Sunday, December 27, 2015

Merry Christmas to all!!!

Merry Christmas Family, 
(Written 24 December 2015)
I'm really excited for the Skype call tomorrow. Just a forewarning, I may not be able to speak English very well... But once I get going, it will all work out well. I'll talk about at what time later in the letter.

Elder Reinoso had an accident with his foot about two months ago and the doctor gave him a steroid shot to help but the pain came back after the shot wore off and he was in a lot of pain. But the doctor tested him again and told him he'd have to rest and use an ankle brace and crutches. He's not super happy about that but he's keeping up the good spirits and thinking positive always. He's a happy guy to be around. I've been learning to keep my cool when there seems to be so many problems at one time and everything has been working out. Things are a bit more difficult to work around when your companion is on crutches. We've had to run some pretty quick errands and so figuring out splits with ward members and other missionaries has been a big help in completing our goals and tasks at hand. If he continues on crutches for another month without improvement, they will send him home to get better. That is the last thing a missionary wants to happen.

I don't know when I'll be able to Skype you tomorrow but my companion is telling me that his mom won't be able to Skype until 8pm. Yes, PM. So I'm hoping the nighttime (about 6:30) will be okay. I like doing it in the morning but at night is fine, as well. We have weekly planning in the morning anyway.

To finish today, I just wanted to share a cool and short experience I had with Lourdes and Karla (and family) the other day. We went to their house to teach the basic lessons again to them (they actually understand more after baptism, I've realized) and Karla has been reading the BoM with her Mom. Karla was at 2 Nephi 2 and her mom had read up til 2 Nephi 10. We decided to teach the Plan of Salvation because 2 Nephi 2... that was a no-brainer for me and my comp as we looked at each other to change lesson plans. We taught the lesson first and Jaime, the dad, was not liking the lesson. But his wife posed him an interesting question that I've often asked myself, "Do you believe that God knows everything?" He couldn't say no, and if he said yes then he would also have to accept the fact that God knew Adam and Even were going to partake of the forbidden fruit. So he didn't like these questions very much but it made him think and start to accept the Plan of Salvation. After we had read the entire chapter in the Book of Mormon (we had made some pauses to explain certain doctrine), Karla says, "Can I give my opinion?" and she started to explain everything beginning from Adam and Eve until the reason we have a Savior, Jesus Christ. She then told her dad, "Dad, it's so simple. Beautifully simple and I know it's true." She was just like a missionary. I find that people understand the lessons better and the scriptures better when they have been given, and live worthily of, the gift and companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Love you all and see you tomorrow night!
Elder Tuft

PS - We might be using Karla's iPhone to talk tomorrow because we haven't been able to find a single member that has a computer with webcam capability. But we'll see what happens. Just plan for after dinner tomorrow.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lourdes and Family, Surprise! More Baptisms, Christmas Devotional and the Ward

Hello Family,

I'm really excited to talk to you this Christmas. I was thinking last year at Mother's Day time that it would be forever until I talked to you again but that's a lie. The time has flown. Maybe that's because I've been dreaming tons and tons about finding, teaching, and baptizing in these past months. And we've been working really hard.

Elder Reinoso is doing good but he got a little sick yesterday and we had to go home early. He had a huge migraine that hasn't gone away completely still.

Lourdes and Karla are doing really well. We watched the Restoration movie with them and also with Jaime and Ana. Afterward, Jaime made the comment that he thought that our message and how we present it is very impressive. Lourdes looked at him and said, "Admit it! You want to be a Mormon!" and we all started laughing because she said it so perfectly. But then Karla shared her testimony with us. She told us that while she was praying/thinking in the bus, she asked God if this was the true church and she remembered a scripture that said that when the gospel is taught in all the world, then cometh the end. And she thought about it for a minute and said she felt something in her heart as she realized that only the Mormons preach the gospel in all of the world. Her Dad is just too prideful to kneel and pray. Next time, I'm going to ask him if he's prayed about the Book of Mormon.

We had two more baptisms this week: Steven and Anderson. The bishop interviewed them and was going to baptize them but we caught wind of everything and talked to Steven and he's gone to the Primary with his family since he's been little but he's 9 years old now so we did another interview and baptized him. Anderson is preparing for the mission and for some reason his membership record number doesn't show up now in the church system and we checked in the church office here in Honduras and he doesn't have a membership anymore. He also doesn't have pictures or any paper or certificate that shows that he actually did get baptized. So we did an interview and baptized him... the second time... but does he need to be ordained a priest again??? I have no idea how that works.

I loved the songs in the Christmas Devotional last week. I don't think I mentioned that. I loved hearing and singing along. All the Hondurans loved the way MoTab sang, "Hark how the bells all seem to say throw cares away. Christmas is here singing good cheer to young and old, meek and the bold." They basically loved that whole song.

The ward is on Red-alert now because this past Sunday there were only 78 people in the chapel and they're used to 180 or 200. So they are finally waking up to reality. I just wish that someone would listen to me and do their home teaching assignments. In Elders quorum, the leaders asked what ideas we all had to fix this problem. I suggested that they get new home teaching assignments and that they actually do them this time and they told me, "No. That never has worked." I'd imagine that Home Teaching is an inspired program that God has revealed to the Prophets and they are telling me that it doesn't work??? hmmmm I just smile and do my best. I can't do much though because I'm just a missionary. They need to receive the message from someone they will actually listen to. That's my only complaint for right now. But we're happy and working hard.

Got the packages this week. I'm guessing I should open the one from Kristen BLAKE (when I saw that name on the box, the reality really hit me that she'd be married when I got home) that says "Tie", from what I've read in your letters. So I'll wear that on Thursday and Friday. :D I'll take pictures too!

Love you all!
Keep up the cool work Lindsay! You're awesome! :D
Elder Tuft
PS Really Cool photography in the Temple last FHE :D Loving it! And that Milo! I love that meme!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Devotional, Baptisms, Visiting the Members

Spencer Tuft with zone at Lourdes and Karla's baptism Dec 2015

Elder Spencer Tuft with a yummy pineapple he LOVES.

Elder Tuft's wall in his bedroom with the new City Center temple snow capped mountains, and the Tuft family Thanksgiving table. November 2015 (missing is Livvy blocked by Grandpa's head.)   :(

Elder Spencer Tuft with his Christmas tree in the background.
Hey Mom and Dad and Family,

This week was a good week. I felt like we've overcome some major obstacles, like the lack of planning and following-through that the members have in our ward. It was really stressful to plan for all the members because they didn't do their part but they love us I suppose because they have been giving us good references.

The ward did cancel the Ward Council the day of (Sunday) and so we had a bunch of time just to visit members and figure out the Christmas Devotional bus plans. The ward had told us that there would be a bus at 6 pm at the chapel and so we went about inviting certain people to the Devotional. We got to the chapel on Sunday and they told us, "whooops, we didn't contract a bus because of...." and they just started pointing fingers. So Elder Reinoso and I sat down and figured out plans for a bus for the investigators and less-actives. In the end, it all worked out fine and a member offered to help us with a mini-van that they have. Lourdes didn't go to the Devotional but the rest of her family went, Jaime, Karla, and Ana. Jaime loved it and he's the Evangelist of their house.

I sent a few pictures of us making baleadas (like a breakfast burrito) from scratch. After we ate the baleadas, we had a great discussion about the commandments that they needed to review and commit to before baptism and I saw a few changes made in the daughters Karla and Ana this week. They are dressing a little more modestly now and that's great. We gave them the assignment to read about the Law of Chastity specifically before baptism and I've seen a change in their physical and spiritual appearance. Ana still doesn't want to be baptized because of something but we don't know exactly why yet. They are reading the Book of Mormon as a family and a lot of times Jaime leans over Lourdes' shoulders to read, as well.

After the discussion with them, the (another church) showed up at the door knocking, and Karla and Ana looked at each other and walked out of the room quickly. We had just planned to show the Restoration movie to them on Tuesday at 6 pm. When the (another church) showed up, they planned to do a cult (yes they call it a cult, or "culto" in Spanish) with Jaime at the same time on the same day. Oh how clever is the diabolical one!!! But we planned to watch the movie on Friday. And for the record, I'm not a big fan of (another church) cults... Just imagine everyone praying all at the same time out loud and saying, "Lord, Lord!" tons of times in their prayers. I just feel yucky as I have crossed paths with those kinds of experiences.  They are great people... most of the time.

We also had the miracle of contacting a less-active that we didn't know and she has a son that has been praying to know which church is true for the past week or so. Her name is Adilia, and her son is Antonio. We took Antonio to the baptism on Saturday and he told my companion as we were walking home that He got an answer from God that this is the true church. But the only bad thing is that he works on a few Sundays and hasn't been able to go to church. He is an official county grass-cutter! or in other words, he and his little group walk around to certain parts in Teguc and cut the grass on public property with machetes! It's a work out... I've done it many times and it's not super fun. I love our old lawn mower a lot more now!

The devotional was awesome. Tons of people were laughing at the sopranos in the choir singing, "Ha! ha! ha! etc" in the high tones really really fast. I hope you know what part I'm talking about... But it was awesome. I would have loved to watch it in English but we couldn't this time. It's just not the same for me in Spanish but everyone else loved it. I liked the second talk by the-woman-that-I-don't-remember-her-name (Linda K. Burton). When she quoted the scripture about Jesus being our Advocate before the Father.

I have visited tons of the leader's houses these past weeks. The horrible thing is that we share our area with another companionship and all the leaders (like the bishop and his counselors) live in their area and we don't have many leaders in our area because we are farther away from the chapel. But we did visit with the first counselor in the stake presidency because he's in our area. He told us that we need to trust our plans (confirm everything with God in prayer), not be scared to open the mouth, be a united companionship and love one another unconditionally, and endure to the end with patience.

Love you all!

Elder Tuft

PS we talk soon. :D please send username and password again because I don't remember them.
PSS I loved the pictures from last week so much that I put them on my wall.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Lourdes, Working with Members, Baptism... please pray

Hello Family,

I'm doing great this week. We are continually working and striving to thrust forward with all our might. So this week we shared a message with an investigator and her family about the Priesthood and the dad, Jaime, was a little against accepting our message but little by little he's been finding things and reading the Book of Mormon over the shoulder of his wife, Lourdes. So we talked about the Priesthood and one of the daughters asked about Polygamy in the church and we explained the best we could. It turns out the Lourdes was so startled by the topic that she didn't sleep that night. She studied thoroughly the topic until 4 am when she received an answer reading about Jacob and his wives. But Jaime was a little shocked too, and my companion thought that we had ruined chances to baptize them but we went back and Jaime was super happy and invited us in and we celebrated his daughter's and mom's b-day with them and had a small "devotional" after, which was great. Two days later, he came to the family history night that we had to explain genealogy and he loved it. After the meeting, he found his pastor in the street and his pastor started telling him that we are diabolical and other things... to keep the story short, he told his pastor off and his pastor told him that he could feel the darkness coming from Jaime, and so Jaime told him that he's never felt so full of light in his life. Well, we heard this story from his wife, Lourdes, and she was so happy and told us that she thinks that Jaime might get baptized too. So we have them all reading the Book of Mormon and I'm super excited for them!!! :D Pray for them because Lourdes and Karla (a daughter) have their baptismal date for this Saturday at 6 pm, but we haven't confirmed anything still. :D Fingers crossed!

Thanksgiving, we had chicken nuggets and I got a Minion sticker from inside the box of chicken nuggets! Super awesome sticker!!! It's of Stuart, the shorter of the three main minions. That was Turkey day here for us. We got our Christmas tree up but I can't get the pictures up today, so maybe next week. Last Christmas in Honduras, just saying... ;D

We always go out with all the Priests and Elders on Sunday to visit the WHOLE ward (it's a huge ward boundary. Like 2 times the size of our stake boundary) and it's a pretty swift operation. This week, I went with Besner to a part called the Mololoa and we talked to a few less-actives there. Our attendance this week was 191 members and investigators. We also had the Primary Program this week and so a lot of people came.

Yesterday, we were teaching a family of a recent convert. The recent convert is called Diego, and he's nine years old. He's a huge example to me, and to his family especially. He helps his dad pray at night and he prays with his mom in the morning. He showed his parents the Book of Mormon introduction to answer their question about the relationship of the BoM with the Bible and they read the first paragraph and felt the Spirit testify that it's true. Then we read the story of Enos with them and after reading it, the wife, Elizabeth, turns to her husband, Cesar, and says, "I think I want to be a Mormon!" So we encouraged them to read the Book of Mormon and follow the example that Diego has set for them. The next visit I think we'll read the Book of Mormon and invite them to be baptized. The good thing is that they're already married! No marriage paperwork or lawyers needed there! Super happy to be able to teach that family. :D Pray for them as well and for us to be able to put the right date for their baptism. We've been teaching this family with members always and I think that's contributed to their progress.

This week we've learned that to be better and have more wisdom, as missionaries, we need to work almost 100% of the time with members, if possible. The lessons are super great when we are with members.

Look at the new Christmas video by the Church!! Also, I'm hoping to be able to see the Christmas Devotional this weekend! Last year they didn't let us see it but I'm hoping we can get a few investigators to see it with us.

Love you family! You guys are the bestest!

Kristen, Ummm I thought I was looking at the mirror or something when I saw, well... myself, in the picture of the ancestor that you sent me. Really freaking me out here. I guess I'm like a cat and I'm on my "second of nine lives" now.

Loved the pictures this week Mom and Kristen. Thanks for the pictures and great stories. Dad, I'll read the story you sent me this week. Thank you for always giving me something to think about in the week.

We also have changes this next week (I've only been here 4 weeks) because the church doesn't like doing changes really close to Christmas. So next change will be eight weeks long instead of the normal six. I've seen tons of people from El Sitio these past few weeks. Turns out that when I was in El Sitio, I started teaching someone outside of our boundaries and so we're starting to teach her again with the help of the Elders in El Sitio and La Trinidad. So that's fun as well.

Got to go now,
Elder Tuft

PS:  OTM (Open The Mouth) story of the week: we found a member that stopped going to church because her husband died recently and so we are visiting her, and her son isn't a member and is 17 years old, so he's a potential baptism, as well. We're helping them by starting with reading the scriptures, praying and attending church activities especially during the Christmas season. You never know who you'll find just opening the mouth with everyone.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Elder Reinoso, OTM (Open The Mouth), Thanksgiving, fun

Hello Fantastic Family,

Have a great Thanksgiving this year. They have turkey here but they don't eat it. I don't know why they have turkey here if they don't eat it though. It's like a pet, I think. They're super cool here and they open up their feathers huge and they get super fat but when they stop acting buff, then they are skinny.

Elder Reinoso is super awesome. He's different and doesn't always share what he's thinking with me and there have been times where I just look at him like, "Why didn't you tell me what you were planning???" So we're working on that. But he doesn't fear anybody. He'll talk to anyone. He's teaching me to have courage and we're talking to a lot of people.

Elder Reinoso's younger brother got baptized first in his family. Then his younger brother told the missionaries, "Hey my brother's hiding in the back. Go and teach him." So he started listening to the lessons. He wouldn't get baptized because of soccer on Sundays. He got paid to play soccer. He decided to go to church one Sunday and not play soccer. His coach found out and told him he was off the team. Then he told the missionaries that he wasn't playing soccer anymore and could get baptized. Two weeks later, the National Guatemala Soccer Club Team called him up and offered him a place on the team and he accepted and wasn't playing on Sundays. Two years later, they found out he was planning on serving a mission and kicked him off the team again. So know he's here in Honduras and is a member of just 2 years and 11 months. He baptized three friends that are now serving missions in various parts of Central America and he also baptized his Mom. As far as his Dad, I don't know when or how he got baptized but he's also a member of the church and it sounds like he is a really active member in the ward. So that's Elder Reinoso in a nutshell.

We had a lot of fun contacting this week. One night we were trying to get in a few more Open the Mouth before retiring for the night and we found a man at 9:15 pm that was really evangelist. He was super happy and cheerful to see us and we started talking about Family History. I told him that my g.g.g.grandpa came from Europe to the US and I told him about Peter Shirts meeting the Indians when they stole his cows and then begged for food from him. I was surprised but he started arguing with us that my g.g.g.grandpa couldn't have lived in the 1800s because he would have been born in the 1700s and not the 1800s. I just let that one go because he can't argue with me about my ancestry (like he would know who my g.g.g.grandpa was). And so we asked if we could show him how he could search for his ancestors in FamilySearch. He told us NO of course and then continued to tell us to study more about Joseph Smith. He called us "Idol-worshippers, fornicators, adulturers" and many other things about Joseph Smith and his "10 wives"... My companion wanted to talk about how Abraham had multiple wives, as well but I cut him off because that wouldn't end well. And then I asked him, "Have you attended one of our church meetings?" He hadn't. "Have you read the Book of Mormon?" And he responded that the Book of Mormon is far from spiritual... blahblahblah. Obviously, he hadn't. So I invited him to do those things and bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon and that anyone and everyone was, is, and forever will be invited to read from it's pages and will know that it is true if they meditate on what they read and pray to God asking Him if it's true. Then I shared with him 2 Nephi 25:26 and Moroni 10:4-5. By that point he was wavering in his resolve to tell us we were wrong. By the time we left he gave us a hug and told us thanks for sharing that with him. I just felt good as we left and spiritually uplifted. It was a short, spiritual moment that we had in the cold night with an unexpected encounter. :D Fun moments of the mission :D

Love you family!!! You guys are the greatest! Have a Happy Thanksgiving! They don't really celebrate Thanksgiving here but we'll do something fun.

Congratulations with the progress of the wedding. I hope everyone gets better from being sick and being operated on. S.M.I.L.E. (Spiritually Minded Is Life Eternal)

Elder Spencer Tuft

Monday, November 16, 2015

La Travesia, Elder Reinoso, Yesterday's experience

Hello Mom, Dad and Family,

I have been doing fantastic. Actually today, I started off mad at my companion because he didn't tell me we would be playing soccer and he brought his sport clothes and we got to the field and I realized that he was taking me to play soccer and I told him, "But why didn't you tell me so I could have brought my clothes?" It just escaped his mind completely because of all the busy things we've been doing. I forgave him though. So while they played soccer today, I played Sudoku on the phone and beat Level 100... yeah no biggy, just a Utah Sudoku player in Tegucigalpa. ;D

Well, I'm in Teguc if you didn't catch that. My new companion is Elder Reinoso from Guate. He's a super fanatic about soccer, or was a super fanatic. He played in the national cup in Guatemala before he became a member of the church. Then his coach told him that he was kicked off the team for being Mormon (yay for Mormones!). But he loves it here in Honduras. He's been in the mission for 11 months and he still has a little bit of a newbie attitude towards the mission. But that's helping me to have more energy.

I have started to do diligent exercises every single morning and motivating my companion to do it as well. In the apartment today, we had a mini-obstacle course that we had to do while doing push-ups. :D It was a little like Hot-Lava (the game we used to play as little kids on the swing-set). I think he enjoyed it for a little bit at least.

The apartment is dope. I have a hammock above my bed that I can use (it's mine) if I feel like it. Before now, I hadn't had a spot to put the hammock. I got in it two nights ago and woke up in bed... I don't know how that happened... The pillow was still in the hammock, as well...

I also woke up this morning with a rash but we went to the office this morning for immigration purposes for my companion and an eye-check for me so I also got my skin looked at. It looks like it did when I sprayed "OFF!" on my body at the beginning of the mission. Hna Oldroyd gave me a treatment and if it doesn't work she'll look at me again. It doesn't itch and it's not bed-bugs either. I feel fine.

Thanks for the letters this week. You honestly don't know how many prayers (said and unsaid) have been answered just from your letters.

Yesterday we went to the house of a member who recently had a baby. Her cousin was there and we didn't know what we were going to teach because we don't really know them still but we brought my USB to watch a Mormon Message and watched Pres. Uchtdorf's Patience talk (with the experiment of the little kids and marshmallows) and at the end I could tell that the cousin, Sofia, was really affected by the video so I asked her what she was thinking. She responded that she had been a while without seeing her family and she had been praying to be able to go back soon but because of her job and studies she can't right now. She then said, "I know that God wants me here right now. I just need to be more patient and I'll be able to eat two marshmallows instead of one." I felt the Spirit testify to us all that if we wait well, God will reward us and pour out "two marshmallows" from heaven instead of one.

Love you family,
Spencer-pooski   #starsarefartherthanthesunandmoonandback ;)

PS Great job with the gate, Dad! and Congratulations Kristen and Ian! I want pictures! :D Give Bro. Staheli a hug from me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hello Family! (And Sister Eldon)

New transfer with Elder Reinoso (and another guy) in Tegucigalpa
Hello Family,

This week was a great week for learning and having fun in missionary work. Mom, I'm learning that being a perfectionist is a bad thing in regards to many subjects. And so I'm feeling a little less-stressed than I have felt at times before. I hope that's something that will continue for a lifetime.

Thank you Dad for the thoughts about receiving personal revelation. You couldn't have known that I've been praying to understand and hear the whisperings of the Holy Ghost more and that has been a great focus of my personal study. I've also read in Jesus the Christ about the Great Apostasy now and I'm surprised that Talmadge didn't write, "The ____________ is the Harlot of all the Earth." But on the more meaningful side of learning, I was studying why the Apostasy took so much time to end. I think that God gives us complete and full free agency and so a lot of what he has planned in the life of the world has been determined by our decisions and that the Great Apostasy took so long because of humanity and not because of God. I've been studying that to help a less-active and his non-member wife recently.

Looks like I won't be here in San Lorenzo for much longer but I'll let you know next week. We have missionary exchanges this next Wednesday and they'll tell us if we have changes on Tuesday.

I have started to laugh a lot at really hard things lately. Someone will yell at us or argue about our message and afterwards I just start laughing because the message is soooooo painfully simple that it's rare to find someone who really wants to accept it from the start. That's where working with less-actives is super helpful. If you reactivate a less-active, then you bring investigators to church because the less-actives have friends that aren't members!!! :D

I also laugh for the stupid things that satan puts in our path to discourage us. The problems are real but discouragement is the poison of a problem untreated or ignored.

Orbelina has been coming to church every week but, Dad, she has the same problem about the Holy Ghost coming unto the heart and not being able to enter. She shuts a part of it out. But I'm proud of her for making an effort to come to church. 

Love all the pictures family! You guys are awesome and my inspiration. Keep marching on! :D Christmas is ALMOST here but what happened to THANKSgiving! We can't skip gratitude and move on to greediness so fast...

I'll read and respond more to the letter you sent Mom. I don't have tons of time to read and write.

I loved the story, Dad, about the guy who started to read fluently because of the Book of Mormon. That book is such a great book in more than one way!

Love you all! 
Spencer James

PS. Please send this to Sister Eldon.
Hello Freda Eldon,

I hope you have a fantastic day for you very special birthday. I am so happy to have worked and gotten to known you all of my "youthly" years. Thank you for your patience and outstanding example that you have given me throughout the years.

Yours Truly!
With Love,
Spencer Tuft

Monday, October 26, 2015


Spencer with his district in Danli Spring 2015 and Elder Adrian Q. and Sister Nancy Ochoa, Pres & Sis. Bowler
Hello Mom, Dad and Family,

I don't have much time today... like five minutes because I watched the Face2Face that Dad sent to me to watch and then I got caught up in that. But I wanted to share some great experiences with you and tell you that I am well and in good health.

This was my journal entry yesterday:
Today was super awesome! I feel like God has lead us by the Spirit a lot in the past weeks because of our prayers and because of our obedience. We felt like we needed to visit an old investigator today and when we got there he was sleeping in his hammock and no one came to the door. But we knew that we felt that impression to go to Mauricio's house. So I turned around and went up to the first house and knocked on the door. A man in his 50s opened the door and let us in. A little further into the lesson with him about the restoration, he asked us, "Who sent you two? Did one of my neighbors tell you to come here?" And we responded that we had felt the impression to knock on his door and that God had sent us. We had a great experience. The man's name is Siriaco.

A month ago we met a woman in Nacaome named Esmerelda. (She was the one who had lots of problems with the law of chastity.) I saw her in church today in the district conference. I'm so happy that she's getting reactivated! And her husband was there with her!

Orbelina came to church today with her son and his family and she shook my hand really enthusiastically after. Juan and Ana (that got baptized) came as well, and they aren't doing so well. They are having family problems right now and I think that Juan will have to leave the relationship behind if he wants to be happy. Suyapa (his companion) is the one causing the problems.

We also talked to a man that goes to another church called "Apostles and Prophets" (they don't believe in modern day apostles or prophets... a little weird) and we talked to him about prophets and my companion mentioned Joseph Smith and I saw him changed his expression suddenly and could tell he did not want to talk about Mr. Smith... So I pulled out the Book of Mormon and told him that he may have heard many rumors but the truth of him being a prophet relies on the Book of Mormon and not on what others think. He still wasn't convinced and so I opened to Alma 36 when Alma shares his conversion story and I felt, my companion felt, and I bet that he felt the Spirit testifying of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I felt that we did and said all that God wanted us to say and I hope that he will read to Book of Mormon and pray to know if it's true, as we invited him.

That's all folks! Got to go!
Elder Tuft

Thanks for sending the fotos. I'm printing them off. Love you!

I'll print the story you sent me too! Thanks for giving me inspiring stuff to read. :D

This Halloween will be chill. They don't do anything to celebrate here. The other missionaries talked it way up last year.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Journals, Personal Changes, and Christmas Letter

Hello Family,

First off, thanks for the letters! I like letters. Second, Kyle, That's a lot of happenings and congratulations. My first impression was exactly like yours when I read that Kemp offered to sell the business to you. I just said "No Way!" out loud and Elder Laureano wanted to know what happened, so I explained your letter to him and then I said, "But that's too much. He'll just waste his time." But then Elder Laureano said, "Why would he be wasting his time?" And then I started thinking, "Better in just about everything. Better job, better application of what he's studying, better pay. Better, better, better." God always opens doors and lets us choose which door to take. Son tuyas las decisiones.

Mom, there's a blog for the mission now. Go and take a look:

As of this week, I got sick on Saturday and I'm still walking around with stomach aches from Hermana Glenda. She's always given food to us and for some reason the last two meals made me sick to my stomach. But I'm good. Hermana Oldroyd is going to get me a check up in the clinic just to be safe.

I love writing in my journal. I have been really diligent for the past months in writing in it and it's super cool to think back on EVERY SINGLE DAY for the past few months and say, "I REMEMBER THAT!" So write in your journals. It's a commandment! (from God, not from me)

Dad, you asked me about that phrase that I wrote you last week. I've just changed. Maybe what I learned motivated me to be a better person and so I've changed naturally to some extent. But I can feel myself changing still. Change doesn't just happen, it requires desire and choice. I want to be a better person and so I have to actively work on obtaining Christ-like attributes. They don't come just by chance to someone. But God has opened my eyes and I have seen things I want to change and so I'm changing myself. I hope I can change permanently. Sometimes we work hard and fulfill our goals and then stop thinking about it. But I don't want to forget even for one day what I am working on. Some days, I work a lot on Charity. Other days I work on Patience. And so it goes.

Letter For Christmas: Just pick out parts of my other letters. I can't sum up the past year for anyone. Too many things have happened. I'd like it if you put in a little about Carmen S.

Mom, I don't have time to answer all the questions from last week. Sorry but we have to get off.
My Ponderize scripture this week was D&C 4:1-3. I trade ties with some people but I never trade a tie that someone gave me so I'll bring those ones home. My toenail is fine. It's healed now and back to normal.

Also, one of the district leaders in my zone is Elder Scott and Mom, remember the soccer game in Salem that was really snowy and we cancelled the game? Well, he was the right defender in that game and I never knew! :D Small world. Also, Heidi Scott's nephew is in my zone (but his last name is Wardle.)

Love you all! Hugs,
Elder Tuft

Sunday, October 18, 2015

President and the Zone, Carmen S.

Hello Mom and Dad and Family,

First off, we had Zone Leader's Conference this past week and that was really fun. I've become an entirely new person because of what I have learned, applied, and changed in who I am and who I want to become. It has been quite the roller-coaster but I enjoy crazy "roller-coasters" now. We learned more about the four things we need to have to be successful missionaries: Worthiness, Obedience, Work, Prayer. All of those things will help us to have the Spirit with us. I especially liked learning about Prayer. It's not what they said that I liked, it's what I thought about and learned from the Spirit. I thought about the talk that President Eyring gave recently about Prayer and the Priesthood and I was reminded about these words:

"All of us must speak and act in the name of God in moments when our unaided judgment will not be enough without inspiration. Those moments can come upon us when there is not time to make preparation. That has happened to me often. It did many years ago in a hospital when a father told me and my companion that the doctors had told him that his critically injured three-year-old daughter would die within minutes. As I placed my hands on the one spot on her head not covered with bandages, I had to know, as God’s servant, what He would do and say.

The words came to my mind and my lips that she would live. The doctor standing by me snorted in disgust and asked me to get out of the way. I walked out of that hospital room with a feeling of peace and love. The little girl lived and walked down the aisle into a Sacrament Meeting on my last day in that city. I still remember the joy and satisfaction I felt from what I had said and done in the Lord’s service for that little girl and her family.

The difference in my feelings at the hospital and the sadness I felt as I walked away from that door as a deacon came from what I had learned about the connection of prayer to priesthood power. As a deacon, I had not yet learned that the power to speak and act in God’s name requires revelation and that to have it when we need it requires praying and working in faith for the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

On the evening before I went to that door for fast offerings, I had said my prayers at bedtime. But for weeks and months before that phone call came from the hospital, I had followed a pattern of prayer and made the effort that President Joseph F. Smith taught will allow God to give us the inspiration necessary for us to have power in the priesthood. He put it simply:

'We do not have to cry unto him with many words. We do not have to weary him with long prayers. What we do need, and what we should do as Latter-day Saints, for our own good, is to go before him often, to witness unto him that we remember him and that we are willing to take upon us his name, keep his commandments, work righteousness; and that we desire his Spirit to help us.'

And then President Smith told us what we should pray for, as his servants pledged to speak and act for God. He said: “What do you pray for? You pray that God may recognize you, that he may hear your prayers, and that he may bless you with his Spirit.”

It is not a matter so much of which words to use, but it will take some patience. It is an approach to your Heavenly Father with the intent to be recognized by Him personally. He is the God above all, the Father of all, and yet willing to give undivided attention to one of His children. That may be why the Savior used the words “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”

What I like about Prayer is that we simple bow are heads in humility and pray that He will guide us and give us the faith in order to work with the Spirit.

Yesterday, we had a very personal and special experience with Carmen S. We have been teaching her about baptisms for the dead and temples which she loves because she's had a daughter and her husband and her mom that have past away. She expressed with us her desires to be with them again and we promised her that she could. We gave her one of those big Triplets (the BoM, D&C, and PofGP) so that she can read more easily and we also gave her a big hymn book to sing with us. She loved those gifts a lot. At the end of the lesson she offered the prayer and when she finished she look up at us and gave us a big, teary smile and told us that she was so grateful that we came to her home and have brightened her family with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her daughter went to church this week (she's a less-active member living in Tegucigalpa) and Carmen told us, "Only Marcelo and Maria-Elaina are left to get to church now!"

Then yesterday night, we went to another less-actives house (The M-O Family) and talked about Missionary Work. Their family consists of the mom, a daughter (22 yrs), and the son (19 yrs) and we told them of the blessings of Missionary Work and that it is hard but SUPER worth it in the end. There is nothing I would trade for these best two years.

The ward is doing good. We have good plans to get them going and working independently. They can feel the Spirit and they know this is the true church. It's just taking a while to get them to understand the blessings that come from exact obedience. Some of the issues they face are mainly from poverty issues.

Congratulations Kyle and Jess and Milo, for the new family member ! :D That's super exciting and it looks like you'll have twins that were born on two different dates! Milo and Olivia look a lot a like!

Love you all!
Elder Spencer J. Tuft

Monday, October 5, 2015

No changes, Conference, Toesies

Hello Family,

I'm still here with Elder Laureano in San Lorenzo! We're doing great! I'm learning a lot about being obedient. I figure, the zone can only be as obedient as it's zone leaders. Hence, we are OBEDIENT with EXACTNESS :D It helps when you are obedient like they said in conference. If we aren't obedient, then we'll get eaten alive by sharks. :D

On Friday, I think, We went to Choluteca and got an ingrown toenail removed! That was super fun and not painful at all. You might think I'm being sarcastic but really it doesn't hurt me at all.

For conference, the energy lines failed and the church pulled out the power generators and we watched the Sunday morning session in Spanish... it's not the same in Spanish. I had a lot of thoughts about you guys, Dad and Mom. Elder Holland's talk made me think about Mom and I wanted to say thanks for being there for me and for putting up with me. Sorry for breaking your heart a few times. And then the next talk, Elder Foster, made me thin about Dad for being my hero and trying to help me understand. "I cannot do anything that I have not seen the Father do." and I loved his last thought when he said that parenting "is the pattern of how God blesses His children from generation to generation. Big thanks for being born of goodly parents.

I specifically liked the talk from Larry Lawrence when he talked about asking God what you need to improve and look for an answer through the Holy Ghost. Trust in the Holy Ghost.

Other than the good things you listed to me, Dad, I just wanted to share a few more thoughts on other things that I learned too:

Elder Cook... Self-Control is like a muscle: when it is exercised, it is strengthened.
Elder Martino... Scripture study everyday opens the doors of revelation.
Elder Anderson... Faith does not come by change but by choice. We must act.
Elder Uchtdorf... Are we like Daniel?
Elder Eyring... The story about the Elder's Quorum President that made friends with all the less-actives in his ward and then he "waited..."
President Monson... Obey the Commandments.
Elder Christofferson... The Church is the creation of Jesus Christ.
Elder Durant... Save money every week (what an important side note of his talk! :D) Exercise your faith. Discipline yourself. And Do It!
Sister Stephens... I loved the story about Cloe that she used to teach commandments.

I got home on Sunday night to write in my journal and I was so tired that all I wrote was, "General Conference was good today." But it was really good. I loved it a lot.

Wish I could write more but I can't. OH! And Carmen went to the Saturday Morning Session of GenConf. She loved it a lot. Juan went too, but Elder Laureano said that he had issues when Apostles would testify that this church is the only true church on the face of the earth. He had big issues with Elder Christofferson's talk I imagine.

Mom, I only know Elder Pope. The other two, I don't recognize off the bat.

Megan, Thanks for your letter. I'll keep reading it. It was a bit long to read within an hour but I'll print it off.

Kristen, I was looking for you in the conference building on the TV screen but no wonder I didn't see you two! You weren't even there! :D

Elder Tuft

PS Jacob Buhler (from the SHS soccer team) was the companion of Elder Openshaw that they showed on the Conference screen in the Priesthood session. That was cool to see a picture of a friend in Conference.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Carmen's Baptism, Ely, and Fran

Hellooo Family Tuft,

Lots of happenings! Wow, that is a plateful for the week. Felicidades Kristen and Ian! Se ven felices and muy bien en las fotos que me mandaron. Felicidades! (Congratulations Kristen and Ian! They look happy and well in the pictures they sent me. Congratulations!) :D Love and miss you all! Lindsay, I hope you had a fantastic time at the dance and that you can focus again on your studies! :D Boys aren't worth it... hahaha

Carmen's baptism went really well! We finished within 45 minutes and a few members were able to come and show support. Carmen didn't invite her family and so we talked to the oldest grandson (Marcelo) living in her house (her kids live in Teguc now and are grown up) and he told us that it was a great surprise for him to hear about Carmen getting baptized and he told us, "If there is a true church in this world, it's the Mormon church. There's a special feeling there. I'll be visiting there again soon." We'll wait and see what God does with Marcelo.

The confirmation went well and then after church we went and visited with Carmen and reminded her about the confirmation and why they put their hands on her head. So we explained that again and in the last prayer, Carmen paused and you could tell that she felt the Holy Ghost in her prayer and that was neat. We had just taught her and then she had a small learning experience after learning.

Then we met Ely (pronounced Ellie) and she's really nice. We found her outside of her house studying to graduate late (she's 22 years old) and we taught her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon as evidence of the Restoration and I asked her, "Would you like to read the Book of Mormon?" She could've said that she was busy with examines and tests and finishing school but she said that she would love to read it. We'll see how far she progresses this following appointment but I felt like she was really excited to learn about a church with convincing evidence that it's the true church.

We also met a really big (fat) man this week named Fran. He's from Cuba!!! He works in selling fish food from Nebraska here in Honduras. He believes that there is a God but he doesn't know who he is or why he exists. But his questions are good questions. I just felt right while teaching him. He's a special guy.

We also taught a less-active family this week and when we got there, two friends of the son (19 years old) were there and listened to us as well. One is Catholic but we had planned earlier in the morning to go teach them about prayer of Joseph Smith and how we can pray and receive answers from God too! Well, Emerson, the Catholic friend, was really interested and he asked us towards the end, "Where can a buy a Book of Mormon?" And we gave him a book right a way of course! :D Then that less active came back to church for the first time in many years!!! I was super happy to see them there and now the son, William, is reading the Book of Mormon too and I hope he gets to serve a mission! That would be awesome :D

The Gospel is such a gift and it's super precious to me because I've seen the way Christ has changed my life and the life of all those who accept us and listen to us. It's such a great feeling to know that God is happy with you as a missionary even though it's not always easy.

Love you family,
Elder Tuft

PS - Dad, thanks for the stories! I enjoyed the orange juice story and I'll read the other one later. Hope you guys are having fun on the zip line. Tell Allison Baily hi for me. (We ran into her at the zipline where she works. She thought Spencer was my brother. Made MY day so I texted him from the top of the mountain about his friend, Allison!)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Great Week working with Retention

Hello Family,

This week was great Family! Nothing HUGE happened but I'm excited for what we did and the things that we are going to do this week.

I went on divisions with a DL in my zone (Elder Quintanar) and I tried to help him just by working hard and motivating him. We went to a less active's house and he had left the assignment from the last visit they had to read 3 Nephi 18. She had read it and loved it a lot. I asked her why she liked it and she said because she liked the part about the sacrament. So I asked her straight up, "What impedes you from taking the sacrament with us this week in church?" And she started crying in her hands and told us about a relationship that she had with a guy while being married with her husband. She told us how scared she was to tell anyone and especially her husband and the president of the branch. Before we left she thanked us for coming and said that she felt a lot better and had a lot more courage to do what's right. So I talked to Elder Quintanar about how she was doing and he said that she's talked to the Branch President and with her husband and that everything is still intact with the relationship with her husband and that she's making it back to the right path and has repented of what she's done. When I heard that, I was super happy!!! :D Her name was 'E' and she's an awesome lady. I'm super glad that she's doing so much better now and I bet she's much happier now than she was before. There's something about repentance that brings confidence, peace and comfort to our souls. That something is our Savior's love and mercy. I love the words in the hymn, "Amazing Grace" when thinking about the Atonement.

I wrote this in my journal this week and I wanted to share it with you guys: Love people for who they are. Love, because if you don't then you will hate. We can never stand still. I've tried to stand still and not change and it's not possible. we will always be changing and moving, but we choose if we will change for the good or the bad. So choose to love so that you don't start to hate.

We went to President Oscar Flores' house this week. It started to rain super hard and there was lots of lightning. In fact, lightning struck the roof of his neighbor's house!!! That was a freaky moment! I almost fell out of my chair! But everything was alright. President Oscar is really happy with what we are doing in the branch. We taught him our plan that we are adapting to every family and we are seeing great results. This week we had about 15 more people in church! 51 PEOPLES! :D We are (I'm) hoping to have 100 in church by Christmas.

Last Sunday, we gave a blessing to little Olvin (son of a member in the branch) because he was having stomach problems. I asked him, "Olvin, do you have faith?" and he said he did. So we gave him a blessing and he left that room healed. They didn't buy medicine or give him any remedies. This last Thursday, we talked to his mom (we didn't know he had been healed) and she told us the good news. Olvin's faith healed him. I just connected two things as well: our faith heals us physically and erases our sins like in the story of Enos. Faith is the action we take to follow Christ and if we follow him, he heals us. All the pain, sorrow, sickness, and trials can be healed and attended to through the process of faith and repentance. "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him." Moroni 10

Dad, in the conference with President Nelson, we also were told to testify that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that President Monson has been called of God in the modern days. "Testify of God's work and you will be a happy missionary."

We were also told to study the following topics:
Abrahamic Covenant
Tree of Life
Fall of Adam and Eve
Covenant and Pact
Jesus Christ (his example)
Life Eternal

At the end President Nelson gave us two pieces of advice: 1. Hebrews 13:7 (embrace the faith of your leaders); 2. Tell president Bowler when your converts and their kids and grandkids go to the temple.

Got to go! Thanks for the fotos! I'm sending some to the family as well! :D Hope you like them.

Elder Tuft
Hurrah por Israel!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Zone Conference and Interviews, Carmen Sarabia, Families, God Answers us

Hello Family!

First off, sorry Dad, I forgot the notes from Elder Nelson. The good news is that I have my journal here to highlight the good things from this week. I have to type fast, so my apologies if it's a bit scrambled.

The APs came to our house to sleep the night before the Interviews and Zone Conference. The interviews went really well and President said, "Elder Tuft, keep doing what you did before. Keep doing it because it works. Keep doing what you are doing as well. Don't forget the principles you have learned in order to learn new things from God." I also told him a little about the people that I've seen go astray and how it shocked me a lot that some people in the Gospel can lose themselves in the world. He shared with me that it can happen to anyone and that we often will be shocked by what people do and say, "But that's not like them!" We often will find, as well, that bad people will shockingly turn to the light and become really refined servants of God.

I thought a lot about Saul and about the Prodigal Son this week. They have similarities in their stories. And the words hit me really hard when I read, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" I just had a good moment to reflect and imagine those words and imagine God's love for us. 

  22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
  23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
  24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

Carmen Sarabia is the one that will be baptized. She set her date for the 25th at 10am to be baptized. This week she came to church on her own! She walked out her house and called a taxi. I can just imagine her saying something like, "Take me to the Mormon Church... I'm going to be baptized there!" We challenged her to read the BoM in 3 months and she's a month into that challenge and she's already past Enos! :D She was a miracle that we found. She told us, "Joseph Smith is a Prophet because the BoM is true. When is my baptismal date?" She's a super humble woman and she stopped drinking coffee immediately after listening to us. She and her family don't drink now.

We taught a family this week. It's actually Misael's family. We went to a house to teach Vicente and Lilian (other family) and her daughter came two minutes after we arrived (and Misael is her cousin on her Dad's side) so Misael came, as well. Then the Lilian's Mom came and so we ended up teaching the WHOLE FOUR generations from the Grandma to her great-grand daughter. They were all beaming as we taught them. They were going to come to church but then Misael got a fever (Dengue) and they went to the hospital and he's doing better now.

I know God answers prayers. I have been asking him why the mission is so hard and why I don't feel the same spirit like I did in my ward at home. And this week I received my answer when a member from Choluteca came to our ward to visit and talked about making San Lorenzo into a ward. He said that the same spirit that you have in a Stake will not be found in a District because the Mantel and the Keys of the Stake President are not given to the District President and that goes with Bishops and Branch Presidents as well. I don't know if that makes sense but it opened up my eyes and now I'm not so hard on myself. I felt like this whole time I was doing something wrong or that I wasn't doing something about changing the branch. I learned that the change will come but it takes patience and love and leadership.

Love you,
Elder Tuft

Sorry if I didn't respond to your questions but I read your letters! Thanks for letting me know about Miss Erlene! Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY KYLE!🎉

"Just Keep Swimming. What'chu gonna do? You just keep swimming!" - Dory, from Finding Nemo

Monday, September 7, 2015

We're Marching On and 9-11

Hello Family,

You guys are great. I love my family so much! Here's a hug to each one of you (even if I've never met you before).

I got the packages this week when we went to Teguc to have a Zone Leader Conference. I loved the ties! And Mom, I've lost no weight but I've gotten taller, or so they say. The new suit will have to be fixed at the bottom to be made longer (already!). And the pants you sent are great but I'll have a tailor take them in so that they fit me better. Thank you for sending those! :D I love the Peanut Butter sandwiches that I've had in the past few days as well. I'm using the Homemade Repellent everyday now and I think it's working. Right now there aren't hardly any mosquitoes though (It's way too hot). You won't need to send anymore probiotics. I think I've collected enough for the rest of my life but thank you for sending so much. :D I don't have any problems with the food right now. I'm super careful of what I eat and I'm really healthy right now. 

I'll write more about President Nelson next week because I don't have my notes on me about everything he said. But I think he made the comment on Family History work because it ties everything back to Families can be together forever. It is the glue that holds the Plan of Happiness together. Without family history, we lose our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents and we lose the opportunity to become mini-saviors on mount Zion. Those comments have helped us as missionaries, focus on the goal. The goal is not baptism. The goal is happiness. The goal is the Family. Just take for example that the church has published two magazines in a row now just talking about the family. The Family is very important because it unites us all.

Dariela went to church last week and loved it. She's not married with that horrible man though. They are rarely married here in Honduras. Everyone lives in a free union. So we've been visiting her and she let us know that her boyfriend doesn't want her listening to us and so he told her recently that he won't pay for her room that she's renting. And so we called her yesterday morning to wake her up so she could go to church and she called us back and said that she can't receive us anymore and she can't go to church or she'll be shunned from her family and boyfriend and won't have any support in this difficult time of hers. So we haven't gone back and we don't plan on going back but the members know and will continue to be her friend and visit with her. :D 

We have an old lady that wants to be baptized. She was talking to my companion (I was on DVs) and they taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she looked down and was pondering and then looked up and said, "When was my baptismal date for?" So she'll likely get baptized. I have to talk to President Bowler about her though because she can't walk or sit for very long because she's so old. So we thought we might be able to baptize her even though she can't go to church consistently. 

Elizabeth and Danny separated and got back together again but for a good reason. They want to get married and work through their problems now instead of get made and throw in the towel. So I pray that this works out. But Elizabeth's mom is made that they got back together. And Elder Laureano and I were thinking, "Well you let them live with each other when Elizabeth was 15 years old! And now you want to separate them after they've created a family with three kids!" But Elizabeth's mom refused to give her food because they got back together and that's frustrating. Satan is working hard on destroying these families.

Tomorrow we have interviews with President Bowler. I'm excited for those! :D

Mom, President Oscar and Flores is the same person. Some call him Oscar and some Flores. So I use both.

Dad, I'm feeling good and the work is moving on. I pray for revelation everyday to be able to say or do something that will help these people in the future so that they can have Forever Families! :D 

Got to go! Love you all! Sorry if I couldn't respond to everything but sounds like you've all had good weeks.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Great week just to reflect and think

Elder Tuft with his new suit made special for him in Honduras

Elders Tuft and Laureano in San Lorenzo, Honduras

San Lorenzo Zone 2015 August
Hey Mom and Dad,

Well, that was a lot of interesting news that you shared with me this week. That was a lot of stuff that's happened but I'm really happy for you guys. Sometimes when I go through weeks like that, I just say, "Just keep swimming. What do you do? You keep on swimming." like Dory does in Finding Nemo. Going in to the unknown is not always pleasing but the only way to grow is to be out of the comfort zone.

The members are fine. They are doing really great, even though we have few numbers, they are moving along. There hasn't been money for the branch for my whole time here because President Oscar lost the check for a month and so the church waited until he paid it back... (they don't trust Honduran judgement always...) So that's all over and the branch will be starting to do fun activities. There still isn't a teacher for the YMs but we've given the responsibility to the YM to teach in the class and challenged them to come to church early to be able to participate in the Sacrament. They're getting better to say the least.

Dariela is progressing to baptism. She has an interesting case right now with her ex-husband. They separated and he still controls her because she can't work and so to pay for her and the girls she has to obey him. He doesn't want any connection to the church and is rude to her when he finds out she listens to us. She told us to stop coming and then we had one more visit and she decided to press forward with faith. But that night she left her girls in the room she's renting to go and buy some food real quick and her mom passed by and took the girls because they were alone. When Dariela found out where they were, her mom told her how horrible she was and that she was a bad mom and street trash. That night she called us at 10 pm and told us that she was wanting to kill herself and we calmed her down and we got off the phone with her. Then my companion told me to call her again ten minutes later and we called and she was crying again and so we calmed her down again and told her to go to sleep and then in the morning we'd pass by to go to church. Everything went well and she went to church and liked it. She wants to be baptized but is scared and I don't think she is ready still but she has a date put for the 19th of September. We'll see how that goes.

We met with President Flores (Branch President, I'm guessing) this week and talked to him about reactivation and retention efforts focused on getting them to the temple. So we made some plans and President is going to meet with us again to tell us how we can help.

We talked to the 2nd counselor and his wife on Sunday by surprise and told them to go to the temple and that 4 years have passed since they were married by law and so we'll see what happens with those plans. The wife wants to go and be sealed but the husband just puts it off. He told us that he wanted to get out of his current job in December first and then they would be married in the temple but that's a terrible excuse and the wife knows it. The wife (her name is Francis) wants to get sealed super bad!

A lot of what we've taught this week has been focused on temples and families. I like it better that way. The work is easier when we don't just focus on baptism, but when we focus on the temple. Baptism is just a small step on a trail of many bigger steps to make.

We're working again with Suyapa and Juan so that they can leave behind drugs and alcohol (the little that they drink) and so they can get married and move on to a better life. Juan had that revelation a few weeks ago and he knows the church is true but he double thinks and has a few doubts. But he likes the doctrine. We talked more about eternal families and our life before the earth with them. Then we taught baptisms for the dead and how their daughter who died three months ago can still live with them again IF they go to the temple. :D

That's all for today!
Love you,
Spencer James

PS I read all your letters and it was a roller-coaster ride for me but I can't respond to everything right now. ;D and tell Gma that I love her SUPER DUPER much! You're a fantastic example Grandma and I can't wait to start working on family history with you when I get back (not trunky!). And tell Brad and Jake that they are stud muffins! :D Best cousin-pal awards go to them hands down. I've missed my cousins.

Love you all!

Monday, August 24, 2015

President Nelson, Singing, Book of Mormon

Feel free to go by my Facebook post and listen to the quartet. Elder Huff sent the audio to his mom. WOW!Hello Family,                                                                                                       

This week was a really unique week. I don't think I'll ever have a week that comes close to being similar. 

I'll start with President Russell M. Nelson coming because that was the biggest highlight. It was awesome to sit and study and prepare for him to walk in and then when he walked in everyone stood up. We got to shake his hand one by one and when I shook his hand, President Nelson looked me right in the eyes and said, "It's good to see you Elder Tuft." 

We got to sing right after the opening prayer, and that was really awesome. We were all so nervous and my legs were shaking uncontrollably. But it went really well. President Nelson wanted to see our faces but the camera angle on the screen for the people sitting in the stand blocked a few of our faces. But he liked it. Then we heard from Elder Duncan and his wife and the two presidents from the missions Comayaguela and Tegucigalpa and then it was President Nelson's turn. And guess what... you won't believe this but he said, "I loved the quartet. It was a beautiful arrangement. I just want to pick on Elder Tuft for a moment. Elder Tuft, can you come up here?" I was really shocked but I stood up and about half way he said, "What should you always have with you?" So I turned around and grabbed my scriptures because I thought they are pretty important and then he said, "Your companion Elder Tuft." And Elder Laureano was shaking a ton at that point too! So we made it up there and he gave us both big side hugs and then asked us to introduce ourselves and then asked us questions about the branch. He asked us, "Who's you best friend?" I said, "Victor Alvarez, the Elder's Quorum President." and he asked me who else was my best friend and I mentioned the President of the Branch and then he gave me one last try and I said, "Well I think the Young Men are pretty awesome in the branch," and he laughed at that. So he helped me out and said, "The Ward Mission Leader should be your best friend because he links you to the ward or branch. Your second best friend should be the ward family history consultant." And we talked a lot more about the things we should focus and learn more about to be able to teach Honduras better.

President Nelson also talked about an experience he had. He said that one night he was sleeping and two girls that he had operated on 50 years ago came to him and woke him up. They told him that they wanted their sealing work done. So President Nelson asked his wife to search the names in Family Search and he found out that the mom of the girls had died but the dad was still alive. So he met with the dad and asked him, "Will you work on getting to the temple to be sealed to your family?" And the man replied in tears that he would. It was a great experience to listen to.

President Nelson also told us, "There are more men without the Priesthood than with the Priesthood in the church. The Lord is not pleased with this." And that hit me hard. We need to be working on FAMILIES. He also said, "Let me help you missionaries see the vision. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, The Gift of the Holy Ghost, Endowment, Sealing, Endure to the end. Do you understand that we need people going to the temple to be sealed for all eternity?" 

At the end when President Nelson finished, he left an apostolic blessing on us and our families. He told us that if we are true disciples of Christ, we will be attractive to those around us and people ready to hear the Gospel will come to us. Then he said that if we had sick family members, they would be fully healed according to the Lord's will and our faith in Christ. It was a spiritually moving moment. When Elder Nelson left, we were so filled with the Holy Ghost that many remained seated and didn't stand. Elder Laureano and I stood up and then our Zone and then the whole back part of the chapel stood up one by one as Elder Nelson waved good bye. I wanted to spend the whole day with that man. I felt special listening to him. I can't even imagine what it'll be like to see Jesus face to face and touch his hands and feet and listen to him talk to us. That will be an awesome day.

So I finished the Book of Mormon in Spanish and English now and I'm starting to read the D&C now along with the Bible. I'm learning a lot and I'm becoming a happier person too because I understand the importance of what I'm reading. 

I also gave a talk in church this Sunday. Elder Laureano was going to give one but the District President came and wanted to take a few minutes. I talked about Covenants and Sacrifices... those were two of the things that Elder Nelson wants us to teach to everyone, Members and Non-Members. I feel so happy that I know what I need to be teaching... or in other words, that I know how I need to be teaching the lessons. What President Nelson told us, opened up my eyes to see more of what we need to do as missionaries.

Mom and Dad, before my mission, I didn't know I had so many doubts about the Gospel, or not doubts but many questions. Now I know that the answer to some questions I might not receive real fast or even never. But I know that God lives. I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet. The Book of Mormon was inspired scripture by God. I have no questions about those things. Sometimes God withholds his mighty revealing hand to help us, just like Milo is learning to walk. Sometimes Milo needs to walk on his own and fall so that he can learn. But that doesn't mean mom and dad aren't there to help catch him. The same applies to God and us. 

I'll print off your letters and respond next week. 

Love you,
Elder Tuft

PS. Dad, I was looking up at the stars the other night and just wondered about God for a little bit. Taking time to be still is very important.

Mom, Elizabeth had her baby and she's very healthy right now. They're doing great but can't go to church quite yet.