Monday, November 30, 2015

Into December We Go

So for the week roundup. How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Awesome? Still full? We are! We've been eating so much really good food lately. fortunately, I don't struggle too much with working out in the mornings. 
     Wanna hear something sad but kinda funny? On Tuesday, we had our district meeting that Elder Sharp had actually planned out pretty well. We get there, and ALL four of the sister missionaries were sick. Two of them with flu like symptoms, and the other two with whatever. Elder Sharp and I are rejoicing that we haven't gotten sick yet :) Immune system of steel! 
     On Wednesday, we went to go visit a new investigator whose neighbors are inactive members. He wasn't home, but his neighbors were, and they were out on their front porch, which has a roof over it, and they were burning these cardboard crates to smoke away the mosquitoes, We talked for 5 minutes, and smelled like a campfire for the rest of the night. We ate at Whataburger, which was delicious, but a horrible choice haha. I remember eating at Whataburger in San Antonio when Dan graduated from baisic training. Kinda a funny coincidence. 
     Thanksgiving started out so hot! Probably about 80 degrees. Dang. Then it got a little breezy and cooled off. It's been nice and chilly and foggy/cloudy since. We ended up only eating with two different people. One of them was the Campo family. That was great! So much good food; most of it being American :D Then, we ate at night time with Marc. He cooks incredibly. It's ridiculous. 
     That same day, we had a great lesson with our investigator Marcos. He struggles with a drinking problem. We had a good Atonement lesson with him. Our recent convert, Alfredo, helped us teach. Ho-ly cow! Alfredo teaches better than Elder Sharp! Haha. He understands doctrine that quite frankly, baffles me how smart he is! He explained accurate, true doctrine in the lesson, and kind of left Elder Sharp and I with mouths agape. Stud!
     We're trying to work a lot with the zone by helping them be excited for the work. As for the key indicators (the numbers we receive from each area which indicates the success their having), our district is the only one out of the three in the zone that is consistently decent. We know people are just too complacent, so we're trying to help them realize their purpose. Here's hoping for results! 
     Funny story for the week: Marc gave us a styrofoam box with some kind of food to open in the apartment. We were expecting pie or some kind of junk food. As we joked around, we got silent as it sat on the counter, Elder Sharp opening it. When we saw that they were chicken salad filled croissants, we both gasped simultaneously. We looked at each other in shock of the good fortune. Then we busted up laughing. 
     I got to teach for the third hour yesterday for fifth Sunday. It was a cool experience! We watched a 20 minute video of the Restoration, then I had people split up into groups and discuss the question "How has this experience changed your life?" After getting the groups' answers, I asked them how they could share the blessings with others. Really spiritual hour. 
     I'll be working hard this transfer with my new companion. Pray for him :) I love you all. May December treat you all well!

-Elder Spjute 

Pictures-The first one is with Elder Sharp, Nefito, Dalila, Omar, Nefi, and I. We took this in case one of us would leave before seeing them again. The second is with the Campo family, with which, we ate Thanksgiving dinner.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Temple Happiness!

 It's beginning to look a lot like Thanksgiving. The branch just had our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. It was pretty decent. I seriously love this branch so much! I love how much they all dance at the end of our activities. So many of them are so good! 
     Lots of good little highlights for this week, so it might seem a little scattered. Bear with me!
     On Monday, we went to see one of our Less Actives, a 13 year old named Nefito (Nefi's son and Dalila's almost step-son). He gets angry with his 9 year old almost step-brother, Omar. We had a lesson about how to control it, and the spirit was so powerful. This goofy, innocent 13 year old had an intense lesson, and started to cry during the closing prayer. It was so cool. He's such a good kid.
     Later on, we went to Marc's for dinner. He's the one who I used to not like much due to his lack of progression, and manipulation demeanor. He's learning a lot, which is cool. So something interesting happened. He told me I was going to be a bishop. Then he said, "you want to know how I know? Because I've seen it." He has told us a lot of things that point to him having the gift of visions. He told me he has three times received the knowledge from God, the second time being in a dream. he told me some other interesting specific stuff as well; a decent amount of it tying in to my Patriarchal blessing. Kinda odd. Not entirely sure what to make of it. Anyway...
     On Tuesday, we had Zone Conference, which took from 7:45 in the morning to about 4:30 in the afternoon. It was great. It's all about working with the members. I encourage and beg you all to do your part as missionaries in this church. Only we are full-time missionaries, but according to Pres David O. McKay, we are all responsible to be missionaries. 
     Gio, one of the Less Actives, works at a jeweler shop, and took two of my broken watches that broke in the first or second transfer of my mission, and returned them in great shape and free of charge. Yay! 
     Our neighbor Joe has been bringing us pumpkin flavored stuff to try all the time. It's super funny and really nice. We've had pumpkin spice glazed doughnuts, pop tarts, chips, and more. It cracks me up. He's such a good guy. He's been struggling hardcore since his wife passed away last year. We chat with him a lot and give him hugs every now and then. He's like our crazy uncle we never had haha. 
     On Thursday, we saw this stroke victim, Fredi, a recent convert who can only say yes or no. After a good lesson, he started trying to say something. When we asked him what it was, he would do the usual and respond with yes or no. When we mentioned church, he got so happy, and just beamed. It was pretty cool. Gave me goosebumps. We have to get him rides to church for obvious reasons. 
     Later, we had a lesson with Dalila and Nefi. She is the smartest investigator I have ever taught. She explained to us how she is a little afraid of knowledge because she knows that if she doesn't follow up with what she knows she should do, she condemns herself. Who gets that as an investigator?! So smart. Let it be known that before she met the missionaries some 6 months ago, she hardly knew anything about the gospel. I mean anything. We have such high hopes for them. We've fasted twice for them to get married and do what they're supposed to. Unfortunately, they didn't come to church yesterday, but we're working on it!
     Temple trip on Saturday was the week's Spiritual High! We went with Hna Silva for her first endowment session. So cool! President Allred (branch pres) took all the missionaries in the branch (the 6 of us in the district). It was a Spanish session. So awesome. I got some good revelation, and just loved it. 
     Yesterday, Hnas Johnson and Reeder had a baptism with a 50 year old lady named Lettie. I got to sing Come thou Fount in Spanish with piano and violin accompaniment. It was originally just a version for the instruments, but we added the voice part on about 10 minutes before the baptismal program. It went super well. I miss singing! 
     That's about all I've got for this week. I love you all. Have a wonderful week!

-Elder Spjute
One picture is of Elder Sharp and I, Yessika Silve, Hna Amezquita, Hna Menendez, then Hnas Ralston and Hall of our district. The other picture is all the same minus the sister missionaries. ]

Monday, November 9, 2015

Livin' La Vida Loca

So far, so good with Kemah! Today is actually not our P-Day. We got permission to email and shop today, but we're taking our P-Day on Saturday to go to the temple with a member in our area who is taking out her endowment. We're so excited! Let's see what I can conjure up for an email.
     We went to Chuck E Cheese for dinner once with a member haha. That was different! I love playing Skii-ball :) 
     We spent a lot of time with Marc, the guy that Elder Sharp is really good friends with. I didn't like that at first, but he actually started progressing this week. He's struggled all of his life with understanding why we need a Christ. He is very advanced in thinking, and his logic just didn't click until this week. He read His Grace is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox, and it made the wheels start spinning. He fed us a couple times this week. On Monday, he spent over $100 on dinner. Dang. He and his parents are loaded. 
     I did a service project with Elder Yancey, when we were on exchanges this week. We helped a guy raise his deck outside of his trailer. It was a huge, heavy project. It was fun though, and the guy's wife fed us a ton of really good food. She made albundigos (meat balls) which reminded me a lot of Mom's. That was cool.
     Spiritual High of the week: Dalila and Nefi. So Elder Sharp and I have been thinking about how to capitalize on the lesson they heard in Gospel Principles on Law of Chastity. We spent a whole companionship study figuring out how to convince them that it's time to get married, stop living in sin, and get Dalila and Omar baptized. The lesson we had with them later that night was SO powerful. Accompanied by so much prayer. So spiritual. Such a divine intervention. We didn't want to pressure them in front of the kids. Omar was asleep! Nefito doesn't speak Spanish. It worked out perfectly! Dalila was in tears and said she needed this for her family. Nefi has to make the decision now. He's worried because he's had 2 divorces, and doesn't want to mess things up. We fasted for them, and are praying all the time for them. Some prayers in their behalf would be greatly appreciated. 
     I'm so sorry this email is so short. It wasn't a crazy week, and we have limited time today. But know that I love you all tons! Have a great week, and enjoy fall!

-Elder Spjute

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Halloween

This was a pretty cool week :) First off, the pictures attached are of our neighbor Joe. He's kind of a crazy guy, as you can tell by the lazy eye. He's so cool though. He really warmed up to Elder Sharp and me (he's got one of Elder Sharp's extra name tags). He's so NOT even close to LDS haha. He has all kinds of Word of Wisdom problems, and just doesn't really believe in God due to his wife's death a year ago. Poor guy. We love him. We do stuff for each other all the time.
     Update on Dalila and Nefi: we don't really want to baptize Omar until his mom marries Nefi. When we passed by on Wednesday, she told us she really wanted to marry him and start her eternal family. Awesome! We just gotta get Nefi on board. We just helped them move into a different apartment, still together, so we're hoping that means yes!
     On Thursday, half the mission went to the mission office for a Zone Conference with Elder Lawrence E Corbridge of the 70 talk to us. It was a good conference, but was so long! It started up at 9, and ended at 4. He did a nice job, but talked a little too monotone. Staying awake was a bit of a struggle. I'll go into detail on what he talked about in a minute. He spoke again at Stake Conference on Friday and Sunday
     I sang If You Could Hie to Kolob at the Zone Conference. It went pretty well. No complaints. Except that I wish I looked up more from the podium. I thought it was funny how many people would say, "Elder Spjute, I didn't know you sing!" I would just think to myself, wait, you don't really know anything about me haha. Kinda funny. 
     We had MLC (mission leadership council) at the end of the Conference. As Zone Leaders, this is one of the couple things we get to do that's different. In the meeting, we just discuss with the other ZLs, Sister training leaders, APs, and President (and Elder Corbridge) what we need to do to help the mission. Very broad. That's about all we do that's different other than lead Zone Meetings, do exchanges, and make ministering phone calls a couple nights a week. 
     Friday was the adult session of Stake Conference. I must say, that was possibly the best meeting I've ever been to. Holy cow! At the beginning, Elder Corbridge said, "the brethren told me we should do the meeting on Saturday. I said I realize it's a Pagan holiday, but are we gonna make the parents miss out on Halloween? They told me I'd have to get creative. I responded, probably foolishly, should we come in costume? And so here we are, meeting on Friday!" 
     The stake choir is AMAZING. About 40 people, and they sound like Motab. I'm not kidding! The director is incredible. Right at the start of the meeting, we all sang Let us all press on, and it was so loud and powerful and harmonic. I was blown away. Then, the choir opened afterwards singing With songs of praise. Oh my word. I couldn't stop smiling for about 5 minutes! That helped an already amazing meeting become incredible. President and Sis Hall spoke together about family council, and nailed it. The stake president spoke on Sabbath Day observance, and nailed it. Then the stake patriarch bore a testimony on making the best of our time, and nailed it. Elder Corbridge spoke way more enthusiastically and nailed it. He took up the majority of the time. He spoke about how the Spirit is the Power of God. It's what we all want, and it's the biggest gift that God can give us in this life. It was a very powerful message. The choir finished up with Abide with me, 'Tis eventide. 
     The meeting on Sunday was very similar. It wasn't as powerful, but it was still very nice. Highlight was the choir. At the end, they sang Motab's big version of I Believe in Christ. It blew me away. I mean, wow! 
     Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. I love you all, and don't worry, I'm staying afloat in all the rain here. Have a wonderful week! The church is true!

-Elder Spjute