Monday, February 27, 2012

Week 71: England Finally Starts to Warm Up!

Oi! 'ello! 'ow ah we doin' today? (To be pronounced exactly as it looks)

Hey look! You're already sounding English! Congrats!

Well, I might as well get started on how this week past week went... And when I say it went fast, it feels like an understatement! Life as a Zone Leader here is pretty fast-paced... Throughout the week, we are going from one place to the next, one area of the stake to another, exchanging with the other missionaries here and there, all while trying to keep up with running our own are successfully. So, needless to say, life keeps me busy :) Until you get sick one night, and everything.... just.... seems.... to.........stop. That's right :-/
I got sick on Wednesday night! And I wasn't very happy about it :-( It was nothing big, just a fever, aching all over, stomach problems (I'll spare you the details) long story short the last hour or so of Wednesday night we had to call it a night. At the time, I was on exchange with Elder Ferona from Sacramento, California in my own area, and the mission president's wife basically told me to stay in for the night, and get it over with sooner than later. I'm glad I did, because by the next morning, I was still a bit 'ugh', but I was more than ready to work! And so we started our day! ...And then I called Elder Stettler, who was in the York 2 are on exchange (just across the river). He was sick as well, but his came in the morning. So, we had to cancel our exchange, and I drove over to the York 2 flat and picked up my companion. Anyways, by the end of the night, he got the rest of the needed, and we were anxious to get out there and continue the work! By the next day, both of us were not feeling any of our previous symptoms, and we were very thankful for a speedy recovery.

Last Monday was pretty fun :) Elder Stettler and I met up with the York 2 Elders (across the river) and we started our day by going to Pizza Hut! Woot! Ha ha tasty :) we then went to the York Castle Museum, and looks at some interesting stuff (honestly, there was a LOT of boring stuff to get through) and took some pictures :)

For this next week, exciting things are about to happen! We will be having a mission tour featuring Elder Texiera of the area presidency! He, and well as the northern half of the mission will be all coming to the York Chapel for the Zone Conference meeting! So we're excited about that :) Expect some epic stories and lessons learned :)

Well, that about does it for this week's email :) Hope your week is fun as well!

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

First picture, from L to R Elder Stettler, Elder Ferona, and Elder Chen, shooting the historical Clifford Tower

Second picture, the group in Jail :)

Third Picture, The great and powerful Elder Stettler, in all his glory ;)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Week 70: First Week in York!

Welcome to the rise of the House of York!

That's what we're calling the zone now :) Its a historical name, going back to the War of the Roses, a medieval war where the House of York defeated the House of Lancaster and won the kingship of England.
Last week, Elder Stettler and I met with the entire York Zone, and had a meeting, where we instructed them that we had both felt very strongly that every team of missionaries in the zone would experience finding a new investigator and scheduling this person for baptism, and we challenged them to find these people... And as of last Saturday every team in the zone had scheduled someone new, and by the end of the week the Zone had tripled the number of people with a baptismal date from last week! What a miracle! The entire zone was bursting with excitement, and we are all very excited to see what this next week holds! :)
We also had Zone Conference on my birthday (Feb 14) and I received a package from my family on the day, right after the meeting :) At the Zone Conference, we were honoured to have President and Sister Walker, of the new England MTC presidency come and speak on expectations, love, and diligence we should have as missionaries. I learned a lot and took down quite a few notes. I also performed a musical number with a small group of missionaries for the conference. We sang Love is Spoken Here, but with altered lyrics to fit the theme of the meeting that Sister Lindley had wrote. It all went well :) I was asked to send out an answerphone message to all of the missionaries who would be singing the day before so that they would know how the song goes with the new words, and so me and a sister missionary sent that out last Monday. She was pretty good. I was a bit rusty :-/ But oh well!

Also within this past week, I went on my first exchange as a zone leader! I worked in the Pontefract area for about 2 days with Elder Tombs, from Texas. We had tons of fun! And we were able to schedule someone new for baptism, named rose, and rose came to church yesterday and absolutely loved it! We also had a couple tea appointments to attend, one with a recently baptised sister named Joan, who is quite an amazing chef! We had our main meal, which was some of the most delicious healthy food Ive ever had in my life (stir fry with fresh salmon) followed by probably one of the greatest desserts Ive ever had on my mission. It was a personal assortment of chocolate fondue treats, complete with melted dairy-milk chocolate! It was literally, a party in my mouth :) See first picture.

The following day Elder Stettler and I traveled a full 2 hour trip (there and back) to Scarborough, a city on the English coast, to perform a baptismal interview for one of the district leaders. One of the many tasks of a Zone Leader. All in a day's work! Which reminds me... We have a car here! I love it! Its soooooo nice, I almost feel spoiled ha ha :) See second picture.

One more thing before I go! So the sacrament time for York 1 Ward is at 1pm, which means Elder Stettler and I have a whole Sunday morning to do stuff, which is pretty rare to have here in the mission. So what did we decide to do? We went to the York Minster for church :) Its HUUUGE! And magnificently built... And we also found out that the queen will bit visiting in about 2 months to do a ''Maundy'' which basically means the queen will be throwing out money to those around. Dibs! Ha ha we'll see if we can make it during our lunch time I think ;) Anyway, for a view of the Minster, see third and fourth picture :)

Well, I'm off! Thank you all for your much support and prayers! They are definitely needed!

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS Extra special thanks to Karstin Lake, who unfailingly continues to update my blog ( Cheers!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Week 69: Hello, York!!!

Start speadin' the news....
I'm leavin' today...
I'm gonna be a part of it,
Old York, old York!!!
Yup! I'm here! A brand new area, with brand new experiences and brand new people to find and teach! Boy, am I lucky!

Elder Stettler and I have finally (well, almost) settled into our new flat that was kindly left in an absolutely trashed state by the previous Elders who just went home last week. So, needless to say, we've been spending most of our free time cleaning/organizing/throwing things away. So far, we've just about finished with the upstairs and will start working on the downstairs shortly. Our car is nice though! I think we have named it Jiselle, but that might be in debate still. Its SO NICE to get into a car after knocking in freezing weather for several hours, and then just simply drive to our flat. Good-bye, buses!! (For now, anyway)
York is beautiful. Peterlee was beautiful for its natural landscapes, and York is beautiful for its historical landscapes. For instance, there is literally a giant stone wall, originally built by the romans a few hundred years before the birth of Christ, which encircles the intire inner city. And it still stands today. There is also York Minster, which is a huge, gothic-style building with huge spires. The members here say they have plans to turn it into a temple someday (ha ha).

Being a zone leader is a whole new kettle of fish. I have so much more to do now, and the exact same amount of time to do it. In addition, Elder Stettler and I have to have this area up and running as soon as possilble. No pressure, no pressure ha ha. Just GET IT DONE :)

Saying goodbye to Peterlee was a bit tough, but I think I was ready. It was my second 6-month area, and it was time for me to leave. I had arrived in a new area, opened it to missionary work, and helped the work to progress while I was there. We saw many people enter into the waters of baptism there. And now, the Lord has sent me to York with the exact same expectations, if not higher. The last people I said goodbye to were the Millers. I am certainly going to miss this family, but I am sure I will see them again :) We've had too much fun for anything to happen otherwise :) See first picture.

(I just spent a few minutes helping the woman on the computer to the right of me add a closing to a letter, and then I helped the man to my left by teaching him how to send a document)
Well, I promise to get some good photos for next time. Im hoping to take some good ones as we are driving by, so I'll do my best!

Hmmm... What else, what else... I kinda also had a baptism this past week, but not really. Bromwyn, a 9 year old English girl that Elder Stettler was teaching in York 2 got baptised. I didnt really know her, and I didnt really teach her, but I was there for the baptism! Which was nice :) Any-hoo, I think thats about it...
Wish me luck! And please keep me in your prayers... Something tells me Im going to be going through a lot over these next few months (Ether 12:27)

Elder Spencer

PS Final pic of me and Elder Smith.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Week 68: Good-bye, Peterlee!!!

Yes! Its happened! Transfer calls have come and gone (full of anxiety waiting for the call, as usual) and after 6 months, I am departing from this amazing, blessed area!
Now for the big news... And trust me, its pretty big... Guess where I'm going?
I'm heading to the south to join ''The House of York''!
I'm going to York 1!!! I am soooooooo stoked! Of all the areas I wanted to serve in as a missionary, serving in York was by far, at the top of the list. And now I have been assigned to labor there with none other than the great and powerful Elder Stettler! Who came out with me and was in my MTC district! Wooooooo! We are going to have so much fun!!!
But wait a second...
For those of you who have been keeping up with Elder Stettler's progress, you might recognize that he has been serving as the one of the York Zone Leaders for about 4 and a half months now... and... zone leaders only serve with other zone leaders... so, that must mean...
President Lindley has called Elder Spencer to serve as a Zone Leader for the York Zone!

Yeah. Its true. I got a call last night from President Lindley (approx. 8:53pm) outside our flat, on the street, right after I had finished street contacting this lady, and President said ''Elder Spencer after prayerful consideration I have been impressed by the spirit to call you to serve as a Zone Leader'' Yeesh. I don't really know how I'm gonna do, but I'm excited/nervous/still in shock. Needless to say I didn't get much sleep last night. Which is okay, Elder Smith didn't either, because just as soon as President was done talking to me he asked to speak with Elder Smith and called him to be the District Leader to replace me in Peterlee! So, yes, it was a rough morning today. So big news, eh?
In addition to being called to serve as the York Zone Leader, Elder Stettler and I will also be 'white-washing' York 1 area (meaning we both are new to the area, we don't know anyone in the ward, and have no current investigators to teach) which will definitely be a challenge in itself :) BRING IT ON!
So, business, my new address for letters 'n stuff is:
Elder Gabriel Spencer
25 Beech Avenue
England YO24 4JJ
Please send letters to my new flat!
PS Guess what! All zone leaders have a car, so I'm going to HAVE A CAR TO DRIVE! I knew that British license would come in handy ;)
So, I have said most of my good byes, and I have already started packing, and I and going to miss Peterlee. But I am so stoked to have new adventures in such a beautiful and historical city!!!
Also, it finally snowed in England! Craziest snowstorm ever happened on Saturday, and then it was over. I think that will be it for England til next winter :)
Gotta go! Wish me luck! (I'm gonna need it!)

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS A couple of random pics, this morning we went to the beach for one last time and snagged some photos. We also had one last zone photo as well :) And some EPIC PICS!