Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 10, 2014

Mom, Dad, and Family,

So...I was not aware how much jam I use when I have it...and in this past week...I've eaten an entire jar.  It was glorious.  And I finished the cookies...which were also glorious.  I think I'll keep eating.

Ooo, sorry to hear about Corynne and Bryce.  That does not sound like a good situation and I will definitely keep them in my prayers.  That is pretty terrifying to have happen.  I'm counting it conspiracy--because let's face it, how many engines just explode and spew hot oil everywhere?  Not many outside of movies with Tom Cruise.  You might want to call the IMF and see what's going on.

This week was good,  I was sore from Mt. Baldy for about four days and still have a pretty nifty bruise (I'm almost hoping it doesn't go away because it looks so crazy).  Needless to say, it was not easy getting up in the morning (it's needless because it's never easy getting up in the morning).  However, my companion and I have been able to do it all week long--and we're still alive, so you gotta count that as a bonus.

We didn't find any new investigators this week, which was kind of a bummer, but the week was still great.  It's pretty much true that as long as you're just committed to serve, you're successful.  We worked pretty hard this week and I would say it's been a stellar week.  We had an awesome weekly planning session--best I've had since I've been out (and I have been out a considerable amount of weeks).  We taught a couple of our investigators and they're reading the Book of Mormon, how cool is that?  The sad part is they won't be our investigators for long because we have to pass them off to the YSA ward, but that's okay because we are still seeing them progress, and that's what matters.

We found this lost sheep last week who hasn't been to church in a decade.  Apparently he joined the church and shortly thereafter was offended by the guy who baptized him and fell away.  So he told us (we were on splits, so a member of my ward and myself) some crazy stories from his life and a little bit about his conversion story and we invited him to come to church.  We told him that as part of our baptismal covenant, we've promised to take care of people like him and to be there when he needs us (huh, I didn't think about it then, but that was what my farewell talk was on).  He told us he'd try and get to church.  It was kind of a "meh" commitment, so we gave him our number and told him to call us if he needed anything.  Typically, they don't call.  No one calls missionaries.  The only time missionaries get called is by their families on Christmas and Mothers Day when the initial call from the missionary gets dropped.  So we didn't really expect him to be at church...and he wasn't.  But then today (like...just a few hours ago) he called us and said "Sorry I couldn't make it to the services man, I got all tied up on Sunday."  Only, it sounded cooler when he said it than it sounded just now because he has a Jamaican accent.  My jaw just about dropped.  That never happens.  So we set up an appointment and we're going to go see him this week.  It was pretty awesome.  He's a good guy.

So this week in Sacrament meeting, I'm singing either The Lord's Prayer or O Divine Redeemer (thought Dad my like to hear about that).  The Pianist actually reminds me a lot of Dad in terms of how he likes things performed.  I handed him Savior Redeemer of My Soul and said that we could play that because one of the Sister Missionaries in the ward plays the violin.  We get half way through the first verse and this guy says "This is boring, Elder.  You don't want to sing this."  And pulls out O Divine Redeemer.  I almost died from laughter.  And  then, on the 31st, we're singing my arrangement of Abide With Me; Tis Eventide.  And get this, the tenor of the quartet knows my friend's mom.  Yeah, he's my friend's mother's bridesmaid's husband.  Go figure, right?  It'll be fun.  But then, also, on the 23rd of this month, I'm going to be in a choir that sings for Elder Nelson  who's coming to the mission and for the Stake Conference here in Upland.  Pretty crazy stuff.  I'm singing every weekend for the next three weeks.  It's like paradise.

We were talking to this former investigator (who is the wife of a less-active) and we were talking about her involvement with the church.  She said "Yeah, we're not church people.  Just not part of our lives at this point in time."  So we got talking about her listening to the missionaries.  "Yeah, at one point in time we were way into it and I was going to get baptized and everything.  But then, for some reason, it just didn't happen."  I thought that was interesting, and so we started asking her "So at one point in time you felt it was right and decided it would be a good decision, right?"  She's said "Yeah I did."  And we asked, "So at some point to felt that it was the true church and that the Book of Mormon was true."  And she said "Yeah."  So something just must have happened and she fell out of the swing of things and never got back into it.  So we set up an appointment and she seemed really happy about us coming over.  We're pretty excited.

But other than that, the work has just been great!  Sounds like you all had fun in SoUtah!  It's a pretty place.  I miss Utah a lot.  How long were you all there?  What're the plans for the fall?  Any other crazy places you are all going to travel?  I recommend a trip to Southern California.  Just kidding.  That would be weird.  I already feel at home here though, it's kind of bazaar.  It wouldn't surprise me if I accidently went tracting when I got home, just because it feels so much like home here with all the people that know people that I know (that sentence didn't make a whole lot of sense, huh?

How's school going to go down this fall?  Are Taylor and Rylie going to do the Harmony School in Happy Valley?

So is my Book of Mormon reading I read Jacob this week.  I'm studying humility this time through and I think it's interesting to see how humility plays out in different people.  For example, we know that  Nephi was humble, and I think Nephi is probably one of the more calm, humble people in the scriptures.  He only did some crazy things every now and again.  Jacob, on the other hand, was a little more harsh than Nephi.  Take Jacob 2, 4, and 7 for example.  However, anytime he does something, Jacob always gives credit to God first.  I thought that was interesting.  Good stuff though.  I love the Book of Mormon.  I think if I were ever stuck to read just one book in my life, it would be Harry Potter One.  Just kidding.  Probably the Book of Mormon.  It's awesome.  I really do just like reading it.  It's  So when people are like "I don't really feel the drive to read."  I just kind of look at them like o.O

I love and miss you all, you're all the best!  Keep reading, praying, going to church and the whole nine yards.  Life is awesome and I love being a missionary.  You're all a great example and I miss being around you and the love you all show to others.  I look up to all of you.

Elder Russell
Don't forget to look up.
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