Saturday, June 27, 2015

Strange Transfer Coming

                 So today I will get the distinguished honor of baptizing someone who isn't even in the stake I am serving.  Last transfer I left Campos Elaseos (my last ward) and went to Vila Virgania. The investigator that we left in Campos is gonna get baptized and she wants me to baptize her. So we went through the bureaucratic process of getting the necessary permission. Which amounted to asking the mission president.  Sometimes people might say that the church gives too much power to a small group of men but sometimes it is really nice, like in this case.  I just had to ask him and he said okay. If this really was the crazy evil financial empire that some people think the church is, something as simple as that would have probably taken weeks to get approved. So I am very greatful for inspiration because then we don't have to worry about the corruption of men.  Some of you may be thinking that it just sounds more corrupt because all the power is in the hands of less people but if they did something contrary to God's commandments he would remove them from their position, even if it meant killing him.  I mean, he is God afterall.
                 Next week starts the next transfer and I will spend the weirdest transfer of my mission. I will basically be companions with a senior couple, I mean not offically but in reality it will be like that during the day. The Hawkins are quite a nice couple. They are definitely old and sometimes forget stuff (I think they have asked me about five times if I went to college before my mission); but they are really here to work that for sure.
I am having a good time and I am excited for this transfer.  I love you all and hope you have a good week!
Elder Russell

Saturday, June 20, 2015

More Training

So this week was interesting.  There was a lot of travelling, but mostly I just stayed in the office and held down the fort.  I have continued to train the senior couple.  Elder Hawkins is getting it quite well since he already speaks Portuguese.  He is really quite smart.  He was a major in the air force and also sold cars and did taxes after he retired so he is more used to this kind of work.  Sister Hawkins, without any real notion of the language is going a little bit slower; but I am sure she will get it with time.  Well I mean she has to get it because if she doesn't, I will never get out of here. 
I guess I am entering into the last bit of the mission.  I have come to the conclusion that I have absolutely no idea what I will do when I get back.  But I guess that will work out.  It seems like there really wasn't enough that happened for the mission to be drawing to a close.  I still feel like it was not very long when I look back.  I don't know if everyone feels like that.  I want to make it clear, I am not saying the old cliché, “It passes fast,” because I don’t really feel that way.  I am saying that looking back, it doesn't really seem like that much time has passed.  I feel like there is lots more to do but there just isn't a whole lot of time.  I guess this is all there is then because even though I wasn't perfect,  I don't regret how I worked in my areas, my conscience is clear.  
Please don't misunderstand, I am not coming home tomorrow so there is still some time to work so I hope that these will be good months.  I love you all!  I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Russell

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Rest of My Mission Laid Before My Eyes

So my mission president told me this week what I will be doing for the rest of my mission.  So the senior couple arrived and they will be the new executive secretaries in the mission.  So I will spend the rest of this transfer with Elder Aragão and I training them and then Elder Aragão will be transferred and I will stay in trio with the other secretaries while I continue training them for a whole transfer.  Then, if the senior couple is ready,  I will leave the mission office, and I will be a zone leader for the rest of my mission (which is like 2 transfers).  It was very strange to have the mission president tell me exactly what would happen.  I think it finally hit me that I will be going home and I will not be a missionary for the rest of my life.  It’s kind of weird.  I also didn't really want to be a zone leader but the president said my calling has already been made so I guess there is no getting out of that.  
The missionary couple is very cool.  They are Elder and Sister Hawkins.  Elder Hawkins baptized President Brum when he was serving his mission in Brazil in like the sixties.  President Brum was just a kid but he remembers.  I am mostly training Sister Hawkins because she doesn't speak Portuguese so even though Elder Aragão speaks English more or less, I guess I am more suited to that task.  Sister Hawkins is very grandmotherly.  She wants to get rid of everything in the office that I don't know what it is, which isn't always the best course of action because there are other people's stuff here.  But it will all work out in the end, I am sure, and the office will end up being less cluttered, even if we do throw out somebody's stuff.  
But it is a good week.  I love you all!

Elder Russell

Saturday, June 6, 2015


This week was a bit slow going.  The zone leaders came to have a meeting with the mission president again so we had about 18 people sleeping in our house.  That was pretty fun but I had to get up pretty early to take a shower before everyone else.  Our house where I live was planned to be like that though. It has about eight beds and an extra ten mattresses so that if elders have to stay in Ribeirão Preto over night they have a place.  It seems there are always visitors.
We also talked to a lot of people this week.  We talked to 70 people in the street or knocking on doors. Considering the fact that we only proselyte three hours a day I would say that is pretty good.  But it would have better if we had been teaching.  
This week a Senior couple will arrive in our mission.  It will be the first time that a Senior couple will work in the mission office in our mission.  They were supposed to arrive today but bad weather diverted their arrival to tomorrow.  That was quite fun because no one notified us that they wouldn't be coming, so the mission president went to the airport to meet them and they didn't arrive.  We all began to worry since who knows where they got off in the middle of Brazil. It is all taken care of now. 
So I hope you all have a great week. I love you all!

Elder Russell