Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

July 22 2013- Email #53

Family and Friends,

Well another week has passed and I am shocked to see that I already have been through one change here in Mazatenango. These six weeks have passed by in the blink of an eye and it definitely isn’t slowing down anytime soon! Elder Banegas and I will be spending at least one change more together so I am very happy to hear that. It has been a wonderful change and I am grateful to God for the time he is allowing me to be here in beautiful Guatemala serving the humble people of Mazatenango. 

This week we had interviews with President Ruiz. It literally took all day. President Ruiz has a different style or doing interviews than President Maravilla. My longest interview with President Maravilla was about 15 minutes. My interview with President Ruiz was 45 minutes! Haha it was cool because I felt like he really got to know me. He asked me about my family, my interests, the zone, and my plans and goals in the mission. I felt really great to be able to talk to him one on one and get to know each other better. 

After my interview President called in Elder Banegas and the Assistants. Us five chatted about the zone and the changes that Elder Banegas and I want in the zone. It was so cool to be able to participate in the decisions and to make the decisions that will help improve the zone. There are various Elders who cause problems and we have made the plans to correct the problems in the zone. We already know who is staying and who is leaving. The Elders and Sisters find out tomorrow night. 

Marcelino…did not get baptized. Elder Banegas and I went to his house on Wednesday to chat with him and he told us that he was not exactly prepared. We were so confused because he seemed to be progressing so well. We chatted with him a bit and he finally told us exactly why he wants to wait a bit longer. The guy likes to smoke a bit…he has been able to leave it for about 2 weeks now but he is scared that when he gets baptized he will fall into the same problem and not be able to leave it behind. We are going to go with him this week to help him out with his addiction and let him repent of what he has done before we just baptize him. He is a good guy. I have a lot of respect for his honesty and desire to do things right. 

I don’t know if you all remember the Socop family? We went back to visit Thursday and the guy is still drinking a ton. He was drunk when we got there and he was also drunk Saturday…he is not exactly giving his best effort to change. The cool thing though is that their little girl, Lesbia, has not talked to her parents in 2 weeks because she was so mad they stopped going to church! We talked to the parents and we got permission to take her to church with us. She is a great possibility to baptize this Saturday. We just need the parents permission and we will start preparing her for Saturday. She is a really sweet 14 year old girl and the young women in the ward really love her. 

We also found a guy this week named Pedro…he is a strange cookie but he is a good guy. He came to church yesterday and really liked it. He is more or less evangelical because he always goes to an evangelical church but has never been baptized. He works for a pastor and the guy even got invited to live with the pastor if he wanted to…he offered him a motorcycle and everything! Haha we taught him the restoration yesterday and he understood but after we taught he said, “I will pray, but I also need to ask my Pastor”. Haha so we will see what kind of crazy things his pastor tells him about the Mormons when we go back to visit Wednesday. 

Kind of a funny story this week. Thursday afternoon we went to a part of our area called “San Lorenzo”. We were tracting and contacting when we happened upon a guy chopping wood in the street. The guy is 79 years old but still looks strong as an ox! Haha we decided to contact him but he told us he has no time because he needs to work. We told him, “Take a little break to listen to a lesson about Jesus!”, he promptly replied “I will take a break in hell!”. Haha we told him so be it and continued on our way. The people of this world can be so very pleasant at times! 

It has been very interesting in this change trying to teach the people. In my last area EVERYONE was evangelical but in this area EVERYONE is catholic. It is sort of a question between tradition and reason. We teach with truth and reason but sometimes these people just refuse to accept the Gospel because of family roots. We have had difficulties trying to reach the hearts of some of the people we teach but I know that the Lord is just trying to test my companion and I to see how hard we really want to work. 

Compassion is a word I have been studying lately. Compassion literally means “to suffer with”. It also means to show sympathy, pity, and mercy for another. I really have been trying to develop a good sense of compassion on my mission. It is not always the easiest thing being rejected and still loving the people for who they are. I teach because I love my brothers and sisters here and I teach because I want them to stop suffering the state of living without the truth. I think I understand the concept of compassion but it is another thing to really put it into practice. I invite you all to take a look inward to see if we all really act with compassion as the Savior did. He is my ultimate example of compassion and it is a great blessing to be in the mission studying his life and trying to walk in the path he would have walked if he was here in my area. 
I love you all so very much. Thank you all for the tremendous support you show me weekly. Keep up the good work everyone and know that I do miss you all quite a lot. 
Elder Ty Russell

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