Monday, November 30, 2015

Lourdes, Working with Members, Baptism... please pray

Hello Family,

I'm doing great this week. We are continually working and striving to thrust forward with all our might. So this week we shared a message with an investigator and her family about the Priesthood and the dad, Jaime, was a little against accepting our message but little by little he's been finding things and reading the Book of Mormon over the shoulder of his wife, Lourdes. So we talked about the Priesthood and one of the daughters asked about Polygamy in the church and we explained the best we could. It turns out the Lourdes was so startled by the topic that she didn't sleep that night. She studied thoroughly the topic until 4 am when she received an answer reading about Jacob and his wives. But Jaime was a little shocked too, and my companion thought that we had ruined chances to baptize them but we went back and Jaime was super happy and invited us in and we celebrated his daughter's and mom's b-day with them and had a small "devotional" after, which was great. Two days later, he came to the family history night that we had to explain genealogy and he loved it. After the meeting, he found his pastor in the street and his pastor started telling him that we are diabolical and other things... to keep the story short, he told his pastor off and his pastor told him that he could feel the darkness coming from Jaime, and so Jaime told him that he's never felt so full of light in his life. Well, we heard this story from his wife, Lourdes, and she was so happy and told us that she thinks that Jaime might get baptized too. So we have them all reading the Book of Mormon and I'm super excited for them!!! :D Pray for them because Lourdes and Karla (a daughter) have their baptismal date for this Saturday at 6 pm, but we haven't confirmed anything still. :D Fingers crossed!

Thanksgiving, we had chicken nuggets and I got a Minion sticker from inside the box of chicken nuggets! Super awesome sticker!!! It's of Stuart, the shorter of the three main minions. That was Turkey day here for us. We got our Christmas tree up but I can't get the pictures up today, so maybe next week. Last Christmas in Honduras, just saying... ;D

We always go out with all the Priests and Elders on Sunday to visit the WHOLE ward (it's a huge ward boundary. Like 2 times the size of our stake boundary) and it's a pretty swift operation. This week, I went with Besner to a part called the Mololoa and we talked to a few less-actives there. Our attendance this week was 191 members and investigators. We also had the Primary Program this week and so a lot of people came.

Yesterday, we were teaching a family of a recent convert. The recent convert is called Diego, and he's nine years old. He's a huge example to me, and to his family especially. He helps his dad pray at night and he prays with his mom in the morning. He showed his parents the Book of Mormon introduction to answer their question about the relationship of the BoM with the Bible and they read the first paragraph and felt the Spirit testify that it's true. Then we read the story of Enos with them and after reading it, the wife, Elizabeth, turns to her husband, Cesar, and says, "I think I want to be a Mormon!" So we encouraged them to read the Book of Mormon and follow the example that Diego has set for them. The next visit I think we'll read the Book of Mormon and invite them to be baptized. The good thing is that they're already married! No marriage paperwork or lawyers needed there! Super happy to be able to teach that family. :D Pray for them as well and for us to be able to put the right date for their baptism. We've been teaching this family with members always and I think that's contributed to their progress.

This week we've learned that to be better and have more wisdom, as missionaries, we need to work almost 100% of the time with members, if possible. The lessons are super great when we are with members.

Look at the new Christmas video by the Church!! Also, I'm hoping to be able to see the Christmas Devotional this weekend! Last year they didn't let us see it but I'm hoping we can get a few investigators to see it with us.

Love you family! You guys are the bestest!

Kristen, Ummm I thought I was looking at the mirror or something when I saw, well... myself, in the picture of the ancestor that you sent me. Really freaking me out here. I guess I'm like a cat and I'm on my "second of nine lives" now.

Loved the pictures this week Mom and Kristen. Thanks for the pictures and great stories. Dad, I'll read the story you sent me this week. Thank you for always giving me something to think about in the week.

We also have changes this next week (I've only been here 4 weeks) because the church doesn't like doing changes really close to Christmas. So next change will be eight weeks long instead of the normal six. I've seen tons of people from El Sitio these past few weeks. Turns out that when I was in El Sitio, I started teaching someone outside of our boundaries and so we're starting to teach her again with the help of the Elders in El Sitio and La Trinidad. So that's fun as well.

Got to go now,
Elder Tuft

PS:  OTM (Open The Mouth) story of the week: we found a member that stopped going to church because her husband died recently and so we are visiting her, and her son isn't a member and is 17 years old, so he's a potential baptism, as well. We're helping them by starting with reading the scriptures, praying and attending church activities especially during the Christmas season. You never know who you'll find just opening the mouth with everyone.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Elder Reinoso, OTM (Open The Mouth), Thanksgiving, fun

Hello Fantastic Family,

Have a great Thanksgiving this year. They have turkey here but they don't eat it. I don't know why they have turkey here if they don't eat it though. It's like a pet, I think. They're super cool here and they open up their feathers huge and they get super fat but when they stop acting buff, then they are skinny.

Elder Reinoso is super awesome. He's different and doesn't always share what he's thinking with me and there have been times where I just look at him like, "Why didn't you tell me what you were planning???" So we're working on that. But he doesn't fear anybody. He'll talk to anyone. He's teaching me to have courage and we're talking to a lot of people.

Elder Reinoso's younger brother got baptized first in his family. Then his younger brother told the missionaries, "Hey my brother's hiding in the back. Go and teach him." So he started listening to the lessons. He wouldn't get baptized because of soccer on Sundays. He got paid to play soccer. He decided to go to church one Sunday and not play soccer. His coach found out and told him he was off the team. Then he told the missionaries that he wasn't playing soccer anymore and could get baptized. Two weeks later, the National Guatemala Soccer Club Team called him up and offered him a place on the team and he accepted and wasn't playing on Sundays. Two years later, they found out he was planning on serving a mission and kicked him off the team again. So know he's here in Honduras and is a member of just 2 years and 11 months. He baptized three friends that are now serving missions in various parts of Central America and he also baptized his Mom. As far as his Dad, I don't know when or how he got baptized but he's also a member of the church and it sounds like he is a really active member in the ward. So that's Elder Reinoso in a nutshell.

We had a lot of fun contacting this week. One night we were trying to get in a few more Open the Mouth before retiring for the night and we found a man at 9:15 pm that was really evangelist. He was super happy and cheerful to see us and we started talking about Family History. I told him that my g.g.g.grandpa came from Europe to the US and I told him about Peter Shirts meeting the Indians when they stole his cows and then begged for food from him. I was surprised but he started arguing with us that my g.g.g.grandpa couldn't have lived in the 1800s because he would have been born in the 1700s and not the 1800s. I just let that one go because he can't argue with me about my ancestry (like he would know who my g.g.g.grandpa was). And so we asked if we could show him how he could search for his ancestors in FamilySearch. He told us NO of course and then continued to tell us to study more about Joseph Smith. He called us "Idol-worshippers, fornicators, adulturers" and many other things about Joseph Smith and his "10 wives"... My companion wanted to talk about how Abraham had multiple wives, as well but I cut him off because that wouldn't end well. And then I asked him, "Have you attended one of our church meetings?" He hadn't. "Have you read the Book of Mormon?" And he responded that the Book of Mormon is far from spiritual... blahblahblah. Obviously, he hadn't. So I invited him to do those things and bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon and that anyone and everyone was, is, and forever will be invited to read from it's pages and will know that it is true if they meditate on what they read and pray to God asking Him if it's true. Then I shared with him 2 Nephi 25:26 and Moroni 10:4-5. By that point he was wavering in his resolve to tell us we were wrong. By the time we left he gave us a hug and told us thanks for sharing that with him. I just felt good as we left and spiritually uplifted. It was a short, spiritual moment that we had in the cold night with an unexpected encounter. :D Fun moments of the mission :D

Love you family!!! You guys are the greatest! Have a Happy Thanksgiving! They don't really celebrate Thanksgiving here but we'll do something fun.

Congratulations with the progress of the wedding. I hope everyone gets better from being sick and being operated on. S.M.I.L.E. (Spiritually Minded Is Life Eternal)

Elder Spencer Tuft

Monday, November 16, 2015

La Travesia, Elder Reinoso, Yesterday's experience

Hello Mom, Dad and Family,

I have been doing fantastic. Actually today, I started off mad at my companion because he didn't tell me we would be playing soccer and he brought his sport clothes and we got to the field and I realized that he was taking me to play soccer and I told him, "But why didn't you tell me so I could have brought my clothes?" It just escaped his mind completely because of all the busy things we've been doing. I forgave him though. So while they played soccer today, I played Sudoku on the phone and beat Level 100... yeah no biggy, just a Utah Sudoku player in Tegucigalpa. ;D

Well, I'm in Teguc if you didn't catch that. My new companion is Elder Reinoso from Guate. He's a super fanatic about soccer, or was a super fanatic. He played in the national cup in Guatemala before he became a member of the church. Then his coach told him that he was kicked off the team for being Mormon (yay for Mormones!). But he loves it here in Honduras. He's been in the mission for 11 months and he still has a little bit of a newbie attitude towards the mission. But that's helping me to have more energy.

I have started to do diligent exercises every single morning and motivating my companion to do it as well. In the apartment today, we had a mini-obstacle course that we had to do while doing push-ups. :D It was a little like Hot-Lava (the game we used to play as little kids on the swing-set). I think he enjoyed it for a little bit at least.

The apartment is dope. I have a hammock above my bed that I can use (it's mine) if I feel like it. Before now, I hadn't had a spot to put the hammock. I got in it two nights ago and woke up in bed... I don't know how that happened... The pillow was still in the hammock, as well...

I also woke up this morning with a rash but we went to the office this morning for immigration purposes for my companion and an eye-check for me so I also got my skin looked at. It looks like it did when I sprayed "OFF!" on my body at the beginning of the mission. Hna Oldroyd gave me a treatment and if it doesn't work she'll look at me again. It doesn't itch and it's not bed-bugs either. I feel fine.

Thanks for the letters this week. You honestly don't know how many prayers (said and unsaid) have been answered just from your letters.

Yesterday we went to the house of a member who recently had a baby. Her cousin was there and we didn't know what we were going to teach because we don't really know them still but we brought my USB to watch a Mormon Message and watched Pres. Uchtdorf's Patience talk (with the experiment of the little kids and marshmallows) and at the end I could tell that the cousin, Sofia, was really affected by the video so I asked her what she was thinking. She responded that she had been a while without seeing her family and she had been praying to be able to go back soon but because of her job and studies she can't right now. She then said, "I know that God wants me here right now. I just need to be more patient and I'll be able to eat two marshmallows instead of one." I felt the Spirit testify to us all that if we wait well, God will reward us and pour out "two marshmallows" from heaven instead of one.

Love you family,
Spencer-pooski   #starsarefartherthanthesunandmoonandback ;)

PS Great job with the gate, Dad! and Congratulations Kristen and Ian! I want pictures! :D Give Bro. Staheli a hug from me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hello Family! (And Sister Eldon)

New transfer with Elder Reinoso (and another guy) in Tegucigalpa
Hello Family,

This week was a great week for learning and having fun in missionary work. Mom, I'm learning that being a perfectionist is a bad thing in regards to many subjects. And so I'm feeling a little less-stressed than I have felt at times before. I hope that's something that will continue for a lifetime.

Thank you Dad for the thoughts about receiving personal revelation. You couldn't have known that I've been praying to understand and hear the whisperings of the Holy Ghost more and that has been a great focus of my personal study. I've also read in Jesus the Christ about the Great Apostasy now and I'm surprised that Talmadge didn't write, "The ____________ is the Harlot of all the Earth." But on the more meaningful side of learning, I was studying why the Apostasy took so much time to end. I think that God gives us complete and full free agency and so a lot of what he has planned in the life of the world has been determined by our decisions and that the Great Apostasy took so long because of humanity and not because of God. I've been studying that to help a less-active and his non-member wife recently.

Looks like I won't be here in San Lorenzo for much longer but I'll let you know next week. We have missionary exchanges this next Wednesday and they'll tell us if we have changes on Tuesday.

I have started to laugh a lot at really hard things lately. Someone will yell at us or argue about our message and afterwards I just start laughing because the message is soooooo painfully simple that it's rare to find someone who really wants to accept it from the start. That's where working with less-actives is super helpful. If you reactivate a less-active, then you bring investigators to church because the less-actives have friends that aren't members!!! :D

I also laugh for the stupid things that satan puts in our path to discourage us. The problems are real but discouragement is the poison of a problem untreated or ignored.

Orbelina has been coming to church every week but, Dad, she has the same problem about the Holy Ghost coming unto the heart and not being able to enter. She shuts a part of it out. But I'm proud of her for making an effort to come to church. 

Love all the pictures family! You guys are awesome and my inspiration. Keep marching on! :D Christmas is ALMOST here but what happened to THANKSgiving! We can't skip gratitude and move on to greediness so fast...

I'll read and respond more to the letter you sent Mom. I don't have tons of time to read and write.

I loved the story, Dad, about the guy who started to read fluently because of the Book of Mormon. That book is such a great book in more than one way!

Love you all! 
Spencer James

PS. Please send this to Sister Eldon.
Hello Freda Eldon,

I hope you have a fantastic day for you very special birthday. I am so happy to have worked and gotten to known you all of my "youthly" years. Thank you for your patience and outstanding example that you have given me throughout the years.

Yours Truly!
With Love,
Spencer Tuft