Tuesday, February 23, 2010

End of week 2

Hey there fam! I sure miss you all. Wow there's so much that has happened and it's hard to remember to get it all down. Thanks for the emails and all the letters! :) To answer your questions... hopefully I answer all of them: I get dearelder.com letters in the afternoon.  Elder Zamora is the district leader so I always go with him to get the mail. That means I'm always the first to get mail in my district. haha!

Russian is super hard but equally exciting. :) Being here at the MTC has made me realize how difficult and absolutely draining missionary work is. I'm exhausted every day and all the days run together. It's hard to remember what day I did what. When things get hard, I remind myself that I'm here for the Lord and the Russian people and that I should be having some fun while serving. That always lifts my spirits and I try to make learning the language fun instead of hard. I had a dream the other night that my mission call got changed to Berlin, Germany and I had to switch districts and start relearning German. I was so devastated because I love learning Russian despite the struggle, and I've really come to love each of the elders in my district. Elder Zamora is amazing and such a cool guy. He has a cast on his right wrist and he gets it off tomorrow morning. We're both excited because we get to see more of the outside world. ;) He is super good at running! He laps me several times when we're running during gym time. Elder Muir and Elder Bangerter are my two other favorite elders in my district. They're both going to Ukraine. Elder Zamora, Winkler, and Johnson are all going to Vlad (to answer your question Mom). Elder Muir is from Reno, Nevada and Elder Bangerter is originally from Mission Viejo, CA but moved to St. George, UT a few years ago. They're both hilarious. So is Elder Harris. He's from S. Jordan, UT. His companion Elder Fanning is from FL! That's pretty exciting cause we both understand stuff about FL. We were talking about the mountains one day, and it reminded me of Mt. Dora and that time we drove over a pretty good hill (uncommon in Florida) and Trev made the funny comment about how that must be Mt. Dora. haha!

On Sunday night, we got to have a devotional about humanitarian missions and it was so humbling to see all the work our church does for those that are impoverished and struggling in the world. It really touched me, and I hope that I will be able to provide money and services later in my life to benefit such causes. Seeing the joy on all those peoples' faces as they were helped out in some way was a wonderful experience. Then after the devotional, we always get to watch a movie. Last Sunday, we got to watch the Joseph Smith movie (best movie on the planet) and I felt the spirit so strongly as I watched. The parts that really got to me and tugged at my heart were the ones when Joseph was operated on and when his brother, Alvin, passed away because it reminded me of my relationship to my family, esp. Matthew. After having experienced Matt being in the hospital, I just feel closer to him and all of you. I love you all so much and I would hate to lose any of you or know that you're going through pain. Oh I forgot to mention, I see Sis. Metro ALL the time! It's awesome to see a familiar face. It's weird not being able to even shake her hand cause the MTC has a rule right now that we can't shake hands in an attempt to keep sickness from spreading. Anyways, she played the piano in the Sunday devotional and it was wonderful! Music has a power unlike anything else to invite the Lord's spirit and uplift the soul. :)

A couple days ago, our entire district got the giggles and we all couldn't stop laughing. It felt so good to laugh that hard and that much because we're always working so hard all day long that we forgo laughing. It was nice to let go a little stress and just laugh. I apologize these letters are so jumbled and random. With only a half hour, it's kinda hard to make sure I get down all my thoughts. Oh! One last thing... On Sunday, the Branch President calls on two missionaries to give talks, and they don't tell you beforehand who it will be (makes you a little nervous). Elder White, one of the zone leaders was asked to speak and since he's one of the older guys (past six weeks here) he has to give his talk in Russian. He mentioned a quote from Elder Eyring and he used the name Elder in Russian. It hit me when I heard that, that I share the same title as Apostles of the Lord. I've always known that, I guess, but it took hearing it in Russian for it to sink in. And then 4 elders sang in Russian, and it proved to me that you don't have to understand the language to feel the Spirit. It was truly powerful. Well, my time's almost up. I love each of you (Dad, Mom, Trev, Jess, Sarah, Matt) SO SO SO MUCH!!! Remember, through faith in Christ, all things are possible, even learning Russian. haha! Talk to you soon! CTAPENWNHA BUSH. (That's the closest I can type to Russian for Elder.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First Letter

Dear Mom, Dad and family,

Hello from the MTC! Wow this week has been CRAZY! My brain hurts soooo much!!! I never thought it would be this intense! I've heard the first couple days here are always the hardest mostly cause everything is new and foreign to you. And let me tell you, Russian is veryyyyy foreign to me. Haha but I love it! This language is challenging me so much but through the Lord, I know I can rise to the challenge. He definitely has to help me though, cause it is hard. My district has twelve guys in it (more than you had dad) and it sure gets hot in the classroom with 13 people crammed into a little space. I've really come to love each of them even though it's only been five days. My companion is Elder Zamora. His parents are from Guatemala but he's from Ann Arbor, Michigan. We're already great friends and I can't wait to get to know him more. He's semi fluent in Spanish so he likes to speak in it every once in a while. It's interesting how languages have similarities with certain words. "Gospel" in both Spanish and in Russian are so close it’s uncanny. Four of the elders in the district are going to Vlad (short for Vladivostok). Elder Winkler is one of them, and he's from Germany. We talked for a little bit the first day and found out that he met Elder Killpack (Spencer's cousin, who is serving in the Berlin, Germany mission) in the Freiburg temple the day he went for the first time! How small the world really is! He has studied Russian for 5 years in school so he's definitely got the upper hand on the rest of us.

I really love it here. The spirit is so strong and I sure have learned a lot. It's certainly been an adjustment to strive to follow all the rules and be with a companion alllllll the time. Thankfully, Elder Zamora and I really get along. Tuesday is our pday so we get to go to the temple in the morning. I love it there.:)

I got to see Sister Metro (a friend who used to live in Florida) on Sunday! I think it was Sunday. Anyways, she was super excited to see me and really wishing she could get off to Switzerland. Her French was sounding pretty darn good. Church on Sunday was very different since half the branch we're in is new and the other half are Elders and Sisters that have been here for six weeks. They hafta speak Russian now so I couldn't really understand much of anything that was said when the missionaries gave talks. But like Pres. Monson said, we all can understand the language of the Spirit. It's kind of nerve wracking to go to sacrament meeting because the branch president doesn't say who's speaking until we get there. So we hafta have something prepared before we come otherwise we hafta wing it. Thankfully, we only hafta do it in English for now. The rest of the ward also sings in Russian which sounds soooo cool! Can’t wait to start doing that.

Sorry this email is all over the place. We only have 30 minutes to write so I'm trying to get down everything I can think of. There's a scripture in the Doctrine & Covenants that really has hit home now that I'm here in the MTC. It's D&C 31:3 "Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation." Also look up Isaiah 28:11. As I've been struggling over the language (and I mean strugglingggggg) I know that as I work harder, the Lord will bless me to speak when he needs me to speak to the Russian people.

I sang in the choir on Sunday and the director reminded all of us so much of Brian Regan! I'm hoping that I get the chance to sing in General Conference if there is an MTC choir, so I'll let you know if that happens. I miss you all. A lot. It's hard sometimes to keep the emotions in check because I do really miss each of you, but I know this is the work that the Lord would have me do. I love being here even though it's the most difficult thing I have ever done. Love you all so much! Hopefully my letters will get better in the coming weeks. Til next Tuesday!

Elder Bush

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Called to Serve

In a letter from the Office of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dated October 6, 2009, Elder Spencer Michael Bush has been called to serve as a missionary of the Church and to represent the Lord Jesus Christ as a minister of the restored gospel.  His assigned field of labor is the Russia Vladivostok Mission.  He reports to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, UT, on Wednesday, February 10, 2010, where he will prepare to preach the gospel in the Russian language.  After approximately 12 weeks at the MTC, Elder Bush will relocate to Russia to preach the gospel.  His purpose as outlined in his mission call letter is:  "to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."