Monday, March 30, 2015

Gift of Tongues

Hola! So as you all heard from last week, my beloved Elder Figueroa left; to Richmond. Now, I have a companion from Peru named Elder Huaraca (wah-rock'-uh). He's super cool, and also the reason for the title of the email. We pretty much only talk in Spanish. I definitely am getting grace for this one; no way I could do this by myself! He's funny though. We have a good time. Last night, we were talking in English for one of the first times before bed, and man it was just funny. He's been picking it up slowly, but has only been in the states a grand total of 9 months.
     Elder Huaraca eats much more spicey stuff than Elder Figueroa did; he doesn't like it much, but handles it about like me: not too bad. Elder Figueroa and I were eating some spicey shrimp cocktail on Monday, and I was the only one in the room of Mexicans not sweating, with the exception of the mom that made it. Pretty funny. Elder Huaraca and I ate some chile pequines on Saturday. Those were intense. Hotter than jalapeƱos, but cooler than habaneros.  
     So transfers were on Wednesday. Everyone was thinking either I, or Elder Steed in our district would get put as District Leader because our last one went home. Elder Steed hadn't been DL yet either. Long story short, President Ashton called me Wednesday morning and told me I was going to be DL. I'm super excited. The district is really cool! Elder Steed got put straight as Zone Leader! That was a surprise. Good for him :)
     I feel like my prayers have been slowly improving too. This has been a bit of a challenge for me; trying not to be repetitive, and trying to actually communicate. I always slip into Spanish and back in my personal prayers. I'm hoping for some really good suggestions for how to improve them more during conference!
     This Saturday was really fun. We were doing studies, then Elder McKinley and Mehew from the district called to remind us of a soccer activity going on from 10 to 2. We got permission to go, picked them up, and played from 10:40-1:00. Man, did I get sunburnt haha. I was wearing a hat, though, so I have about an inch under my hair of whiteness. Pretty funny. The soccer was more fun than I thought it would be :) I had a really good time. My back and legs are sufficiently sore though haha.
     I talked on the phone with Alejandro for about 15 minutes on Saturday. That was fun. He's such a stud. And man, he's funny. He's a gym fanatic. He's all, "better I go to the beach with my shirt off and people want my body than if all they want is my truck. You have to work for a body, you can just buy a truck." He makes me laugh. We also decided he'd come out with us to preach on horseback, riding a donkey like Jesus did, or riding ostriches. Oh yeah!
     He got confirmed in church yesterday. He was super embarrassed to go up in front of everyone, but afterwards, I even got him to bear his testimony with me! It was a really cool spiritual experience. He'll be a great member.
     Well folks, that's all for this week. Have a good one, and know that I love you, and the gospel is true!
-Elder Spjute
Hindu temple we visited last week

Elder Huaraca

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


From March 16th email.
2 week old haircut

Hna Garcia's turkey leg and other filling food
 From March 23rd email
Baptism of Alejandro Rivera. In order, it is Hno Martinez (ward mission leader that baptized him), Alejandro, Hno Rodriguez, me, Elder Figueroa. Super cool.

this was just a pretty sunset.

We found this frog in our second floor apartment one morning. Not sure how...

Whoa, what a week!

Yeah, it was a little crazy this week! We got transfer calls this morning. Elder Figueroa is going to leave this Wednesday
. Such a bummer! We'll find out who I get this Wednesday. I'm betting it's Elder Sharp from the MTC. We'll see!
     So Tuesday night, I learned a very valuable lesson. It got warm; maybe 80 degrees or so. We were biking for about 2 hours, and I didn't drink much water. That was also after some extra exercise to get some time with an investigator. Oh man, the force of dehydration is strong! We got to dinner at Hna Garcia's (always feeds us a ton), and ate a ton and had a bunch of lemonade. After that, we both felt really nauseous. Elder Figueroa's went away after a while, but I spent a really bad night. I ended up getting like 4 hours of sleep and was really cruddy in the morning. We've been drinking so much water since haha. The next day, the mission health lady told me to drink Gatorade and take car of myself. I was super weak all day, but got a couple much needed naps. Don't worry, it was still rule-abiding.
     On Thursday, we had a really good experience with Hna Garcia just telling us stories. I'm convinced she's one of the most incredible people I know. I love her so much. She told us about helping and feeding tons of people in her house in El Salvador during a hurricane. Also housing a bunch of soldiers during a civil war there. She was spiritually sensitive enough to get the prompting to take her family and leave the house though; if they had stayed, they would have died. She's seen some crazy stuff. She told of facing robbers in her house and how her quick thinking kept them out. They blocked the doors and windows with bags of beans and rice. She talked about being a maid for a lady who was into drinking and other bad stuff. She pretty much converted her with her good example, and she would have gotten baptized, but got cancer and died. Her neighbor that walks by with beer pretty much daily, always hides it from her, because of how much he respects her after she explained to him what it was doing to his life. She's just so full of love! She may or may not have brought me to tears a time or two. Now you know a little of how amazing this woman is!
     On Friday, I woke up with something stuck behind my eye. I tried flushing it out a few times, but it didn't come out 'til the end of the day. I could barely open my eye the whole day, and it was super red. Everyone who saw me without sunglasses asked what happened. It was always tearing up, or just hurting and being sensitive. And driving was... interesting. I'm still alive, I'll say that much. It was better by the next day, but gees.
     On Saturday, it rained like crazy! At one point, we got out of the car and onto the bikes. We were biking for about a minute, when we decided it wasn't worth it and biked back to the car. So much rain!
     We also got a baptism yesterday! It was Alejandro, who we've been working with a few weeks. He's just a stud! On Saturday, Elder Figueroa called to see if we could go teach him and he said he was playing video games, so no. Elder Figueroa asked, "Fifa?" (a soccer game). I said, "you racist!" We both giggled. And he was totally playing Fifa! That's just what Mexicans play! We got a good chuckle.
     We were so worried he wouldn't come to church yesterday. He showed up right as I was giving up hope! Also, Sister Price and I (and sis Goodey on piano) did really well singing Cuan Grande Sera Tu Gozo, our musical number in sacrament meeting. Then, they surprised us during the baptismal service later that night, and said we were singing then too. We improved a Spanish rendition of I Need Thee Every Hour. It went really well. The service was really nice! Our ward mission leader baptized him, and it was perfect! We got about 40 people there, and were only expecting like 20. This was especially exciting because the building it was in was like 40 minutes away from most of them. I love this ward!
     I'm super excited to stay here with my Missouri City ward, but I'll miss my chavo, Elder Figueroa. Here's hoping I get a stud this Wednesday! The church is true. Jesus is our Savior, and I love him with all my heart. I love you all as well!

-Elder Spjute

Monday, March 9, 2015

Slowly, but Surely

Well I hate writing short emails, but we'll see just how much I can get on the page! It sounds like a little bit of EVERYTHING is going on with the family, and I wish I could be there for it. Just promise you'll still be the same people when I get home haha. 
     On Tuesday, we had a Zone Conference, in which President Ashton taught us the Atonement and Family History lessons in depth. My mind, needless to say, got a decent bit blown. We have an hour every week to do family history; we just go to the library for that. I found out last time, that I have about 11 names reserved to do temple work. I'd found and saved them before I went on trek back in 2011. So cool!
     Wednesday was a pretty lame day. We had 4 of 4 appointments cancel on us. We tried about 10 different members to come out teaching with us, and it just was not working. It was a very humbling day. I don't know if either of us knew what it was that we needed to fix, but it was just a downer. 
      I don't know if you remember me saying I'd gone to the hospital with Bishop Martin to give the ex-stake president's dying wife a blessing. She is still doing very poorly, but she got to go to the temple one last time on Thursday to get sealed to her parents. President Monson called her husband and made him a sealer. Pretty crazy. I guess they saw many miracles from it.
     Our baptismal date for yesterday, Alejandro, cancelled. He didn't really say why. He just wasn't excited about it at all. We also think he might have gotten drunk when we went to talk about it. Quite the bummer. Hopefully he'll try to change his life. 
     Yesterday started out pretty funny. It was Spring Forward, meaning we were supposed to lose an hour of sleep. But our phone didn't change on time, so we slept until 7:30. Then we didn't know, so after being awake for a little while, and doing some stuff in the apartment, we decided to take a nap. In all reality, we mostly slept in to 8:30...getting two more hours of sleep than we planned for haha. I was supposed to sing Cuan Grande tu Gozo Sera with the sister missionaries (Price singing, Goodey playing piano), but the speakers forgot, so we didn't have enough time. We'll do it next week.
     We had dinner at Ex-Obispo (ex-bishop) Martinez' house, which was a party. It was so fun. We had a ton of pupusas (Salvadorian food) and jamaica (pronounced ha-mike-uh), which is a drink. Lots of fun; there were two other families there. I'll visit all of these people when I come back to visit in x-amount of years!
     I've found a lot of joy in the Book of Mormon this last two transfers. I've really immersed myself in it, and it's been wonderful! I know this book contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love it, and I share it with all. I hope you can all find solace in its teachings as well. I love you all,

-Elder Spjute 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Another week down

     For those of you who are curious as to how the weather is, I'll bet it's better where you are haha. It's been pretty chilly here. Lots of clouds. A decent amount of rain. Humidity up to here. Do I still love the mission? Oh yeah, I do! 
     This is gonna be a pretty "Outta the journal" entry, I don't remember too much of the week haha. One of the cooler experiences of the week was a lesson with an inactive member and her nonmember cousin. The member said the lesson reminded her of what it used to be like. After receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, it will bring good feelings like that to your remembrance. Pretty cool :)
     On Wednesday, we had a lesson with a lady named Laticia and her family, which was accompanied by Hno Martinez, our awesome ward mission leader. We watched Finding Faith in Christ with them. It was great to see them feel the Spirit even when their toddler was running and screaming the whole time. 
     On Thursday, we met with the ward music person (chorister), named Jessica Garcia, who is awesome, and the sister missionaries to practice some music. We sang this song called Cuan Grande Tu Gozo Sera. It was really cool! I sang it with Jessica, and now it's on Youtube somewhere... then I sang it with Hna Price (sis missionary), and we'll sing it in sacrament meeting this next Sunday. Hna Goodey (her companion) will play for us. Wish us luck!
     I absolutely love this older lady in the ward (also named Hna Garcia). She feeds us 2+ times a week; great food, and big portions. She also gives us tons of fruit to take home every time. She cries for the other missionaries because sometimes they don't have people to feed them. Seriously, one of the most Christ-like people I know. On Friday, after Elder Figueroa had told her we didn't have a blender, she gave us one! She blows my mind! Man, I love her! People, be Christ-like!
     Last interesting was an exchange on Saturday with Elder McKinley, the DL's companion. He is awesome! We had a great time and tons of laughs. He was also with Elder Rockhill (my trainer) for two transfers. We just had a good time. In the night, we had dinner with the Martinez family. Bishop has put us in charge of teaching Hno the temple lessons so he can go get his endowments. We taught the first lesson, which is like the Plan of Salvation on steroids. It was incredibly spiritual.
     Last things last, I want you all to know I'm having the 2 years of a life time! I know without a doubt that this church is true. I'm indebted to all who are so supportive of me. Have a wonderful week. I love you all!

-Elder Spjute