Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

June 10 2013- Email #47

Family and Friends,

This week consisted of a lot of joy. Haha I am definitely happy… just so you all know! The stress of the mission is ever-present but I am super grateful for the stress. It has made me into a better missionary and continues to do so. That is one aspect that many do not understand about the mission…many believe it is all cupcakes and smiles but it is a bit tougher sometimes. The pressure to baptize is very large sometimes and I have had to learn to give pressure to the missonaries to get them working how they should.
This week was seriously nuts!! Soooo much happened. I wanted to start off telling a very happy story. Guadelupe?? Do you remember her? She got baptized like 2 weeks ago and is one of my best converts! She is super super smart and loves loves loves the church! Since the very beginning she has loved the temple and that aspect of the church. This week she had the chance to go and visit the temple! She got organized with the Relief Society and they all went to the temple on Thursday. Guadelupe got to do baptisms for the dead with a few other sisters from the ward. She absolutely LOVED it. She told us the feelings she felt in the temple are indescribable. She said since the moment she entered she has felt such a strong feeling of love and joy that she just can’t shake. It is super sweet:) I was super proud to be part of her process and really proud that she is taking these steps in her life. She has bettered her life in so many ways and she is so grateful to have found the truth.
Another good story… Henry!! On Tuesday we saw his Father-in-Law on his motorcycle and he told us that Henry was home! I was sooo happy! We went straight to his house to visit him and boy was he sad. He had a rough 20 days in prison and was feeling pretty down. We talked to him and lightened him up a bit. We set up an appointment with the Branch President for that same night to do the interview and confirm him a member of the church. We got to the Branch Presidents house and got to hear the full story of Henrys experience. It was super super rough… Henry has been having tough times lately but he passed his interview and was confirmed! Finally! We were just happy that he got out and that we got to be here for his confirmation. He came to church yesterday and really enjoyed it. He even said he felt better when he was at church. Another really gratifying experience.
ANOTHER good story… Haha we baptized a little girl this week. She is 9 and her name is Renata. She tried to get baptized when she turned 8 but she had to do it three times and she is so scared of the water that she never went completely under. Every missionary that has passed through here for the past year and a half has tried to baptize her but she has never agreed to do it again. We went this past Monday with her family to visit and I said in my mind “Dang it, this little girl needs to be baptized.”. We had a family night and Renata asked me who had more experience baptizing. I told her that I had a ton of experience and that I was pretty much professional!! Haha it was super funny. She goes “Seriously?” Haha I did a few practices with her in her house and we commited her to get baptized Saturday. The funny thing is… I had to try another 3 times to get her to go fully under the water too!! Haha I felt bad but it was super cute, after she was baptized she ran up to me and said, “Thank you Elder Russell, I am soo happy that I am finally baptized!”. It was a sweet experience.
ANOTHER awesome experience this week! The best best best part. It was a miracle. We were cleaning the house this morning when we heard a voice from outside calling us. We went outside and there was Jaity.. (You may all remember that this is the investigator who has her boyfriend in the states and is not married to him. She has never wanted to get baptized even though she has been to church for more than a year.) At this moment we asked her how she was and everything and finally she told us, “Elders, I have something to tell you.”. She then proceeded to say, “I want to be baptized” with the biggest smile ever on her face! We were ecstatic! So happy…literally a miracle from God. With more than a year of hearing the missionaries she has finally made the decision to be baptized. I was so happy to see her face so happy after having made the best decision in her life.
The thing that really changed her mind was the temple. We sent her to the temple with Guadelupe to be around the grounds enjoying the view and feeling the Spirit. I asked her when she told us she wanted to be baptized what had changed her mind and she instantly said, “The temple”.  She said she felt something so powerful on the temple grounds and that she knew she had to be baptized. It was so amazing. I felt the spirit so strong as she said to us these things this morning. Definitely a gift from God. She decided on Wednesday afternoon:)
I am so content! I am definitely the most happy I have been in my whole life. The mission is the best experience someone could ever have. I love each and every one of you. I am keeping you all in my prayers and know that I feel your love. Have a wonderful week!
Elder Ty Russell

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