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