Tuesday, June 7, 2016

We Had a Baby!

 So, I'd love to say we're training a new missionary, but he's only a mini-missionary. His name is Hugo Campos, and he's staying in our apartment and accompanying Elder Grimes and I for the week :) He's super cool! Totally going on a full time mission later. He's 18, from Chapas Mexico, and lives in Port La Vaca, Texas. That's the second picture.
     The first picture is awesome. Yesterday, about half way through the testimony portion of Sacrament meeting, someone opened the door, and I was coincidentally sitting on the back row. I look over, and it's FAVIO and MILTON! Flippin' awesome! They came to visit me :D So the picture left to right is Milton, Marcos (One of my Kemah investigators), me, Favio, and Hna McMullin. Hna McMullin served in Kemah with me for two transfers, and was there for five in total. She was also stoked to see them. They came to class for an hour and took off. I love those guys so much!
     So much rain... we've been trapped inside several times the past week due to constant rain. We got to take young Hugo on a pretty rainy bike ride yesterday; it went well! He's a trooper.
     So, bad news, there was no Physical Therapy on Friday due to who knows what. Also, I might have thrown my back out that very day doing, once again, who knows what. It hurts so much worse, and it's in a different part of the back, so I can't really do the exercises or stretches that were assigned. Not stoked.
     As I've mentioned, Satan is putting up a lot of walls this transfer. I have had to reach pretty deep down into myself and receive a lot of help from upstairs to push forward with faith, hobble back onto my bike, and keep working. But I sleep with a clear conscience.
     We've been working with Julian, the Argentine whose records got lost, a lot. He's homeless, so a lot of our lessons have been over the phone, which is actually pretty cool. He has a baptismal date for Tuesday the 21st. Pray for him, please!
     So, I love so many people here in the ward! We went to visit the family Olaya, and Hno wasn't there, so we couldn't go in. Hna decided to be amazing anyway, and took us to some of her friends' apartments in the complex, and we taught them with her. I love her so much! As well, the Suarez have been more than pulling their weight on the helping out the missionaries scale. Hna made the best flautas (taquitos) that I'd ever had yesterday. Then, because the elders didn't leave us enough gas in the car, they agreed to drive us to Sugar Land to pick up Hugo! I love them! Arturo spent hours with us this week, and has dedicated SO much to his calling as ward mission leader. He organized Thursday visits in which we would go on exchanges with the members. It was a smashing and recurring success. I love that guy!
     Over all, this ward has won so much of my love! And this district, and this mission, and the Savior. I'm here because of Him. I'm trying to be like Him, and trying to help others come unto Him. I know this church is true, and we all play a big part in it! Member support in missionary work is so important! Member work is missionary work! Stay firm in the faith! To quote President Monson, "May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong." I love you all!

-Elder Spjute

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Sprint Begins

 The first week of the new transfer was really good! Elder Newby, the new guy in the apartment, plays basketball, so makes a good addition :) We're trying to break his seriousness, and we're having fun. I've gotten pretty tight with my companion. We've discovered that we both love Strongbad emails, and have been quoting that a lot! Our unity has to be up because we've got huge goals that we need to achieve! We set a goal for 3 baptisms this transfer, which will be quite the challenge.
     So, long week! A lot has happened! On Tuesday (the day before transfers), the four of us elders and the three hermanas went to our ward mission leader Arturo's apartment for dinner. He and Rafael, his ward missionary room mate bore super strong testimonies, and it was such a melancholy feeling that Elder Seal, one of my best mission friends was leaving. He walked out in tears after hugging them goodbye. Man, saying goodbye the next day was tough for me too. I'll miss him a lot.
     Our weekly planning session on Thursday was really great! We felt the Spirit really strongly, and set super high, but achievable goals.
     Physical Therapy for my back is going well. I'm finally progressing. We found a work out that seems to work pretty well :) I touched my toes after doing it a couple times, for the first time in months!
     Never mind being soaked daily by sweat, we tried to bike on Friday afternoon, which was a bad idea. It was pouring rain, and we got absolutely bathed. Shows how important it is to get members out with us. We could have gotten a much more successful ride!
     On Saturday, we had two HUGE lunches and one big early dinner, and were dying by the end of the day! Fortunately we've developed a plan to work out. If we don't contact 10 new people every day, we have to multiply the number less than 10 by 10 push ups and 10 ab rolls. It's intense!
     Ward Council on Sunday was quite the hiccup. We have been begging for a long time for more visits to be made by ward members for home teaching, visiting teaching, etc. It just doesn't happen. So durring the meeting, our ward mission leader just blew up. He went off on everyone's pride, which needed to happen. But he got shut down by the other leaders with even more pride. It was the saddest thing ever. He left crying. It was all we could do to try to help them see that we really do need more visits. So disappointed in this ward right now. The bishop got there with 5 minutes left in the meeting. Kind of annoying. We're working on humility and patience haha.
     Don't get me wrong, it's tough, but I still love it here, and wouldn't trade it for anything. I love you all, and appreciate your support. Happy Memorial Day!

-Elder Spjute

My old district. :) Love them!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Trunky Papers

 Well, it's official; last transfer is here! I got my letter from President telling me to sprint to the end yesterday. It's something every missionary somewhat dreads. I had to send in a bunch of info for my flight preparations which are in the making. Yes, it's nuts.
     But I'm going to work so hard this last transfer! I'm gonna come home so tired! I had a nice long chat with President Hall on Wednesday. It was sorely needed. He came to our district meeting, which was a little stressful for me, but good. He taught a lot of stuff, and I was getting fairly overwhelmed by the end. I have a really bad problem sometimes of comparing myself to others. He pulled me into another room to talk about stuff for a while, and I brought that up. I lost it, and cried. It's such a trap to compare myself to others. He handled it super well, and I feel so much better about him. He is so loving. He apologized if he had ever come off as too busy to care or unloving. I was highly impressed. We established that I need to focus more on working hard this last transfer. As such, I am no longer District Leader. That should be a decent little relief. I'll be staying here in H2 with Elder Grimes. Elder Seal is leaving, and I'm super sad about that. I'll miss him so much.
     It was over all, a good week! As you can see from the second picture of my planner, we met our goals last night! Once again, that is really rare to get all of our goals for the day; it's only happened three times on my mission, I think. Granted, they weren't super high goals, but I'm still sufficiently impressed.
     Yesterday, our ward mission leader got super mad at the bishop because he didn't make an announcement about members going out with the missionaries that he had asked him to make a couple times. He went home after Sacrament meeting, and was ready to up and quit. He sent a text to Hna Olaya saying he was just fed up; that the ward doesn't put enough emphasis on the work; that it's not worth the missionaries' sacrifice; that it is too much for him as ward mission leader. The man's got a point! Every member a missionary needs to work its way deeper into our ward members' hearts. Pretty sad. We went over and let him make us dinner later, which made him happy :)
     Physical Therapy is hopefully working! There wasn't much change this week, but I'm still doing exercises to strengthen the muscles in my back so they hold everything in place like they're supposed to. It's pretty annoying, but a test of patience I probably needed.
     I'm still learning so much, and I love it! I hope I never stop learning! There's a part of my patriarchal blessing that mentions an unshakable testimony, and I definitely feel that working itself into a reality within me! I love it. I love you all, and thank you for your support and prayers. Until next Tuesday,

-Elder Spjute

Temple Tuesday!

So today was my last quarterly trip to the temple! I'll go through one more time for my final trip, but that's it! I love the temple so much, and have grown to love the Houston temple even more :) It's such a beautiful temple! I have so many good memories there!
     So bad news, sports fans, I'm standing up, and typing is super uncomfortable. I'll type as much as I can bear. So hang in there.
     It was a great week! We got contacted by TWO different teenage guys. They both stopped us on different days, and asked us questions. One of them named Jose was going to get baptized when he was living in Laredo Mexico some months ago. He seems super interested :) He might be gay. Pray he can resist temptation! He has a baptismal date for the 11th of June. The other guy, Zachary, is Tex-Mex, so doesn't speak Spanish. He's cool though, so we'll turn him over to the English Elders. The Lord has been blessing us lately with more people to teach! Our finding efforts aren't helping a ton, but we're still finding! :D
     One of our friends, Vanessa Villatoro, has a friend she goes to school with named Jackie who also has told us she would get baptized if she got her answer. Super great :D
     We taught this less active guy yesterday that I'd known about for quite some time. He only has Mondays off, so it's a little tough for us. It turns out that he's a total stud! He's been in the states for only 5 months, and he came to church for the first 2 or 3. He was Elders' quorum president in Guerrero Mexico! His testimony is rock solid! His conversion story is super incredible, and man, you could feel the spirit in his place. He's been detained by work, so can't come to church for right now. But he's gonna ask for Sunday off. His name is Angel, and he's 25. Super cool guy! It blows my mind how many Hispanics are so in tune with the Spirit! He's had visions, and warning feelings that all turn out to be right. And he's NOT the first Hispanic that has happened to. I have several companions who have similar stuff. Kind of a cool cultural fact!
     I finished Alma in my Libro de Mormon, and am well on my way to finishing it in Spanish for the second time before I go home. I love it so much! I love Spanish, and I love the Book of Mormon!
     On Saturday, we got stuck in the chapel after another one of the hermanas' baptisms due to the rain. It rained SO HARD! We were in the chapel from 2:00 to about 6:30. Then on Sunday as well, we were stuck in the apartment for a little while. We were still studying, though, so it was good. Crazy Texas weather. It's about to get really, really hot.
     We got to teach Gospel Principles because the teachers' apartment flooded again for the second time in a month. Poor folks. I absolutely loved it, though! I love that situation; especially because my Spanish is a little over par, if I do say so myself. It was all about the Spirit world, so I thoroughly enjoyed it. That's about all that's fit to print for the week.
     I want everyone to know that I love being a missionary. Marc was on the phone with me last night and he told me he believed I liked being a missionary, but didn't know if I loved it for sure. I need you all to know that I wouldn't trade this time right now for anything! I love it so much; I love the people, even with all their flaws; I love Texas, even with all its humidity; I love the Spirit, even when I feel so little of it; I strive for the Spirit. I strive to help others because I love it! I love you all, and once more am so grateful for your contribution to my mission!

-Elder Spjute

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day email

  Well, seeing as I just talked with my family, they are mostly aware of what's interesting right now.
     Suffice it to say it was a slow week. We are struggling to find investigators, and work is rough. It's getting hot, and my companion got super sunburnt on Saturday. He was so white, and is now so pink!
     We both got really sick/ alergic. It was bad. We took 3 or so hour naps on two different days. It was not very fun. But the naps helped a ton, and we're both getting back to normal.
     So the pictures. One is Elder Seal and Grimes who both had to eat the flower part (bud?) of the rose after losing a bet. Pretty bad tasting, I guess.
     I gave a family of 6 baptismal interviews on Saturday, which was really cool. They'll be a strong family.
     All good here in Houston. I love you all. I especially love my mama. She is the best, and has been through so much! I am so happy that I got to talk with her. Also, I'm happy to have met so many wonderful mothers here on the mission. I know each of them was specifically called by our Heavenly Father to fulfil this purpose, and they do it! Happy late Mothers' Day!

-Elder Spjute

Monday, May 2, 2016

Back into the Groove

Well, flood service is pretty much over. We didn't even get to do any this week. It was all done. We had to become proselyting missionaries again haha. I love it; I really do.
     There were some fun parts of this week! Last monday, we met a vigilante called Crazy Mike. He was a pretty cool guy. Thinks he's a much bigger deal than he is, but it was fun :) He had us make a video introducing ourselves for his twitter page. Real good guy.
     District Meeting on Tuesday was totally a spiritual high. It was one of the better one's I've had. In my second or third month in the mission field, President Ashton had the zone leaders give a training based on Leviticus 1 and how our Sacrament sacrifices are similar to those of ancient times. I tried to reproduce it, and it was actually really cool! The district seemed to eat it up, which is great because I'm the only one that was here for that! They were all too young, and weren't missionaries yet. It's important because we all prepare for the Sacrament every Saturday, as it should be. It just gave it more purpose.
     The rest of the meeting was spent discussing how to make our Personal and Companionship studies better. There was a lot of revelation from this meeting!
     Later that day, we ate at a grocery store called La Michoacana with Efigenia. I had this tortilla loaded with stuff that's called a huarache. It had chicharron as the meat. Super good! I've developed a fondness for chicharron. It's pretty much cooked pig's skin/fat. Yes.
     I had my last quarterly interview with President. It was pretty good! We had it in his house! That was the first time I'd been there since my very first day in the mission field. He messed up his back, called an audible, and we met up there. It went well. He talked to me about having hope for my mission. Something I needed to work more on. It's been a little difficult in a fairly dry area. BIG lesson learned is that you cannot compare yourself to others! It's a trap!
     We sang our song as a district again for a baptism from the sisters' area. Super cool; it went much better this week than it did last Sunday. I love music!
     I went on an exchange to a Burmese area. It was the first one I've ever been on where I flat out understood nothing of the other language! So crazy! I was with my zone leader, Elder Ames. It was pretty interesting. They are in a four person companionship, so they usually just split one zone leader with a junior comp. Kinda crazy.
     I crashed my bike for what I hope was the last time on Saturday! My pinky got pretty cut up and is fairly bruised now. Also pretty funny. I was swerving to miss a bus station, and didn't see the big, rock trash can that took me out completely. All fine, just laughs.
     Things are great here! I love this area, and will dearly miss the people here. I'm stoked for Mothers' Day when I'll be able to talk with my Mom face to face one last time before the airport! In advance, Happy Mothers' Day, Mom! I love you all, and wish you a great week!

-Elder Spjute

This was a bus someone had that they cut to look like this awesome truck. Pretty cool.

This is Elder Grimes. He's my companion.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Holy Service, Bat Man...again

So we served 25 hours each in the district this week. That is incredible! Our other numbers were way down, but the Lord is still blessing us a lot. The Hnas have 3 baptisms scheduled this week! Two of them are little kids I interviewed who were waiting forever for their mom's signature and permission. Woohoo! :D
     So service thus far has consisted of many hours in one guy's house and a few hours in oth
ers. The guy's name is Tony. He's a house flipper, and had just gotten the house pretty much done after the last flood. There were so many people with that same thing that were just finnishing up after last May. Pretty sad.
     At Tony's house, we cut the sheet rock, remove it up to like 2 feet, take off the door frames, remove the insulation, and all other sorts of fun stuff. We've also worked with carpet in other houses a decent amount. Quite heavy work. I was on a news station after doing some service. They interviewed me for a minute it was ABC13 I think.
     So. What a day. For starters, I think I threw out my back a couple weeks ago helping Cleofas move. It has been a pain durring service. So we decided to go to the chiropractor. Strap in.
     I got adjusted, and they throw in a massage with what feels like eucalyptus oil. We get in the car to go home still tingley with the oil. About a quarter of the way home, it starts burning pretty bad. Like more tingles than there should be. Pretty soon, it's really bad. If I don't touch it, it burns badly, so I have to keep adjusting my shirt, and I'm driving. We get to a third of the way home, and I'm starting to get light headed a little, and decide to pull off. The nearest exit of the freeway was in like 2 miles, and traffic was horrible. This was honestly, the worse pain I've ever been in as I'm all but yelling in the car!
     Finally, we pull of to a gas station, where I tried to splash it off in the gas station. I just put my proselyting shirt on, no tie, and walked out to the car with my companion. I told him, "no questions asked, you're driving, and I need a blessing before we go." It was still stinging pretty intensely. We went behind a dumpster and he gave me a quick blessing, and we rushed home. Holy cow! That was so ridiculously painful. The worst is that my back is still really sore; possibly worse than what it was before. I'm hoping it's just my muscles adjusting to the adjustment.
     As I showered, and got out, we heard a knock at the door. It was about 7:30. Much, MUCH to my surprise, it was my cousin Sherri! She gave us some of the best food I've had on the mission, gave me a huge hug, and left within a minute! It was pretty funny. I let President know, and he laughed as well.
     On Sunday, the missionaries were in charge of Sacrament meeting, and some gave talks (I still have not haha). We did the same musical number that we sang for the conference when Elder Nelson came here, only it was just the elders in the ward singing, Hna Hofheins on violin (she is incredible!), and Hna McMullin on piano. They had me translate the lyrics to Spanish, and I think it went pretty well :)
     That's about all the interesting going on here for right now. I love you all so much, and thank you for your prayers. Have a wonderful week!

-Elder Spjute

Three different houses that had their sheet rock and insulation piled on the sidewalk.

Tell me this doesn't look exactly like Stephen!

This was in a guy named Tony's house.So much demolition work!

The puzzle we put together having been trapped inside last P-day.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Flooding once again! Letter from April 20

 Sorry everyone, this will have to be a pretty short email session! As I'm sure a few of you have heard, yesterday, Houston received a ton of rain. An amount of rain that hasn't been seen since ...that's right... last year! Not even a year ago, I was in some of the same houses moving wood and carpeting that was destroyed. Today, the second people we helped out RECOGNIZED me! How crazy is that? Not just the same street, but the same house! I remember being in that house for hours and hours last year. It broke my heart a little.
     But there is something so satisfying about serving with all your heart, MIGHT, mind, and STRENGTH! The Lord really adds in a qualifying factor that fill you and those you serve with so much love! The flood water didn't go quite as high as last year, but it did get high enough that there will still be just about as much reparations. Time to get comfy for a few weeks of intense service!We all got completely soaked while helping in the rain today
     We were cooped up yesterday, and couldn't get to our emails. The pics are of the garbage in the street, and the next story:
     It all starts with inside jokes. We have been talking about Harry Potter a lot lately, and Elder Seal and Stout and I would pretend to cast curses with our pens as wands. We all have our own way and sound of doing it. That's one part of the inside joke. The next is that we watch this old church video in which one of the guys in Zion's Camp (google if you don't know) complains about there being "no more fresh water). We always say "fresh __" as we were checking the mail, I cast a spell three times at our mail box, and Elder  Stout did once. I said before opening, "I just cast myself three fresh letters." And Elder Stout said, "I just cast myself a bunch of junk mail." Look what we got. Look what we got!!! That's right, I'm a prophet. Or a wizard. I'm not sure yet.
     It was sad seeing Elder Stout leave!!! I loved that kid! One of the greats for sure. Elder Grimes and I will do work!
     Gotta get going. I love you all! Pray for the people down here.

-Elder Spjute

District pics at the running meeting. Elder Seal, Stout and I are casting spells.

After checking the mail

I baptized another one of the sisters' converts!

Window shot of the rain

Garbage on the sidewalk after flooding

Shaving Cream and Other Fun

  So it was an odd week. Not bad by any means, but odd! So I found out today that I will be staying here in Houston 2. But saddest of sad, Elder Stout is leaving. He's such a cool guy. We laughed so much. But I'll be getting a guy in his third tranfer named Elder Grimes. I've never heard of him, but Elder Seal met him. I'm so glad I'll be staying with Elder Seal; he's another class act as you can see from the pictures. 
     So the pictures. We were about to get ready for bed, then Elder  Seal put some shaving cream on. Then so did I. Then so did Elder Stout. Elder Unick went to bed. We won that round haha. It was so funny. 
     I'm definitely feeling a decent amount trunky. I work hard, but sometimes, especially at the end of the day, I feel fairly emotional. There's a joke that the last two transfers are the opposite of the first two in the field. I'll be anti-training and preparing to adjust myself to world life haha. All jokes though; I have work to do! 
     So one of my spiritual highs from the week was a zone meeting we had on Tuesday. We watched a couple [President-sanctioned] videos that were super cool. The focus was on how we as missionaries cannot do our work focused from the what we do to the how we do it to the why. That isn't successful. We have to work from the why to the how to the what. That is a business strategy that coincidentally is in acord with the spirit of missionary work. 
     For example, there was a stand up commedian who took a break in his show to talk to a [black] guy in the audience. He was a music teacher. He asked him to sing Amazing Grace. It was good, and he got applause. He then asked him to sing it as if he had just gotten out of prison, was shot in the back when younger, his father died, ghetto style. It was SO packed with emotion, and the audience went wild! As he had more purpose, it generated more inspiring results. It is the same with our message. If we know why we are out here, we will act with more gusto. 
     Marc took us out on Friday. He just drove us to some visits and took us to eat and baught us $60 of popsickles. Yes, we love him. He's such a good guy, too. He is so tried by the devil. I will call him every now and then when I get home to keep up my Spanish. Love that guy.
     Sunday was a good day. Hna's McMullin and Hofheins had a double baptism. I had interviewed the kids on Friday. There are three: Karla, Carlos, and Raquel (ages 11, 12, and 16). Carlos couldn't come because he had to babysit his brother. He was super sad about it, and actually cried. He will get baptized on Tuesday, though :) I got to baptize Karla and Raquel. It was super cool! I love getting in the water! I love helping people come closer to Christ! This Gospel is real, and it changes people for the better. I know it, and I love it. I love you all, I really do. I wish you understood how grateful I am for your support. Even if it means just reading my emails, it means I'm touching someone by what I'm doing. Have the best week and remember that we have The Lord God Almighty on our side! 
-Elder Spjute

This is the quality of the in-ground pools here in Houston :)

Marc spent $60 on paletas for us. Paletas are Hispanic popsickles. Crazy!

We delighted in shaving cream beards. And Elder Seal in... that.

Add caption

The sisters had two baptisms yesterday and had me baptize their converts. One is Raquel, the older one. The other is Karla.

So this was my planner cover from the last transfer. It's pretty much just a picture taped onto the cover of the planner. Pretty cool

Monday, April 4, 2016

Conference Was Awesome!! Letter From April 4th

 Am I right? Was conference not so amazing?! So the garlic crusted prime rib you see before you was Marc's dinner for us with Ana and Juan for Sunday night. Topped off the weekend well! The next picture is just a little bit of what our snacks were like for conference.
     This week was not too great for our numbers, but we feel Spiritually recharged after yesterday and Saturday. We had a lot of service this week! Seeing as Cleofas just moved :'( But it was a pretty low week for visits.
     District meetings are all becoming very rote, and it's kind of sad. President has just laid it all out so much that it's harder to be original! I will strive to do a little better though. Especially because these are weekly things!
     On Wednesday, I went on an exchange with Elder Seal. He came to my area. He's so cool. We get along super well because we're always on splits here and there. He teaches well, and has pretty good Spanish for being in the mission as long as Elder Stout. We got a new investigator and a baptismal date with a kid named Edwin. We're praying his parents will be accepting. We've only talked with him, and he said when he told his mom he had a date, that she just responded that he was already baptized. He seems to understand authority, though :D
     During the exchange, we ate with Ana and Juan. Ana is from El Salvador, and makes super good pupusas. We both ate 7. You usually get full with five! Three is often more than sufficient. We play this game within the district all the time called what are the odds. One person will ask another "what are the odds that you...[eat another pupusa]?" and the person will reply "one in...[7]." Then someone counts down from 3 and at 0, both people have to say a number. If they say the same number, the person who got dared has to do the task. If the numbers add up to the second person's number (7), the darer has to do the task. I nailed Elder Seal with the pupusas >:)
     Thursday was all weekly planning and helping Cleofas and her family move. It was pretty bitter-sweet. But we have much confidence in her :)
     So that was all of the interesting from this week other than conference! Marc came and watched some of it with us. I think Elder Christofferson's talk might have gotten to him. His family situation is pretty cruddy. I love Marc, and I saw a lot in the conferences that could have helped him quite a lot.
     Also, I saw a lot in the conferences that could have helped me quite a lot! I got so many answers! The big outlining themes, I feel, were protecting the family unit, using priesthood power responsibly, and hope/faith. It was so awesome! My favorite talk was a tie between Elder Ballard's and Elder Bednar's talk. I learned from Elder Ballard how to run a more successful family, which is inspiring, and makes me a little trunky haha. I learned from Elder Bednar how to retain a remission of my sins, and to utilize better the Atonement. What a great weekend!
     Needless to say, I know this church is true! If you don't know, hope and search! I live it, and I love it! Have a great week, and I love you all!

-Elder Spjute

Awesome Week! Letter from March 28th

 So as the pictures show, I went to the temple again! We'd been praying for someone to take Cleofas and us to the temple so she could do baptisms. Hna Suarez, who took the picture, helped her get a name, and got a trip all set up as we set up the appointment. It was the best temple trip ever! Like they all are!
      As I pulled up, Hno Moreno, from Kemah, pulled my water bottle out of my bag. Cool! His whole family was there. Then, Bishop Martin, his wife Gladis, and Hna Santillan from Missouri City were there! More awesomeness! While inside, I saw Hna and Hno Gonzales, some of the Colombians from Kemah. I love them! Then, the whole Galveston branch was there in the baptistery! Wow! I chatted with Janitzy Rivera a lot. She's a good friend from Galvy. I loved that temple trip! I was baptized for 4 of my ancestors and had Cleofas do one of the women from my tree. So spiritual! I also got to baptize Hno Bonet, featured in the picture :) He's Cuban. Stud.
     So noteworthy thing I forgot last week: I put together a choir of 8 for a fireside we had last Sunday. Because I had to write about 2 weeks, that slipped my mind. We sang Come thou Fount. One I'd performed in ward choir a few times. I already had the sheet music. Thanks Mom! The singers were me, Elders Seal, Unick, and another named Ripley, then Hnas Hofheins, and some named Wood, Whitmer, and Palmer with Hna McMullin on the piano. It was a beautiful number. Really brought the spirit.
     So I love my companion a lot. We've decided that we probably won't get a third transfer together because we get along so dang well. I love it! We had an exchange in which the zone leader came to both of us. It was odd and quiet and boring. Total opposite of our relationship! Plus, we get work done.
     For about 7 weeks, our area was slow and struggling, and now, the Lord has chosen to bless us with much success. We are filtering our teaching pool! We have a date with an Argentine named Julian, who was a member whose records got lost. Very promising!
     I just wanted to wish you a happy late Easter! I love the Savior and know he lived, died, and was resurrected for all of us. I love this time of year, conference and everything! I love how many people came to church yesterday! So great! And I love being a missionary. The Church is true. I love you all,

-Elder Spjute

Temple Pix

Side note: Elder Spjute's sister has run behind on updating the blog. I'm hoping to rectify the situation. This one is from March 21st.   
First thing's first, the pictures. Check out this centipede that Elder Seal gave me from a package he got :D The first pic is from last week and the second is from today. It's so cool!
     So much happened in the last two weeks! Sorry again that there was no letter last week. We went to the temple on Wednesday, and didn't have enough time to do all the emailing we wanted to.
     That was so awesome, let me just say! I love the temple with all my heart! I received so much revelation that I desperately needed. I'd been waiting for a while to go. Hna McMullin had a few men's names, so I got to do a session for one of them. It was so great! I learned that I need to pray more fervently to the Lord. That will start helping my area progress. It worked well this week! I was told to be more excited to be going home than worried about it. The Lord never wants me to worry; there's good things in store. What an awesome trip!
     So last week!...
     I went on an exchange with the new Elder, Elder Unick. He's a pretty odd kid; a little too... not fun, ya know? We're trying to get him to losen up. It was a great exchange, though. I gained a lot of respect for him. We went out to eat with the other elders and Marc. He took us out to an Italian place called Buca di Beppo. So good! Someone had a lemur in their car outside haha. Lots of fun.
     We got into an apartment complex I'd been trying for a while, and the Chinese lady running the management. She chewed us out for soliciting, even though we were looking for someone specific. She actually ended up asking a bunch of questions, and we taught her a bit. Pretty funny :)
     We've been eating a ton of pupusas lately because there are a bunch of Salvadorans here. They're so good! One of our new investigators (we had a super successful week with a lot of news. Tons of blessings), is from El Salvador, and his wife makes bomb pupusas! So good!
     Oh yeah, on the 11th, I baptized Jennifer. I think I sent pictures of that, right? It was a cool experience. Well, cold. The water was freezing. But great!
     A summarized version of my other spiritual high was last Monday. President Hall called all the district leaders in a conference call, and I've been struggling with him/"authority"/numbers for a while. I texted him after asking for some help. He cleared a bunch of stuff up on a really long phone call lasting til after 11:00 that night. I've been praying for a change of heart and understanding, and have been working super hard.
    It has payed off. We had a great week, and my Spirit is in tact. I love you all, and wish you a great week!

-Elder Spjute

Me and Elder Stout. Isn't this one cool? :)

These are of the district.

Me and my boys

Thursday, March 10, 2016

One more week, one more journal!

Hello everyone. That's right, I'm on my third mission journal now! Yeah, I'm getting old out here.
     So on Tuesday, I had to make a district meeting that I'd put off since Friday. President gave us an outline of what do to for the next 5 district meetings, and I realized that I don't have to/can't improvise anything. It's all set, which makes me kind of sad. It was a decent meeting though. Just the same meeting that I had about a month ago in the same district. I'm working on supporting my president a little more. Struggling, but working.
     So our teaching pool is hurting right now. I'm not sure why. We're working fairly hard, knocking so many closed doors, and just not having a ton of success. I'm not really worried, though, which I find interesting. Maybe my patience is growing. Maybe I'm lazy, I don't know. I feel like I'm doing what the Lord is asking; so I'm waiting for blessings. I included a plea for finding in my fast yesterday. We'll see what happens.
     So the picture below is from Wednesday. We were helping the Suarez family (the husband is blind) move their big dog house in their back yard with the other elders. We also had to raise it and put cement blocks underneath. I had it by the shingles and the board underneath with my left hand as we were scooting it closer to the corner of the fence, and couldn't pull it out. It got pretty smashed, and broke skin a little. It's pretty gross now. But all good.
     Marc took us out to a place called Salt Grass. It's a really nice steak house with pretty high prices. It was a fun lunch. I love Marc.
     We visited Cleofas a few times this week. She's such a sweetheart! I love her, and am so proud of her! We got her membership number, so want really badly to take her to the temple to get her baptized for her mom! She started baring her testimony to Hno Sanchez, who was out with us, and my eyes welled up a little. She's such a strong convert.
     That's about all that's fit to print! Except for the crazy meth lady that tried to hit me last night haha. Yeah, there was a special kind of evil there. But you take the good and leave the bad. I love my mission! I love you all as well! Have a great week!

-Elder Spjute

7 Week Transfer

     So, seeing as the dates got moved back a week and all that, this is the transfer that will be 7 weeks instead of 6. Glad I'm with a cool comp! It was an odd week, like always. Love it.
     On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, we only had one lesson. One per day. That's pretty sad. Not due to any lack of effort on our part... I hope. But we have been trying really hard lately to find. We actually taught a new family, which we have a return appointment with, so that's looking up! We've made commitments to talk to more people in the apartment complexes while we have time. It's yielding some fruits.
     One of these fruits was the picture below from last night. This is Ariel. He contacted us on the street haha. He was SO drunk. It was too funny to resist. We went in, shared a scripture with him, and yeah. He shook Elder Stouts hand for a good 2 minutes and started crying about how he has three daughters in Guatemala and he needs Elder Stout to call Trump so he'll let them come. Yep, it was great. As we were leaving, he said, "let's take a picture." Yes. What a great idea. Yep.
     On Tuesday, we got to run the new missionaries. That means us, the other elders, and the sisters from our district came to meet the new ones, and we each took one and did street contacts with them for a bit. As mission lingo goes, the missionaries trainer is their dad, and their runner is their mom, so I'm the mom of Elder Unick, and Elder Seal, who is training him in our apartment, is his dad. Yep.
     We ate two times with Ana and Juan and Marc this week. Both sooo delicious! The second time, we had craw fish. Marc is a cooking genius. Like ho-ly cow! I probably ate around 30 craw fish. It's definitely one of the weirder things to eat in this life, but so good when done right :) We filled this big pan up several times more as well. So good. And Marc made horchata for Elder Stout, so that was nice :)
     Well, that about it for the interesting news of the week. We're so glad it's P-Day because we all ran out of food this week! Also, we will be looking for a new apartment on the boss' orders. Ours is a rancid mess. So many nastinesses. Anywho, we're working hard! I love the mission so much! I love you all as well. Thank you to everyone who reads and writes me. The church is true. Love,

-Elder Spjute

Friday, February 26, 2016

Staying in H2

Well, we got the email, and it looks like I'm staying right here with Elder Stout. Woohoo! I do love it here! 
     So this week, I finally caught up with my journal writing for the first time the whole transfer! It was also a 6 day week, which was nice. But time isn't really making sense now, anyway. 
     On Wednesday, we had district meeting. I assigned a decent amount, so didn't have to work as hard. It was nice! I learned a lot. I had Elder Stout talk about prayer, Elder Seal talk about how to help investigators progress, and Hna Hofheins talk about how to work in unity with the companion. It was great, actually!
     Later that day, we went to eat with Ana and Juan. Ana is one of Elder Sharp's converts who is awesome, from el Salvador, married to a Mexican, and makes the BEST pupusas! We ate so much! She had to leave early for a meeting, so we got to chat with Juan, who isn't a member. Such a cool guy; comes to church every week, and has a strong testimony. He told us he has some big time grudges to get over before baptism and went really in depth. He gave me a big hug before leaving. Love that guy! 
     I decided I wanted to really help him; even though he doesn't live in my area, it's the sisters'. Pres Hall sent an email on how to control our thoughts. I decided to translate it to Spanish. It took me about 10 hours in total throughout the week, but totally worth it! It felt so good to serve someone so personally. It turned out to be a paper of about 1700 words! I had one of our teenagers in the area read it, and she loved it! I gave her a copy. Spanish is so cool, and I've been so blessed with this gift! 
     Saturday was a super cool day. Really odd sequence of events though. We played basketball in the morning like always, then stayed at the church to help with the cleaning a bit later. After studies later on, we returned to the church to finish typing and printing the paper for Juan. I finished it in good time! Then we headed out and taught 4 lessons, which is pretty good for us; especially having started to do so at 5. We decided to sacrifice dinner for the sake of time, then got fed by two families after. Blessings!
     I got to sing in church yesterday :) I did the same song I sang for the baptism last week, so to some it was no surprise. We did add violin this time, though. Mom told me she got the recording of that, so that's good! I really love singing for other people! It brings the spirit so strongly; to me! 
     I am well and healthy. I love being a missionary, as always. I wouldn't rather be doing anything else! I love you all, and wish you a wonderful week!

-Elder Spjute