MLC, and an AP Exchange

Hey Family!

Such a good week this week!! I had a lot of driving to do once again, all the way down to McAllen for the mission leadership conference. It was great though. Definitely worth the time. Elder Dominguez and I actually get to train the zone on all that we learned tomorrow in Zone Meeting. It will be great! We learned mostly this week about the law of reaping and sowing. It was great! President talked a lot about how our faith, our visualization about the results we want to achieve are there, we can achieve any goal we set our minds to. I felt like I received a lot of revelation and guidance for our area through that training.
After the MLC, we got to have a little two day exchange with the AP’s. It was great! I had the opportunity to go with Elder Harker. He is a ball of energy. We had such a good time together! More importantly, when we were working, he taught me a pretty critical lesson, I truly had a paradigm shift. He taught me something about the principle of a vision. He talked to me about the why of missionary work and what we were truly doing as His servants. We came to the conclusion that we are working with the vision of establishing Zion, or God’s kingdom on earth. And so, when we look for people, we look for the kingdom builders, people who will effect the church forever down here in Robstown. It was pretty cool. We found several families together and we have a bunch of good potential and a good vision to work with.
We did some hard labor for a member this week. He has a farm and he was cutting down a ton of trees and tree limbs and we were hauling it all. It was good hard work and it lasted a good two hours or so. I have scrapes, I’m sore and I have about a million and a half mosquito bites on my body. It was good though! I truly believe in service because of my mission and the blessings and results that come in the lives of others and in your own.
Something I have been thinking about lately is something our mission president talked about. He told us, every action, everything we do in life has a consequence with God. We all have a bill, and that bill always arrives. Whether it be a good bill, for doing a lot of good things, or a bad bill, for not doing good things.The goal of the mission is to do many good things and to end up with a good bill. To be blessed, and to bless others. So, the goal of life, is to end with a positive bill. A bill with many blessings, and not with curses. Food for thought I guess 🙂
I love you all so much! I pray for you all every night and I know that our Savior lives and loves us. He is our advocate with the Father and has ultimately paid the price of our sins. I testify of that. I testify of this great and marvelous work that we are apart of. I know we can all make a difference and help our Savior and Heavenly Father establish Zion here on earth.
Elder Russell

Exchanges and Memorial Day

Hey Family!

I don’t have a ton of time, But I will try to fill you all in on the week that we had. First of all, I had an exchange with Elder Nelson. He is one of our DL’s here in Sinton zone. He has a ton of fire and energy to do the work. I learned a ton from him. Our focus was just on finding good people because that area hasn’t baptized in over a year and a half. Pretty crazy so that is a huge focus for us. We had a really good exchange and found great people.
The coolest thing that happened this week is Elizabeth came to church again! She only speaks Spanish so she wanted to go to the Spanish branch. I made the trip up Sunday to Corpus with the ward mission leader of the Spanish branch and it was great! She even brought a friend, Joe Pena to all three classes as well. The only thing was, is that it was such a small branch that they had no gospel principals class. So, we walked into the gospel principals class and it was only us and the teacher. Elizabeth told us, well, I don’t want to be in here alone. Can I sit with the other ladies in the other class. I said well, of course! So, we went to gospel doctrine on her second day of church. She got a deep doctrine discussion of the plan of salvation. It was great. She seemed to really love it. Joe took it well too and accepted for us to have lessons with him as well.
We are still working with Pablo and Vanessa. They are doing good but they miss church every week. It’s so frustrating. They are so prepared by the Lord but something always comes up on Sunday to prevent them from coming.
We got a stellar training from President Torres this last week. It was all about not fighting the battle, but letting the Lord fight the battle for us. In the case of missionary work, it is the Lords work. He does it better than anyone. So, If we put our trust in the Lord, he will always be on our side and help us win at the end of the day. That’s basically the gist of the training but I wish y’all could have heard all the scriptures he taught us and how he taught the doctrine.
Our memorial day was great. We had a zone activity called the 2017 Sinton Olympics. We made 5 different mini games for everyone to play as districts. It went off super great! Everyone seemed to really like it and we had a good time.
Love you guys so much! Sorry this one is short!
Elder Russell

Lento, Pero Seguro.

Hey Family!

Well to be quite frank, we have had a tough couple of weeks. Satan has definitely been working hard to stop the progress of our work. We have been working super hard with not a ton of fruit for our labors. We are getting small miracles along the way, but yesterday at church, nobody came. It was pretty disappointing because not even a lot of the members showed up. It was raining pretty hard but I guess people just look for a reason not to go to church now days! But, I’m going to keep my head up. I know Lucifer works the hardest when he knows what kind of potential we have. I know that I can have success in these last three weeks I’ll be in Robstown. President told Elder Dominguez I will probably get moved out for my last transfer. He usually doesn’t have Zone leaders end their missions as zone leaders. So, maybe I will train again for my last transfer or something like that? That would be amazing!!
So, this week we were working with my favorite investigator up here, Elizabeth. She is the investigator we found riding by her chicken store on the side of the road. She is doing really well but yesterday there was a miscommunication over her ride to church so she wasn’t able to make it. Super big bummer. She is doing good other than that. She is battling every day with her word of wisdom issues and she is doing really well. She loves the church and I would love to be apart of her conversion. Her son in Mexico that’s a member will be so happy when she gets baptized!
We passed by Pablo this week as well to get an awesome surprise. He was so excited when we started talking to him, he was basically ready to shout it out to the world that he had quit smoking. I haven’t seen somebody that happy for so long. He told us since we have been teaching him, he has completely stopped cigarettes and heroin. That’s huge people. I was so happy for him. He talked about the blessing we gave him with the “magic oil” and how powerful he felt after. I have never received a stronger witness about the power of God than this week. He literally was healed from his addiction and his chains were lifted. He is begging to get baptized and to be a missionary. We told him because of his age and his kids, he can’t quite be a missionary yet, but he can get baptized. He had pre committed to an event Sunday so he will for sure come this weekend to church. Hopefully he can get baptized in a couple of weeks. His wife is super awesome as well. Hopefully she progresses just as fast as Pablo has.
That’s about it! I love you all so much and pray for you all every day. Have a great week and remember that God is in charge.
Les Amo!
Elder Russell

Last Skype of the Mission!

Hey Family!

Well, the last Skype of my mission just finished! I’m so glad we got to do it. It was such a good time even with the technical difficulties. It was cool getting to see the updated house! Everybody looked really good.
This week has been super busy. Elder Dominguez and I have been reorganizing the areas of the zone and have been looking at the demographics of members and helping everything run smooth. We made a plan and got to present it to President and he approved it. So we switched areas a little! Instead of only having half of Robstown, we have all of it! The member breakdown is a lot better now. That was exciting to get all set up.
With that new area addition, we went over to an old investigator of the other Elders that I have taught before. His name is Pablo. He has such a great spirit! We were able to give him a blessing again so he can overcome his word of wisdom issues. He said that every time we come over, it’s like a missing part of his life is filled. It was awesome. He recognizes the Spirit so strong! He is really excited to make it out to church this next weekend. Since the blessing, he hasn’t smoked. He has made awesome progress.
Another cool thing President had us do this week was he called last week and we had a meeting with the Stake President in Corpus Christi and the other zone leaders. He wanted us to set up a zone blitz down in a town called Falfurias and he set up the focus for our zone in this coming transfer.
The main focus of our area this week has been finding! That was the majority of our activity this week was finding new people and really setting up our area for this coming month. Other than that, not too many more new things!
I love you all so much and look forward to seeing you all again the next time!
Elder Russell

Transfer 15

Querido Familia,

Another transfer comes and goes! I ended up only keeping Elder Moser for one transfer! My new comp is Elder Dominguez and I stayed here in good O’l Robstown in the Crack House. I love it here! We are starting to redraw the area maps and trying to reconfigure a couple of things in the zone right now to make everyone’s area more smooth. Elder Dominguez and I should have a little bit more area to work with too so that should be great.
We are still working with the same three general people because they all look the most solid for baptism. We are still working with Gloria, she came to church this last week so she is looking good for next week to get baptized. I have my fingers crossed for that one. She just got a new job so hopefully all goes well with that. Carlos came to church again. He is liking it but thinks he’s not prepared for baptism yet. He will be a little bit more slow progressing but I think he will eventually get baptized. He felt a little pressured.
We had a cool miracle at church this last week. We had an active member bring her step daughter to church and apparently she has been studying and researching about the church for years! She want’s to be baptized and as soon as her Dad and Step mom get custody, she should be  good to go. Hopefully that all plays out. She also mentioned that she has interest in going on a mission so Elder Dominguez and I are super excited to be working with her!
President changed things up this week with our Mission Leadership Conference we had down in McAllen. Now we count new investigators a little different. Before they are counted as new investigators, they have to keep their return appointment that was set up. Pretty interesting. Also, he said that we can take temple trips with the ward if we prepare recent converts for the trip! How cool is that right? It’s just for the current ward your serving in so that means I have to get the recent converts here in Robstown prepared for the temple and then we get to go to San Antonio!
The highlight of my whole week was last night. We felt prompted and guided by the Spirit to be knocking some apartments that we haven’t knocked before, so we went. We didn’t find anything. We felt pretty bummed and went and ate with the Escamillas. Around 8 last night, our plans fell through so we decided to go back and start knocking again. We found the coolest investigator ever. Her name is Debrah and she is so excited that she found us. She is already so excited to learn more about Jesus Christ and to get closer to him! She is cooking dinner for us Wednesday night before her first lesson! She will get baptized in no time! She is a prime example of people needing the gospel. She truly needs the healing power of the Atonement in her life. I’m so glad that we got the opportunity to meet her.
Love you all a ton!
Elder Russell

Spanish Magnet

Hey Fam!

I’m so sorry if this letter is short because we have a huge p-day activity to set up for today in Corpus. We are doing a dual zone p-day activity playing volleyball by a beach and right by the Gulf of Mexico! Should be super fun and we are excited.
Transfer 14 of my mission absolutely flew by. Seriously I can’t even believe I have already been with Elder Moser for a month and a half. Crazy to think about. We got our transfers last night (zl benefits) and I will be staying here in Robstown and Elder Dominguez, Originally from Argentina is coming here to be my comp! He has been a zone leader now for a couple months so I won’t have to train a new ZL thank heavens. This was such a memorable transfer with Elder Moser! We had a super good time and we worked hard!
A super nice miracle happened this week. We have a Spanish investigator (weird teaching in Spanish up here)  who’s not legal here so she stays the weekends in a shelter. She was up in the shelter this weekend and we found a ride from another branch all the way in Corpus Christi that’s in all Spanish and she got a ride! She went to all three hours and loved it. Her name is Elizabeth and she was taking lessons when she was back in Mexico. Elder Moser and I found her when we were riding our bikes and I felt impressed to give a pass along card to the cashier of a chicken place on the side of the road! She is so great and no doubt will get baptized soon. She is in desperate need of the gospel and I’m so happy that we found her.
Carlos came to church for the second time in a row! We set a baptismal date with him for the next week but he ended up saying that he thinks it’s too soon. He needs a little bit more prep, and he will be good. He has so much faith and I know he will and can get baptized this next month! We are really excited for him.
Gloria is still passing through some trials with her daughter being taken by CPS. We’re not positive when she will be baptized now.
I love you all so much and I pray and hope you all have a great week. I think the biggest blessing and tool I have seen in my life this week was the power of prayer. Truly it is an invaluable tool being able to communicate with the Maker of endless worlds whenever we want to! I love the gospel and I know it’s true. I know that we truly do represent the Savior out here and this work is His.
Love you all!
Elder Russell

The Massaging Couch

Hey Family!

Well we had a really good week here in Robstown. Definitely never a dull moment up here in this area!
This past week Elder Moser and I put on a super special zone meeting. We really wanted the missionary’s in our zone to remember the reasons as to why they came out on a mission. We asked all the parents to send in videos of their missionary’s opening their call letters. It was so awesome! The Spirit was so strong in the meeting and the training went really well. We trained everybody on what the mission department came down and trained us on. Everybody should be better planners and more effective servants of the Lord here in the Sinton Zone.
One of our progressing investigators, Gloria, had quite a week. We were prepping her really well for her baptism and it came time to teach her the commandments. We taught her the word of wisdom and she agreed to live it! We knew it would be a big temptation for her to give up her alcohol and coffee in the morning so we ended up asking her to give all of the alcohol and coffee to us to show God she was ready to make the commitment. Needless to say, we ended up having a back seat full of Jack Daniels, Coffee, and Tea. Successful word of wisdom lesson? Yep. It was great.
The Lord definitely ended up blessing Gloria for it! We had a member randomly contact us and ask us if we knew anybody who needed a couch, we said we did! It ended up being a really nice messaging couch with lights and everything. We gave it to Gloria and she was so happy! Were happy too because we got to watch the Restoration movie on it last night and got a massage. She is doing super super well but we had to move her Baptism date back a week because of some issues from not coming to church. She should be getting baptized in just a couple of weeks.
Next, we had a little cool find this week! We found Carlos, a friend of a sister in the ward. Elder Moser and I just felt super impressed to go knock on some apartment doors, and we ended up finding him. He recognized us because he had some help from some missionary’s building a house one time. He came to church this last week AND to our meal appointment we had set up at a members house. He had some really good fellowship and definitely looks awesome for our April pool of investigators.
That’s about it!
Love y’all!
Elder Russell