Monday, May 25, 2015

Two weeks in one blog... Mouse/Bat...and Memorial Day, hard work

Hello Mom! (This letter is from last week, May 18th. He wrote to his mom and dad separately because he had some other things to discuss he didn't want on the blog. I will omit those items and this is it.)

Thanks for still writing so late though. You can always write in the morning before 10 and I'll get your letter though :D.

Harold Navarro just got his hair cut recently and the barber was a little drunk and he didn't realize it until the sides of his hair were completely chopped off. He wrote, "Sadly they had to leave my hair much shorter than I wanted. I didn't notice that the barber was a little drunk before he started and he left me two chimones.

President Bowler just called me and needs me to meet him somewhere so I have to finish up real quickly with this week.

We went mouse hunting in our house last night and I caught him in a box. We don't have gloves but Elder Johns has a slingshot so we were going to cut through the box and then shoot the littler critter but as I opened the top of the box and started looking for the mouse, this flying rodent leaps at me and runs up my arm and then jumps for the door and escaped. Darn! hahaha right after that, I went to go to the bathroom out in the backyard baño and there was a bat in our yard. So I hid in the bathroom and shut the door but then it flew into the bathroom and I shot out of that bathroom like lightning and screaming like a little girl at 1130 at night (we weren't going to be on time with a mouse and a bat in our house). So that was adventurous and we're doing okay. If that grosses you out, just don't worry. It was really funny :D. (This made me laugh SO HARD! But I'm grateful it turned out like this and no biting/rabies allowed!)

Hard week this week but just pray for this ward. They aren't doing so well. You can read Dad's letter but I didn't want to write about all the problems to the family or to the world. So that's why I wrote personal letters today.

Love you,
Hey Dad, (Written 18 May also.)

I love you and I'm always smiling and happy reading your letters. This week, I wanted to write you a personal letter because I don't want some of this on the blog to the world. I'm still reading your letter but as I read, I'll be writing as well.

Nothing much has changed from last week with the ward. They continually are a bit discouraging but that's why I'm pressing forward with faith.

Elder J and I are doing great and we had a few investigators and less-actives come to the activity on Thursday, which was great!  I've been praying and I feel the Holy Ghost in my life and in the lessons and I'm still learning every day how to teach the lessons better but it just seems like all the doors are closing on us after we invite them to be baptized. I feel that God loves us and that we are doing what we need to do but it's hard. He's here with us in every step. I know He wants us to keep moving forward and thinking and coming up with new ideas. I normally ask Heavenly Father what we need to be doing, but recently I feel like He's been asking us, "What do you think?" That's a really hard situation but I do feel like God is guiding us all the time.

I like the dental illustration to help show the principle of faith and I just quickly thought about if I could share it or not with investigators but I think not.  It's a little advanced that they wouldn't understand. Plus, many of them NEVER brush their teeth... :P

Who is your companion for your home teaching? I'm happy that they are all doing well and I'll enjoy coming home to see them again. :D

Love you Dad! This area has gotten pretty hard, and even Elder J commented, "What did we do to deserve all this crap?" I never stop smiling though. I never stop praying. I just keep teaching the humble and those that want to listen whether they be members or non-members alike. I wrote President about this too and I hope to get a response. I'll probably only be here for a week more anyway. I just don't want to leave this area in such poor condition.


Now for this week =====================
Hi Mom,

I'm doing great this week. I get a lot of letters and I only have 10 minutes to write at the end... sometimes I go over the hour so I can tell you a little more and so you can enjoy hearing from me. But I also know of the blessings that come from being EXACTLY obedient. So today may be rushed but I hope to get everything to you and Dad just fine.

President Bowler came to town right when I wrote you last week and so I had to go meet him to get the phones for my ZL's and another pair of missionaries because their broke or lost theirs. So, president couldn't call them to come meet them so he called me. I got to talk to him for just a moment and get some advice for how to work with the ward. He told me to go to the bishop and ask with all sincerity, "Bishop, what can I do for YOU this week?" So I did just that and the bishop just shooed me away. So, I got to thinking and I decided that I was going to do everything to show him that we are working as hard as week can with the members and less-actives and bring them to church.

As a result, we brought four NEW investigators to church this week that are looking possitive and one talked to a member and said, "I'm getting baptized next month!" So, the ward energy increased and I hope the Bishop felt that energy. We also talked to him and shared with him the plans for the night time and he had a few suggestions that we followed through with and now we'll report to him tonight. Things are looking optimistic.

We challenged 59 people this week to be baptized and we have 11 that excepted dates for baptism and so we just need to follow through and prepare them and help them to pray to find an answer.

Send Brad a little message from me regarding his upcoming graduations (Congrats this week!) & mission (I hope!). I had to answer some really hard questions for myself while I was serving at first. But as I have prayed and been diligent and trusting in the spiritual confirmations (however small or big they were) that I have received in my life, I was able to gain a more powerful testimony of the divinity of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was a very dark 2 to 4 months but I made it. :D And it's sooo worth the wait and the tests. Just pray!

Mom, I've always had a testimony of the Gospel and of the reality that this is Christ's living church, but on the mission I had to realize what it meant to have that testimony. There is no where I would rather be than in the temple. And that's one of the things that has let me know of the truthfulness of the Gospel. Sometimes, in trials, we focus on the "here and now" of things. But as we focus less on the bushes of thorns that surround us and try to look through to see the light, we will be able to see the temple on the other side. The eternal perspective is always better.

I'll let you know next week if I have changes. It's been 6 months here in Danli, 6 great months.

Have fun with all the great activities. It was weird seeing that Missy (Lindsay) driving. And she's lucky that she didn't have to wait until her permit came in the mail like I had to wait for mine. I remember, I got to drive the car from the driveway to the garage for my first time driving. Second time was in the parking lot with you and the third was on the FREEWAY with Dad! And we didn't die!!! :D Don't let me touch a car when I get back unless I'm with you guys! They drive really crazy here!

Love you,
Little Mister Spencer James
Hey Dad,

Love reading yours and mom's letters always. Yes, I'm smiling and happy here in Danli. I'll miss these people if I go this change. I don't know what to expect but I can bet that I'm not going to the south where the mosquitoes are.

I'm glad Memorial Day has gone well for you all and that you were able to spend time with Grandma and the family. It's so cute to see that little Audrey and see her growing up. She is quite the character.

If I'm going this Wednesday, then I'll do the things you asked me to do to start off the week well with the ward. I don't want another catastrophe with the ward.

I am a true believer that if we are anxiously engaged in a good cause, then we will never fall into the depths of temptation and of sin. I know that the solution for all doubt and all sadness and all of Satan's lies, is HARD and DILIGENT WORK. "Work, work, work. There is no better remedy." So that's what I will do... for the rest of my life.

We've not turned the area completely around yet but we have turned ourselves around. I've become a better missionary, I can feel it. Even though I'm not perfect, I can still do what God needs me to do because I choose to be good without guile and because I love and want to do what HE wants me to do. The mission has once again, changed me. OR I should say that God has changed me by small and simple ways that confound the wise.

Can't write much more but I love you and appreciate your great example for me. If I can be like you, I could eventually become like my Savior. Love you Dad!

¡Hurrah por Israel!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Happy Mother's Day, Starting from Square One

Spencer on Mother's Day 2015 Skype with Kristen, Megan, Thomas and kids upper right, Jess, Milo and Kyle middle right, and Pam, Brian, Lindsay and Giavanna lower right. (Giavanna finally got to meet Spencer.)
Hey Family,

It was so great to talk to you yesterday. I loved seeing all of you and seeing that you're all doing well. What a miracle it is to be able to talk to all of you from three different places at a single time!

This week, like I told you yesterday, was really difficult to find people who are willing to listen. It's also been a little difficult with Elder J. and helping him to teach in the lessons more. I worry about this area and I don't want to leave but at the same time I feel like it's been long enough. I love Danli a lot. I'm going to be thinking and praying a lot in these next few days for guidance in helping get this area going again. Everything died in the area while I was sick. We had 25 lessons with investigators this week and that was a huge jump from previous weeks but we still are lacking in the progressing investigator part of the conversion process.

The hardest part of mission work here (Mom commented on this in her letter) was that it's a difficult message to understand if you don't comprehend the need for a living prophet and living revelation in God's LIVING church. But we had an experience yesterday after talking with you guys that might help. We taught Stuard's Grandma about prophets and that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And with many other EXAMPLES, we were able to show what a prophet is and how God uses them to accomplish His work here on Earth. We explained about the Great Apostasy and then I shared the Restoration and First Vision part. The only problem that she has now is that she was thinking that the story of Joseph Smith was in the Bible but we'll clear that up in the next visit.

I've had to explain the Restoration so many times now but I didn't realize until I was with Elder Huff that I needed to explain prophets so thoroughly. I get it now though :D

Also this week, I've been trying to trust in God more and more and I feel like He's testing me a lot. I feel like He's done a "Hands-off" approach to help me learn. I pray and pray for guidance but I never get an answer except, "Press Forward." I don't understand at all but I'm learning, I think, that sometimes it's enough if only Heavenly Father understands. His thoughts are higher than my thoughts; His ways are higher than my ways. It would still be helpful to receive some guidance though to help this ward grow.

I talked with my companion last night and asked him why he thought that this area was so hard and not progressing and our thoughts were that it's either a test from God or that we are not being obedient in something. I'm trying to be obedient in every moment- going to bed and waking up on time, following the schedule of the day, never wasting time, practicing the lessons, studying the lessons- but something isn't working right. I'm sure God will let reveal what we need to do to help fix it though in these next few weeks.

Love you tons,
Elder Tuft

Hurrah por Israel!

PS Congrats to all those Mothers in the World! And to Brittany and Ty! Congrats to Nathan Shaw for the Mission Call! Hit the ground running!

Dad, Thanks for the Family History stories! I printed off a HUGE family history chart and it looks great. I hope the presentation on Thursday will go well. Thanks for your help and mom's help too! Don't over-do it on your foot Mom!

Monday, May 4, 2015

I love challenges! Yay!

Muy, muy buenos dias a todos!

It was an interesting week to say the least. Elder Johns and I are doing great and we're doing everything we can to revive this area. It's like opening an area again basically. We dropped Damaris and many other investigators that we've had for a while because they are not progressing and don't want to progress right now. So, we're starting at square one. We have a lot of new investigators and we'll see how it goes with them or not.

Honduras just keeps getting weirder by the day. We've had a lot of interesting encounters with many people especially anti-mormon people ignoring us and/or talking bad about the church.

On Thursday we talked about overcoming the fear of men. So now we are expected to desafiar every person in every first lesson, without exceptions. We also are expected to desafiar in the streets. We've been told to not waste time with people that say they don't want to be baptized or don't want to try. We've found a lot of people that surprisingly would be baptized if they receive an answer. So it's a lot of change for us. It's really hard too because that means that we get to feel more sadness when people tell us "no". They say that all churches are God's church and that God won't come for just a church but will judge us for our hearts and desires. And in that way they harden their hearts against hearing the restored gospel. But I read in Alma 8: 10-20 and I felt that those verses were written for all of the missionaries in Honduras and in the world. It's sometimes hard to find the people who are ready for baptism but if we don't look for everyone and talk to everyone, we will never know.

Love you family! GTG now. Talk to you about 4 o'clock my time on Sunday!

Spencer Tuft
Hurrah por Israel!

Mom, I got the oils from Elder Rigby. One cedarwood and four terrashield. And your letter didn't come again... :( but I got the two pictures you sent.

Dad, I didn't do the interview but I'll do it soon. The Liahonas should get here within the next few weeks and I'll read it then. I have it marked in my study journal which talks I want to re-study first.

And Elder Johns is learning to be more obedient now. He was really really disobedient in his last area... like playing video games and watching TV in members houses. But that's all changing. He tells me everyday, "You're so fletch man." But he's learning. And I'm learning to look inward at myself before I start to judge him and I feel like that's really working well for us. A wise man once said, "An example is stronger than words." and then I can always hear the words in my head, "Is it I?" before I hear, "Is it him?"