Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A good week.

     Hello everyone! I hope y'all's week was awesome. I've been bearing the heat with a smile and a bike helmet. We've been biking so dang much lately haha. It's definitely a growing experience. The sweat is almost humbling. As in it would be, if I wasn't used to a lifetime of that haha. On Wednesday, we probably biked around 30 miles. Intense! 
     This Monday was kind of a tough day. After P-Day, we went to visit Alejandro, who had an evangelical or Pentecostal friend over who just tried to bash on Joseph Smith. Woo. He texted us later that night saying he wasn't going to come to church anymore, but felt better in the Pentecostal. Also he told us he didn't need us to come over anymore. Lame! We pretty much let him go for a while.
     Then, on Wednesday, we texted the nightly scripture to a group on our phone, which we hadn't removed him off of yet. He responded in English, "Who's this?" He'd erased us! Then he proceeded to say in English, "I thought I told you I didn't want to hear from you any more remember?" Then he went on accusing us of racism and not respecting him as a friend. All the while, I was sure it was the lady from Monday, so I said to give him his phone back. He called and chewed me out for not knowing he spoke English as well as he did. I convinced him we want to be his friends, and keep talking about the gospel, but he said not if we used the Book of Mormon. He only wants to hear the Bible. He could use some heart-softening prayers.
     The next morning, there was a service project that the whole district of missionaries went to, and I was still in a poor mood. I didn't sleep well, and was just super bummed out. The power of service of the fellow-man cheered me up so well though :) Love it! 
     I got to give a 9 year old kid named Jesus a baptismal interview. He totally should have been baptized this week, but there was no building to do it in, and they really want his dad to be worthy to baptize him. He needs to stop drinking coffee. But the interview went really well. He was a cool kid. 
     On Saturday, Elder Huaraca went on splits with Elder McKinley to go to a baptism for a person they both taught. I stayed in Elder Mehew's area, and we walked due to lack of functioning bicycles and member transportation. Walking is hard!!! Man, you get sore fast! It was a good/humbling experience. We met this 17 year old and started teaching her. Before we left, I said (in Spanish), "just remember that my name's Elder, and his name's Elder." She replied, "Son gemelos?" Yes. Yes, we're twins... Elder Mehew was like, "same mom, different dads." ... "oh." Man, Hispanics always think Elder means we're brothers. Our last names are different! Too funny.
     Well, I hope you all have a great week. I love you all tons, and am grateful for your support! The church is true!

-Elder Spjute


     Hey everyone! I had a decent week full of trials. No worries, just mission stress. Gotta love it! But yeah, I'm runnin out of time, so sorry if this one doesn't turn out so long.
     First things first, we had two days of crazy storms. On Friday, it was raining, thundering, and lightning-ing a ton. We had a correlation meeting with the whole district in the Martinez' house. After a particularly close bolt of lightning, the lights went out. After considerable amounts of screams, we worked the rest of the night in electric lantern light. It felt like camping :)
     The next day, we were out biking, thinking it wouldn't rain. We were as wrong as sin on Sunday. We were about a 20 minute's ride away. By the time we got to a bridge close-ish to the car, we were soaked completely. I took off my shoes to dump out the water. Didn't help much haha. We almost got stuck in the car trying to get out of the grass we parked in. It was intense.
     Tuesday was a really good day. We had a District Meeting that went really well. For the first time in the area, we didn't have it all in English. We did half English, half Spanish. It was perfect. I actually shared my testimony in English, which was so cool! Afterwards, I had an exchange with Zone Leader, Elder Steed. It was good fun.
     Last week, or so, I bought some Wahl hair clippers (good ones). Man, they're awesome. I trimmed up the back and sides of my hair on Wednesday night. It's kinda fun. There's an ear guide that tapers it pretty well. I enjoy it. Much cheaper than barbers. 
     Alejandro seems to be settling down as far as the extremes go. He just really needs friends. He said he's gonna go to a Pentecostal church, but keep coming to ours. He just knows the people in the Pentecostal one better. He calls us about every day just to chat. It's really funny. Saturday night, we were talking about Nintendo and video games he likes. It just cracks me up. He's a 30 year old man, by the way. He says he's gonna convert everyone here; they're gonna have to build another church! Haha I love him! 
     Well, we're hoping to see some more baptismal dates coming up soon. Thank you all for your support. I love you!

-Elder Spjute

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fantastic week!

     Oh man, so many different things goin' on. I love it! So for starters, Alejandro called us last Monday, saying he was done with the church. He was being too tempted, and didn't know what he was doing when he got baptized. LAME! We struggled with him throughout the week. He called me on Saturday morning to tell me he's going to stay in the church, and keep working out his salvation. I think it might be some significant bi-polar. Nonetheless, he's doing good now. He's so funny; he just calls to chat with me a lot. We talk about vacations, his job, and pretty much whatever. He is a good guy, just has some demons. I think when he gets a little stronger in the church, his testimony could change some people's lives.
     On Tuesday, we had a first lesson with this guy named Mingo. He told us he'd been praying for guidance on how to pursue the gospel, learn from the scriptures, etc. He told us we were the answer to his prayers. he hasn't accepted a date yet, but we'll be seeing him later today.
     On that same note of progress, Leticia, who had been dreaming about us teaching her, accepted a baptismal date for the 2nd of May. Woohoo! We just need to get her coming to church, then she's good to get dunked!
     Elder Huaraca and I don't necessarily teach with the unity that we need. he likes to tell stories, give examples, and talk for long periods of time. That was becoming a hindrance that I hadn't paid much attention to. But I learned from a really good exchange with Elder Mehew in my district that it was because we weren't doing enough role plays. Long story short, I love exchanges!
     Elder Mehew and I had such a blast Saturday morning to Sunday morning. We just laughed a ton, but man, it was awesome. I found out that he and Elder McKinley, his companion are having a pretty rough time, so I get to help out with that. In the past, exchanges were supposed to be every transfer, but they've moved them to every month. I think there are a decent amount of struggling companionships. I know that exchange definitely helped me be a little more happy in my companionship. I realized that if I'm speaking Spanish all day, I can get kinda cranky, so I have been using a bit more English :)
     It's been getting hot. And darn humid! We had a lot of rain this week. But nonetheless, we biked a ton!
     Lemme tell y'all about the food we ate on Thursday. It started at 5 at Hna Garcia's. She comes out with a plate of rice and pico de gallo. Then 3 large homemade tortillas. Then about a pound of steak. Then at least a pound of chicken. Then a half pound or so of pork. Then a large bowl of watermelon. Then a second helping of steak. Then a roasted ear of corn. GOODNESS! It just kept coming! It took about 70 minutes to eat. After, we left, Alejandro called us to come eat at a taqueria with him. He wouldn't let us order small. At about 6:30, we had more food. Oh. My. Word. Then, we had a lesson with the Martinez family at 8:00, at which they fed us delicious tacos. We went home with about 3 days worth of food in our bellies. Ouch.
      But oh man, the gospel brings joy! I love it like crazy. I, at this point of my life, want nothing more than to share it with those who haven't tasted of the sweetness of this incredible gospel. Amo mucho a mi Salvador Jesucristo, y se que es solamente por cause de El que pueda tener esa gran paz y felicidad en mi vida. Les comparto mi testimonio que la iglesia de verdad ha sido restaurado por el poder de Dios. Lo testifico en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

-Elder Spjute

Happy Easter!

     Oh man, Conference weekend/Easter! That's pretty awesome! Wasn't Conference just wonderful? My week was pretty great as well.
     Oh Tuesday, after dinner, we got a phone call from the Bishop saying there was a family who had just moved into the ward. The husband was a re-activating member, and the wife wasn't a member, but was mostly ready to be baptized. They got evicted from their last apartment, and are living with some members in our area. We went to see them, and had a wonderful experience.
     As the district leader, I had the opportunity to give her a baptismal interview to make sure she was ready. She passed with flying colors. That was a really cool experience for me; my first interview! She got baptized last night. It counted as the sisters' baptism because President gave them permission to teach her. Still another soul in the family, though! I sang a duet of The Lord is My Shepherd with Sister Price, and her comp, Sister Call on the piano. It was really cool. And high! Like a 'g' high. Nonetheless, it was great! 
     On Wednesday, we had a lesson with our investigator Leticia, to which Bishop Martin, his wife, and daughter accompanied us. That went so well; we taught her the My Family lesson, which is all about family history, and how families can be together forever through temple work. She told us she's been having dreams about our church, and about us teaching her. How cool is that?! She's totally received her answer. If y'all could pray that she will get time to come to church, that might help her; she's got a boat-load of kids to deal with.
     So, we're going to be biking a bunch this month! President took away 12,000 miles from the mission this month because he wants us to work more with the members, and to be on bikes. I just don't know how productive that is in some areas (ours). It just means we'll be biking on highways, which I don't like at all. Pray for our safety haha. For real, though.
     We should be going to the temple in a week or two with the Martinez family. Hno's about ready to get his endowment, which is super exciting. His wife works as a temple worker, and has been a member for 28 years; she's totally ready for this! 
     Conference weekend was great, but slightly stressful. Alejandro called, and talked to us about a dance he went to Friday night. I asked if he drank because he said everyone else was. He told me he did have one; I was pretty disappointed. He said Satan's been tempting him like never before since his baptism. We had a phone lesson with him on Saturday night. We explained to him that he has an important role to play, and Satan knows it. It was a spiritually powerful lesson. He was crying, which surprised me. We had him offer a closing prayer, and we all got on our knees. Let me tell ya, that was the best, most sincere prayer I have ever heard in my life! I hope I never forget that prayer. He just prayed with his heart instead of his head. My prayers go out to him. 
     After conference, I know he can overcome the temptation. After learning and hearing so much about our beloved Savior and his infinite Atonement, there is no doubt in my mind that it is doable. I love the Lord. I love this gospel, and I love my mission. I love you all, and wish you a happy Easter week!

Elder Spjute