Monday, June 28, 2010

The Savior Stands Beside Me........week 59

Dear Family,

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers on my behalf! The mission just keeps on moving on and I am shocked and thrilled for Brian and Jon! I can’t believe that the two years are already up for them! I am sure that they have served the two years with all of their heart might mind and strength. I imagine that their countenances (along with being two years older) have been filled with an indescribable light and love that comes from serving the Lord. It is the experience of a life time and I am living it up! I really feel the hand of the Lord in my life daily guiding me, shaping me, lifting me up and wiping the tears away from my cheeks. I have come to know those two gentle hands of His. With such perfect love they hold me up.

Last week we had the Farewell Conference for President Fraatz. It was like standing in a holy place. This man has changed my life. I will forever look to him for an example of faith, obedience, hard work, creativity, and diligence. That is what he has taught us here. It is true that I sang a song and played piano for the first time ever (writing the lyrics and all too) and it turned out really well. It was a part of a (music and the spoken I received many compliments but the best feeling I received was to know that the Lord was happy with my sacrifice. It wasn’t so easy after all. The mission is now officially split and one new President comes tomorrow. The other President will come Wednesday and it will be quite the hectic day of training for President Fraatz. He is excited to serve the Lord in his next calling. In that sacred setting the mission President put us under covenant to do two great things and I felt like it was a bout as serious as the covenants we make in the temple. He put us under oath to never murmur and to always continue with all energy of heart to serve in the church wherever we might be in the future. I have covenanted with the Lord and I feel strengthened in my capabilities to complete with this covenant.

Due to a list of so many spiritual experiences that I have weekly, it is most difficult to decide what to write about. We continue to prepare investigators for baptism. This week we baptized a super awesome lady that was a reference of a member. Migdalia is a wife of an inactive member but she is going to change this family. I have faith that in the future, she and her husband will be dressed in white together making covenants with the lord over the sacred altar of the temple. She is reading the Book of Mormon and has a strong testimony of the church! It was a pleasure to teach her. She invited us over to her house on Saturday night after the baptism and with such love thanked us for what we had done for her and her family. We continue to teach Jamie too and he is super excited for this Saturday. He is understanding the lessons really well and is making huge progress in his repentance.

I have found the over the course of 2 months my teaching of the Plan of Salvation has drastically improved. Why? I have been focusing all of my teaching in the Book of Mormon. The spirit is so strong when one teaches the Plan with the Book of Mormon that investigators can’t help but accept it. The Book of Mormon is true. My favorite part was when we taught about the Atonement and testified that this man would be able to be forgiven of his sins…no matter how big or great. I am eternally grateful for this Great Example, the man who took away my sins. I thank Him for His patience, His long suffering with me. I thank Him for not only walking the Garden of Gethsemane but for also walking by my side when I feel I am in similar experiences. There is nothing that I feel that is outside His understanding. I love Him. That is why I do what I do.

May He walk by your side always…

Elder Grant Russell

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

He's Home....Elder Fernandez

Another one of our "sons" is home. Elder Brian Fernandez returned from Argentina today.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Update on Elder Aroche

Hi Grant, (June 22 Tuesday)
I wanted to send you an update. I received an email from Sis. Paula Glasset whose husband was one of the dentists that came to Nicaragua. I have cut and pasted the emails in order so you can see the responses. Sis. Glasset send a photo as well I will send on.

Message June 16th
Thank you so much for the photo. I was just thinking about that trip (dentists) on Monday when I wrote to Elder Grant Russell. I had emailed Sis. Sheila Kunz about the trip since she is on missionary moms with me when she mentioned she had gone on the trip. She shared with me about Chase Moffat. He is a family friend, and in our home ward. It was fun to hear of the trip. I was wondering if anyone knew the happenings of Elder Aroche. He was Grant's companion that had to go home because of the mass found on the xray of his jaw. I was hoping to contact the DR. and get an update so I can let Grant know. Do you know who it was?
Thank you again for the photo.
Vicki Russell
Medford, OR

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 11:30 AM

Sorry for the delay. I wanted to get an update for you on Elder Aroche before I responded. Here is an excerpt from an email I received from Lesa Peers. (Dr. Wade Peers is the oral surgeon that preformed the surgery). What an amazing experience and what great blessings came from the service in Nicaragua.

Ricardo is doing great! He is just like a part of our family now and it will be hard to say goodbye on Wednesday ( tomorrow June 23 he heads back to the misson) when he goes back, but he is so excited, it's hard not to be happy for him! He has been healing very well and Wade feels like he is ready. He will have his last appt. today (Tuesday) for a final check up and then leaves SLC at 7am on Wed.. He found out last night that he will now be in the Managua NORTH mission, as the mission is splitting at the end of the month. President Fraatz is also being released as his mission president at the same time and it will be big changes and a bit sad for him--but he is ready to get to work and be a missionary again! He is such a trooper! It has been a true privilege to have him in our home for 6 weeks--he has brought the sweetest spirit and taught us much. What a wonderful young man he is.

I have forwarded the update to Elder Hanks, one the AP's, in hopes that he will let the other Elders know of the status of Elder Aroche. There are a great bunch of American missionaries down there. It was super fun to visit with them.

With love,
Paula Glassett

Grant, I was able to get the phone # of Bro. Peers, and left a message for Elder Aroche on their home phone. Unfortunately I didn't get to talk to him directly, but sent our love and best wishes to him over the message machine. I told him how grateful I am as a mother for his service with you. He is excited to return to the mission. I hope you will be able to see him before the mission split at the end of the month. He will return tomorrow, so that's exciting. I am going to run, but wanted you to know if case you hadn't gotten the news. Talk to you in the next letter...Monday...

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Change Within........week 58

So family…it looks like everything is well with you! It makes me so proud to see that my family is happy and together and enjoying the blessings of faithfulness to the principles of the gospel.

This week we had changes in the zone…and I stayed in Managua another change. I think I am going to break a record here because a lot of missionaries don’t stay too long. But I like it here. My new companion is Elder Espinal from Honduras, Tegucigalpa. He is awesome…obedient, funny, animated, and can teach well. Only downside is that I won’t teach with him much because they are splitting up the zone leaders now by putting four missionaries in every area to work in rotations. My other new companion is Elder Ico from Guatemala. He is a good missionary that likes to teach and has a desire to help the people. I think we will have a good change.

The recent converts are really starting to progress. In fact, we have felt the need to help the investigators stay active by having them pray and read the scriptures and have their family home evenings. We felt like if we take care of what the Lord has given us He will give us more…which means more baptisms. The Castro family (the small family of the missionary in Guatemala) has been showing a lot of faith. The mom has a country home about an hour from Managua and she has to take care of the house over the weekends a lot. This Sunday she walked about 3 miles to find the highway and then take a bus for an hour to come to church. She arrived in time for the sacrament meeting. That made me felt good. She made a big sacrifice and showed the Lord that she really wanted to be in church. Her daughter came two with one of the little kids.

It has been quite crazy preparing for the going home presentation for President Fraatz. We have a few things planned out and they have asked me to write a song for the piano...and I have to sing it too. So along with the normal activities and responsibilities I have been working on that. Today I am finally finishing…good thing too because tomorrow is the conference with the whole mission. It is going to be very exciting…

In all these times of change, the spirit reflects on the change within. I have realized that under the direction of this great man, President Fraatz, I have grown and changed a lot. I understand the principles of the gospel better. I a lack a lot of learning but I feel like I can live these principles well enough to teach them to investigators with power and authority. With your comment about Sean´s future departure, I think of the last plane ride I had too. I was arriving with little knowledge but a lot of desire. That desire has been converted into hard work, sweat, sore feet and aching knees. I feel more like the Savior and I feel like I owe so much to the teachings of President Fraatz. I realize and know with a surety that my calling to Nicaragua had a lot to do with my mission president. The calling is truly inspired.

On the way to write today, I was stopped by an inactive man, a man with a troubling past but with a great testimony. He shared with us his past trials and then we said a quick prayer together. He had 10 years of inactivity. He asked who the prophet was. He served a mission, was married in the temple and very active in the church but when the problems came he left. He said it wasn´t a coincidence that he felt the desire to stop us and ask for a prayer. He hadn´t spoken to missionaries in a very long time. It wasn´t a coincidence. We were able to help the Lord in His work and bless a life. This is just one of many experiences that happen daily in a mission.

I testify that God lives and loves us. I testify that His Son Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that He called the Prophet Joseph Smith and that through him we have the restored church and the Book of Mormon. I pray that we might have opportunities to touch others´lives. May we be a tender mercy in another person´s life.

Love you all,

Elder Grant Russell

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hidden Treasures........week 57

This week has been very great! We have received many blessings and the spirit has been there with me to help me learn a few more lessons.
I really liked a quote and saying that I heard. "There are three types of people (missionaries) in this world: those that make things happen, those that watch things happen, and those that ask themselves when all is said and done "what happened?" It made me laugh at least. I decided that I wanted to be more like the first group, those that make things happen.
In Zone Meeting on Tuesday I felt very strongly the guide of the spirit to help share with the missionaries the message they needed. We talked about having hope. One of the lessons and attributes of Christ I have learned this week I have called 100 believer! It is to put the best outcome as the goal instead of the worst possible outcome. It is to have faith and hope in the future instead of having pessimistic planning: the "if everything goes wrong" type of way to approach things. I shared with the zone how many times we as zone leaders would report a certain number to the mission for baptism possibilities but have a higher number prepared.

Miraculously, it seemed like the number I reported almost always dropped down to the number reported beforehand. It is almost if the Lord gave us according to our faith in our reported number. Then I thought about how God´s work and glory (his goal) is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of (all) man and being as such has set a pretty high goal. What would happen if it said instead in the scriptures ´´the immortality and eternal life of a few or some man.?´ I think we would have a little less outcome if God wasn´t a 100 percent believer. That is faith and hope. I decided to be like that.
Another lesson learned was about how the hidden treasures that God gives by obeying the word of wisdom could very likely be correlated with receiving blessings of the gospel such as baptism and temple blessings. That is something I learned in the process of teaching. I felt like in the Lord had blessed me for having studied diligently the scriptures and that I received what i needed to say in exactly that moment. It is a really cool experience.
I love you all. Thanks for all the letters last week for my birthday. It was a great one and I couldn´t ask for more support from my family and friends. May the Lord always be on your right side and on your left and may He have his angels round about you to strengthen you up.
Elder Grant Russell

Monday, June 7, 2010

By their fruits you shall know them!........week 56

In times of change, we have opportunities to reflect. I was touched by your letter that talked about the change that the stake experienced and how the change will affect the wards and members in that part of Zion. About the comment that the visiting authority gave about the youth, I would just like to agree. I think about my friends back home and the examples they set for me. There couldn´t have been a more beautiful place for me to grow up. By their fruits you shall know them! It has been a humbling experience to see how my youth experiences have helped shaped me and prepared me to be an instrument here in Nicaragua. I have felt that many of my experiences in leadership and examples of worthy stake and ward leaders have a set a high goal for me of whom I want to become. Maybe that is why the people always seem to see something special in Oregon. When I say I am from Oregon to visiting general authorities, they always relax and give an awed expression like ¨´Aww Oregon, we love Oregon.´´ It has been kind of fun to say it and see the same response every time ha ha.

But now about Nicaragua. Everything is wonderful here. This week I also got sick with the changing climate. We had one super hot day followed by a cold rainy day and almost everyone in our zone of 16 missionaries got sick with fever and body cramps. But we all feel better now. There is nothing quite like a Priesthood blessing paired with ibuprofen and acetaminophen ha ha. We had a really special visit this week from four general authorities, Elder Osguthorpe (General Sunday School President), Elder Achoa (First Counselor in Young Mens General Presidency) Elder Duartes (Area Seventy) and Elder Falabella (first quorum of the seventy). It was a powerful stand in the church building. They began talking to us about several things pertaining the missionary work such as committing the investigators to do pray and also promise blessings. By the way, way to go mom with your missionary work this week. I am so proud of you. Just keep in touch with her and make sure she follows through with her promises. Where there is a necessity, there is an answer in the gospel. She is searching and can find all the blessings she desires through this message. Just don’t forget to follow through. I feel like a golf instructor all of the sudden ha ha.

Among other things, the most spiritual part of the conference was when Elder Falabella stood up to talk about how the success we had achieved here in Nicaragua in May by baptizing 105 families and 620 people was all due to the work of the missionaries and members together. He corrected us when we gave the credit to others. He made us say that we had achieved something great so that the Lord could make it known. It felt good to be in that meeting. He said that we were accomplishing things similar to the sons of Mosiah and that the Lord was very happy with us. He said we were among the best missions in the world.

This week has been a spiritual feast by which I have been able to grow. I feel like the mission is changing my way of thinking. When I had missionary experiences before the mission they were far and widespread and memorable. Now I feel like my capacity to share the gospel has increased but I give all the credit to the Lord. In the end, it is His message! I am so grateful to share it with a people that is so humble and so willing to change their lives. May we so do the same. If you only saw the faith of these people….you wouldn´t believe it.

Elder Grant Russell

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY GRANT........June 2, 2010

Here are some birthday wishes sent for Grant....

Ha hah.... you're getting old, and I'm just getting younger. =) HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope you're having a spectacular birthday. We are thinking of you and love you very much. Keep working hard!

Quick update on us (there's a lot going on so I won't write a novel)

Josh- he's doing well in training and has 99 days left until he's done (not like I'm counting down or anything). he was able to come spend the weekend with the family this past weekend and we enjoyed having him home. He's learning a lot about guns, driving fast cars, weapon safety, and will start his IRS fraud/money laundering stuff this next week. He's pretty excited about that.

Me- I'm just trying to keep busy and pass the time until Josh gets home. I've been busy with the kids, and my two daycare kids, as well as running my baby business. Business is going well and I recently sold products to a store in Australia! Cool huh? I'm in the Relief Society presidency so between visits, and meetings that takes up a lot of time as well. Other than that I'm just house hunting and preparing for the move to Vegas. I'm going to visit this weekend so i can check it out and see where we might want to live.

Landon- he's growing leaps and bounds. he's definitely getting taller and is feisty to say the least. he loves anything cars and toy story (he's excited to see the new one that comes out in a few weeks). He is learning to read and knows all of his alphabet and the sounds that the letters make. He loves to tease Tyler and his favorite food is cheese and mustard sandwiches (weird, I know).

Tyler- she's running around crazy and likes to take toys from Landon and run as fast as she can to get away. She's always really happy and is my little cuddle bug. She is definitely a cheese ball and puts on the hugest grins. She loves to eat almost anything and is learning to feed herself with a spoon (very messy). She loves to play in her play kitchen, to clean with wipes when I'm cleaning the house, and to use her pink vacuum when I'm vacuuming.

We are doing well and hope you are too. We love you!

The Bottjers

Dear Grant,

I know that you will not get this until after your BD, but just wanted you to know how proud we are of you and your service to the Lord. I love reading your letters every week. They inspire me to do better and also remind me of my many blessings. I hope you had a great BD and that you know too that we are thinking about you and that we pray for you every day. We love you and are looking forward to your stories and insights about the gospel. Stay strong and remember that you are on the Lord's side.
We love you,
Aunt Teri

Grant (Elder Russell)-

Hey bud it is your cousin Shannon. Just thought I would send you a quick note to wish you a Happy 21st Birthday! Can you believe you are that "old?" Well I sure can't. I remember visiting your family at various houses and thinking you were sooo much younger than me. I am going to be turning thirty this year and I still feel like I am 21. It is crazy how quickly time passes. Candon is 7 these days and getting ready to go into the 2nd grade. Shaylee is 4 and Cash is 2. Life is good here in Blackfoot, if we could get it to stop raining, and we think about you and other missionaries often. We are sure to pray for you daily. We are so proud of you and the work you are doing for the Lord. We are so thankful for your obedience and willingness to serve the Lord at this time in your life. I know you and your family are reaping the blessings now, but you will have innumerous blessings that will come to you and your future family for your faithful service on your mission. I know because I have seen it in my life. I know that Heavenly Father will continue to bless you as you honestly and faithfully complete your mission. Continue to stay strong, pray to our Father for guidance, and be OBEDIENT!! We love you GRANT!! Hope you have a great birthday!!

Shannon, Corey, Candon, Shaylee, and Cash Dahle

Just a quick hello to wish you a wonderful Birthday Grant! We love you and we are so proud of your willingness to serve the Lord. I love to read your stories and join in the celebration of your successes in bringing souls to Christ. I love the beans on the stove…awesome how the Lord watches over us. Aubree’s home and we have begun the preparations for her departure August 3rd to the Sao Paulo MTC. She will be taking a red eye flight to be there August 4th. She is going to the Bello Horizonte Mission. Exciting for her and Sean to leave and serve in the vineyard. I never thought I would send my daughter but it is the true desire of her heart and I know that she will be a wonderful missionary. Exciting times in the Turner family. Keep us the great work Grant! Hoorah for Israel…love,
Aunt Joni

Elder Russell,

Happy Birthday to you happy Birthday to you Happy Birthday dear
Missionary extraordinaire Elder Grant Russell, Happy Birthday to
you....and many more...

God bless you on your 95th birthday..:):) Elder the Gospel is true and
never "get weary of well doing."
Brother Marks

We send our love, support and Birthday Wishes to Grant. His emails overflow
with the missionary spirit of faith and service.
Jim and Debi Eagar