Monday, June 24, 2013

safety for the soul

This week I've been working with Elder Campell and Elder Lupton in a tri-panionship. It's actually been really fun haha. We've been trying to work both their areas and my area. It's crazy but it's kind of working. We've been teaching an awesome guy named Devon. He's the most redneck guy i've met, he's so funny. When we teach him somehow he always leads the lessons into him talking about 'torque wrenches and cars', or him being '500 pounds and the fastest kid on his football team in 7th grade'. He's funny. Another person we've been teaching is Nathaniel. He's a 14 year old kid that just got out of jail and wanted us to teach him. He's really humble, just had a really rough life. He's really smart and is loving the lessons. Hilario is learning a lot too. We taught him a lesson the other day about the Book of Mormon and watched "safety for the soul" by Elder Holland. It was way good. Elder Campell is a Vietnamese speaking missionary but he's serving in the English area so he takes us to some cool restaurants. He's also been trying to teach us some Vietnamese... man it's hard. Oh did I ever tell y'all I gave myself a haircut? Yep, I did. It turned out alright. haha I actually gave 3 other missionaries haircuts too. Well, i'm running really short on time so sorry this email isn't very long but thanks for the letters and everything. I'm Finn'n to send you a package soon. maybe next week. Have a good one! Love ya guys
Elder Russell

Monday, June 17, 2013

it'll be awesome

Hey thanks for the letters and everything, they're good as always. Today was really crazy so sorry it took so long to get an email out to ya. This morning our apartment roommates woke us up pretty early and said that we had to report to the church for an evacuation so we had to pack up a lot of our stuff and put all of our personal items in bags and on high shelves for hurricane safety and stuff, then we headed to the church. It was a drill of course. Then later today around lunch we got a call telling us that my companion Elder Woodruff got his visa and had to leave to go to Australia today. So we hurried and packed up his stuff after unpacking it and then we dropped him off at the mission office. It was crazy. I guess I only knew him for 4 weeks so it doesn't sound like I'd know him very well but when you're on a mission and companions with them 24/7 you get to know them pretty well so it was really crazy. Now i'm in a tri-panionship with the Elders in my apartment, it'll be awesome! 
I would spend more time telling y'all about the stuff that happened during the week but we are running very low on time so i'll just say it was a great week and I love you guys. Have a good week, I'll hear from ya next week.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

God's #1 motive

So this week was a great one.
On monday we did the usual P-day stuff and then after we helped with a
service project--tying ribbons on tree's for the fireman who died
(last week there was a fire in a hotel and most of the hotel burned
down and 5 fireman died in there). The city's giving a lot of support
to the families, it's pretty cool. On tuesday we went to a Vietnamese
sandwich place for a district lunch, it was pretty good. Nothing too
unusual in the sandwich. On Wednesday we were able to give a blessing
to a young man who got in an accident of some sort and was unconcious
in the hospital, his mom was there and wanted us to give him the
blessing, she didn't speak any english but she knew who we were and
she was very nice. Later we taught a lesson to our friend Erik (who
moved to another state for college), he was so awesome, it was sad we
won't be able to teach him anymore. We had an awesome lesson on the
Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Spirit was so strong. I loved talking
with him and teaching him, he's very educated and loves the
scriptures. He is an amazing debator, he helps at competitions a lot
and did it all throughout high school so when he reads he really can
dissect what he's reading. We got to talk a little about apocrypha and
psuedopigrypha (I think that's how you spell it). He really loves the
Book of Mormon and I introduced him to the Doctrine and Covenants and
the Pearl of Great Price and he loves them too. Since that was our
last lesson we gave him quite a few scriptures to read and he gave us
a cool "space-pen" that can write under water. On Thursday we got to
help a lady and her husband in the ward with a service project by a
school putting edging into a garden, it was pretty fun. We spent a lot
of time with a friend we have from south sudan. We randomly went by to
see how he was doing and found out that his mother-in-law had died and
so this last week was kind of like an open-house and he had family
from all over Africa and South Sudan come over. We met so many new
people and we taught a little lesson about the plan of salvation. We
went over a couple more times throughout the week and one night we
came over and visited with his family and they told us stories about
south sudan and life in Africa. We ate something called "kisuda" which
is flat bread that you dip into a type of meat or intestine. It was
actually really good but there were a lot of random things in the meat
that had different textures. We had a really good time and after when
we were leaving the Man who we were visiting walked out with us and
told us he was so glad we came over and so happy that we ate with
them. He expessed how much it meant to him and his people that we
accepted them as friends and ate their food (I was thinking "I'd come
over anytime for this food"). But he said he wanted us to come back
and to teach him and his wife again (this is someone who had before
been very heard-hearted and tried to argue a lot when we taught him).
The thing that got him interested in us more was the love that we
showed. Love is an amazing thing. God said that the greatest
commandment was to love Him and to Love our neighbors (or everyone).
By increasing our love for everyone, we will become more like Heavenly
Father than by doing anything else. That's why it's the greatest
commandment. Every other obedience to a commandment or thing we do is
an appendage to that princible of love. It is God's #1 motive in
making this plan helping us progress to become like Him. Well sorry
this email's kind of long. Thanks for the packages, Those frosting
balls were pretty good haha. And thanks for all the letters, I loved
getting them and reading them. It's so good to hear from everyone.
Have a good week and enjoy summer!
-Love Elder Russell

Monday, June 3, 2013

love for the scriptures

Haha it's crazy to think how old everyone is now. That'll be a lot of
fun staying in that Condo.
Ok, so what? A chinese boy is staying with you for a few weeks?!
what?! that's awesome! That'll be so fun! His name's Mei yu? That'll
be an awesome experience for you guys!
So this week was pretty good. On Tuesday (which was our P-day) we
shopped at the Welcome Market (which is a grocery store in China-town
that has awesome food from asian countries) and we bought a ton of
food that we thought would be interesting to eat (and it was). They
have some different kinds of food there, like goat and duck heads and
chicken feet and pig hooves. Then we ate at this chinese smoothy place
and they put Boba's in the bottom of the shake (they're like little
tapioca balls). Later during the week we had to take our car into a
shop to take car of a little dent that's been there for a long time
(don't worry it wasn't from me). So... we were on bikes for a couple
days. It was pretty fun but it was so hot! Most days it's been 95-100
We've been thinking of ways we can help the members of our ward to get
involved more in missionary work and we came up with some cool ideas.
One of them was to do a cultural dinner night and have anyone that
served a mission or is from a foreign country to bring a dish from
that country and pictures from that place. Then we'll have some fun
activities and hopefully we can all invite people and meet some of the
members' friends--If you can think of any other ideas let me know.
We're still working with Halario and the Lowes. the Lowes are going to
be gone for a while so we'll pick back up with them later. We've also
taught a lady named Agnas. She speaks Yuroba (luckily we had a Book of
Mormon in that language) and we've taught her a couple times, she's
pretty nice. She kind of reminds me of a smurf (not in a mean way).
She's funny.
This last week, I don't know what it is, but I have grown such a love
for the scriptures. In all my free time I'm reading and I get excited
whenever I get a chance to read them. There's a really cool article in
an Ensign from last year--I don't know what month it's from--that
talks about the translation of the Bible. It's really cool. We just
have so much available to us that hasn't been available before. We
have more scriptures and resources to learn from than anyone did
before us that I can think of. I could spend all day reading, it's
just exciting to learn.
Well I love y'all and hope ya have a good week. 
Elder Russell