Monday, August 1, 2016

The Best Days of my Life - Part 8 of 8

My dearest friends and family,

Sometimes words fail.  Recently, words have failed to say what I'd like to on several occasions.  I'm not sure if this last letter will be the same - like several prophets from the Book of Mormon, I don't find myself strong in writing as I could be in speaking.  Perhaps it's not that I think of myself as a powerful speaker - but once something is written, it's done - and there is a great part of me that wishes that all that I'm doing would never end.  But, maybe if I try one more time, I'll say it right.  

I've spent the past two years of my life in Honduras, a beautiful country in Central (Latin) America.  I've been serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and while doing so, have learned more than what I could have EVER learned than if I had just continued with my 'normal life'.  I've been able to live amongst the Honduran people, eating with them, talking with them, crying with them, laughing with them, watching many grow and watching many fall, and all the while being protected behind a little plaque with the name of someone who is most important for me.

So, as I come to the close of those two years, I suppose it's fair to ask, 'well, what is it that you've learned exactly?'  I believe that in a past letter I mentioned something similar to that which I'll say right now - but those words are truer now than they ever have been.  


During these past two years, I've had the unique opportunity to see the very best and the very worst of this world.  I've seen the greatest acts of generosity, acts of pure love and service from many who have almost nothing to give, and in the end, ask for nothing in return.  I've seen great sacrifice and small acts of kindness that could make a grown man cry.  I've seen many who literally give ALL they have to those they love - and I've seen the determination burn in their eyes in the face of challenge and fear and uncertainty.  But, at the same time, I've seen acts of great selfishness and the consequences of negligence.  I've seen the tears of those effected by another's heartless decisions.  I've seen children taking care of other children due to the absence of a capable parent figure.  I've seen tragedy that could have been averted, as well as tragedy that was out of anyone's control.  I've seen light enter into a person's eyes, and I've seen light disappear from another's.  I've seen life and death.  It may seem melodramatic, but you would understand if you had walked where I have.  Anyone who has served in this country will also be able to say that it's the truth.  

So what else can I say?  What words can say it right?  A small letter on a computer screen will never be able to express all of what I just mentioned - nor will it be able to teach all that I've learned.  But, the most beautiful thing that I've learned, is that all that I've learned has ALREADY been said.  The ironic part of my two year service is that ALL that I'd learn and ALL that I'd see and hear and ALL that I'd come to understand by being here was already explained by that exact same person whose name I've carried over my heart for the past two years.  

As a last testimony of an authorized servant of His name, I've been here in Honduras for the past two years to help people learn about HIM.  The words I've spoken and the love I've felt are a direct result of the time I've dedicated to Him.  The church that I've represented and the books I've been reading and teaching from, and the blood, sweat and tears I've shed, ALL have come to be because of Him.  

My last words and my last hope and my last declaration to the world is that He Lives.  He was perfect, and He really did suffer and die and He really did live again.  And THAT life is the evidence that EVERYTHING I've been teaching is true.  The laws and the doctrines and the practices are all simply appendages to that great truth that He is the Saviour of the World.  He is my Saviour - and I've been here in Honduras doing a small part of His work.

As I come to the end of my two years, it is amazing to note that what I will be doing for the rest of my life is very similar to what I've been doing these past 24 months.  I will spend the rest of my life trying to be more like Him and doing that which He would do.  My greatest wish is that every person in this world could feel the great love of the Father and that this love could make everyone want to be better and be more pure.  Truly, what I've learned during these last two years, and what His greatest message was, and what I want to spend the rest of my life showing and spreading:  Is Love.

I love you all, and I love my Father and my Saviour.  Thank you for your support - I hope you all know, I will be here for all of you for the rest of my life.  To my beloved Honduran people - I will not be very far, nor will I be gone for too long.  I love you all more than words can say.  See you all soon.



Elder Kristian Huff

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Best Days of my Life - Part 7 of 8 (La Honduras)

Well guys...

Here we go.  This week was pretty amazing, and I'll be tying it in to my last area's blog.  Enjoy.  I know I did.


La Honduras - Guaymuras

My last days in La Reforma went by way too fast - but I was anxious to see where I was going to finish my mission.  Well, you are all aware that I stayed in the city, and went to an area called La Honduras with one of my closest friends in the mission, Elder Hirschi. 

The area is amazing.  It comprises an area called Residencial Honduras, as well as a section of two of the most dangerous areas in the Tegucigalpa mission, namely Los Pinos and Villanueva.  BUT - we have not had any problems.  I've worked in both of those areas well after dark, and nothing has ever happened to us.  In fact, not ONLY has nothing bad happened to us, but many GOOD things have happened to us.  We have made incredible friendships with almost all of the member families in the area in a very short amount of time, and we have seen many miracles.  

The members are all strong in their testimonies and willing to work.  We've been working hard together - and we've seen many fruits.  

And most of those fruits were seen this week. 

What I think I need to say first is what learned in this area.  I've spent my whole mission trying to make miracles happen.  Quite literally, that has been my goal.   So... Oddly enough, I've managed to pass my whole mission seeming to forget one detail.  

It's not MY work.  Nor was it ever.

I've worked and sweat and cried and just about killed myself trying to find God's chosen - but the truth is, when they're chosen, they'll find you.  You just have to be in the right place at the right time.  

Speaking of which....

This week just happened to be the week of my last interview with the President.  It was amazing, and also just happened to be the week of 5 baptisms that we had planned in our area.  And it ALSO just so happened to be the week of the baptism of 3 of my investigators from La Reforma.  And so.... In a nutshell.... 

I was able to attend all of those baptisms.  This week, because God wanted it and because I was in the right place at the right time, I was able to attend the baptism of 8 of my investigators.  And not only that.... President and Hermana Bowler were present in the baptisms of the family Cruz. 

So... To say the least, this week was beautiful.  Beyond words, this week was beautiful.

And what is most odd, and what is most heartbreaking and yet the most amazing part of all of this week, is that I feel as if I've done NOTHING.  It ALL just came together on its own.  Obviously I had to work, but I've done nothing different.  It was just.... Right.  HOW can I come to understand that?  HOW can it be that after MONTHS of working without any visible success, it all just comes together in the last weeks of my mission?

Well.... Only the Lord knows.  I think I have an idea too - but I couldn't begin to describe it all.  Overall.... We can just say that I really did learn.  It was never my work.  And.... I felt, even if it was for a second, a portion of the Lord's love for us as I watched a family walk into the waters of baptism after YEARS of fighting.... And, for a split second, I felt as if I was watching them as if they were children.  MY children.  

I don't know if that's weird.... But I know that the love I felt for God and for those people was stronger than it has ever been before in that moment.  

What else can I say?  I suppose that I have one more week in Honduras - I don't think all of the Lord's surprises are done yet.  So... I guess we'll just see what happens.  I love you all, and I want to thank all of you for your support in this journey.  One more week.  One week more.... Talk to you all soon.



Elder Kristian Huff

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Best Days of my Life - Part 6 of 8 (La Reforma)

Hey everybody!!!

First of, for question of time, I don't know if I'll be able to respond to all of the messages you sent me this week - know that I DO love you a TON, and if I didn't respond, it's just because we were a little short on time this week, and next week you can expect a response!  

Next, Elder Hirschi and I are working harder than ever, and we're seeing the blessings.  Hopefully I'll have some good stories to tell in the weeks to come, but until then, just keep praying for us, and above all for our investigators, especially these next couple of weeks.  You all know.... I'm just about out.  So... The area needs that last little push!!!  

But, without further adieu.... 


La Reforma - Tegucigalpa

When I got that last call on the island letting me know that I would be leaving, I found out that I was fulfilling my trainer's prophecy and returning to the city after having disappeared into the south several months.  I was going to be in the center of the action of the city - Zone Tegucigalpa, in an area called La Reforma.  It is one of the older areas of the mission, and I was welcomed in by Elder Rodriguez, who would later come to be one of the best companions I had during the mission.  My time in this area flew  - and I think I can describe all of my best stories there in three words:


REALLY FREAKING HARD.


...... Haha just kidding!  

......  More or less!

The truth is, those are probably the words that describe my time there.  My companions were amazing, and the members are all AMAZING, but... Dang.  The work there was, pretty tough.  That's where I had to learn patience.... Because we worked our butts off, but the fruits all came very slowly - many of the which still haven't come to an end.  But we're getting there, even now!  And the truth is, it was in La Reforma that I learned how trust in God's timing - which is sometimes a hard lesson learned.  But seriously!  It was pretty hard!  Once again, these will be stories for after the mission, because I just cannot write them all, but some of them you may have already heard a little about in past letters.  Here is the list to ask me about after the mission:

-Family Cruz
-Family Cerrato
-Family Robleto
-Victor
-Daniela
-Family Calix
-Family Castillo
-Family Gonzales
-Family Coello
-Cinthia
-Miriam and Family Ortiz
-Lesly
-Ligia
-Karolina

NOW.... I hope you all know, these are all people that I ADORE.  I LOVE them deeply.  It will just blow your mind how many obstacles they've all had to face.  They are all wonderful people, and each story holds thousands of lessons to learn.  I promise you'll enjoy them.  They are those kinds of lessons that make you realize what is most important - and it's amazing to see how all the lessons came down to one solid truth.  

And we really already know what it is.

I love you guys... Once again, I'm sorry if the messages are cryptic or too vague - but it's impossiable to write about these people just through a little blog.  But, if you really want to know - I'll tell you everything within the next couple of weeks.  I love you all, and I'll talk to you all next week, as we make our way to the last area of my mission.  



Elder Kristian Huff

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Best Days of my Life - Part 5 of 8 (Amapala)

Hey guys!

Wow.... Time is going fast.  WAY fast.  I don't have too much to report from the area.... 

However, ONE great note of announcement is that one of my investigators from the Reforma got baptized on Saturday!  Cinthia was a tough investigator - and she will be one tough member!  Super proud that she got in the water!  

BUT.... without further delay, let's talk about the Island.


Amapala - San Lorenzo

The truth is... I left San Marcos very sad.  We had worked hard and we had come close to huge success - but, everyone has their agency.  And.... My time in San Marcos came to an end.  My last week and a half in San Marcos, I was sick as a dog.  I was, what I thought, close to the brink of death (I'll tell you the story when I get home if you'd like!), and when I got the call that I had changes, I cried.  I didn't want to leave.  BUT.... I got my bags ready, got on the famous Blanquita bus, and made my way to Cholu.  The next morning, we got on the bus to Teguc at like, 3 in the morning, and I was dying the whole way.  I thought I wasn't going to handle it - the emotional crap, the physical crap, I felt AWFUL.  

Then.... I found out where I was going to be heading.  

When I began my mission, like, literally at my first change meeting, I remember when the WHOLE room freaked out as two ex AP's opened an area that had been shut for years.  I asked my trainer during that meeting why everyone was so excited - and he mentioned that it was a 'legendary area'... One of those areas that was crazy interesting and, in this case - was an island that was only reached over water.

And, as I came to the change meeting from leaving San Marcos, I saw the name of that island show up on the screen, followed by my name and picture....

I was sent to Amapala.

The story of my first time coming to Amapala was nothing short of an adventure either.  We got on the bus, and made our way once again to the south.  I was still sick - but with a lot of prayer, I kept myself together.  Or... the Lord kept me together.  We got off in San Lorenzo by the exit to 'Coyolito', and then got on other bus that took about an hour and a half to arrive.  But DURING this bus ride began one of the biggest rain storms I had seen in my mission.  It was POURING.   And, as we neared Coyolito, I could smell the ocean and could hear the waves - but there was no light.  We were in total darkness, save a few little streetlamps that neared the shore.  

We got off the bus, and as I looked toward the ocean, I strained to make out the shape of the island... And then, in that moment, hit a huge bolt of lightning, and I could clearly see the island of the Tiger, as it is rightly called, for a split second.  And thus, as we got into the little boat onto the roaring waves, every blast of lightning lit up the island that would come to be home.  Yeah - I did truly think we were going to overturn.  BUT - the Amapalan people know what they're doing.  And.... We got to the shore of Playa Burro, into the little Mototaxi towards Centro, and entered into the Chapel of Amapala - which also just happens to be our home.  

Well, overall, I can't give a fair description of anyone on that island.  I will only give the names of the people, and after the mission, if you ask, I will tell you the stories of each of them - I promise, each one is great.

-Family Silva
-Family Santos
-Family Lopez
-Family Guerrero Mejia
-Suyapa and Vanessa
-Lolita and Nicol
-Amparo
-Isabel
-Family Ramirez
-Joseph
-Juan
-Moises and Maria
-The Pulps
-Gloria
-The Kids
-The Garrobos

And.... those are the best stories and my dearest friends on that island.  Anyway.... It sucks trying to write about these places.  It's like trying to write about what home is like.... What do you say?.... Well.... I loved those people.  I love all these people.  I love MY people!  But anyway.... My time in Amapala also came to an end... And, when it did, I felt much more ready than before.  And, after having disappeared off the face of the earth for several months.... I was sent into the middle of the mission.  Center of the world, middle of the city.... But, that story is yet to be told.  I love you all, and I'll be continuing next week!  Have a good one!



Elder Kristian Huff  

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Best Days of my Life - Part 4 of 8 (San Marcos de Colon)

Hey Everybody!

Well... Updates with the area, my poor companion was still pretty sick for the week, so the work was a little halted.  But he was a trooper, and we managed to do a lot of divisions with members so that he could get that rest he needed - we think that the worst has past!  BUT PRAY FOR HIM JUST IN CASE!

AND.... GREAT NEWS....

We baptized a young man named Luis this week.  He is a great kid, and he has a lot of future ahead of him.  With Elder Hirschi and I, we managed to get everything taught and put together, even though Elder Hirschi was sick.  But we did it - and we thank all of you for your prayers.  

Y.... A TODOS MIS QUERIDOS HONDUREÑOS.  Si estan leyendo mi blog, ESCRIBANME!!!  Quiero saber como estan y poder decirles cuanto que les amo!!!  Entonces, HAGANLO.  Gracias por su apoyo, y espero que me escriban!!!  Y hagan que este mensaje llegue a todas las personas que quisieran estar en contacto conmigo.  :)  Tambien, pronto voy a poner mi correo normal en uno de mis mensajes semanales, asi que... Vamos a poder seguir en contacto.  LES AMO!


 San Marcos de Colon - Ciudad Nueva

I came very late at night to Limon de la Cerca - or the ZL's area - and I came to find my awesome companion, Elder Espinoza, waiting for me in the ZL's house.  We sat down and talked and about the area and our hopes and plans and our lives and from the beginning we came to be great friends, even though I was a little high strung at first.  He was always VERY patient with me, and we came to be best friends.  To this day, it's very possible that he was the companion that I grew closest to.

After the district meeting on Thursday, we got on the big bus and made the 2 hour long journey, that I came to know SO well, for the first time.  When we came, it was pouring rain, and it was actually really cold.  Totally not normal for the south.  We went and made our way to our little apartment, always having to pass by a VERY inappropraite billboard getting off the bus, and we prepared to go out and tear San Marcos up.  The honest truth.... I knew WAY too many people in San Marcos to be able to talk about all of them (I actually realize that THAT statement applies to just about every one of my areas...).  So.... I will talk about San Marcos by the members.  Because in the end - that was probably the most memorable part of San Marcos.  My beloved Sanmarqueños.  

1.   Familia Calderon

What can I say about that family?  Literally one of the most dysfunctional but most WONDERFUL and SELFLESS families you will ever know.  They are one of those families that will just.... Well, never stop being your family.  They came to be my family, completely.  I'm their little daughter's Godfather (possibly one of a couple - if that doesn't hint at how much they get to you), and I literally considered their house MY house when I was there.  We talked together practically daily, we cried together, we laughed together, we yelled and beat things and sold things and made things together, and we MADE San Marcos together.  There just aren't words.  If you want to understand - ask me after the mission.

2.  Familia de Reina

They did SO much to help us.  Especially the two daughters, whom I ADORE.  They always gave us lunch, and they always went with us to lessons when we asked.  That one time when we had an attendance of 4 people?  Yeah.... That included Elder Espinoza and I, and the two Canaca girls.  They supported all of the activities in the church, when NO one else did, and they truly had to fight a lot of challenges.  But.... We came to rely on each other a lot.  Estafani and Wendy, you are awesome.

3.  Alba and Annie

I didn't believe in angels until I met these two women.  A mother and her daughter, they have faced more trials and have stayed more firm than anyone else on this earth.  I don't think I can say very much, because words simply won't say it right.  There are some people on this earth who came to guide the rest of us - to teach us what it really means to love and serve and be happy - these two women prove it.  I'll never be able to express my love enough for them.

4.  Carlos, Judith and Genesis

The answer to my 6 million prayers in San Marcos.  They were the family God prepared to make a change in that little city.  We had to work harder with them than with anyone I've had to work with - and I would say that my relationship with them isn't anything that began in Honduras.  They are.... undescribable.  We passed so many experiences with them - we had to fight SO many fight for them - and we came to know each other better than most people do during this life.  I love them.  There is little more I can say - I also often feel that my work with them hasn't just finished yet.

5.  Fernando, Carlos, Osman and Angel

Ohhh these guys.  They struggled a little bit with the church attendance thing.... But they helped us so much with visits.  They have a lot of potential.... They are all very special people.  They all have SO many freaking mandados to do ALWAYS.... Someday they'll catch a break.  And when they do, they'll do great things for that area.

6.  Victor and Mariela

This family.... Freak.  I HATE trying to EXPLAIN how special these people are for me.  Mariela was baptized a few months after I left - this was the family who celebrated my birthday with me - and they are one of the most loving and generous families in Honduras.  their two little chldren are wonderful, Mariela's sister Victoria is awesome, freak, even her MOM is the bomb.  Gah.  They'll be hearing from me for years to come.

7.  Carlos Portillo

I still owe him tacos.  This guy.... Freak.  Just deserves better.  Once again, if you wanna know the story.... I'll tell you after the mission.  Or a personal email.  

 
Well.... I would like to write about others as well, but I don't have enough time to write it.  And... Get this.  That is EXACTLY how it was when I left San Marcos.  I was sick as a dog, and I got the call that I had changes, and I was SO sick that I couldn't say goodbye to many people.  It was awful.  And, as I made my way again to the city, I would have never guessed what was waiting for me.  BUT.... What I DID know, is that a promise was made that day to those people of San Marcos - That I would be back.  And we'll see what the Lord has in store - just like I waited for my second area in the South.

Have a great week guys.  I love you all.



Elder Kristian Huff

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Best Days of my Life - Part 3 of 8 (Villa Olimpica)

Well guys....

This week has been awesome.  I get along great with Elder Hirschi and we're working our BUTTS OFF.  Except Elder Hirschi got sick a little.  But he's almost over it!  I think I'll tell you more specific things as we go, but generally, we've just had to earn the trust of the ward members.  BUT.... We're on the way.  There's very little to report on about that... As we go I'll tell more.  Onto my adventures in the city.



La Villa Olimpica - La Esperanza

My story in the city began as I made my way up to my new area.  I had seen in the change meeting that I would be staying in the city and that my companion was a Hawaiian.... And that was about it.  I met up with him, the infamous Elder Naupoto, and we got on a taxi and made our way into central Tegucigalpa.  We made our way up a SUPER huge hill to the smallest apartment in the mission, the same apartment that would come to be my home for 6 months of my life. 

General things I want you all to know about La Villa:

1.  Christina.  My old lady convert who came to be my Honduran mom.  

STORY:  We had talked to her grandson about the church in the street (WITH ELDER HIRSCHI BY THE WAY), and he made it very clear that he didn't want anything to do with us.  BUT, we left a card of Jesus with our number on the back.  We didn't think anything of it.  Then, three or four days later, we get a call.  
'Hey, Hello??? Am I talking to the Elders??  I saw a little card of Jesus with this phone number on the back.  I want you to come and teach me about Jesus.  I need more of him in my life!'
About a month later she was baptized.  I don't know HOW she does it, but she still manages to get my phone number and call me once in a while.  Possibly one of the best stories of my mission.

2.  Heydi.  My convert from Comayagua.  

STORY:  We found her by contacting.  When she opened the door, she din't even let us talk.  She just slammed the door and said NO.  We were weirded out, so we knocked again and she was like, 'HOW DID YOU FIND ME?'  We then came to realize that she had already had all of the lessons from other missionaries in the Comayaguela mission.  Se then had to move before being baptized... but the missionaries told her to not worry.... Because God would find her again.  So.... without any reference, and with straight revelation from God, we found her.  She was baptized a few weeks later in Comayagua.  We attended her baptism with SPECIAL transportation from President Bowler and Hermana Bowler.  President also confirmed her after her baptism.  

3.  Isis.  One of the most interesting converts I'll ever have.

STORY:  You'll have to ask me this one in person, if you really wanna know.  Many of the returned missionaries already know the story.  It's great, I promise.

4.  Walter.  My little buddy (not to be compared with Jakob ;)).

STORY:  His family was one of the families tat MOST loved the missionaries.  They treated us like kings, even while living in very poor circumstances.  They made their living by making cotton candy and selling it in the streets.  Walter had already come to church several times - so we just taught the lessons and boom.  In the water.  Also... they lived at the top of a HUGE staircase.  That sucked.  But it was totally worth it.

5.  Iris, Didier, Daniel and Dominic.  And also Maria. 

STORY:  I'm not entirely sure how we found them.... but they are a family of part members, and they were almost completely inactive.  By hard work, we got two of the kids in the water.  They never got totally reactivated, but that's not totally due to lack of testimony.  They were one of the families that suffered most that I knew during my mission - but they never complained.  The grandmother told us the stories, and would always finish with some kind of positive outlook.  'Well.... but you know.  God knows what He's doing.'

6.  Belkis.  Reference of Gold that then DISAPPEARED FROM OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH.

STORY:  Well... that's exactly what happened.  She was awesome.  We taught her and her father-in-law baptized her.  She was super active and super pilas and one of my best friends in the Villa, and then... BOOM.  Never heard from her again.  No one is sure what went down there.  The family of her husband are now on a mission in Guatemala, serving in the temple.

7.  Fernando and Joselin and Yerlin and Maria's family.

STORY:  All got baptized within 3 weeks of my departure.

8.  ALL THE OTHER MEMBERS.

STORY:  Well... I'm more just gonna make a list, although I doubt I'll be able to mention them all.  Odeth and the Family Cerrato,  Family Amador, Family Peralta, Family Duran, Family Rios and Barraza, Family Galindo, Family Acevedo, Family Zepeda, Family Reyes, Family Zuniga, Family Mejia.... Freak there are so many.  I LOVE ALL YOU GUYS.


My story in the Villa was all of the friends that I made.  I later gave birth to my first son, Elder Putnam.  We worked our butts off as well.... But with little fruits.  Or...  That's what it seemed like.  I remember that at the end of my fourth change I was VERY ready to get out, despite loving it as much as I did.  And, long story short, after having made myself known in the city..... I went to changes.  And.... 

Thus began my 8 month adventure in the south. 

Talk to you guys next week. 



Elder Kristian Huff

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Best Days of my Life - Part 2 of 8 (Danli)

Hey guys!  

General update for the week, I have officially received my last changes. 

I'm SO excited.  I will be finishing in the city, Zone Guaymuras, in an area called (ready for this?) La Honduras.  But that's not even the best part - I will be finishing a mission with one of my dearest friends in the mission.  I will be finishing the mission with an Elder who shared the Villa with me for 6 months.... 

I will be finishing the mission with my dearest friend, Elder Hirschi.  Love you guys.  Now onto my first area in Honduras.... When I journeyed in the east.  Here we go.


La Concepcion - Danli

I started out helping people take out bags from the famous change buses - and I asked an Elder in Spanish where the bags should go.  The Elder, named Elder Tapia Navas, future assistant  asked me with big eyes if I was just starting out, mentioning that I spoke great Spanish (LIES.... He just wanted to make me feel good, I'm sure of it!).  I told him yes, I was just starting out, and he congratulated me and gave me a big hug.  I doubt I'll ever forget that kid!  And then... We went into the chapel of the Esperanza.... Thus began my first change meeting.

All of us were sat down watching a big screen with a bunch of faces that we didn't recognize, nor did we understand the better part of what was said.  All I knew is that I was waiting to go to the famous Danli.  While I was in the CCM, a teacher who had served in the Tegucigalpa mission predicted that I would begin there - so I was anxious to see if that prophecy would come to pass.  And... Sure enough, as the screen turned to 'El Oriente', the name of Danli showed up.  Names and pictures passed by, until came the name of 'La Concepcion'... There first came up the picture of a gruff looking Latino named Elder Roldan.... followed by the picture of a familiar little gringo.  And thus.... I scooted by other elders to jump into a huge hug with a huge Latin missionary.  I could tell he was surprised by the way I practically leaped onto him... It makes me laugh just thinking about it.  As I sat down next to him, I asked him in broken Spanish where he was from.  He answered me in English and said that he was from Guatemala.  I told him I was super ready to throw down... He said that I didn't have to worry, and that we were gonna make some miracles happen.  We then said goodbyes, got on a bus, and started towards the east - towards el Paraiso - towards Danli.

We got off by a gas station called la Puma, and then made our way in taxi to the Apaguiz, where our first house was, living on the second floor.  We soon moved to Vista Hermosa, next to our bishop, Obispo Cornejo.  Danli was magic.  It was the perfect place to begin.  It was never too stressful, so I could focus on learning spanish and how to teach.  I remember becoming friends with everybody, getting to know the pulperias and the members and not knowing how to say anything at all. I remember Elder Villanueva, and how he always called me 'amor´and 'baby' - he's heading to Amapala right now, actually!  I remember Elder Webb, and how he was kind of like an adopted gringo dad to me.  He always told me how the things really were - and he was right.  I miss him, dearly.  Crazy - he's married now!  I remember Hermana Bleak, and how we made promises to have movie sleepovers with Elder Webb and me.... I suppose it could still happen.  Maybe!  I remember Nicol, the bishop's daughter, and how I gave her English lessons, and how she really came to be my first friend in Honduras.  I remember giving the blessing to Hermano Amador after the dog bite that we thought would kill him, and how the following week he was in church, miraculously healed.  I remember Senia and Francely and Nazareth and how they were SOOOO crazy intelligent and understood the doctrine even with my broken Spanish.  I remember baptizing Marcia - my first baptism in Honduras, and how Elder Webb and I taught her and Kayla and Mia how to say 'roflcopter' and the delicious baleadas in front of their house.  I remember teaching Maria, who was baptized after like, 8 companionships of teaching.  I remember Dayani and how sassy she was - and Jorge and his sister who always went on divisions with me.  I remember taking a huge line of like, 19 kids to church on Sundays because nobody wanted to go to church, so they just sent their kids.  When Elder Tuft and I reactivated a bunch of families by straight miracles, all of which I can't even tell in email, and learning how to work with members, and always eating in Chilangos, OviSer, or that one restaurant whose name I never remember. 

So many memories....  It's kind of impossible to tell everything.  But basically.... By my third change, I came to really adore the people there.  I knew everyone, and everyone knew me.  I remember Damaris and Katherin and Celeste, and how close they were to baptism, as well as Leydi, who I'm still not sure if she actually gave her baby my name... Haha, who knows?  I remember Eduardo and Harold and Khiabeth, and how I always called her Khaibethamente, adding 'mente' to the end of every word possible and the 'I Saw You First' game.... I remember how when I told Adita that I was leaving, she jumped on top of me with a HUGE hug.... (not my fault, I wasn't expecting it haha) as well as the family Barahona who forgot to take out their papers when they went to Nicaragua - kind of got the feeling that they didn't really want to get married.  Sigh.... And those are the people I left behind when I  got moved to the city.  As of right now, La Conse is now the area of the Sister Training Leaders.  I sent off Hermana Cornejo to her mission, and she'll be excited to know she can go on visits with the Hermanas...  sigh.  My stories are probably all over the place... But I was starting out.  I had no idea what I was doing, BUT.... That's where I learned how to be a missionary.  With Elder Roldan, I learned to teach and focus on the people, as well as work as hard as you could every day.  It was a gift, being able to be his last companion in the mission.  Elder Tuft taught me how to be obedient with exactness, as well as how to be consistent - how to be the same person, no matter where you are.  It was really the perfect first area - and the perfect preparation.  And thus - my time in the east began, and finished in three short changes.  I had no idea what else was waiting for me - but I knew that I was ready.  As I got on the bus towards my next area, I remember making a promise that I would go back someday.  I knew I wasn't going to go back during the mission - so that promise lays in wait.  And thus, I made my way to city - and towards the next six months of my life.  



Talk to you guys next week.  Love you all, and hope that all is well - you already know what to do!

Elder Kristian Huff

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Best Days of My Life - Part 1 of 8 (CCM)

Hey Everybody.

So, as I'm sure you've all noticed....  I'm coming home very soon.  Too soon. But... I can't change it.  Nor would I change it - the time has been amazing, and I know it can't stay the same forever, or it wouldn't be a mission. I know it has to come to a end.  So.... I've decided to take these last few weeks to look, one more time, at the story of my mission.  Every week will be dedicated to one of the places I've served in, starting from the beginning and finishing my last Preparation Day in the mission.  

Two years in 8 messages.  Here we go.



CCM GUATEMALA

It all began the day I said goodbye to my family.  We were in the Salt Lake Airport, and as I passed the line towards the plane, I found myself next to another future missionary.  We were both sobbing, and when we passed by security, I asked his name.  He told me his name was Elder Jolley.  Elder James Jolley - little did we know, that we would come to be each other's first companion in the mission.  After two long flights, one to L.A. and the other to Guatemala, we eventually found ourselves on the buses of Guatemala, heading towards the CCM - I remember that I gave some guy 5 dollars to shine my shoes - in my defense, I had no idea that shoe shining was a profession.  But dang - he did well.  

Then came our first day.  We met our teachers of the following 6 weeks:  Hermana Cuque, Hermana Garcia, Hermano Romero and Hermano Escobar.  Every one an amazing teacher, and each one having left their mark on our lives by their words and experiences.  A group of 10 Elders came to be known as District Lucas - a mix of missionaries heading to Honduras, El Salvador, and one towards Guatemala.  Our little family was made up of the following missionaries:

Elder Woods
Elder Clark
Elder Marriott
Elder Kimball
Elder McKell
Elder Newey
Elder Hamilton
Elder Coe
Elder Jolley
Elder Huff

And we came to be very close friends, even until now.  Many of us still write each other - and we came to depend on each other a ton.  We learned together, ate together, cried together, slept together (in a totally missionary-approved way in those bunks beds that were hot as freak), and really lived together for those 6 weeks.  All of us had different struggles, whether it was with language, testimony, teaching skills, change of climate, change of food, being far from home, feeling alone, missing girlfriends, missing best friends, missing music, missing cell phones, or maybe that one time they shaved our heads like as if we were heading into the army, when it was burning hot, when it was raining so hard you couldn't go outside, or really every other funny or hard moment, we were brothers.  Almost every night, the hallways recognized District Lucas by the tones of 'Army of Helaman' as we returned to our rooms to rest until 6:25 the following morning.  

We worked hard every day for those 6 weeks, in strict preparation.  Studying language, studying scriptures, studying Preach my Gospel and then studying the language a little more, we prepared ourselves to be servants of the Lord.  

But let's be straight - We had NO idea what we were doing, nor what we were getting into.  We tried to beat one another in vocab, knowing useless words like 'shark' and 'dried peach half.'  In other moments we pushed each other, like having the 'No Hablo Ingles' tag at the bottom of our plaques.  In some moments, we had a taste of the real field, such as going through the temple in complete spanish, and then thinking we had an idea what was being said ('OH, it's all done in VOSOTROS??').  But little by little, however hopeless our teaching skills and pitiful our spanish accent - we slowly got really sick of the CCM and REALLY ready to get into the real world.  Our last day in the CCM, I go up on the table during lunch, and in front of the whole CCM, I sung a few songs that I had promised a friend that I would sing (You raise me up, Elder Evans). I think I even made Hermana Cox cry, and Presidente Cox asked for an encore - that was a fun day.  When the night came that we had to leave, we all got on the bus at 4:00 in the morning heading towards the Guatemala City Airport, with our faithful Latin companions as well:

Elder Geronimo
Elder Quintanar
Elder Villanueva
Elder Lopez
Elder Olivares
Elder Maldonado
Hermana Gutierrez
Hermana Mamani
Hermana Arango 
Hermana Corcuera

And, arriving first in El Salvador, and then to Honduras, sitting next to Elder Clark, we began in the Honduras Tegucigalpa Mission.  We stayed the night in a hotel with a great buffet, learned how to use a pila for the first time, and spent one more night talking about all that we hoped to achieve during the next 2 years.  The came the first morning of our first changes....  And that is where the mission really began.

Love you guys.  Talk to you all soon.


Elder Kristian Huff

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Let's Get Caught Up

Hey Everybody!

So... I kind of dropped off the face of the earth for a while there.  I'll be honest, it's very hard to know what to tell you at this point.  I would tell you about our investigators, but they come and go very easily.... It breaks our hearts, but it's much easier to not get too into detail in the meantime.  I don't see it as too heartbreaking though, in the long run.... It's only a phase.  When they aren't ready, well.... They aren't ready.  It's hard at times for us, but it only requires a wider vision. So.. What do you do?  Well... you do what you always do.  You work, you pray, and then.... You make the decision.  It's kind of the same thing that the investigators do, isn't it?

Now.... To explain what La Reforma has taught me.... It's taught me the process of constant progression.  In no other area have I seen such a wide spectrum of people. Unlike San Marcos and Amapala, La Reforma has been open for many years, and the Church is much more well known on a personal basis - that meaning, everyone has already talked to the Mormons before.  That makes our job interesting - often we have to correct bad interpretations that a person has had in their head for years - due to a direct visit of the missionaries.  But that ALSO means that those that are ready usually have an amazing story to tell of their conversion, often dating back to the years of their youth. 

The reason I explain all of that is to give an idea of the miracle it truly is to find chosen in this area.  They practically teach themselves - with many of the chosen I've found here, I've found that I am only a little bridge to get them to the chapel on Sundays and fill in the blanks of the lessons - they do everything else on their own.  It really shows you that it's not our work, nor was it ever - we already know who's in control.

Speaking of some of those chosen of our Lord, I have had the unique opportunity to work kind of how I did in San Marcos - complete families.  There are three - and I'll be giving updates on all of them in the coming weeks.  But, just as the starting point, they are all already practically members.  They've all coe to church several times, they all have strong testimonies and they all are planning their baptismal dates - seems too good to be true, right?  If they are all so... converted, what's the deal then?  why aren't they in the water? 

WELL.... Marriage.  They ALL needed marriage.  Here are the families and their stories.


Familia Cer.:  They are a family of three, parents and a little daughter.  The only real challenge has been that the sister is not from Tegucigalpa - which means to get her papers, she would have to go to her city of origin... which is pretty far away, although not impossible.  They've had the easiest process paper-wise.  

Familia Cr.:  Just a husband and wife, the only thing that holds them back from marriage is a very frustrating and lengthy process resulting from a lack of inscription in the Honduran Registers.... Or, basically, the husband is a phantom in Honduras.  He is 30 years old and was never officially signed in as a citizen.  How that happened.... Well, we're not sure. So.... He needs to become a citizen before he gets married.  They are both ready as can be, and we've already been in the process for almost 3 months - we're almost there.  

Familia Rob.:  A husband, wife and a 12 year old daughter.  They are also very willing to get married and want to get baptized.... BUT, the husband isn't originally from Honduras.  So, we have to request his papers from his country.  The papers are already is transit - but the delay time is between 1 and a half to 2 and a half months.  We sent for the papers a little more than a month ago - so, we're hoping they get here soon.  Also, the sister is expecting - the newest member of the family will get here in September.


So.. Those are them. As you notice, we've already been working with them for a while - we have other investigators, but these are the chosen we've found.  The ones who aren't just willing to listen - but those who want to change.   

So... to finish up, we've already finished up the process with the first of the three.  Thanks to pray, fasting and a lot of faith, the Familia Cer. was baptized this weekend.  That's my second full family in the mission - which is just awesome, I'll be straight about it!  The Lord does miracles - just let it be in His time, and not ours.  But anyway, I love you guys, and I appreciate your support!  I'll keep you updated as other investigators get to later stages of conversion and as the families reach their marital and baptismal goals.  Have a great week, and I'll talk to you later!  Don't stop praying!  If you ever need anything, I'm here to help!  

Elder Kristian Huff  



Monday, March 28, 2016

As the Time Goes....

Hey Everybody!

First.... Sorry I haven't written all that much lately.  I just... find myself wanting to write it then never finding the words to say.  But... I'll give a little of information every once in a while so everyone knows what's going on.  But know that I love you guys, and you're all in my prayers always and the such... I haven't forgotten anything or anyone.  ;)

Well, what can I tell you all?  The same as I've said many times before... It's just impossible to describe.  But I'll try!


Right now my companion, Elder Rodriguez has changes (I'll upload photos this next week :)).  That's kind of sad... He's a great guy and we get along really well.  We have not yet been able to baptize... But we are working with many people who are truly converts.  That's where we are in the work right now.  Probably like, 3 families and another 4 or 5 people who are well on the way to coming into the fold, but.... Little things that hold them back. Such as... Marriage.... Or just being able to come to church.... You know.  The normal.  But, if it's the will of the Lord, we'll be able to see a few more people come into the church these coming weeks and months.  

On another note, I'm just.... constantly in the process of understanding the gospel.  My time in the field is growing incredibly short - and that fills me with fire and confusion.  I want to give it all I got.... but where did the time go?... It doesn't feel real.  But... I'll save those thoughts for a later email. Mostly,  I just find myself with a greater desire to show the WORLD the beauty of it's existence!  There is something so much BETTER waiting for us around the corner, and if we can just be strong, a little while longer, as heavy as the load may feel.... We will see a brighter, better day.  And THAT is what the mission is! So... for those of you at home that are reading, just know this - You are the answer.  Be strong, be firm, be full of light and truth and love and the world will make itself right around you.  

We will have to go through hard, difficult moments - but who says we can't whistle on the way?  i'm learning much about exaltation and the requirements to achieve such.  The secret is simple - we already KNOW the answer.  It's written in our hearts and in our countenance.  Just listen carefully - and truth opens itself up to those who choose to listen.

The mission is a beautiful thing - but the really beautiful thing is the life we have to live.  Live it, and live it well.  I love you all, and I'll keep you updated here and there - until then, listen a little closer.

Elder Kristian Huff

Monday, February 29, 2016

Life Passes You By

Hey everybody!

Freak how fast the time is going.  It seems like just yesterday I was walking into my first house in Danli with a good 23 months waiting for me.... Now I'm in Teguc with almost 5 left.  In these past couple weeks, I've realized that I have very little to say, mostly because you come to a point where the words just don't say anything right.  I'm doing the same work that I've always done, but now there's just something different.  I don't feel the same way.  It's less an excitement, and more.... A gratitude.  Every day I'm here, I just realize how much I appreciate the chance I've had to be here.  And there's still so much time - I just gotta use it well.  

I never wanted to be a missionary who broke in his last few months.  Where he just gets tired and decides to give it half hearted - I refuse to do that.  I can't.  I know that I can always do better - but I can say that I haven't broken.  And I don't WANT to.  I don't want to give it half hearted.  The time I have doesn't make me want to get out and home - it makes me want to use every second the best I can.  Not just working, but LIVING the mission.  The way that I see it - the mission doesn't end at the end of the two years.  The preaching of the gospel will be something I'll be doing for the rest of my life.  So, thinking like that - why should I let the time get to me?

Sorry for going on a little soapbox of the mission and all that... Those are just some thoughts that have been in my mind recently.  I love you all.  I'm always here if you need anything - just be good, be smart, and do the things you know you should do.  Talk to you all soon. 

Elder Kristian Huff