Monday, March 26, 2012

Week 75: The weather is nice and warm, just before conference!

Hey howdy hey, every one!

Hope life is just well and dandy over there in good old America! In just about 5 days, us missionaries will be able to go out without our suit jackets on! And boy, am I excited for that! (Needless to say, its getting a bit warm with them on) Short sleeve shirts it is for the next few months!

This past week, I have lost the companionship of my dear good friend, Elder Stettler, and have begun working with the tall and southern-accented Elder Horner, from Kansas City, Missoura! Elder Horner comes from a military family background which has taken him to live in San Diego CA, Okinawa Japan, and several other places. After talking with him, Ive found that after his mission he plans on going to university for 4 years and then enlisting into the Marines shortly after. He has about 3 months left of his mission, which means I'm probably going to kill him off here in York 1 (mission lingo for being some one's last companion) which means that I'm likely going to be in York for at least 4.5 months. But we'll just have to wait and see for sure! Ive included a picture of the cowboy himself! (See Second picture)
Well, unfortunately, I don't have a whole lot of time to report on stuff from this last week (a lot of other email business I needed to take care of) But gimme a bit to think, and I'll see what I can come up with... Hmmm...

Wednesday was spent helping Elder Stettler, and them going on a little exchange with Elder Paczensky (from London, England) while we waited for the transfer bus to come back. Thursday was interesting. Friday was chocked full of appointments. Saturday wasn't, but it was absolutely loads of fun! Sunday was quick, and uh... Now we're at today... And we're going to go shopping for food at ASDA (Walmart equivalent) and then I'll get a much needed hair cut :) And... Yeah. That's about it! This next week will have tons more stories and pictures, I promise :)

But for now, have fun at conference! And be excited!!!

Elder Spencer

PS Elder Horner and I have been praying to find a family to teach that has been prepared to receive the gospel, so if you'd like to add that little bit into your prayers, that would be much appreciated :) Thanks!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Week 74: First Baptism in York!

Yep Yep Yep!!!
As of this past Saturday, Molly has entered into her first covenant! It was a fantastic service, and the whole family was present :) (See first picture) It was my favourite kind of baptism, quick, easy, and with no unexpected twists to throw us! Molly was a bit nervous, but she was excited to give it a go! I would give the detailed summary of Molly's conversion story, but I believe I explained it in the email I sent a few weeks ago where Elder Teixeira came to the mission. So, If you would like to hear about how Molly was found, feel free to look it up (c) Anyways...
So... It was transfer calls last night, my first one as a Zone Leader (so much more fun, no stress) and Ive got some good news and some bad news...
So which would you like first? Okay, the bad news... Elder Stettler... is leaving York! And going to our arch-nemesis rival zone of Hull (eeew, gross) Poor guy :( Oh well... It will be for his good I guess :-/ But the Big nrews... The good news is... He is going to be replaced by Elder Horner! Who was my Zone Leader from back when I was in Peterlee! During the transfer we served around eachother, I really grew to respect and admire the kind of missionary Elder Horner is, and I actually learned a lot from him as well! So I expect to learn a lot within the next 6 weeks :) Im so stoked! Elder Horner is huge, too, like large in stature type. Im not kidding, he's planning on joining the Marines when he gets home! So expect some bigger pictures :)
Other news includes an amazing event of member-missionary work!
About a week or two ago, Bishop Gore called us into his office, and told of of one of the Young Women who had a friend who ex[pressed interest in hearing the missionary lessons. He said she had been given our number and would be contacting us soon. This past thursday we finally got a call from Rachel, the friend of the member, saying that she was planning on coming to church the following sunday, and how we were invited to come to her home and introduce ourselves to her parents. We were a little apprehensive, but after a long debate and prayerful consideration, Elder Stettler decided we should go over and teach (yeah right!) SO! Sunday came, and we finally met Rachel at church :) Following that, we drove out 20 miles to a tiny villiage on the border of our area, and met Rachel's parents. They were polite, but asked many questions (ranging from the trinity, apostles, polygamy, you name it) and Elder Stettler and I were blessed to have been given the opportunity to teach the entire first lesson to the whole family, Rachel included. (BTW, the entire lesson was just a powerhouse of spirit) at the end of the lesson, we invited them all to be baptised to which Rachel, smiling and excitedly replied I WANT TO BE BAPTISED! So we said Okey doke! And gave her the date of April 7th to work towards :) Last night, she even came to famiily home evening at Alice's house, the friend that referred her to us, which went very well :) Sooo.... Yeah :) Things are just going great here in York! And Im loving it!
Life is great! And I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

PS! We also went street contacting on the wall of York on Saturday!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Week 73: Fastest Week of My Life!!!

It was a crazy one this week! It all started out with a bunch of meetings, the first one being Zone Leader Council with President Lindley! It was amazing to be a part of such a process... All of the other Zone Leaders in the mission gathered to discuss eachother's ideas and to ask questions and recieve further training! It was a blast, and I learned some very vital things as well that I hope will help the missionaries in the York Zone to better progress their investigators :)

The following day, it was my very first Zone Development Meeting, where all of the teams in the Zone meet up at the York chapel and recieve training. This was the first one for me where I was the one giving the training! It was definately a learning experience... I'll give you a little hint as to what it involved... Nerf guns, blind folds, foam swords, Alma 17, and D&C 4 :) It was fun, yet epic! I think everyone really enjoyed it :)

Immediately after zone meeting, I went on exchange with one of the new missionaries in the zone, Elder Barnett from Saracus, Utah. He was exceptionally green, but I thik I was able to teach him some new tricks when it comes to talking to people in large amounts :) That exchange was ended with going to a baptism with the other York missionaries! Yay! Following that, we had all of Saturday to work in our own area, together (for the first time that whole week)
Sunday came, and I had my first HOT POT! experience! Hot pot is a traditional chinese meal where a whole bunch of food is put inside a hot pot of boiling water with spices. It was amazing! It was put on by the chinese investigator Ding who got baptised on friday night :) But boy was I feeling it the next day...

For P-day today, we went to Brimham Rocks, a national park where they filmed the part of Princess Bride where Wesley fights Fezzick. We played capture the flag and it was great! See last photo :)

Well, gotta go! Its transfers next week... Dont expect any changes for me... But we'll have to see for sure!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

Monday, March 5, 2012

Week 72: Mission Tour: Elder Teixeira of the Seventy!

Hello Everyone!
It is a BEAUTIFUL day over here in jolly 'ol England! Smashing! Canny, even!
And what a great day for a P-day ha ha ;)
So! Lots of stuff happened this past week! The main thing was we had a general authority visit the mission! Elder Teixeira, of the first quorum of the Seventy visited and spoke to the England Leeds Mission on Wednesday :) He, Sister Teixiera, and President and Sister Lindley all spoke to the northern half of the mission here at the York chapel. The focus of Elder Teixiera's talk was on the power and authority of our calling as missionaries. It was a very insightful meeting, where he shared about his conversion story, and how because of missionaries teaching his uncle, and then asking his if his distant family would also be interested, there is not a single known relative of Elder Teixiera who is not a member of the Church :)
An hour before the main meeting, we had a leadership training meeting with him for about an hour with all of the district and zone leaders in the north. Some insights include our most powerful tool we can put into practice, which is our example (ie while on companion exchanges with another missionary in the zone/district) and also how the mission has just aboutreached something miraculous. Just a few more tweaks here and there and it will be the most powerful mission in Europe! (Muah ha ha ha ha!)
And it all starts with the leaders. :)
Also in the Zone Conference, Elder Teixeira also introduced a new assignment for each missionary team. Every team has now been asked to contact each convert in their respective area who had been baptised in the past three years. ''So, why do we care about this?'' You may ask... Well, that takes me to the first miracle of the week...
With this new assignment ready in hand, Elder Stettler and I set off the very next day to find some of these people. We first felt prompted to seek out this guy named Jack on the list who was baptised about 2 year ago. So we went to his house, knocked, and this pretty tall guy came to the door. So we say ''Hey... Jack?'' He said no, and he offered to get him for us. The next person we saw was a little boy about 9 or 10 years old... And that was Jack :) Jack was baptised when he was 8, and nobody in his family got baptised with him. We later found out that he was pretty much 100% active in York 1 and had even been to church the previous Sunday. We asked him if anyone else went to church with him and he said that his twin sister did, but that she hadn't been baptised with him. And that's where we met Molly :) Molly is just as active as Jack, and just as knowledgeable. When we asked her what baptism was, she was able to explain the definition, pretty much in detail. And then we asked the big question. 'When you come to feel that the things that we teach are true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptised by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?'
.... Yeah.
We then set a baptismal date with here, drew up a calendar for her to see her progression, and set up some appointments!
We feel quite blessed for this happening, and we are very excited to see her progress!
Lets see, lets see... So, Ive been feeling rather blessed with each area that I have been sent to serve in... First starting out at Leeds 5, the heart of the mission, the place everybody wants to serve... then going to Doncaster, one of the most diverse towns in England, with an old castle where Richard, Duke of York was born... Then going to Peterlee, a small yet majestically beautiful town right on the English coast, where they also filmed and based the movie/musical 'Billy Elliot' at... Then York, the former capital of England, with its ancient history and museums everywhere... I also discovered one more amazing historical fact about the York 1 area... The largest battle with the most English deaths on British soil was the Battle of Towton during the War of the Roses. I remember hearing about Towton during the first couple months of my mission, and wanting to go there... Towton is in York 1 area!!! And on Saturday we were knocking in the area right next to it! So for our lunch break after knocking we went to the legendary field... It was pretty eerie. Mist covered the entire field (which was also something that the Towton fields was known for, its creepy mist that never leaves) and Elder Stettler and I took some pictures of the ''Bloddy Meadow'' the place where the climax of the battle happened! (Also, for those of you who knew me in High School, I was standing at the place where Lord John Clifford was killed with an arrow- the actual person I played in King Henry the VI Part 3) Ha ha needless to say, I was pretty excited :) See first couple pics! (pic one, me at the beginning of the trail, pic two, the 'bloody meadow')

Pretty exciting stuff :) I love my areas!!!
Also, (my time is running out!) I just thought I'd include a funny picture :) We are currently teaching this guy named Harry (Solid guy, really) and he has this dog named Oden, who just LOVES me... We don't know why. Every time Harry opens the door to us Oden jumps out at me and just about knocks me over. I guess it doesn't help that Harry always gives me dog treats to give to Oden to ''calm him down''. Anyway, I guess its just better to see it, than to hear it, so see pic number 3 :)
Have a fantastic day!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer
PS Special Thanks to my brother Dahveed! For helping me our with University stuff while I'm out here!