Monday, June 29, 2015

The Greatest Gift God has Given

Hey Guys!

It is a great day here in Honduras, and I'm looking forward to what will probably be my last full week here in the Villa Olimpica.  I'm gonna miss it guys.  I never thought I would, cuz Danli had my heart...  But, the Villa Olimpica now has a special place their as well.  I'm going to miss these people a lot... But, so is the mission, I suppose.  I'll probably do a tribute next week, or something along those lines.  

So....  I think again I'm going to dive straight into the subject of the day.  So, with that, firstly here is the background story.

The last few days, we've been having a lot of lessons with people that are trying to justify bad and selfish action by saying that 'it's our right to choose,' which is true, I suppose.  With this, a lot of it has been focused in on the gratifying of carnal, and frankly, sexual desires and justifying it by a 'romantic' standhold - saying things like, 'enjoy it now, because there may not be a tomorrow, and maybe tomorrow feelings will change - so take it now before it's gone.  Love in the moment is the most intense, passionate kind of love.'  

OKAY - before I continue, I NEED to address this.  I think it is interesting how this was my already my chosen topic for the week, and how it also happens to be the week in which gay marriage was legalized in all of America.  I'll write my thoughts on that as well, but I am not in ANY way alluding to those acts in the states.  This is strictly what has been happening in Honduras, anything else that has occurred is completely coincidental.  I will explain my thoughts on this as I go.

With that said, I continue.  

What I've decided, is that in order to respect any of God's laws or standards, we need to focus on the 'whys' of any given commandment.  I believe that all of the laws and customs and governing truths of the heavens and earth come down to the greatest gifts God has given us, and then show which of the three I personally believe is the greatest of the gifts.  Here are the three:

1.  Agency

2.  The Family

3.  The Gospel

So.... Here we go, as a response for the immorality that pervades the world.  You can look at all of this alsowith the perspective of what brings a 'real' or 'fake' happy.

1.  Agency

Agency is the God given right to choose to act as we please.  We are not forced to follow rules or to listen to advice, nor will we be forced to follow God's laws.  It is completely and totally our choice.  Many people use this to justify stupid and sinful action, but what they do not comprehend is that although we may choose what we will, we have NO power over the consequence, even if it seems that in the moment we do.  For example, in regards to sexual immorality, SUPPOSEDLY:

It is your right to choose to have sex, but you cannot choose whether you get pregnant or not.

It is your right to leave the woman you got pregnant, but you cannot choose what it will do to the woman and the unborn child.

It is your right to choose to abort the unborn child, but you cannot choose the future physical and psychological damage it will cause you, nor the guilt that comes from the doubt.

Of course, there's a chance that none of these said outcomes come to pass, and maybe 'that won't even happen' - but as I said, you cannot choose the outcome.  

And.... Going out of a worldly view, you DEFINITELY cannot choose the consequence of the judgment of God for the sins you willingly and blantantly committed - cuz in your heart, you DO, by the light of Christ given to every man, recognize right and wrong, regardless of justifying before men.  You can lie to men, but you cannot lie to God.  I'm sure that most religious beliefs would agree with this statement.  Now, continuing.

2.  The Family

I could say many things about the family, but I'll put it all into a basic sum up, regarding the principle of 'love in the moment:'

The greatest thing about the family, is that it is full of true love.  True love isn't taking what you want and then leaving. nor is it giving up when it gets hard.  If you love something, you fight for it.  And, let's look at it like this.  When things suck with a friend from school, what do you do?  You stop being friends.  Obviously not completely founded on true love, especially if you're willing to trash talk said 'friend' the moment you have differences.  Not the definition of love, in my eyes.  But, when one in your family has differences with another, what do you do?  You suck up your pride and try to make it work.  THAT'S love.  It's putting other people before yourself.  So.. What am I trying to get at?

'Love in the Moment' is NOT true love, nor will it ever be.  A better word for said feeling is lust, and is condemned in the majority of religious and cultural beliefs, even if the members don't always choose to follow (you know... agency and such).

Family love is the purest love we have in the world, and it is how we learn to become a better person, even if at times we fail. THAT'S the beauty... Even though we fail, they won't leave.  Thus - one of the greatest gifts God has given us.  People that we can call our own, and even when we fail, they stay.  Kind of sounds like someone whose name I carry over my heart, don't you think?

3.  The Gospel
What is the gospel?  Well... Basically, we teach that it is faith, repentance, various ordinances and enduring to the end.  But.... I'll sum up the gospel by sharing a little of what it means to me.

The gospel is the opportunity to change and become better.  No strings attached.  If we do our part, God promises us happiness.  If we don't, there's no way we can be.  The law is written because God UNDERSTANDS what brings true happiness and what doesn't.  So... Even if we choose to use our agency, if we use it incorrectly.... We won't achieve true happiness, regardless of what the world says.  And, if God really does love us, don't you think there's a REASON why there's commandments?  

Now, what is the greatest of these?  Well, they're all linked.  Firstly, I would at first glance say the gospel, cuz it pretty much promises a way back to God.  So, what does the gospel require?  Well.... Sincerely, and interestingly enough, it requires handing in our agency.  In order to be truly happy, we need to give our agency back to God.  So... True happiness doesn't come from doing what you want and seeing what happens.  True happiness is trusting in Him who knows better. But even with all this said, I've decided that the gospel isn't even the greatest of God's gifts.

God's Greatest Gift is the Family.


Because the family allows us to learn all of this in a place filled with love. 

(Also, interesting side note, notice how the said 'choices' listed under agency destroy the very essense of the family as well as the essense of true love.)  

We are spiritual beings, and we need love.  We can achieve all that agency and the gospel has to offer by doing so with other people who won't give up on you the moment you mess up.  The family is the greatest gift, because it is the way we learn to be like God.  The family is the most precious and beautiful gift, because it is the perfect example and learning environment for Christ's greatest attribute - charity and perfect love.   

If anyone would disagree, I would be very interested to hear your thoughts.  Also, keep in mind that this is directed at an audience that already believes in God and Christ, so.... Yeah.  

So, now... My thoughts on the gay marriage announcement.

Basically, I put it like this.  I love everyone, regardless of their 'sexual orientation.'  I don't believe that something like that should be a defining characteristic of somebody - I'm more interested in what kind of a person you are.  If you're rude and pushy, I don't care if you're gay or not, you're still rude and pushy.  If you're kind and giving, I don't care if you're gay, you're still kind and giving.  Being gay is NOT a defining characteristic, as much as being straight is a defining characteristic, and you don't get to use either of the possible orientations to justify or judge someone as good or bad.  Gay is just that.  Let's focus more on the kind of people we are.

Now, as one who loves and fears God, I cannot say that I support the choice that has been made.  BUT, it is NOT because I'm judging anyone.  More, it's because I trust God.  So... If you've read all of my letter up to here, you understand that if we comprehend the greatest of God's gifts, you understand that if God has set His standard, there's a reason.  

And the reason isn't because He wants us to be constricted, hated or judged for who we 'naturally' are. 

But more, because He understands better than we do how to be truly happy.  And... Because of all the greatest gifts He's given us, they all point to the same truth:  He wants us to be like Him, and to have all that He has.  And... He knows how we'll achieve it.

I have a true, full love for each of you, and therefore, I want you to be eternally happy.  God's taught us how.  Please, learn to trust in Him a little more, is my prayer.  I do not have a perfect knowledge of anything, and I deeply apologize if my thoughts or choices offend anyone.  But, choosing is one of God's greatest gifts, right?

Elder Kristian Huff 

Song of the week: Endless Night - The Lion King

Monday, June 22, 2015

Count Back 11

Hey everybody!

Thank you to all who wrote me, once again, I'll do a big shoutout next week.  For right now, I have a special kind of message for all of you.

Honestly, It's hard to know where I want to begin.  I guess.... Where I could start would be with a question.

How do you count back 11?

Maybe that's vague, and maybe a little nonsensical, but...  This question, for one reason or another, has been in my mind for the past couple of days.  I suppose I don't mean it literally, exactly.  I also suppose that the reflective aspect of the question depends on what the number 11 refers to.  I'll try my best to put into words how I look at the number 11.

I suppose it's also fair that I give you all a little explanation as to what I want to talk about.  What I want to write about is personal to me and my family, but I think it is only fair that I allow all of you to benefit from the story that has benefitted me for so many years... You could even say 11 years, to be exact.

So, with that said,  I want to count back 11.

11 back, I was 8 or 9 years old.  It had just been me and my mom for a very long time, and the two of us were convinced that it would always just be the two of us.  I always felt a little out of place, and felt a little like I didn't understand everyone else because a typical family consisted of three - and I suppose mine did, kind of, as well, including my grandma. But still, there was a huge hole in our family, and we both knew why.  Still, 11 back, we didn't really dare to hope for a normal family.

11 back, he was 24. Frankly, I doubt he had any idea the life that was in store for him, looking from 11 back.  He was studying, and preparing for a life in the medical field.  I think it was normal life to just be alone for him, although I imagine he tried to convince himself that he was content at the time being so. 11 back, I'm sure he was just trying to get ready for his life.

11 back, I could have never known that I would actually do something in Boy Scouts.

11 back, he had no idea he would become immersed in a world of music and theater.

11 back, I seriously didn't know that I would actually do something in Boy Scouts.  I'm serious guys. 

11 back, he didn't know that he'd 'help' a teenager build a three story tree house.

11 back, I didn't think I'd ever watch a man become a father.

11 back, he didn't know he'd have to teach a child how to forgive.

11 back, I could never have known that a typical family is ANYTHING but typical.  I could never have known that someone could have a love pure enough to change their career, their dreams and their whole path of life for me.  I didn't know that there was someone brave enough to try to become a part of me, even though I had already convinced myself that that couldn't happen.

11 back, he couldn't have comprehended the years of struggle that would follow, nor could he have understood the amount of heartache he would have to carry on behalf of an already struggling family.  

11 back, I could have never imagined I'd see the inside of the temple.

11 back, he didn't know he'd spend years trying to teach and earn the trust of a young child.

11 back, I didn't know I would one day call someone 'Dad.'

11 back, he didn't know he would send a son on a mission.


11 back, we met. 

Guys, it is impossible to put into words the gratitude I have for this man.  And, as yesterday was Father's Day, all I can say is... Well, Thank You.  I love you, Dad.  Guys, if you don't know my dad, get to know him.  He is the perfect example that family are those who decide to be a part of your life - and, for that, I'll be eternally grateful for him.  Although honestly it's really hard to put into words all that I want to say... I hope that this at least says a little.  So, one more time for you... Hi Dad.

Have a great week, guys.  I'll talk to you soon.  

Elder Kristian Huff

Song of the Week: Any Dream Will Do - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  That song's for you, Dad.  you know.... Cuz of lots of stuff.

Monday, June 15, 2015

I Just Love You Guys

Hey Everybody.... :)

Well, it's one of those weeks where I come here all calm and peaceful and happy and I just love everything except for when I don't.... :D  Great week.

Literally, I have dropped SO many investigators during these past two changes.  Not a single baptism.  That's been dumb.  BUT.... When I say 'dropped', I don't mean investigators that really weren't progressing so we stopped visiting them, I mean like.... Full on DROP.  As in they are keeping commitments, progressing, have a date for baptism, and then three weeks in, they tell us 'look, we're happy where we are.  We know the Book of Mormon is true, and all that, but.... We're good.  Thanks anyway!'  And Elder Putnam and I are just like.... WHY. 

But....  That's just the general of why things have been rough lately.  But now....  I'm feeling great.  Super just.... Put together.  :D  BUT.... The downside of this floating-on-air-peace sensation is.... I have no idea what to tell you guys.  Mostly... I love you guys, and next week I'll have more interesting stories I'm sure.  General highlights (kind of?...) of the week:

1.  It has rained every day this week.

2.  I have not brought an umbrella with me this whole week.  Cuz I figured the rain wouldn't keep up.

3.  I was wrong about the rain not keeping up.

4.  On Monday, on our way to a lesson, a random woman slipped by cause of said rain, and... She messed up her foot pretty hard.  Like... Bone out of skin and stuff.  And who came to the rescue?  .... Well, us.  Why else would I ask if it were somebody else?  That wouldn't even be interesting....  But, in a nutshell, after convincing the Hondurans that a ironing board was not necessary to carry the woman, Elder Putnam and I carried her to a car that was ready to get her to the hospital.  She was pretty scared but....  As far as I've heard, she's doing better.  

5.  A random woman offered us a ride out of as residential one day, and we couldn't accept cuz... Mission.... But, we pretty much contacted her while she was in her car.  She is now an investigator. :D  Also, she has a sister whose name translates to Forever Alone.  Well... Solitude....  We decide to call her Forever Alone.  We feel bad for her and she probably has some pretty mean parents.  

6.  We gave an english class on Saturday.  A lot of people said they were gonna come, then... they couldn't.  Cuz rain.  Guys, it really rained hard.  And a lot.  Like.... A LOT.  It was great.  But, the class went well!  We just had this huge division, where the people either spoke really good enlgish and basics don't help them, OR, they speak NO english and the basics even scared them.  Fun times.  Also, as a promise, Odeth, this is your shoutout.  Thanks for all your help in the english class and being cool and stuff.  :D  You're great.

7.  There is no 7.  That's pretty much it. 

You guys are all great.  I'll do a combined shoutouts next week.  Talk to you all soon... And if you need anything, I'll do what I can from here!

Elder Huff
Song of the Week  Itching on a Photograph by Grouplove

Monday, June 8, 2015

Step by Step

Hey everybody. :)  

How are you all?  Yes, feel free to address your computer/phone screen and tell me.  I think the spirit will carry it to me for you. ;D  

GUYS....  I got something important to tell you.  But first... Shout-outs.

Rebekah, Kailey, Joy, Ashley J., STEPH, Enoch, Emma-Lee, Scott, Kailey J., Lara and the girls, Kailey R....  Guys, I love you.  Thank you, honestly.  You guys make life to good.

But now, the moment.  I'm gonna open up a bit and stuff, but mostly to thank a couple of people.  You'll understand... Just keep reading. :)

Guys, there will come times in your life, as I'm sure you all know, when you are giving all you have, and I mean literally ALL that you can possibly give, yet it doesn't seem to get you anywhere.  But, you still push forward all you can until you feel you can't give anymore.  Now...  What I want to write about, if even a little, is about this 'breaking point.'  The point at which you say 'nope, no more.  I'm out,' and what I think about this point.

My dear friends and family, this moment is the moment in which our rawest and weakest character comes out.  How many times have you been stressing over that exam, or waiting for that day, and you tell pretty much everyone 'look, I'm just not in a good mood today.  Just, give me a bit.'  We've all been there, right?  Well....  As much as we don't want to admit our weakness, this person that only comes out at the breaking point is still a part of us.  We are that person, but just when we choose to let it out.  In a way, we feel justified in letting that person out once in a while, right?  Well.... I want to look at the breaking point as a personal phenomenon, and not as a social ticket that we have 'the right' to cash in once every few weeks or months or so.  These breaking points usually go in a couple of ways.

1.  You quit.

2.  You don't.  

And... those are the only options.  You either go until you're done, even if you do so angry, or you go til you can't anymore.  Now, I'm just gonna jump to the point of why I lay these answers down so flatly.

The breaking point is the choosing point, and the choosing point is the changing point.

When we reach that point, what we choose to do influences change.  However, I want to share what I've learned from this idea the past few weeks.

As I'm sure some of you have noticed, I've had a lot more like, 'I'm a little frustrated but I'm good!' kind of emails.  My kid is the coolest, and we have a few good investigators, but still.... Honestly, today I learned that quitting isn't always what I thought. So... I now want to write a bit more on the two choices of the breaking point.

1.  You quit.  However, quitting doesn't always necessarily mean dropping it and staying in bed....  Quitting is the moment in which you lose the vision.  Quitting is the moment in which you decide to give halfhearted work.  Quitting is the moment that you start complaining and justify yourself in doing so.  Quitting is the moment in which it becomes somebody else's fault.  Quitting, essentially, is the moment in which the breaking point breaks you, and you refuse to change - even if the work itself gets done. 

My mom always used to ask me in these moments of quitting:

'Kristian, if you don't have time to do it right, when are you going to have time to do it over?'  
And although I LOATHED that statement for so long, only recently am I beginning to understand how true it is.  If we don't do something right... We have quit.  Therefore, the measure of quitting is less in the product, but in the process.  As a wise teacher once told me: 

'A grade can't measure progress, and a medal can't show accomplishment.'  

And, although I am sure there a good number of people who would contradict this statement, I can only attest to it's truth by my personal experience.  I have received good grades in classes in which I did nothing, and average grades in classes in which I gave my whole heart;  I have received many medals of participation, but few medals of true excellence.

(save a black and brown tie, which I wear around my neck with pride, you know what I'm talking about... ;D)

Thus, the first choice, OR, the alternative...

2.  You don't.  So then, if quitting is so easy to do according to my interpretation, what is really keeping going?  Well.... Being a dancer, this is what I call the step by step, or, the counterattack for the breaking point.  

You literally go step by step.  You don't accepting dragging your feet or crawling as a legitimate alternative - you wouldn't freaking take that onto the dance floor.  Every day your on stage, just with a new audience.  You go out with your A-Game, even when you don't want to give it.  You take it step by step, until you get where you need to go.  And what is the trick for this freaking impossible dance move that I say is so easy?  Well, the answer is just like what I'd tell someone struggling with 'the step by step' on the dance floor.

Don't try to learn it alone.

THAT is the trick.  Like I said, I've been struggling the past few weeks.  I get frustrated.  But then, an old dance partner will remind me why I love to dance, show me a few old steps I forgot, and next thing I know....  The step by step continues.  Obviously, sometimes we have to go out for a solo.... It's YOU out there, and YOU alone.  But you already know the steps, because someone else showed you before, and all of a sudden, it isn't so hard anymore.  You're almost excited to go out there and show what you can do.  

Now, I'm gonna flip the table a bit.  

STOP FOCUSING ON YOU.  What EVERY ONE OF YOU need to do now, is GO and REMIND someone of a step they've forgotten to get them moving again.  Stop feeling you're exempt from helping because you need the help.  Funny, how when we reteach an old step, we find ourselves doing it better ourselves.  What do I mean by teaching steps?  TELL SOMEONE YOU LOVE THEM.  Remind them why they're worth the time and what they're capable of!!!  Focus less on what you're so good at, and look at what other people do!  Give!  Love!  Serve!  Be more freaking humble!  Be more patient!  GIVE and TEACH!  And guess what?  In the process.... You progress. You accomplish.  You Change.

To finish up... Where does all this come from?  I know it's a little all over the place, but... Well... I'm aiming the majority of that at myself, thanks to an old dance partner (well, she's actually pretty young...) and a few words she shared with me, about something I once shared with her.  Girl, you made my week.  I love you dearly, and keep freaking doing the dance you do so good.  I Love You, and I cherish you as a friend and sister.  You freaking rock.  So does your whole family. Keep it up, and keep letting your testimony thrive - it did miracles for me.  And yeah,  I'm talking to you.  ;D

Love you guys.  Do the step by step, and I'm always here for you.  

Elder Kristian Huff
Song of the Week - Dedicated to my Kid: Don't Let Me Fall by B.O.B.  
Love you Elder Pootnahm  :)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Life Changing Doctrine

Well Hi!!!

It's a great day and I'm happy to be here writing you all!  First.... Shoutouts of the last two weeks!

Joy and James and Mary and Nate and Jared, Blythe, Kaylie, Kailey, Emily, Lizzie, ENOCH, Ashley J., Brittany, Breanna, Stefany, Khiabethamente, and.. I love you all.  Hope life is awesome, as you are all graduating and such... Dang, that's crazy!  But, just know that real life is seriously way better than high school.  Also, much more interesting.  ..... Well, I mean, I hope the mission life is real life.... O.O  .. Anyway.....

So, a dear friend of mine asked me to write a little bit about the doctrines or ideas that most help in conversion.... So.... I thought I'd just leave a few chapters to look through to tie to some of the most powerful gospel lessons.... I would do an explanation, but I'm sure you've already heard all I could tell you a good many times.  So.... General chapters to study from with awesome important doctrine. :D

What would I say the most important or influential gospel truth that we teach?  Without a DOUBT, the one that everything else kind of hinges on, is...

The Plan of Salvation.

General ideas and awesome things to note, and then the chapters - broken down into three parts:  Life Before, Life Now, Life After.  Here we go.

Life Before:
Self explanatory, it is kind of mind blowing that we existed before and that we can therefore realize that we CHOSE to come here and we already knew how hard and how awesome life would be.  Also, Your Heavenly Father knows you personally.  And you were a boss before because you live in this day. Congrats.
Alma 13, Revelation 12, Job 1 (more abstract), Abraham 3.

Life Now:
Life is all about preparation and getting ready to return to God and be like Him.  Decisions have consequences.  We can change thanks to the sacrifice and atonement of Christ - which literally is the most important doctrine ever. Faith without works is dead - therefore, Christ's grace can't make up for our sins if we do absolutely nothing in this life to follow Him.  Also, just do what God asks.  It's seriously worth it.

2 Nephi 2, 2 Nephi 9, 2 Nephi 31, 2 Nephi 32, Alma 5, Alma 7, Alma 32, Alma 34, Alma 42, Helaman 5, all of the 4 Gospels with Jesus' teaching... There's a lot more, but there's a good list.

Life After: 
There is a difference between heaven, hell and the final kingdoms of glory. We will all be resurrected, and therefore we will be with all those who have passed on again.  Life eternal is eternal progression.  It's hard to sum this part up.

Alma 40, Mosiah 2-4, 1 Corinthians 15, D&C 76.  There are a lot more, but I didn't prepare as well as I could have..... Forgive me, but these are still very informative and great.
Anyway, I think that is about it!  In general, this lesson just.... Means a lot.  Try finding personal scriptures that help you understand better the life we've lived, are living and will live.  Love you all.  I'm always here for you, just an email away!  LOVE YOU ALL!

Elder Kristian Huff
Song of the Week: Some Nights by Fun