To the Friends and Family of President and Sister Russell

To the Friends and Family of President and Sister Russell

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Welcome to the greatest mission on earth; the OEM!!
We received three fantastic new additions to our missionary force.

Front left: Sister Udall, Sister and President Russell, back left: Elder Anderson and Elder Blair

 We also had two of our Sisters that had to return home for health reasons come back as well, Sister Heiden on the left and Sister Nowell on the right.

 We bring the new missionaries to the mission home and feed them (for some of the missionaries it's the first 'real' food they've had since leaving home). Then we introduce ourselves. President Russell takes a few minutes and then I take a few minutes. President Russell interviews each new missionary and then the Assistants introduce themselves and begin to train. Right here, President Russell is doing a role-play with Elder Anderson. Role-plays are so important in missionary work!

President Russell continues to role-play with Elder Anderson while Elder Blair and Sister Udall look on (waiting their turn). Elder Hinton, one of the President's assistants is on the far right.

Sister Udall looks up and I just missed her smile before I took the picture. Elder Blair already has a big smile on his face, he was smiling the entire day!!

Now, Elder Blair gets to role-play with the President and Elder Hinton, he's a natural as well.

After we had dinner the missionaries went to the stake center and each went out with a set of seasoned missionaries to their appointments for the evening. Following that, they came back to the mission home and they told President Russell, his assistants, and me all about how the evening went. They were all so excited!!! They were also very exhausted. We usually let the Sisters stay over night in the mission home and the Elder go with the Assistants to their duplex where they have several sets of bunk beds. But because there were only three, we first introduced Sister Udall to her trainer (something we usually do on Thursday) and had her stay at the mission home with Sister Udall. Elders Blair and Anderson slept in sofa beds on the lower level of the mission home. 

This morning we got up and had french toast, muffins, eggs, and juice, and chocolate milk for breakfast. Then we headed to the Church building.
We entered the chapel and we had a choir of missionaries and senior missionaries singing a beautiful song.
This was our choir. They sang like angels, it was magnificent! 

After some training from our office missionaries on finances, vehicles, medical, and other important details we took pictures!
Sister Udall with her trainer Sister Woolf
They will be serving in Santa Clara (west of Eugene)

Elder Anderson with his trainer Elder Flake
They will be serving in Springfield (east of Eugene)

Elder Blair with his trainer Elder Knell
They will be serving in Coquille (near the Oregon coast)

Elder and Sister Mabey are our new Office missionaries, Elder Mabey will be our vehicle coordinator and Sister Mabey will be the president's secretary.

Our newest missionaries
with their trainers

 And unfortunately we have to say goodbye to one of our senior missionary office couples; Elder and Sister Sutterfield. He has been our vehicle coordinator and Sister Sutterfield has been our referral secretary. We will miss them dearly and wish them the best!

All loaded up with their snacks and huge smiles!

Elder Knell waves goodbye and Elder Blair shows us he can count to two...or maybe four(?)

Elder Anderson and Elder Flake should be sure and not forget to get the eggs off the roof  of the car!

They are all amazing and will bring  many souls unto Christ.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Yesterday we said good bye to eight of our missionaries that have served faithfully for two years or eighteen months.
Front left: Sister Ansus, Sister and president Russell, sister Geisler, and Sister Newsome. Back row left: Elder Provstgaard, Elder Wells, Elder Fetzer, Elder Roller, and Elder Tonini.
The exquisite joy we feel when missionaries come in is almost  as exquisite the sorrow we feel when we have to say goodbye to missionaries. We wish them all the best!!

It's transfer time again! President Russell and I went to the stake center here in Eugene to see the missionaries off to their new areas.

 The missionaries are 'chillin' while they wait for the transfer van to come. Elder Arias wants everyone to know he's Spanish.

Sister Figeroa with her (former) companion Sister Morgan.

 Elder Knell is showing us how he can do the Limbo, should that be necessary.

Sister Ward is facing the camera with Sister Asregadoo talking to Sister Phipps, our nurse. 

Elder Adams is all smiles, he has just been called as a zone leader. Elder Fetzer is distracted by something, maybe because he's going home.

 Elder Moser and Elder Carter are packing to go be zone leaders as well.

 Elder Davis is also 'chilllin' while Elder West is giving us a friendly sign (I think). While Elder Johnson walks away.

 This is Sister Davis. She drove from Coquille at 3:30a to bring the Sisters up to the Eugene area. She is a saint!
President Russell gives some last-minute counsel to the missionaries before they depart.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

We have a tradition in the OEM. We call it the Changing of the Guard (to take a phrase from the British). 
When the president chooses a new assistant we take a picture in the car with the one retiring in the very back and the two staying on the back seats. President Russell and myself are in front.

We will miss Elder Whyte! President Russell is sending him to be a zone leader. He will be outstanding, as he is in everything he does.
The new assistant is Elder Finlinson (left) and he joins Elder Hinton.
We have been incredibly blessed to have such wonderful hard working Elders helping us.
One of the hardest things we do here is say goodbye to missionaries. They truly are like our children and we love them with all our hearts.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

We had to run an errand and decided to stop for breakfast. This restaurant boasted that they have the biggest pancake. Yep. I think they do!

Then, it was back to work. We had specialized training. We started in Medford, with Central Point and Klamath Falls. 

 Klamath Falls


 Central Point
 Selfie With Elder Black

 Grants Pass


 Santa Clara



 Coos Bay


We took our departing missionaries to the Medford temple. We love going to the temple, but we don't like saying good-bye to our missionaries.

President Russell, Sister Russell, Sister Newsome, Sister Ansus, Sister Geisler. Back row: Elder Wells, Elder Tonini, Elder Roller, and Elder Fetzer. Elder Provstgaard couldn't make it as he had three baptisms that day!
Our MLC (Mission Leadership Council) is held on the first Tuesday of every month, then the zone leaders and STLs take everything back to their zones for a ZTM (zone training meeting) held on the first Friday after MLC. President Russell and I went to Klamath Falls this time.

They decided to re-enact the games played at Camp Alpine (with some variations). 

 The Elders were all standing on a blanket and they had to turn the blanket over while standing on it. Here they decided that maybe there were too many feet on the blanket, so some got on others backs. (that didn't work so well).

Here, they prepare a strategy. They must work together.

The Sisters get right to it.

The Elders try a new plan.

Yeah, okay, that didn't work. 

The Sisters do it!

The Elders try again.

 The Sisters do it again for them and give them advice.

Okay, they're getting closer...sort of.

 And they did it!!!!!
Next, they re-enact the crossing of the stumps. But Stumps are in short supply here in Klamath so they use car mats. They must be stepping on each mat or it melts into the 'lava' if left empty for even  one second.

They've go this one...almost. 

 Let's look at this a little more closely.

Hey, what if I pick up the last mat and send it up to the front and we get to the end that way!

 So, they try that.

Wait! We have to be holding hands! We'll put it between our knees and pass it up that way.

There are some set-backs.

Yeah, some things don't work as well as others.

But, we learn by trying different things.

Mission accomplished!!!

Then the Sisters tried...

...and succeeded.

The last challenge was to hold hands (both hands) with other people in your circle which forms a knot. Then you get out of the knot without letting go of the hands.

To get untangled it requires some physical dexterity.

Again, this requires team work.

 "Let's talk about what we're going to do."

 "Okay, you go through here and under my arm..."

"Um, how come I'm facing the wrong way?'

 "Look, I'm an Eagle Scout and I've never had this knot before!"

 "We're almost there, Sisters!!"

 "Wait, weren't we just here?"

 "Yeah, I think so. But it didn't work."

"I'm so grateful for all of those years of ballet." 

"And we did it!!!"

"So, Elder is your arm supposed to turn that way?"

 "Yeah, I didn't think so."

 "I think we're close!!"

"Did you ever see the Nutcracker?"

"While you're down there, could you put in a good word for this group?" 

"We. Are. Awesome!!!"

It was a great meeting, everyone had fun and learned many things.