Monday, October 26, 2015

Appointments should always fall thru....

Hey family!!

Well this week was a great week work wise!!  WE had a lot of success
and found a lot of new investigators and we are working really well
with the members.  I love it here.  Even though the heat this week was
unbelievable and I ended up, out of desperation, praying for rain, we
fought through it and just had a busy week.  I love busy weeks because
it means that we also have a lot of appointments for next week and I
can honestly say we have every hour planned for the next 7 days after
today.   Yay!!  WE are so busy! But it will be fun.  Also it did rain
after I prayed so I just know that God is aware of us here in Puerto
in the middle of the amazon far from everything J

WE have been teaching a less active name Nayeli.  She is 13 years old
and so cute!  She really has a desire to come back and re learn what
she was taught.  She was baptized at 8 years and really has forgotten
a lot. We taught her the first lesson the restoration and challenged
her to read the Book of Mormon and pray about Joseph Smith.   She
agreed to do it but was a little hesitant.  I asked her if she had any
doubts and she was so sweet and sincere when she asked us that if she
prayed would God appear to her like he appeared to Joseph smith.  It
was such a sweet comment and i could just see how much faith she had
and how willing she was to pray but she really wasn´t very excited to
have a vision.  J  She´s so great!  We explained that she wouldn´t and
that God would talk to her in other ways.  She seemed to be satisfied
with that.  Later she asked what she needed to do to be a missionary
like us.   I could honestly see her as a missionary in this moment and
I felt so blessed to be able to talk about being a missionary.  It
really has blessed my life and helped me understand better my purpose
for being here in this life.  I understand now who i really want to be
and what kind of life I want to have.

We witnessed a miracle this week on Friday.  We had an appointment
with  a family but it fell through so we decided to look for a
referral of a less active.  Her name was Anali and we only had the
street name and what her house looked like.  As we found what we
thought was it we asked the neighbor who lived there while we waited
for a huge dog to move from the front door.  AS we contacted this lady
who was actually super cool and a future investigator the dog moved
and we were able to knock on the door.  Anali answered quickly and
invited us in super fast.  We shared a quick lesson and thought with
her.  After she expressed to us that just minutes before we had
knocked the door she was sitting on her couch feeling lonley and sad.
She said a prayer that God would send her someone to give her peace
and comfort.  Minutes later we had knocked on the door.  It was such a
great experience and really strengthened my testimony that the Lord
is really aware of us and he knows us.  Its so cool to be His hands.
I feel like Anali is going to progress a ton and I know that the
restored Gospel is just what she needs.  AH man I love being a

Then  the day after that another appointment fell through so we
searched for another referral and were about to find her and teach
her.  Her name is Juana and she is a little grandma.  She´s so great
and has such great faith.  We taught her in this little park and even
though it was kind of noisy I know she felt the spirit.  She accepted
another visit and we are also going to stop by and pick her up for
church.  Her daughter is a member so that was a really cool
connection.  I feel so blessed to be able to have met her and Anali
this week.

And then yesterday we contacted a SUPER COOL FAMILY!! Yes I have been
praying for family that we can teach and help.   I know God answered
my prayer with this family.  He is from Chiclayo which means he has a
really awesome accent and his wife is from Ayaviri.  WE talked to them
for awhile because a appointment fell through…… maybe appointments
should always fall through…. Anyways they were so interested in the
gospel and had a million questions for us.  They invited us to a ton
of mangoes which is basicially another answer to our prayers because we
didn´t have any food for dinner that day and we couldn´t buy
anything..  But anyways it was just a really awsome experience.  I
feel like the Lord is so willing to bless us if we just show Him that
we are willing to work and do what he has asked.   He´s so amazing.

Well I hit one year this week and I´ll have to let ya´ll know that
time is flowing by and I cried because I don´t ever want to hit my 6
months left mark……  It has been the best thing I have ever done and It
has been a year of miracles.    I will never forget what I have
learned in my 12 months away from my family and I can´t wait to learn
even more.  I have a long way to go and I have a lot of goals that I
have accomplished yet.  I know that there are more things that I need
to do out here.  I hope you young ones really think about a mission.
It may be the scariest thing you have ever done but It will be far
more worthwhile.   I know that the Gospel is true.  It brings a
happiness that cannot be desc ribed.   And it will truly help us
become all that our Heavenly Father knows we can become.  Love you
guys so much! J

Con amor,

Hermana Russell

So the pictures are from our new investgator Liz.  SHe has a huge mango
tree and we were so happy to help them knock them down.  Perks of
being tall in Peru :)and also the zone getting the best smoothies in

town :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mangos fall from the trees...

Hey family!!

Cómo estan?? Its been a great but super hot week here in Puerto!!  The
rama has a lot of potential and we visited so many less actives this
week but we saw a lot of success at church.

Well I have to comment about the wedding.  It sounded so beautiful and
I am so happy for Colby and Jessica.  You guys all looked fabulous
like always and I was so happy to hear that everyone joined in the
dancing.  That definitely decided for me that we would include
dancing in my wedding J.

Mom asked about the motorcycles. They are so crazy here!  There is a
ton and I have seen all types of people.  And yes sometimes whole
families or maybe a young family with a mom on back nursing her
newborn baby.  You guys wouldn´t believe what goes on here.  They even
have taxi´s that are just motorcycles and its super funny.-  Wouldn´t
it be so weird to just get on the back of a strangers motorcyle? Haha
sometimes when we are waiting for a moto taxi one of the motorcycles
will pull over like we are going to get on… hahah at least I know that
I could escape really easy J

Puerto is amazing and I love it here! bEsides being really hot and I
am just use to sweating a lot and basically being always wet, its
magical.  Mangos fall from the trees and the houses are all colorful
and just made of wood.  There are little bridges that crosses little
ditches and its cute. J I love it here and decided that if i wasn´t a
missionary and didn´t have to be outside all day  i could actually
live here.

Yeah dad asked if it was like a new culture and I would say yes and
no.  It’s the same language so that’s good but yeah the culture is a
little more different.  I would say that the people are a little
friendlier here.  They really love us and are always worried about us
being outside all day.  Puerto is really remote.  It’s in the middle of
nowhere but there is a national airport.  I guess we are the biggest
city that is closest to the border of brazil and Bolivia so they get a
lot of imports here.  Its really expensive to live here. 

My comps are super great!  I think Hermana Holland is excited to go
home and I try to be happy for her but also focus on working really
hard so that I don´t start thinking about home.  That´s a little
difficult for me.  She is still working hard though and finishing the
race real strong.  Hermana Alailima is really great.  She´s fun to be
around and so hilarious!  She reminds me of Sophie in some ways.  She
has a great love for the people and isn´t afraid to start
conversations or talk to the kids.  I wish I would of started out with
a little less fear of talking Spanish.  Its super fun watching her
learn Spanish because I feel like I get a first hand witness of the
gift of tongues and its amazing to watch.  It strengthens my testimony
even more about that and makes me really grateful for it.  She is
great as well!

I love your Spanish mom..   I can´t wait to hear your accent J

Okay so last week I received the best news ever!!!  GABRIELA GOT
BAPTIZED!!!!  She was a ysa investigator that I worked with all of my
time in Puno and she was really hesitant on being baptized even though
she knew it was true and had an interview with the DL and passed, she
still didn´t want to be baptized, so we actually dropped her for a
while.  SHe was still coming to the church every Sunday and
participating in all the activites but we weren´t teaching her.  When
I left Puno  I told hermana Minaya that they should visit her again
and try to give her a date for the 10 of October because 10 is like
her number or whatever.  Anyways I received an email from Hermana
Minaya that on Tuesday morning after general conference the Elders
Quorum president called who happens to be  a YSA and could possibly be
dating Gabriela (creating eternal families one way or another) said
that Gabriela wanted to be baptized that next Saturday.  HErmana
MInaya said it was a great miracle and the whole ward helped to get it
ready.  It’s such a amazing thing and I felt such joy Monday to know
that Gabriela had finally made her decision.  It also strengthened my
testimony in the power of the prophets and how they are really

This Sunday was fast Sunday for our ward.  I think it was the hardest
fast I have ever had to do.  It was so hot Saturday afternoon and we
all just wanted water.  But we fasted as a mission and we saw instant
miracles.   We have a goal for 5 new investigators each week.  Its
really hard here for some reason but we fasted as a mission to find
new investigators.  Saturday night we realized that we had 4 new this
week and we only needed one new to make our goal.  As we were
finishing our prayer for the night the elders called us and told us
that the ZL have an investigator that they were teaching but he
actually lives in our area.   They wanted to pass him off to us in a
appointment the next day (Sunday) at five.  It was a prayer and fast
answered so fast.  WE were so excited.  We met him and had a great
lesson with him and the elders.  It was actually really fun to teach
him.  HE is super smart but really humble.  It was super funny though
because as the elders were explaining to him about why they have to
pass him,(its important to know that both the LD are latinos) the
investigator turned to us and asked us if we understood him…. The
elder just laughed and laughed.  Haha it was pretty funny because we
really hadn´t talked to much until then.  But then we got to know him
and I think he could really progress.

We had exchanges this week as well.  The Hermanas that visit us fly in
from Cusco.  Hermana Salas and Hermana White.  They are the best!  I
had a great day with Hermana Alailima and Hermana Salas.  wE visited
so many people and were busy the whole day.  Hermana Salas is the best
and super great at teaching.  I learned a lot from her!!  WE also got
like double lessons and numbers that day which was sweet!

I will finish with my experience of American Saturday night.  WE
visited a newly married couple in our ward who are the young men and
young womens presidents.  They are so American and its so weird!  When
we walked into their house they actually have air conditioning!!  They
have iphones and a mac computer.  It was amazing!  They ordered pizza
for us as we shared a scripture and then they brought out their
wedding photos and they were so nice!! Especially for Peru because no
one can take a good picture here, but seriously it was the best
night!!  They are a super great family and it was fun to gain their
trust because they offered us their house to teach and their time to
come out with us.  But it was seriously like being in Amee and Aaron´s
house…. WOW God bless America!!

aNyways I love it here and I love the work.  We are super busy but I
am doing so great..  I am learning a lot about love here.  Lots of
people just need love and as I am finding that lots of people and
members have huge problems all they need is someone to love them and
let them know that God cares.

Thanks for all the support!!

Love you all!!!

Hermana Russell

Monday, October 12, 2015

No Bake Cookies with little black specks

October 12, 2015
Hey family!!

It’s been a great week and I have a lot of things to say!! J yaya!

So yes I love the Spanish music. Learning all the words is fun but it
also makes me grateful for English because it’s just all around cuter
and better sounding. 
I don’t need you guys to send me boots because I can buy some.  But
yeah I am going to need it because Hermana Holland has a picture of
her standing in a puddle up to her knees. And it wasn´t even rain
season yet.  If you send me an Ensign send it in English please.  And
Unity I loved what mom said and the mission is really focusing on
being united.  Our old zone always teased Hermana Minaya and me
because we looked like twins and told everyone we were really united.
Hermana Alailima is from Oahu.

Okay this week was a really great week.  Well at least the weekend
because Tuesday and Wednesday were so hot!! Man I almost cried because
it was so hot.  You are just always hot and there is no way to get
away from it.  I showered at night on Wednesday and went to write in
my journal and I was already sweating again.  Ugh it’s the worst.  I
basically wake up sweating and go to sleep sweating and I really did
take a shower at 3 in the morning and then slept on the floor one of
those days….

Okay I just wasted a lot of time telling you guys how hot it was.

Well we went to a butterfly farm last p day.  It was so pretty.  I´ll
try to send photos.  It’s in the jungle and we saw super huge
butterflies and it was just really pretty.  We are only 5 hermanas in
puerto and the only 5 gringas so its really fun.  I realized that I miss
English a lot and I get English humor better.  Even though it was hot
at the first of the week, its super cold right now and we are all
dying because we honestly don´t understand what happened.  I
personally think it’s because president came this week and its always
colder when he comes.

So president came this week and it was a great conference!!  Like
super great. I love when he comes and I love when they talk to us.
Hermana Harbertson showed us a picture by James Christensen and I
think its called Iccarus bound… you have to find it.  It’s so cool!!!
She talked about the atonement and that we will always have walls in
our lives to overcome but God has given us a key (this makes sense if
you look at the picture) we all have a key on our waist that will
unlock us from our sins and our weaknesses.  She just is really cool.
She talked about how God wants us to have success but sometimes its
our own fault we are stuck and not progressing.  President talked
about how the type of missionary we are will affect our whole lives
and will make a huge difference.  He showed us pictures from his
mission and life after and it was so great.  It made me excited to be
more obedient and work a little harder because the time is passing so
fast and I don´t want to leave anything out in the field J

We have a lot of work to do here in Puerto!! Like a lot and I feel a
little stressed.  It’s definitely not a ward anymore and we have a lot
of trust gaining to do with the members.  I do feel assured and God
reassures me all the time in my prayers that this trio are the ones who
can do it.  That we can turn this place around and see success. WE
have a great investigator that will be baptized on the 31st.   She is so
great.  Her name is Maria and I know she knows that it’s true.  Our
lessons with her are always so spiritual and I think she has the gift
of being sensitive to the spirit.  Her husband died 3 months ago so
teaching her the plan of salvation was the best.  Right now we are
just working on helping her understand the importance of the Sabbath
Day and coming to church.  Even though she has come a lot we always
have to call her or ask a member to pick  her up.   But other than
that everything is great.

Okay…So this week I got fed up with the bugs.  There is a lot more
bugs here than there was in Puno.  Friday after the conference we
decided to make no bake cookies with our dueño.  She is super sweet
and named Clara.  She loves to cook and was fascinated with the
cookies.  As I was stirring the cookies on the stove Hermana Holland
poured in the sugar… normal right?  Well a couple minutes later I
start seeing these tiny little black things.  I got a little closer
and realized that there was tiny ants in the cookie batter.  I didn´t
know what to do and mentioned it to Hermana Holland who mentioned it
to Clara.  She literally said. Oh nothing will happened and we made
them anyways.  And yes we did eat them.  I laughed because it was our
little protein boost J hahah  oh man I can´t believe we did that.
Later that night or the next day, we were planning for the night and
the day and in comes a flying cockroach.  Yup it was pretty enormous
and it brought a lot of screams, but I knew that this was my moment to
shine because I always am the bug killer and I totally killed it with
my shoe.  It was literally super big and super hilarious.  Hermana
Alailima was really chill and told us that we wouldn´t make it in
Hawaii.  AT that point I decided that I will always live at a higher
elevation and where its cold.

One last thing.  We had district conference this week where President
said something I really liked.  He talked about obedience to the
members and it was a great reminder to me.  He said that yes we can
break the little rules, like reading, praying, tattoos, not having
family home evening, more than one piercing, immodesty, gossip and all
the little things that are tempting to do and he said  if we don´t do
these things we can  still be a good person, but we are not obedient.
I really liked that and it gave me a great reminder.  Yes I can choose
not to follow a simple commandment but I am not obedient and not
showing God that I have the faith to do what´s right.  I have learned
and keep learning a lot about the importance of being obedient.  Put
it simply, obedience is always the better choice.

Also this will be a great tool to use on my future kids. J I love the mission.

Well I love you all and hope you have a great great week!! Puerto is
the greatest and I am loving it here.  I am super busy and hardly have
time to think about my family but it’s always great to know that you

are here!  So thanks J

A butterfly?! 

Parking lot at church!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Guacamole and General Conference


I have so much to say this week to answer all the questions!!  It
might be a little random letter but I hope you enjoy! Well first off I
just wanted to say that Sophie looked gorgeous and I love your story
about Senior Homecoming.  It really is the best and I loved that
dance!  Hahah J It sounded like such a typical dance….I love

Yes Puerto doesn’t have any hills which is honestly a huge relief
because my knees were starting to ache at night.   I love not having
any more hills to climb!!! YAYAY Puerto!!

Our room is great.  We have two bathrooms and a room to study and
sleep.  We are a little crammed up in the room and I find myself
sleeping on the top bunk again .  I think it’s hotter up there but it
keeps me young cause I just got used to jumping off of it in the
morning.. Haha sometimes I pray that my legs don’t fall asleep as I
pray and I throw my self off to break my legs like a missionary I heard
about.   That’d be fun.

I am glad you found our chapel once again on google earth…. Mom is
turning into quite the creeper.  It’s a small chapel and it doesn’t
have air conditioning.  Well just the bishop’s office.   It’s actually a
super pretty chapel.  I like it even if it is a small oven.

Yes Hermana Holland has six weeks left which means now she has four.
It’s weird to think about but she is really good.  She is still
working hard and we have lots of great goals for this change.  I love
being with her again and it’s so cool that I get to see her finish and
I will also inherit all her great clothes.  She has great clothes for
Puerto so I am excited… hah jk it will be super hard to see my mom go
L!!! AHHH why can’t time slow down!!!

Hermana Alailima is new but she doesn’t seem like it.  She has already
gotten so used to the swing of things and she is great!  She is
hilarious and such a go getter.  I have learned so much from her
already and I wish I was like her when I started my mission.  Even
though she thinks she can’t speak Spanish good, she speaks really
really well, plus she isn’t afraid to speak so that’s super cool!  I
feel like we are going to be good friends and I am hoping to stay
three changes with her.

I was reading mom’s letter this morning and all your concerns with
your new calling.  I felt like General Conference was especially about
you and I thought about you a lot.  I am so grateful for such a great
mom and example.  I know that the Lord has called you, not for what
you have done, but for what He can do through you.  AS for less
actives I have learned that some less actives are really hard to
activate and some only need an invitation.  I would say that the first
thing we do as missionaries to start teaching a less active is to love
them, serve them, and invite them to attend church.  Lots of the time
we will even pass by to pick them up.  Usually they just want to know
tht someone loves and that they are missed.  So just love them and
serve them and they will come back.  Also president said that asking
them about their conversion and how they knew the church was true will
help bring a spirit into their heart and by feeling the spirit they
will want to return to the church.  YOU GO MOM!  I know you can do it!

Oh and please send my love to Sister Spafford!  She helped me so much
my last years in young womens.  Her example touched my heart and
really helped me on my path to going on a mission.  I will always
remember how she served with pure love.  The girls are going to miss
her so much!

Palmer’s video was so great!! She is growing up so fast.  How old is
she!  Wow she needs to just stop!  I miss that thing.  Does she still
remember me!!

The bus ride was awful and we had to make it again this Wednesday with
Hermana Holland and I to sign papers to be legal here in Peru.  WE
left Wednesday and came back Thursday.  It was a long 48 hours and I
am done with busses forever!!!  Also we shouldn’t have traveled like
that in two days and our zone leaders kinda got mad at the office
Elder who scheduled them.  He said that we weren’t animals and it was
kind of cool to see him fight for us.  But we still had to travel but
they got us first class seats.  I felt like that one comedian when I
saw the curtain and was like “can we shut it so we don’t have to see
the second class”  jaja jk…. But it was super comfortable!! :)

Puerto is the best!!!!! I don’t have one mosquito bite and it’s not
even that hot!!!  I take about 2 to 4 showers a day… so maybe it is a
little hot but I am loving it.  Our pension is super great.  She owns
a restaurant so we get to pick what we want each day and she thinks we
are not allowed to have fish so I am super happy.  I am definitely not
going to correct her on that one :)

Also I have to tell you that the BYU QB is in Shelby’s ward…. Shelby
has all the luck….

OKAY and because we didn’t really work in the sector at all and I
feel tons of stress because in four week we will be on our own… I will
just talk about how much I loved conference.  We got to watch it in
English with all the gringos and we all brought food Sunday.  WE made
guacamole and it was just the best.  Conference was so inspired and
it answered every one of  my questions!!  I love many of the talks and
I can’t wait to apply them all… especially the scripture I am going to
ponderize! :) I was so sad to see it end.  I love the prophets and I
am so grateful for their sacrifice on our behalf.

Well I have my scripture for the week and I hope you all have yours.
It’s been a great week and I am so happy.  I miss Hermana Minaya A LOT
but I can’t complain.  Puerto is the coolest and the work is going to
be great.  WE have a lot to do and I will be super busy and super

Lov you all!!!
Pineapples at the pensionista's restaurant

Bus ride to Cusco and back in two days about 12 hours each way