Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

September 24 2012- Email #10

WELL HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another week has flown by here is the mission field. It feels like a day ago I was in this crappy little internet cafe writing you. Time flies when you are working hard! 
So first off… We had a service project Saturday morning I wanted to tell you all about. So Elder Daniels, Valladares, Solomon and I went over to this Hermanas house to do the service and we were all handed machetes. I was wondering what in the world we were going to do with these… This is when she led us into her backyard and showed us the jungle that was her backyard. She had us chop down all the weeds, grass, tree type thingys, and wood out of her backyard with MACHETES!! It was quite the experience… My hands had huge blisters on them after the work was over. But the lady was super grateful and she was super old and could not do it herself. Good times. (By the way.. my blisters are starting to heal!)
So here I wanted to update you on a few promising investigators we are teaching…
1. Ana Maria and Jessica…..So we have been teaching these two ladies for almost two weeks. They both can’t read and are SUPER poor and to be honest not super super intelligent… At times it is difficult to get a concept across but I know that the Spirit helps a ton. We finally this Sunday got Ana Maria to attend church with us for all three meetings which is a huge accomplishment. To get investigators to go to church means that they are now progressing. SO HECK YEAH! We have our first progressing investigator! We hope to have her baptized in the upcoming month. Jessica wouldn’t go to church and is not really as receptive… so we will see! 
2. Gladys….. She (unfortunately) went out of town this week! So no lessons with her… But we are going to be teaching her on Tuesday and inviting her to be baptized. I have high hopes for her! 
3. Pedro and Bilma (Or in other words… petophile man)……. So Pedro was the ward mission leader in his last ward and has now moved into this ward a few years back. He ended up leaving his wife for Bilma… who is the actual investigator. They have 2 kids now and the oldest is 2. Bilma is 18 years old and Pedro is probably 45 or so. He has gray streaks in his hair! He is a creep! But… Elder Solomon says that that is just normal for here. So whatever… anyway…. he is less active now but has a strong testimony. During our lesson with Bilma this last week he bore his testimony for her and I hope we can make this work. There are a few problems though… We would have to get Pedro divorced from his old wife and married to Bilma before baptism so there could be some difficulties. But it would be super cool if we could help them! I will keep you updated.
Anyways… So there are a few of our investigators right now. We have a bunch of others but mostly with them we have only taught one lesson and have our next appointment this upcoming week. When opening an area there is just so much work to even get investigators. We contact like mad men. Trying to get appointments to teach and such. The people here are just so nice that they hardly ever say no… they usually say something like this…” Maybe if you pass by another time and if I am not busy sure”… But really that means no. Or they will schedule an appointment with us but it doesn’t work out because they just don’t answer the door or they totally forget and just aren’t home. Frustrating but it is fine! 
One funny thing about here in Guatemala is the insane old men! We were teaching this one less active man named Nicolas and he randomly started telling us about this dream he had… So he was apparently talking to the devil (in his words a huge ripped white dude) and they decided to fight. So Nicolas tells us all about how he is fighting the devil on this narrow bridge and he ends up throwing him off the bridge and winning the war with the devil. It was crazy. There are millions of crazy old men here. 
Also something kinda funny is dealing with the stalwart Evangelicals. One man named Israel…we taught him the first lesson and asked him to pray about it and such… anyway he ended up telling us how he doesn’t want to change his church ever. Although he told us that he would do anything to follow Christ…. so we asked him IF he gets an answer would he come to church with us just to experience it. He said absolutely not. Elder Solomon then asks him if Jesus himself came down and told him to go to our church would he do it… He said NO! It was crazy! The Evangelicals down here are just ingrained in their brains by their pastors to not leave their church. It is sad really. 
So Elder Solomon and I are getting along great! He is a funny kid and we have fun together working hard. He is a really great teacher. I am learning so much from him every day on how to improve my teaching skills. 
Spanish is coming along day by day. I can pretty much say whatever I want now if I dance around the words I do not know. 
So my area is really cool. It is comprised of three different little towns. Tres Dinero, Vista Hermosa, and the other I can’t remember the name. But anyway the towns are all really poor. So we are dealing with pretty humble people. The actual area is a lot of dirt roads just going down in the middle of the jungle. I will try and send pictures. Oh, and I have no address. Here… they kinda just describe where the house is. It is weird. And Mom thanks for the recipe but I have no oven… just a frying pan. 
This week was really great and I loved every minute of it! I am so grateful to be out here serving the humble people of Guatemala in the name of Jesus Christ. I try my best daily to follow in his footsteps and do as he would have me do. 
I try and look at it this way. I am giving up this two years of my life right? There is no way in heck I would ever come home early or anything stupid like that. But what I am trying to say is that since I am out here doing the Lords work… I might as well do it right. Take the example of Nephi, Laman, and Lemuel. They all went back to Jeruselem to get the brass plates right? They all endured the LABOR of the walking and the travels and the hardships but the only one who actually benefited and grew from the experience was Nephi. It is all in our attitude. The love you show and the willingness to give yourself to the Lord. Every day I am trying harder and harder to give my whole self to the Lord and to serve with all my HEART, MIGHT, MIND, and STRENGTH. That is the key. I still have a long long way to go to be the missionary I want to be but I am trying and the Lord is helping. 
I love the Gospel so much family! Please stay true to the basics. Read the Scriptures, Have family home evening, pray EVERY night, and attend the temple. The Lord will bless. Love you all and have a fabulous week! 

Elder Ty Michael Russell


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