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!

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