Sunday, September 25, 2016

Baptisms and Bucket Showers....

September 25, 2016

Sooooo FIRST OFF PUMALINE WAS BAPTIZED!!!! wahoooo! I'm pretty sure there is not a better feeling in the whole wide world than hugging your investigator after they are baptized. It's a different kind of happy than I have ever experienced. My testimony is strengthened every time I watch these people completely change their lives and turn to Christ! Being a missionary is the bomb!!!!! And plus this little girl is the sweetest thing ever! It was the bessssttttt! OH and at this baptism I gave my very first talk in Pohnpeian so wahooooo we're getting places people! WE ARE GETTIN PLACES! But for reals! The language is starting to come and I'm finally beginning to understand the whole "Gift of Tongues" thing! Like we will walk out of a lesson and I'll think back and realize that I can't remember anything I taught! I mean don't get me wrong, I still freakin hate this language but at least I can say more than "Edei Sister Russell, Ngehi men Utah!" So BOO YAH. 
Okayyyyy sooooo sometimes I forget that I live in a third world country but this week most definitely wasn't one of those times! The whole island was out of power ALL WEEK. all freakin week. And because our water comes through a pump that meannnnnnsssss NO WATER = BUCKET SHOWERS!!!! wahoooo. Honestly they aren't as bad as they seem! They totally just wake you up! But the biggest problem with no power is that at night nooooo one has lights and no lights = no lessons which is like a super big problem, ya know?? HAHAH but hey it's all good! It supposedly got fixed this morning and it's working right now so pray pray pray that it keeps working!!!!
So this week was filled with saying "So what do you remember from what the Elder's taught you?" and let me tell you guys, I'm sooooooo not a fan of whitewashing!!! Like this one guy came up and went off on us about how Brigham Young had lots of wives and how we should only have one wife and blah blah blah. And I literally just started laughing. I didn't even try to explain anything (mostly because I didn't know how to in Pohnpeian) hahahahah I'm the worst and I MISS SAPWALAP. 
Life as a missionary is about 1000000 times different than anything I could have ever expected! It's the hardest thing I've ever done and most days I say "just make it through this day" and yet I've never been SO happy. Watching the Atonement completely change people's lives is unlike anything I've ever experienced. I'm SO grateful to be on this mission. I know without a doubt that this is where I am needed and I know without a doubt that there are people here who NEED me! I sure do miss Cafe Rio, Fizz, Chick-fil-A, Nordstrom Rack, and slurpees though hahahah! 18 months isn't that long right? 
I ese me Rongamwahuen Sises Krais pwung oh mehlel!!! I kapingki ansou mwahu en wia dodoak en miseneri!!! I poakepoake kumail koaros!!!!
LOVE. Sister Russell

Monday, September 19, 2016

Language Training????

September 18, 2016

Kasalelie Kumaillllll!!!! Udaun! This week was good!
Soooooo to start off this week Sister G. and I got a nice phone call from our Zone Leaders (who are bomb) who told us that we would be getting another sister from Palau and that I would be language training her Pohnpeian HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH okay (ask me how it's going) BUT thank the heavens because the new sister is WHITE. bless up. I sure do love Pohnpei and I love the people here but it's been the bessssst being around a white girl for a few days!
So this week was so great! Welsit was FINALLY baptized. And the spirit was SO strong as he entered the water. This realization hit me, this message is SO important! Missionaries change lives! Oh how I love being a missionary. Sooooo after the ordinance the bishop comes up to me and Sister G. and Sister Leslie and asks if we will sing a special song for the baptism HAHAHAH I was like "You're kidding right?" So we sing Come Follow Me and it took everything in me not to laugh though the entire thing. I was dying. If you wanna know how bad it went, ask my mom! She knows how good of a singer I am!
ALSO. On Friday we got lost in the jungle for liiiiiikkkkke 3 hours HAHAHAH so just imagine that. I've never prayed so hard hahahahha.
Kupromahk Kumail! This email is so so short!! But I promise I'm doing so great! I'M SO HAPPY. I absolutely LOVE being a missionary. I love everything about it (besides the stupid language and the freakin spiders here) But HEY. We're all good!!!
I poakepoake kumail!!!
Limpoake, Sister Russell 

Whitewashing? For reals Prez?

September 11, 2016

OKAY so transfer calls were last night and Sister G. and I are OUT of Sapwalap  Worst day ever. We are both being transferred to Mesihsou which is an area that sisters have never been allowed to be in till now!! We are the first sisters to go to Mesihsou and I'm STOKED. and nervous. and scared as crap! When my district leader told us we would be in Mesihsou we both just laughed and were like "HAHAHAH Sisters aren't allowed in Mesihsou!" I guess Heavenly Father had something else in mind. ALSO. We are whitewashing the area! Which means that both previous missionaries are leaving and two new missionaries are coming in. So this week will be filled with checking the area book and lots and lots and lots of finding! HAHHAHAHA also lots of prayers will be said this week, that's for sure! I'll be saying "Kasalehlie! Edei Sister Russell, Ngehi men Utah!" a WHOLE lot this week. 
Soooooo this week was a "refiner's fire" kinda week. At all times I was just praying "Heavenly Father can you teach me what I need to learn faster? Because I'm real sick of this." HAHAH  Just a rough week! I think half of our appointments fell through, a guy who is supposed to get baptized on the 24th confessed that he is addicted to smoking Marijuana, our car broke down hahahahha, Sister G. and I both had the flu, and to top it all off Welsit didn't show up to his own baptism! WHO THE HECK DOESN'T SHOW UP TO THEIR OWN BAPTISM??? Welsit. 
So here's the story. Friday night he was interviewed by our district leader and things seemed to be going so well! Sister G. and I had fasted on Saturday that everything would work out and up until the time of the baptism it had been a pretty good day!! We had gone to see Welsit and he explained how excited he was and that he would be at the church at 5:30 (the baptism was supposed to begin at 6 BUT "local time" means everything starts an hour late) Sooooo at 6 Welsit still wasn't at the church and so our ward mission leader went to go pick him up! So everyone is just sitting in the chapel waiting for Welsit. and we waited. and we waited. and we waited! And at 7 we decided to go find Welsit! So we went to his house (hut hahahahha) he wasn't there! So we went searching!!! NO LUCK. We went back to his house and his sister had come home and told us that Welsit didn't want to get baptized on Saturday because he had to work on Sunday and wanted to receive the Holy Ghost the day after being baptized. FOR REALS? ugh. I was so mad! hahahahha Heavenly Father definitely was teaching me patience with this one! But luckily Welsit agreed to be baptized this Saturday and promised that he would actually come! HA. And also, even though we moved area's we still get to work with him this week! BLESS UP.
Though this week was filled with difficulties I have never felt so close to my Father in Heaven! I KNOW without a doubt that there is something to learn during every trial. He didn't put us on earth just to watch us struggle but to shape and mold us to become the person he needs us to become in order to return back to him. 
I LOVE POHNPEI!!! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!! Not gonna lie, I'm a little sick of fish eyeballs looking at me during dinner but HEY it's all part of the experience! 
I ese me Mwomwodisowet mehlel oh Rongamwahu en Sises Krais wia kitail peren!! Inou!!!
The church is true!! So so so so so so true!! promise!!
Xo/ Sister Russell

The fish in Pohnpei is 39743048148347 times better than the fish in Utah

September 4, 2016

Hellllllooooo everyone!
It's been a great week on Pohnpei and lemme tell you, I'm one happy happy missionary! I LOVE being a missionary! 
So  if you remember from last week I was quite frustrated with this Welsit! He's been meeting with missionaries for 4 years and has yet to get baptized because he can't get over chewing beetlenut. UGH. When I first met him I was determined that I was going to be the missionary who baptized Welsit! I've prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and fasted and fasted and fasted for him. So on Thursday Sister G. and I went to go see him. Something was different this time! I could immediately tell that something was very, very different! We started the lesson and before we even got into what we had prepared with tears in his eyes he says..."I'm done with Beetlenut, I realized last night that I need to change something in my life and I'm done with Beetlenut!"
I just sat there. I was SHOCKED. And then I cried. hahahahha!!!! I'M SO HAPPY!!!! So Welsit will be baptized this Saturday! YAY. 
One thing I know for sure is that our Father in Heaven is indeed aware of His children. SO so aware. He hears our prayers and is aware of the trials, temptations, and struggles we are all going through!
So last week at our meeting with Elder Yamashita and President Zarbock, President challenged us all to invite our investigators to be baptized in every single lesson! When he said it I literally laughed. I thought he was insane!!! But knowing that he's inspired, we did it!!! And now we have 6 investigators on baptismal date!! 6 FREAKIN PEOPLE!!!! Crazy huh? Being a missionary here on Pohnpei is the besttttt! 
Things I love about Pohnpei #2
1. There's no speed limit and the one paved road is currrrrrrvy so driving here is always an adventure! (Sister G. and I ALWAYS pray hard before driving hahah)
2. The people here have NOTHING and give everything. I'm learning so so much from them every single day.
3. Doing your hair isn't a thing here! THANK THE HEAVENS!!
4. The fish here is about 39473048148347 times better than fish in UTAH.
5. Everyday is an adventure! hahahahaha
There's a bajillion things I love about Pohnpei! I'm learning so much every single day. About myself, the gospel, and about our Heavenly Father's love for His children!! Being a missionary is one of the sweetest blessings EVER. Watching the Atonement transform peoples lives is absolutely incredible!
I poakepoake kumail koaros!!!!
Xo. Sister Russell

A Familiar Face....Angels Singing

August 29, 2016

What a greeeeeat week! Oh my, I LOVE being a missionary! And I LOVE being a missionary on the island of Pohnpei. 
So on Thursday we had district meeting in Kolonia! I walked into the room to hand one of the Sisters something and I look up and see a FAMILIAR FACE. I about died! I haven't seen someone I know since I said goodbye to my family at the airport 3 months ago!! RYAN CRAWFORD is on Pohnpei and he's in my zone!!!! He's a friend from back home and when I saw him tears were coming. BIG TIME. I was SO happy. And then he goes "Sister Roloff says hi! I saw her right before I left the MTC" Oh myyyyy it was the best thing I've heard since getting here on Pohnpei! What a tender mercy! 
And then to make Thursday even better Welsit got married!!! Wahoooo! And lemme tell ya, Sister G. and I planned a dang good wedding! Call us up if you need a wedding planner anytime soon! But on the reals. It was the BEST! But also it made me so so grateful for the temple and our knowledge that families can be together forever!!! Even though the marriage was so so special and so sweet to be at I couldn't help but feel something was missing! I'm SO grateful to have temples close to home and to have the opportunity to be sealed to my family for eternity!
So as good as Thursday was, Friday was rough.. SO rough. So before this Welsit asked if we could move his baptismal date back to this Thursday so that he could get baptized on his birthday so he was scheduled for baptism on Sept. 1!! And I was SO happy. Well on Friday we went to go see him and I immediately could tell something was wrong. For about a week he had been off of beetlenut and was going strong! We started the lesson and he wouldn't look at us! So I just asked him if something was bothering him and he went on to explain to us that he had started chewing again and was back up to chewing 20 a day!! That's where he was when I met him! NOOOO. oh my I was so mad. I didn't understand WHY. He had come so so far and yet was right back where he started. However, this situation taught me a lot of patience! No one is perfect and everyone is striving to be better! And it's our job as missionaries to guide those people, not force them! But WOWZA it'd be a lot easier if I could just force him to quit beetlenut HAHAH.
So yesterday the missionaries on Pohnpei had the opportunity to hear from Elder Yamashita of the seventy!! What a blessing! Also our sweet mission President and his wife came from Guam which is always so great to see them! 
Elder Yamashita told a story of when he first was called to the seventy that stuck with me and was exactly what I needed to hear. He had just been called to the seventy and was having a meeting with President Packer. As he left President Packers office President Packer could tell that something was very very wrong. Elder Yamashita then went on to explain to him that he was nervous that his english skills wouldn't be good enough and that he felt inadequate. President Packer gave him the advice "Heavenly Father has already brought you to this point, He's not going to leave you now. Have faith in Him and have faith in yourself".
I can't even tell you how badly I needed that!! The Pohnpeian language has been so difficult for me. SO difficult. However, I KNOW that Heavenly Father sent me here for a reason and He's not going to leave me now! What a sweet blessing. 
Love you alllllll! Have the best week!
XO/ Sister Russell

Slippery Rocks

August 21, 2016

Sooooo this week was a good one! (I say that every week but I'm so serious about this week!)
OKAY so I have some funnnnyyyy stories this week! So on Thursday mine and Sister G's recent convert wanted to take us to a waterfall that is right next to her house and have a lesson there! and OF COURSE we said yes. So we start walking and we get to this river and lemme tell ya. This river wasn't just like a slow, peaceful river. This was a river that was going FAST. And I'm with these Pohnpeians who just hop right across it and I'm like GUYS I can't do that hahaha! So we are walking across these big rocks and I get about half way across the river and realize that I have NO idea where to go! So I'm just sitting there laughing because I'm stuck and Akaline yells in Pohnpeian "Sister Russell, just jump!" HAHAH OKAY. So I just jump and before even getting both feet on the rock I'm DOWN. And I fell down HARD hahahah! I'm seriously laughing just writing this. I just sat there on the rock and laughed because I was certain that I had just broken every bone in my body! But don't you worry, I'm good!
Soooo another funny story! So we had district meeting on Thursday and Sister Alanzo, a Pohnpeian sister, comes up to me and Sister Bowers and tells us that she needs to ask us a question! She then goes on to explain to us that she needed us to teach her how to kiss a boy because she was worried that when she went home that she wouldn't be able to kiss HAHAHAHA LIKE WHAT?? I was laughing so hard. So Sister Bowers used an apple to teach her how to kiss a boy. I've never laughed so hard in my life!!! Oh geez. Pohnpeians are so funny!
Soooo in regards to missionary service! Welsit gets married and baptized this week and I couldn't be more excited!!! me and Sister G have invested so so much into him and I just can't wait to see that hard work pay off as he enters the waters of baptism on Saturday! ALSO. he's done with Beetlenut like THANK THE HEAVENS!! Also, Brother Orlando (Esther's dad, the little girl in all my pictures) is on baptismal date for the 13th of September!!!!! WAHOOOO! Missionary work is the BEST!
Things I love about Pohnpei:
1. Garments are only 25 cents here on the LDS store! I'm not kidding. 
2. Everyone is ALWAYS home because no one has jobs or does anything else all day! Which makes finding and teaching eassssyyyy!
3. The people are SO loving. like so loving that sometimes it freaks me out. And are willing to give everything they have to the missionaries!
4. There is only one paved road and then small side roads which makes directions super simple! 
EX: Take the third side road, go past the 5th coconut tree, and the hut is on the left! HAHAH I'm not kidding.
5. They LOVE white people. Like the little kids just come up and touch my skin!
6. Pohnpei is BEAUTIFUL.
Okayyyy those are just some things but seriously I LOVE this place and am so so grateful to be a missionary here! The gospel of Jesus Christ is so so true! I promise!
I poakepoake kumail koares!!!!
Love, Sister Russell

Akaline's Baptism...Yahooooo!

August 14, 2016

Sooooooo some weeks in the mission field just drag and some ROCK. This week ROCKED! On Saturday Akaline and her daughter Revone were baptized and it was the sweetest experience I have yet to experience on my mission. As we visited and taught Akaline I won't lie, she FRUSTRATED me in the beginning. So first off she lives in the middle of the freakin jungle and it's like an hour hike through mud to get to her house and if we ever didn't go see her she would get soooooo upset! Oh annnnnd she's a little bit of a know it all! But as we taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ I watched as the Atonement changed her. The hardness of her personality slowly was softened and watching her eyes fill with tears just before entering the waters of baptism was so so sweet! As a missionary I think the best moment ever is hugging your recent convert just after they are baptized! Being a missionary is the BEST!  
Okayyy and remember Welsit?? he's the guy that I make bets with so that he will keep his commitments!!  Well on Wednesday we had a lesson with him and his family (who are all members) and we talked about faith unto repentance! Sista G. & I hadn't planned on inviting him to be baptized in this lesson but the spirit slapped me in the face so I invited him and he said YES! so yayayay!!!!! Welsit will be baptized on August 27th and I couldn't be more excited! When people say that you will come to just love your investigators they are SO right. 
Sooooo the funniest thing happened this week. So the Mand Sisters (the sisters in the area right next to mine, Sister Bowers & Sister Alanzo) were at our house for lunch because we were cleaning out and filling up the baptismal font together! And Sister Alanzo was making something on the stove while me and Sister Bowers were sitting at the kitchen table and Sister G. was in the other room. So we are just sitting there talking and the stove top blows up and a fire starts! HAHAHAH Sister Bowers yells "HOLY SH*T!!" and jumps up on her chair and I just ran out of the house laughing HAHAHAH I'm dying just writing this. Don't you worry! The fire was controlled and no one was harmed! HAHAH oh my goodness...too funny!
I LOVE this place! I LOVE the people here! and I LOVE being a missionary in Pohnpei! I told this to a member the other day and she assured me that she would find me a Pohnpeian husband so that I would never have to leave! HAHAH okayyy I don't love it that much! But I sure am grateful for my short 18 months that I have to serve the Lord! 18 months is so short when you think about the blessings that come from missionary service! Those blessings extend into the eternities!!
I kapingki kapai kumail koares oh I poakepoake kumail koares!
Rongamwahu en Sises Krais mehlel!!
Love/ Sister Russe


August 7, 2016

Kasalehlie Kumail!!!
It's been another GREAT week on Pohnpei! When I first got here last month I couldn't help but think that this place was weird as crap. There are no stop lights and only one paved road on the entire island, everyone is always eating Ramen mixed with Kool Aid (weird right?? but not that bad HA), shirts are sooooo optional even if you're an 90 year old women, there is one grocery store on the island, and I'm dirty 150% of the time! BUT I LOVE IT! Every single day I grow to love this place more and more!! And every single day I grow to love the people more and more!! Missions are the best because unlike at home your struggles and trials are revolved around others because everything you are doing is revolved around others! I'm learning things here that I simply could not have learned any other way! MISSIONS ARE THE BEST!
One of the most difficult things in this mission is asking an investigator to come to church and they tell you that they don't have shoes or that they are embarrassed to wear the clothes they have to church. Or teaching about the importance of being sealed in the temple to a young family who barely has enough to eat.I truly have been so humbled during my time on Pohnpei. Because lemme tell ya, we are BLESSED to live where we do. 
Okayyyy soooo Akaline! Her baptism is this Saturday and I couldn't be more excited!!! We went to see her every day this week and she finished the Pwuken Mormon in 2 weeks and is starting it again like whhhhat? I've never even read it that fast! Oh I just love her. Her and her family have been so prepared to hear the gospel! As missionaries we often here that these people are prepared for us years before we teach them. Oh my goodness, that is SO true. And also, I know without a doubt that there are angels on both sides of the veil working with these sweet investigators!
Soooo I made a deal with one of our investigators that if he would stop chewing beetlenut that I would come back and see him after my mission and GUYZ it's been a month!!! And ALSO. Him and his girlfriend are getting married on the 25th of August and he is scheduled for baptism on the 27th!! (his girlfriend is already a member!) So YAY! Every single day me and Sista G. pray soooo hard for this guy and to hear that he was living the Word of Wisdom and is ready and willing to get married and enter the waters of baptism was such a blessing! Truly a miracle! One of the most special parts of being a missionary is getting to watch the Atonement work in the lives of these people. I thought I had a testimony of the Atonement before my mission but BOY was I wrong. 
I'm so so grateful to be a missionary! A mission is a different kind of hard than anything I've ever experienced. I truly can't explain it! It's harder than anything I've ever done and yet I don't think I've ever been so so happy!! This gospel is TRUE. it's so so true. Thomas S. Monson IS a true prophet and I know without a doubt that we are sooooo much happier when we follow his counsel! I know with my whole heart that the Book of Mormon is true and that as we read it we will grow so much closer to our Father in Heaven and in His Son, Jesus Christ! I love love love you all!!
I ese me Mwohmwodisowet mehlel! 
I poakepoake kumail!!!
Sending lots & lots of love from the island of Pohnpei!
XO/ Sister Russell

Golden Investigator

July 31, 2016

Kasalelie Kumail Koares!!
Soooo this week was a little different then the rest of my weeks in the mission field! on Monday night me and my companion were walking home from a few family home evenings and Sis. George kept telling me how back her side hurt! So we went home and hoped that things would get better in the morning! Wellllll, they didn't and we ended up in the hospital for 3 FREAKING DAYS! They ran lots of tests, she saw three different doctors, and they still couldn't find out what was wrong with her. I've never in my life been so grateful for modern medicine in the United States. I kid you not, on the first day we went to the hospital the doctor pocked her in the side, asked if it hurt, and then gave her pain meds!! HAHAHAH 3rd world countries just handle things so different. And then the next day at the hospital there was a dead body getting carried out of the hospital just so casually. I was scarred. HA. But one thing I did learn from spending lots of time at the hospital and stuck in the house is truly how grateful I am to be a missionary! It is such a BLESSING to serve the Lord for a short 18 months. As I sat and thought and thought about lots of things I missed my investigators and couldn't help but worry about them! I've come to understand why it must be so hard to leave your mission!
Sooooo on Friday I thought that it was important that we go and see our investigators to explain the situation and give them a little encouragement. So we went to see Akaline (The lady from my story last week) and as we talked with her she explained to us that since we hadn't seen her in 4 days she had been reading the Pwuken Mormon and is half way done!! GOLD INVESTIGATOR! She told us that she has a strong testimony of Joseph Smith and knows that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God!! Like WHAT? I was shocked and was SO happy. Though this week was tough being stuck inside, seeing that made it so worth it!
Also, I'm currently the wards English teacher soooo BOO YAH! Pohnpeians are so dang funny. This culture is so dang funny! 
Okayyy everyone! This gospel is TRUE. I promise you!!! Joseph Smith was a true prophet and the Book of Mormon is so so so so so so so true!!!!
I love my Savior. I love being a missionary. and I love Pohnpei!!!
I poakepoake kumail!!!

Another BOMB Week

July 17, 2016

Kasalelie Kumaillll! Helllllllo everyone! Another BOMB week on the island of Pohnpei. Okayyyy so before coming to Pohnpei one of my biggest fears was having a member put a fish on my plate with the eyeballs looking right at me! OKAY SO IT HAPPENED. Oh my goodness. The member put it in front of us and I just started praying hahaha I about died! However, wasn't that bad!!!! I just didn't look at the eyeballs HA! But other than that, this week was so so great! The missionary work here really is moving along! We are so so busy allllll day. Like we never ever go finding because we simply don't have time which is such a blessing! The biggest struggle in regards to the work is how LAZY some of these people are. When I got here I wondered "why isn't everyone skinny here? All they eat is rice and fish?" and then I quickly realized that they literally don't do ANYTHING all day. Like nothing at all. But other than that. The work is so so great!
So on Thursday after district meeting our district leader decided it would be a good idea to dedicate our district! So we went to the top of this mountain and had a testimony meeting and prayer. We were overlooking the areas we are serving in and as we sat there and thought about those people we were teaching and would teach the spirit was SO strong. I feel so so blessed to be a missionary here in Pohnpei! I know that my mission president was very inspired when he sent me here and though the language and culture may be difficult, I know it's exactly where I am needed!
Okayyyy so I learned how to do the coolest thing this week! I learned how to tie hula skirts!!! Lemme tell you guys. That is not an easy thing!! Hours and hours of work goes into making hula skirts and they are so dang cool when they are finished! So I think I'm gonna tie hula skirts for a living instead of being a teacher when I get home hahahah!
So this week I promised one of our investigators, Welsit, that if he would stop chewing beetlenut (a Micronesian thing kinda like tobacco) that I would come back and visit him after my mission sooooo hahahah surprise mom and dad! I guess we are coming back because he's gone a whole week without chewing and that's a LONG time for this guy! Oh and p.s. I have this picture book of pictures of family and friends and the members and investigators are always asking to see it and lemme tell you guys, they think Americans are BEAUTIFUL! hahahah it cracks me up! The YW think Cade is the hottest thing to ever HAHAH oh gosh. 
So before leaving on my mission my parents had both given me letters to open on certain times. Like on the airplane, after a hard day, etc. etc. And this week I decided just to read a letter my dad had given me to read while on the airplane to New Zealand. In this letter he gave me advice and shared his love and support. There was one part that struck me this week! He wrote and explained that I could be assured that he would be praying to ask our Father in Heaven if it would be possible for my dad to feel and experience some of the heartache and trials for me so that I wouldn't have to experience those difficulties. Now if my earthly Father can express that kind of love for me just imagine how much our Father in Heaven and our Savior loves us!! Their love is so much greater than our minds can even comprehend! How sweet is that. 
I Kapingki I Peneinei!!
I ese me Sises Krais iaias!!!!
I poakepoake kumail!!!
XOXO / Sister Russell

Heavenly Father is so aware of us....

July 10, 2016

Kasalehlie Kuwaillllll!!!!
So lemme start off by telling you guys just how dang aware our Heavenly Father is of each one of us! He is SO SO aware. I had been having a hard day, struggling with some dumb things (Pohnpeian hahah) and we had just finished up a dinner appointment when one of the Elders comes running up with this box in his hands yelling "Sister Russell! Sister Russel! I'm sorry we forgot this last week but here you go!!" And he handed me the cutest package from my cute mom! The Elders had picked it up and had forgotten it was in their car until that moment! The moment I needed it the most! And what a blessing it was! The card written was exactly what I needed at that time! Heavenly Father truly knows, is keenly aware, and loves His children!
So on Wednesday we had Zone Conference which was aweeesome because we got to see our Mission President and his wife! My mission president is about a four hour flight away so when I get to see them it's a dang good day! When I saw Sister Zarbock (his wife) I just fell into her arms! She truly is the best ever. She knows exactly what to say and how to say it! The MGM mission is so so lucky to have them!
Sooooo funny story. Me and my companion are sitting in a lesson in this hut and I look up to see four freakin HUGE spiders on the roof. Like they were the size of a small dog (I'm not even kidding) and I about lost it HAHAHA! Safe to say the spirit left that lesson immediately and everyone started laughing! Gosh. It was terrifying! And that same night just after that lesson I was sitting in another lesson and I noticed these small red bumps on my wrist! Thinking it was just bug bites I told my companion and we both kinda forgot about it! HAHAH so I woke up the next morning with a rash allllllllll over my arms and back hahahah it was so funny! and so dang gross!!! But don't you worry! It went away!!! The struggle is so real in Pohnpei!
So ya know how missionaries say that the bishop will just randomly ask the missionaries to speak in sacrament meeting? SO YA that's a thingggg! HAHA and also after speaking in sacrament we were asking to teach gospel principles, and teach singing time in primary! Life of a missionary is the besttttt! And then after church the bishop asked me if I would teach an English class every Sunday night because I'm so good at English ahahah like whatttt? So imagine me (not knowing any Pohnpeian) trying to teach all these Pohnpeians English! Safe to say it did notttttt go well!
But for reals! Being a missionary here is such a blessing! Seeing the Atonement work in the lives of these sweet people every day has been an incredible experience. It has changed my view of the Savior and His Atonement! My testimony has been stretched and tested but lemme tell you guys! This church is SO true. like so so true! There's no way I would live in a 3rd world country, trying to learn Pohnpeian if I wasn't SO certain of its truthfulness!
Imen Wia I Kadeidei, I ese me Mwomwohdiso wet mehlel. I ese me Sises Krais iaias! I ese me Joseph Smith Soukop mehlel men! I ese me Pwuken Mormon mehlel!!
I poakepoake Kumail!!!
XO- Sista Russell 10, 2016

Bucket showers are not nearly as bad as they sound!

July 3, 2016

Wowza do weeks fly in the mission field! Pohnpei is the most beautiful place EVER. I have yet to be in a home with four walls (mostly huts). It's so dang crazy!!! And the even crazier part is that these people are the absolute happiest people!!! They are willing to do anything for anyone! They truly are the greatest examples to me!
Sooooo here's some things I learned my first week in Pohnpei!
1. Bucket showers aren't nearly as bad as they sound! (Our shower was broken for a few days...3rd world country probs!)
2. Utah rain storms are wimpy. 
3. Coconut milk may or may not be the grossest crap on earth.
Okayyyy so this place is absolutely insane!!! Proselyting and seeing the member is my favorite thing ever because we walk on these little paths through the jungle and is seriously the coolest thing ever! I can't talk to anyone yet so I just sit there and nod my head and smile hahaha and now I can kinda bare a short testimony at the end of the lesson! The members and my companion have been working hard with me and my Pohnpeian but DANG is it hard!!! I have so much respect for people who learn a language like WOW! So on Wednesday is rained allll day and even with a rain jacket we were soaked!!! Rain storms here are so crazy! You are outside for like 2 minutes and it looks like you just got out of the shower! Also, the missionary work here is really moving along! We have lots of investigators who are working hard to keep commitments and are very receptive to our message! Being a missionary here is so so great because the people are so disconnected from the world that they don't have pre-judgments about the Mormon church! It's the bestttt! Also on Saturday we had our first baptism!!! Yay! Seeing those two little girls enter the waters of Baptism was an experience I will never forget! I've only been able to bare a simple to testimony to them but I love them so much! It was such a sweet experience. And after the baptism the girls grandma, aunt, and cousin asked us to come see them! It's crazy the influence these two little girls have!! This gospel is the BEST. It's so so true! and boy do I love being a missionary!!! I ese me Mnwomwohdiso wet mehlel!!!! I love you alllll!
Xoxo/ Sista Russellllll

I am going to Pohnpei....What?

June 26, 2016

Hellooooooo everyone! This is so so crazy! I made it to Guam on Wednesday and then got my assignment to serve in Pohnpei!! And I'm already fluent in Pohnpeian hahah SIKE. So I guess Presidnet Monson was pulling my leg when he put "English" on my call letter! My trainer is Sister George and she is the BEST. Sweetest, most patient person I have ever met. She is originally from Pohnpei which is extra helpful when it comes to learning the language. My mission president and his wife are darling!! So sweet and SO strict. Which is such a great thing! So we spent our first couple of nights in Guam because our flight didn't leave until Sunday night so we've only been in Pohnpei for a few hours! I'm in a freakin jungle like OH MY HECK. Think about what Tarzan, Jurassic World, and Survivor looks like and that what Pohnpei looks like! My OCD about being clean has gone right out the window! There are bugs and lizards everyyyywhere. I'm in a small house with Sister George with no drinkable water or warm water but HOLY CRAP! I'm so so happy!!!! I know without a doubt that this is where the Lord needs me! I've only been here for a couple hours and already got lots of compliments on my white skin so I'm thinking my light skin will be a hit in Pohnpei! I prayed for an adventure and boy did I get one!! Missionary life is so great! The church is so so true, like SO true! Love you allllll!
XOXOXOX/ Sistaaa Russell

Days are long, but the weeks fly by....

June 16, 2016

Hello hello hello everyone! Ya know how missionaries say that days are forever but weeks fly by? SO TRUE ITS INSANE. This week flew by! And it was such a good one. I love the MTC! I’m learning so much. I swear my brain isn’t big enough to store everything I am learning! But I’m SO excited because I leave for Guam on Tuesday (Monday for you guys)!!!
So this week one of my teachers explained to my district that our Heavenly Father doesn’t like when we are comfortable so once we are comfortable He will put us in the new situation to refine us and help us grow! When she said this I just kept thinking that I was starting to get really comfortable with this whole MTC thing! Then out of nowhere the spirit slapped me in the face hahahha and I STRUGGLED. However something so valuable I learned was that when our Heavenly Father puts a problem in front of us we must think “what am I to learn from this?” A great lesson that I am glad I learned so early on!!
So this week was wayyyy cool because on Wednesday we got to go out with the full-time missionaries and I had the BEST experience! I learned so much and it was BOMB to get out the MTC for a couple of hours! And on Thursday we got to attend the temple again which was such a sweet experience! It made me so grateful to have a temple so close to home. Like we leave at 8 a.m. and don’t get home until 5 p.m. hahah it’s insane! WE ARE BLESSED IN UTAH!
Today is such a special day in the NZ MTC because the Area President, Elder Pierson and his wife are coming along with Sister Mconkie (however you spell that) from the YW General Presidency is coming!!! YAYAYYYYY!!! I’m so excited! This kinda stuff just doesn’t happen in New Zealand so it’s really cool to be here!
Okayyyy so the next time you hear from me I’ll be a Guamian! Wahoooo!!! Love love love you all!!
Peace out from NZ!!

XOXO / Sister Russell

Best Time of the Day!

June 9, 2016

Helloooooo everyone!!! I made it to the NZ MTC safely and I'm so so grateful for the opportunity to be here!! I've only been here a short time and I've already learned so much about the gospel, our Savior's love, and myself. So the NZ MTC is quite the place! There are like four white people here (I'm not kidding) which is AWESOME. And a total of 43 missionairies! My companion, Sister Lilo, iis seriously been the biggest blessing to me. I LOVE her. She is from Sydney and is going to Brisbane on her mission. I'm confident she will be the BEST missionary. gosh, I love her! My district is also so great! They are all from crazy places that I literally can't even pronounce which is cool and has provided me with such a cool perspective about life and the gospel! There are 4 elders and me and my companion in our district!
Also, my leaders here are SO great! There are two couples here on missions to help us. Brother and Sister Terry and Brother and Sister Morris. LOVE THEM. The MTC Pres. is President Gibson and he is so so great. He actually graduated from USU so me and him immediately had a great connection! His wife on the other hand hahaha. Bless her soul. She terrifies me. I've never in my life met someone so strict! Like we can't take pictures in the MTC, can't wear sweaters around our waists, can't say "freakin", will get in a tonnnn of trouble if we don't eat all of our food etc. etc. hahaha (these are all things I've gotten in trouble for so far) But she has great intentions!! I truly believe that she does!
P.S. Did you guys know that plugs are different depending on where you are in the world??? hahahha the things you learn as a missionary!
So our schedule is pretty similar every day! We get up at 6, breakfast @ 7, personal study from 7:30 to 8:30 and then companion study! We then study the BOM as a district and then class begins! We have class till 12, then lunch, then sports time. BEST TIME OF THE DAY. Me and my companion have a soccer team with these two Elders from Papai New Genie (no idea how to spell or say that) and we straight wreck. HAHAH the Poly Elders get wayyyyyy upset. It's so dang fun! and then we have time to shower and change and then back to class! Dinner is @ 5 and then it's back to class!!! SO MUCH STUDYING. But I've learned SO much.
On Thurs. we got to go to the NZ temple with everyone and WOWZA was that such a special day!! Being in the temple with new missionairies was one of the most powerful experiences I have yet to experience in the temple. It made me realize how blessed we are to have so many temples close to home!! Okayyyy everyone! I LOVE being a missinoary. It has made me so so grateful for my eternal family and the sweetest this gospel brings to our lives! What a crazy week!! This gospel is so so true!! SO true. I LOVE YOU ALL. peace ouuttttttt!
Sister Russell

I'm in Freakin New Zealand

June 1, 2016

Hellllloooooo!!! I'm in freakin New Zealand! Isn't that crazy?? Our flight to NZ went great! Wanna know how I know that Heavenly Father blesses His missionaries as they serve His children? So I sat in my seat in the aisle and was STOKED that I had an aisle seat. There was a young man next to me and then the two girls who were traveling with me next to him.So he was right in the middle of us!  His wife (girlfriend) was sitting in the seat right in front of him and I could tell they were frustrated they were not sitting next to each other so I offered her my seat and took her seat in the middle! Like 5 minutes before take off the flight attendant came and asked me if I wanted to move up to a seat in the aisle and then I got there and there was no one next to me so I had two seats all to myself! BLESSED. The flight was fine! long but I slept for most of it! and then this HUGE Togan came and picked us up and was so nice and helpful! It is his job to drive the missionaries! Awesome huh? Then we got taken to our rooms by the President and his wife (which are SO nice) and then we went to breakfast. So remember when we were told that the food was the same as the Provo MTC? BULL CRAP. I have no idea what I ate this morning but it was good so hahahah thats good I guess! This place is so great.I just got out of my intereview with the President and he was great! LIFE IS GREAT. I've been here for 4 hours and I have felt the spirit so strongly the entire time. I haven't had one ounce of homesickness and I have truly felt the spirit of the Lord lift me and pick me up! I love being missionary already! I cried when I put on my tag for the first time!!! I hope you guys are all doing okay!! I've been praying for you a lot and I hope you know I am happy and okay. and GUESS WHAT? We get to go to the temple! TWICE!!! Crazy huh? I'm so excited. LIfe is going goooood! There are 4 white sisters and I'm grateful to be one of them! The senior couples here have been so good to us! Sister Morris truly is an angel on earth! She has taken me under her a wing a little as she could tell I was a little emotional! I love this place, I love the MTC, I love being the Lord's missionary, and I LOVE you guys!!!! We are so lucky we get to be a family for eternity! Tell everyone hi for meeeee!!! Talk to ya real soon!!!! PEACE OUT!
Xoxoxoxoxox / Sister Russell