Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 27, 2010 MTC Week 1

Dear Family,
Well, where to start. You are serving as a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Has it been a humbling and amazing process? Absolutely. So the first few days have been roller coasters of where to be, what to do, and how to do it. I have learned so much about the work, what is expected, and how much I need to learn. The biggest realization for me has been the necessity for the Spirit in this work. There is so much to do, learn, and understand. I have learned that it is all in the Lord's hands. I believe it to be nothing less than essential for me to not only teach by the Spirit but to learn and live by it everyday.

My companion has been great. Elder Egan is from Cottonwood Heights, Utah and has been an amazing companion. It has been a learning curve for both of us. I realized that when it really comes down to it, I need to work, pray, have unity with my companion and my district, be obedient, love, and testify. I am loving it thus far. It of course was a transition but a remarkable one nonetheless. I had a really cool experience yesterday that has really helped me to realize the blessings of the Lord. So coming into my district has been a remarkable experience. Each of the Elders within the district are great. There are ten of us, eight Elders and 2 Sisters. Elder Bullock from Wilsonville Oregon and Elder Cook from I believe Boston Massachusettes are going to Mexico City Northwest. Elder Carter from California and Elder Roberts from Colorado are going to the same mission. Elder Egan and I are going to Cuernavaca Mexico, Sister Vela and Elder Virgi are going to Lima Peru and Elder Illagan is going to Boise Idaho and Sister Whittle is going to Peru Central. It has been an adventure for sure.

I had a really neat experience yesterday during my classes. It has been interesting trying to learn and teach the Gospel and the language when there are so many different approaches to the same goal. We are just starting to get into the swing of things for our schedules and what is expected of us. I was working on some language study yesterday feeling a bit like I was in a rut for expanding my language skills. I have been doing my best during class to pick up the language and talk as much as possible with my companion. I have my personal language goals that I have been setting and I want to really start working hard on them. I asked my teachers a few questions yesterday about some things. The teachers answered my questions and something just clicked. From studying and reading the amount I did over the summer, I have felt like I have understood the material fairly yet lacked the connections I needed to really start studying and practicing hard. It suddenly clicked for me yesterday. I realized that it was not because I had been particularly studious but rather it was a direct answer to my prayers. It was a good reminder for me that when you are doing the things which you are supposed to be doing, the Lord will provide the way for everything to work out. When you are on the Lord's errand, you are entitled to His help. I have felt that thus far.

This past week has been a tremendous lesson of how much I need to learn and the weight of what I am doing. Nonetheless, it is understanding that as I do the things I am asked, I will have the direction needed to make it all happen. I have found that it is necessary for my companionship, my study of the Gospel, my love for the people, my study of the language, and my service for the next two years. It is faith that it is His work and that He will provide a way for it to be done as long as I do what I am asked to do. I know that it is His work. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that I have the tremendous privilege to declare it. I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ. It truly is the strength of my life and I cannot wait to teach it for the next two years. Let's get to work.

Elder Russell