Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"Signing out!" and "Signing back in!"

LAST LETTER HOME!!!  This Mom's getting giddy!

Hello Wonderful and Terrific Family,

I hope you can feel how excited I am to see each one of you face to face! I have been dreaming the past week and have had a preview of Mom's and Dad's hugs. I can still feel them from when I left the airport two years ago.

I've had the impression this week to tell you all (and it's more for myself) that even though I'm leaving, I'll really never leave. A part of my past will always stay here in Honduras. A part of me will never be able to "sign-out". That part of me will be 100pre Catracho! Now, I'll need your help and patience because I'm not in the loop of things at home. I'll have to "sign-in" again to real life. Truth is, I'm nervous about that part because I'll have to rediscover how to live life. Honduras life is an extended camp-out. Life in Utah is a dream.

I feel torn in my heart (part of me longs to stay with these people and the other part longs to be home). I love these people. Nephi describes best what I feel: (I'm changing the verse a little bit)

"But I, Spencer, have spoken what I have spoken, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my Hondurans. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.

And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have spoken in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal.

2 Nephi 33:3-4

I'll tell you more when I get home. It's been an amazing two years!

All my love,
Spencer James

PS to Mom:  As far as my arrival, I'll just be happy to be home, Mom. I might be hungry but I think I'll just want a P&J sandwich and some 2% milk. Thanks :D

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Earthquake, Family Nights

Hello Family,

I hope this week has been as great for you as it has been for me. There wasn't much new but it was fun.

Talking about the earthquake, I didn't feel anything. We were on splits with the Assistants when we heard a rumbling but Elder Bustillos and I were on the bed and he was moving his foot up and down so we didn't notice it very much. We had a few members call us because we live on the second floor in our house in Danlí. They were worried about us and I thought that was really nice of them to think of us. I think that God protects me a ton. I've been in two places where an earthquake has occurred but I haven't felt either of them. In Guatemala, I was asleep and in Honduras I was on a bed. I think I should keep away from the beds if I ever want to feel an earthquake.

We had 12 investigators in church this week. We brought 5 people (all were kids ages 10 to 12ish) and 5 got there on their own, and 2 came with a member. It was crazy when we realized we couldn't do it all on our own. The members stepped in and did their part and it all worked about very well.

Elder Bustillos and I reflected on why so many investigators came this week. Some came because of the Noches de Hermanamiento that we are doing. Others came because of lessons with members.

In the family nights/noches de hermanamiento, we play games with the families to get them to interact more. They love it! :D I love it too! We tried to teach them some boy scout games that I've learned over the years but I think the Honduran mind just can't keep up with advanced American boy scout minds... ;) We had to change the game because they just aren't capable of so much fun in one night. hahaha ;D

Dad, This week we were able to draw up a list of people to visit about Family History. We also were able to get empty family trees to be able to fill out with recent converts and less-actives. This week, we're planning on making the initial visits about the family history and then we'll commit them to keep on it and not stop. Every month, the ward goes to the temple, so we can use that as motivation for them. This month, the ward went and actually, one of the ward members took 2 names to the temple and did all the work for them. I think the ward is doing better than we've been thinking. It just takes time to show the results.

I'll be going to the temple the day before I get on the plane (22nd of June) so I'll go to the temple with Edward I. Johnson here in Teguc. I hope he doesn't have to fly far in the spirit world to make it here to Teguc on time. ;)

My plans for this week: Work it! I just wanted to let Mom know that I took out all the money of my account to go shopping. So, I still have the money. I don't think I'll need two suitcases actually. Can I give one away??? It's just that, I don't think I'm going to bring very much home.

Mom, can you send a list of things you for sure want me to bring home? That would help me a ton! :D Also, I still have the oils from Elder Rigby. There is an Hermana in the mission that is very allergic to deet and I was wondering if I could give the oils to Hermana Oldroyd so that she can manage them and give them to people that have allergies as well? I used them in the south but when I went to Teguc, I stopped using them. Here in Danlí, I've used OFF but in lesser portions and I've been fine. I think I used OFF so much at the beginning of the mission that my body started to take on an allergic reaction. Now that I haven't used it for a year and a half, I'm fine to use it but not as much as I did before.
Only 6 of the 10 Americans are going home this transfer. The rest extended another transfer.

Also, about contacting drunk people: I've only every contacted drunken men this once. President didn't tell us to do it, he just shared a story with us that happened to talk about contacting drunk people. He wanted us to learn that: 1)we need to follow the Spirit always, 2) that we need to be creative and try new things. There are many drunk men that I would never contact but the nicer ones are really funny to talk to when they are drunk.

I hope I answered your questions. I got to get going now.

Elder Tuft

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Service Project, Service Video, Interview with President

Hello Family,

It's hard to know what to write because my mind is flooded with emotions and important things left to do today.

Yesterday, we visited a 16 year-old girl that already has a one-year-old baby. Her name is Keidy and she's super awesome. She didn't want to pray at the end of the lesson but when we taught her, she did it all on her own. We all three prayed actually, and it was neat to feel the Spirit there with us. We taught her about repentance and baptism. She wanted to go to church yesterday as well but told us she slept in until 11am.

We also found a less-active family while contacting the past week. We went and shared a message with them and the husband looked like he was soaking it all in. He looked like he was determined to make a change in his life. Today, we'll go back to visit them and we'll watch the movie, Together Forever, with them.

We also have a psycho investigator named Natzy. The mom, Nancy, had a bar in the house before and so that gives you an idea of how their lifestyle is. Elder Bustillos wanted to go up on their roof to see the surrounding neighborhood and they let us go up. Well, I took a picture of all the garbage they had up there! It was insane! Almost all of the bottles were beer bottles. It was incredible. The other pictures are the after shots of what we did to clean it all up. It was a great change for them. Nevertheless, their hearts still are hardened and didn't come to church this week. They also slept in and turned off their phones. But they were really nice and gave us a little breakfast afterwards.

I also had an interview with President this week for my new temple recommend and I didn't know that the questions changed after going through the temple ordinances but it makes sense. It always makes me smile that the answers I give always start, "yes, yes, yes, yes, yes," and then suddenly, "NO, NO." hahaha because it starts asking about committing crimes and such.

Dad, We wanted to take up your Family History challenge this week, but we came up with nothing mostly because we had to travel to Tegucigalpa for meetings and then have more meetings in Danlí and doing splits. But this week we are going to do it. FOR SURE! 100%!

The temple name that I got from Grandma was Edward I. Johnson. Would you be able to search out his background info so that when I go through the temple, I know who I'm going to accompany there? Thanks :D

In the meeting for just zone leaders this week, President told us a story of some missionaries in his son's old mission that had a lot of success doing new things to find new people. They would contact the drunk men in the street and ask them to take them to someone who would receive us. So that's what we did, just to see how it would work. The idea was that the Spirit would work through them in their drunkened state, to lead us to the chosen ones. So the first pair of drunk men we found, we contacted. One of them told us, "I'll take you to my girlfriend's house!" and then added as an afterthought, "What do we do with the rest of the beer?" Elder Bustillos asked, "Can I chuck it?" The first drunk man said "Yes! Throw it far!" But the other drunk man was really sad, really really sad, when Elder Bustillos grabbed the bottle and threw it. It was hilarious. Well, we went to his girlfriend's house and now we are teaching his girlfriend and her mom. Hahahaha It worked! :D They aren't super positive but they learned a lot and were attentive.

Mom, we were carrying pamphlets in those boxes. And I do remember Bro Nachos! (we say Nachos but we know it's Nackos.) Thanks for your testimony.

Dad, It's been raining here in Danlí so there have been more mosquitoes and so I use a little bug spray but not as much as before. I just apply a lot less and it seems to help.

That's about it for this week. I got to go now.
Love you family!
Elder Tuft