Monday, June 29, 2015

ATL is the place for me!

Monday: 3 MONTHS OUT YALL! So we went to email and so we decided to pull a prank on the elders so I grabbed my silly string from the car and sprayed their car and then we put a bunch of sticky notes in their car. It was fun! We then helped sister facer pack up because she is going to Taiwan tomorrow!! GAH! After that Sister Aiono and I went to the MLK museum and that was a total bummer. You would think they would have done more for the guy. Then we went to Zaxbys with a member and that was fun! I liked the Zaxbys sauce, that was yummy!

Tuesday: The YSA sisters came over and we made a music video to Hark the Herald Angels Sing (: It was pretty fun! Also we danced to this other song...I don't recall it though. So Sister Manzer got to hangout with us because Sister Facer left so we had district meeting....which I wore my African Dress Sister Shedrick gave me! LOL We walked in and Elder Robison got up and said " thank you everyone for being here and...wearing real clothes". Silly District Leader. We all took pictures because we were getting new people in our district. Elder Leavitt was getting transferred and that was really sad. We went tracting over by Georgia Tech and that was super fun! We then went to institute and man do I miss institute!! We all slept on the floor that night and it was incredibly comfortable...might do it again.

Wednesday: We ended up driving sister manzer halfway to transfers and that threw off my entire day. We visited some Recent Converts and we ended up meeting Tramelle or better known as BIG T! He is so awesome! He looked up to all the missionaries so much, which I thought was so sweet! We got initiated into his group of friends! We then went to Kristi's and taught her about temples and that was just so spiritual. After that we went to the church for mutual hungout with the girlies...the 3 active ones. It is so sad. I want there to be more young women for them! :( Sister Sullivan is so sweet and is going to get a hymns made easy book for me! I sprayed my mattress because I don't wanna encounter bed bugs ( didn't know were actually real btw) and I didn't dilute it enough so it was back on the floor for me! LOL I read 3 Nephi 17 and I just broke down crying reading that. It is the sweetest chapter ever about the savior and it just shows how much he truly cares for us.

Thursday: PLANNING DAY. We planned Kristits baptism! That was really fun! We visited sister Colbert and she has by far the COOLEST baptismal story ever. Her husband took the discussions and she would never join in but she would be in the other room listening and then she called the missionaries late one night after finishing the book of Mormon and said that she needed to be baptized the next day so the missionaries came over with the stake president and retaught her all the lessons! & she was baptized the NEXT day!!! :)) CRAZY!! We went to sister shedricks for dinner and then she braided my hair and that was pretty fly.

Friday: I kept my braids in that was nice to not have to do ALL of my hair. Its getting long and im so glad I decided to grow out my hair on my mission because well on your mission YOU ARE BROKE 99.9% of the time. We went and helped clean someone's apartment. We had a lesson with Claritha and that went really well. I went to subway and ordered a Italian BMT & the guy next to me was a vegetarian and he was like I don't understand how you could be such a gentle creature but consume so much meat. I didn't really know what to say to that...but then we ended up having a pretty cool conversation. I met Chris Cirby at the church he was fixing something and he went to school with KRISTIN!! (: Elder Dimanche is such a funny elder, he is Haitian and no one can understand him. Well I can but sister aiono cant and its just sooo funny! (: We started teaching the freemans little girl...little did I know they had a young daughter. We were cleaning out the baptismal font and we found some stained shorts on the shelf and we put them in elder waites guitar case! Lol

Saturday: BAPTISM!!! I got two packages form my mom! A butt load of food and another awesome package. I love you mom, thanks so much! Food packages are the best because its hard to get people to feed us. LOL The struggle is REAL. I watched some videos my family put on my memory card, that was really sweet. I cried. It started to down pour but we still had an amazing turn out for the baptism. Kristi just started to bawl after she was baptized and we just embraced her. I started to cry again, she has the most genuine spirit. Afterwards we had refreshments and the elders were cramming cookies in their mouths..that was entertaining. The elders sang us some songs on the guitar and then Elder Waite gave me a blessing. I was very uneasy..and it was just a huge comfort to me, I cried. I am so grateful for the priesthood and little will he ever know how much that meant to me. We went and saw Tramelle and he let me cut off his dreads!!!! ((((: AHH!!

Sunday: Sister Aiono and I spoke in church and it was AWESOME. (: oh & I FINALLY rode marta!!!!!

I love the savior so much. I have just been so taken back at all the things he has done for me and all of us. I read Mormon 9 today and felt impressed to share it with yall. I love these verses especially 19-21.
 19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
 21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and thispromise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

 20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.

I invite you all to gain a testimony of who Jesus Christ and your Heavenly Father are. Write them a thank you note, let them know how much you appreciate and love them both. (:

Sister Russell

Monday, June 22, 2015

Update from Sister Russell

Monday: I got most of my talk done today I am so excited to speak on tithing. Its kind of a bummer that I dont get to pay tithing on my mission but I have the rest of my life to pay it. We did the usual emailed, went grocery shopping and then came home and ate lunch. I had a turkey burger for the second time...cant tell if I enjoy them or not. I took a short-lived nap. I wrote lots of letters today and received one from my sweet friend ashlyn, thanks boo! Sister Holland made us dinner and we ate it on her porch and that was really fun!

Tuesday: District Meetings are always exciting. We played hangman for like 30 mins and then we started the meeting. We sang Christmas Our elders are hilarious, they always make everything so interesting. We got a new fridge at the church so we can put food in it now!! YIPEE! We went to Underground, but we walked there from Oakland Cemetery and it was sooo HOT!! So we went and saw an investigator and we were trying to see if he had pure intent. Turns out he thinks I am the Christian version of his baby mama...flattering I know!! LOL So we handed that sweet guy over to the elders. I went to the HOOD MART! If you look it up online im sure it'll pop up. I have never felt unsafe and there are some really unsafe places where we go but I never felt that way until  I went in the HOOD MART. I felt like the devil himself was just chilling behind the counter so we left real quickly. Sister Aiono and I went home had dinner. I fell asleep on the carpet so my face was all weird lookin. LOL

Wednesday-We met Geno's friend that wants to take the discussions. Her name is Kristi and she is amazing. She is so prepared to receive the message we had to share. We asked her if she came to know these things were true would she be baptized and she said YES! We felt we could put her on date right then and so we asked her what day she feels would be best and she was like I can be prepared by this Saturday!! *GASP* We decided she can be baptized JUNE 27thbecause we couldn't teach all 5 lessons in 3 days!! We are going to meet with her everyday and she is coming to stake conference on sunday!! I figured out it is 1570 miles to my home from our apartment...we tried looking up sister aiono's but it didn't come up. I dont think I am transferring, what I came here to do in Atlanta aint finished yet! (:

Thursday: Sister Aiono and I were so tired today so during our lunch our we napped. It was pretty great! We had a lesson with brother tucker over the phone and that was fun! He is the best ward mission leader ever considering its not even his calling! We visited Nancy and she is doing amazing! She is reading every day and wants to come to all the baptisms at the church! (: After that we went to the church with a lesson with Kristi and wow. The spirit was so strong in our lesson. I really do appreciate joseph smith and all that he did to bring the book of Mormon forward. I regret not learning the when I get home I think I might want to take a stab at that as well as the guitar! We went to the mateles for dinner and Hinkley is the bomb! Then we went to sister shedricks and she gave me my African dress!!!!! I am going to wear it at the next district meeting. (: LOL

Friday: I started reading in D&C and I am going to read it all the way through because I dont think I have done that before. I really have come to love the scriptures and really apply them in my life. We dropped off a bible to this sweet lady and then were going to meet with her again! We have been sharing with everyone to keep the Sabbath day holy I really like the scripture in Isaiah 58: 13-14! We went to the west end mall and that was pretty fun! They were playing some great music and I was dancing all over the place and I accidently butt dialed our district leader 6 times. We went to the dickersons for dinner and we had liver!!!! I am not a fan of liver.

Saturday: We did service for two hours and oh man. We were sweaty hot messes!!! It was fun though. we got to chop down trees, bushes and shrubbery and I got to use fun tools!! I am sore from it! But I burned 1,000 calories! WHOO!! (: I made some fried chicken and that was delish. We taught the plan of salvation to Kristi and that is always my favorite lesson to teach (: Sister Aiono has a usb and so we plugged it in to listen to some church music in the car...turns out it was Alicia keys! WHAT A TEMPTATION that was! We cracked up! We saw multiple people dancing in the streets and that always brings joy to my heart. (:  We ended up going to stake conference and Mervyn B. Arnold was there and he is a crack up! He invited us to come up and play a part in this thing. it was really fun! Sister Willis is a crack up as well, she asked me " sister Russell do you know why youre in Atlanta?!? Its so I can love on you!" (:

Sunday: HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDPA! I LOVE YOU!!! We had stake conference and that was really good! I got to see elder schnedaker and I came out with him! He is doing great! He doesn't look any different! We taught Kristi afterwards...we are singing I stand all amazed at her baptism with elder waite playing the guitar (: OH MY WORD! WE FOUND OUT ABOUT TRANSFERS....I AM STAYING IN ATLANTA!!!! yayy!! I knew I wasn't finished with what I started here! (: We got fed by sister Amy Evan and she is a peach! I love her apartments and she made us delish treats!! (: I am more and more convinced I can stay here in GA!

This week I am just really grateful for the gospel. It has been the one constant thing in my life. I can ALWAYS rely on my heavenly father to provide for me. I have come to appreciate all that he has done for me and does for me daily. I am grateful for earthly fathers and my heavenly father. Happy Fathers Day!


Arianna requested that I post this talk to her blog...Is It Still Wonderful to You? By Bishop Gerald Causse

My wife and I had the great joy of rearing our five children near the magnificent city of Paris. During those years we wanted to offer them rich opportunities to discover the marvelous things of this world. Each summer, our family took long trips to visit the most significant monuments, historic sites, and natural wonders of Europe. Finally, after spending 22 years in the Paris area, we were getting ready to move. I still remember the day when my children came to me and said, “Dad, it’s absolutely shameful! We’ve lived here all our lives, and we have never been to the Eiffel Tower!”
There are so many wonders in this world. However, sometimes when we have them constantly before our eyes, we take them for granted. We look, but we don’t really see; we hear, but we don’t really listen.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus said to His disciples:
“Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:
“For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”1
I have often wondered what it would have been like to live at the time of our Savior. Can you imagine sitting at His feet? feeling His embrace? witnessing as He ministered to others? And yet so many who met Him failed to recognize—to “see”—that the very Son of God was living among them.
We too are privileged to live in an exceptional time. The prophets of old saw the work of the Restoration as “a marvelous work … , yea, a marvelous work and a wonder.”2 In no previous dispensation have so many missionaries been called, so many nations been opened for the gospel message, and so many temples been built throughout the world.
For us, as Latter-day Saints, wonders also occur in our individual lives. They include our own personal conversion, the answers we receive to our prayers, and the tender blessings God showers upon us daily.
To marvel at the wonders of the gospel is a sign of faith. It is to recognize the hand of the Lord in our lives and in everything around us. Our amazement also produces spiritual strength. It gives us the energy to remain anchored in our faith and to engage ourselves in the work of salvation.
But let us beware. Our ability to marvel is fragile. Over the long term, such things as casual commandment keeping, apathy, or even weariness may set in and make us insensitive to even the most remarkable signs and miracles of the gospel.
The Book of Mormon describes a period, very similar to our own, that preceded the coming of the Messiah to the Americas. Suddenly the signs of His birth appeared in the heavens. The people were so stricken with astonishment that they humbled themselves, and nearly all were converted. However, only a short four years later, “the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven, … and began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen.”3
My brothers and sisters, is the gospel still wonderful to you? Can you yet see, hear, feel, and marvel? Or have your spiritual sensors gone into standby mode? Whatever your personal situation, I invite you to do three things.
First, never tire of discovering or rediscovering the truths of the gospel. The writer Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”4 Do you remember the first time you read a verse of scripture and felt as if the Lord was speaking to you personally? Can you recall the first time you felt the sweet influence of the Holy Ghost come over you, perhaps before you even realized it was the Holy Ghost? Weren’t these sacred, special moments?
We should hunger and thirst every day after spiritual knowledge. This personal practice is founded on study, meditation, and prayer. Sometimes we might be tempted to think, “I don’t need to study the scriptures today; I’ve read them all before” or “I don’t need to go to church today; there’s nothing new there.”
But the gospel is a fountain of knowledge that never runs dry. There is always something new to learn and feel each Sunday, in every meeting, and in every verse of scripture. In faith we hold to the promise that if we “seek, … [we] shall find.”5
Second, anchor your faith in the plain and simple truths of the gospel. Our amazement should be rooted in the core principles of our faith, in the purity of our covenants and ordinances, and in our most simple acts of worship.
A sister missionary told the story of three men she met during a district conference in Africa. They came from an isolated village far away in the bush where the Church had not yet been organized but where there were 15 faithful members and almost 20 investigators. For over two weeks these men had walked on foot, traveling more than 300 miles (480 km) over paths rendered muddy by the rainy season, so they could attend the conference and bring the tithes from the members of their group. They planned to stay for an entire week so they could enjoy the privilege of partaking of the sacrament the following Sunday and then hoped to set out on the return trip carrying boxes filled with copies of the Book of Mormon on their heads to give to the people of their village.
The missionary testified how touched she was by the sense of wonder these brethren displayed and by their wholehearted sacrifices to obtain things that for her had always been readily available.
She wondered: “If I got up one Sunday morning in Arizona and found that my car wasn’t working, would I walk to my church only a few blocks away from home? Or would I just stay home because it was too far or because it was raining?”6 These are good questions for all of us to consider.
Finally, I invite you to seek and cherish the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Most wonders of the gospel cannot be perceived by our natural senses. They are the things that the “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, … the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”7
When we have the Spirit with us, our spiritual senses are sharpened and our memory is kindled so we cannot forget the miracles and signs we have witnessed. That may be why, knowing Jesus was about to leave them, His Nephite disciples prayed fervently “for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.”8
Although they had seen the Savior with their own eyes and had touched His wounds with their own hands, they knew that their testimonies might dwindle without being constantly renewed by the power of the Spirit of God. My brothers and sisters, never do anything to risk the loss of this precious and marvelous gift—the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Seek it through fervent prayer and righteous living.
I testify that the work in which we are engaged is “a marvelous work and a wonder.” As we follow Jesus Christ, God bears witness to us “with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will.”9 On this special day, I bear witness that the wonders and marvels of the gospel are anchored in the greatest of all of God’s gifts—the Savior’s Atonement. This is the perfect gift of love that the Father and the Son, united in purpose, have offered to each one of us. With you, “I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me. … Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!”10

That we may always have eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that perceive the wonders of this marvelous gospel is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.