Monday, June 27, 2011

Week 36: "I feel the Book of Mormon is true."

Such words are music to any missionary's ears :)

Hiya everybody! I hope everything is going well for you!!

This past week was flipping amazing! Certainly the best week of Elder Dundee's mission, (Im so proud of him!) and certainly one of the best of mine :)

SO the question is... Where to begin. Hmm... Ah! I know!

Sanela! So this past weekend, I gave Elder Dundee full reign over the entire area, and gave him 'Senior Companion' status! Basically, it became time for him to make the decisions, decide whether to go left or right, here or there, where and when for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with the occaisional suggestion from myself. And, if I may be honest, he did Excetionally well! To start off with, we called up a former investigator who was being taught about 3 or 4 months ago, and set up an appointment. When we approached the door, a young girl answered, said ''Oh no.'' and then reluctantly yet immediately let us in. Our appointment was to teach Helena (the former investigator) but this young girl decided to sit in on the lesson. For about 10 minutes, she sat looking extremely awkward and really antzy (kinda like Logan Jones when he knows he is having fish for dinner) Before long, we finally asked her whats up and she responded with ''Did Elder Vitilano send you?'' ''No.'' Next question: ''... Ive got to quit smoking, dont I?'' Elder Dundee and I looked at eachother, shrugged, then looked back at her and said ''Yup.'' ''I know.'' She said. At this point, we had no idea what was her deal. So we asked her a few more questions, and found out her name was Sanela, and she was baptised about 18 months ago by Elder Vitilano (who went home about 3 months ago) and was super steady for about 8 months, until she moved to sheffield and left her friends/fellowshippers in the church. It all went downhill from there. The church lost contact with her, and had no idea where she was. As it turns out, Helena is her step-mom, and they've been living together back in Doncaster for about 4 months. We eventually started our lesson again, and at the end asked Helena if she would attend church on Sunday. She responded with ''I dont want to go to your church unless I know it is true.'' Now, normally, we would have resolved this concern on our own, but something prompted me to ask Sanela another question. ''Sanela,'' I said. ''Before you were baptised, did you pray to know if the Church of Jesus Christ was true?'' ''Yes.'' ''So, Sanela, what was the answer you recieved.?'' Though she paused for what seemed like an eternity, mine and Elder Dundee's faith in the answer she recieved never waivered, and we silently waited (AKA power paused). She looked at us, and then looked at Helena and said ''Its true. Its all true.''

Her answer followed with a confirmation of the spirit given to each person in that room. What a powerful appointment.

Nearing the end, we asked Sanela if she had any more ciggarettes in the home, and she said yes, and pointed to a pack about half empty (or half full, depending on your mood) We then asked if she would once again quit smoking, starting today and she said yes, and handed us the pack with almost EXTREME RELUCTANCY ha ha :) What a powerful appointment that was.

So... I only have about 10 minutes left, and I need to include some pictures this time, so Im gonna hurry with this next event:

Oto! Oto is a 16 year old Slovakian investigator was was also a former investigator that we found. Oto is going to college right now, and also training for boxing, so his schedule is very busy, so muchso that we can only visit him on Saturdays. Remarkibly, though, he has come to church consecutively for the past 5 Sundays! Its amazing to see such a young lad understand the importance of church attendance, regardless of the fact that he hardly knows anyone in the church. Not only that, but he has also consistenty brought friends along with him to church every sunday! Ah! He is so amazing. When we invite him to be baptised, however, his main concern is that his whole family is catholic (even thought they no longer attend) and how he doesnt want to disrespect his family by getting baptised into another church. Last week we asked him that if he recieved an answer that the Book of Mormon was true, if he would get baptised, and he said yes. We then committed him to read and pray about the book of mormon, and he did. The following appointment, we followed up and asked him if he hadrecieved an answer. ''I've prayed... And I feel that the Book of Mormon is true.''


So, that also made our day :) What blessings :)

In addition to that, the Lord also allowed us to accomplish Standards of Excellence again :) Yay!

Pictures! Quick!


Elder Gabriel G Spencer

#1 Elder Dundee invited someone to be baptised, and they accepted! KeBaptism! (First Kebab ever)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Week 35: Czeck

Hiya everybody! I dont have a whole lotta time now, so Im going to make it quick!
Fathers day was great over here! My son (my trainee) got me a tie for it :) ha ha
Here's a very happy shoutout to all the Dads out there... Cheers! Thank you for all you do! Now go take a nap, you've earned it ;)
So! Right along with this past week... Miracles in the face of adversity! I love it when that happens! Maybe not the adversity part... But its still great!
So, a little background story, we were teaching this huge family (Called the Miroslav family) all from the Czeck Republic, who had been in the country for about a year. None of them really spoke a whole lot of english, but with the gift of tongues (and the first three lessons in pamphlets in Czeck and English) we were able to progress one member of the family, Olga, towards a solid baptism date! Things were looking great! She had been attending church for about 4 weeks in a row, and agreed with the Church's 'kinyestvi' (priesthood authority) and zna voozeziseni (gospel restoration). I even started to learn a little bit of their language! Anyway, it was about a week before her baptism, and with rising opposition from her catholic friends and some unsuppotive members of her family, combined with the stress of quitting smoking and drinking coffee, she dropped us. Telling us she would still read the B of M on her own, but when she wanted us to come back, she would call us. We were devistated. I was heartbroken. She was so excited and so close, and then just gave up like that. Not only her, but her whole family who we were teaching dropped us as well, a whole 8 people. We were pretty distraught.
But, the Lord has a plan for everything... We still had a whole lot of extra czeck stuff that we could no longer use. So, the next day, Elder Dundee and I felt prompted to try some knocking in a more 'posh' (wealthy) area. The missionaries had tried knocking in the same area many times before with little to no success. But our faith was strong. We knocked 4 different streets for 3 hours straight, with the faith that we would find investigators to teach. We also found NO success at all while knocking. However, there was this man who had just walked bpassed us on the street, whom I saw, chased down and scheduled a return appointment. He set it up for tuesday, and we went and met with him that day. He, and his whole family, are from the Czeck republic!!! And they became new investigators and agreed to all come to church (all ten of them!) Talk about a miracle!!!!
So, long story short, this past week rocked. Doncaster was blessed to get Standards of Excellence again.
Ah! 1 minute lest on the computer! Gotta go!

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week 34:My Son is a Stud!

Hello America!
How are you doing? How's the weather over there? Good I hope :) Its been kinda rainy over here...
Elder Dundee and I have had such a progressive week! We have been so blessed with many opportunities to teach new invertigators, and schedule two of them for baptism!!! Which is made even better, because both scheduled investigators are member referrals, which means they are at least 10 times more likely to be baptised!!
The first is James (21) James lived in missouri for a summer, teaching football (soccer) to youth and living with an LDS family. One week, he decided to be polite and attend their church with them. His brother, Tom (22), also worked in the states (texas) and coached football while living with a different LDS family. He attended church many times while there, and was eventually baptised. Following his baptism, he and his brother moved back to Doncaster. Tom wanted to see if church was the same in England, so he came to church with his older brother. He attended three weeks in a row before we could finally grab him and set up a return appointment, which was set for this past wednesday. Tom was also invited to come along (of course). At the end of teaching the restoration, we invited James to be baptised , to which he accepted! And he is now set and ready to be baptised in July! He is so prepared (one of the few investigators that doesnt smoke, and he stopped drinking when his brother got baptised) and we are very very excited for him!
The second is Rachel (31). Rachel is a single mom, who recently moved back to Doncaster from London. While she was there, she was visited by the sister missionaries for about 3 or so months and taught basically everything there is to teach. She then moved back to her family here in Doncaster, where her sister who is a member referred her to be taught. We got to know here, and were surprised at the amount of knowledge she had about the gospel! When we asked her if she had already set a baptism date with the Sisters in London, she said yes, but it hadnt worked out because of her problem with smoking. So now we know where we stand. Rachel will stop smoking, and also baptised in July! Yay!!
I have to make an apology for you now... I, unfortunately, was so preoccupied with work this past week, that I forgot to take any new pictures... Sorry! However, I promise I will make up for it this next week!
Please pray for miracles in the Doncaster area once again! We very much need them!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

Monday, June 6, 2011

Week 33: A Swedish Chef

Hej (hey)! Everyone! (Thats how you say hello in swedish)

I bet by now you are wondering first off, who my new companion is and second, why Im using all of these Swedish references? Well, believe it or not, they are related!
My new companion/baby boy is Elder Samuel 'Crocodile' Dundee, from Gothemburg, Sweden!
Thats right! My first non-American companion! I was so stoked! His ancestors are from Scotland, Holland, and mainly Sweden, and he is a powerful missionary. But wait, it gets better! English is his second language! And on top of that, he is a professional Chef!!
I've already partaken of some of his cooking... We had fajitas for lunch on friday, and it was delicous!! Quite literally, the best food cooked by a missionary that I have ever had :) If you cant tell, I am very excited about this new transfer.
Traning is a-whole-nother thing in itself. I will constantly get flashbacks of when I was a new missionary, and the confusion and doubts and questions that I had in my mind (sometimes I still feel like a new missionary) But thankfully, Elder Dundee is a very hard worker, and is eager to improve his ability to teach and progress investigators. Oh and did I mention he loves to cook? Yeah, I approve ;)
His english is very good, but occaisionally I will need to help him with a word or two, which his remembers very quickly for the next time.
I will admit, this new resposibillity that the Lord has given me to train will not make my mission experience any easier, but I know that the Lord has everything planned and will help me whenever I need it. I might not know how to train a new missionary, but the Lord does. As long as I ask him for help and stay obedient, things will work out :)
Oh, and one more thing, I figured I needed to help start Elder Dundee's mission off with a 'bang', so I decided I would pray extra fervently, asking the Lord to help us get standards for his first week here. And you know what? He did! Elder Dundee was blessed to get Standards of Excellence within his first 5 days in the missionfield! Yay!

So, long story short, Elder Dundee only had about 30 minutes to email, and I'd feel really bad if I made him wait 30 minutes while I finish, so my son and I are going to head over to Sheffield now and play some sports with the other missionaries, where he will meet his grandpa, Elder Pass for the first time :)
Or hei-du in Swedish! (That means good-bye!)
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS Pictures!
#1. Both my MTC companion Elder Gravalese AND my 'Step-dad' (follow-up trainer) Elder Thomas are training new missionaries this transfer as well! Im so proud!
#2. President and Sister Lindley, and my new baby boy, Elder Dundee!
#3. The ceremonial 'Passing down of the lineage tie' From father to son. 6 generations of greatness!

#4. Most of my MTC group that went to the England Leeds Mission (we were a mission of about 4 people)