Monday, October 26, 2015

The Rains Came Down

 First things first, don't worry about me. Hurricane Patricia didn't really do much to us. We got a ton of rain on Saturdayand Sunday, but nothing too exciting. I appreciate all of the prayers, and am safe; no worries! I was happy to be in a car this week!
     So this week, I've been playing around with the electric keyboard we have in the apartment. I've been learning to play The Entertainer. There's a setting that teaches you to play songs that it has on it. It's pretty fun :) I do that for a little bit during some of the free time.
     This week, we met more with some Venezuelan kids we met, Carlos and Alejandro. They're 18 and 20, and super cool kids. We taught Carlos, and are working on getting them to come to soccer on Friday. These two really perk our interests. We desire their salvation. That's been something I've noticed more and wanted more of in the mission is desires of others' salvation. Righteous desire, right?
     During Spanish study, I usually read the Book of Mormon in Spanish for a while, and will sometimes work on other stuff. Since being here in Kemah, I've read about 300 pages in Spanish :) I love it! I'm to the point where I understand pretty much all that I read. It's just a matter of time. Super cool.
     We went to our branch's Trunk or Treat, in which we were joined by one of the English wards as well. It was pretty fun :) I absolutely love Halloween. It's just so fun, and jovial. The first picture is of Alfredo, E. Sharp, Milton, Favio, Marcos, Luis, and me. They were all at the Trunk or Treat, so we decided it was a good time for a picture. Lots of fun. One of our members dressed up as Luigi and his little 3 year old dressed up as Mario. It was pretty cute. So darn fun!
     The other picture, is us with Edgar Moreno, and his dad (also Edgar Moreno). We eat with them on Sundays. They're an awesome family :).
     So let me tell you all how yesterday was such an awesome Sunday. We had some extra time in the church building due to our branch council ending early. In that time between that and Sacrament meeting, one of the English wards has choir practice. Of course I went and joined in ;) It was so fun! It kind of tested my sight reading, which was kinda rusty haha. I loved that! Me and the other guy singing base were just joking the whole time, and singing it up! 
     Next, we were kinda sad that like 5 minutes after when we were supposed to start, there was only about 20 people in the chapel. By the end of the meeting, EVERYONE we really wanted to be there was there! We had visited with a less active named Nacho the night before and invited him and his wife and kids to church. They actually came! And then Nefi, Nefito, and Dalila came as well!! YES! And Alfredo came, and Milton, and wow! Just everyone :) And Hna Moreno, the mom who cooks for us on Sundays, gave a wonderful talk on repentance. It was so good! 
     Now, Elder Sharp and I have been pondering about how we were going to go about teaching the Law of Chastity to Nefi and Dalila because they're living together with his son and her son, and they aren't married. Well guess what the lesson was in Gospel Doctrine.That's right, Law of Chastity, which Hna Moreno taught, as well. It was incredible! The Lord definitely set that one up. Dalila totally got it as well, she was crying after some videos we watched. It was seriously one of the best Sundays on the mission. Holy cow! We gave Nefi a blessing afterwards because he was feeling a little worried, and he threw out his back. 
     It was also convenient that they were there because we had an appointment set up for Nefito, who is 13, and got into some bad stuff, to talk with branch Pres. Allred. It worked out! The Lord is so good to us!
     This Thursday, we're having a Zone Conference in which Elder Corbridge of the 70 is coming to visit us. I was asked to sing for that. I had hoped to sing a cool song about the Savior that I had in my repertoire, but it looks like I'm doing If You Could Hie to Kolob again. I'm fine with the song, but it's not like it's ridiculously spiritual, ya know. Should be good, though. Wish me luck!
     I'll say it again, the Lord is too good to me. I love this mission so much. I am feeling myself grow now, and can't deny it. This gospel is so true. I have a cemented testimony in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I love it! I know this gospel blesses lives. I see it every day. I love you all, and thank you so much for your continued support! Happy Halloween!

-Elder Spjute

Monday, October 19, 2015

Stayin in Kemah

Well today is the start of transfer 4 here in Kemah for me. I'll also be staying with Elder Sharp for our third one together. I'm happy about it. I really love the people here. Also, we have some people in the branch going through the temple this transfer, so hopefully we'll get to go with them.
     On that note, I love the temple!! Last week, after P-Day, we packed up, and drove to Sugar Land, where we stayed the night with a member family named the Wolstens. Bro. Wolsten served a mission in southern Texas, and has retained his Spanish pretty well! They were such an amazing family (well a couple. An older couple). We chatted for a bit, then went to bed. We woke up the next morning at 4:00 and headed to the temple :)
     The temple is a magical place :) As a guy described it in a talk in the English ward yesterday, it's like the time capsule on Dragon Ball Z. The heroes go in, and train for a year or two, then when the leave the capsule, only a day had gone by, so they can defeat the bad guys. We go into the temple and are so hugely spiritually strengthened, that we come out with so much power over the bad! It was a cool talk...
     So our focus questions as a mission were what do I expect/want for my life/mission? The answers I got were for the mission, I want a greater desire for the salvation of those around me; for my life, I want to be eternally married, and make the best of every situation with my wife. That was kind of a trunky question. President Hall and his wife, embracing, talked about how we should be looking forward to that, and how it's the most important thing we'll ever do, etc. Kind of an interesting prompt for missionaries. My personal questions were What is my true identity, and how has the mission changed me? Answers: I am a representative of Jesus Christ, and the father of my world that I receive the power to create along with my sealing to my wife. Kinda cool. And The changes of the mission: I'm going to the temple. I'm closer to the Lord, and can continue to learn about him, bringing me more of His spirit, and making me a better person. It was a good temple trip :) 
     We did a lot of service this week, including painting at the Campo's house. They are a Colombian family in the branch. Hna Campo's parents, the Gonzales, live with them. We painted their bathroom, and a shed in their back yard, which they'd turned into a kitchen. Later in the week, we went over to their house for a Halloween party. That was awesome! The whole family dressed up. It was a hoot! There was great food and lots of dancing and Hispanic music. We also saw a lady there named Patricia, who I'd met with Elder Mota. The Campos had her over a long time ago for a family home evening with Elder Mota and me. Turns out she's getting baptized pretty soon in the Texas Houston East Mission :D SO COOL! 
     On Thursday, we were eating at a cheap Chinese place called Lucky Wok, when halfway through the meal, Elder Sharp reads a text and says, "Don't eat!" The next lesson we had in a half hour was going to include a dinner. We received plenty of grace to finish the food at the appointment haha. It later turned into a great Sabbath day lesson! Unfortunately, they didn't come to church. But there were a few cool people that came to church! We got a new investigator from one of our members bringing her boyfriend. He's a super cool guy :) Here's hoping he's golden.
     Well I hope you're all having a wonderful day and week. The gospel is true! I love you all!

-Elder Spjute

The Temple

                                                                       The District

                                                                The Galveston Zone

Elder Sharp and Me

Hair yesterday

                                                                           Hair today

Halloween Party at the Campo's (Hno. Gonzales, Hna. Campo's dad, is the pregnant lady)

10/12 Temple Trip Tomorrow!

So today at the end of the day, we'll be driving to Sugar Land, where we'll stay with some members there and sleep over. Then in the morning, we'll head to the temple with about half the mission. I'm so excited! We're taking two questions: What are my expectations for my mission/life? and one personal one. The one I chose being 'How have I changed and how will I stay changed from before the mission? Should be really cool!

     So last Monday night, we had a roast dinner with our neighbor, Joe. It was SO good. Man! He's a stud. Not a member, or really interested in the church (due to love of alcohol, pot, and cigarettes), but he's a stud. We've convinced him to dress up as a missionary for Halloween, though haha :D 

     Later, I started an exchange in my area with Elder Tautu, one of the APs. He's new to the AP office as of this transfer. Elder Sharp went to Houston 4 (up north-ish) with Elder Tittle, the other AP. It was way fun. Elder Tautu is a down to earth, funny guy. We were in the same district for my first transfer in Missouri City. It was a good time.

     We had interviews with Pres Hall on Wednesday. They were very rushed, and felt very impersonal, seeing as he taught the whole 10 minutes, and taught everyone the same thing. Elder Sharp and I left more than a little disappointed. We know he means well, but it is rough when you expect a lot, and you only have those interviews every quarter of a year. 

     After a quick visit with Nefi (he's less active, 40, and living with his girlfriend and his 13 year old son and her 9 year old son. She and her son are taking the lessons), he invited us over for tacos hecho a la hodureno. So Honduran tacos are exactly like Mexican flautas. It was delicious. Afterwards, we had a bomb Atonement lesson. So good! We just need to have a solid Law of Chastity lesson, get them hitched, and get her and her son baptized!

     I'm fairly glad that we are in a car area. It's still usually in the mid 90s outside. Gosh.

     My favorite family award goes to the Campos. They are from Columbia, and the grandma (I call her abuelita, which means grandma) and daughter cook so dang well! They are also the nicest peole you'll ever meet. And they do missionary work, and are a wonderful example of a gospel-centered family. I love being on a mission to see the examples of how and how not to live your life. 

     I'm so happy I have the gospel in my life! I love it so much! It is the only source of eternal happiness. I hope you all have a wonderful week. I love you all!


-Elder Spjute

10/5 pick-chaws

This was a cake at a birthday party we encountered :) And this was in a magazine that our neighbor Joe gave us from Rhode Island. I laughed pretty hard. 

10/5 Uh-thuh pick-chaws

This is Elder Phillippi. We went on an exchange. This is where we meet up with the other Elders. It's a gigantic gas station called Buc-ees.

10/5 Conference is Awesome

   All that loved conference, say "I." I! Favorite talk was Elder Robert D. Hales. It was just wonderful. I loved how he encouraged us to avoid temptation rather than go through it as a plane avoids storms when possible. Just inspiring. And I love our prophet. He's in my prayers. 

     So last Monday, we left the apartment on time, but hungry. We decided to try the Caoba's house (some members in our area). By the grace of God, they were having a party, and fed us to our heart's delight! Yay :D The Lord is good. 

     On Tuesday, we packed in the car with the League City Zone Leaders and headed to Sugar Land for our monthly MLC (mission leadership council). Those are always great. It was a bit more basic than usual, though. President Hall hit hard on Following up to help Keep Commitments, and the blessing of Repentance. 

     We always have Zone Meeting the Friday after, so we went to Galveston for that. Seeing as we wanted the Sister Training Leaders in the zone to teach Repentance, and Elder Sharp was teaching the other principle, I had to come up with something different to teach. I decided the day before that I'd talk about conversion. It lasted about 20 minutes, and was awesome! The Spirit was so strong; I totally received the help I needed to do that! I mentioned how we needed to be consecrated on the mission and endure to the end to be fully converted to the Gospel. If we only have one convert on the mission, we need to make it ourselves. 

     We also threw in an exchange into the busy schedule. I was here in Kemah with Elder Phillippi, a new, English-speaking elder from Idaho, and Elder Sharp went to Texas City with Elder Walker. I got to teach solo a bunch, and it was kinda nice haha. I made sure we saw a few people who speak English :) We took Alfredo, our recent convert, out teaching with us, and he did amazingly! He testified well about the prophets and the mission of Jesus Christ in a street contact we made. So proud of him. He loved conference yesterday too. Yay!

     If I could ask for prayers, please pray for Milton and Alfredo. They are both struggling and battling their own demons. They just need some help. Thank you all :) I know the gospel is true. As we heard several times this weekend, the Atonement is perfect. It can save us all, and offers all the help we need. I love the gospel, and love all of you for your support. Have a wonderful week!


-Elder Spjute

Saturday, October 3, 2015

9/28 Another Good Week

     So here's your funny Hispanic fact of the day. Columbians and some Salvadorians will point with their face rather than their fingers. They raise their eyebrows and stick out their lips at whatever they're pointing at. Like if you ask who they want to say the prayer, they'll do that. I always laugh a little.
     One breakthrough I had (again) this week is that prayer is such a huge blessing! On Sundays, I like to sacrifice things (habits, un-Christ-like attributes, etc) while partaking of the Sacrament. I decided last Sunday to sacrifice my lazy prayers. All throughout the week, I prayed with much more sincerity and care. I seemed to be happier, and closer to the Lord as I felt His Spirit more strongly. I'll continue working for that.
     On that note, who's excited for General Conference?! ME! I'm so excited to see what happens with all the new callings, seeing as we're down 3 good men. I invite you all to open your heart and minds as you go into watching the sessions.
     Last Monday, Elder Sharp told me I was giving a presentation on how to have faith to find people for the District Meeting the next day. I went about 20 out of 15 minutes, and really enjoyed it. I'm starting to like public speaking, which is a first. I came to the conclusion that we all have the faith; it just needs to be recognized and acted upon. That being said, we found about 5 new people this week; I'll let you know how it goes.
     Alfredo is progressing along nicely. We hope to go to the temple with him in a couple weekends. He had to work yesterday, unfortunately, so he didn't receive the priesthood. However, Jorge, the sisters' guy who I baptized, asked me to ordain him, so I got to do that for the first time. That was something special. I love Jorge; he's such a stud! 
     So there's this Hispanic dish called mole (pronounced Moh-leh) that I generally am not a big fan of. It's this black sauce made with burnt tortillas over chicken eaten with tortillas. We had some on Wednesday that was super good! The quality of food really depends on who cooks it. You can usually rely on people who have given you good food, but every now and then, you get surprised with something nearly un-stomachable. But fortunately, I'm good at eating...that's also unfortunate haha. We've gotta step up the exercises to make up.
     On Friday night, I went on exchanges with a Tongan elder  named Elder Heitonga. He is my height, but he's the most ripped person I've ever met in person. His stomach is tiny, and his arms and chest are gigantic! We had an intense hour and a half work out in the morning. Yeah, he's serious. It was a fun exchange. It was actually part of my old area from back when I was in Galveston, but it was in English, so we didn't see any of the same people. He's a goof ball, though. He learned all of his English on the mission, seeing as he came right from Tonga. 
     I know that this work is the work of the Lord. There are so many people that give up so much to come on missions. I've been given so much to help me get here, and I'm so grateful. I know that whoever is reading this has helped me on my journey, and I say thank you to each of you. I love you all. Have a fantastic week full of inspiration!

-Elder Spjute

9/21 Feliz Fiestas Patrias

     This week, we held the Fiestas Patrias, which is a party where the branch celebrates everyone's nationalities and their countries. It was so awesome! I hope you all enjoy the pictures I sent. (they should be on the blog. I'll put one or two on this email as well. The party was so fun :) There were a lot of really cool dances, and pretty decent Hispanic food. Our talent of the two skits was the best haha. The robbers one got a ton of laughs. As well, the Dear John singing one. What a blast. 
     This week was still a little rough on numbers, but fairly eventful. We tried a lot of former investigators at a different apartment complex. It wasn't too fruitful, but we did contact a few members out of nowhere haha. 
     On Wednesday morning, I went to Galveston on an exchange with Elder Huaraca, my old companion from Missouri City. He'd been on the island for a week with Elder Leszynski (who's been there just shy of one year!). The exchange was awesome! I mostly got to take over, and we visited a ton of old, familiar faces. I had so much fun! I was surprised and impressed with how much some people remembered me! One 20 year old kid named Orbit, who I always thought was cool, even remembered my name! It was so nice to see :) We gave Hna Perez a blessing. Her mom was my first convert, the one who passed away. Hna Perez has been having a hard time, poor lady. We left her in higher spirits. We got them a new investigator while there :) I wish Elder Leszynski all the luck and help he needs. I think he'll have an easier time with Elder Huaraca than I did. 
     We ended the exchange nasty early in the morning on Thursday because there was a District Leader Training in Sugar Land that they invited the Zone Leaders to. I've never seen so many awesome people in one meeting :D Elder Mehew was there; He and I chatted a bunch. He's such a stud :) I love that guy; totally going to be friends after the mission. 
     I discovered this 12-step Recovery program on the mormon channel. It hasincredible videos for each of the 12 steps. It was so cool to watch. I can think of a few people who this will come in handy for :) The videos are seriously so good!
     We taught Alfredo, our recent convert, about the priesthood and the temple ordinances this week. He seriously seems too good to be true. I find myself a little nervous to teach him; I really just don't want another inactive like Alejandro, my last convert. But Alfredo is doing so well. He talked with President Allred at church yesterday, and is on track to get the Aaronic Priesthood :) He says he's happy and feels like he's making a big change in his life. Please continue to pray for him :)
     That' about all I've got for this week. Have a great week; I love you all!

-Elder Spjute

Two pictures below : So when missionaries park in the same place, they always try to block each other so someone has to get out to back them up. It's cruel. The next one is me and Elder Mehew! He was at the District Leader Training. We both hadn't shaved because we had both forgotten razors on exchanges. 

Next two: These were at the Fiestas Patrias. The first is the Moreno family and the Malacara family.

next two: This is Hna Hernandez and Moreno dancing (incredibly) at the fiesta. And next is Hna Moreno's kids, Laura and Samuel. Laura is adorable, and I love her.

This is Favio, America Hernandez, Hna Hernandez, and Josue. They did a Guatemalan dance that was awesome! (even though the Hdz are from Mexico)