Monday, July 27, 2015

No P-Day so a Short Note

Hello everyone.  I know that my letter is a bit late but I had to go to Rio Preto on Saturday with the assistants because I am now what you might call the interim assistant. One of the assistants went home today in the middle of the transfer because of visa stuff, so I am the other assistant´s companion until the transfer.  I also have to give trainings to two zones with him.  So it’s all going to be fun since I am still secretary and district leader.  So it is a bit crazy.  But I love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Russell 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Another Miracle

Hello everyone!  So, this week I worked like normal I would say.  It was week three of the transfer and week three is always the slow week.  The transfer stuff from last transfer is all done and the stuff for next transfer doesn’t need to be started yet.  Some of you might be saying, “Well you could just do it anyway if you don’t have anything to do.” But this kind of thinking is not logical because then I wouldn’t have anything to do in week four.  It is a very measured type of thing.  There is a season for everything.  So this week I have been mostly having long discussions with Elder and Sister Hawkins to make sure they understand everything and to answer their questions. Sister Hawkins would rather I just be able to tell them everything they are going to do in detailed procedure lists but that isn’t really possible in the type of work I do.  Though I have written some procedures (reminding me of my seventh grade science class when we would write procedures for everything, and then usually not follow them; but at least we wrote them) about some things like how to navigate the hard drive to find all the stuff she is going to need. There is just a lot of stuff I ended up doing that I just had to learn how to do on the fly.  Sometimes, she will ask me how to do something and I will have no idea but I will go there and just figure it out.  She will then say that she didn’t know how to do that. I will remind her that I didn’t either.  I guess that seems a lot like bragging, but that is probably the thing that I am most proud of that I learned in the office. I learned how to learn how to do new things.  That means I am already better than a computer because computers can’t do that. Perhaps someone will tell you that their computer program can but they are lying. I believe that it is a fundamentally impossible thing for computers to do.  However, that is neither here or there.         
The other thing that changed about me in the office (and I guess on my mission overall) is that I actually like talking to people now.  I went and got my haircut and I actually preferred talking to the barber to not (by the way, barbers are way better here).  As Secretary, I actually am constantly telling everyone to call me, not to avoid calling me.  Communication is actually really important.
There was also a cool miracle that happened.  We went to visit a recent convert and she was pretty down. We just kind of were talking to her and one of the things she was down about was that her camera was broken and she couldn’t see the pictures nor take more.  My companion, Elder Kimura, offered to try to fix it so she went and got it.  He messed around with it for about 30 seconds and ended up fixing it.  She was very happy but what she didn’t tell us until later was that she had been about ready to decide that she wasn’t coming to church anymore because of all the bad and annoying stuff that was happening with her, including that her camera wasn’t working.  The day before we came there, she had said a prayer and told God that she wasn’t going back to church.  Then she saw her camera and added that she would go back to church if her camera started working again.  The next day Elder Kimura fixed it.  This is even more amazing because Elder Kimura breaks everything! He almost broke the office at least three times and he accidentally wiped his last companion’s external hard drive (which he was able to restore at some large cost), so it really was a miracle!
I guess I will end with that and with a picture of my district with some visitors (a zone leader and an assistant, there are really only three elders in the actual district) I love you all!

Elder Russell

Saturday, July 11, 2015


One problem about when you start to be an experienced missionary is that you start to be less and less motivated to write for a blog that your Mom is keeping for you.  Or maybe that is just a personal weakness.  But nevertheless I have not missed a week yet (as far as I remember) and I don't plan to start now.  Things have been going well this week.  
Last Sunday we had an investigator who had been invited to Church a bunch of times and never went and we had basically given up on her but without warning she appeared in Sacrament meeting.  It was pretty cool.  Since it was fast and testimony meeting and a little girl got up and bore her testimony about how paying her tithing has blessed her.  Everyone thought it was cute and a cool story but this woman who had come to church, felt that testimony very strongly.  Because of that one simple testimony, she has decided to change many things about her life and wants to be baptized.  I guess you just never know how things are going to work out.  
Other than that the Mission Office continues as always.  We are entering into the lull.  I have lots of stuff to do that revolve around the transfers,  so in the middle of every transfer, the workload is very light.  But I still have the Hawkins couple to train so I think I will be busy enough.  
Well I hope you all have a great week!  I love you all!

Elder Russell

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Today I would like to talk about decisions.  Decisions are important.  It is really quite shocking as you think about it, how much one wrong decision can change your life.  This week a missionary went home and, as usual, I had to take him to the airport. I had actually known this missionary for quite a while and he was going home basically because of one bad choice.  What he said repeatedly was that he wished he had just thought before he acted.  At times two choices are placed before us and we have the bad habit of thinking that we don't know where they will lead when in reality if we just think about it, we can usually make a pretty good guess.  But sometimes we just don't want to think about it and we make up excuses.  I know that if we just think about our choices, before we make them, things will work out a bit more.  Make goals in your life and then make the choices that will lead you there.  If we don't know where we are, and where we want to go, any path is fine. That is a lot easier but you never know where you will end up.
On another note, transfers have passed again.  I was yet again transferred.  I am now in the different ward in Ribeirão Preto but I am still in the mission office.  I am technically now companions with the Financial Secretaries, Elder Hill and Elder Kimura since Elder Aragão left the office and I can't really be companions with a senior couple.  I am also Relief Society President. By that I mean I am District leader to 3 companionships of sister missionaries.   I am accustomed to sister missionaries now so I am cool with it.  I have to deal with them a lot now anyway.  
I hope you have a great week!  I love you all!
Elder Russell