Monday, January 26, 2015

Another week bites the dust.

     Well parts of this week were pretty slow due to illness. We had to stay in for the majority of a few days because Elder Figueroa got a pretty nasty cold. If I don't catch it, I'll be just avoiding it. But, we'll see! The good thing about so much time inside is that I get to study for a few extra hours. I LOVE it! I have had a lot more time reading Jesus the Christ. That is a nice little bonus; such a good book!
     On Wednesday, we had a District meeting, in which I gave a training on finding through the members. We all have been struggling with finding people to teach. As for me and Elder Figueroa, we don't have any progressing investigators. The ward is fantastic, and will help in whatever way possible; we get fed pretty much daily; but we just can't find any investigators who will stick right now. We actually got pretty down on ourselves about it on Saturday.
     We had been working for a few hours, and nothing was going well. We found out one of our investigators with what we thought was more potential, had been drinking, and had other word of wisdom problems. He doesn't want to change either. It was just a bummer of a day. So, we treated ourselves to a nice dinner at Chipotle, followed by ice cream at McDonalds, and got back to it. We ended up finding a former investigator, named Cesar, who hadn't heard from the missionaries in about 2 months. He had some questions for us, seemed genuinely grateful, and was an awesome guy! I'm really hoping we can get him coming to church and baptized soon. We'll see.
     Quick update on our goal for 60 baptisms for January. We now need 26 more. We have had up to 46 in one weekend, I believe. It's totally possible, but will require faith, work, and prayer. Thanks for all the help!
     I think Elder Figueroa is what is keeping me going in the area. There is just a general feeling of distaste towards the missionaries from the non members. A lot of the former investigators we have tried just want to argue, so that is lame. But Elder Figueroa and I are still funny enough that we can get over a rough day. I love this guy, and hope we have at least one more transfer together. Who knows!
     Friday morning, at about 3:25 am, Bishop Martin texts us asking if I would sing for Sacrament meeting this Sunday. When I called him, much later in the day, he said he received the revelation to have me sing If You Could Hie to Kolob in English during Spanish Sacrament meeting. He said it woke him up. Yeah right haha. He's funny, and a character, but he definitely just stayed up 'til 3:30. I said I'd do it, and ran through the arrangement he bought for me and Hna Goodey (in my district) to do. I only ran through it right before Sacrament meeting, but I never messed up too bad. I had a few people it tears. It was a really great experience. I had been praying that I would be able to touch their hearts to turn them to the Lord. I told the congregation, "lo siento, voy a cantar en ingleis. Van a tener que escuchar con sus oidos espirituales." (Sorry, I'm going to sing in English. You're going to have to listen with your spiritual ears). They got a kick and a laugh out of that. It was great though :) I love this ward; there are so many members with whom I clicked so quickly! I hope I don't get transferred because they like me too much.
     Anyways, I realize this might have been a little scatterbrained of a letter, but know that I know the church is true! I love you all. And have a wonderful week!

-Elder Spjute

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hola a todo

     This week has been awesome! So many good times! I'll just start right into it!
     On Tuesday last week, we had a Zone Meeting. Our Zone, Houston South is the biggest one in the mission; it's 26 people. It was a great meeting. Our Zone Leader, Elder Alexander gave a great lecture on love. He told us to ask Heavenly Father three things in prayer. Are you (Heavenly Father) my father? Do you really exist? Do you really love me? We were promised that our answer would be one we'd never forget. That night, I was listening to a song that I sang with my dad as a child called  "Daddy What If?" The last verse of the song, is the child asking, "Daddy, what if I stopped lovin' you?" The father responds, "If you stopped lovin' me, then the grass would stop growin'. The sun would stop shinin', and the wind would stop blowin'. So you see, if you wanna keep this whole world a-goin', you'd better start loving me again!" It brought tears to my eyes, as I realized that if this is the love of an earthly father, how much more we must mean to our Father in Heaven, who's love is perfect! Such a sweet experience!
     On Thursday, we were chased by dogs a lot! At the last part of the night, it was dark, in a sketchy neighborhood with muddy roads, and we were biking away from a bunch of German Shepherds. I almost fell in a pot-hole, and my heart skipped a beat!
     On Friday, I had my first bike crash. Elder Figueroa and I were joking about having a bike crash. Also, we joke about this elder in our district who got pistol-whipped. I thought I probably got sent here to get the same thing just for making fun of him. Well... I crashed on my bike, and hit my face, bruising my cheek in the same place where he got piston-whipped haha. Two birds, one stone! It was funny; I was biking in the dark with no hands, holding a big bible over my hands yelling repentance unto the people. Elder Figueroa was all, "I'm pretty sure that won't save you from a crash!" I replied, "It will save my soul though!" ... he was right.
     Yesterday, we had a leadership meeting, which I got invited too. That means I'll probably end up going District Leader soon. Pretty cool. Also cool because I got to see Elders Leszynski and LeBlanc there :D So fun!
     The work is continuing to progress! I hope you all have a great week! I love you all!

-Elder Spjute

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cold Front

     Well I rode the bike pretty much every day this week because our peopled areas are a decent ways away from our apartment, so we drive to one spot, and park the car. It got down to mid 30's this week. That with rain and wind and humidity on a bike is pretty painful haha. This was a great week though! We're really progressing in the area. 
     Lemme just say, Spanish is getting super comfortable. Haha every now and then, I have to correct my companion, who was born in Mexico, and spoke it back home. Nonetheless, I acknowledge that this is only possible due to the help of the Lord. 
     We've been working with a bunch of old records here, so we're mostly trying go get ahold of everyone. We can see why a bunch of these people were dropped (they stopped progressin). But then, occasionally, there are teaching records where the missionaries said, "we could have done more." What? Really? Well, we're gonna do more. And we have. I've never worked so hard! I'm always dead tired by night time. We've been chased by dogs every day this week! We start rating dogs we pass. For example, chihuahuas are like a 2; German shepherds (of which there are tons!) are like a 9 or 10. It's a fear scale haha. Or danger scale; you pick. 
     We really needed to find more people to teach earlier in the week, so we called Bishop Martin. The bishop is the one with the keys to finding (he can recieve revelation on what will help us find more people to teach). He said to try good, old-fashioned door knocking. I tracted for the first time. We knocked on whatever door looked like a Hispanic's. We talked with everyone we could, and ended up with great numbers and some awesome people to try back later. Man, ask and you shall recieve! 
     This ward is amazing! I love it so much! Everyone active wants to help as much as they can in the missionary efforts! Our Ward Mission Leader is totally involved. I actually got to give him a blessing the other day because his knee was bad. My Spanish has never felt so good :) I had a dream in Spanish later that night :D So cool! 
     So we get to go to the temple pretty rarely; it's a super nice treat. We do it twice a year with the whole mission. We get to do it every quarter of a year according to our desires and miles we are allowed in the cars. We can go with Recent Converts as soon as their ready; but only for their first time. With recent converts here, we have the chance of going a few times this transfer, for which I'm stoked! 
     I'm finding that our vacation here in paradise has ended, but am loving it nonetheless. If we weren't working, it wouldn't be worth it anyway. I love it. And I love the gospel so much! I love reading the scriptures. I've re-started reading the Book of Mormon since New Year's. I am finding stuff I never realized before. It is truely the keystone of our religion. This church is true. It is my rock, and Jesus Christ is my Savior! I love you all; have a great week!
-Elder Spjute

Monday, January 5, 2015

Hello Missouri City!

Well that was tough saying some goodbyes to people. I didn't like that part of it one bit. Especially saying goodbye to Elders LeBlanc and Johnson. Man, I was almost bawling. That was also lame because I'd caught a nasty cold. It's been bad for about a week, but I think I'm breaking out of it today. But now on to bigger and better things! I'm now in Missouri City. My address for those interested is 6303 Sienna Ranch Rd. #3210 Missouri City, TX. 77459. This has to be like one of the richest places in Texas. Even my apartment is like a castle :D We have a washer and dryer and a super nice bathtub and all the closet and cupboard space you'd ever need! It is so nice. I'm companions with Elder Figueroa. He's from American Fork Utah (my fifth of five companions from Utah). He and I laugh so dang much!
     We make a lot of fun of our district leader, Elder Whicker, because he's a hint self-righteous (don't worry, we still love him ;). For example, we call him Elder  Whittacre a lot. I texted that to him one night, and Elder Figueroa and I about split our sides. We're so funny haha. Our area is really big. Not as huge as Galveston, but more spread out. We're still getting to know the area, and thus have already gone through about 200 of our 1000 miles for the car for the month. We'll be biking a lot.
     This is about the oposite of Galveston, though. We have a big ward with like 80 people showing up at church on Sundays. Our bishop is incredible! So spiritual and missionary-minded. Our Ward Mission Leader is also incredible. He was baptized just over a year ago, and hasn't been to the temple yet, so hopefully, we'll be able to do that with him! Everyone's last name here is either Martinez, Garcia, or Rodriguez. I love it here so much! There are so many great members who are very willing to participate.
     So we're opening up an area that was closed and dispersed out to other missionaries a transfer ago. This is a bit of a confusion; it means we have to find all the records and go through pretty much everyone to find out who to work with. Nonetheless, it's a great exercise of faith and work ethic. Elder Figueroa and I are so excited to be here. There was a baptism last night of a guy who'd been investigating for about 20 years, and there were about 70 people at his baptism. The spirit was so strong! That's the best baptism I've ever seen!
     There are a lot of different nationalities here. In Galveston, it was mostly Mexicans with one or two Salvadoranians and one or two Honduranians. But there's more of everything here. On Saturday, we went to a dinner party with four couples. Ex-bishop Martinez and his wife, Javier and Jessica Garcia (they're young and awesome; she's the ward chorister and told me to prepare to do solos haha), Hno and Hna Rodriguez (just plain cool), and it was at Hno and Hna Santillan's [Sawnteeyan] (from Argentina) house. It was so much fun! We had a ton of delicious food! They were all so loud, and laughed a ton, and it was just an amazingly fun night. I'm glad they felt comfortable enough to let us be part of that.
     So don't feel bad for me; I'm in paradise for now ;) This transfer so far is the funnest thing ever, and that's with being sick! I am praying I'll be with Elder Figueroa for a few more transfers. Once again, I ask for your prayers to help us achieve 60 baptisms for the month of January. I love you all!  Thanks for all you do!

-Elder Spjute