Monday, August 24, 2015

Working hard in Huescar

Hola familia!

Its been a really great week here in Huascar J I can´t believe that
the time is flying by so fast!

This week I went on divisions with Hermana Mendez.  It was really
good!  She is the best and I love learning from her.  I went to their
sector and they live on a really steep hill.   As we were studying a
little girl dropped her bag of potatoes at the top of the hill and
there was a ton of potatoes rolling down the hill.  We couldn´t stop
laughing! Especially when later a lady was walking up the hill and she
stoped to pick up a couple potatoes.  J  too Good!  Anways we didn´t
do much because a sister was sick and we had to take her to the
clinic.  We spent about 3 hours in the clinic helping her.  She will
be okay but has to rest for 15 days because something happened to her
ligements.  And she has something wrong with her stomach.  Anywho.  We
had to call insurance to get permission to have her xray taken and the
insurance company only speaks english.  So I had to call and oh man I
can not speak a lick of english. Fortunately I can write it J  But as
I was talking I realized that I was saying little things in english
and Hermana Mendez was laughing so hard.   She told me to tell them
that we were in peru and so in spanish I said Estamos en Peru!
Hermana Campoverde and Hermana Mendez just laughed and laughed.  Oh
man… I don´t think I can call you guys for Christmas or maybe you will
need to hire a translater J

This week we visited our investigator Juana.  She is the best and its
a miracle that she is finally accepting us. We had a family home
eveing with her and the family quispe.  wE stoped by her house to walk
with her to the family quispe.  She invited us in and as we sat down
we noticexc that there was cake and inca kola like it was someone´s
birthday.  We asked her whose birthday it was and she didn´t want to
tell us.  She just kept smiling and avoiding the question.  So hermana
Minaya asked her if it was her  birthday and really hestitantly she
said that it was.  Oh my gosh we didn´t know and we were like what do
we do now?  She went upstairs to grab her coat and we wrote a quick
note to Mareleni because we knew that she wouldn´t know.  Then we all
walked up to the Quispe house.  Mareleni is the mama.  Anyways we
didn´t know how to give her this note and hermana Juana was with us
the whole time so hermana minaya opened up her hymn book and put the
note inside.  She then asked hna mareleni if we should sing this song.
I was trying to distract juana by talking to her but I couldn´t help
but laugh a little when I saw the face of Mareleni as she read the
note.  aFter all this we started our family home evening and we
watched the movie the restoration.  It was really great and about half
way through  Yrma and Beto (our pension and her husband) showed up.
They live really close by and Beto and Mareleni our siblings and the
husband of Mareleni is the brother of Yrma. Like the Spaffords!
Anyways we just kept watching the movie and when it was over we shared
our testimonies and sang the closing hymn.  As we were singing hna
Yrma motioned to us that she had bought a cake.  After the closing
prayer Beto brought the cake out and Hermana Juana was so surprised. It
was literally the best!  She was so happy and loved every second.  I
will try to upload a photo.  Anyways it was the best!

We also visited people with the members yesterday.  It was the best.
We found lots of people and it helps me get to know the neighborhood
too.  It’s amazing the difference that the visits have made for our
ward.  We had an attendance of about 85 but not we have about 110
every time.  Its amazing to watch and be a part of.  We found a menos
activo that is the only member in his family and we are hoping to
teach his wife and kids.   We also found a non member who is living in
a house of menos activos that really wants to hear the lessons and be
baptized.  I love Sundays because every time we receive a miracle and
I know that it is because God is blessing the members for there
efforts to visit the less active members.

 I learned this week that it is so important to be diligent in the
mission.  When we are diligent the Lord can bless us beyond belief.
This Saturday we had a really rough day.  All of our citas fell
through and we were freezing cold.  It was super windy that day.
Anyways it was about 6:30 and we didn´t know where to go or who to
visit.  We were super tired and I wanted nothing more but to go to the
apartment and sleep.  But we just kept walking and subiendo all the
hills.  We decided to pass by an investigator but she wasn´t there,
then we went to a contact but tampoco no estuvo.  So we just kept
walking and looking for people to contact and visit.  I think we were
really discouraged and we weren´t talking to each other like usual.
We just kept going and decided that we would pass by a contact that we
had made about a week ago.  We had been trying to call her but she
never answered.  So we passed by her restaurante and she invited us in
and invited us to mate.  We were able to talk with her and share a
lesson with her.  Then we kept going to contact and we found a lady in
a store that previously talked to the missionaries.  We were able to
share something with her too.  By that time it was time to return to
the apartment to plan.  As we were walking home we talked about the
blessings that we had received that night.  I was so glad that we
stayed out and kept going.  Even though it was freezing, windy and we
were tired, we knew that we shouldn´t return and we knew that there
was somebody that needed to hear from us.  I am grateful for the
blessings that the Lord gave us that night and now I have an even
greater determination to keep going even when its a little rough.
Love you all so much!!

Con Amor, Hermana Russell

Monday, August 10, 2015

Floating Islands and cheap clothes and Missionary Work!

Hey Familia!

I don´t have changes this week and I am staying with Hermana Minaya!!
We are so excited to stay together!  Especially because we have a
baptism this week and it would be crazy if we had to travel!

BUT yeah we have a baptism this week! Cirilo is going to be baptized!
He is so awesome and I feel like he´s not really my convert because he
was already converted when we met him.  He has been prepared for a
really long time and he is so ready.  We are so excited but we are
going to be running around like crazies this week.  We still have some
things to teach him and he has to pass his interview.  A little crazy.
It’s a little stressful but I am super excited.  It’s going to be a
great week!   This week we taught him three times and each time he
would come down with his Book of Mormon and the past pamphlets and his
hymn book (I gave him one of the ones I had).  He´s always waiting for
us from the window and before we can ring the doorbell he sticks his
head out the window and greets us J TAN LINDO!  His wife is always
home and has listened to all the lessons but still won´t accept a
date.  He really helps her a lot with understanding and sometimes
shares his own thoughts in our lessons and ends in the name of Christ.
This week we taught him the plan of salvation which he understood
really well.  At the end of the lesson when we asked him when we could
visit him again, he said “Tomorrow Jueves”  but we visited him Tuesday
and tomorrow was Wednesday not Thursday.  We all laughed and then he
said “ oh yeah sorry I am in a hurry to get to eternal life”  it was
so funny and so sweet! He is the best and I promise to have photos of
him this week J

Well I didn´t get a chance to read your emails from last week so sorry
if I don´t answer any questions. This week has been great and crazy!
Our shower actually works but not really well.  We still take bucket
showers J This week we got to go to the UROS!!!  We helped a member
move his house and raise his house because sometimes it sinks J
because they live on an island.  It’s the most beautiful place in the
world!  And I decided that I would raise my family there because its
so pretty and so cool!  We are only allowed to go if there is a
service project and we were really lucky to go.

Also this week we got permission to go to the Cachina!  It’s a place
where they sell lots of things for super cheap.  You can find American
brand clothing for 2 soles or less.  Its crazy!  But its super fun.
We found Anne Taylor Loft sweaters for 3 soles and yeah they aren´t
brand new and I might wash it two or three times but they’re in pretty
good condition. So yeah.  It’s the best!

Also this week I have been in a trio with Hermana Campoverde.  She is
the best and I love her so much!  We tease each other a lot and are
always laughing.  Its been super fun with her and Hermana Minaya
because we all get a long great and even though we are running between
two huge sectors we still laugh and crash at night. J

It’s been a good week.  Complete with brownies and ice  cream.  Great
things are happening here in Puno.  The ward is helping us a ton and
yesterday when we visited menos actives with the ward we found even
more references and people waiting to be baptized.  I am so glad I
have another change with Hermana Minaya!  She is the best and we have
become best friends.  We are already planning a trip to the United
States and Ecuador in the near future.  We are always laughing and
working super hard.  Although our sector is pure hills we usually end
up running up and down them all day.  And I am helping Hermana Minaya
with a diet so we don´t eat bread and limit the rice.  Haha J

I am so happy and love it here!  Don`t want this to ever come to an
end.  This week I studied a lot in the Book of Mormon.  I am reading
in the war chapters and sometimes it’s hard to find doctrine but.. I
found something that I really like in Alma 48 and 49.  In 48:7 it says
that has Amalickiah was preparing his people for war with his deceit
and lies while Moroni was preparing his army to have faith in Christ.
In 49:8 the Lamanites come up against the nefites (nephites J ) and the lamanites
were greatly astonished because they had never seen the nefites
prepared in such a manner.  I thought this was super cool.  Its all
about how we prepare. Because yeah the lamanites were prepared but the
nefites had built forts and strengthened their cities.  They knew how
the nefites were going to attack and sometimes we have to know how
satan tempts us so that we can prepare for the attacks.

Well this week has been great.  Every day brings miracles J

Love you all!

Hermana Russell

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Hole in the ceiling and bucket showers

Hey Family!

I can´t believe its been another week.  It has flown by! I loved
hearing about the lake and all the crazy adventures.  I do want to
know about the lip syncing if it actually happened. J well I am really
excited for Michael!  When is his report date? That´s so crazy!

Mom was mentioning about the people being really small here.  Its true
that they are really small but I don´t know why because they eat a lot
of bread, rice, and potatoes and those things make you gain weight.
Two of my favorite people in the ward are Erika and Karen.  They are
the sisters of our mission leader so we are always seeing them.  They
are so cute and have so much love for us.  They also always give us
referals and Erika is always willing to visit people with them.  This
week our pension Hermana Yrma is going to the temple to be sealed to
her husband who was  less active for many years.  WE ARE SO HAPPY FOR
THEM.   But it means that we don´t have pension for a week, but
Hermana bengina (mom of our ward mission leader) is going to feed us.
Which means more time with Erika and Karen. They are both so tiny, but
while we were at lunch with them yesterday, Erika called Karen a
little fat…  It wasn´t mean or anything but I couldn´t believe it
because they are both so tiny.   Anyways I feel like a giant here.

So yes the cold is ending but august is the month of wind.  I am not
looking forward to it and find myself everyday wishing I had a ski
mask.  Also Its hilarious that you guys commented on how everyone is
bundled up all the time.  Our pensions little kid always always always
has ski pants on and hats and gloves in the house.  The people are
always ready to make snow men we just need snow.  Haha  Its hilarious.
And yah they don´t have heating or anything.  I think they just deal
with it with a lot of clothes and hot drinks.

Well this week we moved into our new apartment finally!  It is so
beautiful and lovely.  But we realized quickly that it has a hole in
the ceiling that is only covered with plastic.  I like it because we
get a lot of natural lighting but we also have a breeze in our room.
I also happen to sleep on the top bunk which is right by the hole.
It's lovely.  We covered it with a blanket but its still a little cold.
Haha we also don´t have a hot shower so we have been heating up water
and taking bucket showers.   So that´s a little sad, but we are all
moved in and so happy that we have unpacked our clothes finally after
four weeks.  Hopefully the others things will be fixed soon.

This week we started English class for the missionaries who don´t
speak English.  I was trained a few weeks ago on how to give them so
now I am the designated teacher.  I don´t like it very much but the
missionaries in our zone want to learn so I don´t mind helping them.
The worst part is that sometimes I don´t know how to pronounce words
in English and I have to look at Hermana Love for help.  Its terrible.
English is completely gone and I can´t even pray in English.  Ask
Hermana Minaya because everytime I try we just end up laughing our
heads off because its so terrible.  Ah man.   I am going to have to
listen to a lot of prayers in English to be able to pray again.

I realized this week that Missionary work is so much fun!  I love it
so much.  Its so much fun to teach the restoration or teach someone
how to pray.  Or finding people.  I love it so much.  I was talking to
Hermana Minaya this week about this and we realized that we really do
love inviting people to be baptized, giving them dates for baptism and
watching them strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ.  I am loving it
here, really its the greatest thing ever.  This week we have two
people with baptism dates.  It might not seem like a lot but I feel
like they are two dates that are going to happen that are not going to
fall.  One is Sirilo.  He is great.  His son is a member but less
active.  He has been coming to church and is always willing to listen.
He is super humble and always prays that his wife´s heart will be
softened.  Its a little bit stressful because we have two weeks until
his baptism and a lot to teach him.  We explained to him that we
wanted to come every other day and he was so fine with that.  We
brought him a Book of Mormon yesterday and he was so happy. During
Sunday school he was taking notes and he sat on the front row.  He´s
the best!  But  he´s also hilarious. One time he was explaining to us
how he prayed,  this was the second lesson and we had taught him how
to pray in the first lesson, and he was reading a part of the pamphlet
where it teaches the steps to pray.  He was saying how I prayed the
night before and he said,  “I addressed my heavenly father, I
expressed my feelings, and I ended in the name of Jesus Christ, God
and the Holy Ghost…”  it caught me off guard when he said that!  But
we taught him that we only end in the name of Jesus and at the end of
the lesson he offered a perfect prayer.  J

Yesterday was the best Sunday that I have ever had in the mission
field!  We visted a investigator named Hilaria and put a baptismal
date with her for the 5 of september, then we went to the church for
an activity with the ward.  The activity was to pair off in
companionships and visit the less active members of relief society and
elders quorum.  A lot of people came and we were able to visit a lot
of people.  My companion went with the young womens president and I
left with the relief society president.  We visited some less active
and after two hours we all met up at the church again.  Upon returning
we recieved lots of referrals and the Bishop visited a young man who
wanted to be baptized and we have an appointment with him tomorrow.
We also found out that a member had passed away 8 years ago and nobody
knew.    It was such a great activity and I felt so good that the
members are taking care of their sheep.  Sometimes I feel so
overwhelmed with all the menos activos in the area and that there is
only two of us to visit and rescue them all, but with activities like
these I feel so grateful for the members that are willing to give up
their time and go a little bit out of their comfort zone to visit
menos activos.  I also found that a lot of members don´t know how to
visit people and I found my self giving the lesson each time. I was
able to teach the members a little bit about how to visit someone and
I am truly grateful for the ability to talk and to share my testimony
and I think that comes from being a missionary.  Anyways we were so
happy to have this activity and next Sunday we will be visiting the
young men and young women who are less active.  I am excited to go out
with the members again!

After we had a family home evening with a family in our ward.  They
are a great family but I think he will get a kick out of their names.
The dad´s name is Jesus, mom´s name is Miracle and their daughters
name is Heaven.   Hermano Jesus is also a part time clown named bom
bom cito.  They are awesome!  And their names inspire me J

Well I just want you guys to know that I am so grateful for the gospel
in my life.  I have been studying a lot about prayer and I think its
one of the greatest blessings that the Lord has given us.  The ability
to pray anywhere and at anytime should be something that we take
advantage of.  God listens to us and he loves us.  I know that he
answers prayers because He answers my prayers every hour of every day.
There are so many blessings waiting for us if we seek them and ask for
help.  Just want to end this letter with a quote from President Joseph
F. Smith about prayer.  He taught, “ WE do not have to cry unto Him
with many words. We do not have to weary Him wth long prayers.  What
we need do need and what we should do as Latter day Saints, for our
own good is to go before him often, to witness unto him that we
remember him and that we are willing to take up us his name, keep his
commandments, work righteousness, and that we desire His spirit to be
with us.”

I love you guys with all my heart and I pray for each one of you
daily.  I know that the Gospel is true and that is the only way to be
truly happy in the life.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be
apart of the missionary work!  It is the greatest!

Love you all, Have a great week!

Love, Hermana Russell