Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 67: Personal Goal: Baptize a Family...

Goal Status:


Thats right! Helen and Estelle were baptised on this past saturday, January 28th, 2012! And what a wonderful baptism it was, the whole family was there, and then they were also there at the confirmation the next day in church!

Helen was first found after Elder Smith and I were prompted to knock a specific street. the week after Honour's baptism. We said to ourselves ''Lets go find the next people Gods wants us to baptise here in Peterlee!'' And thats exactly what we did! From the very first lesson, we were able to invite Helen to be baptised and to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, to which she gladly accepted :) After a couple of days we taught her again, and we were shocked to find that not only did she read the book of mormon, but she started and completed all of 1st Nephi! And not only that, but she had tons of questions to ask us that she had written down on a piece of paper. And that basically sums up how the rest of the teaching process. She was so dilligent in her reading, in fact that a week later she set a goal for herself to complete the entire book of mormon before her baptism! And I am quite proud that only 3 hours before her baptism on saturday night, she finished the entire book! Ive always wanted an investigator to do that :) She's loved it, and she's already started again on reading it for a second time :) Talk about amazing! We also later found out that Helen's husband is a less-active member, who was baptised with his brother and mum when he was 12. He hadnt been to church for about 25 years, but he was completely supportive of his whife and daughter getting baptised! He even came to church to see their confirmation!

Estelle (9 years old) is the daughter of Helen, and was attending the Salvation Army church that Michael (the Major guy) was over. At the end of our second lesson with Helen, she asked her daughter if she would like to be baptised with her mom. Estelle gladly accepted, and came to our lessons with her own questions to ask :) It has been an absolute pleasure teaching this family. Oh! And I cant forget caine! Little 7 year old caine, who is Estelle's little brother. Talk about a ball of energy. Ive never seen any kid so hyper in my entire life! He's looking forward to his baptism when he turns 8 in July :)

Now, the computer is going to kick me off soo, so I'll make it quick! Elder Smith and I invited President and Sister Lindley to the baptism, and they came! Afterward they took us home, but before they dropped us off, they took a short detour and bought us some McDonalds to celebrate :) Thanks President! (See second picture)

In addidtion to the baptism, we also had a really nice member of our Branch, Carol, buy us some nice things off the internet that I would like to mention at this time. For Elder Smith: A cheese knife (inside joke) and for me, Swedish fish! (See third picture)

Also, before I forget, We celebrated the baptism of Helen and Estelle with a party! It also helped that it was Estelles' birthday the day before the baptism, so we celebrated with some cake and balloons! (|See fourth pic)
Well, I hope you all are doing well! Its transfers next week, and I've been in Peterlee for 6 months now, so its probably time that move on... But we'll see! I'll keep you posted!

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

Monday, January 23, 2012

Week 66: The Fastest Week in Mission History!

Hello! Alright?
Wow... This past week went by SO FAST!!! There were so many thing that happened, it seems as though I didn't have time to take enough pictures to document it all! :( Sorry! But NEVERTHELESS! I will not leave you unsatisfied ;)
The week kicked off after P-day with a district leader exchange! Elder Taylor, from [insert small farming town here] Nevada came up to Peterlee for a couple days! We filled our time with tons of fun stuff to do, including kebabs, knocking, holding Family Home Evening for the first time in Helen's home (which was tons of fun!) learning some phrases in Chinese, traveling to the farthest area in Peterlee (I tricked him and told him we were lost... Ha!) preparing for our respective district meetings, and running to buses, missing buses, and taking taxis instead. So, as you could have guessed, a pretty eventful exchange.
Wednesday was district meeting. We focused the instruction on expectaions. Expectations for ourselves, for other missionaries, for our leaders (myself especially included) and the expectations that God has for us as well. It went really well, and thankfully all of us were able to receive revelation and get make the improvements that needed to happen :) After that, the Peterlee and Middlesbrough district went out for district lunch and we ate at a nearby Chinese buffet that was pretty decent.
After Wednesday, we had a pretty normal Thursday. Went knocking in Blackhall (near the beach) and found two new investigators, taught Helen later that night about tithing. ''Thats actually a really good way for us to help the needy.'' She says. YES!
Friday happened. And we got a referral from some missionaries up north who got a similar referral from other missionaries to the west for a man named Tony. So Elder Smith and I, after trying to contact him via the phone several times decided to take the bus all the way to Sherburn Hills, Peterlee's most western village. While we were in Sherburn Hills, we were both surprised to see the tower of Durham Cathedral off a little ways in the distance. Durham Cathedral is not in our area, nor in our Zone. It was just interesting to think that the Peterlee area was so close to it. It probably would have taken us about 20 minutes to walk to it ha ha. Anyway, long story short, we were finally able to contact Toni.
Saturday started off with the baptismal interview of Helen and Estelle! And they passed! Woo! After that, we got straight on the bus and headed to Red Car, the area in which the sisters in the district work. So Elder Smith and I volunteered to help the sisters go finding in their area, and we spent about 6 hours over there finding new people to teach. We had some fun and found quite a few potentials for the sisters to teach :) A little side note... Red Car is literally right on the ocean... There was a whole bunch of construction going on around the coastline, I think they were setting up barriers to keep erosion from taking out the shops. It was literally like on one side of the street you have some nice quaint little shops, and on the other side of the street, you have a 7 foot concrete barrier with waves crashing against it. (See first picture)

Then Sunday happened... It was a pretty normal Sunday I'd say, and our Heavenly Father once again helped us achieve standards of excellence! Woot! And not only that, but we have the baptism of Helen and Estelle this Saturday night! So... Be excited!!!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS Just another picture: Epic photo of last week... (Second photo)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Week 65: Things are lookin' frosty in Peterlee

Guess What! This is the first winter I've had in almost 10 years where I haven't had to trudge through snow!
And I'm lovin' it!

Ha ha if I could have it my way, I would go every winter without snow! (Okay, maybe a little every now and then wouldn't hurt)

Life in Peterlee is fantastic! I have really grown to love the work and to love the people here! I felt as though I have a renewed sense of urgency that gets me goin' quicker, and makes sure I wont let anyone get past without an invitation to come unto Christ! I can almost feel my Heavenly Father guiding my footsteps into the places that will ultimately help Peterlee to flourish with missionary work! And the branch is loving it! We had our branch president come out with us on Saturday to meet Helen, (she was feeling a bit nervous about coming to church for the first time, so we thought we'd help her make some new friends ahead of time so she would feel a bit better) And the following day she came to church with her children, and she thoroughly enjoyed it! She is looking forward to her baptism which is set to happen within the next few weeks!

Oh PS! The water heater for the font has been fixed in the Peterlee chapel, so we can finally have baptisms there again! Yay! Warm Water!

For P-day this past week, we went all the was down to the most distant area in the zone, Darlington, and hit a bucket of balls at the driving range! It was tons of fun, and broke us out of the normal P-day routine. And surprisingly, I did a lot better with golfing than I thought I would! (See first picture)

Also something fun and interesting, we went to tea at a members home on Wednesday and these members (Carol and her daughter Jennifer) asked us if we had ever flown a Chinese lantern before. We said no, and she got one out for us to light! It was a bit windy, so it didn't work out like it was supposed to, but it was still loads of fun (see second photo)

On Thursday, we had interviews with President Lindley, our wonderful mission president! He asked me a few questions, and I asked him a few questions, and long story short Ive found several more ways to be effective and also more diligent!

Oh! And before I forget... Guess what I got in the mail last week!!! My UK Driving License! I now have free reign to drive anywhere within the European Union! Woot! (See third picture) PS they don't let your smile in the pictures here... :-/

So, yesterday was a quite a beautiful day, so Elder Smith and I decided to go street contacting along the banks of the north sea, which are quite popular with dog-walkers when the weather is nice. While we were there, we took a bit of our lunch time to get some EPIC pictures! And we got some pretty nice ones :) see fourth picture for a sample.
Okay okay, last guess what... Guess what!! The Lord has blessed us with standards of excellence once again! Which means that baptisms will most likely follow soon!
That's about it for this week, I hope you are staying warm and healthy and loving life! (c)
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

Monday, January 9, 2012

Week 64: Return with Honour... Baptized!

Ha ha I found my subject line quite clever ;)

Guess what!!!

Honour got baptised last Saturday!

However, it was not in the sea, like we had anticipated, it was at the neighbouring chapel (Hartlepool) but it was a magnificent service nonetheless!

Honour was originally found by Elder Brewerton about 2 weeks before he left Peterlee. I still remember meeting Honour and talking with her about what her goals were for her life. ''I want to move over to Canada and open up a theatre and drama school for youth.'' I was like ''YES!" From then on we were able to progress her, slowly but surely to baptism. She loves coming to church, and hopes to get a calling with a teaching assignment sometime in the near future :) It sure is great to see both her and her daughter coming to church now, both as newly baptised members of the restored church of Jesus Christ!

Also this week, we went knocking in around the area in which we live (called Horden) and we found a rather energized family. The mother's name is Helen, and she has three kids, one of which is almost 9 years old and actively goes to the Salvation Army. After our first appointment, we invited Helen to read and pray about the book of mormon and she agreed. We were shocked at our next appointment with her (only 48 hours later) to find out that within all of yesterday, she had read all of 1st Nephi and started on 2nd Nephi AND she had looked at the website. You wouldnt believe all of the questions she had! And these were good questions, too that helped us to realize that when Helen reads, she can pretty much almost fully comprehend everything she reads. ''Whats the difference between the brass plats and the gold plates?'' or ''What was the significance of the rod of iron, and the fruit of the tree?'' Last night, she asked us a question about something she was a bit apprehensive about, and asked ''Why cant you drink tea or coffee?'' You see, Helen LOVES her tea. We were able to teach her about the word of wisdom and then invited her to live the command ment, promising her that if she did, her andswer of the truthfulness of the book of mormon would come quicker. And what did she say? ''Okay.'' WOOOT! It was a victory for our heavenly father and for helen. She and her daughter Estelle are both scheduled to be baptised later this month, and they are looking great!

Well, thats about all the time I had today! Sorry I had to be so quick, but I wish you all the best!

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Week 63: A New Year Begins!

Happy New Year, everyone!

The holiday season is over, and things are finally returning back to normal :) The kids are back at school, parents back at work, libraries are open (so we can finally email again) and missionary work goes back into full swing, unaffected!

Things were pretty quiet this week in Peterlee. The district is doing well (I know I don't talk about them as much as I should) We had another district meeting this past week, where we learned about utilizing where our testimony is strongest and testifying boldly to our investigators within that aspect so that the spirit can witness to them what is really true. After that, we identified (privately) where our testimonies were weakest, and committed ourselves to strengthen that aspect of our lives within the next week. This proved to be quite useful, as analyzing ourselves on a regular basis helps to accelerate growth.

For this following weekend, we are trying to plan out a baptism that will take place within the north sea. Yes, we know its in the middle of January, and yes, we know we are in North East England, which isn't known for its warm winter weather. But our prospective convert, named Honour, has stated her desire to be baptised in the sea very strongly, and we are willing to work with that. (I'm not bothered either way, I'm not the one who's going to be in the water ha ha) if it does work out, I'm excited to see quite a unique baptism, one that I haven't seen since my own (when I was baptised by my brother Peter on the Florida coast) which should be a great experience. If it doesn't work out, however, that's no problem as well, we'll just have the baptism in the neighboring church, since our font is still in the process of being repaired.

Not much else to report on for this week's email... But don't worry! You can bet that with things back to normal, we'll be having miracles left and right and there will be some great pics!

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS Some more pics from last P-Day.
First Pic: The coast of England! Me and Elder Smith

Second Pic: No way! A Panda Express in England??? (Sorry folks, not the same Panda, just same colours and logo)