Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Departure date for Brazil is Set!

Dear Family!!!! 

Well I'm sure that all of you are filled in by now with what has been going on with my VISA. At first, I said I wanted to go, then the Seventy who is over the missionary department asked me to reconsider staying. I got to call mom and dad, and I re-decided that I want to go again. I am still waiting for approval from the Seventy, but am pretty positive that I will be able to go. If it is approved, I will leave here on September 9th, go into the MTC for two weeks, and then go to Campinas! I have absolutely no idea what my address will be when I get down there or anything, but once I find out (which will probably be once I get there) I will let you know!! My companion is taking me leaving pretty hard. The other night she was bawling in bed and just wouldn't stop crying. I had to keep telling her that it was going to be okay and that the Lord is in control. I could tell that helped out a lot!! Thank goodness for the power of prayer!! ....Just kidding on my companion! She is doing great and is happy for me. She is sad that I will be leaving, but she is super stellar so I know that she will be awesome! 

Okay, enough of that Visa business. This past week has been a pretty good week. We taught Carol and Dale again. They are progressing well except for one thing. They have heard the phrase "Don't pray about the Book of Mormon... that's how they get you!" So, Carol and Dale will not pray with us or about the Book of Mormon! Utterly ridiculous! So, to sum it up, this next week we are going to teach them about the importance and need of prayer and ask them to pray about our message. If they are not willing to pray on our message and act on the answer they receive, we won't be going back. Pretty rough, but Sister Linford and I have prayed quite a bit about it and feel good about it! Cross your fingers that things go well!! We really want to keep teaching Carol and Dale!!!

Sister Linford and I found a SUPER legit new investigator this past week. Her name is Maria. She is a former investigator that the Elder's used to go and teach. When we went over there, we got to know her a little bit, and then did a few how to begin teaching things to introduce our message to her. It's great because we found out that she has already read the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants and has a testimony of them!!! Apparently one time after the Elder's left, she said a prayer and asked God if the Book of Mormon was true, and then she opened up to 1 Nephi 15:24. That says: "And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken  unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction." Yeah, so super legit! We have a set appointment for Wednesday and we have an awesome member of our ward going with us! We are so excited!!!! :D

This past week the power of prayer has really stuck out to me. Heavenly Father is always there for us and is always eager to help us out. This past week I had an interesting experience with prayer. We were trying to find somebody in our ward to go out with us to a teaching appointment that we had. The appointment was at a bad time (3:30 in the afternoon) and so it was already a bit difficult. For about 20 minutes we tried absolutely every person we could think of on our own. With no luck, we came up with what we thought was a brilliant idea and that was to call up the relief-society president and ask her. We did that and she was super helpful and gave us a few names to try. We called all of them and guess what! No. luck. whatsoever. I was sitting there thinking and wondering why it was SO stinkin hard to get someone to go out with us. It's never been that hard in this ward. Everyone is so eager to help us out. And then this thought hit me saying: "Sister Spencer, Did you think to pray and ask Heavenly Father for help?" Sister Linford and I knelt down and said a prayer asking for help. The second person we called after that prayer was able and willing to go with us to that appointment. That experience really humbled me and helped me remember that  Heavenly Father is always there for us and eager to help us out. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. 

Well I love you all VERY VERY much!!! Thank you for all that you do for me! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

VISA has COME!!!

Dear Family, 

So the biggest news as of right now, is that I GOT MY VISA!!!!! SUPER EXCITED!!!! I have decided to go!!!! I am just waiting on approval and confirmation that I can go. I should find that out later today and will let y'all now once I find out! I found outon Friday and it has been a very eventful few days! On Sunday I fasted to know if going was an okay decision. Everyone that came up and talked to me on Sunday who knew about my VISA told me that I should go to Brazil! Pretty good sign that it is okay if I go. I am SUPER excited and a tad bit nervous, but I know that this is the Lord's work and He didn't send me out here to fail!  

Campinas, Brazil Temple with city view
So besides the whole VISA thing, this week has been very good! We've taught a lot of lessons and things are progressing well with our investigators. Donna is moving along quite nicely. This past week she has really strengthened her testimony of Joseph Smith and of prophets on the earth today. She has drastically cut back on smoking, but she is still having 15 cigarettes a day. We had the stake Patriarch come and give her a blessing. He asked her to throw out all of her cigarettes right then and to get rid of all the ash trays and to put her faith in God and have God help her stop smoking. Unfortunately, Donna was not quite to the point where she could do that yet. We are still working with her. She has been faithfully attending church and the Addiction Recovery Programs! 

Carol and Dale are also progressing well. We went back this past week and re-taught them the Message of the Restoration. Carol kept saying that the Bible was the authority so the authority never left the Earth. A member who was with us, very bluntly told her that the Bible was not the authority, but that God was the authority and He had given us the Bible. She didn't have anything to say back to that and completely agreed. They have been keeping their commitments to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. Sister Linford and I are hopeful that soon we will be able to get the to church! 

We got a pretty legit new investigator this past week. His name is Nam. His grandparents are from Vietnam and worship a whole bunch of different gods, his mom had a dream of Christ and didn't know who it was for the longest time. Their family moved to TN, she found out about Christ, and is now a Christian. From the dream his mom had, Nam is now a Christian as well. Nam was a referral given to us by one of the members here. Yesterday night (Sunday night) we went over and taught him the Message of the Restoration. He felt the spirit really strong. In his own words, he said "I feel a level of joy that I haven't felt in years. That was like the most perfect combination of people possible for me." It was super encouraging to hear that. We should be meeting with Nam later this week. I am excited to see where things go! 

One less-active family that we have been working quite a bit with is the Millers. We go over there to read scriptures quite a bit with the kids.... in all actuality, they are more teenagers. But they are open to us coming over. They have started to do their own personal reading every day!! Two of them go off to college soon, but I'm glad that we have at least been able to start them in the habit of daily reading! 

Besides that, we had a great Zone Conference this week and it was Sister Linford's birthday so we celebrated!! Fun times, I am really enjoying in TN, but I am also super excited at the option of going to Brasil! We'll see what the Lord has in store for me! 

I love you alll very much! I will let y'all know as soon as I find out what will happen with Brazil. Thank you for all that you do for me!!1 Love you tons!!! 

Sister Beth Spencer

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekly Email Aug. 11

Dear Family!! 

Well another week has gone by now. Pretty crazy. Things have been going well here for Sister Linford and I. We are really enjoying being together and we are working hard. As of right now, our most promising investigator is Donna.This past week we taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ and asked her to pray about baptism on September 13th. She was a bit hesitant, but she said she would do that. The next day, we saw her and asked her if she had prayed about baptism at all. She said she had and felt like it was too soon for her. We could understand that because of her circumstances. The next day she was meeting with her realistate agent and they were talking about baptism and how she was meeting with us. He told her "If they are good, God-fearing people, what are you so worried about?" At that point, she was considering baptism again!! Next day we taught her the plan of salvation and talked about the celestial kingdoms and eternal families. That really hit home with her and so now she is seriously considering baptism again!  And, she has come to church twice!! We are super excited! One of the members of our congregation who is helping to fellowship Donna is Sister Manion. Yesterday we were talking to Sister Manion and she turned to me and said: "You know, I was thinking that maybe one of the reasons you don't have your VISA is because you needed to be here to teach Donna." :)

We got a referral this past week for some people named Carol and Dale. We called them up and set up a time to meet with them for Thursday. On Thursday when we met with them, we found out that they were currently Lutheran, but had always been interested in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and finally decided that they wanted to learn more themselves. We taught them the Restoration. There were some parts were I don't think that they fully grasped what we were saying, but we left a pamphlet with them and will be going back this coming Thursday. I am excited to see where things go with them!

Training has been going very well with Sister Linford. I am really enjoying being her companion. She has such a strong desire to work hard and to follow the spirit. I feel like it is helping me to be my best self and to constantly strive to do all of the small things that I know I need to be doing. We are seeing miracles happening here and we love it!!! 

This past week our District Meeting I felt like was directly related to me and what I needed to hear. I've been thinking a bit about why it has taken me so long to get my VISA. In one of the trainings, they talked a bit about the character of God. They shared a few different stories, but to summarize they talked about how God is always watching us to make sure we are safe, but soemtimes he will let us continue in our struggles for a bit so we can learn and to grow. they talked about how God knows exactly what we need and He will give that to us, but he won't always give us what we want. I feel like that has been a huge test for me on my mission. I want my Visa super bad, but I don't need it, and the Lord is teaching me a lesson. The last thing that they talked about was Doctrine and covenants 98:1-3--how all of our afflictions will eventually be for our good and for the glory of God. I don't know if I will get my VISA, but I know that this experience I am having will be for my good. 

I love you all so much!! Thanks for all of your prayers and all that you do for me! 

Much love, 

Sister Beth Spencer

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I am a Trainer!

Dear Family!! 

Well, Sister Hamilton has officially left and secretly I am a bit glad. It was difficult to be with her, but we worked through our differences and made it work the best that we could. I am now training a new missionary, Sister Linford. She is from Kaysville Utah and is ubberrr nice. She has a great desire to work hard and we have had a lot of success this past week. I can tell that she is super great at following the spirit and at listening to the needs of our investigators. I'm hoping that before I leave this area that we will be able to get a baptism or something. We'll see what the Lord has in store for us. I think it's going to be a great transfer!!

Our investigators. Donna is doing just wonderfully!!! This past week, we have had a lot of contact with her and it has all been positive. We've taken her over to a member's house for dinner, had a lesson with her, did service, she came to church, and the addiction recovery program! She is just on fire. She loves feeling the spirit. She wants to come back to church next Sunday and is hooked on the addiction recovery meetings. We've talked to her quite a bit about how she feels the spirit and she has identified herself that she feels it when we come over to teach her a lesson, when she comes to church, and when she goes to the addiction recovery program. We told her that the next time that we go over we are going to talk to her about how she can have the spirit with her all of the time... aka Baptism!! We are super excited! She does have some friends who are extremely anti-mormon, but we feel like we have gotten her to the point where she knows what they say is not true and can feel the spirit between us and when other people are saying negative things about us.

The Bishop this past week had us over for dinner and even had a non-member named Jenny there! It was SO awesome. And that was even Sister Linford's first day here. I'm not quite sure if the lady is open to hearing us teach her, she is currently just looking for a job. Our ward mission leader has been trying to bring up church stuff with her (she went to him to apply for a job as well), but every time he tried, she just shot him down cold. We'll see where things go. 

Things are going well with Aaron. He's been a bit sporadic in conversations in the past, but the lesson that we had with him this past week was super legit. He said he was super tired so I'm not sure if that just meant that his brain was too tired to take tangents so he actually focused on what we said or what, but it was awesome. We taught about prayer and committed Aaron to start reading the scritpures and praying to know if the Book of Mormon is true. He knows that if he gets his answer that it is true, then he needs to be baptized. It was probably the best lesson that we have had with him thus far. We are still trying to get his mom to come. Apparently last week she gave us a "test" to see if we really were real missionaries by not letting him go to church and seeing how we responded. We passed the test apparently so he can now still meet with us. 

Got pretty sick this past week. I had the flu. I'm pretty sure that Sister Linford brought it with her from the MTC, and then I just got it when she came here. So we were both sick for a few days... talk about companionship unity I guess... :P. those were some rough days, but things are MUCH better now. I just look like Rudolph and sound like a frog. no big deal. Great to get new investigators. :P

I know this gospel is true and I am so glad that I have the chance to serve a mission. Each day I am clearly reminded of God's love for his children and how God has a plan for each of us and wants all of us to succeed. I'm grateful for the challenges that I have had so far on my mission and how they have helped me to grow and to rely more on the Savior. This gospel is amazing and even better than that, it is true!

Well, I love you all tons! thank you so much for all that you do for me and all of your prayers! Best of luck this week!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I'm becoming a Trainer!

Dear Family!! 

Well I guess the first and best news that I have for this week is that we have transfers coming up and that Sister Hamilton will be leaving and I will be getting a BRAND NEW missionary to train!!! I am super excited! Sister Hamilton has been a harder companion for me and it will be super nice to get a brand new missionary who is excited to work!  I feel like it will really help me to expand myself and rely even more on the Lord. Let's just say that I will be praying a ton more so that I can more fully rely on the Spirit! In the ward that I am currently serving in, the Farragut Ward, there are Elders and Sister missionaries. President Griffin has decided to take the Elders out of the area and just have us take over the whole area. We currently live outside of our ward boundaries, so we will be moving into the Elders apartment since they are leaving. Elders have always lived in that apartment so I won't lie and say that I'm not a bit nervous for what we might find in there.... :P. Other than that news, it's been a pretty normal week. Full of ups and downs. 

Sister Spencer helped in the Nursery and got her picture on the wall :)

We have one of our investigators, Donna, who is just on fire right now!! I'm not sure if I mentioned last week, but she has decided to study the Book of Mormon, Bible, and Addiction Recovery Program Booklet each and every morning for about an hour!! She is recognizing the spirit so much in her life and she says that she just absolutely loves it! We have been taking members over to go and see her. On Friday we had a lesson with her, but last minute she had to cancel. We had one of the ward members, Sister Manion, going with us (she had met Donna before) so we called and let her know the situation and cancelled. Well Sister Manion was a doll and went over and saw Donna herself just to make sure that she was alright. Talk about awesome fellowship will ya! I was super excited about it! Donna is a bit nervous to go to church with us, and she keeps saying that she is not ready quite yet, but yesterday when we went and saw her in the evening, she mentioned how she was thinking about us that morning when we were at church and part of her wishes that she was there! We are super hopeful that she will come next week! 

So I had to give a training this past week in District Meeting. I was pretty nervous for it considering that I've been super good at dodging the bullet all the other times and this was the very first one that I've ever had to give. I had to give it on the fall of Adam and Eve. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do and how I was going to make it creative, but I just studied it out a bunch. To make it creative and a bit interactive, i made normal cookies and then another cookie where I switched the salt and sugar amount. I did this to represent "opposition in all things" and how Adam and Eve didn't really comprehend just how good they had it in the garden because they had never experienced anything different. Anyways, not sure how good of a job I did at describing part of what I did, but hopefully you get an idea. 

We taught Aaron again this week. Man, Aaron sure helps Sister Hamilton and I to improve our teaching skills. We think he understands the message of the Restoration in his head, but not really how it pertains to him or anything... so maybe that really means that he does not truly understand it. We'll still be working with him and helping him understand more fully how he can benefit from it. We asked him to come to church on Sunday, but his mom said no becasue she didn't know who would be there. Hopefully we will be able to teach his mom soon too! We'll see what happens. 

Y'all are such great examples to me and I love you so much! Thanks for all that you do! I hope you have a wonderful week!!!