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!)