April 15 2013- Email #39
Family and Friends,
Salutations to all. I am once again in a tiny Guatemalan internet cafe writing all my glorious friends and family! It sure has been a great week. Time sure flys when your having fun serving the Lord. Nine months have now been completed and I feel like they went by way way too fast.
Elder Russell is doing well. I am really happy to be where I am at and working hard in the relentless Guatemalan sun. For the first time while writing you for the week I am at a loss for words! I try to make my emails interesting for you but this past week was just like any other week!
I do have a story or two to tell I suppose. Starting with our baptism. We baptized the brother in law of the second counselor in the Branch Presidency. His name is Enrique and he is about 40 years old. He is a really special person and accepted the Gospel and the necessary changes that he has to make with a large amount of humility. We did the baptism on Sunday morning and it was a really great service. There is no feeling in the world like when you see your investigators enter into the waters of baptism to make a sacred covenant with God. It makes all of the difficult hours of rejection worth it to see someone decide to come to Christ. The experience of being a missionary is one that I will never forget nor want to forget. Every day I wish I could video record to be able to relive after the mission.
We actually had another baptism also scheduled for this past Sunday but we saw some difficulties…his name is Melecio and is an investgator we found two weeks ago. We taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ the first time we met him and he gladly accepted the invitation to be baptized. We filled out the baptismal forms right then and there and were really excited about him. He went to general conference and really enjoyed it. He told us he felt something really special there. The zone leaders came and interviewed him and he accepted everything. We thought he was one of those investigators truly prepared of the Lord…we were slightly wrong. We went to visit him Saturday night to make sure everything was okay and he was pure out drunk. That means he can definitely not get baptized the next day…when we went on Sunday morning to bring him to church he told us he has to work now on Sunday mornings and that he will not be attending church anymore…
It really truly saddens me to see the work of Satan succeed. I know that God truly prepares his children to accept this Gospel but at the same time Satan truly works as hard as possible to deceive and destroy children on God. Apparently the cousins of Melecio came to him Saturday night and offered him beer and he fell into temptation. He also received an offer to work Sunday mornings out of the blue…I know that Satan prevented that baptism for a reason. It was a trial for sure but I know God has his plan and that it just was not time for this man to be baptized.
One really cool experience that happened to us started two weeks ago when Elder Lopez and I went to help the Sisters from Coatepeque teach some of their investigators. We had finished teaching the family and were all walking back to drop off the Sisters at their house when Sister Prince wanted to talk to me a bit…she is having some problems that I am trying to help her work through. As I was talking to her and helping her Elder Lopez started talking to this man sitting on the curb and started teaching him about the restoration. I finished helping Sister Prince and joined in with Elder Lopez. This man told us that he had always wanted to go to the church but no one had ever invited him. He lives like a block from the church and there are members who live above his apartment! How horrible is that? Haha anyway, this man was baptized with his whole family on Saturday and it was super special. He told Elder Lopez and I that he had been waiting for the Gospel in his life and how very grateful he was for us and what we did. It was a very validating experience.
The other family that we went and taught with the sisters also got baptized. They are super special and I had the honor of baptizing them. I like being district leader to have to opportunity to go and teach investigators from other areas as well. Also to do the baptisimal interviews is always interesting! Haha but I am super happy with the district and the work they do. We had a wonderful week this week and we baptized as a total 6 people and 2 familys. Right now my district is doing the best in the zone.
In my branch we had the really wonderful opportunity to hear from the Temple President of Quetzaltenango this past Sunday. He and his wife gave wondrous talks on eternal families and the importance of the temple. I loved it and was definitely spiritually fed. I encourage each and every one of you to attend the temple and enjoy the blessings that follow.
Also we had a conference with President Maravilla on Wednesday and it was super super awesome. President was called as a member of the Quorum of the 70 this past conference and got to go to Utah for the conference. He told us all about his experiences there and it made me a bit home sick!! Haha but it was really cool because he told us the whole process of him being set apart as a 70 and his responsibilities. It was truly an honor to listen to him tell the process and ask him questions directly about it. I admire President Maravilla with all my heart. He is a very special witness of Jesus Christ.
Well, that is about it folks! I hope you enjoyed my brief Guatemalan adventures this week. Have a wonderful week and remember my invitation to go to the temple. It is one of the most choice blessings that the Lord has given us and we definitely do not take advantage enough. I feel ashamed that I had two temples within 5 minutes of my house and I did not visit as frequently as I should have. Serve the Lord with love.
Elder Ty Russell