Monday, March 28, 2011

Wonderful to be a servant of the Lord

My dear family,

You may be far away, but I feel your support all the way over here. It's not hard to feel because we share a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Mom and Dad, your letters each week have a profound impact on me, so I thank you for everything. To Grandma and Grandpa Bush, I thank you for your love and support. I know I'm often in your thoughts and I hope you know you're often in mine. You're wonderful grandparents and I'll be very excited when we can be reunited after my mission. And to grandpa, I wish a very, very happy belated birthday! I hope it was a good one Gramps! :) To Grandma and Grandpa Gee (yes grandpa Gee, I know you can still hear me) I love you both. Grandma, I'm super happy to hear your surgery went well and I pray all is well with you. I'm so grateful to get your letters and to know you support me and send me your love always. Gramps, I often shake my leg to you just to say a quick "hi" up there. ;) I'm so grateful for family. To everyone, regardless of if your name is on this page, I'm thinking of all your names right now and of each of you individually. You all mean a lot to me. Thanks for all the times we've shared and for your support while I'm temporarily away.

I want you all to know that I feel extremely weak. Not physically. (Although my physical shape has seen its better days... Trev could probably take me in a wrestling match right now. I'd be willing to bet a Heath Bar blast at Brusters on that.) I feel weak as Elder Spencer Bush. I can't do so much. But, when I rely on the Lord, when my prayers become that much more heartfelt and sincere, when I turn to my Father and apply the atonement of Christ to overcome my weakness and inabilities, I see the difference. Khabarovsk has been hard for me. Change is never easy. I have felt very inadequate here and it has left me feeling a rollercoaster of emotions. I'm reminded though of the beginning of my mission where I felt similar yet different feelings. I felt inadequate but I felt in a very real sense lost. I've seen how the Lord has shaped me and molded me and helped me overcome obstacles in the past year. I still have so many rough edges. And I need the Lord's divine help to smooth them out and to refine my discipline, my character, and my countenance. I've learned this past transfer that it's more important to see your inabilities while focusing on your strengths. Never forget of the strengths the Lord has blessed you with and avoid at all costs looking down upon yourself because of your mistakes or imperfections. Realize that we all have them and that if we take them to the Lord, he will build us up into more than we can ever imagine on our own. Like I've said before, His atonement is very real and very applicable. We simply must learn how to turn to him and do that throughout the rest of our mortal probation.

Contacting, like I may have already mentioned, has been harder for me this past transfer. But I’ve just got to do it! How else can I declare the gospel if I don't open my mouth and share the message with everyone?! Please pray for me that I can overcome this, so I will talk with everyone placed in my path. Why would the Lord place the elect in your path if you're only going to talk to some people and not with everyone you possibly could?

Institute was good this past week. I'm in awe of you, Mom. You are such a great teacher. Thank you for your letter and your comments from your talk. I don't know how you do it. It's always so hard to teach some of what is found in Doctrine and Covenants because there is so much! And to try to cram several days worth of classes into 1 night is always fun. But my companion and I are having fun with it and it's been really rewarding to review a lot of what's in the latter end of D&C. Especially the stuff pertaining to the celestial kingdom and temples.

Friday, President Pratt, Sister Pratt, and the assistants arrived on the train to do a training here in Khabarovsk for future potential trainers. The MTC has come out with new material regarding training to help the trainer and trainee better understand how to successfully go through the training process. President ended up inviting everyone in the end because it is all valuable information for all of the elders in the mission. We're right now just over 30 missionaries. This summer, we'll be losing over 10 of those and only gaining 4. Among that 4 is Kyle Collingsworth (BYU basketball player). So our mission will be shrinking a little in numbers. It's also really weird to be entering into the older group of missionaries. Crazy to think I’ll hit my year mark in country this next transfer. It’s flying by far too fast. Basically, the training was phenomenal and I learned so much from President Pratt and everyone that participated, the Spirit being the greatest participant. His influence in the room was almost palpable. I could never deny what I felt in those short hours. I never can deny the testimony of the Spirit. That's why I can't wait for conference! If all works out, it should be a week after all of you. Cross our fingers we get the disks from Moscow in time! After the training, we had to run to meet a member, Sister Galina to go with her to visit one of her students who has health difficulties and can't leave his home really. His name is Stepan and he is such an awesome kid! He’s studying English and so we talked with him in English. (Btw, Khabarovsk was the first city a few transfers ago to start up English club again. We learned this last week that we'll be starting it up again mission wide, Sakhalin included, but we'll do things a little differently. We won't just have a spiritual thought at the end but we'll teach lessons afterward to help others know more about what we believe in. That way, those who are interested will be able to learn more about who we are.) It was an awesome half hour or so of service. We really made him excited about studying English again because he was having struggles wondering why he even studies it if he'll always be homebound. He had a very special spirit about him.

Saturday, we had a sweet fireside about the Book of Mormon put on by President and Sister Pratt. Interestingly enough, I learned about President Pratt's actual relation to Parley P. Pratt. Turns out Parley is President Pratt's great great grandfather. Crazy right?

Well, we'll see what the future holds for transfers this next week. I figure I'll be staying here in Khabarovsk. We'll see. I love this city.

I love you all. Stay safe and enjoy your next week back in school. Learning is worth it. And you've all only got 1 more quarter! WOO!

Elder Bush