Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Hard Thing in the Mission Office

The depressing part of working in the mission office is that you have to take people to the airport.  At least that is one of my many jobs.  When they are going home because they finished the two years it is cool because it’s like they are returning home conquering heroes and it’s a happy moment and you know that you are the last missionary in the mission that they are going to see.  But when they are going home before their hour, it is a bit different.  You are still the last missionary they see but the feeling not very happy. For those of you who don't know, there are only two reasons that a missionary goes home before the designated time: having health problems, or they did something they shouldn't have and are being sent home for disobedience. It’s sad to see them go.  I hope they can come back but a lot of them never do.  
Other than that my week has been crazy because the mission president has been doing interviews here in the mission office, so there were always a bunch of missionaries here.  It was a bit hectic because when missionaries come here, we are the ones who have to attend them.  Actually we do a lot of stuff.
But I don't have a lot to write.  I love you all and hope you have a good week!

Elder Russell

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Am A Grandpa!

Well I guess I will start off with the big news and go to the little ones after.  We had a baptism!  That was cool!  The younger brother of a recent convert in the ward decided that he too wanted to be baptized.  He is eight years old and his name is Victor.  We decided that he was serious about it when he came home from his dad's house early on the weekend just to go to church.  It is pretty hard to find an eight-year-old that will do that.  So even if it is difficult for him to remember what Joseph Smith did and for him to read the Book of Mormon, he has definitely felt something in the church because he is always there for almost a month now.  

On to other news. My other companion was transferred.  Everybody knew it would happen since he was the one that was training me in the office.  So basically as soon as I got here, everybody knew that he would be transferred.  It was sad to see him go but it is nice to not be in a trio anymore.  It is always a little awkward.  My companion that is staying, at least for a little bit, is Elder Aragão.  He is from Fortaleza in the Northeast of Brazil.  There is a temple being built in his home town which is cool but it probably won't be done by the time he gets back since he is going home in September one transfer before me.  
It is pretty crazy to think about how the time is passing.  I guess I will inform you all of some realities.  It looks like I will be going home on October 26th.  Since making travel arrangements for missionaries who are going home is one of my jobs, I know the exact date that everyone who will go home this year will go home and the approximate date of everyone who is in the mission.  The other reality is that since missionaries usually spend quite a bit of time in the mission office (since you have to train them and all), this is probably my last or second to last area.  It doesn't seem like it should be coming to a close but I guess you could say it is. 
 But don't worry, five transfers is still a lot of time to make a difference.  One day is enough time to make a difference.  I guess make a difference is a pretty cliche phrase.  I just want to help somebody.  If everybody just helped one other person every day, in theory everybody would get help.  But in reality some people would help the same people and some people wouldn't be helped at all, so we have to help more than one person every day because the more people everybody helps, the more likely it is that everybody is helped and everybody needs somebody.  
            I love you all and hope you have a good week.

Elder Russell

 My trainee is training this transfer. That means I am a grandpa. This is the three generation picture.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Transfers Are Crazy

So there is a lot of stuff to do the week of transfers when you are in the mission office.  You have to make sure the people who are finishing their mission know what they are doing (all of them are here in Ribeirão already).  You have to make sure that everyone who is being transferred will get where they are going without problems.  And you have to deal with the people who are arriving right now.  So overall, it is kind of crazy.  On the up side, we get to know what will happen in the whole mission several days before everyone else.  It is kind of cool because everyone tries to get you to tell them but we can't.  So it is just a bit funny.  Everyone wants to be the secretary's friend because they think you can help them with stuff.  I guess that is just life.  But whatever,  it is fun.
Our teaching in the ward where we are working has a been a bit weird.  Some nights we don't get to our area on time because we have stuff to resolve in the office.  It is very weird that my priorities are different now. But we are still working when we can! And things are going.
I love you all and hope you all have a good week!

Elder Russell

Friday, April 3, 2015

What Does the Executive Secretary Do?

So as I said, my P-day is not a set thing.  Since there is general conference tomorrow, our p-day is today.  So that is going to be fun.  But really I am excited for general conference.
For those of you who are curious.  Now that I have been in the mission office for a week I can explain to you all a little better what it exactly is that I do now.  I am the executive secretary.  Mostly I make and edit a lot of excel documents, resolve problems for the mission president, make sure the missionaries have teaching materials, do the stuff for missionaries who are arriving and leaving the mission, and some other stuff, too.  One of the particular things that I have to do is organize the travel plans for all the missionaries who are leaving the mission which means in about a month I will buy my own plane ticket home (travel plans are made six months beforehand).  That is kind of crazy and a little bit scary.  I don't know if I am ready to go home yet.  I mean I still have time and all but it is coming up.  That is going to be crazy.
But moving on, the week was good.  We had a zone conference. So since I am now a staff elder I had to do a bunch of stuff.  It was interesting to see things from the other side.  The training the President gave was good as well.  The President’s wife showed us a clip from the movie Gladiator.  It made a lot of sense in the context of what she was talking about, but I still felt a little weird watching it since you know, missionaries don't watch movies.  
We have also been teaching.  I don't think I have ever done so much stuff in my days as now.  There is always a ton of stuff to do in the office, so we are running around the whole day and then we have so little time to work in our area that we are always going full speed at night as well.  I am enjoying it quite a bit but I don't think I have ever been quite so busy in my life.  
 I am doing well. The week is going and yours is too. I love you all!

Elder Russell