Elder Gordon Russell, Nevada Reno Mission
Elder Gordon Russell (far right), his trainer, and his trainer’s trainer
The following are a few abbreviated highlights from some of Elder Russell’s emails home to his family.
July 3, 2017
I’m in a very small town smack dab in the middle of the state called Battle Mountain. It’s about 3000 ish people, and has maybe three or four actual brick and mortar buildings. We are 62 miles from the thriving metropolis Winnemucca to the west (abt 8000), and 70 miles from the colossal city of Elko (probably 10k). We’ve had a couple miracles in the work so far.
Wednesday was a great day for teaching. The weather has been beautiful this whole time (40% humidity) and it hasn’t gotten above 105, so biking is a lot of fun. We taught Danny on kind of the spur of the moment with no prep, but it still went really well. We also taught Teri, our super golden investigator who had just finished the entire Book of Mormon and is incredibly hyped to get baptized. The rest of her family is coming around more and more, and her kids are finally starting to get involved in the discussions.
On Saturday, we worked hard, and did a fair amount of manual labor. We then got a chance to teach a new investigator, Ricky, who is super excited to learn… We also swung by Teri’s on an impression, and ended up helping them with a plumbing problem. A lot of work, but it felt nice. My sleep schedule is slowly acclimating, and my studies are going incredibly well. Every day in Battle Mountain is so great, so it isn’t hard to stay enthusiastic.
Saturday was nice because DJ got baptized, which was my first baptism on my mission.
Well I’ve finally been here a month. We had a pretty successful week, and finally baptized Tery yesterday. We had 9 investigators at the baptism, and it went really well. I gave a short talk and Elder Abbott did the baptism.
Tery is still as solid as ever, and is now a temple recommend holder and the Young Women’s secretary. This was actually a cool demonstration of inspired callings. Two weeks ago the ward called a Sister Rios to be the new YW president, but she speaks just about zero English. Neither of her counselors spoke Spanish at all, so we were all pretty confused, but it turns out Tery was to be the secretary (she is completely bilingual). Bishop wouldn’t add a second language to ward council unless there was a need coming up, so it might be an interesting ride.
Truth be told, we are almost never rejected out here. Every difficulty comes from the fact that no one is ever home. The mines are all 12 hour shifts, and each shift runs 4 or 5 days and then gives the same number of days off. On people’s days off, they are almost always out in Reno or Vegas dumping their money down the drain or are out camping. Everyone is friendly enough that if they’re home, we can teach them, it’s just tough to find people at home.
This week is doing pretty well. All of our converts are so solid, their examples really help us stay focused on the work. Tery and DJ both went with the youth temple trip this Friday, and DJ even spoke in sacrament meeting.
My current favorite [scripture] would be Alma 31:5-6
I think this is just an awesome scripture for two reasons. The first is verse 5 as a whole, in that the gospel compels people to action in a more powerful manner than violence or coercion. The second is that among all the people Alma took with him in the “dream team” Zeezrom, one of the people who was bashing with Alma and Amulek in the first few chapters, is included. He was pretty much the only lawyer in Ammonihah that felt the Spirit and was converted, and was baptized a few chapters later. Zeezrom is the only person in the Book of Mormon who has a baptismal interview, and was one of the best missionaries to the Zoramites. In fact, he was remembered later in the scriptures ABOVE the sons of Alma and Mosiah in Helaman 5:41
“You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Chist, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom.”
Zeezrom to me is a great example of how the atonement can work for anyone. His conversion is fully shown in Alma 15.
We had an awesome day at church too! We had 4 investigators at sacrament meeting, and were working with ward members and investigators through all of second hour. We had a bunch of less actives show up for the first time in months, and one of the families brought an investigator with them!
I just passed 3 months in the field.
Elder Johnson is certainly a cowboy. He has a slight accent a lot of the time, and relates
REALLY well to everyone here with trucks, ranching, and hunting. We set one of our new
investigators, Rachel, with a date! She has been reading and highlighting the Book of Mormon, and saw every session of conference except Saturday Afternoon. We also
got two new investigators this week as well, thanks to Elder Johnson’s cultural influence to help break the ice.
Elder Gordon Russell (front right) and the Winnemucca Zone
I’m at the point where I am almost through my third transfer. I love the people here and the work we are able to do. Life is going awesome, and a good area and
companion only make it better.
Oct 23, 2017
What a week. I can’t believe how quickly this transfer went by….
Rachel has been progressing really well. She has been seeing many miracles in her life recently, and is set on the 28th. We have taught her almost every other day…. and she has had many really good questions we were able to answer. Having an investigator with real intent is so nice.
Oct 30, 2017
This week has been wild for sure. Satan was fighting tooth and nail this week all the way to Rachel’s baptism on Saturday. We almost called it off, and President was involved, but when the time rolled around, all was well and she was baptized. It was awesome and the Spirit was stronger there because of [what] we all went through for this to even happen.
We also found Ricky again. He came to church.… he’s getting baptized in like three weeks I guess. However…I won’t be in Battle Mountain come Tuesday. This companionship and area was too perfect to last. I am being double transferred (both me and my companion will be new to the area) into Satellite Hills, a very small biking area on the East side of Sparks (which is the East Side of Reno). This is going to be an adventure for sure. Sunday was an awesome sendoff Sacrament meeting, and I will leave here with fond memories….
Deus Vult, Elder Russell