Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Week 50: Hogwarts, Baptisms, and Elder Gravallese? Only in the ELM... 5

Happy conference everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your spiritual top-up for the next 6 months! I know I did :)

SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED this week! So I'm going to try to fit it all into one tiny email, but your gonna have to try and keep up... so get ready... GO!

First off, one of my most memorable and favourite P-days took place this previous Monday. One of our investigator families, the Millers, offered to take us to see the majestic Durham Cathedral on our day off, and Elder Brewerton and I got special permission from President Lindley to travel outside of our zone to go see it. It was AMAZING! One of the most spectacular and beautiful structures I have ever seen in my life! We toured this catholic cathedral, which celebrated its 1000th birthday just last year, and looked at the many tombs and shrines that were scattered throughout the building (we weren't allowed to take any pictures of the inside of the building, kinda like with our temple open-house thingy) But one of my most favourite parts of the tour was where they actually filmed several scenes from the Harry Potter films within its walls. Inside the great hall, was literally, the great hall of Hogwarts (ya know, where they eat the food, do the house sorting thing, etc.) and outside was the courtyard, where they filmed a few other scenes (this was something I was actually able to take pictures of, see epic pic #1 and 2) After we toured most of the cathedral, we then had the option to climb the high tower of the building and see the sights for a small fee (which we did) and the views of the valley/city were breathtaking! We picked a wonderful bright and sunny day to go as well, which simply added to the splendour. Definitely something I wont easily forget ;)

Next! I just know that each of you will be pleasantly surprised when I say...


See? Told ya so :)

On this past Wednesday, I had the privilege of baptising the recently confirmed Jon Smith! I have the opportunity of interviewing Jon as a baptismal candidate a week earlier for the sister missionaries in the Redcar area. After the interview, he said that he felt I was a really sincere person, and he asked if I would baptise him! I delightfully agreed, and a week later the spirit filled the whole building as Jon entered into his first covenant with the Lord :) (See Pic #3)

Next! Are you keeping up?

Next! Almost a year since we had first met, I was finally, once again serving alongside the Great Elder Gravallese!!! For those of you who don't know, Elder Gravallese and I served together as companions while being trained at the England MTC, and he is now serving as my Zone Leader! We had so much fun :) We talked about old times, new times, and I got to drive the Zone Leader's car for the day! Ha ha :) I really respect Elder Gravallese, and I am very thankful for the lessons he has taught me :) (see pic #4)

And then!!! General Conference happened! Elder Brewerton and I were blessed to have been able to was most of the Saturday sessions, (half of which were inside investigators homes on their laptops) Ah, I took down so many notes, and from which have made goals for how I would like to improve over these next 6 months! Its absolutely crazy to think that a year ago from this weekend, I was watching conference live, on the tele, as well as on the internet :) Last October's Sunday sessions still stand as my favourite of all time :) I loved it! (c) Ah, I love conference! And our investigators enjoyed it as well :)

Okey doke, last one!

In lieu of last week's attempts to achieve Standards of Excellence (we were SO close, we needed one more investigator at church) Elder Brewerton and I decided to reaffirm our dedication to achieve this goal, despite the circumstances of our tiny area. So we pushed hard... and did our best... and Sunday came... and even with our best efforts, we still needed two days worth of lessons, in half a days time. Things were looking grim. I was sitting in the Millers home as we were watching the Sunday morning session, and I asked myself what else we could have done... and then it hit me! We have two priesthood holders who were available after conference to go on splits with, and that's what we did! After conference had ended, we had two hours left until we had to be in, so we set up a game plan as to who we could see, and how long we would spend there. And by the grace of our heavenly father, we were so blessed to get the necessary lessons to achieve STANDARDS for the first time in Peterlee in quite literally several years!!! Also, it was Elder Brewerton's first time as well, the first of many, I might add :)

So, in conclusion, it was quite an eventful week, and now my hands are tired of the typing, but they are happy to type such great miracles! Thank you so much for your prayers (please keep them up) and we will continue to labor dilligently in the vinyard of the Master!


Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS we had a district meeting yesterday, and here is a picture of my whole district, minus Elder and Sister Shurtz (the Senior couple)

See pic #5

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