Texas Mcallen Mission

Dear Family,

Well, this is it. My mission ends tomorrow. I really can’t believe that my mission has gone by so quickly. It feels like my mission has been a dream. I have loved it so much! I remember when I was home, Dad would always say, If I could choose between my college education and my mission, I would choose my mission every time. I never understood it when he said that. I never truly understood because I hadn’t served a mission myself. My mission has changed Jake Russell. Not into someone new, or foreign, but to a disciple of Christ. I never knew what that truly meant before my mission. I know now that over all else, I love my Heavenly Father, and my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. I have seen the hand of God in my life and been blessed by the presence of the Holy Ghost out here and I never want to lose this feeling that I have had. I testify that God is our Heavenly Father, and that He has a son, Jesus Christ, who came to this earth and died for every single one of us. I know that the Holy Ghost is there, as long as we are worthy of His presence, leading us, and guiding us daily. I know he can be our constant companion if we strive to have His presence with us.
The second thing that I have come to know of a surety on my mission is that the Priesthood authority of the Lord Jesus Christ has been restored; in it’s entirety to the earth to the Prophet Joseph Smith. I have seen the miracles that come from the Priesthood. I know it’s the power of God. I know worthy men in God’s church can hold that power, exercise it, and perform God’s work just as they have done from the dispensation of Adam. I have seen the Priesthood of God heal, strengthen, lift and carry people in this life. I have been an instrument in God’s hands to bring to pass miracles, and I will never deny that he has His power here and wants us to use it.
I have learned the blessings and miracles that come with obedience to the commandments. There are SO many rules in a mission. So many. And sometimes, it seems overwhelming to try to follow them all. I do know that if we do follow the commandments and the rules of his chosen servants on this earth, we will receive blessings from on high. I have been a personal witness on my mission to see the windows of heaven open on my mission and for God to bless us with something that really was no cause of our own work in the area, but a tender mercy of Him.
Lastly, I wanted to testify of the Book of Mormon. It is such an inspired book of God! I know it to be true. True power comes into our lives when we not only read, but study the teachings that come from the Book of Mormon. I have seen addictions overcome, testimony’s gained, and comfort given through the Book of Mormon. I know for myself that the Book of Mormon was translated through the power of God by Joseph Smith.
What a blessing from my Heavenly Father it has been to be here in the TMM. What a great mission it has been. Truly I have loved my time here, but more than just thinking about me, I feel as if I have touched a couple of lives here with the service I have given. I will never be able to thank my God, and my Savior for the wonderful blessing that serving a full time mission has been for me.
Thank you all for the wonderful support, prayers, fasting and all the effort you have given. I will never be able to repay you all. Thank you. I love you all so much and am super excited to start a new page in my life. I know my Heavenly Father will take care of me and guide my next steps in this mortal journey.
Les Amo!
Elder Russell
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