Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

December 24 2012- Email #23

Family and friends,

How are you all doing? It sounds like you are all doing well from the emails I have received. It is Christmas Eve but it sure does not feel like it for me! But it is pretty cool, later today we get to watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas! I am super excited for that; that is one of my favorite movies. I want you all to know that I am doing well! This week flew by SO fast I can hardly believe it. There was a million things we had to do to get ready for Christmas and such. 

Speaking of Christmas… we had this huge activity last night that went super well. We, as the missionaries here is Reu, put on this Christmas choir for all of Retalhuleu for free and it was sooo great! There is this big choir in Coatepeque of more than 180 people and an orchestra and everything. Really good choir and they put on a great show. We spent much time passing out invitations and inviting every living person we saw. There is this huge gym here in Retalhuleu that we rented out and decorated all Christmas like and we filled up the gym with people! It was fun and we got some good references out of it. President Maravilla even came and he was chatting with Elder Rivera and I after the show and invited us to his house to eat dinner with him tonight! Haha I am super nervous but excited too. Him and Elder Rivera knew each other before his mission so they are really close. 

Something kinda different about this week for me was divisions… I went with this new Elder who has only been here for a couple weeks (he knows NO Spanish) up to his area to work with him for the day on Thursday. His area is the furthest away from Reu in the zone so it was really cool to see some new scenery. This area is kind of dead right now so I was trying to help this new guy (Elder Cory) find some new investigators and such. We had a great day and found 7 new investigators for them. It was a fun experience to work in someone elses area… kinda weird though. The main reason I tell you this story is because something kinda weird happened while I was there…this family we met is from Utah! Clearfield to be exact. They just started talking English to me randomly in the street and it turns out they are members of the church visiting family here. They were sooo nice and even offered to take a package home for me! So guess what? I am sending home a package with them today and you can go pick up your Christmas package on Friday! I have all her information and I will send it all to you in another email. But yeah, I had actually been compiling a few things to send home for Christmas for the family anyway and now I get to send it home for free! By the way… this package also contains Dads Birthday present because it isn’t every day I get to send a package home free right? :) So be excited for that! 

Also I guess you all heard about the missionaries here in Guatemala that got kidnapped right? We now, as missionaries here in Guatemala, have to be indoors at 8:30 instead of 9:30. The sisters have to be indoors at 8! Kinda stinks but I know if President Maravilla says it, it must be revelation and for our safety. But don’t worry I am in an area that is.. more or less safe! Not very many people get killed here every week:)

So to update you on a few investigators…first of all my golden family Isau and Marta. They are soooo amazingly prepared. They are getting baptized this Saturday and are both so excited. I just have to pray there is no problem with their papers to get them married. This family.. Ah I cant say enough good things about them. This is the first time I have seen people truly truly prepared and ready to accept the Gospel. For example this past Wednesday we show up to their house to teach them and we see them both outside together reading the Book of Mormon. Wow. So so cool and they are progressing perfectly. I love them both so so much. They feed us dinner every night when we come to teach haha. Isau is now close to a month without drinking and even said this week that he has NO desire to drink at all. The Lord is helping this family make huge changes in their lives and they have so much more happiness. I am privileged to be part of it. 

Plassido also has given up drinking and is going to get baptized this week that is coming! It is super exciting and we have to visit him every day to make sure he is still sober. But it has been more than a month now too! 

Kelly has decided to get baptized but she has to wait until the first weekend in January because her Mom is in the Capital. She is super cool too and wants to get married to Douglas now. 

But really that is about it. We are still finding new investigators every day but if they don’t go to church they aren’t progressing so we will see what happens next Sunday. I feel like all week we work super hard and then Sunday the people (minus the people mentioned above) don’t come through with their commitments. It is super frustrating but I suppose we can’t exactly obligate them right? The Lord has to touch their hearts for them to really make the decision to change. We do all we can but sometimes they don’t accept it… it is tough when that happens but I feel good about the work I am doing. 

Love you all so so much and I hope you are all doing well! MERRY CHRISTMAS:) Talk to you all tomorrow!! 

Love,

Elder Russell

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