Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

April 21 2014- Email #92

Family and Friends,

Where has this week gone? I feel like I was here writing you guys just yesterday. This week was VERY busy and I hardly felt the time. I have a bad feeling that is how it is going to be the rest of my mission… the time goes all too fast when your having fun right?

Soooo…this week we had emergency changes here in the mission…It was actually a really interesting experience for me because President Ruiz had my companion and I help him to make the changes and such…we had a meeting and we decided together how the changes were to take place and which missionary would have changes. It was really cool to see how the Spirit guides while making big decisions like that. I really respect President for the way that he listens to my companion and I, looks at the changes we want, and then makes the decision only if the Spirit confirms to him what we have counseled him. It was really interesting…

For the emergency changes we had a LOT of Elders and Sisters to take around to their new areas and such. Tuesday and Thursday this week I was driving the truck ALL day. I have now gone to every part of the mission like twice…and the mission covers a large area! It was fun…I am getting used to driving here in Guatemala. There are literally no rules…if I can drive here, I can drive anywhere!

The reason my subject is titled “The 3 Nephites” is that Elder Angulo and I received a new companion as part of the emergency changes. We are now 3 AP’s…our new companion is Elder Holmstead from Lehi, Utah. He finishes his mission the same time I do. He will be going home on the 25th of June but he is really excited to work with us and we have already had a great time working in a threesome. President wants three assistants because when we go do divisions he wants to be with one of the assistants and the other two can go to a different zone to do divisions…that way we can get more work done and everything has been going really well.

This week was really fun. We had a lot of specialized training meetings for different groups of missionaries and I have really loved it. President assigns us a topic the night before and we study up and present the topic to the group of missionaries for 30 minutes. I have really liked it and I feel like I learn more than the missionaries I am teaching. We have another meeting tomorrow with all the missionaries who are still in their training. I am excited for that because new missionaries always have such a good Spirit and I love to teach them that they have to baptize everyone possible.

In our area this week we had a really great experience. We were given a new little part of the sisters ares in San Carlos to work in…we were super excited because it is a really cool area to work in. It is literally in the middle of the jungle. We only had 3 days to work there this week but while we were there we worked super hard and we brought 6 people to church on Sunday. The Bishop had to go with his pickup truck to go and get them because our area is about 10 minutes away from the church.

The coolest story from this week has to do with a man we found last week. His name is Jesus Francisco. He is an elderly man who is very sick. When we found him he told us he has pretty much every sickness you can think of. He told us for 2 years now he has pretty much not been able to walk well and he never leaves his house because he is too sick. We asked him if we gave him a blessing and he was better by Sunday if he would go to church with us. He has a lot of faith and knew that we could do it…we prayed and fasted on Saturday to be able to give the blessing and we felt prepared as we gave the poor man his priesthood blessing. We promised him he would feel better and that Sunday we would be passing by to get him for church.

Sunday morning we went to his house and we were filled with joy as we saw him all dressed up and ready to go. He told us that night after the blessing he felt just great, he slept the whole night through… something he hasn’t done is a long time. He went to church with us and he said that he loved it. We went to his house later that night and we challenged him for baptism this Saturday. He needed just a bit of encouragement but he accepted and signed his baptismal form saying that he would be baptized Saturday.

The Lord blessed us greatly by helping us find this man and by healing him so that he could get up and go to church with us. I know the power of the priesthood is real and that God loves all of his children. He wants us to be happy and he wants us to return to him. Jesus Francisco will have his chance and he is happy.

Life is good out here. I am trying to do my best to fulfill my calling as a missionary and preach the Gospel. It is not an easy job but just as Ammon said, “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.” Alma 26:27.

I have a testimony of Christ’s restored church. I know it exists and that brings me much joy. I will never depart from the light I have found within this wonderful Gospel. I love the Lord. And THANKS TO HIM, we will all live again… Happy Easter :)

Love,

Elder Ty Russell

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