Thursday, December 29, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Does it feel like a year? Does it really? I dont think so... To be honest I still feel like a greenie ha ha. I'll have to celebrate somehow! Im not quite sure how yet, but I'll have to let you know in next week's email :)
So! Onto my week! Lets see... What happened last week... Hmm...
Ah yes! Chris! Chris is an investigator we found about a month ago, who we met on the street. When we talked with her, she expressed interest, but told us that her daughter was having a baby, and it was a bit of a stressful time for her. So we asked if we could come by sometime later in the middle of October, and she said yes! So we did! And within the first lesson we had with her, the spirit was felt, we invited her to be baptised, and she accepted! Not only that, but she also accepted to read the book of mormon everyday, pray about it, and come to church, all of which she has done thus far,and has thoughoughly enjoyed! She actually stated over the phone last night that, quote, ''Since that first day that you've been coming to my house Ive just been feeling happier and happier!'' Ah. Talk about a blessing from the Lord. We, as missionaries LOVE people like Chris. Ya know, people who keep their commitments, are excited about reading the book of mormon, and really enjoy coming to church. Those kinda people are amazing :) So Elder Brewerton and I have been saying many prayers of thankfulness for the opportunity to be teaching Chris, as we continue to pray for her progression :)
Also! I dont have much time, so Im going to make this last part a bit brief... We finally did it!!! We finally knocked the very same street that Billy Elliott danced on! Even his very house! Ha ha I even got some pictures of my dancin on his street as well... See the last two pictures :) From what the locals have said, nobody knows what happened to Billy, just that he up and left several decades ago ha ha. If you dont really know what Im talking about, see some of my earlier emails about the film and broadway musical ''Billy Elliot''. The filming spots and story location are in the area of Peterlee in an old coal town named Easington.
Oh yeah, and that other picture, of the moon? Oh yeah, this was something that literally took my breath away, and I just had to take a picture :) This was a pic of Friday night, with the reflection of the moon against the North Sea. I love the moon :) (c)
Anyway, wish me luck this week! It should be a great one!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Hope yall have been havin a great week!
This past week was yet another transfer week! Elder Brewerton and I are staying together for another 6 weeks, and most of the district are staying the same as well. We've also recieved a chinese-speaking missionary in the Middlesbrough area in the district, because of the large number of chinese students getting baptised there :) His name is Elder Patterson, and he's from Minnesota. He spent 2 months in the MTC and come out knowing an incredible amount of Chinese (which really helps when Im giving a baptismal interview to a chinese student and I get to some difficult words, I can shout over to him in the other room and he can yell the translation back. I gave another chinese student, Sadie, an interview, which she passed and is ready to be baptised this upcoming friday in Middlesbrough!
On Saturday we had District Leader Council, a meeting where all of the district leaders in the Zone get together with the Zone leaders and discuss different matters and things that would ultimately improve the individual areas within the districts. About an hour or so before, however, Elder Gravallese was to take his driving test to get his british license before his year mark (which is something I'll be doing within the next few weeks or so). Normally, Elder Gravallese and his companion give me and Elder Brewerton a lift to these meetings so that we wont have to spend money on the bus. During his test, however, Elder Gravallese ran over half of a 9-iron golf club, which pierced his tire. So, we spent the next few hours at a car garage, waiting to get new tires for the car. After it was all fininshed, the car was fine, we continues on to the meeting, and Elder Gravallese will have to take his test again, hopefully not having to spend the £70 fee to do it ha ha.
Well, this next week, the weather is set to get much colder. Wet, windy rain is forcasted to hit, and its not much better living right on the coast for it as well... but oh well! I have a nice warm coat, some thermals, some gloves, and some very warm earmuffs I got in the mail last year (c) so I am ready for winter!!! (I hope ha ha)
The branch members in this area really love us, and are more than willing to feed us, which is very nice. LIke the Duncanson family, for instance. We were walking to an appointment last week, and as we walked past their house Sister Duncanson came out and shouted ''Elders!! Have you eaten?'' Unfortunately, we had just barely had a quick tea at our flat about 30 before. After we told her we had, she responded with ''Okay... Well what about tomorrow?'' Ah. We just felt so loved :) Things like this just make you feel happy to be a missionary :)
So, its about time that I sign off, but thank you for all of your prayers! And please, keep them coming! We really can feel your prayers helping us... and we need all of the help we can get!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS Sorry no pictures this week, I didnt do a very good job of getting my camera out. But I will this week!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED this week! So I'm going to try to fit it all into one tiny email, but your gonna have to try and keep up... so get ready... GO!
First off, one of my most memorable and favourite P-days took place this previous Monday. One of our investigator families, the Millers, offered to take us to see the majestic Durham Cathedral on our day off, and Elder Brewerton and I got special permission from President Lindley to travel outside of our zone to go see it. It was AMAZING! One of the most spectacular and beautiful structures I have ever seen in my life! We toured this catholic cathedral, which celebrated its 1000th birthday just last year, and looked at the many tombs and shrines that were scattered throughout the building (we weren't allowed to take any pictures of the inside of the building, kinda like with our temple open-house thingy) But one of my most favourite parts of the tour was where they actually filmed several scenes from the Harry Potter films within its walls. Inside the great hall, was literally, the great hall of Hogwarts (ya know, where they eat the food, do the house sorting thing, etc.) and outside was the courtyard, where they filmed a few other scenes (this was something I was actually able to take pictures of, see epic pic #1 and 2) After we toured most of the cathedral, we then had the option to climb the high tower of the building and see the sights for a small fee (which we did) and the views of the valley/city were breathtaking! We picked a wonderful bright and sunny day to go as well, which simply added to the splendour. Definitely something I wont easily forget ;)
Next! I just know that each of you will be pleasantly surprised when I say...
See? Told ya so :)
On this past Wednesday, I had the privilege of baptising the recently confirmed Jon Smith! I have the opportunity of interviewing Jon as a baptismal candidate a week earlier for the sister missionaries in the Redcar area. After the interview, he said that he felt I was a really sincere person, and he asked if I would baptise him! I delightfully agreed, and a week later the spirit filled the whole building as Jon entered into his first covenant with the Lord :) (See Pic #3)
Next! Are you keeping up?
Next! Almost a year since we had first met, I was finally, once again serving alongside the Great Elder Gravallese!!! For those of you who don't know, Elder Gravallese and I served together as companions while being trained at the England MTC, and he is now serving as my Zone Leader! We had so much fun :) We talked about old times, new times, and I got to drive the Zone Leader's car for the day! Ha ha :) I really respect Elder Gravallese, and I am very thankful for the lessons he has taught me :) (see pic #4)
And then!!! General Conference happened! Elder Brewerton and I were blessed to have been able to was most of the Saturday sessions, (half of which were inside investigators homes on their laptops) Ah, I took down so many notes, and from which have made goals for how I would like to improve over these next 6 months! Its absolutely crazy to think that a year ago from this weekend, I was watching conference live, on the tele, as well as on the internet :) Last October's Sunday sessions still stand as my favourite of all time :) I loved it! (c) Ah, I love conference! And our investigators enjoyed it as well :)
Okey doke, last one!
In lieu of last week's attempts to achieve Standards of Excellence (we were SO close, we needed one more investigator at church) Elder Brewerton and I decided to reaffirm our dedication to achieve this goal, despite the circumstances of our tiny area. So we pushed hard... and did our best... and Sunday came... and even with our best efforts, we still needed two days worth of lessons, in half a days time. Things were looking grim. I was sitting in the Millers home as we were watching the Sunday morning session, and I asked myself what else we could have done... and then it hit me! We have two priesthood holders who were available after conference to go on splits with, and that's what we did! After conference had ended, we had two hours left until we had to be in, so we set up a game plan as to who we could see, and how long we would spend there. And by the grace of our heavenly father, we were so blessed to get the necessary lessons to achieve STANDARDS for the first time in Peterlee in quite literally several years!!! Also, it was Elder Brewerton's first time as well, the first of many, I might add :)
So, in conclusion, it was quite an eventful week, and now my hands are tired of the typing, but they are happy to type such great miracles! Thank you so much for your prayers (please keep them up) and we will continue to labor dilligently in the vinyard of the Master!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS we had a district meeting yesterday, and here is a picture of my whole district, minus Elder and Sister Shurtz (the Senior couple)
See pic #5
Monday, September 26, 2011
Can you believe its that time again already! Isnt that amazing?? I am so stoked for this weekend! I hope you are as well!
First off, one of the teams in my districts baptised!! The Middlesbrough team, comprised of Elder Spratt and Elder Taylor, baptised one fo their many chinese investigators on this past Friday! It was certainly a wonderful experience and I was so proud of them :) Not only that, but two of the other teams in my district also also baptising someone this Wednesday, which we are all excited for! Way to go teams!
Now for the Peterlee news... Elder Brewerton and I set our at the beginning of the week that we would accomplish Standards of Excellence for the first time in this area, and we really hit the ground running. One of the best miracles I wanted to mention was the best knocking success story I have ever heard!
So! Thursday night, Elder Brewerton and I were doing our nightly planning, when it came to our attention we needed to fin three more new investigators by the end of the week. So we concluded that we would go knocking. We tried out the good old Bluebell Method. We prayed about three streets to knock, and the next day set out to do it :) Fortunately for us, we enlisted the help of 20 year convert Kevin, who was off work for the week and volunteered to help us out :) So we walked up to the first street, following the map we had, and it didnt exist. There was a brand new development right were the street was. So we moved over to the next street we had prayed for... and it also didnt exist. :-/ But right next to us was, funny enough, the third street that we prayed for, and it actually excited. So me, Elder Brewerton and Kevin approached the nearest door to start knocking, when all of the sudden a thought came to my mind. So I said to my companion. ''Wait, is this the side of the street we should knock?'' He replied ''What do you mean?'' I told him ''Is this side where we feel or is this side where we are?'' He thought for a bit, closed his eyes and said a silent prayer. Then he looked up at me and said ''Nope, its the other street.'' and so we went! We knocked on the first house, and no one was home. We knocked on the second house, and the people were busy and asked us to come back at a better time. We knocked on the third house, and Mr. Palmers let us in! So we taught him (he's a pretty strong church of England member, but he's open minded) and then scheduled a time to see him again, and proceeded to knock. We knocked the fourth house, and no one was home. Then the fifth house, and our next new investigator Wendy allowed us to come in and teach her! (She's a bit older, no religion in particular, but is very intrigued about this idea of a modern day prophet, and is excited for conference) We left and continued to knock. We knocked a few more homes who were wither not home or set up a better time to come by, and then we got to Jame's house. James was our final new investigator of the day, who had never really thought about God, but nevertheless wanted to find out for sure! And so we taught him, and by the end of the lesson, he was scheduled to be baptised for the end of next month!!! Oh and his prayer at the end of the appointment, one of my most favourite prayers Ive ever heard :) It went something like this... ''Our Father in Heaven, thank you so much for these three people coming to my home today, and teaching me about you. Thanks for the chance that I have been given to finally find these things out, and thank you for the opportunity that I now have to be baptised. Please keep these gentlemen safe as they go home tonight. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.'' Ah! We loved it! All three of us were grinning so big when we left, we literally had to contain ourselves as we left his home before we shouted for joy!
Ah :) I truly love this work :)
So, Elder Brewerton and I are in for a treat today, we are heading off to Hogwarts to learn some good ol' defense against the dark arts! Expect some epic pictures soon :) We are heading up to Durham Cathedral with an investigator family who actually volunteered to take us up there and show us around, and so were both quite excited :) Expelliarmus!
And then its conference this weekend! Yay! Everybody better be taking some good notes and recieving some good revelation, okey doke? And hey, if any of you (c) would like to send me some of your favourite highlights, thoughts and commentary of conference in a letter like next week, I would love to read them :) Thank you for your love and support, and for you constant prayers! As you can see, they are definitely helping!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS Pic#1 Us with Kevin after knocking :)
Monday, September 19, 2011
Guess what! We FINALLY got on the beach this past Tuesday! Ah! I was so excited :)
Felt like home :)
For our district P-day (preparation day where all members of the district meet up and do something together) here we decided to play some sports on the beach, and we LOVED it! It was sunny, (we prayed for sun) it was warm (for England, anyway) and we ate at Pizza Hut! All of the district thoughouly enjoyed themselves, and we all got to know eachother that much better :) And better yet, check out these pictures! (See Pics 1, 2, and 3) Definitely one of my favourite P-Days :)
Im also currently working on getting my UK license so that I can drive in the UK after my year mark (President Lindley has asked me twice now ha ha) But its such a long process! Kinda expensive, too... But once I get it, its good until Im 60 years old, so that'l be good :) So pray for me to pass my driving tests! (They are brutal over here!)
Also on this past Saturday, I had the opportunity to Kebaptise my second-born in the wilderness! (If you have forgotten what that means, it means eating a Kebab, which is minced lamb meat with spices, for the first time in ones life) And this son actually enjoys it! (Elder Dundee wasnt too fond of it :-/) I was so proud of Elder Brewerton :) Here he is, sitting next to Elder Spratt (who was a witness at the Kebaptism, and also paid for it) Congratulations my son! (See Fourth picture)
I love you all! Christ Lives! He is our saviour and redeemer. Through Him, we can live with our families for eternity, use His atonement to become clean, and return to live in God's presence after this life :)
I testify to all who reads this that the same organization and authority which was set up by Christ himself has been restored to the earth through a living prophet. I testify to you that the Book of Mormon is evidence of this, and that if we simply read it, ponder it in our hearts, and ask in faith, that we will recieve and answer from our Father in Heaven, by the power of the Holy Ghost. I bare my solemn witness that these things are true.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Its Elder Spencer here! Just sayin' a friendly hello and giving you an update! This past week was great, we found a steady number of new investigators to teach, scheduled some people for baptism, stayed in a day while Elder Brewerton threw up his guts, and worked our butts off on Saturday and Sunday to make up for it :) There's no better feeling than your head hitting the pillow after a long, hard days work for the Lord :) So where to begin....
Ah yes, I went on my first exchange with my new district! This time I went with Elder Farstad, from Norway! Sound familiar? That's cuz he is! He was one of the first missionaries I went on exchange with back in Leeds, around November time, and now he is once again in my district! He has improved so much since the last time I was with him, and he has become a very effective missionary and teacher :) (See first pic)
Next, we had our first Zone meeting in Billingham on Wednesday, and is was so fun to receive instruction from my old friend and first companion, Elder Gravallese, who is now one of my two zone leaders :) Its the smallest zone in the mission, but I can already tell we will be closely unified ;) (See second pic)
Elder Brewerton became pretty ill this past week, and was suffering from the flu for about a week. He is doing much better now, and he is working harder than ever. I thought I'd get a better picture of him this time, so here ya go (See third pic)
Fun story of the week, Elder Brewerton and I were taking a rather long bus ride to Stake Conference this past weekend and we noticed that there was a TV monitor at the front of the bus, switching between the different cameras placed throughout the bus. Elder Brewerton and I were sitting at the very back of the bus (the only seats that were left when we got on) and notice that one of the cameras it would switch to were directly behind us... So I got a bright idea... Free advertising! I held up a pass along card in front of the camera, and so every time it switched, it would go from the door of the bus, to the driver, to the middle of the bus, and then to a picture of Jesus Christ saying ''Faith Brings Hope'' we thought it was rather funny, and so did some of the other passengers. Remarkably however, when we got off the bus at our destination, we were stopped by this lady who got off with us, and asked us if we were from the ''Church of the Latter Day Saints'' we said yes, and she mentioned how she had friends who lived in Orem, Utah and how she loves the churches take on families! When we asked if we could could teach her, she respectfully declined, but she asked several question and felt uplifted as a result! Ha ha 'bus contacting' works!! We decided to take a photo, so see if you can spot our impromptu ad somewhere in the picture (See fourth pic)
Yesterday, we had a wonderful opportunity to receive instruction from a general authority, as part of our annual mission tour meeting! Elder Donaldson, from the Area 70 instructed us on faith, and how to allow the Lord to do His work :) Elder Brewerton and I both received some mighty-fine ideas as to how we could improve our teaching abilities and our area of Peterlee. We also were instructed by his wife, Sister Donaldson, the York Stake President, and President and Sister Lindley, who had just returned from a mission president's seminar in Denmark. The whole day was just a spiritual feast, and we all were so uplifted and excited to get out there and to be proper instruments for our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ!
One of the most useful things I learned was how sometimes we just need to get out of the way and let the Lord take over. Elder Donaldson mentioned that ''if you are ever feeling inadequate in your calling, don't worry. You are! But the Lord knows this, and that's where His grace comes into the picture, it is after all we can do that the miracles happen, it was after the children of Israel put their feet into the waters of the Red Sea that if finally began to split.. it was after the brother of Jared built the boats, discussed, and had no idea what else to do in order to receive light and air into their boats, that the Lord gave him the answer and helped him receive the stones for light... We must realize that this is the Lord's work, it is HIS glory, and we are here with the privilege perform our callings and to aid Him in the salvation of the souls of those around us, and in turn, our souls... Are we inadequate? Yes. Will the Lord have compassion on us as we keep the commandments? Yes. Is it up to us to make everything happen? No. But that is why we are to pray as though everything depends on the Lord (because it does), and work like everything depends on us. And then, we let His Spirit do its job.''
It was a wonderful day, and I am even more excited to be about our Father in Heaven's business at this time!
I hope you all are just loving life as well! I'm off to play football on the beach for P-day! Yay for sun and sand!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer