Monday, December 4, 2017


I love Micronesia. My whole heart is here. Serving the Lord here has made for the most difficult and yet rewarding and amazing 18 months of my life. I'm grateful for the lessons I learned here that I simply could not have learned anywhere else. 
- We have a Savior who knows and loves us individually with a perfect love. He atoned for each one of us and because of Him we can become new. We can start fresh. & through Him we can become all the Father desires for us become. 
- This is a day of miracles. Through our unshaken faith in Jesus Christ we can be witnesses that the heavens have not been closed!
- The Book of Mormon is true and there is a power within that book that cannot be adequately described. I watched that book work miracles and change the lives of many, myself included, during my many months as a missionary on Pohnpei. Through studying it daily we come to know our Savior & His doctrine. Our testimonies of the Prophet Joseph are strengthened and rekindled. & we become more capable to meet the challenges of today.
- I learned that I CAN do hard things. I learned how to endure through difficulties.
- I watched this pure love for the Pohnpeian people form as I prayed for and served them. Service is the gateway to happiness and fulfillment in this life and in the life to come. It softens and it changes hard hearts. it's humbling. & it brings a light and a peace into our lives the moment we decide to lose ourselves in the service of others.
- I learned how to LOVE. From the moment I stepped into Sapwalap I was treated like their own. They took me in and loved me as family. It didn't matter that we had come from different backgrounds and cultures, we were family. It took a while for me to love them in a similar way (just being honest!) but I'll tell you, I LOVE my Pohnpeian family with a love that I can't put into words. I miss them. & that's something I'll miss about being a missionary, being able to feel just the tiniest bit of love that our Father has for His children.
- I learned how to give. The Pohnpeian people KNOW how to give and through their examples to me I learned what it means to truly be a giver. & by doing so I learned who the true giver is. In a similar way, I learned what I disciple of Christ looks like. Through countless experiences I watched others give their ALL to him. I learned that discipleship is a journey. & though it's not always easy, we are always rewarded as we strive to follow His perfect example.
- I learned WHY people say it's the best 18 months. Because as I am reaching the close of my mission I look back and all I can remember are the lessons learned from those difficult days & the moments of PURE happiness. They were the most difficult & trying months & yet were filled with the greatest, most life changing, & joyous experiences of my life!

I love my Savior. I know Him. You come to know Him in a new light as a missionary. I'll miss wearing His name daily. I LOVE this gospel & I'm so grateful that I was given the opportunity to share it with my brothers & sisters here in Micronesia.
Udahn I poakepoake kumwail!
Love, Sister Russell

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Miracle of Mack

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Police Station Again......

LUCKY ME! I made my way to the police station AGAIN this week but luckily this time I was the "victim" bless up. So here's the story. 
Sister Memmott and I thought it would be fun to go on a hike to see some cliffs right next to the ocean here on Guam! So we parked our car and walked up to the cliffs! We were there for about an hour and when we made our way back to the car we were a little rushed (I cut out a big part of the story but that's a story for another time) and so we just got out of there as quickly as possible! So we then were driving back when Sister Memmott thought she heard the back window open! So she looks back and sees glass EVERYWHERE and my bag (so my wallet and all those important things) and my cute pohnpeian skirt were not there! YIKES. but it's all good! everything is okayyyyy!
but the Lord sure did bless us that night with the cutest new investigator, Chanoreen! Who even accepted a baptismal invitation in the first lesson! She's reading her Book of Mormon everyday and came to church yesterday! So that was a big time tender mercy that we saw after a little bit of a rough and tiring day!
Also we have this investigator, Abby, who we met my first week here and is also getting ready for baptism in December. We asked her to read the first chapter in the Book of Mormon and she read the first 10 chapters instead! & could summarize in detail each chapter. like what? I can't even do that.
it was a gooood week and it's crazy how quickly everything is ending! I sure do LOVE serving the Lord!
LOVE. Sister Russell

Sunday, November 12, 2017


This week was unlike any other week as I tried to transition to life off the island of Pohnpei and onto the island of Guam! & dang was it rough. but lemme tell ya! Heavenly Father is DANG aware of His children. Tuesday was a hard day. a really really hard day! & we had to make our way to the mission office to meet with my mission President and his wife! President Poston was just a little late & while sitting outside his office in walks NOHNO REDES! I shot out of that chair so dang quick! & then we just hugged & cried& hugged & cried some more! Nohno Redes is a member of the Sapwalap Ward & was in Guam for the translation of the Pwuken Mormon & just happened to need something from the mission office at the exact moment that I was there! I was even able to write a few letters and send them with her back to Pohnpei! What a HUGE tender mercy! 
What else went down this week:
- Said my last pohnpeian goodbye last night to Sister James! I'm dang over goodbyes.
- Found the CUTEST Pohnpeian family this week & started teaching them in their own language. 
- Found the most prepared investigator of all time, Abby Abalosa. Stay tuned on that one.
- Helped a man clean out his house with the elders this week & a from 1-10 of how bad the house was... we found a dead cat. YIKES.
- Was asked to pray in sacrament meeting yesterday and tottttallly forgot that I was supposed to pray in English so I wrecked that pohnpeian prayer and made the 3 pohnpeians in our ward SUPER happy. whoops. 
LOVE. Sister Russell

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Goodbye Pohnpei, Hello Guam....

Sunday morning around 8:30 a.m. I received a heart wrenching phone call from my Zone Leaders informing me that I would need to pack everything, say my goodbyes to my sweet Pohnpeian family, and be to the airport at 11:00 p.m. for my flight that would be departing at 2:00 a.m. for Guam.  
I'm not sure I've lived a day as difficult as the one I lived yesterday. My heart clenched and a whole lot of tears were shed. However, as the plane took flight and I said one last goodbye to the island that changed me my feelings of frustration and anger turned to feelings of overwhelming gratitude to an all-knowing and all-loving Father in Heaven who gave me those 16 incredible months with strangers who became  family in the Sapwalap ward. They taught me how to love unconditionally and how to walk by faith. They taught me where true joy comes from and how to wash my clothes in a river with just a wooden paddle and a rock! I love them. They are humble. they give unselfishly. they are patient and kind and I LOVE them. I know how to give my will and heart to the Lord because I've watched it be done. These sweet Saints mean everything to me. But how blessed I am with this change! a new opportunity to learn and love and serve the people of Guam. 
How incredibly BLESSED am I to have something that was so hard to say goodbye to?
love, Sister Russell

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A funeral and a baptism......

okayyyyy here's a good story from this week. So on Thursday we went to our very first Pohnpeian Funeral. I was straight up dying. We had heard that a member had died and they told us where he lived so we just tagged along! I've been in this ward for almost 17 months and had NO idea who this guy was. So we low key find out that this was a man who was a member foreverrrr ago who fell away from the Church and built his own church that uses everything that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints uses. I'm not kidding. The Book of Mormon, Sacrament prayers, everything! he just for some reason believed that he was a prophet annnnnd he was not the biggest fan of us missionaries! Soooo what did we do? we decided to go and support him! Funerals are so different here! They last like 10 days (no idea why) & they leave the body in the house for the first day and if you go into the room with the body you HAVE to cry. So Sister Bowers and I see Suleen and she asks if we wanna go see the body and DUH we did. sooooow e're walking into the house and I see this huge pig chopped open, guts flying and I straight up thought I was going to pass out. We get into the room and they told us to kneel and put our heads down and when I saw the body ohhhh geez it was a good thing I was't standing or I would have gone down! So I started pinching Su's leg so she would get that I was done. hahahah took her a second but she got it and we were out. hahahaha I love Pohnpei. 

Saturday KATHRENE got baptized! best day of my mission for sure. Before her baptism me and her were sitting on the steps and I asked her why she wanted to be baptized and she looked at me and said "Because this Gospel brought back my happiness and my hope." As I walked with her from the chapel to the font she was squeezing my hand so tight I thought it was going to fall off! Seeing her enter the waters of baptism was one of the sweetest experiences I have had here on the island of Pohnpei. I'm sure I told her in the pre-earth life that I would come find her and I'm sure grateful that we did! love her soooooo much.
it was a GOOD week. 
love. Sister Russell

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ripped Pants...

hey hey heyyyyy! holy crap time could slow down. I have ZERO idea where the time is going. 
-Wednesday we were able to teach Kathrene about the Tree of life and it was super cool! It was weird teaching it. It was actually my first time teaching it because it isn't translated into the Pohnpiean Book of Mormon so it was a neat experience to be able to teach it! We kinda got stuck at some parts but heyyyy the spirit made up for it!
-Saturday Suleen came with us and she was straight up doing our job! We pulled into our house and our land lord was there and she just walked up to them and started teaching the gospel and then as they were leaving she gave them a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet HAHAHAHAH gosh I love her...I felt really bad...need to step up my game!
-Soooooo we were eating dinner with our ward mission leader his wife asked him to get us a bowl so that we could wash our hands and he stand up and faces away from us and as soon as he does the elders start laughing and I couldn't figure out why! So then we look up at Brother Albert (ward mission leader) and his pants were ripped, not just a little rip but from the belt down to the seam! Hahah oh man it was so funny! We all just died laughing! I haven't laughed that hard in my entire life. bless up that he's endowed and had garments on. YIKES that would have been awful. hahhahahah I'm still laughing. 
-We were able to teach Kathrene about the Sabbath day and symbolism of the Sacrament! As we taught her about the sacrament and she already had such a deep understanding of the importance and the sacredness of it. She didn't take it the week before but she took it this week and she explained to us that she knew she wasn't clean because she still was having word of wisdom problems so she didn't want to take it, but she took it this week because this was the week she was clean totally from chewing beetlenut! Bless her heart. She then explained how much sweeter church was when she was able to partake of the Sacrament. I love her so much.

I love my Pohnpeians so much. These big dorks have my whole heart! I'm the luckiest missionary ever.
LOVE. Sister Russell