Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving...that we might give thanks........week 29

Hey there family!

I spent the majority of the time just reading all of the emails. Thanks for always writing me and for keeping me in your thoughts. This week was a very special week for me. I feel very blessed.

At the beginning of this week I felt a lot of opposition. I was kind of worried. “Why is everything going so hard right now? I thought.” We had a hard time finding new people this week. A lot of appointments fell through and my companion even said that he was feeling a bit down. But as we talked it over, I realized that I wasn´t being grateful for what God was giving me. Being the Thanksgiving season, I should have known better than to not give thanks to my Father in Heaven for everything He gives me in the work. I have a companion who wants to work. I have an area that is growing. I love the members and the members seem to appreciate the work we do. The members want to work and they are giving us references. I am of good health and my family across the miles supports me. I am so grateful. I went to bed with the spirit of repentance and I woke up a different missionary. Everything seemed better. I don’t know if much changed really. The only thing that changed was me!

I now understand the importance of having an eternal perspective. I love the work and I am so grateful for the opportunities He gives me here in Nicaragua. I had so many blessings this week. For example, of all the missionaries in Nicaragua, I think I was the only one who was able to taste turkey and pumpkin pie this week. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that that would happen here, seeing as no one even knows what pumpkin pie is- well, that is unless you have an American family in your ward! Score! It was awesome. The family invited us over on Sunday night for leftovers along with prespective elders from the ward who are planning or thinking about going on missions. We talked about the mission that Brother Black went on and of course, we had pie. Mmmmm. So don’t worry mom! I felt your cooking across the miles (well at least almost as good as your cooking).

On top of that a few other people invited us to lunch and we were able to feel the blessings of heaven pouring out upon us.

My letter is short today but I just want you all to know that I love you and that I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the opportunities that He has given me. I can see the hand of Him in your lives. Congrats Tyler on the Job! I am super excited for you! I love you all and just remember that God blesses us with so much. Many times we just don’t recognize His hand in all things. Just be happy! I love you and will continue to pray for you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Elder Grant Russell

Monday, November 23, 2009

Changes........week 28

Hey there family!

This has been quite the week of change for me.

So I was companionless on Monday and Tuesday. I spent the majority of the day on Monday with another Elder In Managua. I went to the migration office on Monday and got my residence.

I am officially Nica now ha ha.

On Tuesday I worked hard with the Ward Mission leader (who served as my companion for the day) and we found a few new families to teach. The mission is so focused on families that I spend the majority of my time and efforts looking for new families.

On Tuesday night I got the call that I would stay in Las Colinas for another change at least. I think they should call the mission “Mision Nicaragua Las Colinas” instead of “Managua” for me because I am passing a ton of time in Las Colinas. But all is well. Atleast I like it!

On Wednesday I got my new companion, Elder Avila from Honduras Tegucigalpa. I only have companions from Honduras it seems ha ha. All Katrachos! Well, he seems like a very good missionary. He has 3 months in the mission and we are practically learning together. He teaches well too and seems very humble so I hope and pray that the work will go forward in this area.

Throughout the week, I have been showing him the area. I feel like I will be leaving this next change so I have to be sure and teach him well. We found some positive new investigators and families so we will have to wait and see how it goes this week.

This week we had several powerful lessons that for sure arrived unto and into the hearts of the investigators. One that I especially liked was to our newly baptized family. In the church, many times we want the investigators to change so quickly. Perhaps in a rush of adrenaline or excitement that they were baptized, we begin to tell them about all the things they are going to be doing now in the church. For our recent converts, they have felt overwhelmed. The men already received the Priesthood and are afraid that their human weaknesses will not live up to their best intentions. For example, a family or 5 here in Nicaragua can have breakfast for a dollar if they have bread and coffee. The families that we baptized are very poor. Few have jobs and they have many debts to pay off and although they haven’t been drinking coffee they are afraid that if it came to it, that God would punish them for their poverty forced trangression. Also, the leaders want them to begin to dress like members (in dresses and ties) and they neither have the means or the customs of doing that. We told them that none of us are perfect and that God will judge us according to the desires of our hearts and our actions. We talked about grace and how no matter how imperfect we are, we can always be okay with our Heavenly Father if we but do our best.

As we testified of the love and mercy of the Savior, the spirit entered the room and I know that we understood one another. This week I have made a conscious effort to talk more about the Savior. I think that even as a witness of Him, I have fallen short in my promise to bear His name at all times, at all places and in all things. I have tried to talk about the Savior in all principles of the gospel and as a result we have walked with His spirit in greater abundance. As one seventy said, “we are never closer to the Father than when we bear testimony of the Son.”

I know He lives and that His Atonement is real. I love each and every one of you. Thank you for your example and I will strive to be a good example too. Please share the message of the Atonement with your friends and family because really, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way that we can have true happiness in this life and in the life to come.

Elder Grant Russell

Monday, November 16, 2009

He will Show You the Way........week 27

Well family,

I am companionless…and I feel a bit lost and sad. Right now I am on temporary
divisions with another missionary until the changes this Wednesday. It will be
different to work in his area and not in mine, but so is life. I like what you
said, change brings growth. I have a feeling that this week is going to bring
much growth, that there is much change on the horizon for me.

I very happy and grateful with what has happened in the last week in our area.
We had so many spiritual experiences and miracles that my hastily written letter
wont do them justice but I will try my best to fill you in.

The week was so busy that my companion didn’t´ even have a chance to be trunky
and think about his house. (for the best I think). We worked all week long with
the three familias to prepare them for baptism. Throughout the week, I had
divisions twice so that another missionary could interview all of the

Speaking of interviews, we had ours this week in preparation for the changes and
I am so grateful for what the President said. We had a nice interview and he was
happy to hear that we had possibilities for families this week. He then shared
with me how in some missions in the World, there are missionaries that are
baptizing 10 families per month. That is amazing! I realized that there is still
more that I can do in the work. If the field is ready elsewhere, I think I can
thrust with my sickle with a little more might to lay up in store another family
here and there. I am committed to do so. I know that with the help of the Lord I
can bring families into His kingdom.

But the interviews went well, so well in Fact that all of the familias were
animated and ready for baptism. I wish I could send photos from the baptismal
service, It was quite the day! Three familias entered the water and the
following Sunday they were confirmed. It was the perfect way for my companion to
leave the mission. But we didn’t have the service without some challenges. The
allotted baptismal clothes ran out and we had one larger father to baptize who
had no clothes to use. He is a funny man, but with much seriousness he said,¨Ï
am not leaving here without being baptized. I am going to be baptized if it
means I have to wear that dress.´´ And so he did. It was a little embarrassing
for me to see him but he was alright with it. His family was all joking about it
and saying how he was literally following the example of Jesús in the way of
baptism. Well, I cant help but marvel at his faith and sacrifice at following
the Lord into the waters of baptism. He will be a great example for his family in
the future. The familias all had wonderful experiences. They said that they felt
like new people and that they had literally felt the forgiveness of their sins.

Sunday we spent the whole day saying goodbye to the familias and recent converts
in the ward. It was quite a spiritual boost to feel of the gratitude and love of
the members. In church, they announce that I might leave this week too (which is
possible) so it felt like a goodbye for me too. We´ll wait and see. But anyway, as
we said goodbye to each and every family, my Heart was filled with gratitude as
I realized how the members loved us. The newly baptized family was nearly in
tears as we left. They thanked us and offered another special prayer for us and
mentioned our names specifically in the prayer so as to bless us personally.
They have all expressed their desire to go to the temple the next year and I
would love to see that happen. We visited with Carlos and Fatima and they again
thanked us for being the messengers sent by God to change their lives. We helped
Carlos give his first fathers blessing with his newly received Melchizedek
priesthood. What a blessing it is see a recent convert bless his family. That is
what it is all about.

We visited with the Sanchez family and they told us how if we had not come by
that first day, they perhaps would be in the street and separated. I was touched
to hear that they wanted to give us dinner. We ate the humble table of a poor
family and I had never felt so much in the presence of the rich because they are
rich of heart.

Being a missionary is difficult. I feel very lost and I struggle at many times
but when I realize that lives are being change here, that people are accepting
the true gospel of Jesús Christ and are living it, I know that it is all worth

I know that God lives and that this is His church. The blessings that are found
therein are most desirable and endure throughout the eternities. I know that the
baptism we perform is the only (thing) that unlocks the door to numerous blessings
including life with God again and the forgiveness of sins.

Go forward with faith and God will go before you and show you the way!

Elder Grant Russell

All Creatures of our God and King....