Monday, September 22, 2014

Elder Oof


Holy crap so much has happened.  Quick shout outs, Neys (You know I wonñt ever forget, and yes we wll hang out all the time), Mrs. Shiles (I love you, please keep sending the updates!!!!), Sara, Bruce and Elaine, Kailey (Thank you. I needed to hear it.  I miss you like crazy. And I will get you that letter!!!!), Nanny, Jessi, Lizzie, Emily, Crys (You know I will always love you and have your back), Sabrina (SABURRRNA TOOK YOU LONG ENOUGH.... Chiste. (Joking.. mostly) ;)), Natalie (WHHHAAAT), Assael (Oh my gosh babe I cannot handle stuff like this here and I love your soul butt more), Steph (Your hair is perfect and you are more so) and Krista (seriously, thank you. It means more than you know.).


So, first, last stories of the CCM.

First, on my last P-day at the CCM, I wanted to spend it studying the New Testament.  What did I actually do?  Oh... you know... playing hardcore volleyball and basketball IN THE POURING RAIN.  AND DANCING TOO.  AND BEING WAY TOO EPIC FOR LIFE.  Yeah.  Story 1.

STORY 2.  Okay.  So there is this kid named Elder Evans. Seriously one of the nicest people I know.  Every day since I got to the CCM, he has asked me to sing You Raise Me Up for him.  And of course... I say maybe, and then... No.  Cuz I am a tease.  The girls back at home know what I am talking about, right?.......
ANYWAY, so he has asked me every day.  So... On my last day, at our last meal, the WHOLE CCM (About 400 peopleish) were all there, right? And I am sitting next to Elder Evans... So... I look at him and smile, and he goes.... #with HUGE eyes# 'are you... are you really??'  And... I was horrified.  I mean, this is intimidating.  I am so scared of looking stupid, but I promised him. So... I stand up, and... ask for everyone's attention - yeah, I am bold like that.  
Now, most of the people on the table have been waiting for this too, so they were excited, when out of the crowd, comes this 'hey, shut up gringo no one cares.' followed by latino laughter. Whew.... Cut me deep. But...I decide to suck up the insecurity that stabbed my stomach at that moment and sing the song for Elder Evans.  When I start, a little laughter still... Then I keep going... And.... Silence.  I sing my heart out for Elder Evans (And he starts tearing up), and I decide to go all the way and stand on a chair. LITERALLY all eyes on me, in dead silence in a room that makes my voice echo everywhere.  And... As I come to a close.... Silence.  Followed by the most earth shattering appluase and screaming I have ever heard.  Even from the same latinos who told me to shut up, stood with their jaws dropped.  (You might think I am trying to liven up the story... No.  All of this is EXACTLY how it happened).  It went on for a couple minutes... Many people came up and patted my back and hi fives and all kinds of stuff.
But that is not all... The president's WIFE asked for everyone's attention and announced that 'the spirit is incredible in here right now, and it is time for an encore'.  So... three more songs.  In the dead silence, while I stood on a chair.  

Scared as I have ever been.  But easily one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Love ya, Evans.

Story 3.  
A very dear friend of mine in my district has been struggling with his knees.  They are just messed up from sports and other stuff, and he felt it all of the time.. In pain once in a while and such.  
Now, this is one of those guys who is actually too cool for school.  He is awesome by every term. 
Next, whenever someone wants a blessing, it has to be through the district leader unless someone else is specifically asked.  
Finally, on one of our last days, Elder Kimball (his name) came up to me and asked me to give him a blessing. I figured he meant the oil anointing.  Then... He said, no, I want my comp to do the oil, and I want YOU to give the blessing.

I cannot in any way describe the experience other than this.  Everyone (9) stood in the circle.  And, in a way and with a clarity of mind I cannot express, I gave my first priesthood blessing.  I don't remember a thing I said.... But when I opened my eyes, I opened my eyes with a new faith.  This gospel is real... And I have a whole new appreciation for the priesthood.  And, I will never be able to express my gratitude for Elder Kimball.  It was one of the best experiences of my life.

One last exciting story,
on one of out last days, we mixed with the latinos to have the 'avoid danger and death on your mission' seminars.  And... I was asked to participate ina small project beforehand.  What ended up happening?  Well... The teacher expressed to the latinos the importance of learning ingles while on their missions.  And then I was called to the front.  I was then asked to show my spanish and practice some nw phrases in front of everyone with my teacher.  My teacher then said 'this is what happens when the Nortes practice Spanish, si?  All the latinos (and nortes) Responded with a firm reassuring 'SI'.  And then, my teacher goes:  YOUR TURN LATINOS.  Elder Huff will say a phrase in English, and you all repeat after him. GO.  Boom. Like, 70 latinos, and I gave them an ingles lesson, while doing explanations in spanish.  

The reason I ended with that story is because it is a perfect spot to start the story of my mission. 

I left the CCM feeling ready for the field.  I was trusted by my teachers, I had (mostly) earned a fair amount of respect with my peers and the latinos, and I felt ready to take on the world.

Then I got to Honduras. (And, for bishop, my first location is Danli).

So, the last few paragraphs I purposefully wrote as enthusiastic as possible (but they are all totally true, no exaggerations), but I purposefully wrote it with the tone of 'yeah, let's do this.'

I need to preface everything else I am about to say with this.  The people of Honduras are incredible. The best I have ever met. Even the meanish ones are still kind. I am honored to be here and I love these people.

Now, I do not want to say I was shell shocked.  I knew what to expect.  It wasn't the modest houses that hit me.  It wasn't the dirty streets or the skinny on-the-verge-of-death dogs everywhere. It wasn't the bagged water (yeah, that EXISTS) or the knock of cheetos called Cappy's (with a trademark cartoon cheetah with sunglasses also) or the severe lack of anyone white (which earns me lots of stares, as if the nametag doesn't do that enough).  

What shell shocked me - was the fact that there are so many sad people here.  Some of the saddest I have ever seen.  So many homeless with eyes glazed over staring at the ground, long given up on asking for money.  Elderly, drunkard and child alike.  It is hard to see that.  I will not send many sad letters... Regardless of what happens, I will usually only share the good.  But this is necessary for the next part to matter.

What shell shocked me more - what literally shook me to the core, is that there are so many HAPPY people here. The happiest I have ever seen.  Full of love for family, for community, for God and Christ (even though a lot of them have never read of a verse of bible in their life), and full of LIFE.  These people are in the humblest place I have ever seen. More than I dreamed possible.  But they are so happy to be alive in one of the poorest countries in the world.  
And the happiest?  
The members.  Because they have the best message in the world in their homes... And they love us.  Because we are sharing it.  THAT changed me.... They have little.  But the little they have.. they give to us. 
And why?
Because 'we are spreading the message that made them happy'.  I know the work is real.  I see the fruits of it every day.  Literally, everywhere.  I Love My Mission, and I Love Honduras.

washing clothes in a pila the
night he arrived in Honduras
Okay. Now that I put that all out there, here is a quick run down of my life here in Honduras.
My trainer is awesome. A guatemalan named Elder Roldan.  He is huge. Like... Buff huge. We work out HARD core. And he is a perfect trainer. His english is very good and he has 2 months left.  He is crazy cool.
Next, our house is great. We have to wash our clothes in things called 'pilas'.  THAT is awesome and way fun. Google pictures or something.  Next, and we have actually also earned the name 'pilas' among the members... Pretty much a slang for freaking hard workers.

On that note, we really do work hard.  I am EXHAUSTED but in a good way.  We have SO many investigators, with a total of 15 possible baptisms set up for Oct. 11.  Our investigator list is in the thirties... Which means we go on splits almost every day cuz WE HAVE TO. It is INCREIBLE.

On that same note, everyone knows me.  It is seriously like out of a movie.... I am walking down the street, and I will get about 30 something:
'Hey Huff, whats up?'

Yeah. I am well known... As OOF.  Even three of our young investigator girls have a special handshake that includes a couple snaps and finishes with a wipe of the hand across the forehead with 'OOF'.... Yeah. They like my name. Seriously out of a movie.

I am honestly the only white person.  A lot of people laugh at my spanish... But its okay, cuz then they ask me to speak english and they all go crazy.  Some of the natives that try to learn english ask for my help. Exciting... Honestly.

Well, I don't know what else to say.  I will probably give more specific experiences soon, but... I love the work.  Honduras is different, but in all the best ways.  A bit scary... But only because it is new.  To finish...

I want to tell you all I love you.  You are always in my prayers, and I honestly want you to know I know this church and everything tied to it are true.  I know it with all that I am.  

Haste ver, mis amigos.

Elder Oof

(Songs of the week by request from Elder Oof for this week and last week:  May It Be, I'm On Top of the World, It's Time)

Elder Huff with the Mission President and his Wife

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