Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

October 21 2013- Email #66

Dear Family and Friends,

I would like to start off this small e-mail by giving a shout out to my Grandma and cousin Sydney who have a birthday this week. I love you both and I hope to see you on your birthday next year! Have a wonderful birthday and I love you both very much.
This week was great…I guess. It was a week full of learning experiences and difficulties to be honest…but that is the best kind of week right? Who wants a normal boring week full of not hard times right?? Well, I suppose I will tell you all about this week but it is not exactly a super interesting story. Most of the week was pretty dang normal to be honest. I suppose I will start by telling you all about the little experiences that seem to happen every week here in the wonderful world of a missionary.
I was not in my area for like 4 days this week. I have seen that my zone has been having many difficulties this month and I know that to be honest there are high months and low months but this month is really low and we were struggling to figure out why. I had a chat with some other buddies here in the mission who gave me the advice of doing divisions with other missionaries more frequently. I suppose my own area is not getting all the care it should get but I think it is more important each area in the zone is having success than just one right? So I took the advice and this week I have been out and about working with almost all the missionaries in my zone. It has been really good to be honest. I try and have a few good spiritual experiences with each missionary as we work together and as I get to know their most positive investigators. It has been great to get to know the Elders a bit more and I was impressed with the quality of their teaching methods and desire to work.
I did not really want to talk about my own area too much but this week we had a ROUGH time…one of the worst experiences I think I have ever had on my mission so far…the worst part is that it is the third time in these past 6 weeks it has happened. But this was the worst one yet!
Fernando… you should all remember him. He was one of my favorite investigators and we were making great progress with him. We were able to put the baptismal date for this past Saturday and on Tuesday afternoon everything seemed to be going well. Throughout the week we visited him and he passed the baptismal interview and everything…the problem occured on Saturday night 5 minutes before his baptismal service…we get to his house to pick him up and we notice that he is super nervous and started mumbling about how he is having second thoughts and such. We both kind of panicked but I calmed down and told him “Why don’t we just step inside one minute and say a prayer to see what God wants you to do?”. We did the prayer but he still said he just wasn’t ready…
So yeah, we did not baptize Fernando. I had to call all the members that were waiting in the church for his baptism and tell them that he was no longer going to be baptized. The worst part is that he is super embarrased and didn’t even come to church yesterday. I think Saturday night I felt the worst I have felt my entire mission. This exact same situation has happened 3 times this change! Walfred…the day of his baptism his parents talk him out of it… Daniel one day before his baptism his parents say no… Fernando says no at the last second. I was super super sad to say the least.
I think the worst part for me was that I was fasting to be able to have success and do what the Lord wanted me to do. I felt like my fast had been in vain and that I was not doing what the Lord wanted me to do but I realized that Satan was just trying to get into my head. In various places in the Book of Mormon it talks about how people, after having manifestations of the Spirit, harden their hearts and decide to not accept the truth. It is hard to accept as someone who loves them but I can’t make anyone do anything… Dang agency… Haha just kidding.
I do feel like God blessed me for my fast and my recent prayers to have success. Yesterday we saw a miracle. We were sitting in church and someone walked in I had never seen. My companion and I walk up to him and we start chatting and he said that just over a year ago two missionaries had been to his house and they had been teaching him but he had never gone to church because he was going to another church. He then said that recently he has had the strongest feeling he needed to go to the Church of Jesus Christ to visit. He came and we got to know him really well. He is super intelligent and we have already been to visit him at his house. His name is Jimmy and we have our next appointment with him tomorrow. He is really positive so try and pray for him will you? Thanks!
That is about it! I am good now just so you know! I am very optimistic about the future and I am just trying to work even harder to get through this little dry spot and find the people God has prepared to be baptized. Today we had a fun P-Day. President Ruiz came down and played volleyball with our zone and we had hotdogs. It has been a good P-Day! I am good and I want you all to know that missionary work is HARD… but also WORTH IT.
Thanks for everything you all do for me. I miss you all and I sure love each and every one of you! Have a great week and please remember to read the Book of Mormon as a family and pray ever single night. Do not miss it please:)
Elder Ty Russell

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