Monday, January 26, 2015

Training and DL, Lady that "saw Jesus"

Hello Family,

Thank you for all your letters. I loved that quote you sent Dad, and Kristen too! I'm sad to hear that Bella died but we'll see her again, I think. I hope!

Lindsay, I love you. Keep moving forward! I pray for you and I hope that you can keep up in school and find answers soon. And listen to Mom and Dad always! They know what they are doing even when they don't. (That made us chuckle!)

Dad, Elder Saucedo shared the same comment with me this week when I told him what I thought of the trees being white. Hahaha, learning things everyday :D We didn't get to work with the Bishop yet but we did with his son-in-law who is the bishop in the other ward. I'll write about that experience first I guess ;D

On Monday, Elder Huff and I found a new family and the Dad was an active member but he said he got bored of the church. He said that there were boring teachers and topics being taught and that he had read the Book of Mormon but that he got lost in the reason for having all the wars and reading about Nephi's journey through the desert. So we took a few member's (The Son-in-Law and his wife and the bishop's wife) with us this week and they taught him how to study the scriptures and we taught the "Big Picture": The eternal importance of keeping the commandments and especially going to church. We told him to ask himself, "What can I get out of this lesson? What does God want me to learn?" The members shared the conference talk that was given this past General Conference about not listening to a talk and say, "Oh, this talk is perfect for Brother Peterson!" Rather, we taught him to say, "Is it me, Lord?" Like the Apostles did after the Last Supper.

Miguel Antonio is doing great too! He's reading the Book of Mormon and then on the 21st of Feb, he'll be baptized. He's coming to church with his sister who is already a member, and he's going to all the youth activities. We'll keep checking up on him and sharing lessons with him especially about the priesthood I think. He's old enough to be ordained a Priest. So I hope the ward will get going on that.

Alan, the brother of Fernando who was baptized will be baptized on the 8th of Feb. as well. He's ready but we wanted him to wait a little because we don't want him to get baptized because of the excitement from his brother's baptism. I haven't heard the grandma in the house since last week because she's working but we did find another man there and he told us a bunch of lies too. hahaha it was funny to hear him tell us about an LDS Chapel up in the mountains that was recently built but at the same time really sad because he knows that we know he's lying. After hearing his train of lies, I wanted to just give him a hug because he looked so sad and hopeless. I don't want anyone to suffer any kind of pain. I have felt the pain that comes from breaking just one commandment here and another one there, and even that pain is terrible. To the people here in Honduras, that's a way of life, and that's the way it is. Then they cover up their pains by burying themselves in false doctrines and saying and truly believing that they repented only to go right on back to sinning again. It is so sad.

Tuesday we visited EVERYONE, because Elder Huff said his tearful goodbyes as he left the area. He's now with a senor companion that is really planch. President pulled him aside and told him to straighten out this missionary and that he was relying on him to help this elder. He went to Villa Olympica, which was the area right next to El Sitio in the next Zone over. It's a whole new experience in the city areas.

I'm training now... Surprise! The ZLs called me and said, tell Elder Huff to pack up and Elder Tuft, you are training this next change. Elder Saucedo is just great. He's from Columbia too, like Elder Rincon. But they are from different parts of Columbia. His parents aren't members and he is the only member in his family besides his aunt and uncle. His family is really supportive though and they look really nice from the pictures I've seen so far. He is really up tight about the rules which is great but he takes them to the next level sometimes. I think that's because of the CCM though. The first day he got here, he told me at night, "Elder, you need to stop talking to so many girls." Well, the first girl he told me that bothered him was Damaris (investigator 40 yrs old), the next one was a 30 yr old street contact that was just by chance that we talked to, and the last one was a 16 yr old that Elder Huff and I talked to before because her pulperia is the closest one to our house and so we buy our food from her most often. I think he just hasn't talked to any girl in two whole weeks while at the CCM and it's getting to him now. Other than that, we didn't talk to any girls that day. But I'm starting to feel a little of what Elder D. felt with me as I started to learn about the mission. It's not a problem but I just felt a little bugged when he didn't trust me, especially in the situation. I think that God wanted to let me feel just a little bit of what Elder D. felt when he trained me.

Elder D. is now AP too! :D He's just an awesome guy and I love him a lot. Even though we had some problems, I think they just came from a lack of communication and understanding.

I talked to Elder Coe about Angel and Helen from El Sitio this past week at changes and he said they've gone downhill now. They started asking the missionaries for money and not having the true desire to follow Christ anymore. I wrote them a letter but I hope to see them change their lives for good. Sad news but good to know.

This week, we had a random person call us and tell us they wanted to be baptized and we thought they were joking but then the person put the bishop on the line and the bishop of our ward explained the whole situation to us. His name is Stuart and he's been a member without baptism for four years because his parents wouldn't give permission to him to be baptized. Now he's 18 and still wants to be baptized so his baptism is this week on Saturday. I'd like to think with all these baptisms that God is saying to Elder Huff and I, "Thank you." Because we haven't had baptisms in forever. A ward member was telling Elder Saucedo and I that she thought that God chose us to come here because we were going to change everything around.

On Thursday, the first day for Elder Saucedo and the first lesson of the day, we went to a house that we had contacted and we set up an appointment to come back. We went in and the husband said his wife was busy in the back and couldn't attend us today but he'd be happy to listen. So we started with the Restoration, the first lesson and he asked us some off topic questions here and there and I had the impression that he was trying to catch us in our words. Well, then I started looking around in the house and I realized that we were in the house of a preacher because of all the chairs they had for members and the spaciousness of the house. So, I felt like we should continue with the lesson and bare powerful testimony of Joseph Smith. When we did, his wife came out from the back and began to rage on us because we were talking about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. She told us to set aside the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and pick up the Bible for once. Eventually, with the Spirit gone, Elder Saucedo pulled out Galatians 5 where it talks about the fruits of the Spirit and asked, "Can you feel peace, love, and tranquility now?" And the wife responded, "Yes, and doesn't it feel delicious!" I saw, in that moment, the face of Satan bearing down on us and threatening us to give up on our testimonies. She continued saying that she had seen Jesus Christ in the flesh in the very room in which we sat, and that his presence was glorious and that if we would just give up what we were preaching, we too could have the same glory, even like Moses. That is where I drew the line and we bore testimony of the Divinity of God and Jesus Christ and that the Book of Mormon was more correct than any other book. We bore testimony that Joseph Smith was called of God and that God loves us, every one. She looked at us in disgust as she said, "In the name of the Lord, I call you to repentance for your blasphemy!" and at that, we told her we had other people that would like us to visit them and that if they would just read the Book of Mormon with an open mind that she would know of the truthfulness of our message. So we shook their hands, and when I shook the wife's hand, she told me, "Have more faith." and I told her, "With respect, I don't need to see God to know he exists." And we left it at that, went to the home to pray and ask to have the Spirit with us again and to pray for that family that their eyes would be opened. Then we went to the next lesson and I felt the Holy Ghost really strongly in that lesson. The difference was sooo stark between the two lessons. I can describe how both felt and I know that God is good, and happy, and just. It feels good to feel the Holy Ghost. I felt nervous and unsettled when I felt Satan. Satan is confusion, uneasiness, and chaos.

It was quite the experience and even scary when I go through it in my mind but it was an experience that tested whether I would be strong and true or not. We all have those tests in our lives. I'm interested to hear what you guys think about it all. Kristen and Kyle, did you guys have experiences similar to this in you missions in Central and South America? I try to keep the smile on but really that was an unnerving experience, seeing how far someone can go in the opposite direction.

Got to go now, but I bear firm testimony that God loves us and wants us to return to him. We can feel the difference between following God's commandments and disobeying them. My testimony comes from the Holy Ghost bearing witness to my heart that God lives. I can feel that it is true. It's nothing logical, it's all in my heart. I can reason around any person's experience and even my own, but I cannot deny the feeling I had and have while serving my mission. I feel that he lives and I feel that the Book of Mormon is true. We all can feel it too if we search in the scriptures humbly and meekly and with an open mind, ready to learn from God. If we seek peace, we will find it. If you seek Satan, you can find him, but his power is not of God, and will never compare against the Light. By the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all men can overcome the power and temptations of Satan. Satan doesn't love us, he just wants to conquer us. God will never abandon us and so we should never abandon Him. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that he died and rose again for us. He loves us and I love him.

Love you Family,
Hurrah por Isreal!
Elder Spencer Tuft

Monday, January 19, 2015

Best Week YET :D

Well Family...

There just isn't anything like serving a mission. I wonder how it feels to be missionaries in other churches???

This week was really great with the baptism and all. It was a fantastic baptism but let me tell you a few things about it starting with the Grandma of Fernando. She's just a splendid little daisy... :P Actually, she's not. We went the day before the baptism to talk to Fernando and she lied to us, telling us he wasn't there. So I told her as we left the house, "Well, thank you Hermana. And Fernando, we'll be at the home of Family Trejo!" So Alan and Fernando came running over to tell us how much of a lier their grandma is and that she doesn't want Fernando to get baptized at all. But the Mom of Fernando is sooooo supportive and a great Mom for him, despite the Grandma.

A member filled the font up for us the night before the baptism and called us and said it was really "oscuro" or dark. And so I told  Elder Huff, "Well, Fernando is going to get his wish to be baptized in a river after all. We can tell him that it's fresh river water if he asks why the water is so gross and green. ;)"

Then the baptism went wonderfully, and Mom I'll send you the username and password to my Dropbox account so you can look at the fotos and print or upload them for everyone else to see. It loads faster that way anyway. I also have fotos since El Sitio too!

Fernando's mom was asked to share her comments and feelings at the end of the baptism and she started to cry. She thanked the ward for all their support because she has to give support to Fernando and she has no one else to draw that support from. Obviously, this was a baptism that God just handed to Elder Huff and I. We like to see it as a thank you from God because we've worked so hard and had zero baptisms for six weeks.

So now, Alan, the older brother of Fernando (12 years old), called us and said he wanted to baptized tomorrow. He wanted to get baptized before but he didn't want to go to all the charlas or discussions with Fernando before. So now, we have his baptism set for weeks ahead and we still need to teach him everything and deal with La Vieja of a grandma again (I know everyone is a child of God and we should love everyone but she's been a real pain in the bum-bum lately).

You asked about my district but I'm kind of getting over their rudeness and laziness right now so I apologize if I seem kind of harsh. To give you a clue as to what I dealt with this last District Meeting, I'd like to share one little Dato with you. The one companionship that's the real heart of the issue had 1 other lesson this week. An "other lesson" is when their isn't a member present but you teach a lesson. They were rude in the practices to the Hermanas that were practicing and they absolutely were prideful and so I didn't teach them everything they needed to be taught because they don't deserve help if they don't want it. The one companion has been out on the mission for 24 months and extended and his companion finished his training with him just last change. So I've talked with them, been nice ALWAYS with them, and talked to the ZLs about it and so I hope to see some changes but the older companion is really hardened in his ways and I hope he gets changed this next change so he can get humbled a little bit. All God needs of us is obedience and hard work. He is at the helm and will guide us where we need to go. These two missionaries do not show me either obedience or hard work.

BUT the Hermanas, Hermana Gutierrez and Hermana Zaragoza, are really sweet and hard, obedient workers. Here in Honduras, it's hard for the Hermanas but they are having baptisms this month and we love them a lot.

Gamali is doing great. His baptism is for the 31st this month but it might be changed if he and his mom don't progress. His mom is a member but hasn't gone to church since she was young. They go to the Evangelico church now. Gamali had a spiritual experience "accepting Christ" when he and his mom repeated the words to a prayer of their pastor. We had to explain that while many churches had some truth, that only one church had all the truth. We redirected him to the Book of Mormon and that he could find all the truth if he read it. He hasn't read very much but we hope to see some good changes in the near future.

Leydi... Still pregnant... still???

We've been finding a lot of good people and a lot of hard people but I'll let you know more about them as they start progressing more. That way I don't waste time in the email.

Kali and Estér are doing great but when we went over to her house this week. She had on the TV, playing some music. The video of the music was quite horrifying but luckily my companion and I were blessed enough to not see anything or remember anything. This means that we had a great experience in their house and they tossed it aside for naught. Well, I'm about ready to toss in the towel with them. They are some less-actives that recognize Light when they see it but then deny it when temptation comes. Reminds me of each one of us with our weaknesses but I know, with full-surety of heart, that all weaknesses can be overcome. I just don't know how to help this family if they don't try. Estér goes to church but she too, has an addiction to the world's view of a perfect body. The kids were in the house too... so I hope they never remember this time of their lives and that their parents can get a grip on this addiction before they pass it on to their little ones.

One other investigator is Miguel Antonio. He's reading the Book of Mormon, slowly but surely. His baptism is set for the 21st of Feb. He wants to be baptized but he wants to find his answer first. But he's really intelligent in that he remembers a lot! He just stutters in his speech, and I think he has some type of ADHD. He's just great and brings a smile to my face every time I see him.

I don't think that one event made this week so great but I do think we are happier because we aren't sick and so we can work hard and we love our investigators. Sometimes it's frustrating when they don't come to activities but the ward is great and help out a lot more than in El Sitio. This past week we had 109 people in the chapel and the week before we had 130. These numbers are incredible because they haven't had over 80 for sooo long. I think what made the week even better is that we looked back at the numbers and we saw how much we've improved as people and missionaries. We normally have more than 8 or 9 lessons everyday with members and investigators and we are always finding new people.

I will be sad to see Elder Huff go but it's been great to be with and get to know him. He's an awesome person and I've grown a lot from him. He can always invite the spirit into a lesson on a whim with his testimony and that is such a great gift he has.

It's good to hear how everything's been going with the family. I LOVED seeing little Audrey singing and banging on the keys (She could probably rock that upright like Jon Schmidt rocks the extended grand! ;). And that Kristen is a special one too. She might do a great job banging on the piano with her clubbed hand right now. jajajaja!

I just have one more quick story of the week for you guys:

We talked to a young lady this week and she told us, "Mormons, you guys make everyone get married all the time and you don't drink coffee..."

"That's a commandment in the Bible actually," We replied.

And in a "no-duuur" kind-of-way, she said, "But you guys actually practice it."

And that basically sums up Honduras. They know the commandments but don't live by them. They preach Christ but only want to follow Him if their way is easy to follow and comfortable to walk. They want everything easy and for that, their lives are hard.

Elder Huff and I have a phrase that we say when something typical to Honduras happens: "We can always paint the trees white!" And we say that because they like to paint all the bottoms of trees white and it serves no purpose but to employ a few hundred people to do nothing. They try to cover up the uglinesses of wickedness with a "fresh coat of paint" as I like to think of it. Wickedness never was happiness though.

Well, let me scan again all the questions you had so I don't miss any...

I haven't met Elder Wardle yet, Mom.

Thank you Dad for the talk. I'm printing that off so I can study it further this week. I do hope you know that I love the insights you share with me. I try to answer all the questions you guys have for me but sometimes it's a rush and I forget.

Like right now actually. Got to run! Love you all! I'm glad everyone is safe and in good-spirits.

Hurrah por Israel!
Elder Tuft

Monday, January 12, 2015

Miracles happen every day in the mission.

Hello again Fantastic Family!

This week has felt so long because we've done sooooooo much! We had interviews with President again and that was really great! I always love being with President because he has a great spirit around him and he always is so loving. I shared a little bit with him about what I've learned on my mission so far and then he shared some scriptures with me about the Atonement and how we can apply it more fully in our lives every day and then that was it. It was really uplifting and I always feel like a better person when I'm around him. Following the counsel of leaders is so important. We can't be exactly obedient but we can sure try our hardest! So that's what Elder Huff and I have been working on. We aren't disobedient but we want to be more exactly obedient. I want all the old and baggy missionaries to leave cause I'm sick of them dragging us down with their disobedience.

President shared with me that when he saw my group of missionaries from the MTC he received revelation for the mission. He told us then, and he tells us now, that we are going to change the mission around. He also said that some of the missionaries that arrived in the group after us were included in our group of missionaries that were going to change the mission around. If you ask anyone that knows our group of missionaries, they will say, "They are missionaries on fire!" This generation of missionaries was prepared of God since their infancy. Not only my group of MTC buddies are great but all this generation is filled with desire to serve their best. I love the group of friends that I have. They are truly incredible!

I wanted to share a great story... probably the story of the week. It comes from trying to be exactly obedient and following the guidance of the Spirit at all times. I will always remember this experience. Two gringos in Danli with less than 6 months in the mission still are led by God and still are called to do the work just like those who are more "experienced". This happened on Saturday.

Two or three days ago, we had the good fortune of being on divisions. Elder Huff was with Elder Webb for the day. As they went from appointment to appointment, they came across a less-active member of the church named Kali Lean. He and his wife, Ester, wanted to have us over but Elder Huff had forgotten where they live and we had lost all contact with them. So Elder Huff got the direction of their house and set up an appointment to return. We went back on Thursday and Kali was just running out the door when we arrived. They had asked us if we could dedicate their home because of some bad feelings and things that had transpired in their home. So on Thursday we read the Book of Mormon with them (Ester and one of her friends that we are also visiting). We left after a good lesson with them and we learned a little more about Ester and her family. Kali and Ester are married but I looked by their computer and their mouse pad was a pornographic image. Kali also has had some problem drinking. Ester, on the other hand, is just a doll and is very obedient to the commandments. Ester holds a recommend to go to the Temple and I'm positive that Kali doesn't. The bishop is well aware of their situation, as well, so we are just going to invite the Spirit in their home. We can teach but we cannot counsel anyone, as missionaries.

Tonight we had an appointment with just Kali, Ester, and their two little kids. Before we went, I told Elder Huff that we should pray to be inspired to do what God wanted us to do. We prayed and then left our house to go to the appointment. We arrived there and began to sing hymns while we waited for Kali to get home from work. We sang "Teach Me to Walk in The Light" and "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" and when Kali arrived we sang, "I Stand All Amazed". We said a prayer and then began asking questions. We still didn't know what to teach but during one point while Elder Huff was asking questions, the thought came, "Teach about Eternal Families!" At that moment, Elder Huff said, "God has given us a very precious gift: Our Families." The Holy Ghost had given us both the same revelation and we knew without a doubt that that's what we needed to teach.

We talked about Families, what God wants of us, the commandments, how to be worthy, worthy temple attendance, and how ALL the commandments need to be obeyed to get to the temple (and to heaven). We showed them our temple recommends too. Eventually, Ester had to take care of the baby in the other room and we had some one on one time with her spouse in which we retold all the commandments briefly with him in a strong way that he would understand that he needed to change his life. And after, we taught mercy through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Then we called in his wife to offer the prayer to dedicate the home.

We knelt and I asked Kali to pray and he referred to his wife to pray and so she prayed first before I offered the prayer to dedicate the house. She gave a really nice prayer that invited the Holy Ghost to be with us. All I wanted to say was what God wanted me to say and I know the Holy Ghost is critical to receive revelation.

I began to bless the house and I said the words that came to my mind. Peace came over me and I heard silence even though there was a bustling of cars outside. I remember saying, "Bless this house with..." many times. I don't remember how to say any of what I actually do remember of the prayer in Spanish and so I know that God was helping me with all the words I was saying.

After, I felt even more peace in the home. I remember thinking again about the inappropriate image by the computer and saying to myself, "Why is that here!?"

Now my companion shared some thoughts from his point of view that I'd like to share. He said that I started the prayer like normal but when I started asking for blessings to be with the family and around the home, he said he felt a dense darkness come until in circled around us. He said he felt the darkness walking around us and that every time I said the words, "bless this home..." that darkness began to struggle to fight back. But, every time I repeated those words, the darkness was pushed back until it was gone.

Elder Huff also explained after that, when I started to pray he had a weird and random thought come to his head about what I should say in the prayer. He said he would have these thoughts come into his head like he was giving the prayer and then I would say exactly what he was thinking word-for-word. He said it was kind of like have subtitles on a movie that tell you what the characters are going to say before they actually say the all of it. He said I did that throughout the entire prayer. For example: I remember saying, " Bless this home that all the lies will be cast out." and Elder Huff had those words come to his mind right before I actually said them. But I cannot now translate that sentence off the top of my head without a dictionary.

Most of all, what I gained and learned from this experience is: We are being led by God when we are exactly obedient, God answers all prayers, I'm glad to be a worthy priesthood holder, my testimony has grown from seeing the power of the Spirit work in my life and in the lives of other people, and HE LIVES and LOVES all of His children where ever they are in the world.

I hope that you enjoyed that story. I don't tell it to brag or to show off because there is nothing that I can show off. I just wanted to share that experience and my testimony that this is God's Work. We are His instruments and have nothing if He is not with us. They always say, and it's true, that if you mess up in a lesson, it's completely okay just as long as the Spirit is there with you.

We have a baptism for Fernando Jose this Saturday! He's a nine year old and is so ready to be baptized. His mom is another religion but doesn't go to church and believes that every person should choose their religion or church. When Fernando begged his mom for coffee, she chastised him for forgetting about the Word of Wisdom that we taught him even though she doesn't believe in the church. She is a firm advocate that if he makes this choice, he needs to keep all the commandments so that his baptism is special and sacred to him. She told us, "If that's what he believes then he needs to live by every principle the church teaches." We also have really good ward help to keep Fernando active after we stop teaching him.

We have another random investigator that I've only taught one time, but really positive still, with a baptismal date for Valentines day! He's pretty ready as well. His name is Miguel Antonio. He's really, really smart and loves to read so he's reading the BoM now for the first time. I hope he can keep up his reading so he can finish before his baptism. Leydi will be baptized the first week of March because she needs to wait 40 days before she does anything after the birth of her baby. I had no idea that women had to do that... but ya know, the things teenage boys learn while on the mission. Missions are really good preps for marriage, as everyone says... ;D

Gamali, another investigator (12 years old) has a date set for the end of this month. He's been to church once and, he too, has a good member support system. His mom is a less active and hasn't been back to church since her baptism and confirmation because of her mom becoming a devout Evangelico. So we are reading the BoM with them because we know that she will come back to church if she reads enough of the BoM again. And when she comes back to church and is active, I'm sure Gamali will be baptized soon after. Gamali liked church a lot but he's still meeting people in the ward and growing used to it. He's super chill and loves to just talk about everything with Elder Huff and I when we visit him. We are like his "brothus from othu mothus" :D

So everything is taking shape now. I'm just so happy to have the Gospel in my life. I'm so full of gratitude from my Heavenly Father for all that he has given me and for all the different ways that I can see Him taking me by the hand and lifting me from the places I fall into. He is the All-Merciful, All-Powerful, All-Caring God of all the Earth and the Universes. But above all, I know and comprehend that He is first and foremost My Heavenly FATHER. I know He loves me and I love Him. I know that when we pray He will give to us all we pray for in His own timing. Some blessings come immediately, some come later, and some don't come until heaven. But to those that are faithful, they do come.

Love you family!!! And guess what!? Someday I'll get around to writing you hand-written letters but until then, just suffer with me until I get them all done and sent. HUUUUUUGE hug to all of you and especially you Kristen and Lindsay and Mom and Dad because you all wrote me and especially cause, Kristen, you wrote in my agenda to write you today and I don't have a lot of time to do that. But I hope you heal, and you too Lindsay!!!! Love you guys to the 'Moon and Back' and then to the Eternities! Thanks Mom and Dad for all the insights. Yes, Mom, the buses are from the USA.

Hurrah por Israel,
Elder Spencer Tuft

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Year's 2015! And the first temple trip!!!!

Hello Family!

A lot of crazy things happened this week! Elder Huff and I are doing great and we survived the New Year all right. We were told not to go out to celebrate at night at all on New Years because people fire off guns to celebrate and so we didn't watch any of the celebrations. But we did see a lot of people filling things they call Los Viejos full of fireworks. Like Collin Eaton's letter explains, it's just a giant doll filled with hay and fireworks that they light on fire. The ZL's have a really tall house and so they went out on top of the balcony to watch down below. They caught on camera a Viejo blowing up and shooting fireballs everywhere! Everyone on the street started running and screaming cause they didn't want to get hit. No one got hurt but it was funny to watch later on the camera.

The next morning we went out to work and no one was on the streets. They were all sleeping. All day long it was like a ghost town. The people that were awake looked so drained of energy. All the sane people were at work that day so it was rough as far as the number of lessons we had. All the drunks would call out to us and we'd just ignore them. We didn't have any problems with them this week either. The drunk girls would blow kisses at us though. It's super sad to see so many people throwing their lives away.

We went to the Teguc. temple the other day too! It was a LONG bus ride... probably 2 hours or more. But the session in the temple was fantastic. I forgot to bring my camera this week but next week, if I remember, I'll put pictures on. I just felt so much peace at the temple. I learned a lot and I had a really neat experience.

I thought of Lindsay and I plead for her in the Temple that she would heal and the first verse hit me strongly was:  "Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my friends Sidney and Joseph, your families are well; they are in mine hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power."

So I know that you guys are protected, and I have no worries that everything will be worked out and that everything will happen according to the Lord´s timing. I have prayed for Miranda and for Cindy Anderson and I know that everything will be okay. I love the Holy Ghost because He can bring peace to my heart about so many things.

I wanted to share one more story and then finish up talking about our investigators. I had prayed about three months ago about helping me understand where I'm at in my personal study and understanding of the Gospel. I have prayed to understand my doubts and then to have faith. And I think I've figured it all out, I just have to apply all that I've learned. The day after the temple trip and then the next day I received the last part of the revelation I've been seeking. So here goes...

I'm learning lots about trust and following with faith. I have sought, in frequent prayer, help in my life from divine guidance. Not of my own conscious doing, these two words in the topic of introspection have taught me a lot. 1) We must trust and have faith to follow Christ. 2) When we trust the Lord and not blindly follow Him, we can see where we stand in personal progress and in life. Those who blindly follow will become lost or will forever feel lost.
So, how can we remove the blindness so we can follow Him with Faith? 1) We must be and have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, however weak or strong. 2) We must cast out ALL sin. Malignant sin causes us to be blind followers of Christ. The correct application of the Atonement allows us to trust Him more, and faithfully follow Him --- True Discipleship.

So I have a testimony that prayers can be answered!

As far as our investigators go, we had a little kid in church come up to us and tell us he wants to be baptized and that he wants to be baptized this Saturday. I thought he was a member but I guess a family in the ward has been bringing him to church every week and his family isn't a part of the church. So we're going to teach him all the lessons this week and get permission from his parents. If everything goes smoothly, we'll have a baptism. I hope the parents don't have a problem with it. The family that bring him says they'll be his support in the church to bring him and take him home every week so that he can go with out a problem.

Damaris told us that she wants to wait until her mom comes to visit so she can talk to her and then decide if she wants to get baptized. Her mom is coming this month sometime (I hope). She also just needs to take a leap of faith and go to church! She always says she will but then she doesn't so we're going to keep bringing members to help her out.

We also found a less active that was baptized, knows all the doctrine, knows it's all true, but hasn't been back to church since her mom started going to the Evangelico Church. She's now in her early 30´s and has one boy who's 12 years old. We're working to get them to church again. Her son isn't baptized but we found out he loves to read and so we read 1 Nefi 1 with him and he just ate it up. So we invited them to read the whole BoM and we're going back tonight to see how much they've read. We were made the promise by Elder Duncan from the Seventy that if we read the Book of Mormon with our less actives, they would return to church and so that's what we're doing. The boy's name is Gamali, and his mother is named Claudia.

Leydi is still very pregnant but we're going to ask if she wants to be baptized and then have the baby born this week. I hope she'll be able to. She's come sooooo far. From what Elder Huff has told me, she used to be a smoker and really dark looking and not positive at all. Then they went back one day and she had changed her entire life around and had began to accept Elder Huff and his old companion. She said, "I still have doubts about Joseph Smith, but I know that if I go forward with faith, then God will bless me with that testimony eventually." So she's ready and we taught more about Joseph Smith and prophets and she's doing better. Next time, we'll ask her about what she feels and if she's been praying to know for herself.

We had a fiery lesson with Adita's mom the other day. We took members to their house and we were going to teach about the Book of Mormon and José Smith and she threw a fit and started accusing us of worshiping Joseph Smith, and the members kept telling her we didn't but she didn't want to listen to MEMBERS tell her what we believed. Eventually, we all bore our testimonies about what we had taught and I told her, "Hermana, we have given you all that you need to know our church is the only true church and you haven't read anything or prayed sincerely, even though you have lied to us and said you've read the entire Book of Mormon. I know you don't want to accept anything we have to say but we want to warn you, if you don't let your children have the truth in their lives, God will hold you responsible." So that was fun. The bishop's daughter asked us afterward, "Is that how your lessons are always?" And YES, our lessons are very frequently full of people telling us what we believe.

The people here in La Concepción say they have read and understand the Bible but they don't get anything. If they truly understood the Bible then they would accept the Book of Mormon. It is the only completely true book in the entire world.

We did talk to the teenagers from last week again, but this time their mom was there and she talked for an hour and a half straight. She pulled out meaningless scriptures and then yelled at us as we sat their listening and then in the end I said, "Con todo respecto Hermana, no estoy de acuerdo con nada sobre lo que dijo." ("Sister with all due respect, I disagree with what you've said.") And we sang a Hymn, said a prayer, and left. Sammy, one of the Teenagers that stayed the whole time just looked so embarrassed about her mom yelling and preaching nonsense to us. The questions we asked the mom, she couldn't respond to and just started yelling about other meaningless topics. She thinks the Holy Ghost and authority to baptize are the same thing... soooo she's a bit misinformed.

We were sick with gripe and tos (flu and cough) this week but we're recovering. It only took us out of one day of work and we're back on our feet now. When the climate changes, it happens to a lot of people. It rained this weekend too! So whatever app you're using to give me the weather, Mom, it works just fine.

I'm happy to hear that Kristen's getting settled in at USU and I hope to see some exciting changes for her in the next 10 days! :D Love you Kristen!

Love you guys! You always make me smile and give me hope. I love hearing from all of you! Have a great week! The Lord is watching over all of his Children!

Hurrah por Israel!
Elder Spencer Tuft

P.S.  I'm also sending this letter to Elder Huff's Mom cause he asked me to, and to Morgan because he thinks he'll have time to read all of my letters with his iPad.  (And YES, the taser hurt for about five minutes, Mom!)