Monday, March 26, 2012

Don't Mess with Your District Leader... HOO RAH!........week 87

Dear family,

Well family, I´m glad to hear that everything is going well for you. It´s so amazing for me to part of a family that has a rich tradition in missionary work. I love being Elder Russell!

This week I would like to call it ¨Hoo Rah¨. You know how the military, when they have work to do, they get themselves pumped up by crying ¨Hoo Rah.¨ Recently, I have felt like a military soldier. First off, last Tuesday we had a Zone meeting and our District meeting afterwards. I am really excited to be a District Leader and I had been preparing for the meeting with some ideas that I had had. So as we were in the meeting all the sudden the room began to shake. I didn´t notice until one of the Elders told me, ¨hold up, it´s shaking.¨ The truth was that we were all really calm about it. We decided to leave the building and we stepped outside to see a bunch of telephone and light posts dancing in the streets. It was pretty cool. As everything calmed down, we entered back into the building and this same Elder said to the District, ¨Wow, pay attention to your District Leader, the Lord know who He has called.¨ That´s right. Don´t mess with your District Leader! So the first reason why I feel this way is that my first District meeting shook Iguala :) Hoo Rah!

Secondly, we are getting some serious work done here in Insurgentes. Last week I had the most successful week of my mission. We have learned how the Lord is really willing to bless us if we do all that we can. We have been working SO hard. Everyday is everything we got. When we have to find somebody in 15 minutes and we have done all that we could have, we then can ask God that He would do His part. And if we have done ours, He always does His. So for the greater understanding that I have obtained that I serve the Master and that this is His work, Hoo Rah!

And thirdly, because I cut my hair and I look like one.

I have come to understand how true the Gospel of Jesus Christ really is. I love how it applies to absolutely everything. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. The only thing that will interrupt me that I give much fruit is my inability to know what I have to do and discipline myself to do what the Lord requires me to do. If my goals are set and my plans are made, then my daily self discipline is the only factor which will set me apart as mediocre or exceptional. Or in other words, how well one repents of his sins. I have grown under the hand of the Master. I have been taught and I am called to preach repentance unto the world. I am a representative of the Savior Jesus Christ. This is His work. He knows us. He will always bless us as we keep His commandments.

I would like to share a quick story with you. This week we met a Cardoso family. This family had talked to missionaries in the past and had gone to the church a few times. We were surprised and we began to teach them how God restored His Gospel and His Priesthood authority through the prophet Joseph Smith. As we were explaining about the Spirit and how we come to know if what we are teaching is true, the father named Julio sat pondering to himself. He read the pamphlet various times until he turned to us and said, ¨It is the Spirit! He answers us through the feelings of our heart and our mind!¨ As we had felt the Spirit in this lesson, in this moment the Spirit flooded the room to testify to this man of his relationship with God. He stopped us and said, ¨This is true! This is true! I have felt this before in my life but I could never explain what it was. It is the Spirit of God.¨ In this moment we invited him and his family to be baptized. At this time, we thought that his family would accept but he would not because the man is very cautious of others. It was the opposite. His family expressed their concerns and their doubts. When we asked Julio, he solo said, ¨if it is part of the process, then yes.¨ This man bore a powerful testimony to me. Lord, if you require it of me, then yes. Thus is the faith of Julio.

My dear family, live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do what the Father expects you to do and you will find no greater joy. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. For His Atonement I am redeemed from sin. I love Him and I love His work. May we never lose sight of the joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Russell

Monday, March 19, 2012

I'm Still Here........week 86

Dear family,

Everything is great. We had changes this week. Elder Gosnell and I are still here but they called me to be District Leader. So I´m running a bit crazy right now. I could run but I couldn´t hide.

We had stake conference with Elder Tenorio. They changed the stake presidency. Really cool. We have a ward mission plan that will be functioning this coming week and we are working like none other time in the mission. I absolutely love being a missionary. Take care family and I will update more next week.

Elder Russell

Monday, March 12, 2012

There is Nothing Better........week 85

Felipe's Baptism

Dear family,

Well, the work is going very well here. This Friday we baptized Felipe. Felipe is one of the most noble people that I have met. I mentioned that he is a professor of Engineering in the state university and has a firm testimony. His baptism was one that I won´t forget. As we were teaching Felipe, they offered him a promotion as one of the directors of the school. To the offered he told us ¨I rejected it. I want my time for my family and to serve in the Church. I don´t want to be tempted to drink in these situations. Its better that I don´t.¨ To say the least, I have thought much of my father. Thanks Mom and Dad, as Nephi, I was born of goodly parents. I see Even before his baptism, this man has shown a lot of faith and determination to follow Jesus Christ.

A week ago, we had a baptism of a girl named Kirle. She is the daughter of a woman that we helped activate. We were preparing the baptismal font for the service by throwing some chemicals in the font. The water comes out green so we have to throw some chemicals in and afterwards some men come to vacuum up all the grime that is in the water. However, last week the people didn't answer us. With a bit of embarrassment, we decided that there was nothing we could do. 5 minutes before the baptism, Felipe shows up to see it and we show him the font. He stops and tells my companion ¨ummm, your font is dirty. I have the vacuum to clean it up.¨ So he ran, got in his car, drove home and came back to clean the font 5 minutes before the baptism. Little did he know that he was cleaning the font for his baptism as well. I have been very impressed by this man.

It is great to hear that things are going along well at home. I will pray for Clayton.

This Friday we had a Conference in Chilpancingo with Elder Tenorio. It was one of the best conferences that I have ever had. He talked about goals, plans, discipline, prayer, and desire. Of course I loved it. To tell you the truth, it was one of the pivotal moment in my mission. He spoke of all the points which I needed. Trust in the leaders of the Church. They know what is going on.

Well family, another wonderful week in the mission field. I absolutely love being a missionary.

There is nothing better. Take care dear family. May God continue to bless you as you keep His commandments.

Elder Russell

Monday, March 5, 2012

We only limit ourselves by our own Heart........week 84

Dear family,

Wow, what an amazing week of service in the Lord´s vineyard. The Lord told us what we needed to do and we did it. And as such, we achieved more this week than any other week in my mission. The lesson that we learned was simple. It is the principle of the flecks of gold that spoke Elder Ballard a few conferences ago. Often times we look for great and marvelous events that will make us to make a change. We look for the great blocks of gold in the river. However, as we do so, we forget that there are thousands of tiny flecks of gold amongst the rocks. As we patiently accumulate these flecks of gold, we begin to find that we have gathered a great wealth. What does this have to do with missionary work? Well, it comes down to three things in my mind: goals, planning, and discipline. We set goals as they demonstrate the desires of our hearts, we plan according to what is most important and what is relevant, and we discipline ourselves to complete every daily goal. It is truly simple. What are my goals? Which are most important and which are relevant? In all the ways that we have to plan in order to complete our goals, which ways are the most effective and which are relevant? And finally, when we have our goals and our plans, do we have the humility to ask God that He help us to make it all happen? We did it this week and we felt a great spirit of power and guidance as we embarked in the service of the Lord. Honestly, it became one of the greatest lessons of my mission as well as for life.

What do I want, what is the best way to do it, and do I really show that I want it? I felt a great peace in knowing what is really important as a missionary as well as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. We do not obtain something for nothing. We achieve what we have put our minds to do every single day of our lives. There are no unimportant days. And the Spirit has born testimony to me that we cannot organize nor prioritize all that we must do unless we have goals and plans. When the temptation comes to do something that does not benefit one or more of our daily goals, do we have the courage to say, ¨Thank you, but this will not help me to become the missionary, father, son, employee, etc. that I desire to be.¨ We realize what amazing power that there is in a daily goal. If there are no daily goals, then we cannot show our desire right now that we want to accomplish our goal. What was so impactful to me is that the only real difference between someone who achieves extraordinary things and someone who only gets the minimal done is the degree of our self discipline. We can put our goal, we can plan correctly, but what makes the difference is my agency today. The difference lies in focusing my efforts daily to complete my goals. Why are these goals so important? Because as I go through the day moment by moment, I am not able to think about all that I want to and be as a servant of Jesus Christ. However, I can have the faith that my goals will help bring me and those who I teach closer to the Savior. If I have such confidence that my goals will bring about my purpose and my desires, then it becomes easier to reject whatever influence which invites me to be lazy or not complete. Thus my days become very real and very important. Each day becomes the most important day of my life as it will reflect my desires towards God. I love how Paul explains it: ¨that we only limit ourselves by our own heart.¨ If we didn't have the discipline to achieve our goal, then humble yourself, get on your knees, repent, and get to work. In so doing, we receive the inner strength or discipline to do daily what is really important.

Well family, I warn you beforehand that setting goals, planning, and self-discipline have become forever printed in my soul. Forgive me if the subject becomes overdone :)

As I mentioned, I felt a tremendous peace this week as the Lord answered a question that I had had for a very long time. How could I become whom the Lord expects me to be and how could I properly prioritize my daily efforts in order to do so? The answer is goals, planning, and self discipline.

Family, I invite you to look at your goals. Which ones do you have? In what order are they? If something is out of place, put it into place. When you have your goals in the right order, plan what you will do everyday starting with the most important until you reach the last to reach your daily goal. When you have those goals for the following day, pray specifically to your Father in Heaven for the discipline to make it happen or to follow your plans. In doing so, you will see everyday as a blessing from our Father in Heaven. You will understand more clearly why we are here. You will love the Gospel with more devotion than ever. You will become who you and your Father in Heaven hopes of you. You will live the Gospel and will experiment immense joy. It is my pray that we may all do so. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Russell