To the Friends and Family of President and Sister Russell

To the Friends and Family of President and Sister Russell

Monday, January 23, 2017

Today is my birthday. About 40 of the missionaries took time out of their P-day to throw me a surprise birthday party with cake and ice cream. Lots of the missionaries wore polka dots 
(because I love polka dots)! 
It was awesome!!
 They all signed this beautiful card. 
We do have the best missionaries in the world!

Again, it's time for the changing of the guard.
President Russell and I always take the picture
 in our car. 
Well, the Elders decided to do their own "changing of the guard" without us.

And then we joined them! 

We love Elder Holman, he has done an amazing job as an AP. He will be helping a zone to better 
Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts. 
We welcome Elder Hill (left) and he will be 
working with Elder Dopp.
These great missionaries are one of the many reasons the OEM is the best mission on earth!

This past week we had zone conferences

We sing happy birthday to all missionaries with January or February birthdays. 
          These are the Eugene and Santa Clara zones

This is the Klamath Falls zone

      These are the Grants Pass, Medford, Central Point, and Roseburg zones

These are the Springfield, Corvallis zones

We have amazing stake Relief Society presidents that fixed us 

delicious lunches.
These sweet Sisters are from the Santa Clara stake.
Our own Erda Johnson is on the left. 

 Elder Gneiting (right) is so happy with his lunch! From the left, Elder Eckman, Elder Jensen, Elder Egan, and Elder Cluff agree.

These Elders are serious about lunch.

The Sisters are almost always happy!

Notice that Elder Finlinson (right)  has his napkin on his lap, way to go with the great etiquette!

 Elder Anderl (middle) is deep in a conversation with these Elders.

Again, the happy Sisters!

 I'm pretty sure they didn't know I was taking their picture.

Elder Danley is our housing coordinator. He seems a little perplexed about his lunch.

 President Lowary is back and feeling great!! Elder Cronin (center) is telling him a funny story.

Sister Peterson is having a good laugh (front). Elder Watson, Sister Harrison, Sister Heaton, Sister Persson, and Sister Wood are also being entertained.

Looks like some of the Elders are enjoying this more than others.

Check out the pure satisfaction on these Elder's faces.

These Sisters are listening intently as President Russell reads some "shining Moments" or "OYMing" (Open Your Mouth) awards that result in a new investigator. Each zone leader is asked to provide two of each from their zone. President Russell gives the winners a package of Oreos.

Elder Sivula and his sweet wife (front) with Elder Mabey, Elder Danley and Elder Gage are also listening to president Russell.

We were planning on having Medford, Central Point, and Grants Pass zones today. Roseburg zone was going to Coos Bay, but because of a landslide that blocked all traffic on Hwy 42 from Roseburg to Coos Bay we added Roseburg to our zone conference today. The wonderful Sisters in the Medford regrouped with only a day's notice and made enough for four zones instead of three. You can see Elder Poston, Elder Bushman and Elder Cook on the left and Elders Luke, Hoskins, and Elder Hatch on the right are all smiles.

Elder and Sister Peterson are busy eating on the left. Sister Alldredge is giggling, she's good at it because she's always happy.

Elder Larsen on the left is getting a little crazy, but happy! His companion, Elder Smith gives the thumbs-up. On the right Elder Montague also gives the Thumbs-up (it's probably because lunch was so fantastic). Next to Elder Montague is Elder Palomeque and you can just see Elder Horne peeking over the top.

Elder Hafen on the left shows us that he can count to two and Elder  McClure on the right can also count to two!
The greatest zones in the greatest mission ever:

The Roseburg zone

The Grants Pass zone

The Central Point zone

The Medford zone

The Klamath Falls zone
(With Elder Mabey on the back left, Elder Danley second from the right back, and President Cropper back far right)

 The Corvallis zone

 The Coos Bay zone

 The Santa Clara zone

 The Eugene zone

The Springfield zone

With every zone conference we had a musical number, however, I didn't always have my phone to take pictures of the musical numbers, but I did in Klamath Falls. All of the Elders in the zone sang. All of the musical number were fantastic!!

President Russell and I LOVE zone conferences, well, we just love being with the missionaries!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Every Friday president Russell and I go to district meetings in a different zone. We went to the Santa Clara zone district meetings yesterday.After the meeting the zone got together so the zone leaders could air drop them a Bingo game to encourage the missionaries to kind of track their success. I asked them to air drop it to me. It's a great incentive!

It's crazy that they see some of these things everyday. If I can, I will find out who won.

For pretty much most of the last year Sister Phipps, our mission nurse, would do the bulletin board in the mission office that showed the missionaries coming in and those going home. They were always so cute. One day I asked if she would help me with the bulletin board in the mission home. She did, and they were fantastic. I wish I had kept pictures of them because they were unbelievable.
When Elder and Sister Danley replaced them I jokingly asked if she was now in charge of the bulletin. I was perfectly willing to do the one at the mission home myself, but she did the office one and it was was fantastic. She told me that she and Elder Danley would come to the mission home and fix up that bulletin board as well. Yesterday they came up and this is the great work they did:
We only have three missionaries and one senior couple coming in, and four great 
missionaries and a senior couple  going home.
We are so blessed to have the wonderful missionaries and senior missionaries here in the OEM. This is why the OEM is the best mission in the world!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

We had our Mission Leadership Council today. We started a little different. President Russell began with a "Captain Moroni" moment. He talked about Alma 46:12-13, then he took off his suit coat and untied his tie and ripped his shirt open, buttons went flying everywhere!  (Of course he was wearing another shirt and tie under that one.) He then 'tore' the back off the shirt and it read, "In the OEM we teach repentance and baptize converts". It surprised everyone, and I think they all got the point. Unfortunately the video was too large to put on the blog. It was pretty great, though.

Later in the MLC we had one of several 'role plays'. Two of the missionaries are the investigators and the two facing them are the missionaries. These are great because we see just how fantastic our missionaries are at teaching.

The approaches are as different as the missionaries are from each other. You can see Elder Hoskins talking (on the left) as his 'companions' (Elder Deppe and Elder Murphy) listen. Elder Cook and Elder Wardle are the 'investigators' right now.

Here, Elder Mafi and Elder Finlinson are being taught by Sister Jones and Sister Figueroa.

It looks serious as Sister Gregory and Sister Alldredge teach Elder Harrison and Elder Jenson.

President Cropper is teaching about the Book of Mormon.

 Sometimes the role play is done in front of all the other missionaries. Elder Wardle (he gets around) and Elder Bushman, and Sister Vance and Sister Hart listen to instructions from President Cropper.

President Lowary is back with us! He's doing wonderfully. He also teaches on the Book of Mormon.

Lunch time!!! President Russell is taking the pictures today. This means he doesn't necessarily wait for them to look at the camera.

 There is no posing this time. Not sure if Elder Johnson is looking at the camera or at Elder Nelson.

 Now, here's a scary bunch (not really though); Elder Dopp, Elder Cronin, and Elder Hill.

 The cute Sisters are engaged in eating as well. 

You can see Elder Mata just enjoying the missionaries around him.

 Elder Willits gets ready to eat a chip as Elder Flake walks by to get seconds.

 Okay! A photo-op! Sister Broadhead, Sister Doxey, Elders Wright and Borden. Elder Mafi talking with Sister Udall and Sister Nowell. Beyond them is Sister Rasmussen and Sister Morgan. On the right side of the table is Elder Thibault and Elder Knell.

Sister Vance and Sister Mills smile big. Sister Vance actually trained Sister Mills, so in missionary lingo Sister Vance is the mom and Sister Mills is the daughter.

Elder Danley has taken on the responsibility to make sure all of the missionaries are hydrated. Far left: Elder Bushman, Sister Sidhu, Sister Figueroa, Elders Miller, Larsen, Kroll, and Davis finish their lunch.

Here Elder Davis is hydrating (thank you, Elder Danley!) Elder Lambson is talking to, what's this; Elder Wardle again!? as Elder Bunker listens.

The Sisters fixed an awesome lunch straight from Olive Garden! It was amazing! Sister Danley and Sister Bullock (Sister Mabey must be in the kitchen) are being helped by President Cropper.

I guess it pay-back time. I always get a shot of President Russell eating. 

Um, not sure about this shot of Elder Hill. Believe it or not, he knew I was taking his picture. I bet he wanted to say "Hi! mom!" Elder Cronin just smiles.

I got the camera back.

 The leadership of the OEM: The zone leaders, Sister Training Leaders, and District Leaders.