Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

December 9 2013- Email #73

Family and Friends,

Merry almost Christmas and Happy almost New Year!!!! I can hardly believe that the Christmas season has already crept up on us. It is really hard for me to feel the Spirit of Christmas here in the blasting heat of Retalhuleu. It is still fun but Christmas is not as big a holiday here in Guatemala as it is in the United States. I can also hardly believe that I will be spending my last Christmas as a missionary… how crazy is that. On Wednesday I will be completing 17 months in the mission and I must say that I am terrified… I am content though. I am happy with the missionary that I am and I know that these last months I have to serve the Lord I am going to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. (D&C 4)
This week was interesting… I felt like there were just a lot of problems. A few missionaries got sick…one day I had to randomly go to Champerico to help out with a baptismal service over there, we have been preparing a choir for Christmas here in the zone and it has taken a lot of time to organize it and get everything worked out, we had a leaders council that lasted all day Tuesday. I just feel like this week there was no time to do anything!! Haha but it was okay because sometimes things like that happen in the mission. Trying to organize time is a very interesting talent that is not all too easy.
Also… I think I mentioned this already last week but my area is an area of much faith. To baptize here is not an easy task as it has been in other moments of my mission. I have knocked maybe 100 doors this week with my companion and about 98% of the people reject us. In other areas I have worked I would have gotten into about 50% of the houses to teach a lesson. Not everyone is always positive but at least they let us in and gave us a chance. These people are super super hard to get to. My companion and I literally have 0 investigators progressing. We have some good possibilities to come to church this Sunday but as of now we are at 0. We are thinking of and trying new things and I am sure this week we will figure out what we need to do to have more success. Pray for us please:)
So I did have a very interesting experience yesterday…remember Isau and Marta? They are the first family I baptized in December of last year. They were going strong and doing really well until about 5 months ago when Isau stopped going to church and started drinking again. Marta has never stopped going to church but Isau when he stopped going fell right into his old habit of drinking.
So the interesting thing is that yesterday, since I am here close by in Retalhuleu, I went over to visit them and guess what I found when I got there? Isau was drunk… I felt so horrible. I chastised him a bit and told them I would be coming back next Sunday afternoon and I expected to not find him in the same circumstances. It was rough…but I am going to do my best to help him  overcome his challenge. I am sure with some support and love he will come back and be okay. Pray for him too if you can.
The Christmas devotional was really fun. I am glad you guys all saw it. How very uplifting it was right? I was a little disappointed to not really hear from the First Presidency like usual but it was wonderful and the talks were inspired. Maybe for family night you could take a better look and see what you can do for Christmas this year to show that you know the REAL meaning of Christmas.
Thanks for everything you all do for me. I love you all very much and I want you to know that I am happy and doing well. My comp. and I are trying to work hard and we are having fun while doing it. Have a great week and never forget scripture study, prayer, and temple attendance! Thanks!!
Elder Ty Russell

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