Elder Christopher Russell, Donetsk Ukraine Mission July 2010 - July 2012

Christopher Russell was found worthy to serve a proselyting mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, and received his mission call from President Thomas S. Monson to serve in the Ukraine, Donetsk Mission.

Chris will spend the first twelve weeks of his mission at the Mission Training Center in Provo Utah learning, Russian.

On October 13, 2010 he will start his journey to the Ukraine.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I really enjoy getting stuff almost every day!

From: Christopher Russell
Date: Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 11:30 AM

Hey Everyone!

So I want to make sure that mom knows that I got my gloves(they fit snugly), her box, and the wises box on Thursday. It was very exciting and I'm very grateful for everything that I received. I fixed my watch and got all of the pictures that were sent to me.

Not much happened this week, other than getting 3 pckages on the same day. Our progressive investigator was out of town so we couldn't teach him. Our Wed TRC task we taught one of our teachers the plan of salvation (it was our first time) and he said that we did great (apparently better than the teachers quorum) and that we really worked well together and properly addressed his concerns. Then yesterday we were teaching the three sisters in our district ( I hope that I've mentioned them before) and they told us that we'll be awesome missionaries, we have great unity, and we know what we're talking about and have testimonies of it. That was pretty cool to hear, but I'm just glad that I can get along and study together well enough with my companion to be able to bring the spirit as we teach the lessons.

I guess that I should mention that there is a lot of construction going on here, kind of annoying considering that this is the MTC and sounds of construction equip/smells of welding aren't condusive to a spiritual environment.

Thank you for all of the letters and Packages! I really enjoy getting stuff almost every day!

Elder Paccel

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Secret Life of a Russian Speaking Missionary

From: Christopher Russell

Date: Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 1:29 PM

Hello everyone!

So I guess this week I'll disclose the secret life of a russian speaking missionary. We are learning the Russian lessons (so far we can teach how the gospel blesses families and that god loves you) but so far we have only taught in english. We do our approaches, bear testimony, and pray in russian too. And we do SYL during lunch.

On an average day we have 7 hrs of class time and close to 4 hrs of MDT(missionary directed time) as well as 50 min of gym time. I can't really describe Sundays but there's 8 hrs of study time then there's: sacrament, priesthood, fireside, and then a film. P-Day we have 3.5 hours of studying and 2 hrs of Devotional/devotional review time. The only time that I have to write letters is during a three hour slot where we need to do laundry as well. Temple is every tuesday morning.

The food is about the same as at BYU but the lines are insanely worse since they schedule 1/3 of all the missionaries for the same time zone and we happen to be the time where the cafeteria opens so we can't show up early to beat the lines. For learning Russian we read, memorize phrases, and practice different cases (french doesn't have cases so it's weird).

My companion is from Vernal,Utah he's a bit of a germophobe and likes sci-fi shows (just like me) so it's fun. He takes a while to get ready in the morning and needs to wash his hands fairly often...but it's fine, I'm patient. His grandparents were in the MTC for a few weeks so I got to meet them and we sat down and had meals together. They're gone now to Nauvoo.

Every week that we are here we get $6 added to our card that we can use for things like extra food, candy, and supplies. I can get an oil vial here with that money.

This week we taught our progressive investigator again and he didn't pray about the Book of Mormon because he didn't see why he needed to. Needless to say he asked other questions as well (too many to write) and we were stumped. But the coolest thing happened, 30 minutes before we were going to teach him we decided to scrap the original lesson and focus on his commitment, which meant we were prepared a little bit for it. Tomorrow we teach the plan of salvation to a random volunteer for the first time so it should be really good.

I got the package from the Rixners on Friday (Thank you!!!!!) and I'm glad to see that California weather is back to normal.

Love you all!

Elder Pyccл

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chris to all - keep writing! August 10, 2010

From: Christopher Russell
Subject: Hey Everyone!
Date: Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 1:31 PM

Hey Everyone!
First things first: Alyssa's letter arrived on the 7th, Rixners on the 5th, and Wises on the 9th.

Thank you for writing! I really liked the letters from the munchkins and Lucy and Max. Make sure the Simpsons get a copy of these letters since it sounds like they don't. Today we went to the temple with the Russian natives which was cool since there is a temple worker who speaks russian and did it for them! Most had never been to the temple before so it was cool.

We are put into companionships with new elders when we arrive and switch off who is senior companion every six weeks. Keep same companion for duration of MTC. I'm fine with having a blog just make sure that everyone knows where it is. Every Sunday night after the fireside we can go see a movie and this week we saw the restoration which really testified to me, probably because I know now more than ever how true the gospel is. Just shows you how much the spirit is here since that movie hasn't affected me before.

We're currently teaching a progressive investigator (teachers who pretend and keep commitments). We've taught 2 lessons so far and we go back on Saturday to teach another lesson. Hope that that goes well. My russian is coming along as well as it can be. Every Wednesday we go to the TRC where we teach volunteers the lessons. This week we're teaching the first lesson again, I'm not worried since through practice and listening to the holy ghost we are able to switch off who's speaking fairly easily.

MTC food isn't getting any better and my zone leader said his friend's stomach lining was eaten away by it! I survived BYU food so I should be fine. I'm running low on Candy and found out that we can't chew gum , listen to music at the MTC (at all), or wear sunglasses.

Love you all! Hope everyone's having fun the last weeks of summer!

Elder Russell

First Letter Home (Note his signature) August 3, 2010

From: Christopher Russell
Subject: Hi Everyone
Date: Tuesday, August 3, 2010, 1:30 PM

Hello everyone
So I literally get just a 30 min time slot every week to punch out these emails so I'll try my best to get them in.

My P-Days are on Tuesdays so you won't get any mail from me until then, I've been told that I'm "not allowed" to write directly to friends from my email account and that I'm not supposed to read emails from friends. So if Blake wants to talk to me he should do it through Dear elder. That rule about email only applies while I'm here at the Mtc so once I'm in the field things are different.

So far the dear elder thing works great. I am told that it even works while I'm in the field since it's basically pouch mail. The reimbursement check is in the mail and Dad's shoes aren't in my suitcase. My official day for departure is Oct 13.

I love my companion, we are very much alike and we seem to work very well together. Right now I'm the senior companion. We started learning Russian and it's really really hard. I think it's a bit funny that I keep reverting to french when I can't think of russian words. Apparently I need to learn how to roll my r's which Dad said was genetic and my companion says is practice. We'll see. We taught a lesson on Saturday and I thought that we did pretty well for our first time. And then Monday we taught another one which didn't go so well, mostly because we were thrown into a situation with little background instead of starting out fresh.

I'm writing this on P-Day which is very confusing in the MTC. Lots of clothes changing, but we get to go to the temple.

I talked with Brian and things seem to be going great for him too. We cought up and everyone is right about the timing since everything seems to be going really slowly and quickly at the same time.

Oh! The seal on my watch wasn't put back properly and my watch died several times......I told you Dad.....They don't sell watch screwdrivers so if you could send one it would be great. There's an elder that looks like Carson nichols and my companion looks like Steven Shattuck. I like my nametag's looks.

I need the appropriate ties that I left behind if you could get them in a box and send them up. I forget them.

The MTC is great and I can't believe it's been a week already. I've been told that I probably won't be able to got to the kiev temple but other than that I've heard good things. Apparently though they have the "tu" and "vous" thing like in french and if you do the wrong one they will either laugh at you, punch you in the face, or start beating you with the closest object(usually a broom).

Good things happen in the MTC. I'm glad everyone is doing well: plants are growing, babies teething, cousins busy, and siblings camping. Thank you for all of the letters and please keep writing them! I'll keep in touch!

Старейшина Russell