Monday, September 28, 2015

Carmen's Baptism, Ely, and Fran

Hellooo Family Tuft,

Lots of happenings! Wow, that is a plateful for the week. Felicidades Kristen and Ian! Se ven felices and muy bien en las fotos que me mandaron. Felicidades! (Congratulations Kristen and Ian! They look happy and well in the pictures they sent me. Congratulations!) :D Love and miss you all! Lindsay, I hope you had a fantastic time at the dance and that you can focus again on your studies! :D Boys aren't worth it... hahaha

Carmen's baptism went really well! We finished within 45 minutes and a few members were able to come and show support. Carmen didn't invite her family and so we talked to the oldest grandson (Marcelo) living in her house (her kids live in Teguc now and are grown up) and he told us that it was a great surprise for him to hear about Carmen getting baptized and he told us, "If there is a true church in this world, it's the Mormon church. There's a special feeling there. I'll be visiting there again soon." We'll wait and see what God does with Marcelo.

The confirmation went well and then after church we went and visited with Carmen and reminded her about the confirmation and why they put their hands on her head. So we explained that again and in the last prayer, Carmen paused and you could tell that she felt the Holy Ghost in her prayer and that was neat. We had just taught her and then she had a small learning experience after learning.

Then we met Ely (pronounced Ellie) and she's really nice. We found her outside of her house studying to graduate late (she's 22 years old) and we taught her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon as evidence of the Restoration and I asked her, "Would you like to read the Book of Mormon?" She could've said that she was busy with examines and tests and finishing school but she said that she would love to read it. We'll see how far she progresses this following appointment but I felt like she was really excited to learn about a church with convincing evidence that it's the true church.

We also met a really big (fat) man this week named Fran. He's from Cuba!!! He works in selling fish food from Nebraska here in Honduras. He believes that there is a God but he doesn't know who he is or why he exists. But his questions are good questions. I just felt right while teaching him. He's a special guy.

We also taught a less-active family this week and when we got there, two friends of the son (19 years old) were there and listened to us as well. One is Catholic but we had planned earlier in the morning to go teach them about prayer of Joseph Smith and how we can pray and receive answers from God too! Well, Emerson, the Catholic friend, was really interested and he asked us towards the end, "Where can a buy a Book of Mormon?" And we gave him a book right a way of course! :D Then that less active came back to church for the first time in many years!!! I was super happy to see them there and now the son, William, is reading the Book of Mormon too and I hope he gets to serve a mission! That would be awesome :D

The Gospel is such a gift and it's super precious to me because I've seen the way Christ has changed my life and the life of all those who accept us and listen to us. It's such a great feeling to know that God is happy with you as a missionary even though it's not always easy.

Love you family,
Elder Tuft

PS - Dad, thanks for the stories! I enjoyed the orange juice story and I'll read the other one later. Hope you guys are having fun on the zip line. Tell Allison Baily hi for me. (We ran into her at the zipline where she works. She thought Spencer was my brother. Made MY day so I texted him from the top of the mountain about his friend, Allison!)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Great Week working with Retention

Hello Family,

This week was great Family! Nothing HUGE happened but I'm excited for what we did and the things that we are going to do this week.

I went on divisions with a DL in my zone (Elder Quintanar) and I tried to help him just by working hard and motivating him. We went to a less active's house and he had left the assignment from the last visit they had to read 3 Nephi 18. She had read it and loved it a lot. I asked her why she liked it and she said because she liked the part about the sacrament. So I asked her straight up, "What impedes you from taking the sacrament with us this week in church?" And she started crying in her hands and told us about a relationship that she had with a guy while being married with her husband. She told us how scared she was to tell anyone and especially her husband and the president of the branch. Before we left she thanked us for coming and said that she felt a lot better and had a lot more courage to do what's right. So I talked to Elder Quintanar about how she was doing and he said that she's talked to the Branch President and with her husband and that everything is still intact with the relationship with her husband and that she's making it back to the right path and has repented of what she's done. When I heard that, I was super happy!!! :D Her name was 'E' and she's an awesome lady. I'm super glad that she's doing so much better now and I bet she's much happier now than she was before. There's something about repentance that brings confidence, peace and comfort to our souls. That something is our Savior's love and mercy. I love the words in the hymn, "Amazing Grace" when thinking about the Atonement.

I wrote this in my journal this week and I wanted to share it with you guys: Love people for who they are. Love, because if you don't then you will hate. We can never stand still. I've tried to stand still and not change and it's not possible. we will always be changing and moving, but we choose if we will change for the good or the bad. So choose to love so that you don't start to hate.

We went to President Oscar Flores' house this week. It started to rain super hard and there was lots of lightning. In fact, lightning struck the roof of his neighbor's house!!! That was a freaky moment! I almost fell out of my chair! But everything was alright. President Oscar is really happy with what we are doing in the branch. We taught him our plan that we are adapting to every family and we are seeing great results. This week we had about 15 more people in church! 51 PEOPLES! :D We are (I'm) hoping to have 100 in church by Christmas.

Last Sunday, we gave a blessing to little Olvin (son of a member in the branch) because he was having stomach problems. I asked him, "Olvin, do you have faith?" and he said he did. So we gave him a blessing and he left that room healed. They didn't buy medicine or give him any remedies. This last Thursday, we talked to his mom (we didn't know he had been healed) and she told us the good news. Olvin's faith healed him. I just connected two things as well: our faith heals us physically and erases our sins like in the story of Enos. Faith is the action we take to follow Christ and if we follow him, he heals us. All the pain, sorrow, sickness, and trials can be healed and attended to through the process of faith and repentance. "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him." Moroni 10

Dad, in the conference with President Nelson, we also were told to testify that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that President Monson has been called of God in the modern days. "Testify of God's work and you will be a happy missionary."

We were also told to study the following topics:
Abrahamic Covenant
Tree of Life
Fall of Adam and Eve
Covenant and Pact
Jesus Christ (his example)
Life Eternal

At the end President Nelson gave us two pieces of advice: 1. Hebrews 13:7 (embrace the faith of your leaders); 2. Tell president Bowler when your converts and their kids and grandkids go to the temple.

Got to go! Thanks for the fotos! I'm sending some to the family as well! :D Hope you like them.

Elder Tuft
Hurrah por Israel!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Zone Conference and Interviews, Carmen Sarabia, Families, God Answers us

Hello Family!

First off, sorry Dad, I forgot the notes from Elder Nelson. The good news is that I have my journal here to highlight the good things from this week. I have to type fast, so my apologies if it's a bit scrambled.

The APs came to our house to sleep the night before the Interviews and Zone Conference. The interviews went really well and President said, "Elder Tuft, keep doing what you did before. Keep doing it because it works. Keep doing what you are doing as well. Don't forget the principles you have learned in order to learn new things from God." I also told him a little about the people that I've seen go astray and how it shocked me a lot that some people in the Gospel can lose themselves in the world. He shared with me that it can happen to anyone and that we often will be shocked by what people do and say, "But that's not like them!" We often will find, as well, that bad people will shockingly turn to the light and become really refined servants of God.

I thought a lot about Saul and about the Prodigal Son this week. They have similarities in their stories. And the words hit me really hard when I read, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" I just had a good moment to reflect and imagine those words and imagine God's love for us. 

  22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
  23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
  24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

Carmen Sarabia is the one that will be baptized. She set her date for the 25th at 10am to be baptized. This week she came to church on her own! She walked out her house and called a taxi. I can just imagine her saying something like, "Take me to the Mormon Church... I'm going to be baptized there!" We challenged her to read the BoM in 3 months and she's a month into that challenge and she's already past Enos! :D She was a miracle that we found. She told us, "Joseph Smith is a Prophet because the BoM is true. When is my baptismal date?" She's a super humble woman and she stopped drinking coffee immediately after listening to us. She and her family don't drink now.

We taught a family this week. It's actually Misael's family. We went to a house to teach Vicente and Lilian (other family) and her daughter came two minutes after we arrived (and Misael is her cousin on her Dad's side) so Misael came, as well. Then the Lilian's Mom came and so we ended up teaching the WHOLE FOUR generations from the Grandma to her great-grand daughter. They were all beaming as we taught them. They were going to come to church but then Misael got a fever (Dengue) and they went to the hospital and he's doing better now.

I know God answers prayers. I have been asking him why the mission is so hard and why I don't feel the same spirit like I did in my ward at home. And this week I received my answer when a member from Choluteca came to our ward to visit and talked about making San Lorenzo into a ward. He said that the same spirit that you have in a Stake will not be found in a District because the Mantel and the Keys of the Stake President are not given to the District President and that goes with Bishops and Branch Presidents as well. I don't know if that makes sense but it opened up my eyes and now I'm not so hard on myself. I felt like this whole time I was doing something wrong or that I wasn't doing something about changing the branch. I learned that the change will come but it takes patience and love and leadership.

Love you,
Elder Tuft

Sorry if I didn't respond to your questions but I read your letters! Thanks for letting me know about Miss Erlene! Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY KYLE!🎉

"Just Keep Swimming. What'chu gonna do? You just keep swimming!" - Dory, from Finding Nemo

Monday, September 7, 2015

We're Marching On and 9-11

Hello Family,

You guys are great. I love my family so much! Here's a hug to each one of you (even if I've never met you before).

I got the packages this week when we went to Teguc to have a Zone Leader Conference. I loved the ties! And Mom, I've lost no weight but I've gotten taller, or so they say. The new suit will have to be fixed at the bottom to be made longer (already!). And the pants you sent are great but I'll have a tailor take them in so that they fit me better. Thank you for sending those! :D I love the Peanut Butter sandwiches that I've had in the past few days as well. I'm using the Homemade Repellent everyday now and I think it's working. Right now there aren't hardly any mosquitoes though (It's way too hot). You won't need to send anymore probiotics. I think I've collected enough for the rest of my life but thank you for sending so much. :D I don't have any problems with the food right now. I'm super careful of what I eat and I'm really healthy right now. 

I'll write more about President Nelson next week because I don't have my notes on me about everything he said. But I think he made the comment on Family History work because it ties everything back to Families can be together forever. It is the glue that holds the Plan of Happiness together. Without family history, we lose our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents and we lose the opportunity to become mini-saviors on mount Zion. Those comments have helped us as missionaries, focus on the goal. The goal is not baptism. The goal is happiness. The goal is the Family. Just take for example that the church has published two magazines in a row now just talking about the family. The Family is very important because it unites us all.

Dariela went to church last week and loved it. She's not married with that horrible man though. They are rarely married here in Honduras. Everyone lives in a free union. So we've been visiting her and she let us know that her boyfriend doesn't want her listening to us and so he told her recently that he won't pay for her room that she's renting. And so we called her yesterday morning to wake her up so she could go to church and she called us back and said that she can't receive us anymore and she can't go to church or she'll be shunned from her family and boyfriend and won't have any support in this difficult time of hers. So we haven't gone back and we don't plan on going back but the members know and will continue to be her friend and visit with her. :D 

We have an old lady that wants to be baptized. She was talking to my companion (I was on DVs) and they taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she looked down and was pondering and then looked up and said, "When was my baptismal date for?" So she'll likely get baptized. I have to talk to President Bowler about her though because she can't walk or sit for very long because she's so old. So we thought we might be able to baptize her even though she can't go to church consistently. 

Elizabeth and Danny separated and got back together again but for a good reason. They want to get married and work through their problems now instead of get made and throw in the towel. So I pray that this works out. But Elizabeth's mom is made that they got back together. And Elder Laureano and I were thinking, "Well you let them live with each other when Elizabeth was 15 years old! And now you want to separate them after they've created a family with three kids!" But Elizabeth's mom refused to give her food because they got back together and that's frustrating. Satan is working hard on destroying these families.

Tomorrow we have interviews with President Bowler. I'm excited for those! :D

Mom, President Oscar and Flores is the same person. Some call him Oscar and some Flores. So I use both.

Dad, I'm feeling good and the work is moving on. I pray for revelation everyday to be able to say or do something that will help these people in the future so that they can have Forever Families! :D 

Got to go! Love you all! Sorry if I couldn't respond to everything but sounds like you've all had good weeks.