Monday, October 13, 2014

Familia Barrera, Familia Gevara, Guillermo, and Elder D.

KBranch up the hill from El Sitio. They walk all over and even around the back side of the mountain.

This is on the cover of the Liahona Magazine and the girl on the left is Spencer & Kristen's friend Lindsey Williamson.

Peanut butter and chocolate - two great tastes for Spencer.

It's what's for dinner! (Every day)

Spencer's district trying to help Sister Woods who just twisted her ankle really badly. (And Spencer takes a picture in her grief.)

Honduran power grid - this is why they have power outages all the time.
Hello Family and Friends,  (Lots of pictures to come later tonight.)

This week has been great. I wish I could do more every week and plan for more and work harder even more every week. I remember in the MTC, the example that my teacher gave to me and my district was and is a powerful motivation to me. I am constantly trying to do more every week to find, teach, baptize, and retain.

Having said all that, I'd like to share a few highlights from this week:
I went on divisions with Elder Head, my ZL. I talked to him a lot about Elder D. and what I could do to help him. He shared similar thoughts about his comp and we had a powerful and humbling learning experience together. We learned more personally and deeply that no one is perfect, and so we must forgive quickly. We learned that we must not criticize anyone and never can we think poorly of our companion. For any reason. I learned that what the Savior said was true, that we should not even think about breaking the commandments let alone actually breaking them. We must always remember the commandments to love God and love our neighbor.

Just a thought from conference: Become really, really good at repenting and become really, really good at forgiving all the time.

So enough with Elder D. and bad feelings. It's in the past, and nothing so serious has happened this week. I took him up on the mountain and it was a great "opening" experience for me to see him.

So with this experience, your probably dying to hear by now Mom. ;D I'll just write what I wrote in my journal:
We had our agendas all planned perfectly and looking productive for today but last night I had a feeling to pray with Elder D. to know if this schedule was right. I felt the comfort of the Holy Ghost as the message I felt I received was, "Don't worry. Everything will work out how I want it to." So I didn't worry.
Today, we went to the scheduled appointments but no one was there to receive us. Feeling disappointed, but optimistic we continued. I joked and pointed to a house on the top of the mountain, " Why don't we go there?" Elder De Jesus joked back that he agreed and so, even though we were just kidding around, we decided that it was the right thing to do. We arrived at the house and shouted, "Buenas!" (that's how we ring doorbells here in Honduras) Still, no answer. We walked all that way, so we were going to enjoy our time up there and while we walked back down. We had a great time. What came next we never expected. We decided to take a new trail to get to our next appointment with a member. We would be early and possibly they would still be at work and so we would have to wait. So when we saw a family that we never have met before, we stopped and felt we should talk to them. The first moments were awkward cause I just stood there smiling as the Dad was fixing his motorcycle and wondering what these two weirdos were doing outside his little fenced yard. My tongue was tied but Elder D. wasn't going to say a word. It was up to me to contact them, he said. So I offered Elder D. to help fix his bike because Elder D. is an expert at motorcycles. The Dad accepted and we were let in. It started to rain really hard and so they lead us inside and we tried to talk but no one could hear anything with the rain beating on the roof. I said a silent prayer that if we were supposed to teach this family that the rain would stop. It stopped! Immediately there was silence. The rain didn't trickle to a stop, it just stopped! We taught a few principles of lesson 1, and asked and received the numbers and addresses of two older daughters that lived in other homes just outside our proselyting area. This family was given to us as a blessing from God. PS this is Familia Barrera, if you were wondering from the subject line of this email.

So pretty cool huh? I read a talk by Elder Bednar about missionaries that went contacting in an apartment complex and they didn't find a family to open the door until the very last apartment on the highest floor. We didn't find this family until we had climbed the mountain, descended, and then listened for further instruction from the Holy Ghost. So I think that's a cool parable for fun missionary work. :)

We also taught Familia Gevara this Saturday too. They are awesome but still have doubts. :P They are the family that has the issue with priesthood authority. So we showed up and asked if they were reading the BOM and only Eddy had been. He read the intro and the testimony pages so far. So, we read 3 Ne 11 with them. I forgot that this chapter also talked about Christ restoring the priesthood to this continent. So after reading this, we testified of the Savior and of the BOM. We also discussed authority with Gretel (she has the biggest doubt still) and I re-invited her to be baptized. The spirit was so strong but still she timidly replied, "I already go to a church." So, after ALL the explaining... she didn't understand that her church is a fraud. I told her, "Gretel, I know that you had really good intentions when you were baptized and we are proud of that, but something really important is the authority to baptize. This authority can only be given by God, like Jesus Christ gave to the Nephites in the chapter we read. Without this authority, we aren't being baptized, we are swimming in water." She still held true to her false religion, but I could see that Eddy was understanding more. Gretel wants us to come back every week and we don't know why. If she doesn't want to be baptized, then the purpose of inviting her to repent and be baptized has little affect. We hope that Eddy will accept the invitation to be baptized next week.

Now with Guillermo. He wasn't baptized this week. We had the pre-interview and the interview with him but in the actual interview, Elder Fernandez (ZL) told us that Guillermo prayed, "Heavenly Father, they want me to be baptized this Saturday, but no." His humble prayer was really touching to us. He wants to be baptized but he wants to know more about the bible first. We thought that he just wanted a perfect understanding of the bible before baptism and we explained that all that is required for baptism is repentance and a broken/contrite heart (D&C 20), showing to the church that they have truly changed, but he still insists that he isn't wanting to be baptized quite yet. We hope that he'll be baptized this month or the next but we can't be sure. He acts just like a little child.

So everything is chill with Elder D.  I've already asked the questions you've told me to ask and done all that you've told me to do. Things are looking up in that he isn't making derogatory comments to me anymore but that just leads us back to square one: poco a poco, I need to invite him to do little things in our planning like sacrificing to work hard on P-day after 5pm like we're supposed to. It's a goal I have and so I'm working on it. I've already passed my time, so I'll send all the pics and this letter. I don't have time to write a general letter this week Mom or Dad but I'll print off the instructions and write it down in another free moment for next week. (I hope that's okay!)

Love you all! Thank you for all your support! I sure do love the 4th Ward. It is the best Ward in this world :)

Elder Tuft
I ask Elder D. about things at home all the time but he hasn't responded with big stories or anything like that because I can't speak Spanish very well. But he has told me little things. Too much to write but I have gotten to know him. One thing that worries me is that he loves to read about anything that happens in the US. He loves Obama and illegal immigration is fantastic to him. You said in your letter, "Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." This is a principle that no one understands in Central America. That includes Elder D. as well as all of Tegucigalpa. He loved reading about Ebola in the US (he said two cases have been found in the US while thousands are dying in Africa) So, that's just a little taste of his background for ya. He's just as poor as all the other people that we teach in El Sitio (not in Kbranch, that's another level of poor).

We work with the ward about every month and recently we've been seeing some action from them finally to do visiting teaching in Kbranch. They haven't made assignments yet but the Relief Society Presidency went with us to visit all the member wives in Kbranch on Sunday. So, there's progress.

We meet with our district every week on Thursday. There are 16 of us but only 8 of us (plus the ZLs) meet together. One meeting for Wednesday and one for Thursday.

I've eaten a lot of rice and cup of noodle soup out here (not to scare you Mom, that's not all we eat) but I have gained 5 or 10 pounds as of last Thursday. It's all the white rice. Once I go to the south, I'll lose all that weight real quick.

Food like in America is not here. I can hardly make sandwich cause the peanut butter is 5 or 6 bucks for about a half a pint here. So, we eat rice cause we can buy 7 pounds of fresh rice for a dollar or two.
Thanks for the laughs. I love that kind of news from home. :) I was shaking my head and then read the line, "Are you shaking your head yet?" and busted up laughing. Everyone was looking at me weird. :) So, thank you for everything and don't talk to the president. (I didn't even offer to talk to the President.) We have interviews every other change and that means this change. It'll be my first with him. I can promise that everything is going well. Just hard, but well. I was bullying (whether intentional or not) but everything is in the past. Let us forget it. :)

PS - added in another email:
Also for my Christmas package: I just wanted to have a game to play with comps in free time. Not Chess because already, no one wants to play with me. And also, Dad, if you have a book to send to me that you really like that has helped you learn more and grow more in the gospel, I'd love to take a look at it. One thing that I really, really want is yoga :) It's a stress reliever and exercise. I'm not motivated to exercise in the morning but I think I would be if I had an exercise CD to do. Thanks! And remember, you don't have to do any of this for me and I'd still love you to pieces. Truly truly :D I'm doing fine here.
Hey stranger. I read your letter. I could just see you saying all those things because you wrote just how you talked. Hope you're doing better after your fall and everything. I don't want a broken sister, I want a happy sister. I guess we could have both... jajaja ;) just kidding. Nate told me about high school so I'm sorry you missed all of that fun homework stuff. ;) Love you lots and I miss you too. It's probably a good thing your concussion happened while I was gone or I'd be going to town with a video recorder :D hahaha
Brother Dave Caron,
Thank you for your letter. I am doing better this week and so is my comp. He does have some things that he's working on and so am I. I hope that, even though we aren't perfect, that we will strive to be perfect in Christ. We've had some challenges and we will have more but things are looking up.Thanks for being there for me :)

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