Sunday, March 1, 2015

Feb. 17, 2015

Dad, Mom, and Family,

Thanks for the update.  In response, I actually don't hear a lot from my older siblings.  I mean, members here have told me about the snow back east, but I don't get much mail from the first four.  Which is understandable, their lives are probably busier than mine.  And I don't feel let down because I'm pretty sure I only emailed Austin twice on his mission.  So I guess it comes back to me.  Sounds like a lot of snow.  Hesperia needs snow.  Or even rain.  Or water in general.  Or even clouds.  It's super desert here.  The hottest day last week was about 85 degrees.  And it's February.

Our area is...massive.  It's probably about 10 times the size of my last area.  But...we have a truck, so it's okay.  We didn't get the chance to teach anyone last week.  We didn't know what we were doing what with all the white wash and meetings in the stake and what not.  But we did get a lot done.  We live with two of the craziest missionaries in the mission.  The Elders (our ward mates) are always cracking jokes and Elder Fausett is always messing around.  He's a blast.  We love them to death.

As far as the baptisms go.  We may not get as many as some missions, but the number isn't what worries me.  What I'm concerned about is making sure I don't miss anything.  In Zone Meeting today, we talked about serving God to our fullest potential--putting our all into the work.  My biggest concern is that when I get done with my mission, I just want to make sure I didn't miss a person I could have helped or shared the Gospel with because I wasn't as obedient or diligent as I should have been.  And I know I'm not the most obedient missionary.  I know I'm not the hardest working.  But I just want to find and help as many people as I can.  In the District Videos (the TV show we watched before I left for my mission) the two missionaries I want to be like are Elder Bott and Elder Hepworth.  They're awesome missionaries.  They just truly love their callings and work their hardest.  They might not be as skilled, per say, as some of the other missionaries like Elder Christensen or Elder Moreno, but they love what they do.  And their desire is so sincere and their faith is so strong.  Those are missionaries that the Lord can trust.  And that's all I want to be, is just a missionary the Lord can trust.

Now I'm not saying that baptisms don't happen in my mission.  They do.  They're hard.  It's not easy to prepare someone for baptism.  But my job isn't to count numbers.  Satan can compare us, but Christ can improve us.  It is true that the harder we work, the more we keep the commandments, and the more faithful we are, the more people will come into the fold.  But the number of people coming into the fold is not my focus so much as doing my part in it.  I want to be the best missionary I can be.  And that's what matters to me.  The people matter to me.  The work matters to me.  The Spirit matters to me.  I just want to make sure I let the mission go through me, not just me through the mission.  I love this gospel and what it can do.  I love the power it has and the love it brings from our Savior.  The church is super true.

I'm glad to hear everything is going well.  I love you all and miss you loads.  I pray for you every day, you know.  I really do want you all to be happy and have the joy the gospel brings.  Keep doing your best to do what God wants.  God wants to bless us.  Follow the Savior.  If we want top know Him, we have to do what He does.  We gotta be on His heels, as President Hobbs said in MLC.

Elder Russell

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