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

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