Monday, May 25, 2015


May 25, 2015
Hola Familia!!

I have so much to say this week!  I arrived in safety to Puno after a
8 hour bus ride… super fun! But I am here in this Beautiful place.
Our area is name Huascar, for you gringos it’s pronounced like Nascar
but with a w instead of an N. My companion is named Hermana Quezada.
She is from Ecuador and a convert. She is amazing!  She is always
happy and smiling.  She always looks for ways to serve me and I
honestly love her so much already!  Secret: She goes home in June so
she only has one change,  I will be ¨killing her¨.  Hahah but she
still works normal and has a great attitude.

We are the only missionaries in the Ward!!  Yes it’s a ward and a stake.
It’s wonderful but still needs a lot of growing and progression.   The
name of the stake is Bellavista. We live in a really beautiful home
with a 87 year old catholic lady.   We call her the Abuelita and she
is so sassy!  She comes up to about my elbow and is the tiniest thing.
We often do odd jobs for her but I kind of love it.  One day this week
we left the keys in the house so we rang her doorbell  so that she
would let us in.  She poked her head out of the window and we told her
we left the keys inside.  She then said ¨well you´ll just have to
spend the night out there then!¨ Sassy!  Anyways the only problem of
our apartment is that we have to go downstairs  go outside in the
backyard and then enter in another room to go to the bathroom…  It
wouldn´t be that bad but it’s so cold here and it’s just freezing to
leave in the morning or in the night for that matter.  I honestly love
it though.  We only have water for one hour in the mornings so I have
gotten pretty good at flushing the toilet with a bucket of water.
While one of us is showering the other one fills up various buckets
with water.    Haha Its great.   I love where we live but with the
funeral  and everything that happened a couple weeks ago I have a fear
that we might find the Abuelita one morning…  Oh I guess we will just
worry about that later. But everything else is great!

We pension at two different places.  One for breakfast and dinner and
one for lunch.  They are both awesome and cook really good.  I don´t
know if it as healthy as Hermana Rene but it’s really good.  They both
eat with us and talk to us a lot so it’s always fun.

One ungoogable fact , and I don´t know if I have mentioned this, but
sometimes you drink jello.  I guess it can be a really hot drink so
lots of people give it to us.  Also, If someone asks if you want
water it could mean a number of things… lemonade, chica morada, apple
juice.  They call everything agua and the same with cookie..  cookie
doesn´t ever mean cookie, it usually means a package of Kraps…. Hahah

Anyhoo.  President came this weekend to the stake conference and we
had interviews with him in our  apartment.  I love Presidente and
Hermana Harbertson.  They are the best.  President Harbertson is such
an inspired man and the interview was awesome.  The mission is
changing and there are great things in store for this area.  We have
new normas de exelencia that are really going to help this mission
progress.  I am so excited!  I can see so much growth and potential in
this area.  It´s a little different than Tamburco.  Different problems
and situations but it’s amazing here!  We are going to see some amazing

I just want to leave you guys with a testimony of this work.  We are
in the Lord´s work and I hope that even at home you guys are doing all
you can to invite others to participate in this great gospel.  It
brings so much happiness and joy into my life, sharing the gospel.
The Gospel is true and there is nothing more better we can do with our
time then live it.  This week I am going to try to ask myself  “What
more can I do?”  Beause I know the Lord can lead us to doors that need
to be knocked on and to people that are ready to listen.

I hope you guys all have a wonderful week!! Love you all so much!

Hermana Russell

Ran into Hermana Cooper, CCM group!  She is replacing me in Abancay!

New companion, Hermana Quezada

New area Huescar.  Lake Titicaca in background

Welcome sign from companion!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Going to Puno!

I have a change!!!!  WHAT!! I am going to Puno!!!  I will tell you
more next week!  I want to go but at the same time I can´t say good
bye to Rene and Carolina!  This is the hardest part about the mission
for sure!!

Yeah okay! HOla familia!!!

This week has been one of the best!  I have had the best time with
Hermana Campoverde here.  I think I am going to live in Ecuador with
her and never come home. Haha Chiste!! But gosh I love her!

We have had a great week! It started with a Family Home evening with
Rene.  It was the best!  The kids loved the FUN FETTI cake!!  Pictures
included!  We invited a Hermana that is visiting from Lima.  She is
new here working on her nursing major and doesn´t know anyone.  She is
so darling and single…..soooo we played a little role as a match maker
and invited our ward mission leader…  I didn't think he would come but
he came!  It was the best.  I have never seen Juan with anything but a
soccer jersey and a white shirt on Sunday, but he showed up to the
house with a nice button up shirt and his hair all combed.  It was the
best!  We gave a little thought and then made cookies and then played
a super fun game.  Afterwards we made Juan accompany fiorella to her
house, but disappointingly he did not ask for her number….  It was
great.  Maybe we can´t date but we can sure help others! I love being
a missionary!

WE visited a menos activos named Carlota this week.  We taught her a
really short lesson and then we helped her feed her chickens.  While
we fed her chickens she started cutting wood.  While she was cutting
wood she totally fell asleep!  Standing up and everything!  She is
such a hardworker and she does so much for her family!  She is tiny
but so strong!  We are slowly reactivating her but it is taking

This week we have been focusing on contacting and finding new
investigators.  I have loved it because when a appointment falls
through we knock on doors and find people.  This week we went by one
of the people we contacted , but she was just leaving so we decided to
go and try to find another family we had contacted.  While we were
walking up this hill I decided to say a little prayer that we could
find someone to teach in this time.  Well we went to where we thought
this family lived and knocked.  A girl opened the window and we asked
if this family lived here, but she said that she would come out.  So
she came out and said that this family didn´t live here but
surprisingly she invited us in!  and her husband was there.  So we
were able to teach this family.  It was the best.  I know that God
answered my prayer in this moment.  I have been trying to work on
having more exact faith.  So I have been saying each morning…  yah
vamos a encontrar a Nuevo!  And you know what! It has worked!  It´s
amazing what God can do with your faith.  And sometimes we don’t just
find one we find two or three!

Well I am really sad to leave because this week we found another
Carolina.   She lives arriba with her grandparents and she is so
sweet.  We taught her lesson one and she understood it really well!  I
think she has great potential.   While we were up there visiting them
her grandpa walked by and coudn´t stop saying Gringa gringa!! Hahah
we just laughed and  laughed.  Later we took pictures with his cow….
Hermana Campoverde has them but I will send them when I can.

Did I mention that Hermana cooper is coming to Abancay to be Hermana
Campoverde´s companion!  PARTY IN Abancay!

I can´t believe my time is done in Abancay. I have loved every moment
and I have especially loved this change. Hermana Campoverde is the
best. We have become such great friends. Hermana Cooper and Hermana
Campoverde are going to be an amazing companionship and just what the
area needs. Thanks for such great companions. I am excited for Puno!
WHOO! It´s going to be the greatest!
This week I have studied a lot about the Book of Mormon. I have been
thinking a lot about a question that Predicad asks us. Its how has the
book of mormon influenced our testimony of the Savior. I have been
pondering this all week and think that for me the book of Mormon is
everything that holds my testimoney together. It contains the doctrine
of Jesus Christ! It helps me return to my Father and my Savior. I have
truly grown to love that book. I have been trying to study the bible a
little more, but everytime I am drawn back to the clear doctrine that
you can find in the Book of Mormon. How grateful I am for the
Restoration! I love the change in the mission with the contacting
because I feel like we have talked to many people and we have found
ourselves declaring the Restoration a little more. My testimony of
the Restored gospel has grown a lot this week.

Emma, Hermana Rene, Hermana Campoverde, Rene's children
New Investigator
Grandpa and the Cow


Hermana Russell and the Cow

Sebastian and the Funfetti cake!

Blind Date with new move in and the ward mission leader Juan!

Emma, Carolina and Hermana Campoverde
strange man in the background
Elders, The Sandbergs, Hermana Russell and Hermana Campoverde

Sweet Companions

Hermana Sandberg

Hermana Hunter, Russell and Campoverde, Tall, Medium and Small

Saying good bye at the bus station

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pig Food and Funerals

Hola Familia!!

                Well calling you was the best!! It just makes me so
happy to see you all so happy!

Just want to say a quick congrats to Mike Russell!  And also mention
that Yes mom I read my scriptures in Spanish. J  I kind of love it
because they use different words sometimes and you can take out a
different meaning from the scriptures or at least increase your
knowledge of what a phrase means.

I don’t have much to say this morning, but it’s been a crazy week in Abancay.

Tuesday we visited a Hermana whose name is Carlota.  She was busy
making pig food so we just chatted with her while she worked.  First
off, I now know why we don’t eat pigs here and I am very grateful for
it.  You guys don’t even want to know what is in the pig food but I
sent a picture and I am sure your imagination might come close. J  We
also caught some guinea pigs and took some pictures.   The women here
are so amazing!  They just do what they have to do to live!  They haul
buckets of pig food up a huge mountain or they kill their lamb to feed
their family at their husbands funeral.  It’s just crazy but also
really inspiring.  Not that I ever want to kill a lamb, but they just
work so hard and they still are happy.

For Mother’s day we made Rene a cake out of chocolate bars.  Saturday
night we had to steal her electric mixer and her food dye to make
frosting.  But it turned out really cute and she was happy.   We made
a card for her and Hermana Sandberg, and I even shared some of my
American chocolate with Hermana sandberg J They are close to finishing
their mission and she hadn’t seen a reese’s in awhile!  It was fun to
give them to her.  We also found a lady that makes decorations and she
made signs that said “Feliz Dia Mama!” With their names on them.  So
it was fun! Haha but literally no one came to church so we just hung
out with the primary.

Anways we had a Hermano pass away in our ward.  He was just the
sweetest old man and always was on time for church.  He was so
faithful and always paid his tithing.  He lived with his wife in a
very humble home, but they were so happy together.  We visited them
last week and I’ll always remember him waving out the window with the
biggest smile on his face.   They do funeral’s a little different here
and it makes me grateful for the system we have in the states.   One
thing that kind of shocked me was that when we got there, his body was
still in bed and he stayed there for 13 hours till they waited for the
coffin to arrive.  While we waited we helped peal lots of potatoes to
make soup for everyone.  We had sort of a viewing there at the house.
The people who brought the coffin also brought a giant cross and a
alter where you could kneel and pray and candles.  It  was a little
different….okay a lot different.  Saturday Hermana Modesta killed her
lamb to feed more people.  That was just crazy to watch!  I couldn’t
believe she was killing an animal with her husband right inside!  But
watching all this gave me a little more meaning behind  “Like a lamb
to the slaughter”…

Sunday they buried them in the Cemetery.  We went to that too and wow
It’s so different then in the states.  They have lots of little
buildings and just buildings with slots where you can slide in the
coffin.  It’s so different here.  It kind of reminded me of Phantom of
the Opera… haha

Anyways sorry I don’t have much to write this week or anything funny.
J  It was great to talk to you guys and I just want you to know that I
know this Gospel is true!  I am so grateful to be a missionary and I
know that real happiness comes from living the Gospel and loving God.
You don’t need much to be happy.  I have met people who live in the
most humble of circumstances and they are happier than anyone I have
ever met.  I hope we can find this true happiness in our lives and
then have the courage to share it with others.

Love you guys!

Hermana Russell

Lamb's tail.  ):
Mr. guinea pig

How could you eat him?

Too close for comfort!

and pig food!