Monday, July 29, 2013

I learned the Hebrew alphabet

Ya that guy with parkinsons is a really great example. He invites us to a place called 'Fiesta' (it's a grocery store with a ton of different foods from different cultures, I've never seen any white people in there besides us haha). But while we're there he always points out his friends and people he wants us to talk to. The other day he had us there for lunch and when we were talking he said, "look over behind you to that man and say 'Hola' to him" so we started talking and he ended up being a Christian-Jew and we 'discussed' a lot of different Gospel principles together.
So, on Saturday we had our ward cultural night (it's an activity we started planning about 2 months ago). We had people bring different foods from all over and they invited their neighbors and friends. It was way cool. We got to eat food from Liberia, Eritrea, Argentina, England, Tonga, Brazil, and a lot of other places. A popular food they eat in a lot of African countries is Kisuda. You take some of this flat-bread stuff (i forgot what it's called) and wrap it around some meat. It's really good. We also tried this weird drink from Brazil that pretty much tastes like hot water with grass in it...
Anyway. Random cool thing this week. I learned the Hebrew alphabet. One of the people we teach speaks it and told me I should learn it so I figured if we ask him to read, come to church, and pray, I could do something he wanted me to haha. There's also this member in our ward that is Mormon but he's kind of Jewish in a weird way too... So I was talking to him yesterday about Hebrew stuff in Genesis and I found out he's related to us! He's a discendant from the Belnaps. so that was pretty cool. But It's been a good week. Oh and Thank you for the package! I loved it, those swedish fish were great!
Hope y'all have a great week. Thanks for all ya do. I love ya.
Elder Russell

Monday, July 22, 2013

ask me about mormonism

Hey Fam, Did ya get my box full of junk that I sent with the Rees'? (Sorry it didn't have anything very exciting in it, I just really wanted to keep all those letters y'all sent me but was running out of room for them. I love reading those.) Sounds like a fun night at temple square, haha that's one of those stories that kind of makes me stressed out reading it, haha you have such a good attitude mom, I love you. I'm glad you still had fun. I think I might be able to empathize with you a little bit, a lot of times we spend good time planning our 'perfect day' but then everyone falls through on their appointments and different things come up haha, but in the end it works out. Grandma and Grandpa are home! That's so crazy! I can't imagine how good it was for them to see everyone and for everyone to see them! And to top it off with McDonalds! That sounds like an amazing night;) So Chloee pretty much goes with you everywhere it seems like! Man, I love that! that's way cool. Good to hear that Mark is doing really good still. That's also way exciting about the Wilburg's! I really like that family, I don't know if you remember but I home-taught them for a while. That really is just awesome! 
Well, this last week was pretty good! We've got to spend a little more time with the members. One family in particular I've really grown to love. They're an older couple (probably 70 or 80) but man, they are on fire with missionary work. The husbands name is Frank. He and she are both converts. He has a really interesting life story. I wish I could tell you it but because of time I don't think I can. Anyway, to describe him a little, he wears a 'ask me about mormonism' pin on his shirt everywhere he goes and gives pass-along cards to everyone! He has Parkinson's disease so it's really hard for him to talk and walk but he's always out and about. The main thing I love about him is his love for others. He took one member of the ward who converted and was kind of struggling in life and he made him his best friend. He takes him out to eat all of the time and involves him in his missionary work and now he's a solid great member of the ward who very well could have fallen away. Pres. Gordon B. Hinckly said that every member needs 3 things. The nourishment of the good word of God, A calling, and fellowship. 
On sunday when we were in Priesthood meeting we were introducing the visitors to the ward as usual and a few men stood up and said something probably like, "I'm from Utah, I got married, now I'm here." but one guy said, "I'm going through some hard times and probably with be here a while." I thought he was just a member visiting or something but we later talked to him and found out he had come down here to Houston from SLC with his brand new baby and wife and he sold everything to get down here and then they had some troubles and got divorced and now he's homeless and barely hanging in there. So he GPS'd a church and randomly found ours. We planned to start teaching him and the best part is a member in our ward was fellowshipping him since he arrived at church at went with him from each meeting. I thought they had known each other before with how well they got along. But it was just an awesome miracle. We are meeting with him this week, I'll let ya know how it goes. We also have an awesome activty for our ward this week. It's a cultural night where everyone that has any relation with a certain country brings a food dish from that country and there will be cultural activities and stuff. It'll be awesome since there are so many diversities here. I hope I get to eat something weird. Well, have a good week. I'll see y'all later! Love ya!
Elder Russell 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"Hey do you know anyone who we could share a happy message centered on Jesus Christ?"

So I'll try and let ya know of some of the highlights for the week:
Hilario's doing really good. we've had some amazing lesson's with him in the past week. He knows Hebrew so we always talk a ton about the old testament and he gives little insights on some of the words and stuff, it's pretty cool. We've started to study with him on some of the days during the week in the mornings. He's really smart and asks really good questions. I love learning/teaching/studying. I could do that all day!! (kind of do)
We met this cool guy the other day named Leo. He's from the Carribean somewhere. He has dreds and was just sitting on some stairs as we started talking with him. we found out he used to sell drugs and be addicted really bad and lived in a pretty rough situation but was able to change through a realization of God and His love for Him. He said God changed him. we talked to him for a while and expressed views and we taught him the restoration.
We've been trying really hard to talk to EVERYONE we see lately. It's been pretty cool with the miracles we've seen. The other day we were walking back to our car after an appointment that fell through and there wasn't anyone around, only a lady and her friend up on the third story of an apartment so it would have been really awkward if we tried to talk to her but I decided to anyway. I yelled up something like, "Hey do you know anyone who we could share a happy message centered on Jesus Christ?" and she was like, "ya, me" so we went up and taught her.
Anyway, a lot of other miracles have been happening. It's been a fun week, I'm finn'n to have another great one. I'm low on time so I gotta go. We also went to the temple today, that's why I emailed today instead of the usual (monday). Love y'all, have a good week.
Elder Russell

Tee Hee yes this is my son.

Monday, July 8, 2013

everyone's so happy and nice

Hey so I got my new companion this last week on Wednesday. His name is Elder Howard. He's from Virginia. I feel bad, he got sick the first couple days of his mission here with food poisoning. But he got better pretty quickly. Our 4th of July was pretty fun. We helped make breakfast at a ward activity and then we also went to a BBQ with some people in the ward with one of our investigators (Hilario). On Saturday we taught a guy named Pengfei who's from China. He's really smart. He came to church with us on Sunday and said everyone's so happy and nice. I was glad he noticed! The weather hasn't changed too much, it's still around 100 everyday or a little less. It's raining today. This week we've been working a LOT more with the members of the ward. Elder Howard is actually a convert; he was baptized three years ago. He was referred to the church through a friend of his. A lot of emphasis has been put on member-missionary work so that's why we've been trying to stress it more in our work. I think we're going to see a lot of success from it. I've been studying a lot in 2 Peter 1:3-7, which lists some Christ-like attributes. The main one I've been trying to work on is Charity. I've learned a lot about it. Anyway, I'm about outta time. Thanks for the email.
Elder Russell

I know that it is true

Hey fam! thanks for the emails, letters, packages for my birthday! I loved getting them all. I'll have to send you a picture later because I don't have my camera with me today but I wore the apron while making Pho (a vietnamese soup) and made my comps jealous. This last week has been really good. I'm sure y'all heard about the announcements made through the broadcast. They aren't in act yet. there's an 18-month roll-out, so within that time we will have our church building open all day every day with a set of missionaries in there to be in charge of activities and teaching going on i guess. That's my understanding for it now but I don't know exactly yet. 
A cool miracle that happened this week was that we fasted on tuesday for a young boy that a set of Sister missionaries are teaching in our ward named Barakette. He was having some family difficulties in being baptized and yesterday we found out that his dad is letting him be baptized now. Another Miracle happened on Tuesday. That morning I was thinking really hard about what we would be teaching Hilario and I was praying a lot about it. Finally I just decided on the lesson and also that we would read Alma 34 with him. During the lesson he was able to talk to us about some of his concerns and questions about the Gospel and Prophet and we asked him to think about the questions as he read with us. While we were reading the Spirit bore a very strong witness to all of us of the truth of the Book of Mormon. I noticed while reading that every thing I wanted to teach him about was taught perfectly in Alma 34. After we finished we asked Hilario if he had had answers to his concerns and questions. He said "yes, about the Book of Mormon. I know that it is true. I can feel it. When I don't read it is when I started getting concerns about it but whenever I read it I feel and know that it is true." We've had a lot of other miracles this week but I'm really short on time today so I'll have to tell y'all later. I've been spending a lot of time on the topic of 'charity' lately. It's an amazing topic. It can be taken VERY deep haha. but I've learned that it is the most dominant and defining attribute of God. 
"Let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him" (1 John 4:7-9). "and above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness" (Col. 3:14) Thanks for everything, I gotta get going. Love y'all
Elder Russell