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