Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

May 26 2014- Email #97

Family and Friends,

This week was exceptional. Literally exceptional…better than many other weeks I have experienced on my mission! I feel like the mission gets better and better as the weeks go on. This week was special due to the arrival of President Kevin R Duncan, the Central America Area President. He is incredible.

The arrival of President Duncan occupied much of this week to be honest. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday he was here in our mission hosting multi-zone conferences. We had to go early to the different locations of the conferences and set up and make sure all the missionaries were in place for when President Duncan and President Ruiz got there and everything was perfect. It all actually went really well and President Duncan said to us after that our mission was on an incredible level. He was very impressed and I feel like the missionaries were also very impressed with him.

It was kind of funny because in the second conference with about 140 missionaries in the room President Duncan asks President Ruiz who was the best teaching companionship there. President chose Elder Holmstead and I and we had to go up and do a practice lesson in front of EVERYONE. It was funny though because President Duncan pulled us aside first and told us to do the first practice just horribly… I had to play the part of the bad companion who didn’t let his companion talk at all and just keep running my mouth. Everyone was shocked as I started going at it messing up on purpose and making it look like we had a horrible companionship. President Duncan stopped the practice and asked everyone what the problem was…everyone obviously picked out real fast that there was no unity between us. He then asked us to do a practice but in the manner we actually do teach. We then proceeded to give the practice and it went really well. President Ruiz didn’t even know we were going to mess up on purpose the first time and he said “Thank goodness that was planned because I thought I needed to call two new APs”. It was funny!

The conferences with President Duncan really helped the mission. He talked a lot about goals, vision, and the way we need to start teaching. I feel like it helped the mission a lot be able to have a special spiritual experience and be ready to have an exceptional month in June. The mission since last year has continued to rise and to better itself. President Ruiz is an idea man and is always instituting new ideas and asking us for our opinions. It has been fun to work closely with him and see the growth of the Mission.

On Tuesday I had the chance to do divisions with the zone leaders in Las Palmas zone. They are in the area Pedregal, my first area!! I was all over that place with one of the zone leaders showing him old investigators and such. The best part of the day was towards the end when I randomly had this impression that I had to go back and visit a less-active family that I had visited about 20 months ago with my trainer. I went back and this family had completely changed…the wife before was working Sundays and just had no desire to even talk to us. The husband was always really nice and accepted us but without the support of his wife it was hard for him to go to church. They have 3 kids who aren’t baptized and Elder Solomon and I could just never get them to church.

Tuesday when Elder Cano and I got there the family was finally prepared. The wife no longer works Sundays and she even remembered me. She had tears in her eyes as I told her that I had a special feeling to go and visit them before I finished my day in Pedregal. The family committed to going to church Sunday and the 3 young men all want to be baptized! The Lord always has his plan and that plan is perfect! They may have not been prepared when I was in that area but now they are!

In our area this week we tried working really diligently and on Sunday morning it seemed that it didn’t quite pay off. We have continued to work with Magda and she seemed to be progressing well but Sunday morning she said she was sick and that she couldn’t go to church. We were super sad because if people don’t start going to church they literally can’t get baptized! Soo frustrating. The cool thing? All during sacrament I was praying asking God to help me have success my last month and I was feeling kind of down…as the sacrament finished in walked Magda with her family! Miracles people! Miracles. I was super excited and I know God answers prayers. We are going to visit her tonight to see if we can set up a date for her baptism. Pray for her please!

We have also been working with this less-active family as part of my “Finishing with Honor” project and they are really special. It is a Mom, Rosita, and her three kids. They have various challenges but they are a really cute family and we love visiting them. We always finish the lesson just laughing and having a great time sharing together. They were in church bright and early and they are on track to becoming fully active once again! Working with less-actives always helps!

I am having fun out here working. I need to trust in the Lord more and I know that everything will be okay and I will be able to fulfill with the vision I have for the last month of my mission. I have a testimony of this church and I know that my Savior lives and loves me. I try and get closer to Him every day as I serve Him and I sure hope He accepts my humble offering and I know He will bless me for me efforts. The work of the Lord is a work of love. I love these people.

Love you all! Have a wonderful week and know that I pray for you all often.

Love,

Elder Ty Russell

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