Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Week 27: Doncaster and Elder Jestice

Hello friends and family! And happy Royal Wedding to you as well!

So before I came to England for my mission, I had an idea of what the areas I would be serving at looked like... Leeds was kinda near to what I was expecting... But Doncaster hit it right on the money. Squashed houses, large open fields, HUGE areas to travel to, some of which take at least an hour by bus... Yup :) Time to roll up my sleeves and get to work I'd say :)

Church was great! Doncaster is an actual ward, with many people in attendance, and the Bishop (Bishop Dewey) is a star!

However, the work here has been going slow, prior to my arrival... With seldom investigators attending church, and even less getting baptised, its time for a great big turn around... And there is simply no way Im going to accept anything less than what the Lord has set for us to do, and that is first achieving standards of excellence as soon as possible. From what I hear, that hasnt happened in Doncaster for about 6-8- months. That will change as well :)

Elder Jestice is my new companion, and he's great! He is from Pleasant Grove, UT, and he actually went to BYU with me, and took some of the same classes, as well as had some of the same close friends! Small world, eh? We are actually positive we have met sometime previous to our missions... Which is pretty interesting :) He is the 2nd youngest in his family, and has been serving in Doncaster for the past 3 months. Im excited to see what miracles we will witness together! (And no doubt, baptisms of course!)
Well, Im going to have to apologize, because Im going to have to cut this email short :-/ I dont have proof of my new address yet, so I only got half and hour today on the computer at the local library. Maybe next week they'll give me a card ;)

I love this work, and Im a bit nervous... But my confidence is strong with the Lord, and I am thankful for the fact that whatever I lack, he will make up for in order to lead this area into greatness!

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS Pictures!
#1. Funny advert in the Local paper :)
#2 Another funny advert. So true...
#3 My last photo with the great and powerful Elder Thomas :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Week 26: Double Baptisms and Transfers!

Hello everybody!!
Guess what?? I'm leaving Leeds! It was transfer calls last week, and if you couldn't already tell by the subject line, I have been transferred! I have been assigned to labor in the Doncaster area, which is in the Sheffield Zone of the mission! My new companion is Elder Jestice, whom I have heard hardly anything about... But I'm sure he is amazing! I am truly going to miss Elder Thomas though... These past two transfers with him have been some of the most fun and most fulfilling times of my entire life! But he is moving on to bigger and better things... As he trains a brand-spankin-new Elder who will be taking my place! Ah! I am so so so excited for him :) He is such a star, and I will never forget the miracles that we were able to be a part of :)

Please send all letters to:
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
55 Laneham Close
Bessacarr, Doncaster
England DN4 7HX
Please continue to send all packages to the mission office address.

Another guess what! Even more big big BIG news!!

That's right, folks! To finish my last week in the blessed area of Leeds 5, Elder Thomas and I had the blessing of assisting the Lord with the baptism of Damien Yates (21, first picture) and Christian Barker (22, second picture)!
The past week was completely jam-packed with daily visits of these two wonderful men. They didn't really know each other or anything, their baptisms just happened to land on the same day :)

Damien was found street contacting about 4 weeks ago by Elder Thomas, and had a miraculous experience after our first appointment with him of the power of Jesus Christ's atonement, wherein he was able to seek forgiveness on some regrets that he had, and he literally felt the burdens lifted from him following his prayer! He has a daughter, Scarlet, who is 3 (and btw she wins the #1 cutest baby award for Leeds) and a girlfriend, who we are also teaching :) It is truly amazing to be a witness of the full process of the purifying power of the Holy Ghost in a person who was so lost in a life of drugs and deceit. Talk about a total change of heart!

Chris is a member of a part member family, in which his mother was baptised at 16 (she's now 50 and has been inactive for many years). Our first visit to his house was originally to reactivate his mother. Chris was in the house, but did not want any part of the church. He was an adamant atheist, to which his mother said ''There is no way you'd get him to come to church''. The miracle in this conversion was that he slowly but surely started to form a relationship with us. Every time we'd see him we'd say ''Alright Chris, ask us any question about the church. Try and stump us!'' To which he would reply with a question. Eventually, he began to trust us, which made him more willing to listen. He tried out keeping the commandment and as Alma said, the seed he planted blossomed into a testimony (Alma 32). Chris is now excited and ready to start his new life as a disciple of Jesus Christ!

Well, that's our week. I'm a little anxious to see how the next 48 hours unfold, but I know I really have nothing to fear. Although I am excited to move to a new area, I am truly going to miss the Leeds 5 branch. The members have truly made this work so much more enjoyable for me and my companions.
I love this work! Miracles happen every day! Accelerated growth! Adventures! Blessings galore! And all this is possible if we but have ''an eye single to the glory of God'' which ''qualify [us] for the work''!
If I may ask a small favor, I would love it if you could pray for me to learn the things that I need to learn this transfer as a missionary in the Lord's kingdom. Thank you!


Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS Bonus pictures! So I was over at Alan and Nicola's home (eternal investigators) and I used their toilet (what Americans might call, the bathroom) and as I looked into the linen closet for a towel, I found an original power rangers bed sheet! I was so excited when I found it that Nicola said I could have it! Score! ''Go! Go! Power rangers!'' And for those of you who might find this a bit ''childish''... Its the small things that can really make us happy okay? Don't judge :P You're just jealous anyway...
Last picture! The Leeds 1 District outside of a very delicious Chinese restaurant after district lunch! Yum!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Week 25: Four new baptisms set!

Hello every one!!
Guess what! Its that time of year! The time between April and October conference that missionaries in the England Leeds mission can work without their suit coats! Isn't that exciting?? Well... now that I think about it... That's about as exciting as sliced bread... Well, lets just say its getting to be really hot now, and we are very thankful for the change :) See first picture!

PS, conference was amazing, was it not? Just thought I'd put that out there :)
So! Exciting things happened this week! I went on exchange again! This time with Elder Nicholas, from Dallas, Texas! Can I just say how fun and refreshing it is to work in the University area?? A lot! Its so nice to actually talk to people my own age... And it really does make street contacting a blast :) Now don't get me wrong.. Morley is great... But there are only so many old pensioners you can talk to about growing up around the war (especially when you're trying to invite them to be baptised!)
We had interviews with the mission president again! That was fun. I was able to ask him a lot of interesting and informative questions... (Epic side note, President Lindley has actually been inside the church vault and held the very papyrus scroll that Abraham wrote facsimile #2 on! I know, crazy, right??)
We were able to have a powerful week! The Lord blessed us with the opportunity to schedule four different people for baptism! Which is quite the blessing! Not only that, but our old friend Gareth (former investigator/drug dealer with a heart of gold/Jesus Christ enthusiast) came out of nowhere, after his dad told us he had been put away! Now I don't know if he escaped of not... But hey! He loves having us over! He even fed us fish and chips, and came to church yesterday! He is definitely one of the nicest people in England I have ever met :)
Well, this next week is bound to be another blessed week of epic proportions! Just you wait!
Gotta go! Enjoy the pictures!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS Special shout out to Josh! Good luck on your midterms! I'll be praying for you!

PPS Another special shout out! Ms. Karstin Lake, you're a star! In case my letter doesn't come to you soon enough, kick butt on your recital this Wednesday! You've practiced hard, and you're going to nail it! My prayers will be with you! (and so will my mom and dad, apparently ha ha) Break a leg! (not a finger)

PPPS One last shout out to Dahveed! Good luck with your intramural championship! Oh yeah, and finals too, I guess. But those are no big deal. Kick butt, bro!

PPPPS Last photo! You wont believe it... We found Elder Thomas's long lost son!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Week 24: April General Conference

Hello everyone!
I gotta be quick, the Leeds teams are callin us to play basketball!
This past week was full of new and interesting opportunities!! We had a Sihk party at the church on Wednesday! There was some well good Indian food present as well :) Yum! Elder Thomas and I had been teaching a family of Sihks for about two weeks, and we were able to help them have a bithday party which was held at the church building! (See first and second picture) Sihks are kind of a branch off of Hinduism, and they NEVER cut their hair! What a great family!

It was Elder Thomas's birthday on Saturday, April 2nd! He really really enjoyed it : ) We first celebrated at a member family's home (The McCann Family, one of the best! See third picture) And then the next day we went over to a part-member families home and had fried chicken and birthday cake! Afterward, at about 5pm England time, we were able to watch the Saturday morning session of conference with them! What a unique experience!

Conference was so great! We were able to help so many of our investigators come to church! At the request of Ms. Karstin Lake, here were the times to watch the sessions in England
Saturday Morning Session: Saturday, 5pm England Time (Live broadcast)
Saturday Afternoon Session: Sunday, 1pm England Time
Preisthood Session: Sunday, 10am England Time
Sunday Morning Session: Sunday, 5pm England Time (Live broadcast)
Sunday Afternoon Session: Sunday, 9pm England Time (Live broadcast)

Fortunately, Elder Thomas and I were able to watch all of the Saturday Sessions, and President Monsens talk on temples during the Sunday morning session :) We very much enjoyed it, because we watched that talk while in the home of a less-active. After watching that talk together, we were able to invite and commit Luke Evans to work towards becoming worthy to attend the temple in May! It was so inspired!

Ah! Leeds 2 and Leeds 4 are calling us! Gotta go!

I love this work! Everyday is such a blessing to be a full time missionary in the Lord's service!

Love, heart and music,
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS Transfers are April 20th! Any predictions??