To the Friends and Family of President and Sister Russell

To the Friends and Family of President and Sister Russell

Friday, August 19, 2016

The OEM has become even greater!!!! We welcomed 17 new missionaries!

They arrived right on time and we are picking up the luggage.

One by one the suitcases come off the carousel.

 The suitcases seem heavy now, but they are much more heavy when they leave the mission!

                 Almost all off!

         And now we're off!!
 Outside the airport. Left back row: Elders Larsen, Adams, Criddle, Ross, Hanson, Green, Ellinghaus, McClure, Smith, Bunker. Next row left: Elder Clark, Elder Searcy, Sister Minor, Sister and president Russell, Elders Wheldon, Nelson, Hafen, McCleary, and Elder Lance.
It was a beautiful day (just before the heat wave we have now)!
We took these brand new missionaries to the mission home, where we fed them. Some of the Elders commented that it was the first 'real' food they had had in three weeks! After they were filled physically we fed them spiritually. Following that we fed them dinner and afterward departed for the stake center where they were able to go out with the more 'seasoned' missionaries to their various appointments, or tracting. 
We are able to sleep up to twelve missionaries at the mission home. So, we kept ten Elders and Sister Minor and her trainer; Sister Jones. There would be no big surprise if we waited until tomorrow to tell Sister Minor who her trainer was, inasmuch as she is the only Sister. We also didn't want Sister Minor to feel alone.
The next morning we went back to the stake center and after a wonderful program our new missionaries met their trainers!

 Elder Johnson will be training Elder Green in Coquille (off the coast by Coos Bay)

 Elder Nelson will be 
trained by 
Elder Hoskins in Bandon, (another celestial part of the mission!)

 Sister Jones will be training 
Sister Minor in Newport. This too is on the coast, and at certain times of the year they can watch the whales from their apartment.

Elder Thompson will 
be training
Elder McClure in Corvallis (the home of the Oregon State Beavers)

 Elder Hafen will be 
trained by 
Elder Falatea in Corvallis

 Elder Searcy will be
 trained by
Elder Jensen in Philomath, outside Corvallis

Elder Smith is being 
trained by 
Elder Black in Newport.

Elder Christensen will
 be training
Elder Bunker in Springfield (just outside Eugene)

Elder Cook will be training 
Elder Adams in Eugene (home of the Oregon Ducks)

Elder Wheldon will be 
trained by
Elder Jarrard also in Eugene

Elder Larsen will be
 trained by
Elder Davis in Veneta, approximately 20 minutes west of Eugene

Elder Eckman will
 be training 
Elder Clark in South Umpqua, near Roseburg and about an hour south of Eugene

 Elder Halam will be training
Elder Ross in Medford, about 3 hours south of Eugene

Elder Cronin will be training
Elder Criddle in Cave Junction near Grants Pass, about 2 1/2 hours south of Eugene 

 Elder Thurgood will 
be training 
Elder Hansen in Ashland, just outside Medford

 Elder Moser will be training 
Elder Lance in Gold Hill, approximately 1/2 hour south west of Medford

 Elder Terry will be training 
Elder McCleary in Medford

 Elder Greer will be training
Elder Ellinghaus in Central Point Spanish speaking

 Introducing the newest missionaries that help make the OEM the best mission ever!!!!

The new missionaries and their trainers.
 After more training on cars (driving safely, etc) , keeping apartments clean and safe, finances, health, and numerous other things they are ready to head out to their areas. The office couples (which are indispensable) give them lunches as they pack up suitcases, bikes, bedding, and load them into the car or the vans.

 Hopefully they have a big trunk!!!

Check out those smiles, it looks like a party is ready to break out!

 Thumbs up or hitchhiking? No hitchhiking.

Ready for whatever Oregon has to give them! Bring it on!!!

All of this is really going to fit in that car???? Yep!

Have lunch, will travel!

They did it, but there is nothing else that is going to fit in that trunk. There is also a bike in there!

Elder Call and...

Elder Bowers have everything but their car.

 Sister Jones and Sister Minor are all packed up and ready to hit the road running (but really they are in a car)

"...Now, where did I park the car??" 

I love the hand signs, I think it means 'we are going to baptize everyone we meet'! 

 Okay, so, Elder Hafen is giving the sign that they are going to find twelve investigators every week and Elder Falatea is saying they will baptized all of them! Awesome!!!

These boxes contain all of the iPads for the new missionaries, there is still some work to do on them.

 So, all of this is really going to fit into that truck?? Okay.

 Someone is going to miss this stuff. (I think they came back for it.)

                 Lunch in hand, they are going to take Eugene by storm!! 

                   We love our missionaries! 
             They are wonderful!!!                    
Shakespeare once wrote "Parting is such sweet sorrow". There really wasn't any sweetness on this end, however, we know the sweetness was on the home front. 
These missionaries are amazing and we will miss them terribly.
Back row left: Elders Hsiung, Batt, Berry, Earl, Kelsey, Nelson, Terrell, Strech, Bearss and Arias.
Next row left: Sisters Holiday, Connelly, Chang, and Yeung.
Front row left: Sisters Rasmussen, Poulson, Russell, President Russell, Sister Allen and Sister Crandall.

We wish them the very best (knowing how difficult it was for them to get home because of airport problems)!
We know they will continue to be fantastic at home.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

President Russell and I love going to baptisms! The Grants Pass zone is taking the mission by storm! They had one baptism last night and have three next Saturday. The one last night was for a wonderful man named Joe. He looks and seems like he's been a member for years. Elder Whyte, who was one of the missionaries that  taught him, had gone home with the last transfer and he and his parents came back for this awesome event.

It was an honor to meet Dillon Whyte's parents. It's easy to see why Elder Whyte was such an incredible missionary; he learned from his parents. 


What a joyful experience! (Left) President Russell, Marcella (Joe's wife), Joe, Elder Hill (who was Dillon's companion), and Dillon Whyte.
 This is what it's all about! Bringing the Father's children one step closer to Him.

Phase Two of MLC:
After lunch we loaded up into cars and took a half hour drive to Mount Ashland.
The day could not have been more perfect. On the top of Mount Ashland the temperature was about 68 degrees. We got out of the cars and the Sisters (the ones that remembered) changed into tennis shoes.

We take a minute to get everyone there and out of the vehicles.

 Some of the missionaries thought this looked like a golf ball and wondered if that's why president Russell chose this spot. President Lowary said it looks more like a soccer ball. 

 We walked about 2 hundred feet up to the top and stood on the rocks as President Russell, his counselors, and myself spoke to them. 

The Spirit was strong as we talked about our roll in the Father's plan.

President Russell taught so beautifully. There was something magnificent about being up there listening to his inspired message.

We have several missionaries going home in  a little over a week, this may be their last time here. 

President Lowary and President Cropper both gave some powerful teachings. Although none of us discussed what we would say (not even the president and I), each message was different and perfect for where we were.

 The mission leadership: 

 President Cropper, President Russell, and President Lowary.