Friday, August 30, 2013

MTC Stay Prolonged and Upcoming Surgery!

Dear Family!

Another week at the MTC has passed by, and I am still here... and will be for a while now. I guess that the biggest news for this week is that I will be getting surgery on Wednesday, September 4th. My new departure date for the MTC is now September 25th. I'm doing my best to stay positive with it. I guess that I am tad bit disappointed that I will be here for so long, but I know that the Lord will take care of me and that I am where I need to be right now! I am hoping that I will heal quickly so that I will be able to leave sooner. And, the odds of me getting my visa while I am here are VERY likely! So hopefully after this, I will be able to go straight to Brazil! One thing that I am worried about with being here is that my Portuguese won't progress as much as I would like it to. With my district being gone, it is much harder to talk in Portuguese since the district that I am with does not like to. Since I will be here for a while, I am not sure what exactly will happen. I should find out in the next few days. 

My whole district left this week for their reassignments. It was pretty sad to see them go. Especially waking up Wednesday morning and being the only one in the room... yeah, that was super weird. On Wednesday morning I moved in with another district. There were 4 girls in the room that I moved into. Right now I am in a trio. My companions are Sister Peterson and Sister Van Wagenen. They are both super nice! On Thursday I had a ton of doctor's appointments so they were super patient with me going to each one. I really am appreciating all of their patience. I also moved in with another district. It is sort of weird because it is not the people that I am used to being around, but they are super nice. They are definitely a very musical district. When they got their reassignments, before opening them, they all decided that they wanted to sing two hymns first.... something that I am not used to, but hey, whatever floats their boat I guess. Yesterday they received their re-assignments. Two of the sisters are leaving Monday morning and going to Georgia and the other sister is leaving on Wednesday morning going to Ohio. They are super excited and I am super excited for them! Thoughts of going out of the MTC are always pretty exciting! It is sort of sad to see everyone go though. 

Tuesday Devotional was SO awesome!!! We had another apostle come and talk to us. It was Neil A. Anderson. He talked about sacrifice and love. One of the things he said that really stuck with me is that: "We sacrifice for those we love, and we love the things we sacrifice for." I really liked that quote. It is so true. After that, he went and talked about how Christ sacrificed and gave his life for us and he loves us very much. He related it to missionary work and it was very powerful. At the very end, he shared a story about the importance of always sharing your testimony. He had a former missionary come up and share an experience about how he shared his testimony one time and that was one of the things that made an investigator interested in the church. It was pretty cool. I hope that when I am on my mission that I will always have the courage to share my testimony with others! Definitely something that I want to strive for. 

I have become an avid sleep talker apparently. Before my former companion left for Brazil, she woke up to me saying "Vamos a Brasil, e voce? ... Ah, muito bom". And then two nights ago, I woke up one of my new roommates because I was laughing. And then last night another girl was having trouble going to sleep and I said "E muito importante a usar a preterit." It's pretty cool hearing everything that I say, but I feel like I have become much more talkative in my sleep! It's definitely pretty fun!

Yesterday I attended the "in-field" training again. It was exactly the same as the week before, so no surprises there. I felt like I should use my time more productively than doing the same thing over and over, so I memorized all of the irregular preterit verbs. It was nice. My goal for this week is to master the subjunctive verbs, when to use them, and to create a a ton of sentences to help me practice them! I have also been learning a ton of vocab which is super nice. Even with my district being gone, I still feel like for right now, I have enough things to do so that I can push myself to learn more. 

Well, not much has really happened this week, it's just been an odd week. Even with this being a more of a difficult week, I am SO grateful to be a missionary and have the opportunity to serve the Lord! I know that the Lord is watching out for me, and all of us and that he loves us all very much! I love you all very much! 

Sister Spencer

Saturday, August 24, 2013

One Week Left in the MTC!

Dear Familia! 

I love you all sooo much!!! 

Well, big news first if you haven't heard, I have been reassigned to the Tennessee Knoxville Mission!!!! I am SO very excited!!! My companion and a few other people in my district got called to the same exact mission. I am pretty stoked. Because of my foot, I will be here another week, so there is a slight possibility that I will be reassigned... apparently the travel office did not plan for that, so we'll just have to see what happens. I hope I won't get reassigned, but we will see. I know that the Lord is in charge and that he will take care of me whatever happens. 
The first picture above is my reassignment;
the picture directly above is everyone in my
district called to Knoxville with me.

Opening my reassignment!

So I was on crutches for part of the week because of my foot. At first I was SUPER excited. Crutches always seemed so fun.... and then I got them. I hate crutches. They are awful and terrible. But the good news is, is that they did the job that I needed them too. My foot is starting to heal up quite nicely. Another good thing about crutches was that I got some pretty cool perks with them. On Tuesday night, we have devotional so normally all the missionaries have to walk over there. But, because I had my crutches, I got to take the shuttle on over. It was super nice to be in the shuttle. On the way back from the devotional, I got to get on this super legit and nice bus. It was what I would think of as a celebrity bus... and yes, I did feel like a rebel celebrity being on that bus (there wasn't enough room for my companion to be on there as well so we were told that we had to split). It dropped the senior missionaries off at the Marriot hotel parking lot at first, so it was like I got a small tour of Provo. It was nice to see the outside world a little bit and remember that the MTC is not the only thing that exists in this life. 

I got to be a host for new missionaries coming into the MTC this week. That basically means that I got to show the new missionaries where to go and where they needed to be at a certain time. It was pretty cool. The first sister missionary that I got was pretty interesting. Her mom was bawling and she was bawling as well. I tried to tell her that the MTC was a happy place and that she would like it here. However, when I said that, the mom basically let out this nice long wail.... yeah, I didn't really know what to do, so basically I told her that we had to get going and tried to offer some comforting thoughts as well. Luckily the other sisters that I had were not like that at all. The rest were pretty much tearless. I really believe though that the MTC is what you make it though. I have heard of some people absolutely hating it, and other people loving it. I hope that the one girl will be able to make it a positive experience. 

Something funny that happened on Sunday was that Elder Light was released from blessing the Sacrament and Elder Dark was called in. That gave me a good laugh. :) Thought you might enjoy it as well! 

My District
So in the MTC, in building 18M on the 3rd floor, there are some highly coveted "rolly" chairs. My district has waited long and hard for these chairs. Finally, the time came that we were able to steal the chairs from a district that left. We were all soo happy, for about a day or two that is. On the day that my district hosted the new missionaries, the custodians came in and took all of the "rolly" chairs off of the 3rd floor. I won't lie, I was a bit disappointed. Those chairs were much more comfy than the other ones that we have now. Apparently the custodians moved them all to another building. Since we only have a few days left (the rest of my district) we decided that it was not worth it for us to go and find them again.... so let us all welcome another week of uncomfortable chair sitting. :-/ 

We taught one of my investigators, Maria, about the word of wisdom this week. It was so fun and I loved it so much! (Maria is the 60 year old party animal). She has been following the Word of Wisdom ever since and I know that she is being blessed from living it. On the last lesson we gave her, we gave her an apple to keep up the good work... I guess you could kind of look at it like positive reinforcement. She loved it though :). As for our other investigators, Neumar is doing quite well. We committed him to a baptismal date and now we are starting to teach him some of the laws and ordinances of the gospel. He seems to be handling everything really well and accepting it well. I am not sure how much he is reading the Book of Mormon though, I wish he would read it a bit more and pray a bit more. But he is doing so awesome nevertheless. :) For our last two investigators, Nathan and Wayne, they are doing well. Nathan is going to pray about Joseph Smith and being baptized and Wayne is going to pray about Joseph Smith. They are both starting to show more faith. So awesome to see. I absolutely and thoroughly love it!!! 

I think that I have finally decided on my missionary scripture, Ether 12:4.  Just thought you would want to know! 

We had "in-field" orientation this week. It was pretty fun at first! We learned a ton. At the end though, it sort of felt like trying to get a sip of water from a fire hose.... impossible. I am pretty much positive that I will have it again this next week, so nothing too exciting. I guess it is pretty basic stuff though. 

I love you all VERY much!!! You are in my prayers and I am so grateful for all of you in my life. I know this gospel is true and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary!!! Keep the faith!!! 

Sister Spencer

Friday, August 16, 2013


Dear Family!!!
First off, you are all absolutely amazing and I love you SO much!!!! Second off, Here's about my week! 
I'll go in chronological order. Last Friday we had another TRC session. This one was SO amazing!!! The lady that we taught was a native from Brazil. She spoke SUCH beautiful Portuguese. I definitely find myself falling in love with the language more and more. She helped my companion and I out with the language a lot. It was super nice. I find that I am being able to understand quite a bit, but that I am still not the greatest at speaking.  

 The very next day, on Saturday, my companion and I decided to do another English fast. This one was SO much more effective for me. I feel like with the last one, I just viewed it as not speaking english, and with the one that we did on Saturday, I started it out with a prayer and just had a much more positive attitude with it. I could definitely feel the difference. It was wonderful! I feel like the more that I devote myself to speaking in Portuguese, the faster that I am able to learn.
On Sunday I was feeling pretty home sick. It was still a good morning and all, I guess that I just was really missing talking to everyone. I went throughout the day normal, but then, as I was getting back from the temple walk, I saw Seth drive up! It really made my day to see him. It was such a sweet tender mercy. I am really grateful that I got sent to the Provo MTC first. I love being able to see Seth during the day. 
Elder Richard G. Scott
Then, on Tuesday we had SUCH an amazing devotional!!!! Elder Richard G. Scott came and talked to us!! It was SUCH a great devotional. Elder Scott talked about the importance and power of prayer. He mentioned how God created everything in the universe and how lucky we were to be able to have him want to talk with us. I thought that was such a great reminder that even with all of his creations, he values us all so much and absolutely loves to hear from us. He also mentioned how there are different ways that we can receive answers to prayers and so when we don't get an answer right away it is because the Lord is trying to teach us something. I definitely know that since I have been on my mission, my prayers have become much more personal and heartfelt. I loved his talk. And one of the best parts was that at the end of his talk, he gave all of us missionaries an apostolic blessing. He blessed us with gift of tongues according to our faith and diligence in study! I can definitely feel the Lord helping me learn Portuguese. It is so wonderful. I love all of the devotionals here. No matter what the devotional is about, I can always take something from it! 
Well, you all know how I have had a history of sleep talking, right? Well it was pretty darn sweet. This past week, my companion was having trouble falling asleep and she told me that around midnight I just started talking in my sleep. She said that she couldn't understand all of it, but that I definitely spoke in Portuguese for some of it. She said that I was saying "Obrigada" a bunch. I thought it was pretty cool! Even in my sleep I am starting to embrace Portuguese!! :) 
Book of Mormon (Portuguese)

Also this past week, I finished reading the Book of Mormon again. I find it super interesting how the prophets can warn a people about their welfare and well-being over and over again and people can just disregard it. I know that if we follow the counsel of our prophet and are reading the Book of Mormon that we will be able to stay on the path that we need to. One of the main things that I noticed from doing a quick read of it was that it doesn't take long for a people to become wicked that was once "fair and delightsome." I think the same thing can be applied in our own lives. If we are not watching ourselves consistently then we may find ourselves down a path that we may not want to be down. The Book of Mormon is such a great book and I love reading it and all of it's teachings about Jesus. I know this church is true without a doubt in my heart and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary!!! 

So, time here has honestly flown by. Do you realize that if I do not have my visa by next week, that on next Friday, I will get my reassignment for going stateside! Yeah, crazy times!!! I am fine if I go state side and I am fine if I go straight to Brazil! But.... does anyone have any guesses of where I might go if I get my reassignment? I'd love to hear them!!! :) (I can't be sent to Alaska or Hawaii I have heard unfortunately). 
This past week was a little bit harder than other weeks because my companion and I got sick. My companion went to the doctor and the only thing he told her was to drink lots of fluids and to get plenty of rest. (We had the same thing we think). We have both been drinking a ton of water, but as for the sleep, we can't really do that since we need to be in class. So yeah, but it's been alright. My companion and I found out where all of the kleenexes were and have been stocking up quite a bit.... we maybe snuck a box back to our residence for at night.... :).... we are feeling much better now though, so thank goodness for that!!! 

I love you all SO much!!!! You are all fantastic and wonderful and just overall so unbelievably amazing!!! My foot has been hurting and there is a small possibility that I may have to stay at the MTC longer than 6 weeks for it to heal. I would greatly appreciate your prayers regarding that. Thank you all!!!

Sister Beth Spencer

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Week 4 at the MTC


I love you all soo much!!! Thank you for all of your love and support this past week. I really do appreciate it!!
Okay, this email might be a bit scattered, but here it goes.

Last P-day in the afternoon we started this thing called TRC. It is where we have to teach a fluent Portuguese speaker about a random gospel subject. We don't know who the person is or what they need to hear before we start. And we have to speak in Portuguese so it is a bit nerve racking. We taught two people last week, I don't remember their names. But we taught them both abou the atonement. It was actually really fun. My companion and I seem to work super well together! We have TRC again tonight and I am pretty excited for it. We will teach two twenty minute lessons again, and then I believe the week after, we will teach one forty minute lesson.... a little bit more nerve racking, but I think that by that time that we will be able to do it. I am pretty excited for it! :)

On Sunday, there is always a devotional. Last Sunday, Jenny Oaks Baker came and talked. I really liked it. She played her violin and did some talking at the same time. After being talked at all day, it was SUCH a nice break and just what I needed. It really is so nice to hear music that is not piano/people singing. During her talk/performance she had her kids come and play a song. Her kids were absolutely adorable and they sounded nice which made it all the better. :) I am beginning to find more and more that for me, the Sunday night devotionals turn into just what I need to hear. It is really nice. :)

I ran into Andrew Thomas this past week. He got his visa and will be headed down to Brazil on Monday.  I have heard a rumor that Brazil is starting to look at the Houston Consolate.... so that is a good thing! OH AND SO EXCITING!!!! I got called down to the TRAVEL OFFICE yesterday. I had to sign some paper work so that they could re-do something (it had expired). But that is actually a REALLY good sign that my visa should be coming. I had one sister training leader who had to do that and within a week she had her visa. I don't know when my will be coming, but right now I can see myself finishing up my time at this MTC and then getting to go straight down to Brazil! It would be cool if that happened, but if it doesn't, I am honestly fine going stateside for a little while. :)

Okay, I got kind of annoyed this week. They keep giving us sisters modesty talks while being here. So far, we have had three. I can understand one or two, but I guess that my patience just gets stretched when we get taken out of class and out of a good lesson of how to be a more effective missionary to have a modesty talk. One teacher said it was because there were new girls in our district and they wanted them to address the subject, but seriously, do they have to do it during valuable class time? I guess I am a little annoyed because before coming here, I made sure that all of my clothes were modest and before that point, I had already had to sit through 2 of them. Oh well, maybe I needed to learn to be more patient.... :P

So this past Sunday was fast Sunday and one of the things that I fasted for was to be worthy to receive the gift of tongues. It was so cool because the next day, on Monday, my companion and I taught a lesson. After the lesson, Sister Pennington, my companion, commented to me how good my Portuguese was sounding and how much better it was. And then almost right after, my teacher even commented to me about it. Pretty cool. Fasting is such a great blessing! :)

My companion and I are still getting along so great. We have not had any arguments/fights/or any sort of disagreement. She is so great! Two days ago we decided to try an English fast. (Where we only talk in Portuguese till dinner). It went alright. It was sort of hard because we were the only ones in our district doing it. We both want to try it again though. I think our whole district is going to try it on Saturday.  I hope so. I think that would be cool. I am surprising myself with how much Portuguese I can remember and put together. I can definitely feel the spirit in my life. It is such a blessing to have and I love being a missionary!!

My investigators now are Maria and Neumar. Maria is a 60 year old party animal (really it is our teacher pretending to be that so it is kinda weird), but she is the sweetest lady ever! The first lesson we taught her about God's love and committed her to baptism. Now we are teaching her about the word of wisdom and are going to commit her to live that in her life. Neumar is an English teacher in Brazil (also really our teacher). He is a nice guy, but doesn't always keep his commitments which is kind of frustrating. We taught him twice about the Restoration since he said he didn't remember it the first time. This next lesson we have we will be able to see whether or not he kept the invitation we extended to him to pray about the Joseph Smith. Hopefully he did.

For service this week, my companion and I got to vacuum. I got to wear this cool thing that made me feel like I was from Ghost Busters. I looked really silly, but felt pretty legit. I had my roommate take a picture of me, so I will email it to you next week (I forgot to ask her for her camera today. :P)

Super random. So I was laying in bed this week trying to fall asleep. It was about 11 o'clock and everyone was in the room in bed, most everyone was asleep except for me. All of the sudden, I hear that someone is trying to get into our room. They are trying to turn the door knob and put their key in trying to see if it will work. After about a minute, I get out of bed and go over and open the door. There is this small Asian girl. When I ask her if I can help her, she looks at me, her eyes get SUPER big, and she squeals "oh, wrong room" and then literally runs away. I got a pretty good laugh out of it.

Well, I love you all SO MUCH! I know this church is true and that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I am so very grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary and to spread this glorious gospel to those who will listen.

Sister Beth Spencer

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Half Way Done at the MTC

Dear Familia!!!!

Just a head's up. On p-day I go and print my emails out early in the morning, read them and then respond in the afternoon. If you send me an email after, I will only be able to skim it. Just fyi.

According to the MTC, I am half way done here. I am on my third week! CRAZY! Can you believe it!? Yeah, neither can I! Well, here's how my week has been.

Last p-day, after I emailed, my companion ended up discovering a secret hidden stash of hidden treasures (like weird candy and what not) in the AC. It was super fun to find and so all week we have been plotting and planning about what to put in it next. All of us decided that we are definitely NOT going to have anything that is from there though. It is kinda sketch... like there are these weird cloud candy things. Yeah, we'll just leave them in there.
My Companion, Sister Pennington, and I
Some Elders in my district have gotten strep throat. Everyone that has had strep throat has been quarantined to their room and we have told them that they are absolutely not allowed back in the classroom until they are better. Two of them have been kicked out. One of the two had a 104 fever apparently. I am very grateful that I am not sick.... I sit right in front of one of the Elders that was sick. I think that all of them are feeling better now though, so that is a relief. We have class again tonight so I guess that I will get to see who shows up for that and who decides to stay at their residency and sleep because they are sick.

We have these devotionals every night. Most of the time they are pretty good. One of the things that they have the missionaries do is sing hymns for the prelude music. :P The director lady last Sunday was honestly kind of weird. She kept stopping us in the middle of our songs and telling us that we did not have enough "sparkle" in our voices and to try to do it better. On the song "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today" she told the organist to do something special so that we would be inspired to make our voices "sparkle" ... the organist did nothing different. Ha, it was pretty funny. My companion and I kept joking around that since we didn't have enough sparkle in our voices that we would have to have a long companionship inventory that night (companionship inventory--where we talk about things that we need to fix in our companionship and what we are good at). Also on Sunday, I went and watched this ABSOLUTELY AMAZING talk by Elder Bednar. It was called the Character of Christ. So incredibly inspiring. A few of the things that he talked about was that everything that Christ did was for other people. When the natural man in us would turn in because things are hard or difficult, Christ would turn out and focus on others. One quote that really stuck with me was that "there would be no atonement without the character of Christ." Powerful.  They also talked about how having a testimony is not enough, we have to be converted to the Lord and we can't live off of borrowed light. I really liked that.

In front of the Provo Temple
During Language study this week, as a class we were studying the word of wisdom. In Portuguese, the word for peace is "paz" and the word for parents is "pais". My teacher messed up these words and ended up saying that if we obey the word of wisdom, we could have parents.... Anyways, I am glad that I obey the word of wisdom so that I can have parents. We all got a pretty good laugh out of that.

Portuguese is coming along pretty well. I think I surprise myself by how much I am able to remember. I have memorized "My purpose" and the 1st vision in Portuguese. My companion and I were practicing Portuguese the other day for a lesson and she told me to try saying the whole thing by myself. I ended up talking for like 10-15 minutes all by myself about the Restoration in Portuguese! I was so surprised that I could do that!!!!!! I definitely have a TON of gaps, but I feel like I am learning a ton and I love it! :D My companion and I have a goal to learn 20 vocab words a day and to retain them and also to start memorizing different tenses. We only really use present tense in class which is a pain.

A lot of people in my Zone have been getting their visas and have been going straight to Brazil. One of my sister training leaders, my two zone leaders, and one person got theirs so they are headed straight down to Brazil and will be finishing up the rest of their MTC stay there. I am excited to go to Brazil, but if I get sent state side first, I would have absolutely no problem with that. I think that I actually might like that.

Thank you for all your love, letters, and prayers!

Sister Spencer