Warm wishes and love to everyone!
It sure sounds like all is well back home! It dumped snow yesterday while we were at church. So this morning, we got a call to help shovel out President Severyoukhin's garage so he could get to work. Thus, I'm writing home a little earlier than usual.
ELDER ZAMORA'S BROTHER JUST GOT HIS MISSION CALL TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC!!! WOOOOOOO!!!! Another Spanish speaker in their house going to a Spanish speaking mission. His older brother is finishing up his mission in Anaheim. That's super exciting! Anyways, sorry got a little side tracked. We're all writing home together right now and we're all excited to hear about the BYU basketball player (Kyle Collinsworth) coming here to Vlad! He's going to love it so much! I hope I get to serve with him! I'll look tiny compared to him. There's a huge group of missionaries leaving this summer from our mission, so we'll probably be getting some this next summer to help the work move forward. Dad, thanks for your email about the atonement. The longer I study it, the harder it is to comprehend. How could Christ physically take upon himself our suffering, our pains, our sins, our weaknesses? How, I don't know. But He did. And through Him, we can receive eternal life and a fullness of joy.
It's been a good week. (Seems like I always say that right?) The Zone leaders came to visit so I got to work with my trainer (Elder Waltman) again. I love talking with him and getting to reunite with him to work in the Lord's vineyard. I love serving here in Vlad because you know pretty much everyone in the mission field. You know all the servants of the Lord of the vineyard with whom you are laboring and you truly form so many great friendships, even with those that you haven't personally served with. I just couldn't imagine serving in a mission with 150+ missionaries. Somewhere around 30-40 is nice for me. :) We had some fun tracting this past week. It was actually an interesting experience because the only person that expressed any interest was the last door we knocked on. (And later on in the week when we stopped by, we got cursed at by an indifferent young man that appeared to not be in a stable frame of mind.) But anyway, when we were heading toward that stairwell, a man stood in the way. We spoke with him and he expressed little interest at all. We spoke to him of the Book of Mormon and why it's so important. Because of my lack of faith, I probably would have just walked away to go to another stairwell. But Elder Thellmann (who is super awesome and a great example to me) strengthened my faith by asking the man if he lived there and if he would let us in the stairway to talk to his neighbors. The man thought about it and grabbed his keys and opened the door. You have to have faith in this work or the Lord will be unable to work little miracles each and every day. That may seem like a simple if not trivial example, but to me, it was huge evidence that when we have faith, the Lord softens the hearts of people to help further His work among His children.
We met a really cool Armenian man on the street that met with us once this past week. I hope he continues to meet with us. One thing I learned from that meeting was how important the Spirit is. Shirak (his name) kept returning to the subject of America, wanting to know what it's like there, how is it better than here, etc. It was really hard to help him stay focused on the message of the Book of Mormon and why we wanted to meet with him. Yet, as we spoke and asked him questions, he began to feel of the Spirit and the words we shared regarding the promise behind the Book of Mormon. The fact that we were American no longer interfered. The Spirit took over. That's what doing the Lord's work is all about; letting the Spirit guide and touch the hearts of those that are ready to hear.
It's crazy how time flies (like I mentioned last week). On the tenth, I didn't even remember that it was my year mark until later in the afternoon. I have some big goals this next year and I hope with all my heart to come closer to the Lord with each day, to fulfill His will and do everything He would desire of me. And to bring others up the mountain along with me as I make this climb. I have truly begun to see how much the Lord has blessed me while I've been here. He blesses me so much in speaking the language. I truly am beginning to see how (Stake) President Pratt's words and the Lord's blessing he gave me when setting me apart are being fulfilled. I am so grateful the Lord sent me here. I needed these challenges and I need more in the future to help me grow.
Oh, we met this former investigator this past week who has sisters that are members living in America. I really hope we can touch his heart and he’ll have a desire to learn more. Helping families be brought together in the gospel is what it's all about. He lives out in a separate little house where there's tons of dogs guarding each house. I have seen some bears this past week being out there. :) And by bears, I mean big dogs that could eat me. :) Don't worry, they're usually on chains behind fences. They just make a bunch of noise.
I love you all. I love the Lord. And I know He blesses each of us each and every day. Look for His hand in your life. Take luck! ;)
Elder Spencer Bush
P.S. ELDER HALE MET ELDER HALES!!!!?? NO WAY!!!!