Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

June 17 2013- Email #48

Family and Friends,

Wellllllllllll here I am! I suppose I will start off by telling you all that yes, I did have changes. I am now in Mazatenango, Guatemala. My area is called Lincoln and it is one of the best areas of the mission.
Saying goodbye to Elder Lopez was sad…he was an AMAZING companion and I definitely enjoyed the opportunity I had to be with him for 3 months. He taught me a ton even though I was training him… Haha it is kind of funny how that works. It really doesn’t matter who is companion A or B because each missionary is so unique and each has a very speical spirit. Elder Lopez was special and I know he will be a leader very soon in the mission. He is still in Magnolia with another Elder who was called District Leader over there.
My new companion……. ELDER BANEGAS! He is from Honduras and is one of the very best missionaries in the mission. Very motivated and very obedient as well. He has been a member all his life and actually has a twin in Argentina serving a mission as well. It is kind of funny though because he is TINY!! Haha we are a funny companionship. We get along very very well and we are working hard. Oh, and one cool thing is that we have a cell phone! President called me as a Zone Leader so Elder Banegas and I are called to serve the 18 missionaries in our zone. Obviously keeping track of 18 missionaries is not too easy so they give cell phones to the Zone Leaders.
My new ward is…amazing. They have a general attendance of 160! Only 100 more people than Magnolia haha…Oh oh oh and another thing different than Magnolia is that here in my area (Lincoln) we have streets!! Pretty cool eh? The ward members are so nice. They invite us to eat all the time so I may be gaining more weight in my time here. My cook is the best! She is the sweetest lady ever and cooks us breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I never have to worry about cooking here:) It is a super super blessed area.
So Wednesday Elder Banegas and I got together and if you remember we had a baptismal date with Jeidy for Wednesday so I wanted to see if the assistants would give me permission to go back to Magnolia to see the baptism and yes, I got permission! The cool thing is that Elder Banegas was actually in Magnolia right before he got called to Mazatenango so we know like all the same people and it has been really cool. It turns out that Elder Banegas also taught Jeidy so he was super happy as well that we were going back to see her baptism.
So Wednesday when the change meeting finished Elder Banegas and I helped get all the missionaries in our zone to their areas and settled in and such so we could head to Magnolia. We got a hitch hike in an 18 wheeler all the way to Magnolia and went to the baptism! The baptismal service was sooo special. We called Jeidy on the way and she told us she was going to wait for us. We got there a bit late but they started just as we arrived and Jeidy was baptized. What an amazing experience. I loved to be able to be part of her way towards the Lord. She made an amazing decision and it is all due to the Lord. Each baptism is a miracle and this was no exception.
The rest of the week has also been super awesome. We have had many spiritual experiences and we are working well together in our area. On Friday morning we went and put a baptismal date with a young man in our area. His name is Mark Antonio and the date for his baptism is this Saturday. He is super excited for his baptism and has a bunch of friends in the church already.
We had kind of a sad experience yesterday…we went with the President of the Relief Society to visit yesterday and she showed us a family of less-actives who have completely stopped going to church and are actually attending another church. The sad part is that they are recently sealed in the temple…she still wears garments and everything…she started bawling yesterday and told us that she just wants to find the path God has for her. We talked to her about her doubts and of course everything always leads back to the Book of Mormon. We left her and her husband assignments and we hope she reads and prays. Literally her salvation depends on it… Sad.
Well I think that about wraps it up! Great great week and I am happy and healthy:) Love you all very much. I wanted to finish with my testimony of the church in which I represent. I know it is true. The Church of Jesus Christ is exactly that, His church. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that we have a living prophet today. I know the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion and with it we can grow our testimony daily. Missionary work is ordained of God and I am so grateful to be part of this great work.
Elder Ty Russell

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