Saturday, October 17, 2015

Last Post?

So this might be the last email I write.  I don't know how things will be next P-day since it will be the Saturday before I am leaving and there will be a bunch of stuff for the departing missionaries so I don't know if I will have time.  It has been very hot—around 45 degrees Celsius (113 F). Today it is only 107 though.  The city of Ribeirão Preto is extremely hot.  That is really the only thing I don't like about Brazil; it’s really hot here.  
So the last thing that I have learned on my mission that I am going to share with you all is also the most important.  That is that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.  Of all the testimonies that I have borne of Him, this I bear last of all, that he lives!  I know it and I love him.  Many people who I know say they love the Savior.  But that is not all he wants of us.  We have to take up our cross and walk with him.  That is a little bit harder than just saying that we love him.  Anyone who thinks that they can be a follower of Christ and won't have to suffer just a little, won't have to do hard things, won't have to be ridiculed and laughed at just every once in awhile, does not know where Christ walked.  How could we possibly follow him when his life was never easy and expect our lives to be easy.  I am not saying that my life, or that our lives will be anything even comparable with what the Savior had to go through, but if we want to be saved we have to know him and we will never know him if we've never gone through anything even anything like what he went through.  I am grateful for my mission.  I am grateful that God let me serve this mission.  I don't know if I would have chosen it to have happened exactly like it did, but I know it is the mission that I needed to serve—that God needed me to serve.  From what I have seen and heard and done, I know Jesus Christ lives, and I know he is my Savior. That is what is most important of everything that I learned on my mission.  
I hope you all have a great life.  I guess I am finishing this blog now.  I love you all.

Elder Russell  

Saturday, October 10, 2015

"indo embora mesmo"

Writing has become more and more of a chore but I will endure to the end. This week was nice.  I did some more traveling but not too much.  We only made a short trip to Franca.  For those of you who are wondering, yes, I did serve in that city.  It was nice to see it all probably for the last time in a long time, even if I didn't spend the day in the same ward that I served in because that ward only has sisters now, sadly. (Sad, because I don't have any chance of working there, not because of the sisters.)
One thing I learned on my mission is that sometimes you are going home so don't worry about it.  I know that sounds a bit trunky,  but  it is important to remember.  My companion and I were having a disagreement about policy and when I prayed about it, the answer I got was, "indo embora mesmo" (a common phrase on the mission, usually said in joking, which means "I’m leaving anyways").  Sometimes you shouldn't worry about things.  You can't control everything.  Don't worry about what doesn’t  matter and what is out of your hands.  That is really very important for a missionary because so much of what we do is out of our hands.  People in the end can decide to get baptized or not.  So don't worry about what you can't control and sometimes you're "indo embora mesmo." 

I love you all and you all have a great week!

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Well I hope you all are having/had a good conference weekend.  I am enjoying it so far.  This week we traveled quite a lot and slept on the bus and on the floor (without a mattress) quite a lot, so it is good to slow down a bit.  Conference weekend on the mission is a little bit like Christmas.  It is actually better than Christmas for me at least. No offense to my family and all, but you just can't beat a weekend  listening to prophets.
This week I would like to talk about something very important that I learned on my mission: patience.  Some missionaries are able to find people and they are super ready and just get baptized.  I never felt that things worked out for me that way.  There was always a long process of waiting for things to work out. Patience, of course, does not mean doing nothing.  I always had to do stuff, but patience has a lot to do with trusting in the Lord.  I had to trust that the promises that God has made to me and the things that I have felt would happen and not worry about the how.  They always worked out so far so I will just have to trust a little more.  I am sure my life will have many surprises when I get back, so I just have to trust in the Lord that everything will work out.  That is patience for me.  Doing my part and trusting that God will do his.  It is important.
I hope you all have a great week to come  I love you all!

Elder Russell  

Saturday, September 26, 2015

There is a Plan

I have learned on my mission that God has a plan for each one of us.  He really knows what each one of us needs.  I imagine it being like a big puzzle and Him putting all the pieces together at just the right moment.  I feel like if I gotten to choose where to serve mission, I wouldn't have chosen here.  But God knew that that was the best place for me to go.  Sometimes it is hard to see why things happen the way they do or why we have to do what God tells us.  Sometimes I worry that it won't work out.  But then I think about Moses parting the Red Sea. How would it have been if he had been worried that the waters wouldn't part?  I don't think he was thinking, "What if I look like an idiot?"  I guess you just got to do it. I guess that is what we call faith.
I hope you all have a good week! I love you all!

Elder Russell 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Walk in the Shade

Well this week was good but it was a lot of desk work.  This week was transfers so we had to do quite a bit of stuff.  One of the financial secretaries and we had to make the whole transfer plan.  That means that we have to decide how everybody is going to get where they have to be while never being alone.  But it really isn't that complicated.  It was pretty easy this time actually.
Then we also went looking for some inactive members. It was pretty cool because we found like three families in about 20 minutes, including one that we didn't even know existed.  He was pretty drunk but seemed nice enough.  At first he didn't want to give us his address but after a while he changed his mind and told us where he lived and his phone number. The address I'm not sure about, but the phone number is correct so we are pretty sure we will be able to contact him a again.  I hope it works out.  
So on my mission I have learned that it is better to walk in the shade.  There are two ways to get to anywhere, in the sun and in the shade.  Sometimes we think it is really hot and we have to walk in the sun and we get really tired. However on the other side of the street there was shade, but we are just too stubborn or too stupid to cross the street.  It is easier to just walk in the shade.  I think that is a principle that is useful for my life.  You may not think it makes much of a difference but I can tell you here it certainly does.
I hope you all have a great week!  I love you all!

Elder Russell

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Solving Problems

This week we had zone conferences.  That is when a lot of missionaries get together and the mission president gives training.  This time the mission was divided into just two parts.  One of them was in Rio Preto and the other one was here in Ribeirão Preto.  I got to go to both and help organize everything. #PerksOfBeingAP This was my last zone conference.  That means that I got to bear my testimony because the heroes (the missionaries that are going home) always get to bear their testimonies in their last zone conference.  I am not technically a hero yet because it is not my last transfer just but this is the way the cookie crumbled.  It was nice but a bit bizarre.  I don't really feel like it is ending.  I guess just someday it will end.
So the thing that I will monologue about this week is that I learned how to solve problems. This, I learned more working in the mission office than in any other place.  My job when I was secretary was basically defined as "the stuff that no one else does."  So that means that if something new that had never been done before had to be done, I had to do it.  The first few times it was a bit nerve wracking but when it hits you that if you don't do it, no one will, it is surprising what you can accomplish.  I would say that by the end, I really surprised myself with my own abilities.  A lot of times we worry about the fact that we don't know how to do stuff when really if we just try, we will do a lot better than we think.  I realize that we are capable, as human beings, of a lot more than we think.
I love you all!  I hope you are all having a good week!

Elder Russell