Thursday, June 26, 2014

Weekly Email June 23rd

Dear Family!! 

Well it seems like I was just on to email yesterday. Man, it sure is crazy how fast time flies by. This past week we went and were able to get in with a less-active family--the Millers. The parents weren't home at all so we just talked to the kids. We asked if we could read some scriptures with them so the kids all got together, we read scriptures with them, and then the very next day they (the kids) invited us back to do the same thing! We were able to go there 2 times this past week and it was great! 

Another lady that we have been working with is named Loretta. She has so much going on in her life--trying to figure out whether or not she wants to get a divorce, dealing with kids, and yeah. This past week we taught her about prayer and gave her a few different conference talks to read. She is super open and I am excited to see where things go with her. This next week we hope to be able to get her to understand the importance of baptism, how we can have the gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism and get her with a baptismal date! 

We have this older... okay, wayyyy older, lady that requested missionaries to come and visit her. We've dropped in on her a few times, but she has never been feeling up to meeting with us. It's never been a big deal for us dropping in and she's never told us not to or that she would rather us call first. About a week ago we stopped by and set an appointment with her at night for a few days later. The day before we called to make sure it would still work. We left a message and never heard back from here. The day of, we still had not heard one thing. Her house was a bit out of our way and in the morning we were already in that area, so we decided we would knock on her door to make sure she would still be up for her appointment that night. Well that was a baaaaaddddd idea. She chewed us out for a good 20 minutes on how it was rude to come and see people and then requested the bishop's phone number to "punish" us because "we deserved to be punished." As we were leaving she told us that she still wanted to meet with us ut that she would call us. We are still waiting to hear back from her...

The past few weeks we have been seeing a variety of different people who have gone through some significant life trials. It has been super interesting to see them from an outsiders point of view. Some people let themselves get hardened because of their circumstances and other people turn to the Lord and trust him. It's just like after the war chapters in Alma when it says: "because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had becomehardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many wersoftened because of their afflictionsinsomuch thatthey did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility. This has really helped me to confirm for myself that no matter what "wars" or challenges I go through in life, I always want to turn to the Lord because He is the only that can help me heal and become whole. I know that getting my VISA is not a significant life trial, but it does matter to me. Seeing all of these different people and studying this has really helped me to realize that even if I don't get my VISA, it is okay. The Lord still loves me and He is doing what is best for me and I don't have to have a reason why. 

The work is going well here. My goal for this upcoming week is to remain positive and to try my best to uplift others. 

Thank you for all that you do! I love you all sooo sooo much!! God be with you!

Sister Beth Spencer

Friday, June 20, 2014

June 16 - Father's Day Email

Dear Family!!

Well this past week has been pretty good. There has been a lot that has gone on. Our investigator Winter is progressing quite well. We brought her to one of our dinner appointments this past week, had a lesson with her with one of the members from our congregation, and then she came to church on Sunday for the first little bit! It's really great to see how Winter is progressing. She definitely has come a long way. One thing that we are working on in general is trying to get her understand that the decision to be baptized is a life decision. As of right now, I am not entirely sure that she understand that. 

We had a little bit of a miracle this past week. On Thursday during the day we went to contact a potential investigator named Donna. We met her at a garage sale a few weeks back-her husband had just barely died and she was going to be packing up and moving in a few weeks. Sister Hamilton and I had offered to help her pack and clean, but hadn't heard anything back from her so we decided to go and see her. When we first got there, we had woken her up, so she was a bit groggy. In the middle of talking to her she yelled "Holy Jack!!" We weren't quite sure what was going on, but right after she explained that it was her birthday that day and her husband, Jack, knew how much she loved rainbows and how she just knew that that rainbow was meant for her. She mentioned how when her husband Jack was alive, he would always leave a gift for her when she woke up. I pointed out how Jack had left the rainbow for her to see for when she woke up. It was cool though because you could just see the happiness radiating off of her face because she knew that that was her rainbow. It was truly a miracle and just showed me that there really are no such things as coincidences. 

We've started to teach this lady named Loretta a little bit. She is currently going through a divorce. She is technically in the Elder's area, but they haven't had much success with her so the Relief Society has asked us to see if she would respond better to Sister Missionaries. Loretta has already had all of the lessons so we felt that we should teach her about hopen. She responded super well to us. She was able to open up about some of her concerns and we were able to address them. It was a super cool lesson and it was awesome to see the Spirit guiding the lesson. 

President and Sister Irion go home on June 30th so this past week for Zone Training Meeting I was able to have my "goodbye" interview with them.  It was a good final interview that I was able to have with them and I really appreciated it. President Irion is still really pushing for me to stay in TN, but I'm still going to wait it out and see what happens. I mentioned how I might want to come home a few weeks early for school and that made him want me to stay here even more. It's nice to feel loved, but at the same time, I'm still definitely wanting to wait it out. I've been given until July 17th to get my VISA.... talk about a little bit stressful! 

Yesterday day it was super nice at church. It was Father's Day and everyone was mentioning things that they had learned from their dad. It made me contemplate and just how grateful I am for my Dad. He has taught my how to work hard, be patient, cope with stress, serve others, and the importance of actively strengthening my testimony! He is such a great example to me and I love him so much! Love you Dad!!!

Well I love you VERY much! Thank you to everyone who fasted with me yesterday for my VISA, that really meant a lot to me! Hope you all have a good week! 

Sister Beth Spencer

Monday, June 9, 2014

News from Farragut

Dear Family!! 

Well it has been a pretty good week. I am enjoying being with Sister Hamilton. She is super supportive of me and is game for working hard, which I really appreciate. This area is a bit harder than my last area. It is a TON richer, so it is harder to get investigators. We don't have a ton of investigators right now, but Sister Hamilton and I are working super hard to get some more! 

I mentioned Winter in my last email. She is absolutely and one hundred percent awesome!! This past week we taught her the Plan of Salvation in the Chapel and soft-committed her for baptism on June 28th. (soft commitment-if someone comes to know what we are saying is true, they will be baptized on that date).  It was really cool because when we where in the lesson, everything that she said she told us that she could see it being true, but she wanted to pray about it and ask God if it was true first.... perfectly fine by us! She worked on Sunday, so she wasn't able to attend church, but she siad that she would get next Sunday off and come! Sister Hamilton and I are SUPER excited to see where things go with her!!

All of the missionaries in this area put on this Amazing Grace concert yesterday. In all honesty, it was a bit stressful. There wasn't really one person who took control of it, so during the practices it was just all of us standing around. But despite everything, we had a really good turn-out and everyone did a wonderful job. There were just a bunch of songs sung about Jesus Christ and his life and then some narrations. I had a narration part, and not a singing part, thank goodness!! Oh, and Winter came to this and she mentioned how much she loved it and that she felt so at home there! It was so awesome!! 

There is this lady in our ward that is from Brazil, Monica, and she has offered to help all of the VISA-Waiter missionaries out with Portuguese. We had our first meeting this past week. Me and two other Elders who are waiting for their VISA went over to her house and she helped us out. It was super cool because she started to speak and I could pick up about 90% of what she was saying. It made me feel good to realize that some of the work that I have put forth with my language study is paying off! 

Yesterday at church was super good. I feel like I was able to receive some answers to some of my prayers. It never ceases to surprise me how when we pay attention at church, whatever the message is, we can always gleam something from the message and relate it to the situation that we are in. One thing that I have been studying a lot this past week is faith and hope. I've come to realize more and more that faith and hope are connected. When we have more faith we know that Lord will fulfill his promises to us and so that leads us to hope in a better future. In Ether 12:4 it says: "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place a the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." This scripture has been my motto for the past week. 

Well I love you all TONS!!! 

Sister Spencer

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Farragut Email!

Tuesday June 3

Hey everyone!

The internet has been down, so I wasn't able to email yesterday. I am at the mission office, so I don't really have any time now either. I am now up in Farragut East... right by the mission office and home. I am with Sister Hamilton and she is super great! She is so enthusiastic and willing to work hard! I think that we are going to have such a great time here.  The work is going well here. There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but we have already been so blessed as it is! I am learning names of people as fast as I can. I think that this will be a super great ward.... it reminds me a lot of what I think a Utah ward would be like. Hope all is well! If I get more time to email later, I will shoot one off! 

Love you all tons!! 

Sister Spencer

Wednesday June 4

Dear Family! 

Okay, time for a more legit email. 

So being down in Farragut is completely and one hundred percent different from being in Bristol. The houses are all like mini-mansions/full mansions. The ward here seems pretty much exactly like a Utah ward. And we get fed dinner absolutely every single night, most nights they make a "special, just made for you" dessert. They are all good things, just completely different from what I have been used to. Because of various circumstances, Sister Hamilton and her last companion (the one that I replaced) were not able to do a ton of work, so there weren't really any investigators that were progressing too much in the area. The first few days here were pretty hard for me. I really missed being in Bristol, and I didn't quite know where I could jump in to get to work. However, Sister Hamilton has been so great and so we have been able to get straight to work! I'll describe the days that we've had and some of the people that we've met since I've been here! 

Wednesday: Met a less-active lady named Ann Nelson. She currently claims to be a Catholic, but she was baptized about 3 years ago. We had a super awesome lesson with her and she agreed to study Christ-like characteristics with us with a member from the congregation. 

Thursday: Discouraging day to be completely honest. We met some members of the ward, and had District Meeting. My District now is nothing like my old one. (Thank heavens it is not Relief Society central!) I think that I will really like this district, there are so many people in it though that it will take a bit to get to know everyone. 

Friday: Had a lesson with a member named Marie Morrison. We taught her about the Brother of Jared making the boats to go across the sea. The spirit was super strong! Sister Hamilton and I were able to teach with unity!  Parts of this day were really hard for me, but it was significantly better than Thursday.

Saturday: Weekly planned and contacted a bunch of potential investigators. An older lady named Edna, let us right into her house. We were able to teach her the Restoration right then! She said how she knew that everything that we said was true. She doesn't completely understand that the church she attends doesn't have the priesthood authority to baptize, but we are working on it. SAW FIREFLIES FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!!!! 

Sunday: Church. Oh my goodness. The ward is so big! I tried my hardest to memorize everyone's names, but it was still difficult because everyone looked so similar! We also taught a part-member family named the Coys. In the past he has been a bit hard-hearted, but he really opened up to what we had to share and even added some input to what we were saying! At the end of the night we went and had dinner with a member named the Ludingtons. It was really fun to get to know them!

Monday- P-DAY!!! At the end of the night we were able to teach one of our potential investigators named Jessica. The lesson went pretty good, I'm excited to go back and teach her more! 

Tuesday- Best day so far in Farragut!! The coolest thing happened at the end of the night. We went to go and contact a potential investigator. They were there and said that we could come back anytime, but at that moment it was not good timing. We decided to go down the street a little ways and to knock a few doors. Normally when we knock a few doors, we decide to go to houses that have cars out front/look like people are home. Well, when we were passing this one house, Sister Hamilton and I decided to stop and knock despite the fact that it did not look like anyone was home. Long story short, this one girl named Winter was home. In Sister Hamilton's first area, she met Winter and helped her move into an apartment with her boyfriend. Since that time, Winter had broken up with her boyfriend and moved back home. She had started to research religion a little bit and decided that she needed to be baptized. So, we were able to teach her the Message of the Restoration and we soft-committed her for baptism. When we were talking to her about baptism, she started talking about how she is afraid of going to new places. We told her not to worry and that we could do a church tour some time. She asked if we could do one right then, so we went on over to the church and did one! It was so cool though because Winter felt the spirit so strong and kept saying how she was having all of these little "God moments." Times like these make all of the hard times worth it! 

I am really liking being with Sister Hamilton! She is a super hard worker and I know that we will be able to have a ton of success as we work hard. It's going to be a good transfer! 

I love y'all so much! Hope you have a great week!