Monday, February 24, 2014

"Ya can't sling a dead cat and not hit a Mormon!"

Dear Family,

This week has been pretty good! We've had some awesome lessons and some great support from our ward members here! This past week we were able to go and teach this lady named Brianne. She was a referral that we had received from a member in another ward. We set up a time to go and meet with her and everything. When we went there, she was there and there was also this man there. We didn't think too much of it, just asked his name and figured he could join in the lesson too! When we sat down, we started asking about their previous religious background and ask if they had any questions to start out. The guy, Nathan, immediately brought up "magic underwear". Surprisingly, we were able to control that one pretty well and we just mentioned how we make promises, or covenants with God and it is a way for us to remember those covenants. He seemed to accept that and then asked another one about priesthood authority.... a perfect Segway into our first discussion.... Message of the Restoration. Throughout the entire lesson, Brianne was very engaged and agreed with just about everything that we said, and Nathan agreed whole heartedly with everything we said was a bit reserved in the lesson. Anyway, at the end of the lesson, after we introduced the Book of Mormon, we invited Brianne to be baptized and she accepted! It was awesome! Then, we turned to Nathan, he was looking at something on his phone and just kept saying, hold on one second, I am trying to find a certain scripture. We waited a second for him and offered to help him the scripture. He pulled up a scripture in the Book of Mormon and starts talking about the whole chapter. As it turns out, "Nathan" was the member from a different ward who had given us the referral for Brianne. It was pretty great, especially considering that we were about to ask him to be baptized.

 We went to visit Janet again this week. (She was the one who last week her power went out in the middle of the lesson). This lesson was again interesting. We finished introducing the Book of Mormon and were starting to talk about priesthood authority and eternal families. To relate it to her, we asked her how she felt on her wedding day to her husband. She looks at us, and then says "Oh, I'm not married to him.... we've just been together for 28 years!" and then she proceeds to tell us how she fell in love with the guy she is with and that only after three weeks, they moved in together because they were so much in love. It caught me and my companions off guard because we had just assumed that they were married. We didn't know quite what to say. We managed though, and the rest of the lesson went fairly smoothly!

People in Tennessee love dogs. Especially dogs that have some sort of cool story behind them. A few of the members we visit have too many dogs. One member this past week that had us over for dinner had 11 dogs running around her house. About 5 of those dogs, had some special story behind them about either being saved from a house fire, being abused and the family rescued it, or was just stranded and the family picked it up. It was a bit crazy. At the end of dinner, we were sharing a message with a visual for the little kids. Part of the visual that I was sharing, required a bowl of water. We went into the living room, I sat the bowl of water on the ground, and the little 4 year old boy, comes up and starts to try to drink out of the bowl of water like a dog. I'm still not quite sure what he was doing, but I have definitely decided that there is a limit to how many dogs a family can have. I do not want my children thinking they are dogs and trying to drink out of a bowl of water on the ground.

One story that has particularly stood out to me this week has been the story of the Two Thousand Stripling warriors. When it describes them, it says: "Now they never had fought yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught be their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them" ... and then after the battle, it says: "there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such might power..." Their faith has really stuck out to me this past week. I am so grateful to have been raised in a home with loving parents that have taught me the gospel, but I am also grateful that I get to show my faith on a daily basis and help others to strengthen their faith. This work truly is amazing!!

I love ya'll so very much!!! Thanks for everything you do for me!!! Have a great week. I am praying for ya'll!! 

Sister Spencer 
P.S. title to this email was just something someone said to us this week. Thought ya'll might enjoy it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Deep Doctrine 101 and other Fun

Dear Family!!

Well this past week has been really great. Definitely ups and downs, but for the most part, it has been all good. For Valentine's Day we did not really do anything exciting. We picked people to go and see that we knew we would not be celebrating or doing anything too crazy. One of the people that we went and saw was Janet. We were going through the introduction of the Book of Mormon with her and what exactly reading the Book of Mormon and finding out that it was true meant when all of the sudden the power just went out in the home. It was night time so the only light in the room was coming from a small candle that she had lit a few hours earlier. Janet was pretty upset about the lights going out and she was letting a few colorful words slip out. After each one, she profusely apologized and then kept right on going. It was definitely interesting. Trying to cheer her up, I started talking to her about how when she was a little kid, she always wanted an adventure of some sort, and now, even though it took a while, she got one! I don't think that she quite saw things the way I did, but it did help to cheer her up a little bit. About 5 minutes after the power went out, Janet's elderly neighbor, Georgia, came on over. Now, let me describe Georgia a little bit. Georgia is about one of the nicest sweetest ladies you could have ever met. She is 80 years old and is hard of hearing, just smiles and laughs at everything, and seems very innocent. When she came in, the first thing she said was "There's nothing like being caught with your drawers down when the power goes out." It was so out of her character and pretty funny. We left not too long after the power went out, so I really don't know what ended up happening in the end. We'll find out in a few days when we go back to her house.

People in Tennessee definitely tend to be a bit more dramatic about snow than people in Colorado. This past week there was a weather report that we were supposed to get about 2-5 inches of snow. The report had not been confirmed, it was just a possibility. So, the day before we were supposed to get snow, the superintendent cancelled school for all of the schools in the area. As luck would have it, the next day there was absolutely no sign of snow until about 6 o'clock at night. So basically, the kids here just got a day off of school to do whatever they wanted. I wish this guy would have been my superintendent when I was back home in High School! 
However, the very next day, we did get snow. We had a bunch of set appointments that we were going to go to, but we had received a text message from the mission office saying that we could not drive our car. Well, since we couldn't drive, we had no way to get to the appointments so we cancelled them and re-planned are day with finding activities that were close to our apartment. Around 12 o'clock, we got another text from the mission office saying that we could now drive. We tried to get back some of our set appointments, but unfortunately most of them we were unable to. ....Sometimes we really do wish that some people could make up their minds. It would make life just a tad bit easier. It all turned out good in the end though. We had a productive day. 

Our Gospel Principles class in church has turned into Deep Doctrine 101. This past Sunday, the lesson was on Sabbath Day Observance. Seems like a pretty harmless and self-explanatory topic right? Oh no.... oh no.... Our "Gospel Principles" class took it 12 levels higher than any living man has ever taken it before. They started talking about how God created the Earth and how the Earth needed to observe the Sabbath Day and then how ALL of God's creatures needed to observe the Sabbath Day. I don't really know how to describe it. It was deep, confusing, and I really wish they would keep it simple. Thank goodness for the power of prayer and that we tell everyone to ask God if what we say is true! 

Samantha is doing so great! There was one time when we had to cancel our appointment with her and reschedule. When we came over at the time that we had rescheduled, she had made us some delicious chocolate mint cupcakes! My companions and I were talking about it and figured that she made cupcakes for us to try and bribe us to come over more. We figure that people just love us so much that they try and bribe us with food to come over! JK, but it was still really nice of her to make us some cupcakes!! 

One family that we are slowly but surely working with are the Rosasco's. They have a 15 year old handicap daughter. When we went over there the first time, the parents mentioned how they were trying to find a youth group for their daughter to attend. We talked to the Young Women's leaders in our ward and they were super psyched about going over to meet her. I am really excited to see how things work out and to start teaching them the Restored Gospel alter this week! :) 

As I have been doing my studies this past week, one of the main things that has stood out to me is the power of prayer. One scripture that I read that really stuck out to me was Alma 43: 49-50. It says "And it came to pass that they turned upon the Lamanties, and they cried with one voice unto the Lord their God, for their liberty and their freedom from bondage. And they began to stand against the Lamanites with power; and in that selfsame hour that they cried unto the Lord for their freedom, the Lamanties began to flee before them; and they fled even to the waters of Sidon." What really stuck out to was the power and emotion behind the prayer that they offered and then how quick God answered their prayers. I know that God does answer our prayers, sometimes it may not be right away or when we want to receive the answer, but I know that God is always there and is always helping us through our trials whether or not we recognize it.

Much love, 

Sister Spencer

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cupcakes and Speedo Adventures

Dear Family,

Sister Shirley Moore got baptized this week!!!!! It was wonderful! The Elder's in this area had a person that they were baptizing as well so we just did a double baptism. Us, with Shirley Moore, and them with Cyril Hipolito. The baptism was scheduled at 4 pm. So at 2:50, we pull into the church to start getting things ready for the baptism. And guess who was already there with all of her family? Yep, Sister Moore was so excited that she decided that she should show up an hour and some early. It was pretty great. It was really special to see how excited Sister Moore was. Her husband baptized her. He hasn't been very active for a while so it was a really great experience for both of them! Well, we weren't sure if there were going to be a ton of people bringing refreshments or anything, so I decided that I would make some cupcakes to bring along. I finished them up in the morning, they looked great, put them safely and securely in the trunk of the car and then we went to go and pick up the Elders. When we picked up the Elders, they decided that they wanted to put their backpacks in the trunk, so they, being completely oblivious to everything, just swung their backpacks right on in the trunk.... just happened to be right on top of all the cupcakes I had made. It completely ruined them and was a tad bit frustrating, but it turns out that a ton of people bought treats so everything turned out good in the end! I was really happy with how many people showed up from the ward! We had such a great turn-out! It was a very big tender mercy for me!!!

Well, we've had some really interesting experiences this past week going to contact some less-active members in the ward. One person that we went to go and try and see in the past was this girl named Jessica. When we went there the first time, she wasn't there and this one guy, Jefferson, said that she didn't live there anymore. We started talking to him at the doorstep and see that he and his girlfriend have a little baby girl. He said that we could come back later and share our message with him if we wanted to. We've gone back a few times, but he's never been there. Last night we finally went and tried him again. When we knocked on the door, this older man answered. We asked for Jefferson and the older man invited us in and went to get him. It took Jefferson a good 5 minutes to come out, but when he finally did we started talking to him and scheduled a time to come over. He mentioned how he had school from 12-4 and we set up a time to see him. As we were leaving, we asked him what he was studying. There was this awkward pause and then he said "Well, I'm still in High School." So, basically, if I were a fly on the wall describing this situation, 3 young teenage looking girls, came to his house and asked him when they could come back and meet with him in front of his parents. It was pretty great. Sister Wynn did a pretty good job redeeming the situation by inviting his family to join in, but it was still just pretty awkward.

One of the other people that we have been trying to go and visit is named Trevor. First time we went over there, as we were walking up to the house, Sister Wynn made a comment to us saying, "I didn't look too closely, but I think there is a naked guy in there." Sister Liebing and I ignored her not thinking too much of it. No one answered the door. Second time we went to the door, I didn't look too closely, but there was definitely a naked/pretty close to naked man in there. Thank heavens no one answered the door! Well, last night we were having a super good night and a lot of luck with wherever we were going. So the three of us decided together that it would be a safe night to go and try this guy again. Right before we go up to the door, we said a quick prayer in our car. I said the prayer and in the prayer and asked Heavenly Father that Trevor would be there and that whoever answers the door would be wearing clothes. Well, walking up to the door there is no sign of the mostly naked man. We are in luck! We ring the doorbell. Sister Liebing barely says under her breath "Uhhh, guys! Someone is coming!" By the tone of her voice, we know that it is not good. This 60 year-old overweight man answers the door in nothing but a speedo. We quickly ask if "Trevor" lives here. He proudly declares that Trevor lives in Utah. The three of us just said "oh good" and walked away. I guess that I should start being more specific in my prayers and ask for people to be wearing pants and a shirt. Really though, thinking about it. Some people try to scare us away by having yappy dogs or other things like that. This guy, tried a tactic that completely caught us off guard. I can guarantee that we will not be returning to that home again.

Well along with all of the interesting people that we meet here, we definitely meet a ton of nice people too. One of the people that we met this week was a set-in-stone Baptist. He was very nice though. We got in a conversation about Christ, gave him a pass along card with our number on it and invited him to go to to learn more. About 5 minutes after we left the doorstep, he came running out of his house with some cookies for us. What a nice guy!

Well I was 100% positive that I was going to be transferred this transfer... nope. Looks like I'll be staying here one more. This will be my 4th transfer with Sister Wynn and my 3rd with Sister Liebing. We all get along really well and I am super excited to see what miracles will happen this next transfer!

I love you all tons! Thank you so much for all of your love and support!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Snow Shmow.

Dear Family!
Well, first item on the agenda! SAMANTHA GOT BAPTIZED!!  It was SO wonderful to see Samantha baptized. It was just about one of the greatest things, ever. I don't think that I can even begin to describe the feeling of seeing her go down in the water and come up--pure joy. It was wonderful. I was helping her out with her towel and all of that so I was talking to her as she was getting changed out of the baptismal jump-suit. I asked her how she was feeling and she said that she felt happy, peaceful, and that her cheeks hurt from smiling too much. :) On Sunday she received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. She made a few comments to us that she felt so happy and just good inside. We wanted to make sure that she kept up with her reading so we asked her where she was at. She responded and told us that she was just finishing the Book of Mosiah and about to start Alma! It is so rewarding to see a person enter into the waters of baptism and take that first step!! We are working with her now to teach her the new member lessons. The ward has been great at helping out as well. Her home teacher came up to me on Sunday and we coordinated a few times that we could get together and start to teach her the new member lessons. I am very excited and I feel like this ward is doing a wonderful job of pulling together to make sure that Samantha stays active.
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Samantha's Baptism
Shirley Moore is going to be baptized this Saturday at 4pm!! We are VERY excited to see her baptized. She has a huge fear of public speaking, but on Sunday, during relief society, she got up and bore her testimony. In her testimony, it was so sweet, she said the exact day that we knocked on her door (November 25th) and called us her little angels. It was sweet. Yep, Sister Moore is fantastic!! She has been reading the Book of Mormon and is very accepting of everything we teach! The Lord is truly blessing us in this area! I feel so blessed!! She asked me to speak at her baptism. I'm a little bit nervous, but I am also very excited!!
This past week we had a very humbling experience. It had snowed about 2-3 inches (apparently a lot for TN). My companions and I didn't think much of it. After all, we're all from either Colorado or Utah so we can do this whole 2-3 inches of snow NO problem. Well, we get in our car ready to go, start driving and get to this semi- big hill to get out of our neighborhood area. At the bottom of the hill is this minivan just parked. I made a comment to my companions, saying: "Now, there is no way that that minivan can use the excuse that he is stuck... there is only 2-3 inches of snow out!" We laugh a little bit and then turn to drive up the hill. When we are about half way up, the car just stops. We all just paused for a minute. Sister Liebing turns to Sister Wynn and says "you can put on the gas you know." *moment pause*. The gas is all the way down and we are now starting to slide backward. After a brief moment of panic, we successfully get the car back down to the bottom of the hill to where the minivan had previously been at. Yep, we were in the same position as the minivan. Well we get together and re-group and then figure out another successful way to get out and do missionary work. Unfortunately for us, the story does not end there. For the most part of the day, we were just fine going around on the roads. At the end of the day, we stopped at this member's home. They live down at the bottom of this super steep hill, so we thought we would be smart and park at the top of the hill. We only parked about 10 feet from the top of the hill. After visiting teaching them a lesson and having dinner, we walk back up to our car, get in and prepare to drive off. Same dilemma as before, car slides backwards... only this time, there is no other way out except to go up the hill. My companions and I got out of the car, said a prayer that we would be able to get up the hill and get back home safely. Well, not 30 seconds after we finished the prayer, one of the members in our ward runs out of his house to help us. Then, 30 seconds a later, a car comes by and stops asking if we need help. Then, about a minute later, this person that we knew from our ward drives by and tells us that he can get our car out no problem. The whole situation was very humbling especially since at the beginning of the day we were all like "We can do this whole 2-3 inches of snow no problem." That experience taught me though that the Lord is truly mindful of us in all the situations that we are in. I know that as we get down on our knees and pray and ask the Lord for help that he truly will help us.

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Our heater broke in our apartment this past week and it turned out to be a blazing 50 degrees in our apartment.... Sister Wynn and I turned to the dryer for warmth!  No worries, it is all fixed now!
Things are going very well with Bobby. This past week we were out and about visiting a less-active member of the ward and guess who pulls up to that house right after we get out of our car!! BOBBY!! I go up and say hi to him (Yes, he does know who I am now!!). He's a great guy. Anyways, I invited him to Samantha's baptism and to church. He didn't come to either, but I'm not about to give up to him. :)
One thing that I have been studying quite a bit this week is humility and pride. One interesting thing that I learned was that pride is characterized by what do I want out of my life rather than by "what would God have me do with my life?" It is self-will as opposed to God's will. Fear of man over fear of God. Humility responds to God's will--to the fear of His judgments and the needs of those around us. I know that God does love us very much, and as we slowly turn our will to become more aligned with His will, he can pour out his blessings on us even more.
*I think that I will be getting transferred this next week so if anyone sends any letters, be sure to send them to the mission home!*

I love you all Very much!! Thank you for all that you do for me!! 

Sister Beth Spencer