|Spencer with his fun district on Pday today.|
I just want to comment really quickly so you know I read all that you sent me. I am really sad to hear about the wedding stuff, and with Ryan. I'll keep all of the Allison's in my prayers and I hope Katherine is okay too. I haven't really known Cody but sad that he did that.
Halloween here is really different. I don't think we'll be allowed to leave again because it'll be dangerous. It's called Day of the Witches down here and, yes, there are witches here. Not so much in my area but certainly people that have devils inside of them. We walk past a man that quotes pages at a time from the bible and cries condemnation, not repentance, to people on the street. He's always drunk when he preaches and no one ever listens to him luckily.
We've also had a problem with Testigos de Jehova here recently. We haven't ever bible bashed and we never will but they are teaching all the people wrong doctrine and even one of our member families was shaken by them. When we talked to them, we didn't know what to say. We asked if there was anything we could do and the wife (Enni) said she had a question. This started a long conversation about Baptisms for the dead. I finally asked her, "Have you read the Book of Mormon completely?" and she told me no. So, I told her to read it all and pray about it and she wouldn't have any doubts when the Testigos came again for her. She then asked me, "How would I know, if a spirit came to me, if it was from God or not?" Then I had a little miracle. The Holy Ghost allowed me to see through the question to her real doubt. She doesn't have a testimony because she doesn't recognize the Holy Ghost in her life anymore. I asked her about her baptism and how she felt. She told me that she knew that what she felt was true because the burning sensation inside of her was so strong. So I asked her, "Can you have that same feeling with you to keep you without spots (we read a scripture about keeping clean from the world) if you don't go to church and partake of the sacrament and if you aren't reading the BoM?" We left her with that and the invitation to re-find her testimony through enduring to the end by attending church. Well, she came with her family and the Bishop talked with them and now we just need to keep them active again because they are starting to regain their testimonies. God always answers prayers.
I had interviews with President Bowler the 23rd and it was just great! I got to tell him everything that has been on my mind and what we shared with one another was really uplifting. I got to share my feelings about all that has been happening at home and we both began to cry. But we know and President wants you to know too, that we have a testimony that God blesses all the families of Missionaries around the world with blessings seen and unseen. President also told me that my group of missionaries that came will be training really soon. I hope not this change (Wednesday, which we still haven't heard of any changes yet but we hope to hear tomorrow or tonight) but maybe next or the next.
I have felt like the world has been trying to take away my testimony ever since I got here to Honduras. We have been hammered with false doctrine and ridiculed on the streets for our beliefs. We have been saddened when someone rejects us but not because it's harmful to us but because they are throwing away the only person who can save them, Jesus Christ. They claim to know who God is but desire that he shows them a sign for proof. They beat on their drums and guitars in their meeting houses and the voice of the devil is so disguised when the preacher is shouting. Mom, remember when we visited the temple in New York for choir tour? I remember being in crowded and noisy streets and then entering the temple and hearing silence and feeling the Spirit there. That's how I want to feel here. It's just that the walls aren't thick enough in the homes to keep out all the noise. It's really hard to create an environment where the spirit can reside. We are blessed in Utah to have that real wall of protection from the world that everyone has named "The Bubble". I know even more now that God lives and he has made a plan that will bring us eternal happiness. I know that families are forever. I have learned how to more fully allow the power of the Atoning Sacrifice to have affect in my life.
Elder D. was really sick just like me in the beginning of my time in Honduras. We both only had the virus for a day though which is a miracle because all the other missionaries have had it for one full week. I know that priesthood blessings have the power to heal us through faith in Jesus Christ.
I encourage Elder D. to teach me more but I get the impression that he doesn't know what to teach me or how to do it. So, I watch the District videos and study PMG and then I practice what I learn. He has been letting me lead and teach a lot more but that's because we were reading the 12 weeks training book and it says that the trainee should be leading everything now. It's just like Timberline, Kyle! Timberline has been such a blessing. I still use everything I taught and learned.
My Spanish is coming right along nicely. I can read almost anything now and I understand which words that I miss that I haven't learned yet and I'm able to look them up and learn faster. :) I've been really praying to have the Gift of Tongues and I know that God is helping me learn Spanish really fast.
Dad, you asked about comments about my first Sunday. I don't like Sunday here. I'm not used to it still. The people are pretty irreverent and the deacons rarely let anyone take the trays from them to pass down a row. They walk down the rows, bumping and squishing people as they go until the other deacon on the other side can take the tray. There also isn't a piano player accept me and the piano they have is junk. I haven't played yet but I'll be playing soon because the animo in our ward when we sing is literally ZERO! I tremble to bring investigators to church because it's that bad. I want them to feel the spirit, not to feel how irreverent many of the members are. Remember the story about the seeds that drop in good ground, in rocks, and in thorns. I feel like some (not all) of our members are in rocks and thorns. We are doing our best to work with them but they are still "of the world." There are a lot of good faithful members though that help us and want to help us even more. Just like you said, I'll make this week my best yet! :D I feel bad for the Bishop and the leaders though. I can tell they are weighed down by everyone just like we, the missionaries, are.
Don't worry about the repellent Mom. I have the nets you sent me and I'll keep requesting a mosquitera from the office especially if I go to the South (poor and dirt roads and the hottest climate). The mosquitoes are worse there. I bought a Raid Mosquito killer that plugs in the wall and is like an air freshener. We also keep our pila empty now because we have running water so that has helped a lot.
We called the lady that we are renting from and told her the water and light bill amount and she told us "Okay!" like everything was normal. So, she pays for it all :D I still took some money out because we needed some cleaning stuff. I'll take it all with me when I leave that house though cause I don't want to buy it again if I don't have to.
About the books, I actually don't think any books are allowed but what they told us. So, Dia de Defensa that Elder D. has, is a no go. Same with Return from Tomorrow. But all the Gospel Library I can have (Jesus the Christ and the other books like that) I'd love those books.
Elder D. could leave this change (Wednesday) or the next. It's 50 /50 because he only has 4 months here.
We went on splits for the hike last week and I was with Elder Coe that you mentioned you found a connection with, Mom. He's in my district. He's a go-get-it-done kind of guy and takes charge when he feels like things aren't happening like he wants them to. He is a great elder and works hard and has a great desire to do God's will.
We had a great P-day today, played a lot, got a little sunburned (sorry that's the first time so far), and watched The Saratov Approach (yes we got permission). I still have great experiences after re-watching it. This time, I started crying when the missionaries shared the gospel to their kidnappers and just feeling the power of their words was really impacting. I want to write out specific lines in Spanish about the lessons so that I can teach with more clarity the gospel like they did. Sometimes, because I don't know tons of Spanish still, it's hard to focus in on the short, simple, powerful phrases that invite the Spirit to testify. So that's my goal and I'll tell you how it goes next Monday.
I'm sending a photo of me and some of my district today but it makes me look like I have fattened up a lot in the face. I HAVEN'T gotten fat like it appears in the picture, just a little itty bitty. It's such a small difference that I can hardly tell when comparing myself, to previous pictures from home, in the mirror. My pants aren't tighter from my beefy legs though, after climbing and hiking in my area, which is good. :D Elder D. was showing me how much weight he's lost and I bet he's lost 20 or 30 pounds! I'm finding more foods to buy and so I hope to keep what I've gained here in the City and then go to the south and lose it all like everyone says I will.
Well thank you family, I better run! Love you all! Thank you for all your support! It's exciting that Kristen is going home! I sure have missed that girl. I love you too Lindsay, and I hope you can play in your last volleyball game with Kristen watching :D
Elder Spencer Tuft