Monday, December 29, 2014

The week in between Christmas and New Year's.

Sister Bowler, Spencer's mission president's wife arranged to have this put together. There were some of us moms who helped put it together for the Bowler's because their mission budget was depleted. We had many miracles along the way that came together JUST when we needed it. It was awesome to be a pawn in the process. The following is from Sister Bowler, and the link to the YouTube clip she posted for the Moms/Dads:

The video is finished! The first part is the video we showed the missionaries at their Christmas parties. The second is a video of pictures from those Christmas parties. I hope each of you get to see a glimpse of your missionary. Thanks for a wonderful Christmas!
Hey Family,

It was great to see you all on Christmas Day! Thank you for all the gifts and for all the fun treats and smiles too! I love the "Popcorn Popping" song that is on the MP3 and also the "Follow the Prophet" song. Elder Huff and I like to rock out to them when we're in the house. It looks really funny though cause we turn all the volume down when we dance and so it looks like we're dancing to nothing, Hahaha. We haven't had any problems with any drunks this week either. I was told that everyone gets drunk on Christmas Day but we didn't see anything. I'm pretty sure that Heavenly Father is watching over the two gringos in Danli ;D

I love the stretch and power bands! We use them every morning to exercise! That was a great idea, and it even has some stretching and lifting exercise charts to follow too! I've been eating the FiberOne bars and they are helping tons! :D The doggy taser is fun... I ACCIDENTALLY tased myself though when I was learning how to put it away and pull it out of the little hip-case it has. Everything was really great! I love to wear Gpa's ties, especially parading around the brass plates! I can't comment on everything but just know that it was a great Christmas full of love!

We had two really cool experiences this week that I wanted to share:
1. We taught Hermana Lesli's daughter this week. She's less active and served a mission. We taught her before but she still didn't come to church when we invited her. We taught her again and asked the question, "What did you teach on your mission?" She said, "What you're teaching right now."

And I responded, "Entonces? (And soooo?)" In the end she said that she would see tomorrow if she would go and of course she didn't. The Spirit was soooo strong in that lesson and she still didn't go to church. So we went back on Monday and asked what happened. She told us that the night before she said she wasn't going to go (complete lie). She also said, she just doesn't feel good when she goes.
We've asked if it was because of members or because of personal problems and she said, "No, I just don't want to go right now."
And I told her, "Hermana, está obedeciendo los mandamientos?"
"Hermana, hoy es el dia para cambiar. Mañana no existe y el pasado es el pasado. Se puede cambiar pero tiene que empezar hoy."
She still said she will not come to church but we are going to just stop by every week and share a spiritual message with her. I hope that she will find the divine current and start to flow back to full activity in the church. She's had members come to her house to help, the bishop, her mom too! And she still will not go back to church. She is a bad example to her children even though she sends them every week.

2. We were with a group of teenagers this past week and they were pounding us with questions as we explained the Plan of Salvation. One of the boys asked, "Are you waiting spiritually for the second coming of Christ?" and we responded, "We are waiting with all our heart, might, mind, and strength for the second coming of Christ." He was about to rebuttal us and put up his finger in protest but them thought about it for a second and bowed his head in defeated silence. The rest of the lesson was a smash and all the teenagers invited us to come back and teach them more. Whether that means they want to prepare more questions or if they want to actually learn, we'll see.

I'm always praying for you guys and I hope Sister Anderson know that she will be my prayers and fasts. And Thanks for the cool story about the Provo City Center Temple! That's incredible!

We walked three kids and three teenagers to church this week because their parents didn't want to go but their kids did. We actually were walking by a random house and saw a teenage girl and her little sister and just asked, "Hey! Do you want to go to church with us?" and they said yes but their parents said no. So that was cool! We walked into the chapel late though, in the middle of a talk, and the whole ward was looking at us (like we had a little army of investigators) and they all were so happy to see we were working really hard. That night, the bishop told us he'd like to set apart some time to go with us to some families. The ward is changing, and the people are changing here. Thank you for your prayers and Mom, thank you for your prayer after the Skype Call cause people are becoming a little more receptive to the Gospel! I wish with all my heart that people will feel the Holy Ghost and decide to change their lives because they know what we are teaching is true and because God loves them more than they can comprehend.

Love you family! The Church is the ONLY TRUE CHURCH on the earth. Joseph Smith was and is a prophet called of God. The Book of Mormon is true and I invite you to start reading it again when you can. We grow closer to God as we read the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the BoM (Bomb! ;)

Hurrah Por Israel!
Elder Tuft

PS Thank you Kristen for you letter too! I love hearing from you every week! You'll be a great EFY counselor if you get accepted! Good luck moving on Saturday! You'll do fine.... No Tenga Pena! Mucho Amor!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!!!

Feliz Navidad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh Mommy! You shouldn't have, but thank you for the gift that you sent with the mission suitcases! (MP3 and your personal speakers. This is a complete guess but did you get new speakers for Christmas?)

So, guess what! Tomorrow is Christmas! and I'm freaking out to see you guys! I might cry... but that's okay cause I'll be in the chapel with just Elder Huff. We are expecting to Skype at 12 our time (11 your time) then and that will work out just fine. And I did see you in the video! And Kristen too! Elder Webb asked if Kristen was available for when he went back home in two months-ish.

Today, we tried to make waffles and I was in charge of making them. So, I came to a problem while I was making them... How many cups are in a Gallon? I could have figured it out but I just asked everyone else instead and they said 8 cups... WRONG! 16 cups is the right answer. So I put a whole gallon of milk in the dry ingredients. To say the least, we had to restart and for that reason I am writing you guys late. We also made two gallons of hot chocolate, and Elder Webb had the brilliant idea of dropping little chocolate balls into the mix. The problem is that the chocolate balls sank to the bottom and then we didn't have a long enough spoon to stir the very bottom of the pot and so they melted and burned on the bottom. Have you smelled coffee or morcof (mor-mon cof-fee)? It smelled and tasted like that. What I learned: Never let scouts or missionaries (they are the same thing) cook without adult supervision. Yes, we need supervision.

I got attacked by a dog this week. It was pretty chill. It started to run at me and didn't stop but I didn't start running, I just let it attack me. Well, to say the least, I had complete confidence that God would fulfill my patriarchal blessing and so I just ignored the dog as it lunged to bite me. I think God must have slapped that dog in the face as he lunged for me because the dog totally missed biting my leg and just body slammed me. Then it fell to the dirt road whimpering, got up, and ran away still whimpering. It was pretty chill, like I said before. The scriptures say "Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed. For the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest." Joshua 1:9

We are still working but it seems like nobody is ready to receive the Gospel quite yet. We have talked to TONS of people this past week and sang a million Christmas songs. Everyone just says, we go to a church and then they shut the door. Some even have the nerve to tell us that we are welcome anytime because it's the word of God, but then they hide when we show up at their house for the second time. Soooo, we are working more with the members.

We would've had a baptism this week but when our investigator, Damaris. (She's a she) called her mom to invite her to the baptism, her mom told her she would be disowned if she was baptized again into "La Iglesia Mormona," as they call it here. She has some doubts now and so we have prayed, invited her to pray to know. We've taught more, and done all we can. It's up to her now. Does she want to continue to make the sacrifice to go to church? Will she trust in the Lord more than in her mom? But everything will happen as it needs to happen.

Our other investigadora is named Leydi. She is VERY pregnant and so we postponed her baptism till after she has the baby. But she will for sure get baptized. She's changed her entire life around. She's gone from being a drug-addict to a loving and caring mother. And she's only 19 years old too.

We have other investigators but they have individual problems that are a little more in depth. One main problem that we have here is that people claim that they know what the Bible says and say they live what the Bible teaches. Buuuuut, they always live in fornication and adultery, so obviously, they haven't read the Bible. We even have some people tell us what the Book of Mormon is about and they haven't read any of it. They spread lies that we worship Joseph Smith and that the BoM is actually the "Book of José Smith". Yes, that has happened. They are crazy here. They listen to Satan more than to God. Who was it that told me I'd be baptizing left and right?

I've realized that a mission is not just about baptizing. That is the goal but not everyone is going to accept the truth. Some will even revile against it. In the mission FIELD, there is Wheat and there are Tares. When we reap in the field, sometimes we only find in our hand a bunch of tares. These are they that we give to God to either change to wheat or throw into the fire to burn. I love finding wheat though.

My area is so big that we can't walk the entire thing in a day. We can hardly walk half of it in a day. It's soooooo big. We have a method for working in each area of our area, but sometimes it's hard because we want to visit our investigators almost every day and can't. It's working fine though, just a lot of walking.

Elder Huff was feeling really baggy yesterday and so I held a little devotional with just him. We wrote all our problems and things we hated down on paper, crumpled them up, and then lit them on fire. I read a few scriptures about giving everything to God and not holding anything back from him and now he's just fine. We're both baggy but we are both working hard and praying even harder. Some missionaries have felt (including me) that they aren't worthy to bear la placa del Señor over their heart. That's, of course, a lie, but sometime we still feel inadequate. It's in those times that we have to serve and leave our memories of our weaknesses in the past. The Savior is the perfect example to us when He said, "No como yo quiero, pero como tu quieres."

See you tomorrow then! Merry Christmas. More of Christ and More of Happiness. More Peace because He is the Prince of Peace. More of Happiness because He overcame the sorrow of the World for us. More, because of Him. He loves us and so We Love Him.

For God so loved the world that He sent His Son... John 3:16
Hurrah por Isreal!
Love, Elder Spencer James
Dad, The un-roofed part is like our backyard. It's enclosed and we put our clothes out there to dry. Our house isn't the most clean but it's a lot cleaner than when I first came. We sing all the time and we sing loud at times, but always hymns and the whole neighborhood CAN hear us. The Bishop hasn't said anything but he asked us to sing to his family and so we did. His daughter is about to go on a mission but I forgot where. Our mission leader is also about to leave on his mission.

The Elders in El Sitio got robbed last week. All their cameras and scriptures and money and identification was stolen. But they are okay. The robbers just held a gun up to Elder Coe, (I think I've mentioned him before), and demanded everything from them. They are doing fine now and all the identification issues are taken care of.

Andres and Carolina (from El Sitio) are participating in ward activities and go to church every week together now. Angel and Helen are getting baptized this weekend if they can get the papers back in time. We gave them (before I left) 200 Lempiras and they took that and expanded it to earn more than enough for the wedding but also enough to live without starving from day to day. They also are saving their tithing money to pay, after their baptisms. It is a miracle. They had to earn 3500 lempiras in less than 3 weeks while paying for personal expenses and tithing! They are sooooooooooo ready to be baptized. They will be very important to the El Sitio area or in any area that God sends them.

The Hna from last week is doing fine. She's still attending the Barrio La Conce with us on Sundays. It's hard because our ward has 80 active members or less and many people feel discouraged because their ward isn't very big. They all dream of the day to have their chapel filled.

Your last question, Dad, we don't have addresses. We have landmarks. We have pulperias here that are like little stores with essential needs for the area. They serve as landmarks and reference points for houses. They are like Walmart or Reams for you us at home but there are a million different pulperias in one small area. There are almost as many 'pulps' as there are churches here (There actually might be more pulps than churches, I'm not sure exactly.) Nate Shaw would love the idea of a pulp near our houses.

Tons of love! Merry Christmas, talk to you tomorrow!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Cambios, and Miracles can happen

Hello Family,

This week has been quite a race. Many things have happened and many things have changed.

I have been called away from El Sitio and but placed in the East of the Mission in a place called Danli. Specifically, I am in Vista Hermosa. It's hotter there but not bad still. I hope you got the mug shots of my new Companion, Elder Huff. He just finished his training, so he has 4.5 months on the mission... I only have 6 months... BUT MIRACLES HAVE AND WILL HAPPEN to those with willing hearts and open hands. Mom, you are going to die... He's from SPRINGVILLE!!! He moved to Spanish Fork about a year ago but he's lived in Springville for a while.  I hope you can enjoy that time getting to know the family of him, if you have the chance. He's a great singer and loves dancing. He's been accepted to BYU to the MDT (Music, Dance, Theater) after his mission. We have had a lot of fun harmonizing and singing hymns for people. 

The ward here is awesome! They ask us to tell them when we have lessons with our investigators and give us times they can go with us to teach. Our church building is really, really nice too! This past Sunday, I was invited to bear my testimony and that was awesome. The ward is really small here so we hope to help it grow huge! (This week we had 80 members and we want to have 150 according to the Stake's expectations).

We also had a fantastic Saturday. We were really in tune with the Spirit all day, and had a really productive day. I wanted to share an experience we had Saturday night. We were walking along the dirty and dusty road in the dark and Elder Huff said that he had a feeling to stop by a house that he thought was the house of a member but wasn't certain. We knocked and immediately an old lady answered and said, "Elderes! Estuve esperando por alguien de la iglesia!" So we went inside and found out that she was indeed a member and that the ward had planned a temple trip to leave this morning and had said they would pick her up at 4:30 in the morning to go. That was all correct information but the ward had forgotten to pick her up! So she felt bad and forgotten and wanted to go back to her old ward. We didn't know what to do, so we brought out "El es la Dádiva" tarjetas and talked a little bit about that. Just after, the Hna said she had a daughter that served a mission but wasn't active and lived in the same house as her. So we invited her daughter and the daughter´s boyfriend to come and listen to our message. As we waited for them to come, I asked the Hna, "Hna, ¿Cual es su foto favorito de Cristo que tiene en su pared alli?" She told me her favorite was of Christ in Gethsemani and the Spirit whispered, "Teach the Atonement." I looked at Elder Huff and he had his scriptures opened to Alma 7: 11-12 already! So the Spirit led us to this family and then told us what to teach. It was a great lesson and now the boyfriend (not a member) has committed to come to church next week with the daughter. We have more lessons with them this week, so we'll see. 

I've seen so many miracles this week, and I'm trying to write them down. But, honestly, I'm having a hard time finding time to write in my journal big paragraphs like before. I still write but it's hard because I'm a lot busier now. Whish leads me to the next shocker... I'm District Leader now.  It's a bit scary but things have been going good and we had our first District Meeting and that was another miracle. I shared everything that has been going through my mind regarding my mission for the Savior, including D&C 100. That was a really good lesson. Something that I thought was really good was that we sat in a circle to have the lesson and had more of a discussion that I led. E. Huff told me that he felt like the district needed exactly what I taught (Elder Huff has been here for two cambios already). He told me that the last DLs just taught boring Preach My Gospel lessons that didn't help unify the District. I'm grateful that God has given me the capability to see the necessities of people so I don't just say words, I try and say words that mean something to them that receive it. Also, Thank you Timberline for teaching me something useful!

We have four progressing investigators now: Leydi (pregnant at 8 months and so we might have to postpone her baptism that is scheduled for the Saturday), Damaris (who needs to have a few more lessons and interviews before she's ready but she says she feels ready), and then Adita and Gabriela (Family: the first girl is 15, and the second is 9 years old. They have just been absorbed by the ward this Sunday, their first Sunday at church, and I know they will get baptized if God wants it to be so).

That's all for now folks. But thank you for your support and all the emails that I received this week. I have been truly blessed, and I have received my witness that the refiners fire is the place to be! There isn't anywhere else that we can grow, even though it's not at all comfortable.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUNT KAREN!!! I hope you have a great birthday and a great Christmas! (And  I still feel bad for mowing your lawn so short when I was visiting 7 months ago! I hope the snow has covered it up by now! ;D )

Mom, I have the bishop right next door to where we live now and he has a washer that we can only wash our whites in! So that's a blessing! We still have to wash our own clothes in the basin though! It's not so bad.

Thank you all for you thoughts and the video and I love the pictures as always! I'm making a wall-collage of you guys for Christmas! And I hope to finish writing letters to you but you might have to wait till New Years to get them!

Also, could you make me a Skype account then give me the password and username next week? Just tell me a time to Skype you and I'll confirm with you next week the times that we've worked out! I'm thinking around 10 am right now but we'll see.

Keep smiling and walking on sunshine! Like you guys all have written this week, we have trials but we can learn to look for the sun in the dark clouds and smile when it rains. Rain is refreshing anyway! One thing that helps me in the morning is waking up and smiling as I sing songs and hymns with Elder Huff - Elder Huff and Tuff! Who thought that two Springville boys (19 and 18 years old) would find themselves together teaching the Gospel in Honduras!?!?!

Hurrah por Israel!

Elder Tuft

PS:  You guys need to watch "He is the Gift" or for Kyle, Kristen, and Tom "El es la Dádiva"!!! Just go onto and it's the first thing you'll see! It'll be Christman Joy into every heart in the home instantly, it's that powerful. God wants the world to know that HE LIVES and that HE is still there even though they can't see HIM with their eyes.

Elder Tuft
PS then tell me your thoughts

Monday, December 8, 2014

Lots learned again, but that should be every week, I hope!

Hey Family and Friends,                                                                                     8 December 2014

It's been a normal, hard, and rewarding week.. I got the packages, Mom, on Wednesday!  Kristen (and family) thank you for the USB and the video of you guys. I'll see more of you on the 25th! The USB was a great idea and I really loved everything you sent. I will have to have all the files modified to be mp3 or mp4 though because they don't work on anything down here. I can watch them on a computer but we don't have one. I can watch them on some TV's but we don't even have that capability. I have felt really restricted by some of the rules of late. I understand why they are there, and that I am no exception, but I also feel like the Gospel is much more effective when we use all mediums to learn and grow. Everything will work together for good in the end. 

Mom and Dad, If you have time, read section 100 of D&C and then read my patriarchal blessing again paragraphs 4, 6, and 7. I saw a missionary get sent home this week. He was such a great person with a very strong testimony. He taught me that we can seek and strive to have a "mighty testimony". He had sooo much potential but then threw it all away because he didn't obey the mission rules to stay inside your zone, unless you have permission to leave. I was so sad when he went home. We also had some sisters this week do something not so smart... They locked their keys in the house and then broke into the house to get them and open the door. Now they have a 16,000 Lps fine because they didn't have a contract for renting the house. People can do some dumb things. I am guilty of dumb things, even some things I'm not proud of. It's been a really personal learning process. I never knew I could begin to change like I have. And so, I have learned the following this week.

LDS Video on YouTube : "Forgiveness: My burden was made light" (minute 7:07 y adelante)

God loves us and so He gives us experiences to grow. Just let Him make you grow! You cannot grow alone just like a plant cannot plant itself, water itself, or move itself into the area with the appropriate amount sunlight. A plant cannot increase its defenses against bugs and viruses either. We are then plant and God is the Master Gardener. Just let Him garden.

We did go to the temple last week, but we didn't go inside. I still haven't gone inside since I left the CCM. I hope I can go inside soon. We also didn't have changes yet. This Wednesday we will have changes. I want to stay because of the members and investigators that I have here. I want to leave because of the rudeness of this city to us. All the other churches combine against us and spread rumors and lies about the "Mormon" Church. They say we worship Joseph Smith. They tease us about not drinking coffee. They tell our investigators that they will be disowned by the community if they join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then they send out their false ministers and preach false doctrines but having the appearance of godliness "but denying the power thereof". I wish I was a British police officer with two batons! One called "Did-you-feel-that!" and the other "How-about-that?!" I just had to recap and expound a little more about the "Understand-Me" Stick. It gets frustrating sometimes but these thoughts help lighten my mood.

Dad, I told the story about digging up Peter Shirts to illustrate the seriousness of the work for the dead. Do you think they understand how important it is now? Ha ha! J

I wrote down this week in my planner "The power of ONE choice...diligently attending to the things of God,” with the reference to D&C 84: 42-44. So if that makes sense to you, then you’ll understand what I was thinking but I don't remember exactly at this moment.

Angel doesn't have work yet but he will this week. He can't start his marriage paper until he has the money and so he might not be baptized or married this month but we have planned for the 27th! And so we pray! I'll send pictures now.

Love you all and Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Tuft

PS – Kristen, I just want pictures that remind you of Gospel things (like the temple cover that you put on the agenda for me.) I want to decorate my agendas/planners with them. If they could be the right size (bigger is better because I can crop it, but small is not), that would be great! You know Kristen :D You decorated your agendas all the time, I'm guessing.

Thank you, Mom for the literal picture of our Church building... that made me laugh :D Ha ha haAnd the Muppets don't live on Sesame street either :D But good try! Love you Mother and Kristen! I need photos of you two, as well, because I have all the family on the wall but you guys! :D

I got the packages but it some of the presents had ripped from the ride so I closed it all up in one box and I don't know still what's in it. Thank you soooooooo muuuuuuch :D I am so grateful for all that you and Dad do for me. I can feel your love here in Honduras. 

PSS - Elder Rincon is the oldest in his family. His dad was an alcoholic and he has suffered poverty for a year or two of his life. He reminds me of Kyle sometimes because he is comfortable being in charge and leading. Other times, he takes it too far and spends an hour trying to beat the same message into me that he has learned. I just patiently bear it at these times cause it's worth the wait and not worth losing a friend. He is also reserved too. He's a great guy with great potential. God loves Elder Rincon and I have felt that much. I don't need much more than that I guess :D 

Love you more than X's and O's! (and huge smacks!)

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Great Week and I Learned A LOT!

Lizcano Family feeling peaceful at the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple December 2014

Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple 2014 Dec
Spencer with Hna Zuniga November 2014

An investigator, Leonel, being taught by Spencer's and Elder D. November 2014

Sesia, one of the member's little girl.

Elder Rincon in the alleyway where they live.

Hno Zuniga learning the alphabet.

Looking into the city from Kbranch.

Spencer's study area in his house - El Sitio.
Hello Family,

I gotta write fast so I apologize now. I hope it's not a shorter letter this week.

So first, Mom, ask the Quesada's if they're name comes from Salvador or if they have connections from Salvador in their family. I found someone with their last name using 'z' and everything. I'd love to hear if there is a connection. But I bet not.

Kristen, Can you send me your favorite picture of the Church? I want to make covers for my Agendas like you did for me. But I want to have a few with pictures from you and the family. They have to be relatively small but not so small. You know.

We didn't celebrate at all for Thanksgiving so it was really different. But it doesn't matter, I still remembered to be grateful and to celebrate the reason for the holiday. Thank you family as well. Without your support and help and love, I would be nothing.

We visited Angel and Helen this week a lot. They went to the temple with us this Saturday and said they didn't want to leave. They felt the peace and it astonished them that such a feeling existed. It's pretty much fijo (set) that they're going to get baptized and go to the Temple in a year. The only problem is that they have no money. On Thanksgiving day, I learned a lot more about being grateful. I had prayed to have an increased understanding of gratitude that day and my prayer was answered. When we visited Angel and Helen that day, they expressed how hard it was to live and to survive cause they literally had no food, no electricity and one or two pairs of clothes. Their other clothes got robbed while they were hanging out to dry after the wash. They ran out of candles and had no light. Their baby was starving and Helen had nothing to feed him. Their neighbors aren't much better off. There are a million other things that they could have complained about but they only wanted food. We helped them out that night with some food and candles to say the least. We never give them money though cause that's not helping much. We taught a lesson about hope and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We taught about God's love for them and for all of His children. Mom, Dad, the Spirit was there with us. Helen had tears on her face and Angel was silently pondering their condition, and their repentance. He told us that ever since we came to their house, they have only felt good things regardless of their trials. On top of everything, their baby was sick. Milan se llama. We offered to give him a blessing. We asked if they believed in God and Jesus Christ and told them that healing only comes through faith on Him (both temporal and spiritual). We left so humbled that night. The next day, their baby was completely healed. Angel found a job and starts soon. He has to find 200 Limps ($10) to start his job though. He'll be selling honey for 33 Lps everyday. I hope that brings some success in their lives. We have been trying to work with the ward to help them but so far, nothing has happened (except the temple trip, which was great). To say the least, I learned a lot. Mainly, I ask myself with more sincerity now "What has God given me?"

Then I asked God about all the temptations and feelings I've been having. I told him how difficult it was and as I was kneeling and feeling all that weight, these words came to my mind: "Can you feel how I felt? In that moment in the Garden, Spencer, I saw you and I know you perfectly." Since then, I can't say that I haven't had struggles but my burden has been made light. When I understood the Atonement, my burden was made light. The more I understand about the Atonement and the more I try to listen and follow him (rather than just doing my duty and going through the motions), the more my burden is made light. He strengthens me so I can do more. I learned gratitude for the Savior. I learned more about the Atonement too. There is one voice that tells me every time I see Him, "All that you feel is fake. You've been indoctrinated into your church and now it's all in your mind. I've tried to feel. I've tried and while everyone is feeling the 'Spirit', I feel nothing." But it's wrong. Just go to the Temple and you know he's wrong.

The mission is the hardest thing I've ever done. When I was younger, I thought that a mission would be great, happy, and always just like a meadow of daisies and sun. I was not only very wrong, but that isn't God's plan. If he wanted us to be in a meadow full of flowers without a care in the world, he would've just put all of us in the Garden of Eden without the tree of life and without the forbidden fruit. Satan wouldn't be allowed to tempt us. God is that powerful. As we experience good and bad, we grow. As we grow, we earn our Salvation. As we earn our Salvation we can help others earn their's. And lastly, as we help others grow closer to God, we grow closer to God and become more like him.

My patriarchal blessing says that I need to not only "Go Forward" but also says, "and listen continually". The Lord can be our Guide as we listen for Him. Listening to Him comes after we listen FOR Him.

Lastly, I learned what it means to kneel when you can't stand. So when life is to hard to stand, just kneel. And when you kneel, ask God to show you what it means: "Thy will be done." and then remember who you are. I promise that we ALL can grow closer to God. I know He lives more than ever now.

There is so much more to tell but I can't tell it right now. Hopefully someday you can know what Honduras is like. Someday you'll meet all my investigators and get to know who I taught and teach every day. Thank you family for giving me your love and trust. I hope and pray that everything is well at home. Christmas is the best time of the year. Christ is the center of the word, and "mas" in Spanish means more. Entonces "Christ-more" or More of Christ is what Christmas means. :D

Wish I could be there with you guys this Christmas but I wouldn't exchange what I've learned and experienced on my mission for anything. And Mom and Dad, thank you for saying everyday of my life, "Remember Who You Are". That has helped me a lot on my mission even though it's sooo simple.  REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE!

Keep praying for my investigators! They are doing great but their is so much more that they could be doing still. Carolina and Andres came to church but Andres is still hesitant to make a commitment to church so pray for that.

Also, Dad, could you explain the 'Hurrah for Israel' thing to me. It does mean something to me like: Go-Forward-With-Faith kind of thing, but I'm wondering what inspired you to write it at the end of every letter. Does it have personal meaning to you?

And Mom, Spanish is easier but I don't understand always because many words have double or triple meanings or uses. I can translate but it takes time. I hope translating will teach me more about the order of phrases in Spanish (and more words). I can't say everything I want to still. I hope to have the same command over Spanish as I do English someday.

Elder Spencer Tuft

PS I got Kristen's package with the tie but not the other 3 packages yet. Thank you for sending them. LOVES!!! and that little Audrey is a cutie in the vid! (A video to her cousin, Krissa, letting Krissa, who was not feeling well, know she loves her.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Week of Trials and Blessings

Hello Family!

I always love P-days because I get to check up on my family and hear from you guys too. We have had little success but we've worked so hard.

A sister went home from our zone this past week. She had a family death and only had a month-ish left in her mission and so she went home. That area is closed for the time being. Not only is that really hard, but we only have 3 pairs of Elders that are actually working really hard. The others are Planching (not working hard) and we know because they complain about their areas, rarely have lessons and then tell us all their problems which wastes precious time. My ZL (Elder Coombs) was talking to Elder Underwood today (other ZL) and gave Elder Rincon and I a really good compliment. He said that we were his boys in the zone and that we worked hard in our area regardless of challenges. That was an awesome moment that made me smile.

Honestly, this week has been really rough and filled with blessings too. It hasn't been rough for me but I am pained when I see the struggles of others. I have spent sooo many hours thinking to myself about what I can do to help. I look everyday to help someone. I want so badly for people to understand but they don't understand! Agency: The phenomenon of a person which can either lead to sadness, darkness and chains, or to love, life, hope, and freedom. Do I have permission to smack some people with an Understand-Me Stick??!!!

I talked to Bishop Molina this week and he read the scripture in DyC about Christ bringing a sword into the world. He then told us to be more bold with the less-actives to get them to come back to church. That night I had a dream that was just sooo powerful and I woke up feeling awesome! I dreamed that we went to the temple here in Honduras and when we arrived, the sun was setting right behind the Angel Moroni and then the Angel Moroni lowered his trumpet, turned it into a golden, bright sword and raised up high as the world around the temple grew dark. It was pretty cool in my dream.

So on another note, I played the piano this Sunday and gave a talk. I tried printing off the Parable of the Keys in Spanish that Kristen sent me but it just printed off junk and we didn't have time to go back to the Cyber so I translated it all into Spanish (yea! I did it and it made sense!) and everyone liked it. One of the members asked to borrow it as we were leaving the church because she was going to another meeting and thought it would be perfect to share. So, she has it still :D

We visited Andres and Carolina with Hno Nuñez on Friday and that was really powerful too. They told us they wanted to live the commandments and that they wanted the best for their little girl and so Hno Nuñez laid all the cards on the table and it was just awesome. He used an example with his hand: if your hand represents the family and each finger is a member, then when your hand is open and apart it's easy to make one of the fingers hurt really bad. But if your hand is in a fist, no one can make your fingers hurt by pulling on them. The tighter the fist, the less your hand can get hurt.

Our Ward Mission Leader has been having family issues this past week and they haven't gone to church and we haven't been as successful in Kbranch this week. They are the point of the spear in Kbranch and we need them. Hno Nuñez also gave them the talk too, which I hoped helped them. Their daughter is not doing or being the person she needs to be. She's run away, wears a cross necklace during the week (but not on Sunday's... go figure) and she is not being a lady but an object for other guys. It's really sad. The ward is working hard to help her now. All this just happened this week. It's like I wasn't the only one that was feeling all the temptations and depressions of Satan this week. The whole area was affected. I don't know why but it made a difference.

Then on the bright side, we had six investigators come to church! Guillermo started smoking again (and trying to hide it from us and the members) but he came to church still! We are trying to find him during the week when he has time so we can help him and so that the ward can help him.

Some other thoughts from this week:
We are to go forward and never look back, doubt or deny the faith. It all starts with looking back. What happened to Lot's wife? She looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. Salt is referred to as a sweetener to the earth in the scriptures but it is also bitter. While she had the sweet light, she also fell and became bitter at leaving her home (wickedness) behind. When we leave sin, we better really leave it, and never look back to imagine with longing, our sins. Let us change and be servants of God. His yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Thank you Mom and Dad for the thoughts and help. I'll be reading and studying more this week in your letters and insights. It's rough but life is rough. Sometimes I wonder, why do I fall? But then I realize it's because when I reach for the Saviors hand, in the midst of the stormy sea, I will become better. All things work together for good.

"Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior's own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead." -Elder Holland

Love you Lindsay. You are in my prayers. Hope is never lost. You can Do It!!!

Love you family, and thanks for all of your letters!!!! OXOXOXO I don't have time to write you all back but I read every word!

Elder Tuft

Monday, November 17, 2014


Hello Family!!!

This week I wanted to take some time and talk about all my investigators to catch you all up.

So Andres and Carolina Barrera first. We've challenged them to be baptized soooo many times and they always accept but then never go to church. So my companion and I changed tactics with them. Before, we were preparing lessons and then teaching and discussing the topic with them. Now, we are letting them choose the topic and then discussing it. We want them to be actively studying and participating in the lesson and not just thinking to themselves. So, we gave them a sheet of questions of the soul and asked them to pick one for us to prepare. They picked question number 3: In what do I benefit from Jesus Christ? So we talked about this and I don't remember the exact thoughts we shared but in the end we invited them to repent of their sins and be baptized. Andres told us, "I'm going to be very clear with you guys. I want to be baptized because I know it's true. I don't want to be married to Carolina though. We are together because it's best for the kid we have in common." We asked if there was another person either one of them have been seeing and he said no. He just thinks that getting married without loving the person isn't right and that separating isn't right either because the child would be the one to suffer. So he doesn't want to go to church because he's sinning if he lives in the same house with a women he's not married to. And he can't get baptized if he doesn't get married/separated and go to church. So, we invited them to pray together about this and seek counsel from the Lord concerning the best way to repent for them. I hope they get their answers soon. I shared with them that when we found them, we happened to stumble upon him fixing his motorcycle and that Elder D. happens to be an expert at motorcycles. That was the day that we hiked up to the top of the mountain to contact someone up there and then hiked back down disappointed only to find Andres and Carolina in the most perfect of circumstances. God knows when and where people need help and so he puts his servants into our lives to help us. I know he put me and Elder D. in the right place and time to find them.

Family Tavora has been struggling to get their divorces through but I'm still trying. Then they can get married. They also expressed to us that they've been having a rough time with their children. They have three boys. One is 16 and then the other two are younger, like 8 and 5. The 16 year old has been rebelling a little bit and doesn't want to go to church anymore and the two little ones are just loud, shouting, crying babies. So I told her she needed to talk to you, Mom because you've dealt with 4 teenagers and have one pending still. ;D (OR TWO if we count 18 y/o Spencer! HA HA HA!)

We found another 14 year old to teach this week. We explained the Plan of Salvation and I've never seen a teenager so attentive before and asking questions and getting excited before. She recently has been going to the catholic church and told us she had a topic to prepare of her choice for a church something this past Saturday. She then said she was going to share all that she learned from us to all of her church... I hope that went well... We're going to go visit her again this week and see what happened.

We received a new reference from Hno Zelaya Castro (lider misional) and we've taught this family a bunch. They have no money, no job, aren't married, have one kid, and want to change their lives around. It's sad that it takes till the depths of poverty sometimes to compel people to change. The good thing is that they don't have any problems with the Word of Wisdom. The bad thing is, they don't have money and so they can't get married. The mission isn't paying for any part of marriages now to help people get baptized. Every penny has to be earned and sacrificed. This is a little barrier so we don't baptized people and then have more less-actives. It's a great idea, just makes it harder though to be baptizing at the level the mission is expecting.

Leonel still hasn't been able to get to church because of the pain in his side and we still don't know if he can get baptized because he's hiding his past from us. We can't help him if he doesn't tell us what he's done. He told us this week though, "Why do people not listen to you guys? You guys preach Faith, Repentance, and Baptism, and Jesus Christ... What else could people want?" He told us that what we teach is all true. I hope we can work with him to help him progress in the next few weeks.

I just had a few thoughts to share as well other than investigators. In Spanish, the word "mejorar" or "to get better" contains the word "orar" which means "to pray". If we pray, things can only get better. When we put our trust in the Lord, miracles happen and he can change our hearts.

The other thought isn't of consequence, just a cool thought. There were 12 apostles called by Jesus in his mortal ministry and the one that betrayed him was Judas. At the same time, the Jews or tribe of Judah betrayed Jesus Christ out of all the twelve tribes. Just some symbolism I hadn't thought of before.

I'm going to send some letters in the mail for Christmas too, really soon! Don't know when but I plan to have them there for Christmas day!

We also can talk on Skype this year!!! President Bowler changed that rule!!! So Skype it is!!!

Got to go!

Elder Spencer

PS: I'm glad everyone is safe and I'm sad to hear about the death of Brother Barrus in the ward. It's sad that happened. Love you guys! Lindsay, Get better! :D

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Family is the Best, thoughts and Investigators

Hello Friends and Family,

Wow, can I say I'm sooo tired... Not because I've been getting to bed late or waking up early but because of the loads of work we've been doing. I said last week (I think) that we are planning on having 12 baptisms for December. Some issues have come up with this but it's still possible!

Our investigators didn't make it to church (except one) and almost all of the recent converts and less actives didn't come either. I guess, this Sunday and almost every Sunday, the water comes and they claim that their laundry is more important to do on Sunday than their keeping the commandments and commitments.

Kristen (I almost spelled your name with a C! YIKES!) Here's a video I want you to watch. It was dedicated to servicemen and women as it says in the beginning but I think it fits nicely with missionaries too. :D "Bring Him Home (from Les Misérables) - The Piano Guys" on Youtube. Love you tons!

So this week I've had some moments of strong feelings with investigators both good and frustrating that I'd like to share. I wrote in my planner:

We should take time to meditate and think outside of this world, the world of howling noises and hate. We should take care of humility in these moments -- pondering over our actions and consequences of our actions -- so that we don't hinder in any manner the Salvation and progress of the human family. But don't be hesitant or fearful. Follow His counsel and the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

Okay, so now after all those random thoughts, I want to help you get to know Elder Rincon a little better...

E. Rincon is from Columbia, 45 minutes from Cali. It's more advanced than here in Honduras in technology and methods in Columbia. He's been scared of heights recently. This week, he got stuck as we climbed up the mountain because his fear took hold of him. He wouldn't go down or up. Finally, after we got the neighbors help and a members help, we were able to get him up and back to normal but it was really strange. We were stuck there for 15 minutes at least. He said that he's never had that happen in his whole life. I don't think it was because he was scared, he just needed sugar and water so his head wasn't spinning. He is more comfortable in leading positions (I can imagine because he is the oldest child in his family). He's 23, the oldest in the mission I think. He teaches really well and thoroughly. We've had a lot of success and I've learned a lot from watching what he does. He was an answer to my prayers actually so that I could learn more and be better prepared to train soon. Everyone is telling me that I'm going to train soon so I might as well be prepared. He has two younger brothers. His family is active now but before they weren't. They aren't sealed in the Temple yet but are going to do that while he's on his mission so he'll have to take a leave of absence to go do that in the middle of his mission. He has months in the mission, only one change more than me.

A little story now about he and I: we had our weekly planning session on Sunday and got to the end and I said, "time for companion inventory!" He just looked at me and said, "No. I've had bad experiences with that." So instead of arguing I just started telling him that I'd like to have comp inventory to share what I've learned with him that week. He told me that I could tell him anything but he wasn't going to talk about his feelings. So I just told him everything and eventually he opened up and talked to me about himself. At the end I told him, "Look! We just had a great companion inventory with the Spirit present!" And he rolled his eyes at me. I hope he's seeing things a little differently now.

Love you family. I'm running out of time but I hope to write more about investigators next week. Really, we've found some great big and ready fishes and I'll update you next week. Andres and Carolina have accepted a baptism date for December 13th but missed church so we'll have to recommit them this week. And Leonel may have some issues with the Law from his past, but I don't know, so we'll see. He wants to be baptized and so we hope he can. :D

Elder Tuft

PS - Thanks for all your prayers! I'm doing my best everyday and trying to become better and I can see my progress now. I too, had the same feelings that Kristen and Kyle had while starting their missions and there is nothing like that kind of a struggle. But I haven't felt that way for a while now so I think things are looking up! :D

Monday, November 10, 2014

Transfers, Sacrament Meeting and Investigators

Hello Family! (This is last week's letter 3 November 2014)

This week has been really long but not because we've worked longer but because I got a new comp that walks fast and works hard. Together, we've been cruising down the streets talking with everyone we see, planning appointments with tons of new people, and then still having time for our other investigators. It's really a circus of balancing our time but we're doing it and we're having plenty of success. With Elder D, before, we would never have been able to plan for December like we are now. We are planning on 12 Baptisms and I'm pretty optimistic about nearly all of them. It's definitely possible in our current circumstance. So pray that we can do that if it's the right time for our investigators. But of course, we will always allow the Lord to direct us as His instruments.

I don't have a picture of Elder Rincon, my new companion. But he, too, was a little bigger six months ago when he started his mission (6 weeks before me). He is really an answer to my prayers. I've been asking for someone to show me the ropes of planning and being exact in my teaching and he's already been a big help. Our first day we found a new family (the brother of Family Barrera) and he is also fantastic and really prepared like the Barrera family we already were teaching. Yes, there are two Barrera Families. Andres and Carolina are the first ones we have been teaching. José and Delsy are the other family Barrera. They live right next door to each other. Both are fantastic and well prepared for the Gospel.

We also had eight new investigators that we found on Friday so I'll keep you updated as they progress and we can teach them more.

Also, Elder D is now my ZL with Elder Coombs from Colorado. That's really strange for someone to stay in the same ten mile radius for 9+ months of their mission (Elder D has six months in El Sitio and Villa Olympica and now in Santa Maria). I hope for the best for Elder D cause I have a soft spot for that guy. He's been through a lot and I can tell he worries about his weaknesses. Dad, I think you asked about how he's learning English and in all truthfulness, I haven't seen the desire from him to learn English. With my new comp, he says if he doesn't figure out English on his mission, he's going to figure it out when he gets home. He really wants to learn and told President to only give him gringo companions so he can learn. He's had four companions so far, all have been gringos.

You mentioned this in your letter, Mom and so I wanted to touch on our Sacrament Meetings here in El Sitio. I've figured out why they aren't like what I'm used to apart from the reduced numbers of members. 1) They haven't had music in the chapel until this past Sunday when I was able to play. 2) They never invite two youth speakers and two adult speakers every Sunday. 3) The same few people can't give the talks every few weeks and again they need to give the youth the opportunity to teach. 4) The bishop needs to call people 1 or 2 weeks in advance so people can prepare talks and then call them to remind them periodically. We called the bishop out on this during Ward Council (in a kind but firm way) and told him this would transform the ward and the enthusiasm they have for church. This Sunday, we witnessed a complete change in the reverence during Fast and Testimony meeting and I know it was because of the music. We are working together with the Bishop to change these few things and we also might get a new bishop soon because Bishop Molina has been in five years already.

You know how my blessing for my setting apart said to not let anyone despise my youth? Well I've meant to tell you that, without fail, everyday there is someone that makes a comment at how young I am to be a missionary. The Bishops daughter (25 yrs old) nick-named me Elder Niño. I'm actually fine with that because it has helped me connect to his family more. Then on Sunday, after I shared my testimony, another older lady got up and made the comment that when she saw me and my "baby-face" bearing my testimony that it took her back to when she sent her boys on missions and that if someone so young can testify so strongly of the Gospel then anyone older than me should be able to gain and have a bright testimony too.

As far as the taunting on the streets this week, mostly it's just been drunks and little kids running circles around us and shouting, "¿Quiere Café?" over and over. But I have a plan. When they tell me that next I will say, "Yes!" and ask them to give me a cup. When they tell me that they don't have any (they never do), I will say, "Well, then why did you offer me some if you don't have any?" Other missionaries have done this and a few have baptisms because of it. Also, I want to try saying that "Café es por los pobres." I've got to be careful with that one but there have been tons of stories about this in the mission that always lead to baptisms and faithful enduring to the end of converts.

Beloved Mom, just know that a lot of the safety precautions and regulations we have in the US are a blessing and that, here in Honduras, they aren't as blessed as we are. (I asked him if they had seat belts in the cars, and if they use them.)

And Dad! I wish I could just have a chat. I miss the hugs from you and Mom a lot. But one thing I've never forgotten is how your hugs feel. I feel your hugs every time Brother Nuñez gives me a hug (he's just a like a dad to me but here in El Sitio, and I think he gives me hugs because I look so young). My youth is a blessing here to me. I receive a lot of attention both good and bad because of my youth. Mostly good and I'm happy. I'm learning to shave every day because now, if I don't, I have noticeable whiskers.

Send Matt, Morgan, Jaden, Collin and Cesar - all my friends my best if the conversation comes up or if you have the opportunity to write them.

Love the costumes family!!! No one did anything here for El Dia de Brujos, not even have parties. So, we had a normal day of teaching :D

I want you to know how happy the mission has made me. Truly, we are happier and come closer to each other as we come closer to Christ. It's like a triangle with us and our neighbors on opposite sides of the base and Christ is at the point. As we get closer to Christ, we get closer to each other. I think that's some good marriage advice too but I wouldn't know because I'm not married ;D

Did I mention that for this past week I have been a popsicle. The clouds haven't left for a while and it's almost snowing here. That 94% humidity, Mom, that's because we literally are surrounded in clouds and mist and blusterous winds right now. So thanks for the weather report. I hope to be thawing out in the next few days :D

One last thing, Missionaries have the full opportunity to see the change of a completely lost soul to one reunited in Christ. I have that opportunity every day and I have seen and felt the ultimate peace and joy that comes from the Gospel of Christ. I have seen and felt the change in people and I have yet to see and feel even more joy when many of them make the commitment and then be baptized this coming December. Even though it doesn't snow here, It will be a very white Christmas.

Have a great week family!!! LOVE YOU SILLY LINDSAY! and Kristen, your brudder woves you too. HAVE A HAPPY WEEK, REUNION AND SINGING!! Romans 5: 3-5

Love you more,
Elder Tuft

PS Tell Aunt Di that I read her letter and thanks because I was touched again by my experiences that I had forgotten. Funny how great things like that can be forgot in the ocean of blessings from our Heavenly Father. But I have it recorded and so Thank you Aunt Di :D

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween/witches, TJ's and, interview with Pres

Spencer with his fun district on Pday today.
Hello Familia!

I just want to comment really quickly so you know I read all that you sent me. I am really sad to hear about the wedding stuff, and with Ryan. I'll keep all of the Allison's in my prayers and I hope Katherine is okay too. I haven't really known Cody but sad that he did that.

Halloween here is really different. I don't think we'll be allowed to leave again because it'll be dangerous. It's called Day of the Witches down here and, yes, there are witches here. Not so much in my area but certainly people that have devils inside of them. We walk past a man that quotes pages at a time from the bible and cries condemnation, not repentance, to people on the street. He's always drunk when he preaches and no one ever listens to him luckily.

We've also had a problem with Testigos de Jehova here recently. We haven't ever bible bashed and we never will but they are teaching all the people wrong doctrine and even one of our member families was shaken by them. When we talked to them, we didn't know what to say. We asked if there was anything we could do and the wife (Enni) said she had a question. This started a long conversation about Baptisms for the dead. I finally asked her, "Have you read the Book of Mormon completely?" and she told me no. So, I told her to read it all and pray about it and she wouldn't have any doubts when the Testigos came again for her. She then asked me, "How would I know, if a spirit came to me, if it was from God or not?" Then I had a little miracle. The Holy Ghost allowed me to see through the question to her real doubt. She doesn't have a testimony because she doesn't recognize the Holy Ghost in her life anymore. I asked her about her baptism and how she felt. She told me that she knew that what she felt was true because the burning sensation inside of her was so strong. So I asked her, "Can you have that same feeling with you to keep you without spots (we read a scripture about keeping clean from the world) if you don't go to church and partake of the sacrament and if you aren't reading the BoM?" We left her with that and the invitation to re-find her testimony through enduring to the end by attending church. Well, she came with her family and the Bishop talked with them and now we just need to keep them active again because they are starting to regain their testimonies. God always answers prayers. 

I had interviews with President Bowler the 23rd and it was just great! I got to tell him everything that has been on my mind and what we shared with one another was really uplifting. I got to share my feelings about all that has been happening at home and we both began to cry.  But we know and President wants you to know too, that we have a testimony that God blesses all the families of Missionaries around the world with blessings seen and unseen. President also told me that my group of missionaries that came will be training really soon. I hope not this change (Wednesday, which we still haven't heard of any changes yet but we hope to hear tomorrow or tonight) but maybe next or the next.

I have felt like the world has been trying to take away my testimony ever since I got here to Honduras. We have been hammered with false doctrine and ridiculed on the streets for our beliefs. We have been saddened when someone rejects us but not because it's harmful to us but because they are throwing away the only person who can save them, Jesus Christ. They claim to know who God is but desire that he shows them a sign for proof. They beat on their drums and guitars in their meeting houses and the voice of the devil is so disguised when the preacher is shouting. Mom, remember when we visited the temple in New York for choir tour? I remember being in crowded and noisy streets and then entering the temple and hearing silence and feeling the Spirit there. That's how I want to feel here. It's just that the walls aren't thick enough in the homes to keep out all the noise. It's really hard to create an environment where the spirit can reside. We are blessed in Utah to have that real wall of protection from the world that everyone has named "The Bubble". I know even more now that God lives and he has made a plan that will bring us eternal happiness. I know that families are forever. I have learned how to more fully allow the power of the Atoning Sacrifice to have affect in my life. 

Elder D. was really sick just like me in the beginning of my time in Honduras. We both only had the virus for a day though which is a miracle because all the other missionaries have had it for one full week. I know that priesthood blessings have the power to heal us through faith in Jesus Christ.

I encourage Elder D. to teach me more but I get the impression that he doesn't know what to teach me or how to do it. So, I watch the District videos and study PMG and then I practice what I learn. He has been letting me lead and teach a lot more but that's because we were reading the 12 weeks training book and it says that the trainee should be leading everything now. It's just like Timberline, Kyle! Timberline has been such a blessing. I still use everything I taught and learned.

My Spanish is coming right along nicely. I can read almost anything now and I understand which words that I miss that I haven't learned yet and I'm able to look them up and learn faster. :) I've been really praying to have the Gift of Tongues and I know that God is helping me learn Spanish really fast. 

Dad, you asked about comments about my first Sunday. I don't like Sunday here. I'm not used to it still. The people are pretty irreverent and the deacons rarely let anyone take the trays from them to pass down a row. They walk down the rows, bumping and squishing people as they go until the other deacon on the other side can take the tray. There also isn't a piano player accept me and the piano they have is junk. I haven't played yet but I'll be playing soon because the animo in our ward when we sing is literally ZERO! I tremble to bring investigators to church because it's that bad. I want them to feel the spirit, not to feel how irreverent many of the members are. Remember the story about the seeds that drop in good ground, in rocks, and in thorns. I feel like some (not all) of our members are in rocks and thorns. We are doing our best to work with them but they are still "of the world." There are a lot of good faithful members though that help us and want to help us even more. Just like you said, I'll make this week my best yet! :D I feel bad for the Bishop and the leaders though. I can tell they are weighed down by everyone just like we, the missionaries, are.

Don't worry about the repellent Mom. I have the nets you sent me and I'll keep requesting a mosquitera from the office especially if I go to the South (poor and dirt roads and the hottest climate). The mosquitoes are worse there. I bought a Raid Mosquito killer that plugs in the wall and is like an air freshener. We also keep our pila empty now because we have running water so that has helped a lot.

We called the lady that we are renting from and told her the water and light bill amount and she told us "Okay!" like everything was normal. So, she pays for it all :D I still took some money out because we needed some cleaning stuff. I'll take it all with me when I leave that house though cause I don't want to buy it again if I don't have to.

About the books, I actually don't think any books are allowed but what they told us. So, Dia de Defensa that Elder D. has, is a no go. Same with Return from Tomorrow. But all the Gospel Library I can have (Jesus the Christ and the other books like that) I'd love those books.

Elder D. could leave this change (Wednesday) or the next. It's 50 /50 because he only has 4 months here.

We went on splits for the hike last week and I was with Elder Coe that you mentioned you found a connection with, Mom. He's in my district. He's a go-get-it-done kind of guy and takes charge when he feels like things aren't happening like he wants them to. He is a great elder and works hard and has a great desire to do God's will.

We had a great P-day today, played a lot, got a little sunburned (sorry that's the first time so far), and watched The Saratov Approach (yes we got permission). I still have great experiences after re-watching it. This time, I started crying when the missionaries shared the gospel to their kidnappers and just feeling the power of their words was really impacting. I want to write out specific lines in Spanish about the lessons so that I can teach with more clarity the gospel like they did. Sometimes, because I don't know tons of Spanish still, it's hard to focus in on the short, simple, powerful phrases that invite the Spirit to testify. So that's my goal and I'll tell you how it goes next Monday.

I'm sending a photo of me and some of my district today but it makes me look like I have fattened up a lot in the face. I HAVEN'T gotten fat like it appears in the picture, just a little itty bitty. It's such a small difference that I can hardly tell when comparing myself, to previous pictures from home, in the mirror. My pants aren't tighter from my beefy legs though, after climbing and hiking in my area, which is good. :D Elder D. was showing me how much weight he's lost and I bet he's lost 20 or 30 pounds! I'm finding more foods to buy and so I hope to keep what I've gained here in the City and then go to the south and lose it all like everyone says I will.

Well thank you family, I better run! Love you all! Thank you for all your support! It's exciting that Kristen is going home! I sure have missed that girl. I love you too Lindsay, and I hope you can play in your last volleyball game with Kristen watching :D
Elder Spencer Tuft