Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

January 21 2013- Email #27


Well family here I am…in a very different place than I previously was. I have been called to serve in Pajapita, Guatemala. Really it is not too far from Las Palmas, where I previously was serving. But still…it is very different. And by different I mean good. Mostly because of the situation…I am now a trainer. Haha yes, you read correctly, I am training my new companion, Elder Suchite. 
I believe I will begin writing to you, my dear family and friends, by telling the story of my exit of Pedregal. It is hard to explain it simply. I really grew a deep love for the people I was serving over there and I am happy for the new opportunity I have, but at the same time it hurt a little to leave! Especially because Elder Rivera and I became such great friends. I went around Tuesday and said goodbye to all my converts and the members of the ward who I had come to know. I will always remember Pedregal and the people that I came to know that really have changed my life. I have grown so much from the experiences I had there. I just hope I never forget the wonderful people and beautiful area. 
Wednesday we had changes and I had known since Tuesday that I would be training. I was just a little bit nervous to say the least. I only have 6 months in the mission (4 in the field) and I was not exactly sure if I was ready to train or not. When we got to change meeting I remember the anticipation of finding out who would be my new companion. I was so happy to find out that I was going to the zone Coatepeque to the area Pajapita. Elder Suchite is a really sweet kid. He is from Guatemala and was a teacher before he came out on his mission. He teaches really well and is a very very very very very very obedient missionary (which is good!). He does have a very strong personality…it is hard to explain. We are two very different people but we are learning how to work well together and we really are great friends. We are just very different! We are two very different people who have the same purpose, which helps us to get along and grow together. Sure, we have had our differences but we communicate well and work things out so that we both are satisfied. In short, I like him! He is a great kid and will make a heck of a missionary. 
I have heard nothing but good things about the area and the members so at change meeting I was happy to know we were going to a good area. We are opening the area so it has been a little difficult. The area Pajapita had 2 Elders in it before but they have split it into area Pajapita and Pajapita 2. I am in Pajapita 2 with Elder Suchite. The other Elders that we live with left us with literally nothing. There were absolutely no investigators in our area when we arrived and I was super nervous we would not be able to have success starting with nothing. We worked very hard these past 4 days and found a ton of new investigators. We had 3 in church on Sunday and some great possibilities that we have found. I am really happy with our situation in that regard. We live with the other two Elders who serve in Pajapita and we have a great time! I love living with 4 Elders. It is much more fun than just 2 I imagine. The other two Elders are Elder Chacon, who is from Guatemala also (he is really cool, him and I are good buddies), and Elder Vizcaino from the Dominican Republic. The house is really cool. I feel like I am in a house in the states. It is a little bit small to have 4 Elders but it is cool. The only thing is that it has no hot water which I still have not quite gotten used to. It is 2 levels and we live downstairs. We live on the Stake Presidents property and he is really cool. He speaks English and loves to speak with me to practice. We get to eat lunch every day for free with the members and really the members are great here! They are all super excited about missionary work and want to help us make this branch into a ward (which is very close to happening). We literally do not have one hour in the upcoming week not scheduled with a member to go out and work with us. We are going to baptize here, that is for sure. 
One experience I would like to share with you all was really special. On Thursday night Elder Suchite and I were walking back to the house when a man on his motorcycle stopped us and said, “Hey, I am a less active and would love it if you two could come by my house to visit one day”. To be honest I was not super interested because we have been focusing really hard on finding new investigators so I was not exactly going to put that as priority #1 right? We did find some time to go visit him on Saturday afternoon and that is when we realized the miracle. His pregnant wife (not really married, but they still call it spouses here) wanted to hear about the church and is not baptized. We taught her and she loved it. She understands everything and especially loves the Book of Mormon. Saturday the other Elders had a baptism so like a half hour before the baptism we went and passed by their house again and invited them so she could see how we baptize and they both went and met the members and saw how we baptize. Sunday she went to church and enjoyed it and I am positive that the Lord has prepared her to meet us and to accept the Gospel. What a miracle that we happened to be walking down the exact street where Celso was riding his motorcycle. Something told him to stop and talk to us so we could help his spouse and I am so grateful for opportunities like this. The lady is named Mariana.
I hope I have satisfied you all and have answered all the questions you had! If not, too bad because I am out of time! I love you all so so much and am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary. I love the Gospel, I know it is true. The church is true. If you each commit to doing the basics I promise and more importantly, the Lord promises blessings. Pray, read your scriptures, go to church, have family home evening. The Gospel changes lives and we as members need to make sure we do all we can to LIVE the Gospel, not just know of it. 
Love you all so much! 
Elder Ty Russell

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