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.
PS: If I forgot something... sorry!