Monday, June 27, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
My Dear Family,
Wow, it sounds like the family is really busy with a lot of projects and working hard. As President Grant says, "we must re throne work as the guiding factor in the lives of the Latter-day Saints." I have no doubt that my family has no trouble with the principle of work.
I appreciate all of your thoughts and the comments in the letters that I have received. I am grateful for all that you do and I know that the Lord guides the steps of His children. I am astonished each and every day how the Lord places people in our paths to teach, lead, and guide us. I know that I have been taught by goodly parents. I am eternally grateful for you my dear family. May the Lord continue to bless you as you seek to do His will.
I have been thinking a lot lately about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We live in this world every single day. We talk, walk, hear, communicate, run, feel, understand. We worry ourselves with a lot of things. We begin to stress ourselves over things that really do not have much importance. I have thought much about a quote from President Monson which says that ¨we should never let a problem become more important than a person to be loved.¨ It has given me a perspective much deeper about what I desire to accomplish as a missionary and as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Speaking of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I know that it is the only way to return to live with God again. As we exercise faith, repent of our sins, show God the reality of our faith through obedience to His commandments, make covenants with God to do more so that He can bless us to greater degrees, we can obtain success, peace, and eternal life. The only way that we can receive eternal life is through our personal relation with Jesus Christ. He is the only person who is capable to give us salvation. Taking from President Monson, I have thought about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this way. ¨Elder Russell, never let a problem become more important than your love for Jesus Christ.¨ Why? Why would someone neglect themselves of vanities to follow Christ? I like the word vanity. It means something that appeals to be worthwhile or correct but in reality it is not. It means a trap. They are counterfeits of blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Each and every one of us yearns for success, peace, and a security of who we are and where are we going. If the Gospel of Jesus Christ did not exist, there would be no reason for us to be here. If the Gospel of Jesus Christ did not exist, there is no reason for this earth. But we are here. We life in this earth and we live in this day and age when the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is here on the earth. We search and search and search for complex answers and instantaneous solutions. They are vanities or counterfeits of the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no solution nor situation that God does not understand nor has He already dealt with it millions of times. We are talking about the Eternal God who does not change who is the Mediator of all mankind. Learn of Him. Trust Him. Follow Him.
It is my testimony that we are members of the family of God. We were not reserved for this day and age so that we could waste away our time thinking about being baptized or receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We were reserved to so that we could be baptized in this day and age. We were not selected for our excellence in money management but for our diligence in the Priesthood of God. Follow Christ. It is the only real success. It is my prayer that we can make and better keep the covenants that God has given us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Wow, its sounds like there is a lot happening in the family. I love it! To slow down is a horrible thought :) Give my love and support to Joy and Josh with Clayton, Troy with his exams, Tyler in his work and dating, Grant in his adjustments and mom and dad with all that they do!
Costa Azul is tearing it up right now. We are working really hard to help the missionaries to think differently and work more efficiently. I really enjoy being a Zone leader not because it makes me feel really fancy rather that we have the opportunity to help the missionaries to meet their goals and see their satisfaction when they do so. The area here in Costa Azul is very different than what I have been used to be but I love it. The members are amazing and we see how the ward should function. I feel very very blessed. We have a ward very well established, a lot of enthusiasm in the Zone and the majority of the missionaries in our Zone are younger. I see it in this way: what more could one ask to try new ideas and projects in the Zone? I don't remember if I shared with you this quote but it is my favorite. Its by Albert Einstein who said that ¨if we want to change the problems that are all around us, we cannot continue in the same degree of thought when we created such problems.¨ I absolutely love this quote. If we want to obtain different results than we have had, we cannot continue doing the same things that we have done. If I want to change a problem that is present in my life, I cannot fix it by simply doing the same things.
I find that its applies in every aspect of my life. If I desire to have more success in my family, in my study of the scriptures, in my lessons, in my ability to speak Spanish, to help more people to come unto Christ, I have to think and act everyday so that I can achieve such results. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the way to achieve such success. Successful missionaries, marriages, families, careers, callings, etc. do not occur by accident. What is the difference? What are the things that such people think and do everyday to achieve their results? For me, the secret lies in their hearts. If we are dedicated to do the work of the Lord, He will teach us to think and work in His way which is the most efficient. Why would God give us the answer to a question that He knows we are not going to act upon? God knows us perfectly. If I have a problem or a concern, is my heart right so that I could ask God to help me think or work better? Why would I give $10 to someone knowing that they are going to spend it on beer? Are we asking God to give us $10 so that we can buy beer? The success comes when we allow God to teach us the more excellent way. But this comes when we give Him everything we are. Then, and only then, do we pay our tuition in the University of the Priesthood of God. When we enter, there is no going back nor do we want to. We enter into the preparation of success in this world and eternal life. I have just begun in my first semester but I have seen amazing results. I love this work. I love my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. There is no going back nor do I want to. Such is with God.
It is my testimony that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ. It is His Church. I have no doubt of that. Each one of us is capable to give for Him. Each one of us is here to work in the preparation of the last days. If it wasn't so, why am I here? I know who I am, where I came from, and where I am going. As with everything, this knowledge only came when I was willing to give God all that I had. I pray that we can all do likewise. It is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Well I am here in Acapulco and I am very very excited. The Lord has placed me in a very specific place with companions who are going to help me to help the Lord to bring souls unto Him. I feel that the Lord is sitting me down and saying "Elder Russell, you need to learn lessons a, b, c, and d. You are here with him for A and B, you have this appointment for C and the drunk on the street is going to teach you D. I absolutely love it. I feel like I have the opportunity everyday to look up towards God and say `thank you, I really needed to learn this lesson." They are lessons that I will thank the Lord forever. I love my time with Elder Zepeda right now. I see how the Lord places Him in my path telling me, "Elder Russell, its time to learn."
Something that has really impacted me this week was the importance of our desires. I love being a missionary because everything that you don't do well is put in a magnifying glass so that you can acknowledge your weakness and change it. I have been greatly impacted at how powerful is our will. If I want to achieve a desired amount, x for example, the difference between results of x and 2x is my desires to obtain twice as much. I have noticed how powerful we become when we commit ourselves. Nobody can force us but when we have righteous goals, the only person who is going to impede us from achieving our righteous goals is ourselves. The mind is such a powerful thing. I received from the Lord this very powerful lesson: If there is a reasonable righteous goal, if I have the desire to achieve it and I focus all of my efforts to achieve it, there is nothing that I cannot do. If I allow that my righteous desire becomes the focus of my life, there is nothing that can stop me. Even in the first week in Acapulco, Elder Russell is being taught and molded to better serve His children. Missionary work is so cool!
My dear family, take care. Give your hearts to God. Know His Son Jesus Christ.
Pray everyday, read the scriptures everyday, and attend Church each week. Take time to meditate in your hearts the Gospel of Jesus Christ and fast at least once a month. I promise you in the name of Christ that you will come to know Christ even more in your lives. He will give you the strength that you need and the peace that you seek. It is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.