Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

March 11 2013- Email #34

Family and Friends,

Eight months? Flew by. Really I am stunned that today I completed eight months in the mission! It is a blessing because I have learned and gained so much from the experience but also a burden because the time is going by way too fast. I hardly recognize the days anymore they go by too fast. There is never enough time in the day for the work missionaries do. President Maravilla says that time is our number one enemy! I agree. 

I am doing really well! I have stopped the practice of hitch-hiking and have decided to be a bit more safe. My hair is still brownish… I do not really like it now. I want my blonde hair back! But I suppose I will have to live with it. The new house has been really nice this week. It is larger and it is on the upper level which means that we have a nice air draft that blows through and helps to keep the heat at bay. It is HOT here. And really only getting hotter. There are times when I feel like I am melting in the perpetual heat but I do prefer the heat to the frigid cold of Utah. 

Elder Suchite and I have really strengthened our relationship this week. I have really tried my hardest to love him, and as the saying goes: fake it till you make it. I think we made it! Haha but I really am grateful for the opportunity we have had to have our differences. I had to learn at some point how to get along with even the most opposite of missionary but I have benefited from it. One thing that I really do appreciate of Elder Suchite is that he really does have a good work ethic. I never have to tell him more than once or twice to get out and work with me and he is always willing. My worst nightmare in the mission is to have a companion that is lazy. More or less each of my comps have been good workers and I have enjoyed not having to battle against that. 

Speaking of old comps I had the pleasure to see Elder Rivera again this past week! Wednesday we had training with President Maravilla in Retalhulea and when I walked in there was all my old buddies from Las Palmas! It was great to see all my old buddies again and especially Elder Rivera. We sat together during the meeting and had a chance to catch up a bit. He is doing well and sends his greeting to you family! Especially Britney;) 

The training with President went really well. He always helps us to be inspired to work harder when we leave. Really he speaks of two or three topics every time we have a training meeting…planning and companion study. Both of those subjects that we missionaries struggle with. And to be honest it is hard to find time to study in companionship at times. Sometimes we have meetings early or we have appointments with investigators that can only meet up in the mornings. But I know there is no excuse and Elder Suchite and I have bettered our studies together. It really does help us have more unity and get along better. 

This past Friday night we had a BBQ with President Garcia. Us four Elders went to their house about 7 and spent the night cooking burgers and chatting about mission stories and pranks we have pulled. It was a lot of fun. The Stake President and his wife both served missions and are such a special family. We love to spend time with them. 

Really cool experience Saturday morning was when we went to visit one of our most promising (and frustrating) investigators, Juan. We always teach him in that college that is in our area because he lives far away but we needed to go to his house to get permission from his Mom to baptize him. We left Saturday morning in a bus, it took 45 minutes to get to the road that leads to his little village. We then spent another 30 minutes hiking into the most beautiful part of Guatemala I have been to. I was so mad I didn’t have my camera. It was a wonderful trip and he literally lives in the middle of the jungle! The middle of NOWHERE! It is so cool. I want to buy a house there and live there when I finish my mission haha. His family was super humble and kind. His Mom gave permission but Juan still is just not quite sure he is ready to be baptized. We are working with him a lot and I am a little frustrated he has not accepted still. I need to have a tad bit of patience I suppose and recognize he will be baptized but in the Lords time, not mine. 

Adolfo… It was pretty sad. We taught him a couple of times this week and he was progressing again until Saturday night he got really sick. We went to his house Sunday after church to give him a blessing and he literally looked dead. His brother took him to the hospital and I have no Idea if he is still alive. Pray for him. He is a really good friend of mine. 

Also… weird story. A lady we visited this week told us that a demon had possessed her on Wednesday and that she felt pure hatred. She told us it seized her and she could not talk or do anything. She told us that when she felt like she was about to be destroyed she prayed and God helped her. She then asked us to give her a blessing of comfort and protection. It was a pretty cool spiritual experience and the lady was super grateful. 

That is about it for this week family! Sorry it is a bit boring but not too much happened this week exciting! Just the same old life of a missionary in Guatemala. 

I always ask that you try and better yourselves in some way this week. Pray often, read daily, and love the Lord. 

Elder Ty Russell

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