Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

March 4 2013- Email #33

Beloved family and friends,

This week has been full of wonderful events as well as some tragic events. Before I explain the stories and update on the investigators and such I would like to inform you all that I am doing well! I am happy and healthy here in Guatemala and I am growing my testimony stronger and stronger every day of this wonderful work that the Lord directs. I am so happy to hear of the many missionaries that are preparing to serve right now. The army of the Lord is growing stronger and stronger every day as our Father in Heaven prepares the coming of his son once again to the earth. I am so truly blessed to be a part of it.

This week we changed houses. It is just two houses down on the same street but it is much bigger. It is actually the house of the Stake Presidents Dad who is not a member but has always rented out to the missionaries. The reason we did that was because the house was kinda tiny and expensive and also we are going to have sister missionaries put into our Branch within two weeks now. Yes, we will have 6 missionaries working in one BRANCH. How crazy is that! Haha but really cool. President Maravilla told me that he wants this Branch made into a Ward pronto.

The new house is cool. It is much bigger and we have 4 rooms now. It is older but at least we have space to live! I really did not want to move because it was a big advantage living with the Stake President but really nothing has changed. He is still super close and we visit the same amount of time it seems. It is also much less expensive.

This past Saturday night we had an activity in the Branch sponsored by the young women and President Maravilla himself came and spoke to the Branch. It was a great program. After the presentation we had dinner with President and his wife and the Stake President and his wife. It was a really great experience. President is such a great man. After we ate President went and talked to a family I am teaching that came to the activity and told them that Elder Russell was going to book an appointment and he personally was going to come to their home to teach with us. How cool would that be! I have to hold President to his promise eh?

Friday night we were all getting ready for bed when like 7 gunshots were heard right outside our house. I was just crawling into bed when I heard and knew automatically it was gunfire. Us Elders ran to the porch that overlooks the street and saw this guy in a big red pickup truck driving in reverse down the street with like 4 cop cars driving towards him. He was pointing the gun at the police and we were all above because our house is two stories and we were watching the whole thing. A whole bunch of police were following on foot as well with their assault rifles and such. It was crazy! The guy finally got caught but who knows what actually happened to him. Apparently experiences like that are more of less common here!

Also this week we started teaching a polygamist man! He is sooo cool. To start from the beginning…we were hitchhiking back from a part of our area a bit far and this dude and his family stopped to give us a lift. As I was chatting with him he started to speak English and so we chatted a bit more and I got his information. We did not exactly have much to do last Tuesday so I gave him a call and he told me “I have been waiting for you to call!”. At this point I had no idea he has two wives.

We went to his house Tuesday and taught him pretty much lesson one and three all at once. He is one of the smartest men I have met here in Guatemala and understands everything we teach. He told us that instantly as we taught him he knew our church was the true church. That all the other churches are just little pieces of the true church and that the church we represent is the fulness of the Gospel. I was super excited about this guy when he told me in English at the end of the lesson “Do you know the story of King David?”. I responded yes… and I started to realize that he had like 18 little kids running around and 2 women the same age doing the dishes… I then asked him “How many wives do you have?”. He told me 2 and told me that he needs help. We went back Saturday and talked to him. He wants to leave one of his wives and be baptized but has no idea how to get out of the situation. We are trying to think of some way to help him but this is a situation so so delicate. He has kids with both and knows that if he mentions this to his wives they will freak out. So yeah… I am teaching a dude with two wives.

Adolfo did not get baptized sadly. He was progressing wonderfully and was super excited about his baptism until his wife called. She is super catholic and told him that he was not to be baptized in the Mormon church. She said he would change and who knows what. He has not even let us in to talk since Tuesday. I was literally heartbroken. He was progressing so wonderfully. It was hard to see. I pray for him every day and I fasted for him Sunday so we will see what happens. Help me pray for him please. I know the Lord can soften the heart of his wife.

We did have two baptisms of some kids of less active families in the ward. We have been working with two families in the Branch who are less active and they both have reactivated and we baptized their little boys. They were so cute. There is no feeling equal to that of doing the ordinance of Baptism. It was a great experience.

Not too much more to report this week! We are working hard and doing our best to change lives. I know that my number one convert out here is me. I love this Gospel. Know that I am not the perfect missionary but I am trying to be better every day! Thank you for all the prayers and love you show for me. It means the world. As members of the church I hope we can all strive to show an example. Every member a missionary…although some of us have been called to be missionaries by words and deeds, every member can be a missionary just by the example they set for others. Remember that the Savior loves each and every one of you and that his church has been reestablished in the Latter Days for us. We have been saved to build up the Kingdom of God in these days for a reason. Never forget who you are and that you are all children of God.

Have a wonderful week. I love you all.

Love,

Elder Ty Russell

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