Monday, January 26, 2015

A Week of Work

I think I have been remembering the importance of Love this week.  As a District Leader, one of the things I have to do is give a training once a week for the other missionaries to help them all be better missionaries. This week I was going to talk about something completely different but I didn't feel right while I was preparing that topic. So I decided to talk about Love and Charity. 
I think for a lot of people, the missionary work that Mormons do may seem really strange, if not rather snobby. It may seem to some people that basically we go out house to house and try to explain to people why we are right and they are wrong.  While I would agree that this is a distortion of facts, I can't say that this explanation of missionary work is completely false, either.  We certainly don't go out telling people that all churches are true if we don't do bad stuff.  But what makes missionary work not snobby and prudish is the love. We are doing this because we love these people.  We know that what we have, they need. I love these people as people and as children of God, but also as I get to know them, I love them for the people they are. And because I love them, I want them to hear what I have to say.  Because I know they need it, all of them.  Because I love them, I cannot lie and tell you that I don't desire that every single person I know was a Mormon.  
I hope you all have a good week.  I will.  I love you all!

Elder Russell 

Monday, January 19, 2015


So transfers happened this week and I am staying in Franca and my companion as well.  That is exciting because we have lots of exciting stuff happening this transfer which will be announced more as it happens.
But this week’s email will be a topical one.  This week I will talk about the word "Trunky.”  “Trunky” is a word used by missionaries.  It describes a state of constantly thinking about home or in some way or another being preoccupied with things at home.  I will firstly state that probably some baseline level of “trunky” is healthy in a missionary.  After all, our families are still ours, so we should think about them at least long enough to write them emails.  But “Trunkiness” is a very dangerous state for a missionary to be.  Thoughts about girlfriends are particularly dangerous and at times completely debilitating.  I have included some pictures of “Trunky” for you all.  These are the three other missionaries who live with me. Or I should say lived; one of them was transferred today. The first photo is each with a picture of his fiancé and the other is each with his engagement ring.  They all display different levels of “Trunky.”  One of them would only talk about home, his fiancé, and... that is about it.  It is funny what we put ourselves through as missionaries.  We could always just forget about these things but so many choose to suffer. 

It is also funny the slang we have as missionaries between ourselves.  Perhaps in the future I will write about more of it.  
But y'all have a good week.  I sure did.  I love you all!

Elder Russell

Monday, January 12, 2015

Getting Smarter

          So this week we knocked on a lot of doors and talked to a lot of people but really didn't see a whole lot of success.  My companion and I have decided that we are being rather stupid and need to work smarter.  So we have decided to try and work with members more and stop head-butting a wall (knocking on doors).  We have already had a bit of success with that.  This weekend we received three references from members.  That means that we had three members that told us to go and talk to someone they know which is really quite good progress.  I am hoping we can stop being stupid this week and work a bit harder, but mostly a lot smarter.  
          Other than that I am fine.  This week has been rather hot for Franca which really isn't that bad in comparison with other cities in the mission. You become accustomed to the climate and you begin to complain a lot it seems.  Everyone loves to complain about the heat.  It is one of Brazil's national pastimes. I don't mean that as a negative comment; it’s good the country has one more thing to unite them.  It’s nice to always have something to start conversations with people in the street.  If all else fails, just say, "It’s hot today isn't it?" And you have made a friend.
          You asked about "Meet the Mormons." I have heard about the film from a few of my friends who are serving in the U.S., but the film wasn't even released here.  Sometimes I feel like all the new initiatives that the Church is trying to do with missionary work are just in the US. All this stuff about social networks, films and all that bagulho [junk] has not arrived here.  I feel like missionary work is still in about 2005.  But I am sure it will arrive here some day.
          Germina wasn't baptized this Saturday because she feels like she is not ready yet We are still working with her. She says she will be ready in February so we are working with that. 
          But I love you all!  I hope you all have a good week!

Elder Russell

Monday, January 5, 2015

A New Year

          So it was a bit annoying to be woken up at midnight on New Years from all the noise because I would really have rather gotten my 8 hours of sleep. But I have to say that it was quite a beautiful sight out the window because I could see pretty much all of Franca and there were a ton of fireworks being launched.  It is one of the sights I will never forget but that a camera doesn't capture.  Before my mission I used to think that seeing pictures of somewhere was basically the same as being there. But then I went to Brazil, took pictures of things absolutely beautiful, and looked at the picture afterwards and it often wasn't the same thing.  It is a bit sad.
          But life is going back to normal now. We have been knocking a lot of doors, so this week we are going to try and stop being so stupid.  Knocking doors as a missionary is a bit like knocking down a wall with your head.  It works, but there are better ways.  So this week we are going to try and be a bit smarter and try and work more with the members. We will keep working one way or another, but hopefully find a hammer for this wall soon because my head is tired.  
          All analogies aside, I am actually sick but it is only a cold. It also hailed this week which was a bit cool even though we had to take shelter in the street. It is a fun memory.  
          Germina and Marcelo are basically active members of the Church now except that Germina isn't baptized yet.  We are working to fix that problem. Hopefully it will be resolved this week.
          This letter has been rather filled with analogous speaking so I hope you all understood.  I hope you all have a good week.  I love you all!

Elder Russell