Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

January 6 2014- Email #77

Family and Friends,

What a privilege it is to be serving the Lord. I think it is the best start to a new year I could have…sadly it is my last New Years spent as a missionary. I tried to take time this past week to establish some goals…I have had goals throughout my entire mission…some that I have fulfilled and others that I have not been able to accomplish at this very moment. I really appreciate the opportunity I had to sit down and really talk to the Lord about what I am capable of doing in 2014 with my last six months as a representative of Jesus Christ. I have established appropriate goals and I sincerely hope to complete them as I keep working here in the beautiful and humble country of Guatemala. 
My New Years Eve was fun. We spent the night with members eating dinner and playing games. It was fun and I feel really blessed to be here in my ward. The members are very loving towards us and they truly treat us as if we are their family. At midnight here in Guatemala the world explodes. The people here buy fireworks in abundance (the majority of which are very illegal in the United States) and they light them all off. For the first 30 minutes of 2014 we saw a spectacular ring of fire around our apartment. It was fun and I will cherish the memory. We also opened up a nice cold Welches sparkling grape juice to celebrate! Fun times. 
I am happy to say that the Lord truly blessed my companion and I this week for the efforts we have put forth. We have been working very hard this past month and a half with almost no results. The Lord always chooses the precise moment in which to bless his sons and daughters and that time seems to have come once again. Sadly, Yuli decided to not continue investigating the church. She has some issues to take care of and has opted to not continue listening the the discussions. She was very special but just not quite ready… 
Now the good news! To start off we had a meeting with our Bishop this past Tuesday night to wake him up a bit. We explained our situation and how we were a bit desperate. We asked him if we could try and have a ward council Sunday and also we asked him to have a Ward Mission Leader as well. He seemed willing to help and for the first time in my time here I saw the Bishop act. He called the new Ward Mission Leader, we held a ward council, and we are receiving the help and support of the members. We are satisfied with the progress here in the ward. It still needs to improve…much. But little by little this ward will grow into a powerful group of Latter-Day Saints. 
This Sunday was great for us. We had 6 investigators in church with an entire family. The family is really special to us. We contacted the father, Gustavo, in his Tuc Tuc as he gave us a ride and he seemed fairly interested. We arrived at his house to share the message we share and he loved it. Does he have challenges… Yes. But we are working with him and his wife and they have 2 beautiful sons! They are a very special family. Very humble but willing to do what the Lord asks when they are prompted to do so by the Holy Ghost. We are going on Tuesday night with the relief society to visit them and see if we can help them decide to be baptized here soon. 
Also a really great young man came to church yesterday with his friend. He has an older brother who is a member of the church and actually a returned missionary. He has never really liked any church before but he said he felt very content with us on Sunday. We have a family night with his friend and the Stake President tonight to see if we can help him progress a bit more. He is 18 and would be a great future missionary. He even came with us today to P-Day to hang out with the zone and play soccer and basketball. It was fun! We have much faith that the Lord has prepared Fred to receive the blessings of the restored Gospel. 
Faith… Faith faith faith. It is the base of everything. We are trying to be more faithful and as we are I am sure the Lord will bless us greatly. May he also bless you all in your faithfulness and devotion that you show to him. I love you all. Have a wonderful week and if it is at all possible please go to the temple and spend a morning or afternoon. I am sure it will help with whatever you need as a family. 
Elder Ty Russell

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