (Aaron) holds a Bible study at his house every Thursday! We had a super good discussion with him! Unfortunately, they’re YSA age so we’ll have to turn them over to the Zone Leaders. We were dropped by afamily, I guess the father is bipolar and Micky, his wife, doesn’t want him to flip out on us. Oh well, a seed was planted. We also stopped by Matt's house (I don’t know if I’ve told you about him) and invited him to church. He said he’s going to go to his own church and that he has no intentions of joining our church. Pray for him, please!

Sunday, March 10, 2013 – Well, we had 4 set appointments and two of them fell through. Gotta love missionary work! It’s all good though! Curtis was sick today so he didn’t come to church. Bummer. We got two awesome calls yesterday though that gave us awesome opportunities today! One was from the missionaries in the Turlock Zone asking us to visit a woman in a nursing home who is a member and has kids who are investigating (kids asked for their mother to receive a blessing). We went and visited her today and she was the sweetest old lady and had such strong faith in the Lord! She was definitely an example to me. We also got a call last night from an Elder Eric McCray who is from Modesto and currently serving his mission in Tennessee. He is the only member of the church in his family and he asked us to go visit his dad and teach him the Plan of Salvation. We went and saw him tonight and taught him a little about the Restoration and the plan of Salvation and invited him to be baptized and he accepted! I love the feeling I get whenever someone accepts the invitation to be baptized! Especially since his son asked us to go see him. Missionary work is the best.

Elder Zachary Evan Bushman
From left of right: Elder Swenson, Jim Sok, Oeun Sok, Br. Kinckeloe, some super handsome guy:)


I jammed my middle finger...

Breakfast of champions!

My new bike!