Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hello from Guate!

Elders Spencer Tuft with CCM companion Elder W.
 (This mom has tried 4 times to separate the paragraphs, and I've done it many times and it won't hold once I update the blog. Sorry.)
Hello Everyone,
It's still great here in Guatemala and I've had a lot of fun. It's good to have an hour to write this week instead of 30 minutes.
We finally got to go to the Temple today cause it's been closed for two weeks. It has a beautiful Celestial room and I'm glad that I could go again! We'll be able to go every P day I believe. I learned today about the similarities between Adam and Eve's experience in the Garden and when Eve is being tempted by Satan to eat the fruit and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If you don't know exactly how they're related, just go to the temple after reading about the Atonement in the four gospels and pay attention when Eve's given the fruit. Also, in the Celestial room on the ceiling are mirrors that are angled in different directions. When I looked up from all areas of the room, I never could see myself in the reflection. I thought about how getting to the eternities with our families is not a selfish reward but that we have to serve others to have eternal happiness. That's what temple work is about, that's what God's plan is. I could clearly see other missionaries in the room through the mirrors but I never could see myself.
I bought a leather scripture case two weeks ago that I got today and it's really awesome. It's personalized with my name on it and mission, but I also got to choose what pictures were burned into in. So I chose to have the Savior knocking on the door and the Shepherd carrying the lost lamb. These pictures have a lot of meaning to me because I could see the relevance of Christ more clearly. I can see myself as the sheep or the person on the other side of the door. Now I can see myself as the Shepherd sent to gather His lost sheep and the figure outside the door waiting for someone to open. I know that it's God's plan to first save us from death and then send us to testify to others of the awful death that Jesus Christ made possible for us to overcome. It is only through Christ that we can live with God again.
A lot of the things I have read from Missionaries in the past seem like they are really basic principles and doctrine of the Gospel... like they are the Primary answers or something. I was too proud to realize until now that the answer is always in the Doctrine. Elder Bednar gave a talk about this exact topic and we got to watch the Devotional about it. He said that many people are guilty of teaching applications of the Gospel. For example: A friend could have gone to the Bishop for problems with addictions and the bishop might have him try different applications to try and fix the problem, such as set goals that progressively undo the chains of addiction. While this is a really important thing to discuss and rely on, the most important thing to do is not correct applications but learn the Doctrine behind different principles that have applications. So the Doctrine could be the Atonement, the Principle could be repentance, and the application could be setting progressive goals. Until people understand the fundamental doctrines of Jesus Christ, they will never be able to change their heart. Temporary fixes to any problem is not an eternal solution.
About my companion: He is such a great person! He has memorized all the scripture mastery verses and when we are in a lesson and I want to share a scripture that pops into my head but I don't know where it is I can ask him and he'll pop out the reference. He has a really strong desire to serve the Lord and he does it well. He has a fire to learn Spanish like I've never seen in anyone. We have had some talks together about things... like how he debates everyone's opinions and leaves no room for any opinion but his own. You may have thought that I was bad at this but he's worse. Everything is an argument and the first two weeks I tried to see if I could get him to realize what he was doing. I may have said this before but I told him that he could either choose to be right or to be happy and I think it's had a big impact on him. He still has his moments where he wants to have the greatest and best story to tell and have the spotlight on him but he's doing a lot better than the first week. He hates being corrected at all, even if it's something small. I get the feeling that he was a lot like me when we were younger. I don't know but I think he's had troubles accepting everyone for who they are and was bullied because he was known as the goodie-goodie boy. It helps me understand him more because I've been in a similar situation. He's been willing to work with me and I've learned to just let him think he's right until he realizes that maybe someone else is right for a change. I'm a lot happier when I have the Spirit and I can't let a difference between us make the Spirit leave.
I'll try to send one picture we took (Me and my companion) but if it doesn't get there I apologize! It's good to hear from everyone!
Really quickly before I have to go I wanted to share something for anyone in our ward that is going to be leaving soon. I hope this will help them: The first week is brutal and you get worked really hard. Then everything seems like it's slowing down and that you can relax for a little bit and not study as hard. Tell them to never stop working and always strive to have the spirit with you even if the people around them are goofing around. Tell them to not judge anyone like they're in high school because people tend to group together in groups like the Preps and the Nerds but that isn't who they actually are.
Mom, our zone leader is Elder Cook and he's a great guy and pretty tall. I haven't talked to him much cause he's in another district. Also, Hermana Richins left last week and said that she was grateful to have a hello from her Aunt Jeanette.
Love ya, bye!!!
Elder Tuft
PS Dad, what was the scripture that you read that hints that other families may have been led out of Jerusalem at the time of Lehi? Some of the Elders have had some questions about this topic (how the American inhabitants have ruins in Central America but then the plates were buried in New York) and I may share it with them to help, but probably not.

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