Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

November 18 2013- Email #70

Family and Friends,

The dawn has come!!! The saying, “It is always darkest just before the dawn”, is so very true. I have tried to be super positive and continue being diligent these last 3 months but it has been really hard to be honest. My entire mission I have always felt like getting baptisms has not been that hard but these last 3 months have been truly difficult. The last family I baptized was Victor Hugo and Zulma at the beginning of September. In October I did not even baptize anyone…I was feeling a bit desperate. But guess what?? I baptized another family last Saturday!! It was literally divine intervention and I owe all the glory to God for preparing Juan to be baptized.

The story of Juan started last week if you remember? Getting ready to go to church my companion and I knelt down and we said a prayer asking God for a miracle to help us have someone positive in church. We had gone out to bring everyone we had taught that week to church and NO ONE came…very disheartening of course…fifteen minutes after the meeting starts Brother Juan and his wife Sister Patty come in and sit down. They were the miracle that we had asked of God. They were a family that God has been preparing for many loooong years.

Juan is about 57 and is a plumber by profession.  His wife Patty is about 55 and she sews clothes for money. They are both out of work right now and so they bought a little street cart to sell hot dogs in the street. About 2 weeks ago they put the street cart right outside of the church on the corner and someone buying a hot dog asked Sister Patty, “They gave you permission to put your business here?”. Sister Patty responded, “Of course, I am a member of this church!”. To be honest it is true! She was baptized like 30 years ago but just has been inactive for like 29 and a half years.

Last Tuesday we had an appointment with them in the church and the first thing we asked was, “So, what prompted you two to come to the church?”. They responded that Juan got up that morning and told Patty, “I want to go to your church today.” She told him that she was already busy and that they would go the next week but he told her “Today, or never.” So they got up and went to church! Brother Juan said that he felt something that just make him get up and get ready to go to church. They even said they were not going to sell hot dogs anymore on Sundays to keep the Sabbath Day.

That same day we shared the restoration with Brother Juan and we challenged him to be baptized. After we challenged him he asks us, “You mean I can ALREADY be baptized in your church?” We were both like uhhhh… YES haha. We invited him to pray about it and on Friday we put the next appointment to see if he wanted to do it this past Saturday or this Saturday.

On Friday we went to his little street cart which they had moved to the bus terminal to find out what he wanted to do. The first thing he said was… “Lets wait a bit longer Elders. I think I need to learn a bit more first.” We were a bit let down but we stayed to chat for a bit in the bus terminal because at this time it had started raining like CRAZY. We chatted for about a half hour when they brought up the topic of all of their trials. I was a bit hesitant but I pulled out my scriptures right there in the noisy bus terminal and I shared the scripture in Mosiah 2:41 to explain to him that the faster he is obedient to God’s commandments the faster he will be blessed and be able to better his life. As he read that scripture his face literally changed… the next thing he said was “What time tomorrow is my baptism?”

I can hardly describe the feeling of the Spirit as Juan was baptized. It was one of the most spiritual baptismal services I have ever attended. When he came up out of the water Saturday night he had tears in his eyes and was having a tough time controlling his emotions. It was a beautiful experience. I felt once again that assurance that I was fulfilling my purpose as a missionary! It was really great after his baptism too because we gave him a few minutes to bare his testimony and he told each of us that he literally felt like a new man. These are the words he said, “The old Juan is gone and the new Juan rose up out of those waters.”

 

So yeah, that is the story of Juan and Patricia. They already have a picture of the temple in their house with the goal firmly in mind of going to the temple to be sealed as an eternal family in one year from Saturday. It was a good week:)
That is about all I have time to share this week! I love you all so very much and I hope you enjoyed my story! Have a great week and know that missionary work is the absolute BEST thing that exists.
Love,Elder Ty Russell

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