Monday, March 28, 2011

Week 23: Spring is Here!

Warm and lovely spring is here, everybody!
No offense, but I am so glad I'm not in Utah weather right now ;)

This past week has been great! I LOVE receiving answers to my prayers! It is so apparent in my life that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ truly do direct this work!

So, I spent a little bit too much time emailing family members, so unfortunately, this one's gonna be quick ;) Sorry!

I don't necessarily have any fun stories to tell at this time, so I'm going to tell of my past week's experience...
Our main goal (meaning mine and Elder Thomas) is to work towards getting Standards of Excellence every week, which I have found is quite difficult to do. For those of you who don't know, Standards of Excellence is a weekly achievement that teams can get if they get a certain number of hours finding, lessons taught, investigators at church, new investigators etc, and on average about 5-8 teams achieve this per week. While Elder Thomas and I have been working together, we have been blessed by the Lord to achieve this 5 consecutive weeks in a row, with getting it again this week. (Lets just say two weeks ago was a tough week for Leeds 5) Elder Thomas and I still don't know how we are doing it... but the Lord is seeing it fit to bless this wonderful area :) My testimony on Faith has increased so much as a result of my experiences this week. So, long story short, we plan basically everything out, new lessons, members are coming out with us, and everything. Then on each day, our plans would fall apart somehow. Members would cancel, investigators wouldn't show up, it was starting to look like a very unsuccessful week. But Elder Thomas and I knew that if we would keep trying our best, and if it was in the Lord's will, we would be able to achieve standards again. Eventually, Friday night came, and our situation was looking almost hopeless. Nevertheless, we did not lose faith. We planned for Saturday to be a jam-packed, yet productive day. Saturday came, and things still fell through. But then, people were calling us, asking us if we needed help, and most of our plans were not carried out, but through the help of the our investigators, the Leeds 5 branch, and most of all the Lord, we were able to make Saturday one of the most productive days of my mission, and make standards!

And then Sunday! Oh, Sunday... I had so many different opportunities and experiences to teach... I dare say Sunday was probably one of the most spiritual days of my life! I felt the spirit so much, and it made me so happy!

I love this work! I'm enjoying it more as each day passes!

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS Its Elder Thomas' birthday this Saturday on the 2nd of April. He's turning 20. If you'd like to wish him a happy birthday, please send it to his email at

PPS So first pic is from last p-day, when we cleaned our flat. We moved all of our furniture out of the way and DANCED BEFORE THE LORD WITH ALL OUR MIGHT! (Like David, in the bible)

Second pic is of the new recently changed Leeds Zone! (I cant believe Im going to be in my first area for at least 6 months!!)

Third Picture: Thought you might like this... This is the Russian family we are teaching! From left to right-Me, Yevgeni, Raxalana, Svetlana, Daniel, and Lutmila. I love this family so much!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Week 22: Russian Family

Hiya, all!

Hope y'all have been having a great week! Its really starting to warm up over here in England, which is very welcomed! Elder Thomas and I walked out of the flat, and at the same time stopped, and looked at each other, saying: 'What is this wonderful feeling?' and then we realized, it was a warm gust of wind! Something we both haven't felt since last year! (ha ha) it was wonderful! PS I love summer rains, so I'm pretty excited for the warm weather :)

This past week in Leeds 5 was a humbling one... Not humbling in the sense that we didn't do well, but humbling in the sense that we continue to realize how much the Lord truly does this work for us. Its really remarkable.

We've been meeting with a part-member family, the Barkers for a while now... We started seeing them in mid-January, in fact. On our first visit, Karen, the less active/ mother/ head of the household told us about her kids, Chris, Jess and Abby. Elder Pass and I asked if any of them would be interested in joining us for the lesson. She responded ''Hmm... Jess might, but definitely not Chris. He's an atheist and doesn't want anything to do with you.'' Since then we have been meeting with them at least once a week, and have developed a very good relationship with Chris. This previous week, Elder Thomas and I felt prompted to talk with him about baptism, to which he accepted! More recently, in our last appointment, we taught the word of wisdom and committed him to live it! We were so shocked, yet excited to see such ''a mighty change of heart'' within Chris, to have him now desire and set a goal to be baptised! What a miracle!
Also in this past week, we met with the Russian family. They speak OK english (enough to get basic points across) but due to the language barrier, it has been a very slow progression process. We were able to bring out a YSA from a distant ward named Ben, who actually got his mission call to Russia, and spent 10 and a half weeks learning the language in the Provo MTC. (5 days before he was supposed to go to Russia, he jumped out of his bunk bed in the MTC and tore his ACL and MCL, causing him to be sent home for surgery) Anyway, he came out with us, and was able to translate and progress the family more than me or either of my companions have been able to in the past few months! Ben is also currently teaching me a bit of Russian, and in a few weeks I should be able to speak enough to bare my testimony in Russian! I'm excited!
Well, that's just about all the news here in Leeds 5. Were getting stoked for conference in a few weeks! Aren't you?? WOOO! Go Monson!

Love, and a tin of biscuits,
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS I have officially given up Kebabs for the transfer. If I don't, they WILL be the death of me... lol
PPS Enjoy the photos!
Pic 1: Photo of what we call ''Street Contacting''

Pic 2: Me with and some of the members of Leeds 5 after ''Tea''

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Week 21: Again, again!

Hello everyone!
What a blessed week we had! Elder Thomas and I had such a wonderful experience!
Lets start off with some fantastic news first... For the second week in a row, Leeds 5 had yet another...
The baptism of Mr. Benjamin Bywaters went of without a hitch! It was such a blessing to see him progress and change his life in order to become a deciple of Jesus Christ! He was literally a golden investigator... We met with him for the first time about 3 weeks ago, and scheduled him for the 12th of March on the first visit, and look where he is now! Ben loves going to institute, and is already half way through reading the Book of Mormon! He is so so funny, and we were so blessed to see him enter into this covenant with the Lord!
I am emailing today (tuesday) because yesterday was transfer calls, and guess what!!! Elder Thomas and I are staying together for another transfer here in Leeds 5! That will make it 6 months total in Leeds 5 at the end of this upcoming transfer! No word on the camera crew coming down to film us... But I will let you know. If it happens, its bound to be an interesting experience... ha ha :)
Once again, the Lord saw it fit to give us the opportunity to get Standards of Excellence again! For the 5th week in a row! This past transfer was definately one of the greatest of my mission... Consistently getting standards while baptising is quite hard to accomplish in the Leeds mission, so we are feeling very blessed :)
Well thats about all I have to report on for the past week... Time to attach some epic photos!
Im loving my mission! The opportunity we have to help so many people recieve the gospel, while growing at an excellerated rate... What an amazing blessing! I am enjoying every minute of it!

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS I heard that my pictures from the last email did not go through, so I sent the ones from Sabeena and Antonio's baptism, as well as Ben's. Enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Week 20: Baptisms all over!

Hello my friends!
Wow, can you believe another week has past?? They just seem to fly by, dont they? Another week, another adventure to be had, right? :) I love serving as a missionary! I am learning so much, and Im growing faster than I'd ever thought possible! So first thing's first... The question you all probably have in your minds (if you've been keeping up on my emails and vaguely interested) and the answer to that question is...
Ba- ba- ba- BAPTISM!!!
Thats right folks! The baptism of Sabeena Ali (29) and her son Antonio Lawrence (9) went off perfectly! We couldnt have asked for a better service :) For those of you who dont know/remember, Sabeena and Antonio were actually my first ever investigators when I got into the field. As soon as I dropped off my bags at my new flat, we went to dinner at a member's home, and then went straight over to Sabeena's home and scheduled her for baptism! Now, four months later, I had the wonderful opportunity of witnessing their lives completely change as they accepted the gospel and became followers of Jesus Christ :) Not only that, but both Elder Thomas and I were asked to perform the acutal baptism! Elder Thomas baptised Antonio, and I baptised Sabeena :) It was truly a night that none of us will ever forget! (See pictures)
Well the exchange with Elder Stettler went really well, and we worked hard and had tons of fun :) Thats ha ha I dont think I took any pictures unfortunately :-/ Sorry!
More good news! Ben Bywaters has been interviewed for baptism, and is set and ready to go for his baptism this Satuday, March 12th, 2011! He is one of the most dilligent investigators I have ever met, and is already in Jacob in his Book of Mormon reading! He has a wonderful sense of humor, and is looking forward to a job in public services.
So, one more miracle to mention before I sign off... Sunday morning about and hour befor church started, Sabeena texts us saying that Antonio had been up all night feelin very poorly and throwing up and stuff. She was very concerned, and she new that they stil needed to get confirmed and recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost. So Elder Thomas and I went over to their house about 30 minutes before church started, and gave Antonio a health blessing. Needless to say, in accordance with Antonio's faith, the Lord saw it fit to heal him enough to gain the strength to attend church and recieve the greatest gift a person can recieve on this earth! WHAT A MIRACLE!

PS Its Mothers Day here in England this Sunday... So the England Leeds Mission thought we'd give our Moms a gift of song! Check out the North Zone video! (They put the taller guys in the back, so look out for me!)
Explanation of pictures number 3 and 4:
#3. Lets just say, we needed a ride to an appointment, and all of the seats were taken so... Lets just say Elder Thomas and I know what its like to be illegal aliens ;)
#4. Yeah. Thats right. I found the Liahona at President Lindley's house. Doesnt work though. It just kept spinning in circles over and over again...
Anyway, another epic week lies ahead, so wish us luck!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

DISCLAIMER: I couldn't open the pictures on the email this week. Sorry!