Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

July 8 2013- Email #51

Family and Friends…

Well here I am after almost a year of being seperated from you all! It has gone by waaaay too fast. I can hardly believe that a year ago I was packing up my bags and heading to the MTC with you guys…I am a very different person since then. The mission definitely changes the person who you were into the person the Lord wants you to become. I hope I am doing my best and I hope I am becoming who the Lord needs me to be in these latter days. I am definitely trying to give my will to the Lord and I know he sees my effort and is blessing me. The mission is amazing.

This week went very well. We didn’t baptize this week…I hate staying dry! Haha but I suppose you can’t baptize every week! We have been working very hard and we found some new very positive investigators this week. The thing that worries me is that we are baptizing a lot of young men…we have the focus right now to baptize a family! To baptize a family is the #1 goal in our mission and Elder Banegas and I are a bit worried about this month if we are going to be able to baptize a family. This week we are going to spend a lot of time trying to find positive FAMILIES. We will see where it takes us!

I now have my new President! President Ruiz is an excellent President. We had a meeting with him as zone leaders on Tuesday and gave him a report on our zones and let him know our needs and challenges and I could tell right from the start how dang intelligent he is! We reported to him about June and he was so happy he announced in front of all the other zone leaders, “Mazate Lincoln is going to the temple next Tuesday for their work the month of June!”. It was so cool! President Ruiz is strict…but when someone has success he is happy to give a little reward! The zone is super happy right now and everyone is working really well.

Also, this past Wednesday we had a meeting with President Ruiz. Just Elder Banegas, President, and the Stake President of Mazatenango. We had a great meeting with them and we decided on a few new strategies to get this Stake working better with the missionaries. We got some great ideas out there and we are already seeing results from this past Sunday. It is interesting to have to train the leaders around here about how missionary work really is and how they can help. Sometimes I feel inadequate to be able to counsel Bishops and other authorities in the Stake! Haha awkward…but it is my calling so it must be done!

Next, on Thursday we had a training session with 3 zones with President Ruiz. He is getting to know all the zones and we had a great training session with the missionaries. President Maravilla is awesome and I will never forget him but I appreciate the view points of President Ruiz as well. He came ready to work and is already starting to get out and work with the missionaries! He is a wonderful speaker and knows how to inspire the missionaries. There is definitely a great spirit about him.

Sooo…the bad news…the Socop family…we are crapped out. Like I told you, Elder Banegas and I are worried we are not going to baptize a family this month because this family told us they don’t want to continue investigating the church.

Wednesday we arrived at the house and Marco Tulio (the dad) and he was raging drunk…he is an alcoholic. We have been at their house each day this week helping him and the problem is that he is super embarrassed about his problem. He hates that he has this problem and wants to change but it is so hard. His wife doesn’t want to marry him because he hits her sometimes…we had been having really great lessons with them and we saw them progressing. By Friday we had a family night in the house of the Stake President and the spirit was SO strong. The Stake President and I were challenging them to be married and baptized when we saw their hearts harden…it was very apparent that something had changed. We dropped them off at their house and went back to the apartment feeling pretty drained.

They had still commited to going to church Sunday and think about baptism and matrimony but when we arrived Sunday morning was when they told us they were not going to continue listening…I was really affected. I had already gotten super attached to the 4 kids and I was really sad about their decision to not want a change for happiness…the children will continue suffering. We are going to leave them for a few weeks to let them see the difference when the spirit is in their house with us and when we do not go and visit. We hope they receive us within a few weeks.

I will end with a good note! We have 2 baptismal dates with 2 of our investigators. One is named Marcelino. He is 17 and is a stud! He has come to church with us twice now and really likes it. He was a reference from a member which is always very helpful. Marcelino has been super open to all of our teachings and accepted Saturday for his baptism. So we are looking foward to that!

The other baptism is a cute little guy named Christoffer. He is 11 and his Mom is a member but lives in the United States. He lives with his Grandma, a cute old little catholic lady. They are a few of my very first investigators found here in Mazate. Christoffer is super excited about his baptism and we are still working a bit with his Grandma…she is very… simple. It is hard for her to understand the need to change churches after more than 60 years in the catholic church. She is super sweet though. She loves us! Haha

Well, all in all I am happy! I am healthy and being fed VERY well here! I believe that I am getting fatter and fatter by the week. I am super ready to work hard this week and baptize! I came on the mission to baptize and I love doing it! Baptize baptize baptize!

Have a great week everyone! Know that this church is true and that we receive blessings every day by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to understand as children of God that if we are disobedient how can we expect to receive blessings? I have a firm testimony of the words I declare daily. I love you all and I want you all to be happy eternally.

Love,

Elder Ty Russell

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