Well family, it was nice to hear from you last week. I really enjoyed the photos that you sent of the family and the grandkids. Hey…but what a way to find out Joy is pregnant!? Sheesh. I was a little surprised about it but at the same time I thought that it might happen before I got home. Congratulations to her and Josh. It will be nice to have one more little sobrinito to hug when I get home. When will the baby be born by the way? I assume about when I get home right? I will be teaching him or her Spanish words before he or she learns to speak in English ha ha.
So the week was really busy again. 19 new missionaries came and 4 left, including Elder Miller who was in the office as a special retention assignment elder. It was interesting to see the wide range of emotions that come with missionaries leaving and coming. All come and go with a great excitement but the missionary leaves differently than when he came. He leaves knowing much more and being much more like Jesus Christ. There is a special spirit with the missionary that has honorably served our Savior and King for the full time required.
We spent a lot of late nights and early mornings getting things ready this week because of the changes. It gave me a lot more time to think about the service that I have been giving as financer. I have been doing my best so that everything goes well with Housing, payments, new areas, etc but at times it is overwhelming. I ask myself at times if all of this service is worthwhile in God’s kingdom. Haven’t we all felt like that at times…a busy mother who slaves away doing laundry and house work or perhaps a father who works late hours to provide for his children. Perhaps a Bishop passes precious night hours in interviews with troubled ward members, a nursery leader tries to round up the little ones for organized play time or a home teacher goes the extra mile to help an inactive come back into the fold…does this matter to God? He sees it all. Certainly, everything that we do in service to our fellow beings is of service of God. I know that He is happy when we make our best efforts to serve Him, in whatever it might be.
I have learned in my mission that if we just trust in God, He will always help us to overcome. I thought a lot about how service really just helps us. I feel that in my life the more I serve, the happier I am. Before the mission, I think I worried a lot about where I served, but now I am just worried about serving with all of my heart might mind and strength.
This week we had an awesome activity in our area that helped animate a lot of members. We had a short message and then we played the Christmas version of Simon Says...”Santa Says.” It was great! We challenged each one of the members and recent converts there to give a gift to Jesus Christ this Christmas by sharing the gospel with others. We handed out a bunch of Christmas videos and everyone was writing down their families and friends’ names to give them the materials. The happiest part of the whole experience for me was that we had the activity in the house of David Berrios. He is someone I baptized over a year ago in Monserrat the first time I was in the area and after the meeting we talked with his wife and him and they have a goal to go to the temple next June. He was really excited.
I love serving my fellow men. I have come up with a saying that helps me to remember that in serving others we are blessed as well: One can’t easily hug another without receiving a hug in return. Every time we help another, we leave just as blessed if not more. That is why I thank the Lord for the opportunity that I have to serve a mission. I love being a missionary. It is the best time of my life. I feel so close to the Savior and I know He hears my prayers. I have never felt such quick answers to my prayers until the mission. Truly, as we serve our fellow beings we are only serving our God.
Elder Grant Russell