Monday, February 29, 2016


I've learned some things. I kind of just keep learning the same things over and over again. Waiting for them to stick in my heart I guess. I've learned that to enjoy life, do everything. Everything that you have the opportunity to do.

My little paradise is... becoming a little bit more Paradisaical . Before it stressed me out because the work here is flat lined and I didn't know what to do, but poco a poco I'm figuring stuff out about myself and about what I am capable of. Truth is, Talavera needs a miracle. There's talk about closing the branch because there is a ton of members, but they are all less active. We have an apartment as our chapel right now, but to keep it, we have to have a steady attendance of 50 ish people every week. And since I've been here, that has happened once. Yesterday. But I feel like a miracle is slowly unfolding. We've been finding less actives steadily these past couple weeks and it's what our President has told us to do, focus on the less actives, and we're working with them to get them active again. But to me, I don't know...  that's even harder than baptizing. But it's what the branch needs. Transfers are next week and I am praaaaaying that Presidente is going to put another companionship of missionaries here to work with us because really, we need help. We're the only ones here. But who knows. Maybe God has something else in store for Talavera. We'll see. 

Well I don't really have much to report. I'm doing fine. I'm kinda hoping for a transfer, but at the same time I want to help Talavera. It's just hard when there is so much to do and I don't know where to start. I've been praying for something like a road map to fall from the heavens, and I'm still waiting. It'll come. 

My comp is doing well. We're still figuring each other out. I feel like I need to help her to remember why she's here and we had a comp inventory where we talked about all the things that keep us from remembering who we are and why we are here as missionaries. It lasted a good 2 hours. But it was very much needed and I think it helped. I just want her to be happy with the quality of mission she has and I too want that. So we're going to keep remembering who we are and get rid of all the pride we have in our hearts. 

 Love  you all!
Hermana Rust

 The CCM crew together again! This is from the conference we had last week. I don't know if you remember Elder Vance, but he was in my district in the CCM and us three are the only north Americans in our group. So it was fun to be together again. 

My whole mission!! First one to find me gets a "Bien Hecho!" 

Monday, February 22, 2016

#39 Patchwork Quilted Mountains.

The past 72 hours, I was in a car for about 20 of them. And in those 20 hours, I had a lot of time to just look at the overall beauty of the highlands of Peru. And one thing I noticed, Particularly in Apurimac where I am currently serving, is that the mountains look like patchwork quilts. They are absolutely gorgeous. And its because it's farm land. they have their lots of corn and alfalfa and potatoes, which up close might not be that cool, but from a far off, on the main highway, it looks like God has been stitching and patching away at the earth for hundreds and hundreds of years. It's my new favorite thing like... ever. And sadly I don't have a picture. But I'm going to be traveling again tomorrow so I'll take a picture then! 

And now the big question "Why are you traveling so much?" Well if my last letter had gotten to you, you would have learned that this past Saturday was our WHOLE MISSION CONFERENCE in CUSCO with ELDER HOLLAND! So that's why I've been traveling. And now we are going to devote my time to being very specific about the details that took place. 

Ready mom?
So Cusco from Talavera is 8 hours. So Friday in the early evening, 5:00, we jumped on a combi, which is just a van, and took it to Abancay, 3 hours away, where we stayed the night, And when I say the night I mean we stayed for 5 hours and then left again to go to Cusco. We woke up at 12:30 to make ourselves pretty despite the 5 hour bus ride that awaited us at 3:00. And then we bused it all the way to Cusco. We were scheduled to get there at 8:00 in the morning. Perfect to eat breakfast and to take pictures with other missionaries and catch up with people. The only problem is that we didn't get there at 8:00. Because our bus driver pulled over for 45 minutes to sleep, so we got there late. And I was freaking out because guess what, I had to sing a special musical number with 4 other missionaries with whom I had never practiced before because I was out in the middle of no where in Talavera. But I'm actually very grateful that the bus driver pulled over because that's better than us dying. 

So we got there at 9. And I had a frantic Hermana Frame calling me because we needed to practice! But it ended up being ok and we got to run through the song a couple times. I also got to see Hermana McMahon again before she dies!! Ahh that was the best! Oh and the song was Fuente de Mis Bendiciones or Come thou Fount. But yeah I was reunited with my Hija and she's doing well. Gave me some good and bad news regarding Puno, but there's nothing I can do about it so I'm just going to keep moving on. It was a good time. Saw some missionaries that I hadn't seen since I first got to the mission and it was just fun! And then we went in for the conference. I was sitting in the first row, right in front of where Elder Holland would be sitting! I pick my seats well. And then he came in. And it was really cool. I have been in the same room as him before, but never up close. He's older in person. But boy was he... emotional? I don't know how to say it. Like enthusiastic? Something like that. Energenic! Thats what I wanted. He shook everyone of our hands and asked us our names and where we were from. I told him Overton Nevada and he says "Oh Overton! Very good. Thank you for coming." and then continued. So that was cool.And then, we sang. I was so nervous! I had spent the whole week before memorizing the words and the harmony which was actually really hard because I didn't have a piano at my disposal to even play the part for me so I just had to figure it our and then memorize the words in Spanish and I think my comp was getting really tired of my song. But it went well. I think it definitely could have been better, but Elder Mann, Elder Andromedas, Hermana McMahon and Hna Miceli all sing like angels so I was able to ride on their wings a little bit. But it was still a huge honor and super cool.

 And then he gave a great talk. It was very Elder Holland. He told us he loved us, but then burned the heck out of us. I have never been so happy to be burned before. He said a lot of things that he has said in previous missionary addresses but things that totally apply to every missionary and that I think was all needed to hear it from him personally. To feel the urgency of his mission more than anything. I'll just share a couple of things he shared. He talked about us being committed. Forever. This is a very common topic of his. He told us that he loves the mission so much and the missionaries so much that if a missionary decides that after, or even during his or her mission, that they don't want to live like this anymore, he can't stand it. He gets angry. He said that we can never go back from what we have experienced in the mission. And if we do, shame on us and shame on him. We are COMMITTED FOREVER! This is real life. Capital R capital L. He told us that we don't have the right to abuse our image as missionaries. That's something that stood in my mind for a while. He told us that we are symbols as well as servants. He told us that we are God's investigators. He said that the road to salvation always goes through Gethsemane. He told us that if we don't give him our life during this time and forever, we won't be happy. Not really. And then he said a poem that I really liked. It was something like "He told us to come to the edge. No we said. We'll fall. Come to the edge he said. Again, No we said. We will fall. COME TO THE EDGE. So we came to the edge. He pushed us. And we flew." How interesting is that? I don't know if he has ever shared that before. But I really liked it. He said that the edge doesn't mean we fall. Sometimes we never fly because we never go to the edge of miracles. The edge means up, flight, glory. And when we go to the edge, we stay forever. Incredible. To hear the words of a real living day prophet. Face to face. I will never forget. So those were his thoughts and they caused me to think. A lot. 

And now I'm here in Talavera again. But tomorrow I'm headed to Abancay AGAIN to do divisions with the Hermana Capacitadoras. So I'll be with Hermana Baker tomorrow! Yay! Well that took about all my time. I'm sorry you didn't get my letter until just barely. But I hope this one gets there. And just remember. You can't ever go back. You are committed. If we choose to stay, it's forever. Feel the urgency. To keep going. To honor our temple covenants. To stay on the road to salvation and pass through Gethsemane. it was never Easy for Christ. So who thought it should be easy for us. But we're in it. Forever. Now and forever.
Love you all! Talk to you next week!
Hermana Rust 

#38 Feb 15, 2016

 I was asked to give a talk in the branch about service and callings. I listened to a talk that one of the other Hermana's gave me from Pres Uchtdorf  about being Genuine. It's from the Priesthood session of conference last April and it is sooooo goood!

 But in there he talks about us being genuine in our spirituality. About not showcasing our testimony, even if it is very strong or if you are trying to appear better than you are. He then poses the question "why are you here? why do you serve in the Church?" And he says that we can respond with a number of things. That we are obligated. That we do it to please others. I've added some of my own superficial responses. We are here because we want recognition. We are here to make a name for ourselves.

Right before I read this talk, a less active young man asked me in on of our appointments why I was here in the mission. It was a question I have received many times throughout my mission and I have always responded the same, in a way that I thought was a good answer. I would tell them that I had never thought of going on a mission. That I didn't even want to, but that the lord promised me certain blessings, specifically in my Patriarchal Blessing, if I went of the mission. And so that's why I went. I explain a little more when I tell them and then tell them that I have received the blessings that I expected, but in different ways than I expected. To me this answer was, well cool! And after I would explain, everyone would be impressed and think "Wow what a cool story Hermana Rust has". And that made me happy. So that was the game plan in this same appointment. So I said all that to this kid, and when I ended, I expected the same response. Well that's not what I got. He looked at me and said "It's interesting. Very few of the the missionaries that I asked respond that they are here because they love God." Well if that isn't a slap to the face, I don't know what is. And that's what it felt like. A slap to my spiritual face. I felt foolish. I felt... phony. Here I was, trying to impress with the things I had experience, that somehow I was better than others because I had this great promise, which it is a great promise, I'm not discrediting that, but that I was somehow the "chosen one". But is that why I am obedient? Is that why I serve? Is that a good enough reason. President Uchtdorf tells us that no, these reasons are superficial. That If we have other alternatives, like to impress or to get gain or to receive a specific title, then it's not the reason that we should be serving. We serve because we love God and desire with all our hearts to serve him. And at the end of it all, not to receive any kind of glory. That's why and how we serve. And that's something I've always struggled with. I'm competitive. I want the title of "trainer" or "Hermana Leader". I've wanted to come back from my mission with great stories of physical and spiritual showiness that I can brag to who ever would listen. And I'm a touch disgusted with myself that for a while, that was my motive. To impress my investigators with my vast knowledge of the scriptures. Or the spiritual experiences that I've had to show... I don't even know what. But that's not why I'm here. I'm here to help. I'm here to serve. I'm here to teach. And I'm here to learn. I'm here because I love God. Nothing else matters.

 Oh humility. It'll get ya. It's gotten me. I've been cut down to humility and it stings. I don't like it. But I'm grateful for it. I need to be cut down so I can grow taller and stronger. Yeah this is what I have been learning. It's been a topic on my mind a lot lately. And I'm finally learning. Ok I'm going to get off my soap box now! 

This is a weird fruit Sapote. Shortly after I took this picture and cut into it, 4 little worms crawled out. So I can't tell you how it tastes because that would mean I would have eaten worm and I'm not about that life. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

#37 Momma makes the best fried chicken, Wranglers makes the best blue jeans.

So this week I promised you more info about my companion and overall area. So here goes.
My companion is called Hermana Conde. She is from Lima. She is.... Candice Horito. Like she randomly, not all the time, but randomly looks JUST like Candice and she talks JUST LIKE CANDICE! So needless to say, I'm loving her. She's got a couple transfers less in the mission that I do, but she's super cute and she knows the area well for only being here two weeks before I got here. So she's new in Talavera too. And she's just kinda a goof ball. Our Pensionista's first husband was a Japanese man, and our pensionista told us that the way he punished his children was with his fingers all close together and then he would pierce them with his hand and yell "Castigo!". Well Hna Conde just thinks that is hilarious so now she does it to me. All the time. "Castigo!" Also in this respect she reminds me of Candice. But I already love her and we are already great friends and she likes the Best Two Years soundtrack, so we listen to that a lot, but hey I like it. Thus my subject line. We go through alllll of Talavera singing that one line. It's the best! The best two years!!!
So yeah she's my comp and I will send pictures. 
Now about my pensionista. Oh she is a hoot. Her name is Senobia and she's just a fire cracker. We live in her house, which is the cutest little thing ever. And she cooks for us breakfast lunch and dinner. She looooooves to talk! And I like to listen to her. She always says "Imaginate!" Which means "Imagine it!" allllwaaaays. And then she'll stop in the middle of a story to tell us to eat more. But I don't know why she tells me to eat more because immediately after she says that, she tells me that yes, I have lost a ton of weight, but I'm still fat and need to lose 5 kilos more to be skinny. But then she keeps feeding me all the same! So I'm getting mixed signals so Imma gonna just keep eating. She cooks some of the best Peruvian food I've had in my mission, although once she did give us cow lungs and I just couldn't do it. But besides that, all satisfying and edible! 
And now about Andahuaylas. It's gorgeous  here! Absolutely beautiful. When I got off the bus in Cusco  on my way here, I ran into one of my old Zone Leaders and he asked where I was going and I told him Andahuaylas. Well he was born here (In the mission) and he just said "Oh hermana, you are going to the promised land" and now I see why. It's a little town tucked into the mountains and the mountains are just green and full of trees and plants. I just want to go hiking everyday! And with my sector, that's basically what we do. We have a mountain in our sector called Llantuyhuanca where half of the leaders in our ward live so we have to go up there at least once a week and its about an hour hike to the last leader's house on the very top. So hiking is a regular occurrence. It's weird I went from concrete jungle to... actual jungle. I have more bug bites on my legs in this moment than I've had in my entire life, I hope none of them are lethal, and I seem to acquire more everyday. Whooop for scratched and scared legs! Show's I'm actually doing something I guess. And well I'll show fotos of what I can't describe. Because It's just too pretty. 
And now to end. I want to share with you the words that my President shared with me. Last week I expressed to both you and him that I was feeling a little lost in the new branch. A little without hope. It's like I wanted to work and do stuff, but I had noooo idea how. So I expressed to him my doubts. And what he said just really lifted my spirits. I'm just gonna copy and paste
"So… encouragement is what I can provide… You not only can do it, you will do it! The Lord never sent you here to fail. Now, success and failure are very subjective terms, however, this is not your work. It is the Lord's. He's in charge. Every day. In every area of this mission. Therefore, place your faith where it appropriately belongs - in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You need to literally lay it all on the altar and tell the Lord that you can't do this without His help. Once He knows that He will then use you as He wishes to accomplish that which He wants done. I'm certain you are very familiar with the scripture in Ether 12:27. It talks about our weaknesses becoming strengths. However, what many miss in this scripture is that our weaknesses become strengths because of our faith in the Lord and then what HE can do for us. Let me just emphasize a few words in this scripture and I think you'll get the idea: "… for if they humble themselves before ME and have faith in ME then will I make weak things become strong unto them." We can't do it on our own. We never could and we never will. But with our faith firmly placed in the Lord, being humble, willing and teachable, He will make our weaknesses into strengths.
Hermana Rust - you are not alone - never - and especially in the work of the Almighty. As they say in Peru: "sí, se puede"!"

And I realize how true his words are. I especially love how he says It's not my work. It's the Lords. I get so stuck in my own head, thinking about what it is that I can do, what it is that I should do, that I completely forget to ask, "What can HE DO through me?" It's his. Completely his. His work, His Glory. SO trust in the Lord God and lean not unto they own understanding. It's simple really. And when we realize that, it's amazing how much more we can do. So yeah! I am in uncharted territory. I have little knowledge of what it is that I need to do here, but He knows all!! So I'm not alone. There is hope. And yes I can! These words apply to everyone. Everyday, we experience something new, something that maybe we don't know how to manage. But who knows and is soooo willing to help us? Our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. So here goes nothing!
I hope everyone is great, I love to get pictures so keep em coming! Mom thanks for sharing your thoughts and I'll think about BYU. It's honestly the furthest thing from my mind but I realize it's coming up quicker than I expected. So yeah I'll keep ya updated. Love you all and thank you for Prayers! 
Hermana Rust 

That's my comp. She's cute. Last Monday we made the cookies that the young women sent me from the ward. Problem was that we didn't have a oven so we just put them in the microwave... the results are to come.
Results: Giant snickerdoodle bricks. We still ate them all!

This is Nathan. He's 2 and likes the way my arm hair feels. He would hold onto my arm and just rub his face on it.  Probably the only guy in my whole life that will ever find that appealing. 

I was reunited with my dear Hermana Baker! I love her to pieces!

That's Hna Senobia 

One of the hikes we take. 

This is the road we take up the mountain. That's Aracely. She's twelve and comes with us up the mountain because her mom wants her to lose weight lol. 

This is normal. To have a herd of cows on one of the main boulevards 

I picked some pears! The do it with this net thing. I still don't get how it works.

This is the view from a less actives house after a half hour hike. Incredible right?

Monday, February 1, 2016

#36 Talavera... The land of impossibility.

Greetings from..... not Puno. Yes I finally left my beloved little Puno and am off to new adventures and new horizons.

I am currently writing from a... I think it's a town. Called Talavera. This is found in the country of Perù, department of Apurimac, zone of Andahuaylas. And to describe it... well take everything I've ever told you about Puno, and think the opposite. Puno was a city. Talavera is a little farm town. Puno has paved roads. Talavera has roads paved in cow stinkies. Puno has 2 stakes and 8 chapels. Talavera has 1 branch and a casa capilla (Its a meeting house in an apartment building). The zone Puno Central has 10 companionships and 4 districts. The zone Andahuaylas has 4 companionships and 1 district (our whole zone is also our district. Puno has thousands of people that you pass on the streets everyday. Talavera has... 2. Different no? And thus far, it's been kind of a culture shock. There is so much poverty here. I was sooo sheltered in Puno. Here, I am experiencing a whole different way of life. And the  members here are the most impoverished. It blows my mind. And it kind of scares me a little bit. Because one, the branch is really suffering. My sector is HUUUUUGE. Because it's all just farm land and mountains. So it's about the same size as the city puno, but just with a fraction of the people and buildings. And it's especially intimidating because me and my companion, Hermana Conde, are the only missionaries serving here. All the rest of the zone is in the real city of Andahuaylas. We are on the outskirts. So that freaks me out a little. We have always been with another companionship of Elders, and that was always a comfort. but now it's just the two of us. Scaling mountains and dodging cow stinkies. 

So this all sounds kind of deary, I know. But fear not. I have words of hope for myself! This past week, like the day after I got to Talavera (Because it was a two day trip from Puno to here) We packed up and traveled again to Abancay. That's another zone about 3 hours from andahuaylas (And where Hna Baker is currently serving. She's my Hna Leader now!) So we went there for a conference with President and Sister Harbertson. And it was really good. And something that Hna Harbertson said was directed just at me I am sure and gave me some hope. She spoke to us about a talk that President Nelson gave recently to all the YSA. About Millennials. About what it is that millennials can do. That we are the millennials (It's form January if someone could help an Hermana out and send it to me porfa) And that millennials were called to live at this time to do the impossible. She then asked us to reflect in our missions, our lives, and think about all the impossible things that we are asked to do. Like baptize people. Learn Spanish. Change the hearts of people who have lived with years and years of strong traditions. To live with someone 24/7. All things that seem impossible no. But we do them. Ever day. And so the impossible things, really are possible. And I know its the same here in Talavera. The impossible land. That's really what it seemed like to me when I got here. Still does. But The impossible land is where the Milenials go. To do the impossible. So it's going to be an adjustment. I'm really scared to be honest. But I know I can do it. With God, nothing is impossible. So I'm just gonna keep going. Don't know how, don't know where, but I know who with. God. The prayers are still greatly appreciated. I think I need them now more than ever. 

And well there is some more stuff that I wanted to share with you, about my comp and our pensionista (She's... Mrs. Frizzle from magic school bus. Version Peru) but alas, the time is far spent. But I'll tell ya plenty next week. 

Mom, my heart broke a little for you to hear that you got released from primary! But I know you'll be just fine in whatever calling The Lord has in store for you. That's how you know that it's time to learn something new! 

Well I've got to be going now! I love you all and hope that everyone is good, healthy, and happy! Enjoy life and embrace change! It will seem impossible at first, but that's why we are here, to do the impossible.