Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas and New Years 2013

Hey Familia!!!
It was SO nice to talk to all of you this past week! I really loved it. All of you are awesome. Without a doubt, just plain awesome.
Well this past week has been really great. Besides talking to family, I would say that one of the best things about this week is that we got our one investigator, Samantha, to come to church! It was so great! I was SO happy to see her there! Church was definitely a bit interesting though. Samantha has expressed to us that one of her big concerns is about her having to give up tattoos. She says that she doesn't want to have to reject something that she feels is a part of her. Well, one of the speakers on Sunday started talking about how tattoos were graffiti on the body and how they were an abomination before God. Bold. Super bold. Then, he started to talk about the word of wisdom and how we can't have all these things. (We haven't even taught her about the Word of Wisdom yet....). Okay, phew. So Sacrament meeting was over. Onto Gospel Principles class. This class is normal very good about staying with the basics. Nothing to complicated. Yeah, well I guess today was the exception. They started talking about baptisms for the dead and the after life.... and woweee. Samantha was WAYYYY overwhelmed. I won't lie. I am a bit nervous with everything. We see Samantha again tonight and I am a little bit nervous about that.... I guess it all just boils down to having the faith that the Lord will help them to remember the spirit that they felt while they were at church, not necessarily everything that was said. :P

Our one investigator who also had a baptismal date, Janet, tried to drop us this week. Ugh. We went over and invited her to church. She told us that she was a Baptist and that she needed to try out her husband's church before ours.... Don't you worry though. We're not giving up on her! I know she can feel the spirit when we go over there, and the spirit is super powerful. I think that she got "anti-ed" a bit and is just doing things because her family tells her to. I'm not sure yet. We'll see though. Hopefully things will change for the better this next upcoming week and we will be able to solidify her baptismal date even further.
So, funny story for ya'll! We went to the Amos's house a while back and the mom started talking to us about how her dogs had puppies in her bed on her pillow one night. Personally I thought that was a bit of an interesting place to let your dog have puppies, but whatever. So on Christmas Eve, we went over to this Less-active's house. Their dog just had puppies so we told them about how the Amos's dog had puppies on her bed. Before we told her how we thought that was weird, the lady interrupted and mentioned how her dog had had puppies on her own bed several times before. Wowee, I guess people in Tennessee sure love their dogs a lot to let them have puppies on their bed.... I'm not sure if I would do that... yeah, I probably wouldn't let my dog on my bed period.
This week I have set a lot of goals--for language study, personal study, and just for this transfer. I find it interesting that when I write out my goals, I am way more likely to fulfill them because they are always in front of me and give me things to work forward to. I'm super excited to accomplish these goals!!

Well things are going great here. I love my companions. They seriously are the greatest. Sister Liebing is such a trooper since she always has a headache. Sister Wynn is so diligent and hard-working. Both of them are such great examples to me. I feel like I am learning a ton from both of them. We have transfers this week and I thought that I was going to get transferred, but nope! Looks like I'll be here for one more transfer. I like this area so I'm good with that!
I have been getting a bit anxious to go to Brazil. I think that is just because one Elder here, Elder Brinton, got his VISA and left for Brazil today. And then I've been doing quite a bit of work to get FBI clearance to get my VISA. I know am supposed to be here now and I am very, very grateful to be here. I just find it hard sometimes to not think about Brazil and want to be there... I think that one of my greatest worries is that I will get down to Brazil and not learn how to speak the language and communicate with people, and then I'll be sent home. I guess that again it just goes back to faith vs. fear. I am trying my hardest to put my faith in the Lord's timing and know that me being here is best for me and for the people in Brazil.
Ya'll are great! Thanks so much for all you do and for your support. I really enjoyed talking to all of you. Ya'll are in my prayers!! Love ya tons!!

Sister Spencer

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas is Coming!

Dear Familia!!

Well, It's been SUCH a great week here! I love being in Tennessee and I love the people here!

Zone Conference this past week was pretty great. I got to see Sister Pennington there and really enjoyed that! One of the things that stuck out to be was having the "faith to find." I think it was a nice reminder for me to always be super diligent and effective with my time. I know that when I do that, I will be able to see the Lord's hand in this work even more! This upcoming week I want to work even more on Diligence. From looking back when I first got to this area, the work here has come a long ways thanks to the Lord, but I know that there is still a long ways that it can go forward. I'm excited to see the work progress even more so!

As of right now, we have two investigators with baptismal dates- Samantha and Janet. Samantha is doing just amazing! She is out of town this week so she won't be at church, but she is reading the things that we give her and is a real seeker for truth. Sister Wynn went on splits with a member from the ward and taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It sounds like it went really well. Sister Wynn is a wonderful teacher so I am so glad that she was able to go. Samantha has been awesome about reading every day and I am SOOOO grateful for that. She has a few concerns, but I am sure that those will be resolved as she continues to read the Book of Mormon and pray about the things we teach her.

 Our other investigator with a date is Janet. We found Janet OYMing (Opening Your Mouth). The first time we visited with her we invited her to be baptized onJanuary 11th. The spirit was super strong and she accepted!! She seems a little bit hesitant for that date. She is a bit larger and can't walk so she is planning on having a surgery to suck all of the fat out of her. I think she wants to wait till after her surgery to be baptized. Honestly that might be a long while so I hope not. She hasn't come out and said straight to us that she wants to wait though, so hopefully she doesn't! I am excited to see where things go with her. She is also reading out of the Book of Mormon. Man, I just love our investigators! They are the best!!

Well we had splits this week. Sister Liebing left and went over to the Chilohowee area and Sister Whitehead came over to be with Sister Wynn and I. It was so fun to go on splits! We helped this one lady move for like 3 hours. (Some people have a talent of packing a TON of things into a SUPER small amount of space.... this lady had a TON of stuff.) It was pretty exciting and eventful though. We went over to a part of town that we don't normally go down (Magnolia Street) and had some fun adventures down there.

We had a super cool experience this week. We were going tracting and we knocked on this one lady's door. She answered and actually let us in to say a prayer with her. When we said a prayer with her, this other lady that was in the other room came in and joined in. She was crying so my guess is, is that something tramatic happened. We said a prayer with her, and gave her a quick lesson on the restored gospel and asked if she would like to learn more. She said no, but right before we left, she mentioned how we truly were heaven sent. It was super cool to know that the Lord really is sending us where he wants us, even if we don't always realize it!

The Woottens (Paul and Amy) are doing really well. They gave each one of us a $20 gift card to walmart! It was super nice!

The work is going well here and I love it! I LOVE being a missionary. The work is great. There are some hard days, but this is the Lord's work and it is so amazing to see everything happen. I am SO grateful to be a part of it!! I know Jesus Christ lives and I am so grateful that I have this time to focus on him. I am excited to talk to ya'll this Wednesday!! Love you tons!!

Sister Spencer

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

5-Month Mark!!

Dear Familia!! 

My 5-month mark is tomorrow!!!!!

Well, best news of the week is that Amy Wootten came to church yesterday!!!!! BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!! Her and her husband Paul came to the Baptism that Pleasant Ridge had on Saturday. We invited both of them to come to church, but only Amy came. Still though, when I saw her come in, I think I could have died from happiness. It was the best feeling!! Her husband, Paul (he's the non-member and Amy is less-active) is still being stubborn, but I feel like we did make a really good gain with him getting him to come to the baptism. One thing that I am not quite sure how to address is that he believes that the Holy Ghost was received when she was dunked because he felt the spirit there. We've told him that the Holy Ghost is received by the Laying on of Hands and showed him instances of the Bible of where that happened. But he just won't believe that. Grrg. Sort of frustrating, but we are still working with them!

We've found an awesome new investigator this week. We found her tracting. Her name is Samantha. She is 5 months pregnant, unmarried, and she does not believe in God, although she said that she would like to. However, she did mention that in hard times, she has taken comfort from the fact that there has been a guardian angel over her. So far, she has kept all of her commitments and really is just a wonderful lady. I love her so much. We are planning on going over on Tuesday to teach her the Plan of Salvation. I think that it should go over really well. Goodness, I am so excited about her! We did invite her to the baptism and she was going to come, but she got sick the night before so she wasn't able to make it. :-/. I think this next week will be so good though! I am excited for the lessons that we are going to teach her!

We've had some pretty funny experiences this week while we've been tracting. We were trying to contact one of the referrals that we got. The house number didn't exist (go figure) so we were just knocking on three doors before we left the area. At one of the houses, there was this super old guy who was chewing tobacco. After talking to him for a bit, he told us that he was a Baptist and attends church frequently. We told him that as missionaries, we had a unique message--that the same church Jesus Christ set up when he was on the Earth had been restored today and that we had prophets and apostles that lead and guide us. He responded with "Oh yeah, oh yeah, I definitely believe that!" Not sure what to think, we continued and told him that the prophet on the earth today was prophet Thomas S. Monson. To that, he responded "Oh I know, like I said, I go to church regularly so I keep up on these type of things." Hmm, guess it is sort of nice to know that the Baptist Church has started to teach our beliefs... makes thing easier for us! Haha, too bad he was a bit delusional. The other funny experience that we had was in that same complex. We went to a door and introduced ourselves. We said: "Hi, I'm Sister Spencer, this is Sister Wynn and Sister Liebing. What is your name?" The guy responded with "Hi, I'm Sister George!" It was pretty great. The guy wasn't interested at all though. He told us to go to a preacher's house to get saved. :P Silly guy. 

Later in the week, we finally met up with this one lady named Meagan. She seemed super interested and let us right in the house! (That never happens!!!) So we go in there and start to try and teach her. We didn't have a ton of time the first time we met up with her, so we just left her a Restoration pamphlet and then set up a return appointment to come back. When we came back, she had been super great. She had read the entire pamphlet and taken notes all over it! We were super excited... at first. After about 5 minutes of being in there, she started talking about how she wanted us to "prove that the Book of Mormon was true." We asked her how she knew that the Bible was true and she responded that she knew through Archeological evidences and that she wanted some for the Book of Mormon. She also added a quick note in there about how she could not trust her feeling because even murders sometimes felt like they were "called of God" to do a certain thing. Ha! We didn't quite know what to say to that. Interesting. 

We have been working hard this week. I am excited for this next upcoming week to improve even more. I have been relying more on the power of prayer and have found that that has SUCH a profound influence in my life! I am so grateful for prayer. This week has been a little hard for me because I hear so many people talking about going home for Christmas. While it is hard, there is still no where that I would rather be then out on a mission right now!

One of the things that I read this week that I have really taken to heart is in Mosiah. It's when Abinadi is talking and he is asking the priests of King Noah if they have applied their hearts to understanding and if they had the commandments written in their hearts. I think that sometimes here I just follow a rule because it is what I am supposed to do. this week I have tried to change that and get a desire to follow all of the rules. Dang, there really is such great power from following all of the rules!! 

I have been getting along really well with my companions. Really, both of them are amazing and I am learning so much from both of them. Whenever I get tired or anything, I just think of how Sister Liebing always has a head-ache/migraine and I never hear her complain. I am grateful for the example of Sister Wynn of always being diligent. I really love this area that I am in! 

Well I love you all so much and miss you tons!! Hope you all have a wonderful week!! 


Sister Spencer!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

20 weeks!

Dear Familia!! 

It's been a good week here! We've gotten a lot of rain and I have discovered that I much prefer a dry-cold over to a wet-cold! Nonetheless, I absolutely love it here in Tennessee!! 

This past week we met a less-active who we have been working on getting re-activated. Her name is BJ Blevins. She came to a relief society activity that we had this week and then also to the Christmas Party. She was going to come to church, but called us last minute and told us that she wouldn't be able to make it because of her family situation but said that she wanted to come next week! It was some great success. She's a super sweet lady and I'm so glad that we've met her! One of the things that I am a tad bit nervous about though is that she apparently has some hallucinations. Before when she was getting re-activated she would call the Bishop all the time and tell him that people were out to get her and her trapped. He would then call the cops, and so after about 4 or 5 times, the bishop figured out that the situations were just in her head. Thank goodness nothing like that has happened yet! I sure hope it doesn't! 

Last night we got to watch the Christmas Devotional over at a less-actives house!  It was wonderful. I really enjoyed all of the talks. One thing that has been sticking out to me this past week is just how compassionate, loving, and patient Christ is with each of us. It's really helped to motivate me to try and be that way with my investigators and the people that I come in contact with. If you haven't had the chance to watch the devotional yet, I would highly recommend it!! :)

You all know how much I love singing....aka, not at ALL. Well ever since I've gotten to this area, missionaries have always had the opportunity to sing in the ward choir. I have politely declined saying that I am not very good at singing, or that I do not enjoy it that much. Not a big deal. Yeah, you would think not a big deal. This week apparently I made a mistake. There was this activity that the Chilhowee ward put together and they had asked us missionaries to come and sing in it... so it would be like a group of 16 or so missionaries. We all agreed. Well, one of the people that is in the ward choir saw me singing in the missionary choir. So now everyone and their mother thinks that I need to sing in the ward choir....oh heavens. :P 

We've had a lot of promising investigators this past week that have basically just gone away. We had an awesome lady that we tracted into. Her name is Myra. We taught her a quick first lesson on her porch with her 2 kids. She told us to come back. We gave her the Restoration pamphlet and she said that she would read it and answer the questions in the back with her children!! Amazing! At this point my companions and I basically could have been singing "Hallelujah in our heads!" We were so excited. When we went back, she was there, but her best friend had died that lives in Florida. So, she is going out of town for a few weeks. I'm really hoping that she won't get anti-ed or anything while she is gone. :P 

Another promising investigator that we had was Lonnie. I believed I talked about him last week. Well, we called him a few times and his phone went straight to voicemail so we left a few voicemails to try and set up an appointment. After not hearing back for a day, we went over to his house. We talked with his mom for a bit and she mentioned how her son is in jail... yep, the son that we have been trying to get ahold of... Yeah, so we can't really do that much from here but wait till he is out... and that could very honestly be 6 months or so. Grrr. 

Yay For Lettuce!
For Thanksgiving, we had a lot of food... and I mean a.LOT.of.FOOD. Well this past week we also had the Ward Christmas Party. There was a LOT.of.FOOD. there as well. The ward wanted to send us home with some of the extra food. As missionaries we were all like "That will be awesome, then we won't have to go grocery shopping as much on Monday!" Well, as it turns out, they just gave us lettuce. 5 BIG Sam's Club size bags of lettuce. Hmm, I'm not sure if they are trying to tell us as missionaries that we need to go on a diet or what. But, for the next week, we will be eating like rabbits...literally!
Well, Maybe Yay . . .
This upcoming week one of the things that I really want to work on is being more humble so that I can be more open to new ideas and things that will benefit me. 

My companions are awesome. I am really enjoying the time with them. We laugh a lot together and do silly things like say we can only hop up the stairs.... turns out to be a super good work out... We still have a ways to go, but we are working hard and I am appreciating the time that I have with them! 

Well, guess that's about all I have for ya'll! 

I love all you so much and pray for you!!! Have a wonderful week!

Sister Spencer

Monday, December 2, 2013


Hey Family!!! 

Sounds like you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Mine was pretty good as well. In the morning we went to this "Turkey Bowl" for two hours.... that was just football for two hours. It was pretty fun, but I definitely just play for fun and well some of the guys play like they are about ready to die if we lose. Pretty hilarious to watch. After that we had a two hour break were we did some of our studies and then we started going to people's houses for dinner.... As things turned out, we ended up going to 5 houses to eat food. Wowweeeee!!! I have never eaten so much food in my life. #IthoughtIwasgoingtodiefromsomuchfood. It was all pretty good though. There was one lady who was a vegetarian and made us an 18 lb turkey to take home... we still have a lot of turkey. Ha. Definitely felt loved on Thanksgiving though, so that was wonderful! One thing that I really liked about Thanksgiving is that I was able to focus on things that I am grateful for. I am so grateful for the family and all of the support and love that I receive from all of you! Thank you so much!!
 I guess you could say that this week has been a little bit slower work wise. I don't know if it is because people have been out of town or what. Nonetheless, we have definitely seen the Lord's hand in the work here. For example, there has been this one person that we have gone to visit a few times. Her husband was a member of the church, but he passed away a week or so ago. Well, this last time when we went over there to visit, her son, Lonnie was there so we started talking to him. As we were talking, he asked us if next time we came by if he could get a copy of the Book of Mormon to read. We gave him one and were about to ask for his number when he said: "You know what, how about I give you my phone number so you can call me and set up a time to meet with me." It was pretty great! 

So last transfer Sister Wynn built up the confidence of other people by telling a member that "she doesn't know anything" when she meant to tell them that she "doesn't know everything." Apparently this transfer I have decided to take the role of making our new companion feel better about herself. We were trying to set up an appointment with this less-active to meet with her and kept missing each others phone calls so we were playing phone tag. In the last message that I left her, I said "You're praying for you... wait, You're praying for us.... wait, no, We're praying for you. Okay, yeah, um bye." Most awkward voicemail ever. I like to say that we're really helping our new companion feel good about herself! 
Picture of Me on Dec. 2, 2013
Things are going awesome with my companions. We are working really well together. All of the concerns that I had last week have pretty much dissolved away. Sister Liebing still has her headaches, but we go on splits so she can rest up and Sister Wynn and I can do some work. It seems to work out really well! :) 

This past week we went tracting a little bit. We went up to this one house and this old man opens the door. He has a pocket knife out like he is ready to defend himself. He looks at us, down at his knife, and then goes "Oh, this won't be needed." He was a super nice man though. I just thought it was super funny how he came to the door to defend himself with a 5 inch pocket knife. (Don't worry, it was in a good neighborhood.)

Also, I heard this week that tracting in the rain= hot husband. and tracting in the snow= quiet babies. I sure hope to have a hot husband and quiet babies after my mission!!!

We got to set up a Christmas Tree on Sunday with a less-active member. I thoroughly enjoyed that! :D

Ya'll are awesome! I love you so much!! Have a fantastic week!!

Sister Spencer

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Week Post

Dear Familia! 

This week has been pretty good.I got a new companion this week. Sister Stone went home. In my trio, there is me, Sister Wynn, and Sister Liebing. Sister Liebing has a lot of migraines so that keeps her from doing some of the work. I think it is easy for her to get discouraged because of that. I really want to work hard here, but I am finding for me that I have to find that balance of working hard and being sensitive to her needs as well. It is a bit of a struggle for me, but this will be good!

As a companionship we've been doing quite a bit of walking this week because we are really worried about our miles. Poor Sister Liebing thinks that all we do is walk. It really hasn't been that bad though. I quite enjoy walking and really would not mind being in a walking area at all!

 We have one investigator named Renee and she is literally golden! She is super into the gospel and is so excited about learning more. When we first showed up, she had her scriptures out with a notepad and pencil to take notes on what we said. We had a return appointment and when we went back there, she was disappointed in herself that she only read the first 15 chapters of 1st Nephi... she was trying to finish all of 1st Nephi. I feel like she is progressing quite well and am super excited to see where things will go from here. We are planning on hard committing her for baptism this week. I think it should be great! 

Another lady that I met this week was named Carol. Carol is a less-active member in the ward and she really has had a ton of difficulties in life. When I think of her, I think of the talk from General Conference entitled "A Broken Vessel." She suffers from extreme depression and is probably one of the most humble people that I have ever met. My heart really goes out to her. We have a few things that we are going to invite her to and I think that it really will be super good for her!

We had district meeting this week and it was really good. Our district leader talked about how we are only in an area for a specific amount of time and that time is limited. He more said it because he thinks that some people might get transferred this next transfer, but it really hit home with me. I do not know when my VISA will get here. I try not to think about it too much, but sometimes, I find myself getting anxious about going to Brasil. This was such a great reminder for me that I really want to make a difference wherever I am at, whether it is here or in Brasil. I am very grateful to be here in Tennessee!!

I feel like I am learning a ton from Sister Wynn. She is a super hard worker and is very focused on the work. When I have my hour of language study, she is very diligent about mapping out Less-active members, finding out where they live and who would be good to see that is most efficient with miles. I feel a little guilty not helping out, then I remind myself that I need to do language study as well.

I've been studying my notes from President Corbridge this past week. A few of the things that stuck out to me is that we don't need to perform miracles for people to believe in us. We simply just need to teach the doctrine. Also, by teaching people the doctrine, it will answer their questions of "why?". We have been trying to focus our lessons more on that this week. One other thing that I wrote down which we have tons of room for improvement on is doing role plays during companionship study. Sometimes we don't always get time, so by planning out our time better, that will help out. 

For Thanksgiving this week we have a few different people's houses that we are going to.... I think 3 or 4. I'm not sure how it is all going to work out, but I think it might just be eating at one house, then going to the next house and eating, and so forth. With one lady, she is a vegetarian and is going to try to make some turkey for us. I am so very grateful for her willingness to make us some meat!! I'm not sure if it will be quite like home, but something is better than nothing! 

Love you all tons!
Sister Spencer

Monday, November 18, 2013

Letter from Monday Nov. 18th

Hey there Family!! 

How is everyone doing? It's so wonderful to hear from all of you. This week has not been the easiest week, but I've definitely seen the Lord's hand in my life. 

I've talked a little bit about our one investigator, Jennifer, the one who had the baptismal date. Well, she has literally dropped off the face of the Earth. She won't answer her phone, when we go over there to see her and just drop by, she is never there. We have no idea what has happened to her. She no longer has a baptismal date now because we haven't been able to teach her and she hasn't stopped smoking. It's a little bit discouraging, but we are still hopeful that things will work out. Funny side story for ya'll though. We went over there on Friday to see if she was there. She wasn't there, but her mom and her mom's fiance were there so we started talking to them. We started to share a quick message with them and then after we had finished, things just got weird. The mom started talking about how the apocalypse has started to happen in other states, not Tennessee, mind you, but just other states. And then the fiance chimed in and started talking about how stars were falling to the Earth. Now, I don't know everything, but something tells me that I would know if stars were falling to the Earth. It was a pretty funny conversation from our end. Anyways, I sure hope all ya'll are doing alright with the apocalypse and falling stars. ;)

This week has been Sister Stone's last week, she goes home on Wednesday. A lot of the members here have told her that when she gets off her mission, it will be one of the hardest things ever and she will feel like she is in a dark hole. I am worried that this has made her extremely nervous about going home. This morning, she was working on packing a little bit and had a pretty good freak out about going home. I have been keeping her in my prayers and have been trying to do my best to comfort her, but man, she is sure scared to go home. 

I find it frustrating here when a member has us over for dinner and then expects us to stay at their house for two hours. Sister Wynn, Stone, and I talked about this and we have a game plan to change it! Pretty excited to put this into action! It should be great!  

Our investigators are okay. A lot of them seem to be pretty stand-off-ish about us. We are still continuing to love them and to try our best to serve them. I am so grateful to be a missionary, even with the days that are hard. On the happier side though, the Moore family is doing great. I made some pumpkin muffins yesterday so today we are hoping to drop in on them and teach them a super quick lesson. They leave this week to go to Arkansas for 5 weeks. 

Our one investigator Paul is... well he's Paul. He's what we call an eternigator. (eternal investigator). As missionaries we have decided that he wants to know all of the "meat" of our religion without first knowing the "milk." We have taught him the restoration, and missionaries in the past have taught him the restoration lesson. In the past, he has prayed about Joseph Smith to know if he was a prophet, and he said he got an answer and that was to stay baptist. We have asked him to pray about Joseph Smith again and read the Book of Mormon. He won't pray about Joseph Smith and when he reads the Book of Mormon he doesn't do so wanting to know whether or not it is the word of God. Ugh, frustrating. We sent him a text the other day inviting him to church. The text said: "Hey we'd love to have you at church on Sunday if you can make it!" He then responded back with "No more Pressure!!!..." Yeesh. 

This week we had to travel up to Farragut to get our car tires changed and get the engine looked at. It should have taken about an hour total, but people were slow and so it took 5 hours. It felt like a bit of a wasted day so it was frustrating, but on the plus side, we had a wonderful weekly planning session!

Random highlights of the week: I met a person named Michael Jackson! (Pretty sure he was lying, but whatever.) I got nicknamed Sister Monster by a two year old. (The two year old is adorable and loves to play with me while my companion sings in the choir on Tuesday nights.) 

We went to visit one of our potential investigators and she didn't speak very good English (native language was Spanish). They had some trouble understanding us and they had some trouble using the right words to express themselves in English so we couldn't understand them all the way. We were about to leave but we asked to say a prayer with them first. The dad says that we could. He says that we can pray in English and that he will pray in Spanish. It was super unclear about what he wanted done, but anyways, his wife and him both start shouting their prayers in Spanish and me and my companions were just there awkwardly. It was pretty funny after we got out of there, but man, it was sure awkward in there. We just ended up standing there until both of them were finished.

Love ya'll!

Sister Spencer

Letter from Tues, Nov. 12

Hey Family!!

Sorry I wasn't able to email yesterday. It was Veteran's Day and the library was close so we had no way to get on. Hopefully you don't mind my email one day late though! :) 

This week has been pretty good. My companions and I had a pretty cool experience. We were going through the ward roster researching part families and we came across the Moore family. The husband is a member and the wife is a non-member. They are an elderly couple and very nice. After looking at the list of names we had a strong impression to give them a call to meet with them. We called them up and then went over and got to know them a little bit. After talking to her for a bit we asked her if she had been taught the lessons by other missionaries in the past. She said no and that missionaries would just come over and share a scripture or two. So, we shared the first lesson with her. It was a really awesome experience. The wife reads the ensign, believes in prophets, was very accepting of everything we said, mentioned that she was thinking about getting baptized and came to church on Sunday. At church she mentioned how she thought it would be cool to go to the temple. She is absolutely golden and ready!!!.... the only small hang-up is that she is going to be going out of town for 5 weeks on vacation with her husband. I am not sure if I will be here when she gets back, but if I am, it would be so awesome to see her get baptized!! And if not, we have recorded her information so that if we are not in the area when she gets back, she won't be forgotten.

One of our other investigators is Paul Wootten. I guess that I am a little bit worried about him. I am not quite so sure why he is interested in the church. He has had multiple missionaries in the past. To me it seems as if he wants to understand the deep doctrine before he is willing to understand some of the basic doctrine. I don't know how open he is to listening to our message, but he does have a ton of deep questions for us. Also, his wife, Amy, is a less active member. Because of some mistakes that Amy has made in the past, she does not want to come to church. She feels as if people will be judging her (In reality, no one even remembers her.) So, Paul won't come to church because of her. We want to go over there and strengthen Amy and her daughter and teach Paul at the same time, but I am not quite so sure how open Paul is to listening to what we have to say and how open Amy is to us asking her to come to church. I'm not sure what will happen with them, but I guess that we'll find out in the next week or two. 

We had zone conference this week. It was pretty good. They talked a lot about the importance of planning and how busy does not always mean effective. One thing in particular that was said that I really enjoyed was: "write something worth reading or go and do something worth writing." Even outside of missionary work, I feel like that can be useful. President Irion came to the meeting and he really stressed how the first two hours of your day can really break or make your mission. (First two hours of the day are companion and personal study.) I have been trying to apply these principles more and have been feeling the difference already. 

My companions are doing pretty well. Sister Wynn is a great example of hard-work and Sister Stone is a wonderful example of loving the people that we are teaching. I think Sister Stone is dealing with a lot of different emotions with going home... She goes home in 9 days. It's very crazy, but I'm glad that I have learned the things from her that I have. 

This week we went to go and visit a less-active named Tracey Rice. Her mother passed away two months ago and she is taking her death very hard. When we went over there, she asked us if we could help her clean her room. I immediately got assigned to organize her closet. Thank goodness her clothes were all clean! I actually really enjoyed being able to organize it though. It was a nice break for me and I think it really helped her out. As we were leaving though, she went and grabbed some shirts that she had gotten. They still had the tag on them and everything, but she didn't want them. She looked at me and said "Here, I think these will fit you." .... The shirts were an XL and I wear a small. I didn't know what to say and sort of hesitated taking them. She then asked me "Do you think those are going to be too small for you?" ....-_-.... 

I love you all so much! Thank you for your emails, prayers, and support! 

Sister Spencer

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Mission in Knoxville Continued

Dear Family! 

Thank you so much for all of your letters this week! It has been awesome!

This week has definitely been full of ups and downs. Few highlights from the week: 

This week we went and visited a recent convert who doesn't have a car. His name is Michael DeLane. We discussed with him how to have faith and understand that the church is perfect and the people aren't with an emphasis on forgiveness. I made a comment to him about how living the gospel can be hard at times but it is definitely rewarding and that living the gospel this way is a lot easier than living in sin. After I said this, he started clapping and gave me a thumbs-up. Man, if everyone does that after I finish speaking, I should consider being a motivational speaker!!! ... JK, I'm really not that great, I just thought it was funny how after I talk, people always feel the need to tell me that my comment was good. haha! :)

This week we went to visit a lady in our ward named Sister Larson. She broke her right hip and strained her left hip so she is pretty much immovable. We went over there and had a really awesome gospel lesson with her. Right as we were leaving we asked her if she knew of anyone who would enjoy to hear an uplifting message or who was going through a hard time. She thought for a minute and then told us that her neighbor had been asking about the church. So, tomorrow we are going over there to teach her! I feel like this is such an answer to prayers! I am so excited!!! We've been asking for referrals from everyone but most people just tell us that oh, you know, we are too busy to talk to people... I don't know my neighbor. I guess I just thought it was interesting who a lady who can't go out of her house or even off of her couch has someone for us. Well, we are still working on gaining the trust of the members. I feel that as we do this that we will be able to get more referrals and people to teach!

Olga and Jennifer dropped us... they were two of what we considered "golden investigators." I think they got a hold of some anti-Mormon material and then that was the end for them.... too sad. She sent us a text the other day saying that she didn't want to know anymore of that "Mormon stuff" and that she was firm in her decision. We politely responded that there were a lot of misconceptions about our religion and that we would invite her to read the Book of Mormon and find out the truth for herself from the very source but that we would respect her decision.  It's sort of discouraging, but my companions and I are doing our best to work hard and not get discouraged. 

This week in my scripture reading I read a lot about Nephi. One thing that I thought was super interesting is that no matter where Nephi is, he is able to keep an eternal perspective about what things truly matter and turning his will over to the Lords. For example, when Nephi was commanded to build a boat. I'm sure that wasn't his #1 priority, but he did it nonetheless and he didn't complain about it. Also, with that, something that I noticed is that he didn't doubt that he couldn't do it. He just trusted in the Lord that he could do it. I have been trying my hardest to do the same thing. I know that as I put my trust in the Lord that he will lead me to success!

One of the families that we are teaching is the Woottens. They are a Less active/part member family. From working with them a little bit, one of the things that I am concerned about is that both of them have a very limited perspective. The wife, the Less-active one, has mentioned to us multiple times that she needs to start going back to church but she just won't go because she is afraid that people will judge her. With her, I think it is so sad that she is letting someone else affect her eternal salvation. It's SO worth it. Yeesh. With the husband, he's had missionaries many times before. He said he has prayed about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and the answer that he got was that he needed to remain a Baptist. So now, when we are trying to teach him, he immediately says to us that he has already gotten his answer. It's sort of frustrating, but we are doing our best to be patient and explain the importance of everything. 

There is an Elderly couple that we try to go and visit. I've talked about them in the past... the Amoses. They are super nice. We went up and saw them this week. She asked us to sing the song Amazing Grace for her. We did and then she gave us another one to learn. We told her that we would work on learning it for her. After that, she told us that she wanted all of us to sing at her funeral. None of us really knew what to say since we wouldn't really be here when she died. It was sort of awkward but we told her that if we could be there, we would be. Oh also, good news though, Sister Amos is feeling much better. The doctors have switched around her medication so now she can sit through a full lesson! We are very happy about that! 

I love you all very much and you are in my prayers! Keep the faith, stay strong, tell everyone about the gospel!! 

Much love, 

Sister Spencer

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekly Letter - 2 in 1!

Heeeeyyyy Family, 

Yeah, um so sorry about last week. I did forget to send it and then somehow it got deleted...-_-. I don't really know what happened on the computer so I am trying to piece parts of it back together now. 
Here's what I could salvage out of my email from last week: 

Funny story that you might enjoy. A few days ago, I woke up both of my companions in my sleep. I was sleep talking really loud. Apparently I said: "So! We are all wearing pajama bottoms and you are wearing jeans. Why?" Sister Stone "shhhh-ed" me and that woke me up. Sister Stone was pretty annoyed that I had woken her up though while I was still peacefully asleep. But after that, because I had woken Sister Wynn up, she decided to get up and go to the bathroom, so she turned on the hall light and that shined right in Sister Stone's eye. She thought it was me getting up in my sleep turning on lights, so she let out this big long noise of "Whhhhyyyyyyy!?!?!?" It was pretty funny from my point of view considering that at this point I was awake. As far as I know I was silent for the rest of the night, but who knows. We all got a good laugh out of it in the morning though. :)

I am super excited for the rest of today. We are going over to this place called a berry patch. they have some fried pies [see picture to the left] there, smoothies, and pumpkins we get to carve. Fantastic, right!? Yeah, I'm pretty stoked. For the past few p-days we haven't done a ton of fun things so this will be a nice change for me!! :D So excited for this!!! :D 

We were driving in the car the other day and my companions were kind of joking back and forth that the other was better than them. I was in the back seat not really in the conversation. I decided to join in so I meant to say "Well both of you are better than me." ... And I ended up saying "You are better than both of me." I have been having a lot of bright moments... :P

This week has been pretty good! We got an investigator with a baptismal date. We met her when we were going to try and contact some old potential investigators. She was going out to get her dogs so we stopped and talked to her. We set up a time to come back and visit later. When we went back, we taught her about the restoration and at the end of the lesson we committed her to be baptized! It was wonderful! I do have a few concerns about how much she is actually understanding about what we are teaching her though. After we shared Joseph Smith's experience in the grove, we asked her what she thought about it and her response did not really make sense with what we had asked. We'll just have to go slowly, ask questions to make sure she understands and then take it from there.

My companions are awesome. I feel like I am learning so much from them. At times, I guess I feel a little bit inadequate compared to them. I am doing my best not to compare myself to them and just put forth my whole effort. Sister Wynn has been such a great example to me of working hard and getting this area moving. And then Sister Stone has been such a great example of having true love for those we teach. I am grateful for both of their examples.  

Now here's this week!! (10/28/2013)

This week has been pretty good.  I went on exchanges this week with Sister Turner, a sister that is currently serving in the Chillhowee area. I felt like I learned a lot from her and was super grateful for the opportunity to learn from her. The first night in that area was actually really fun and not so spiritual. We went over to a member's house and they fed us dinner. After dinner, they decided that us as missionaries don't get to have enough fun so they pulled out light sabers and told us that we had to have a competition before we could leave our message. :D.  

Awesome. I'll attach some pictures so that you can see it. [Added above] That night when we went back to the apartment for planning and sleep, I met Sister Turner's neighbor. His name was Mike. He is super nice, definitely a redneck type of guy. He loves to go fishing and drives trains for a living. He loves to spoil the sister missionaries. I was only there one night and he gave me a duck dynasty cup and a nickname of "Miss Colorado". I definitely approve of the nickname and like it a lot!! It was super fun being on splits, but I'm glad to be back in my own area now. I like it here. :) 

 I've started to read in the Bible in Mark. I am gaining a ton of new insights about Christ's life. Some of it is confusing to me, but as I go slow, I am slowly understanding it.One thing that I find to be super interesting is that the apostles saw the miracles that Christ performed, yet with some of the miracles their hearts were hardened so they did not recognize the things that they saw as miracles. With that, I've been trying to apply that to my own life and identify things in my life that are miracles and influences of the Lord's hand in my life that maybe I would not recognize. It's been super great. One of the things that I noticed was that it is getting to be the end of the month and we are getting super close to going over on our miles. We had a dinner appointment on Sunday so we went up to the lady and told her that we didn't have enough miles to get to her house. She offered to take us because the people she normally takes home were sick. It was sad that they were sick, but such a tender mercy for us!!

 We have a new investigator this week who I think is absolutely golden. Her name is Olga I am super excited to go and see her this week. She is about 50 years old and is seeking for truth. She currently attends a baptist church but told us that she knows that there is more (AND SHE'S RIGHT!!!). We are going to see her this week so hopefully she will be receptive to what we have to teach her. I know that she will be a great addition to the ward here!

With our investigator who has a baptismal date I am a bit worried that she is just interested in the church for what she can get out of it.... aka help with food. Not that that is a bad thing, I am just a bit concerned that she is not interested in the church for the right reasons. I am trying to have more faith in her though. We went with a member to pick for up for church on Sunday. She was in her pajamas so quickly threw on a dress and then came. During the whole time she kept mentioning how she wanted to talk to the Bishop so that she could get food. I don't know what is going to happen. ... Guess we'll see. :P 

On Tuesday we had someone from the 70 come and talk to us. His name was Elder Corbridge. He had some really great information. He talked about how when we teach we need to make sure that people our understanding the doctrine because that answers their question of "why." It was good. I got a good 5 pages of notes. After hearing him speak though, it made me super thankful for speakers with energy though. He was quite monotone and if I wasn't taking notes I would have received a very nice nap... 

Yesterday we did go to a PoW (Prisoner of War) fireside though. This gentlemen served in the Vietnam war and was held a prisoner of war for 8 years. One of the things that really stuck out to me was that he said that when he was in captivity he was with all sorts of people who had different beliefs and that when he was with them, they did not expect him to change because they didn't believe in something he did, rather they just removed themselves from the situation and he did so likewise. I think that is a great lesson to learn from, especially today. So many people want you to change because you don't believe in what they do. It is still possible to respect other people's beliefs and not believe in them. Anyways, he was a very good speaker, energetic, interesting, and I really liked listening to it! 

Sister Stone's birthday was this week! She turned 24 on the 24th! To celebrate it we went out to this restaurant called Cheddars. It is actually a pretty nice place and I like it a lot. Since I am in the south, I figured that I should go out of my comfort zone and try something new... like chicken and waffles!!!! Yeah, sounds interesting, right?! Well it sure is interesting and it was DEFINITELY a one time thing getting it. Never again will I get it. It does not taste good. So, if you are ever in the south, I would recommend trying something else besides chicken and waffles. sister Stone did have a good birthday though, so that was good! 

A few days ago, Sister Stone decided to try and cook us some stir fry. She turned on the stove on high, put a pan on there for a good 5 minutes and then put butter in the pan. Well because the pan was so hot, it shot the butter out of the pan and flames a good 6 inches high started coming out of the pan. It was definitely a sight to see.  She minored in culinary at BYU-I, but I guess that for some people the common sense with cooking does not always come naturally.... :P 

Much Love, 
Sister Spencer

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Knoxville, TN

Dear Family! 

Thank you all so much for your emails! It was so nice to read them. Well, here's about my week: 

On Wednesday I picked up another companion, Sister Wynn. She is awesome. She is such a hard worker and hasn't been out very long... about 4 months I think. I know that right now I can learn a ton from her. I am very excited for the success that we all are going to have! As a companionship, Sister Stone, Wynn, and I have all made some goals that will hopefully help us to have some more success here. The work is going very slowly. As of right now, I am finding that one of the hardest things is to find people to teach. Most everyone is a set in stone baptist so it can be hard to share our message, but we are still working hard nonetheless. 

The young women's leader is awesome. Every Wednesday night she comes out with us and will go try and contact some of the less-active young women. This past week we were having trouble finding someone to visit. Everyone's house that we went to had either moved or given the church the wrong address. We finally decided to go and visit one of the names at the bottom of the list. When we went there, the lady who answered the door was so surprised to see us. She mentioned that she thought that it was divine intervention that we had come at that time. Apparently these less-active are living at another member's house and were having a hard time right then because the member had asked them to find a new place to live. We were able to go there and to share a quick spiritual message and talk things over. The young woman seemed super interested in some of the church programs, especially the choir, so hopefully she will start showing up to some of the activities and such. 

This past week we went over and visited a part-member/less active couple, the Amos's. They are elderly and cannot attend church because of their health. The wife is not a member and because the husband has not attended church for such a long time, he does not remember much about the gospel. When we went there, we had brought the Elders with us so that they could give them a blessing. So we first gave them a quick lesson and introduced the Book of Mormon and then went on to the blessing. It was such a cool blessing that the Elder gave. He kept mentioning to the husband how heavenly father was so pleased to have a son like him. That really touched me quite a bit. This man is home-bound, but it is so obvious to see the love and dedication that he has for his wife. Even when he can't do a lot, he still has an honest heart and is able to serve the best to his capability. I thought that was a great lesson to be learned. Anyways, when the other Elder gave Sister Amos a blessing, that was also a super cool experience. After the blessing was over, Sister Amos started talking about her daughter who had just barely died three months earlier from a drug-overdose. She pointed to a picture of her daughter in the room, right next to where I was, and I could literally feel her daughter right next to me. The spirit was so strong that entire visit. It was amazing. 

Well funny story that happened during that visit. After the blessings, we started talking to the couple about the plan of salvation. Sister Wynn was being awesome and using some of the "how to begin teaching points" in preach my gospel. She was trying to use the one that says: "We don't know everything but we will do our best to answer your questions." Well, she got ahead of  herself though and instead of saying everything, she said anything. So she ended up saying: "We don't know anything, but we will do our best to answer your questions." I corrected her just to clarify and everyone got a good laugh out of it! It was pretty great. 

I've started to read this book on the Apostasy. I believe it is called "The Great Apostasy"... or something like that. It's pretty cool though. So far as I have been reading, the thing that has really stuck out to me is the fact that even after Christs death and has people were standing strong to the religion, it wasn't all of the persecutions (burned, being fed to ravenous dogs, crucified, etc.) that they were facing that destroyed the church. The more the persecutions came, the more people flocked to the church. But what actually ended up causing the church to go into apostasy was the enemy that came from within. I think that there is a good lesson to be taken from there. 

Okay, funny story time. Last week my companions and I decided to splurge, so we went to McDonalds to go and buy some icecream. When we were there, we saw 3 teenaged-age boys. I didn't think much of it. We quickly got our icecream and left. Later that same night, we wnet and got gas fr our car and went in to buy some milk. When we were walking in to the gas station, those same three boys, called over to me and my companions. We went over, thrilled that someone actually called us over to talk to us. We started talking about the gospel. We gave them a pass along card. (I had almost written our phone number on it, but last minute decided not to), and then as we started to walk away, one of the teenage boys yelled to me and said "Hey, the whole reason why I wanted to talk to you was because I thought you were pretty." I thought about doing the whole "flirt to convert" thing, but decided against it so I just said thanks and went and bought the milk. 

I love you all!!

Sister Spencer