Tuesday, January 21, 2014

how many are being prepared like him

Ok so for the weekly update. Man, this week has been really crazy. So I guess I gave y'all an update on wednesday when we went to the temple. I'll just kind of update what's happened since then.
Thursday was crazy! we had a lot of appointments lined up and didn't have time to breath hardly, we loved it. Time flies by when your busy. We've been working with some people I may not have mentioned before and some I've already talked about. On Friday I was on an exchange with Elder Johnson. We had this awesome member from their ward come out with us. His name is Steven. He's a convert and he's the most happy person I've ever met! He's preparing for a mission. So, to tell a little bit about him, he grew up going to disney sponsored schools and even college and then worked at disneyland so he's obsessed with it. He was telling us about how when he worked there for one of the jobs it was really important for them to smile. They had to just smile all of the time. It sounds kind of weird but he was telling me about how if you just always are smiling, even if you aren't happy, something will happen or someone will say something that will change your mood so that you are happy. I thought it was really good thinking but I haven't tried it out yet haha. Anyway, we also ate at this place called freebirds. It's a burrito place and it's pretty good. Elder Johnson got the biggest burrito that I've ever seen in my life. They said it weighed as much as a new born baby. He won the man of the day award. 
So, in the past few days things have been pretty interesting. A lot of our plans have fallen through and I've been a bit sick and tired and our car has been getting nails in the tires so we've had to switch in and out the spare and get that fixed and a few people have been a little bit more rude than usual to us but I've had a hard time remembering all of the bad because God just blesses us so much. The other night it was a rough night and our plans weren't working out and we met this lady walking by as we were walking to where we thought our car was in the parking lot and she told us about how her husband just had finished reading the bible. She told us he's probably be home and led us to the apartment. He wasn't home so we set an appointment to come back. Later as we found out that our car was actually in a different place we walked to where it actually was and saw a guy a little ways off and walked over and started talking to him and found out that it was that lady's husband. This guy started telling us all of these things that he had learned as he read through the bible. (we found out he did a very thorough study of it when he read through). He told us--among a few other things--that "You see, man has taken the important things that are taught in the bible and put his own twist on it. All of the different churches are only partially true with man's own twist on them. People don't understand the importance of Priestly authority. It's like it says in the Bible, there will be a restoring of all truth and all things." Me and Elder Baird just sat and listened to him and we just got more and more excited to teach him. It's amazing how God prepares the people who are put into our path. It makes me wonder how many are being prepared like him all around us.  I just finished doing a really detailed read of the story of the sons of Mosiah going to the land of Nephi to teach the Lamanites. I just love that story. They are the best examples. They had so much faith. That story is so amazing. If a people who were "a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people; a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them" (Alma 17:14-15), could change into a people who were righteous and so converted that they "never did fall away"(Alma 23:6), then think of the changes that can happen with the people around us, or even us ourselves. 
Well, anyway, I gotta get going. I love the Book of Mormon! It is the word of God. 
Love y'all! 
Elder Russell
Yes, this is Elder Johnson- They grew up as friends! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

testimony of the things we teach through the Holy ghost by praying

So, since we just got back from going to the temple today I don't have my journal--which I usually bring to help me remember what had happened during the week--so I may not be able to include everything I wanted to in this email. But one thing I remember I have been meaning to tell y'all about this new area is that the Nasa apace center is in our area. ("Houston we have a problem") anyway, that was random just because I kept forgetting to tell y'all.
So this week I spent a lot of time with other missionaries other than my usual companion. Occasionally missionaries do what is called an exchange where a missionary from another area switches places with a missionary in another area for a day. One of the missionaries I will be going on exchange with on friday will be Elder Johnson (Landon Johnson)--he's in my district. Anyway, I went on three exchanges last week and learned a lot from the other missionaries. It's always good to see different working styles and what is most effective. I love missionary work! We met some cool people this week, some we're still going to be teaching and some aren't continuing for now but hopefully in the future. One of the people was Billy. He's just about 20 years and old and we met him walking down the street. He had just gotten out of jail and wanted to turn his life around. He learned more about God while he was in jail. We taught him the message about the restored gospel, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He pointed out that he felt the Holy Ghost. He said, "While y'all were talking I felt a different feeling. Kind of like chills. I get a good feeling." Another couple of people we've met and been teaching a bit are Rojnoth and his brother Ovenosh, they're from Trinidad. They're young guys but really mature. They've been through a lot. They are Hindu but as we taught them the plan of salvation they were able to compare it to a lot of beliefs that they already have. We are teaching them about how they can get a testimony of the things we teach through the Holy ghost by praying.  We met this other guy--I don't know why I'm telling you about this guy, mostly because he's just interesting--his name is Bob. We were driving out of a complex and we saw this guy with yellow tinted sunglasses looking at us so we rolled down the window and started talking to him. He's come to some really different and sad conclusions about God because of how he's reacted to the very crazy experiences he's had. He stopped believing in God's love for him and I think that developed into him not having a belief in God. We bore testimony to him about God's unrestrained love for all of His children. He just couldn't accept the fact the God could love him. he told us, "God couldn't love me, I've been in 3 wars, Vietnam, Korea, I've been a mercenary in africa, I killed people for money, not for a country or for any good reason. God couldn't love me. I've seen things happen to people that you couldn't imagine." It's such a sad thought to be stuck accepting the lie from Satan that the creator of your soul and world doesn't have a love or care for you. We're going to be stopping by Bob in the next few days, hopefully he'll be able to let God pour His love into his life. 
Well I gotta get goin. Love y'all. Have an amazing week! Read, Pray, Go to Church!
Elder Russell 

Monday, January 6, 2014

She's felt the Spirit

hey, ya things are going good! I'm loving the area. Hey I wanted to tell you thanks real quick for those general conference CDs (I think it was y'all that sent it.. everything was jumpled together so I forgot exactly what was from who.) Love those talks. Especially Elder Dube. he reminds me of the my last area with his thick Nigerian accent. Ya you can just send those packages to the same address. It's the mission office and we go up about every week so it'll be the same. We do have some investigators we're working with. This ward has a lot of less-active members so that's a big focus but as far as investigators go we have the Soto family--They're a family of 6 that moved here from New York. They're great! They're getting baptized next week. Then we have Taytay and Stanley. Taytay is from Tennessee and is the biggest hillbilly I've ever met and then her boyfriend Stanley is a big military guy, just got back from Iraq. We spent New Year's eve evening with them. We ate a soup with beans, cabbage, and jaw bone in it and then "tater-tarts" (which were fried cornbread biscuits pretty much). They're an awesome couple. We're also working with a few others that we've only met with once or twice. We're working with a lot of less-active members. This is random but I just remembered and have to tell y'all, it was 30 degrees this morning!! aigh! crazy. We were freezing. It better get warmer soon. anyway. Ya a lot of the less-actives that we've talked with are great people, they are just not coming to church for a small reason but they mostly have great testimonies and are so close. Our goal is to have all of the less-actives in our area become active. We had a really cool experience with one less-active lady the other day. We were teaching her the message of the restoration of the gospel and we had Peter (this awesome RM that was staying in the area with his parents--who are in our ward) and the lesson didn't really seem like it was going anywhere. The lady's kids were being kind of hyper and distracting her and I thought that she wasn't really paying attention but at the end we bore our testimonies and Peter asked her if she'd ever thought about coming back to church. She broke into tears and told us of how she knows it's true. She's felt the Spirit. She just doesn't know why she hasn't come. Peter's mom is going to start taking her to church. Some people just need a little love and support. That makes all of the difference. Same with another guy we talked to. His name is Brother Hammond. He's an awesome guy, he has a really crazy conversion story and life story. He's been through so much. After he told us all that he had been through it was just more than we could ever imagine and in most eyes it would seem that he had no logical reason to come to church or to trust in us or anyone. We prayed for him we just listened to him and he came to church the next day. He's such a great guy. We're seeing a lot of progress. I love this area. We've been soooo busy. From 6:25am to 10:27pm when I hurry and change and brush to get into bed before 10:30  (which is when we're supposed to go to bed) and say my prayers it's just a rush with no free-time. Life is great though. We see a lot of good things, blessings, and miracles. I love it!
Love y'all!
Elder Russell