Family and Friends,
I never thought this day would come… My last e-mail as a missionary.
These last two years have sure been a ride. It may be cliché but I can say
with all assurance that these are the best two years. This last week was
fantastic and I am content with the way my mission finished up. The
experiences that the Lord has blessed me to have here have shaped my life
now and my future as well. I would like to talk a bit about what these last
two years have really meant to me in this last “Saying Goodbye” e-mail.
To begin I would just like to tell about the last miracle that occurred
this past week. The Lord blessed Elder Holmstead, Campbell, and I with
being able to baptize a family this past week. I have been explaining these
past few weeks about a really special family that we have been teaching…
Wendy, Vinicio, Nathan, Frida, and the oldest son Marcos and his wife
Alisson. We baptized Nathan last week, Vinicio is still not a member due to
a divorce process that is taking place, and the rest were all members
It has been really cool to be teaching and re-activating this family. They
are really special people and we have been focusing in on Alisson for the
last few weeks. She has been going through the process of learning the
principles of the restored Gospel and she learned well and fast. She had a
bit of a difficult decision about being baptized because her entire family
is Catholic and they were not exactly thrilled about her choice in
listening to us and going to church with us. Having her read the Book of
Mormon and pray helped her make the right decision and she was baptized
yesterday after the church services. She was thrilled and the rest of her
husband’s family as well. It was a very special baptism and I know that the
Lord prepared her to receive the truth at this very time. Last week of my
mission and my last baptism. I feel happy.
I have felt as if the Lord has helped me my entire mission have experiences
similar to that of Alisson and others that have either been baptized or
been re-activated. I know that God has his plan that is perfect and I feel
so very honored to have participated in the conversion process of many of
my Father’s children here in Guatemala. I know that by helping others for
these two years I have been much more deeply converted to this wonderful
Gospel that I have been preaching. In every moment that I was fallen I feel
as if God himself sent angels to life me back up. I know that God knows me
and has permitted me to know Him more deeply by being a representative of
His son Jesus Christ.
I feel as if I have developed a very sincere love for the Guatemalan
people. I know that I was called to serve here by revelation. I learned
such humility, patience, long-suffering, and compassion from the Guatemalan
culture the last two years. In D&C 49:24 it talks about how the ancient
Lamanite nation would one day “Blossom as the rose”. I have seen that
prophecy fulfilled. I have absolutely loved being in the church services
here and learning from the great leaders that have been called to lead. I
will miss the Spirit I feel with these people. They are one and only and I
know that many of them have taught me much more than I ever could have
taught them just by their example and disposition to follow Jesus Christ.
Many would say that giving up two years in the service of God and serving a
mission sets you back and you lose precious time to study and work. I know
that out here I have learned and obtained the abilities necessary to be
successful in this life. I will be successful in my life thanks to the
precious time I have had to forget about myself and serve others. I know
God will bless me… He already has. I will continue to serve and love Him
with all my heart, mind, might, and strength just as He asks me to. I have
not been a perfect missionary but I know that I worked hard and I have felt
content with what I have done. Even more importantly I feel as if the Lord
has accepted my offering to him.
I am sad to go but I am excited about my future. I know that I have
completed what the Lord has asked me to do and now I will continue on in my
life trying to do my best to keep serving Him with love and be worthy of
His Spirit always.
I love you all and I am very appreciative for all the support I received
these last two years while being away.
Elder Ty Michael Russell