Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 23, 2014

Mom, Dad, and Family,

I promise I'll take more pictures in the future!  I just don't ever think to.  Except for dumb things (like that one time I took a picture of the chair that Elder Bringhurst put in the shower).  And I don't ever feel like sharing dumb I don't send them.  So I guess what I'm actually trying to say, is that I don't have any pictures to send this week.  ....I know...I's lame.  But you've all seen SoCal anyway. ;)

The week was kind of crazy.  Elder King and I decided to keep the contacting thing going and we talked to a lot of people.  I'm fairly comfortable with it now.  I just have to keep doing it or that will change.  But it's becoming easier to incorporate Gospel teachings into everyday language.  Which would make sense because it's in everyday life...if you listen close enough.  That, and I'm becoming more comfortable with just jumping into full Gospel conversations (because PC and Taboo rules are for normal people).  It just becomes easier the more you do it.  It's like working out, except I never got stronger when I worked out.

The reason I bring up talking to people though is because there's this law (in fact, the first law) under Heaven by which all things are governed by.  It's called Obedience.  It's just fact (not an idea, not a concept, not just a principle, but a fact) that when you are obedient to God's laws, you receive blessings.  All things are predicated on this law.  Now missionaries are told to talk to everyone.  Is that actually possible?  No.  Of course not...we only have two mouths.  But the idea (the law) is that we talk to as many people as we can and the promise is that we'll have people to teach.  That's just the way things go.  So Elder King and I decided to implement operation TWEE (Talk With Everyone Everywhere).  Because the previous weeks have been a little dry in terms of teaching.  And we started talking to more people.  Well, as we were coming back from contacting one day, we randomly got a referral from the system.  So we made plans to go see the guy the next day (even though he lived clear out in the middle of nowhere!).  We were at his house and no one was home.  But I didn't feel like leaving yet.  We had plans to see this guy and if we had to break the door down and storm the house and go through all of his belongings to find a clue concerning his whereabouts then by golly we were going to break down the door and storm the house and go through all of his belongings to find a clue concerning his whereabouts.  So after several loud and authoritative knocks on his front door (the kind that sound like it's the police and not the missionaries), and after leaving pieces of my right hand knuckles on the door and placing a considerable amount of dents just below the peep hole, the Spirit told me that it would in fact not be a good idea to break into his home.  But I was not convinced (and neither was the Spirit) that it was time to leave his front porch.  So we stood there.  ...We stood there a good long while and my mind was bothering me because we weren't moving...or even talking.  So I decided to call tomorrows dinner appointment.  Right as I started to leave a message a boy walked up to the door and into the house.  For some reason, my companion didn't ask him who he was as he was walking in.  If I wasn't holding the phone there might have been dents and pieces of the skin of my knuckle on his face as well as the door.  So I hung up the phone and before I could even bring my arm back to push it forward, the kid walked back out of the house.  Again...we stood there.  For some reason nothing was said for a little bit.  Then we asked him if he was Edgar.  He replied that he wasn't.  Then this 24yo man told us that he was actually Edgar's 17yo, younger brother.  That seemed to break the ice enough for us to start teaching and testifying of the Restoration.  Well, this kid wasn't the most interested person on the planet but we kept going.  Occasionally he would answer the questions we asked honestly, or interject with a comment.  We taught him a good deal of the first lesson and gave him a Book of Mormon and told him to read it.  We then set a return appointment for the next day.  Well the next day not only was he just as disinterested, but he was also high.  He told us he wasn't quite looking to change his life and didn't plan on ever becoming a Mormon.  We didn't really care because no one does plan on becoming Mormon, and so we continued to expound on the importance of the Restoration.  He hadn't read the BoM yet and so we told him why he should.  We bore our testimonies, prayed with him and set up a return appointment before he lit up and went to go get food.  One might think it's pointless teaching someone who doesn't really care or seem interested, but I think that he does care.  He obviously cares enough to listen, and be there for our return appointments.  So I figure it's a good time to plant some seeds.  Even if it's in winter and they wont grow for thirty years.

As we were walking away from this lesson, we got a call.  This lady said she got our number from one of her friends, she used to take the lessons and would like to take them again.  She lived right across the street...but we didn't go see her till later that night.  There was a problem that arose very quickly.  Neither Elder King nor myself knows how to teach a family.  We've taught them twice and are still trying to figure out what to do.  The family doesn't have a job.  They live in the poorest part of town, in the living room of a very small apartment.  All five of them.  It's a very hard situation.  They have no money, no car, and no job.  It's pretty crazy.  Pray for the Cortez family.

So that's the kind of thing that happens when missionaries talk to a lot of people.  Just in case you're wondering.

Thanks for all you do.  I love and miss you all.  I miss Mom and Dad's cooking, even though dinners here are really good.  We don't eat too much spaghetti.  But we do eat a lot of pizza and Mexican food.  I've had a lot of pizza.  I don't think I'm sick of it yet, though.  I still don't think that will ever happen.  Even if I have it 5 meals out of the week.

I hope PMG study is going well.  It's been good to hear back on that.  Continue to do it.  It will bless your live more than you know.  Sometimes it might be hard or it might seem boring.  Sometimes it might be hard to see the point of studying it.  But I promise you you'll be blessed the more you read it.  Chapter 4 is a good one, if you ever get the chance to look it over.  I know it's a book written under the influence of God.

I know the Book of Mormon is scripture.  That it contains the words of God.  That it testifies of the Savior.  That if we abide by it's precepts we will draw closer to God than by any other book.

I know the Savior lives.  That He loves us.  That the atonement is real.  That it works.  That He directs the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I know God lives and is very active in all of our lives.  We are His children.  He is our Father.

Elder Russell

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