Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

July 16 2013- Email #52

Family and Friends,

Like the title states…I have now completed one of my two years in full time service to the Lord. It feels SUPER weird to be honest. I can hardly believe that now instead of counting up to a year I will be counting down the months!! It makes me sad to be honest…. I have NO idea how I can go back to the United States after my time here… I am used to eating with my fingers, sweating ALL day, having everyone stare at me because I am huge and blonde. There are many many things I will miss about Guatemala one day. The happy thing is that I still have a year to be out here working hard right?? I am just hitting my stride… I feel like I understand how to be a good misisonary these days. I am going to work even harder this year than my first, I promise.
This past week was really great! We found some really great new investigators and it looks like we are going to keep baptizing every week or two for the next little bit. I love the humble people here:) This week made Elder Banegas and I really happy because we broke the record of families in the zone! No one has baptized more than 3 families in one month and we already have 4 with more on the way. We are super excited about the work of the zone. We have great missionaries.
We baptized Christofer this week! It was a really great service. This little man LOVES us! Haha he tells me that when he is a missionary he will write me in Utah to tell me how he is. All the young men we have baptized in this ward have committed to going on missions already. The Bishop is already working with them to get them prepared and integrated within the Preisthood. It is cool to be there Sundays in sacrament meeting because one of the young men who we have baptized, Freddy, passes the Sacrament. One of the others prepares it in the morning. It is super fulfilling to see these young men progress in the Preisthood.
The baptismal service was funny because afterwards we had a small cake and some soda… I was passing out the cake and drink when I asked Christofers Grandma if she wanted some. She says, “Well, I do, but I will take it home to eat it with some coffee.” Elder Banegas and I start dying of laughter and tell her “No! Dont you remember the Word of Wisdom??”. Haha she is super super catholic and just won’t commit to being baptized. She is the cutest little Guatemalan lady. We love the little old lady.
Marcelino… He is a stubborn little man! He told us Wednesday that he still isn’t prepared for this Saturday but for the next he will be ready. We commited him to this Saturday and we are looking forward to his baptismal service. Marcelino is a good kid but he has fear that after he gets baptized he will fall into the same sins he has done in the past…For example he has lots of friends that drink… he used to drink as well but since we first started teaching him he has left it behind.
Ohh… And more good news! Remember Guadelupe?? She is one of my favorite converts!! She is the Young Womens President in Magnolia!! Elder Lopez called me Sunday night to tell me. I am super proud of her. It is good to hear about converts who are strong in the church:)
Remember how we broke the record of families baptized? We called the assistants Sunday night and asked permission to go to the beach and guess what?? We got permission! That is the reason I didn’t write you guys yesterday…we left at like 6:30 in the morning as a zone and we didn’t get back until like 5:00 pm. We had a full day…we played soccer on the beach and took a bunch of photos. It was a great day. I am just a tad bit burned though! I never thought that for my P-Day in Guatemala I would be going to the beach but I suppose I accept it.
Tuesday we got to go to the temple in Quetzaltenango! I think I told you all last week that we got permission from President Ruiz for the zone. It was an amazing experience as always. Every time I go to the temple I love it more and more. If someone reading this doesn’t have a temple recommend I encourage you to change whatever it is in your life that impedes you and I encourage you to get it. The temple is literally the Lords home and to be in his house is the most amazing feeling that one can have.
Here comes the bad news…I got super sick this past Thursday. I went to the doctor and found out that I dad parasites, a stomach infection, and fungus in my stomach…who knows how I survived!! Haha just kidding.. I am alright:) I took 8 huge horse pills that killed every living thing in my stomach and I am already back to normal!
Well that about wraps up my week. That, and the normal crazy stories that I encounter weekly. This week we found some less actives who are now living together…he weird thing is that they are first cousins… Yeah, I was just a bit freaked out. Also more crazy old men telling me their dreams about Jesus and Mary and aliens coming to Guatemala. The people here are so funny.
Have a good week family! I love you all and I am so glad to hear that everything is going well for you all as well! I keep you all in my prayers and I hope you are all keeping me in yours! I love this Gospel and I love being a missionary preaching it. This church is the only true church. Build your testimonies daily and learn to love the Lord. He loves you.
Love,
Elder Ty Russell
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