Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We could have the whole cannon memorized!

It is getting a bit hotter. It's still comfortable though. This week has been great. We got to do a little service along with the teaching and meeting new people and everything. We helped this family in our ward, the mom is a member but not the dad or the kids. They're from the Caribbean. We were doing yard work for them. At first when we got there the dad told us how the lawn-mower wasn't starting so my companion likes to work on things like that and he started work on it. It was kind of a one-man job so I was talking to the kids while he worked on it. They brought out their Pokemon cards and made me go through each of their decks. We talked about them and how there are so many new ones. I actually remember more Pokemon names than I should be proud to admit. I was talking with Elder White after and we were thinking about how we can memorize so much info just from hobbies and interests, it's amazing! Think of what we could do if we focused that on the scriptures! We could have the whole cannon memorized! Anyway, that's a random tangent. So, after the reminisce of the pokemon days the dad made us dinner. We ate meat with meat for the side-dish and then had sausage for dessert. Don't worry, we didn't just eat cake, he gave us a slice of cake for a side and root beer to drink haha. I love them, they're a great family. We've been working a lot with our friend named Robby. He's getting baptized pretty soon. He just has some struggles with the word of wisdom. He really struggles with feeling like God really still loves him and accepts him because he's made a lot of mistake in his life and really has a lot of regrets--although he wouldn't admit that. We're also working with Jeremy. He's great. He met missionaries a time back in his life and then he moved and lost contact with them even though he really liked what they taught. Then he found other missionaries and they continued teaching him and he gained a testimony of the church and the book of mormon and then the missionaries "vanished" (probably the area got shut down or something). Then a few weeks ago we were passing by and I didn't notice him because he has a lot of plants on his deck and he was behind them but my companion heard him call out to us. We talked and he told us how he had lost his "mormon Bible." We gave him one and got to know him more and he's doing great now! 
Anyway, it's been a great week! 
Love y'all, Elder Russell

Monday, May 19, 2014

prayers more effective

This week we went to the temple as a mission. We split into four groups and went four different days. It was really good though. I learned a lot. One of the biggest highlights of it was just feeling the Spirit there. 
We also had some really good lessons and met some great people. Every once in a while we get to teach the seminary class. They meet at 6am instead of doing it as a period during the day like in Utah, so we wake up early to go. It's a great way to start off the day. We had a good lesson with some good participation even though it was really early. I unfortunately don't have time to write in my journal so I don't remember any of the highlights that happened during the week... haha. But I know it was good. I will mention something that I was thinking about today though. I was reading in Alma 10-11 and was thinking about the story there about Alma and Amulek going to the city of Ammonihah to teach. The city was so wicked that they had rejected Alma when he came before but then the Lord provided a way for Alma and his new companion to come in and preach what they needed to say. The wicked lawyers and people tried to argue and contend and prove Alma and Amulek wrong in whatever way they could. Eventually they prove their wickedness by killing all of the few believers of that city by burning them and their records. Only a few were able to escape but they left the city. Soon after Alma and Amulek suffered in prison and the Lord later delivered them by their faith. The interesting part of the story has to go with the general idea of it. I learned this while reading a quote this morning by one of the former prophets or apostles--the reason the city of Ammonihah was kept for a time before--even while so many were wicked--was because of the prayers and lives of the righteous who lived there. The righteous prayers and lives of those few people upheld the city. The quote talks about how prayers can change nations and lives. It put a new perspective on the power of prayers. Soon after the righteous saints who lived in Ammonihah were rejected or burned the city was overrun by the Lamanites and everyone in the city was killed. The righteous--who were protected by God--were no longer there. I've been trying a lot to make my prayers more effective and more meaningful. I don't understand everything about prayer but I know it's important and it's helped my grow--more than that it's been necessary for my growth. 
Well, I love y'all. Have a good week!
Elder Russell

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I have just fallen in love

weekly update. So there's not a ton to update on. It was a really good week. I love life, it is so great. I've been reading through the Book of Mormon really fast this round and I'm doing a few things to help me study it deeper and understand it better. I just can't think anything other than how much I love that Book! I learn so much from it. You might think the more you read it the less you'll pick up each time but I think I learn more while reading as I reread it. On my mission I have just fallen in love with the Book of Mormon and the New Testament (mainly the Pauline Epistles). Down here I've found so much strength and help with the scriptures. Anyway, that's a kind of random tangent. Well, I love y'all and hope ya have a good week! 
Here's a challenge for anyone who wants to get an answer to anything in their life--take an extra hour during the day (wake up early if you need to) and just read the scriptures while thinking of a challenge in life or a question.  John 5:39
Love y'all
-elder russell

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

they're just great people

II. I went to the temple this morning. It was so good. I absolutely love that place. I learn a lot while spending time there. Our mission is going next week as well so I'm getting a double-bonus! I am really excited. 
anyway, So this last week has been really good. One of the thoughts that I had this week was how much it means to some people to just spend a little time with them. Since coming into this ward there are several people coming to church now who hadn't come in a while before for whatever reason but they started coming back when we went over and showed them a little love and shared a message with them and invited them. One family that we were talking to last night asked us, "why do y'all come back every time?" I thought about that and they told us how so many people had judged them in their lives and not thought that they were worth any time--the husband is a diesel mechanic with a big beard and tattoos and usually wears a motorcycle cut-off tee, he's one of the most hard-working, good people I know though. I told my companion after we were driving home something like, "there are so many members--less-active and active, even investigators who I would spend time with even if I weren't a missionary, I'd still want to come over and talk with them--they're just great people." I wish I would have done more of that before the mission. It's amazing how much you can help someone just by listening to them and being their friend. Mom, you've done a good job at that with a lot of neighbors! 
Anyway, that's the random thought of the day. Soooo...
I love y'all! have a good week!
Elder Russell