Monday, May 26, 2014

Last Week's Post!

Dear Family!

Well this past week has been pretty good! Don't really have any new updates on the people that we have with a baptismal date... they seem to be playing the "I will avoid the missionaries at all cost" game. Gotta love that game. :P *roll of eyes* Really though, we have seen a lot of cool tender mercies with some of them though. So, do you remember Austin? He's the 18 year old cowboy that we have with a baptismal date. We found him by calling a person named "Leah" in our phone. This past week we were finally able to meet with Leah. When we went up there, Sister Neil and I were prepared to teach her the Message of the Restoration and commit her for a baptismal date so she could be baptized with her step-son. Sounds awesome, right? Yeah, we were super stoked for this lesson. As we were talking when we first got there, we asked her what she knew about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Right there, she proudly said "Girls, I've growned up in the Mormon Church. I've been a member mayy whole life. I was baptized at 8. I'm proud to be a Mormon!" That through us for a curve ball, but we were SO excited! Apparently she has been a truck driver for a long time so she never went to church because she was always on the road. We committed her and her step-son, Austin, to come to church yesterday, but they never showed... We'll talk to them later today and figure out what happened. It is super good though, Leah is super supportive of her Austin getting baptized! 

We had a really awesome zone conference that we went to! Sister Irion talked a lot about the armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-18). She went into detail about all of the specific armor pieces and what they represent, I won't go into detail about all that she said, but I'll share a few of the things that really stood out to me. They mentioned how when we put our shoes on in the morning, we are preparing to go somewhere or to do something. Likewise, when we put on the full armor of God, we are preparing to fight against Satan in this war that we have waged against him. Almost all of the armor that it describes is defensive, to protect us from the blows that the devil will throw at us. The only offensive piece is the sword of spirit, or the word of God. I thought that was cool because it is the word of God that helps us to decipher between good and evil, truth and lies, light and dark. God does not work in darkness, only the devil does, so as we use the word of God in our daily lives, we can come to know more of the truth, or more about Christ. It was a super good Zone Conference and I learned a lot... hopefully some of what I said makes some sense. 

I am continuously amazed at all of the different gifts that God has given to each of his children. This past week, we got a phone call from one of the less-active members in the ward. She, and her whole family, were getting evicted from their house, they had to be out by the next morning, and they needed help packing. When we went there, the whole house was in a disarray. Nothing was organized, the kids were screaming and acting up, broken boxes were everywhere, and it was just chaotic. If I was in the mom's situation, I know that I would be very stressed. We were able to help her out with packing for a few hours. I know we were a lot of help to her, but really, I think Heavenly Father showed me something much more valuable in the mom. With the whole situation, the mom was extremely patient, loving, and kind towards everyone. She was getting kicked out of her house, but she was already trying to see the positives and the Lord's hand in her life. The mom was a really good example to me of how during hard times, we really need to turn to the Lord and accept his divine help. The mom truly did have a gift for being optimistic, no matter what circumstances she was placed in.

I went on exchanges this past week.... it was fine, but lets just say that it is nice to be back in Bristol. I like this area and I really like working with Sister Neil. It was really nice though, because even for that one day that I was gone, Sister Neil told me that every appointment that she went to with the other Sister, everyone asked where I was and if I would be coming back... it feels good to be loved! :) 

We have still been helping out with the Habitat for Humanity. This upcoming week will be our last week helping out. I have REALLY enjoyed helping out though. This past week we put siding up on a house.... talk about Legit. I love it. All of the people there are SUPER involved in their churches and would be the type of people that would normally just shut their doors in our faces. But, because we have been working with them, we have been able to tell them what we do as missionaries and answer some of their questions. It has been really cool to see some of their walls come down and their curiosity come out. I'm hoping that we might be able to teach a few of the people there... we'll see what happens this next week! 

Well, ya'll are just great and I love you so much!! Hope you have a good week! 

Sister Spencer

Monday, May 12, 2014

Day after Mother's Day

Dear Family!

Well first off just let me say that it was SO GREAT to talk to y'all yesterday! I love you so much and it was SO wonderful to see your beautiful, smiling faces. I'm not really feeling homesick at all now believe it or not, just more motivated to keep working hard! 

This past week we got a referral for a person named Hunter. He is 15 years old and is SUPER dedicated to God. The very first time we went to go and see him, he said to us "I can see Christ in you. I can tell that you are anointed and are meant to be out here at this time doing this." That was pretty legit to hear, especially from someone who was not a member! The next time we saw him, we were able to teach him the Message of the Restoration. As we were teaching the lesson, he said "I want to be part of the church that God wants me to join." Then, he also said, "Ever since I've ,et you guys I've felt something stirring within my heart." Wow! Hunter still has a few weird quirks that we are working through, but he is great! 

Like I mentioned when I called home, Sister Neil and I have been working on this Habitat for Humanity...basically, we get to build a house! It is kicking my butt, but I absolutely LOVE it! We've been able to talk to so many people there and form so many good connections! It is awesome! Most of the people there a older so sometimes I am a bit worried for them when they get up on ladders and all that fun jazz, but they've proved to be invincible! #Gooldergeneration!!
"Day of Service" - This is not the Habitat of Humanity house she is building
I've been experiencing a TON of tender mercies this past week. The Lord has really been confirming a lot of things to me. Each night, before we go to bed, my companion and I list one tender mercy that we have seen during the day. It has really helped me realize, that even on bad days, this truly is the Lord's work and his hand is involved in it every single day. I feel so blessed to be a missionary and to be seeing all of these different miracles!! 

Hmm, don't really know what else to say. I told most all of it to you yesterday. My new District is ALL sisters except for the District Leader and his companion.... I'm kind of worried that it is now going to become drama central. At least I only get to see them once a week though! 

Almost every morning, my companion and I recite a few different things. Here's one that I really like. I thought I would share it. "My Missionary Commission. I am called of God; my authority is above that of the kings of the earth. By revelation I have been called as a personal representative of the Lord, Jesus Christ. He is my Master, and He has chosen me to represent Him, to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me. MY voice is His voice, and my acts are His acts; my words are His words, and my doctrine is His doctrine. My Commission is to do what he wants done, to say what he wants said, to be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of His great and marvelous Latter-day work. How great is my calling!"

Well, I love you all SO much! Hope you have a great week! You are the best! 


Sister Beth Spencer

Monday, May 5, 2014

Forever Bristol!

Dear Family!

Well this has been a pretty good week.... It seems like the days go by SUPER slow, but then the weeks pass by super fast. We've had some super good success this past week though!

 In our phone, there is this person named " again." Ever since I have been in this area, we have been calling her randomly trying to set up an appointment. On Wednesday, we called asked for Leah, and the person on the phone said she was not there at the moment. We asked him if he would tell her that the missionaries called. He said he would and then said "Well I'm here though, so you could come see me!" First off, that very rarely happens. So, on Friday, we went and had an appointment with him. His name is Austin and he is 18 years old. We taught him the Restoration of the Gospel and committed him for baptism on June 14th! I do have some concerns still, but I am very excited about him!! When we tried to set up another appointment with him, he asked us if we could call back at the first of the week so that we could teach his entire family, and not just him. (His family was out of town). Needless to say, Sister Neil and I feel very blessed! 

The next super big success that we had was on SaturdaySaturday was one of those days where all of our plans, back-up plans, and back-up back-up plans fell through. Discouraging. Every single door that we knocked on, and every person that we tried to see was not home. Finally, we ended up in a certain part of the town that we don't go to super ton. Sister Neil remembered about an old potential investigator named Alex that she had gotten from before I got to the area, so we decided to go see if he was home. When we first got there, he immediately let us in and we got to talk to him! He mentioned how he had not been to church for about 3 weeks now and how cool it was that we stopped by. We told him that there were no such things as coincidences and he agreed with us. We were able to teach him the Restoration and he accepted everything that we said and said that it all just made sense. We were also able to set a baptismal date with him for June 14th!!  Thiscoming Saturday we are going to go back and teach his entire family the restoration! We are hopeful that we will be able to get his entire family with baptismal dates! If we do, this will be my first family that I will have taught on my mission. I am pretty excited about that!

I know I mentioned this last week, but I still have been getting pretty stressed waiting for my VISA. I got a blessing this past week and it gave me a lot of comfort. Blessings are so powerful! 

When I first got to this area, we saw this lady, Connie, walking her dog so we stopped and talked to her. She gave us her information and said that we would be more than welcome to come by anytime. We've stopped by there a ton because she lives pretty close to us, but every time we've stopped by, she has not been there. On Friday, we were finally able to go and teach her! At first she started to talk about her grand-daughter who committed suicide, she seem to be pretty shook up about that, so we thought that we would share the plan of salvation with her. After sharing it, I don't quite know what she thought. She seemed as if she was just politely listening and what we were telling her was going in one ear and out the other. We left her a Book of Mormon, explained it a little bit, and invited her to start reading it. I'm not quite sure what she thought of it, but I hope that she starts to read it... I know that it can change her life for the better and bring a ton of happiness and peace! 

So, I mentioned last week how we do service at the Salvation Army. Most of the time we are all behind the counter dishing out food. This past week, the manager lady there decided to spice things up a bit, so I was out in the table area where everyone eats, peeling potatoes. I didn't mind one bit, but I sure got to meet a ton of interesting people. There was this one crazy guy there. He was definitely high, on drugs, and who knows what else. He came up and introduced himself to me and said he was the devil, Jesus, and then no good. As our conversation continued, he told me that things would not work out between us (me and him). I wasn't quite sure what he was talking about, so I just asked why. He got real serious, and said in a quiet voice "because people are jealous of us!" Oh boy. Conversation continued. Then, after a while, he asked if I had any tattoos. I told him no and he exhorted me, with all the energy of his soul to never get a tattoo. I told him I wasn't planning on it, and he just kept telling me not to do it. This guy was definitely unforgettable and provided a nice stress-relief conversation for me! 

Well, that pretty much sums things up here! I am really loving being with Sister Neil! We work very well together and are great friends. I really feel like I can talk to her about anything that is bothering me, and that is very nice. This past week we found out that we will have another transfer together! We are definitely being blessed in this area and it is wonderful to be receiving so many blessings! 

I love you all tons! 

Sister Beth Spencer