Joy and Josh to the zoo. Tyler and Sean with new jobs. Troy, Dad, Mom, and Josh traveling…sounds like everyone has been busy, an eventful week indeed. Congrats Sean on the scholarship…keeping the Russell tradition alive always. Its hard to run the last leg of the race sometimes and you seem to always do it well.
I have had my fair share of experiences this week too. It was probably one of the most challenging and rewarding weeks of the mission because the Lord gave me serious moments to reflect and ponder. I always love those moments.
We finally said goodbye to the future missionaries from the coast on Tuesday and had a short time to work in the evening. I woke up excited Wednesday because I realized it would be a full day to work and serve the Lord but then they called us suddenly to invite all of the Latin missionaries in our zone to go to the dentist checks. My companion decided to go and so we made our way over there.
There I saw Chase Moffat as you already know. That was a little strange. Many days I forget there is another world outside Nicaragua just as before the mission it was hard for me to imagine a world outside the USA. But seeing him and giving him a hug brought back sudden memories from home. It was a nice quick visit. Of course, he was busy so we only talked about 3 minutes and took photos. But don’t worry, I am not trunky.
My companion proceeded to get his teeth checked by getting an Xray. We had joked about how he would have to get his wisdom tooth pulled, so when they started showing him his Xray I started to think it would be a reality. The situation became more serious. Suddenly they sent him back to surgery and he consulted with a doctor. They were worried by what the X ray was showing. After much consulting, they decided that he might have a cyst or something else in his left jaw that was making his bone very fragile and weak. Even though they wanted to take our the tooth, they didn’t feel comfortable doing it with that risk. If it were true, his jaw could break upon extracting the tooth. They sent him to another imaging center and there he received what seemed to be a confirmation of his situation. His jaw bone showed up as faint gray on the Xray instead of a solid white substance. As the doctors touched his jaw bone, faint pain grew into a dull throb and now his fear was becoming a reality.
In the course of the next 2 hours, my companion talked with about every surgeon and doctor there and even talked with the Mission President, Elder Martino from the Area Presidency. They were very worried about him. I sat in shock and I didn’t know what to think. Throughout the day, every doctor asked him, "how much time do you have in the mission?", "poor thing". He was heartbroken. Would he be sent home early? My companion took a few minutes in the bathroom and began to cry. I tried to console him. It was hard for me too.
He stayed with us Wednesday night and even valiantly worked Wednesday evening but Thursday he went to the office and to the doctors to see a few more tests. Thursday evening they informed us that his medical condition demanded further attention and that he would be leaving the country. We were all affected by the news. He is such a great missionary. How could this happen to him we thought?
We gave him a blessing that he would be able to accept the outcome as the Lords will and that he could use it as a way of improvement and progression. I feel like the blessing was powerful.
He kept good spirits about the whole thing. For two more days he worked with us and helped in the area and this morning he went to the office with the missionaries who have completed their two years. He goes to Guatemala tomorrow and will be there for two months or so resting with his family. We said goodbye this morning and it was the hardest goodbye I have had. He has been a great companion. I have learned a ton from him. I will miss him a lot. I pray that he will return.
We never know when something will happen to us. We never know. I think it helps you appreciate the little things in life when we have problems and challenges. In the end, this has been a huge blessing for him. Doctors told him that if someone were to have punched him or if he were to have fallen, his jaw would have shattered. This operation will reveal one of three possibilities… It is a virus that is eating away at his jaw and they will only have to clean it, they will have to put a plate in his jaw or he could have cancer. We pray that it be one of the first two, preferably the first. And the blessing? This operation will cost approximately 50,000 dollars and he would have never been able to do anything after the mission. By finding this problem in his missionary service, he has been blessing financially, spiritually. His family will be waiting for him and he will spend this mothers day home with his mom.
I am so grateful to the Lord for the things that He gives me and my family. Hearing about the blessings that everyone is receiving fills me with such joy. I know that these blessings are coming in part from my missionary service. I hope that you may all continue to keep the commandments. Live righteously. One day our day of probation will end. The way we leave depends entirely on the way we lived. I am trying my best to do the Lords work and I know that He blesses me.
May His hands guide and protect you and may you realize the blessings that God gives us daily. Life is great. Enjoy it. Smile.
Elder Grant Russell