Saturday, September 26, 2015

There is a Plan

I have learned on my mission that God has a plan for each one of us.  He really knows what each one of us needs.  I imagine it being like a big puzzle and Him putting all the pieces together at just the right moment.  I feel like if I gotten to choose where to serve mission, I wouldn't have chosen here.  But God knew that that was the best place for me to go.  Sometimes it is hard to see why things happen the way they do or why we have to do what God tells us.  Sometimes I worry that it won't work out.  But then I think about Moses parting the Red Sea. How would it have been if he had been worried that the waters wouldn't part?  I don't think he was thinking, "What if I look like an idiot?"  I guess you just got to do it. I guess that is what we call faith.
I hope you all have a good week! I love you all!

Elder Russell 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Walk in the Shade

Well this week was good but it was a lot of desk work.  This week was transfers so we had to do quite a bit of stuff.  One of the financial secretaries and we had to make the whole transfer plan.  That means that we have to decide how everybody is going to get where they have to be while never being alone.  But it really isn't that complicated.  It was pretty easy this time actually.
Then we also went looking for some inactive members. It was pretty cool because we found like three families in about 20 minutes, including one that we didn't even know existed.  He was pretty drunk but seemed nice enough.  At first he didn't want to give us his address but after a while he changed his mind and told us where he lived and his phone number. The address I'm not sure about, but the phone number is correct so we are pretty sure we will be able to contact him a again.  I hope it works out.  
So on my mission I have learned that it is better to walk in the shade.  There are two ways to get to anywhere, in the sun and in the shade.  Sometimes we think it is really hot and we have to walk in the sun and we get really tired. However on the other side of the street there was shade, but we are just too stubborn or too stupid to cross the street.  It is easier to just walk in the shade.  I think that is a principle that is useful for my life.  You may not think it makes much of a difference but I can tell you here it certainly does.
I hope you all have a great week!  I love you all!

Elder Russell

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Solving Problems

This week we had zone conferences.  That is when a lot of missionaries get together and the mission president gives training.  This time the mission was divided into just two parts.  One of them was in Rio Preto and the other one was here in Ribeirão Preto.  I got to go to both and help organize everything. #PerksOfBeingAP This was my last zone conference.  That means that I got to bear my testimony because the heroes (the missionaries that are going home) always get to bear their testimonies in their last zone conference.  I am not technically a hero yet because it is not my last transfer just but this is the way the cookie crumbled.  It was nice but a bit bizarre.  I don't really feel like it is ending.  I guess just someday it will end.
So the thing that I will monologue about this week is that I learned how to solve problems. This, I learned more working in the mission office than in any other place.  My job when I was secretary was basically defined as "the stuff that no one else does."  So that means that if something new that had never been done before had to be done, I had to do it.  The first few times it was a bit nerve wracking but when it hits you that if you don't do it, no one will, it is surprising what you can accomplish.  I would say that by the end, I really surprised myself with my own abilities.  A lot of times we worry about the fact that we don't know how to do stuff when really if we just try, we will do a lot better than we think.  I realize that we are capable, as human beings, of a lot more than we think.
I love you all!  I hope you are all having a good week!

Elder Russell

Sunday, September 6, 2015


Hello to everyone.  Well I would first like to tell everyone that we had a baptism last week. It was quite nice. The daughter of the woman we baptized a few weeks ago also decided that she wanted to get baptized so we baptized her.  She was already going to church and doing Personal Progress (a church program for young women)  so I guess it was just the logical next step.
Continuing with my series of what I have learned on my mission, I have learned that communication is important.  It is actually really important to talk to people.  You can be the smartest person in the world but if you don't know how to talk to people, you will never be anything.  The phrase "the pen is mightier than the sword" has always puzzled me a bit but now I think I understand what it means.  Influential people are not the people who are able to make people do what they want, they are the people who are able to make people want to do what they want.  And this requires communication.  The most important thing in communication is listening. There is the phrase that you never really understand someone until you walk a mile in their shoes.  What many people don't understand is that does not mean that you can just put your shoes where theirs are and start walking.  The question is never what would I do in that situation?  That doesn't really matter, you are not in it.  The question is:  What will they do in this situation? And to know that. you have to listen.  Many people are never able to motivate people because they think that those people are motivated by what motivates them, but that is really dumb thinking.  That is why rich people have trouble talking to poor people. Ninety nine percent of the time, rich people are rich because they wanted to be.  They chose wealth and influence over every other thing in their lives.  Poor people are poor because often they want to be as well.  They chose other things in their lives instead of money.  It doesn't really work that well to motivate a poor person with the ability to become rich, if he doesn't want that.  You have to listen to people to work with them.
Well this week's letter got a little off track but these are important things that I learned.  I love you all!

Elder Russell