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

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!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Kick When You Don't Want to Kick! Mar 4, 2013

**Mothers note - this letter is pretty lengthy and super interesting & detailed about the people he is teaching. But there is a very sweet, heartfelt testimony at the end, so don't stop short in your reading:)

Family and Friends,

I’m just going to do a handwritten letter so I can make it longer and more detailed.

Tuesday, 2/26/13- Today wasn’t very exciting, we went to lunch as a zone because transfers are this week and 7 people are leaving! Elder Elkington, Elder Furness, Elder Womsley, Elder Mecham, Elder Aiken, Elder Reguera, and Sister Mertlich! They are all great missionaries and I’m going to miss them tons! We walked around for a few hours offering Harvesting Blessings and had little luck but we got 2 referrals for 6th ward! We stopped to use the bathroom and shared a message with Br. P, one of our ward missionaries. He is awesome! He was a jock in High School and even though he is now a 75-year-old diabetic, he’s still a jock! Haha He is so bold with people! He also has a best friend of 60 years named Jack in our ward who recently got out of the hospital due to cancer/over medication. We visited him next and gave him a blessing. He was a ward missionary too before he got sick and he can’t wait to be back on his feet so he can come out with us! As we were leaving, he said, “Just like Schwarzenegger: I’ll be back!” We knocked some more doors and met an old potential investigator named Don. He is nothing short of prepared! He asked all the right questions and gave all the right answers! He invited us back on Friday. I’m excited!

Wednesday, 2/27/13 – Today felt really long…probably because Elder Swenson and I took a nap during our lunch breakJ We had 6 quality lessons today and 4 of those were with investigators! We are making a lot of progress with Curtis, Gloria and Jerry! And a new investigator (who is married to an inactive member) named Monty who really wants to read the Book of Mormon but he’s super busy trying to find a job and such. And his wife is checking up on him (asking him if he’s reading etc.)! It’s awesome! Back to the other investigators, I’m not sure if I’ve told you about Gloria and Jerry…ladies first. Gloria is married to an inactive member, Harold, and she is a character. I don’t think its possible to describe her with words. Harold would much rather go to our church but he doesn’t want to cause contention with Gloria so he goes with her to her church. They’re both awesome. Harold always takes us around shopping on Mondays and Gloria pays half her tithing to our church because she likes when the missionaries come and pray for her. CrazyJ Jerry is a 28-year-old Mexican with 4 kids and a 24-year-old girlfriend named Marlene. They’re not married=problem. Marlene wants to get married but doesn’t want to listen to us. Jerry wants to listen to us but he doesn’t want to get married (too much money). And Marlene is immature so that doesn’t help anything. We think they might be having some relationship problems… Perfect time for the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Thursday, 2/28/13 – We saw a lot of people today! We visited Jamal, this HUGE (muscular) black guy who looks like a straight G, but is the nicest guy ever. His wife has cancer pretty bad and we’ve been trying to catch them both at home because they both want us to give her a blessing. Awesome! We met a man named Stewart who has been visited once a year by missionaries and has never read the Book of Mormon… We straight up preached. It was awesome. The spirit was strong. He felt it! He’s reading the Book of Mormon! Next, we went and visited the E. family. This family is going through a lot, which makes them perfect for the gospelJ The mom (Sylvia) was sleeping and the son (Jesse) who has a drug problem, wasn’t home. We talked with Jackie (26 year old daughter who has a 10 year old son) for a good hour about life and the Holy Ghost and how he can help make important decisions. She’s really looking for direction in her life and we’re pointing her directly to the best source of direction: the Iron Rod. We also met a Fijian man named Harry who said he is a mix between Hindu and Christian…interesting. We taught him the first lesson (restoration) and he loved it! We’re going back Tuesday. Then we had dinner at the Maciel’s. They are Brazilian and Sis. Maciel is the CRAZIEST old lady I’ve ever met! She is a crack up! I haven’t laughed that hard in a while! Then the rest of the night we spent street contacting. No success really. Great Day!

Friday, March 1, 2013 – We only had two lessons today, but today was weekly planning. Our first lesson was with Juan. It really is a miracle that we ‘found’ him. We were riding our bikes a week or so ago on our way to an appointment and this guy yelled out to us. We approached him and he asked us what ward we are in…weird. We told him and asked him the same question. He told us he was baptized 9 years ago in San Jose and fell away from the church about 5 years ago. He has a really strong desire to start living like he should. We sat down and went over the restoration and he kept asking, “So when is a good time for me to talk to the Bishop so I can repent?” He’s awesome. Nicest guy. Our second lesson was after dinner with the S. family. They are inactive due to people offending them…dumb. But they’re super nice and Br. S. was impressed by how many ribs I ate so he said he wants to set me up with his granddaughter who is currently at U of A. Psh. Crazy old man. Hahaha. BYU or bust! We had a really good lesson with them about repentance. We tried to visit a few more investigators but they weren’t home. Then, on the way home, I got really mad at Elder Swenson. I definitely admire his faith, but he’s under the impression that God will protect him ALWAYS, so it’s perfectly fine to run red lights… We almost got killed. Ugh. I guess I could have just not followed him… Next time!

Saturday, March 2, 2013 – Today was crazy, kinda depressing. It was really cloudy so everyone was kinda down. Also, I learned that Modesto is the 5th most depressing city in the United States. And there are an average of 30 murders/year…yeah. We went around and visited every one of our investigators to invite them to church! We have 15 fairly solid investigators right now. Yeah we’re awesomeJ We didn’t do a whole lot of teaching today though…only two lessons. But Juan came out to the ward potluck! He was talking to everyone! And he’s coming to church tomorrow! Also! I got a package from Erica! Anyways, not a very eventful day.

Sunday, March 3, 2013 – Not a single investigator at church today. Bummer. Not even Juan! We stopped by to pick him up and apparently he went out for tacos… Satan is largely invested in Taquerias! Guess what Erica sent me? Jello and mints! She knows me so well. Hahaha. We ate dinner at the G. family's today. I don’t think I’ve told you about them yet… They’re insane. Well the daughters are. They’re pretty much anti-church but they like the social aspect of it so they still come. And the parents and the oldest daughter are SUPER knowledgeable in the gospel! We got into a super deep/mind-blowing conversation about the War in Heaven, pre-mortal life, Holy Ghost, etc. Br. G. could be a General Authority someday. Sad to say, but Sundays are generally uneventful… Only 2 lessons todayL We’re gonna do work this week thought! We have a lot of investigators that are super prepared! Love it!

Closing remarks – I thought it was cliché, but missionary work and being out here in the field 24/7 is the hardest work I’ve ever done. But it’s by far the most rewarding. Elder Holland teaches that a great swimmer once said when asked his secret of success, “I kick when I don’t want to kick and I stroke when I don’t want to stroke!” There have definitely been times when I haven’t wanted to stroke, when I haven’t wanted to kick, when I haven’t even wanted to dive in. But I did. Not because it’s expected of me. Not because I want to make a name for myself. But because it is the only intelligent thing to do. There are a lot of things in this gospel that are hard to do. But in the eternal aspect of things, the only intelligent thing to do is to follow Christ. I don’t know who the man is in the Stonecutter video (about the man who walked 22 miles to work on the SLC temple) but he said something that really hit me: “Callings are seldom convenient”. I love this gospel. I love the Lord. And I love what He did for us to allow us to return to His presence. He could have given up. He could have said, “What’s in it for me?” He could have just ‘gone through the motions’. But He didn’t. I want to add my plea to that of Elder Hollands: “My other plea at Easter time is that these scenes of Christ’s lonely sacrifice, laced with moments of denial and abandonment and, at least once, outright betrayal, must never be reenacted by us. He has walked alone once. Now, may I ask that never again will He have to confront sin without our aid and assistance, that never again will He find only unresponsive onlookers when He sees you and me along His Via Dolorosa in our present day. As we approach this holy week—Passover Thursday with its Paschal Lamb, atoning Friday with its cross, Resurrection Sunday with its empty tomb—may we declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in word only and not only in the flush of comfortable times but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely and when our cross is difficult to bear. This Easter week and always, may we stand by Jesus Christ ‘at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death,’ for surely that is how He stood by us when it was unto death and when He had to stand entirely and utterly alone.” I love this from Elder Holland’s talk None Were With Him from April 2009. I couldn’t agree more. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

Elder Zachary Evan Bushman