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

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Weekly Letter!


Sounds like it has been an eventful week for all of you. I'm sorry to hear about the events that have happened. I have been keeping everyone in my prayers and will continue to do so! I'll include my remarks for Grandpa in a separate email. 

My companions have been getting much better this week. I still personally think that we are spending too much time at some of the ward member's houses, but it is getting better! My one companion, Sister Stone, went and did exchanges this past week so she was gone for two days so it was just Sister Horkley and I. It was actually pretty fun. I definitely like just having two people better than three, but oh well. When we were together, we did some awesome finding. Earlier in the week,  I had gone and looked through some of the old potential investigators trying to find some people that we could go and teach. One of the people that I thought that we should go and see was Darren Cross. When we went to go and find him, he wasn't there. Only a really scary dog and a neighbor who was high beyond belief and had a lovely plot of weed growing in her house. Lovely. Well, we were going to leave since no one wanted to hear our message when up pulled his other neighbor in the car. She was a super hyper lady. We talked to her and she seemed really interested in going to church.... she mentioned it to us before we even brought it up. I wonder if part of that was because of our name tags and she wanted to seem like a very religious person. Who knows. We are going to go back and teach her this week and I am VERY excited to see what happens! 

The ward members here are very nice and each very different. There is this one family that is all healthy and vegetarian (They won't eat altoids because apparently they have horse hoof in them, but whatever) and then there is this other family who only eats carbs and meats. Interesting. I am still searching for a family who loves to eat fruits and veggies, but unfortunately not a ton of people seem to like that. haha. Cool thing though, this week I tried fried oreos this week. They were okay, tasted a lot like fair food. One of the lady's in the ward said that she was going to make this thing called grits for me. She keeps going on and on about how good they are.... hopefully they are THAT good. 

We had zone conference this past week. It was pretty good. We went to a church building in a different city. It was just a ton of speakers and sitting for a few hours and listening and taking notes to stay awake. I think a lot of being a missionary is sitting and taking notes. By the time I come home, I should be pro at it. Anyways, one of the speakers talked about how in this life we have things that we can hope in... such as the Savior, the gift of the atonement. But in this life, there are things that we can only hope for... such as receiving eternal life. I had not thought of it this way and thought that was interesting. While we were at the zone conference though, I saw some old people from my first district in the MTC. They had arranged to have a Portuguese lesson with one of the lady's in their ward from Brazil. Because I was at the building at that time, I got to sit in! It was awesome!!1 I love Portuguese so much. And, the lady gave me some awesome Brazil candy. I was pretty excited about that. It actually tasted good and wasn't super duper sweet like some of the candy here is. Don't remember what it is called though.

I finished the Book of Mormon for the second time on my mission this week. It was awesome finishing it again. I love that book and how every time you read it, there are different things that you pick up. One of the main things that I picked up this time as I read it was the importance of deciding your attitude, standards, beliefs and sticking to them and also the power of Christ and how he can heal you. That was super nice to hear, especially with my foot! I'm now working on reading the Doctrine and covenants since I have never really read that before. So far it has been great! 

My companions got a kick out of me this week. At night we have the phone on loud volume so that the alarm will wake us up in the morning. Well, apparently one of our investigators decided to text us at 3 in the morning. She sent two texts so it woke me up. When I woke up, I realized that I was super hot, so I went and got a fan, turned it on and went back to bed. I couldn't fall asleep and decided I was super hungry, so I went and got half an apple to eat. I figured everyone was asleep so I just went straight back up to bed and ate it in there.... well apparently the texts had woken them up to because as soon as I started eating my apple, it fully woke both of them up. They were both so surprised that I would eat something at that time... I guess they have never done midnight snacks before. But yeah, they have been giving me quite a bit of grief about it. 
General Conference was awesome. I'll skip summarizing the talks since I assume that you all watched or are going to watch it sometime. We went over to a member's house to watch it and it was definitely different. The first session that we were there, before the conference started, I was talking to one of my companions and we were laughing at something, I don't remember what. She told us to be quite and listen to the prelude music... the next day we went over there, she had assigned seating for us. Yeesh, we're not two. :P

I love you all so much!! I am praying for all of you! 

Sister Spencer