Monday, April 25, 2016

Lots of birthday wishes - Thanks everyone!

Hi Mom and Dad,

Yay for 20 years, 7305 days, or 631138519 seconds of the life of Spencer James! Thanks for all the Birthday wishes.

Happy Birthday to Jess and Ian!

I'm glad to hear that everything has gone really well for the family and friends.

This week we contacted a ton! :D It was great and we found 9 new investigators and many more pending new investigators. I pray that someone will get baptized in this wonderful ward. And I hope it's a dude (&/or family too) because there are too many women in this ward, but not many Priesthood holders.

The Sacrament meeting was super great this week and also the classes. It was really great because I could feel the Spirit so strongly. I'm so grateful for great, true, spiritual leaders here in Danlí. I have witnessed and I know that God has called and is actively working through the Stake and Ward leaders here in Danlí Stake.

I've got to go and I'm sorry for not writing more. I got a lot of birthday wishes this week, so thanks to everyone :D Did you put it on FB, Mom? :)

Elder Tuft

Monday, April 18, 2016

Investigators, zone, answering mom/dad's questions (YEA!)

Hi Mom and Dad,

There's nothing really new this week from Honduras. It's been hard to find new people to teach. We did find a really awesome less-active sister, and one new investigator. The less-active's name is Heici (said hey-sie). She was the young women's president in Tegucigalpa but she moved to Danlí because it's a lot safer from the gangs because she's a single mom. She went to church a few times here but no one really knew who she was and didn't talk to her much. But she's going to go this next week.

The new investigator is called Angeli. She's just 13 years old but she's super self-motivated and has the support of her mom but not her stepdad. She's gone to church twice now. It's hard to teach her though because she's hyper-active (she gets distracted very easily) and it's difficult to teach something that she'll understand. So we teach her with members or other investigators now and she seems to pick up more that way. But she loves the church and wants to get baptized the 5th of May. She even picked her baptismal date!

Now to answer your questions:
Dad- This week has been great and I've been super tired... Elder Bustillos as well. We both have been really tired. This week it was interesting to note something with Elder Bustillos and myself--- I was trying to prepare to leave the house after lunch and I still had to brush my teeth and he tells me, "Let's go!" and so I responded, "I'm brushing my teeth." He was a little impatient with me but we finally left the house. Later in the week, he was contacting a little too long and we were late to an appointment and while he was writing down someone's information after talking with them, I told him, "Elder, we're late. Let's go!" and he responded (without meaning to) in the same tone that had I responded to his impatience earlier in the week: "I'm writing," he said. So I learned that we are a lot a like and sometimes that's good and sometimes that's bad. I'm learning to have more patience with myself and with Elder Bustillos.

I couldn't print Elder Bednar's talk last week because we were late but I'm going to print it in just a minute.

We haven't heard anything about a program titled "My Plan" yet. I'll ask President about it.

Our zone has the most baptisms for the month so far, Yay! Buuuut that's a bad thing because our zone only has three baptisms soooooo I think it's been rough for all Honduras Tegucigalpa Mission this month. Like you said, we have to just keep plugging away.

The Zone is doing better and we're much happier, I feel. We have some issues in how missionaries are teaching (like teaching robot lessons or the same lessons over and over and over again to all the investigators) but they're trying to be obedient and I'm confident that we're heading in the right direction.

Splits are pretty cool but we haven't done any since I've been sick. We're thinking about doing splits this week with one of the district leaders but we don't know which one yet. We're still thinking about it.

They do have donuts but they don't come from Reams or Krispy Kream. They are homemade generally. In Teguc they have Pricemart donuts which are really good.

Mom- Yay for not having more dengue! :D Thank you for your prayers for Dirian! She needs this!

I haven't been informed of flight plans yet. That's weird that Elder Jones already has his. Maybe he shortened his mission... I don't know. I haven't gotten flight plans yet. (Spencer is set to come in June 23 in the evening, but I found out from another Mom up the street who has a son who left the same day.)

I open my mouth more than 100 times every week in daylight, Thanks! :D And why did they not ask me first before they signed me up for a talk in church??? jk ;-D (Spencer will be speaking in church on July 10 at 11 am.)

Kristen did write me about Jazmin and I think that's such a cool experience! I'm super happy for her and Jazmin.

Too many weddings going on! Wow!

Have a great week mom! Love you :D
Elder Tuft

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dengue has passed, Dirian, Contacting

Hello Family,

This week I'm feeling a lot better! I'm thinking more clearly, as well. It was a little difficult with dengue because I felt like the negative thoughts were a lot more present. It was ugly... but doing great! I didn't have pain in my body at all. Since we couldn't go out last week, we were preaching the gospel from our balcony area and we called old investigators and talked to them over the phone. We were in our house but not off-duty. Everyone looked at me and said, "You have dengue???" because I didn't feel the effects of dengue nearly as strong this time around. All the little kids have had the same thing this week and it's frustrating to see that the parents think that taking them to get a non-professional massage will fix everything. That's what they do here if you're sick! They tell you that you are empachado or "stopped-up" or "plugged in your gut" and then you go to the massage therapist that has no licensed degree or study or education and supposedly that does the trick! Well, it doesn't. Superstitions are very real here.

Dirian is doing great. Her DVD player didn't work and so we watched The Restoration (20 min version) and she said that it cleared up a lot of questions she had (but didn't tell us what questions it cleared up). We're going to try to watch How Rare a Possession next time. We asked about what her dad thought or said the last time that he came and we were teaching her. She told us that he scolded her for listening to false doctrines but she told us that she doesn't see what's so wrong about listening to us. It's going to be fun getting permission for her baptism... :D

The rest of this week was contacting like crazy. And we've found a lot of potential investigators. Elder Bustillos and I always say to each other, "I fear no man!" and we go for it, trying to find all the people that are ready to hear us and follow God's voice. Los míos me escuchan y siguen en pos de mí.
"Mine listen to me and follow after me."

Thank you for all your prayers. It's not been easy these past few weeks without baptisms. Sometimes it's our turn to find, other times it's our turn to teach, and other times to baptize. Everything will run it's own course like the rivers that run freely around all obstacles. Elder Bustillos and I continue to practice how to do a baptism so that we'll be ready when the day arrives to baptize. :)

Love you all
Elder Tuft

Thanks for your letter. I stopped writing in my journal while I was sick and now I've gotta keep it up.


I'm going to print off the talk you told me about and study it this week. I'm studying a lot about the Pearl of Great Price right now and I'm in the middle of Abraham already. It's super cool when you have a study manual on the side of the scriptures to help understand what the verses are saying.

LOVE YOU! I think I answered all your questions in the letter but if not just send me a quick note for next week about what I left out.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Dengue update, Elder Bustillos, Conference?

Sunday afternoon, Sister Bowler (who is Spencer's mission president's wife) called and told us that he has dengue fever for a third time. They are monitoring him now, and have been out two years and haven't ever had a missionary with it a third time. Spencer is allergic to the OFF bug spray, and uses alternative methods but because there really aren't very many mosquitoes right now, he may have slacked off using the other methods too. She said he is tolerating this well and President Bowler just missed Conference and drove 4 1/2 hours to get him and his companion and drive them back to the mission home. IF needs be, he is also nearby the really good hospital. Yesterday, there was even talk that if this became worse, they could hospitalize him, and then send him home when well enough to travel. They do not want him to get this AGAIN, a fourth time. It is up to the Area Medical people, which they are required to report it to. Of course they take in to account what the President's recommendations are, and also the nurse in the mission. Right now, he looks really good, and I'll try and add a couple pictures Sister Bowler sent me yesterday. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR HIM to recover, be able to finish his mission the end of June, and that he won't have life-long complications that could come from this illness. THANKS to all who are and have been! Then this afternoon Sister Bowler texted me his blood counts: His WBC is improved at 5.3 and is back in the normal range. His PLT improved to 150, from 130, which is barely in the normal range. His HTC shows that he is dehydrated, so I will keep him here to monitor his water intake!! We will test him tomorrow, just to be sure his PLT's are headed in the right direction. He's doing great. (Your prayers are working!) She also said this is the first time she's ever seen platelets go up before Day 5. The Dengue test can't be taken until Day 5. 

Hello Family,

I'm doing really great actually. I didn't know I even had Dengue... it's still not definite until we test for it tomorrow. I hope that I don't have Dengue. Elder Bustillos gave me a blessing and I know that without that blessing, I'd still be struggling through this third time with Dengue. It's a puzzle really. No one knows why I'm doing so well for not having a great blood count. President saw me and said, "You look great Elder Tuft! Are you really sick?" Hermana Bowler said the same thing. I haven't had a fever since the first night. I just feel tired and a little weak but I'm not one of those who likes to be in bed or sitting down doing nothing. It's a challenge to get myself to lay down and go to sleep. I didn't get to see the Conference sessions on Sunday and Saturday night Priesthood was a little hard for me to concentrate a lot on the talks. It all was a blur to me. I'll have to read all the talks again because I couldn't focus well. I'm glad a went though.
Mom/Pam has included this for those wondering what Dengue is:  Dengue fever is a severe, flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults, but seldom causes death. Dengue should be suspected when a high fever (40°C/104°F) is accompanied by 2 of the following symptoms: severe headache, brain fog, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands or rash. Symptoms usually last for 2–7 days, after an incubation period of 4–10 days after the bite from an infected mosquito. Severe dengue is a potentially deadly complication due to plasma leaking (hemorrhaging), fluid accumulation, respiratory distress, severe bleeding, or organ impairment. Warning signs occur 3–7 days after the first symptoms in conjunction with a decrease in temperature (below 38°C/100°F) and include: severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, rapid breathing, bleeding gums, fatigue, restlessness and blood in vomit. The next 24–48 hours of the critical stage can be lethal; proper medical care is needed to avoid complications and risk of death.

And if you're still wanting to know more, another site has this: 
Those who become infected with the virus a second time are at a significantly greater risk of developing severe disease. Symptoms are high fever, rash, and muscle and joint pain. In severe cases there is serious bleeding and shock, which can be life threatening.  Treatment includes fluids through IV rehydration and pain-relievers. Severe cases require hospital care. There are 4 distinct, but closely related, serotypes of the virus that cause dengue (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4). Recovery from infection by one provides lifelong immunity against that particular serotype. However, cross-immunity to the other serotypes after recovery is only partial and temporary. Subsequent infections by other serotypes increase the risk of developing severe dengue.

Back to Spencer's letter:
On Saturday in between the Afternoon and Priesthood Sessions, we visited Dirian, an investigator that is looking really positive. The lesson went well and then her dad came to pick Dirian up to go home after work and we sensed he wasn't happy that we were teaching his daughter. We are going to show her a video of the Book of Mormon: How Rare a Possession. We believe that it will help her a lot because it helps give a great example of a man who changes from being a Pastor to being excommunicated from his church because he believed in a book without a title (it was the book of Mormon). I hope it'll help her have the motivation to make the right choice. 

Elder Bustillos is from Chihuahua, Mexico. His dad is Catholic and his mom is LDS. His dad told him this last Christmas that he would stop drinking and change and be baptized when Elder Bustillos got home. He loves music as well and plays the guitar. Before the mission he was in a band. He's super relaxed and well motivated. He works hard and efficiently. The other night, I was talking with the District Leaders and he stands up next to me and starts making strange movements. I looked at him and then did a double-take and realized he was practicing submerging someone below the water and practicing the baptismal prayer. I starting busting up but we're confident that we will baptize this month-she seems golden.

I'm getting tired and when I get tired, Hermana Bowler said I need to go home and sleep. (He's staying down the street at the Elders' apartment who are in the area of the Mission Home.) But I hope you get better, Mom, and Dad I hope you enjoy the break this week. I love my family more than anyone could imagine.

Spencer James

PS Mom Hermana Bowler will get the test results today in just a few minutes and we'll see if my white cell blood count went up or down again. She'll let you know as soon as she gets the results back. Yes, I think I'll "die" with Elder Bustillos as my companion ... ;D (Meaning Elder Bustillos will be his last companion & send him home.)

PSS I haven't sent pictures for a while because they are so darn hard to upload and send. They take up so much time on slow internet connections. I didn't see Ian in conference... I couldn't concentrate very well that day.