Monday, May 30, 2016

Perseverar hasta el fin

Hello Family,

I'm really enjoying the mission. It's been super tough, but I'm loving it.

Lots of things to write but little time to write so I'll try my very best to cover everything that is needed.

We won't have the baptism this week for Ana Bran because she is working on not drinking coffee and she has to make it to church these next few weeks. She'll get there but we'll have to be patient with her. She couldn't come to church this week because of not sleeping at all during the night. Her baby boy doesn't sleep at night because it's so hot inside her house. So she was exhausted and wasn't in very good condition to go to church.

I wanted to thank you, (along with that man, Herold Pierre, that you met at the Payson temple) for what you've taught me all my life. You are a great Mom. I always am amazed by the great blessing I have to be a part of a wonderful family with wonderful parents that love me.

Dad, I'm doing excellent today. We went to the cascades here in Danlí again and I loved it more this time because we hiked all the way up the mountain and took a few pictures. I've attached a few pictures from our adventures. I hope you can imagine being on top of the tropical mountain with me eating lunch like we've always done every summer.

There is a Pizza Hut here in Danlí. Honduras has rich people and then there's a big gap and all the people that live farther away from the main roads are dramatically poorer. In fact, we went again today and I like Pizza Hut here a lot but I think it's always better back home. The Oldroyd's are the only other couple here in the mission with us. Elder Oldroyd is in charge of housing and Hermana Oldroyd is the perfect nurse for the whole mission. I love them a lot. They remind me of you and Mom. Hermana Oldroyd pulled a "Mom" the other day when we went to the office. She pulled out a jelly belly bean game and we spun a spinner to decide which bean to eat but the difference was that there were bad tasting beans and good ones so there was always a 50/50 chance of eating a bad bean.

I'll take you up on the challenge for Family History. I just wanted to let you know that I forgot to look at the temple name I have to tell you who it is but I'll send it next week for sure!

I'd love to play Greed in Oregon. Just saying that if we can, I'd love to play that one with the family. Also, I'd like to learn how to play Nertz (or Charlie like Grandma says) again.

Thanks for the great poem. I'm going to print it off. I hope Kaleb enjoys the mission. It's too bad that I won't see him for 4 years now... yikes that's a long time.

Love you family SUPER DUPER! AND LET'S PLAY DRESS-UPS WITH THE SCOTTISH KILTS! but mine has to be green and red please! And I want to be barefoot on the sand when we take the picture in Oregon! :D I'm stoked. (This was a joke, and we are not wearing kilts for our family pictures.)

Elder Tuft

Monday, May 23, 2016

Housing Checks, Coming up soon: Baptisms, Family History

Hello Family,

I'm doing fine this week. I little tired but well. We've been working really hard and I've learned a lot.

We went and did housing checks with all the missionaries in our zone, with Elder & Hermana Oldroyd this week. They are funny and great people. I liked spending the day with them. There was only one house that was in bad condition because the Elders hadn't cleaned in at all for a few months. So they are cleaning it today. We went to Pizza Hut with them as a little treat. They were so nice to us and asked us what our plans were after the mission. We started talking about school and we ended up talking about marriage. They gave us a few tips and gave us some great advice.

We had mini-transfers in the zone this week and we are really happy for the changes. A few missionaries were assigned to be the new district leaders or trainers and they really stepped it up. All they needed was the little motivation and trust in themselves and they became better missionaries on their own. God sees us for who we can become and not for who we are.

We have a baptism not this week but on the 4th of June. Her name is Ana Bran. She wanted to be baptized this week but we did the pre-interview and she's not quite ready. Pray for her baby and for her. Her newborn doesn't sleep at night and keeps her up all night long. In the day he sleeps and she can't sleep because her house gets really hot and uncomfortable. So she's draining in energy. She's also a single mom and has two kids.

As far as Family History work goes, they haven't done anything this week with it. They don't have much direction but not because they can't do it but because searching their ancestors is the hardest part for them. I don't have much control over Family History. We'll see if we can talk about doing an activity for Family History and Missionary Work combined.

Talking about Family History work, Grandma gave me a name to go through the temple and do the work for him. I don't have the name right with me right now but I'll send the name to you next week and you can send me a little bit of his story so that I know who I'm going through the temple for.

In the ward right now, we are doing activities every week to help bond the members better and to help them bond to the new members and investigators. It's working really well right now. I hope it keeps going.

I read Section 109 of the D&C this week and it was interesting but I apologize beforehand because I can't remember what I wrote down about it. However, I have always had in the plastic holder for my temple recommend, a little quote which is from D&C 109:13 and I like it a lot. It says: "That all people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord's house may feel thy power, and feel constrained to acknowledge that thou hast sanctified it, and that it is thy house, a place of thy holiness."

We had five members from our ward receive their endowment this past week and they've grown so much from the experience. Two of them were sealed as well. They shared their testimonies in Sacrament Meeting this week and the Spirit touched my heart. The temple is beautifully simple and simply beautiful. Because of the way we are taught and the symbolism, the teachings of the temple intrigue the mind of the learned, yet is enriching to the unlearned.

I love being in the temple. I remember that before I came to Honduras, I went very frequently to the temple. I love the temple. I wish I could go more often as a missionary. I feel sad for missionaries who can't go to the temple because there isn't one close by. There is an indescribable feeling of joy and peace and happiness inside, especially for those who take the names of their ancestors to the House of the Lord.

Love you family,
Elder Tuft

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Family week, temples, answers to questions

Hi family and friends,

This week was family week and we had a few activities planned as a ward. Everything turned out great! On Monday we went to a family home evening with the family Tovar and they had invited another family to their home and we shared the movie, "Together Forever" with them. They are a new couple and are thinking about marriage. So Dad, relating to what you commented in your letter, I've found that telling someone that they need to get married isn't a great option. But teaching them correct principles and letting them decide for themselves is always the better option. We are teaching one family right now. It's a couple. They are expecting a baby but aren't married either. I think it would be best to share the movie Together Forever with them, as well. That movie has a great impact on new couples, I have seen. It's a really simple and easy way to share our beliefs and then testify that those principles have brought you happiness and peace.

Running out of time, but I just wanted to say that I LOVE THE TEMPLES! They are truly the "House of the Lord". "I have a family here on Earth. They are so good to me. I want to share my life with them through all eternity. Families can be together forever, through Heavenly Father's plan. I always want to be with my own family. And the Lord has shown me how I can."

Just a quick comment about Daysy. She didn't go to church this week because she went to her mom's house this weekend. Pray for her and for us. God will bless us if we have faith, hope and love.

Mom, talk to Dad about the SLIDER account. I think it was him on Friday that "hacked" my account. If not, just change the password.

I haven't been with a companion that has had Dengue in the transfer that we were companions. Elder Bustillos and I are looking good so far so we hope we don't get Dengue and we can have a healthy transfer.

Dad, Everything has been pretty normal this week. The investigators that came to church are people that members have brought and we haven't taught yet. We will be teaching one of them next Sunday because he lives so far away that he can only come Sundays to church. Good luck in the garden. I look forward to working along side you in the garden. I didn't work a ton in the garden with you before but I feel like I'd like to more.

The family history part of the ward is a little disorganized right now. They just called some new young adults to work as a team to teach the ward about family history. It's not been too productive up til now. We'll see how things go this week. We've been trying to attend their meetings to know how we can help but they haven't had a meeting for a few weeks now that we know of. I'll look into it.

I'll read D&C 109 this week and tell you what I learned and think next week.

Love you all,
Elder Tuft

Monday, May 9, 2016

Poem, Last Transfer period starts this week, Elder Bustillos

Hello Wonderful Family,

Well this past week we have had quite the roller-coaster ride. Elder Bustillos has been a little delicate on the health side of things and I think it's because we are working ourselves really hard. Some mission leaders have told us that if we are not baptizing it is because we don't have enough faith but I'm here to tell you that there are somethings that your faith cannot control and so I don't worry so much about the results as much as I worry about doing my part the best I can and leaving everything in the hands of God.

We have a really positive investigator named Daysy. I think I told you about her last week but she's been really great and doing all the commitments except she hasn't gone to church yet because of the holiday. I hope everything goes well with her.

We did a lot of splits this past week. I told you guys in the phone call but if you didn't understand, I just wanted to clear that up. I think that's the most exciting thing that has happened yet. They are really great.

Elder Bustillos and I went home early yesterday because he was going to throw up and I fell asleep at 8 pm. I slept solid until 6:30 this morning and I was still in my church clothes. I remember nothing... :P I'm pretty sure that I needed that sleep because we've been working super duper hard.

Here's the Robert Frost Poem that I translated:

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

La primavera, oro ha de ser,
color que no se sabe mantener.
Su hoja fina es el flor.
Tiempo es su cobrador.
Hojas se envejecen.
Así se puso en Edén,
como el sol obedece.
Jamas el oro permanece.

That's the best I could translate the poem and still retain the rhythm. Hope you can make it better.

There's not much more to say but I love you all! Have a great week!

I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He is God's Only Begotten Son. They both love us so much and that's why we are serving missions: to bring to pass the imortality and eternal life of man. The Book of Mormon is true and it stands as its own witness. Anyone can read it and ask God with real intent and receive an answer by the power of the Holy Ghost. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Tuft

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

New Investigators, answering questions, and Skype

"A picture Elder Bustillos took of me a week ago. I love climbing trees but this will be the first and last tree climbed in missionary clothes."
Hi Family,

This week was a great week for us. We didn't find many new investigators but the ones we did find are really great. It was interesting to see that, in the stats for our zone this past week, those who contacted less had more new investigators and those who contacted more had less new investigators. We're still investigating the matter...a little curious.

One of the new investigators that we are teaching is SUPER cool! We found her when we talked to an old lady (her grandma) in the street and the old lady told us she wasn't interested in listening to us because she always goes to another church. We asked her if she knew anyone who would be interested in listening to our message and she shouted and pointed at a young lady (her grand-daughter) and said, "She doesn't go to any church and would be happy to listen to you." So we set up an appointment and this week we visited her for the first time. We taught her the Restoration and she had already read the pamphlet of the Restoration that we gave her. It was really easy to teach her. While reciting the First Vision to her, she was very attentive and quiet. After, no one wanted to move or breathe because we felt the Spirit so strong. When she finally reacted after a few moments in silence, she said, "How neat would that be to talk to God!" And we told her, "You can!" And so she said she would talk with God in prayer and confirm the truthfulness of our message. She was going to go to church but something happened and she couldn't come. We are hoping and praying so much that she can make the right steps towards baptism. We left the discussion with a new energy that night. :D

We also went to a baptism that other missionaries had. We sang "A Child's Prayer" to the sister that got baptized. The Spirit was really strong there as well. The family members were all crying as the sister (Patricia) gave her testimony after the baptism. It was quite the emotional day for them, and for us missionaries.

Now, lots of questions to answer. I'll try to answer all the "loose ends" that I've left undone.

I've been back to full strength for a while now after dengue and we've been working really hard.

For my birthday this past week, a few people wanted to smash eggs on my head and throw me in the tubs (the pilas) full of water. That's what they do here in Honduras. But I'm happy to say that I've escaped two birthday's now without those birthday surprises happening. I didn't tell any members of my birthday until after the 26th and then justified myself by saying that the 26th had already passed and that it wouldn't be right to celebrate my birthday on another day.

Dad, we had a change in the stake presidency and the whole attitude of the stake has changed. There are usually things that aren't 'perfect' about the meetings on Sunday (or any other church meetings) but it's gotten a lot better in a very short amount of time. My first few Sundays here in Danlí were a little difficult for me because I wondered what church I had wandered into. But it's gotten better I'm happy to say. We don't have a ward mission leader anymore because the stake leaders released him from that calling and gave him a stake calling as a High Councilor, visiting our ward still. So we still see him a lot but it's not the same as when he was the ward mission leader. He's a great guy and has touched my heart because of his sincerity, hard work ethic, spiritual power, and humility. He's making differences in the lives of many. He truly magnifies his calling.

I haven't heard much more about Stuard still. I always ask about him but he's still in the process of his mission papers.

I read the thoughts you shared about the talk from Elder Bednar and I liked it. I wish that all the missionaries in this zone could comprehend that obedience for love and not by force will always bring us more blessings and spiritual power. There are some who struggle in that aspect.

We still haven't gotten the conference addresses. We are anxiously waiting for them. "I WILL GO AND DO!"

Mom, I'm not in Paraíso but the first counselor in our ward bishopric is named Nery.

May Day is the day that I got Baptized! :D

There was a storm here that kicked the power out for a few hours but we're back to normal from that storm. I like the temperature that we enjoyed this morning. It was cool but not cold. It was just perfect.

I haven't been using the rain boots because people here look at me like a weirdy, but I have used the umbrella, and the rain coat on occasion.

Enjoy the electronics Lindsay! I never had them up until Kyle came back from his mission and even then I was begging mom for an iPod. JUST. AN. IPOD. Not even an iPhone or anything! Use them wisely. I dislike it when I'm talking to someone and they are texting on their phone or otherwise ignoring me basically. It happens a lot when you're a missionary.

SKYPE: 3 or 4 o'clock is fine with us. We don't have many members with internet and Skyping capabilities in our ward but we'll see what we can do.

Love you all! I hope I answered all your questions!
Spencer James

PS I've gone over the time hour limit of my time to write. But don't worry if I don't answer all your questions in the future. It's really not a lot of time to read and write you guys.