Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry (late) Christmas

 I hope all of your Christmases were amazing, because mine was! I want to thank all of you that sent me gifts, prayers, love, etc for Christmas. It truly means a lot. 
     On Tuesday, we had a Christmas conference with the whole mission. That was awesome! President Ashton gave a big presentation on setting righteous goals. We now have a big mission goal to get 60 baptisms in the month of January. I ask all of you to assist us in praying for this, please! Thank you very much. 
     After the goal presentation, we watched a movie until lunch time. The movie was Ephraim's Rescue, which was awesome! Unfortunately, I still have about an hour left of the movie, which is lame! Haha, I'll have to see it later. 
     Lunch was so delicious. There was tri-tip steak, sausage, cheesy scalloped potatoes, and much more! I had so much food! It was a great time to catch up with other missionaries. Elder Stoker, the old English elder who left a couple transfers ago was fun. Elder Rockhill was really annoying haha. He just kept begging me to use the phone to text women from our area. I was pretty frustrated with him. Oh well! 
     After lunch, was the talent show. I was begged to sing by the Elders LeBlanc, Johnson, and Leszynski. After much resisting (because I didn't want to sing without accompaniment), I gave in to Elder LeBlanc's offer to stay active for at least three months after his mission haha. Just a joke; he likes to pretend to be less active. But I sang, and it went well. We opened some presents and then left. It was a great night.
     On Wednesday the 24th, poor Elder Leszynksi was so sick that he had to stay in and rest. I studied a ton, so that was nice! He was in bed from 3:45 in the afternoon to 6:30 the next morning. It was kind of funny. He wanted to go out and work, but asked for a blessing. Elder Havens, in the blessing, pretty much commanded him to get some rest. 
     Thursday. Christmas! Wow. We enjoyed more presents, and candy. There was a fantastic breakfast at the Rabago's house. All five of us elders stayed there until we were done Skyping our families. That was so fun! Man, I loved that. It was so great seeing my family's faces again. 
     After this, we went to dinner at Hna. Perez' house. She had made brisket that was so good! Then we had a second dinner of [horrible] tamales at the Arriaga's house. We have nice families in the ward. 
     The next day, the English Elders baked me a cake for my birthday, and let me take them out to lunch at Taco Bell. They brought me some cool presents. Elder LeBlanc wrote on a mini American flag (he's an Ameri-maniac). They gave me a 24 month missionary calender. And they gave me a 2 or so pound gummy bear. They had Supernatural quotes written on the side from this giant stuffed teddy bear. I loved it! Happy Birthday to me :D
     Saturday, I went on exchanges with Elder LeBlanc. That was a ton of fun, and I actually learned a lot from him; even though he's super dead (trunky) and goes home in 12 weeks. I love him a ton, and want to stay friends with him. He's just a stud. We helped people move, and about threw out our backs lifting a 400 or so pound dresser down a set of narrow stairs, and up even more in the new house. It was still a great day. When I got home, the apartment was a mess, and I found out that Elder Havens, Johnson, and Leszynski had stayed home for most of the day because Elder Havens thought he received revelation that if they went out, one of them would die. I was so mad at the lack of work. Especially because that was a Texas City day. With that and Wednesday (our sick day), our only two days to go there, we went a whole week without seeing people who needed it. I was livid. Elder Havens has really been dropping the ball a lot lately.
     Yesterday was a crazy day as well. After eating with the Rabago's after church, Elder Leszynski and gave Elder Havens a righteous, two- hour chewing out. He admitted that he hadn't been there when he needed to and will repent. I expect bigger things.
     Today, we found out that I AM leaving for transfers on Wednesday. I nearly started crying. I don't want to leave my island! I'm especially sad about leaving Elders Johnson and LeBlanc. That will be hard, but I know it's what the Lord needs for me. I will do what I've been called here to do! I love the Lord, and i love all of you! Have a great New Year!

-Elder Spjute

Family du-rag pic. Also, Thanks for the Christmas Present, Mom! I missed my onesie! 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Feliz Navidad! letter from 12/22

Oh man, the festivities, though! There are a lot of cool lights here; it makes me miss setting those up back home. I think it's gotten warmer this week, so that's... something haha. I'm still stoked to be spending Christmas here on the island. 
     This may be the first Christmas season I'm losing weight :) Or rather, getting into really good shape! We did the Aphrodite workout three times last week, and today, started another one called Artemis. In Artemis, you do 50 burpees, 50 pull-ups (yes, you read that right), 100 push-ups, and another 50 burpees. It was so amazingly hard. But awesome! Man, the muscles though haha. After doing the Aphrodite the second time, my lats got soooo sore, and swelled up. It looked almost comical. I bought some beautiful Icyhot to relieve the pain. But all in the sake of good health :)
     So yesterday, I went on splits during church so Elder Johnson and I could play the piano in primary (he played left hand, I played top). That was fun and hilarious. The director was all, "well I don't think we have any birthdays, so we'll move on to the opening song." Elder Johnson had a birthday last week, and mine is this week, so we made them sing to us anyway :) We got a treat and everything! With that and playing the piano for Sacrament meetings, I'm pretty set as far as piano playing goes.
     While we were splitting, Elder LeBlanc went with my companions and they had a meeting with the stake 1st councilor. Elder Havens and I have been called as Elder's Quorum advisers. That's interesting! And we'll pretty much head up the home teaching in the branch now. Elder Leszynsky- there was a rumor about him staying here for a year that Reverend Lawson said he heard from President Ashton... now I believe it- He got called as the branch clerk and executive secretary. They told him he'd be here long enough to get things going. Pretty big stuff. 
     So last Monday, we had a dinner appointment with the English elders and a guy named Mark and his wife Terry. The food, as with the other two times, was amazing! They made me sing for them, so I sang A Living Prayer. They love it haha. We've got another dinner with them tonight; I may sing something else. I love applying myself musically! 
     I've made so many friends here in my area! My first convert, Guadalupe, is the sweetest old lady ever! I'll probably get to see her on Christmas, which is nice. The Villalobos family, the one in which the grandma, Maria, has cancer, loves us a ton! She's still not doing well, unfortunately. Continued prayers. 
     We made two trips to Sugar Land this week. One was for a trainee conference for Elder Havens. That was really cool. I actually learned a lot about the Atonement. Man, Heavenly Father is amazing. I absolutely love Him! I hope all of your Christmases are wonderful, and filled with the Spirit. I encourage all of you to remember the real reason for CHRISTmas this year. I love you all,

-Elder Spjute

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Time is Here

The Subject about says it all! It was another good week. Christmas is in the air (even if that air is sometimes 80 degrees). 
     Let me tell you about some of our eating adventures this week. On Thursday, we made dinner for the three of us. There was about 2 pounds of spaghetti and 8 brownies each. Yeah, woof. Friday afternoon, we served at a big luncheon, at which we ate a bunch. Later that day was the Christmas dinner with the combined Spanish branch and English ward. So. Much. Food. Nothing to die for, but all of it fairly good. More of a quantity than quality thing. On Saturday, we had free Cici's in Texas City, so we didn't eat sparingly. Sunday was a huge meal at Rabago's like always :) 
     This morning to fix this fatness problem, us three and the English elders did this workout called Free Lettics, which we hope to keep up. Our first exercise is called Aphrodite. We got up at 5:00 and started the painful, yet awesome fat-burning process. You start out with 50 burpees (jump to the ground, do a pushup, jump back up to your feet, then with your hands above your head, jump up to the sky; that's one burpee). Next, you do 50 sit-ups. Then you do 50 squats (hands out front, bend the knees to a 90 degree angle). Then you move to 40 burpees, 40 situps, and 40 squats, and so on, so forth. Let me just say, "ow!" 
     Nothing all to crazy is going on with the work right now. I fear that I might get transferred this next transfer. I hope not, but should the Lord call for it, so be it! I hope you all that are reading this in Idaho realize how lucky you are to have snow for Christmas! 
     I love the Lord this season more than any Christmas before! He is my Rock and my Salvation! I hope all can come to realize the importance of how He Is The Gift. Have a wonderful week, everyone! I love you!
-Elder Spjute

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up and pics

Well this was a great week! Can't complain too much :) We took three really long road trips, so we weren't out teaching as much as we would have liked to. I'll probably just go through the week in chronological order.
     Last Monday, we bought a basketball with the English Elders, so we played for hours. Also, that's been our exercise in the mornings now. I bought myself a pair of clippers and gave myself a hair cut. It was so long, and now is like the shortest cut I've ever gotten (with the exception of the couple times I was bald). I love it :) We taught two investigators on Monday. First was Guadalupe, who has a baptismal date for the 27th. She's progressing nicely. The next is Luis, who has a drinking problem, but has potential. 
     Tuesday, we took a trip to Sugar Land all day to fix my companions' bikes. They were both toast. It wasn't a terribly productive day, but the long trips allow us to get to know each other better. I've done ALL of the driving, and feel bad. I need to delegate more of that responsibility. 
     Wednesday was our Zone Conference day. We packed the 5 of us in the Corrolla and went to Friendswood, where I saw Elder Rockhill. I was excited for that, but he was extremely annoying. He only asked about what people were saying about him. Good to see you too, Elder. Also, big story! On Tuesday night, a mostly dropped investigator's daughter called us saying her mom needed a blessing because she had terminal cancer and 2 weeks to live. I spent all of Wednesday fasting for the gift of healing, and we went and saw her. I gave the most comfortable blessing in Spanish I'd ever given. I've never felt so full of faith. It was a great night. Would y'all pray for her please? Thank you!
     Thursday was another day in Sugar Land for medical stuff for Elder Havens. We did practically nothing the rest of the day.
     Friday was a fairly bland day. We got one lesson in, of which I should be more grateful. We are rebuilding the area. That means our numbers aren't fantastic, but we do have a ton of potential. I look forward with hope!
     Saturday was in Texas City/La Marque/Hitchcock. Cool Spiritual high: we did a role play for revelation. We have a married couple with a 17 year old daughter who we received spiritual confirmation that they need to be baptized this transfer. We weren't 100% sure of what to teach them, so my companions acted in their part, and I was the missionary in our role play. I asked them certain questions, and we prepared really well off of that. One of the questions was "If Heavenly Father were here, what would you ask Him?" Elder Leszynski, acting as the father said, "Does God really love me?" When we asked them in person later that night, the dad gave the EXACT same answer! My little missionary mind was blown! So cool. The problem was that they planned a trip to Mexico from yesterday to the 29th. That threw a wrench in our plans. We had prayed, and when we got to their house, they'd thrown off the plans. They're going to stay until the daughter finishes school in 2 weeks. Blessings! 
     Sunday was great because we got to watch the Christmas devotional in the conference center. It was so good! I love this gospel and the blessings we receive from doing what's right! I love you all. Have a wonderful week.

-Elder Spjute

Before and After haircut pics

Monday, December 1, 2014

And Goodbye Cold Weather

Well Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! It was quite nice here! We had two Thanksgiving dinners that night, and had had three others before that day. The weather, though cold in the beginning of November, has returned to mostly 70's. It's nice... for the fall season! It's December and I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt (only for a moment ;). 
     This week was, as usual, great! We are experiencing many different things; all new challenges. Elder Havens (mine and Elder Leszynski's son), didn't learn anything from the CCM, so we're trying to teach him the bulk of everything. That's a big challenge. But he is working hard, and will improve. Elder Leszynski and I are getting along very well. We get deep and love talking about the gospel, but then we can be super funny together. He loves music like me, but is more into instruments. I would love to get together after the mission with him and just music for a while. Since he already spoke Spanish, he only went to the MTC in Utah for a week and a half. We will probably be going home together, which is super cool! 
     We had a cool experience praying about who was supposed to get baptized this transfer according to the Lord's will. There is a family named Raul, Reina, and Kaylee, who we know needs to be baptized; and they are having trouble with making time. If y'all would pray for them, I would be very grateful. I'm truly learning more of how to rely on the Lord. That means being slow to jump to bad conclusions, but quick to jump on my knees. 
     I've laughed so much where I am now! We just make fun of ourselves everyday, and it's great! Elder Leszynski and I make fun of all the people that worship 'the virgin'. We'll be riding our bikes, and throw out a big "Oh Virgen! Protegenos!" (oh virgin, protect us). Always funny. We threaten to beat our son in Spanish as well hehe. "Hijo, te voy a pegar." Last night, we were walking and heard a big dog barking at us. I looked over and there was no fence between us. Next, I heard this high-pitched, girlish wail. I realized it came from me... The dog didn't charge us, but Elder Havens laughed himself into a bout of hiccups. I dropped a couple dignity points, but laughed it off. 
     I've noticed a lot more spiritual help and grace in my time here lately. I've been blessed with the gift of tongues; yesterday, I translated almost all of the Spanish branch Sacrament meeting into English. I have increased in spiritual knowledge a ton. The Lord has blessed us with more people to teach and more baptismal dates. I've received sufficient grace to know the area. I am guided daily by the Spirit. I love my Lord, and this gospel. He truly is the gift in this Holiday season! I am grateful for this gospel. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Spjute

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

     Didn't see that coming! I'm in a companionship of 3! Elder Leszynski, who is from Argentina, and fluent in both English and Spanish, and I are training Elder Havens, who is 21, 6 ft 6 in. Both lived in Utah, which makes all 4 of my companions Utahns. They are a ton of fun! We do a lot of our own cooking, which is awesome! 
     Sorry, but this was a mostly uneventful week; therefore, short letter. It was all fairly depressing until Elder Rockhill lefton Wednesday. I learned a lot from him, and am ready to move on. So Hermana Ries, who I rode to the CCM with on the plain from Boise is now in our district. We're a super young district with the exception of the English Elders, Johnson and LeBlanc. So happy I'm still with them because they're hilarious. 
     Elder Leszynski tells me I'm fluent in Spanish, which feels super nice! We had an English fast yesterday. I loved it! We've also already had 2 Thanksgiving dinners; one with the branch, and one with the Rabago's. 
     Elder Leszynski is a really Spiritual guy, and I'm excited to get to know him because we're gonna influence each other for the better. I'm definitely feeling the blessings! I hear things are going well back home as well. I hope this continues. I love this gospel! And I love you all too!

-Elder Spjute

Monday, November 17, 2014

It's a Boy!

    So this is going to be crazy; I'll explain the title in a bit. This week was just exasperating! In a good way. 
     We had our last District Meeting on Tuesday. That was a little sad because one of the English sisters, Sister Jewett is going home like tomorrow. During a training on spiritual gifts by her and her comp, Sister Nath (who is from Spain), I felt so faithless. I felt like I had no hope, for who knows what reason. Our District had one baptismal goal, and everyone else is kind of floundering. I was told by the two sisters that i have the gift of diligence. I did a personal study on that the next day, and there it was, clear as day in my Patriarchal blessing! I figure if I'm diligent, faith has to follow! 
     The next day, we were in Texas City. We had the best meal I've had in all my time out here. It's a Honduran food called baliadas. It's a glorified burrito with eggs; but the lady made them SO good! We got a phone call from Sister Mecham (missionary health lady in Sugar Land) during dinner saying we needed to get back to the island ASAP. Sister Nath had a nasty bike crash, hit her head badly, and we assisted her to the urgent care center. Now, we generally have to be in our apartments by 9:30. But after staying at the hospital getting vital signs taken and CT scans and all that fun stuff, we didn't get in until after 11:15! It was a rush! We got permission to give her a blessing, and that was pretty cool. Poor girl has a bad concussion. Fortunately nothing worse. That helped boost my faith! Heavenly Father was watching out for her. 
     Just when I though it'd never get crazier that that night (pretty naive, right?), it did! 
     On Thursday, we celebrated Elder Rockhill's 21st birthday. We had a lot of food haha. It was a great day. Then, President Ashton called during a lesson, and left a message for me to call him. I did, and got the biggest shock ever. "Elder Spjute, the Lord wants you to train this next transfer."
     I am finishing my training this week, and then I'm gonna be a trainer! Hence, my title. I'm gonna be a "dad". Poor Elder Rockhill has spiraled into depression because he doesn't want to leave. It's kinda pathetic. Not trying to sound rude, but like an author would say it. It's pretty sad. 
     I've decided to sacrifice my fear of training (because I went all that night jaw- agape), and replace it with faith. I have faith. I have a lot of faith. I will continue to grow more faith. The Lord will be my constant companion! 
     Last thing, Ivonne FINALLY got baptized yesterday. I confirmed her in Spanish, which was awesome! I loved it, and the Spirit was so strong! Miracle: she now has every Sunday free to go to the English ward for church! This gospel is amazingly true! I love it so much! Pray for my new companion!

-Elder Spjute

First two pics: Celebrating Elder Rockhill's birthday

Johnathon during the biker rally last week. He's Nathaly's son.

district at the temple last week

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Weekly Report

     Hey everyone! So finally, the weather here is getting nicer. I wore a long-sleeved all day this week, and didn't sweat too much. It was still hot enough on Saturday to get a mosquito bite, which has never happened to me in November before. 
     So last Monday, after P-Day, we had dinner with this guy named Mark and his wife (courtesy of/ dinner with the English elders). They liked to kinda try to tell us why we are wrong, but they were still the nicest people! That was the first time I've had a good, home-cooked, American meal in so long! They prayed for our eyes to be opened haha. After all of that, we went to Houston for a mission temple trip. There were about 50 missionaries there; they're sending everyone through in parts. 
     The drive was awesome! I can't explain how funny the English elders are. Man, I love them. We got there pretty late that night. And we stayed with... get this... Elder Evan Huntsman, who went to Borah with me. He was a senior my sophomore year, and in my seminary class. That was pretty cool. We woke up at like 4:30 the next morning to go to the temple.
     I wish I could say this was my best time at the temple, but I was struggling with my patience. Let me explain. I had a wonderful time, and the Spirit was very strong. However, I wasn't receiving the revelation I thought I needed in the way I wanted. I learned humility this temple trip. It actually hit pretty hard. I love it!
     So lemme tell you about this weekend in Galvy. There was a festival called the Biker Rally. From Thursday night through Sunday, about 400,000 motorcycles came through. It was crazy! There were a lot of crazy stories. For example, a woman from a strip club got abducted. A couple people died at one point. The sister missionaries had to go home at about5:00 because they were too scared to ride bikes, and were being offered beer and to be taken home. Elder Rockhill and I were offered to be flashed. Yeah, it was a different weekend. 
     I wish I cared about motorcycles though haha. Elder Rockhill had a great time because he knows a lot about them, and grew up on them. He also knows a ton about cars. He can talk to anyone for a long time about cars because he knows what's in them, he knows what model is which, and he actually cares. I have like no car experience, so that really takes me out of the conversation. I wish I were more of an interesting person before my mission. All I really had going for me was choir/ music stuff. Elder Rockhill did like everything you can think of to talk about. It is really a plus. I told him I might steal some of his stories haha. 
     The work is a little slow right now. We're really trying to get this awesome 19 year old kid named Orbit on a mission. He's been praying about it. He needs to get active first haha. 
     After church yesterday, we had dinner at the Rabago's house (which we do every Sunday), and that was, as usual, fantastic. Afterwards, Elder Johnson and I gave the lesson. We watched a mormon message video about a guy who lost his whole family in a car accident. His faith and hope in God were truly incredible. After watching it, I shared the story of my Uncle Mark's family. I shared it from my cousin Greg's perspective. He lost his sister while they were both on missions, and his mom got cancer. He was given the option to return home twice, but stayed out with faith. I was crying the whole time I was sharing this... as was most everyone else. I am truly impressed by the faith of others. I know that Christ has suffered all our pains for us. I love my Savior, and know we can turn to him in our time of need. I love you all, and bear my testimony and witness that what I share is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Spjute

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thank you, everyone!!!

So as for the title, it is obvious that I had a bit of a tough week last week, but this one was SO much better, and I'm so grateful for all of the prayers in my behalf! 
     I finished a journal! I started it the day I got my call, and I have learned so much since then! It is cool to see the difference! 
     So I was upset last week because Elder Rockhill signed us up to help someone move in on P-Day, and it took about 5 hours. But it was a good idea that yielded blessings :) We did a similar move today. If you can find ways to manage time, it is not a bad thing. It is service, which brings the Spirit. 
     Last Monday, Elders LeBlanc and Johnson had to go to the hospital to give a blessing to a 2 year old girl with severe burns on her body. It took a huge psychological toll on them both. The girls mom was a mess. I got to talk alone with Elder LeBlanc the next day, and found out that under his rough shell is a huge heart. I really love that guy! 
     On Wednesday, we had exchanges, which for me, happen about 5 times a transfer. I went to Kemah, and the Kemah Zone Leader came to Elder Rockhill. Kemah was AWESOME! The apartment has 4 spanish speaking missionaries; my companion's name was Elder Escobar. We stayed up 'til 12 just joking around; it was amazing! The next day, we spent about 5 hours in the hospital in Sugar Land because he had a check up due to some cancer he had before the mission. It is all fine now, but it was a good experience; and I drove all day :D I got to sing my heart out in the car with him! The bad thing about staying up til 12 though, is that I'm getting sick now. Not fun, but oh well! We are both struggling with difficult companions, and by the end of the day, we could both see the fruits of a well-working  companionship! 
     While he was doing stuff in the hospital, I read a talk called The 4th Missionary. OH MAN, mind blown! If I'm lucky and diligent, this could/will change my mission/life. It is all about being better than the bad first, lazy second, and un-desirable third missionaries. Be the 4th missionary who's will is the Lord's. So good! I could also see that take effect this week. 
     We had to come in early to the house on Halloween due to costumes and such. It was nice because we got to bed early :D I miss dressing up haha. I got to dedicate my first house that day! Well an apartment, but oh well! The less actives that live there were really grateful and so cool! On that same day, we had a zone meeting, in which I gave a training on inviting people to church. It went really well. I focused it on the missionary purpose. I got a ton of compliments. The English elders thought Elder Rockhill was kidding when he said I was giving a training. I love them a lot; we joke around so much! We have tons of fun with them! It is amazing! 
     Our investigator, Ivonne, came to church yesterday for her second time, so she'll probably be baptized soon. Woohoo! Blessings :D I have had such a good week! I have an analogy that relates to the work here. It's like bike riding. I think every time we ride our bikes, there is a head wind. It's so difficult, but it really strengthens you, and then, you can focus on other things when strong. I know the Lord has been merciful with me this week. I thank you all for your support! I love you all, and the church is true!

-Elder Spjute

Monday, October 27, 2014

Livin the Dream

     So the best thing about P-Day last week was singing with Elder Johnson (English). My mama sent a bunch of music, and I sang 'til it hurt! I know, I know, bad technique haha. It was so good though! He's a kosher singer, but that works for me :) 
     I've had a couple people ask me to tell about our investigators. We have no progressing investigators, sadly. Ivonne, who I've mentioned a few times, can't come to church due to work, so she isn't really going anywhere, and that is frustrating. An older lady named Mariester Villalobos can get baptized as soon as she gets to church, but her family who would drive her has to work most Sundays. There are two girls, Rosalinda and Lisbeth Marquez (12 and 14 y/o) who also could be baptized, but their parents are inactive, and that's tough. There are a few others, but none anywhere near baptism. We work a lot with less actives. 
     On Friday, I got to go on exchanges with Elder LeBlanc. That was great! I needed some time with someone else. I love Elder Rockhill, but occasionally he gets on my nerves. I can always improve on that though, that is a big fault of mine: impatience. Anyways, while on exchanges, we both got flat tires, so that was just dandy. We lost a bunch of time on that, but it was nice being able to talk to Elder LeBlanc when we were walking. 
     On Saturday, we had to fix Reverend Lawson's flat tire. He's this big, black, Pentecostal Reverend who hangs out with us a lot. We're trying to convert him haha. He bought us ice cream from an ice cream truck :) I felt like a little kid again. He's a funny guy. 
     So, ironically, yesterday, I gave a talk on patience haha. It went well, and I guess people liked it. I feel so nervous speaking in Spanish! But all is fine! 
     I hope everyone's week is great! I'm sorry this is short, but I hate to admit, I was in a bit of a foul mood this week. I'll keep working on it, but I wouldn't turn down a prayer or two! I love you all!

-Elder Spjute

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Short Week

Well I know it sounds lame, but this week was rather uneventful. It has been like 5 days since last P-Day. I'm gonna start by giving an outline of a regular day. 6:30- up and out the door for a run. We come back after about 2 miles and finish with a bit of other exercise. 8:00- start personal studies for an hour. 9:00- start companionship studies. 10:00- start 12 week training (because I'm still new.) For this we watch movies, read Preach My Gospel, etc. 11:00 start language training.12:00- start lunch (or on Thursday, start weekly planning which takes about 3-4 hours). 1:00 out on bikes around Galveston, or in car around Texas City, Hitchcock, or La Marque. We have one hour for dinner whenever it is most effectively available. 9:00 (or 9:30 if we have lessons to teach)- in the house and starting planning for the next day. Once we finish planning for the next day, we change into regular clothes, and have personal time until we have to be in bed.10:30- lights off, which means in bed, or praying. 
     Every Thursday, we have dinner at 4:00 with Hna (hermana [sister]) Perez, the daughter of the lady I baptized. She always makes great food! I gave her mom a nice baptism picture with a frame. They put me up on the wall! We have dinner with the Rabago family (the husband is the president of our Lehi Branch) every Sunday. I love them! Sister Rabago sends pictures to my mom. She's like a mom-away-from-Mom. We eat at Cici's once or twice a week when we go to Texas City, La Marque, and Hitchcock.
     We've been doing a lot of reactivation with less actives lately. We have some of the coolest less actives! I love so many of them! There are so many that have to work on Sunday though. Many are very lazy. Some are too prideful offended. Hispanic people can be very easily offended! But if they can tell you love them, it works out well. 
     Our favorite less active families include the Zarate's. They have a pitbull named Gringo who is just awesome! They have young men who come out with us occasionally. They have a lot of cool names in their family: Orbit, Edwin, Gardinia, Oliver, Audie. Then there's the Luevanos. He makes fun of me, but I've learned to love him. He really is funny. There are others, but these are just some of the funnest ones. 
     I wish I had more good stories from this week! Things are all going well. The new English elder here, Elder LeBlanc, who is "troubled" and has been disobedient on his mission, is really cool! He's definitely crazy, but I love him, and he's hilarious! We're doing well in Galveston. The work is a little slow though. I still appreciate the prayers and support in my behalf. I love you all so much!

-Elder Spjute

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Finally P-day

    Yeah, 9 days in between P-Day is really hard. I was all out of clean clothes. We were almost out of food. It was chaotic haha. But nonetheless, I love it here so much! I've found especially this week that as I pray about specific people, I feel more connected with them, and can figure out how to help them most efficiently. I have been building a much stronger relationship with my Father in Heaven, and encourage everyone else to continue to do the same! 
     I'm almost finished with my second journal! This one I started the day after I opened my mission call. It is really cool to read through entries and see how far I've come. It is most inspiring when I can see the pattern of reliance on the Lord. As I put more in the Lord's hands, somehow, I am blessed more. You'd think it would be based on personal effort, but I testify that it is not! If we concentrate our efforts on our Savior, service, and relying on our Heavenly Father, things will more often work out. 
     I've heard a lot of people talk about the weather. Let me just tell you now that you are lucky not to have Galveston weather. We had like 2 days this week under 80 degrees. I'm still sweatin like a banshee! 
     So Elder Rockhill and I were told not to go to transfer meetings because the third companion we were going to get went to a different companionship. I was actually kinda bummed because that might have helped to relieve some of the two-man pressure. HOWEVER, I met the guy that would have been it on Sunday when we stayed the night in Houston in preparation for the meeting with a 70 named Elder Schwitzer the next day. The kid was a mess! His name is Elder Bets. He's so darn negative! I had previously prayed a little upset at why the transfer didn't go through. After meeting the guy, I've been praying with gratitude! May i never be that guy...
     So Elder Stoker got transferred from the English companionship, and that was really sad. His replacement is a big guy named Elder LeBlanc. He was a bit of a trouble missionary, so we were all a little scared, but he's actually really funny, and I've enjoyed him since he's been here. 
     Miracle!: After a fast by the zone for specific investigators, our investigator, Ivonne, got another co-worker so that she can come to church on Sundays now! So great! :D 
     I've grown to love Hispanic food. This could be to my downfall... I'll have to keep working out a lot! But man, real tamales are incredible! There's a Salvadorian dish called pupusas that are soooo good and so cheap at the restaurant that Ivonne works at. We get discounts :) 
     I've been really music and October trunky. I miss those things so much! I'm hoping this desire for a beautiful fall will pass soon haha. All in all though, I really love it here!
     We stayed the night Sunday at Elder Rockhill's old area in Houston. I got to see and hang out with Elder Sharp from the CCM. It was a good time! The next day was a Zone Conference with that 70. It was really inspiring. It helped me see the missionary work from a new, more Christ-centered perspective. 
     I hope everything is going well back home and wherever y'all are! I love you so much, and this gospel! The church is true! No doubt about it!

-Elder Spjute

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Weekly Report

So this week was awesome! First off, I want to let everyone know that my P- Day next week will be on Wednesday, due to a meeting with a member of the quorum of the 70 on Monday. He's gonna talk to us for a while that day, so we'll be in Houston. Next, I wanted to thank everyone who has had a hand in my success out here. I feel very blessed, and know that I couldn't do this without your prayers. Keep 'em coming, please!
     Who loved conference!? I DID! It was incredible! My questions beforehand were on the subject of faith. I waited the whole weekend, and Elder Scott answered them all in the very last session! So cool. My favorite talk, however was Elder Christoffersen. So dang powerful! There were definitely a lot of good lessons learned this weekend. I encourage you all to reread the talks! Invite others to learn from them too! We got to watch the conference in the chapel. So cool!
     So my BIG challenge for EVERYONE this week: go see the movie Meet The Mormons in theaters on the 10th. I've had the special opportunity to see it with 4 different zones in a zone meeting this Tuesday! It was amazing! You must show this to everyone! It is for all people! It shows the lives of 6 different LDS people, and is really incredible. 
     Later that Tuesday, i got a flat on my bike, and this guy rides by on a bike with a pump on the front! What a deal! He was from Guatemala, and said he'd meet with us. That is definitely a miracle :) 
     I went on exchanges this week with Elder Johnson, the other English Elder. He's the funniest guy out here. We had such a blast! He also cooks like a boss. We had a great time! We put our bikes in 1st gear and pedaled like crazy. Everyone who drove by giggled a little. Felt great! 
     We had a zone fast this week for a bunch of different investigators with problems. It was definitely a Spiritual experience. I highly encourage those to anyone who needs a little help, or just needs to get closer to Heavenly Father. 
     After our fast, we went to the temple!!! Elder Rockhill and I went with investigator Ivonne, her sister/recent convert Nathaly, and their mom. It felt like a family road trip! It's nice being able to understand more and more Spanish. I love it a lot! That was such a Spiritual high! Nathaly was able to be baptized for her grandmother. Poor Ivonne had to wait in the car, but it was worth it! We just gotta get her baptized, then we can go again with her! We got home an hour and 15 minutes late, repented, and slept hard before conference.
     I'm very grateful for all of the families that feed us here! I'm trying not to put on weight haha. The moral of the story is, be generous and loving, and it will come back to bless you! Yesterday, the coolest guy, Hno. Tellez, took us to Sugar Land, and we got to go to a friend of Elder Rockhill's baptism. Great people here! I keep praying for people to see the importance of this work!
     We had transfer calls this morning. Elder Stoker (English) is leaving. So sad. I'm really sure that Elder Rockhill is about to become ZL. I gotta go. I love you all tons! The church is true!

-Elder Spjute

Elder Spjute's district on the ferry

Houston temple

We're with investigator Ivonne (skinny), her sister Nathaly (recent convert), and their mom Hna. Idiaquez. So cool!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Baptism Week + pictures

 This week has been ridiculous! I've grown so much! I continue to love Galveston more and more. Though there are challenges, it is always worth it. For example, last night, we went walking and had one lesson. The whole night. It was a rough night, but the important thing is that we were kind to all that we talked to. We are continuing to strive to be more like Christ. That is our goal in life, to become more Christ-like. 
     We had exchanges this week. Elder Rockhill stayed in Galveston and worked with ZL Elder Hudson, who had to give baptismal interviews to a couple people! I went to a town called Kemah, where I worked with Elder Post. He's only been out a transfer longer than me. He was awesome! I learned a lot about how to speak up and just show energy! 
     He also encouraged me to talk to Elder Rockhill about what I needed to to let me speak up. I needed that because once again, we skipped comp inventory. But I said what needed to be said, and he thanked me, and promised to try to help me more. I love Elder Rockhill, and we are still trying to work together! 
      One really cool experience while exchanging: we talked to a guy who didn't believe in God. I, being dumb, listened a little harder than I should have, and felt the Spirit slip away. I prayed for it to return as I knew it could, and the Lord answered. The song Danny Boy as sung by Vocal Point came on in the car. By the third verse, I was choking back tears. I know that my Father in Heaven is there and loves me!
     Funny story #1 there's a little girl who is the daughter of an investigator we were teaching who was dancing in the background to What Does The Fox Say. I could barely contain the laughter. Little Hispanic girls are the cutest things! Funny story #2 On Tuesday, Hermano Idiaquez (this same investigators step dad, and our branch elder's quorum president) asked Elder Rockhill if when a pregnant woman is baptized, does the baby get baptized as well? Pretty dumb question, right? Then, this morning, we went to teach Ivonne, this investigator, and she wasn't there. We called her, and she was in la clinica; she said she was sick. Then, my all-but-intelligent comp asked her if she'd be sick all day. She said no! It all made sense... she was pregnan!!! We called to confirm, and her step dad told us she wasn't, but man did we laugh about it. 
     I got a baptism! It was the old heart attack lady :) I performed the ordinance. It was a wonderful and spiritual experience! I love this gospel, purely want to help people right now! I love you all, and with you the best,

-Elder Spjute

The first is riding home from the hospital. The second is at Johnathon's 3rd birthday party. He is a recent convert's son

First is our Zone Idol stage with 2 of 3 judges on the right. The second is a restaurant on Seawall that we get free food at because the owners are lds. From left to right is Elders Stoker, Johnson, and Rockhill.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Another One Down

This week has been pretty great! I've found myself facing more challenges than I have in the past whilst being here. But all things will be for my experience and benefit. Time is really starting to blur together again. I fear that it isn't going to stop for the next couple years. 
     My biggest struggle comes from the language. Not that I can't learn it, or feel inferior with it, but just the block from using it fluently. Kinda a funny complaint, right? Elder Rockhill has been here for about 4 transfers, so he is really good friends with everyone. That is awesome, but that means that I don't get to talk much in a lot of lessons. There have been a few times in which I've gone home disappointed in myself for not saying anything, and frustrated at him for not letting me. Then last night, at a family's house called the Luevano's, Hermano was making fun of me because I didn't know the language well. It was really discouraging. Those nights, I write quickly in my journal, then immediately begin supplicating myself to extreme prayer. I'm in too foul of a mood to talk to Elder Rockhill on those nights, so I try to talk and listen to the Lord. That works out better. Therefore, I have a strengthened testimony of the power of prayer. I felt an intense sense of peace come over me as my thoughts are purified, and I can return to the love of the mission that I desire.
     We had a new missionaries meeting in Sugar Land, 2 hours away, on Wednesday. That was pretty cool. I was feeling good about my Spanish that day (it really isn't too bad). President Ashton gave a big discussion on the Atonement. It pretty much blew my mind. I realized that I never fully understood the Atonement before my mission. The way that the mercy of Christ fulfills the requirements of justice on account of our repentance is fascinating and incredible. I have a greater love for my Savior. 
     I went on Exchanges with the world's most quiet and awkward elder, Elder Ormsby. I learned a lot about how to lead in an area, and in discussions. He didn't even speak Spanish, so that was ALL me! We ended up with 6 lessons, and one new baptismal date from the lady with the heart attack last week. Pretty cool! 
     We're struggling to get people to church. I thought missionary work was almost all about finding new investigators. WRONG! We have SO many inactive members. They take a lot of really hard work. Like I've said before, we get about 30 people in church. Always praying for them! 
     I am still, as ever, loving the work! I bore my testimony yesterday, under recommendation, for my third time in three weeks in front of the pulpit! I really love this gospel, and it's light and influence in my life. I love all the support I receive from everyone as well. I'll see y'all soon!

-Elder Spjute