Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014

Mom, Dad, and Family,

Well fortunately, enough has happened in the past four weeks that this shouldn't be too dry of an email.  In fact the past three days have been some of the most productive I've had in a fairly long while.  We were doing weekly planning (we do it on Fridays) and we're sitting there thinking to ourselves "'s been six days since we've had a lesson with an investigator..."  That's quite the drought.  We hadn't found anybody, or taught anybody all week long.  The only lessons we had were with less-active members--two of them.  Okay, I'm no stat monkey (numbers aren't really a big deal to me), but in case you're wondering, two less-active member lessons in six days is not the highest lesson count for missionaries.  But we didn't really care--we went to the temple the day before.  Nothing could really get us down.  Except for maybe malaria...that would stink.  So we're kind of trying to figure out how we're going to reach our goals and who we could go see and not really coming up with anything.

And then we had four lessons with investigators, two of which were with new investigators, in two days.  So that was pretty cool and we felt all warm inside and stuff.  We felt super grateful to God.  It was a great weekend.

But back to weekly planning.  Last week we were dropped by three investigators.  Also not good on the numbers game.  One of them being Sharon.  That was sooo depressing.  We were stopping by to see if we could catch Carlos (Sharon's next door neighbor--who also happens to be an investigator) and Sharon walked outside.  We needed to follow up with her and she how she's doing anyway, so we started talking when she stopped and got really serious.  "Yeah, I meant to call you back the other day.  I need to tell you that I need to cancel our appointment for Friday."  The word 'cancel' in comparison to 'reschedule' is probably on of the worst feeling comparisons in the world.  She continued "And I don't think it is worth the time for you two to keep on coming by.  I was praying and got my answer that the Bible is God's ONLY word."  Well we thought that was kind of weird.  We found out later in the conversation that she just wasn't realizing the answer.  It's understandable that she would be hesitant--she teaches the equivalent of primary at her church and to give that up and to attend a different church while her husband stays at the current one is kind of a lot to give up.  We knew she had a lot of fears, but most all of them seemed to go away when we were in lessons with her.  She was so close to coming to church and to getting a strong confirmation.  She was reading the Book of Mormon, she was praying--on her own and with us--and she even allowed us to bring a member to one of our visits.  She was going so good, but a decision had to be made and she chose to stay where she's at right now.  She told us she's not shutting it out of her mind and she still keeps the Book of Mormon near her bedside and she'll still read from it.  Elder Depew and I bore fervent testimony to her about the truthfulness and the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Spirit entered into all of our hearts.  But she had made her decision and we were super sad.  But she says she want to keep in contact and we'll probably see her this week anyway just to see how she's doing and invite her to General Conference.  She's really awesome and we still want to keep in touch.  Our area isn't that big, so that won't be hard.

But we found Nancy.  She's technically YSA age...but we don't really want to tell anyone that, because we think she's super cool.  She was way nice when we first met her and she invited us over.  We showed up at the expected time and she was like "I thought you guys were going to forget."  HA!  We never forget.  She was happy to see us and we taught her a quick lesson and invited her to church.  She accepted and was excited to come.  She didn't make it.  She teaches kindergarten and has taken care of kids for pretty much her entire life and we forgot to tell her last Sunday was THE PRIMARY PROGRAM!  I was super bummed for like 30 seconds...and then I just started to enjoy the program.  It was awesome.

Speaking of the Primary Program.  Robyn needs something from the field, huh?  Well, there's a lot to tell.  But something that has been on my mind a lot recently is another couple we're working with.  Paula's not a member (I don't know if I told you about these two), and Robert hasn't been to church in over 15yrs.  Here's what she can share: 

Robert actually found us.  We were sitting on the corner late at night trying to figure out what to do when Robert drove by.  He invited us over to his home and we started teaching him and Paula, his wife.  She's really excited to learn more but Robert's not sure he wants to come back to church.  So I fasted for him on Sunday--that he would gain the desire to come back to church.  After I got done praying, I got the thought to read Mosiah 3.  Verses 4 and 5 say "For the Lord hath heard thy prayers...and hath sent me to declare unto thee that thou mayest rejoice....For behold, the time cometh...that in power, the Lord...shall come down from heaven among the children of men..."  I know God answers prayers.  And that went He loves all His children.

I'm excited to keep working with them.  They are so awesome.  Our ward is actually shrinking because people keep moving out.  Our Bishops and Stake President are super concerned we'll have to dissolve the stake.  Some members have 3-4 callings here in our ward.  Robert and Paula are exactly what the ward needs and we pray always that they'll join the church.  Pray for Enos would.

Getting back to weekly planning this past week.  Elder Depew and I started in this area with one investigator.  As we were planning this past week...we had one investigator.  It was discouraging for a moment--we had to start all over again, from the beginning.  But we felt a certain surge of confidence in the Lord.  It was actually really cool because once again, there's no where to go or turn but Up.  So we have our week filled out and plans to do some hard work this week to end this transfer (probably Elder Depew's last week here).  Lesson learned:  Don't Forget to Look Up.

I love you all and pray for you often.  I'm glad to hear everything is going well.  Tell Corynne she should email me sometime before the second coming.  It's been nearly 9mos.  Come on. ;)  How are she and Bryce doing?  I think about them and pray for them.  I hope all is going well.

Also!  I was reading the past conference talks again (in preparation for this week), and I ran across Elder Ballards talk.  Ever since I read Our Search for Happiness, my love for Elder Ballard has grown so much.  But how is Preach My Gospel study going?  I know more than ever that studying that book and using it not only in missionary work and efforts, but in everyday life will bless you all and those you meet and know.  By the way, good job in Boston, Mom.  Take care and love those around you.

Elder Russell
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