Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

August 5 2013- Email #55

Family and Friends,

So I was thinking the other day…I technically have like a month
more than I really have. I have like 13 and a half months in the
mission because of a weird type of change due to the quantity of new
missionaries that have been coming. One of the changes in Pajapita was
3 weeks short so technically I will be going home 3 weeks early…just for your information! I don’t know if you already knew that or not but I thought I would share some good news for you guys! For me it
is kind of sad to be honest… I can’t ever say I served for 2 years…
only 23 months and a week. How sad huh?
 
So I am a bit worried to be honest. The zone has only baptized 2
people in the last 3 weeks… Haha so we are a bit worried. The bad
news is that in the entire zone we only have like 6 possibilities for
this coming Saturday. We have to do something differently to continue
baptizing like we were baptizing these past months. I feel like
sometimes diligence is a problem among missionaries. We start to have
success and we start baptizing and after all the success we fall into
a comfortable zone and we stop pressuring and challenging as much as
we should. This coming Thursday we are going to have a training
meeting with the whole zone to teach some basic principals that will
help them commit, challenge, and teach people, not lessons. We hope
for the best and we are trying to have faith to continue on in the
wonderful and great work of the Lord!
 
My area is doing pretty dang good! We had 5 with a family in church
this week. We were really happy because last week I told you that we
were praying for a miracle because all the people we had previously
commited to come to church…didn’t come! So anyway this week we
focused a lot more on challenging and commiting and it paid off. We
had 4 with a family commited firmly and the fifth just showed up on
her own:) I love the mission! We are working well but we are going to
be doing many divisions this week because we are super worried about
like 3 areas in the zone that are pretty low right now on progressing
investigators.
 
We have been teaching this family that is really cool. The Mom is
named Johanna and the spouse is named Elmo (yes, like Elmo from sesame
street, do not laugh!). They are super cool and we love to go and
teach them. We had some really great lessons with them this week and
we really focused on them because they will be a potential family to
baptize. We even invited Elmo to go play soccer with us Thursday night
with the ward to get him some friends. The problem…they are not
married and he does NOT want to get married anytime soon. To be honest
the trouble is not committing people to be baptized…it is
committing them to get married first! They have 2 kids together and
have been together 8 years but the guy still wants to wait more time!
We are working with them and we are happy with their progress. The
wife and 2 kids came to church yesterday but he escaped from us! Next
week we will get him to church I am almost sure.
 
Ohh and also the family that came to church last week…Edwin and
Angela. Edwin is the non member but we have been focusing on him a lot
this week and we have put a baptismal date with him for the 17th! The
problem was that he is from El Salvador and to be able to get married
here in Guatemala he has to post an announcement that he is here in
Guatemala with an international newspaper that is going to charge him
600 quetzals…the problem is that he is out of work and they are
pretty deep in debt at the moment. We talked to the Bishop and he said
he will see if he can talk with the ward and see what he can come up
with. If they don’t come up with the money it doesn’t matter to us we
will just pay it for him so they can get married and baptized. I feel
something really special with this family. He has expressed many times
his desire to change and to start living in accordance with the
commandments of God.
 
The sisters here in our same area are teaching this really cool guy
named Melvin. He has been to church twice now and really likes it. His
uncle is our ward mission leader and gave us the reference. This past
Tuesday we went out contacting with the mission leader and we went to
visit Melvin when we met his little sister who is 14. We chatted with
her and she commited to also go to church with us yesterday and she
came! She really liked it as well so we put an appointment for last
night with them both and guess what?? Elder Banegas and I put the
baptismal date for this Saturday! It was a bit rough because they both
said it was a bit fast but we kept asking until they said yes:) We are
very excited about it. These two investigators were truly prepared of
the Lord. I gain a bigger testimony daily about the promise in D&C
4…”The field is white and ready for the harvest…” Or however it
goes. I only know how to say it in Spanish these days. “Porque el
campo blanco esta ya para la siega”.

Spiritual experiences are amazing. Each week we gain more and more
spiritual strength to get into the battle and do our work. I feel very
blessed by the Lord for all the success we are seeing these days. He
is trying our diligence as always but it pays off to work hard and be
obedient. The worst feeling in the world as a missionary is when no
one comes to church and when no one wants to be baptized. Through the
thick and thin it helps to put a smile on the face and testify of the
truth. I love this Gospel so very much. What we preach is true and I
know that lives change when the people decide to accept this restored
and perfect Gospel.
 
I encourage each and every one of you to look for a spiritual
experience daily. If we look for them, they come. Read the scriptures, go to church, go to the temple, and communicate with God. I promise that true happiness comes whe we are obedient. I love you all and
thank you for the support I receive weekly and the daily prayers. I
feel your love and I know I receive these blessings because of you and
the things you all have taught me.

Love, 
Elder Ty Russell
 
P.S. The church is true!!

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