Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 40: Exchanges with Elder Pass

Hello everybody! I hope you are all doing well!

This past week has gone by SOOO FAST!!! Eler Dundee and I were certainly kept busy ;) First off, I had my first district meeting! It went super well! I even had one of the sisters in my district tell me afterward that it was her favourite one she's ever been to! So that was good news :)

This past week, right after district meeting, I went on my first exchange with the newest Sheffield Zone leader, Elder Pass! Thats right! The good ol' Pass and Spencer team was back together, after 6 months of inactivity! It was such a blast to work with my trainer again, and to learn some news tips and tricks as well! This was one of the most effective finding weeks of Doncaster since Ive been here! We found 3 different families! (1 Slovakian, and 2 English) and we are so excited to help them progress to the waters of baptism! Also, while we were doing some finding, I ran across this Russian man, and had a whole conversation with him in russian! He wasnt interested, but I asked him if there were any more russians living around, and he pointed us to a house that is absolutely full of Russians! about 15 or 20 of them in this shared housing complex! AH! I AM SO EXCITED! Ya gavaru nem noshka ruskie, yaz uznayu jesues kristus lubet nas! Woot!

Well, Ive gotta go, sorry! Not enough time for pictures... But I will send some great ones next week! Promise!

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS Next baptism, James in 2 weeks! More news to follow next week!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week 39: It's Transfers Again!

You guessed it, its that time again! Transfer week has again, come and gone, with little news to be said.
The good news! Elder Dundee and I are staying together for at least 6 more weeks! Woo!
The bad news... Our district leader (Elder Webb) has been called up to be a Zone Leader! And the whole district is changing! Out of everyone in the district, only me, Elder Dundee and another Elder remain. Which means we get a new district leader, a new team, and pretty much a whole new district! Wish us luck!
Aside from that, not much else has happened this past week. We went to an investigators home on Saturday (who hadn't celebrated her birthday in literally 40 years) and brought her a cake, some candles, and a card which Elder Dundee and I signed and gave to her. She loved it! And you could just tell she really appreciated knowing that someone had cared about her :)
Oh yeah, I've also been called as a district leader for this new transfer, which was a surprise. President Lindley called me up and told me that he feels I know how to successfully progress investigators to baptism, and that he would like me to help other teams develop that skill. I was honored and humbled to receive such a calling, and I'm excited to see how the Lord will help me to stretch and grow in order to help the teams I serve stretch and grow. I have only been serving as a district leader for about 4 days now, and I have already found there is so much more that a district leader does than what I originally thought. There is planning, praying, preparing, practising, analysing, studying, communicating, and listening skills which I will certainly HAVE TO GAIN in order to be successful not only for myself and the Doncaster area, but also for the missionary teams within the Doncaster district. So... Lets just say I am fervently praying that the Lord will be patient with me with my weaknesses as a leader, and I will see growth as a result. But I have already had so much fun!! I love working with my teams, and Im so excited that I get to extend my service to beyond my individual area!
So... There's my week. At transfers, all of the Elders that went through the MTC with me in Preston, England were all present at the transfer meeting, which happens very rarely, so we got a picture! (See pic number 1)

Also this week, it really poured down for the first time in about 8 weeks (and when I say poured down I mean monsoon weather!) England definitely needed it! (See pic number 2)
And finally, the epic picture of the week, me standing next to a fountain in Sheffield (See pic number 3)
Pray for Oto! Our 16 year old investigator! And pray that I will always be the leader the Lord needs me to be!
Love, and Jelly Babies (british sweets)
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS I promise there will be greaters news to tell this upcoming monday!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Week 38: Adventure

Hi-yup, everyone! (another british greeting I have started using)
What a wonderful week we have seen! And what a great tranfer for Elder Dundee to learn from!
Thats right, its finally the end of another great and marvelous transfer! And I have some great news! Elder Dundee and I are staying together for at least 6 more weeks! We are very pleased about it.
I hope everyone had a great 4th of July Party!! Full of fireworks and food and fun! I sure did :) And what better way to celebrate America winning against England than catching a sheep by participating in ''The Great Missionary Sheep Hunt'' with the amazing Sheffield Zone missionaries! For P-day, we went down to ''The Peak District'' which is a national Park in South Yorkshire, England. And in this park about a dozen or so missionaries strategized and chased down a whole flock of Sheep down these huge, rolling hills... Finally, after about an hour and a half of sheep chasing, I caught a sheep! (Believe it or not, catching a sheep was actually one of my goals of things to do while on my mission). It was so much fun and about 4 of us were able to recieve the honor of catching a sheep :O) Mission highlight? I think so ;)
This past week, I went on exchange to a nearby area, and Elder Dundee took over Doncaster for a day :) Traveled to Rotherham, our former District Leader's area. While I was there, we went to an appointment with a potential investigator named Tabia, from Zimbabwe. We got there taught our lesson, and just before we were about to leave she said ''I thought it would be nice to cook you something, so Im making you the traditional meal of my country: Satza.
So we stayed, and we ate... With our hands (which was actually quite a nice change) So, long story short, I ate it all, (a meal complete with boiled fish, seaweed and cabbage, and some wierd white stuff that looks like mashed potatoes, but is far from it) and smiled all the way through. When we were finished, we thanked her for the meal, and set up a time to come by again and teach her. By the time I go out though, I wanted to throw up. Not because it was cooked wrong, by any means, but simply because of the memory of what I just ate, how it smelled, and the fact that it was digesting inside of me. Im thankful for our investigators kindness, and the experience of having a truly african meal, but I hope I never have to experience that again ha ha :)
Expect many miracles this week! My times just about up, so Im gonna sign off. God bless! Hope all is well!

Elder Spencer

PS A very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my good friend, Ms. Karstin Lake! She turns 20 this week!
Have lots of fun at 6 flags! And lots of cake!

Pic#1: In the middle, Dalton, my sheep, and on the left Elder Pass (my trainer) and on the right Elder Dundee (my trainee)

Pic#2: My ''brother of Jared'' pose, overlooking the peak district.

Pic#3: The Satza I ate, from Zimbabwe

Pic#4: Epic photo of the week.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Week 37: Happy Birthday, America!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!
Ha ha, are you surprised that I remembered? Elder Dundee actually reminded me... This morning, during personal study he asked ''What day is this?'' I replied, looking at the calendar and completely missing the 'Independence Day' label: ''Its the fourth.'' ''Ah. Only ten more days, and then you can celebrate your counties day of Independence.'' (thats when it hit me.) ''Oh! HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY, ENGLAND!'' Ha ha my swedish companion is oh so funny :o) Make sure each of you remember me overseas, defending the freedoms of man on behalf of the Lord, as you light a firework today...
What a blessed week! We saw so many miracles! To start off, we went knocking in an area called 'Edenthorpe' an area which, according to the members, missionaries for years have tried and tried to find investigators from, but without any luck. Well, I tell you, Elder Dundee prayed one night, asking the Lord where we should go, and we felt Edenthorpe! Not only that, but we prayed about finding a specific street to knock, and I felt one street in specific, and Elder Dundee felt another. And so we went knocking! My street was first. (Keep in mind, Edenthorpe is a very very 'posh' area (the people are rich), and so it was already a little difficult) No luck, at all. Then we went to Elder Dundee's street. From the first sight of it, we could tell. It was one of those streets that is designated by the government to put old people in. In England, we call them Bungalow Estates. Now old people, especially in England, tend to be very stubborn, opinionated and VERY stuck in their ways. I knew this, and Elder Dundee knew this. Despite this difficulty, however, this presented a wonderful lesson on faith for Elder Dundee. Just before we started knocking, Elder Dundee suggested we go to another street that we had picked the night before as a backup, and knock there, hoping that we'd find residents that were maybe a few decades younger. But I suggested that we press on, having faith in the answer we recieved the night before. We knocked house after house, with a couple people shouting at us, a couple people scared of us, and one guy that... to be honest... kinda scared us. But all of the responses had been negative. Finally, after quite a while we got to a house and I said to myself ''Okay, this is the last one. After this, we'll try the other street.'' Lo, and behold, a first happened for both Elder Dundee and I. We were invited in! For me specifically, I have only seen successin knocking through getting return appointments (sarah, a baptism I had in Leeds 5 was found through knocking), never through being let in on the spot! We then met with Pat and Stan, a wife and husband in their 70s who have always been interested in religion, and have read a bit from the book of mormon about 20 years ago. Faith+Works=SUCCESS! Talk about a wonderful testimony builder for both of us :)
Also this week, we had the opportunity to seek out a member referral in a far-off area in Doncaster called ''Conisbrough''. Its so far, we literally had to catch a train to get there. On our way, however, we came across my very first real life Castle! The very castle, in fact, that Richard, Duke of York was born in! (If you know Shakespeare's histories, or the War of the Roses, then you'd probably know who that is) It was a magnificent, yet a run down old castle, that had a key point with the Mideval Crusades :) I'll include a picture.

Not only that, but we also had to hike through a forest in another area of Doncaster (its a VERY big town) and we kinda got lost... Dont worry though :) We found the street just in time to make our bus home for the night :) I'll include another picture :)

Im loving this work! Please pray for Oto, our 16 year old Slovakian investigator who is set to be baptised on the 16th. Thank you!
God Bless!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
Third Pic: Sanela's (less active from last week) last cigarrettes!