Monday, January 30, 2012

"I cannot be what I was yesterday, because He has asked me to be better than I was yesterday" ........week 79

Juan and Veronica's Marriage and Baptism

Dear family,

We had a great week this week. Juan and Veronica were married this past Thursday and were baptized Saturday. They are great. Juan is so cool. We showed up at his house a few weeks ago and we told him, ¨Hey, don't drink alcohol and stop drinking coffee.¨ From that day he hasn't touched a drop. He told me, ¨Elder Russell, I've been eating a lot of donuts thanks to you.¨ I had to laugh.

We are getting a lot of work done here. It was really funny this Sunday. We finished up our month and we are getting more goals and projects in motion. We were thinking about the converts we have had this past month and how awesome they are. Alejandra who was baptized 3 weeks ago showed up at church with a smile so big that I couldn't help but smile back. Being a missionary is the best!

I am learning more and more everyday. I am surprised in how the Lord takes something that I have read or thought about for months and in this situation and this time is the answer to my prayers. It is truly extraordinary. As we work in the vineyard of the Lord we are shaped. Of that I have no doubt.

I really don´t have anything miraculous to say rather that life is amazing. I am blessed each and every day. I feel that I have so much that I need to learn and do. As I strive to understand more through a diligent study of the scriptures and as that study brings repentance in my life, I find deep joy and satisfaction. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the source of our happiness. I am certain of that. Each day here is a lesson for life. I feel each day a great blessing that comes from the Gospel. I feel a greater responsibly and therefore a greater blessing. And in this way He works. I feel that I cannot be what I was yesterday because He has asked me to be better than I was yesterday. I can't do or be what i thought I should do or be. It's what He wants.

God lives. Jesus Christ is our Savior. Joseph Smith was a prophet and Thomas S. Monson is His prophet today. It is my sacred testimony.
Elder Russell

Monday, January 23, 2012

"God, do you exist?"........week 78

Dear family,

What a wonderful week. There has been so much work being done here that I can hardly believe that we have time for it all. We are preparing various families for baptism. Insurgentes is getting it done!

I would like to share an experience that was really special for us this week. We have been teaching a family for a few weeks named the Pichardo Family. They have felt the Spirit answer their deepest questions as we have read the Book of Mormon and they are progressing towards their baptism. We were teaching them in the nighttime when we asked their oldest daughter if she had a question about something we had taught them. She paused and after a moment or two asked us why it is so difficult to believe in God? We asked her what she thought about that. She commented that she had been taught that He exists but she could not say that she really knew it for a fact. We then proceeded to read from 3 Nephi 14 about him who asketh, receiveth. We invited her to ask God. Ask Him specifically and he will respond to you specifically. We told her to ask Him, ¨God, do you exist?¨ We had expected that she would pray when we had left but about 30 second later as we were speaking to her parents, she asked with all faith ¨God, do you exist?¨ In this moment we turned to her a bit surprised. In this instant the Spirit flooded the room. She began to move in her chair and she told us, ¨I feel something different.¨ Her name is Diana. ¨Diana, this is the Holy Spirit, it speaks the truth.¨ We then told her, ¨well, you now know. God lives and answers the prayers of His children.¨ We were truly on sacred ground that night.

My dear family, God lives. He guides His Church through revelation to his prophets. Today there is revelation or communication between heaven and earth. There are prophets or men who hold the Priesthood or authority of God to act in His name. It is true. Joseph Smith was the prophet who was called to bring the Church of Jesus Christ once again upon the earth. Like every true prophet, he had a good fruit. This fruit is the Book of Mormon which you can read, analyze, and pray to know if Joseph Smith truly was God´s Prophet in these last days. The Holy Ghost will bring feelings of peace, joy, and love into your heart. You will know for yourself of these things. For those who know it, take this challenge once again. For those who do not know, do it and when you know it, get baptized. Its really simple.

The Book of Mormon is true. This is the Church of Jesus Christ. I have no doubt of it. I invite all to read, ponder, and pray to know for themselves. You will find what you are looking for. Believe in God. Believe that He has created all things and that He knows how to guide His children. It is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Russell

Monday, January 16, 2012

Each Day is the Greatest Day of My Life........week 77

Hey Family,

Dad, I am so excited to hear about the work in the Ward. It sounds like the work is getting going. I am so glad to hear it. We had a baptism this week. She is named Alejandra. She is so cool. We showed up, we told her that she needed to be baptized, and she accepted. We called her the following day and she said that she wanted to wait another week. I told her 'Alejandra, why wait another week? You´re ready and you know it." When she was baptized, she was so happy. A super cool convert.

We are getting work done here. I love. The members have been commenting to us, ¨Wow, you Elders really are getting to work.¨ Well duh. :) I´m a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ. I got a purpose and I got very little time to get it done. I absolutely love being a missionary.

We had interviews today with President. I love talking to President. He told me, ¨Be a baptizing freak.¨ Will do President :) We are preparing a couple to be married and baptized this week and 3 of a family of 5 to be baptized this week. We´re getting some work done.

Each day is the greatest day of my life. I learn and I grow. I see how the Lord has taken my weaknesses and he has forged me into His servant. I see the tremendous growth which has occured in my life and in the lives of my investigatores. If we are to live the commandment to be perfect as the Father is perfect, we must be consciously involved in the work of salvation and the establishment of Zion here on earth. How blessed are those who seek to bring about the cause of Zion in the last days for they will have my Spirit and my power. To that I testify.

My dear family, may the Lord bless you as your forget yourself in this grand cause. You will find no greater joy. You will change in the hands of the Lord and the desires of your heart that really matter will be granted. I have no doubt of that. Shall we not go forth in such a great cause? Hurrah for Israel! Glory to God and the Lamb!
Elder Russell

Alejandra's Baptism

Monday, January 9, 2012

Put Our Shoulder to the Wheel........week 76

Luis's baptism

Dear family,

It's great to hear that everything is going well at home. The work is going amazing here. I was proud to hear that Dad and Troy are working hard with their programs there. We are getting behind our ward mission leader here and he´s getting excited.

I don't have much time but I would like to highlight the best of this week. We had our baptism of Luis Sunday morning. It was great. We are going to get someone wet this week. We have 6 people that just need a little push but we´ll see how everything falls through.

I feel that we have been more and more blessed in this time than ever. The ward is excited. They are behind our plans and we are supporting their ward mission plan. Our ward mission plan has to do with 15 - 20 more assistence in church every month. These people are coming from activation, finding, baptizing, retaining, etc. This week we had 4 new investigators at church and 4 people reactivated. Not bad for the first week! We are on track to complete our goal of our ward mission plan for this month. We are calling a lot of ward missionaries and the ward organizations are working. The work of salvation is being done here in the ward and the Spirit is strong because of it.

Elder Gosnell and I are putting to work all of the experiences that we have had in the mission here in Insurgentes and we are tearing things up! God sees that we are here to do His work and that we are serious about it. Therefore He puts the means by which we can complete with His work. I love it.

As we work, we grow. We develop new talents and we discover others. I feel a tremendous amount of growth in this time of my mission. I feel a stronger relationship with my Father in Heaven, with His church, and a greater understanding of His will and how to bring it about. God is molding me more right now than I have felt beforehand. New doors are being opened, characteristics are being formed, and talents developed. Life is amazing!

This work is true my dear family. There is nothing better. This is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us put our shoulder to the wheel. He needs our service. Let us give it to him!

Elder Russell

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Trip to Taxco

Here are some photos from our trip to Taxco. It is about 40 miles from Iguala.

I Can Feel it in My Bones........week 75

Hey Family,

I don't have much time but I want to get a few news to you all. This area is so amazing. I repeat what Elder Christopher said, I hope to finish my mission here. The ward is amazing and there is a whole lot of work to be done. We had our first baptism this week and we are planning 3 more for this week and another the following week. We are teaching various families that are being prepared for baptism in this month. The photos are of our baptism. He is named Eros. The rest are from our visit to Taxco that is about 40 minutes from our area. We are receiving a lot of support in our ward mission plan and we hope to begin it this coming Sunday. I am really excited.

Baptism of Eros
My new companion Elder Gosnell

We had a really amazing experience this week. I felt that we needed to visit someone in the week. We weren't able to meet with her until Saturday but we showed up at her house. I asked if she was Delia. She said that she was. I asked her if she had received missionaries. She said that she had. I asked her if she wanted to be baptized the following Sunday. She wasn't going to be here but she accepted for the following Saturday. As we finished talking I leaned to my companion and I commented "I knew we had to talk to her today." Being a missionary is so cool!
The work is true. I love the privilege to be here. I feel that Elder Gosnell and I are going to change the work to something that it has never been here. I feel it in my bones :) We´re hitting the road running and we don´t have fear about nothing. To the work!

I love you family. You are a great strength and support as you have always been. May God bless you in this New Year. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Russell