Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

December 2 2013- Email #72

My dear family and friends,

I suppose you could say I am in new surroundings but…not really! I am sort of in a similar place to where I started the mission. I have been called to serve as the zone leader in the zone Retalhuleu… Haha I was pretty much right here 16 months ago when I started the mission. I guess I was in the zone Las Palmas but it is pretty much the same haha. There are 10 Elders in my zone and 9 sisters (3 in one companionship). I feel right at home here though because I have seen like 4 families that I knew when I was in Pedregal! It is fun to be able to see old friends and such. 
My area and ward is called Monterrey. It is a good ward and has a lot of strong leadership. My area is sort of a rich area and there are no little villages we can go to work in. Knocking doors in a tough chore here in Monterrey. There are a lot of people who have a decent amount of money and to be honest they hardly EVER open the door to listen to us. If we are going to have success here it will have to be because the members help us by giving us refferals of friends and family. I am excited though. The area has a lot of potential but the problem is that it is super small… I feel like we walk circles in our area every day haha. It is much different than Mazate. In Mazate my area was HUGE. And we had a good amount of poor areas to work in. We will just have to wait and see what happens here! Wish me luck:) 
My companion is Samuel Medina Vega from Mexico (Elder Medina). He has 12 months in the mission and has about 3 months being a zone leader. He is a great guy! We get along really well and I am sure these next 3 months we are going to be together will be a great time to learn and work hard together. We seem to get along well but we do have a little bit different leadership ideas. We are still learning how to combine our ideas to make a good plan to guide the zone and help everyone to baptize. I will miss Elder Herrera but it is always fun to get new companions and learn from each one something different. 
The baptism of last week was really special. Marina got baptized and she was super content. Elder Herrera called me and told me everything went well with her confirmation and that she misses me a ton! Also Juan and Patty started crying when they found out I had left. I was sad to leave last week because Juan and Patty were still in Guatemala City so I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye. I am going to call them today so we can talk a bit. I did leave them pictures of their baptism with Elder Herrera though so they do know that I do love them and miss them a ton! I will never forget the miracles that happened in Mazate. I loved that place. Great people. 
Elder Medina and I had a really great week of work this week! Elder Medina has been taking me around to get to know the area a bit and such but we also have found some really positive new investigators. Late Saturday night we found a family that is really special. His name is David and her name is Alena. They both were super receptive and it was really fun to teach them the Plan of Salvation. They were both super happy about the message and David was even crying as he offered the closing prayer. We went to pick them up Sunday morning for church and their neighbor told us they had already headed out for church! They went on their own and they seemed to really like it. 
The only challenge with them is that he works in Guatemlaa City all week and only comes home on Saturdays and leaves again Sunday at like 10 in the morning. He is in the military. The important thing is that they went to church though. It shows true desire to progress and continue learning more. We have an appointment with them on Saturday afternoon to see how they are doing. 
Today was a really fun P-Day! We took the zone to the beach in Champerico. We played beach volleyball and beach soccer all morning and then we had fresh seafood on the beach! It was super fun! The only thing that could have made it better would have been if we could have gotten in the water….but I suppose I will have to wait until after the mission for that. Haha but it was fun:) 
Ah haha also Elder Banegas got to come with us to the beach and on the way in the bus Him and I got up and we started preaching the Gospel of Christ. We went in a huge public bus and it was super packed. We got right up in front and started preaching.. It was super awesome! We had a bunch of people asking the other missionaries for pamphlets and we passed out all that we had. It was a fun experience! 
Well that is about it! Just a shout out to my older sister Britney!! Happy Birthday Brit! I love you:) Thanks for always being so awesome everyone. I love you all so very much and I hope you all have a great week. 
Elder Ty Russell

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