Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter Week, Missionary Changes, Pday

Hello Mom and Dad and Family,

I love you all so much and I always wish the best for you all. I hope you recover Mom and Dad.

This week was the famous Semana Santa. Their weren't a lot of people here in Danlí.  But we did find a few potential new investigators that are really positive.

Estefany, Cleymer's daughter, got permission to go to church yesterday and she LOVED it!!! All the teachers were really impressed with her intelligent and great answers. She said she learned about the prophets and the Holy Ghost and that she can "listen" to the Spirit in her heart. She says she'd be going to church the next week as well and try to convince Cleymer to go as well. Cleymer just needs to humble herself and repent of her sins so that she'll feel okay and comfortable to go to church.

Fun experience this week: Elder Guillen and I were walking down a hill and he looks at me and says, "It reeks of less-actives..." And I said, pointing to a mother and her small family at the bottom of the hill, "It's them." We drew close to them and received the courage to talk to them and they told us, "We're members but we haven't gone to church for 7 years." And Elder Guillen looks at me and I look at him and we just start busting up laughing that we "smelled them out". Hahahaha! 

I have repeatedly felt that as Elder Guillen and I have grown closer, we have also been able to read each others minds and feelings really quickly and easily. We've also been able to teach with a great unity between us and the Spirit. I have felt more impressions of the Spirit with Elder Guillen than with any other companion, I believe.

My new companion will be Elder Bustillos. Elder Guillen will be going to the Travesía (Where I just came from) and he's going to love it! The changes will take place tomorrow at noon our time. I'll be staying here in Danlí to work with Elder Briones (DL) while Elder Bustillos comes back on the bus.

Since my first day here in the area, I've seen a lot of personal growth in each of the members and my perspective of their problems and what I can do to help has been cleared up. I feel more in tune with them and focused on what's truly important, BAPTIZE! I'm hoping to see 3 baptisms these next changes. 

Cool insights from The Pearl of Great Price: Eve was not literally made from the rib of Adam and when it mentions that we are created from the dust of the earth, it refers to the natural elements and not literally dust as in dirt. Also, when the Gods separated the water from the water, in Genesis, it says firmament; in the PofGP it says "expansion". I was thinking about what an expansion is and it occurred to me, "God is expanding his kingdom and so he had to separate some of the waters in heaven from the waters in the earth (or in other words, outside of the heavens).

Brigham Young also said that Joseph Smith was one of the "Gods" to create the earth just like Adam or Abraham. He asked his audience, "and why not Joseph Smith?" referring to him as one of the elect creators of the earth or the Gods.

Just a few things I read this week.

Pday was great today! We hiked to a waterfall and played soccer nearby on the property of a nearby villager. It was a cool hike and I really enjoyed it.

Love you all,

Elder Tuft

Thanks Mom and Dad for all your support! You are my heroes! Oh and Mom, I found all the money I took out of the bank a month or so ago. It was stashed in a book on my desk and I found it while reading the book. So it turns out that I never even used it. 
And please take some cookies to Sister Eldon for me. She gave me $50 in a letter she sent so that Elder Guillen and I could enjoy some ice cream and subway sandwiches. I also want to buy Elder Guillen a new shirt because his are all ripped up. Play some cards or something with her because I want her to know that if I was there, I would spend some time just helping and talking to her.

You're the bestests!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Meeting with new Stake Presidency, New Investigators

Hello Mom and Dad,

The electricity went out for a while so this will be a short one but I'll print off your letters and read them more carefully this week.

We've found quite a few new investigators and we are really optimistic about them. One is a family, Carlos and Carmen. We explained to them the Plan of Salvation and we had passed the part about Adam and Eve and all of the sudden, we see Carlos thinking really hard, and shortly after, he smiled and said, "So it was God's plan to have Adam and Eve fall?" and we could see the gears turning in his head. He's really funny that way. He captures everything but really slowly comes to realize what it all means to him and then he'll react suddenly in a positive way :D. His wife is a little more doubtful. She always asks us for scriptures in the Bible, and that helps, but we'll see how it goes with them this week.

I wanted to share a poem that I found from when I was in 9th grade:

Nature's first green is gold,
it's hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower,
but only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
As Eden sank to grief,
so dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

I really liked that poem and I found it in my journal for some reason that I don't remember. It's a great poem about Adam and Eve, as well. I've been working on the translation for Spanish but it's difficult. I've almost got it.

This week, Elder Guillen and I went on splits with some Elders in the zone and I was reminded a lot about starting the mission because I went with a new missionary from the companionship. It was a good reminder about patience and my own process of learning. He also taught me that simplicity is key :D.

Love you all!
Elder Tuft

Monday, March 14, 2016

Investigators and more...

Hello Family,

Sometimes I look back on the week and I don't know how to start my letter to all of you. I'll try my best.

This week we had 47 lessons with investigators and I think 15 of those we did in one day :D. We also met our goal of 15 lessons to retain members. :D I was happy with that. We just keep moving along.

Our zone has responded finally and our prayers have been answered! We've seen them working hard, and they've realized that it's important to be obedient. President Bowler once said, "Obedience with exactness doesn't exist. We either are obeying or we are not." I liked that thought a lot. Can we say that we are obedient if we disobey the little things?

"Cley" has been having issues accepting the doctrine that God the Father and Jesus Christ are two people but it's not because we haven't taught it well, but it's because she's scared, I think, that the answer will be the one she doesn't want. So we have her reading the Book of Mormon and praying. She told us that one night, she couldn't stop thinking about us. She couldn't forget the promises and the testimonies that we had left with her and the Spirit whispered to her repeatedly that she needed to act on what we said. That night, she dreamed that someone told her, "The Mormons are right." She told us that story but she still wasn't convinced. Some point in the lesson I asked her, "Cley, if you come to know that these things are true..." and she interrupted me to say, "I know what you're going to say and the answer is yes IF I know it's true."

It was a cool lesson. They haven't gone to church yet, but we're hoping that this Sunday they'll go.

"H" and Nefi weren't there this week and "H" hasn't answered her phone or called us back. Keep her in your prayers please!

"M" (I don't remember if I've told you about her) has had a headache for the past few days and they don't know why. Keep her in your prayers, as well. We haven't actually seen her because she's been in her room in bed and so we asked if we could sing her a hymn, her sister (who's a member) just looked at us and briefly explained that she wasn't very decent in the moment. Her brother, R answered the door the last time we visited and when we asked for R, he gave us a look and I looked at my companion and said, "He thinks we're hypocrites for not asking how his day has been and because we've only been visiting them recently to talk to M and not to talk with him." I looked at R and asked if it wasn't true what I read from his facial expression and he was really surprised but said yes. Elder Guillen looked at me and asked, "So what am I thinking right now." And I reluctantly told him he shouldn't ask for signs. He was really surprised, as well because that what he was thinking.

Well, to finish things up about M, she has a baptismal date for the 9th of April but we're already seeing Satan trying to dissuade her from making that choice and he's keeping her so busy that she forgets to read the Book of Mormon and pray. We all do that sometimes, don't we? We're too busy doing good things, but then we don't do the things that really matter the most eternally.

E told us that she didn't want to go to church this week but she's reading the Book of Mormon and praying... maybe not as sincerely as she should but we're praying that she will do it for the right reasons and not just go through the motions. We don't like teaching while the dad, R, is there because he talks a lot about stupid things and he's proud and thinks he knows more that two young men. Please pray that we can remember him in our prayers (because we sometimes forget) and have an opportunity to serve R this week. We have a lot to do in these next few weeks.

From the first day in this area until now, I feel like we've made progress and I'm happy about that.

Have a wonderful day today family and HAPPY BIRTHDAY KRISTEN! After I left the computer last week, I remembered IT'S KRISTEN'S BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK! I felt so bad all week long but I didn't forget :D

Mom, can you tell Sister Eldon that she's the most wonderful 3rd grandma I could have! She sent me money to buy something I needed and she always sends me the ward newsletters. I love reading them every month.

You can put me in that apartment Mom. I said a small prayer right now and I feel that it's right. And $200 is alright - thanks. I'm trying to remember all the things that we did with that money previously, but I think it was just because we bought better food than rice and beans and eggs last month and I think we bought cleaning supplies to clean the house. It was super dirty...

I didn't get sick this last week either from the chilaquil :D

Dad, we're still in the same apartment. We sing a lot but this week we've talked so much that we've had raspy throats at the end of a few days. Elder Guillen loves singing. I don't know about S still. E's dad, I think, would give her permission if she wanted to be baptized. We'll talk to Cley about what she wants. This week we kind of did that and she wants to go to the USA and leave her kids with her sister. I feel like she wants to run away from responsibility and her problems. She also needs to find work but there is NO work here in Honduras if you are middle class.

I learned that the condescension of God, that Nephi talks about, refers not only to the condescension of the Son but also of the Father.

Got to go! But I could say more :D
Love Spencer!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Conferences with Elder Alonso, Divisions, Investigators

Hello Fantastic Four (and the rest of the family that aren't living at home) :D

It was a great week this week. I've been doing well health-wise but I'm wondering about the chilaquil that I ate for lunch today... hahaha I'll survive :D Everything is well in Honduras.

This week we had a special conference with Elder Alonso.  We were excited to learn more about opening our mouths more to find more people to teach. Elder Guillen and I will be singing more to soften the hearts of the people in order to teach them, and hopefully, they can feel the Spirit and invite us to come back.

The surprise investigator last week accepted our invitation to listen to the missionary discussions and she had a friend there when we went. Her name is Helen and the friend's name is Nefi. But Nefi isn't a member and neither are his parents. He doesn't know why his name is Nefi but he's interested in learning about who Nefi is. :D

We also had some normal divisions with the AP's. We had a normal day and worked hard. We had been contacting for two hours and had a lot of rejections and so I wanted to say a little prayer with Elder Padilla (AP) but then someone interrupted us and we got a phone call, etc, and forgot to say the prayer. I just learned that when things aren't working, stop doing them and do something different. If we keep doing the same thing then we'll keep getting the same outcome.

Erika C. is doing alright. She didn't like the conference last week and so she said she didn't want to go this week either. Next Sunday she wants to go because we won't be in a stake conference and it'll be more interesting. Her dad basically told us that we talked to much about the new prophets and the Book of Mormon than about the Apostles and the Bible. I told him to hold his horses and relax and that we hadn't talked about anything else because they hadn't understood the basics and so we couldn't teach him the other. He told us, "You're saints of the latter-days, so you guys think your holy or something?" To which we responded, "Have you read the Bible?" He said he hadn't. "Would you take some time this week to read the letters of Paul that are found in the New Testament. We promise you'll understand why we are saints of the latter-days if you study those on your own." We are hoping that he will do something of his own free will instead of ask us interrogating questions before we return. We also hope to find Erika and her mom at home so we can visit with just them briefly.

Cleymer is doing alright as well. She doesn't want to pray with us because she feels shy and she always promises that she will the next time, but never does. While we visited her this week, we asked her how she was and she said, "Bad. I've tried to be good for so long that I'm going to be a bad-girl now. It's easier to be bad than good." We sensed that there was something that had happened because she's not usually like that and we found out that some people had done some bad things to her and so she felt that it wasn't worth it to be good. She felt like bad people always get what they want and she wants to be bad to get what she wants too. So we said a prayer with her and sang a song and everything just calmed down. Then her daughter (Estefany) says, "Mom, you need to say the prayer. You never say the prayer and you lie to the missionaries." In the end she promised to practice saying prayers and we're going to call her today to remind her to practice and tomorrow, she's doing the first prayer before the lesson.

We also found a new apartment but we want to get it approved. It's close to where we are currently and it's bigger. However, it's humble and humble is good.

I just wanted you guys to check the bank account and see if you could put more in money, in case of another emergency or to buy little gifts for you all before I come home. Just a little something.

Dad, President just told me to Open the Mouth more. I'm trying, and changing things EVERY day to be able to Open the Mouth but nothing ever goes exactly as planned. We're working on it.

Elder Guillen is really great. I woke up this morning with a crick in my neck and he massaged most of it out of me. I feel better thanks to him.

Stuard is doing great and I'll be asking for permission to go to the temple with him as soon as he submits his papers and sets a date to go. I'm really excited.

Love, Spencer James