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