Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Week 14: Robert Spetch's Baptism

Hey everybody! What a busy busy week it has been! Elder Pass and I have seen even more miracles!
First of all, GUESS WHAT! I know what you're thinking, and no. Thats not it. But close!
Yet another soul has come unto Christ! On January 22nd, 2011 Robert Spetch, a 19 year old who lives down the street from our flat was baptised! He loved it! The service could not have gone better! It was truly perfect... So many of the youth and the members came to support him, and he fits into the branch like it were nothing! He has overcome struggles with alcohol and smoking and has fully commit to become a disciple of Jesus Christ in His church! He was actually one of the first investigators I taught... The second, I think, after Sabeena and Antonio (who have rescheduled their date. Still trying to work outwhen that will be) He is such a great kid, and he wants to serve a mission in a few years! Not only that, but as of last night, he asked me if I would ordain him to the Aaronic Priesthood this Sunday in sacrament! How honored do I feel?? Very ;) Im excited to see what calling he gets in the branch.
Also, Sunday church was a fantastic day! I dont have much time to tell you all about it, so I will list it out...
#1. Rob got confirmed a member of the church!
#2. Richard Wheatcroft recieved the Aaronic Preisthood in sacrament!
#3. My mission president, president Lindley came to church with us!
#4. Our stake president, President Dryden was also present!
So basically, church was great!
Next on the list...

Oh yes! Exchange! I drove! (A lot!) At first the roundabouts were kinda scary... But once I figured out how to properly signal, I was fine. I went on exchange with Elder Farstad, from Norway!

Finally! It was Zone P-day this past monday (which should explain my late emailing... Sorry) We visited an old destroyed abbey, called Boulton Abbey, and we went on a hike. It was great! (See third and fourth picture)

Ha ha! Ive still got my break dancing moves! (Fourth picture, epic photo!)
Anyway, Im just about outta time, but hopefully I'll be a bit more sorted for next week! Wish me luck for transfers (which is next week)!
Love, lots and lots of love... and blue skies,
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

Monday, January 17, 2011

Week 13: District Leader Exchange

Hiya everybody! Hope you are all enjoying the weather back home! Its still rainy, windy England over here :)

I had a great week again! I absolutely LOVED Saturday and Sunday! The Lord blessed Elder Pass and I so much this past weekend... We loved it!

So... I must apologize, but I dont have as much time as I normally do, so I will try to keep it short and let the pictures do most of the talking...

First of all! We had another Zone development meeting! I love it! Its always so inspiring and edifying... Its fantastic! The first picture is of the teams in the Leeds Zone! Woot!

Next interesting thing that happened... District leader exchange! Elder Peery is such a humble yet dedicated and hard working missionary... I learned a lot from him! The Second picture is of me and him (we were feeling patriotic) next to the flat flag!

Next! Can I just state how beautiful England's skies are (when its not cloudy/raining)?? They are magnificent!! This past Sunday morning was simply breathtaking... Third picture.

All in all, it was a pretty splendiferous(c) week... I love this work. I really really do. I cant imagine what I'd be doing right now if I wasnt a missionary... Probably spending the rest of my life making up for what I would have missed here... This is where I am meant to be! This is my corner of the sky, for two years anyway :) I love Jesus Christ, I love Joseph Smith, and I love my Heavenly Father! I am so blessed!

And I love you all!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
P.S. New address for letters! Please read the following update:

Hiya Everyone! You can now send letters to my actual flat address, rather than the mission office address! Until I transfer to a new area, please send your letters to:
Elder Gabriel Spencer
#4 Melbourne Mills
Melbourne Street, Morley, Leeds
England LS27 8BJ

If you have a package you would like to send, please send it to the mission office (to avoid it getting lost) address at:
Elder Gabriel Spencer
England Leeds Mission
Lister House, Lister Hill
Horsforth, Leeds
England, LS18 5AZ

Monday, January 10, 2011

Week 12: Richard Wheatcroft's Baptism

Hiya everybody! I hope that this new year is bringing all of you many great opportunities and experiences to enjoy! And hopefully some missionary experiences as well!

At the start of this past week, I was able to recieve another package from home! A brand new, unopened Christmas tree! Ha ha its a little early for Christmas this year, but Im still very appreciative! :) I also got a back scratcher with it, which is HEAVEN! Ah, I cant believe how long I went without it :) Thanks mom!

On Wednesday, we had district meeting, in which all of the teams in my district meet and evaluate our progress in our respective areas as well as a district. I love these meetings, because Im given the opportunity to learn from other teams sucesses and apply it to mine and Elder Pass' work in Leeds 5! Not only that, but after the meeting its lunchtime, so we all go out to eat as a district! I LOVE the missionaries in my district! They are so inspiring and hard working, and have such strong testimonies! Ah! If only you could meet them :)

One of my new favourite things to do now is to testify to people on the street of the truthfulness of the gospel and the change and impact it can have on their lives if they simply follow Moroni's promise in Moroni 10! Not that it wasnt my favourite thing before... but I have developed a new love for it, because I have finally found the secret to a more fun and joyful missionary experience! And thats being yourself, just also while being a missionary! (I know what you're thinking, ''of course Elder Spencer!'' But its not as easy as it sounds...) For me, this gospel is so exciting and the answer to any and all of lifes trials and hard times... And I love testifying to people of the good news! The glad tidings! The blessings that come from the knowledge that each of us have a loving Heavenly Father who wants the best for us and is willing to help us through anything! Isnt that splendiferous(c)? I think so ;)

On Saturday Elder Pass and I were able to do some service for a single mother in the branch, Sister Gardiner. We were finally able to finish painting her kitchen! (see first and second picture) I love giving service! Its so simple, and it simply just brightens your day, as well as the other person's day whom you were rendering service to. Nothing can ease your troubles and pains like the gift of giving simple service ;)

Oh and PS, Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL day for England :) Not only that, but the sunrises/sunsets over here can take your breath away.
Church was certainly an interesting experience for me this week... Elder Pass and I had the wonderful opportunity to bless the sacrament on Sunday... Which was interesting because it was the first time in a long time since either of us (in your mind, did you say the word 'i - ther' or the word 'ee - ther'?) had done such! We were very excited and thankful for the opportunity. :) But it did not stop there! On my way to the gospel principles class, Elder Pass informed me that the teacher was not in attendance, and that I would need to teach ''the freedom to choose'' lesson to the class! Ha ha yay... But it doesnt stop there! While I was preparing for that opportunity, the first councilor walked up to me with that big ''Im going to ask you to do something'' grin on his face that people in the bishopric always give, and asked me if I would teach the Elders/High Priests quorum class for priesthood! Of course I accepted. And Im happy to say I think it went rather well :) Well, better than expected anyway... But it was quite an experience, I must say... Teaching a class where everyone I was teaching was older than me... Ha ha yeah :)

So, all in all, I'd say I had a pretty fantastic week.... I hope you did as well! Please continue to write/email me whenever you like (I do very much enjoy recieving letters though)

Until next week,
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

Oh yes, and before I forget...
Thats right! The Lord saw it fit that Richard C. Wheatcroft, (23, an investigator we street contacted 4 times before he actually came to church) be baptised on January 8th, 2011! And I was able to actually perform the ordinance! It was certainly a night I will never forget... Richard had been really really REALLY excited about his baptism for quite some time, but has a fear of water... Elder Pass and I tried to prepare him for his baptism by water as best we can, but ya know, there is only so much you can prep someone for lol. As I began to say the prayer and baptise Richard, he kind of struggled and didnt allow his head to go completely under the water! Again, I reminded him that he needs to relax and let me lay him down and pull him back up... And thats what we did! ... or tried to do... His legs went up out of the water and he struggled again. So we had to do it again! Third time's the charm! Or at least thats what the word on the street is... His head finally went completely under the water! But the witness said his toe came up just at the last moment... At this point, Richard was getting a bit frustrated, and just wanted it to be over with. At that time, I think it was the other witness that suggested giving a kneeling baptism, and to baptise him forwards instead of backwards. AHA! So thats what we did, and lo and behold... SUCCESS! Richard was finally baptised :) Afterward we were able to joke about it and he felt very relieved that it was over and he had finally taken his first ordinance :) And now guess what? He set a new goal for himself, and he is looking forward to submitting his papers to become a missionary this time next year! Is that a righteous desire, or what? ;) (See final picture)

Yikes, Im glad I remembered that ;)

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Week 11: Happy New Year!

Happy new year, everyone!
Some of you might be wondering what I did to celebrate the new year...
My new years eve night was spent sleeping from 10:30pm to 6:30am! Like a good little missionary :) Ha ha happy new year indeed!
I hope your new year celebrations were a bit more festive than my own :)
Elder Pass and I had an incredibly busy week! Thankfully, our heavenly Father allowed us to achieve standards of excellence once again for the first week of the month, which is the Mission President's fireside! (For those of you who may not remember, the missionaries who achieve a certain goal set by the mission president recieve the opportunity to take their investigators to a fireside every fast sunday to meet and listen to president lindley speak and bare his testimony. It was a really special experience for one of our scheduled investigators, Richard (23) to take part in :) He loved it! President lindley taught about the importance of authority and the priesthood and the blessings they can have in our lives.
This past week we were knocking in a villiage called Beeston and we came across a Russian family! The husband/father of the family, Yevgeni, speaks very little English, but his wife Svetlana speaks it fluently :) She happily acts as a translator while we teach. They have two kids and have been searching for a church to attend since they've arrived here in England! We were able to get them a B of M in Russian as well as pamphlets on the restoration and the plan of salvation :) We are excited to teach them, and very excited to schedule them for baptism soon!
This past week, I was also able to experience something quite scary for me...
... I took my two hour driving lessons.
Okay, so its not that scary for me, just my driving instructor and my companion ha ha ;)
It was great! It was just like riding a bike, except imagine riding that bike backwards :)
But as of now, I am finally authorized to drive in the UK for the next year! Yay!
Would you like to know one thing that I really love and truly makes me happy? Personal study :) I love it! I get a whole hour every day to study the scriptures in depth and increase my spiritual knowledge! How great is that?? Ah! I gain so many new insights and understand things so much clearer when I have a proper study hour and I am guided by the spirit :) But do you know one thing that helps more than anything else when it comes to me studying the scriptures? Prayer. Praying and asking my Heavenly Father to guide my thoughts and help me to understand certain concepts more clearly. I find that this more than anything else helps me to learn what I need to know for that day, and that goes for all of us! I would encourage and invite each of you who are reading this to always begin your personal study with a prayer, asking for the Holy Ghost to guide you. I promise that as you do so your testimony and knowledge will wax stronger than you could imagine!
So, I must apologize... I dont really have many new pictures from this past week to send... But dont fret! Remember those other pictures I was supposed to send a few weeks back?? Here they are! Enjoy!

1st picture: Me (Elder Spencer) teaching Antonio (9 year old investigator) how to ride a bike for the first time! One of my most favorite moments of my mission thus far :)

2nd picture: A large portion of the Leeds zone caroling on Brigate (Leeds city main street). Oh and yes, we were well aware of the Lamanite supporting us in the background ;)

3rd picture: Me tracting in East Ardsley! (This is what England's weather is like normally)

Well, Im off! I hope that you all have a fantastic week! Thank you for your love and support!
Best wishes and love,
Elder Gabriel Spencer

P.S. I didnt really get the opportunity to send out any letters this p-day :-/ I was busy sending a package... So sorry about that! I know they are piling up, but I promise I will make the effort to reply to you all!
P.P.S The mail from the states to England is very slow... For example: I recieved a letter from Karstin Lake today (January 4th) that was sent December 6, and I recieved a letter from Anne Torgersen last Thursday that was sent about 3 weeks earlier, etc. Im hoping that now that the Christmas season is over, mail will return to normal. Also, from what I hear, my letters from England to Utah arrive within 5-7 days. So just so you know, the slow reply isnt entirely my fault. :P I really really do appreciate your letters, though!
P.P.P.S. The church is true! (c)