I hope everyone is doing good and that you have all had a great week! Primero I have to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! To my first great companion and all time favorite mom! Feliz Cumpleanos mama!! Love you so much and I think about you every day and I am extremely grateful for everything you did and do for me to help me get ready for my mission. You are the BALM! A mission has helped me realize that I don´t ever want to permanently live very far from my mom. J Hope you have a wonderful day!
It,s been a great week in Abancay!! I loved your letters from last week and especially some of the questions. Oh most importantly I loved hearing about BYU!! That is so exciting and made me realize that I am missing the great sport month every, March madness! Make sure you fill me in! Hannah: you asked me if I ran into drunks very often. Hahah I don’t really go a day without seeing some kind of side effect of being drunk. This week I happened to end up in a lesson with a drunk, a very tame one who just passed out on the table. This was with Hermana Chipunavi in Intimipas for exchanges. Hermana Holland and I were also driving in a cambi (public transportation) when the driver stopped at a party and a guy came up and handed him up a cup of beer…. Yeah we said a really faithful prayer in our hearts that that was the first cup he had drunken that day. Yes but drunks they are everywhere but I always take comfort in the fact that they are seeing what I saw in the beer goggles, and there ain’t no way they can run faster than me. Word of wisdom blessings no? Don’t worry mom, Missionaries are protected!!
More about my language skills: BUEENO, I think I am getting better and I can honestly see a big difference. Spanish is becoming more natural and I can speak Spanish without having to translate English to Spanish in my head. Everyday it’s a little easier. I don’t know if I dream in Spanish but sometimes I do think in Spanish. If something funny happens during the day and we are with a member or someone who is fluent, I usually write it in my journal in Spanish just because it doesn’t translate very well. I love writing in Spanish and I write a lot of thank you cards, birthday cards, and get well cards. Also I feel like my reading skills have improved because now I can understand the scriptures…sorta…but I have a long way to come. The hardest part for me now is not translating into English, because some things just don’t translate correctly and you can’t always rely on English grammar.
How has the absence of media affected me? Well I can tell you that I absolutely love not having media around me. I can definitely feel a difference. Now thinking back I don’t know why I listened to that song or thought Instagram was cool. Not that there was anything crazy bad with the songs I listened to or Instagram, it’s just that I can feel the spirit now more than I ever had. I can feel it when it leaves and it’s the scariest feeling ever. The Holy Ghost is one of the greatest gifts of God and when we are putting other things into our brain we are removing ourselves from the spirit and not reaching our potential. If you’d let me, I tell you little young ones to put down the media and do something better with your time. A little media isn’t bad, but when it is hindering your use of a gift from God, it can be way too spiritually damaging. I could have been a better instrument in the Lord’s hand sooner if I had realized what those small simple things were doing to my spirit.
Well one more thing… just want to say congrats to Spencer and Morgan ann!! Calvin is a doll and I can’t wait to meet him!! Love you guys!
Okay for ungoogleable facts about Peru.
1. Every drink you are served here is hot, besides sodas. Seriously everything else though. I missed my ice cold water at first but now if it’s not hot I can’t drink it.
2. Water gets shut off a lot here for any reason. We didn’t have water for a day because a neighbor was filling up his pool or something? First that wouldn’t fly in the states, and second who has a pool here?
3. The drivers here have mad reversing skills. I have seen semi- trucks back down huge narrow and steep dirt roads. It’s quite amazing that there aren’t more accidents here. I wish you could all come and experience. You’d about die.
4. One more tip on how to drive here. Before passing an intersection here at 40 miles per hour, make sure you honk really loud so crossing traffic will stop for you, if there is not a honk back, sigue adelante.
Well this week was really uneventful really, after the baptism and all. Carolina is doing great and accompanies us to other investigators. Right now we don’t have a ton of progressing investigators and that’s really hard. We are working and studying ways to find new investigators and we have been specifically praying to find a family or that one of our families will have time to listen and progress. Time is really the hard thing here. People only have time Saturdays and Sundays and then when we stop by they aren’t there. Frustrating but I know God will answer our prayers.
I went to Intimpias this Wednesday with Hermana Chipunavi! She is awesome and I got to practice my Spanish skills even more. There sector is amazing and they have wonderful investigators and members there. We were at an members house talking about an activity when I felt something peak my leg. I looked down to see a Parrot just walking past, normal! That was a first for me! Anyways exchanges are the best! Hermana Chipunavi is really wonderful missionary and sister leader! She has the vision of her purpose and I think that’s really cool!
We had a great lesson with a family this week. Isabel is a menos activo and her husband Juan! They are a really cool family and I think we really gained their trust this lesson. Isabel is expecting a baby boy and she is younger than me! WE talked to her a little bit before Juan came home and I think we got on her good side. J We taught them the restoration and it was just a really great lesson! Juan is awesome and I can really tell that he has a desire to find the truth. They also said they want to raise this baby boy with good principles and I am convinced that the Gospel will do just that.
I read a scripture this week that I really liked found in Mosiah 2:41, Its talking about the blessings of the obedient, how they are spiritual and temporal. It’s a very simple scripture. If you want to be happy, keep the commandments. This kind of happy isn’t the happy you get from getting 100 likes on instagram or finding twenty dollars in the street. It’s not wordly happiness, its lasting happiness. You can’t find it any other way. I know that it is only through keeping the commandments that we will find happiness in this life and the world to come. I am grateful for my mission because it is teaching me and showing me the things that really make me happy. This week we were asked to think about what kind of missionary we wanted to be when we got our mission call and what we are like now? I love this question because it has helped me realize and refocus. Already I feel like time is slipping past and I have so much to learn and so much to become. I am grateful for this time though because I know that the Lord has the power to help me change and become who he wants me to become.
Love you all!! Thanks for the support and the love! I can feel it all the way in Peru!! The Lord blesses me with tender mercies every day, sometimes in the form of humor, don’t worry about me because I am laughing and learning here in Peru and loving it!!
Love Hermana Russell.