Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 58: Happy Thanksgiving!

Do you wanna know something funny? Nobody celebrates thanksgiving over here... No, really, NOBODY! How tragic, right? Well, all I can say is that its a good thing that there were some American missionaries to save the day! (After all, it was the English who first started Thanksgiving!) And so how do missionaries celebrate best??? WITH FOOD!!!
Lots of food!
So much food, in fact, that there was not enough room within the lens of a camera to take a picture of it!
That's how much food!
All of the missionaries within the stake were invited on Friday night to the Stake President's house, where President Anderson and his family (also Americans, working in England for Jon Huntsman) cooked us an amazing traditional turkey dinner, complete with pumpkin pie and brownies at the end!!! It was magnificent :) The food was absolutely delicious and the company was even better :)
I hope your Thanksgiving meal was equally enjoyable :)
After that we all knows what happens after thanksgiving is finally over.... CHRISTMAS!!!
So we cranked that Mo-Tab Christmas music and started gearing up for the best time of the year!!!
We were so excited that Elder Smith and I decided to buy a 6-foot Christmas tree!!! (okay, well, Elder Smith bought it, I bought the lights and baubles for it) and we went to town! Oh boy you really have no idea how excited we are for Christmas as missionaries! Its going to be a blast! See all photos!

So you may remember how last week I mentioned how Elder Smith and I had made a goal to achieve Standards of Excellence for every week of the transfer? We accomplished our goal our first week together (last week) we are still very much on track! As of our very last appointment last night, we once again accomplished Standards for the second week in a row! And trust me, we ain't slowin' down!!!

Well, I think that's about it for the events of last week... December starts this week, and I take my driving test in about two weeks... So I'll have to let you know when to start prayin' for that ha ha. For right now, I just need to make sure I'm getting all of the small and simple points down in my driving lessons!
Merry Christmas!! (I'm going to be saying that a lot for at least the next month)
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week 57: New Companion, New Adventure!

Heya, Peeps!
It was another foggy week over here in Northern England! Elder Brewerton has left to go near Leeds and Elder Smith has come all the way from Billingham (About 10 miles away from Peterlee) So far serving with Elder Smith has been a blast :) We've had so much fun, and in the short time that we've been here, we've seen quite a bit of success!
From our first day of working together, Elder Smith and I made some goals that we wanted to achieve for the transfer, one of which was to achieve Standards of Excellence each week of the transfer (a goal we missed by one week in Leeds). We also set a number of baptisms that we wanted to hit as a companionship. With our vision in sight, we hit the ground running and as a result, Peterlee has achieved Standards of Excellence once again! We had the most successful week yet, even with a transfer in the middle of it! So take that, opposition! :-P Satan doesn't stand a chance with Elders Spencer and Smith on the battlefield!
Hmm... Lets see, what else happened this week... Ah yes! You may have heard we started teaching a lady named Honour a few weeks ago? (You might not of, I don't particularly remember saying anything) well, on this past Monday before Elder Brewerton left we had a lesson with Honour and she brought along her 15 year old daughter Kitty to sit in and see what she thought. Kitty really enjoyed it, and was more than happy to accept the invitation to come to church! When Honour and Kitty came to church, they both LOVED IT! and Kitty in particular really enjoys reading the Book of Mormon! Which is great! We are planning on seeing them both tonight and teaching them further :) its so nice to have investigators who are excited to read the book and come to church! Talk about a breath of fresh air :) They are excited and working towards their goal of baptism on the 10th of December :)
I'll be starting to drive again! I'm signing up for driving lessons (not that I need them, just to tell me how to pass my driving test and what I'm doing wrong and stuff) so that's exciting! And I should be taking my driving test within the next 2 to 3 weeks. I'll let you know when to start praying for me! (Needless to say, I'll be very relieved when this whole driving license thing is over with)
#1 Elder Smith! We had district lunch last Monday, and here is the great and powerful missionary, eating Chinese! ha ha :)
#2 The last picture of me and my son, Elder Brewerton! Aw, they grow up so fast!
#3 Epic Fog picture, I call it ''The Rod of Iron in the Mist of Darkness''

#1 Elder Smith! We had district lunch last Monday, and here is the great and powerful missionary, eating Chinese! ha ha :)

#2 The last picture of me and my son, Elder Brewerton! Aw, they grow up so fast!

#3 Epic Fog picture, I call it ''The Rod of Iron in the Mist of Darkness''
Good luck in the cold everyone! (Its officially thermal-wearing weather over here in England)
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS If any of you would like anything from England for Christmas, let me know soon, please! (c)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Week 56: The Fruit of Many Prayers

Hello everyone!
So, Ive got some big news! But I'll say it in chronological order just to build the anticipation... Muah ha ha ha!
First! On tuesday we had our quarterly Zone conference! This one was all about the temple, which was amazing! I learned to much about the symbolism of the temple, and especially the salt lake temple! Ha ha if you like I could probably give a few tours when I get back ;) See first picture, me and my good friend, Elder Gravallese at Zone Conference:)

Also last tuesday, Elder Brewerton and I went out searching for some new people to teach... We were walking down an old darkly street, when I looked in a window and saw pictures of a family! So immediately I thought, hey! Lets go teach this family! We knocked... and they let us in! We taught for about an hour, and invited them to be baptised, and a mother and daughter named June and Courtney accepted the invitation! But wait it gets better, at the very end of the lesson, we invited one of them to pray before we left, and the dughter, 9 year old courtney volunteered! We gave her some ideas of what she could pray for, and this is what she came up with on her own:
''Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for my day.
Thank you for my house, and my bed, and my Halloween treats and money.
Thank you for my dog, and please keep him safe.
(Then she paused and thought for a little while)
... I love you very much God. You are my favourite person in the whole world. You are my number one.
... And my mom is number two.
But dont tell her I said that.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.''
One of my favourite prayers EVER! Ha ha the mom just laughed a bit and kissed her on the head :) Tender moment :)

Okay, next! I know you all are probably wondering... You've been hearing about it for a while and, well... as a result of much prayer and studying...
Ha ha yay! Miracles DO happen. And honestly, I could not have passed that test on my own. Divine intervention was COMPLETELY necessary as the test study material was pretty outdated and there were several questions I had no chance of studying for... So, the result? There were 50 individual multiple choice questions I had to answer in about 60 minutes... In order to pass, I had to correctly answer 43 out of the 50 questions... So I bet you can guess how many I got right? 50!
No, just kidding. And for those of you who guessed I got 50 out of 50, thank you for your incredible faith ha ha.
I scored 43 out of 50!!! Ha ha if I would have missed one more question, I would have failed and had to take the entire test again, with completely different questions! So thank you thank you for your prayers! As you can see, they worked!!! Now all I have left is to register for and pass my practical driving exam, which is the one where I drive with an instructor in the car... So that will probably happen in December, but I will let you know!
Next big thing,
The cold is really starting to roll into the coast of England these days, and when the cold comes off the North sea, we get tons of fog! And thats exactly what happened for the entire weekend! See second picture :)
One last big thing!
It was transfers last night, and there are some BIG CHANGES that have happened! First off, my baby boy, my second-born in the wilderness, my Canadian Companiero, Elder Brewerton is leaving the nest and going to Leeds to be follow-up trained! And coming to replace him and spend Christmas with me in Peterlee is Elder Smith, from American Fork, Utah! Its actually quite ironic, Elder Smith was also in my district and the most recent person I went on exchange with, which happened to be in Peterlee about 3 weeks ago! And now we'll be serving together! I am very excited to spend Christmas here in the coastal town of Peterlee : ) It will definitely be a change from celebrating Christmas in Leeds, but Im ready for it!
Well, here I am starting a new adventure! Wish me luck!
Happy Transfers,
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS Funny thing, just happened to street contact into a Storm Trooper from Star Wars on Saturday... Interesting Experience. The white one of the left actually said to me he had read the book of mormon before, no lie! (See Third picture)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week 55: A miracle in Peterlee, the first one in years!!

Hello every one!
Wow! So many amazing things have happened this past week! But where to start, where to start... Oh yes!
Yes, that's right! For the first time in literally several years, Peterlee Branch's own missionaries have been blessed to baptise and confirm a new member of the church! On the 5th of November, 2011, Chris was baptised by Elder Spencer, followed by her confirmation the following day by Elder Brewerton! It was a fantastic service, and many people attended, even several investigators! We found Chris through street contacting about 2 weeks after we had opened Peterlee for missionary work. Chris, however, was not quite ready yet, as it was an unfortunate time. Her only daughter was right in the final moments of her first pregnancy. So we got Chris's contact details, and she asked us to call around in about a month. Several weeks passed, and we were in the area of where she lived again for a different appointment, the person wasn't home, and I remember getting the distinct impression to look though the contacts portion of my missionary planner for the name Chris. We found the address, which we found out then was right across the street! So we knocked at her door, and said who we were, and she happily let us in! We taught for about an hour, and at the very end of the appointment, we invited her to be baptised in about 3 weeks, (November 5th). She thought for a moment, then said. Alright. Sounds good! And it basically went off from there! From that day forward, she read the Book of Mormon every day, and prayed every night! She willingly gave up her tea and coffee, and sacrificed part of her weekly Sunday lunch at her mothers home to come to church!
So by the time the baptism came, she was nervous, but ready to enter into that covenant with our Heavenly Father! She seems so happy now, always smiling :) Ah, it is so nice to find and teach golden investigators, would you say? I certainly would. :)
Not only that, but we were talking with some of our investigators after the service had been performed, and one of which, named honour, we had been teaching for a few weeks. Every time we invited her for baptism, she denied it, saying she wasn't ready yet. We felt very prompted after the baptism to explain to her the process that Chris had gone through to get baptised, which we did, and she seemed very positive about it. We then invited her to be baptised on the 26th of November, to which she gladly accepted! AH! Another miracle! We were very excited :)
Also last week, of course, was Halloween! We had our zone P-day and had a water-pong tournament. Elder Brewerton and I lost in the championship match with Elder Gravallese and Elder Mecham by ONE POINT!!! Arg. So close :-/ Ah well, it was fun! (see third pic)

Well that does it for this week! I was quite excited to send this email, actually :) So there! Hope you enjoyed it!

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS Congrats to Zac and Sarah on their wedding! And congrats to Michelle on entering the mission field!