Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

November 12 2012- Email #17

Family/People Who Still Care About Me Now That I Have Been Gone For 4 Months,

Well as it says in the subject line… I am still alive! The earthquake was so freaking cool! I will talk about that in a bit. But first to answer a few of your questions… No I do not have air conditioning… What is air conditioning? ;) Also just so you know I was sending Katie a letter last week and I had already backed up my photos onto the flash drive so I just decided to stick it in her letter. So she will be receiving my SD card and she can just give it to you all k? 
To comment on a few of your letters… Dad, that duck boat that Jon bought looks so sick! And I got all homesick seeing those pictures of the marsh dang it! I want to shoot some ducks so bad right now. In Guatemala every single house here has like 5 to 10 ducks living in the house with the people and I always get all homesick thinking about the good old days hunting ducks with you! And to all who are telling me about the snow and how jealous they are about the weather here… lies! It is death here. Death. I want the rain back! It is summer here so it is nothing but deathly cruel sun all day! Imagine walking about in Guatemala in the deathly heat all day! I want SNOW!!!! haha I am super jealous of your weather. But hey the grass is always greener right? One of my wishes was to serve somewhere warm. 
So since everyone is freaking out about the earthquake here I suppose I will let you know how that all went down… So here I am studying the gospel right? It was about 10:30 or 11:00 in the morning and all of a sudden the house starts to shake right? It took me a few seconds to register that THE HOUSE WAS SHAKING and my first thought was wow… I am in an earthquake, AWESOME!!! All 3 of the other Elders had, by this time, vacated the house and I, stupidly, was still in the house standing up just mesmerized by the movement and such. All the other Elders started yelling at me SALGA SALGA (Leave, leave)! I then realized my danger… so I ran outside with them for the rest of the earthquake. But do not worry nothing in my house even fell over or anything. It was really bad in San Marcos. Here in Retalhuleu it was pretty bad and strong but not dangerous. It was really just a really cool experience in my view… So yeah. That is my earthquake experience! I hope you enjoyed it. 
Another cool experience this week that is all tropicalish is about coconuts! We went one night to the first counselor to the Bishop to ask for references (which we did not get…) and what we ended up with were these massive coconuts. We were just chatting about all the trees in his yard (Guatemalans are obsessed with their fruit trees and such) and he was like “Hey, I just cut down a bunch of my coconuts, want to try one?”. How could I refuse?? He pulls out his machete and slices off the top and puts a straw in it and gives one to me and the other to Elder Solomon and we drank the water out of it (really interesting taste) and after the water was gone we ate the meat inside. It was super super good. I felt like a true Guatemalan! 
Another story from this week actually turned out to be really really good! So remember Jose Alvarez? After he got his bike stolen and such we were super worried that he would totally never come back to the church and such right? False. He accepted to be baptized next week! So we are totally hoping that we can make this happen. One problem is that he is not married to the woman he lives with so we have to arrange ANOTHER wedding! Dang it! How hard is it to just get married! But anyways that was actually a really cool lesson when he accepted to be baptized. We took a member with us (a former bishop) and he really hardly let us (the Elders) talk. He pretty much chastised Jose about being unsure about being baptized and here we are with a date for him to be baptized! Working with the members is always a good experience. The members here are so cool. 
Oh crap! I almost forgot to tell you the coolest part of this week! Today we went to these freaking ancient mayan ruins!!! Best P Day ever! We went to Tak Alik Ab Aj in Asintal. It was so so cool! I have like over a hundred pictures! I will try and send you a few. It was the coolest experience ever. When Dad and Mom come to Guatemala with me we will have to visit these ruins. It is amazing. Our whole zone went and we were there with this guide just for us for like 4 hours this morning! It was so cool. 
Other than that not really a whole ton went on this week! Just a ton ton ton of work! There were a few times I was a bit discouraged. We have been doing a ton of contacting because we are pretty much starting over the process again after baptizing a few weeks back ya know… But hey hard work builds character right? 
Well I love you all so very much and thank you for your support! 
Elder Ty Russell

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