Dear my wonderful family,
Glad to hear that all is well. Thanks for all the emails and photos of the family. It is good to hear that all is going well and congratulation on deciding to take the photography class mom. I hope you love it.
So, I have successfully completed my first week in Amilcingo. I don't know where to start. First off, I don't know anything. That has been a wonderfully humbling experience for me. In reality, most of this week has been just adjusting to things. So first things first, Elder Arreola is a my companion that looks like an American but is actually from Torreon Mexico. More or less, if you could picture Tyler Russell as a Mexican, he is my companion. Its pretty funny. Things are going great here. The members are absolutely amazing. They are the nicest people in the world. I am becoming more and more certain that I will put on some pounds in this town. It is rather funny because almost every dinner conversation starts with "Elder Russell, do you like spicy food?" I then proceed to give my definition of spicy which always brings a laugh. Despite the initial difficulties of adjusting to a completely new culture and such, the members and our investigators have been ever patient and kind towards me. Don't worry mom, though we don't have a mamita here in Amilcingo, they are in the rest of the mission however, there are so many absolutely amazing families who feeding us more than we can handle.
So Amilcingo. If you can imagine the area of to the side Hillcrest Road in Medford, from the Merrill's until Cherry Lane, closest to MT Roxyanne, you have about the size of my area or larger. My area is really small. But it is really fun because you see members all the time as well as your investigators. Almost everyone walks or takes the combi which in essence a chevy van with the inside gutted out to put benches in it. It is so awesome!
The language is coming along better than I give myself credit for. Mexican Spanish is pretty funny because it really is a song. Its a song that the people like to write their own lyrics to. There are a lot of phrases that are solely Mexican which at first took my by surprise. For the sake of posterity, its true, the first few days were "what language are they speaking". By no means am I able to communicate fluently but I can talk to my Mexican companion and the investigators without utterly destroying everything. I count my blessings everyday.
So funny things thus far. I mentioned that Mexicans sing when they talk right. I love just listening to the people talk. The accentuation of their voices is so different but I absolutely love it. I thought often of Troys mission as the people here drive Mercedes, have huge tvs, abnoxiously loud stereo systems, and so much food but buy bottled water every day. Its so funny. I woke up one day to study and heard our neighborly rooster and goat say their morning prayers alongside our neighbors blare their music at 8 in the morning. More than anything, its just so funny. I absolutely love it. I have never seen so many PA systems strapped to trucks as a recorded announced blares through the streets. Most go something like this. Super great deal at the store, store, store, store, free, free, free (repeat until the truck passes by).
Spiritual experiences this week: we met an absolutely amazing family this week as we were knocking on doors. A young woman greeted us and told us to come back in and hour and a half. We came back, taught the first lesson, she was really interested and invited us back to talk with her husband. We did so and they are committed to baptism and attending church this Sunday. Elaine and Oliver are their names and we are so excited to continue with them. We are working with quite a few other people whom we are working hard to come to church. Its so great.
Well, my time is running short but know that everything is absolutely wonderful and I know that this is exactly where I need to be serving right now. President Spannaus told the new missionaries something that really stood out to me. It is found in Moroni 8:16 and relative to us as new missionaries. The latter portion of "do not fear what man can do because perfect love casteth out all fear". Thus, though I cannot speak fluently nor do I know every member, I am striving more than anything to love them. Thus, I am becoming truly fearless. I know that it is true. It has helped me tremendously even thus far.
Well family, take care. It is a privilege to wear your name alongside the Saviors. Know of my love for both names. I wouldn't want any other.