Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wow a lot has happened in a week!.......week 7

Hello from Las Colinas! Yeah, let me explain ha ha.

So as you read in the title, this week (and especially the last 24 hours) has been a HUGE change! I am now in Las Colinas (or that is to say the ward Las Colinas). I am really in the city Ticuantepe. It is absolutely beautiful and huge (the ward boundaries) and well, I don't much about it yet but I will give you a briefing...

So we had a multizone conference last Thursday and we had interviews with the President. It was great! I always learn so much in the conferences with the President. He is changing the way the mission is being run. He said in the meeting that there was going to be emergency changes the following Monday (yesterday) and that we needed to be prepared with everything including the area book, etc. Also, the President decided to create two zones dedicated to training. So all the future trainers were transferred to Chinandegas and Leon to get used to the area before the 14 new missionaries arrive in two weeks. It was all kind of confusing.

But Sunday night both my companion got a phone call. I was just sitting there and then he paused...he was shocked. We were both going to be transferred out of the area. He knew nothing more. We were both leaving.

So we spent the night packing and finishing all of the notes and stuff. We didn´t get to sleep until 12...unfortunately. But it was really a blessing yesterday though because we had time to say goodbye to our recent converts and less active members. That is not normally the case. It was a bitter sweet experience. It is amazing to me how much love you can have for a person only after 4 weeks there.

So we got to the transfers and we found out that our companionship was going to stay the same, but we were both moving to Las Colinas (the area of the APs) and that the office would now be working in our old area. Weird, but exciting. So we spent pretty much the whole day yesterday just getting stuff ready. A member drove us around and we got to see most of the area.

Now about the area...IT IS HUGE. REALLY HUGE! Our area, just me and my companion, is bigger in size than all of the other areas in our zone put together. It is about 30 kilometers from Managua but it feels completely different. It is very green and a bit cooler than Managua. It also has a volcano and zoo in the area...pretty sweet. I took some sweet photos yesterday but I didn´t know I was going to write today so I will send them soon.

So about my old area, Montserrat is in Managua. It is one of the wards there. I was pretty much in downtown Managua.

The photo problem is that the computers here don't have jacks for my SD card. I want to buy a cable so I can upload them and then send them...I will keep you updated. I can receive photos as far as I know. I did have an extra card but I was looking for it yesterday during the changes and I couldn´t find it. I don't know where it is...

About the money, it seems like most missionaries have a problem keeping a hold of their money. It is easy to waste it. We get a set amount from our credit card each month that is allotted for each expense. I received mine late last month so Ï have a lot of extra. I will figure it out next month. As far as the debit card goes, please take off all but about 100 dollars. I don't want to carry around a ton of money in case someone steals it. But President Fraatz said that we could use the cards in emergencies...

My health is fine. I have been trying to drink lots of water and I eat a fairly balanced diet. Though my body is still adjusting to the food here...I wont burden you with the details.

Mailing is safe as far as I can tell. I have received about 3 or 4 letters from Elder Minor and a few from friends. It only takes about a week or two I think and I get the mail on Pdays. It might take longer for the zones really far from Managua, but I am still in the same zone as Montserrat so it should be pretty quick.

Elder Menendez is great! We have our differences, but I think we work as well together as any other companionship and better than some.

Weather, HOT! But like one of training movies said, the two hottest places known to man: the Sun...and Nicaragua. I have accepted that I will just be one sweaty kid for 2 years. Ticuantepe isn´t as bad thank goodness. I have used my boots a few times and they work great!

I do get to play the piano occasionally...

About the recent converts: I don't know how I forgot to tell you last week in the email, but we had another baptism. And then this last week we had another one, the man who had a problem with smoking =)

The one two weeks ago was a woman named Sandra. Really nice lady, had a big change in her life. David is the man who quit smoking, but not without some fighting. In a district meeting we were talking about his challenge and then another elder suggested we use this method to stop smoking. He suggested that we take 3 cigarettes and empty the insides into a glass of water. Then we made him drink half of it right then and the other half the following morning. We did it and it WORKED! He said the next day he wanted to smoke but couldn't because it just tasted so gross it was revolting. Ha ha. By Small and simple means are great things brought to pass.

So...more about my new area. Like I said, we are switching areas with the office and so really, we are opening an area. The APs work very different than most missionaries. They don't live in the area or work every day, so we are going in as two new missionaries blindly. My companion said that he felt like it was his first day in the mission all over again. I thought. "oh great...now we have two lost missionaries."

But really, I feel so lost and inadequate. I think I feel more lost than I did my first day because I cant rely on my companion and his knowledge of the people or area. He doesn´t know either. It is also really intimidating to follow the APs in the area. Even though they don't work all of the time in the area, they still teach, etc so we have BIG shoes to fill, and I have 4 weeks in the mission ha ha. Oh and it is the ward that the Mission President´s family attends too. Ha ha.

But I have been comforted already with this new assignment. I know that we can do it despite the huge pressure we both feel. I want to work hard and it seems like the members are going to help us do it too!

We live in this super sweet house that has three rooms and a toilet that flushes!!! And a fridge. Wow my perspective on things is already changing. The lady who lives in the house is really nice and she is a member with desires to serve the Lord if I do say so myself.

So now time for the cultural differences for the week!

Goats, I saw about 10 of them dart out from behind a house one morning and it didn´t bother me a bit. They are just trotting along next to me.
They have these little cart things that aren´t quite rickshaws but definitely not cars. They have three wheels and they drive people around for about 5 cordobas a piece (25 cents)
Las Colinas has hills filled with pineapples. It is my first time seeing a plantation where they grow pineapple. It is pretty cool looking.
Not enough could be said about the dogs.
Women here have no problem nursing in public...it is really different.

Anyway, I will cya next week. I just want you to all know how much I love you! I am growing spiritually and I really do know that this church is true. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to share the gospel here in Nicaragua. It is probably the coolest thing in the world to be completely dedicated to do the most important work there is: the work of the Lord.

I will write next week.

Elder Russell

PS could you send a picture or two of the family via email whenever you get a chance here and there so I can see everyone! Thanks-

Monday, June 22, 2009

Buenos....from Nicaragua........week 6

So hey there family! I really feel like I was just writing you all a few days ago...this week was a blur. I will fill you in a bit.

So we have a pretty consistent schedule as far as the week goes. Mondays are P-days and we get together in Altagracia as a zone to write letters and release some energy in non-competitive, sporting activities. wink wink. We also do FHE with less active and recent convert families.

Tuesday mornings we get together in Altagracia and have zone meeting and companionship study.

Wednesdays are just a normal day but we get together with the Bishop in the evening to discuss missionary work etc.

Thursdays we meet in Altagracia yet again for district meeting and weekly planning.

Fridays and Saturdays are normal.

Sundays we get together in the morning with the ward mission leader and missionaries to do what they call the Mormon Battalion. We visit less actives, inactives, and recent converts to animate them for church and teach a short lesson. It is pretty neat. I like it really but it is different than anything I have ever done on a Saturday morning. We are really busy and put in a lot of effort Sunday morning but it does produce some results. So it is worth it!

But this past week we also had a Multi-Zone Conference with the President and 5 or so zones over all of Nicaragua on Wednesday. It was really great! I learned a ton and I need to work harder. I think I always come out of those meetings feeling like I need to repent but also energized and ready to serve the Lord harder. So it was this last week.

I had some really good experiences with the Spirit this last week, but I also had some challenges. Satan...he definitely has his eyes on the missionaries and their efforts.

We have been working with the father of a part member family who has a problem smoking. He has great intentions to stop but he just can´t seem to go a day without smoking. We have animated him every night it seems like but he just falls the next afternoon. We are going to continue working with him. I just see so much potential in that young family. In one lesson with that family this last week I was reading a scripture and then suddenly an idea popped into my head. I was reading about how when Christ called his Apostles, they instantly left their nets and boats and families to serve the lord. The word for fisherman in Spanish is pescadores and I thought, ¨by taking out the s, the word becomes pecadores which in Spanish means sinners. So in reality, we could relate the way that the Apostles left their nets to the way sinners must leave their vices and other distractions that are keeping them from following the savior. We must leave them immediately. Pretty cool huh?

I also had other experiences with the Spirit where I just felt like I was saying exactly what the family needed to hear. I love being a missionary because I at times throughout the week feel the love of God just fill me, and it emulates out to the investigators and members. I think I am starting to love the people. I am starting to love being a missionary, but I still have a lot to improve.

Our companionship is improving I think, but we still have challenges. I think my problem is that I have always put missionaries on this pedastool, especially trainers, and I expect them to just do everything perfect. But even my companion is human. I definitely am.

But like I said, we have had our fair share of challenges this week. We have had a hard time with our investigators because they aren´t keeping their commitments. We actually dropped one sister even though she knows all the answers to the questions. She just isn´t ready for baptism or at least she doesn´t think she is and doesn´t want to be. She just had to pray for an answer, but she wouldn´t...it is frustrating. Also, yesterday my companion said that during divisions our investigator with a baptismal date for this coming Saturday just said he doesn´t want anything to do with the church now. I was confused. We are going to visit him this week to see what his doubt is.

Yesterday, church was nearly a disaster because the Bishop left with all of the ward missionaries during sacrament for a reunion in another part of town. It was rather disruptive and to top that, the speaker offended some of our investigators and recent converts with a comment about noisy children and they stormed out of church. Yikes...it wasn´t pretty. Not to mention that our attendance dove like crazy yesterday. Satan is strong, no doubt about it.

I was actually relieved that our new investigating family didn´t show up yesterday because it wouldn´t have been a very good first impression. If I could change one thing in the church, it would be to straighten up the members. We work day after day with these investigators and commit them to come to church, they make changes in their lives, and then in one light comment, all of our work slips away. Either that or they come and no one says hello.

It sounds like things at home are going well. That is good to hear. I am so happy to hear that the house was sold, and so fast! I know it is definitely a blessing because of obedience. That is the only way we receive blessings after all.

Tell Sean to keep up the good work as a missionary. He is definitely going to be great! I always admired Sean´s ability to make friends so fast. I have a hard time just being myself in front of strangers. I normally have to ease them into knowing me ha ha. As for Troy´s comment, let him know that I feel like I have big shoes to fill after both he and Tyler served so honorably. I hear of their stories and I just hope similar experiences happen with me. Both Troy and Tyler have served as great examples to me of what return missionaries should be like. I am very grateful for their service, and for Dad´s. Happy Father´s Day by the way! And don´t give me too much credit, I haven't done much...

Tell Cassandra congratulations for me. That is great! I figured at least some of my friends would get married before I got back. Some were already engaged before I left!

Thanks for the encouragement from everyone! I definitely feel your prayers from across the miles. I frequently think on our family and the things that we did together over the years. In retrospect, I don't think I would want to change anything. I really love you guys and I feel so much pride to be a member of the Russell family. I have shown pictures of our family to investigators several times and they always comment on how happy we look. It is a happiness that only the gospel can bring.

And now, drum roll please....Cultural Experiences!!!! Confetti and party hats all around. (I think I am going to start a weekly list of things that I found hilarious or different...normally the two go together) lets see

Dogs here are like skeletons...and they are everywhere.
No one obeys the rules of the road. I think there are rules...
I frequently am packed so close to people in the buses here that I feel like a sardine.
Really a lot of funny things happen on the buses.
Today we had two clowns putting on a show on the bus. I think they called it poetry...ç
Our toilet doesn´t flush...we have to throw water into it and then it flushes.
My companion threw water into the toilet that also had his shirt inside. It wasn't so clean afterwards ha ha. HA ha. I laughed a lot after that. ha ha.
Water and other liquids come in bags and you bite the edge to drink.
I have rice with every meal...pretty much.
Street vendors sell about everything. I saw a guy selling motor oil. Ha ha. It is always funnier when you look back on it.
oh and pirated movies...there are a bunch of those.

Well I have to go. I love you all. I know the church is true. I learn more every day and my testimony continues to grow. Take care and I will talk to you all next week. Thanks to everyone who writes letters. Thank Bro Minor, who writes all the time. Please continue to post my letters and forward my letters to everyone that asks and anyone else that might want it. Brother Minor said he wanted to read. So I will talk to you later. Love you bye,

Elder Russell

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mission Life in Managua........week 5

So hi again from Managua! Yeah sorry about craziness that was my MTC experience. I will fill you in on a few more things we did there, who I met up with, etc.

So I think I got to see everyone I know while I was there. I saw Brooks in the first 5 minutes the first day and we caught up and talked several times while I was there. I tried to get a picture with him but it never worked out. The thing is they only let you take pictures on Pdays and Sundays and we had different schedules too. I saw at least 6 elders from my ward at BYU and also even saw some girls from BYU I know too. Oh, and I saw my Ward Clerk too who happened to just drive by while we were studying outside one day. It was pretty fun.

The classes were great! I learned a lot while I was there but now I am finding it to be a challenge to implement all the things I learned. I think every missionary leaves the MTC with the determination to be the best missionary ever and to never make a single mistake. That was my intention. I didn´t make it very far though, I am definitely human.

I traveled solo for all of the trip except the first flight. There were about 8 other missionaries with me on the first flight. So yeah it was a little bit scary the last few flights. The flight to Nicaragua was intimidating. I didn´t know what to expect. The flight attendants were speaking Spanish really fast and I had to fill out some paperwork for customs. But it all turned out okay in the end. I hit the "pavement" running for sure...
Yeah, it is definitely not pavement (except for on the main roads. Keep in mind that I am in Managua which is probably one of the richest parts of Nicaragua. It is just dirt and a few cobblestone roads when you´re lucky).

I have definitely not converted the whole city yet, though sometimes I wish I could. I see the needs of the people and yet they don't want to listen. It is really sad. As far as the language goes, I feel like I have gotten worse since I arrived. Okay, so I have improved a little bit but I just feel so inadequate in my language abilities still. The people speak so fast, sometimes I don't understand. I am still thinking in English sometimes, which doesn´t help. I have caught myself several times this last week when I was about to speak English.

As far as the work goes, I am trying my best. Like I said, I feel so inadequate as a missionary. I want to work hard and be my best but then there are challenges both internal and external that restrain the work. My companion is great and is teaching me a lot. However, somehow I just feel like I am being restrained...it is rather frustrating. When you have Satan working against you and when you have some differences with your companion, it really can get difficult. I mean, our differences aren´t huge, it is just kind of how I said earlier, that what we envision the work to be like in the MTC and what we do in the mission feel different at times. I am trying to see how I can work more effectively.

But the work has been going well. We have several progressing investigators and we actually had two baptisms on Saturday! Yeah, it was pretty exciting. I got to baptize Patricia and Teresa, who are sisters about 14 and 17, and then they were confirmed on Sunday. They are great and I really feel grateful to have had the opportunity to teach them. I want to send pictures and stuff, but the cybercafe here doesn´t read my memory card. I think I am just going to send it to you sometime (then maybe you could take the pictures off, and send it back...maybe even with some pictures on it of you guys?)

As for things here, I am fine. I am not going to be using my debit card and I left it in the mission office. I get my own debit card from the mission. So don´t worry about sending me money or anything. Medicine-wise, I think I should be fine for at least another month, but I will let you know. Shoes have been working out great and the boots I haven´t tried yet, but I will here shortly. It has just begun to rain more so it will be boots from here on out I think. Pants are good, I just need to buy another pair or two since I really only have 5 pair. Garments are working out fine as far as I can tell, but I will probably need more before the year is up...They are really thin and we sweat a lot here so they are getting good use. I see missionaries with kinds like mine and also the mesh I think. It is all a matter of preference I think. You sweat no matter what you wear!

It sounds like the family is doing really well. (By the way, the immediate family can email me, so I would consider that the siblings and Josh, and mom and dad. I can´t receive or send emails to anyone else. If someone has something to say to me, mom could relay the message or they can send it via snail mail. I really like that!)

Sean is officially done with high school and then he is off to college. Following the missionary schedule?! Well, that is commendable...I am still working on that. Not to be cynical or anything, but I will just say that it will be hard to follow that schedule and have friends in Heritage ha ha. Believe me. The people who go to bed at 10:30 on Fridays and Saturdays don't get out much. Give him my best wishes! He will do great. I really enjoyed my time there.

It seems like Tyler had a fun time in Europe and I would love to hear more about that. He is probably stressing about school, work, girls, etc...but such is life. I hope that everything goes well there. He will do great in whatever he does.

Congrats Troy on your new bachelor pad and I hope all goes well with your medical school stuff. It sounds like your area has plenty of singles since it is splitting. That should be fun.

Joy and Josh (and Landon and Tyler), I wish you the best in your lives as well and I hope that your job and housing situation works out soon. I have faith that it will. I miss looking at Landon and Tyler (and Joy and Josh of course) on the blog and seeing their experiences as they grow up. Keep me updated :)

Dad, sounds like you are as busy as ever with church activities and work. Just remember that with those activities, if one person came after all your planning that wouldn't have come otherwise, it was a success. If I have learned one thing so far as a missionary, it is that we work hard and have a lot of hopes. And even when we don´t have 90% of what we wanted to get accomplished happen, we are still happy if it made a difference for someone somewhere.

Mom, just know that I love you and all the things you have done for me. I appreciate the many hours you put in every day that no one ever notices...it really has made a difference to me. Everyone has! I really appreciate everyone and the people you are the examples you are for me. I am trying to make you proud. I miss you all, but I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down (home).

I thank you for your prayers and love. I will keep you updated with more information every Monday. I get 1 hour to write so I try to get as much in as possible. Please send my emails (edited if you so desire) on to as many as you can. I feel that missionary work can extend much further than the boundaries of a mission.

Till we talk again,

Elder Russell

Monday, June 8, 2009

NICARAGUA part 2...the arrival......week 4

So then I arrived in Nicaragua at about 7 pm local time. And, well, let´s just say it didn´t take me long to realize that I was in another country! Ha ha. It is really different. I was really in shock when I got here, I couldn't´t do anything but laugh and ask questions. I met my mission President and his wife and the APs and secretary. They are really nice and welcomed me in with open arms.

So the traffic! Crazy. I was scared out of my boots (is that an expression?) when the APs were driving in the streets that first 15 minutes. But I got used to it. What is so crazy is that the pedestrians don't use crosswalks, or common sense, to cross the road! They simply just cross when they want to. Also, there aren't really lane rules or blinkers, or police. Ha ha. It is pretty exciting. I thought we were going to kill some people that first night. But I have adjusted. I am now like the Nicaraguans. I just cross when I feel so inclined (with my companion of course)

But before I get ahead of myself, I spent the first night in this super nice hotel (pretty nice by American standards...like a Hilton level but like Donald Trump nice in Nicaragua). It is the same hotel that Elder Cook stayed in a few months ago, if that gives you an idea. I didn´t really appreciate it considering I am from the United States, but I think I am beginning to understand how nice it was now.

So we woke up and then went to the mission office to have orientation. That first night it was just me. I was the only Provo MTC Nicaraguan missionary to come this last week. I met up with 4 native speakers who were at the Guatemala MTC the next day. So anyway, we had our orientation and then the APs and President threw a birthday party for me! It was also one of the APs birthdays.

Later that night, we went contacting (in Nicaragua we don't knock on doors, or have house approaches, unless the spirit directs us to. The president wants to spend our time with less actives, recent converts, and investigators to establish the church here in Nicaragua rather than just get a lot of baptisms. But we do that too.) It was great.

In the morning, we had changes and I was given my companion, Elder Menendez from El Salvador, and we went to work shortly after that. That first day was pretty long. I am still getting used to the heat and humidity here, but it is getting gradually easier to manage. That first day, not so much. I think I was the least productive studying and such.

Since then I have had some great experiences. I have been able to teach parts of many lessons, find many investigators, and feel the spirit. Already, I am beginning to feel a love for the people, but I just feel so inadequate as a missionary. I guess it is just the way we are supposed to feel as missionaries. When we finally feel up to the task, we are on our way home...

The language is coming along. I only really can speak in Spanish seeing as my companion doesn't speak any English. I definitely have room for improvement. But the people here seem to think that I speak pretty well. I did kind of had an advantage coming in. But their accent here is so different. I have heard that if you can understand Nicaraguan Spanish you can understand any Spanish. I believe it. I sometimes only catch about 50% of some people´s Spanish. Others I can understand just fine. But my accent needs improvement big time! It will come in time.

But yeah, I have really enjoyed it here. The food isn't so bad either. I think I am kind of liking rice every meal, at least for now anyway. We have an inactive lady cook and do our laundry for us. It is really helpful and makes it so we can focus on the work.

My living conditions are pretty good for Nicaragua. I mean we have a floor and running water. I have really appreciated the things I use to have since being here. It is really a humbling experience.

I appreciate all of your prayers and thoughts on my behalf. I pray for you and hope all is going well. As you might have guessed, Monday is my Pday and I will be writing then for here on out. About the money in my account, there is plenty! I don't really need a music player, because as soon as I get home, I plan, get ready for bed, and hit the hay! I try to get to bed as soon as possible because I am just so exhausted by then.

Oh, I forgot to tell you! HA ha, I am in Managua in a zone called Montserrat I think. I am still getting used to it all. I am going shopping today and I should be fine. I think the secretary is working out my finances in the next week.

I love you all and I will keep you updated with more stories about Nicaragua and my spiritual experiences. One thing I have learned so far is that God really does prepare His children for the message and that we just need to seek them out. They are all around us! Keep your eyes open! Until next week,

Love, Elder Russell

NICARAGUA part 1...departing the MTC......week 4

So what to tell, what to tell? A lot has happened since we last talked via email. He he. I snuck out on all of you without knowing! So I will give you an update.

I left the MTC at 3 am on Monday morning so I could arrive in the Salt Lake Airport and be ready for a 6 am flight. It was pretty early, but my excitement kind of made it doable. I then proceeded to fly to Dallas-Fort Knox, then to Miami and then to Florida. I am so sorry we missed each other in the airport. I would have talked longer on the phone with Sean but I didn't know when my plane would board so I just thought I would be there early. My boarding pass said I needed to be there an hour early so I just played it safe. Sorry everyone. Plus those toll phones are really expensive!

During the flight to Miami, I was able to have an hour and a half discussion about the church with the person next to me. I hoped that would happen! I just love sharing the gospel and such =) I gave her a Book of Mormon and testified of its truthfulness. Oh boy, my first baptism! Lol.

The whole situation at the MTC seems pretty serious. I guess there were 7 confirmed cases of swine flu there when I left. I must have just made it through. I actually had a slight sore throat when I left so I was kind of worried, but I made it! I feel terrible for the missionaries that got it...I heard they got sent home.

Overall, the MTC experience was great. Looking back on it now, I see its purpose and benefit. I really enjoyed my time there even though sometimes I thought I wasn't enjoying myself. Sorry I haven't sent pictures or anything yet, I am going to try and do that today if I have time. Sorry Joy about not being there to receive my package and letter. I appreciate your kindness and love! My other companions were scheduled to leave the MTC Tuesday so I hope that everything worked out okay. I feel really terrible for the missionaries in my zone going to Mexico. When i left, they had already been there 10 weeks and with two more weeks of delay they could very well have learned Cantanese.

But then I arrived in Nicaragua!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Just want to wish you a Happy Birthday. Packages were sent, wishes were given....but you are gone. You'll have to wait until next week. Here's some wishes....

Hey Elder Russell, How is it going? I have been reading your emails and you seem to be doing well. How is the Spanish coming along? I will send you a more detailed email later. Have a great birthday! Love ya man and I hope you are learning tons, Troy

Grant- Happy 20th dude!! I know it should be Elder Russell, but you know I just have not gotten used to that yet! I have read the letters your mom has forwarded and I am so glad you are doing so well. I did not realize that you were that great in Spanish already. Way to go!! I am so excited for you and the experiences you are going to be having on your mission. Obviously I haven't been on a mission, but I wrote my brothers every week faithfully and I know this is going to change your life. You are going to become a MAN!! This is a big step--I am sure you already know this, but I just thought I would remind you. Work hard, pray hard, and have no regrets. You are going to do awesome! We hope you have a great birthday!!

Love--Corey, Shannon, Candon, Shaylee, and Cash Dahle

Grant, may you have a wonderful birthday. My prayers, love, and best
wishes are sent to you again. May your new year as a missionary be
e3xtra special and may the Lord walk with you always. Love Grandma
Turner...X X X X X

Hi Vicki- Give Grant our love and let him know how proud we are of him. Tell him we pray for him and know the Lord is watching over him. Happy Birthday and hope he has a fantastic week! All our love, Joni

Monday, June 1, 2009

HE'S IN NICARAGUA.....WHAT?....week 3

Well I am going to insert the family email that I sent out today. Much to our surprise, Grant left for Nicaragua today....here's the story....

Dear Family,

At October conference Elder Quentin L. Cook gave a talk titled "Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time"...Today I related even more so to that talk...let me explain-
In trying to gather emails to surprise Grant with a birthday email in the MTC today, I am the one that got surprised. I was out running errands yesterday (Monday) got home, grabbed some lunch, sat down to the computer for a minute and the rest went like this...
Sean said-"Mom, by the way...Grant called"...
Mom-" WHAT!!!...Grant called?"
Sean-"Yah...he is in Miami"...
"You are kidding right?",
"No really Sean"…(I thought its June 1st not April 1st)...
"Mom- Grant called"…
"You must be joking, no kidding Sean"…
"Mom, he called from Miami!"….Panic set in…
Mom-"When did he call?"...
"about an hour ago...but he only had about half an hour"...my heart sank....and then it ached...then I cried. I felt at a loss, unprepared, and a bit frustrated...okay a lot frustrated! It took me a few minutes to gather myself...
When this all hit, I wanted to know what the itinerary was and if Grant may call again...I called the MTC...(as of last week we knew he would leave next week about June 8-9th and his companions were leaving Monday or Tuesday). I talked to the front desk and then was transferred to mission travel and spoke to them. The gal looked up his travel plans and gave me the rest of the itinerary. At this point he was flying over Cuba an hour away from Nicaragua. He left Salt Lake City at 6:00 am, flew to Texas, then on to Miami. Left Miami at 6:15 pm arriving in Nicaragua at 6:50 pm. They are on Mountain time zone, so an hour ahead of us. I, still in shock, asked questions. She explained that as of June 1 the MTC is in shut down mode for any missionaries leaving because of the flu break outs there. Missionaries will be able to come in for the next 2 weeks, but none can leave as of today. I figured Grant must have been healthy, cleared, and good to go...so they sent him out since they will be receiving missionaries and have an overload for the next 2 weeks. Besides...the Lord must 'REALLY' want him there ASAP. I still can't believe it.

Sean said that he may call when he gets to Nicaragua, so we patiently waited for a possible call...which never came. Neff mentioned to me that one of Grant's desires was to be on his mission before his 20th birthday...well at least one of our wishes are coming true...LOL. I am reminded of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin's talk ..."Come What May, and Love it".

So he's there...don't know when we'll hear from him. One mom on the Missionary Mom's site said their P-day was yesterday, so we probably won't hear from him until next week. Yesterday was a difficult day when this all hit...but knowing that he's in the Lord's service helps. We'll keep you informed as we get information. I have his missionary email account, but just don't know what his mission president will instruct him. Please keep him in your prayers as he steps forth with faith...to tell the world...
love you,