Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

August 12 2013- Email #56

Family and Friends,

The worst feeling in the world IS when you write an entire email and it gets erased:( I am upset! Haha but so be it… E-Mail attempt number 2! Hopefully this time I can write it all and then not delete it! Haha so this week has once again flown by. The time is impossible to feel here in the mission. 

The zone is struggling a bit I would have to admit…we have only had 1 baptism in the entire month of August. We have been doing some different things to try and help out the missionaries and I suppose it has had a descent effect. We did training sessions with all the missionaries Thursday about how to challenge people to be baptized and we had better results this week. We have 4 baptismal dates for this Saturday but we are still pretty worried. To be honest the focus is going to all be on September already. We have 5 weeks to baptize in September and we had a skype conference with President Ruiz this morning with my comp. and he told us that we should finish up August strongly but that in September he expects the best results ever from Mazatenango. We are ready and excited to get out and work:) We are doing our best to excite, love, teach and inspire the missionaries to work hard! 

In my own area we are looking good right now. As of right now we are looking at 0 baptisms but we are going to finish up August with 3 baptisms with 1 family so we are content. We know that we can do much better but we are trying our best to find new investigators and getting them ready and prepared for the first week of September. My comp. and I have been working super well together and we are enjoying our time together. We are good buddies Elder Banegas and I.

You guys remember Edwin right? He is a stud! He has come to church now 4 times in a row and he loves it. He already has some good friends in the ward and is adapting to life as a mormon! He is the guy from El Salvador who didn’t have his papers. We got everything taken care of this week with the lawyers and for the 24th everything is ready. He is a cool guy we get along really well. We have seen a huge change in him from the first time we visited him. The guy was in the states many years and was actually locked up 3 years in a Texas prison due to drug abuse. He has many problems but that is why we are here right? We have been helping him and he has already given up ciggaretts and alcohol so we are all on track for the 24th. We are happy for the guy. He will live a happier life the way he is going these days. 

Carmen!! You guys have to know that carmen is my absolute favorite investigator ever! She is the investigator who came to church last week on her own. I didn’t even know her..she just showed up and sat down haha. I sat by her and we chatted a bit and she told me to come visit her at the house this past Wednesday. We made the appointment and decided to head out to find her on Wednesday. It was interesting because she told us she lives in “La Soledad”, which means “The solitary”. haha it is pretty much the farthest point of our area. She lives super super far away and as we were searching for it we kept asking “Why in the world did she go all the way to our church in Mazate??”. There is an Evangelical Church every block out there. We searched all morning and we finally found the little hut in the middle of this jungle village on the outskirts of Mazate. 

When we arrived we were shocked with the poverty.. She lives under a tin roof with wooden walls. It is pretty sad but she is very happy and she is a very humble person. I admire her so very much. She is one who definitely is developing treasures in the heavens and not only in the earth. When we sat down with her and started teaching the first thing we asked her was “Why did you go all the way to our church in the middle of Mazate?”, she responded “Well, I suppose God touched my heart and I knew I had to go to that church”. What a blessing… In that moment we felt the Spirit oh so strongly. It was a great experience. We both had the feeling that we had to teach baptism right off the bat and we taught, challenged, and she accepted for the 16th! She is very excited about her baptism. She even brought us to her daughter who lives close by to invite her to church! She is already a missionary and she isn’t even a member! 

So Melvin and Lucia…they are the reason this week was an adrenaline rush! Elder Banegas and I put a baptismal date with them both Sunday night last week for this past Saturday right? Well they talked to their parents and the parents told them that they better wait a bit before they get baptized so they can get more accustomed to the church…so Tuesday we go with Melvin and we teach him and we had a wonderful experience with him. 

Us four missionaries in this ward got together and prayed asking God what it is that we have to do to explain to Melvin that he IS ready for baptism and that he doesn’t need more time. We felt the need to meet up with him and have him say a prayer kneeling down before God to ask God if he was ready. When we taught the lesson and he offered the prayer what an amazing Spirit filled the room. It was an amazing feeling and Melvin just looked at us saying… “I know I need to be baptized Saturday”. We were very content and we planned everything for him for Saturday. 

Friday night we get a call…the baptism is off. Why? Because Melvins Dad, who is a police officer, is in prison in Guatemala City for drug trafficking. Melvin was very upset obviously and said that he wanted to wait another week so that his Dad and Mom could be present. We obviously agreed and let him know that that is fine and that he should have his parents there with him and his little sister for the baptism. Melvin says that his Dad is innocent but to be honest it happens frequently that the police are mixed up with the drug traffickers of Guatemala. Satan always seems to put something in the way of a baptism…we were sad but we also understand his situation. We are here to support him and his family and we are going to be happy to see these two get baptized on Saturday. 

Well well I suppose that is about it! This week was good and we are seeing much success. The Lord is blessing us and I am so very happy about the blessings the Lord has given me. The mission is the most fulfilling experience in the world and I am so very happy to be out here doing the work of the Lord.

Have a good week all of you! I love you all and miss you but I am happy where I am as well. Keep doing what the Lord wants and I know he will keep blessing you all.


Elder Ty Russell


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