Friday, June 20, 2014

June 16, 2014

Mom, Dad, and Family,

Thank you so much for your study of Preach My Gospel.  It's an incredible field-book for missionary work and life in general.  The principles taught in there could be studied for life-times and I would still be pulling out truths and applications thereof that I had not before heard.  Continue studying it and looking for ways to use what you have learned with our family, friends, neighbors, and strangers.  You're all awesome.

In reflection of the week, my attitude can really only be positive.  We had a lot of work to do--though not the work we intended to do in the beginning of the week.  However we did work hard and God blessed us this week.  Diligence can be a hard attribute to acquire and nurture.  But it was one we kind of had our work cut out for this week.

We received a training during Zone Meeting on Tuesday concerning service.  Starting next month, our mission will be implicating a program called Just Serve.  It's a program that has been piloted in other missions to help others find service opportunities in their local communities.  I'm not sure exactly how it works, but it is something most of us are excited for.  Missionaries enjoy service projects.  Some enjoy it because they get to be out of proselyting clothes; others like it because the don't HAVE to talk about the gospel; but I think I take to it because it helps people in a way that they can immediately see, gives opportunity to share the gospel, and allows me to build a stronger relationship with others.

This week, Elder King and I helped move people in and out of houses for about 13 hours.  It was a really good experience and we got to spend a lot of time with a very less-active member of our ward.  I love him and his family and it was good to associate with them for such a long time.  We also helped another non-member family move into the home of a member of our ward.  They were nice and appreciated our help.  The son of the family seemed fairly open to meeting with us and hopefully our ward-mates will have the opportunity to meet with him.

But it sort of put Elder King and I under the pile a bit because none of these were planned activities--the moving.  So after helping the people we didn't have much time for other proselyting.  Poor Elder King, I've pulled him out of bed everyday this week in the morning to go running with me too.  He's been exhausted all week long.  But we kept working.  In the odd times of the day, leaving us with little time to go to certain parts of our area to meet with people that we could have lessons with, we've had to become good at street contacting.  Which is the same sort of situation we met Sylvia in.  We haven't been able to meet with her in the past week but we keep trying.  Mostly, we just talk to the people we can, which is fairly easy on bike.  It can sometimes be daunting because they're total strangers.  But I've never walked away from a contact going "I really wish we didn't talk to him/her."  God helps us and prompts us in what to say.

This past week we've talked to a lot of people about families.  We talked to a Muslim and he told us a lot about the importance of being married before having children and we testified of eternal families.  It was a great experience.  We've used The Family: A Proclamation to the World a lot this week and I wish I carried more on me during proselyting.  A lot of people need it in this day and age.

In reflection of the conversations we've had with and about families, I want to wish dad a happy Father's Day and I hope it went well.  It's been a great blessing to be raised in our family, with both parents, away from the dangers of the world.  I sent him an email all about it.

I am thankful for the time that I have to be here on a mission and for the success that God gives us from day to day as we strive to serve him.  I love you all and thank you for the support you lend me and for the things you have taught me.  Continue to be prayerful and mindful of those around you and look for ways to serve them.  You will see God's hand in your life more and more.  You will be able to see how much He loves you, as you love others; as you practice principles of faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement and repentance.

Elder Russell

P.S. This is the family we helped move for 11 hours of the week.  Jeff is the one we've been working with.  He let me put him in a headlock.

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