Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014

Hi All,
     Jantzen's p-day in the MTC was Wednesday.  In California it is Monday.  He flew out on Tuesday which means that we will go about two weeks before we'll hear from him.  However, we have dear friends, Pam and Jay Robbins, who live in his mission boundaries.  Turns out, the man in charge of apartments for the missionaries and the mission AP's live in Pam and Jay's ward!  So, on Tuesday, Pam texted me to let me know that Jantzen had arrived and was assigned an area in Ontario, about 10 minutes away from the Robbins' home.  Also, I received an email last night from Julia Hobbs, the mission president's wife.  She also sent a photo of Jantzen with some missionaries in his mission.  I will try to figure out how to post the picture!
     Thank you all for your love and prayers on Jantzen's behalf.

From Sister Hobbs:

Dear Russell Family,

Elder Russell is here and he is safe! Know that he has a great companion. We are grateful you would share him with us.

President and Sister Hobbs
CA Rancho Cucamonga Mission 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 22, 2014

Hi All,
    I am humbled by the fact that Jantzen has entrusted me with  his missionary blog, being techno-challenged as I am.  Anyway, being the Mom, I've waited breathlessly each day for anything from Jantzen.  It finally came, exactly a week after we dropped him off.  Enjoy.
Much love,

Dear Mom and Family!

Oh my gosh this is nuts! I've been here a week and my bond with my district and my companion make it so the days just fly by.  When I look at it I think that it seems so long ago that you dropped me off here, but at the same time, it seems so short.  Turns out my P-Day is Wednesday (if you couldn't tell by the fact that I haven't written till now), but that will change when I get to the field.

I have wayy too much to tell you and I'm technically only supposed to be on the computer for 25 more minutes, so I'll try and make it quick (but we got back from the temple late know).  Speaking of which, did you know that missionaries walk by the Provo Temple every Sunday afternoon?  Where they are greeted by a loving protester who insists that they are all deceivers and going to hell.  It's warmer there, so I'm not sure most of the missionaries mind.

My comp is the coolest.  He is so much different than me--which is good.  His is kind, gentle, big, tone deaf, and has such a strong testimony built entirely by faith.  He and I haven't had any conflicts other than how to teach.  But even then, there's just love between us so it makes it easier.  He really is a great guy.  We were made ZLs the day after we got here...kinda weird.  Neither one of us had even seen a ZL for more than an hour.  So we weren't sure what to do, but we're excited because we have another district coming in that we get to welcome.  It's entirely of sisters too!  Which is weird. because that means they won't have a DL or ZLs to take over for Elder Brown and I.  So for a total of a day and a half (I LEAVE TUESDAY!) they won't have ZLs.  I think that's weird, but we're so excited to welcome them with the STLs to the zone.  Sister's spirits are so awesome here.

In terms of schedule, we spend the same amount of time learning to teach as you probably did, mom and dad.  The only difference is, instead of learning maybe two or three hours a day and having the rest be about language or culture...we learn how to teach eight hours a day.  It feels good to stand up after class.  We pray a ton, we sing a ton, we role play a ton, we testify a ton.  It's great and crazy!

We actually get to teach real investigators here. pshwah?!  I split with Elder Wardle (our DL) to take care of something once and we ran into an investigator (that they hire to come here to investigate) and she just flat out stopped us and asked us to teach her.  It was super sweet and spiritual, and love was all over the place.  We haven't had a chance to teach her yet, but she's so prepared.  Our other investigator is a super depressed guy that I just want to be happy more than anything.  But he's so closed off that he won't accept anything.  He opened up though, which was nice.  But then during lunch that day, he found us and told us not to come by again.  I don't know where it came from but I'm combing my brain to try and find out if it was something I said or did.  We're going back anyway...because one it's his job to be there, and two, we knew he felt something when we saw him.  So he's stuck.

I sang in the MTC Devotional Choir on Tuesday and the devotional was broadcast to all of the MTCs around the world.  Brother Clausse spoke (first counselor in presiding bishopric) and they said that last week before I got here, Elder Bednar spoke.  They also say that it sometimes is broadcast to BYUTV, so you might have missed me. ;)  It was amazing!  We sang Gentle Savior, Dear Redeemer.  But not the one in the hymnbook.  It's arranged by Brett Stewart and it doesn't sound like a pirate anthem. (Dad, look it up.)

Thanks for the letters, I got them all, and it's kept me especially happy.  Speaking of which, we all had to take this stress test and my results came back with mild/moderate stress, so I'm supposed to go see someone about it. -_-  What a bore.  I don't think I will, because I'm not stressed.  Meh, they'll survive.

I wish I could tell you everything--oh!  Since being here, I've seen Elder Andreason (in our stake going to Fresno), Sister Rust (now in Texas), Brandon Winters (teaches English), Alex Fish (teaching Slovak), and EVERY DAY I've seen Staresina (Slovian for Elder) Brown.  He's the only Elder in the entire MTC going to Slovia, so he doesn't have a companion.  He goes to all of his Slovian classes, by himself, he's the only one that knows the language and on day three, he had to teach in Slovian.  I totally don't even envy those learning a language.  That would...suck, but don't tell him I said that, because I already did.  But he loves it.

This is the Lord's work and it's the best.  Don't forget it.  Don't doubt it.  He loves you.  I miss you all and something I realized...if only missionaries prayed for missionaries (and they all do)...I'd have 83,000 people praying for me.  But keep them all in your prayers anyway.  But above the missionaries, pray for all of the investigators.  They need it a fetch of a lot more than we do.  I can't wait to get to Rancho.  The MTC is great and all (and we decided that the food isn't sub par, or super par, just par), but I wanna be out there.

Don't forget to post this to the blog so that I can tell everyone back home that the church is true, and it's here for them.  He's loves all his children.  Every last one.

I love you all!
Elder Christopher Jantzen Russell

P.S.  An elder in my district who is going to Rancho with me, know's Sister Orr.  He's accompanying me for a piece I'm singing.  Awesome huh?