Monday, August 25, 2014

It was one of the best--if not the best--week of my mission!

This week was amazing! It was one of the best--if not the best--week of my mission! We have seen the hand of God in this work. Elder Theis and I were reviewing over the things that have happened lately lastnight before we went to bed and we were just talking about how there are really so many good things that happen that we can't really remember any bad times--the good ones outweigh and cover any bad time or hard time if we have had any, I don't think I really remember any. We talked about how this work is just amazing and we love this mission. I am so thoroughly convinced that the Texas Houston South Mission really is the best mission in the world. I wish everyone could have the experiences that we are having out here. It would change their hearts and lives forever. It's done it for mine. 
So I'll just go through the week and hope that I have enough time to include everything that I want to--likely I'll forget many details that I wish I could tell you but this will get the point of the week across. 
On tuesday I mentioned how we had the opportunity to go to the temple. I love the temple. We went with this awesome couple--the Edwards. 
This week we have had days FULL of appointments. I think the fewest appointments we would have on a day was maybe 4; some others would have 7 or 8 appointments. We have been teaching so much! It has strengthened my testimony being able to share it constantly and really helped me as I've tried to become more familiar with the Holy Ghost as He works in our lives and teaching. 
Wednesday we had a great District meeting. Oh and this little tangent is necessary to throw in: We have been waking up earlier 2 days out of the week to do a couple long workouts. Wednesday was one of those days. It was really nice and we were feeling really fit and healthy and then after district meeting we needed to do a really quick lunch and Elder Theis had never eaten at Church's Chicken (it's a southern fried chicken fast-food restaurant here kind of like KFC). I felt obliged to give him the full "houston experience" which encompasses eating all the good southern food (including Church's chicken). We ate there and I forgot how greasy it was. That morning I had been counting up as we were doing sit-ups or whatever the exercise was and when were were eating I felt like the count was going down and just canceled out our workout haha. It was good though. 
On wednesday we also had a great lesson with this amazing family--the Alexanders. The alexanders just showed up at church a couple of times and we lined up an appointment with them. They are a family of 6. They are so prepared! They had been Pentecostal but felt that something was missing. They had interest sparked in our church after seeing anti-Mormon stuff. When they saw and heard the things that some of the Anti-Mormons were saying they were like, "hmm, that actually seems not too bad." They said one of the videos they saw had a guy with a creepy voice saying, "They will lure you in with their focus on families and tell you they are eternal. they also have to do a family home evening every single monday..." they loved it. So they looked us up and found and the 16 year old girl read 22 chapters of the Book of Mormon already and the dad read all of the lessons in Preach My Gospel so he'd know what we'd teach. When we set up an appointment for tonight (monday) they said, "will that interfere with your P-day?" haha I guess they know about P-days too. We are teaching them the plan of salvation today. It's at the church building. We have an awesome member family joining us for the lesson and we're going to be going through the rooms of the church and each room will be a different part of the plan. We went around the church this morning and wrote stuff on the boards and got a video ready to watch in one of the rooms and then we'll end by teaching them about the celestial kingdom and eternal families in the chapel and I'm going to play, "families can be together forever" on the piano and Elder Theis is going to read the words to the song to them. I'm so excited for it! The family has come to church for the past 3 weeks. 
alright I'm running out of time but I will try to hurry and get some of the other important details in:
Another one of the amazing people we met was Ray. We met him as a referral from a guy named Jesse. Jesse didn't really seem like he was too interested but I think God led us to him to be led to Ray and hopefully Jesse will progress too. But anyway, Ray is the most humble man I think I've ever met. When we knocked on the door we saw this older man open it up and allow us in. His apartment was really really messy and there are a lot of bugs on the ground but as we started talking to him we found out that the women he called his wife died 5 months ago and it has been so hard for him. We learned how he hasn't had much love at all in his life. His wife who passed away has kids but they all resent Ray and treat him really bad. His own kids don't talk to him really. He has no support and very few people he can call friends. He cried as he told us about his wife and how much he served her because of his health problems. He cried and told us he knew we were men of God and he could see it. The next day we came with our vacuum and cleaning supplies and cleaned his apartment. We've gained such a love for him. We told him this and he humbly thanked us. He told us he hasn't heard that for a very long time, not even from his own kids. He is progressing so much! He's going to be baptized on the 14th of september. He is amazing! 
Ah well I'm outta time. I love y'all!!
Elder Russell

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