Sunday, December 27, 2015

Merry Christmas to all!!!

Merry Christmas Family, 
(Written 24 December 2015)
I'm really excited for the Skype call tomorrow. Just a forewarning, I may not be able to speak English very well... But once I get going, it will all work out well. I'll talk about at what time later in the letter.

Elder Reinoso had an accident with his foot about two months ago and the doctor gave him a steroid shot to help but the pain came back after the shot wore off and he was in a lot of pain. But the doctor tested him again and told him he'd have to rest and use an ankle brace and crutches. He's not super happy about that but he's keeping up the good spirits and thinking positive always. He's a happy guy to be around. I've been learning to keep my cool when there seems to be so many problems at one time and everything has been working out. Things are a bit more difficult to work around when your companion is on crutches. We've had to run some pretty quick errands and so figuring out splits with ward members and other missionaries has been a big help in completing our goals and tasks at hand. If he continues on crutches for another month without improvement, they will send him home to get better. That is the last thing a missionary wants to happen.

I don't know when I'll be able to Skype you tomorrow but my companion is telling me that his mom won't be able to Skype until 8pm. Yes, PM. So I'm hoping the nighttime (about 6:30) will be okay. I like doing it in the morning but at night is fine, as well. We have weekly planning in the morning anyway.

To finish today, I just wanted to share a cool and short experience I had with Lourdes and Karla (and family) the other day. We went to their house to teach the basic lessons again to them (they actually understand more after baptism, I've realized) and Karla has been reading the BoM with her Mom. Karla was at 2 Nephi 2 and her mom had read up til 2 Nephi 10. We decided to teach the Plan of Salvation because 2 Nephi 2... that was a no-brainer for me and my comp as we looked at each other to change lesson plans. We taught the lesson first and Jaime, the dad, was not liking the lesson. But his wife posed him an interesting question that I've often asked myself, "Do you believe that God knows everything?" He couldn't say no, and if he said yes then he would also have to accept the fact that God knew Adam and Even were going to partake of the forbidden fruit. So he didn't like these questions very much but it made him think and start to accept the Plan of Salvation. After we had read the entire chapter in the Book of Mormon (we had made some pauses to explain certain doctrine), Karla says, "Can I give my opinion?" and she started to explain everything beginning from Adam and Eve until the reason we have a Savior, Jesus Christ. She then told her dad, "Dad, it's so simple. Beautifully simple and I know it's true." She was just like a missionary. I find that people understand the lessons better and the scriptures better when they have been given, and live worthily of, the gift and companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Love you all and see you tomorrow night!
Elder Tuft

PS - We might be using Karla's iPhone to talk tomorrow because we haven't been able to find a single member that has a computer with webcam capability. But we'll see what happens. Just plan for after dinner tomorrow.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lourdes and Family, Surprise! More Baptisms, Christmas Devotional and the Ward

Hello Family,

I'm really excited to talk to you this Christmas. I was thinking last year at Mother's Day time that it would be forever until I talked to you again but that's a lie. The time has flown. Maybe that's because I've been dreaming tons and tons about finding, teaching, and baptizing in these past months. And we've been working really hard.

Elder Reinoso is doing good but he got a little sick yesterday and we had to go home early. He had a huge migraine that hasn't gone away completely still.

Lourdes and Karla are doing really well. We watched the Restoration movie with them and also with Jaime and Ana. Afterward, Jaime made the comment that he thought that our message and how we present it is very impressive. Lourdes looked at him and said, "Admit it! You want to be a Mormon!" and we all started laughing because she said it so perfectly. But then Karla shared her testimony with us. She told us that while she was praying/thinking in the bus, she asked God if this was the true church and she remembered a scripture that said that when the gospel is taught in all the world, then cometh the end. And she thought about it for a minute and said she felt something in her heart as she realized that only the Mormons preach the gospel in all of the world. Her Dad is just too prideful to kneel and pray. Next time, I'm going to ask him if he's prayed about the Book of Mormon.

We had two more baptisms this week: Steven and Anderson. The bishop interviewed them and was going to baptize them but we caught wind of everything and talked to Steven and he's gone to the Primary with his family since he's been little but he's 9 years old now so we did another interview and baptized him. Anderson is preparing for the mission and for some reason his membership record number doesn't show up now in the church system and we checked in the church office here in Honduras and he doesn't have a membership anymore. He also doesn't have pictures or any paper or certificate that shows that he actually did get baptized. So we did an interview and baptized him... the second time... but does he need to be ordained a priest again??? I have no idea how that works.

I loved the songs in the Christmas Devotional last week. I don't think I mentioned that. I loved hearing and singing along. All the Hondurans loved the way MoTab sang, "Hark how the bells all seem to say throw cares away. Christmas is here singing good cheer to young and old, meek and the bold." They basically loved that whole song.

The ward is on Red-alert now because this past Sunday there were only 78 people in the chapel and they're used to 180 or 200. So they are finally waking up to reality. I just wish that someone would listen to me and do their home teaching assignments. In Elders quorum, the leaders asked what ideas we all had to fix this problem. I suggested that they get new home teaching assignments and that they actually do them this time and they told me, "No. That never has worked." I'd imagine that Home Teaching is an inspired program that God has revealed to the Prophets and they are telling me that it doesn't work??? hmmmm I just smile and do my best. I can't do much though because I'm just a missionary. They need to receive the message from someone they will actually listen to. That's my only complaint for right now. But we're happy and working hard.

Got the packages this week. I'm guessing I should open the one from Kristen BLAKE (when I saw that name on the box, the reality really hit me that she'd be married when I got home) that says "Tie", from what I've read in your letters. So I'll wear that on Thursday and Friday. :D I'll take pictures too!

Love you all!
Keep up the cool work Lindsay! You're awesome! :D
Elder Tuft
PS Really Cool photography in the Temple last FHE :D Loving it! And that Milo! I love that meme!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Devotional, Baptisms, Visiting the Members

Spencer Tuft with zone at Lourdes and Karla's baptism Dec 2015

Elder Spencer Tuft with a yummy pineapple he LOVES.

Elder Tuft's wall in his bedroom with the new City Center temple snow capped mountains, and the Tuft family Thanksgiving table. November 2015 (missing is Livvy blocked by Grandpa's head.)   :(

Elder Spencer Tuft with his Christmas tree in the background.
Hey Mom and Dad and Family,

This week was a good week. I felt like we've overcome some major obstacles, like the lack of planning and following-through that the members have in our ward. It was really stressful to plan for all the members because they didn't do their part but they love us I suppose because they have been giving us good references.

The ward did cancel the Ward Council the day of (Sunday) and so we had a bunch of time just to visit members and figure out the Christmas Devotional bus plans. The ward had told us that there would be a bus at 6 pm at the chapel and so we went about inviting certain people to the Devotional. We got to the chapel on Sunday and they told us, "whooops, we didn't contract a bus because of...." and they just started pointing fingers. So Elder Reinoso and I sat down and figured out plans for a bus for the investigators and less-actives. In the end, it all worked out fine and a member offered to help us with a mini-van that they have. Lourdes didn't go to the Devotional but the rest of her family went, Jaime, Karla, and Ana. Jaime loved it and he's the Evangelist of their house.

I sent a few pictures of us making baleadas (like a breakfast burrito) from scratch. After we ate the baleadas, we had a great discussion about the commandments that they needed to review and commit to before baptism and I saw a few changes made in the daughters Karla and Ana this week. They are dressing a little more modestly now and that's great. We gave them the assignment to read about the Law of Chastity specifically before baptism and I've seen a change in their physical and spiritual appearance. Ana still doesn't want to be baptized because of something but we don't know exactly why yet. They are reading the Book of Mormon as a family and a lot of times Jaime leans over Lourdes' shoulders to read, as well.

After the discussion with them, the (another church) showed up at the door knocking, and Karla and Ana looked at each other and walked out of the room quickly. We had just planned to show the Restoration movie to them on Tuesday at 6 pm. When the (another church) showed up, they planned to do a cult (yes they call it a cult, or "culto" in Spanish) with Jaime at the same time on the same day. Oh how clever is the diabolical one!!! But we planned to watch the movie on Friday. And for the record, I'm not a big fan of (another church) cults... Just imagine everyone praying all at the same time out loud and saying, "Lord, Lord!" tons of times in their prayers. I just feel yucky as I have crossed paths with those kinds of experiences.  They are great people... most of the time.

We also had the miracle of contacting a less-active that we didn't know and she has a son that has been praying to know which church is true for the past week or so. Her name is Adilia, and her son is Antonio. We took Antonio to the baptism on Saturday and he told my companion as we were walking home that He got an answer from God that this is the true church. But the only bad thing is that he works on a few Sundays and hasn't been able to go to church. He is an official county grass-cutter! or in other words, he and his little group walk around to certain parts in Teguc and cut the grass on public property with machetes! It's a work out... I've done it many times and it's not super fun. I love our old lawn mower a lot more now!

The devotional was awesome. Tons of people were laughing at the sopranos in the choir singing, "Ha! ha! ha! etc" in the high tones really really fast. I hope you know what part I'm talking about... But it was awesome. I would have loved to watch it in English but we couldn't this time. It's just not the same for me in Spanish but everyone else loved it. I liked the second talk by the-woman-that-I-don't-remember-her-name (Linda K. Burton). When she quoted the scripture about Jesus being our Advocate before the Father.

I have visited tons of the leader's houses these past weeks. The horrible thing is that we share our area with another companionship and all the leaders (like the bishop and his counselors) live in their area and we don't have many leaders in our area because we are farther away from the chapel. But we did visit with the first counselor in the stake presidency because he's in our area. He told us that we need to trust our plans (confirm everything with God in prayer), not be scared to open the mouth, be a united companionship and love one another unconditionally, and endure to the end with patience.

Love you all!

Elder Tuft

PS we talk soon. :D please send username and password again because I don't remember them.
PSS I loved the pictures from last week so much that I put them on my wall.