Sunday, July 30, 2017

Ju Gets Baptized




A little over a year ago I opened a letter from my mission president informing me that I would be serving on the little island of Pohnpei. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would have a love for these people, the culture, and the island of Pohnpei like I do now. I love my Pohnpeian family with my whole heart. 
So a few weeks ago my cute Relief Society President told me and Sister Bowers that she had someone for us, her DAUGHTER! I knew Suleen had two daughters but from what I knew they were both staying with their dads and had no chance of us teaching them. I remember going into that first lesson with Judyleen. She looked a little rough to say the least. She's lived with a family who HATES the LDS church and has never seen the joys of having the light of the Gospel in her life. In the 2nd lesson with her we asked her to give us the closing prayer and she informed us that she's NEVER prayed and really had no idea how to! So of course we taught her and she ended up praying for help to be baptized! and before even starting our 3rd lesson with her she asked us when she would be able to be baptized and if she would be able to go teaching with us after her baptism. Watching this sweet girl (who I swear was my sister in the pre-earth life) enter the waters of baptism on Saturday was the BEST experience I've had on my mission. She left the font just bawling. Ju, her mom, and me just sat there and cried and hugged and cried some more! It was a moment on my mission that I will NEVER forget. Sometimes I forget that these people aren't just being baptized but are totally changing their lives. Watching her bear her testimony Saturday night was just another testimony to me of how truly great this work is. 
Sorry I don't have a TON of time today but good heck am I grateful to be here on Pohnpei. I'm not quite sure how I got so lucky. As a missionary you are given this gift where you just have this ability to love people in a different way than you have before. That's SO true. I love love love being here as a missionary on Pohnpei.
thanks a ton! LOVE. Sister Russell

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Judyleen






HAHA I'm pretty sure I laughed my way through 90% of this week.  
So first. On Monday and Tuesday we were on exchanges and I was with Sister Milne (new sister. 1st transfer. poor girl)  in Mesihsou! & because she doesn't know the language quite yet, I was flying solo. So we go into this lesson. We start & sing & just when we start to pray these missionaries from the Every Home church (a church that started in Fiji by some members of the church. AWESOME.) walk in and ask if they can join! hahaha what? So they just take over the WHOLE lesson and start preaching about temptations & Satan & who knows what (they were using honorific Pohnpeian so I was only getting about 60% hahahah). So they just keep going and going and going and randomly the missionary who wasn't teaching would shout "Hallelujah" or "Praise the Lord!" hahahah. So I'm trying my best to keep it together and Sister Milne has NO idea what's going on. So I'm just sitting there and praying and praying to know what to do! So these two missionaries finish and then ask me if I have anything to say and in my head I was like "ARE YOU KIDDING? HECK YES". So at this point I'm still just praying & praying for the spirit & to know what to say when all of sudden it comes to me! Eternal families. I shared that our message was a little different but something that I felt impressed to share. & holy crap the spirit had my back BIG time on that one. The whole room went calm and spirit was SO strong. The Church is true my friends. hahaha still can't believe that happened. Then one of the missionaries went off about how people can lie but the Bible doesn't lie and I just sat there and smiled at her. The spirit roasted her so I didn't need to say any more.
So here's another but this one's just dang cute. So we've had this investigator for a few weeks. Judyleen! she's a straight miracle. In our 2nd lesson with her she prayed for help to be baptized & in our 3rd lesson she asked us when she could be baptized. Like huh? She gets baptized THIS week and good heck I'm soooo excited. She's got the strongest testimony of the Book of Mormon and a family in the church to support her! She's SET!
Only in Pohnnnpei!
- I asked a member if she wanted some Taki's. BAD idea. Spicy food is not her jam. I rarely hear English and she goes "Sister Russel it's like you're killing myself." hahahah and then she had a panic attack in the back of our car for a good 10 minutes hahahah.
- The members fed us SO much on Saturday & we were down ALL day on Sunday ahahah. There's something about Pohnpeian food that just isn't too good for white girls.
- Chugged a whole coconut. Bad idea. Got wacked in the back of the head by my Pohnpeian mom for it. Whoops!
LOVE. Sister Russell

Sunday, July 9, 2017

HHHHEEEYYYYY President Poston




Okayyy this week was bomb. How could it not be? I live on Pohnpei and I'm just running around sharing the good news! I'm living the liiiiife. But really all I wanna talk about is how dang CUTE my new mission president and his wife are! So on Saturday all of the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders from the outer islands flew out for MLC in Guam so I had the opportunity to meet the Postons a little earlier! These 2 are SO faithful. My (old) new mission president god sick and was unable to come and so the Postons were called just 3 weeks ago! crazy. They were serving as missionaries in Virginia when the call came for them to pack up and head to Micronesia (big difference)! Oh and great story. First time I met them I had a donut in my mouth and looked like a total idiot but ya know, classic Sister Russell and we all just laughed it off. Handled that first impression real good.  
Before Mission Leadership Council started President Poston and Sister Poston pulled all of the sisters together to speak with just us for a moment. They both shared stories of trials, faith growing experiences, and their love for the Savior. At the close of the meeting President shared his love for us as sister and gosh I wish I could explain the love that I felt in that moment. Sitting in that office and feeling that love was a testimony strengthening moment for me and a moment I will never forget! Thennnnn MLC started and geez my heart just hurt for the Postons hahah they got to Guam on Wednesday night and had 30 missionaries at their house 4 days later! They handled it like champs. They both spoke of the difference between sacrificing for the Lord and consecrating ourselves to Him. Something I loved that President Zarbock said once was that "the Lord doesn't need your sacrifice, He needs your heart." & loved the training that President Poston gave because they are perfect examples of that! 1 month ago they had non idea they would be coming to the MGM but when the call came, they were ready! He also talked about being "good enough" members and missionaries and how "good enough" people are the ones that Satan works the hardest on. Which was such a great lesson!
I LOVE Micronesia! I've grown to have a love for these people that I didn't know was possible outside of my own family. This mission is a gift and I sure am grateful to serve my Savior. I love Him and I'm grateful for my relationship with Him and how it has grown as I have served my family here on Pohnpei!
xoxoxoxoox 
Sister Russell

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy 4th!



Sunday, June 25, 2017

We Made It.......





So I gotta start off and share my crazy news. My new companion is freakin SISTER BOWERS!!! ahhhh I'm not kidding. Who the heck gets to be companions with their best friend? YAY. best transfer call of my life.  
I really wasn't supposed to get a new companion this transfer but here's what went down last week! So remember how I said that all the missionaries were sick? Well I kinda left out that Sister Alanzo was BY FAR the sickest. Last Monday we got a call asking if she was getting better and because she wasn't on Tuesday she got shipped off to Guam! I really was the luckiest missionary ever to spend a few weeks with the funniest human alive. Right before leaving she told me she would be going to Utah when I got home so YAY! So I spent the whole week with Sister Bowers and Sister James covering mine and their area! Which made for a week full of FUN stories.
But one of those sweet experiences was being able to go to a branch for the first time! Growing up in the church I have always gone to a ward and when coming to Pohnpei I was put into a ward which has been such a HUGE blessing. However, going to the Uh branch yesterday was seriously the cutest thing ever. The members there were so humble and so willing to do anything to help. & what made it even better was that we were called on the spot to give talks, we taught primary, OH and we were asked to teach Relief Society! So really bless up for the Sapwalap ward.
So before coming on a mission I KNEW the Book of Mormon was true. But gosh not like I do now! The other night we were having a lesson and one of the investigators in the Uh area shared her testimony of the Book of Mormon with us. She explained to us that if her husband is late coming home from work and she is alone with the kids at night that she opens up the Book of Mormon and puts it at her door way to protect her and her kids. Or if there is a storm or she is scared she will open a few Book of Mormons and put them around the house. I'm not sure I've ever met someone with such a sweet testimony of the Book of Mormon. Being with her strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon and I sure am grateful for that experience! Like good heck. The Book has gotta be true. If not, then what the HECK am I doing?
 I'm really the dang luckiest missionary to serve here on Pohnpei! and even luckier because now I get to do it with my best friend!! wahoooo! 
LOVE. Sister Russell

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Grateful for Running Water.....hahahaha!!!!

So this past week I had a humbling experience that was just another testimony to me that 





Heavenly Father truly is in the smallest details of our lives! So for this whole week Sister Alanzo and I have had NO water (good thing it rained a whole lot this week!) & no one could figure out what was wrong! We first thought that our neighbors were just turning off our pipe. But after a few visits up there, we came to find that there must be something wrong with the pipe! So Sister Alanzo, me, and the Welter family (Nedleen and her family!) decided we would follow the pipe from the big tank at the top of the hill to our house! Within about 20 minutes Adas found the broken pipe! We were able to put it back together and I almost started to cry hahaha. I was so sick of hoping it would rain so that we could fill up some buckets to shower and do our dishes. I let my pride get the best of me and a little bit of self pity was settling in. But things were going to get better because we fixed the pipe! So we go to the small tank by our house and NO water was going into it. At this moment I was about 33 seconds from calling United Airlines and getting myself shipped off Pohnpei. But before doing that (luckily) we ran home to check again. Still nothing. So we went back up to our tank and I sat in the car while Sister Alanzo went to go check! STILL no water. I put my head to the steering wheel and humbly asked my Heavenly Father for His help. Before I was able to say amen I heard the water begin to flow and Sister Alanzo yell "It's working!" and sure enough, it was! I'm not quite sure HOW but He is so so aware of each one of us. & if you don't think so, look a little closer! Geez. I'll never take running water for granted again. Situations like this just don't happen in America.  
These past  2 weeks have been so so good! Last week the Zarbocks had their last Zone Conference on Pohnpei and the last weekend it was their last MLC in Guam! It was cute because the Christensens (senior couple) put together a tribute to the Zarbocks kinda thing and each of the Zone Leaders and STL's were about to share a simple way that the Zarbocks have touched their lives. Dang it was cute! Saying goodbye to them was HARD! I'm a better person because I knew the Zarbocks, that's for sure!
Life's good over here in Mesihsou. Me and Sister Alanzo laugh ALL the time. She literally is the funniest person I've ever met & I just love her.
Also, our investigators? going places.
Pohnpei? The bomb. (except when 6 cockroaches come flying out of the air con during district meeting. hahah not so bomb)
I'm a happy happy missionary and life is gooooood!
Thanks for the support!
LOVE. Sister Russell

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Some weeks are the bomb!



Ya know some weeks as a missionary are BOMB and some are just tough! And this week was on the tougher side! You'd think this week would have been the BEST because Jack was being baptized buuuuut that's actually the reason why it was so tough! So we went to Jack's baptismal interview and geez the interview went on for almost 2 hours! I had no idea what was going on and boy was I frustrated! After what felt like 4 years, Elder Yardley came in and told us that Jack would need to be interviewed by President Zarbock over the phone on Saturday before the baptism! So me and Sister Fehoko fasted, prayed, and prayed some more but it turns out that Heavenly Father has another plan for Jack Hadley! and it might be a little while till we see him enter the waters of baptism! 
Saturday night I was realllll upset. I felt like things were starting to get real good and that I really was making a difference here on Pohnpei! I couldn't understand WHY this had happened with Jack after we had worked SO hard. I then turned on a talk by Elder Christensen and he spoke of how the Lord chastises those He loves and how we must accept and even ask for His correction. Missions are hard, but it's the hard that makes it so great! If it wasn't tough then Heavenly wouldn't be able to shape us into who HE needs us to become. Missions are a GIFT.
But let's get real! the WHOLE week wasn't bad! So first off I learned a BOMB trick from my girl Sister Bowers that changed everything. She taught me to boil a pot of water and then put that in the bucket so then it's like taking a HOT bucket shower! holy crap it's like I'm living in the states! BEST thing everrrr! ALSO. I found Snickers ice cream at the store and I almost started to cry! That was pretty close to the hot water. EVERY week is a blessing here on Pohnpei. Even if it's tough, it's a blessing! Missions go by wayyyy to quick so I got no time to be upset! I LOVE this Gospel, my Savior, and being His missionary!
Kalanghan kumailllllll! love you all!
xoxoxox Sister Russell