Monday, August 25, 2014

First Baptism this Saturday!

Hello family and friends again!

I hope your week has been as awesome as mine! It sounds like a lot of changes are going on with school and construction and fresh starts. It´s a great feeling to start new!

So, a few of the ward members found out I can draw decently and so now they call on me to draw illustrations on the board, which is weird cause I still do simple stick figures. But they like it :) And also I´m drawing a ward member now, as well. I normally wouldn´t but recently my district hasn´t been wanting to do very much on P-day so I went to the store today and bought a pencil and paper to start drawing on P-days.

Wish Matt and Jaden the very best for me! It´s weird that I´ve already been out here for two months now and to look back and remember how far I´ve come from the first day. Tell Matt that learning Russian will be rough especially because he didn´t study it in school like I did Spanish. Spanish is hard but learning an entirely new alphabet and phonetics has got to be way harder. I might try my hand at French or Italian when I finally have Spanish down pretty well (which probably will be after a year of Spanish in College). The Spanish down here is really fast but I´m understanding more and more each day. My Comp is really hard to understand because in Dom. Rep. they speak even faster. Everyone tells me not to be frustrated when I don´t understand him because no one understands him half the time. So, I just smile and wave sometimes... :).

This next part is for everyone but especially for James Warren and Erin Thomas:
Down here among the missionaries, they are famous because of the songs they did for the church. All the missionaries started singing along with James and Erin´s songs when I played them. I told them I knew both of them and they were taken back at first. So you're Famous Erin and James!!!

The electricity here is pretty reliable but sometimes it cuts out. Today all of the City Center (Popular Centro) was out of power which is rare because it´s in the heart of the city. But, it´s really common to lose power in the Obranch because it´s up high in the mountains. El Sitio (where our house is) has lost power too but not as many times as Qbranch.

We did divisions this week because my comp is DL as well, so he does the interviews for the baptisms (we maybe have two or three a month as a district). So Elder Mahan came with me for the day. He´s been in my exact area before so he wanted to check up on everyone. He gave us some good connections and really helped us with general relations with the people we visited. He´s a really friendly guy so everyone was just smiles when they see him.

Our Area Book is junk and should be burned. We have some good records but for the most part it´s garbage. I´ve been updating it for the past week every night and I´m still not done. That´s a problem that my comp has... he doesn´t plan for the goals he sets and just wings it every week. He never updates the Area book unless we get a baptism and then he only updates what he needs to show that we had a baptism.

Entonces, we have a baptism this week! It´s my first one. I won´t be doing anything but some planning and maybe some singing for that too. It´s the Familia Zuniga that I told you about last week and the week before. They are getting married on Saturday and then in the afternoon is their baptism. Down here they don´t have a huge ceremony. They just "sacan los papeles" and they´re married. It cost 2000 Lempiras ($87.54) for the lawyer and we have a good one so that´s all we have to pay. Normally there are some other costs too but not with Hna Yuni. She´s in our ward so she cut us a deal. 2000 Lps is about 500 US and that´s a lot of money down here. We live off of 2000 Lps or less every 15 days and that´s including our electricity and water bill. (We haven´t gotten our bill yet but I hope it´s not much. The other elders say just to make due when the time comes to pay for it and not to worry about it.) After I´ve done it once I can prepare better for the next time. :)

The other missionaries in my district are great! They could use some buffering still I think. We had a meeting last week with Pres. Bowler and he told us that we were going to change this mission into a very active mission which includes baptizing lots and retaining all our baptisms. He told us the other missionaries are great but we can be better. He said we were sent here to make this mission better. He still hasn´t interviewed me but some of the others from the CCM said they´ve been interviewed. We all agreed that our missions right now are not living up to what we call "The Escobar Standard". Hno Escobar was our teacher at night at the CCM. He really set our standards high but we know they are achievable. Everyone in my district at the CCM says that if Hno Escobar were to come to this mission, he would kick all the missionaries "bottoms" because they aren´t living up to his high standards. Some of them are, a lot of them aren´t. That´s what I think Pres. Bowler was talking about last week. Our motto in the CCM was, "Que Somos!?!" which is "What are we!?!" So that´s a big motivator for me to hold up The Escobar Standard. It´s the same standard that Captain Moroni held up on his flag, "In memory of our God, our religion, and our freedom, and our peace, our wives and our children." When I evaluate myself, I try to hold myself to this standard.

My honest opinion of my comp is that he is great in every way except in planning. For example: he wrote that our goal was to have 6 progressive investigators this week but then didn´t specify who they were going to be and how we were going to get there. It´s really dumb to compare goals and actual records when your goals look great and then your actual records are dumpy. It can be discouraging too! So, I told him this week that we were going to plan for those 6 progressive investigators and write down what exactly needs to happen. Long story short, I still have no idea how that goal is going to be accomplished. He says I need faith, but I think he needs the works to go with the faith.

Elder Head, my DL was talking to me today about all the things that I´ll find here in Honduras that are wrong. He said that I´ll find people he preach faith but then say where´s the sign/evidence in the LDS church. They want to see something to believe it´s true but then say we need to have faith in their churches. It´s just a reminder of what the Savior went through among the Jews.

For example of this: today I was sitting at the bus stop talking to an older man. He asked about Joseph smith and I told him he was a prophet. Elder Head said that he died and we have had other prophets since. The older man replied that the dead prophets don´t count for God (an expression down here that means they don´t care about God once they´re dead) and Elder Head told him, "Then who is Moses?" After that we told him to have a good day and took the next bus. Everyone is like that down here. They don´t want to listen to us, they want to argue with us. I´ve had doors closed on me and I´ve had backs turned on me but that´s not what is hard to feel. The hard thing is when someone lets us in and then turns their heart on what they are feeling. That´s much harder, when you know someone else feels the Spirit testifying to them and then they don´t want us to come back. It´s just not their time yet.

We have rain here a lot. We also have lighting and thunder. But, the coolest is the Relampago. It´s lighting that lights up the clouds and doesn´t strike downwards or make any noise. It´s silent lightning. We have that a lot here and especially when we go to the Qbranch up on the mountain, we can see it really well off in the distance!

I cleaned my shower with a strong cleaner thingy-ma-jig! I can see that it´s blue now! Before it was gray... A lot of the showers, I bet, are the same through out the mission.

Special Experience of the Week: I asked Hna Zuniga (the one who´s being baptized and married this Saturday) what she wanted most in the world and her answer impressed me with her humility. She said, "I want to hear the word of God and have good health." I was thinking more along the lines of material things because that´s where the conversation was going but she surprised me a lot. I can promise that she will receive it as much as she works for it. She is an awesome example to me of quiet humility and a hard-worker.

It´s time to be done writing. We go over our hour here because we´ve had a lot of time the past few weeks. We haven´t played sports since my first P-day, which is sad, but no one wants to cause there are too many missionaries now, so they say. So we shop and then go home. I´m trying to get my comp to want to plan to work on P-days because we have oodles of time that we waste walking around aimlessly and without purpose. He just doesn´t want to plan and I can´t speak enough Spanish to get him to want to plan better. He says to just go with the flow and that the general idea is in his head. We use our planners but don´t follow them usually because lots of lessons fall through. This is because we don´t set up appointments and plan better. Plan, Plan, Plan!!! That´s what we need.
I read Return From Tomorrow I think twice and I love that book a lot. I love his experience meeting the Savior. If I could I´d read that book again right now, but I´ll have to wait for a few more years. :)

 (Brian asked him what his advice would be:)
Advice for you to Lindsay, don´t let her play until her work is done. That´s what you did for me my whole life. The difference is that I learned to manage my time with computers when I was a little younger. It´ll will be harder while she is older because she is smarter and less child-like (harder to teach). It´s not that she is stubborn, it´s just that she is trying to experiment and find her purpose right now and so she´s experimenting with cameras and editing. Those things are awesome and she could go really far with it but the Chemistry will push her much further down the road or hard-work and success than her toys will. Even if I don´t remember Chemistry much, and she will use that as an excuse that Chemistry isn´t applicable to her career, Chemistry is still hard work worth accomplishing. He´s not an easy teacher to get an A in his class, but if she works to get the A she will feel very accomplished and will have learned a lot.
Thanks for the ordering the batteries for me. The store here is really shifty. I don´t want to buy a battery that isn´t from a trusted source. It looks like a really dirty and small Ace Hardware store but it´s dark, small, has lots of bars, and shady people. So I´d rather not go back there again. I can feel when something´s not right.

That´s awesome about Education Week! I´m glad you got to go. I think Matt said he went to it once and loved it. I never went but I should´ve tried it once, if I'd had time.  :)  Maybe when I go to BYU when I get back I can try it.

I have not written my Thank you´s yet... pero lo hare! (I will do it!)...... when I get some paper next week. They don´t sell lined paper close to where I live so when we go out of the area next, I´ll look for some. I should´ve thought about it earlier today because I literally saw stacks of lined paper notebooks at the store I bought a folder at today. Sorry about that! I wrote one for the Sutt´s but I think I´ll rewrite it because I was in the CCM and a little rushed at that time. I´ll work at those!

The package could get here soon then... the AP´s just won´t pick it up till the next month cause it´s cheaper that way. They aren´t supposed to but they do. So I´ll pray too! :) We haven´t had problems with other missionary´s packages so far!
Enjoy high school and live with no regrets. It only comes once. I know this is dreary advice but one day you´ll look back and say, "I wish I would´ve (or woudn´t have) done that." So live with no regrets and have fun. Keep up with Chemistry! and have fun with the camera stuff. You have no idea how blessed you are to have those kinds of resources (school, good teachers, good influences, and goodly parents)... don´t waste your time becuase it keeps moving whether we want it to or not. And as always, I miss you lots and love you! All the Latino missionaries want your number hahaha ;) I´ll send the good ones your way. Hahaha! Just kidding! ;)
Grandma & Grandpa,
I love you tons! Having great grandparents like you makes a huge difference in the lives of their grandchildren. I couldn´t be surrounded by any better people in my life. Give Grandpa my love and tell him I miss him and think of him always.
Love you all! Hope life is treating you well and that you all are staying busy! You´re all in my prayers!

Con Amor,
Elder Tuft

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