Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Week 32: Trainer in Training

Hello everyone!
I hope you all are having a warm and exciting Summer! Its so great to continue getting emails and especially letters of encouragement from you, so thank you for that! It really helps!
So this past week has been a blast... Quite possibly the busiest and most productive week Ive had thus far on my mission. On Sunday, Elder Jestice and I came up with an EPIC action plan for our week, which was to have 14 lessons with a member present in the week (which can be quite difficult to attain) the required minimum number is 8 member present lessons to make standards of excellence. We planned on achieving this by having a member out with us during the day, for every day of the week, and going on splits three times. Our amazing ward mission leader, Brother Broadbent, had work off, and volunteered his time and his vehicle for one full day of work for us (and took us out to both lunch AND dinner!) and at least two nights, which was a HUGE help! In a single day, we were blessed to have 8 lessons with a member present, and 6 on the following day. By the end of the week, we had achieved 16 member present lessons, which was amazing! Doncaster is truly blessed to have such willing and hard working members :) Having a car certainly helped though, which was a major factor in our success. There is also talk of Doncaster either getting a car, or moving to a new flat closer to the church, since the current one is way out in the boonies :)
So, as a result of having such great members (and a car for a day) Doncaster was once again blessed with achieving Standards of Excellence :) The Lord is just pouring out blessings to this wonderful area :) And Im loving it!!!
So... by this time, you're probably saying to yourself ''Well, thats just dandy Elder Spencer, but not the big news I was looking for!'' Well, I will not leave you dissappointed! So this week is transfers... and last night Elder Jestice and I were invited to spend the night at our district leader's flat to celebrate transfer calls with another team (one of the funnest experiences ever on my mission!)
And for some absolutely crazy reason, I get a call from President Lindley saying ''Elder Spencer, after being prompted by the spirit I have been impressed to assign you to train a new missionary in Doncaster.'' I was shocked. Stocked, but also shocked. So, as they say here in the England Leeds Mission: ''Im having a baby boy!'' and I am SO excited! I am truly honoured, and I feel like I have no idea how to properly train a missionary, but obviously the Lord had something special planned :) I dont know who I will be training yet, but from what my sources at the England MTC tell me, all of the missionaries going to the England Leeds Mission this week are European! That means none from America! Not only that, but other missionaries who will be training include Elder Thomas, my old companion (who is training again!) and Elder Gravalese (my MTC companion!) I am so excited to see them at transfer meeting, and I am so pleased that they will be experiencing some of the same things I will be ha ha :) IM SO EXCITED!! But I must request... please pray for me and my new son to find success and baptise... I dont really know how to train someone, but I know the Lord will help me :) I am always in His hands :)
I love this work! I love the Lord! And I love being a missionary, serving the people of England with all of my heart, might mind and strength! What a blessing I have!

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
(Trainer, in training)

PS Pictures!
#1. Epic Photo of the week. On top of a 100 year old water fountain.
#2. The only public water fountain I HAVE EVER FOUND in England (Rotheram Bus station)

#3. Funnest night of my mission to date :) Rotheram Flat, transfer night.

#4. Last night's beautiful sunset.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Week 31: Miracles all over the place!

Hello everyone!
Wow, I just dont know how else to start this email, other than by saying I AM SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW! I just had to say something :) To begin, thank you all so very much for your prayers for me and for this mission for the past week. They really, truly worked. Elder Jestice and I were able to witness one of the most successful weeks we've ever had! Miracle after miracle, after miracle! My testimony has grown as a result of so many wonderful things happening throughout the week!
The only problem is... Where to begin...
Got it!
Okay so first! The week before this last one, we were street contacting in a more migrant influnced part of Doncaster called Hyde Park, and we ran into this man named Miroslav, from the Czeck Republic. He only spoke a little bit of Enlish, but from what we were able to communicate, he desired to learn more about Jesus Christ, and invited us over to him home to teach him the following week. On this past Tuesday, we were able to see him again, and he introduced us to his family, all will similar knowledge of the English language. It was clear to us at that point that the main concern with this family was the language barrier. Thankfully, however, we were blessed to find some Czeck Plan of Salvation and Restoration pamphlets in our flat. Before we went in for our second appointment on Saturday, we said a prayer, asking for help and pleading for the spirit to testify of truth. We went in and tried our best to teach this family the Restoration as simply as we could, but with little success. Then the thought came to me to use the pamphlets! So I handed the mother of the family (Olga) the pamphlet and asked her to read it out loud for her family. She did, and the family listened intently as she spoke of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. The spirit was strong, and Elder Jestice and I felt it was the time to invite them to be baptised, which we did. The family (about 6 of them) being Catholic, obviously had some questions, which we answered. But by the end of the lesson, we were blessed to have been able to schedule 3 of them for baptism!!! The others, including Miroslav himself, said that they would ponder and pray about the things they had learned :) What a blessing!
Not only that, but we were also able to schedule two more people for baptism in the month of June! Holly (20, Enlish) and Andrew (25, Russian) It is always so much fun to teach Russians, because whenever I do, I always learn more of their language! Most recently, in fact, I have learned how to bare my testimony in russion, carry on a small conversation, and ask simply questions, such as ''Do you believe in God'' or ''Would you like to learn more about Jesus Christ''. I have learned so much Russian, in fact, that after English and Spanish, I can honestly sat that Russian is now my next best language! ''Ya gavaru nem noska Ruskie!'' (I know a little bit of Russian!'')

Another wonderful piece of news I would like to share, is that due to your wonderful prayers for me and for the Mission, the Lord has yet again blessed Doncaster with getting Standards of Excellence! Thank you so much for your help!

Please continue praying for missionary work, it really truly helps!


Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS Pictures!
#1: Elder Jesticer and I found 4 ''Carling'' pint glasses outside of our church, and so we decided to give them a home (our flat) wash them, and use them!

#2: Apparently I own a plumbing business...
#3. Elder Jestice got a nice picture of me talking to someone in England called a ''Chav''

#4: Its true!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Week 30: Joseph Smith at Zone Conference

Hello family and friends!
This past week has certainly been a week to remember... So many exciting things happened :)
First off... We had Zone Conference! Zone Conference occurs about every 3 months, where the north zones and the south zones in the mission meet together on their respective days, and receive instruction/inspiration from our beloved mission president! Now that I am in Doncaster, I got to go to the South Zones Conference. It is always such a blessing to be able to receive greater knowledge from a greater source, and the spirit is always so present and SO strong! I love it! However, this past ZC was slightly different from probably any other that will ever attend... You see, for some odd reason, our mission president's wife, Sister Lindley, called me up a week before the conference and asked me if I would be willing to sing a solo and act a part as part of the program. Flabbergasted, I accepted. A week later I was acting out the part of Joseph Smith and singing ''Joseph Smith's First Prayer'' to all of the missionaries in the South half of the England Leeds Mission. Was I nervous? Nah. Was I honored to be able to have such an opportunity? Definitely. Has it been a while since I've felt the adrenaline rush of a performance, and as a result my legs started to shake a bit? Maybe Most of all, was the spirit present? I sure hope/think so, which is all that matters! Sister Lindley used to work on the costuming for some of the Church films, and was actually able to dress me up in authentic Joseph Smith Costuming, which the actor himself likely wore :) (I know you are probably really wondering how it looked on me, so I figured I'd better send a photo)

Next epic thing to happen...
This past Sunday evening, Elder Jestice and I had the opportunity to attend a Roman Catholic Mass by two of our investigators. It was not my first time at a Catholic Mass, but it was definitely a good experience nonetheless. To be honest, I was able to feel faint feelings of the spirit while they were talking about Jesus Christ and his apostles, until they started the communion. It kinda just stopped. When they finished the communion, they once again started talking about Jesus Christ, to which the Spirit was able to faintly testify of truth again. I thought that was quite an interesting experience :) After the service, we were about to leave, when I asked our investigators if it were possible to meet the parish priest and thank him for the service. Of course, they agreed, and we were able to meet with Father Gus O'Reiley. We thanked him for the service, asked him a few more questions about their traditions, and finally, as a token of our gratitude, gave him the sacred Book of Mormon to ''Add to his library, and answer any questions he may have''. To which he graciously accepted. I'm quite certain that had I not been a missionary at this time in my life, I would have never been able to give a Book of Mormon to a Catholic priest, in his own church, about 15 minutes after the service :)

I love my mission! I am enjoying life, striving to not only work hard, but work smart! Every day is a new, wonderful opportunity to change lives, and to even see miracles!

Enjoy your week, everyone, and if you could, please pray for miracles this week for the England Leeds Mission :)


Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
Pic number one: Elder Spencer cant seem to escape the life of a performer, even in England ha ha :)

Pic number two: Elder Spencer with a Joseph Smith profile photo

Pic number three: Fact: Jesus Loves all ;)

Pic number four: One of the Catholic churches in Doncaster

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Week 29: Standards of Excellence in Doncaster

Hello, and happy Mothers Day to you!
Here's a specific shoutout to all mothers out there... Thank you for all you do! We love you! We Care about you! Without you... None of us would be here! :)
This week was certainly a blast! I loved it! The Lord blessed Doncaster with SO MUCH SUCCESS! Even early in the week, we were able to see many wonderful miracles happen! To start by Tuesday of this past week, we had two completely new investigators scheduled for baptism within the first lesson! One was a 16 year old slovakian boy named Oto, and the other was an English guy named John (24). Both of them expressed a desire to be baptised and are taking the lessons well! Oto had met with the missionaries about a year before, but from what we gathered, one of those missionaries had transferred and then they just stopped coming. What a testifier of how if one person cannot further the work with how the Lord intends, he will simply find another! I feel humbled and blessed to be involved in teaching him and continuing that work :)
John is an unemployed laborer, who is one of the quietest guys I have ever met :) We met him while trying to meet with a former investigator who is his flatmate. When we were talking to him on his doorstep, the Lord gave me a vision of us tossing a frisbee with John in a nearby park and getting to know him. Luckily, I just happened to be carrying a frisbee at that time :) So thats what we did! I said to him ''Hey John, do you wanna come over to this park with us and play frisbee?'' He replied ''Sure.'' And so we did! He really started to open up at that point. I think the trick with John is that the more we teach him outside of his house, the better :) For the following lesson a couple of weeks later, we took him to have tea (dinner) with us at a nearby fish n chip shop, which he really enjoyed. He's still very quiet and reserved, but slowly and surely, he is opening up :)
Ah! Also, before I forget, I have two wonderful peices of new to tell you!
#1. Sister Lindley (mission president's wife) has asked me to sing a solo of 'Joseph Smith's First Prayer' in front of all the missionaries at Zone Conference this wednesday, while dressed up like the prophet himself :) Pray that I'll sound decent lol
#2. For the first time in about 8 months, the beloved area of Doncaster has made Standards of Excellence! (Which is attained when a companionship reaches a set of high goals set by the mission president) We were stoked, but humbled :) We certainly couldnt do it without the Lord :)
So, I've only got a few minutes, so Im going to upload some pictures of my mission lineage (my trainer, and my trainer's trainer, who is now an assistant to the president) and a few pictures of England!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Week 28: "Whatever you guys preach, I'll practice!"

Great news, everyone!

Im pretty sure you already know anyway, and I was surprised at how fast the news spread in the mission over here :) At about 10am monday morning our Zone Leaders sent out an answerphone message saying:
''Great world news! They found Osama Bin Laden! And they shot him, and killed him!''
Ha ha so that was pretty funny :)

What a week we had over here in Doncaster! We were able to see many miracles take place!
Neat experience of the week: We recieved a call from the Mission Office for a referral from the Manchester Mission, in which we were supposed to visit this woman in a nearby area. The missionaries who had found this woman, gracefully scheduled an appointment for us to meet with her on saturday, and listed it in the referral. We went by the home,and no one was there :( So we turned around and began to walk to another potential's home. As we were exiting the street, a group of Jahova's Witnesses turned the corner onto our street, saw us, and then turned around and went the other direction (score on for the good guys) as Elder Jestice and I were about to leave the street, the thought occurred in my head ''Wait, if the JWs were about to knock this street, that means they probably havent done it in a while. Which means that this street is ripe for some knocking! And thats just what we did! We knocked and knocked, with hardly any success, until we knocked a couple houses away from our referral's home, and noticed that there was a car there that wasnt before :) And so we decided to try the home again. There was a man who answered, and when we asked for the referral, Louise Wright, he said she'd left about 8 months ago. After talking to him for a while, we later found out that Louise was his ex-wife, who had left him in July and went to Manchester. Since then, this guys life had hit rock bottom. He's been hurting for quite some time, and didnt know where to turn. He literally told us that it was no coincidence that we had met up with him at that time in his life, because he had been thinking of going to a church, but thought he might have felt guilty about forgetting God all throughout his life and then turning to him now. We assured him that he would be more than welcome to come to church, and in the same appointment, we invited him to be baptised, to which he replied: ''Of course! Whatever you guys preach, I'll practice!''

Talk about a prepared man :)

We also had a Ward Spring Party on saturday, in which we had several of our investigators and less actives attend :) It was a hit! Especially the bouncy castle part (see first photo) The party was complete with great food, volleyball, and football (soccer)

While knocking, we also found a peculiar garden ornament that was literally in someone's yard... (see second photo)

Last but not least... We were helping some of our investigators move their stuff on wednesday (see movie) :) Lets just say, I wont be allowed to carry the fragile objects anymore...

Anyway, gotta go! Enjoy your mothers day!

Elder Gabriel Spencer