Monday, September 29, 2014

New house, 8 new investigators and Divisions

Hola Familia y Amigos!

HAAAAAAAAAAAPY BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRTHDAY!!!!! (in the voice of Frosty the Snowman)

Love you Mom! Thanks for everything you've done for me and for raising me! All I have is because of you and Dad. I truly am blessed with great parents like Nephi. (And no, I remembered your birthday on my own... Kr's letter and Dad's letter only helped to clear up any doubts I had. I wouldn't want to be wrong on the date of your birthday.)

So for starters, we changed houses this week because of the water that leaked through the roof in our other. It was just a crappy house to begin with. Now we have hot water, a full kitchen, shower, three stories to live in, and basically, a lot more space that allows for peace. I love it when it's just quiet in our new house so I can think. That's one thing I miss about Sister Eldon's yard, the time to think without distractions.

Yes, we do have 8 new investigators but Elder D. is super pessimistic about them. I continue to try to pull him along and invite him to act on his own (not in those words) because without his full support for our investigators, no matter how grim the outcome may seem at first, they are children of our Heavenly Father and He loves each one of them soooo much. I will tell you more about each one of them when we begin to focus on them more. (We have investigators that we focus on more than others because we see their progress but we visit all of them often.)

We had divisions on Thursday and I can't say I've had a better day before on my mission or since. Elder Mahan is just an awesome companion and we taught really well together. It helps that he's a gringo like me but also I just feel like we had the Spirit with us at ALL times (walking, talking, teaching, and eating). All the time! The investigators we taught all felt the Spirit that day and we asked all of them to be baptized and they all said they need time to think and pray about it (some have other issues to overcome first) and then we'll see.

Osman, Mom, is not the delinquent. Osman has two wives and isn't married to either legally! He has kids with both and their kids have kids too but luckily within marriage. Elder Mahan and I taught him on Thursday and taught the Law of Chastity. After he told us that he has been praying already to overcome the feelings he has for one of them (his "other women") and just be with the one. He hasn't been with the other one for three weeks, if I understood correctly. But I think he still visits because of the kids, just that he isn't in a relationship with her anymore. So we'll see how that works out. He is gaining a strong testimony about the Keeping the Commandments, but in our next visit, I'm going to figure out why. I think the next route with him is hearing his testimony about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation.

Lionel is the "Delinquent." We haven't talked to him except the one time. He really liked the Hymns and asked (and will forever ask me) to sing them for him now. It's been a real powerful tool to teach him the doctrine behind the songs. That's what we are going to do in our next lesson with him too. Sing, Teach, Testify.

Wendy, another investigator, is fun and smiling all the time. She is interested in our message and when Elder Mahan and I visited last Thursday, we had a really powerful moment. I asked her to be baptized and she told us, "not yet." Soooo, we hope! But her understanding is coming along and Ella es Pilas as we say here in the Mish. I'm really excited to see her progress in the next few weeks.

Familia Gevara is also interesting. They are the family with the issue with authority and priesthood. We retaught the Restoration and when we got to the part about Joseph Smith, we showed the Restoration Video. I felt that room reverberating with the Spirit. Eddie, The oldest son (22ish) told me, "So that's who Joseph Smith is! Can I have a Book of Mormon?" Of course we gave him one. Everyone was touched in that room that day. In that moment, they could not deny that feeling. We were given power to silence the Devil that had existed before in our last lesson. Grieta (the daughter that had the "gift of prophecy") could only nod and think about our words. Through patience and the touch of the Spirit she was now thinking in her heart. She didn't speak against us then like she did last week and I hope now that they understand. We invited them to be baptized and ALL said in unison, "Si!" The only problem is that they still think they need to be baptized in their own church and not in the LDS Church which is kind of humorous seeing that they aren't connecting that Joseph Smith is a Prophet in the LDS Church. So next time with them, we get to prepare to talk about authority and the priesthood. I have prayed about them so much. I hope so much that they keep the commitments we left with them. They remind me of people back home that I got to know. I see them more now as Heavenly Father would see them and they are real people with great worth.

Love you family and friends! Everything is coming along in the Lord's timing down here in Honduras, but it's coming. I can see that it's speeding up. Slowly but surely. It reminds me of the rock that rolled down the mountain and grew until it filled the whole world. At first, it's small. But later, it will be grand.

Con Amor,
Elder Tuft
Happy Birthday again! I'm doing fine with my stomach issues. I haven't had Miralax cause they don't have that stuff here near me. But I did drink magnesium in small doses and now I'm fine. It was kind of a "McGyver moment" for me. :)
Get better quick! I don't want you to have even more stress this school year. You are full of energy and want to do so many good things. Just take time to relax though, and I'm not talking about time to be lazy, but time not in school, with homework, or with photography, or other work, or volleyball. Make more time for Mom and Dad and have friends over. This will be a blessing not only for you but for your friends too.
Megan and Tom,
How's everything going? How's work? Audrey?
Kyle and Jess,
I'm glad that you guys are keeping busy! How did the interview go in Arkansas, Kyle? For Walmart, if I remember correctly... And Jess, how's in going with Milo? How are you holding up?

Love you family so much! More than you can ever know! I think of you always and draw from the experiences we've had together to teach. Just know that you've helped me so much in my growth, in the good and the bad.

Love you!
Elder Spencer

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wowza, lots has happened!

Hello Family,

I hope the best and love you all so much. Just know that even though I know you know. While I wish I could be home to show you that I love you, I know that God will bless you while I'm here.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now and kind of like Alma when he writes his sons when they go to teach among the Lamanites. Alma feels joy and stress because of his Sons choices. I feel this way I think because of all the struggles that everyone is having on their missions (everyone is on a mission, not just missionaries) and people have been writing me both from the MTC and from home. I have heard a lot of the struggles but also the joy and happiness. So, with all that has happened, all I can say is BE WISE... and happy cause that helps brighten your day too! It is better to focus on the happy things in life anyways.

The worth of every soul is great in the sight of God, or as we say in Spanish: El valor de cada alma es grande in la vista de Dios. I watched the video of José Smith in Spanish when he is chained and laying on the floor and the mobsters are speaking in foul language. Then Josè stands and commands them to be still. It's so powerful and I love the feeling of the Spirit every time I watch it.

I had an experience like that this week. We were teaching an investigator and a drunk bum came to the window and started to bother our investigator, Osman. He would not leave no matter how many times Osman told him to buzz off. I felt awful because the Spirit could not teach with him there ruining this experience. But we continued to teach and told Osman that God loved him, that God was literally our Father, and that he loves all of his children. The bum left when we testified that this was true.

I also had another experience but this one is really hard to write so I'll try. I haven't even written it in my journal cause it's so hard. Today, when we go home, I will try to write it down somewhere. So, here goes it:

Saturday, we taught a family who goes to a really influential church around here called Iglesia Cordero. They actually have signs everywhere in the area next to ours that say in essence that we walk in their territory. They're dumb... anyways, we were teaching the role of the Holy Ghost in their conversion and why it is important to have priesthood authority. Well, one of the daughters (they're all grown and going to college and the littlest is going to high school) is really smart and so she asks really good questions. She also is really educated in the doctrine of the church. She is convinced that her baptism is valid and that she has the gift of the Holy Ghost already because after she was baptized a priestess laid her hand on her head and blessed her with the Gift of Prophecy... yeah, weird. We explained simply the truth regarding authority and she still didn't get it. I felt awful in that lesson because she was teaching her doctrine and that she felt that it was all true because the Holy Ghost testified of it to her. So we bore our testimonies, sang the Hymn Praise to the Man, and I left feeling helpless. Never in my life have I felt so helpless. All I wanted was to talk to Dad and Kyle because they've probably had similar experiences. Elder D. reminded me that we are the missionaries and have been given the power to know how to teach this people but I still want your feedback.

I could do nothing to help her believe us then. Elder D. and I prayed to know how we could help and both of us feel like she needs to first gain a testimony of José Smith and the Book of Mormon. Without that she will never listen with her heart. She also explained to us that her church had the sacrament just like us with bread and wine but that her sacrament was more correct because they use wine and we use water. This is also another thing that to comprehend she first needs a testimony of José Smith. The answer to this question is found in DyC 27 but she won't read DyC if she doesn't believe it's scripture. So it's hard. But my testimony has grown because it has been challenged. That's how growth works, after all.

I reviewed how far Elder D. and I have come and we have tripled our datos and metas since my first week here... pretty good. But our first week was really bad so we still have a ways to go before we are at the level we need to be at. Or I should say, we have a lot to learn and that God wants us to learn.

Also, we are teaching a gangster right now. He's in a wheelchair for life because he got in a tangle with some other delinquentes a while back. So we are teaching him now and he loves Hymns, like loves them. He has a lot of questions and we taught the first lesson really simply and short with him because of his questions. It went well but he can't be baptized if he won't let go of being a gangster. Here gangs have areas that they look after and when two areas have a problem, they duke it out with guns. It's been peaceful here for a really long time though and so no se precupe. I just have no idea what wild card he's going to pull on us later on.

Sometimes I wish I could go home now and teach the people in my area now that I can know what to do but there is so much more to do out here. This is God's workshop for me. Here he will refine me, and here I will be tested.

If you could see what I see and feel everyday then you, too, would grow in humility and in compassion and in love and in every Christlike attribute there is.

God loves these people and they are precious but so many are lost and haven't seen the light. They don't even know that a light exists. We bare that light on the name tag we wear and in the countenance we carry. We have hope because we can see.

I wish they could see you and you could see them. Just like in Tarzan, two worlds---one family.

If any or all of that is confusing it's because there is a lack of words to describe everything. I apologize, but hopefully you can read through it carefully and get a feel for what I'm saying. I just don't want to erase it because I think it's exactly how I feel.

Love you all more than you could know. Truly, we are blessed. Give everyone my love at home.

Elder Spencer Tuft
Dad and Mom,

The rest of my time I'll be uploading vids and pics for you on google drive. My ZL gave me permission to use my personal google drive account to do this. Dad, I'll work on those pics. Mom, thanks for the hilarious stories about Lindsay. I was dying laughing. Wish I could've been there to help (and laugh). I hope everything works out though. FYI, the houses here look like shacks from satellite and a lot are but the ones in the city just have tin roofs and then the rest is like a normal house made of brick and cement. In the Kbranch is where the huts and shacks are. Those are really scrappy and DIY looking. Dad, we'll work on the ward list and with the members. Things are looking up here in El Sitio after all!

I really want to just say hello to Jaden too!

Oh and Dad, I almost forgot! You said you wanted feed back about what to say in your talk. I would just say that the members in Utah have no idea of the sacrifice given here by every member in the ward for the missionaries. They have no idea how much they labor to support us. How many of them have had the missionaries over for dinner and a quick lesson? Surprisingly, nearly everyone here in El Sitio has had us over at one point or another and in Springville, I remember we had the missionaries over but that not many other families have. (Spencer's not realizing that many members try and so much of the time there are too many members wanting to have missionaries over for dinner than are missionaries needing dinners.) Part of the responsibility of the missionaries is to work with the members to strengthen their investigators and to strengthen the faith of the members. Lessons are so much more powerful with members present and when the members have a planned part in a lesson. The missionaries know how to teach. The members just need to fellowship the families that the missionaries teach.

Love you sooo much Dad and Mom!!! You are always in my thoughts and I see you teachings in my actions here in Honduras.

Your Son,

PS: If I forgot something... sorry!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Todo Cheke.

Hello Family and Friends,

To start off this week, I must say it's been crazy but great!

We had a Zone Conference this week! My first one! And Elder Duncan from the Seventy came and spoke to us. I'm understanding enough Spanish now to have even better spiritual experiences and understanding the talks I listen to in Spanish. I don't get it all but I get the main ideas at least. Elder Duncan talked about how we could be more efficient as missionaries and how we needed to start with a vision and then make goals to reach the vision and then have plans for each goal. I knew all this before but it was a good reminder and I saw the change in my campanion a little bit this week. It's not that we are working harder but that we are working better together and more effectively. Elder Head (my Zone Leader) told me today that in the last change Elder D was recommended to be a trainer and District Leader because of his hard work and results that he was having. I don't know where that went (and Elder Head made the same comment that the Elder D he knows now is more lazy than before). I'm really saddened by this but I know that Elder D is trying because I can see someone inside of him who desires to work and serve the Lord with all his heart. One comment that Elder Duncan made was, "Trust that angels are working on the hearts and minds of those who you will teach." and Kyle, you told me that the most important conversion story may be your companion's. So, I'm praying and wishing for the best to come about quickly for Elder D, but all in the Lord's timing.

We were also authorized to work till 9 pm here in our zone as long as we weren't walking around contacting or looking for work at 8 pm. The purpose of this is to fit in extra time to strengthen families in the ward and recent converts. Elder Duncan said we should have 20 families that we are teaching every week and 60 lessons every week, as well. These are huge numbers and hard to accomplish when you have a companion who doesn't think it's reasonable. I asked Elder D if he thought we could be teaching 20 families in the next two weeks and he said we could but then he won't make plans to find them or do anything to find them. I don't know why he isn't connecting "planning" to "success"... 

"Ustedes logran que ustedes desean!" -Elder Duncan (You manage your desire!)

So we committed Quenia and Alexander to be baptized but the problem is that they need to be married (usual). The other problem is that they have to come to church every week (not just the required 5). They have to come five times to be interviewed for baptism but for me they need to stay active in the church every week possible. Yesterday they didn't come because they had other things to do but they promised the next week. I hope they know, and I seek to let them know, that they shouldn't make and keep these commitments out of respect to the missionaries. I think they get that for the most part. But the going-to-church part and retention will be a challenge... especially with our ward. They gave up coffee and have read what we've asked them to read. They're great but we need to start giving them bigger commitments to start to test where they are. If they are meant to be baptized in the next month then we can make it happen. But, if they aren't ready, we move at their pace toward baptism.

The package!!! It came!!! AND IT WAS JUST LIKE CHRISTMAS!!!! I couldn't be more grateful for the things that came... especially the Nutella and Peanut butter. Those are really expensive here for the missionaries so they are fabulous! Thank you for the PJ nets as well. My comp just laughed but I think they are great and are helping to keep my legs free from bites. I don't use the head net yet though cause I haven't been bitten EVER on my head yet. It's weird but they like my elbows, ankles, and knees. Was there supposed to be a shirt, too, made out of the net material? Cause I'm missing that part. Where I'm at now it won't make a huge difference cause I have the sheet covering that part of me most of the night. Just wondering if anything was stolen in the mail...

A little about my ward because you asked, and because it's been on my mind recently... They are great but they aren't super helpful to the missionaries. We teach lessons to them that are really spiritual and then we ask if there is anyone they know that is struggling with marriage or has a newborn baby, or just moved in or one who needs service and they say, "Nope." Then we ask if they know of anyone that we can teach and they say, "Nope, this block is only stubborn Evangelicos and don't want more religion." HOW DO THEY FREAKING KNOW!?! Can they read minds or something? 

So this Sunday, the stake president came and talked to the members about how they can do their part, but we'll see. His talk was really inspiring to me as a missionary so I hope that the ward felt it. I honestly just want to tell the ward to make appointments to have Family Nights with us and then invite our investigators. We'll find the people they need to invite because obviously, they are incapable of inviting their non-member friends... It's a big mess and to say the least, our ward councils just make me feel like I'm my helpless self, again, in the Junior year of high school, with an overload of school work to do, and I'm up till 3 in the morning doing it. I could probably pull my hair out right now (I can just hear Mom right now telling me to count my hair blessings). So thank you for all your letters of encouragement and enlightenment. They were perfect timing and very helpful. 

I looked at the ward list of members and we have three pages, front and back, of names of members and one third are active??? You know that map that our ward has in the clerk's office, Dad? I'm needing that right now but for my ward here in El Sitio. I need phone numbers and addresses and names but we don't have that here. I asked if the Bishop could print something off from the Church resources but he just gave me a list of names and I have no idea who they are and where they live and if they are active or not. It's really disorganized down here and that's why we are having issues with the ward. There's a common knowledge among missionaries here in Honduras, "Only trust the members to keep you safe. And even then only trust them sometimes..."

Enough of my ranting because it has been a good week. Victor Manuel is coming to church now and we hope that continues and we can pass him off to the members (again with the members) smoothly. We haven't been able to teach Maricela yet because she hasn't been home when we've visited but we'll keep trying! Nahúm and Heidi haven't taken out the papers to be married yet but we have a time scheduled to go talk to them about it this week. Hopefully, that comes together this month and we can have another baptism. He is sooooo ready to be baptized already. We also have met others but I don't have time to write them all down and their stories so I'll update you more every week. 

So that's it for this week folks!
Best Wishes!
Elder Tuft
Mom and Dad,

Seriously, thank you for the package! It was awesome! And the piano music books! Thanks! The only problem is that I don't have a piano now... They don't have one in the chapel cause no one can play. I can play but before they didn't have anyone that could so they never bought one. 

Dad, I have the pictures still that are on the camera and I can send them to you if you need them. They are pictures of the library books that you wanted to read pages from but couldn't copy the pages of the book cause they're too old or something like that. I can upload them to Google Drive and then you can have them from there but I only want to do it if I have to because there are a lot.

Thank you for the talks at Gpa Tuft's funeral. I started tearing up and had a spiritual experience reading all the letters and seeing all the pictures from this week. They were really neat and I want to keep them for after my mission as well. So thank you Mom, Dad, Kristen, Tom and Megan, and the Clements too! I keep chugging along and doing what I need to be doing. 

I have come to realize even more how much I'm grateful for all the things that I've been given. I've been raised in the best community, and by the best parents in the world. I couldn't ask for anything more except for the promise of eternity with them. And this I already have. 

Love you family more than you could know!

(In this next part, as I read it to Lindsay, she said, "Whoa unto the hypocrites!" Spencer wouldn't even read Kristen's letters ever. All of a sudden it means more to him now.) :) :)
Lindsay, that includes you! And even though you don't write me, I hope that you are reading my letters (you probably aren't doing that either but you can start now). I can promise blessings if you do, not because my letters or Kristen's letters are super special but as you try to learn and commit to have an open heart and ears to hear, you can learn more than you ever thought you possibly could. Here in the mission we work with goals. Can you make a goal to read my letters every week and then work to achieve that goal? It's a lot to ask, I understand, cause I wasn't faithful in doing it either BUT I wish I would've!!! It's only going to happen if you want to make it happen. It's all up to you.

Elder Spencer

Monday, September 8, 2014

A week of challenges and blessings...

Hello Family and Friends,

I don't know where to start writing this week. A lot has happened but it's hard to put in words. As I read, and as I'm writing, I have been filled with comfort and love. Even though I'm far away, I feel at home when I read your letters. I've never been one to cry, but ever since my mission started in the CCM I've cried tons more. It's not because it's hard (because it is) but because I have felt and been filled with mercy and compassion everyday this week. The only thing I can say to describe my feelings is to read 3 Nephi 17. Every time I read that chapter I feel an overwhelming compassion and love which brings tears to my eyes. So that's what I've been feeling this week.

I don't think that it's a coincidence that I have been studying the Plan of Salvation tons this week (We taught it to a family for my first time this week). With Grandpa's passing, this has been a great strength for me. When we taught the family (it was after grandpa's passing) I could testify even more strongly of my witness that the Plan of Salvation is the Plan that God has for all of his children. That lesson was the best lesson we have taught but not because of us. The Lord had prepared that family, especially the dad, for the Gospel. I could see the gears turning and clicking as we taught and asked questions. At the end of the lesson we asked if he would come to church and, without hesitating, he said he'd like that. It was such a golden experience. 

We had three investigators come to church and three less actives come to church yesterday! That's a miracle! We got up and got ready really quick and then went to wake them up to get ready for church at 8:30. It required a lot of patience but it happened and it was a great feeling to see them there. 

It was an interesting Sacrament Meeting. It was Fast and Testimony meeting but I saw the deacons/teachers eating snacks and little kids walking around and tons of people were talking. It was really disrespectful and I don't know what our investigators and less-actives thought. We'll talk to them tomorrow about that. I felt the spirit as I concentrated on the testimonies but that was hard to do. After the meeting, only the missionaries were excused and so we walked out. Hno Nuñez (a really faithful and helpful member, and has a great testimony) chewed out all the members (under the direction of the Bishop) because they needed to help us more. I can't imagine at all what our investigators thought at this part. I only heard, and understood even less, through the door. But after, when everyone was exiting the room, there were people who came to talk to us and asked us to come visit them to see how they can help us. There were also people who gave us nasty looks and wouldn't talk to us. Soooo, I don't know what will happen but I trust that the Lord will provide a way for us to progress in this work more and more every day.

We could have another baptism this month. His name is Nahúm. He is living with the daughter of a member and they want to be married! He already has been taught all the lessons and we reviewed what he'd been taught last time we visited him. They are taking out the papers on the 11th and then we have set for their marriage and his baptism (she's a member already) for the 21st. That is our goal but it may be the 27th or later depending on them and what they want to do. He for sure wants to be baptized though and knows that it's true. He really wants to go to the temple in a year too! The only problem is that he wants to make the wedding special for his soon-to-be wife and so that could take some more time for planning reasons. 

Remember Victor Manuel??? Well he stopped drinking this week, enough that we could teach him why it's bad and he hasn't touched a drop since last Wednesday (I think that's when he stopped...) Then he came to church with us, as well as his wife! They are members but they just haven't come because of his drinking problem! It was truly a miracle and a faith builder that our prayers are really answered. 

We have two new investigators: Maricela and her family, and Osmn Tobez. We've taught Osmn half of The Restoration but it wasn't right to finish because he had so many questions about prophets and apostles. So, we will teach him the First Vision next time I think. We haven't taught Maricela yet but she came to a family night with the ward mission leader so that was good. The ward mission leader's wife is becoming friends with her.

One challenge we've had this week is that there are only four families in the Kbranch (Quebranchitos... way up on the hill... like way up there) that are members. Two are less actives and one is the Zuniga Family, and they are new to the church. The other is the Ward Mission Leader and his family. They are awesome and really strong in the church. The problem is that no one in El Sitio (far below) wants to home teach or make friends with people in the Kbranch because they don't want to walk that far. So we'll try to encourage the members in El Sitio this next week especially, and we'll talk with the Bishop in our consejo as well about it. 

With Love,
Elder Tuft
Mom and Dad and Family,

This is the Google address for my house but you won't be able to see the street view of my house cause there isn't a street and Google doesn't have the pictures either.

Colonia El Sitio

14.108642, -87.153442

Highlight that all and paste it in Google Maps (like I've showed you before Mom! :) Look just south of the marker and you'll see the top of a tree. I live down that alleyway just a little bit to the right of the tree. Hope you can find it.

I’m truly at peace with the news of Grandpa's death because I know of the Plan of Salvation. I know I will see him again. And Dad, Yes! I do think that Grandpa is sharing his burning testimony of the Gospel and a little bit in Spanish too!

Mom, The package hasn't come yet but that doesn't mean it's in the office waiting to be picked up. I could be another week or two as well, depending on how big it is and when the APs pick up the mail. It's cheaper to pick up all the packages at once instead of one at a time, so they wait for a month before they pick them up.

Love you all!
Elder Tuft

Tell Matt and Jaden that I have two months on them and that they've got a lot to do to catch up! ;) ;) ;)  Give them my best wishes and tell them that I'll be praying for them cause it's a huge change. We have to pay to have our clothes washed by a member, IF we don't do it ourselves. Other than that, we clean up after ourselves. But wish Jaden and Matt luck for me!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Baptism, First time sick (not to worry) and First attempted robbery.

Elder D. with Zuniga's and Spencer just before their baptism, very nervous.
Hello Family and Friends,

From the title of this message you might be worried but don´t. These were just minor funny or spiritual things that happened to me this week and I´ll explain them in this letter.

First, the Baptism. I sent two pictures of the the Zunigas. They were really nervous. I had the opportunity to baptize Hno Santos Israel Zuniga Aguilar

I´ve had my haircut a number of times already, and mom, they don´t nick me at all... but that´s because they use a straight blade that´s really sharp and scary. But they do a really detailed job here around the edges of my hair and it looks great. A member actually cut my hair recently. He and his family need money but I can´t just give him money so after he cut my hair I tipped him really well. He told my comp that he didn´t think that I understood that the haircut only cost 30 limps so my comp asked me and I told them it was a tip. They were really ecstatic about that. I don´t think it was really good for his ego though because the next day I saw a sign outside his house that said, "Haircuts for 30 Lps". So I hope he does well. :)

Time for the obbery story. It´s really stupid but a guy came up to us and said he was going to rob us if we didn´t give him 5 Lps (25 cents-ish) so we gave it to him and he buzzed off. It was really stupid. The only reason we even gave him the 5 Lps was because he might have had a gun but I doubt it. He was stupid to say the least.

I was sick yesterday (Sunday). On Saturday we ate at a members house. I didn´t know this but now that I look back, she fed us pickled cabbage. Any vegetable here in Honduras needs to be cleaned with bleach water to be edible for Nortes. For this reason, we don´t eat any veggies... especially cabbage. So I was really sick from 11 to 6 yesterday but now I´m fine. I had a temp of 100.4 at it´s highest but I took some Tylenol and it´s at about 99 now. I don´t feel it and it´s probably good anyways to burn off any of the bacteria left over. BUT KYLE! You know how you told me before I left about having diarrhea, then vomiting, and then repeating excessively... that was me yesterday. I´m back to normal now, thankfully. All the missionaries told me that it was just me getting used to Honduras but I know better. I´m going to be very picky with what I eat now even if the missionaries here say that "you just eat it."

While I was feeling super sick in my stomach yesterday, I remembered all the times that Dad and Mom sang "I Am a Child of God" to me and so I started to sing it to myself. As I sang, I started to feel better and as I sang, I started to realize the message of that song more fully: "Lead me, guide me, walk beside me. Help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do to live with Him someday." There could be nothing more simple and nothing more applicable for me right now on my mission as I try to turn things around here in El Sitio.

Elder Chapman (from my district but serving in the actual Valle de Angeles) is leaving this week. He is sooooo baggy (ready to go home). But he has been an awesome example to me and has lifted my spirits every time I have seen him. Even if he doesn´t know it, he has made a difference in the life of at least one Elder. I wrote him a list of things to see and things to do when he goes back. Among those being, seeing Frozen and Maleficent. Those are still two of the greatest movies.

As far as investigators right now...
Victor Manuel is quite hard to teach. His wife is baptized but doesn´t go to church because he drinks everyday... EVERYDAY! We haven´t seen him not drunk yet but we hope that there will be one day that he doesn´t and that we can help him to start to stop on that day. His wife wants to come to church but is scared of not only what he´ll do while she´s gone from the house but also of what other people will think of her having a drunk husband.

Quenia and Alexander are in their twenties and have one kid. They aren´t married and he works everyday. We try to visit them in the evenings when Alexander can be home but he´s just so tired. He tells us he will read what we ask him on the days when he´s not tired after work but I don´t know what to do to help them progress if they don´t want to read. I want to extend the baptismal invitation to them to see if they are interested in learning at all or if we are just wasting our time with them. But, my comp told me it´s never a good idea to invite them to be baptized after the first lesson (which is completely opposite to what I was taught in the CCM). Things like that frustrate me sometimes but I don´t and I won´t complain about anything because there´s nothing worse than not getting along with your comp.

Familia Mercedes doesn´t want to keep commitments very often and I feel like only the husband has a spark of interest. His wife is definitely holding him back. He was the one to say yes to coming to church and he was the one to come to a Family Night with us, not his wife. She always tries to avoid us. They´ve been with the missionaries since before Elder D. came and he´s been here for at least two months already. But they are good people and I want to help them if they will keep the commitments. Another problem here in Honduras is that many of the poor people cannot read or write and so to have them read the BoM is pointless because they can´t nor will they understand. Like you told me Jess, they need to understand the importance of Christ and how he can help them first and then they will begin to accept Him.

I finished a drawing recently for Elder D. He asked me to draw one of the Hna´s because she is going home soon and so for her baggy (her journal of other missionaries writing to her about her leaving) I drew her. I hope she doesn´t get the wrong idea but I didn´t think about that until after I had finished. It looks pretty good but I still don´t think I will ever beat that one I drew of Erin for my school project.

This week really has been a good week. It´s just that learning a language combined with having a trainer who doesn´t know how to train is hard. I talked with some of the other gringo comps and they say that the way Elder D. teaches is quite awful compared to how he needs to be teaching. The people here just don´t understand. For instance, it doesn´t matter who gives the lesson of the Restoration, it could be the Prophet even, and at the end of the lesson when the invitation to be baptized would be given, they would still say, "But I´ve already been baptized..." They just don´t understand. We use pictures, we use drawings, examples, and object lessons... they just don´t get it. Normally it takes two times at least before they start to have an "AHA!" moment.

I don´t mean to bag on Elder D. at all because he´s the best friend ever but he was pretty 'big" before the mission and still is a chunky guy and so he walks soooooo slow up the hills and down the hills. He takes a pass-along card and wipes the sweat off his forehead and it´s as if someone is pouring a glass of water on the ground. And other than that, his comp before never trained him either. They have a booklet here for missionaries called "The First 12 Weeks" and we are supposed to be doing our comp study in that and fulfilling all the requirements (like reading certain chapters in PMG together, etc) but we have hardly done squat together. I´ve been getting into the habit of not remembering to do it now because all Elder D.s wants me to do is read the New Testament and then quiz me on where certain important parts are that I should have marked. This is good but it isn´t what I need right now.

Love you all! Thanks for the Pictures and the wonderful advice for me. I´ll be sure to use it this week!
Elder Tuft

. He was shaking in the water as he was baptized and afterword we joked that he was shaking because the water was sooo cold. Everything went really well, and I didn´t sing or plan hardly at all. We did invite a bunch of investigators to come to the baptism but it started pouring rain and so only the family and familia Castro (Fellowshipping family) came. Even the lawyer for the wedding was 20 minutes late. And, the person who was supposed to come decorate for the wedding never showed up, so I don´t know what happened there. But everything went well regardless.
I´ve been messing with my camera and now the battery works for some reason but the memory card doesn´t. Please still send the batteries because I don´t know if mine will stop working again. I can buy an SD card here really easily. I´ve already seen them, I just need to buy one.

Also, the mosquitoes aren´t biting nearly as much anymore. I know that Dengue is always a concern but I don´t have the time to be washing all my clothes and sheets like I´d need to if I sprayed it on me as much as I should. This past week I only got bit twice on my hand and ankles while I´ve been sleeping. I actually got bitten while sitting on the toilet too, which was really unexpected. It really isn´t feasible to be applying bug spray very often. I do spray when I know that there will be a lot of mosquitoes around me but I don´t spray before bed or in the mornings. The climate is not what you think it is here in my area. In the south it´s like the usual August-gross-and-hot weather but here in El Sitio and the Valle, we get tons of rain like what you´ve been having recently. It´s really cool normally because we live in the mountains and because of the rain. The only time it´s really hot is when there aren´t any clouds and we´re walking on the street or cement. I will put on sunscreen when I feel it is appropriate but really it isn´t something very feasible like you are wanting. But thanks for the advice. I´ll try for you.

The conversion is 20 limperas to 1 US dollar. I just was in a hurry and did the calculation way wrong. 2000 limperas is about 100 Dollars.

I´m still struggling through with the language and it´s even harder because I´m supposed to learn from my comp but he has no idea what I need to learn and how to teach me. So I´m going to be doing a lot more personal language study from now on. I´ll still teach him some English but I feel like he only is wanting help with English because that´s what we´re supposed to be doing. He forgets everything I teach him in the time when I´m not teaching him. You asked what I´ve mastered this week and I either haven´t mastered anything or I don´t know that I´ve mastered anything. I can understand more than when I first came but it´s still really hard for me. Honestly, to learn Spanish quicker, I´m realizing that my comp isn´t going to do anything for me but to be a REASON to learn Spanish quicker.

Elder D. is the DL, Elder Head is the ZL. I´ve gone on divisions with an Elder Mahan and an Elder Fernandez. Both were awesome and I learned more from them and accomplished more with them than with Elder D. I just felt a lot more productive with them. I think this is just because Elder D. is really slow. Elder Head ran a quick emergency errand with Elder D. and he said, "Dude, your comp is so slow!" It´s quite sad that even after 30 minutes a person can realize that E. D. is really slow.

I feel really bad about saying all this about Elder D. because he´s such a great guy and I have a huge respect for him. When I was sick on Sunday, I couldn´t fall asleep because my back was hurting and I was wishing for Dr. Stapel. But Elder D. gave me a back massage and I fell asleep right after. I really don´t know any other person who would do that for me here in Honduras. He´s just great that way.

I think Elder D. has known about the church for his whole life but the reason he said he´s been a member for 12 years is because 12 years ago he was 8 years old. He loves baseball and doesn´t like soccer very much. He never wants to play on Pdays. I don´t know his plans for after his mission but I can try to ask and tell you what I find out for next week.

The temple is really close to the airport and it´s probably an hour bus ride to get there but we can see the temple way off in the distance from the Kbranch (Quebranchito). I wish I had some binoculars to see it more clearly sometimes.

Keep up the good work and your pants are quite bright!

Kyle and Jess,
Thanks for the pics and for the messages to me! I always enjoy hearing from you.

Love you family!
Elder Spencer