Monday, July 22, 2013

I have lots to catch up on

Dear family and friends,
I have more time to write this week, thankfully. I am so glad Zach had a good time at EFY! Those are some of my favorite memories. I can be such a spirit filled week if you allow it. Where are you going on vacation? Wherever it is, have lots of fun and eat good food and if it was really awesome, take me there when I come back.
This week has been exciting. The most surreal part was one morning earlier this week. I was making myself breakfast, when I glace at the floor and see a white speck. on closer inspection, the white speck began to wriggle. I called over Soeur M and after examining the living thing on floor, we came to the conclusion that it was a maggot. yes, a maggot on the living room floor. After flushing that one down the toilet, we found another one and another and etc. We went around picking up maggots wriggling across our floors with paper towels for about an hour until we couldnt find any more. They were coming from the trash can, so we threw that away and we havent seen any since. What a strange morning.
Last week, we also got an ami with a baptismal date. Her name is Louise and, if anyone needs and deserves the gospel in her life, its her. She has gone through anything and everything bad a person can go through and, after learning a lttle bit about the gospel, she has dove straight into it. She loves The Book of Mormon and Church. She has a really complicated situation, so we have a lot to sort out before she gets baptized, but she is so excited for it. We also are teaching a few african women and have a lot of potentials that we need to meet with this week.
It was interesting to hear what everyone did for the fourth of July. On the fourth we had a zone conference, so all the missionaries were celebrating together with a couple of patriotic songs and decorations, but otherwise, of course, the french people didnt blink an eye. But we were looking forward the 14 of July, the independence day of France. But apparently, they do a big a big celebration in Paris and a couple other cities, but not St Etienne. We had a Dominos pizza with the Elders, and that night pulled our chairs out onto the balcony to watch some fireworks. We saw like two fireworks pop out from random people celebrating, otherwise, it was like a ghost town. But I did take a moment to apreciate the situation. I was sitting on a balcony in France, clipping my nails by the light of the Dominos across the street, waiting for Fireworks. I can safely say, I have never pictured that setting my entire life.
One really awesome miracle that happened, was that, the first week, while we were trying to visit a member, who wasnt there, we had extra time. So after a little prayer for guidance, we decided to visit a less active on our list who lived nearby. We knew nothing about her, since we had just arrived, but we hopped on a bus, found the address for us and gave us directions, then we walked to this picturesque area tucked away in the hills. We rang the doorbell to her home and the gorgeous lady let us in with a big smile. We had a quick spiritual thought about faith in our broken  french that she participated beautifully in and she shared part of her sweet testimony. Towards the end of the lesson, we found out that she is the ex wife of our ward mission leader and she is currently living with a man. We invited her to church and hurried off for our meeting with our ward mission leader. We were kinda worried it would be a little awkward talking about her with our WML but he was glad we met with her, but didnt seem too confident that she would come to church. The next sunday, she came, and she has come every sunday since. A later time SM and her companion for the day visited with her again, and she started crying and saying how much she loves the church  and how the first time we visited her, we asked about how she found faith in the church, and she knows she has faith and she needs to be growing it and has been coming since to church then because of that and she is trying to decide whether or not she should leave her boyfriend so she can be active. How inspired was our first visit? If we had known she was the exwife of our WML, we may have not visited her or acted the same around her, but we didnt know, we followed a prompting and now she is changing her life for the better. How amazing! The church is true! I know it!
Je vous aime!
Soeur Russell

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I don't have any time to write

I literally have about 5 minutes to write. So before I forget, I have a letter to be sent to Grammy and Poppas house, so they will hear from me soon. So until they get my letter, I love them lots. (and the rest of my family and friends) And I did get the necklaces, which I loved and Isaac got baptized in Carcassonne this week, (I didnt see it though :( ) We have an ami with a baptismal date in St Etienne now, more later, and we have two new amis. A lot happened this week, and I really wish I had more time to write. Last transfer I thought we were really busy, it is really wasnt that busy when compared to this transfer. But we are busy doing the work of God, which is all that really matters. Scripture of the week is 2 nephi 31:20. The gospel really makes life better in every single way. And I get to see the change it makes in peoples lives constantly here. Micah, do something exciting, you deserve it, Daniel, good luck with your searching and interviews, sadly French hasnt come as quickly for me, but its coming, Jennifer, hope the primary kids havent injured you yet, Zach, read the scriptures! they are awesome, Mommy, I think I played a version of that game before and I remember I loved it, we will have to play it when I get back, and tell me how that melt place is, Daddy, I love your letters and I would love to find those ski instructors and show off my french skills, Im not sure they would remember me though.
I love you all!
Soeur Russell

Monday, July 8, 2013


Family and Friends,
We finally have Amis/ invetisgators. The Elders in St Etienne passed one to us
and she is very interested in what we have to say. And then a wife of a member who reads the Book of Mormon on a regular basis but is planning on getting baptised soon because she is from a very Italian Catholic Family. (She is also sicilan, but she didnt recgonize Micah's name sadly) She is spectacular. She made us some yummy pizza.
So this week, somebody finally fed us frog legs. Ive been waiting for that to happen for the past two months. It doesnt really taste like anything. But I got to eat Frog legs! Not everybody gets to do that on their mission.
In St Etienne, we are constantly busy. There is so much to do and we are barely able to fit a part of it in everyday. Its kinda funny, we will work so hard, that in the mornings Ill wake up still exhausted and I usually end up spend a few minutes trying to remeber what to do next in the mornings. Its usually not until my stomach starts growling that Im like, Oh, right, breakfast is in the mornings. And then I spend a few minutes trying to remember what I usually have for breakfast. But it is so cool to see what is going on in St Etienne. The Ward is still excited out of their minds that we are here and Soeur Moderstzki and I have grown so much. She is so sweet and she looks like a model so we are always getting random guys stopping us and asking her for a date. Ive never had to give the stink eye to so many people before, Im not used to doing it and I didnt expect to be doing at as a missionary. Im getting pretty good at it though. :) Expect me to be proficent by the time I come back.
We had a mangez-vous the other night at a members house. They were such a beautiful and wholesome family and they had the best dog ever. Apparently, they were looking for a dog for the family and after looking at hundreds of puppies, the father picked their current dog. It is one of the ugliest dogs Ive ever seen. She is an extremely chubby english bulldog, who always has her tongue stinking out, not panting, just sticking out. She likes run around the apartment, but she is so chubby, that when she tries to stop, her momentum carries her forward still so she ends up rolling. she also seems like she has mild narcolepsy so she woould randomly fall asleep at the wierdest times and places. And she likes licking leather.
So during our spiritual thought, she was scrambling and rolling and sleeping and licking peoples shoes all within a 3 minute period of time. Everyone just laughed and laughed. The father of the family is extremely proud of her and picked her up to show off every ugly part of her. He kept saying over and over, very proudly, "Elle est pas belle." (she is ugly) As we were leaving, the father decided he was going to take her on a walk. She doesnt like walks, so it just means he drags her everywhere. He was really proud of that too.
He almost makes me want to get an english bulldog. :)
I love you all!
God is really there and loves all his children!
Je vous aime!
Soeur Russell

Thursday, July 4, 2013

St. Etienne

124 Rue Bergson  Immeuble ce Neptune 42000 St Etienne FR (my new address)
Dear family and friends,
I miss normal keyboards :( These ones have the a in the corner of the keyboard which is really strange and other letters in wierd places. So Im constantly typing things like Ze hqd q RDV zith thqt Fq,ily. Or I ;iss peqnut butter. I am constantly reveiwing what Ive typed.
The Phelipe Family (the brazilian family) in Carcassonne have a Baptism date!!!!! I literally found out ten miutes ago when I was looking at the mission news letter. They will be such great members, Im sure. There are going to be three baptisms at least in Carcassonne! Carcassonne hasnt had that many baptisms within a that small amount of time for like ever. I am so excited!
St Etienne is awesome too, but very different from my last ville. For one, it is a lot bigger. There are three different tram lines and there are constantly things to do. I expected opeing a new equipe would mean finding a lot of people ( contacting, going door to door), but we are constantly busy here and have a hard time fitting finding in. All the members want to meet with us and there are so many less actives to visit and things to work on for the sector and apartment. But somehow, we have still managed to find people in the few seconds we have been able to run around contacting. The Lord really provides a way to accomplish his work. This week we are meeting with a lot of people (potential investigators, members, inactives) so we will be busy.
So now, Ill back track a bit, all the way to transfer calls. That day is kind of funny because whenever the phone goes off, the entire apartment kinda runs around like headless chickens, whether it is the president or not. At one point one of the sisters (who shall go unnamed) even slipped and fell after hearing the phone go off. (ok, it was me and the call wasnt even from president) But the calls are always extremely short, because there are so many of us to call. I was the last one to talk to him (when he finally called ( I didnt slip that time)) and I was on the phone with him for like an entire minute. Afterwards the sisters all looked at me and asked what he was saying to me that we talked so long. We talked for so long because I made repeat the name of the ville 3 times. And even then, I thought it was a different ville. A call to Soeur Moderstinski confirmed that.Then a sad sunday of saying goodbyes later, I was put on a train with 3 bags by myself. It felt extremely wierd to be sitting on train by myself. The only other people there were the driver and some random guy. It was very wierd to not have another woman nearby. But after a layover, where I had to get all of my bags off the train, The train with Soeur Mod pulled in. She helped me pull my bags onto the next train and headed to our next layover in Lyon. In Lyon, There were a bunch of missionaries helping others get onto their trains and such. Of course all of them asked us where we were being transfered to. Before when I had told people St Etienne, they would just say they had never heard of it. But while we were in Lyon, Each person would get excited and say, Youre The opening equipe! Everyone is so excited that we are here.
Once we arrived in St Etienne, we expected someone to greet us, but after waiting for a while nobody showed up, so we borrowed somebodys phone and called the office elders. Apparently, somebody should have given us keys and a phone while we were in Lyon. ( I think everybody was a little confused about what was going on, it was a crazy tranfer day) So the office elders drove all the way up here to give us keys and our phone and help us find our apartment. During that 2 hour time, This nice man came up and talked to us and we ended up having a lesson. So the Elders arrived right at the end of our lesson and came back and told all of Lyon that we had found an investigator within our first hour of being here. That will be a hard reputation to keep up with.
But St Etienne is so amazing, the ward is so supportive and excited we are here. We have a lot of young sisters in the ward who either want to go on a mission or already went on one. They are all so helpful.
Earlier this week we had blues conference. (A conference for all the second transfers) It was so great to see all of the people from the MTC again. At one point, some missionaries were asked to participate in role playing some contacts and they asked one sister from my MTC district to do it. In the MTC she had a hard time with french, because it was completely new to her, and she did that contact perfectly. Our entire old district was jumping excitedly afterwards. It was so cool to see how everybody had changed.
That was also the last time Ill see SFC on my mission, this is her last transfer. Sad. :(
I love you all!!!! I still have a lot more to write so until next week.
Miracles come after Faith!
Trust God!
He loves you!
love, Soeur Russell

A New Ville

Dear family and friends,
Sorry I didnt write earlier. I couldnt yesterday because I was on trains for most of the day going to my new Ville. And now I am currently writing you from St Etienne. :) Im here with another 2nd transfer named Soeur Modersitzki and we are opening a new equipe. We have two elders in St Etienne too, but we are the first Sisters here in 10 years. We have a new apartment with a very pretty veiw, and the ward is already treating us like princesses. Somebody even brought us breakfast this morning. We are so excited to be here. Its going to be a lot of work because we are working from the ground up, but we have already got huge things planned for the sector. And my new companion is amazing. We were in the MTC together and so I already knew her a bit and she is awesome. She has studied french before, so we havent been struggling too much with that yet. 
It was really exciting to hear all the changes going on with missionary work. Missionary work is being revolutionized and it is so cool to be a part of it. I dont have much time to write today. Thank You for all your letters! Its a little scary that Zach is driving, hes not really that old is he?  To Zach, driving gets better after you get your license (not skill wise but experience wise (well kinda both)). I remember I didnt like driving at all until I got my license. Daniel, Im glad you still get to use your creole, and Im glad work is turning out so well. I love hearing Jennifers stories about primary. Micah, I have no idea what you were talking about in your last letter, the parts about the art, but Have fun visiting Ohio, and make sure to inform me about your career decisions. Mommy and Daddy, I love you! 
I gotta go, Ill make sure to write more next week. 
The gospel is true!
It brings so much light into the lives of everyone!
Je vous aime!
Soeur Russell