Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

April 1 2013- Email #37

Dear Family,

Well I was surprised that from all the emails I got not one of them had an April Fools joke in them… I was sad! I expect better from you people!! 
Me and Elder Lopez are already really great friends! We both like to work hard and be obedient so really we are a great match. He is a great missionary and I appreciate that he is not afraid to open his mouth in every situation. We have been doing our best out here, that is for sure! 
Haha but anyways… I am doing well! Elder Lopez and I are working super hard and are slowly finding the people to teach that the Lord has prepared. It is definitely quite the process. I have learned that about every 100 people we teach we only find about 10 who are more or less positive! But I suppose many are called but few chosen right? I have the job to find those who have been truly chosen of the Lord and those who are humble enough to accept the message we bring. 
My area is good! I have a lot of desire to work hard here because really the little branch is dying…only 60 peole were in church on Sunday…that is practically no one! The Branch President is not exactly the most motivated person I have ever met but I suppose that is where we come in right? We are trying to motivate the members to leave and teach with us but still we have not had a ton of success getting them to leave and support us 100%. But really this week we have been running all around Magnolia getting to know the area and getting to know all the members. Opening an area is a difficult job but I know that the challenge is helping me grow a lot. 
One cool(ish) story this week happened this past Tuesday. We were teaching this guy who owns a pharmacy close to where we live and he was pretty receptive. He was super super smart and knew a lot about the Bible. He was especially interested in the Book of Mormon. After we had finished the lesson he asked if he could have a Book of Mormon and we gladly gave him a copy and showed him where he should read and such. At the end he told us “Wow, thanks, this book will really help me preach to my congregation!”…. Haha he was a pastor of an evangelical church. But he loves the Book of Mormon and says he knows it is true and that it will help his church understand things better. The annoying thing is that he won’t accept that it is the only true church… he says that it is new knowledge that God has given to ALL his children… Haha even though our church is the ONLY church that uses the Book of Mormon! Haha it was frustrating but also funny to know that now a whole congregation of evangelicals are learning from the Book of Mormon! 
This week was a little interesting…in Central America there is no such thing as Easter…it is called Semana Santa (Holy Week). And by Holy Week it really means Not so Holy week haha. Everyone gets drunk and goes to the beach and parties. In other words it is a bit dangerous for the missionaries. President Maravilla decided to send us all to the Stake Center (All 30 missionaries in the zone) to read the whole New Testament in two days. So for Thursday and Friday we were in the Stake Center for 48 hours straight reading and reading and reading! It was a bit rough but really fun as well! We learned a lot and I appreciated the opportunity to relax for a few days and study like I was in the MTC again! We had some great adventures and some good times. 
I went with the Zone Leaders to buy lunch on Friday and as we went to buy the food a HUGE parade of Catholics were partying down the street with HUGE idols of Mary and Jesus. It was CRAZY! The people were all screaming and wearing masks and going nuts. It was definitely an interesting experience to see that. 
Not really a whole lot more to report for the week! Just a lot of hard work as usual. We found over 32 new investigators this week and right now we are just trying to water them down to the most positive. I am happy and excited to start helping this branch grow and become stronger. 
I hope you are all doing well! I miss you all and think about you often. This past week has strengthened my testimony even more of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I challenge you all to study his life. Study him. And do what you can to develop a character similar to that of his. He was and is our perfect example. Through him we can better ourselves every day until one day, through his grace, we can become exalted. Keep your minds and hearts focused on the goal. I love you all and pray for you every day. I love the mission. I love the Savior. I know he is the Christ and that he died to save us all. 
Love always,
Elder Ty Russell

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