Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

September 2 2013- Email #59

Family and Friends,

Changes already?? These 3 months here in Mazate have gone by waaay too fast people. The sad news…my companion Elder Banegas has changes! I am pretty sad because he has been one of my favorite companions. Him and I got along super well and we taught together with much unity. I was happy with the little dude but I suppose the Lord has a new chapter of my mission prepared for me. This Wednesday we have the change meeting in the morning and I will go to pick up my new companion. I have no idea who it will be but I am excited to receive a new companion and get working so we can baptize more people for this awesome ward here in Mazatenango.
The zone is doing well more or less! Everyone is thinking of changes and such and we have 2 missionaries who are finishing their mission this Wednesday so they are super home-sick and both of them have been a bit of a challenge these last 6 weeks. I am excited for Wednesday to get the new zone and get everyone excited to get working and focused on this month so we can break the record we already put here in the zone.
We had a really cool week here in our area. On Tuesday and Wednesday Elder Banegas and I were thinking what we could do to squeeze in one more baptism before he left. We prayed together to think of who we could challenge so we could finish off strong. We both felt the impression to give it a try with Lucia…the 15 year old sister of Melvin (one of our recent converts of about a month).
Lucia has always gone to church with Melvin and everything but the problem was her Mom and Dad…they didn’t want to give her permission to be baptized because they felt like she still didn’t really understand and that she was jumping into this way too fast. We sort of stopped teaching her for a short time but we always had her in the back of our minds as a possibility. After our prayer Tuesday we decided that definitely the Lord would help us to put the baptismal date for Saturday with her.
We called Tuesday and put the appointment for Wednesday with not only her but also with the Mom. The Mom has always been a bit difficult to find because she has been super stressed out this last month with her husband locked up in prison for drug-trafficking…I don’t blame her to be honest haha. When we got to her house Wednesday we had a very spiritual lesson with Melvin, Lucia, and their Mom all together to set up the perfect moment to challenge for baptism. We first got the response that no…it is too fast. But we resolved some doubts she had and we convinced her at the end to say YES:) It wasn’t easy and I am sure that without the Spirit it would have been impossible to touch her heart. Lucia was super excited she got permission and we helped her learn the necessary things before Saturday.
The baptismal service was very special because Melvin got to be the one who baptized his own sister. Melvin received the Preisthood 2 weeks ago and we explained to him all about the authority and his rights as a preisthood holder. It was so cool to see our recent convert baptizing his own sister! I felt the Spirit more strongly than if I had been the one doing the baptism. I will never forget how happy the family was for a bit while they forgot about the problems they have at home and grew closer together as a family while keeping the commandments of God. Our next focus…the Mom! She is a challenge though because she has never gone to church before…but we will see what we can do:)
We also have another baptism this coming Friday for the cutest little 10 year old girl named Vanya (prounced Banya). Her Dad and Grandma are members but sadly enough her Dad is the owner of a night club and bar. Vanya has been going to church with her Grandma but the problem was that she never had permission to be baptized because her Mom is super catholic and wanted her to go to church with her. Vanya said that the catholic church scared her haha… She prefers us Mormons as she says. She is super super smart for a ten year old little girl. We have taught her about the restoration and the plan of salvation and she understands better than some of the adults we teach! It wasn’t easy to get permission from the Mom for the baptism this Friday but we managed to get in and win her confidence with a bit of charm haha. We are looking foward to the baptismal service because the Mom is going to come to church for the first time.
Overall we are doing well! I am doing well. The mission is not exactly easy but it is so very rewarding. I feel like every day I grow closer to the Spirit by preaching this restored Gospel of Christ. I still have much to learn and I am still willing to learn and work out here as long as the Lord permits me to be his servant. Thank you all for supporting me and I want you all to know that your prayers are felt here under the torrential rains of Guatemala ;) Have a great week everyone! I love you all.
Elder Ty Russell

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