Monday, May 26, 2014


It is interesting to try and speak to a Chilean in Portuguese. Sometimes it is almost impossible to understand him and he is amazed that the Brazilians understand me (which they usually do at least).  Now that the missionaries here in Votuporanga are much more international, things are definitely more interesting.  It’s funny that Elder Silva (the Chilean) sometimes has problems with things that were never a problem for me. You would think Spanish and Portuguese are basically the same thing but he speaks with a very strong accent. He has a lot of trouble with z's because I guess in Spanish, z's make an s sound. Funny that in English, we have the same sounds for these letters that they have in Portuguese but in Spanish they don't.
But enough language talk. My week was good. We have been working hard to be more concrete when we invite people to do stuff. This week did okay.  As a matter fact, we talked to people and in the first visit they accepted not only to be baptized but were willing to set a date for their baptism. Often times these dates fall through but it is crazy to think that there are people out there that are that ready to accept the Gospel. It was a good testimony of what the Mission President has been saying because it’s been a while that he has said we should do this and I never completely believed it would work as well as it has been. Sometimes we just need to have a little more faith and try stuff out.
My mission is good well. I am almost a quarter of the way done. It is crazy to think that I only get to serve this long three more times.

I hope you all have a good week.  I love you all!

Elder Russell

This is a picture of my district right now. From right to left: Elders De Oliviera, Silva, Sibenichler, and me.

Monday, May 19, 2014


So this week was rather normal except that I got sick.  I woke up in the early morning on Wednesday vomiting my guts out!  It was a lot of fun.  We called the Mission President's wife who is in charge of missionary health and she told us to go get some medicine and stay in bed for the day, which I did.  By night time I had developed a fever so I got to go to.... The Brazilian Hospital!!!!  But for some reason I haven't been registered in the mission medical plan yet (which seems to me to be a fault in the administration since I've been here 4 months, but whatever) so we got to go to the free hospital--which was really a lot better than one might expect!  The doctor (or at least I think he was a doctor, my medical vocabulary is not very well developed in Portuguese) basically just asked me some questions and prescribed antibiotics which, my sister Hannah will be happy to know, I am still taking even though I am better since I still have pills. That was my adventure for the week.
I have a little more to share. When I talked to my parents last week, my Mom asked me what my favorite part of the mission is and I didn't know but I do know now and I would like to share with all of you. My favorite part of the mission is when you get to meet with someone who was recently baptized and confirmed and they testify of the difference the Holy Ghost has made in their life. This has happened to me twice already and if I never baptize another person in my entire mission, it was all worth it for those two people.
I hope you all have a great week! I love you all!

Elder Russell 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Another Baptism

Hello everyone! I was able to talk to my family yesterday and that was nice.  I haven’t missed them as much as I thought I might, but it was nice to see them just the same and I think they enjoyed it. This week was pretty slow but I have a great story to tell so I will just do the story and not bother with the other stuff because not much else happened anyway.
We got to baptize somebody this week! And he must be more than usually important because there were a lot of miracles along the way.  His name is Bruno. The missionaries first found him last summer (you guy’s summer that is). His brother was baptized soon after but he wasn't because he said he didn't know that the church was true so he didn't want to be baptized. He had stopped going to church (his brother too) and wasn't really doing much so soon after we got here, we decided to stop teaching him.
About a month later we went to visit his brother Ralph who is a member since he wasn't coming to church. Ralph wasn't there but Bruno was so we decided to at least share a short message with him, basically so the visit wouldn't be completely wasted.  We said an opening prayer and immediately after that he said, "I prayed and received an answer that the Book of Mormon is true."  I have already taught a good number of people and even baptized a few but to this day, I have never heard an investigator bear a testimony of the Book of Mormon as he did with this simple sentence.
Unfortunately that was almost three months ago and he was leaving to go to college in another city. We were hoping that he would find the missionaries there but there wasn't much we could do about it, or so we thought. About a month and a half later we decided to go visit Ralph again, basically because it was a vacation day and nobody was at home to visit.  It turned out that Bruno had returned for the vacation. So we talked to him again and he said that it was probable that there would be a strike at his College (which is crazy common here in Brazil). Two weeks later he returned home because he had decided to just go to college in Votuporanga.
About a month later (and after more teaching because he wasn't just going to do something he didn't understand) he was baptized.  I am very grateful that I had the pleasure to teach and baptize such an amazing person. His mother and sister do not support his decision to be baptized but he did it anyway because he knew what was right and what was true.  He was baptized Friday and confirmed Sunday.
It was a good week. I hope you all have a good week as well. I love you all!

Elder Russell

The pictures: One is the baptism and the other is us with a bunch of members.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Miracles and Tell Your Friends

Hello everyone! It is funny how weeks pass sometimes and you hardly realize it. It seems like only yesterday I was writing, but it has been a week! Things continue normally here. Miracles happen everyday here in the mission. Some of them I know about; and I am sure that some of them, I have no idea that I even saw them.
Transfers are coming up again and this time, I don't think I will stay here with Elder De Oliveira again. Something will probably change. It’s just a matter of statistics. Missionaries don't usually stay together for six months straight. But I am sure that whatever happens, it will be awesome.
We had a training with the Mission President this week and he told us that we have to work with the members more. I would like to encourage all of you who know about this whole church thing to tell your friends about it and if they are interested, talk to the missionaries. They can help. Now that I have given my speech. I really don't have a whole lot of news this week. Hopefully, I will have a story next week for you all that is awesome.
I love you all.

Elder Russell