Monday, October 20, 2014

50-miler today, Familia Mendez, and Spiritual Moments

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Hiking on PDay with our District (Elder Coe in the red and yellow shirt).

Their food for their hike today.

Looking out over El Sitio.

Spencer with the other Elders in his District for their hike today. They guy in the black shirt must be their guide. (He brought waders and water!) 

Spencer with another Elder in his District who went on last week's Pday to a WWII bunker. Also below:

Hello Family and Friends,

First-off, thank you for your prayers on behalf of all the missionaries. They have been answered here in Honduras, as far as I know.

I'm shaking my head, Dad, about all the earthquake and tropical storm stuff because it hasn't even been on the weather when we visit members and they have the news on. The earthquake was felt by some here but it was only a little tremor. Elder D. and I received a call from the Elders just two doors down from us and they felt it but we didn't. There is no damage here just a lot of rain the past two weeks and especially this week, which leads me to my "50-miler experience" today...

We went hiking today (Monday) for Pday. It brought back memories of the 50 miler cause we were bushwhacking and the mud was just as bad or worse in some places. We hiked for six whole hours and had an hour lunch break at 10:30ish this morning. We left at 5:30 am. Soooo, yeah, we were tired but it was fun. We were really dirty and REALLY stinky missionaries today. I'll send the pics I have.

We've had days with tons of lessons and days without one this week. Lots of ups and downs that way. It's the last week before changes and so the ZL's are trying to find some last minute baptisms (which is stupid cause the people aren't usually ready last minute) and we had a family planned for Nov 1st (next week). So the ZL's moved the date for us to this week, talked to the family for us, and did everything to make it happen this week, the 25th. The problem is, it's a lot of stress for us and especially for them. They aren't ready. They ZL's need to chill. They'd have to get married first, which is a hassle, but is normal here, and then be baptized on the same day. It's just a lot and they aren't ready yet. They believe and have a testimony already, but they aren't ready. So we told the ZL's to go have the interview with them to see if they were ready. This way they could see that the family isn't ready yet for themselves. They finally listened to us and moved the baptism and marriage back a week or two so they can prepare. We have awesome ZL's. It's just that they shouldn't try to rush a wedding or baptism ever.

This is familia Mendez I've been talking about, Denis and Tania. I absolutely despise Tania's mom though (they live in the same house). The reason they aren't ready for baptism and marriage is because Tania needs a stronger testimony, and to not listen to her mom. She can make her own choices, and she needs a little more knowledge first (if her little kid brain can handle it. She's 20 yrs old but still acts childish sometimes... and no it's not a mental disorder). So with her mom, her mom has had the lessons and rejected the church completely. She wants nothing to do with it at all. And so, she's been talking Anti-Mormon stuff to Tania. Denis will not hear her talk bad of the church though. He knows it's the right thing for him and his family. It's just Tania and her freakish mom! The first time Tania prayed she just repeated the words of the member that said the prayer and Tania was laughing the entire time in the prayer. It was really irreverent and there is no way the Spirit will testify to her of our words and through prayer if she isn't listening for the answer. We are working really closely with a member family that are their good friends. We have a plan for them and I'm almost positive it will work but it's going to take time and patience on our part. I feel so sad for Denis because I know he wants this badly and his wife is taking it as a joke. Hno. Castro is in close touch with him nearly every day to help him and we visit them nearly every day, as well.

Now for the cool moments this week. We were at the end of our money for the 15 days it's supposed to last because of some bills that are outrageously high and I still don't know why (that's a continuing theme this week with another bill. I don't know what will happen with that one still.) Anyway, we had no money for dinner or for the next day. We didn't let that bother us though, and we went on our way without money and taught lessons. We taught Lionel (don't know if I've mentioned him yet but he's in a wheelchair from previous gangster stuff he's done) and his uncle (or some relative) came to visit. His uncle was hard core drunk though. He could speak almost perfect English though he knew none (kind of freaky). He kept telling us, "I'm a Mormon except for the Word of Wisdom." and when we just listened to what he had to say he told us a lot. He's an engineer and has a family and he loves the church, but it's just that he loves drinking too. At the end of our chat that was almost beyond comprehension, he gave us each 100 Lps (5$) and that was enough for us the next day!

We also challenge the Barrera Family to be baptized after a great lesson, and they said yes! We weren't able to set a date because of some questions they asked and it deterred our purpose there. But we are going to go back this week and redo all that jazz and set a date if we can. :)

Finally, we watched the Testaments with the familia Zuniga and their neighbors. It was a really powerful experience and the Spirit was strong in the room. It was even better because familia Zuniga has had their Uncle visiting and he's Catholic. When he saw us serving his relatives and teaching them to read, write, and tie a tie for the first time, he was really touched. This sparked his interest and he opened right up to us. He watched all of the Testaments and said it was really good. Then he went to church with us yesterday, and today he left to go back down south where he lives. I hope he will continue to search for the truth and open up again to the missionaries when he finds them there. One  never knows.

Kristen, this week and almost every week in my mission so far, I've had days where all of our plans fall through. I have noticed, however, that every time that happens, if we follow the Spirit, I learn that the Lord allows those plans to fall through because he wants us to find someone that has been waiting for the Gospel. That's how we found familias Barrera y Gevara, and how we have kept Tania and Denis Mendez in contact with us constantly. Those three families are soooo special and I know this because we were lead to find them. There is no other way that we could have found them without the Lord and the willingness to do his will. Love you tons Sis!

Lindsay, get better because missing a month of school is really hard to make up. I'm pretty sure you've already done this but ask Dad and Kyle for a blessing to heal you. If you've already done it, good for you :D Love you tons too! Got your email just barely, so I'll write just a little more for you special, lonely, little sister ;D Nate gave me my fill of High School stuff for the week entonces, yo estaba lleno. Regarding your thoughts: you're on the right path, little sister. I remember having similar questions too, just like those. Well, I'm serving a mission now so they must be the right kind of questions, right? Also, just a thought about Number C ;) If you were to go to battle without a sword or gun or armor, how would you feel in the battle and what do you think would happen to you? You'd probably die. So what are the weapons that we can arm ourselves everyday with? Moroni only obeyed the commandments exactly, read his scriptures, prayed to God in every moment, followed the direction and guidance of the Prophets exactly, and he did everything he did for the salvation of everyone else. So the Lord blessed him in every manner and it was written about him that the powers of hell would shake if we were like unto Moroni. Also another little tidbit: the Devil trembles when we pray. That's why we pray to conquer temptation and, by doing so, conquer Satan. Love you Lindsay. Don't get too bored but fill your life with these questions and then diligently search for the answers :) Ephesians 6!!! (Read the whole thing and you'll find some answers and more questions I hope :) Also, could you send me some good LDS music on CD or Zip drive? I get bored of the same 30 songs over and over.

Mom, I'll tell you about transfers next Monday, I hope. I have interviews this week with the President. A lot of the missionaries are upset with all the "stupid" rules. I don't know any better but I hope our hiking excursion wasn't against the rules. I just trusted the ZL's on that one and we had a guide to take us so I felt good about it. Looking back, I just wonder what the President would say if he doesn't know already :P Mom, I love you :D

Dad, I love you so much. Thanks for all you've done for me. Thanks for your support and advice. As far as the book, I'd like Return From Tomorrow and something else to read. Everything is in Spanish here. While that's good (and I can read almost all of it) it's slow work and my comprehension isn't like it is in English still :) But it's coming along. Also, I made a note to ask for probably two more moleskin journals (black like the ones we got at Barnes & Noble for my mission) and floss. I still have one replacement but I don't think two will last for my whole mission and I don't want to go without floss. The money adds up quick if I buy the floss here every other day. :)

I'll probably have to draw some more money out this month cause of all the expenses for stupid bills. I'm going to talk to president about this cause I haven't bought any extra treats or ANYTHING just to enjoy the past five days and I'm already down to 500 Lps of the 2000 Lps (about $95). It's because we have to buy things to keep the house in liveable conditions (cleaning supplies and mosquito stuff cause they bite my hands and neck now sometimes). Did I tell you that I developed an allergy to deet and bug spray? I haven't used it since it gave me a heat rash looking thing all over my body, even the palms of my hands. Anyhow, we've also had problems with our electricity and some guys came out to fix it and now we have a bill that I hope the owner will pay because she said she'd pay for the light... I don't know, I just hope and pray for the members to feed us a lot this week so I don't have to pull out much money.

The mission is great though, family. If it sounds like I'm suffering, I'm not. I'm always taken care of. Always. It's sometimes a miracle like I told you earlier in this letter.

Thought I could follow along with the hashtag thing so..
(His mom signed his letter "#loveyougobs!")

Love you!
Elder SpencerTuft

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