Monday, May 2, 2016

Here's to a Great Chapter

Hi, Its me.  So, I am home.   Crazy how time flies, no?  I wanted to write a final mission based blog post (because maybe I'll continue with the blog thing) and thank all those who supported, prayed, wrote and just loved me.  I honestly felt so loved and supported.  THANK YOU.  I wouldn't say that much has changed in good ol' Syracuse or in my family and friend circle.  They are pretty much the same, just taller, wiser, and even more amazing people.  I have felt so blessed in these past few days as friends and family have stopped by to say hello and catch up.  I realize that 18 months isn't very long and just spending time with a marvelous family makes me feel like I haven't been gone.

Well what can I say?  There are so many beautiful and inspiring things I could share.  My mission was the best thing that has ever happened to me.   I served in Peru and MAN! I just love Peru.  The people are loving and open and the culture is so so so  beautiful.  Every area had a different charm and a different lesson. I learned so many things that I don't think I will ever be able to explain.  Peru has become apart of me that I don't think will ever go away.  It has completely changed my outlook on everything and I can't possibly express what I feel.   I don't think I changed to much, hopefully I am better.  I think if anythings changed its a greater desire to be a better disciple of Christ.  You know, we all chose to come down to this earth.  We chose to follow Christ and obey Him.  We have unfortunately forgotten and that's why we are here... to remember.  As we remember we realize that we have a choice: to be passive followers of Christ or be passionate ones.  And I think overall that's what I learned.  Anyone can be a passive followes of Christ.  We can say that we love Him and that we have faith in Him and then we can lay back in our lazy-boy recliner and watch the world go by (which I am totally guilty of) or we can be passionate about the Gospel and honor our Savior with our actions by applying His Atonement.  And thats super difficult and it takes a lifetime of becoming that kind of disciple but the good news is that we can!  Christ and Heavenly father are on our team and they've promised to help us.  It'll take all we have and it will take all our time, but the reward is eternal life.     Becoming a true disciple isn't easy but I was taught a statment that made it simple.  Go with the PROS. Prayer. Read. Obedience. Service.   If we do these things we will feel the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives and then we will be guided by the hand and taught the ways of our Savior and Redeemer.  Nobodies perfect.  I have a long way to go, but the Lord blesses us for trying and after all we can do He will give us His grace and we will be eternally grateful to Him and His wonderful plan.   I feel honored to be able to serve the Lord.  I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for letting me serve Him.  It was nothing that I did, I was only the hands of the Lord.  I saw miracles and truly felt the love that God has for each of his children.  I didn't take a detour, it was part of my life's journey and I know the path that I am on will continue to take me where the Lord wants me to go.   Love you all.
                   Con amor,
                                      Emma :)

Monday, April 11, 2016

A week full of miracles but full of crazy

Hey Family,

THis week has been full of miracles but full of crazy!  Oh wow.  I
worked with my companion one day this week and the rest of the days
were divisions, PUERTO MALDONADO, and trios…. Ay mi vida.  Anways. I
feel like time is a joke and I still feel like I am only finishing my
change and that Hermana Borja and I will stay together.  THe potential
that this Ward has is amazing.  We found so many people to teach this
week and we saw the Lords Hands preparing them.  Puerto is still
amazingly hot and beautiful.  The plane ride there was stunning.  I
ran into some of my favorite families and it was a huge blessing.

Bueno,  I don’t have a lot of time, but I just wanted to say thanks.
Thank you for the support and the love.   I love my family so much
even though I am not excited to see you. J but I do want you guys to
know that I know that this church is true.  The church was restored
through a prophet of God and because of this Restoration we know who
we are, why we are here, and where we are going.  I love the peace and
happiness that this message brings me.  I know that the Savior lives
and loves us.  How grateful I am for Him and His life.  Because of
Him, we will return home.  Because of Him, our weaknessess can become
strengths, and because of Him we will be together forever.

Love you more than tongue can tell,

Hermana Russell
Zone I think

View of River Madre de Dios Puerto Maldanado

Monday, April 4, 2016

Return To Abancay

Well Family,

    This is getting really boring for me.  I dont think I ever want to
write another letter in my life.

BUt, I do love you all and I want to share with you all that I learned
this week.

First off I WENT HOME THIS WEEK!!!!  Yup i returned to ABANCAY.  It
was so amazing to be back and to work with the Hermana Liders that
live there. Honestly it hasn’t changed at all and I felt so blessed to
be able to go.  I worked with Hermana Baker and she is super great.
We had the greatest day ever.  It was full of the spirit and i learned
so much about being bold in extending commitments and following the
spirit.  We had a super powerful lesson with an investigator named
Mirium.  She has a cleft lip and is a Little hard to understand, but
we taught her the plan of salvation and is was so powerful when we
testified of this great plan.  I know she was able to feel the spirit
and know who she was, why she is here, and Gods great plan for her.
It was amazing.  Hermana Baker is the best. The next day we had to go
back to Cusco…. But we helped the Hermanas of Tamburco move out and I
got to see Hermana RENE!!! I was so happy to see her and it was such a
blessing.  SHe gave me some of her lonche and we only got to talk for
a Little bit.  The Hermanas are moving out because there little family
is growing and Diane needs a Little more space.  It was weird helping
them move out because we were the ones that moved in.  Hermana Rene is
the best! Oh how I love and miss her!!  We have been in contact my
whole misión and she is always sending me letters.  Anyways it was one
of the highlights of the week.

 We were a Little stressed to leave our sector this week.  Its super
hard to stop working in your sector.  We felt a Little frustrated and
stressed firday night. But Saturday boosted our spirits with
conference.  It was such a great conference.  It answered all of my
questions and I felt great peace listening and feeling the spirit.  I
got to watch it in English which was super great. Anyways Saturday
night we found absolutely no one to teach and we were so stressed and
just discouraged.  Our numbers were super low for leaving our sector
and ya it was super hard.  But as we planned for the next day, Sunday,
we decided that we were going to look for some investigators that have
been coming to church but we havent actually been able to find them
and teach them due to lots of things.  They are like soap, we can
never get a hold of them.  Anyways Sunday morning before conference we
decided to go looking for one whose name is Rene, he is a Young man
who has been attending ever since we started working in the Alamos but
we can never find him to teach him.  aNways he was finally home!! And
we were able to teach him and invite him to be baptized.  He said that
yes he wants to be baptized.  It was super cool and such a tender
mercy.  After that we went looking for a reference a member had given
us.  She was home and told us that she wanted to attend the conference
with us.  So we waited for her to dress and then she came with us!  It
was such a tender mercy.  She enjoyed the conference and had a lot of
questions about temples.   We also saw a huge blessing as a new less
active we found came to the conference too.  Her name is Alicia and we
were able to find and teach her this week.  She brought her husband
who isn`t a member but wants to learn more about the góspel!! It was
so amazing!  We just could not stop smiling!  To top it all off the
announced a temple in the City of my companion and Our pension, who is
hermana Vicky (wife of Rigobeto) made the best lasanga in the world!
We were so lucky.

Anways it has been a great peace.  I was overwhelmed wtih peaceful
feelings in conference. I know that if we stay true to the name we
bear, everything will be okay.  God has provided a way home and
luckily the path is available to all of us if we honor our Covenants.
I am so grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and for is part in the
plan.  I am grateful that he suffered and died for us so that we, one
day, can return to Him and our Heavenly Father.  The Gospel is perfect
and I feel so blessed to be able to testify of the Restoration of this
Great and True Church.  We are so lucky to have a living Prophet today
and to have all the Priesthood keys.  I Know that God lives and that
miracles do exist.  I love you all!

Con Amor, Hermana Russell .

P.s I got your package!! How did you know??

Hermana Rene who took care of Emma in Abancay

Monday, March 28, 2016

Working hard

Hey fam!
We had a great week!  Its been super fun and full of laughter.
Hermana Borja is super awesome.  What I like most about Hermana Borja
is her ability to improve and to help me improve.  We are always
looking for more ways to be obedient or to develop Christ like
attributes.   She is a hard worker and we literally run from
appointment to appointment.  I love her!   We are super busy.  We are
trying to visit every companionship twice.  WE had to double days
twice this week and man it’s so tiring but it brings such great

This last Monday was zone pday.  We hiked up to some waterfalls but
when we got almost to the top the pathway was blocked and we couldn't
actually make it.  J But It was super pretty and for once in my entire
life i actually enjoyed the hike! Whooo!!  We had to cross some mini
rivers and I fell pretty hard.  My hand has been super black and blue
but now its all better.  It just gave me an excuse not to do burpees J
 When we found out we couldn't go all the way to the waterfalls we
stopped at a field and played soccer.  Literally my skills are
improving a ton J It was super fun! THe zone is getting more and more
united which was a concern of mine.  We werent at all close but now
everyone knows each other pretty good.

 Even though it was Easter this week it didn't really feel like it.
But we did see lots of people walking around with cactus`s on a
string….. I don't know why but it made it awfully hard to contact
them.  We could just imagine them rejecting us with their “pet
cactus”.  But the Womens conference was the best!  Especially when
about half way through they decided to turn the projector on…. Haha J

Yeah Bueno.  Im super sorry I don`t have much else to say.  But I will
share one more story.  The Hermanas that also work in the Ward
recently rescued a family.  They live up in the mountains of cusco, (
I sent photos through dropbox).  Anyways they are super humble and
dont have very much.  The sons name is Valentin and he it was his
birthday this Saturday.  Tons of members pitched in and gave us gifts
to bring to them.  Among them was a laptop with church movies, a
skateboard, Nike shoes, and lots of clothes for him and his Little
sister.  WE offered to help deliver these gifts which included hiking
for about 45 minutes. ( and somebody had donated a gallon of marbles
which I volunteered to carry).  But it was all worth it.  We arrived
and suprised them with cake and all the presents.  It was so cool.
They live in a adobe house with a dirt floor and one hanging light
bulb.  They were so happy to see us.  We ate dinner with them which
consisted of Cuy (whose name was Adam) and worm infested potatoes, but
we felt good inside.   There are amazing families and members here.
They  serve one another with such love.  Its so humbling to see how
someone lives and to think about my home and my things. Really I
learned Saturday that some things matter much more than others.  I
studied Mosiah 1-4 this week and was touched by the words of King
Benjamin.  We are all in debt to our Heavenly Father.  He has given us
everything and because he has given us much we too must give.

Well I love you guys un monton!! J I love this work and I love My
Savior.  How grateful am I for the Restoration of His church.  It is

the biggest blessing in my life.

Zone pday hike

Adam's Paws ); Cuy they ate for dinner

Hike to deliver birthday gifts

Monday, March 21, 2016

Alive and Well

March 21, 2016

Hola familia!

                I am alive and doing really well. This week has been
super busy and crazy.  Because of Council and Tuesday and the exchanges
Hermana Borja and I have had two complete days together.   I miss her!
Haha But yeah this week was pretty great and the exchanges are only
getting crazier from here.   We are inviting all the Hermanas to our
sector to help us and also visiting their sector.

Bueno, this week was concilio (mission council).  We were asked to come in our normal
clothes and bring Pday clothes.  When we got there we all changed and
had the concilio in our Street clothes.  It was super weird.  Right
before lunch we all brought our chairs outside and then walked outside
and down a Little ways off.  President lives on a hill, kind of like
the cabin, anyways so we walked down a hill or two and stopped.
President then told us that we would have to walk back up to his
house, but with our companion on our back.  If we got tired we were
told to switch, but we could not move forward with out one of us on
the back of the other.  So we all started.  Most of the elders took of
running.  We took it slow with the rest of the Hermanas.   Well as you
can imagine it was very difficult and tiring.  We took turns carrying
each other up this long hill and wow when we finished we were so
tired.  Our arms were so weak that we could barely drink wáter.   My
whole body was shaking and just exhausted.  We all sat in a circle and
President asked us what we thought and the analogies that we could
create.  We talked a lot and President then read us a story about a
pioneer that crossed the plains with the Martin handcart company.  He
was a in a group of men who started criticizing church leaders for
allowing the company  to cross and suffer all that they had suffered.
This pioneer responded with his story and at the end said “the price
we had to pay to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay”.
President then talked to us about the trials that we will face but
that it is necessary that we are tried in all things so that we may be
prepared for the Glory of God.  D&C 136:31.  I learned that our trials
really do help us be prepared for Eternal Life.  Without trials we
would never progress or become like our Savior.  There is a new video
that the church has put out for Easter.  If you haven’t seen it you
need to see it.  I have been thinking a lot about the Savior lately
and everything that he had to go through.  I think that many times we
want to be like Him but we don`t always want to pass through hard
things or take on the adversity.  But in order to truly become like
Him and to develop the attributes that He has we have to be willing to
go through a small small portion of what he went through.  We cannot
be perfect with our trials and we cannot expect to become like our
Savior if we do not accept all the trials, afflictions, problems, and
tests of life.   We must be tried in all things.  How grateful I am
for the Savior.  He allows us to pass through hard moments but he
never leaves us.  He passes through them with us.

Love you guys.

Hermana Borja, Emma's companion.

Monday, March 14, 2016



  I truly apoligize for the letter i wrote last week.   Its just that
you guys are pretty boring. J jaja jk.  But seriously I don`t really
have anything to say besides all the amaing miracles and blessings
that I see daily.   But i will try to muster up some energy to tell
you guys some funny things.

  This week was changes and as you should know i stayed with hermana
Borja but we moved to a different sector and different Ward.  I AM SO
HAPPY TO BE WITH HERMANA BORJA.  SHe is the greatest.  Super obedient
but so hilarious.  We laugh a ton and she is teaching me some soccer
skills in the morning.  We arent going to move houses and we attend at
the same building.  Sunday was weird because we saw all the members of
Ttio but we werent with them.  The saddest was having to pass off an
investigator (who had a baptism date) and Jenny L I am going to miss
them and miss visiting them.  Opening the sector has been a little
stressful.  We had to help with the changes and pick up every hermana
that came through cusco so this week we had about 3 days to get to
know the sector.  IT IS HUGE! But luckily we found a great map and
slowly but surely we are finding the investigators and less actives
the elders left behing.  Next week we will start inviting the Hermanas
to our sector to do exchanges and I am a little nervous.  BUt I know
that the Lord will bless us.

So changes were CRAZY!  We literally rana round like crazies going
from the terminal to the hosue to the office.  During changes every
hermana stays the night in our house.  We have a mountain of
mattresses and blankets for them.  Its super fun to see all the
hermanas and get to know everyone but changes can be crazy.  After
about a day I swear I could hear the phone ringing every five seconds
and the indiana theme song was stuck in our heads.  But I got to see
Hermana Alailima.  She is training and opening a sector in Puno.  She
is so great and her hija is the best!  I uploaded pictures of the
three of us. Also some hermanas that I havent seen in forever!  It was
super fun but exhausting.  We didn`t miss any busses but I did lock us
out of the apartment.   J luckily the landlord showed up and helped us
a ton.  But it was fun to be outside waiting with tons of suitcases
and hermanas… bonding time thanks to Hermana Russell.

After we had the house all to ourself we started to get to work.  We
found a great map of our sector but because our sector is so long we
had to figure out a way to manage it.  So we thought of a brilliant
idea.   We cut (with a kitchen knife… the lord really does help out
his missionaries) a old broomstick handle in half and then taped each
end of the map to one of the sticks.  Now we have like a bible roll
and we laugh because it like kung fu panda and the dragon rolls.
Hahah.  Also we put it in a plastic tube to protect it from the rain
and its like national treasure, running around with the declaration of
Independence. Anyways now that we have found our map we have been
trying to locate everyone the Elders had been teaching.  We have
walked a lot but its been great.  We have found tons of people and
have lots of appointments for the coming week.  Oh plus my sector
looks like disneyland and it includes the airport so we get to see
airplanes land and take off all day long.  Its the best. I love it.
(nacho libre)

Last night we had a great lesson with an investigator named Susana.
She is super cool.  She is Reading the book of mormon and is already
in 2 nefi.  We talked to her about the power of the book of mormon and
the spirit was really strong.  She recognizes that it is a good book
so we invited her to pray and ask God if it was really from Him.  She
said she would and I know that she will recieve an answer.  She told
us that her family is very catholic but she hopes that one day they
will be mormon :)  she is great!

Anyways this week we were asked to study doctrine and convenios ( i
forgot how to spell it in english) 136:31.    It has been a topic of
dicussion for Hermana Borja and me.  I was thinking about how God
tries us and was Reading a little bit about Abraham and Isaac.  I
found a quote in my scriptures that I absolutely loved and gave me a
little more prospecitve about trials and why God gives them to us.  It
says that God doesnt give us trials and he doesnt test us to see if we
will do it.  He already knows the outcome and he already knows what
will happen but He tries us for our own good so that we may know for

Well the góspel is true, what else is important?

Love you guys!!!

Hermana Russell

Monday, March 7, 2016

Not much to say...

this week is changes.... I am staying with hermana Borja but we are
opening a sector in another ward.  um. Hermana Alailima is going to
train so I am going to be a grandma!!!  I am alive and well but don´t
have much to say this week!  sorry!! I promise to write more next week


The sign reads.  "I leave in 1 change"  Sensing some sadness.