Monday, January 26, 2015

January 26, 2015

Mom, Dad, and Family,

Things in Victorville are great. We had interviews on Friday and they were great. There is no doubt in my mind that President Hobbs is an inspired man. That he does God's work. Understand and know, God does call people to His holy work. And that those people receive His guidance. His power is real.

Like than, the blessings of the His gospel are real. They aren't some superficial thing that people think up to themselves. The gospel, and the religion that accompanies it, are not things concocted or directed by man. Lots of people talk to us and say they believe "religion is a man made construct." One of the biggest wiles of the Devil is he convinces people that they do not need to receive any blessings beyond the ones they believe they can achieve through their own strength and power. That...stinks. So don't ever believe that the gospel only provides blessings of feeling good. Although it does do that as well.

Sounds like Dad needs a degree in audio engineering. ;) That was a joke...because he has one. Haha, get it? I miss music a ton. But not too much, because I'd rather have the Spirit. So out here on the mission, not listening to rock...doesn't bother me. Super cool stuff. I probably won't listen to a lot of music that I did before when I get back home. Just not worth it. But good music is totally worth it.

We found this 18yo kid named Daniel on Saturday. His sister and brother-in-law are members in Apple Valley. He's super cool. No, my area ends quite a bit before Apple Valley. My area up here is about a third of the area I had in Ontario. Super small. Apple Valley is two zones away. But good stuff.

But anyway, things have been good the last four days. I love you all and miss you by the handfuls. Just kidding, that's weird. I pray for you all everyday. Give a Book of Mormon to a neighbor this week. It'll be cool. I promise. They'll like it if you do it right. Keep on keepin' on!

Elder Russell

Friday, January 9, 2015

January 5, 2015

The Frozen Chosen
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Mom, Dad, and Family,

Last week was nuts!  The Valley is totally not the Desert.  Not even a little bit.  And I'm such a Valley kind of guy so it was crazy to adjust.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the Desert.  I'm stoked to be here.  But it was crazy getting adjusted to the difference.  Elder Carter is the bomb and he works super hard.  Pray for him, he's doing great!

So Victorville looks pretty much like the area between Utah Valley and Cedar City.  Except the mountains are smaller and more spread out.  And there is less shrubbery.  It's pretty awesome.  But it's super cold!  What's up with that?!  Here in Victorville it got down to 26 degrees and over in Wrightwood (other side of the District) it got down to 7 degrees.  What the heck?  It was 80 degrees last Christmas.  Where did this come from?  Oh yeah, and it snowed.  That was odd.  But hey, it's all good.

We had a baptism this Saturday.  That was really cool, I wish I was there to teach him all the lessons.  But Fransisco ate everything up.  He was golden and is just on fire.  He was actually baptized into the singles ward in Barstow,  but his fellowshippers were in our ward.  So we taught him all except for one lesson and he came to church in our ward until after he got baptized.  He was just great.  His spirit was so strong and just a powerhouse.  We also found two new investigators this week and I'm super excited to be in this area.  Everyone is super nice and fun and the ward is really motivated to do missionary work.

I totally have a testimony that God really does want us to be happy.  I've seen that this week as I got to the area.  That as we work hard and be obedient to God's commandments, He blesses us with joy.  It's such a simple promise, but it's so effective.  We don't need to go looking in weird places to find it.  It's always with us.  As King Benjamin, I often like to "consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God."  He loves us a lot and He wants to bless us with His Spirit.  It's just a matter of accepting the laws and obeying the ordinances.

Sounds like Park City was a blast.  I miss you all a lot.  Logan was a good one to bring in my stead though.  He's an awesome kid.  Hope everything else is going well too!  I love and pray for you every day.  Keep doing what you're doing.  Keep loving the gospel.  Keep praying.  Keep reading the scriptures.  Keep going to church.  And keep on keepin' on.

Elder Russell

P.S.  Our temple trip is on the 22nd.  If you could get me Grandpa Josip's blue card before then, that would be awesome!
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Saturday, January 3, 2015

December 28, 2014

Mom, Dad, and Family,

I totally got the packages.  All of them.  It's all there in it's true form. ;)  Things are great and I'm having a blast.  Talking to you all on Thursday was awesome.  I couldn't have asked for a better time.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire!  I totally got transferred from Upland and they took me all the way to Victorville. -_-  No I'm stoked and my new companion seems super cool.  We're both excited to work and I'm stoked to be here and doing new things.  We both decided obedience is key to everything.  In fact, at the Robbins' today we were with Parker, and we decided the same thing.  So this transfer is going to be a good one.  I'm really really excited.

We said our goodbyes last night to everybody and it was probably the most depressing day of my life.  I never thought I'd grow so close to people.  And don't get me wrong, I was really really close to the members of Rancho Park.  But Up5 was super super awesome and I got so close to everyone there.  I'm going to miss it big time.  Tears of anguish and stuff.  Hopefully I'll be able to go back to that ward.  I'd love to serve there again.  Everyone there is super great.

Crazy thing happened Christmas eve.  I got this letter with CDs in it by a guy named John Pennington.  Apparently he read my blog.  So he wrote this book that answers some common questions about Mormon doctrine.  I thought it was going to be anti, so naturally I listened to it.  Turns out he knows what he's talking about.

Anyway.  I wish I had more to talk about but I saw you last week and I'm in a totally new area, so I don't know anything.  I love and miss you all.  You're awesome and you rock my socks.  Take care and live righteously.  You're in my prayers and I can feel yours.

Elder Russell