Tuesday, July 21, 2009

From that Gringo in Nicaragua........week 10

Hello family!

How is everyone doing back at home?! It sounds like the answer is good from the letters I am reading...I am glad that that is the case. Everything here is going well. I will try and catch you up on the activities of the week.

So yeah, we have been teaching some families and preparing them for baptism (let´s hope...cross your fingers) One couple, Jose and Leticia, are only 22 and 16 and they have a two year old. Just think, having a kid at 14. Wow, now that is overwhelming. They are really progressing and always have questions, which is a really good sign. The worst lessons are when the investigators just nod their heads the whole time, say that they understood everything, and then stare at you with a blank face when you ask them a simple question about what you taught. Unfortunately, it happens occasionally.

The other couple, Carlos and Fatima is having a good experience. They seem to like everything so far they can see about the church. Their challenge will be to have faith enough to not know everything when they are baptized.

Oh and you´ll think this is really interesting...We also have been working with a Mason. Not Mason as in the name Mason but a Mason like the organization. Yeah, he is a really smart engineer and retired fireman who cant wait to go to the temple. He ALWAYS has really interesting ways of explaining principles and seems to understand principles better than the missionaries. But he is going to be baptized next week hopefully.

What you said about having the Lord´s hand guiding us through it all is definitely true. Sometimes I forget that as I walk in the street, but He is always there guiding us.

One of the greatest experiences as a missionary is exactly what the quote says that you shared. This week we had the great experience of being an answer to the investigators´prayer.

We were wandering in the street at about 830pm Sunday when we ran into Leticia and Jose. They, like many here in Nicaragua, have a hard time making ends meet. I thought I understood what that meant before I came to Nicaragua, but since I have been here I have met some very humble people. There are people here that don't eat because they cant. Jose is unemployed and they support themselves by buying bread in the city and then going to another city to sell it for a higher price.

Because Sunday was the 30 year anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution, there was quite the celebration in Managua. They had to go to the celebration to sell and couldn't´t make it to church. Long story short, Jose fell in his commitment of the word of wisdom and he felt terrible. Leticia had said a short prayer aloud to Jose and said if only the missionaries passed right now...and so we did.

So we spent the next hour talking with them about repentance and his desire to do what is right. I really think one of the greatest opportunities as a missionary is help people come closer to Christ and solve their problems through Him. I felt the Savior´s love emanate through me as he told us of his fall and it was really special. He again had many questions about why he would fall and how he could keep his commitments. We bore simple testimony that if he had faith, that God would help him through this trial. And just to show you how humble the Nicaraguans are in general, we did all this over some drinks and cookies and bread that bought for us with the meager income they have. That is humbling to know that they think of others when they cant even provide for themselves. They were so grateful to just have something to eat.

SO yeah, the President has set new goals for the mission with each key indicator we work with each day. Let´s just say that we are missing the mark in more than one and have to work harder than ever to accomplish what is required. I am finding that desire is different than obedience. I definitely have the desire to do everything right. I am still working on the obedience part. Like you said, I am trying to turn my will over to His and just submit myself to the work. Line upon line, I am learning how to be a missionary. I thought it was going to be easier than this...ha ha.

Thanks for all of the information on the family.
Joy and Josh- I hope that everything goes well for you in this hard, and life changing transition. I can see that this is going to be rough on the whole family, but you will all be strengthened through this. It is always through the flame that we achieve our brightest shine.

Troy- Congrats on the success at school and I wish I could be there to see you receive your coat. I think you´ll understand. I look forward to seeing Doctor Russell in action when I return, though I prefer it be from a third person perspective.

Tyler...same old!? Am I just going to here that for two years...ha ha. I understand. I wish you the best while you work like a maniac in school, work, and social activities (at least I hope so)

Sean- I am glad to hear that you enjoyed your 50 miler. I look back on my experience with great memories. It is always better in retrospect, believe me.

Dad- It sounds like Dad is busy as ever with church and work assignments. I would like to read the talks, if you get a chance. Thanks for everything you do DAD! You might like to know that I talk about you often in lessons, especially in lessons about the priesthood and families. I appreciate you worthiness and example over all these years and I aspire to be a priesthood holder and father like you.

Me- Busy as ever. I can imagine that adding Joy and the two chavalos ´´kids´´ to the routine would be busy...Thanks Mom for everything you do as well. I often think of you and I miss you always as I do with all of the family.

I find it very interesting that you chose that scripture this week because I read that scripture this week and it hit me really hard. I realized that it was my desire too. I feel so grateful to have had opportunities to that already.

Is there really a greater call than to be involved in the work of the Lord? I think it is the greatest opportunity.

So cultural differences,

So it rains pretty frequently here, and it is always a challenge to stay out of the rain. Typically, people use umbrellas...typically. This week Ï saw a man wearing bubble wrap over his head like a scarf. That was funny.

It is the anniversary like I said for the Sandinista. There was a lot of Babylon going on in every direction. And the handheld cannons are so loud. Obnoxious.

It wasn´t until yesterday when I was talking with some gringos that I realized how funny it was to buy the bread here. It looks like hot dog buns and so they joked about how weird it would be to just walk to your neighbor´s house and ask, ´´hey, do you have any hot dog buns!´´´

The smell, I think I found a new one. Rotting animals on the side of the road. Just ask Sean about Alan´s car. He will know what it smells like. We are linked across the miles after all. Ha ha.

So until next week, I wish you the best of luck and may God attend you in every minute of every day. I know that God is intimately involved in the happenings of his children. Lets pay attention to what He does for us.

I love you all and I will write soon!

Elder Grant Russell