My dear family,
I believe that I tell you every week but it makes me smile (and be very grateful) that the Russell family is always working. There are not many moments when I hear ... we loafed around all day and didn't speak to anyone. Oh how I love my family!!!
Where to begin. Amilcingo, this city is my heart. The experiences that I have had here and the work that is progressing give me so much joy. This week we had a really sacred experience with two women named Linda and Lucy. We were walking down one of the main streets in Amilcingo to go to an appointment in the morning when we passed by two women who were working outside cutting the brush from one of the sidewalks. As we were walking Elder Campos and I stopped to ask if we could help them. They commented that everything was fine and besides, you will get your clothes dirty. Elder Campos and I both smiled and I remember commenting that I would rather walk through the streets with a dirty white shirt knowing that I had served someone than a clean white shirt which would infer such negligence. We helped these two women clean this sidewalk. After an hour or so of work they invited us to sit down and rest a bit. We talked and they were extremely receptive towards us.
What really struck me is what happened with the people here in Amilcingo. We passed by the barbershop to talk to a friend of ours and a bunch of his friends passed by. It's really funny because the people that are the most coarse or the most gangster, the major portion of them are some of our closest friends. Various of them passed by this barbershop to hang out with the owner. Because we were there, they started to ask about what we do and who we are. We sat there as our friend from the barbershop spoke about how we love and help the people. Two other teenagers were there and commented that “Hey, you are the two missionaries that helped those ladies in the morning!” We are not two missionaries from some religion who pass by your house to bash with your family about your doctrine and bore you to death. When we say that we are representatives of Jesus Christ, we mean it. When we speak about the reality of the Book of Mormon as the word of God for our days, we mean it. And when we say that we love our fellow man, we mean it. We have seen in various circumstances the lies and misconceptions about the church dissolved by people who are not members of the church. These missionaries do not do that. This church is different. And it is true. The Church of Jesus Christ should be different from the rest because it is the only one which brings salvation to the human family according to their faith and works. If you want to know a topic that lights Elder Russell like a candle is faith without works. One may say that I am a servant of God. I love my God and my fellow man. But how? Are we sure? I can knock doors all day long, explaining what is the love of God. Or, I can roll up my sleeves and get to work.
A quote from President Monson really struck me this week:
“Let us ask ourselves the questions: ‘Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?’ [Hymns, no. 223]. What a formula for happiness! What a prescription for contentment, for inner peace—to have inspired gratitude in another human being.”
The secret for happiness is having inspired gratitude in another human being. It is so true. When we left after having helped Linda and Lucy, I felt such happiness for having helped these two daughters of God and for having opened the door for the preaching of the Gospel. What has impacted me so strongly this week and my invitation to you my family is this. When we loose ourselves for the work of the Lord, when there no longer is an I in the actions of our lives, inspiring this gratitude in the lives of our fellow man, I promise you that you will be happy. Thank you. The work of the Lord is built upon the principles of sacrifice and service. All of which brings us to our knees to proclaim thank you. As the Savior of mankind, I am moved and brought to my knees to say thank you. My Father in Heaven, thank you for your Beloved son and all that He did for me. As a representative of this Perfect Son, it is the greatest joy of my life to hear the humble utterings of a Mexican family to say Thank you Father, Thank you Heavenly Father for this young man. When we recognize what God does for us through others, we are filled with this gratitude. This gratitude fills our hearts and changes who we are. It is my testimony of such a conversion.
May God bless you my wonderful family. I invite you to reflect upon the times in your life when you were most grateful. What did you do? What did others do? After having realized what, do what you did. Be what others were for you. Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my testimony as a living witness of God that He lives. Christ is the head of this church and the foundation of our lives. Fill your hearts with gratitude through the diligent study of the scriptures and service to your fellow man. You will have the happiness that you seek. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Sean Russell