Wednesday, November 26, 2014

One more week in the CCM

Surprise Pday is on Wednesday this week! It has been an awesome day, but it’s my last p day in the CCM and that means I’ts the last P day going to the temple for a little while.  It makes me so sad! I have loved going to the Lima Peru temple, and it has been such a blessing while I have been here.
   Well you guys made me laugh out loud with your hilarious Cougar tail story! Gosh you guys are the best, and I can´t imagine it being that cold.  Two sleeping bags, Mom?  You guys must have been true fans that night, which makes me very, very proud! It is so hot here! I have this awesome tan line on my feet and a watch tan line! Its ususally overcast in the morning but the sun always comes out.  It’s a little weird to be in the end of November and not seeing snow! I miss the cold, but pretty soon I will be in Cusco and hopefully it’s a little more Christmasy there.  But it’s pretty Christmasy here too.  The shops have lights up and trees and guess what?? The CCM put lights up on all the bushes and trees, they haven´t turned them on yet but we are all hoping we will see them lit up before we go.
    OKay so Dad! You asked if I had anything Peruvian I wanted you to look up! There are these Churros that they give us and you can buy them on the street, they are delicious! and filled with a sorta carmel like substance! They are soo good! We only get them every once in a while here at the CCM, but you should try to find them and see if it’s just a Peru thing!!
    This week has been same old same old! Honestly it’s the same schedule every day and even though it’s always fun, I am running out of things to tell you guys.
    I hope you understand from all my stories how hilarious Hno. Davalos is! I am keeping a quote book of all the things he says.  A story about him though,  This is his last district because he is leaving the CCM, so we decided to get him a tie and sign our names on the back, so maybe he would remember us a little more.  Anyways we were trying to sign it in the morning before he got to class, but we were a little slow so he showed up and Elder Augat is  trying to keep him outside and we are basically locking him out.  We are rushing to sign it and make it a surprise and Hno. Salcedo, who is my favorite person ever here, runs around the building to our window and basically sees everything!  But luckily he just laughed and I told him to keep it a secret!  Davalos loved the tie, well we think he did, he´s hard to read, but later that day he let us watch best two years!! Which is even more funny when you are a missionary by the way.
   On Sunday we watched an old MTC devotional, like always, but this time Jeffery R. Holland was speaking.  I just love when he speaks.  You guys should read his talk about Missionary work and the Atonement.  It gets me every time we watch that video.  Anyway he talked about the missionary program, and why they decided to change it and once again he talked on why missions are so hard, and how we are our first convert.  But I liked what he said, he said that if a missionary comes home and falls away from the church, there is something wrong.   He said that there is no more old life, and there is not going back to the way things were.  He said this quote but I don´t remember who said it first but "I cannot perceive losing my sheep, let alone my shepherds".  He also said that you cannot walk away from this, and you cannot ever stop living with the spirit in your life after your mission.  Elder Holland as always rocks it.  Anyways I had a whole bunch of quotes from him, but I left my scripture journal in my room.
   Yesterday was the best day ever.  We had personal study from after lunch to nine o’clock, because we were able to watch a live devotional from Provo! Elder Oaks spoke and it was really good.  But it was a really late night!  I guess none of us were exactly obedient on that day.
    Anyways, life is really good! This time has flown by and I have gotten so comfortable here.  I am nervous but super excited to get out and get going in Cusco! We taught an investigator this week that happened to be Hno. Davalos, and at the end of the lesson he gave us a little feedback and encouragement.  He said in the field that the work is non stop, and if it is not like that than there is something wrong.  I am so excited to do some actual missionary work! But I am going to miss all the friends I have made here and the teachers, and the temple!
   I just want you guys to know how much I love you all.  It is so nice to be out here and to know that someone somewhere has my back.  Will you do me all a favor and go to the temple as much as you can.   there is something powerful in being in the Lord´s house. It doesn´t matter what language or where you are at, the temple is home to me.  And each P day I have been going home.  I think of my family a lot when I am in the temple, because I know that one day we will all be in there together.   The part in missionary work that we have been focusing on is not just baptizing people but helping people come unto Christ and Endure to the End! I can see how important the temple is in enduring to the end. So keep going!
  Well I love you all and want you to know how grateful I am for you guys in my life.  Have a great Thanksgiving! Love you more than tongue can tell!
        Con amor,
                     Hermana Russell

I have a little more time today! I just wanted you guys to know how great i am doing!! Honestly I love it here! I love being a sister leader and I love the Hermanas and I respect the Elders, (because we can´t love them!) Haha  I have basically everything I need and I hardly miss you guys!! JOTA KA!  I miss you guys a lot but I never really want to go home! I just wish I could call and tell you the funny stories.
   So next week we are leaving so I don´t know when my next P day will be, but I am so excited to be going!! It’s great here, but it’s just the same every day.  OH funny story that I will share, there is a Hermana from New Zealand here.  She is the sweetest, sassiest thing and we have become pretty great friends.  But she doesn´t really understand that some of our words in America are swear words and are usually not socially accepted.  Well I like hanging around her a lot because you never know what she’s going to say.  I guess the hermanas in her district are trying to tell her that Heck is a swearword, but it slips out almost in every conversation.  She is a riot!! hahah  I play volleyball with her and some other Hermanas and Elders,  they are the intermediate missionaries which means that they leave two weeks after I do.  But we have all gotten so close, and way better at volleyball.
    Anyways I miss my family’s humor, for sure!! I think we should all come back to Lima! It’s a pretty neat city!

  Well I love you guys, and I am so thankful to be your daughter! Love you! and tell Grace to write me!! That girl is something else!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Hola again family!
 This week has flown by! Thanks for the emails.  You guys are the best family in the world! Mom those costumes you made for Sophie’s dance were perfect! You are so talented! And also just amazing!!  Hannah I hope you didn't get attacked by a bear this week, and or found a new job.  And I also hope your beautiful hair is intact and the rest of you.  Love you!  I was so excited to read about the Utah game!! HAHA it made me laugh and miss football, its crazy cause I hardly think about it while I´m here, but DAD I bought you the sweetest Y tie at the temple store.   You´ll have to wait 17 months to get it, but it will be something to look forward too.  So those who have been asking, I got Jed´s package last P day.  It was super awesome, it included, taco seasoning, mac and cheese, and popcorn, various other spanish things and also the coolest bag ever! so I´m going to save the food for when I´m out of here, but the taco seasoning might be needed by next week. HAHA
 Okay so this week we are the advanced group, and me and Hermana Hill are the new Sister leaders. I am mostly excited about this because we get to interview all the hermanas and get to know them better!  Our relationship is so good, she is feeling better and we are working really hard.  Our lessons are so much better because we have gone in there without any notes and relied on the spirit to tell us what to say and what to talk about.  Of course we prepare a little but it’s pretty awesome.  I really love her and even though we have different senses of humor we have found out how to work around it.  Its muy bien!! I was also in the choir on Sunday when Elder Evans came to speak on missionary work.  I love singing in Spanish, and I now have two Spanish songs memorized!! I miss music because we are not allowed to have it here.
   On Saturday I experienced my first earth quake!! Man it was awesome, but a little freaky! We were in the middle of class and hear this huge rumble and then things start to shake and my teacher stares at the floor and really slowly in broken English says.  oh... my.. gosh.  EARTHQUAKE, we ran outside to our safety circles and we were safe! But man, it was easy to stay awake the rest of class.
Hna Villannueva is hilarious! We play grammar games out on the soccer field and she threatens the Elders with a bat when they mess up.  We play the funniest games and her broken English is just too funny!! She always says really, instead of right. But don´t worry we try to help her.
  My other teacher is Hno Davalos,  He is the one that pretended not to know English for the first two weeks but now he speaks fluently.  He says the funniest one liners, and I wish I could just call you guys and tell you exactly what he says.  My favorite is when he was talking about is wife during the earthquake,  he said... My wife was scary... and hna cooper you mean scared? and he said... Yes, but she is both! ha oh man their broken English is just too funny, but I'm sure mine is great too, like when we were asked to show a new Latino sister the cafeteria and I told her the Juego was over there instead of the Jugo, which is juice not game.  She laughed pretty hard and now every time she sees me we laugh and laugh.  ! We met some Hermanas going to Cusco this week! They are so cute!!  Also Hno Davalos said that he can usually remember his students names for 2-3 days after we are gone, but apparently that’s good because the Latinos elders he forgets after ten minutes..   haha we are all trying to get him to remember our names, by being a good class.  He let us play heads up with Spanish verbs during grammar class one day! HILIAROUS!  I was playing and the word I was trying to guess was escapar (to escape) and one of the elders on my team literally just jumped out the window and I thought Hno Davalos was going to die from laughing.  We laugh a lot, and I can´t tell you all the funny things that happen, but just know I´m recording them all down in my journal, so one day I will tell you all the most hilarious things.  OH but one more.  We had a different teacher one morning and she was telling us about Iquitios because one of the elders is going there.  And she said you will eat monkey hand and it will be given to you on a plate, and you will say....Ooohh HI Five! but when she said it was hilarious! Oh man I know this probably isn´t making much sense, but its pretty funny stuff right there!
   I was also chosen this week with some other missionaries to evaluate some new teachers they may hire.  It was way fun because I got out of class and I mostly understood what they were saying in Spanish. 
Sunday! They are the best and this Sunday we legitly had a chocolate fountain for lunch and got to watch Ephraim’s Resuce!!
   Well Elder Evans came to talk to us on Sunday.  He is the head of the missionary office under Elder Bednar, and Elder Nelson.  He talked on Tenacity! Which was so good! Tenacity is having absolute determination to get things done.  And to get it done right,  He talked about the Savior and his tenacity that he had to finish his work here on earth.  I am so grateful for my Savior.  He is my best friend out here.   I also would like to leave you with just one more thought.  Being a missionary is so much fun, but so much work.  But I am loving it,  the best thing is that every day is a battle.. it’s so hard and I miss you all so much, I can´t even think about it, but.. Every night is a VICTORY!   I know that when we are allowing the spirit to be in our lives, we will not go wrong, we cannot go wrong.  He will guide us and lift us when we need it.  He loves us unconditionally, don´t forget that! I love you all!   Keep up the emails and pictures!!

Love, Hermana Russell!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My shoe shining, clam dip, sandy, nostril flaring, plague escaping week

Subject: My shoe shining, clam dip, sandy, nostril flaring, plague escaping week.

Hola Familia,
   It’s been a great week and I can´t believe I am starting my fourth week out here. Next week I will be advanced! I feel like my Spanish has improved a ton but the more I learn the more I find out how much I don´t know.  I´m trying to figure out how best to write these letters so pardon the scrambled and jumbled thoughts.  I have so much to say and so little time.
      Hermana Cooper is hilarious. Example I wore my fly shirt on Sunday (Emma has a shirt that is green with tiny little flies on it lets call them bees!), and half way through the meeting she said, “Hey there´s a fly on your shirt!” we laughed pretty hard at that one.  Thursday night I thought I should shine my shoes but dad you never officially showed me how, I messed around a little before I came, but the elders said they would demonstrate a lesson on shoe shining.  Don´t worry I think they knew how to do it.  We ended up shining everyone’s shoes and it was a super funny.  I guess it’s a good thing to massage the creases of your shoes, but I don´t really know. Sophie we sang Battle Hymn of the Republic in Spanish and I just wanted to blurt out in English HIS TRUTH IS MARCHING ON!! But I refrained, miss you, you little cuss! Sisters! Thank you for the sweet normal day to day emails they help me so much! I love hearing about your lives every little detail.  Just like I would normally hear about them.  Okay so keep up the good work!
 My companion got really sick and had a fever of 104.  Luckily for me I have avoided this black plague.  She literally looks and sounds like death.  She’s coming around but it’s been hard on the Spanish and the lessons. Saturday night we had to go in early, it was a bummer but I got a lot of studying done and I think the sleep really helped her! The elders also gave her a priesthood blessing, which is always a cool experience.  It was Elder Martin’s first time so that was cool. 
  Normal but the foods getting worse to me.  Oh Boy! I can´t eat another grain of rice but good thing they have these really great cookies you can buy on P day called Casinos.  They keep me going throughout the week.  Oh and Inca Cola! Best drink ever!  The Elders buy like 7 of the 3 liters bottles of that stuff. 
 We watch these MTC devotional reruns every Sunday.  They are usually very good and Apostles speak at them.  We watched one with D. Todd Christofferson and he talked about the worth of the soul.  Really really great talk.  And I saw my friend Emily in the choir.  She´s been out of the MTC for a while now, but it was nice to see her.  So the plague spread through the district and especially in my room.  But I haven´t felt any signs of a cold and I take my vitamins and I took zinc for a while to help. Hermana Cooper was called to give a talk in Spanish on Sunday.  She did very well and only mistakenly said pescados instead of pecados, for you non Spanish speakers, fish instead of sins.  Good thing it’s only a bunch of Americans in the congregation, because I´m pretty sure the Latinos would have got a kick after that. 
  The worst part about the showers here is the bi-polar water, It’s usually blasting hot or freezing cold.  And the Latinos take about three hours in there.  I have to wake up right at 6 to get in before they do.  But lately I have had good luck, Hna Cooper...not so great luck. 
  Tuesdays are the best here because of devotional Tuesdays night. This time we just watch another video of an apostle at a MTC devotional, where I saw another friend from school DEREK. who only probably Shelby and the rest of the roommates will know who I´m talking about, but It was good to see him too.  While we were watching the video Elder Wright went around and stole the name tags off of every sleeping elder.  At the end of the devotional he had everyone’s name tag on his jacket.  It was pretty funny and we got a kick out of it.  Tuesday night Elder Budden shared a very interesting story and I wish I had time for it.  Remind me when I get home, but all I´m saying is that don´t  let anybody shove clam dip down your pants when you’re sleeping, I guess you don´t get a goodnights rest when that happens.  Oh Elder Budden, He´s a crack up!  And Sand Volleyball, a new game we found that is even more fun than regular volleyball, I’m getting really good.  My dives are on point and we always see who can get the sandiest.  I won because I dived and my foot kicked up and poured sand in my hair.  hahah.  OH and plus I´m getting a tan! Which is exciting!
The one message that stood out to me this week in everyone of my spiritual moments, was the message, Ask and Ye Shall Receive! I struggled with the language this week, having charity and being diligent, but I was reminded that WE can always ask God for whatever we need. And he will be happy to help us.  Especially Charity, it’s a major factor in missionary work, without it I don´t think you could get anything done.  So pray for the things you need, ask for help and you will find it.  Also look up Charity in the Bible Dictionary, and realize that that kind of love is the love our Savior has for each one of us, no matter what.
    I love you all and hope everything is going good where ever you may be!!
        con amor,
                    Hermana Russell

p.s. Sophie I literally flared my nostrils this week.  I will send a selfie when I can.  TQM

Thursday, November 6, 2014

My Family is Very Important in My Life

Hola familia!
   How is everything going today? Thank you for all the emails and love!! I just love you guys so much!! I literally have a thousand emails from you guys!! Poor people sitting next to me get like two.  Awkward!!  Oh did you look up that fruit I told you to? You just have to!
   So how was Halloween? Who won the contest at the Bitners?  How did Ellie and Grace look? I am hoping there are pictures on here!! And I want to hear all about your costume mom!! And you Amee!!
   So last P day was kinda crazy! We got lost in Lima and took three buses to get back to the CCM! But the temple was beautiful! It is so small, they don´t have a chapel and the room holds 25. The sealing room which is part of the celestial room holds about ten.  Also today I saw the old old old movie.  It was quite interesting.  I think it would have been better in English.  After the temple we got Spanish scriptures and the cutest cases ever.  The temple store is awesome here.  I bought a soccer jersey at Garajes. A Peru one! Sophie the jerseys are like 8 dollars here, so tell me which country you want.   The Messi ones are so cool!!  They have a shopping place called Totus here, I bought sticky tac and hung up pictures of everyone on my wall next to my bed.  Each night I fall asleep looking at all you lovely people and it makes me so happy.  I read dad´s last paragraph to me each night.  Thank you for that letter dad.  It gives me so much peace and happiness!
  We taught our first investigator last week.  It went really rough and I have to say I was pretty frustrated.  It’s hard to teach a lesson in a different language.  It’s also hard to be at a loss for words.  You can prepare a lesson all you want, but sometimes you don´t know what they are going to ask you and you know the answer in English but it’s not there in Spanish.  That is very frustrating.  But we taught a lot this week and each time it gets better and better for me.  I can now say kinda what I´m feeling in broken Spanish.   One lesson we sang for our investigator.  We weren´t planning on it but we did it anyway.  It actually turned out well and brought the spirit.  Although Sophie if you were there you probably would have laughed at me.  The Spanish hymns are beautiful.  You guys should try singing some!!
    Okay for the first time in my live I kinda rolled my R´s!! It was awesome.  It’s not very smooth and I don´t do it when I´m speaking yet, but I´m practicing every day.  I´m pretty sure I sound like a star wars character.
   We went to migration this week for visa stuff.  It took six hours in the most sketchy  building you have ever seen! I was so tired by the time we were done.  We waited in line the whole time and then handed a stack of papers to a person.  It felt like a DMV of Peru!!  Also the traffic here is insane.  Like the roundabouts don´t have any lanes and I’ts just a free for all.
  Our teacher Hermano Davalos, finally spoke English to us!! We knew he could do it and it’s really good.  While he was talking, Hna Cooper said wow your Spanish is really good...   and he was like  thanks I have been practicing for 25 years. She totally meant to say that his English was good.  Hna Cooper is hilarious!!
  One night we practiced door contacting with our district.  I was the missionary first so I had to knock on a door and some from my district was behind it.  Well I knocked and Elder Ludlow jumped out in the window of the door.  It scared me so bad and I totally lost my train of thought.  He said he was an athiest and he would not let me in... It was the worst! haha I´m pretty sure that I didn´t say anything comprehendable to him.  Oh fun fact.  As my Spanish gets better my English gets worse.  I can never speak right at all.
   Fast Sunday is awesome here.  We don´t have dinner the night before or breakfast on Sunday.  But we have a huge feast for lunch! They gave us CHURRos filled with dulce de leche.  They are the best thing you have ever eaten in your life.  The food is still good but I can´t eat any more rice.  I keep asking for menos por favor and I can never finish it. CCM rule finish everything on your plate. So no more rice for me.  Also we watch old mtc devotionals which are hilarious and sometimes old BYU basketball players say the prayers
  We got new hermanas this week on Wednesday so I am no longer in the beginner class. We are the intermediates.  I can´t beleive I have been here for so short of time but it feels like so long.  The days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days.
  We went to interpol this week for more visa stuff.  They had to get all our fingerprints and then check our teeth.  Again super sketchy place, but we passed time by playing games like am I a witch and the camping game.  They are so funny and I can´t wait to play with you guys.  Don’t look up the game or it will spoil it.  We have an elder from England here. Elder Quenes, he was playing the witch game and all the Peruvians were just staring at him like he was a crazy person.  It was super funny.  Part of the game is standing up and doing random movements and asking if you are a witch or not.
  So I learned a lot this week.  It was a rough week, but I still love it here.  Sometimes I cry in class just thinking of you guys getting along without me.  I don´t know how you are doing it!
But I´m just enjoying everything about this place.  The hermanas are awesome the teachers are so great!! Everything!! My favorite thing my Hermana Villanueva said this week was Tengo Cupcake! Cause we got cupcakes on Halloween, which was the only way I knew it was Halloween.

Okay the spiritual side of things.
An elder bore his testimony in church, he just left on Tuesday, but he said What a fool he was for not taking time to study his scriptures or talk to God.  I feel the same way.  I should have studied more and prayed harder!!  WE have to fight for time to read our scriptures here.  We are given no time to just enjoy them and I really miss it.  I wish I would have taken advantage of that time while I was growing up.  so girls!! don´t waste your time doing things that are less important than scripture study!!
  Also a story was shared about an investigator and basically the gist was that each time God introduces his Son he always says, This is my Beloved Son Hear him.  and the question for us is how do you want God to introduce you! And what are you going to do to make that happen.  I have been focusing all week on developing my faith in Jesus Christ, and studying his words and the words of His prophets.  I want God to introduce me as a faithful servant who never stopped having faith or never lost sight of what was really important in live.  Someone who gave their all every chance they got.  I hope you can all think about how you want God to introduce you and figure out a way to make that possible.  Because one day we will be glad we did just that.
  A quick more thing.  I learned a valuable lesson this week when a surprise investigator  that we didn´t know we were teaching till ten minutes before, stopped us in a middle of the lesson and taught us about how you teach people not lessons.  It was tender mercy for me because I have been feeling like a Spanish robot as I have taught, and that’s not how I want to be.  It’s a challenge to show your personality, but these are real people who need to be taught in a way that is desirable to them.  After the lesson he took our notes away, our scriptures, everything, and made us teach him for five minutes, I have never felt the spirit that strong in a lesson before.  We made the message desirable to him and then he was all ears.  We were both able to add our testimonies and my Spanglish wasn´t too bad.  It was awesome.
   Well I love you all!! Thanks for all the love and support!!
Hermana Russell


 P.S.S hannah i hope your car is okay.