Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Opportunity of a Lifetime........week 99

Dear family,

I am writing you late today because we had a special activity with President Spannaus.  He invited my generation* to go and pass our P day with him in the ruins close to Cuernavaca called Xochicalco.  We have been running all day and we have a chance to send off a quick letter.   *(The missionaries that came to Cuernavaca with him from the MTC...his generation).

Tell Joy that I will be praying for her and for her family.  May she find comfort in the words of Alma who said that Christ has taken upon us all of our pains, afflictions, and suffering.  I sincerely pray that she may find that peace as in all moments of difficultly.  I will have a special prayer in my heart for her. 

This week was a great week.  We baptized Rubi, a young woman who has gone through a lot but has decided to follow the Savior through faith, repentance and baptism.  I am having problems with the photos but I will send them along with last week’s when I can. 

We are working great right now.  The ward is going nuts about missionary work.  We have an activity this Saturday that they are just inviting the world to come.  We had the same lesson about missionary work in Priesthood Sunday and afterwards, Elder Egan and I planned a small capacitation for the ward.  We went in the chapel and we were talking about how the members could invite their friends to do missionary work.  We talked about observing the people when we invite them to come unto Christ.  It was really instructional and super funny see the members get all excited doing role plays.  Elder Egan and I were so excited.  We got a lot of work to do and we have very little time to do so.  The both of us are hoping to baptize what we haven’t done in all of mission in these last weeks.  

I would like to share a story of our activity today.  President invited us to take the day with him and when we were there in Xochicalco, we took a few minutes to have a testimony meeting.  Each one of the missionaries from my generation got up and bore their testimonies.  I sat back and was deeply moved as I listened to these missionaries.  I have worked with these missionaries for 2 years and it was nothing too new to hear them bear their testimonies.  But in this occasion, I was deeply impressed at the men they had become.  Their conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the testimonies that they gave brought the Spirit in the corner of a pyramid.  I stopped and looked at them.  And I thought of myself.  I sat reflecting on the mission, on my companions, on my President and his wife.  It was hard.  I am excited for the future and for what is coming but as Dad said, I feel like this will be the hardest calling to leave.  I am a missionary, that came when I was baptized.  The duty was elevated when I received the Priesthood and when I entered into the temple.  But the chance to give all of my time and efforts to keep my covenants is an opportunity of a lifetime. 

As we have been working here, there are various families here in Insurgentes that within one year they will be in the temple.  But a few weeks ago I started writing Hermano Alfredo Brito from Amiltzingo.  When I got on to read my mail today he wrote me and said, ¨Elder Russell, it looks like we are going to be sealed as a family the 14 of July.  I hope you can be there.¨  Right now, I am filled with an emotion that I cannot describe.  Hno Alfredo was baptized for the example of his 7 year old son.  It was 7 at night and all of our appointments had fallen through and we sat on the street curb thinking about who we could visit.  We were fasting to find someone to baptize.  When Elder Campos asked me who we should visit I said Alfredo Brito.  We visited him Wednesday and Saturday he was baptized, the 25 of December.  To think that he will be sealed to his family the 14th is a joy that I cannot describe.  I know that the work builds upon the work of every missionary but I have prayed since the beginning of my mission, ¨Father, I want to be able to baptize and seal a family.  Even though I will do all that I can so that all can receive me, I ask thee that one family may be sealed.  Father, I want to be able to say that because I served my mission, at least one family will be come with me to see Thee again.¨  I have had that prayer in my heart for 2 years and I will keep praying until the 14th of July. 

Family, to say it all, I cannot describe the emotion that I have to be Elder Russell: Representative of the Savior Jesus Christ.  This is the true joy that Paul spoke of for those who truly seek happiness.  This is the joy of my life: to bring about my duty towards God and His children.  It is my prayer that we may always do so.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Russell