Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ana's Baptism, AP divisions, Zone Conference

Hello Mom and Dad,

I'm happy you're doing better this week Mom. Sounds like a lot of things have gone on at home but the important thing is that everyone is safe and sound at home. And Mom, wasn't it you that always sang, "There is beauty all around, when there's NO one is home."??? Haha just a joke. 

This week we had a baptism that I forgot to tell you guys about. Ana got baptized this week. We broke the curse of Mongollanos finally. It's been 8ish months here without a baptism. Ana is really good and the baptism went well. She got out of the font and I had to go back in to undo the water stop so the font would drain, and when I got out, Ana was crying in her sister's arms. We asked her how she felt after the baptism and she said she felt overwhelmed with happiness. Her sister piped in and said, "Ana was crying!" Ana's Dad told me, "Joven, you have the gift of baptism!" I just had to laugh at that. We explained everything about the Holy Ghost and the confirmation to Ana and her family after. 

Ana's sister, Elizabeth, has been preparing to get baptized, as well. She reads more than anyone and she really wants to know if it's true. She said that she feels it's true. But Elizabeth has to get married to her partner (or move out) if she wants to get baptized. Her partner is a member, as well, but he doesn't want to go back to church. Elizabeth is also getting ready to have her third child and it's a girl. She's due very, very soon. They are really great people. Ana's Mom is trying to stop smoking. We asked her if she had cigarettes in her house and she said she had one and that she only smokes one before going to bed. She said it helps relax her and that she can't sleep without it. We told her that if she wanted to stop smoking she had to get rid of it. She told us she'd keep it there as a reminder to not smoke and we told her that was a bad idea. So we came back the next day and said, "Hermanos, I smoked. I'm so sorry." And we just had to explain to her that she's not hurting us but she's hurting herself, her family, and Heavenly Father. So she bought some little candies to chew instead of smoking at night and she's struggling but she's not giving up.

That's all for this week. The shoe pictures I'll send with Hna Bowler tomorrow. I'll see her I bet in the Zone Conference tomorrow. If not, I found a way to transfer fotos to my USB from my camera with magic :) and so I'll get them to you next Monday

Mister Spencer James

Friday, July 24, 2015

Learning from Elder Laureano

Hey Dad and Mom,

It's great to see that everything is going good for you both and the family. I'm doing great here in Mongollanos. We got some rain this week, which was great... hot rain that is. But we had fun playing in the rain as we walked. We found a Catholic guy and he let us in to talk while the rain passed. We asked if we could share a message with him and he agreed that it would be appropriate. So we explained the Restoration with him and he told us, "I respect your beliefs," many times throughout the lesson and towards the end he became unsure of himself and started to be convinced but then he put up that wall again and closed his heart to us. He told us that it was tradition in his family to be Catholic and that he was happy there. So we left. But I'm glad he could at least recognize and respect the truth even when he didn't want to accept it into his life. He was very different from other people. Maybe later, missionaries will pass by and talk to him and perhaps baptize him from seeds planted in the past.

I'll try to respond to all your questions this week as best as I can.

Elder C. went to a neighboring city just south of us. He's still serving as Zone Leader there as well. I got along with him fine but I wasn't going to be buddies with him. I have a deep respect and love for him and for what he taught me. But we did struggle once in a while. He would stop in the street and just tell me, "Elder, what you did back there bugged me," and then he would talk about it for a while and tell me to change it. He did it in a loving way but it was hard to have the Spirit with us when he wouldn't tell me, forgive me, and LET IT GO. But I appreciate what he taught me and what he helped me to become. Elder C. is from Peru by the way.

Elder Laureano is a relaxed companion. I love the way he energizes people and he's very creative with the way he does things. He's helps me think outside the box a lot to try and help the zone grow and learn. They are doing really good right now. He's on top of everything and he's never afraid to call anyone to make sure things get done. With Elder C., we taught the DL's and let the DL's teach the districts. Now we are taking a more active part in the zone to get them moving. We are constantly looking for ways to make sure everyone is happy and teaching the gospel with the Holy Ghost.

YOU ARE STALKING ME DAD! Just freaked me out a little bit with the photo and all. I wasn't expecting to see the chapel I attend attached to my email... San Lorenzo is a popular place just to pass by and stay a night here.

The branch is growing in enthusiasm but they need to be more obedient. I heard the mission will be split soon. They'll make a mission in the South that will have 200 missionaries of it's own. It'll be interesting and great. Probably, I won't be here when it happens though.

A typical week is the same as a normal missionary with more planning and more running around. That's all. We do divisions once every week and we call the DL's a lot to remind them what they need to be doing and to teach them little things to help their districts.

Still don't have the picture of my shoes to upload. Well, I have the pictures just not the way to upload them. I'll get them to you somehow.

Mom your week looks busy and poor Audrey is just like her uncle now... :P (Referring to stitches in her chin.)

Well, my companion needs to write and we don't have much time. The temple was really peaceful and I got to reflect a lot about the Atonement there. It was a good refresher just to feel the peace of the temple and to remember the covenants I've made. I got to see the OLD video and I think I like the new one more.  It normally takes 4 or 5 hours on the bus to get to the temple from here.

It made me happy to see Nate Shaw all suited up to go out and serve in the mission field. Tell him hello for me and wish him luck!

Love you to the moon and back! 😁
Elder Spencer James
Hurrah por Israel!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Elder Laureano is my new companion

Hi Mom and Dad,

I'm sorry but I won't have much time to write today either. I have to split my hour with Elder Laureano, my new companion. He's really great. He's from the Dominican Republic and has 17 months in the mission. But He's really laid back and helping me learn a lot of new things. It was quite the contrast from Elder Cruz. I got to see a stressful side of the mission and now I get to see a laid back side of the mission. In both cases we were and are working really hard and being obedient always.

I'll figure out how to get a picture of my shoes to you somehow. (They are under a 2 year warranty with Missionary Mall in Orem.)

It didn't feel like 115 degrees the other week but I think that's because I'm adjusting to the heat.

We haven't been able to find Jimmy in his house and able to talk to us for this week but we did find him a few times and invited him to the activities and to church and he came to all of them. He's ready to be baptized but he just has to set a goal and reach that goal to stop smoking.

Suyapa and her family are doing great. Turns out the the guy she doesn't have any kind of relations with the current man living in her house, Juan. But they need to be separated or married to be baptized. Ana will be baptized on the 25th this month. Elizabeth is living with a inactive member of the church and he is really uncomfortable talking with us but Elizabeth wants to be baptized and wants the gospel soooo much in her life. She loves the church and she's seen changes in her life already. Ana has had the same feelings and experiences as well.

Misael... Well we've heard he has problems with the law of chastity and we don't know for sure. And he keeps telling us he'll come to church and then he doesn't come. So, we cancelled the baptism for him this week. I don't know if he'll be baptized quite yet. He's not ready.

Living conditions here are still normal. Pila to wash clothes, small fridge, small stove. The kitchen sink is the bathroom sink... stuff like that but it's really clean. The owner is really nice and helps us out a lot. We have air conditioning (what a blessing!!!) But we only use it for 4 hours and then we shut the door to keep it cool during the night. It mostly stays cool but sometimes in the middle of the night, I wake up and turn it on again. Our house is small but I'm glad! We don't have to clean as much if it's small.

Mamá, ¿estás trunky? :D  I do know my release date. Some one calculated it in my group at the beginning of our two years and so all the district that I came with knows when they go home. Don't be asking if I got my travel plans yet.... That's sooo far away still.

I do not think I will find spray bottles her in the south. We have one store called the Dispensa Familiar and it has very little of what we're used to in the united states. But it's a great store and satisfies our needs. I've never seen spray bottles here, only in Teguc.

We are going to the temple tomorrow at 4 in the morning and then we have our session at 12.

Dad, My area is called Mongollanos. The zone is named San Lorenzo. There are 20 missionaries in the zone with 8 sisters and 12 elders. San Lorenzo is really hot... I had to shower twice in one day once. I love cold water showers here.

We are working with a member family that is way active and they are helping us with some visits. Elder Cruz and I prayed that someone would come and help us with the branch here and one week later this family moved in with the mom of the husband. They come from a ward in the north part of Honduras that has more than 400 members every Sunday. They are great members in the church. Emilio is the dad and Allison is the mom. Allison is very pregnant as well with a baby boy. Emilio is starting a pastry shop in his house first and then they'll get bigger as they go. As for other members this week, we had an activity for the adult members to go on visits and splits with us for an hour and that was a success. This week we had 69 people come to church. We also had 6 investigators come to church. Some of them we've only visited once. We will be making visits to them this week.

Got to go now :D Love you and Thanks for the pictures. I tried to answer all the questions.

Elder Tuft
Hurah por Israel!

Monday, July 6, 2015

This week is Changes...

 Hey Mom and Dad, (and everyone else)

This week was a great week. Not much has happened for us. We did talk to all the more positive investigators but I won't tell you everything that has happened with them, just a few notes about them:

We went to Jimmy's house to visit him at 8 pm and Elder Cruz and I were so devastated by all the drinking, smoking, and PDA in the streets from teenagers my age and younger, that he could tell something was up. So we told him that it was really hard for us to see so many drugs. We told him it's hard to help someone that doesn't want help. Then my companion asked to use the bathroom and while he was in the bathroom, I asked Jimmy, "How did you overcome all the temptation to give in to drugs while you were a teen?" and he started to tell me his whole story about having an addiction to smoking and he talked about friends being a weakness. I remembered one phrase that Elder De Jesus told Hno Moncada in El Sitio to help him leave the world and his old friends, "Hermano, they aren't your friend if they want to hurt you or invite you to do bad things. Friends only help. They never want to hurt." Jimmy told us that he wasn't planning on telling us about his addiction until after he had overcome it. He has been trying to overcome it ever since we started visiting him but he's said it's been so hard. But now we can help him :D

Ana and her sister (Elizabeth) were going to come to church this week but Elizabeth is having birthing pains (I don't know what those are called) and is about to give birth to her baby. So Ana insisted on going still, and her dad (he's a really hard man to teach the gospel to), decided he couldn't leave Ana to walk alone to church and back, so he came with us. AND HE LOVED IT! So doors are opening to get the whole family to come to church, little by little. The dad also said to a few members, "Go visit my wife. She's the one taking the discussions and she's the only one who hasn't come yet to church." So he recognizes the blessing the church is in his life and he has seen how the atmosphere of his home has been changing for the better.

Well, we've got changes this week and there will be a lot of changes because a few missionaries need to leave because they're whining too much, and other missionaries are finishing and other missionaries have safety issues with a few locos in their branch. So there will be some changes.

Happy Fourth! And Happy birthdays Aunt Julie & Uncle Scott!!! :D I'm half way through the journey ;D jajaja

Mom, I got the package but the bag you sent that was see through, someone robbed from the time we boarded the bus to the time when we got off. And here the bus drivers don't care so we got off and the driver drove off. But I got the box you sent. Thanks for the ties and skittles. I was getting bored of the same ties over and over.

Dad, we do divisions frequently here because there are missionaries who get discouraged quickly and stop being efficient and so we have to help them be better. We also have a former AP in our zone that thinks he's hot stuff and won't listen to us. Go figure! He doesn't have much success in his area because he won't listen to our advice. We did nothing for the 4th. Just ate Skittles :D But I wore Red, white and blue!

I'll talk to President about the money issue but we'll see if anything changes. Recently there have been missionaries being disobedient and wasting the money on personal items like speakers and guitars, etc. So right now might not be a good time to talk to him about giving us even MORE money... :D

I'll try to get you a picture of my shoes. We'll see if Hna Bowler can take a picture at Changes.

Elder Tuft
Hurrah por Israel!