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 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 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