Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Week of Trials and Blessings

Hello Family!

I always love P-days because I get to check up on my family and hear from you guys too. We have had little success but we've worked so hard.

A sister went home from our zone this past week. She had a family death and only had a month-ish left in her mission and so she went home. That area is closed for the time being. Not only is that really hard, but we only have 3 pairs of Elders that are actually working really hard. The others are Planching (not working hard) and we know because they complain about their areas, rarely have lessons and then tell us all their problems which wastes precious time. My ZL (Elder Coombs) was talking to Elder Underwood today (other ZL) and gave Elder Rincon and I a really good compliment. He said that we were his boys in the zone and that we worked hard in our area regardless of challenges. That was an awesome moment that made me smile.

Honestly, this week has been really rough and filled with blessings too. It hasn't been rough for me but I am pained when I see the struggles of others. I have spent sooo many hours thinking to myself about what I can do to help. I look everyday to help someone. I want so badly for people to understand but they don't understand! Agency: The phenomenon of a person which can either lead to sadness, darkness and chains, or to love, life, hope, and freedom. Do I have permission to smack some people with an Understand-Me Stick??!!!

I talked to Bishop Molina this week and he read the scripture in DyC about Christ bringing a sword into the world. He then told us to be more bold with the less-actives to get them to come back to church. That night I had a dream that was just sooo powerful and I woke up feeling awesome! I dreamed that we went to the temple here in Honduras and when we arrived, the sun was setting right behind the Angel Moroni and then the Angel Moroni lowered his trumpet, turned it into a golden, bright sword and raised up high as the world around the temple grew dark. It was pretty cool in my dream.

So on another note, I played the piano this Sunday and gave a talk. I tried printing off the Parable of the Keys in Spanish that Kristen sent me but it just printed off junk and we didn't have time to go back to the Cyber so I translated it all into Spanish (yea! I did it and it made sense!) and everyone liked it. One of the members asked to borrow it as we were leaving the church because she was going to another meeting and thought it would be perfect to share. So, she has it still :D

We visited Andres and Carolina with Hno Nuñez on Friday and that was really powerful too. They told us they wanted to live the commandments and that they wanted the best for their little girl and so Hno Nuñez laid all the cards on the table and it was just awesome. He used an example with his hand: if your hand represents the family and each finger is a member, then when your hand is open and apart it's easy to make one of the fingers hurt really bad. But if your hand is in a fist, no one can make your fingers hurt by pulling on them. The tighter the fist, the less your hand can get hurt.

Our Ward Mission Leader has been having family issues this past week and they haven't gone to church and we haven't been as successful in Kbranch this week. They are the point of the spear in Kbranch and we need them. Hno Nuñez also gave them the talk too, which I hoped helped them. Their daughter is not doing or being the person she needs to be. She's run away, wears a cross necklace during the week (but not on Sunday's... go figure) and she is not being a lady but an object for other guys. It's really sad. The ward is working hard to help her now. All this just happened this week. It's like I wasn't the only one that was feeling all the temptations and depressions of Satan this week. The whole area was affected. I don't know why but it made a difference.

Then on the bright side, we had six investigators come to church! Guillermo started smoking again (and trying to hide it from us and the members) but he came to church still! We are trying to find him during the week when he has time so we can help him and so that the ward can help him.

Some other thoughts from this week:
We are to go forward and never look back, doubt or deny the faith. It all starts with looking back. What happened to Lot's wife? She looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. Salt is referred to as a sweetener to the earth in the scriptures but it is also bitter. While she had the sweet light, she also fell and became bitter at leaving her home (wickedness) behind. When we leave sin, we better really leave it, and never look back to imagine with longing, our sins. Let us change and be servants of God. His yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Thank you Mom and Dad for the thoughts and help. I'll be reading and studying more this week in your letters and insights. It's rough but life is rough. Sometimes I wonder, why do I fall? But then I realize it's because when I reach for the Saviors hand, in the midst of the stormy sea, I will become better. All things work together for good.

"Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior's own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead." -Elder Holland

Love you Lindsay. You are in my prayers. Hope is never lost. You can Do It!!!

Love you family, and thanks for all of your letters!!!! OXOXOXO I don't have time to write you all back but I read every word!

Elder Tuft

Monday, November 17, 2014


Hello Family!!!

This week I wanted to take some time and talk about all my investigators to catch you all up.

So Andres and Carolina Barrera first. We've challenged them to be baptized soooo many times and they always accept but then never go to church. So my companion and I changed tactics with them. Before, we were preparing lessons and then teaching and discussing the topic with them. Now, we are letting them choose the topic and then discussing it. We want them to be actively studying and participating in the lesson and not just thinking to themselves. So, we gave them a sheet of questions of the soul and asked them to pick one for us to prepare. They picked question number 3: In what do I benefit from Jesus Christ? So we talked about this and I don't remember the exact thoughts we shared but in the end we invited them to repent of their sins and be baptized. Andres told us, "I'm going to be very clear with you guys. I want to be baptized because I know it's true. I don't want to be married to Carolina though. We are together because it's best for the kid we have in common." We asked if there was another person either one of them have been seeing and he said no. He just thinks that getting married without loving the person isn't right and that separating isn't right either because the child would be the one to suffer. So he doesn't want to go to church because he's sinning if he lives in the same house with a women he's not married to. And he can't get baptized if he doesn't get married/separated and go to church. So, we invited them to pray together about this and seek counsel from the Lord concerning the best way to repent for them. I hope they get their answers soon. I shared with them that when we found them, we happened to stumble upon him fixing his motorcycle and that Elder D. happens to be an expert at motorcycles. That was the day that we hiked up to the top of the mountain to contact someone up there and then hiked back down disappointed only to find Andres and Carolina in the most perfect of circumstances. God knows when and where people need help and so he puts his servants into our lives to help us. I know he put me and Elder D. in the right place and time to find them.

Family Tavora has been struggling to get their divorces through but I'm still trying. Then they can get married. They also expressed to us that they've been having a rough time with their children. They have three boys. One is 16 and then the other two are younger, like 8 and 5. The 16 year old has been rebelling a little bit and doesn't want to go to church anymore and the two little ones are just loud, shouting, crying babies. So I told her she needed to talk to you, Mom because you've dealt with 4 teenagers and have one pending still. ;D (OR TWO if we count 18 y/o Spencer! HA HA HA!)

We found another 14 year old to teach this week. We explained the Plan of Salvation and I've never seen a teenager so attentive before and asking questions and getting excited before. She recently has been going to the catholic church and told us she had a topic to prepare of her choice for a church something this past Saturday. She then said she was going to share all that she learned from us to all of her church... I hope that went well... We're going to go visit her again this week and see what happened.

We received a new reference from Hno Zelaya Castro (lider misional) and we've taught this family a bunch. They have no money, no job, aren't married, have one kid, and want to change their lives around. It's sad that it takes till the depths of poverty sometimes to compel people to change. The good thing is that they don't have any problems with the Word of Wisdom. The bad thing is, they don't have money and so they can't get married. The mission isn't paying for any part of marriages now to help people get baptized. Every penny has to be earned and sacrificed. This is a little barrier so we don't baptized people and then have more less-actives. It's a great idea, just makes it harder though to be baptizing at the level the mission is expecting.

Leonel still hasn't been able to get to church because of the pain in his side and we still don't know if he can get baptized because he's hiding his past from us. We can't help him if he doesn't tell us what he's done. He told us this week though, "Why do people not listen to you guys? You guys preach Faith, Repentance, and Baptism, and Jesus Christ... What else could people want?" He told us that what we teach is all true. I hope we can work with him to help him progress in the next few weeks.

I just had a few thoughts to share as well other than investigators. In Spanish, the word "mejorar" or "to get better" contains the word "orar" which means "to pray". If we pray, things can only get better. When we put our trust in the Lord, miracles happen and he can change our hearts.

The other thought isn't of consequence, just a cool thought. There were 12 apostles called by Jesus in his mortal ministry and the one that betrayed him was Judas. At the same time, the Jews or tribe of Judah betrayed Jesus Christ out of all the twelve tribes. Just some symbolism I hadn't thought of before.

I'm going to send some letters in the mail for Christmas too, really soon! Don't know when but I plan to have them there for Christmas day!

We also can talk on Skype this year!!! President Bowler changed that rule!!! So Skype it is!!!

Got to go!

Elder Spencer

PS: I'm glad everyone is safe and I'm sad to hear about the death of Brother Barrus in the ward. It's sad that happened. Love you guys! Lindsay, Get better! :D

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Family is the Best, thoughts and Investigators

Hello Friends and Family,

Wow, can I say I'm sooo tired... Not because I've been getting to bed late or waking up early but because of the loads of work we've been doing. I said last week (I think) that we are planning on having 12 baptisms for December. Some issues have come up with this but it's still possible!

Our investigators didn't make it to church (except one) and almost all of the recent converts and less actives didn't come either. I guess, this Sunday and almost every Sunday, the water comes and they claim that their laundry is more important to do on Sunday than their keeping the commandments and commitments.

Kristen (I almost spelled your name with a C! YIKES!) Here's a video I want you to watch. It was dedicated to servicemen and women as it says in the beginning but I think it fits nicely with missionaries too. :D "Bring Him Home (from Les Misérables) - The Piano Guys" on Youtube. Love you tons!

So this week I've had some moments of strong feelings with investigators both good and frustrating that I'd like to share. I wrote in my planner:

We should take time to meditate and think outside of this world, the world of howling noises and hate. We should take care of humility in these moments -- pondering over our actions and consequences of our actions -- so that we don't hinder in any manner the Salvation and progress of the human family. But don't be hesitant or fearful. Follow His counsel and the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

Okay, so now after all those random thoughts, I want to help you get to know Elder Rincon a little better...

E. Rincon is from Columbia, 45 minutes from Cali. It's more advanced than here in Honduras in technology and methods in Columbia. He's been scared of heights recently. This week, he got stuck as we climbed up the mountain because his fear took hold of him. He wouldn't go down or up. Finally, after we got the neighbors help and a members help, we were able to get him up and back to normal but it was really strange. We were stuck there for 15 minutes at least. He said that he's never had that happen in his whole life. I don't think it was because he was scared, he just needed sugar and water so his head wasn't spinning. He is more comfortable in leading positions (I can imagine because he is the oldest child in his family). He's 23, the oldest in the mission I think. He teaches really well and thoroughly. We've had a lot of success and I've learned a lot from watching what he does. He was an answer to my prayers actually so that I could learn more and be better prepared to train soon. Everyone is telling me that I'm going to train soon so I might as well be prepared. He has two younger brothers. His family is active now but before they weren't. They aren't sealed in the Temple yet but are going to do that while he's on his mission so he'll have to take a leave of absence to go do that in the middle of his mission. He has months in the mission, only one change more than me.

A little story now about he and I: we had our weekly planning session on Sunday and got to the end and I said, "time for companion inventory!" He just looked at me and said, "No. I've had bad experiences with that." So instead of arguing I just started telling him that I'd like to have comp inventory to share what I've learned with him that week. He told me that I could tell him anything but he wasn't going to talk about his feelings. So I just told him everything and eventually he opened up and talked to me about himself. At the end I told him, "Look! We just had a great companion inventory with the Spirit present!" And he rolled his eyes at me. I hope he's seeing things a little differently now.

Love you family. I'm running out of time but I hope to write more about investigators next week. Really, we've found some great big and ready fishes and I'll update you next week. Andres and Carolina have accepted a baptism date for December 13th but missed church so we'll have to recommit them this week. And Leonel may have some issues with the Law from his past, but I don't know, so we'll see. He wants to be baptized and so we hope he can. :D

Elder Tuft

PS - Thanks for all your prayers! I'm doing my best everyday and trying to become better and I can see my progress now. I too, had the same feelings that Kristen and Kyle had while starting their missions and there is nothing like that kind of a struggle. But I haven't felt that way for a while now so I think things are looking up! :D

Monday, November 10, 2014

Transfers, Sacrament Meeting and Investigators

Hello Family! (This is last week's letter 3 November 2014)

This week has been really long but not because we've worked longer but because I got a new comp that walks fast and works hard. Together, we've been cruising down the streets talking with everyone we see, planning appointments with tons of new people, and then still having time for our other investigators. It's really a circus of balancing our time but we're doing it and we're having plenty of success. With Elder D, before, we would never have been able to plan for December like we are now. We are planning on 12 Baptisms and I'm pretty optimistic about nearly all of them. It's definitely possible in our current circumstance. So pray that we can do that if it's the right time for our investigators. But of course, we will always allow the Lord to direct us as His instruments.

I don't have a picture of Elder Rincon, my new companion. But he, too, was a little bigger six months ago when he started his mission (6 weeks before me). He is really an answer to my prayers. I've been asking for someone to show me the ropes of planning and being exact in my teaching and he's already been a big help. Our first day we found a new family (the brother of Family Barrera) and he is also fantastic and really prepared like the Barrera family we already were teaching. Yes, there are two Barrera Families. Andres and Carolina are the first ones we have been teaching. José and Delsy are the other family Barrera. They live right next door to each other. Both are fantastic and well prepared for the Gospel.

We also had eight new investigators that we found on Friday so I'll keep you updated as they progress and we can teach them more.

Also, Elder D is now my ZL with Elder Coombs from Colorado. That's really strange for someone to stay in the same ten mile radius for 9+ months of their mission (Elder D has six months in El Sitio and Villa Olympica and now in Santa Maria). I hope for the best for Elder D cause I have a soft spot for that guy. He's been through a lot and I can tell he worries about his weaknesses. Dad, I think you asked about how he's learning English and in all truthfulness, I haven't seen the desire from him to learn English. With my new comp, he says if he doesn't figure out English on his mission, he's going to figure it out when he gets home. He really wants to learn and told President to only give him gringo companions so he can learn. He's had four companions so far, all have been gringos.

You mentioned this in your letter, Mom and so I wanted to touch on our Sacrament Meetings here in El Sitio. I've figured out why they aren't like what I'm used to apart from the reduced numbers of members. 1) They haven't had music in the chapel until this past Sunday when I was able to play. 2) They never invite two youth speakers and two adult speakers every Sunday. 3) The same few people can't give the talks every few weeks and again they need to give the youth the opportunity to teach. 4) The bishop needs to call people 1 or 2 weeks in advance so people can prepare talks and then call them to remind them periodically. We called the bishop out on this during Ward Council (in a kind but firm way) and told him this would transform the ward and the enthusiasm they have for church. This Sunday, we witnessed a complete change in the reverence during Fast and Testimony meeting and I know it was because of the music. We are working together with the Bishop to change these few things and we also might get a new bishop soon because Bishop Molina has been in five years already.

You know how my blessing for my setting apart said to not let anyone despise my youth? Well I've meant to tell you that, without fail, everyday there is someone that makes a comment at how young I am to be a missionary. The Bishops daughter (25 yrs old) nick-named me Elder Niño. I'm actually fine with that because it has helped me connect to his family more. Then on Sunday, after I shared my testimony, another older lady got up and made the comment that when she saw me and my "baby-face" bearing my testimony that it took her back to when she sent her boys on missions and that if someone so young can testify so strongly of the Gospel then anyone older than me should be able to gain and have a bright testimony too.

As far as the taunting on the streets this week, mostly it's just been drunks and little kids running circles around us and shouting, "¿Quiere Café?" over and over. But I have a plan. When they tell me that next I will say, "Yes!" and ask them to give me a cup. When they tell me that they don't have any (they never do), I will say, "Well, then why did you offer me some if you don't have any?" Other missionaries have done this and a few have baptisms because of it. Also, I want to try saying that "Café es por los pobres." I've got to be careful with that one but there have been tons of stories about this in the mission that always lead to baptisms and faithful enduring to the end of converts.

Beloved Mom, just know that a lot of the safety precautions and regulations we have in the US are a blessing and that, here in Honduras, they aren't as blessed as we are. (I asked him if they had seat belts in the cars, and if they use them.)

And Dad! I wish I could just have a chat. I miss the hugs from you and Mom a lot. But one thing I've never forgotten is how your hugs feel. I feel your hugs every time Brother Nuñez gives me a hug (he's just a like a dad to me but here in El Sitio, and I think he gives me hugs because I look so young). My youth is a blessing here to me. I receive a lot of attention both good and bad because of my youth. Mostly good and I'm happy. I'm learning to shave every day because now, if I don't, I have noticeable whiskers.

Send Matt, Morgan, Jaden, Collin and Cesar - all my friends my best if the conversation comes up or if you have the opportunity to write them.

Love the costumes family!!! No one did anything here for El Dia de Brujos, not even have parties. So, we had a normal day of teaching :D

I want you to know how happy the mission has made me. Truly, we are happier and come closer to each other as we come closer to Christ. It's like a triangle with us and our neighbors on opposite sides of the base and Christ is at the point. As we get closer to Christ, we get closer to each other. I think that's some good marriage advice too but I wouldn't know because I'm not married ;D

Did I mention that for this past week I have been a popsicle. The clouds haven't left for a while and it's almost snowing here. That 94% humidity, Mom, that's because we literally are surrounded in clouds and mist and blusterous winds right now. So thanks for the weather report. I hope to be thawing out in the next few days :D

One last thing, Missionaries have the full opportunity to see the change of a completely lost soul to one reunited in Christ. I have that opportunity every day and I have seen and felt the ultimate peace and joy that comes from the Gospel of Christ. I have seen and felt the change in people and I have yet to see and feel even more joy when many of them make the commitment and then be baptized this coming December. Even though it doesn't snow here, It will be a very white Christmas.

Have a great week family!!! LOVE YOU SILLY LINDSAY! and Kristen, your brudder woves you too. HAVE A HAPPY WEEK, REUNION AND SINGING!! Romans 5: 3-5

Love you more,
Elder Tuft

PS Tell Aunt Di that I read her letter and thanks because I was touched again by my experiences that I had forgotten. Funny how great things like that can be forgot in the ocean of blessings from our Heavenly Father. But I have it recorded and so Thank you Aunt Di :D