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.

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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