Monday, February 27, 2012

Love for the People

Dear Fam,

I have absolutely no idea where this past week went. It seemed to have just disappeared. Winter has for some reason returned to Vlad. Seemed for a few days that all was getting warmer and winter would be all together a fleeting thought. But, it was either Tuesday or Wednesday when I awoke to a snow covered Vlad and the cold had once again returned. Well really, it was the wind that had returned which made it feel a lot colder. Some days, it's really weird to think that back home, it's warm enough to go to the beach.

It's amazing to me to see the Lord's hand in my life. And while the opportunities and spiritual sensitivity to recognize them have been greater, I know that we all have that chance to see His great hand in our lives daily. I'm thankful for the molding, trying, refining (if you will) experience that I've been blessed to go through. And it's an enormous blessing to still have another week ahead of me. It's taught me a lot. Mostly about me. And my Savior. I'm absolutely sure of one fact... I'm in need of His atoning mercy and love. His grace is greater than we can really understand. His love is pure and unchanging. He is the Prince of Peace, an everlasting peace that fills me in my time of need and in my time of rejoicing. I'm extremely grateful for the lessons I've learned and relearned and learned once more while I've had the chance to represent our Elder Brother, even Jesus the Christ.

One lesson I'll quickly share was impressed upon me since we had quite a lot of time dedicated this past week to contacting and our finding efforts. First off, the Lord wants to see our desires and our efforts. Our efforts, however monumental they may be, are meaningless when our desire is absent or misplaced. Sincere desire to do the Lord's work or more importantly, to fulfill His will, is essential to receiving the Lord's intended blessings. I know that. Second, even when we have a true and righteous desire and we put forth all of our efforts, we may not receive the results we desired or hoped for. And it's super important not to let that simple fact influence your faith, desire, or diligence. Really easy to say. Hard to actually do.

I had a neat experience this past Saturday when we gathered as a district to street contact. Every once in a while, we all gather in one area to strive to cover the whole area and increase our chances of finding someone who's interested. Just so happened that this past weekend, we gathered in the area of my birth where I served with Elder Waltman and where we made quite a lot of memories. It was neat to walk those streets once again and remember all the times Elder Waltman and I had worked there. That seems like so long ago! People weren't so interested. And while the reactions we got weren't really any different than what we got 2 years ago, I have changed. A lot. 1) I understand more Russian. 2) I think I love the people a little bit more. At least I hope I do. The hardest thing I encountered this past week was when we strive to simply do good, to share a message of peace, comfort, and hope, and people turn that away in such a way that you weren't expecting. Even after 2 years, those reactions from people who you're only trying to help are still hard to deal with. But you continue because you love the Lord and you love the people.

Lastly, I want to take a second, and express an enormous thank you to everyone who has ever once prayed for me and supports me because I'm truly grateful for your prayers and love. I have felt the power of those prayers. I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful family and friends, and I really hope that you all know I think about you, I pray for you, and I'm rather excited to share stories about this wonderful land upon my return.

I love you all! I hope you have a fantastic week!

Elder Bush