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