Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

April 14 2014- Email #91

Family and Friends,

This week was absolutely fantastic! I now have a week and a half in my new area and assignment and it has been going just great. We have been traveling quite a bit with President and I have had the opportunity to get to know the parts of the mission I had never been before. We are in and out of zone conferences frequently and we do a lot of divisions. We also have the big responsibility of working in our own area and having success even with our limited time to work with our own investigators. It was definitely a full week…lots of stress and such but I suppose that is the name of the game right?

This week I had the opportunity to go with President to visit a lot of the areas of the mission that I had not prior had the chance to visit. It has been a really nice privilege to get to know the beautiful and rich country of Guatemala even more in our travels. Tomorrow I will be going to the mountainous regions of Guatemala…San Marcos and San Pedro…we will be having some emergency changes due to some small problems that unfortunately have been occurring in parts of the mission. So after tomorrow I will have made it to every part of the mission!

So this week was really cool because I got to go back to Monterrey Saturday night to see the baptism of Karla. After all the problems and struggles that Elder Zamudio and I passed together while teaching her she finally made the proper adjustments and we are very happy that she made the decision to be baptized. The baptismal service was really special and she really was a new person as she stepped out of the waters. Seeing the smile on the face of a successful person who has made the correct decisions towards salvation is always a fulfilling experience. Karla had a tough decision to make but she ended up separating from Mariano so she could be baptized. It was a large sacrifice but she understood the principal that sacrifice brings blessings.

In our own area we had the baptisms of Sabino and Regina this Saturday! It was such a spiritual experience for us…I will never forget the story of this family. Sabino and Regina truly had a conversion. They had to decide between truth and the money the Evangelical Pastor offered them…not a hard decision for someone who already has money but they literally live in a tin hut and live on a dirt floor…he is out of work and Regina can’t work either. To teach them the truth and see them become converted was a truly inspiring experience.

As we were changing after the baptism Sabino was having a hard time hiding the tears…he said a prayer in the bathroom thanking God for the wonderful second chance he had received from Him. True repentance is taking advantage of the atonement of Christ. That is my purpose…I felt in that moment that I was completing with my purpose and objective as a missionary…helping others repent and come to Christ through repentance and baptism.

We are breaking old traditions…the AP’s of old have never baptized while I have been in my mission…never before Elder Angulo had been here as of 6 weeks ago. Elder Angulo and I are not taking being in the office as a break. We are working hard to have fruits and it has been amazing to see how the Lord has blessed us. We have been fasting every Sunday this month and we will continue to do so every Sunday this month so the Lord can see our desire to work and baptize. We are trying to show an example for the other missionaries and it feels really good. These last few months I have to be out here are not to slack off… I am enjoying the extra responsibilities and I know that God is watching over us in our labor. I am so grateful for that.

The work is moving on. I love being an instrument in the hands of God and I know that He loves me a lot. We must all do our part if we are to be considered worthy in the last day to receive ALL the blessings God has for us. We must work. There is no time to rest, nor to be unmotivated. Work, work, work, it is the only thing that can make a missionary truly happy.

I love you all! Thanks for all the support and love you show me. Have a great week.

Love,

Elder Ty Russell

April 7 2014- Email #90

Family and Friends,

I have received my last area…I had changes this past Wednesday…rough times too because we had just met back up with Karla and we had all decided on the 12th of April for her baptism. She was super excited but maybe I will get permission to go to her baptism. I am close by still!

So Tuesday morning I was doing my companion study with Elder Zamudio when I got a call from President Ruiz. We chatted a few minutes about some things that were going on in the zone and such when he stopped a few moments later and told me, “Elder Russell, I would like you to know that I have prayed and I have looked and I have felt the impression that the Lord has called you as the new assistant. AP… Haha I was just like… “Well, so be it.” I told him that I gladly accept and that I was excited about the new opportunity I would have to serve. Soooo…there you have it. My last 2 changes here in the mission will be as the AP to President Ruiz.

My responsibilities are various. I have an area where I have to work 3 days a week. I will explain more about that later…we have meetings with President frequently to decide about the administrative aspects of the mission. We help to make changes within companionships and we counsel with President about how we can have success as a mission. We are also responsible 3 days of the week to be out doing divisions in diverse parts of the mission training the zone leaders about how to be a good zone leader and also training troubled missionaries. We travel a lot. I am excited to get to know the parts of the mission I have never been to before.

It is an interesting but very stressful assignment. I am still adapting to the new assignment President has given me but I am really liking it too. My companion is from Peru. His name is Elder Angulo and he is finishing his mission right now…this is the first companion I have ever been with that is finishing his mission. He is great though…he is never “Trunky” as they say in the states. We work hard and we have fun too. I am sure learning a lot as I have the opportunity to work with President Ruiz and Elder Angulo. We have lots of work but I love to be part of helping other missionaries as well as our own investigators.

Since we are out of our area 3-4 days of the week we have to work super hard the days we are in our area. This Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday we worked like crazy finding new investigators and inviting people to the General Conference. We have a large desire to baptize even though we have limited time. We had 4 investigators in the Conference and we have already gone with the Bishop to put baptismal dates with 2 of them.

The two who have baptismal dates are investigators that Elder Angulo had with his old companion but they had never gone to church. We taught Sabino and Regina and we committed them to go to the conference and they came! It wasn’t easy though… Sabino has a drinking problem and Regina was going to an Evangelical church for a long time…they have difficulties but they have both been super receptive to the teachings. They are an older couple…she is 65 and he is 76. They received a visit from Reginas old Pastor this week right after we taught them Friday night. We went to pick up Sabino Saturday night for the Priesthood session and he told us straight up “NO, I am going to my wives church…the Pastor gives me money.” We were super ticked…we told him that if he did it and went with them he would have no hope of ever making it to heaven because he would be choosing money over the truth. He changed as we explained to him the need for the truth. He and his wife both went to the conference Sunday morning and they loved it. We went last night and firmed up the baptismal date for this Saturday! We are super excited for their progress.

We are also teaching a young man named Julio we found Friday morning while we were out tracting. He is super humble and accepted right away to go to the conference with us. He went with us to the Saturday morning session and loved it! He is probably getting baptized as well with Sabino and Regina…he is 16 but his family is CRAZY evangelicals….they like to cast out devils and demons and stuff…who knows if they will give him permission. We are going to see him tonight to see what he says but I have faith he will accept. He is really special!

I love this work. This time as a missionary is precious and I am trying to take advantage of every minute. I know this is the true church and I love the blessing I have to represent Christ during this time. It is going by all too fast.

Love,

Elder Ty Russell

March 31 2014- Email #89

Family and Friends!!!

Another week down… Many more to go!! That is a good thing. This week was a good one…whenever baptisms occur it is a good week I suppose. This week was probably my last here in Monterrey.. I hope not but all odds are against me staying here! I have 3 transfers here and 2 with Elder Zamudio. Generally they only leave companions together 3 months and no more. Seeing as I only have like 3 months left I think they are going to send me to my last area this Wednesday to finalize my mission. Sad thought but I suppose the mission can’t last forever. The work done has been a great blessing in my life and I know that these last three months, wherever they may be, will also be a great blessing.

Claudia was baptized! She was SO nervous it was funny! We bought a huge birthday cake for her and we had a fun little get together with some of her family and the friends she has in the ward after her baptism. She was nervous before she was baptized but she was very content afterwards. She knew it was the right thing to do and as she was baptized I could feel the Spirit so strongly testifying that she will be the means that one day her husband will also decide to be baptized and her kids one day may serve full-time missions. It has not quite been easy for Claudia in her journey but she is a better person for it. She even told us straight up that the first time we wanted to do a family night with her she did NOT want to go! She said she thought the missionaries were all boring and stiff… Haha well Elder Zamudio and I are not quite boring. We had her laughing and joking with us within minutes of our first visit and now we are all best friends.

We also baptized Ester! We were not sure weather or not she was going to be baptized because she got really sick the day of her baptism and had to go to the hospital for blood tests. The baptismal service was going to be at 7:00 and we were at her house at 6:45 waiting… She wasn’t answering her phone and we had no idea where she would be…by the time 7:30 rolled around we were super worried that she would not be baptized. Right when we were about to leave to advise the members there would be no baptism she and her Mom rolled up in a motorcycle from the hospital. She told us sorry and explained it all! We were soo worried!

After all she changed up and we had another really special baptismal service. That same grateful and wonderful Spirit was present as Ester was baptized. It was the first time I had ever baptized on a Tuesday… Haha but it was a good day! Missionary work is cool:)

That is about it for big news this week! We had a fun week this week…we are working well and we are trying to find new investigators to be able to get them to church! That is our new focus…the members have to be in charge of the recent converts up to a certain point and we have to be searching for more people who are already ready for the Gospel and are willing to make a covenant with God. Baptism!!

I love this Gospel. I love being a missionary and I love preaching the Gospel as an authorized representative of Christ. I am not always the perfect missionary but I am trying to do what it says in D&C 4… Serve Him with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength. I have hope in the promises Christ has made with us, His wonderful brothers and sisters. I believe Christ… I not only believe IN him…Interesting right?

Love you all! Have a great week and I hope you are all still praying for me and my investigators… Please!

Love,

Elder Ty Russell

March 24 2014- Email #88

Family and Friends,

This week was cool…it was full of weird things but I suppose weird things are pretty cool. Elder Zamudio and I have been working really well together and this is the month of baptisms for us! We have been working hard and I am happy the Lord is blessing us in our area. I know that the Lord is always preparing His children to receive the Gospel but it is tough sometimes to find the right people at the right time. The good thing is that the rain seems to be holding off for the moment. This week we didn’t see much rain but I feel like it is starting to want to fall hard! Not the most comforting thought but I suppose that is the mission right? Heart, Might, Mind and Strength! (Even under the rain!)

I suppose I should give the bad news first… Karla… the family we were going to baptize this coming Saturday has seperated. Mariano got cold feet and said NO…rough times. Karla was crushed. They fought about it and she ended up leaving him. Karla wanted to get baptized so badly the 29th and she felt that Mariano was not letting her progress. They have only known each other about 3 months…so anyway. We haven’t even been able to find Karla after their fight. We heard that she might even be in jail for writing fake checks…who knows. We hope to find them this week and straighten everything out! Please pray for these two…they need the prayers.

The good news?? Estanislao got baptized!! The young man who is 81 years old finally got baptized. He and Maria were absolutely thrilled!! It only took 3 attempts to get him fully under the water… Estanislao was a reference of a member so we had him baptize him but they had to have another guy their to help him hold him…after the first two attemps Elder Zamudio as well had to get in the water to hold down his legs! It looked like the three were trying to drown the poor old man!! Haha but you should have seen the smile on his face when he got out of the water. He was just beaming. Seriously he was soo grateful for the opportunity and the entire ward is just in LOVE with these two…it is not everyday that you baptize a family with BOTH in wheelchairs! They are champs…what an amazing experience.

The baptismal service was cool because we did it as a Stake. There were 4 others baptized besides Estanislao from different wards in the Stake. The service was packed and to see so many people in white was really cool. I won’t forget that experience anytime soon! It was especially cool because the other four who got baptized were all interviewed by my companion and I and we helped them with the decision they made in the end to be baptized. It is sooooo much fun to be able to go with the other missionaries and help their investigators in their progress.

This week will be great as well. I explained to you guys last week about Claudia right? She is 25 and she works for a member in our ward. She is really special and she is ready for the Gospel. She is ready to get baptized this Tuesday. It is her birthday on Tuesday and she chose the day because it is the day she was born in this world and she would love to take that opportunity to be reborn in Christ and receive the blessings she has been wanting. She has lots of challenges with her family…her husband after about a year of not drinking started back up again on Tuesday. She feels a little alone in this world and she needs the blessings the Lord has prepared for her. She accepted our invitation to be baptized and she is really excited about tomorrow.

Also we had kind of lost communication with Ester until this past week. She is doing well and she is still up for her baptism the same day as Claudia. So tomorrow we will have 2 baptisms. Ester has been traveling a lot lately and she also had a tough time because she is in rifle shooting competitions that she attends in Guatemala City sometimes. She is good to go for tomorrow though. She has been anxious to continue with her progression and she will be a great convert.

The work is going well out here in Monterrey. It is a tough area but the Lord blesses those who need the Gospel. The Stake is really supportive actually…we had a Stake activity this past Saturday and we had a bunch of different cultural dances to celebrate the anniversary of the Relief Society. Our stake is really excited about missionary work and it always helps when we have baptisms.

I love this work. I have learned so much and I know that I am growing into a better disciple of Christ every day out here sweating in this Guatemalan heat! I love it. The work is the fun. I am having fun:) I love my Savior and I love the opportunity I have to serve Him.

Love you all! Have a great week and never stop fortifying your own testimonies through service to others.

Elder Russell

March 17 2014- Email #87

Family and Friends,

This week was great. Lots of traveling and such but that is the life of a zone leader. This week I had the chance to go to the farthest part of our zone which is literally just a hick town full of dust. Haha the cool part is that when I went I got to ride a bike the whole day. It is the only area in the entire mission that has permission to use bikes. We found this family that is really cool out there in the middle of nowhere. They speak Spanish but their main language is an Indian tongue…It is an indian dialect named “MAM”. It was super cool to hear them speak their dialect…I wanted to record it but the lady got super timid and said no! haha they loved me and Elder Smith. They went to church yesterday and really loved it. Divisions are a really cool way to train newer missionaries and give a boost to an area that needs help. 

The zone this month is doing really well. We only have one area that it seems won’t be able to baptize. The problem is that in their area they had emergency changes due to some problems in the area of the other missionaries. To have changes in the middle of a change is kind of hard and it has affected the area. The rest of the zone is doing really well. Everyone is baptizing and we have lots of unity within the zone. Today for P-Day we all got together and we played basketball and soccer all morning. I always get super sunburnt on P-Days! But I am really content here in the zone. My comp. is great. We are good buddies and we have some good baptisms coming up here in the area. 

Oh, and also I am a bit worried because it has started raining this week! 3 days this week it rained so I guess I will have to buy an umbrealla again…the funny thing is that the members have told us that the street where we live floods a ton because we have no drainage system! Fun times… I will take some good pictures to send home. The last few months of my mission I will be very very wet. Especially because my shoes have holes!! But that is the work of the Lord right? :) 

The Lord continues to bless us here in our area. Estanilao has accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 21st. He will be baptized on Friday night. We have been visiting them the last few days and the relationship we have with them is hilarious! They call me “Whitey” and they call my companion “Fatty”. Haha they are hilarious. They love us. We went on Sunday morning to get them for church and right as we were about to leave the Adventist pastor came from the church they went to before. He goes on to tell them “Ah… I get it. You are traitors…going with the Mormons”. Then Maria said, “No, in the Mormon church I follow Jesus and no one else.” It was cute. 

They received a miracle this week…they are 2 weeks backed up on their rent and out of nowhere they received a call telling them that a private organization was going to pay them for the 2 months they owed and another month of rent. Free! They were soo blessed. We explained that as they are obedient to Gods commandments the blessings were sure to come and they receieved the confirmation of that real fast eh? We were thrilled for them. 

We have another baptismal date set with a girl we have been teaching for a few weeks now. Her name is Claudia and she works for a member in our ward. The member, Nery, owns a pizza restaurant and Claudia has worked there 2 years and Nery has never really been able to invite her to church because he used to open his business Sundays. This year he decided to close on Sundays so Claudia was receptive to come to church with us. She is really cool and loves learning about the Gospel. She is married and has 2 kids under the age of 8. Her husband is kind of a loser though…she wants him to change with her but we told her she had to put the example before he could have the desire to change. She wants to be baptized the 25th for her birthday. She is super prepared:) 

It has been a bit sketchy with Ester… she didn’t go to church again this week but says she wants to be baptized on Friday night with Estanilao. We will see what happens! We pray for her a lot because we know she wants to change and be baptized but we are not seeing it as her highest priority. She is ready for the Gospel though. We hope that Friday is her day! 

That is about it for me! The missionary work here in Monterrey ward is going well. The members like us and they are doing their part in helping us with the people we have. I am content and I feel the blessings of the Lord as my companion and I work hard out here under the sun and rain of Retalhuleu, Guatemala. I love my mission. I would not trade these experiences for anything in the world:) 

Love you all! 

Elder Russell

March 10 2014- Email #86

 

Family and Friends,

Sooo the first news is that tomorrow I will have 20 months in the mission…I reckon I am getting old… Does that make me happy? Not really…I feel like I started the mission yesterday. Seriously I feel like these last 20 months have been the best of my life in regards to my relationship to God and the good I have done in the world. I am starting to feel bad for not extending but at the same time I know that I need to go home in June. 

So this week was kind of interesting…a lot of ups and a lot of downs…the worst down was that Ester did not get baptized. She had to go to Guatemala City with regards to her scholarship and was not able to be here for her baptismal service. We are a bit upset and all but we recognize that the Lord has his plan and that for the near future it will happen. We are going tomorrow to her house to see how she is doing and if she is okay to do it this Saturday. She is just soo very busy with all the things she has to do with school, work, and family problems that this week was really hard. We will keep helping her to progress and I am sure for this Saturday everything will be okay. 

Another down was that of the 9 families we were teaching we only are continuing to teach about 3 out of the 9. The other six were just not quite ready to progress and make the commitments and keep them. The families we are teaching are very positive and I am pretty sure that by the end of the month we will have baptized at least 2 of them. Karla is still good. She has been having a tough time lately just with her arm that she broke when she fell off her motorcycle but she is doing okay and she will recuperate. 

We had a really cool miracle this week. On Saturday my comp and I had been tracting ALL day with pretty much no success when we got a phone call from a member giving us a reference. He was walking down the street when a lady in a wheelchair called him over to help her cross the street. When he helped her to pass into her house he got to meet her husband who was also confined to a wheelchair. He explained that he was a member of the church and such and the lady, Maria, asked that we go over that very night to visit them.

When my companion and I arrived we were shocked with the state of living…they live in a tiny cement room with a tin roof…she is actually a member of the church but her husband no…she goes to the market every day and begs for money so they can eat and he stays in the house because he is 81.  His wife is only 45 but they are SO cute. They love each other so much. They accepted our invitation to go to church and the whole ward just fell in love with them! It was testimony meeting due to Stake Conference last week and some of the members recognized them and their bravery to continue on despite their situation. The husband, Emildo, wants to be baptized soon. We hope it can be for the 22nd of this month. He just needs to go to church next week and we are good! What a miracle. 

Another really cool miracle was Saturday when a family that the Elders from another ward have been teaching got baptized. I have known this family about 3 months and I have even had the pleasure to interview Noe once before to find out why he didn’t want to be baptized. After going to church 4 times and getting more familiar with everything Noe agreed to at least get married and let his wife get baptized but he still said he didn’t want to. Elder Zamudio and I went to the wedding Saturday night and I pulled Noe into another interview. I chatted with him a few minutes and I explained to him the importance of taking the step of baptism with his wife together and he accepted. We ran out to find white clothes for him and he and his wife were married and baptized the same night! It was a wonderful spiritual experience and I know this is a future eternal family. The Elders were so excited. 

Today we had a fun P-Day. We found a bowling alley in an amusement park here close to Retalhuleu. They close on Mondays but I called them up and we worked out a deal so they opened it up today just for us 18 missionaries! It was really fun. We got to bowl a few hours in a private bowling alley! We had a good time and I felt like we deserved it after having a good month last month. This month it seems that we are going to do even better. The Lord is blessing us. We just have to be grateful and willing to do our part! 

I love the mission. It is helping me every day to grow into the person I want to be. I love the opportunity I have to give my all in these last 4 months I have to serve the Lord with love. I hope He is happy with me and I know that as I work with diligence he offers me His love through the blessings I receive. 

Thanks for all the support and love I receive from you guys. I feel the prayers in my behalf. 

Have a great week! Love you!! 

Elder Russell

March 3 2014- Email #85

Family and Friends,

This week flew right by…but it was a good week. To be honest we worked really well. We have not been able to work a lot with the members of the church but by ourselves we have found and we are currently teaching like 9 positive families. The Lord has been blessing us in abundance in these past few weeks and we are just trying to do our part by teaching by the Spirit and taking advantage of the good situation we are in right now. There are times of trial in the mission but there are also times of abundance. We had 6 investigators in church on Sunday. 3 of the 9 families actually came and are now progressing well. We still have lots of work to do with the other 6 families. It has been a busy busy week to be short. 

It was a great experience this week as well because we had Stake Conference which helped us a lot. Stake Conference was great. President Ruiz came to all 3 sessions and spoke. It was marvelous because he gave a powerful message and I know that the investigators who attended the conference were touched. We were running around like crazy this week inviting the whole world to Stake Conference. We even made invitations to the conference so we could commit the members and investigators as well. 

Ester, the sixteen year old young lady we have been teaching, accepted a baptismal date for the 8th and has been steadily progressing. She is excited about her baptism and is proud to be the first convert of her family. She has lots and lots of family issues but we believe that little by little we can help her family by slowly and surely bringing them to church with her. She is really interested in the whole mission life. She says that she already has the goal to be a missionary one day. She has such a great Spirit and would be an excellent future missionary. 

Karla is also progressing just great. The wedding and baptism have both been scheduled for the 29th of March. Marianos brother is getting married the 22nd so they felt weird doing it so close to the brothers wedding…we had to pressure them just a tad bit for them to accept the baptismal date and matrimony but they were content once they accepted that it is the thing to do. The ward has been helping us with them. Lots of members already know them and are excited about the baptism coming up. 

We had another really cool family come to the conference this Sunday. His name is Hugo and her name is Yulissa. They have been married about 3 months and the brother of Yulissa is a very active member. He is also married and his wife is expecting a baby within days. They have been inviting them to church these past few weeks and they finally came for the conference. They seemed to enjoy it so we are going to follow up with them and see if we can help them into the waters of baptism coming up here soon:) Pray for these guys… It would be a miracle! 

We had a really cool spiritual experience this past week…we were running late to an appointment when we both stopped in front of this beat up old house made of tin and Elder Zamudio and I both said, “We have to contact this house”. We knocked the door and out came a sister named Susanna. She said her husband was a very angry man and that he would not want to accept us. We told her we would come back later that day to find him and ask permission to teach. She accepted but the rest of the day we were too busy to go back. 

The next day Elder Zamudio and I are about to get into a tuc tuc when a random guy on his bike stops us and says, “Hey, you guys came to my house yesterday…did you need something?”. We told him we were missionaries and such and he humbly accepted that we teach him and his family. His name is Christian and they say they have been searching for the truth for a looong time. They loved the restoration and they are going to be praying so they can have their answer. Please pray for this family too! They are amazing and they have truly been prepared. I know the Spirit touched us both so that we would find that family. 

The Spirit works in mysterious ways… I am so grateful for the Lord and his wonderful Spirit in this work. If it was not for him we would be very lost out here! The church is true. The things I am teaching are inspired of God and I love proclaiming this wonderful Gospel day after day. I have never been closer to my Father in Heaven and I will always look back on these days as a missionary with much love. 

Love you all! Keep shining and I know that God will also bless each and every one of you. Have a wonderful week! 

Love,

Elder Ty Russell

February 24 2014- Email #84

Family and Friends,

Sooo… I don’t want you all to think I am a bad missionary but I did the count…tomorrow I will only have 4 months left on my mission. That is sooooo weird to think about. These last 20 months have been sooooo rewarding and I have loved every moment. Has it been easy?.. NO. Haha but it has been so worth it and I am so lucky to have this wonderful opportunity to be out here serving the Lord without having to think about anything else. I am working hard and we are having a whole lot of fun too. The mission is great right now:) 

Elder Zamudio and I will have 6 weeks more together. There were changes this past Wednesday but President left us together one more change. I am happy for that to be honest. We are like the same person haha. We teach well together and we have similar work habits which help us to have unity and we are doing well together. We are good buddies you could say! Although we stayed together pretty much the rest of the zone DID have changes. We have a whole new zone but it is good. We are working hard and we had a really good month in February. 

March is “Missionary March” in our mission. To commemorate Samuel Jackson, the prophet Josephs brother and first missionary, we are going to have a memorable month in March. Every pair of missionaries in our zone have commited to baptize this month and we are excited to see the results coming up in these next few weeks. We have a meeting with President Ruiz tomorrow to fix a game plan and set the goals for the mission. I always look forward to a month of miracles… Especially because the Lord has already started blessing us with the miracles we have been needing. 

Speaking of miracles…Karla and Mariano are doing great! They have a baptismal date and marriage date set for the 29th of March. It has not been a case without problems though…they have only known each other a few months so Karla was a bit skeptical about getting married but when we explained the law of chastity they were both willing and they prayed and set their own date. They are really special people. We have another lesson with them tomorrow and they invited us to eat dinner with them after. 

Another investigator progressing is Ester. She came to church last week and ever since has been progressing just greatly. She accepted a baptismal date for the 8th of March. We may have even baptized her this Saturday but we have Stake Conference so we can’t have any baptisms. She is really cool though. We had a family night with her this past Wednesday and she totally accepted the Restoration. She is one of those who has been prepared to receive the Gospel. 

I thank God for the success we are seeing in our area recently. I know how it is to have success and I also know how it is to have trials on the mission. Both are fun:) I love this time of growing and learning. I feel bad about not extending but at the same time I feel like the Lord left it up to me to decide and he was accepting either way. 

I love you all. Thanks for everything you all teach me and I always appreciate the prayers. 

Love,

Elder Ty Russell

February 17 2014- Email #83

Family and Friends,

What a week my friends!! I am not exactly sure where to start…first off I am happy!  This week was a good week. During the week it was a bit frusturating because we felt a bit rushed, or disorganized maybe…I am not sure how to explain it. But it was a bit difficult. We felt we worked very hard though. We did our best for the Lord. Diligence in missionary work is one of the attributes of Christ that is highly important for someone to have success. One may pass through trials of faith and difficulties but the only thing that can bring someone to success is working with diligence even though it is hard. We had to learn that this week. 

Everything we did this past week was centered around a few investigators that we had. We tried and tried but the things we were trying to get done just seemed to never get done. We kept trying to work through the tough spot and even up unil Sunday morning we were a bit confused as to why all this had been happening throughout the week. We got to church and all the people we had been focusing on throughout the week had not been able to go with us. But then…the miracle happened. I swear it always happens just like this! I get to feeling a bit of doubt and deception and then the Lord blesses me with a miracle. It is the most amazing feeling ever. I was reminded of one of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon. I kind of chastized myself as I remembered Mormon 9:19. 

The miracle? I was giving my talk about missionary work in sacrament meeting when I see an entire family walk in the door. I had never seen them so I was anxious to finish the meeting to go and talk to them and find out if they were members or not. As I approached them after the meeting they were really excited to be able to talk to my companion and I . We set up an appointment for later that day to go and meet them in their house. We took the former Stake President and his wife with us to meet them and it turns out that the husband is a member that is less-active and his wife is not a member. She was married but her husband died about 3 years ago…the father who is less-active, Mariano, said that that morning he had a strong desire to get up and go to the church with his wife. He said it was an undeniable feeling and he also said that he knew his wife had to be baptized in the church as well. 

To make a long story short we taught Carla about the Gospel of Christ and she accepted to be baptized on the first of March. We were so excited about it:) The Lord provided the miracle in the exact right moment. We needed that. God will never cease to be a God of miracles. I thank the Lord for the miracles I witness on a weekly basis out here in the mission field. Carla is a great person and I am so happy to be part of her process. 

We also had another investigator in church. Her name is Ester…she is really smart. The thing is… she is only 16. She knows English, has a full-ride scholarship to study (rare in Guatemala), and loves the Book of Mormon. We got her a few friends in the ward this past week and she really seemed to like it. The only problem will possibly be the permission of her parents to be baptized… we will see where it goes! 

This week was a great learning experience for me! I am really grateful that even though I have 19 months in the mission the Lord still teaches me new things on a weekly basis that help me to continue to grow and be a good missionary. 

Love you all! I hope you all have a great week. 

Love,

Elder Ty Russell

February 10 2014- Email #82

Family and Friends,

Soo this week was stupendous as always!! I had a good week but to be honest not too many crazy stories or things that aren’t just kind of normal but we worked really well this week. We had a lot of success and we have some good positive investigators. 

The best part of the week was the baptism of Rene. He is one of my favorite converts up to this point. He has a cool story…he lives in a boys home due to his father who is a drunk and who abused him most of his life. He has 4 years living in the boys home here in my area and from the first moment we found him we were best friends. He is very talented at drawing and in the short time we have known him he has grown a great testimony of the Book of Mormon and the restored church. 

The week before his baptism he had his entire world tell him NOT to get baptized. All his friends and family told him the church was crazy and that the Mormons have a false bible and a whole bunch of false doctrince against the church. He would just laugh and tell them that he knew the church was true from how he felt there and by his answer from God. 

The baptismal service was really special. He got up out of the waters and was trying to hold back tears as he stepped out of the font. He is going to be a good member! He even scheduled with us for this Wednesday to accompany us and introduce us to some of his friends. He is 16. 

We also had a really cool opportunity to go and tract this past Wednesday morning with the next Mission President in El Salvador. He is here in our mission with his wife getting mission experience. Elder Zamudio and I got to go out with him and work and it was a really fun day. We found a really positive family that actually came to church yesterday. Her name is Elmy and her three kids Paula, Jose, and Pablo. They are humble and are sort of in search for a church right now. They are some of our best posibilities for this end of this month. 

We have been continuing to pass out Books of Mormon to members in the Stake to commit them to pass them out. Our Stake had a seminary activity this past Saturday morning just for us so we could disperse the Books of Mormon and have each write their testimony in it. Sometimes the young men and women are more full of motivation to work in missionary work than the adults so we hope to see results from the activity soon in the Stake. 

That is about it for this week. Everything is going well. I am happy, healthy, and content working in the most important work that is on the face of the earth. Missionary work is blessing not only the people I teach but also my life. I can see a change in myself that I like… I feel that as one serves God the opportunity to be molded by him is greater. We have to let God mold us. 

I love you all! 

Love,

Elder Ty Russell

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