Monday, February 23, 2015

Thoughts on a Broken Heart

Hey everybody!!! 

It is a BEAUTIFUL day here in Tegucigalpa Honduras, and I am here to bring you a special message.  But first.... Shoutouts, as always.  Lara, Kailey, Khiabethamente, Mariah and Donny, Lizzie, Jose, Emma-Lee, Sabrina, Crys, Alexa, Joy....   I love you all dearly, as always, and if you ever need advice or love or whatever... Well... I'm in Honduras.  But I can try. :D

Now, onto the email.... As I'm sure you've read from my other emails, life in Teguc is a bit hard.  And as I said last week, I wanted to compare a bit about God and the world and religion and stuff.... So... Here it goes.

Any of you that knew me before the mission knows that I believe that a big part of who we are stems from the experiences we've had in which we were broken and left to fight on our own - and thus we 'become' based on the fights we've come out of (notice that I don't say the fights we've 'won' or 'lost' - winning or losing in these situations strictly depends on your own perspective).  

As I've been living in Honduras, I've come to believe that even more so.  So, my first question is, is WHY do we allow the 'hard' moments to shape us?  Whenever we're getting close to someone, I've noticed that a 'breaking' point in the friendship is when you come out and tell your 'history' or your 'dark side'....  When you reveal the hard parts of who you are and the journey you took to get there.  It's always a gamble, because when you do so, you are putting the most sensitive parts of you out in the open.... Acceptance means deep trust, rejection means salt in an open wound.

And what is really interesting, is that EVERYTHING we do is an outward expression of an inward root - and we have a million subconcious 'expressions' in which we show who we have become every day.

But although I could talk about all of our little habits and the root of them for pages, I really want to get to this idea - we cannot comprehendall that we do and why, and so to help us with that.... We place 'labels' on ourselves. We also do this same thing with other people - categorizing is easier than trying to understand everyone we meet individually.  We do this with 'friend circles,' ranging from best friends to close friends to friends in general, to the everyday cliques we see in school and the workplace, such as suck-ups, burnouts, flirts, jocks, artsy people, etc...  Now, life in Honduras is no exception.  But the 'labels' that we see are a bit different than the ones you live with - and the labels we have for people were not given by US....  But by the people themselves.  And they will defend this 'label' LITERALLY to the death, even if they don't fully comprehend the reason why.... 

They call these labels 'religion'.  

Now, there are HUGE classes of religions here in Honduras, ranging from the largest denominations (such as Catholicism, Evangelists and Jehovah's Witnesses) to a HUGE variety of mini congregations that claim to be part of bigger ones.  All in all... These people are wonderful people, intelligent, loving, willing to help....  and every one, regardless of the religion, will agree that they are focused on the same basic principles of Love, Acceptance, Kindness and other Christlike attributes.  They are all willing to help one another (at least in principle) regardless of the past you express, as I mentioned before.

That is, at least, until you are wearing a plaque representing another religion.

Despite the profound connections that all these people share in general, once you put one 'label' against another, the love ceases and all that occurs on both sides is varying degrees of defensiveness.  Any sign of general acceptance is GONE.  When you put one set of ideals against another, the love turns to war.  We have been the victims of such wars before, being yelled at, spit at and ridiculed in the streets for being 'Mormons.'

But WHY?  Are we not all trying to reach, technically, the same goal?  Why then, are all denominations so at odds with one another?  

Now, I'm sure that there are many of you who are saying to yourselves right now, 'well yeah!  I mean, I would do that if I was talking to someone of another religion.  It would be EASY to just accept them, right?' 
Well, I thought the same thing.  And it IS easy, at first.  But I started understanding a bit more when I bore my sincere testimony to a stern member of another denomination.  I expressed my sincere desire to help people and help them come to a knowledge of the truth that we believe we have - is there anything wrong in that?  Most would say no.  But this woman thought differently.  She responded in something to this extent:

'If all you want to do is 'help' people, then why would you go around trying to convert people to YOUR beliefs, when we've lived by OUR beliefs for generations?  What about our experiences?  WE are who WE are by what we have come to believe.  What about our families that lived and died for these beliefs?  By being here, you are discrediting all that they were, by walking around saying that you have a higher knowledge, and that is NOT helping anyone.'

What would you say to that?  

Thus... I come to the center of this email.  These are my thoughts on a broken heart - if someone comes to you and tells you that WHO YOU ARE is wrong...  That ALL you believe and ALL you've become was for not.... What do you say?  Obviously that is not our goal as missionaries, but all too often, that is what they hear.  If you walk into ANY given room full of a certain religion, they are going to talk a bit liberally, correctly?  For example.... How many of you, when surrounded by a large group of Mormons, have proudly announced 'Well hey, WE have the right religion ANYWAY right??  WE know the full truth.'   

I know I have.  But it would be a bit different if you were the only Mormon in the room right?  You wouldn't THINK differently.... But you definitely wouldn't be quick to denounce the beliefs of hundreds of others either.  Take that a step further, and imagine if you were trying to defend a belief in God Himself against a room full of professed athiests.  Even though YOU KNOW it is true, your voice would be lost in the war of comebacks, telling you that there is NO way you can prove there is a God.

So here is the Big Dilemma....  Every one who belongs to a given religion by choice stands as firmly there as we do where we stand.  And, even if we come to 'agree to disagree', there are fundamental beliefs that we won't be able to bring to harmony.  The same applies to any deciding difference in people, be it religion, political party, family ties, choice of friends, among hundreds of others.  They all stem from our inward roots... And who can deny the center of who we are?

So now.... In this unsolvable problem....  I want to tell you why I'm serving a mission.

Based on the choices I've made and the situations I've been placed in in my life, I've also developed my own 'roots' - many of which stem to the same basic principles of Love and Acceptance.  Those principles are what I crave and what I LOVE to give.  They are, in many ways, part of me (of course, I am far from perfect in application....  But they are what I aim for, at very least).

But, during my life, and especially during this mission... I've come to a realization.  

I Am Not Perfect.  

The experiences I've had make me biased.  The past I've lived make me prefer one kind of person as a close friend as opposed to another.  The life I want makes it so that I would accpet everyone - but I'd be quicker to accept 'one' kind of person as a partner than another.  In other words.... Although I am who I am by cause of what my 'broken heart' has given me, I cannot say that: 
'Therefore, all that I have come to believe is correct, and therefore... My basic 'labels' are correct as well.' 

But if that's the case....  Why am I a missionary?  

Well....  The answer I have for this question is the same I have for the 'unanswerable' question I gave earlier in the message.   

A Broken Heart.  

But... Not mine.

Christ came to the world in the most humble of circumstances, and He spent His whole life teaching what is generally accepted as 'the truth'... And yet He was rejected.  And yet despite the fact He knew He would be rejected, he willingly gave His precious life for us - who today dispute over who knows Him the best.  Isn't this kind of missing the point?  I am a missionary, because I do not only believe, but I KNOW that this is His Church.

But that's not all.  I am here, because I have humbled myself and recognized that my understands are not perfect... And therefore.... I needed guidance from someone who had an understanding higher than my own.  So, I kneeled before my Father in Heaven, and I asked and PLEADED to know what was the path that HE wanted for me.  And I recieved my answer.  

And THAT... That is something that no one can deny.  Because above all.... I KNOW that He wants to help us.  And if that is the case....  If we deny His help because 'we already know and we ARE who we ARE...'  Who's heart is truly broken?

And finally....  Why am I a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints specifically?  In addition to the answer I recieved to my prayers.... There's a book that I've read.  They call it Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  And if I want to depend on He who had a perfect broken heart....  Why should I not read a book that claims to be a testament of Him?  And not only that... If this book is true.... We can come to know for ourselves what 'religion' is His.  

You all know what book this is.  And, if you want to know why I am representing this church right now....  You're going to have to read this book and ask Him who cannot lie if it's true. 

I could lie.  I'm not perfect.

But He won't.  

Please.... Read this book.  If you do, you will know how to love with a love more pure than the love we've learned from our own lives... We can learn to love with God's love.  Pray about it.  He'll answer.

Congratulations Sister Belkis Gonzalez
I know that if we were to humble ourselves and be willing to listen, we would be able to conquer the unanswerable question... And why?  Because we wouldn't be following our own broken hearts.... But we would be trusting in someone who can heal them.

I am also grateful to say that another wonderful woman has come to know for herself that this book and Church are true....  Belkis Gonzalez was baptized yesterday by someone that is like a father to her.  Congratulations to her.  She is the happiest she's ever been, in her own words.

I Love You All.  My prayer is that we can find peace....  And I know that we can do so if we would only be willing to give ourselves to Him.  Just try.  Come and See.

Elder Kristian Huff

Song of the week: Round and Round by Imagine Dragons

Monday, February 16, 2015

Just A Pause!

Hey guys!

It was a good week, fairly uneventful, and I DO have things to say....  BUT....  I really just wanna focus on the fam this week.  Next week, you'll get an awesome story about world religions and why God is important and other super cool stuff like that.  But... For now...

Happy Valentine's Day.  If you think yours was bad.. Just remember that I spent mine trying to stop people from making bad decisions, and.... Well.... Spending the night with a dude.  You are not gonna get much lower than that.

Love you guys.  Good luck with everything.  Smile always, pray always... All that jazz.  If you ever need anything, I'm here!  ALSO..... I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY.  If you were waiting for a sign... HERE IT IS.  CHANGE YOUR LIFE.  DO IT.  NOW.

Elder Huff

Also.... Song of the week, Go Back, RM Soundtrack. :D  Great song.  You feeling down?  LISTEN TO IT.

Monday, February 9, 2015


Okay HI everybody!  I seriously have SO little time today, so I am gonna try to write freaking FAST.

Thank you to all that sent emails, I LOVE YOU ALL TOO!!!! And a few said that I'm getting tan.... I really hope so.  It's freaking hot enough here.... I hope I get something in return!  ;D  Mariah, Donny, Stefany, Nanny, Jessi, Khiabeth, Landen FREAKING Blume, Blythe, CAROLINE, Steph (Love the Elder Babe thing.  Totally gonna get a reaction one of these days.), Lara (your email meant so much to me, thank you dearly.), Hannah, Neysa....   I FREAKING LOVE YOU ALL.   

Okay, so.... I don't know what more I can say than that which I have already said.  So... First, BAPTISM.  :D  Her name is Mirian.  In all honesty, I did not work with her much, but DUDE she was so ready.  I hope that I helped her a little bit, but.... Yeah.  That's why counting and stuff is just... Stupid and juvenile.  Forgive my past mistakes.... I'm still learning every day too.... 

SO.....  Where should I go now?   Oh... There is one little detail I should probably mention.... 

6 FREAKING MONTHS BABY.  I AM OFFICIALLY A TEACHER (not a deacon anymore).  I AM A SOPHOMORE.  I AM SO HAPPY.  Dang it went fast.  And... I have this red tie.  I have special stories about this red tie.  But... You'll be seeing those in a later letter. (love you Mama!)

So....  Let's do a look at my investigators here in Villa Olimpica.  Their problems are a bit different than Danli investigators...

M:  She is pretty young, maybe 21.  She had a husband that was killed in a gang fight a few years ago, and now she is with a new guy who is a hardcore drug addict.. And he does not like us.  She is VERY positive, and she believes she is already a member, but we cannot find her papers anywhere.  So... That is a problem.  We know of many bad things that this new husband is doing, and we have had quite a few... episodes... with this man.  I cannot go into details, as to avoid breaching confidentiality, but in a nutshell....  Working with them has been an adventure.  I have learned a lot about true love from this woman, and she is truyl an example of it.  We hope that we can work through the issues and gain trust with the new husband, as to get them out of the terrible habits they are living in, and bring them to the truth of the gospel.

B:  This woman is incredible.  We hope she will be baptized in the coming week(s), but she has some hard things to work through.  She is ready, but repentance process can be hard....  She has a beautiful little girl and a beautiful little baby boy, who are both ADORABLE.  She has come so far since we started working with her, and she is honest about the things she needs to fix.  She has been through a lot too, and she has been openly rejected by her family... So she usually has many questions about families and how she can have her children with her for forever.  How lucky are we to have those answers...

E, G, C, E:  This family is SO crazy funny.  E is the oldest brother, and he has made some decisions that have made him VERY humble.  He is always willing to listen, AND he speaks english.  But....  He has a lot of work... So coming to church is a struggle.  We hope the best with him... He is truly a humble man.  G is like 14, and she has SOOOO much pena (which is a word that ONLY exists in spanish.  It pretty much means shy, awkward, ashamed, nervous, 'too-good-for-that', and lost in the moment ALL in one word.).  For that... She never wnats to do ANYTHING.  But she is SO FREAKING FUNNY ABOUT IT.  'So, Hermana, will you come to church with-'      'NO.'    '... and why not?'   '... Because FREAKING NO.  BUT MAYBE.  BUT NO.'   ... and then she starts laughing really hard cuz she feels SO AWKWARD.  She's great.  C is this older woman.... MUCH older... And she can't understand ANYTHING we say to her, but she ALWAYS wants to listen to our messages.  .... And by listen, I mean talk the whole time about the one time she did that one thing and how that has nothing to do with what we're talking about.  We have the best lessons when she's asleep... But GOSH I love her.  She is just the nicest old lady.  And then there's E... This woman is blind.  But HOLY crap, she is SO intelligent.  She has never let her blindness stop her.  Even though one time she burned down a house while cooking.  (And really, who can blame HER for that?  Who the freak leaves a BLIND woman to COOK ALONE?  Like... COME ON PEOPLE.  Oh, Honduras....)  But really... She is such an inspiration.  She's a member already, but inactive. So... We're working with all of them.

Family Z:  There is K, who is progressing and we hope will be baptized soon, although she also has pena sometimes...  Then there is E, who just doesn't ever commit to anything, so she is not really a priority, even though she loves to listen and we HOPE she'll come around... W, who has a little baby girl who they say is my little girl cause she is SUPER white, and she also just kind of listens.. There's V, the mom, who is a member but inactive for cause of work....  P, a younger girl who is like 19 who has a little girl, who is also an inactive member... And about 7 little kids who I LOVE SO DEARLY.  I'll take pictures soon.  They all loove to play and be thrown around and whenever I walk by they all come running up like 'OOF OOF OOF OOF OOF OOF HAGAME HAGAME!!!!'  (Huff huff huff huff huff huff do that thing do that thing!!! which is throwing them up in the air and stuff).  It is normal to have VERY dirty shirts cuz they love coming with us to citas, so they all get on our backs and they hold onto our legs while we walk and it really feels like I'm in a movie when I'm with them.  They are PRECIOUS.  I LOVE KIDS.  Even though they are SOOO dirty and DESPERATELY need a bath.  I'll get pics.

O, D, S:  A family of dad, mom and teenage girl.  They are SO brilliant.  O was a member, but now he goes to an evangelic congregation, and his wife and daughter are just as cool.  They are some of the best people I know, but VERY stuck in their ways.  They do want to learn, but... They don't always want to apply.  They are so kind to us, and I really hope they can get their answer to the question they have.... The MOST important question they can ask.... Bahh.  Anyway, quick funny things about them, the younger girl always say goodbye to me about 100 times...  The dad, whenever we ask him to read a scripture, begins with this:  (forgive the language, it is what he says.  It is SO funny, because he is VERY loud about it, and SO sincere about it, which doesn't make sense considering the context.... So.... Read this with the BLACKEST accent you can muster.  It will make it all the more priceless.)   
'So, hermano, can you read this scripture?'    'Of course, Elder....  OKAY, in the NAME of the FATHER, and of the SON, and of the HOLY SPIRIT that GOD has GIVEN US,  I will NOW READ this DAMN SCRIPTURE. Amen, Lord.  Amen.  And it says....'   ... Choking back laughter.... 'Thank you Hermano.  Now, What does this-'  'HALLELUJAH.  GIVE ME AN AMEN.  HALLELUJAH, LORD.'  '.... Yes, yes indeed this scripture is a good one.'  'Hallelujah.  Hallelujah, thank you.  Thank you.  THANK you.'
... Yeah, that's totally normal for us.  

ANYWAY.... There's a little bit of my life here in Teguc!  I hope that everything is going great with you and that you can find the gospel lessons in here!  I KNOW they are there somewhere!  And, next week, I'll give a more spiritual focused email.  Smile always.  I love you guys.  Always email me, I always want to hear.  

Elder Kristian Huff

Song of the week....  Darte un Beso Prince Royce. The song of Elder Naupoto and I.  NO, not OUR song, but a song that has a story with us. :D

Elder Huff and his little buddy

The Red Tie

Elder Huff and his Comp

This was taken today

Can you see the Tegucigalpa Temple in the distant?

Taken today!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Welcome to Teguc

Hi n stuff.

I guess.... Well....   There are a million things I COULD say, but I just wanna say the right ones.  

First off, my english sucks.  I hope everything is coherent, because I don't remember what are english expressions and what are spanish expressions and what forms make up what and BAHHHHHHH bear with me.  So... Yeah.  First update and stuff.

Secondly, BAPTISM of W F!  He is a great kid, and my little buddy.  Well, Naupoto's little buddy too.  He's our little buddy, and I had the honor of baptizing him.  He's ten years old, and SOOOO pilas (hard working, intelligent, etc.).  The work here (we hope) is beginning to take off, so.... We'll hope for good stuff here in Villa Olimpica.

Thirdly....  Let's take a look at Teguc.  

This place is another world compared to Danli.  The traffic is terrifying, there are luxuries that I likely won't have again on the mission, and there is a lot to learn about every person that walks by.  A lot of random stuff smells bad, (like REALLY bad) and there are SO many colors everywhere.  Like, the houses, the streets, the graffiti, the cars, the many different kinds of people and life choices (yes, those have colors), etc....   Our apartment is the smallest in the mission, and I actually think we had more stuff in my old house than here to cook and such... So that's interesting.  Random facts of the day....  There are huge bananas called platanos that taste like crap if you don't cook them first.  So... Also... This week I learned how to not cook platanos.  

Fourthly.... Last week I chose Enrique Iglesias' (his name literally means Henry Churches.. Random Fact.) Hero for the song of the week.  I want to explain why. So first, a look at the history.

Teguc is a really different place.  Our area is divided into two parts.... A really really rich part, and a really really poor part.  Both parts are hard to work in, but for entirely different reasons.

RICH: This is a world of many fully educated people, and a good amount of members, few of which are fully willing to help us.  We have been told by these members that we shouldn't bring poor people to church because they are too dirty and not smart enough to understand the church.   So... That's hard.  Many of these members also work a lot, so finding references is hard - especially when proselyting in these areas is just not plausible.  We have been kicked out of several areas before by cause of people who feel we are disturbing the peace.  And, with that.... Needless to say, very few people in these areas open their doors to us.  Nevertheless, after a couple of talks with leaders, Naupoto and I hope that the attitude of this area might change a bit, little by little.

POOR:  This is a world of drugs, drag queens, beggars, and all other classes of sketchy people.  The biggest struggle here, though, is the desire of the people to take part in church.  And why would these people struggle with that??  As Alma taught, the Humble are most ready to recieve the gospel, right?  Well... That is true, in part.  The problem is, the majority of these people have suffered.  A lot.  And for that.... They love hearing the word of God.  But they do not believe it can make a difference.  'After having your husband killed in a gunfight leaving you with three young kids, it's hard to accept that attending church and being baptized will somehow make it all better.'

.... That's hard to fight.  

So... With that, you see two different worlds.  Two different classes of people, and both hate the other.  Hard, as a missionary.... Because when you stand in the middle, all you see is how necessary the Gospel is in BOTH places.  

So now, look at these people, and ask yourself. Is there an answer to this?...  Or is it just and endless cycle, kill or be killed, and if you try to change, the world you live in will remind you where you actually stand...  It is heartbreaking.  Because there IS an answer, but it requires letting all walls down, and letting go of all prejudices....  And we already know what the answer is.  

So now... The song.  Hero.  Forgive me if this goes in a different direction really fast... But I promise it connects.  

I am a different person now.  I know I said often before that I didn't want people to say that 'the mission 'fixed' me' or anything like that...  But honestly? I have learned more than I can describe to you.  I feel humbled to be serving in this country with these people, and THAT feeling is the ONLY one that motivates me to keep doing it.  Because THAT is the answer that I have for these unanswerable questions.  I have seen the change in myself, so I KNOW it is possible for these people too.  I KNOW it.  Because WE aren't the ones going to change them... We are only giving them the keys to open the door.  We are literally giving them the Book.  

So when I think about the song Hero, I guess I get a bit baggy thinking about the future... But bear with me. Marriage is a lost treasure in this country.  I guess it became too common to lose one of the participants in the game... But nevertheless, I see the way that some couples have made each other who they are.  And that BLOWS my mind.  So, in part.... I hope that when I find my Eternal Companion, I could be that person to her as I know she will be to me.  Plus.... It is pretty great in spanish too.  And what is central in this Gospel, besides our Saviour?  Well... Families.  And I have a VERY strong testimony of families, especially since having been here.  I chose that song, because I hope that one day I can look back and remember how blessed I will be to have her in my life.  And, well... also so that many of you can look forward to your future and realize how precious it will be and why it is so important to prepare yourselves NOW for that person. And maybe also a bit for those who are already there to reflect on the effect your companion has had on your life, and what you can do to show your love for them a bit better.

I have a testimony that if we had stronger families here as well as in the states, we would be a much happier world.  Treasure your family.  I know that I do.

Anyway... Once again, I don't have time to proof read my letters... So I hope nothing is weird about my connections... If so, forgive me.  I hope that at very least, something in here made you want to look at life a bit differently.... Cuz that is about all I do every day. 

I Love You ALL.

Elder Huff

Song of the week: Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers