Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Update from Abancay

Hola familia!!

How is everyone? It was a great week this week!

Responses, Strikes like the one we had don´t happen very often, but
sometimes the schools will go on strikes and the kids will have to
stay home.  We can still leave and work normal.  Usually abancay is
tranquilo during strikes but when other people from other towns come
over that’s when it gets crazy.

Carolina is doing great!  She has a lot of questions and she´s
starting her family History.  She has become like a sister to me.  I
feel like I have known her forever.  Recently we also rescued a girl
named Jeny.  She was inactive but now she is active.  She is amazing
and I love teaching her.  She´s working on gaining a testimony but I
know that she already has one.

Oh and Hannah, I am staying real happy and good. Life is seriously
wonderful! I live in Peru and get to visit tons of people every day.
My life´s the best, I love it (Nacho LIbre reference).

Spanish skills are definitely increasing.  Its becoming way more
natural to speak Spanish. Hermana campoverde is really patient and she
is so nice when she corrects me. She´s the best for correcting me!
Sometime it is hard for me to speak English and usually when I am
talking to the Sandbergs or other north Americans I just speak in
Spanish.  It´s easier for me and then I don´t have to translate for
my compi afterwards.  I love Spanish!

Oh and Mom I see all the pictures and I love them!! Keep them coming!!
 I have such a cute family!   Oh and
snakes, buenooo. We went on a hike last Pday and ended up walking past
a really venomous snake.  We didn´t see it till later but a member we
were with about went crazy.  I guess as a missionary you have a little
more protection.

Dad to answer your question about tribes in Peru, Hermana Rene tells
us a lot of stories about tribes like this.  They don´t wear any
clothes and they have never seen the out side world.  And apparently
if you get to close to their town they just shoot you with their bow
and arrow.  No one has apparently gone to the town and lived…. But
then I always wonder.. well how do they know this?

Well I don´t know if this is a ungoogable fact or not but this week I
found out that the head of rene´s grandma is in our house in a box.
Apparently it’s really common to rob graves here so people avoid this
problem by just keeping their grandma´s bones in their house….. I kind
of want to see it, but this week they are putting it back with the
body.  I so wish this was a worthy proselytizing activity…haha JK!

Well last P day was awesome!  We went up to this really really high
mountain and the view was gorgeous.  We drove up in a taxi with us
five (the Hermana LIders and their pension) and two older women who
only spoke Quechwa.   We were squished in this car and we listened to
this really really  quechewa sounding music on the way up.  It was a
once in a lifetime experience and the moment when I was like  ´My
family has to see this!!´   Anyways we went up to this giant mountain
took some pictures, and then Hermana Chipunavi got attacked by a goat.
  It was charging at her and the rest of us could not stop laughing!
Oh my it was hilarious!  Hermana Hunter has a video that is the best!
Then we walked down by foot and it took us about 2 hours!  WE were so
exhausted and a little late to District Meeting!  But it was worth it!
The view was amazing!

This week I also had Hermana Hunter has my companion for a day!  She
is such a great missionary and I learned so much from her! It was fun
to have English back for a day and we also had a really cool lesson
with a old investigator that we found in our area book.  We found her
and her boyfriend in her house and we just taught them a little about
the Gospel.  Kevin her boyfriend was so excited and had so many great
questions!  It was a really cool lesson and his enthusiasm made me
excited!  Anyways  I just love intercambios because you learn so much!

Hermana Campoverde continues to be awesome! I love her to death! She´s
hilarious loves the work.  One day this week we ate so much from some
reason and couldn´t eat dinner because we were so full.  WE decided to
do some yoga and it turned into a really hilarious time.  She´s the
best and we are already planning my trip to Ecuador.  Did I mention
she is a ballerina?  That´s what she is studying.  Recently we have
become obsessed with a bakery near the church.  We always stop by and
buy something different.   Then we walk back up to our house which
burns off all the calories….I just adore her!

This week was really good!  We continue to find new investigators and
we are trying to contact and talk to as many people as we can.  It can
be exhausting sometimes, especially when they family you just
contacted walks away and drops the cards you gave them….But it can be
so worth it to.   This week I studied a lot more about Grace and The
hermana leaders shared this thought with us about the Savior feeding
the five thousand.  There are a lot of ways to apply this miracle but
one of the ways I liked was that like the disciples we give ALL we
have and the Savior will multiply it and he will help us feed the five
thousand.  Grace is essential in missionary work.   I depend on the
Savior´s grace to help me strengthen my weaknesses and I pray that I
can be a tool in His hands.   I also read an article in the Liahona
about the difference between sins and weaknesses.   We don´t need to
repent for our weaknesses we need to humble ourselves and have Faith
that Christ will make up the difference when we fall short.   It´s
something you really learn on your mission because for me my
weaknesses are more apparent out here than ever.  And I need to rely
on His grace to help me do this work.

Well I just love you all!  Thanks for all the support!!.

Love, Hermana Russell

Monday, April 20, 2015

Come What May and Love IT

Hola familia.

Buenooo.  Some niño just pulled the plug on the computer and turned it
off and I lost three pages of the email I was going to send you all.
It was a really good one too.   Ahhh.  Ohwell  Come what may and love
it, right? .

Now I have to be a little less specific.

Primero, congrats Sophie!  I’m super happy for you and think that you
will be a great SBO secretary!  The sandbergs are from California!!  I
think they are awesome! They have seven kids and this is their second
mission.  Six of their kids served missions.  One of their daughters
was a track star at the Y and another was a Rockette!  Elder sandberg
was recently released as the President of the rama and they now attend
a different rama with a different calling.  I miss them.  Sometimes
its nice to have a little bit of America.

Politics in Peru are Crazy.  On election days you are allowed to hold
other meetings so that means that Church is canceled.  People paint
their houses with the candidates name that they are supporting.   It
can be a little crazy but its mostly because you are required to vote.

To Sophie’s question about having a relation ship with Christ.  I
believe it comes as we apply His doctorine.  As we have faith in the
atonement unto repentance.  I also like also in the scriptures are
Savior is described as our Advocate and Mediator.  We have the ability
to pray to God because Of the sacrifice of Christ.  I really like the
scripture in Mateo 11:27 that says to know the Father,  we have to
know the Son.   And to know the both of them is Eternal Life. J

Ungoogable facts about Peru!.

1.        Chuño.  Its rotten potato and people eat it.  Look it up for
me please!  I have only had it twice.  The first time wasn’t bad but
the second time was a full plate.  I couldn’t hardly swallow it.  Its
so terrible.  Hermana Campoverde couldn’t stop laughing as I tried to
get this down.  Luckily Hermana Rene wasn’t there to see, but Let it
be known that I did finish it.  I absolutely do not like it.

2.       Sometimes Peruvians name cookies names that we wouldn’t give
them in the states. Like Coco Bum or Kraps.  It’s the best to be
teaching in a store and people come in asking if they have mini kraps.
   Also it needs to be pointed out that Kraps are like Ritz
crackers…just a little more…. Well krappy. J

3.       The Nacho libre rumor is true.  They love their mayonnaise
with anything!  They sell potato chips with little packets of
mayonnaise attached.  And this morning we had corn on the cob and
Hermana campoverde asked if there was any mayonnaise.

Well this week has been the most exhausting but most rewarding week in
the mission.  We had 10 families that we contacted and 10 new
investigators.  We worked so hard this week.  Hna campoverde is the
best!  She is so positive even when millions of appointments fall
through she keeps going.  She got really introduced to the Mud of
Abancay this week.  We crossed a field to visit a members house and
she stepped in a huge well hidden mud puddle worthy of the world’s
biggest pig.  The mud covered her whole shoe and luckily the members
were home and we were able to clean it.  She just smiled and laughed
the whole time about it.  I love her attitude!  She also has really
good English.  We have been going to English class three times a week!
 I am really impressed with her English accent and everything.  This
week I tried to pray in English to help her and I  couldn’t do it.   I
couldn’t pray in English!  She helps me a lot with my Spanish and is
really really patient!  In English class this week I ended up singing
the Cougar fight song twice every class.  The Elders really like it
and its just hilarious to sing it for them.  We are going to teach
them it!  Maybe I’ll send a video!!

WE had conference with President this week!  It was the best!  WE have
the best mission president and wife ever!  Hna Harbertson talked about
the first two great commandments and how we should love our companion.
It was really so good!  She shared a quote from someone but I can’t
remember who, but he said that Abinidi Loved King Noah.  I thought
this was so cool.  It was true that Abinidi loved king Noah.  He did
as much as he could to preach him the Gospel.  He even gave his life
to try to help King Noah.    She also said that no one should leave
your presence without feeling that they have been ministered by Jesus
Christ.  I love this because its just so true.  We should love
everyone and we should treat everyone they way that Christ would treat
them.  At times its hard.  Like when I kid unplugs your thirty minute
worth of email, or when appointment falls through and you confirmed it
two hours before.  But it doesn’t matter.  We still have to love.
Hermana Harbertson said that we will never become a God and we will
never be happy in this life if we can’t learn to live the two first
great commandments.   I love this thought and want to try extra hard
to love everyone the way that God loves them.   President talked about
teaching repentance.  He is really inspired and I love listening to
him.   I wish I could just tell you guys everything!  But later J

Anyways this week was really good! Our agenda’s for next week our
packed full and I am excited for the families we contacted and the
work we are going to do!  This change is flying by and I wish time
would slow down for a second!.  I love this gospel and I love what I
am learning about the Doctrine of Christ on my mission.  Missionary
work is amazing!  I know that Christ is our Savior and that through
Him we can return to live with our Father again.

Love you all so much!!

Hermana Russell

Monday, April 13, 2015

New companion!!

Hola Familia!!!
Its super, super cold here in Abancay!!  I can´t imagine going to Puno
or elsewhere.  I loved everyone´s letters from last week! You guys are
all the best!  Conference was amazing! I loved it and can´t wait to
study the talks a little more.  The image of mom cheering for me was
the best.  I love you mom!!  And I expect next time for you all to
stand and cheer.  J Annyoo what you said dad about the potatoes is
true and eggs.  I have only seen eggs one way which is fried, (Yes I
have eaten a few fried eggs sandwiches and thought of you dad) and
Potatoes two ways, French fries and just sliced and baked.  J I think
I want to teach them out to make mash potatoes.  Hannah asked me for
my highlights and lowlights.  Highlight:  Hermana Campoverde Lowlight:
Losing my mission mom, Hermana Holland.  I wish we could be in a trio.
Hahah but this week was really good. I don’t have too much to say

Hermana Holland left early Tuesday morning.  It was a tearful good
bye.  I miss her a lot and I miss English a little.  Lisbenia stayed
with me for all of Tuesday and in the morning Wednesday until my new
compi arrived.  LIsbenia was really patient with me and put up with
all my nerves.  I was so nervous to get a new companion.  But Hermana
Campoverde is the best!!  She is sooo cool and so patient with my
Spanish.  She is from Ecuador and has 5 sisters!  She is the third.
She is hilarious and I already love her so much.  She is very obedient
and we get along really well.  I am going to learn so much from her.
She is a great teacher and a great contacter.   Her English is also
really really good.  She has studied it on her mission and she really
tries to use it.  She says things like “Yes” a lot.  It kind of sounds
like a napoleon dynamite kind of yes but I love it.  She can say ‘what
is your problem?” and “where are we going?”  I am going to teach her
how to pray and bear her testimony…… If I can remember.  I am losing
my English rapido.  I have a new district leader from texas and I
can’t even speak English to him.  Hermana Campoverde asks me how to
pronounce words in the book of mormon and I literally can’t .  she
always says “Oh its pronounced the same?” and I’m like “no…sorry I
have no idea”  IT takes me awhile to think about it.  Anyways she came
from Sicuani and knows HErmana Cooper really well!  I think she
brought the freezing cold with her.  I am super excited for this
change!  Even though I miss and love and adore hermana Holland, it’s
easier to work with a latina because people  aren’t scared of us in
the streets.  J  so contacting is a lot less scary.   She is just so
nice and I can’t wait for this change.  She likes to laugh and work
and work out.  Man I am so sore!  She has p90x dvds and now its super
fun to work out in the mornings.  She is just the best!!

Well I don’t have a lot to say this week but I love the book of mormon
challenge.  I am learning so much.  I love King Benjamin and his talk.
I love what he says about service in chapter 2.  We could serve the
Lord with our whole soul and heart and strength and we would still be
in dept to him.  And all that he requires of us is to be obedient and
when we are obedient he blesses us.  Immediately!  I am not serving a
mission to try to repay him, that’s impossible, but I am serving a
mission to learn how to serve others, how to love others, and how to
bring the gospel to many people.  I am so grateful for Heavenly Father
and all he has given us.  I wish there was some way I could pay him
back but I know that all he asks of us is to keep the commandments.  I
also love the phrase in Mosiah 2:36 “Guide you in wisdoms path”.  This
is one of the jobs of the Holy Ghost and I love this phrase.  When we
serve others and keep the commandments, The spirit can be with us.
The spirit will guide us in our lives.  I also love that it is not
Father in Heaven who moves away from us, it is us who move away from
Him.   Wow I just love the Book of Mormon and the Prophets in it.  I
know it’s true and I love teaching about it.  At the ends of really
hard days it’s the greatest thing to read in the Book of Mormon and
discover that I’m not the only one who had days or weeks like that.  I
know that the book was written for us in this time and I hope that we
take advantage of this great gift from God.

Well sorry it’s a little shorter this week! I promise I’ll write more
later J  Love you all so much!  Thank you for the examples and

Love Hermana Russell
Hermana Russell and her new companion Hermana Campoverde

Monday, April 6, 2015

Changes and New Dresses

April 6, 2015
Hola Familia!!

 I am staying in Tamburco!!  But Hermana Holland is leaving L.  Today’s going to be so hard.  We have become best friends.   I also know that I am getting a Latina companion!  I think this might be desperately needed.  Two gringas is really ideal for me but it’s hard for the work.  People usually are afraid of us when we try to contact.   Okay this week I really felt like a Peruvian.  I efficiently swept water in our apartment, experienced the joys of when you don’t have a toilet paper holder (which means you drop the whole roll in the toilet), have forgotten how to speak English and ate rice for every meal and basically enjoyed it.  So Am I Peruvian yet? Hahah

Responses as usual: We watched the women’s conference in the chapel in Spanish, and we watched General Conference in the chapel too but in English.  But it was really cool because the talks that were in Spanish we could just go over to the other side and listen in Spanish  J So that was super cool.  I loved conference and I am so excited for the temples!! Wow!!  Conference is the best as a missionary.  It blows your mind sometimes because they explain things so simply that you have been trying to explain this whole time! Wow!  I can’t wait to have all the talks.  I definitely had all my prayers and questions answered and I am so so so grateful for a living Prophet.  Also Edgar and Monica came to a session and they are becoming our favorite family! I will attach a picture of them. J

The pictures that we took with the Hermana leaders is in a place called Patichacra and Santo Thomas.  It’s really pretty there!!  The Hermana Leaders are the best!  We go on splits with them once a change and basically it’s the best.  They take really good care of us and are always making sure we are all good.   They travel a lot and they are hardly ever in their sector so it’s very hard on them.  They sacrifice even more on their missions.  We love them!!  Hermana Hunter is from California and Hermana Chipunavi is from Brazil!  I feel so blessed to get to know them!

Okay everyone just keep writing the same normal emails.  I love all the details and I don’t care if you tell me all your problems or tell me the mundane parts of the week. I love it!! It helps me and gives me the strength to go find the families that are ready to become like mine.  J

Also I was wondering if Taysom Hill is going to start this season?  Haha little worldy thought….

This P-day we spent it with Carolina and Lisbenia.  We cooked American food and I think they enjoyed it.  I made popcorn with white chocolate on it.  It was delicious!  Carolina tried peanut butter for the first time and she did not like it.  It was hilarious.  She said it was a little weird.  She also said this hilarious comment.  Hermana Holland was singing in English and Carolina looked at us and said “I never thought I would listen to people singing English, like real people”  ahaha she is hilarious and I love her so much! She is such a fourteen year old.  We washed her clothes for her this week while she was at school and we got blisters on our hands, but it was so worth it.  Carolina loved it and she had time for her homework and her mom was super happy!!

This week we had an activity with the whole zone.  All of us paired off with a leader from the Rama or someone that could accompany us all day.   I was with a ysa named Katy!! She is so cute and we had the greatest time.  It helped me realized that yes I can speak Spanish and understand and that I also know what needs to be taught and how to teach.  Katy was wonderful and I loved talking to her.  She wants to go on a mission in January!  They have such strong testimonies here too.  It’s incredible!! She will be amazing.  I will send a picture and explain which one she is!!

We had a lesson with Edgar and Monica this week that was very spiritual.  WE talked about the atonement with them and I think they finally understood it, or at least a little bit.  Then we reviewed the plan of Salvation and talked about the family because we really want them to pray about their wedding and find out when God really wants them to get married.  We used the example of the empty can and the full can.  We likened the full can to a family that is full of the teachings of Christ and the lid was a secure marriage.  We showed them how that was so secure and how satan can’t destroy a family like that.  It was really powerful because Hermana Holland took the empty can, crushed it really easy with her hand and kind of through it on the table.  The spirit was so strong and Edgar and Monica could feel it.  They right away accepted a marriage date and said they would pray about it.  It was amazing.  It made me convinced that there is nothing else more I want in life than a strong family that is founded on the principles of Jesus Christ.  Only this way will we be able to resist the temptations and powers of the Devil.  Who is real and who is attacking the family more than ever.  I can’t wait to study the conference talks on the family.  Family really is the center of life!

Well I don’t have much to add this week.  Hermana Holland is leaving and after three changes it’s really hard to say good bye.  I am nervous about whose going to come but also excited because I know that she will have ideas that we didn’t have.  And I am also excited to be working with the family that we have!

I just want to share a real quick thing I learned this week.  As I was studying Preach my Gospel I was reading about a successful missionary.  It says that a successful missionary helps others enjoy the Holy Ghost and really our role as missionaries is to have the Holy Ghost with us.  So why do we repent every night.. . to have the Spirit with us.  Because that is so important!  We should really be doing all we can to have the Spirit with us.  I know that when we do this we will be guided in our daily life and we will be able to overcome challenges that may seem huge and daunting at first.  I am so grateful to be a missionary.  I have learned so much and I am extremely grateful to my Savior this Easter season.  He gave His life because he loves us more than we can comprehend.  He has paid the price for all our sins and He lives.  I know it.  He lives and because He lives we will live again.   I know that the Gospel is true and I know that when we apply it we start to see miracles and blessings in our lives.

Love you all so much!! Thanks for the support!!  Have a great day!

Love Hermana Russell!!

The pictures with Candy and us in new dresses!  Yeah she made us those dresses for Easter and  The other pictures are with the Elders and our Ward mission leader:)