What a week we've had! There have been so many wonderful and exciting things that have happened within the past week that I need to tell you about! And once again, so little time to say it... So lets get started!
First off, it was President Lindley's birthday recently! So we just had to celebrate! On Monday for lunch, the office had a party for President and Sister Lindley's birthdays, which are within about 2 weeks of each other (which makes it convenient to remember). Pizza and salad, followed by a yummy dessert made by Sister Brinkerhoff. :) It was delicious! (See first picture)
Next, we had Zone Leader Council! This is definitely one of my most favourite meetings in the mission field. Its a wonderful opportunity for the leaders of the mission to meet together, receive instruction, as well as council together about the needs of the missionaries, both on and individual and group basis. This Zone Leader council was especially different because Elder Donaldson, from the area seventy attended and added his wise input. He is such a kind hearted and knowledgeable man! In addition to his welcomed visit, we also gave President a present fro his birthday! All 14 zone leaders got together along with Elder Page and myself to pitch in for a gift for our wonderful mission president... And after weeks and weeks of searching, we finally got it! It was an antique oil on canvas 'Third Degree Tracing Board'! This is of great symbolic significance in the Freemason religious culture, and President is a HUGE fan of antiques as well as symbolisms. We gave it to him at the end of the meeting at his home. He was so excited, and he even mentioned he had been searching for something like that for quite some time on his own, with no luck! As soon as we gave it to him, he began to explain some of the meanings of the symbols on the board :) See second pic.
Over the past week I have been blessed to set up tea appointments with some of my favourite families I have met in the Leeds areas. Such as Sister Gardiner in Leeds 5, and the Craigs in Wharfe Valley (Leeds 2 basically). At Sister Gardiner's home, I was finally taught the secret to cooking Yorkshire Puddings! It was pretty fun, and every one was very complimemtative of my yorkshires :) At the Craig's house, I was greeted by two of the people I baptised on my mission last year! Damien and James! We had lunch at the Craig's and then watched general conference together. And it was such a nice day as well! In this next picture, you'll see the Craig family and James, on my left, and Damien, the guy standing on the far left. What a joy it is to see them again, and to hear that they are still attending church!
Not only was I greeted by that great news, but I was also informed that last month two of the others who I had seen baptised in Leeds 5 went through the temple, and took out their endowments! Not only that, but Ben and Kitty got sealed for time and all eternity in the Preston Temple! Ben was baptised in April of 2011, about the same time that we were reactivating Kitty, which is where they met! What a great story, eh?
Our tea appointments last week also included our final steak night with President and Sister Lindley! This was definitely the best steak I've had in England. See final picture!
So... I've got some good news, and some bad news... Lemme start with the good news first!
The good news is, I have been blessed enough to complete just about all goals that I had set out to do on my mission. I feel very fortunate about that, and I have certainly developed a testimony of the importance and benefit of goals. So that's a welcomed blessing. :)
Now for the bad news... I don't know if you know this, but this will likely be my final entry/email/blog post as a full time missionary for the Lord. Yup. That's right. Three days from now I'll be on a Delta flight home... and that's it. Back to the land of eternal p-days. End of the emails, end of the blog, nuthin :-/ So there you have it... Thanks for reading! Thank you for your prayers. I love this work! I think I'll include my testimony on my final email, which will come soon. So expect just one more I guess!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer