Monday, February 28, 2011

Week 19: Best week ever!

Good morrow everyone!
(Nobody really says that here, I thought I would just be a bit more original)

Hello! Wow! What an absolute EPIC week we have had! It truly is incredible how the Lord will bless an area, and prepare so many of His children to hear our message! For some unexplainable reason, the Lord has decided to bless Leeds 5 with the ability to achieve Standards of Excellence for three weeks in a row, and thats exactly what happened! Elder Thomas and I even recieved a call from President Lindley today in regards to our previous week's success, and informed us that our key indicators (the number of people we teach, lessons, new investigators, less-actives visited, etc) are among the best in the mission! Now here's the really tricky part... Neither me, nor Elder Thomas have the slightest idea of how we are accomplishing this, aside from one other explanation... And that is that the Lord is directing this work, and we are simply the tools needed to make it happen... Which is so true! A powerful lesson was learned from this experience, and that lesson is of how truly weak and ineffective we are as missionaries if we are allowing our own ego or desires attempt to dictate what the Lord might have in store for us. This idea is also very applicable to those of us who are not serving as full time missionaries in todays world... If we are constantly striving to bear our burdens on our own, claiming that we are the majority influencers of our outcome, while giving little or no regard to seeking for the Lords help or guidence, that is what we shall recieve. If we choose to take on any aspect of our journey without something as simple as prayer, He will allow us to do it on our own. Our Heavenly Father wishes for us to grow and progress, and He will do whatever it takes to insure that the most necessary growth will take place, whether that be through trials and hardships or through greater success and continued excercising of ones faith. It will always be our choice as to how we would like to grow. So as for Elder Thomas and I, we will continue to thank Heavenly Father for his willingness to bless this wonderful area, and we will continue to seek his guidence and will as much as possible as we go about doing our Father in Heaven's work :)
Now lemme get off my little soap box here...
... There we go :)

So we went on district leader exchange last week, and Elder Wadsworth (From Las Vegas) came and visited the work in Leeds 5. During this exchange, we visited Sabeena and Antonio, who seemed rather suspiciously excited about the appointment... We taught about baptism a little more, and just in the middle of the appointment, Sabeena says to her son ''Okay Antonio, we've held it orr enough! Tell them!'' To which Antonio replied ''We want to get baptised on the 5th of March!'
You could just hear the choirs of angels singing!
Sabeena and Antonio have finally accepted the Law of tithing, and will be baptised this Saturday at 6:30pm!
I was so shocked, but excited :) You should have seen the grin on my face! It was SO hard to contain the joy that was brewing in my heart! Sabeena told us she sorted out all of her finances and figured out the necessary sacrifices she had to make to pay her tithing every month, and she is more determined than I have ever seen her! Talk about a might change of heart!
We are so so so very excited! And Elder Thomas and I cant wait for Saturday!
As for now, Im going on exchange with Elder Stettler, who was in my district in the MTC! Party! (Missionary appropriate, of course)
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS. My camera died, and I could only upload one picture in time. So here's a pic of my dream car! BMW Z4!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Week 18: It snowed again!

Life is wonderful over here in good 'ol mother England. Life is cold, but nevertheless it is good :) I am having such an amazing experience with my companion Elder Thomas! He works so hard, and where I lack, he makes up for it! And where I lack and he lacks, the Lord makes up for it! Ha ha talk about having our bases covered, eh? ;) The Lord has blessed the Leeds 5 area so much over the past week!

For those of you who are wondering, I had an amazing 20th birthday in the mission field, a tradition my family has now successfully continued! I am so blessed to have been able to celebrate it here in England with the people that I’ve grown to love and care about so much! It was such a great birthday :)

This past week, we were able to find 8 new people to teach! Which is wonderful! Our goal was 6, and we exceeded it! How, you migh ask? To be honest... we dont know... The Lord, once again, has provided for us the investigators we need to be teaching at this time, regardless of our faults! Yay!

One of those new investigators, named Ben (21) was invited and scheduled for baptism within the first visit! Which was remarkable! He loves reading the book of Mormon (he says something is compelling him to read it for some reason) and he loved church yesterday! He also invited Elder Thomas and I to come to this interpretive dance workshop thingy today in Leeds city centre, which we are heading to after we email! Should be interesting... Ha ha ;) I guess I'll have to let you know how it goes!

Sabeena and Antonio are still very adamantly investigating the church... They very much enjoy church, and want to get baptized... But the question is, when? ;) Hmm...

As you could have probably guessed from the subject line, it has once again snowed here in England (which, when it does, it usually lasts about 24 hours) and do you know what that means? ICE SLIDING! Woo! No more simple walking to teaching appointments! Why stroll through the park when you can SLIDE! Ha ha I've attached a video, and hopefully it will send :)

Also, we had zone conference! (First one for me) Where all of the missionaries in the northern half of the England Leeds Mission gather to be instructed by our beloved President Lindley! And the Leeds zone got the Leeds Zone Tie to celebrate! (See picture)

I LOVED Zone conference! I received so many insights as to how I can improve as a priesthood holder, as well as a missionary in the Lord's service!

And look! (In the same picture) Its my new suit I got for my birthday from Burton (a really nice English Suit shop) I got it ON SALE too! Really nice, yet really cheap! What a fantastic birthday :)

Well that’s our week so far... Miracles are still happening around all of us, all we need are the eyes to see, and the hearts to thank God for them. Otherwise, we are blind ;)


Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS. For those of you who might be feeling a bit uneasy about what might happen in the future, or might get discouraged once in a while about it, here's one of my favorite quotes that helps me get through the hard days here on my mission (c) ''Things will work out. Keep trying. Be believing. Be happy. Don’t get discouraged. Things will work out.”

--President Gordon B. Hinckley

Monday, February 14, 2011

Week 17: Gabriel's Birthday!

Happy Valentines day, everyone!
This past week, the Leeds 5 area has seen BLESSINGS that surpassed all of my expectations! For some odd reason, the Lord saw it fit to bless us with 9 new investigators, 7 investigators and church, and He helped us achieve Standards of Excellence! Elder Thomas and I certainly did not see it coming. We started out having a pretty slow and unfruitful week, and then BAM! The weekend hit! And we found 9 new people to teach within Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Why would the Lord bless us so, you might ask... Well, if you know the answer, let Elder Thomas and I know, because we really have no idea. We spent quite a bit of time in a district of Leeds we havent been in called ''Driglington'', only to find out that the reason we hadnt been there before was because its not in our area ha ha :-/ But nevertheless! We worked hard and had fun :) We recieved plenty of referrals who turned out to be pretty good ones :) And on this past sunday, I was able to experience something I will never forget :)
I had the honour and privelege of conferring the Aaronic Preisthood on Rob Spetch, our 19 year old recent convert, and ordaining him to the office of Priest :) I was pretty nervous, but the Lord (and the Branch President) guided me through it. :)
So for those of you who dont know, or who didnt remember (if so, shame on you) It is in fact, my 20th birthday today :) Yay!!!
Last night Elder Thomas and I celebrated by placing 20 candles on a very small loaf of chocolate orange cake (see picture) Neither of us had a lighter or matches, but we found a random box of candles in our flat. So how did we make the candles light? Lets just say a toaster can do more than just make toast ;)
Also, today our mission president called and wished me a happy birthday! I was in no way expecting it, but it was very nice of him :)
Highlight of the week: Giving a paranoid skitzephrenic drug dealer a preisthood blessing of comfort, and then watching ''Finding Faith in Christ'' with him :) Sound guy, really. Almost bought a Rolex off him for £20. Any-hoo...
February 14, 2011 is Valentines day, my birthday, and preparation day :) And tomorrow is zone conference. So what am I going to do? Buy myself a nice English Suit for cheap, and get a hair cut. Then, Elder Thomas is taking me to Red Hot World Buffet, and then we're going to watch Mulan at the Chapel with some other missionaries :) Tonight... I might just do the macarena to celebrate!
P-days rock.

Happy Valentines Day!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS Pictures!

#1. Epic photo of the week! ''And ye shall declare repentence unto my people...''

#2. Dews from heaven???

#3. Birthday cake!
4. The new Leeds Zone!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Week 15: Transfers! Staying in Leeds 5 area

Hello everyone!
The well awaited news is finally here! Arent you excited??? Can you really wait any longer??? I dont think so! I know I couldnt... So here it is!
I am staying in the Leeds 5 area!
Elder Pass has been called to be a district leader in the Sheffield 1 area, and will also follow up train while he is there!
My new companion/ follow up trainer is Elder P. Thomas, from... Er... The southern states! (Im not sure, because I wont meet him until tomorrow night. AND HE'S BLACK!!! How exciting is that?? There is also a really good chance I will be involved in a church produced missionary life documentary from the sounds of it, (surrounding the life of Elder Thomas as a missionary) but more info will follow on that within the following weeks :) I am so jubilantly excited!
So, dont worry, my address will be the same, you can send letters and even packages to my flat in Morley. You no longer need to send packages to the mission office address until time is nearing the next transfer date which will be within the middle of march. So I would say that if you'd like to send a package, you should send it to my flat until about Feb 20th, then send it to the mission office :)
Okie doke, now that that news is outta the way...
This final week with Elder Pass was a blast! I have learned so much from him while he has trained me, I only hope I will remember everything when I need to! He will be a fantastic district leader in Sheffield, though, and I am so excited for him!
We were able to schedule some new investigators for baptism (two Zimbabwean teenagers, Mona Lisa and Walter) and find a whole new teaching pool for me and Elder Thomas to help baptise! We also had our final district meeting, and zone lunch at Red Hot World Buffet once again :) It was scrumptious!
We also had a brand new weight set donated to our flat by a member! (Well, more like we are storing it in our flat until the member can buy a house to put it in, but it looks like that wont be for a while) So Im going to be pumping some major kilos for my morning work out everyday! I'll be sure to include some photos and how much I can bench press in next weeks email. ;) Woot Woot!

This weekend was a little boring. Elder Pass got food poisoning from a piece of frozen Chicken that we got from a member, which we later found out expired in October of 2009. We had to stay in for about a day and a half :-/ It was a bit boring, but I got some major letter writing done (It took me SO LONG to write 5 letters... I need to write less I think) and we watched a couple animated films (which we can do on our sick days). He's been better since, and has been back to work as of yesterday :) Yay!
So I didnt really take many photos in the past week, so I'm including some fun ones that I have taken thus far on my mission :) Hope you enjoy them!

Turrah til next week,
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS Anyone can email me. So please do! :) I love getting random emails from people. Especially the ''spur of the moment'' type ones (c) ;)