March 25 2013- Email #36
Yes…I am no longer in Pajapita! And I am no longer companions with Elder Suchite. Life is very different for me now! Haha but life is still very very good. Even better than before I will venture to say. I am now in Magnolia, Guatemala as one of the 3 District Leaders in the zone Coatepeque. I am training again… and that is not all. The best part is I am opening ANOTHER area! I have now opened 3 areas in my mission. It is not the easiest assignment in the world either, believe me! Haha but I am happy and enjoying the experience.
I left Pajapita sadly! I loved loved loved it there! The members were so cool and I felt like I had family over there. I found out on Monday that I was going to leave because the Assistant to President Maravilla, Elder Flores, called me to tell me I would be training again and be District Leader. President Maravilla has changed how he announced changes and now advises the missionaries Tuesday night instead on Monday night so we do not have time to say goodbye to the people we know and waste a day but I was lucky to have Elder Flores call and tell me so I had time to say goodbye. It was super sad. Some of the things said as I left really touched my heart. Some of the members started crying and I really knew that I had developed a special bond with the people in Pajapita. It was a very special place and I know I will come back one day with you when I finish my mission to visit these wonderful people.
I was also super sad to leave because Elder Suchite and his new companion baptized Juan Saturday and I could not go! But I am just glad that Juan finally got baptized. We had a lesson with him on Tuesday and it was super special. He told us how very grateful he was for us. Before we started teaching him he had been addicted to smoking, drinking, and had participated in drugs at times with friends. He expressed to us that we had changed his life and it made me almost cry. He is a very special person and a real convert to the church. I am so grateful to be a part of his experience.
We also, speaking of Elder Lopez and I, baptized a family this Saturday. The family Barrioz. We got to the area Wednesday and went to visit this family and they accepted to be baptized Saturday! It was a bit of a challenge Saturday…the husband, Florencio, decided maybe he better wait another week, but we talked to him and helped resolve his doubts and the family was baptized together on Saturday afternoon! It was a really beautiful experience. They have a goal to go to the temple to seal their matrimony in a year:) The Elder who first taught them came back and got to baptize the family with us as well. It was magnificent.
My area, Magnolia, is really awesome. It is super dangerous (but the Spirit always protects missionaries MOM so do not worry), it has no roads (only rocks placed in dirt), and has an evangelical church every 35 yards. Haha but the people are humble and I enjoy being here. There is A LOT of work to do. The leadership is not very supportive and the Branch only has attendance of just over 60 members. Elder Lopez and I definitely have our work cut out for us. But we are definitely ready and have already put the miles beneath our feet to get this Branch breathing.
Elder Lopez is my new companion. He is a STUD. Literally a stud. He is 24 and is from Guatemala City. He is a recent convert of 1 year and 7 months but teaches the Gospel beautifully and is learning very very fast. He is a worker…Haha definitely the hardest worker I have worked with so far. It has been wonderful to be with him. We get along very very well and we both like a clean house! How blessed I feel to be training him. We are going to do great things together… I know!
Being District Leader is a lot of stress. I have enjoyed it so far but I have 4 sisters in my district and that means there are always problems to resolve. There are 10 missionaries in total in my district and they are all really great. They work well and get results so I am happy with my district. I gave my first baptismal interview this past Thursday…that was quite the experience! Haha the guy did not even know who Joseph Smith was…I was a bit upset with the Sisters but I ended up teaching him in the interview and I put a baptisimal date for Saturday and he was baptized! So happy story eh?
That is about it! I am happy and stressed and definitely in new surroundings! Have a wonderful week each and every one of you! I love you all and pray for you all every day. Make sure that every day you live, you remember that we are here to prepare to meet God one day and to tell him that we did our best. Do your best every day.
Elder Ty Russell