Monday, February 6, 2012

"There is No Greater Joy than This"........week 80

My dear family,

I want you to know that I have been almost yelling here in the Internet Cyber while I was reading your last letter. As I was reading about the baptisms that you have been having I´m saying out loud ¨Atta boy Dad!¨ ¨Yeah, get them wet!¨ I am super excited to hear that the work is going well there. I can tell you that the work here is going crazy. We have a lot of work to do. We have been limping along the past few weeks without ward missionaries. We fasted this past week that we could get the families that we have to church so that they can be baptized. We are teaching a bunch of families and most of them already have testimonies of the Book of Mormon. We just need to get them to church. This is the part where it is super important that the members get involved. For not having ward missionaries we have been limping along with our assistance to church. However, in our fast we prayed with the purpose that we can get these families baptized in this month. We showed up at church and one of the Counselors in the bishopric came up and asked us ¨Elders, do you have correlation with your ward mission leader?¨ We told him, ¨the truth, no. We don´t coordinate the investigators well for not having ward missionaries.¨ He turned to us and said, ¨you are going to eat with us this week, afterwards we are going to get some ward missionaries and we are going to coordinate so that this work gets done.¨ Can someone say, CHACHING! Miracle. Answer to our prayers.

I have learned here that if we coordinate well with the ward missionaries for the investigators, they are going to progress and be baptized. We do this in our meeting with our Progress Record. After they are baptized, within the ward counsel we work with the Record of the New Members and those who have become Active. If there are problems of retention in a ward it is because they haven´t heard of or don´t use this record. If you already are using it, keep doing it. If not, do it. It is a map of exactly what the ward needs to do so that these converts become strong and enter in the temple. We have put it into practice here and since our time here and the recent converts from other missionaries, we have a 100% retention rate. Actually, one of our converts blessed the sacrament Sunday. Elder Gosnell and I had what is called full joy. Its so cool because the members begin to realize, ¨hmmm, the missionaries baptize everything that walks and they are all active and they all have testimonies. Hmmmm...¨

I am so excited for you all. How amazing is the Gospel of Jesus Christ! The truth is that this past week we were filled with a joy that I cannot explain. We are growing rapidly here. The work is growing and the power of God is being manifest in the lives of the people. I would like to share something that has made a large impact in me these past few weeks.

In Alma 15:12-14 and Mosiah 6:1-3 we learn how it is that the work of the Lord is done. The best missionaries are the converts. When an investigator is baptized, he full of light and desire. When we help these converts through the teaching of the ¨priests¨ or the members who are involved in their progression, they don't just go to church every week, they preach the Gospel through their examples. Through these examples their friends, families, and acquaintances pull from their light. And as it says in Alma 15:14, they will come in groups or in families to be baptized. And they will do it solos. Why? Because the light of God is reflected in the eyes of His converts and those people will follow them. It happened this week at church. We have been trying to teach the mom of one of our converts but she is never at home. We went to his home to teach him one of the follow up lessons. It was powerful. And due to this, his mother came to church with him. The work that we wanted to do was not our work. It was his. But we needed to give him the tools and the strength to do it. We don't need to hunt down the family members of the converts. We just need to strengthen and retain the converts.
This is the work of the Lord. There is no greater joy than this. It is one thing to see a baptism and it is another to be the reason why he was baptized. It is one thing to see a young man go on a mission and it is another to be the reason why he went. And it is one thing to stand before God in the presence of your friends and family and it is another to say to Him that we were the reason why they are there. Do not rob yourself of the joy of the Gospel. Don´t stand before God saying, ¨oh, how nice that they are here, ¨ rather live so that you could say ¨Father, I did my part. Here are my fruits. And are they few? No Father, they are not.¨ You will have a fullness of joy.

My dear family, my God bless you. Know Him. Do His work. Become as He is. It is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Russell