Monday, May 2, 2016

Here's to a Great Chapter

Hi, Its me.  So, I am home.   Crazy how time flies, no?  I wanted to write a final mission based blog post (because maybe I'll continue with the blog thing) and thank all those who supported, prayed, wrote and just loved me.  I honestly felt so loved and supported.  THANK YOU.  I wouldn't say that much has changed in good ol' Syracuse or in my family and friend circle.  They are pretty much the same, just taller, wiser, and even more amazing people.  I have felt so blessed in these past few days as friends and family have stopped by to say hello and catch up.  I realize that 18 months isn't very long and just spending time with a marvelous family makes me feel like I haven't been gone.

Well what can I say?  There are so many beautiful and inspiring things I could share.  My mission was the best thing that has ever happened to me.   I served in Peru and MAN! I just love Peru.  The people are loving and open and the culture is so so so  beautiful.  Every area had a different charm and a different lesson. I learned so many things that I don't think I will ever be able to explain.  Peru has become apart of me that I don't think will ever go away.  It has completely changed my outlook on everything and I can't possibly express what I feel.   I don't think I changed to much, hopefully I am better.  I think if anythings changed its a greater desire to be a better disciple of Christ.  You know, we all chose to come down to this earth.  We chose to follow Christ and obey Him.  We have unfortunately forgotten and that's why we are here... to remember.  As we remember we realize that we have a choice: to be passive followers of Christ or be passionate ones.  And I think overall that's what I learned.  Anyone can be a passive followes of Christ.  We can say that we love Him and that we have faith in Him and then we can lay back in our lazy-boy recliner and watch the world go by (which I am totally guilty of) or we can be passionate about the Gospel and honor our Savior with our actions by applying His Atonement.  And thats super difficult and it takes a lifetime of becoming that kind of disciple but the good news is that we can!  Christ and Heavenly father are on our team and they've promised to help us.  It'll take all we have and it will take all our time, but the reward is eternal life.     Becoming a true disciple isn't easy but I was taught a statment that made it simple.  Go with the PROS. Prayer. Read. Obedience. Service.   If we do these things we will feel the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives and then we will be guided by the hand and taught the ways of our Savior and Redeemer.  Nobodies perfect.  I have a long way to go, but the Lord blesses us for trying and after all we can do He will give us His grace and we will be eternally grateful to Him and His wonderful plan.   I feel honored to be able to serve the Lord.  I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for letting me serve Him.  It was nothing that I did, I was only the hands of the Lord.  I saw miracles and truly felt the love that God has for each of his children.  I didn't take a detour, it was part of my life's journey and I know the path that I am on will continue to take me where the Lord wants me to go.   Love you all.
                   Con amor,
                                      Emma :)

Monday, April 11, 2016

A week full of miracles but full of crazy

Hey Family,

THis week has been full of miracles but full of crazy!  Oh wow.  I
worked with my companion one day this week and the rest of the days
were divisions, PUERTO MALDONADO, and trios…. Ay mi vida.  Anways. I
feel like time is a joke and I still feel like I am only finishing my
change and that Hermana Borja and I will stay together.  THe potential
that this Ward has is amazing.  We found so many people to teach this
week and we saw the Lords Hands preparing them.  Puerto is still
amazingly hot and beautiful.  The plane ride there was stunning.  I
ran into some of my favorite families and it was a huge blessing.

Bueno,  I don’t have a lot of time, but I just wanted to say thanks.
Thank you for the support and the love.   I love my family so much
even though I am not excited to see you. J but I do want you guys to
know that I know that this church is true.  The church was restored
through a prophet of God and because of this Restoration we know who
we are, why we are here, and where we are going.  I love the peace and
happiness that this message brings me.  I know that the Savior lives
and loves us.  How grateful I am for Him and His life.  Because of
Him, we will return home.  Because of Him, our weaknessess can become
strengths, and because of Him we will be together forever.

Love you more than tongue can tell,

Hermana Russell
Zone I think

View of River Madre de Dios Puerto Maldanado

Monday, April 4, 2016

Return To Abancay

Well Family,

    This is getting really boring for me.  I dont think I ever want to
write another letter in my life.

BUt, I do love you all and I want to share with you all that I learned
this week.

First off I WENT HOME THIS WEEK!!!!  Yup i returned to ABANCAY.  It
was so amazing to be back and to work with the Hermana Liders that
live there. Honestly it hasn’t changed at all and I felt so blessed to
be able to go.  I worked with Hermana Baker and she is super great.
We had the greatest day ever.  It was full of the spirit and i learned
so much about being bold in extending commitments and following the
spirit.  We had a super powerful lesson with an investigator named
Mirium.  She has a cleft lip and is a Little hard to understand, but
we taught her the plan of salvation and is was so powerful when we
testified of this great plan.  I know she was able to feel the spirit
and know who she was, why she is here, and Gods great plan for her.
It was amazing.  Hermana Baker is the best. The next day we had to go
back to Cusco…. But we helped the Hermanas of Tamburco move out and I
got to see Hermana RENE!!! I was so happy to see her and it was such a
blessing.  SHe gave me some of her lonche and we only got to talk for
a Little bit.  The Hermanas are moving out because there little family
is growing and Diane needs a Little more space.  It was weird helping
them move out because we were the ones that moved in.  Hermana Rene is
the best! Oh how I love and miss her!!  We have been in contact my
whole misión and she is always sending me letters.  Anyways it was one
of the highlights of the week.

 We were a Little stressed to leave our sector this week.  Its super
hard to stop working in your sector.  We felt a Little frustrated and
stressed firday night. But Saturday boosted our spirits with
conference.  It was such a great conference.  It answered all of my
questions and I felt great peace listening and feeling the spirit.  I
got to watch it in English which was super great. Anyways Saturday
night we found absolutely no one to teach and we were so stressed and
just discouraged.  Our numbers were super low for leaving our sector
and ya it was super hard.  But as we planned for the next day, Sunday,
we decided that we were going to look for some investigators that have
been coming to church but we havent actually been able to find them
and teach them due to lots of things.  They are like soap, we can
never get a hold of them.  Anyways Sunday morning before conference we
decided to go looking for one whose name is Rene, he is a Young man
who has been attending ever since we started working in the Alamos but
we can never find him to teach him.  aNways he was finally home!! And
we were able to teach him and invite him to be baptized.  He said that
yes he wants to be baptized.  It was super cool and such a tender
mercy.  After that we went looking for a reference a member had given
us.  She was home and told us that she wanted to attend the conference
with us.  So we waited for her to dress and then she came with us!  It
was such a tender mercy.  She enjoyed the conference and had a lot of
questions about temples.   We also saw a huge blessing as a new less
active we found came to the conference too.  Her name is Alicia and we
were able to find and teach her this week.  She brought her husband
who isn`t a member but wants to learn more about the góspel!! It was
so amazing!  We just could not stop smiling!  To top it all off the
announced a temple in the City of my companion and Our pension, who is
hermana Vicky (wife of Rigobeto) made the best lasanga in the world!
We were so lucky.

Anways it has been a great peace.  I was overwhelmed wtih peaceful
feelings in conference. I know that if we stay true to the name we
bear, everything will be okay.  God has provided a way home and
luckily the path is available to all of us if we honor our Covenants.
I am so grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and for is part in the
plan.  I am grateful that he suffered and died for us so that we, one
day, can return to Him and our Heavenly Father.  The Gospel is perfect
and I feel so blessed to be able to testify of the Restoration of this
Great and True Church.  We are so lucky to have a living Prophet today
and to have all the Priesthood keys.  I Know that God lives and that
miracles do exist.  I love you all!

Con Amor, Hermana Russell .

P.s I got your package!! How did you know??

Hermana Rene who took care of Emma in Abancay

Monday, March 28, 2016

Working hard

Hey fam!
We had a great week!  Its been super fun and full of laughter.
Hermana Borja is super awesome.  What I like most about Hermana Borja
is her ability to improve and to help me improve.  We are always
looking for more ways to be obedient or to develop Christ like
attributes.   She is a hard worker and we literally run from
appointment to appointment.  I love her!   We are super busy.  We are
trying to visit every companionship twice.  WE had to double days
twice this week and man it’s so tiring but it brings such great

This last Monday was zone pday.  We hiked up to some waterfalls but
when we got almost to the top the pathway was blocked and we couldn't
actually make it.  J But It was super pretty and for once in my entire
life i actually enjoyed the hike! Whooo!!  We had to cross some mini
rivers and I fell pretty hard.  My hand has been super black and blue
but now its all better.  It just gave me an excuse not to do burpees J
 When we found out we couldn't go all the way to the waterfalls we
stopped at a field and played soccer.  Literally my skills are
improving a ton J It was super fun! THe zone is getting more and more
united which was a concern of mine.  We werent at all close but now
everyone knows each other pretty good.

 Even though it was Easter this week it didn't really feel like it.
But we did see lots of people walking around with cactus`s on a
string….. I don't know why but it made it awfully hard to contact
them.  We could just imagine them rejecting us with their “pet
cactus”.  But the Womens conference was the best!  Especially when
about half way through they decided to turn the projector on…. Haha J

Yeah Bueno.  Im super sorry I don`t have much else to say.  But I will
share one more story.  The Hermanas that also work in the Ward
recently rescued a family.  They live up in the mountains of cusco, (
I sent photos through dropbox).  Anyways they are super humble and
dont have very much.  The sons name is Valentin and he it was his
birthday this Saturday.  Tons of members pitched in and gave us gifts
to bring to them.  Among them was a laptop with church movies, a
skateboard, Nike shoes, and lots of clothes for him and his Little
sister.  WE offered to help deliver these gifts which included hiking
for about 45 minutes. ( and somebody had donated a gallon of marbles
which I volunteered to carry).  But it was all worth it.  We arrived
and suprised them with cake and all the presents.  It was so cool.
They live in a adobe house with a dirt floor and one hanging light
bulb.  They were so happy to see us.  We ate dinner with them which
consisted of Cuy (whose name was Adam) and worm infested potatoes, but
we felt good inside.   There are amazing families and members here.
They  serve one another with such love.  Its so humbling to see how
someone lives and to think about my home and my things. Really I
learned Saturday that some things matter much more than others.  I
studied Mosiah 1-4 this week and was touched by the words of King
Benjamin.  We are all in debt to our Heavenly Father.  He has given us
everything and because he has given us much we too must give.

Well I love you guys un monton!! J I love this work and I love My
Savior.  How grateful am I for the Restoration of His church.  It is

the biggest blessing in my life.

Zone pday hike

Adam's Paws ); Cuy they ate for dinner

Hike to deliver birthday gifts

Monday, March 21, 2016

Alive and Well

March 21, 2016

Hola familia!

                I am alive and doing really well. This week has been
super busy and crazy.  Because of Council and Tuesday and the exchanges
Hermana Borja and I have had two complete days together.   I miss her!
Haha But yeah this week was pretty great and the exchanges are only
getting crazier from here.   We are inviting all the Hermanas to our
sector to help us and also visiting their sector.

Bueno, this week was concilio (mission council).  We were asked to come in our normal
clothes and bring Pday clothes.  When we got there we all changed and
had the concilio in our Street clothes.  It was super weird.  Right
before lunch we all brought our chairs outside and then walked outside
and down a Little ways off.  President lives on a hill, kind of like
the cabin, anyways so we walked down a hill or two and stopped.
President then told us that we would have to walk back up to his
house, but with our companion on our back.  If we got tired we were
told to switch, but we could not move forward with out one of us on
the back of the other.  So we all started.  Most of the elders took of
running.  We took it slow with the rest of the Hermanas.   Well as you
can imagine it was very difficult and tiring.  We took turns carrying
each other up this long hill and wow when we finished we were so
tired.  Our arms were so weak that we could barely drink wáter.   My
whole body was shaking and just exhausted.  We all sat in a circle and
President asked us what we thought and the analogies that we could
create.  We talked a lot and President then read us a story about a
pioneer that crossed the plains with the Martin handcart company.  He
was a in a group of men who started criticizing church leaders for
allowing the company  to cross and suffer all that they had suffered.
This pioneer responded with his story and at the end said “the price
we had to pay to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay”.
President then talked to us about the trials that we will face but
that it is necessary that we are tried in all things so that we may be
prepared for the Glory of God.  D&C 136:31.  I learned that our trials
really do help us be prepared for Eternal Life.  Without trials we
would never progress or become like our Savior.  There is a new video
that the church has put out for Easter.  If you haven’t seen it you
need to see it.  I have been thinking a lot about the Savior lately
and everything that he had to go through.  I think that many times we
want to be like Him but we don`t always want to pass through hard
things or take on the adversity.  But in order to truly become like
Him and to develop the attributes that He has we have to be willing to
go through a small small portion of what he went through.  We cannot
be perfect with our trials and we cannot expect to become like our
Savior if we do not accept all the trials, afflictions, problems, and
tests of life.   We must be tried in all things.  How grateful I am
for the Savior.  He allows us to pass through hard moments but he
never leaves us.  He passes through them with us.

Love you guys.

Hermana Borja, Emma's companion.

Monday, March 14, 2016



  I truly apoligize for the letter i wrote last week.   Its just that
you guys are pretty boring. J jaja jk.  But seriously I don`t really
have anything to say besides all the amaing miracles and blessings
that I see daily.   But i will try to muster up some energy to tell
you guys some funny things.

  This week was changes and as you should know i stayed with hermana
Borja but we moved to a different sector and different Ward.  I AM SO
HAPPY TO BE WITH HERMANA BORJA.  SHe is the greatest.  Super obedient
but so hilarious.  We laugh a ton and she is teaching me some soccer
skills in the morning.  We arent going to move houses and we attend at
the same building.  Sunday was weird because we saw all the members of
Ttio but we werent with them.  The saddest was having to pass off an
investigator (who had a baptism date) and Jenny L I am going to miss
them and miss visiting them.  Opening the sector has been a little
stressful.  We had to help with the changes and pick up every hermana
that came through cusco so this week we had about 3 days to get to
know the sector.  IT IS HUGE! But luckily we found a great map and
slowly but surely we are finding the investigators and less actives
the elders left behing.  Next week we will start inviting the Hermanas
to our sector to do exchanges and I am a little nervous.  BUt I know
that the Lord will bless us.

So changes were CRAZY!  We literally rana round like crazies going
from the terminal to the hosue to the office.  During changes every
hermana stays the night in our house.  We have a mountain of
mattresses and blankets for them.  Its super fun to see all the
hermanas and get to know everyone but changes can be crazy.  After
about a day I swear I could hear the phone ringing every five seconds
and the indiana theme song was stuck in our heads.  But I got to see
Hermana Alailima.  She is training and opening a sector in Puno.  She
is so great and her hija is the best!  I uploaded pictures of the
three of us. Also some hermanas that I havent seen in forever!  It was
super fun but exhausting.  We didn`t miss any busses but I did lock us
out of the apartment.   J luckily the landlord showed up and helped us
a ton.  But it was fun to be outside waiting with tons of suitcases
and hermanas… bonding time thanks to Hermana Russell.

After we had the house all to ourself we started to get to work.  We
found a great map of our sector but because our sector is so long we
had to figure out a way to manage it.  So we thought of a brilliant
idea.   We cut (with a kitchen knife… the lord really does help out
his missionaries) a old broomstick handle in half and then taped each
end of the map to one of the sticks.  Now we have like a bible roll
and we laugh because it like kung fu panda and the dragon rolls.
Hahah.  Also we put it in a plastic tube to protect it from the rain
and its like national treasure, running around with the declaration of
Independence. Anyways now that we have found our map we have been
trying to locate everyone the Elders had been teaching.  We have
walked a lot but its been great.  We have found tons of people and
have lots of appointments for the coming week.  Oh plus my sector
looks like disneyland and it includes the airport so we get to see
airplanes land and take off all day long.  Its the best. I love it.
(nacho libre)

Last night we had a great lesson with an investigator named Susana.
She is super cool.  She is Reading the book of mormon and is already
in 2 nefi.  We talked to her about the power of the book of mormon and
the spirit was really strong.  She recognizes that it is a good book
so we invited her to pray and ask God if it was really from Him.  She
said she would and I know that she will recieve an answer.  She told
us that her family is very catholic but she hopes that one day they
will be mormon :)  she is great!

Anyways this week we were asked to study doctrine and convenios ( i
forgot how to spell it in english) 136:31.    It has been a topic of
dicussion for Hermana Borja and me.  I was thinking about how God
tries us and was Reading a little bit about Abraham and Isaac.  I
found a quote in my scriptures that I absolutely loved and gave me a
little more prospecitve about trials and why God gives them to us.  It
says that God doesnt give us trials and he doesnt test us to see if we
will do it.  He already knows the outcome and he already knows what
will happen but He tries us for our own good so that we may know for

Well the góspel is true, what else is important?

Love you guys!!!

Hermana Russell

Monday, March 7, 2016

Not much to say...

this week is changes.... I am staying with hermana Borja but we are
opening a sector in another ward.  um. Hermana Alailima is going to
train so I am going to be a grandma!!!  I am alive and well but don´t
have much to say this week!  sorry!! I promise to write more next week


The sign reads.  "I leave in 1 change"  Sensing some sadness.

Monday, February 29, 2016


Hola familia!

   THis week has been an amazing week!   First off I have to say
congrats to Sophie!  I knew that you would make it and I know you will
be a great addition to the student body!  Maybe you don´t want to be
my roommate but prepare for lots of time spent together!

Well I realized that I am getting less and less creative with my
letters and for that I am sorry.  I am trying to think of some really
good things to tell you.  And I thought of something really funny.
Sometimes we spend quite a bit of time in the airport, picking or
dropping off Hermanas.  Not only from the mission but future hermanas
and Hermanas that are returning.   You have to understand that even
though Cusco is very developed there are still people from the “campo”
like they still live in little houses without running water and things
like that.  There are actually quite a bit of little towns outside of
cusco that are like pueblos.  Anyways once in a while at the airport I
have the great pleasure of witnessing people´s first encounter with
modern technology.    My favorite piece of technology is the
escalator.   The airport has one escalator that only takes you up
stairs and as you imagine it can confuse many people.  Think “Elf” but
with a mix of peru.  My favorite experience that I have had so far is
when I really elderly Peruvian lady,  they are called Panais
(quechwa), approached the escalator.  She took one step on, then
turned around and sat down.  She rode the whole way up sitting down.
When she got close to the top she turned around and with all the
energy in her tiny little body (she had to be like 4 feet  tall)  she
jumped the gap at the top.  When I saw this I could hardly contain my
laughter.  Ah man.  If you ever want to people watch I am convinced
that the Airport in Peru Cusco is the perfect place.

And something spiritual J  about four weeks ago we found a less active
in the ward directory and I felt like we needed to look for her.  We
have been looking every day since.  We always knocked on her door and
always during different times but we never found her. It was a little
frustrating.  Her sister told us that she had an accident and she was
recovering.  Last August she was in a car crash and was seriously
injured.  She has lots of pins in her legs and now after 6 months is
just starting to walk again.  We always found her sister and not her.
One night her sister suggested that we write down our number and she
will give it to Jenny to have her call us.   I was a little hesitant
because this usually means that its over.  They won´t ever call you
and when you stop by they will have the excuse that she will call you.
Anyway I had no choice but to hand our number over and we left.
About ten minutes later I receive a call from Jenny and she said we
could visit with her the next day. The next morning we went and we had
a wonderful visit with her.   Wow, the spirit was so strong and she
shared her testimony and desire to come back to Church.  She talked
about how she had been converted and the missionaries and why she
left.  I truly believe that we were supposed to find her and it was
supposed to be 4 weeks later.  The whole time that we were talking and
teaching her, I felt the strong impression that God loved Jenny and
that the only reason we found her is because God allowed us to find
her.    It is a very sacred thing to feel as if you were the Lords
Hands.  And that’s how I felt.  We left that appointment and I was
walking on cloud nine.  I felt so much love for her and my testimony
was strengthened.  I know that God loves us.   Even when we remove
ourselves from his presence, when we stop reading or praying, or when
we fail to keep all our covenants, He is still with us.   And as we
draw closer to Him, He allows us to feel this love for His children.
He allows us to see miracles and be his hands.  It is an amazing
thing.  I know that He is a God of Miracles and that these miracles
have not nor will ever cease.   I love you guys so much.  Thanks for
the support and the love.  It means the world.  I honestly don´t miss
home at all and I wish I had another 6 months. J  But I know that the
Lord will continue to use me in this great work.  J

Love you guys with all my heart and more than tongue can tell,

Hermana Russell

The Peru Cusco Missionaries

Monday, February 22, 2016

What a week!

Hola Familia!

Its been such a great week here in Cusco.  Wow.  I don´t think I am
going to be able to express every thing I have felt, seen or heard
this week.

This week we had the Hermana Leaders from Abancay with us for
divisions. (it also means that next change I am going to be able to go
to Abancay!!!!).  anyways I spent the day with Hermana Baker.  She is a
great Hermana that I had met before in Puno.  She wasn`t in my zone
but we saw each other a little bit.  Anyways she trained the same time
as me and so it was cool to spend the day with her.  I was really
nervous because we didn`t have any appointments for the whole day and
we just had plans to pass by and surprise visit people.  The night
before I told Hermana Borja that I was a little nervous and later told
Heavenly Father. I told Him that I was nervous and that if He could
please fill my day with things to do and places to go.   The next day
was amazing! I have such a testimony that God really does answer
prayers. We had a day filled with appointments and I learned so much
from Hermana Baker.  THe coolest thing about being a Hermana líder is
being able to meet lots of hermanas and work with them.  I learn so
much from each one.  It’s incredible.  I feel like I am not here to
teach but to be taught and I feel super blessed.    The next couple
days passed by really fast.  Hermana Borja was sick Wednesday with a
super upset stomach.  We tried to go out but she couldn`t keep
anything down so I listened to talks by Elder Holland all afternoon.
Hermana Borja is doing much better!  We don`t know what happened but
It looked like a 24 hour flu.

anyways Friday was concilio with President.  It happens once  a month
with all the leaders of the misión.  It was fun to have our house full
of all the Hermana Leaders.   I got to see Hermana Campoverde and
spend a little bit of time with her.  She finishes her misión in two
weeks!  Crazy no?’  anyways at concilio I got to see Hermana Minaya.
J it was the best!  And concilio was great.  We had a moment just with
the sisters and Hermana Harbertson.  She talked to us about charity
and that every name should be sacred on our lips not just the name of
our family or friends.  Because we are all children of God and how can
we love God if we don`t love his children?   Hermana Harbertson is the
best and it was so great to be personally taught by her.   Concilio
was a great experience. I learned a lot about a lot of things.. hahah

Saturday was AMAZING.  For the first time we had the whole misión
together!  Wow. It was so great to see so many old friends.  At 10 o
clock we were seated in the chapel waiting for Elder Holland.  Wow.  I
don`t think  I can express everything that was mentioned or everything
that I felt.  He arrived at 12  (is plane was late)  and he shook each
one of our hands. He said he did it each to give us a interview and
see if we were okay.  Then he talked.  He walked around the room as he
talked.   It was a classic Elder Holland talk.  He talked a lot about
the obedience and the reality of who the missionaries are.  He shared
his love that he has for his misison and the spirit was so strong.  I
realized how much I love my misión.  I dont ever want it to end.  He
said that we are apostles with a lower case a and that we are the
symbols of the church.  He talked about our image of missionaries and
who we are to be.  He said that when we agree to go to the temple and
make the covenants that we do, and when we agree to stay.  We stay for
eternity.  That we never walk away from this.  It was so powerful and
so amazing.  I can truly testify that he is a special witness of
Jesus Christ.  HOw grateful I am that we have a prophet today and the
12 apostles.   This Church is the true church.  It has been restored
and I am so grateful for it.

Have a great week!

Hermana Russell

Monday, February 15, 2016

Beautiful week in Cusco

February 15, 2016

Hey family!
  How are we??  Its been a beautiful week here in Cusco.  I love
Cusco. Its awesome.  Hermana Borja is also the greatest!  We laugh a
lot even when we have a little bit of stress.  The work is going good.
We are going to rescue a really awesome family and have a couple
investigators with baptism dates. All is well here. 
    This week the Hermanas from Puerto came to visit us.  It was so
much fun to see Hermana Alailima again!  I spent the day with her and
it was awesome.  She has become an amazing missionary…I wonder who
trained her?... haha joking.  But really she teaches so well and I
learned so much from her.  It was good to hear that Puerto is doing
really well.  Lots of my old investigators have baptism dates and she
is getting along really well with her companion.  They were able to
fly to cusco and on the way back we almost missed their flight.  It
was something out of our hands but wow talk about stress.  We ended up
full on running through the airport parking lot.  And then later that
day we were almost late getting home from an appointment so we ran
like crazies to be there at 9.  We made it and i was grateful that day
had ended.
We also had zone conference with our zone and another zone in Cusco.
It was amazing.  President is the best and his talk was perfect.  He
talked about our purpose as missionaries.  Later he talked about the
worth of women and talked super hard to the Elders.  I have the
greatest notes.  We had to give a little training and we were so
nervous.  I think it went good but I called on an Elder and got his
name wrong. It was embarrassing….. I think I am becoming more like
mom…  jaja love you. Anways the conference was awesome.  President
sometimes talks to prepare us for the life after the misión and he
told us that our purpose on earth is to get married in the temple to
our prince charming.  He also said that the scripture about the
natural man only refers to men.  Jaja 
Yesterday was a really rough day.  We had been walking for hours and
hours without finding anyone to teach.  WE had a appointment at 6 with
a less active and his two daughters who aren`t baptized. As we were
walking past a park to go to the appointment someone called us and it
was this less active.  WE were able to teach them and it was a  great
lesson. It was a huge tender mercy and I was grateful that we were
able to find them.  Because if we had passed by with out him saying
something we would have found his house empty.
This week I am trying to have an attitude of gratitude.  THis sector
is very different from Puerto and I am trying to get used to it.  Its
been a little hard but I feel like the Lord is with us.  He really
walks with us everyday and feels exactly what we feel.  I know he is
preparing people that I need to find in this sector and if we are
obedient and do what is asked of us we will find them.   Plus this
week Elder Holland is coming!!
Well love you all!

Con amor, hermana Russell

Monday, February 8, 2016

First Exchanges

February 8, 2016

Hola Familia!

How are you guys?  OKay so I am going to try to make this a really good letter….

We had a super great week this week!

We had our first exchanges.  I was with Hermana Cutimbo from Spain.
It was fun to get to know her and get lost in the sector because I
didn`t know my sector too well… but she was super patient with me and
we found lots of people to teach.  We have a new investigator named
Sandra.  She is a YSA and she is super awesome.  She accepted the book
of mormon and her best friend is a really solid member.  It was super

THis Sunday we had the privelge of being accompanied by Presidente and
Hermana Harbertson.  Yup All afternoon.  It was so great!  They are so
awesome and I learned so much from them.  We started with lunch and I
sent a photo to dropbox of my pension and her family with the
Harbertsons.  It was great. Then we studied with them a Little bit and
then we went out.  WE had some great appointments.  Hermana Borja and
I were super nervous though… but we made it through.  We had a awesome
experience which I will after I tell something funny that happened.

Yeah so if you remember from last year, this month, february, is
carnavales.  Which means the whole city participates in a huge wáter
fight.   Yeah so yesterday was the day of carnaval and when we were
walking down a road with President and Hermana Harbertson a car slowed
down on the side, shouted Hola and sprayed us with foam…. All over.
Like they got us reallly really good.   Hermana Borja and I were
completely covered and as we were wiping ourselves off we saw someone
that we could contact.  We tried to contact him and he completely
ignored us.  It was like he was literally deaf.  He didn`t even look
at us.  He just opened his door and went in his house with his
daughters…. Hermana Harbertson was kind of shocked that we got
rejected like.  But we just laughed.   I think today we are going to
play carnaval with the Zone.  We are looking into buying some of that
spray and whipping it out at the end.

Yeah so the spiritual experience.  When we were with the Harbertsons a
cita fell through so we decided to go to a less active that we had
looked for.  We found her house before but hadn`t been able to make
contact.  So we rung her doorbell of her apartment building and she
answered and said she would come down to talk.  But when she saw
President with us she invited us up to her top floor pent house suit
(and I mean literally).  Yeah so she invited us in.  Her name is Emily
and we had the best lesson with her ever.  Even though she is less
acitve she still pays her tithing because she wants the blessings from
it.  She is less active mostly because her husband, member, isn`t very
fond of the church.  President Harbertson talked a Little bit more
than he had in other appointments and it was so spiritual. I can`t
even put into words the spirit that we felt. He promised her some
wonderful blessings if she will start Reading the book of mormon and
ah man… I can still feel the spirit from the lesson.  Emily is the
best.  We are going to slowly help her husband and her come back to
the church.  WE are going to make brownies with her and try to fill
her house with the spirit so her husband can feel it.  J  We are so
excited and I learned so much from Pdte. Harbertson.  It was such a
great evening.

 Well I had a bunch more to write but hey what will I tell you guys in
a couple months?

Thanks for everything you do for me.  I love my family so much and I
am so grateful for the restored góspel.  We owe a lot to our Savior
and even though we won`t ever repay him we can show him our love and
gratefulness through our obedience.

Have a great week!

Love, Hermana Russell

Sister missionaries with the pensionista and her family and Pres. and Hermana Harbertson

Hermanas Russell and Borja

The streets of Cusco

Monday, February 1, 2016


Hey fam!!

    So ya, I am in Cusco now.... I miss PUERTOO!!!  Its so cold
here.... but my companion Hermana Borja is the best!  She is from
Ecuador which is my third companion from Ecuador.  she is great! I
knew her a little bit before but its been great getting to know her.
We have had a crazy week.  I got here tuesday night and we spent the
next day running back and forth from the terminal dropping girls off
and some at the airport going home.    Because of some of our
responsibilites I haven't had much time in the sector and feel a
little stressed because next week two hermanas are going to visit us
and we are both going to work in our sector.   We aren't actually
going to travel this change so it should be good.  All the hermanas
are going to visit us, even the ones in Puerto.  So yeah a little
stressed. but all will be good.  I am in the barrio Ttio and the
estaca Cusco.  Our chapel is on the 28 de julio and we live right
across the street.  OUr apartment is super nice.  WE have a kitchen so
maybe I will learn how to cook some food.   Our apartment is so big
because whenever someone comes to cusco *hermanas* they stay with us.
so yeah we do a lot of picking up and dropping off.  kind of like
moms... haha.   Training on wEdnesday was the best! President is so
cool and I am so excited to work a little more closely with him and
Hermana Harbertson.  Its going to be  a huge blessing.   anyways.
everything is good here.  the ward is great and huge... 140 people...
and our pension is great!  I am super happy although I do miss Hermana
Alailima and the Puerto crew.  Its so different here.  I am so used to
drinking cold things that if they don't have a cold inka cola in the
store I can't drink it tell its super cold... haha weird... probably
why I have had a cold since december.  anways everything is super
great.  don[t worry about me.
  THis week I studied 1 samuel... ay no recuerdo... but its about saul
being desobedient and how its always better to be obedient.  I think I
have learned that here.  Its always always always better to be
obedient.  If I were to give any advice to future missionaries.. its
this.  Be obedient!  Just do it!
Well I'm sorry if this is reall short.  I love you all a lot.
   Love Hermana Russell
Brownie Sundae from Chilli's

Hermana Liders in Cusco. On the left is Herman Borja from Equador Emma's new companion

Monday, January 25, 2016

Leaving Puerto

sigh...... I´m leaving Puerto and my Hija..... AHH I can´t believe the
time has already come to an end here in Puerto.  I will be serving  in
Cusco and I am super excited for this new chapter.  I will actually be
the Hermana Lider for the Hermanas Here in Puerto so I will be able to
return. :)  I am super excited.  Hermana Alailima has been the
greatest companion.  We literally have always gotten along and its
been a joy to train her and to watch her grow.  she will have her
first latina companion but I am not even worried about her.  She is
going to do great things here in Puerto.
  Bueno this last week has been really good. but it also has been so
hot..  Its like a furnace here..
  Well this Sunday they released our branch presidency.  We have a
new president and I am really excited for this branch.  I think its
going to work a little more smoothly,  THe best thing ever is that our
recent convert, for rescue, Hermano Benito will be the second
conselor!  I was sooooo pumped when I heard this!  I am so excited for
him and his family.   We talked to him after and he thanked us for
visiting him and helping his family.  It was probably one of the best
moments ever.  I am so happy for him.  I know that this will help him
and his family make it back to the temple and be even more strong.
It was a really good way to finish my time here.
  wE also had an activity with the young women.  I love them here and
its been great hanging with them recently.  They don´t have a
president so I have been teaching their lessons.  WE had a spa
activity and I think i curled about 4 girls hair.  But you don´t
understand.... these girls have more hair than all of the russell
girls put together!  Seriously!  GIGANTE!   I wanted to cry but tHey
all turned out beautiful.  But at the end i was sweating so bad that
little drops of sweat were dripping off my eyebrows... my EYEBROWS.
gosh one little girl looked at me and said "you are shining!"  Anyways
I would say it was a successful activity. and Hermana Alailima and I
made quite a team.. She corn rowed everyones hair and I curled it.
  Yeah so last but not least is Leonor.  She is literally the best
and I am going to miss her so much.  She said Saturday night that
since she has been reading and living with the family she has felt so
much better.  I think she is really going to be baptized soon.  she
has real intent and I can see that she really wants to know.  I sent a
picture with her.
  well,  I have learned so much here in Puerto.  It has been so so
hard.  Probably the hardest sector, but I am so grateful for what I
have learned.  I have truly learned to lean on and trust in the
Savior.  He is our brother, our friend, and our Redeemer.  He is with
us through the failures and the successess.  I cant wait to tell him
thanks.  I know that everything that is wrong in the world can be made
right through His Atonement.  God´s plan is perfect and is Gospel will
help us return home.  I love you guys... have a great week!!
Love, Hermana russell
p.s.  Thanks for putting up with the ugly pictures :)
p.s.s.  Ellie and grace are not in any way allowed to drive or date.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sunny Puerto

Hey familia!!!!

      So the best news that we got this week is that

1.        Jeffery R Holland is coming in February!!!

2.       And we got cell phones……HALALUJAH!!

And basically that is it….

Love, Hermana Russell

Just kidding..  what´s shaking guys !!!  Its been a great week.  It
went by really fast due to my trip.   We have been working so hard
this week that I have been getting home so exhausted.  WE go to bed as
fast as we can and literally are like zombies in the morning.   We
decided to start running in the mornings because it makes us feel so
much better.   I don`t know why I am so exhausted….  Oh Puerto…. Haha

This week the Hermanas from cusco came to visit us.  They are so
great.  I spent the day with Hermana white.  She is the best and so
great.  We shared the restoration with an investigator and the spirit
was so strong. When we challenged her to be baptized she said yes and
accepted a date for the 20 of February!  I am really excited for her.
Her name is Juliana and honestly it feels so good that someone finally
accepted a fecha!!  Yaya later we visited my favorite person ever
named Leonor!  She is 86 years old and literally still kicking it.
She is hilariously sassy and is accepting the church.  We
visited her and right off the bat she said she won`t get baptized.
She lives with members, by the way.   Anyways we started talking to
her and she said that the only difference between catholics and
Mormons is that we didn’t worship Mary.  So we talked about Mary and
shared a scripture in the book of Mormon to answer her question.
After she seemed more comfortable.  We had planned to teach lesson 2
on the plan of salvation but I felt like this lesson we needed to
focus on the book of Mormon.  I asked her if she had prayed about it
and she said that she had.  I asked her how she felt and she said she
had forgotten.   Palm in face.   #teachingoldpeopleprobs   anyways we
bore our testimonies about the restored church and the spirit was so
strong.  She said she was feeling it and it was such a sweet moment.
I challenged her to baptism and I thought she was going to say yes.
She was smiling and nodding her head…. And then she said no…. haha we
will keep trying.  She came to church and looks so comfortable there.
She is surrounded by members and even comments in Sunday school.   I
love her.  Especially when she tells me all her crazy remedies to
cure my legs.

And that’s about my week.   Changes are next week.  So we are dying.
We will probably get a change because we have been together for three.
  I don`t want to leave Puerto but she doesn`t either.  I have learned
how to love here.  I have learned about sacrifice here.  And mostly I
have learned that the Christ is the center of the God`s plan.  I
testify that he is our Savior. He loves us and he is mindful of us.
He will be with us through our triumphs and our failures.    I  love
being  a missionary.  It’s the best thing ever J

Love Hermana Russell