Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas, New Companion, New Area........week 74

Lorena's baptism

Dear family,
Well, we had our changes today and everything went really smooth. I am super excited to be in this area. Everything is flat and it is a small town. It is the total opposite of Acapulco. I feel as if I was back in Cualta. Elder Gosnell is a rockstar and I can´t wait to get working with him. My area is called Insurgentes and it is found in Iguala. Its about 40 minutes from Taxco. We are really excited to get some people baptized. We are seeing that there are a few people that we are going to prepare for baptism this week. But as of right now, you know just about as much as I do.
It is really funny. There is a younger missionary named Elder Bergen who was from Costa Azul who is working in an area right next to mine. As we got off of the bus he stopped to tell me, ¨Elder Russell, its flat here and its dry!¨ He is a very happy missionary :)

Well, I just about talked about all of the recent experiences that I have had in the past few weeks so I imagine that you all are well caught up. Therefore I took the time to send a few of the pictures of our most recent baptisms. The young woman is Elizabeth, the woman with her husband is Minerva, the short lady is Leticia, the woman wih her family is Lorena, and the tall skinny one is Luis. They are so great. The older woman is named Maria del Pilar. She is one of the coolest people I have ever met. We passed the night before Christmas with her and her family.

I hope to send you some pictures of some baptisms this week and a bit of the area. I love you family and I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven that I have such a wonderful family. May God continue to bless you.

Elder Russell

Maria del Pilar

Monday, December 19, 2011

Forget Yourselves even More........week 73

My dear family,

The fact of the matter is that I don't even realize that it is Christmas. We are working as if it was any other day. But I enjoyed your comments and I thank you for all of your support. I believe that I am going to call the family Sunday at 4 in the afternoon. We are going to call from the church so it is just going to be a phone call.

This week we had 2 baptisms. One from a woman named Leticia and another from a younger man named Luis. It was really special. We have 2 baptisms for Saturday named Jimmy and Evelia, 2 more for Sunday after the services named Ana and Fernanda, and we are going to visit some 3 or 4 other families to see if God wants their baptisms for this Saturday (I know that I sure do :) ). The work has been progessing a lot in this area as well as in the Zone. We are seeing miracles in our area as we have given our best portion to the Lord. I love it. We went to prepare the church for the baptismal service Thursday morning and there were two people sitting outside. We invited them into the church and they followed us inside. To our suprise, one of them had gone to church and Guanajato and was already ready for baptism. Therefore, we did a mock interview and asked him if he wanted to be baptized. He said yes. They were in the process of moving so he didn´t show up but whenever they are settled, he is ready to be baptized. So cool!

We got a lot to do and very little time. I am going to get moving but take care my dear family. I hope that everything is well. Enjoy this season of Christmas to forget yourselves even more. Lose yourself in this great work. It is the secret to happiness.

Elder Russell

Leticia's baptism

Baptism of Luis

Monday, December 12, 2011

"I am going to baptize this woman whether you like it or not!"........week 72

Dear family,

It sounds like everyone in doing wonderfully. I am glad. I hope that you all continue to have such experiences.

Well this week there is a lot to tell. First off, we had to marry a woman named Minerva which was one of the craziest things I have done in my mission. In December, nobody wants to marry people. The judges get tired and trunky for vacations. We ran all around Acapulco looking for someone who could help us. We found our miracle in the form of a contact from one of our investigators. We were blessed with miracles after miracles with the right people being there at the right time. From Monday to Friday we were seriously running from one place to another until they were married. We had her baptism Saturd ay at 8:00 PM. The funniest part was that we were running back from a service project and we raced into our apartment to change and get to the baptism on time. As I was showering all the sudden everything began to shake. I knew that I had been really stressed out but when my companion told me ¨hey, we're in an earthquake!¨ I started laughing for the irony. I thought to myself ¨Satan, even if you want to kill me while I'm showering its not going to happen. I am going to baptize this woman whether you like it or not!¨

We got dressed quickly and we enjoyed a very special baptismal service.

Minerva's baptism

Apart from the miracles that had been happening for Minerva and her baptism, the Lord blessed us with a lot of people who are already ready to be baptized. We told the Lord this week that we are here for Him. We are here to baptize. If He wants us to baptize, we are going to do all we can but He´s got to do His part. Well, He did it :)

One experience really special was Friday in the afternoon. After the wedding, Minerva and her husband invited us to go eat at McDonald´s (its a big thing here :) ) As we were eating a member family greeted us and sat at another table. After eating I wanted to get to know them and I presented myself to them. They told me that they were the Nuñez family. The father said that he had served a mission in Honduras in 2002 to 2004. I asked him what mission and he said Comayaguela (if I spelt it right) I then asked if he knew an Elder Russell. He paused, looked me in the eyes and told me, ¨Your brother is Elder Russell?¨ He then explained, ¨ I am Elder Nuñez, your brother was my Zone leader in an area named La Paz. It is a privilege.¨ I have to tell you the truth family, I was deeply honored. I thought you would like to know Troy. Brother Nuñez lives here in a ward named Coloso that pertains to our Zone/Stake. After making the connection, he welcomed me to his family and wanted that his family would know who I was. As Mom always says, ¨That´s right, I´m cool.¨ It was a great honor to know that the Russell Family extends all the way to Acapulco Mexico even before I ever came.

The work is progressing a whole lot. God is doing His work through us. It is evident. We are working with a lot of families that we have planned for Christmas. This week is going to be huge to see if they will be baptized.

I had a very special experience this Sunday. One of the biggest lessons that I have taken from my mission is how to administer in the Church. I am always anxious and very excited to learn more about how to better bring about better the work of Salvation. Something that I have always wanted to know is how to effectively coordinate the work of salvation within a meeting like Ward Counsel. We were invited to attend ward counsel for other issues but the representative from the High Council who works with missionary work in the Stake (a really good friend of ours :) ) came and showed how it should be done. I was so excited to see that it is easy and it works. It was a tender mercy of the Lord. I understood clearly how an organization could function effectively within a ward to bring about the salvation. I saw clearly that this was a capacitacion (training) from the First Presidency and I received a testimony that it was so. So sweet!

Well family, take care. May the Lord continue to bless you as you work in His vineyard. It is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Russell

Monday, December 5, 2011

A White Christmas in Acapulco?.........week 71

Dear family,

I have very little time but thanks for the last letter. We are running to train our district leaders and pick up a missionary. I already received the package but I'm waiting to open the good stuff until Christmas. Congratulations for the baptisms in the ward. Invite those converts over to dinner in our home. They can have whatever they want from my stuff.

The work is exploding and we are getting this missionaries to work. We are going to marry a family tomorrow and we have their baptism for this Friday. We are working and we are expecting a very white Christmas.

We visited an inactive family this Saturday and the Grandma said that she had been pondering about be baptized in the Church. She is going to be baptized this month. So Sweet! Another man came to church who had already read the Book of Mormon thoroughly and the missionaries were asking themselves in Gospel Principles ¨Is he a member?´ The answer is no and we are going to invite him to be baptized for Christmas. There are many others who are progressing as well.

Everything is super good here. A whole lot of work to do but we are going to get it done. I love you family and invite all to come unto Christ. In this way you will literally be Saviors in this world.

Elder Russell