Monday, April 25, 2011

Season of the Harvest........week 39

My dear family,

Wow wow wow, I am writing to you this with more excitement than I believe I have had in all of my mission. Right now we are beginning to see the fruits of our all our work in the past 6 months. The ward in Amiltzingo is really stepping it up. We are talking about a ward that 6 months ago was indifferent to the missionaries and the missionary work to a ward that is going to have almost every family committed to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and families with their organizations which are striving to be unified in order to bring about the salvation of those who are found here. Being absolutely honest, Elder Pineda and I are becoming more and more animated each and every day. We are seeing the Lords hand in our work every day. Our bishop who has passed through very difficult things is excited and starting to demonstrate an excellent example for the ward. I would like to relate a story about an experience that we had this Sunday.

Right now we are unifying the organizations of the ward under the banner of the mission plan. I was reading today about this and I love the example of Captain Moroni. He raised the title of Liberty when it seemed like his people was about to fall. He created a mission plan for his people. Elder Pineda and I have felt the same. For your families, for your freedom, and for the ability to help those who need of your help, live the Gospel of Jesus Christ! With all of our coordination with the ward, we have started to have Family Home Evenings to help activate, maintain, and invite people to come. Elder Pineda and I prayed about which families we should speak with to be the leaders of this FHEs. We felt strongly about the families and this Sunday we passed by the house of one of them to commit them to fulfill this responsibility. It was an amazing experience. We have worked with this family for about 5 months, trying to prepare them to enter the temple. We arrived at their house and we found them swimming in the pool with a bunch of their family who are member as well. The majority of this family has not assisted church in the past few weeks and this Sunday wasn't an exception. We arrived at their house, pulled aside the parents, and started with a prayer. We spoke to them that we had been praying to know the families which God wants us to give this responsibility. This family is a family that works very hard and they don't arrive at the house until 8 or 9 in the night. We knew that this responsibility would be a rather large sacrifice for them. Nevertheless, we did not doubt for a second that it was what God was asking them to do. While we were teaching them, the two parents began to tear up. The wife spoke to us and asked us "Elders, how is it possible that would have such a responsibility. Look around Elders, its Sunday and we are swimming and doing nothing that is really of any worth. We are not worthy to do such things." A bit of advice for the future, if there is anything that brings emotion to Elder Russell more than this type of dialogue, I don't know what it is. We testified to this very repentant family. God does not call the strong and the intelligent to do His work. He calls the weak and the simple who have desires to serve Him. We left this lesson with the Spirit very strong. We are going to see how they respond in these days.
It is my strong testimony that God knows His children and guides them in His timing. I love what is found Galatians 6:9

And let us not be aweary in well doing: for in due season we shall breap, if we faint not.

As well as what is found in DC 64:33

Wherefore, be not aweary in bwell-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of csmall things proceedeth that which is great.

I can testify that these are promises of the Lord. I have seen in the past months here how the small things proceed that which is great. We have passed for very difficult times in our duration here but we are beginning to see the season of the harvest. And the truth, we are so excited. We need a few more weeks but afterwords, this ward is going to become the glory of this mission. They already are the glory my mission. There is no greater joy than see the lives of the people change under the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is His Church. We are members of the only true church of Jesus Christ, with His authority with the correct doctrine and ordinances for our salvation. I know that Christ is the Head of this Church and leads and guides us through a living prophet. I know it because God has witnessed unto me through the Holy Ghost that the fruit of these prophets is true. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Elder Russell

P.S. This picture is a poster that I saw the other day in the street that I stopped and began to laugh really hard. For some strange reason I thought of Troy. Make sure to send it to him and the rest of the family :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Put First Things First........week 38

My dear family,

It sounds like the family is plugging along in all aspects. I am very thankful to hear that Clayton is doing well. Tell the family to keep up the good work. The Lord always blesses us when we do what He asks of us. Like it is mentioned in 3 Nephi 13:31-33, put the first things first and the rest will come. I am a living witness of it. I believe that we are going to have a conference in the middle of May. If you would like to send something, I believe that I will receive it in time. And about the calls for Mothers Day, I am not sure. I will let you know when we know.

Where do we begin. First off, the Lord touched my heart strings this week. We passed another round of changes and I am still here in Amilcingo. I am very relieved. We have some here that we need at least 6 more weeks to complete. This week has been a week filled with new direction in our work. The Lord spares little time in instructing those who are willing to do His work. In these past few weeks the Lord has taught me a very powerful principle. The Church of Jesus Christ and His Gospel are perfect. A few weeks ago we tried to organize and plan what we could do to change the efficiency of the work (yes, I am my fathers son :) ). We prayed, studied, discussed ideas, and in the end, the Lord taught us that He has already told us what we need to do. I loved the talk of one of the General Authorities about 6 months ago. He was in a conference with another general authority and this man asked a few questions at the general authority who came. Each time, the authority responded, great question, lets see what the manual says. This example penetrated my heart these past few weeks. When we have a problem in our minds or we don't know how to proceed, let us read the manual.

The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and contains the FULLNESS OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. I was humbled to more fully recognize that God already knows. He has already given us the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church. What we lack is nothing more than to do what He has already said. I absolutely love this Gospel. There is no doubt nor problem that the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot solve. It is true. If we believe that we have thought of a problem or a doubt that God has not already resolved, we are seriously mistaken.

Along with this lesson, we have been very humbled by the doctrine of unity. As it is written in DC 38:27, if we are not one, we are not of God. This has everything to do with us. I love what is written in Alma 16:15-16. Read it and ponder about what the Lord did after there was the missionary work, the establishment of the Church, and unity in the Church. It has been our work these past few weeks to obtain the sames blessings as these missionaries of old received. I know that we can obtain them if we are willing to put in our part.

May the Lord continue to bless you my dear family as you seek to do His will. Let us see the commandments of God as the ways which we have to show our love for God and for His children. We cannot say that we love someone without showing that love. The way which we can show our love for God is through His commandments. It is my testimony that we live in the blessed days to have the Priesthood of God once again in the earth. The eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ is taught in its simplicity with the correct commandments and ordinances to prepare us to live with God again. I know that Christ is the Head of the His Church and leads and guides His Church through a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. We are guided in these days through revelation. May we better realize how great it is to live in this day. It is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Russell

Monday, April 11, 2011

Putting the Priesthood of God to work.........week 37

Dear family,
In the same way, I don't have much time to write today but I want to thank you for your letter and this weekend I will fast for Clayton. This week has been a miraculous week. We are trying to help motivate the ward to organize the auxiliaries better. I was reading the other day about the welfare program and something that President Kimball said really impacted me. When he was asked to construct a program to satisfy the needs of the hungry and the poor, with his limited knowledge, he felt really inadequate. However, in fervent prayer he received his answer. He said that we don't need another new organization. We just need to put the Priesthood of God to work. This quote has been the focus of our work right now. We are striving to bring the blessings of the priesthood in the lives of the people here in Amiltzingo. All of the needs of the ward can be met if the Priesthood of God is put to work. This has been our secret and we have already seen miracles in the lives of the people. There is an expression in Mexico that, directly translated, means that we are going to put the batteries in. We are doing likewise here. Missionary work is so cool!
Elder Russell

Monday, April 4, 2011

People who Plan know Who they are and Where they are going........week 36

My dear family,

I'm writing to you all rather hurriedly this time around but I thank you for your comments and prayers in my behalf. I would like to share some of the experiences of this week.

The Lord knows His children. He teaches them and satisfies their needs through the service of others. I felt very strongly this principle this week. We just watched and listened to living prophets of God who have His authority to administer the needs of all people in this world. Elder Pineda and I were praying for more inspiration this Conference as to the manner in which we were going to continue working here in Amiltzingo. We received exactly what we were praying for. This conference I had an experience that marked me very deeply. We were in between the 4th and 5th sessions of Conference and I felt that we needed to stop by and visit a family. We have been providing a lot of materials to the members so that they can really create eternal families. The main thing in which we have left with them is the manner to plan. We invite every family every Sunday to see everything that the Lord requires of them every week and as a family, plan it. We are inviting every family to plan how they are going to complete with everything each week. Of everything I have learned in my mission, the importance of desires, vision, goals, plans, and planning sessions have changed everything. I know what I want to be for the Lord, personally, for my family, and for the rest. I know my purpose, my desires, my goals, my plans, and my sessions of planning each week. It is a process but I have received the blessings already in my life and we are sharing them with these families. I felt strongly that we needed to stop by for a family between the sessions. We talked about eternal life and the reasons for everything. I spoke rather boldly to this family that I love so dearly. After having felt the necessity to go for the last session of conference, this Sister told me that we had taught her a very powerful lesson about what is General Conference. She wasn't going to go but we arrived late the last session to bring her and her family. I felt like the friends of the paralyzed man in the Bible. Where will your friends bring you? I felt like we brought her and her family at the feet of the Savior by hearing His words through His prophets.

Family, I invite you to do something that has changed everything in my mission. Write what is your purpose personally. Write what is your purpose as a family. Write them down, adjust them as you feel it is necessary until we realize that our real purpose is the same as Gods. When you have reached this conclusion, make your goals, set your plans, plan as a family and personally, and then do them. I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is capable to forgive us of our sins as we are willing to change our hearts and turn our will unto God. A brother here told us something that impacted me deeply. About this topic he said that the people who plan know who they are and where they are going. God teaches us through the Gospel of His Son Jesus Christ who we are and where we are going. Do we understand it? This Sunday, I invite you to sit down as a family and plan exactly how you are going to become an eternal family. Plan the things that you already know that we should do and the faults that you have that you want to change and put a day and a hour for every one of them. Then do it. I promise you that if you do it as a family, you will realize clearly who we really are and where we are going. It is my sacred witness and testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Russell