Saturday, July 31, 2010

SURPRISEl!!!!!........week 63

8:10 AM Saturday July 31, 2010

My P-day has changed and I will tell you why later...but if you get this message soon, write me a letter today instead of Monday because I wont be reading my mail until next Saturday.
Thanks. love ya.

Elder Grant Russell

Saturday 2:06 PM
So it has been quite the change this week for me...not only am I writing Saturday, I am now the new financier for the mission Managua South. It has been a really big change of pace and work but I am willing to do whatever the Lord wants me to do. I feel it will be a challenge for me because I am not very familiar with finances and the other challenging part is that I will now have very little time in the field. I am sure Tyler could relate to that. Being in the office, I am now closer to the President and his family and it has been nice to get to know him more. I now live in the office's house with the President's assistants and the other financier that is training me and the general secretary.

If you remember well, my first area in the mission was Montserrat but they took me out after only a month because of a few emergency changes. That is when I went to Las Colinas. The Lord has a purpose for everything but it has been interesting to see His hand in all of this. In those changes they changed the office area to Montserrat and now being the financier I am back in the same area. I feel like I am back to finish what I couldn't finish before. But now I know how to help the people more. I am excited about that. But what they tell me, I am going to be here for a while because President Monestel wants the secretaries and financiers to be here for a while. We will see what happens. I had to drive the other night and I felt like I was in Driver's Ed all over again. The driving is different than that in peaceful Medford Oregon. The roundabouts are CRAZY and confusing. I think I start every car ride praying and all the passengers finish praying too. That is one quick way to get people to do their daily prayers. Maybe I should load the investigators in the truck too and maybe they will progress faster ha ha.

The last week in Las Palmas was a blessing and it was extremely difficult for me. I had grown to love the people there. I had seen so many miracles that I could help but thank the Lord for all the wonders that He let me experience. I feel like I need to increase my faith to accept this assignment with all of my heart even if it might mean not being so close to the people. In the long run, I know that this is going to be an experience that I need. I pray that all of us can have the faith to accept the Lord's will and to work with all of our heart might mind and strength. I will do so!

Elder Grant Russell

Monday, July 26, 2010

Spirit Directs the Work........week 63

It was a beautiful week. That is all I could honestly say.

In the mission we find people. It doesn’t matter where, when, how, because the Lord prepares the “who!” We found a lot of people this week through the Spirit. It was a blessing and I feel so grateful.

We began to explore new territory this week looking for new people. In Las Palmas, Managua a vast majority of people has at least some idea about the church because it is the oldest part of Nicaragua to have a church building. But as we strayed away to a different part of the area, we found people that were really interested because they had never been able to hear. We taught one family shortly about how the Lord blesses families and they came to church this week and stayed the three hours. They loved it! We were walking down the street Saturday night when the spirit told us to contact a family and so we did. When we began talking about the Apostasy and the Restoration they were interested and we invited them to church. They came too!

We passed by another lady’s house when the spirit made me ask myself a question “who lives there?” So we talked to her and we found another family that is prepared to receive the gospel. She too came to church. We were excited to feel the spirit working so much with us and we knew that the Lord was giving us these blessings. Despite our imperfections, He blesses us when we are diligent.

He were also able to baptize two families this weekend. I will send photos.

In interviews this week, President Monestel talked with us about personal revelation and I found that as I tried to recognize the spirit this week, I found a lot more success. All of these people that we brought to church were found as a result of recognizing the spirit. If we are trying to the Lord’s work in our own way, we will have little success. But when we follow the spirit we will find the people that the Lord has prepared and we will baptize a ton! I am so grateful to be an instrument in His hands.

I testify that the Lord is intimately involved in this, His work. I know that He prepares people. We just have to find them. May we be in tune to the spirit so that these people can receive the blessings that He has in store for them. I know that this is His church. I have had far too many experiences to deny the direction of the spirit and power of the priesthood. Listen to the still small voice. It often is misunderstood because we aren’t putting our focus on the thing God wants us to. Read 3 Nephi 11 and pay attention particularly to the first few verses and how the change in the attention of the people changes their experience. It will work wonders in your lives.

Elder Grant Russell

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Baptismal Covenant ........week 62

Well I spent a ton of time sending photos and trying to get other things ready for the week today so I will have to make this email short.

This week we had a sweet experience with a stake activity we planned. We called the activity My Baptismal Covenant and we made a presentation of all of the photos of the recent converts from the stake with music and video. It turned out really well but it had its struggles. We had to do the project 3 times before it was all through and that is between spurts of lost information and the lights going out. but the people really liked it and the Mission President and Stake President spoke in the meeting. I felt the Lord was satisfied with our efforts.

As for the work, everything is great. There isn't a better cause to be engaged in. I invite us all to think of our past and it will surprise us how much the church and the gospel have influenced us. I know that whatever blessing I have received has been through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. I thank my Heavenly Father for giving me the great opportunity to serve Him and teach others the same.

In the Gospel Principles class this week we felt a great spirit and we had two more families come to church to listen. We should be able to see the fruits in the next few days and weeks of all the efforts we have putting in. Sean, it brings me an indescribable joy to know that you will be fighting in this cause no so very far away. I thank you for your example and may the Lord bless you for your service. Enjoy every minute. Oh and by the way, a sister missionary is leaving from Las Palmas, my ward right now and is reporting to the Provo MTC this week too. Keep an eye out for the sister. She knows me but I don't know how good her Spanish is. Anyway, maybe you'll see her and she say hi if she sees you. She goes to the Provo mission.

I love you all. May the Lord always watch over you and direct you.

I will always keep you posted...sorry for the short letter.

Elder Grant Russell

Monday, July 12, 2010

Like a Toddler, the Mission begins to Take it's First Steps...We Can Be Obedient and Be Better Every Day.........week 61

There is a strange phenomenon in the mission. Every day is filled with spiritual experiences that we more commonly call miracles. Every night as I go to bed I try to write them down. I do so all week long and then when Monday comes, I try to remember them all and I can´t remember anything. Ha ha, it just becomes one big blur. Let´s see if I can remember a few highlights.

We had our first Multi-zone conference with President Monestel and we met his family. They are great! He is definitely a change from President Fraatz so it will be a good opportunity to learn more and take advantage of his example and spirit. He is a great teacher and really knows how to relate with the missionaries. I look forward to working with him.

Like a toddler, the Nicaragua South Mission is beginning to take its first steps. We are learning in the way and the interesting thing will be to see how the leaders of the mission help the new missionaries to be obedient and hardworking. Many leaders leave in the next few changes so we will have to make the needed changes.

We are planning an activity to help the recent converts and invite new investigators to learn more about baptism and other church functions. We are going to put all the recent converts´ baptismal photos on the big screen so they can remember the big day and we are going to add in a few testimonies too. This Saturday it is scheduled. As a Zone Leader, we work closely with the Stake Presidency to plan the activities. It makes me think a lot about dad and all of the activities he has planned in the last few years in the high council. I know how much dad likes those activities. It is all part of the mission. I get a lot of experience working with church leaders and it is such an opportunity.

This week we had a chance encounter with a member from Las Colinas (Ticuantepe) from my area about a year ago. She told me that all the converts we baptized there are going to church. That made me so happy! I was thrilled to hear that one of the sons of the big family we baptized is preparing to leave on his mission soon. It is quite the experience! Sean, you are in for the experience of your life. The same young man that said he liked the way we prayed the first lesson we taught will teach hundreds to do the same in another land. Also, one family that moved from the area but that visits every once in a while says that they are attending the ward in another city and that is a very small branch. But for me, it doesn´t matter if it is small or big, if they just go to church and keep the commandments. Hopefully they can be sealed in the next few months because they are about to hit the year mark. Exciting huh?

One of the focuses of the new mission president is that we can be obedient and be better every day. That is my goal. I want to know that I am constantly becoming more like the Savior. I think many days we don’t recognize the small changes but the more time I have in the mission the more I realize that the Lord is shaping my character for future opportunities to serve. As for now my beloved family, do what is right and the Lord will always bless you! Sean, enjoy every moment. Be thankful for Mom and Dad (and for your siblings ha ha). We have choice parents. After meeting families in another part of the world, I can truthfully say that we are born of goodly parents. Give them a big hug before you leave! I have learned that Changes are like road signs that signal that growth is ahead.

Until next week,

Elder Grant Russell

Monday, July 5, 2010

Nicaragua Managua South Mission.........week 60

The Nicaragua Mission has officially been Split and I stay in the South! We said goodbye to President Fraatz and his family after three years of miracles. He has left a legacy here of hard work and diligence. He definitely was a leader inspired of the Lord and with a vision of what Nicaragua could achieve. And he did it! Tuesday morning President Monestel and his family from Costa Rica flew in and they come with a huge desire to serve the Lord. We didn´t have to wait more than one day and the President was already worried about us and called us as a mission to ask about the zone and even asked us for advice! I was somewhat surprised but I felt grateful to know that the President would keep up the good work here in Nicaragua and that he wants to do so in the way that the Lord has directed him. I was shocked that he would be humble enough as a President to ask us the missionaries for advice. That was touching to me. I think we will work well together.

During the week we having been really working harder than ever before and we had so many spiritual experiences for try to put all of our heart, might, mind and strength in the work. With that pace we get very tired and crash at night but it is all worth it if it is for the kingdom of the Lord. At 9 pm one day we hadn´t completed with our goal of 3 baptismal goals with investigators and we felt like the Lord would help us to complete. I mentioned it to my companion and automatically we went to contact a family that was sitting on the right hand side of the street. Being in Las Palmas over 50 years, the church is pretty well known. However, this new couple had never even heard of the church and had been housekeeping for over 6 months there. The Father was injured from a work related accident and was on crutches. They have a small 2 year old boy that is just adorable and 2 week old baby. They were the ideal, humble family that could receive us. We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and put the last 2 baptismal dates at 9:15pm and we felt the assuring witness that the Lord was happy with us for our faith in having completed our goals. That is a good feeling. The best families always come out when it is time to go home.

Along with that miracle comes the second part…the family came to church on Sunday. We had been fasting to have a family in church that could get baptized this month. We had two families come to church with a total of 12 investigators. I think it was the best day of bringing investigators in my mission. I was thrilled! I thanked the Lord That despite the rain, these people showed their faith in coming to church this Sunday.

I find that the Lord really does His part when we do our part. Like I said, it was the week that I think we were most focused in the work and look and see what happened! It was awesome. This work is just so cool! I see miracles every day. But I know when it is all said and done, it isn´t me that does the converting and changing of these people, it is the spirit of the Lord. I feel so grateful that He is using me as an instrument in His hands.

As for the mission split, we had a leaders meeting with the President this morning. We are going to meet with his family in smaller groups for the time being but next month we are going to have a meeting with the whole mission I think. He is very powerful in his lessons. He is a teacher and is just as concerned about who we are as what we do. He says he wants to feel that we are a missionary with only the handshake. I was impacted by that. I received a witness that he is called of God and the President that we need in this time in Nicaragua.

As for this week, I say goodbye from Nicaragua. May His spirit guide you to touch lives.

Elder Grant Russell

As for the package, I will see tomorrow…I don’t know yet.