September 9 2013- Email #60
Changes week!! Changes changes and more changes. I am now living in a whole new world. Well…not really. Just a new companion and zone and everything. I am still in Mazate Lincoln training a new zone leader named Elder Herrera. Yes, he is my new companion. He is from Mexico and has the same time I have in the mission. We get along just swell and are working hard already! Elder Banegas jumped up as the new Assistant to President Ruiz…so I now have an inside man in the office! (Not that I didn’t before too… ;) ). We had many changes in the zone but all for the better in my opinion! We have a lot of new missionaries but a lot of missionaries that are full of energy and that are ready to work hard.
We did have a bad experience this week…on Friday Elder Banegas came to our zone because we had a baptism and we had a feeling that we better go and check the house of some missionaries in the zone who are not exactly the most obedient pair in the zone. We showed up there at like 9:00 and when we got out of the truck and entered the house it was like a police squad! The Elders who were in the house were SO scared haha. We found a DVD player, more than 150 DVDs, and worldy music on their IPods. We took it all away and Elder Banegas took it to the office to give to President Ruiz. No wonder they haven’t baptized in more than a month… I am sure they won’t be having things like that in their house again…we had a good chat with them and explained that if it happens again they go straight to the airport and back home. I think we will be checking houses more frequently to evade more problems like that.
Also we had a way cool earthquake here in Guatemala Friday! I was in the church getting everything ready for the baptism when literally the entire building started shaking for like 10 seconds. A whole bunch of books fell down and it felt like the ground had waves going through it. All the members there for the baptism started screaming and running! I just started laughing and yelling “How cool is this???” Haha it was fun! When we got back to our apartment that night all our books and desks were turned over. It was pretty strong…definitely a testimony of the power of God. He must of been upset for the disobedience of the other Elders ;)
We had 3 baptisms this week! Another family too… It was really a great week. First on Friday we baptized Vania. That baptism was super super sweet! She is the cutest little girl ever. We went to her house on Thursday to set everything up for the baptism and she asked me “Elder Russell, if Joseph Smith died a long time ago how is it that we still have prophets today?”. She is SO smart! Haha I dont think I have ever had one of my adult investigators even ask me that question!
The sad thing is that Vania has her Mom who is SUPER Catholic and she did not want Vania to be baptized in our church. Early Friday morning I was filling up the baptismal font with my companion when the Bishop called me saying that the Mom had called and that they were not going to be having Vania baptized. I was heartbroken for the poor little girl. We then received another call from the Mom after about 2 hours saying that Vania cried for 2 hours straight until her Mom agreed and let her follow through with her baptism. I was super excited and we had a great baptismal service. It was especially cool because Elder Banegas got to come back from Retalhuleu to baptize her.
The other 2 baptisms were a family. Victor Hugo and Zulma. They are a pair that were a bit difficult to finally commit to baptism but they will be great converts. The problem was that the Brother of Zulma was murdered about a month ago and Victor Hugo was trying to find the guy who did it to kill him for revenge and such… Haha so we had to explain to him that he DEFINITELY was not allowed to do that. They understood with time and we even got them to ask God to forgive the murderers in their prayers. It was cool to see the change in their family. They were not married so we had to get them married on Saturday before the baptism. I had the opportunity to baptize them both and it was sure a special feeling to see them so happy together keeping the commandments of God. They are a family I will never forget:)
We have no baptisms for this coming Saturday but we will be having one the next week. We have been teaching a young man named Walfred for a few days now. He came to church yesterday and really liked it. We are confident he will accept the baptismal date for the 21st of this month.
We are happy in our area and we are trying to do our best. Sometimes we pass trials and difficulties but it is cool to see our goal and fight to complete it. The Lord expects much from us and we are willing to give all we have to serve these special people that the Lord has prepared to enter into His church. I am priveleged to be part of this wonderful Gospel that was restored by a living prophet. I hope to keep bringing more souls to the knowledge of the truth. I love the mission, I love my companion, and I love my investigators and converts!
Have a great week all! I love you all very much:) I hope you are all happy and blessed for your obedience. I send my love to each and every one of you!
Elder Ty Russell