Monday, November 10, 2014

October 27, 2014

Mom, Dad, and Family,

I've been thinking loads this week about testimony.  That's what I gave my talk on, trained in district meeting on, and will train again in district meeting on.  I've been thinking about how important testimony is.  It's something that I wished was stronger before I came out.  And something that can always use strengthening as a missionary.  Elder Mitchell and I listen to a lot of talks (in the car, in the morning before studies, during lunch, and sometimes before we go to bed), and two ones I've listened to recently by President Monson had to do with testimony, and gaining one.  In fact, Your Potential, Your Privileges by President Uchtdorf (Priesthood, 2011) is really a lot about gaining and strengthening a testimony.

As a missionary, you use your testimony a lot.  In fact, if you do it right, you use it always.  We should always be looking for ways to strengthen our testimonies and come closer to God.  I've totally found that the times I feel the Spirit the most, and the times I'm the happiest, are the times when I'm in the word, and on my knees often.  If there's anything that I would encourage anyone to do, it would be to read and study the missionary lessons, and keep the commitments listed in there for a month straight.  I am so convinced that those lessons will strengthen anyone's testimony and help them receive a testimony if they do now have one that I honestly believe Elder Ballard told us to read Preach My Gospel in the April session of conference (his talk is called Follow Up, and it's a great talk to go back and read.)  Please read the missionary lessons, and keep those commitments in there (the lessons are in Chapter 3 of PMG).

Sounds like everything is going great back home.  Tell Rylie congratulations on getting her blessing.  I read mine again this morning.  Every time I do, I learn more about what I need to do in the coming week.  That blessing will be a greater source of direction in her life than any other text.  I love that blessing.  If there is anyone I know that is prepared to have a blessing, it's Rylie.  She'll understand her blessing with a depth that not many people have.

I miss the primary back home.  We had our program a month ago and I thought it was awesome.  We had a blast watching and the Spirit is always there so strong.   This week is fast and testimony meeting.  If you get a chance, start the commitments in PMG now, and go bare your testimony on Sunday.  In Gospel Principles the other week, we had a testimony meeting instead of a lesson (our Ward Mission Leader didn't show up.)  The Spirit was so strong.  I walked in late because Elder Mitchell and I had to bring something to someone, but when we walked in, the Spirit started speaking to me right away.  It was awesome.

Not a lot to report this week.  Everything went well.  Elder Mitchell went on his first two exchanges this week (one with our Zone Leaders and the other with a member in our district), so we had two days of not being with each other.  It was super weird.  It was like having one of my toes amputated.  It didn't hurt all that much, but it just felt like something was missing.  We have a month-in-meeting with the rest of the new missionaries this week to see how everything is going.  He's doing great.  You all would love him so much.  He and I are like brothers.  I think we actually get along too well.  We have a lot of fun.  But we work hard.  He's so comfortable just talking to people about the gospel, it's awesome.

Richard came to church.  He finally had a Sunday off from work and was able to make it out on Sunday.  He's a lot of fun too.  He struggle a lot, but he's super humble.

Well all, I love you dearly and pray for you every day.  Keep being awesome and don't let anyone take awesomeness away from you.  That would be dumb.  Don't forget to choose the right.  Don't forget to love God, and all others around you.  And don't ever forget to look Up.

Elder Russell

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