Monday, September 26, 2011

The Work Goes Forth, Jump on Board........week 61

My wonderful family,

The work here is going excellent. Elder Zepeda and I are getting some serious work done. We have been bringing about 2 - 3 new families to church every Sunday and the ward is responding very well. Tell the missionaries at home that if they want to get a family to church, a friend or neighbor who is an active member has to offer to go to church with them on Sunday, pass by for them, and sit by them through it all in a lesson before Sunday. The members are the key to finding, bringing to church, baptizing, and retaining. Bring out the minivans!!! President Spannaus says it this way. He says that if the missionaries want to change the attitude of a ward, its not by passing by and teaching them. Its by bringing a huge mass of people to church on Sunday. If that happens, everything gets better so that the ward becomes more involved.

Elder Zepeda and I are teaching 18 families here in Acapulco. We have been working really hard but the fruits haven´t come yet. We are being diligent and by doing so, we know that the fruits are going to come. We are expecting a family baptism this week. We are working to get that done this week. There is much to do, much to learn, and much more to become. I´ll keep you all posted.

I love you all so much. May you begin to rejoice once again in the work of the Master. There is nothing better. I am working here what I can. If the missionaries say that they don't have anybody to teach, let me know. I´ll rack my brain until I can get some references for them.
Elder Russell

Monday, September 19, 2011

Be Thou an Example........week 60

Today we played email tag. Sean got on at 9:30 AM our time, earlier than normal. I was in the middle of checking emails and started writing him. When I looked at my emails....there it was....his email for today....OH NO! I wasn't done yet. So I quickly send off 3 emails hoping to send him something. A broken up conversation for sure. Here is his email I received at 10:10 AM.

My dear family,

Well, I apologize for not being able to communicate with you all this past week. We have been running around rather busy the past few weeks and my time has been leaving me faster and faster. Forgive me for my inconsistency. It sounds like the family is doing very well. I hope and pray that the Lord will continue to bless you and guide you in your paths.

Well, I'm going to let you in on the statistics of our work here in Acapulco. We have been working really hard these past few weeks so that would could baptize every week. The past 3 weeks we had baptisms scheduled each week. However, each of them has fallen through for fears of their parents. It's okay, with every experience, we find another way how not to baptize :)

Right now we are teaching 15 families and we are preparing a family for this Sunday. We are teaching a mom with her 5 sons and all of their grand kids. There are about 5 families in this family and about 30 members. We are preparing the whole family for a baptism this 9th of October. I´ll let you know how things go. Pray for them so that they can prepare themselves for this day. We are working hard so that we can baptize at least one family every week. We´ll send you the photos when they come ;)

I would like to share with you one of my new favorite scriptures. It is found in DC 58:35. From Spanish, it says that ¨to me it is necessary that my servant Martin Harris would give an example to the Church, giving over his money to the Bishop of the church.¨ Okay Elder Russell, what does this scripture have to do with anything? I have reflected much about how to inspire those whom I serve. Here was the answer for me. You must give your example to the Church. God, knowing the needs of His church, calls on men and women to give their examples. Why? So that others can see their works and be better. I learned that the success of one is found within.

When the Lord calls someone to a calling, He is not asking them to do something, He is asking them to be something. As it says in DC 107:99 "Learn every man his duty and as to work with all diligence in the office in which he has been called". We are called and it become critical that we learn what are the duties of such responsibility and we obey them. In this way, we become the servants that the Lord requires us to be. If there is much work to be done, we must learn our duties and fulfill them with all diligence. In this way we become leaders and inspire so that the work can spread into more hands and thus bringing about more fruit. If the master desires more workers in his vineyard, He must become great so that he will have more workers. This process is in the hands of the master if we allow it to occur. DC 64:34 ´For behold, the Lord requires the heart and a willing mind...¨ They are the requisites. The heart and the mind. Desire. And as the scriptures explain further on that those obedient to their duties will have the abundance of the land or success. Everything depends on us. As Paul says it, we are only constrained by our own hearts.

I know that this is the work of God. I have no doubt of it. My life is this work. I thank my God that I have such opportunity.

Elder Russell

Oh I didn't tell you, last week we met with Elder Ballard, Elder Jensen, Elder Benjamin de Hoyos and Elder Gonzalez of the Area Seventy. Ill talk more about that latter :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mission Conference in Cuernavaca........week 59

We didn't hear from Sean today but I did receive an email from a fellow missionary mom. She sent this photo.....that explained everything. Until next week.....

Fourth row on the right in the window seat.....a familiar face.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I picture images of them in the Temple........week 58

My dear family,

What a week we have had here. I am amazed at all of the blessings that we given each and every day as missionaries and as members of the Church of Jesus Christ. I hope to be able to comment about some of my experiences this week.

The Lord is mindful of His children. I feel of that protection each day of my life here. This week has been a week of a lot of training on my part and training other missionaries. I was working in a lot of different areas and running all of the place. I think I was here in Acapulco for one day. Its okay, I learned a lot and we are helping our missionaries so that we can elevate the faith that is found in this Zone. There is something very special about working in the service of the Lord. I would like to comment about something that has caused me to reflect repeatedly. The Lord takes people who are imperfect with many defects and calls them to His work. In this process, He molds these people to be His servants. I have felt this process many many times in my mission, particularly in my time here in Acapulco. The Lord will always instruct those who diligently seek Him in faith. I know that. I have found that with problems that come forth with investigators, members, missionaries, etc., I find that a personal weakness is highlighted and the path towards its solution is revealed. Only when my life´s work is His work do I really receive guidance. It is something that I am deeply grateful for and I know that I am here in this area, with my companion, president, missionaries, members, investigators, and others so that can learn how I can more fully bring about the work of the Lord. It is a spectacular process which brings eternal rewards. There is nothing that matters more to me than the salvation of my brothers and sisters. I have dedicated my life to this cause. There is no going back. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I had a very sacred experience this week. We left for a Conference of the Zone Leaders in Cuernavaca. On our return, I sat pondering many things. I contemplated about the time that I have had as a missionary and how much I have grown under the tutelage of my Father in Heaven. Thinking about this, it came to my mind the thought of the families that I have taught and the image of them in the temple. A flood of emotion came over me like I had not felt in my life and I fought not to tear up. I pled with my Father in Heaven that He would help me to bring these people to His house. I made a promise with my Father in Heaven that from this day I would do all in my power to bring as many of His families to the Temple so that they could live eternally. I reflected about the people I know. How many are baptized for the remission of their sins? How many hold His Priesthood? How many have served missions in His name? How many have entered the temple to be married for time and all eternity? A great sense of guilt swept over me. Oh how I had neglected the salvation of the children of God! I made another covenant with my Father in Heaven. I am my brother´s keeper. I am a steward of this body and my time here on the earth. Why? To bring about salvation. I repented in my mind and in my heart. Its was time to really get to work :)

My dear family, this is the work of God. Be a part of it. Bring those who you know to the make covenants with God. You will find no greater joy, knowledge, and peace. May we dedicate ourselves even more to this great cause. Shall we not go forth? I know that the Kingdom of God will grow until the Gospel has sounded in every ear and all will confess before God in the last day that Jesus is the Christ. We are here to bring that about. Let´s get it done :)
Elder Russell