Monday, October 27, 2014


Another transfer has come, so that is fun, and yet, no one left. Since I am still technically training my companion, I wasn't expecting anything to change.  However, I was made district leader which (for those of you who aren't familiar with missionary hierarchy) basically just means I have to do more stuff.
This week we had a cool experience because Jarbas who was baptized about a month ago went out to teach with us.  Basically he went because his mom expulsed him from his home because she was tired of him always doing nothing with his life. We thought it was going to be rough because he is very shy and has a bit of trouble talking to strangers, but he ended up taking us to the house of a guy who works at his school and about five members of his extended family and a friend.  It was pretty cool! He complained the whole time about walking and sometimes he tried to use us as resting posts while walking, but when we took him back to his house, he asked us when he can do it again. This was actually a miracle.  It was really cool to see him get so excited to share what he knows.  
Unfortunately I don't have cool stories this week but I do have a picture of a Brazilian pizza that we ate. I hope that will cheer you all up. I love you all and hope you have a good week!

Elder Russell

Monday, October 20, 2014

Daylight Savings

So this last Saturday night was daylight savings here in Brazil.  I don't know if it is the same in the United States but I do know that when you all are jumping forward, we are falling back and visa versa. This worked as a great excuse for a lot of people to not go to Church, but it was a nice meeting just the same.
This week I received the package that my family sent for my birthday.  It only arrived, I think, three weeks late so I was happy.  One of the things they sent me was a no-bake cheese cake (the mix, the cake made wouldn't make it). Since we had some other Elders visiting us and one of them was American, we decided to make it that very night to commemorate.  It was a good thing that is was a no-bake cheese cake because the hose that connects our gas can to our oven went bad. If you didn't know that gas hoses go bad you’re with everyone else, even the Brazilian missionaries, until the Mission President's wife told us it happens. The only real problem we encountered while making the cheese cake was that pie plates/tins are not something you will find in a missionary house. But we figured it out, as shown in the included picture.  Overall it went very well I would say in comparison with the number of problems I encountered while making biscuits.  
We also had a baptism this week. Her name is Enizete. Her husband died recently so she when she heard about the  Plan of Salvation and that families can be eternal she was all for it.  I believe I have already told a bit of her story but I would just like to talk about one of the things she said to us on the day of her baptism.  She said that even now she doesn't accept the death of her husband and she just sees it as he went on a journey and one day she'll meet up with him again.  I think the only thing I would change about that statement is that it is not he that is on a journey but her.  All of us are on a journey and one day we will all go home.  I have never heard a recent-convert understand the Plan of Salvation so well. It was really a pleasure to teach her.
I hope you all have a good week.  I did.  I love you all.

Elder Russell
The Skillet No-Bake Cheesecake

Baptism of Enizete

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Good Week

Perhaps the title for this blog is a bit generic but this week really was a good one. It was better than usual. I guess I should say because every week is good.  Sometimes they are harder and sometimes they are easier, but they are always good.
Last week the little ward of Barretos out did themselves by having a fast and testimony meeting (a meeting where all members can share what they believe for everyone else) in which there was never silence.  It is funny how sometimes in wards that have 250 people in the meeting, there is dead time, but in this ward that had 57 people in the meeting, everybody wanted to get up and bear their testimony.  It was pretty cool.  And then after the meeting, everyone stayed a little bit longer than usual to chat.  That is a sign of progress!
This week we found two families that the biggest problem they had with our message was that they don't believe in organized religion.  I thought it was very sad to see how people can make others really disillusioned with something that should be a force for good in the world. It is sad to see when people loose hope in something that they clearly wanted in the past.  So you shouldn't loose hope in something just because other people are sometimes not all that they should be. It isn't a very good life plan to let other people affect your happiness.
I hope you all have a good week!  I love you all!
Elder Russell

Description of pictures:  1) My companion and I and 2) what happens in Brazil on election day. All the guys who are running for office throw little election cards in the street close to where the people vote. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

A World Wide Church

I don't know if I can share with you how happy I am with this General Conference!  The talks were very uplifting and instructive but that is not really what I would like to talk about today. For the first time, the speakers had the option to speak in their native language and not in English.  I think that some of you may not really understand how awesome that is!  But that is probably because you have never had to watch conference dubbed.  I will tell you, it is boring.  The voices of the people who do the dubbing are really boring.  They must take a class in how to talk boringly because it is difficult to listen to them. The talk that was given in Portuguese was by far my favorite because I was able to really enjoy what he said. Also it was a little bit ridiculous to have to dub a man who speaks Portuguese because he is speaking English.
However, this change means a lot more to me than just logistics and ease of listening.  It is a message to every person that this is a world wide Church.  It is not very easy to tell people that this is not an American church when it is led by Americans, headquartered in America, and it is an American who is preaching to them.  It’s a bit hard to believe.  This is a world wide church that does not have an official language.  And as the church grows we will feel its internationality more and more.  This is just the start.  Now we are all just waiting for a Brazilian Apostle.
I hope you all have a good week and I love you all.

Elder Russell