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