Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

September 8 2012- Email #8

MY FAMILY!

I leave the MTC on Tuesday… That is not even possible. I can’t
believe how fast this went. We are taking a bus to Retalhuleu and it
will probably take about 4 hours or so. We leave about 7:30 in the
morning. So first of all I had a sick day… Am I proud of it? No. But
it was necessary. I was puking all day. Something was going around the
MTC this week and there were about 10 or 15 Elders who picked up the
bug. It was rough! But I am totally better and feeling strong again!
So Proselyting yeah? Proselyting was soooooo cool. Elder Jacobsen and
I made some goals on Monday night to place 10 copies of the Book of
Mormon, place 20 pamphlets, and obtain 10 references. WE EXCEEDED ALL
GOALS! It was so cool! 11 copies of the Book of Mormon, about 40
pamphlets, and we obtained 14 references! By the time we got off the
bus to our area of proselyting we had already placed 3 Books of
Mormon. You can probably tell we were a bit excited. Funny story about
this… So the teachers here only gave each companionship 2 Books of
Mormon and 6 pamphlets to pass out right? So we tell the main man that
we needed 10 and he said no way, that is a whole box! We said we could
do it and I could tell he was a bit apprehensive but he conceded. Also
all the extra pamphlets too. In the 2 hours we were out we did not
waste a second! We literally talked to EVERY human being we saw on the
street. We did not knock any doors just contacted people on the
street. (I found this is definitely the most effective route). The
people here in Central America are just different. They are accepting
to listen to random strangers share a message and really listen and
accept what they say. I have high hopes for some of the people we
talked to. Elder Jacobsen and I both did really well with our Spanish
while we were out. (No doubt the Lord helped us there). I love the
people down here in Central America. Amazing spirits and really
loving. This experience made me sooo pumped to get out into the field.
I am READY. Although I am a bit sad to leave good ol Elder Jacobsen.
We have become such good buddies. Couldn’t ask for a better companion.
Next is an update on the MTC guards.  I think last Saturday I told you we
had 2 appointments right? We are now teaching 4 Guards here! First
experience was last Saturday night when we taught our first guard,
Julio. Julio had talked to missionaries before but the ones he had
talked to had left the MTC right? So he had a Book of Mormon and such and had
actually been reading in it! He had some questions right away about
the Doctrine of Christ and some cool stuff like that and before we
wrapped up the lesson I had the distinct impression I needed to ask
this guy to be baptized. So I thought what the heck! I did it… I
asked Julio to be baptized after knowing the guy for like 15 minutes.
And guess what? He said he would. It was the most exhilarating
experience of my life! I knew as I was giving the invitation elder
Jacobsen was like what in the world are you doing! But when the Spirit
says do it… DO IT. Haha so he left on vacation last Sunday and we
have not seen him since but he works again tonight so we are going to
talk to him about that. Also, we have chosen some other missionaries
to take over for us when we leave and teach these guys. Oh yeah, I
forgot to mention I also asked another guard to be baptized and he
said that if he finds out that it is true he most definitely will. And
the other was a bit more skeptical but said he would pray about it and
read in the Book of Mormon. Wow, it is amazing what you can do when
you put your mind to it and use the Spirit. These guys have been
working for the MTC for years and all it took was some missionaries
who wanted to go teach real people. So cool. So before I leave the MTC
I wanted to share a few things I learned while here. 1. A love for the
Book of Mormon and the New Testament. While here I have finished The
Book of Mormon, The New Testament, Jesus the Christ, Our Search for
Happiness, and Our Heritage. Each book has strengthened my testimony
sooo much. 2. A want to be more charitable. Without Charity man is
nothing. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13 speaks about Charity. Go and read
that Chapter. It is only 13 verses, no complaining. Pay special
attention to verses 1 2 and 3. I learned a lot from that. 3.
Obedience. You would not believe how many talks here are about
obedience! It is not that I was not obedient before but my testimony
of the importance of it has definitely been strengthened. D&C 130:20
and 21. Read them. and lastly number 4. Hope. Obviously hope is also
intertwined with faith. There have been some occasions here that I
have “lost hope” in a way. I came across Ether 12:4 in my reading of
the Book of Mormon and it really spoke to me. The times that
missionaries get down and sort of lose hope is a tool that Satan tries
to use. I have seen it in my experiences here and I know that without
hope and faith the Spirit can’t be with me. Hope leads to faith,
faith leads to action, action leads to results. I love you all so
much and next time you hear from me I will be in the field! I love
this Church and this Gospel!

Love, Elder Ty Michael Russell

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