June 16 2014- Email #100
Family and Friends,
Another week down….that is not a good thing these days. Haha I wish there was a rewind button! The mission life is now the only life I remember. To go home will be soooo weird. But I suppose it has to come to an end and I must continue on. I would like to use this opportunity as well to say Happy Birthday to my sweet little 11 year old sister Abby who had her birthday this past week. Happy Birthday Abby! I love you. Also, I must mention my Dad, Mike Russell; Happy Father’s Day Dad. I love you as well. Also My Grandpa Russell turned 80 this week! I missed lots of things this past week. Fun times.
Here in Guatemala everything has been going just great. We spent Tuesday-Friday finishing up the interviews for the rest of the mission. It takes lots of time to go to each zone and take care of all the stuff but it is necessary. President got together with us after each round of interviews and we talked about the needs of each zone. This week as a result Elder Holmstead, Elder Campbell, and I have lots of traveling to do so we can do specialized training in the zones that most need help.
We had one sad experience this week…you all remember Wilmer right? He was supposed to get baptized Saturday morning. We showed up to pick him up for his baptism and he wasn’t even home. We started to get a bit nervous that he had gotten cold feet and bailed out. His brother told us he went to the bank with his mom so we started searching though all the banks in Retalhuleu to find him! The miracle is that we actually did find him. Once we got to chatting with him he simply told us that he no longer wanted to get baptized in the Mormon church. He told us that an evangelical pastor had showed up at his house on Friday night and that he told him that we worship Joseph Smith and that our church was evil…he is an innocent 15 year old young man and he got confused real fast. We were devastated because we have worked with him over these last few weeks and we have developed a great friendship. It is really hard to see all that hard work wasted by 15 minutes with an evangelical pastor… I swear those guys just follow us around and after we visit someone they go right on over to say that we are liars and servants of the Devil… Rough times.
Don’t worry though, there is good news! I don’t know if you all remember that a few weeks ago I went on divisions with an Elder in my first area, Pedregal. I had gone back and found a family my trainer and I had tried to reactivate almost 2 years ago that just wasn’t ready. When I went back with Elder Cano the family was ready and they did reactivate. Their two sons were baptized on Saturday morning and they called me to invite me. I went over and got to be part of their baptism too. It was really special to be part of that experience and that family will forever be blessed by having chosen to go back to church. The two young men who were baptized are SUPER smart. They both have the goal of serving a full-time mission one day.
Nathan also got baptized this week! He is one of the smartest 11 year old kids I have taught out here. He loves the Gospel and his family supports him 100%. They are another really cool example of a family that had fallen less-active but now they are growing strong in the church. They still have the little problem of the divorce and such but I am sure that soon enough they will fix everything up and Vinicio one day will be baptized in the church. The baptism of Nathan was incredible. He is such a special little boy and I could feel the Lord’s love for him when I put him under the water. Fun day!
Allison, Nathan’s sister in law, accepted to be baptized on Tuesday the 24th of June! My last day in the mission. It will be a family baptism because her husband is already a member. She is really cool too and she loves the church. She came yesterday and really enjoyed it. She wants to go once more this coming Sunday and everything seems to be working out so she can get baptized the 24th. That will be a cool way to finish off the mission… A baptism! Allison is just a bit nervous because she is Catholic and her whole family is Catholic.. She will do it though! We have been focusing a lot of the restoration and she seems to really understand it well.
It has been fun out here working these last days of my mission! There is still much to do in my few days I have left and I continue to work hard. I give thanks to God every night before I go to bed for the many blessings he has given me. I would be nothing without Him.
Love you all! See you soon.
Elder Ty Russell