Sunday, June 28, 2015

Chuno and a change

June 28, 2015
Hola Familia!

Hermana Quezada is gone!!! It was so hard to say good bye to her. We
had a great last week that included many adventures.  Also I have a
new companion named Hermana Manaya.  She is from my group and I am so
excited to work with her! She is a sweetheart from what I can remember
in the CCM and I think it will be a great change!   It’s funny that
mom and Sophie mentioned something about Chuno because for the first
time in Puno our pension gave us a huge plate of chuno and fish.  Like
fish that actually looked like a fish.  Anyways usually she leaves us
to eat alone but this time she stayed and we were forced to eat all of
the chuño.  It was terrible and just made me even more firm in my
decision that I do not like chuño.  But the fish was pretty good.

I have seen Elder Buehner a lot lately and I think he´s doing really well. 
He´s always happy and I think he gets a long with his companion.  We took some
pictures together because his companion wanted picture with Hermana
Quezada. And so you can share the pictures with their family!

I think it would be great to have Elder Grow over for dinner so make
sure you take lots of pictures and ask him really good questions
because I haven´t heard hardly anything about his mission.  He´s a one
liner writer too.

Well this week was a great one.  We had a surprise good bye party for
Hermana Quezada.  The ward really loves her and they were all sad to
see her go. We made smores for the final companionship study and she
refused to pack until 9 on Saturday night.  Hahah. She worked so hard
right up to the end and I just love her so much.  I don´t know when
but I am planning to visit her in Ecudador.

I don´t really have much to say this week. We have had a lot of
success here in Huascar.  We were able to hear President Uchtdorf this
last Monday and it was amazing.  He said one thing that I wanted to
share with you  He said that if he could give advice to any members it
would be this to keep the commandments and trust the Lord.  I just
loved this and thought that it was such good advice.  We really just
need to do what the Lord asks and trust Him.  Everything else will
fall in place.  He also made several references to the lack of air
here in cusco and it was hilarious.   I just love the missionary work
here.  The mission has taught me so much and I am so excited for this
next chapter with Hermana Minaya.  Also hermana Campoverde had a
change and she will be in my zone!!

Love Hermana Russell

Sorry its so short!!!
Hermana Russell and Quezada and Elder Buehner and companion (Emma and Elder Buehner live in the same ward and neighborhood!

The Zone

Hermana Selfie 

Hermana Quezada and Russell

Monday, June 22, 2015

Temple Dedication


This week has been mas o menos… but its a new week and I know things
are going to get better!  I don´t have much to say this week but I
have managed to remember a few things.  First off the trip seemed like
way too much fun.  I especially loved the story of trying to drive
through the tree from soph and I was disappointed that dad and mom
didn´t give me ther side of the story.  Also HAPPY FATHER´S DAY DAD!
TE AMO MUCHISIMO! Anyhoo I also felt bad for grace and the experience
at six flags, but also happy that you didn´t have too much fun there.
Disneyland all the way, right?   I also just thought of CHUCK A RAMA
CHUCK CHUCK A RAMa and when Grace threw up the Sam´s hot dogs on the
way to the lake.  My childhood was the best. J  I also loved all the
pictures and was a little sad that my sisters are all growing up so
beautifully.  I can just imagine little missionary name tags on each
one of you….hahah JK

Even though this week was hard work wise, it was still fun because I
had hermana Quezada.  It was her birthday Tuesday and so on Monday
while she was at Maccu Pichu, I decorated her room .  It turned out so
cute and I was really glad that I was able to find all the decorations
that I wanted on the streets of downtown puno.  When she arrived we
had family home evening with our two investigators and our ward
mission leader. It was so much fun!  Peruvians know how to celebrate.
And just so you know Ungoogable fact, they all sing the happy birthday
song in English and then in Spanish.   Every time.  And also you
always have to shove cake in their face.  So that happened a lot this
week.  The celebration continued the whole week and I think we ended
up eating like six different cakes.  We also went out for pizza one
night with our pension which was a blast.    This week I completed my
8 month mark which is just crazy, Hermana Quezada is the best and
bought me a shirt for my month mark.   She is literally the sweetest
person ever and I can´t believe I only have one week left with her.
This change passed so fast!!

Oh and I got to see Hermana  Holland this week which was the best!
She is a sister leader so she visits the sister leaders in Puno and I
got to see her.  She is such a fantastic missionary!   We went on
splits with the hermana leaders this week and it was the best.
Hermana Condie and Hermana Mendez are my sister leaders.   They are
the best and It was so fun to be with Hermana Mendez.  She is from
argentina and has the best accent!

Also to celebrate father´s day we got to attend the dedication of the
temple in Trujillo.  Wow, it was an amazing day and the session was
the best.  I am so excited now to do my family history and it would be
the best if you guys could send me pictures of ancestors and dates of
birth and death, things like that.  I have a pamphlet that I would
like to fill out and I need pictures J  Also of aunts and uncles and
whoever.  The dedication was amazing.  President Uchtdorf was there
with Elder Bednar.  Tonight I will attend a broadcast of president
Uchtdorf because He is coming toCusco2!

Well I just know that this gospel is true.   I know that the work of
the Lord is progressing and we have the great privilege to participate
in it.  I am so grateful for the temples.  They are houses of the Lord
and the work that goes on inside is the work of Him.  I know that the
priesthood was once again restored and I am grateful for a father who
honors his priesthood and who taught me at a very young age to love
the temple.  I will never forget his example of driving past they
temple after baseball games sometimes multiple times.  He never said
much but we just drove past it and I knew that he loved it and loved
the Lord.  Thanks dad.  You are the BALM.   I can´t wait for eternity
with my eternal family.  What a blessing we have.  The lord loves us
so much.

I love you guys too,  Have a great week!!
Love Hermana Russell
 "The decision to believe is the most important choice we ever make,

it shapes all our other decisisons

Pension and her family

Pizza in Juliaca

Monday, June 15, 2015

Time flies!

Hola Familia!

I hope everyone is safe and sound and that you had a great vacation!
I hope you are all loving the sun and the summer because I haven´t
felt my toes in 5 days…. Hahah jk but during my studies I can never
feel my toes.

Soo I loved the pictures from the last week!  Keep them coming.  I
love pictures of you guys!  I can´t believe how grown up the twins are
and that they are practically freshman.   Que Miedo!!

Mom asked me last week if we had heating.  Uh no.  no heating. I think
that is what makes it so cold here is because you can never get away
from it.  But the good thing is that the sun is very strong and during
the day we are warm.   At night we heat up water and pour it into
bottles and sleep with bottles by are feet and hands.  I also sleep
with a beany and always think of you dad.  And we have a lot of
blankets. The sun doesn´t enter our room so its pretty cold in the
morning.  I can´t wait for studies to be over so that we can leave and
walk around and warm up.

I only have one Ungoogable fact about Peru which is that they are
obsessed with calendars here. They always have one in every room and
in our house we have calendars from 2008 and so on.   Every Peruvian
knows what day it is but none of them know what time it is.   J

Last week we went to Juliaca.  Its about 45 minutes from Puno.  It’s a
really crowded city but it has a Plaza Vea which is like a mall,
complete with Pizza Hut.  We went with the Hermanas and it was super
fun but I am glad I am not serving there….its not very pretty. But
Hermana Quezada is hilarious and I loved the ride there just talking
to her.  She has lots of hilarious stories and tells them in a
hilarious way.

This week we found a new room!!!  It is so pretty and its in the
perfect location.  On the outside it looks like it belongs on
mainstreet in Disneyland!  So cute!  Anyway its perfect because the
sun comes and warms up the room in the mornings and there is always
water so we don´t have to wake up at 6!  I think we will move at the
end of the month if it is approved. I really don´t want to move again
because it’s a pain but it will be the nicest thing ever!

A funny thing that happned this week… hna Quezada has a hymn book in
English so we sing one verse in English and another verse in Spanish
when we have companionship study.  Well  we were singing in English
and I couldn´t pronounce half the words… especially Jesus.  Hermana
Quezda just looked at me and said…”you`re the only one that can teach
me English and you can`t pronounce half these words”  hahah You could
say that Spanish has completely taken over.  Its way more fun to speak
Spanish J  Even when I am with the gringas we just all speak Spanish.
Its way easier.  Another funny/awkward thing that happened this week,
Our house right now has like four red stairs to get to the door.
Sometimes there will be couples there kissing or hugging or whatever
and sometimes we have to interrupt them and they have to move so that
we can get to our house.  Its hilariously awkward. Anyways one night
this week we returned to our house and there was a couple on the
steps.  They were just talking and this is a really good thing.  When
we got closer to the house it looked like the guy was our investigator
Miguel,  I was praying that it wouldn´t be because ohh so awkward and
no one that isn´t a member shouldn´t know where we live… but as we got
closer we realized that it was Miguel!!  He was with a girl and they
were just talking, thankfully.  We stopped and talked to them and then
we were like, welp we are going to enter our house now and we
awkwardly stepped around them.  Hahah .  We laughed so hard once we
were in the house.  But later we had a lesson with Miguel and he
accepted the book of Mormon and was so excited to read it and also
accepted the baptismal challenge!  We are going to give him a date for
baptism this Friday.   He´s a great investigator but the only problem
is that he only has time Fridays and Sundays.  The progression is slow
but if he will read every day he will be prepared.

ANways this week has been great.  My companion right now is at Maccu
Picchu so I am in a trio once again…but her birthday is tomorrow and
we are going to decorate the room and our mission leader is going to
buy her a cake!

This week I read the first message in PMG.  I really loved these two
quotes and I know that they are true.

“there is no more compelling work than this, nor any which brings
greater satisfaction”

“More happiness awaits you that you have ever experienced as you labor
among His children”

I love being a missionary and even in the freezing cold I am so happy!!!

Love Hermana Russell

Moon in Puno

Popcorn in Puno!

Monday, June 8, 2015


Hola Familia!!

How are you all? I am really pumped to hear more about this trip that
you are taking this week so don`t forget to take lots of pictures and
fill me in!

This week has been great!  It has flown by and I can`t believe we are
entering week 4 of this change.  Crazy crazy crazy.  Anyways I will
try to make up for my short letter last week.  Traveling to Puno was a
mini adventure.  First traveling from Abancay and Cusco is the worst.
I got a little car sick for the first time in my life and thought that
if Grace had joined me she would have died…haha love ya Gracie!
Anwyays after arriving in Cusco I spent the day in the Cusco house
just hanging out with other hermanas who were awaiting companions or
had changes.  At night Hermana Coooper arrived and it was the best to
talk to her in Spanish and share stories of our first area.  Then the
next morning we traveled to Puno.  Its an 8 hour drive but the bus was
super nice.  I was the only Hermana and traveled with some elders.
But mostly I just slept.

Puno is great! Its not as green as Abancay, and its more yellow.  We
travel around in the combi´s like we did in Abancay.   Did I mention I
still have massive hills in my area. Yeah my legs are super buff!  Our
pension for lunch happens to live at the top of Huascar so we always
have a great hike each morning.  We can see the lake from our sector
and it is beautiful. Its really blue and I am sure it is freezing just
like Bear Lake.   They also have a mode of transportation which is a
guy riding a bicycle and pulling people in a little cart behind them.
  I have yet to seen any transportation like Kip and Napoleon but I
will be on the lookout.

Like I have said we live with a 87 year old lady and we call her
Abuelita or grandma.  She is so sassy and hilarious.   When we arrive
home for the day she always yells. HERMANAAS and we respond and she
always asks us to do a small favor for her.  Usually buy juice or read
some kind of bill.  Shes absolutely hilarious and so blunt. This week
at 10 at night she asked us to accompany her to a neighbors to
retrieve her blender.  The whole time we walked over there she talked
about this blender and how her friend didn´t return it to her in time.
Well we walked over to the neighborhood and she had forgotten where
she lived.  So after we knocked on a ton of doors, we are so tired and
freezing, we finally find her friend who refuses to give her the
blender and they finally make a deal that she´ll bring it in the
morning at 10.  So we walk back to our house and go to bed.  Well the
next morning , her friend didn´t bring the blender until 11 and while
we were finishing our studies we heard them screaming and yelling
downstairs.  Oh my.  Old people are sasssyyy! Anyways.  The abuelita
is hilarious and always makes our life a little interesting.

Hermana Quezada continues to be the best!!  Seriously I love her.
She is so kind and self less and charitable!  She reminds me of mom
sometimes.  Especially because she has this cackle that she does when
we plan to set up our ward mission leader with a single adult or
something like that. It’s a little witch cackle which is just
hilarious and reminds me of you mom.  Also she noticed that I had a
mosquito bite on my hand that hadn´t healed so she bought gauze and
medical tape to tape me up…. Hah She is hilarious and I love her!!  I
don´t want her  to go!

Ungoogable facts about peru for this week.

1.       Peru raises chickens to fight.  Literally we ran into one
this week who wanted to fight us. So now you know that if you come to
peru you need to be aware of the dogs and chickens J

2.       When leaving a combi the worker likes to say ¨baja baja baja¨
which means like get off or leave.  The translation is a little hard.
When you get on the say ¨sube sube sube¨ and ¨baja¨ when you get off.
Well they say it really fast and kind with a nasaly accent.  I always
kind of laugh because I think they say it to hurry us but when a
really old grandma is getting off she´s not going any faster.

3.       Also people speak a little different here.  They are always
adding pay to the the ends of words like Sipay or yapay. At first it
was hard to understand but now that I am aware of it its easier.

Last p day was the  best.  We literally have the best pdays.  We went
to a giant lookout point with a huge bird and then we roamed around
puno and painted our nails later in the apartment.  Last week our
phone exploded so we have been without a phone for two weeks now.
It’s the worst and I don´t know how we survived! But we had a really
old phone and it really did explode!  Haha   The zone leaders have
been trying to find us a phone but they couldn´t. so last night we
were getting ready to go to bed and they rang the doorbell and la
abuelita started yelling for us.  IT was funny because we didn´t know
they were going to come so we had already changed and we were all
ready or bed. But really fast we through on skirts and shoes over our
pajamas and went down to see what they needed. They decided to give us
their phone because they have two, until we could get ours.  Anywoo.
Heraman Quezada was mortified that we were in our pajamas and she
laughed so hard later.   Haha.  I think we were a little tired.

This week I have been studying the testimonies of Christ in the Book
of Mormon. We have an investigator who is slowly starting to believe
in Christ and I have been looking for ways to help him. As I have read
the testimonies of Christ written by the Prophets I have strengthened
my own testimony. I know that Christ is our savior, that he died and
suffered for us so that we can overcome the physical and spiritual
death, and I know that the book of Mormon was written to help us gain
this testimony of our savior. I am grateful for this testimony and
grateful for the opportunity to share it with others.

Anways.  Love you all so much.  Thank you for your support and your
love.  It helps so much.  I love being a missionary! Be safe this

Love Hermana Russell

Lookout point with a really big chicken!

View from sector Huescar

The Sisters!

They got hops

Monday, June 1, 2015


June 1, 2015

I just wrote a really long letter and the computer turned off… sO I
don´t feel like writing anymore. Just know that life is good and one
day I will respond to the questions about how I got to Puno..  Just
know that I am here and I am super happy!

The weather is freezing here and we sleep with lots of blankets and
beanies. I am so grateful for the long garments.  They save my life!!
My pensions are great.  I think they have a little more money because
we have been eating a little more better.  Like KFC one night! Whoo!
But they fry things a lot more so my stomach is not too happy. But
thanks for the Pepto Bismo mom! It’s the greatest!

I sent a package, so be on the look out. It contains some things for
the family.  And also type of food thing called maza mora.  Its like
drinking a sentsy candle, if you ever wanted to know what that tastes
like.  I don´t know if I like it or not but we eat it a lot in the
nights.  So enjoy!

Ungoogable facts about Peru.

1.        People are really blunt here.  When they describe people
they always call them fat and the Hermana that we lived with told me
that another Hermana fell down the stairs because she was fat… haha
its kind of hilarious when you translate it into your head.

2.       People didn`t decorate for Christmas until the day of , but
they are still Christmas decorations out to this day.  It’s like the
opposite of the US.  We start decorating way to earlier and they leave
the decorations up till June.  Oh Peruvians. I love you.

So Last P day was the greatest!  We went to a dock by Lake Titicaca
and took a ton of pictures.  And then we went to a noche de hogar with
a really cool family in the ward.   They are hilarious and we had a
lot of fun.  We played the flour game and I totally lost, sorry don´t
have pictures of flour all over me.

This week was a little different because Hermana Quezada had to go to
Cusco to finish papers to go home.  She was gone for four days because
there was a strike in Puno and no one could leave or travel.  So I was
with other hermanas and we shared sectors.  It was a little stressful
because I don´t know the sector very well but it was the best because
I was with Hermana Love from the CCM.  She is doing great and we had a
lot of fun contacting one night together.  She has great Spanish and
taught me some new words.

Finally my companion came home and we had some great visits.  We have
three really great investigators that are going to get baptized
hopefully this month.  I want Hermana Quezada to leave with these
baptisms!  We are working really hard and we are loving it.

Puno is beautiful and I love it here.   I was a little home sick for
Tamburco, but we have great members in the ward too.  Sorry for the
shortness of the letter but  I just want you guys to know that I love
you and I am so happy here!  It was the best choice I ever made.

We have three great investigators here in Huascar. They are
progressing really well and even though we know they are ready they
are having a hard time recognizing their answers. I know that if they
continue to read and pray that a sure answer will come. Hermana
Quezada is the best and i wish I had a little more time with her. I am
learning so much for her. She is always happy and smiling and is just
a joy to be around.
This week I have been studying Alma 5. I love this chapter because it
is so applicable to every one. Missionaries, menos activos, non
members. I just love the image of the Pastor calling His Sheep. he is
always calling us and we only need to listen and come unto him. I have
been thinking alot about how we help others come unto Christ and how
we personally can come unto him. I think the main thing we need to do
is humble ourselves and be repentant. If we do this He rejoices and he
is so happy with us. All of this made me think of the story of the
prodigal son. I love this story because of the example of his father.
When his father sees his son, He runs to him and he is so happy. I
think we are like the prodigal son. We have all sinned we all commit
errors, but if we repent and return to Him. He will be so thrilled.
Gracias for eveything! Have a great week!

Love Hermana Russell

Harbor at Lake Titicaca

Hermana Quezada and Russell