Monday, January 30, 2017

The Miracle of the Church


Hello Family!!!

I don't even know where to start with this week. Nothing big happened, but tons happened at the same time. 

Our branch presidency is just awesome. President Bulanon is an RM and knows what's goin on. We've been working with him at lot these last couple weeks and I have been given the task of training our new Branch Mission Leader - Brother N - who was an investigator I taught last time he was here and now I come back and he's a member! Love it when that happens. 

In our Branch presidency meeting, we came up with a lot of new ideas to implement to make sacrament more reverant, one including sitting in families. All the old best friend tatays who sit in the back and giggle with eachother like a bunch of teenage boys probably aren't gonna be super happy about that haha. I love them:)

One funny experience that happened this week was when we went to visit  a bunch of little kids who were just baptized. When we teach these recent converts, all their little friends accompany them and we usually end up teaching 10 of them and the parents. Well we're finishing up the lesson, and I pull out my planner and it's covered in Off Lotion - it broke open and spilled all over my bag! On top of that, it was bright purple because it had spilled all over my purple wallet and started to eat away the color. All the little kids ( they literally are so cute! I need to adopt a Filipino) they come up with the brilliant idea of having me rub it all over their skin. So I start taking handfuls (not an exaggeration) of this purple lotion out of my bag and rubbing it on their hands. All of them got so excited and would hurry and rub it in and then say, "hatagi pa!" which means, "give me more!", so I'd give them another handful and they'd help rub it in on eachothers legs. Hahaha, it was so cute. 

We had exchanges in Ormoc again this week. This time I was with my batch  and MTC roommate - Sister Rex whom I love to death. It was so fun working with her and to be able to speak Cebuano. 

One thing I realized this week was just truly how amazing the church is. A lot of people we teach ask, "Why do we even need 1 specific church?" For them, it's enough to believe in God. But through the church, miracles can happen. It's been called, "The atonement delivery system". Jesus Christ established it himself and it's essential because we can gather in families and learn about becoming followers of the Savior and leaders and teachers and gospel doctrine experts and speakers and socialists as we gather together as saints like we gather in families. I saw this amazing change take place in our new Branch Mission Leader. Last time I was here, he was a man struggling with word of wisdom and being the guide he needed to be for his family. Now, a complete change has occurred. He's learning to be a leader. He's magnifying his priesthood and there's a whole new atmosphere in his home. His kids are more obedient and respect their parents and have testimonies for themselves. 

The church is true. Joseph Smith was a true prophet. 

Love you all, 
Have a great week and enjoy the snow:)

Love Sister Russon




Wow, what a crazy week it's been!!! It FINALLY STOPPED raining a couple days ago!!! It was flooding everywhere!!! We were working in water up to my ankles. 

Had a couple miracles happen this week - 

First, one day we got punted a million times. Punted means, you cant catch a break and be recieved by anyone to teach a lesson. We must've talked to over 35 people that day and by 5:00, we'd had one lesson. I was not feelin so hot. Around 6:00 after dinner, I tell my companion, okay, we are not going home until we get 4 lessons. I say a prayer in my heart that Heavenly Father would guide us to someone who was prepared for the gospel that would recieve us, and two seconds later, this girl in her 30's waves us down and tells us the missionaries used to teach her and her son is a member and she loves who he is as a person because of the gospel in his life and she wants to be a member. Haha. Thank you Heavenly Father. Missionaries stopped teaching her because the people she lives with don't like missionaries and it was causing them a lot of contention in their home. But we were able to teach her with one of her neighbors and now we have several new investigators!!!

The next miracle, we went to one of our investigators houses name E. She has been an investigator FOREVER because her daughter is a less active member. She reads the book of mormon all the time but is a strong Catholic and has never been to church because the Catholic church has been her life and of course, it would be hard to just up and switch religions. We went to teach her this lesson thinking we probably wouldn't be coming back any time soon because other than reading, she wasn't progressing at all. We start the lesson with a prayer, and she asks to share something she read in 3 Nephi chapter 11. It was about Jesus Christ being baptized in the water by the proper authority. She then tells us, I need to be baptized in your church becuase I need to be baptized the way God has commanded us. Uh, thank you again Heavenly Father! Hahha, I have a newfound testimony of the Book of Mormon and it's power. It changed her heart. She committed to come to church and received a baptism date. The next step is getting her there. 

Miracles happen when we have faith and do the Lord's work. I know this gospel is true and it has brought unexplainable happiness into my life. 

Love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Russon

I FINALLY Spoke Cebuano


Yes, Cebuano was the language I was assigned to speak in my call letter. No, I have not spoken t a single day since I left the MTC!!! ...until...this week!!! President realized our STLs in Tacloban were a little stressed because they had too many sisters under their jurisdiction, so they stuck us with the Ormoc sisters. We got to go to Ormoc this week! I've never even been to that half of the mission! ;The Cebuano half. It was great working with them, though a little trying. I completely can understand Cebuano. It's the speaking it thats the difficult part. The muscle memory of my talk just wants to spit out waray waray. Considering the circumstances however, I thought I did pretty good:)

Sister Aumua and I are doing great. I'm amazed at how fast she's picking up waray waray. She definitely wouldn't say that it's coming fast but in remembering how slow it came for me, she's rollercoastering through the language. And, she's teaching me a bit of samoan in the process:) We have fun together, she's like the sister I sometimes want to give a good beating to...haha, I say that with the utmost amount of love:) This morning, she had me believing I had lice in my hair for a good 2-3 hours. She decided to tell me the good truth after I bleached all my sheets and hair combs. Yeah, salamat Sister Aumua. 

One funny thing that happened this week - it was late and dark one night and we were trying to make it to a recent converts house at a good time, so we could teach them before they put their kids down. I come up with the bright idea to take a shortcut down this muddy street. Mind you, it was only 20 minutes after we had been hit by a major rain storm. We were slowly making our way across this slippery muddy street, trying not to get mud all over us. I turn around to tell my companion to be careful, when I turn around, take a step on what was not solid ground, and feel my foot squish into a muddy hole halfway up my leg! I pulled my leg out and the whole thing was black.....and my shoe was gone. Yes my companion was dying of laughter. I then had to put my foot back into the black hole full of who knows what and retrieve my shoe. The family we went to afterwards got a good kick out of it. 

Another experience we had this week involved one less active sister we refound. When I was last here, she was active. But the members told us it was a while since she had been to church, so we visited her. She was only 18, but she opened up to us that she got pregnant, and the dad left her and she's too shy to come to church because she feels guilty. We were able to talk to this struggling sister for a while and leave her with a comforting prayer. Hopefully, she'll be able to feel the light of the Atonement in her life and be able to move on emotionally and spiritually. 

The mission is great and I love it and I know this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was called of God to help Him restore the gospel on this Earth. Wow are we so lucky!!!

Love you all, 
Have a great week!

Sister Russon

Training Week 2


It's been a wonderful week in Dagami! I'm back in my old huge apartment and have had a wonderful time  revisiting members and getting updated on whats happened these last 6 months of everyone's life since I was last here. 

It's been an interesting transition in coming back. Last time I was here, my companion and I got pulled out of the area because a HUGE batch of elders went up and the mission was lacking missionaries. President had to take some missionaries out of the areas that were struggling in progression and my area was one of them. Now that I'm back, after being here last and not seeing much progression, it's interesting how much potential there really is in this area and how much there's always been...what's the difference? I'm a completely different missionary than when I was last here. 

Sister Aumua, my trainee, is doing well. Still struggling with the language, but everyone we visit just lights up with motivation when they find out she needs help in learning - theyre very eager to assist:)

We've had some miracles and other interesting experiences happen this week. Here's a quick little update:

- Members from the branch have offfered to pay for the marriage of 2 investigator couples we have! Wooooo!!! As soon as that happens, they can be baptized. 

- Stopped, talked to, and ask to teach a lady and her family who have been watching the missionaries walk by her house for years without ever giving her that offer. Her cousin is a very active member in the church and is a great example to her. We have taught her twice and she's already reading the Book of Mormon and has a baptismal date. She now keeps telling her family and friends, "I'm a Mormon", hahaha. 

- Taught twice another very strong Catholic family. They're wonderful and very eager to learn. However, from what they've said, they don't plan on keeping any commitments or applying any of this into their life. They're very kind and love our visits, but if nothing changes, we'll need to spend that time teaching others who are ready. 

Other than that, we had a super fun zone activity at the mission home where we made legit american hamburgers and played volleyball and some water relay races. The mission is the best:) 

Love you all, have a great week. Keep looking for ways to serve others. 

Sending love always, 

Sister Russon

Back to Dagami and Training


Hello wonderful family!!!
I miss you all so much! It was so good to see you all on skype!!! 

A lot has happened in the last week! I was surprised by President when he called me to train again. Even more surprised to know it would be in Dagami, an area I was assigned in about 7 months ago. My new companion is wonderful - her name is Sister Aumua, from Samoa. Hahaha another Samoan. Everyone here thinks she's Sister Matautia - my last Samoan companion who I was assigned with in Dagami. She's having a hard time with the language which is normal, but other than that, she's doing a great job at adjusting to everything and I'm really proud of her. 

Being back in Dagami is surreal. I'm a completely different missionary than I was the last time I was here and it's been fun these last couple of days to see the potential this area has and what we can do with these new people we'll find. Training is not easy, but my trainee is making it easier because she's so willing to do the work, and I hope I'll be able to help her as much as I can and get her to a point that she is feeling confident in her abilities before she receives her next companion. 

Hug each other for me. I love and miss you all. Happy 2017; make it the best year yet!

Love Sister Russon

Merry Christmas 2016!!!!


Hello Beautiful Family!!
Merry Christmas Merry Christmas! 2017 is right around the corner but let's enjoy the season at this time! This week has been really great and spiritual as we tried to help families understand how they can make this Christmas the best one yet as they strive to focus on it's true meaning.

We had some baptisms this week!!!!!! Two cute little investigators, the son and daughter of a just returned less active family. They have golden testimony and were SO excited for their baptism. Future missionaries for sure;)

My blessed companion got SO sick this week, the weirdest thing. I was really worried thinking we'd need to go to the hospital, but after a couple priesthood blessings, medicine, and prayers, she recovered quickly and we were able to catch up on visiting investigators.   

Other than that, we've got a busy week ahead of us: 
     Today we have a zone acitvity in Calbayog that hopefully will go through - it's hard organizing big activities as a missionary haha. 
     Tomorrow we have Zone Conference in Tacloban which will be fun and Sister Portin and I are singing .
     Wednesday Exchanges with my first roommate in Allen Sister Resolme!
     Thursday, we're speaking at a baptism and then we have our branch Christmas Party
     Friday, Exchanges with my batch, and MTC roommate, Sister Heath! we've also been asked to sing at Branch 2's Christmas party that night. 
     Satuday, we get to baptize my first full family in the mission!!!! Woooo!!! This has been a long awaited day and we're super excited! Plus it's Christmas Eve! We've been invited by a member to eat at her restaurant at their staff party. There hopefully will be fireworks that night as well:)
     Sunday, Merry Christmas Philippines!!!!! I'm just expecting to get sick eating spaghetti all day - that's what happened last year:)
     Monday - Call family! Merry Christmas America!

And then work in between, and...
that's a wrap:)

Have a Merry Merry Christmas! Love you all! Do something extra special this year to remind us of how important the Savior is in our lives. 

Love you!
Sister Russon