Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas from the Jungle


I can`t believe Christmas is here!!  I have loved this Christmas
season.  It has been one of the hardest times on my mission but I have
felt so close to the Savior.  I will be calling at 6 o clock peru
time.  I hope this isn't very inconvenient because I know you guys have
things going on but this was the best time.  We will be skyping from
ipads and mac computers in air conditioning.  So holler back!

Well I don`t have much to say this week.  The work has been hard but I
have the best comp ever.  Hermana Alailima is so great!  She makes me
laugh and keeps me going on.  We laugh a lot and we also see a lot of
little miracles.  I have love watching her grow up.  She speaks super
great now and teaches like a boss.  She has a love for the people that
is just amazing and loves being a missionary.  Although sometimes we
do say this line when a the tenth appointment falls through “well i`m
going to start walking back to the states…”  But its only a joke.  We
don`t really want to go home.

This week I got attacked my a thousand ants under my desk.   I really
hate ants now.   They always get me really good.  I didn`t turn the
lights on and didn`t see them.  I noticed the trash was fallen over so
when I went to pick it up I got a thousand hungry ants on my hand and
feet that bit me like crazy.  I can`t believe a small ant can hurt
that much!  But seriously I`m alright now.   Also we had a guy come
and spray for bugs all over our house.  So that will be really nice
and probably will be the best Christmas gift ever.  Also the
landlord´s dog was found sleeping on my bed.  He happens to have blood
sucking sand leeches all over him and so I serisously had to strip my
bed and now I get the heebie jeebies every time I look at it.   Oh man
I love the jungle. ..

This week we visited a very special lady who told us we were wasting
our time and that the Church should pay us for going on missions and
that its stupid that we don`t gain anything blah. Blah blah.  It
didn`t make us to happy especially because when we tried to explain
why we were here and why it wasn`t a waste of time she just talked
over us.  We ended with our testimonies and left but it left us
talking and it left quite an impression on me.   Mostly because I
don`t feel at all like that.. and I was dumbfounded that someone would
say that to us.  I studied the next couple of days about sacrifice and
it helped me a lot.  The church requires a lot of sacrifice.  But I
read a talk that said at the end of it all we will say “Was that all
we really had to do for all of this?”  Isn`t that wonderful?  We are
sacrificing now for something so great and so beautiful that we won`t
even feel like we sacrificed enough.  I found this line that I have
hung onto  you all week that says “The blessings you receive are
better that you could ever give up”  I love this.  I love being a
missionary.  It may be a sacrifice but I feel like I am getting so
much than I give or could ever give up.

I also studied about eternal families this week.  I know that families
can be together forever.  I am so grateful for our Savior that makes
this possible and for the Restoration of the Gospel.  Without those
two things we would never ever be able to be eternal.  I found a
scripture that I absolutely love in D&C  130:2  “And that same
sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only
it will be coupled with eternal Glory, which glory we do not now
enjoy.”  I LOVE THIS! The same family that we have now will exist
forever.  I am so grateful for you guys.  I love you with all my heart
and think the world of each one of you!  HAVE A GREAT WEEK and a very

LOVE, Hermana Russell

Monday, December 14, 2015


Hola familia!!

So this week has been better.  I felt your prayers and support and
love and it lifted me.  Things are getting better.  Hermana Alailima
has officially finished her training.  It’s pretty sad but we are
both staying here for changes  J  I am pretty pumped because we are
going to have lots of success for this change.  This hard but its so
worth it J

I received another package this week! It was amazing!  I loved all the
Christmas cards and especially the conference talks!!! Yes I had been
dying to receive them.  Anyways thanks for all the love!  I really
adore you guys.

Oh my bleeding foot.  Stepped on a staple.  It didn´t hurt at all but
when I pulled it out it was like a dam broke.  Hahah we just had to
take a picture.  And the turtle.  Yes there was a turtle inside of
there.  He was pretty grumpy and didn´t want to come out.  Just so you
know turtles weigh a lot more than you think!  They also do move
really slowly!  And mom yes there are Christmas trees in Puerto.  More
than in Abancay so its good J

Um so for the funny stories this week.  You  may have to edit this
part out.  Lately I have been having some problems in the shower.  One
night I was showering just normal like and all of the sudden the
lights just went out.  It was pitch black and I couldn´t see my hand.
I waited awhile but my eyes still weren´t adjusting.  I could hear
Hermana Alailima in the other shower.  I think she turned off her
shower and got out.  She grabbed the flashlight and came and found me
in the other room.  I got out , wrapped a towel around me and we
searched for matches to light the candles that we had bought.  Then
after we lit the candles we went back to our showers and had a candle
lit shower.  It was pretty great.  Haha sometimes the lights just go
out for no reason here.  Its especially awful when the fan shuts off L
 and another shower story. Oh man I don´t know what’s been up lately but its like a mini

Oh this week we found a pension!!! For dinner. Her name is Gloria and
she is the best!  I love love love being in her house more.  She is
less active but has been to the temple!  She is just the greatest and
its just great to now have all three meals now. J

This week we were at a members house
waiting for her so that she could come to an appointment with us.
While we were waiting I guess I walked to close to a monkey and it
jumped out and just clung to my leg!!  It would not let go!  And when
I tried to pull it off it tried to bite my leg and I definitely do not
want to get rabies shot sooo it just clung on my leg.  I was so
scared!!! Even though it was a smaller monkey it was still scary.
Slowly we coaxed it onto my arm and then with a little better angle I
pealed it off of me real fast and ran away.  And so I successfully
escaped from a monkey and avoided the rabies shot.

This week has been hard as well but its better now.   We had a really
slow week and our numbers were super low.  In church this week there
was not one single investigator when it started.  I felt really bumed
but I also accepted it because I believed that really no one would
show up.   Shamefully I didn´t really have an ounce of faith that
anyway would show up.  Well after sacrament Hermana Alailima looked
around and she saw an investigator named Lucy.  It was her first time
coming to church and she had brought her little boy.  She whispered it
to me and It just made me cry.   I didn´t have any faith that anyone
showed up.  I think the Lord taught me a lesson that It really is His
work.  I am just His hands here in Puerto.  It taught me that I should
never lose the faith.   Faith is so vital and so important.   It
really is an anchor for our souls.   As I sat there I heard the words
in my head “I love you, keep going”  I know that it was the Lord and I
know that even though there are times where I forget it, I know he
loves me and I know he loves us.  He is so aware of every one of our
needs.   Its so amazing.

This week I also read in Ether about faith and weakness.  I was
reading in the famous verse in ether 12 27 and asked myself what
weakness has to do with the gospel of jesus Christ.  I learned that
without our weakness of our natural man we would not need the gospel
or His doctrine.  His doctrine his designed to show us that we are
weak, but it is also designed to show us that we can make weak things
strong.  Never in my life have I seen my weakness so blunt and so laid
out in front of me, than in my mission.  But never before in my life
have I applied the doctrine like I am doing out here.  It helps me see
my weakness, but the doctrine gives me the tools I need to make the
weak thing (me) strong.   I love the doctrine because it allows us to
progress.   I am so grateful that because the Savior lives we can
become better.  There is hope for everyone and this is why I love
being a missionary J

Love you all,

Hermana Russell

Monday, December 7, 2015


Well I am not going to lie and say this was the best week ever.  I
really don´t have a ton to say.  It’s been a super hard week in terms
of the work.  Hermana Alailima is great though and we just keep going.
I decided because I am usually very scattered in my email that I will
just say one funny thing and one spiritual thing. :) that way they
won´t be so long!
   This Sunday we had a terrible lightning and thunderstorm during
church.  It was so loud that it was hard to hear the 80 year old
sunday school teacher and then when the lights went out it was hard to
hear over the squeals of all the little children.  haha. But the
thunder did keep all the sleepers awake so I guess that was a
brightside.  Anyway I was seated next to our pension, Hermana Eusebia
and next to me was a new investigator.  I was trying to help him by
following the scriptures that the teacher wrote on the board, but after
a couple of minutes Tomas the investigator told me that he couldn´t
read or hear.  So then I stopped trying to help him and he just sat
there. I didn´t get a chance to talk to him after priesthood so
hopefully he had a better experience there.  Or at least learned
something.  Anyways next to me was Hermana Eusebia.  She is very
faithful and loves the gospel.  She had the lesson manual with her and
was reading and highlighting the scriptures as she basically taught
herself.  I was asked a question by this 80 year old teacher and you
can imagine that besides the thunderstorm, the age factor and language
factor made it a little hard for me to understand  I think I rambled
off something about God´s love because after all he had written "God
is love" on the whiteboard and after I was done speaking I turned to
Eusebia and told her that I didn´t understand the question very well.
She whispered back that the question was in fact not understandable
and that she didn´t really understand anything he was saying.  So she
then proceeded to teach me the lesson with the manual.  It was pretty
funny.  We would read the scriptures alone and then she would
highlight it and point to a question that the manual asks.  I could
just picture her answering in her head.  It was pretty great.  ahh
Peruvian Sunday school class.
      This week we visited a less active member who is having a really
hard time.  She feels like when she was a faithful member of the
church she had more problems and that its better for her just to leave
the church alone.   She told us that she didn´t really think God loves
us and that she didn´t even know if he exists anymore.  We talked to
her about the plan of salvation and it was super hard at first because
she said that she´d just hopes that after this life that’s the end.
She didn´t really even want eternal life.  When she was telling us
this I offered a silent prayer that God would help me have the words
that would comfort her and help her.   I find myself bearing a
testimony about the atonement and all Christ did for us.  I felt the
spirit enter into her little room and even though she didn´t say
anything else I could see that for a moment she was truly reminded of
how much our God really does love us.  He loves us so much that he
sent his only son to suffer and die for us.  THis week I gained a new
perspective on the atonement when I asked this less active to think
about someone she knows and loves, suffering like the Savior did.  I
pictured my father suffering like that and felt overcome with a love
for the Savior.  There is no way to repay him.  All we can do is
accept his sacrifice and come unto him. That is all he asks of us.
Without Him the plan of salvation would include the spirit world,
life, and death.  There would be no eternal life. There would be no
eternal families.  But he lived and he still lives and because he
lives we have the opportunity to go, if we are obedient, right back
into the outstretched arms of our heavenly father. I am so grateful
for the Savior.  He  carried me this week and I am so grateful for the
opportunity to serve Him.
Hope you all have a great week!  Love ya guys!

Hermana Russelll