Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Its going to be the best Christmas ever!

Dear Family and Friends,

I love you all so dearly. I love being a missionary! So I have some great news!

We had a zone conference this past week with a 70. We learned some really great things. We were also able to ask President about Hilda and her family and their situation with immigration and baptism. Well it may turn out that Hilda might not be able to be baptized until the laws change. This hurt my heart. In the zone conference we talked about having a white Christmas, or in other words a Christmas of baptisms. After hearing about Hilda and Juan and the fact that we would have to wait, the idea came to my mind that Alonzo and Jonathan could get baptized. I prayed about this and thought about it alot. I have always felt like this family needed to get baptized together. I felt like having the kids get baptized was just right. Well we went to talk to Hilda on Thursday. We told her the news and she was pretty sad. She wants to get baptized to keep progressing. She wants these blessing for her family. After this she asked, "what about the kids?" So then we told her what we had been thinking. We told her we have even thought of a date. When we said Christmas, the Spirit was just so strong. We all knew it was what the Lord wanted. So Hilda wanted to tell the kids. They are so happy! So this Christmas will probably be one of the most special days of my mission. These kids mean a lot to me. We asked them who they wanted to baptize them and Jonathan said, "Ovalle!" (He is one of the Elders that serves in the ward with us) and Alonzo said, "Bishop!" They both had already decided. Elder Ovalle is super excited as well. It will be his first time to baptize someone. This has made me so happy! CHRISTMAS = BAPTISM!

We have also seen small miracles this week with less actives. Elvia was baptized and almost immediately stopped going to church. Last week we asked her to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. She has been reading the Liahona edition about the Book of Mormon. We went by last week and it was one of my favorite sites, her kitchen table was covered with her scriptures and liahona. She was so excited to have us there. She talked about how she felt about the Book of Mormon. She said that it has to be true because of th way she feels. I really was surprised. She has had a really hard time reading the Book of Mormon. She has been praying for her answer every night and now knows that it has to be true and has the goal of going to the temple this next year. I am so convinced that if anyone will read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, that they will know its true. The Lord is so magnificent. He knows exactly when and how we need to receive this answer.

In Zone Conference we talked about what does it mean to be a successful missionary. Elder Wilson said it means to make a difference. I know that I have made a difference here. I know the ward is better because I have been here. I now am going to be able to see two awesome kids get baptized. I love the gospel so much. It is everything to me. I think one of the purposes of me going on a mission was to help me see just really how it works, why its important and how I can love people. I also think another reason is because I need to get married and have children. I feel like my love for children grows everyday and my desire to have a family grows as well.....SCARY!

After zone conference we had a small sisters meeting with Sister Wilson and Sister Maynes. We were able to ask questions and I asked something that I really didn't want to ask. I asked how to overcome the feeling of always feeling like I have never done my best, that I could always do more. It is a feeling that is hard to describe. Sister Wilson read something so great out of 2 Cor. and she said something that I will not forget. She said that Satan wants us to feel this way and get us to focus on ourselves and not on others. He wants us to feel like we are never good enough and that we can never be good enough. This has helped me so much this last week. I feel like I have been suffering from this and for a while not even realizing it. So no more thinking about Hermana Spencer.

I have also been given another opportunity to grow. Something that I can't really talk about. I am so grateful for the mission. For everything that I have and every experience.

I love you all and hope that you get something from my emails.

Hermana Spencer

Friday, December 9, 2011

Snow, Puzzles, and 1 Year

Dear Family and Friends,

This last week was insane. We had transfers which were really great. I love hearing the testimonies of the missionaries that are going home. I can see that the mission really has changed them. I only have 5 transfers left in the mission....this is crazy.

So on Saturday, I hit my one year mark since I was set apart as a missionary. This year has gone faster than any other year in my life. I am so grateful that I am here.

This last week my companion was sick and we spent a lot of time at the apartment. She was super sick! It started on Tuesday and is still not quite over. At night, I went out with members and left her at a members house. It was wonderful going out with the bishops wife. I learned so much from her. She just told me so much about her life and the gospel. She accepted it with her whole heart and you can see the testimony of obedience in her. I was very touched by everything she said. She has had hard times. I really feel like that is the only way you can gain a testimony. Yesterday, when I was out with her we went to see Hilda and Juan. Yesterday, they did not go to church (it was the first time they haven't gone since I have known them). Hilda is having a hard time. Satan is working really hard on them. Juan left for work when we got there and shortly there after, came back. He just lost his job. The only way I can describe how I felt is, I felt like they were my children and they were suffering and there was nothing I could do to help them. My heart broke. Juan's eyes were filled with despair. The bishop's wife helped me. She said that they have to gain their own testimony. It has to be hard so they can trust Him. They are really important to Heavenly Father. Satan is just working really hard. Their faith is being tested and he will probably find a better job. We invited them to the baptism of an 8 year girl that was going to happen right after.

We went to the be honest I was a little down....and guess what I saw!?!?!?! THE MANCERA FAMILY - SO if you remember we were teaching this awesome family that was super ready to get baptized but them had to move. Well they were there meeting with the bishop of the other Spanish ward. My heart swelled with so much happiness. They were so happy to see me. The husband and older son almost hugged me....I had to refuse very strongly lol. They are doing so great. They have remembered the things that we taught them! They are going to get baptized and will be married very soon! I probably get to go because they will do it in our church building. Seriously best thing ever!

Also, it has snowed so much lately. It snowed Saturday and yesterday. We were eating dinner (Mexican bread and hot chocolate together are the best just so you know) and we got a text from our zone leaders saying that we needed to park the cars. We looked outside and three inches had fallen since we started eating. It was super hard to get home. It is supposed to get below 0. Hello Winter! I just worry about what will happen if we cannot drive. Our area is so big! I guess we will knock.

So being at home as a missionary is really hard. Luckily I found a puzzle under the sink. It really helped me. I thought I would go crazy. I also cleaned and read a lot. Also, lets just say that I would be fine if we never watched any of the church videos again lol.

Tomorrow is Zone Conference and a member of the 70 is coming. So it should be super great!

This week I also hit a year mark of entering the MTC! This year has been incredible.

I love you all and hope that you are all warm where ever you are!


Hermana Spencer

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving and Feliz Navidad

Dearest Family and Friends,

I had a wonderful week, despite some hard things. I really love being a missionary.

News! I am yet again staying in Denver 4th! This will be 10 1/2 months in this area. Hermana Romero will still be my companion. Hermana Thomas is now training! Yay.

Quote: It will be a lot harder to find hispanics in the winter because everyone will have Christmas lights! - Hermana Thomas

So to tell you a little about my last week! I loved it. I felt more home sick than I ever have my whole mission, but I will tell you of one of the best and rarest tender mercy the Lord has given me. I felt like every time I thought of thanksgiving, I thought of my family. Well on Tuesday, we stopped by a members house. Hermana Salazar is one of my favorite woman of all time. She has worked very hard all of her life and doesn't have much to show for it. She also feels like she doesn't get a lot of love from her family. I just love her so much. Then she told me that she was going to make mashed potatoes for an apartment building party and had never made them before. I offered to help. Can I just say that making those mashed potatoes with this hispanic woman was one GIANT tender mercy. You all know how much I love mashed potatoes! They turned out wonderful...probably because they had a good amount of butter lol. We then helped her make tamales. She talked about how she wants to go on a mission. If Hermana Salazar does end up going....I would help her pay for it in a heart beat. This just proved to me that the Lord does know me.

I was also able to make Pumpkin Pie. They all turned out so good. They were eaten so quickly.

So Thanksgiving.

We started out by playing American football. .....then we played futbol....or soccer. Someone should have told me before I go on a spanish speaking mission to learn some soccer skills lol. We then had a ward party and it was awesome. We had so many great members there, less actives and investigators. I felt like it was a lot of work but it was so worth it. The food was different...but Hermana Salazar made the best turkey ever! It was cooked in Chile! It was so spicy and delicious! After eating there was a dance. It was so great to see everyone having fun. I loved my Mexican thanksgiving! There was also some mashed potatoes....they were good too! This is the fourth time I have had them on my mission.

This week we helped two families put up their Christmas trees. It was really great to do this. I love that all of the families help us become part of their family while ours are not with us. I felt really loved this last week. The ward is really excited that I am staying here. Elder Lopez, who has been here 6 months with me, will be leaving tomorrow to another area. The other night we went and caroled at the bishop's house. He loves it when we sing! Really loves it! The whole family was there and it was just great. We also went to the Fam. Palacios house. He is going through chemotherapy right now and is having a really hard time eating. His family asked us to stop by, but I was sick and so we thought that would be a really bad idea. So we decided to carol for them too! His eyes looked so weak. He has drastically changed physically in the last month. I was so grateful that the Lord gives us an abundance of his Spirit to help us as missionaries help others. I know that it helped him.

Now a story that helped me this morning. I have been struggling not getting really discouraged for 3 months now. The mission is just really hard. But this morning I read a great talk, "Whom, I love, I also Chasten". I loved the story of the currant bush. I feel like that is what God is doing to me. He is helping me become better!

I am so excited for the Christmas season!

I love you all,
Hermana Spencer

Monday, November 21, 2011

Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias

Familia y Amigos,

I really almost started typing in Spanish lol.

I am so glad to be writing you today. I am in a different area today....Lakewood with Hna. Thomas. Its exciting and different. Its really weird to be in an area that I don't know with people I don't know. Tomorrow I will head back to beloved Denver 4th! I already miss people. Thursday is P-day and so today feels really weird lol!

So this last week was wonderful! We had some really great lessons. All of our investigators are starting to progress mas y mas! I really can't think in English today. Hilda and her family are doing so wonderful. The other day we talked to the kids about Chastity lol. It was a little funny and then afterwards we went over the questions they will be asked before their baptism. I asked Jonathan about God. He said, "He is the Father of the spirits and loves us and is like Barrack Obama...a leader!" It was so funny! I died laughing! Also, Hilda had a grease fire in her house and the story was just hilarious. She went to the other room to talk to her sister and felt she needed to go back to the kitchen. All of the kids started yelling FIRE! Her sister is sick and doesn't really have her voice and was running a man! lol. Hilda did the thing you shouldn't do....put water in it lol. Luckily, it was all taken care of.

Transfers are next week and I am really nervous. Being in a different area today makes me nervous. I have no idea what will happen. None of us do, but I know it will all work out just fine.

So lately, I have felt so wonderful reading my scriptures. I now only read them in Spanish. Sometimes, the words hit my heart so differently. I think of the things that I have learned on my mission is the importance of reading. When people make that decision to read their scriptures, putting God first in their lives...miracles happen. This week we had asked the young women to read every day for 15 minutes. Everyone that did that this week learned something so wonderful from the scriptures. I want more time to read them every day. I feel like I am so hungry to understand them. I love sharing my testimony of the Book of Mormon!

I have also been so blessed to feel God's love lately. Yesterday we sang in church, Hna. Romero and I. The spirit really came. I love anything that invites the Spirit. I feel like God gives us the things we need when we need them. I love seeing people live the gospel.

It is really nice to be with Hna. Thomas. I always feel like shes an old friend I haven't seen for years. She is doing great and has seen a lot of great things here. I really hope that I can serve with her again.

I love you and and LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yo tengo un sueno.......I helped someone become a Mexican Citizen

Dear Family and Friends,

This last week was really great. We had some great trainings and some great lessons.

First of all, our president met with us this last Friday and we talked about the progression of the mission and So Denver is one of nine cities in which the church is doing the campaign. If it goes well they will do it nationally. They also gave all of us missionaries copies of all of the commercials and videos on Random people are showing up to church and saying "I want to get baptized." There are so many miracles that missionaries are seeing. I wish with all of my heart that it was in Spanish as well.

After that I had my interview with my president. It was wonderful to talk to him about things. I have no idea if I will stay here, or what. There is a good chance that I will leave (I mean I've only been here for 9months), but there is also a chance that I could stay. If I leave I will probably white wash and train or something crazier will happen. Either way it will be great. Only two more weeks. I also learned that I again need to have more patience with myself. I feel that so much. My president is wonderful. He also gave me marriage advice....he does that a lot with me lol.

We also had a great lesson the other day with Hilda. We had a powerful district meeting about the Spirit. I again committed myself to pay more attention to the Spirit. That lesson with Hilda was right after this meeting. We had decided that we were going to talk about Joseph Smith. I felt like we needed to read Joseph Smith History. Afterwards, she told us we were witches. .... Hna. Romero said "did you just call us witches?" We were all laughing and then she said she meant good witches because we always knew what she needed to hear...or in other words.....the Spirit was helping us. It was just a powerful lesson because I felt love for her and Heavenly Father blessed us to know what to say and do.

So ... this morning I helped someone become a Mexican citizen. It wasn't a big deal but it was funny. We went to the Mexican consul and were witnesses for one of our less actives. It was nice to be there with everything written in Spanish and only people around that spoke Spanish. It made me want to go to Mexico. The less actives dad gave me 100 pesos lol. So I now need to go!

This Sunday again I realized how much I love this ward and the people. Hna. Orellana came up to me and gave me a hug. I asked her how to Book of Mormon reading was going (I invited her to start reading again). She said that she has seen so many miracles in her life since she began reading again. She thanked me so much for inviting her to read. She said that she felt like I gave my heart into that question and that I should have more people do it. It again showed me that God magnifies what I do and that I have made a difference in this ward. Sacrament meeting was great. I just felt an abundance of the Spirit. I felt peace and happiness. I was sitting between two less actives that I love. Hna. Romero was with Manuel and his family and Hilda was sitting in front of me. I saw Hno. Rivera bless the sacrament and so many other people. I love them all so much. The talks were about the importance of prayer and I just felt so wonderful the whole time I was sitting there. I am so not good enough to have these blessings. After wards....we realized that we didn't have a teacher sooo.....what did that mean? Missionaries teach! So Elder Ovalle and I taught the class. We read 3 Nephi 27 and it was great. We had so many great investigators in the class and great less actives. It was wonderful. Afterwards Hna Romero and I taught YW. It was wonderful....(I also didn't know we were teaching that class until after sacrament). We talked about the scriptures and I got to yet again bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon so much. It has changed my life so much and I know that it is true. The Spirit was so strong in that class and half of them were crying. Ana Rivera (the daughter of the family we helped activate) bore her testimony of the scriptures. That family is just so different now that they live the gospel. We committed all of them to read the scriptures this week for at least 15 minutes a day. I am so excited to see the blessings in their lives.

On Saturday we had the ward activity. It was a super long activity and I was super nervous. I sang for the first time in public....and guess what I couldn't hear myself at all lol....hopefully people were not lying when they said we sound good. We sang ABBA...I have a dream. It was wonderful to just be with the ward.

This weekend we also saw Hno. Palacios. He was diagnosed with Cancer last month and has went through intense chemo. We can't go see him often because he is outside of the mission, but this week he was able to go home for a little while. He looked so much older, like he has aged 20 years. He talked about the things we take advantage of. He talked about having saliva and using your legs. He was able to go to the church yesterday for the first time in a long time. He was early. He always tells us that we can show God how we love Him based on what time we get to church...late or early. I love that man. He brought such a great Spirit to the class and the sacrament.

All in all, I love my mission. I love the people here and am finally feeling like I can help people. Or better yet that the Lord can work through me.

Hermana Spencer

Monday, November 7, 2011

Miracles, Snow and Struggles

My dear family and my wonderful friends,

It is I, Hermana Spencer, once again writing you of my travels and adventures. This last week was a doozy! It was wonderful to see the hand of the Lord in the lives of the people we teach. I feel extremely blessed to know them and love them.

So first off! MIRACLES

This week an amazing thing happened with Hilda and Juan. Last Sunday, we went by and talked about miracles and through faith miracles come to pass. All of the children were praying for a miracle. They were having a lot of money issues and were supposed to move. On Tuesday, we went to help them move and were told by Juan that there is no doubt in his mind that the church is true and that he wants to get baptized!!!!!!!!!! Hilda later told us of the miracle that happened.
1. Hna. Rivera came by and gave them some great advice when she learned what was going on with them. She went by just to see how Hilda was doing! Hilda listened to her.
2. Hilda owes her mom money and her mom was really upset with them. When her mom came to get the money, she didn't ask for all of it. She also didn't yell. All of them were astonished and thought this cannot be her.
3. The bishop helped them out.
4. He sister gave them some money.
5. The land lady let them wait for 3 more days until Juan got paid.
6. Another lady helped them out.
Basically, everything worked out that they could move and pay everything. It was amazing. The ward even helped. They all want to get baptized. Hilda cried when she told us this story. Alonzo could not believe how wonderful the Lord was with them. I honestly had no idea how Heavenly Father would help them. I am so indebted to Him. This family is now scheduled to get baptized the 26th! They will also be getting married :) I love this whole family and am so grateful.

This last week was a really hard week for lessons and everything but we are seeing our prayers answered. Yesterday we had a lot of great lessons planned and were really excited about the day. It was a great day at church. I love fasting as a missionary. I feel like I should fast more often because that is always when I feel the Spirit the most. I knew that I needed to bear my testimony. Every time that I have gotten up to bear my testimony, Spanish just leaves my mouth. It truly is a miracle every time. I love this ward so much. I fasted to feel comforted and for some other things. I secretly wanted to feel loved...but what I got was so much better. I felt love for others. All of these crazy Hispanics that I was not able to understand for so long, have become so much to me. I love them with a love that I have never felt before. I am so glad that Heavenly Father is changing my heart. We also were able to meet most of our goals yesterday. We had put 4 new investigators down as our goal. We started yesterday off with one. We went to check on a less active and it just so happened that her friends were there. Heavenly Father helped us so much in that lesson to teach boldly and with the Spirit. We have an appointment with them this Saturday and I am really excited to teach them. There are just so many great things happening here!

It also snowed last week. It was great and it wasn't too bad where we couldn't drive. We loved it. I even got to experience the ABS on the car :) I'm glad that it worked. It kept us from sliding into an intersection.

So, at times I have been really discouraged. I am definitely on the uphill part of getting back to where I was. This week my mission president called me. We talked about a lot of things and it was really great to know that he cares. I am pretty sure that I will be getting transferred. I am sad to leave, but I really think this will happen. So the most likely thing that will happen is white washing and training......but that just sounds crazy! I am so glad that we have the scriptures.

Ohh by the way I am singing I have a dream by ABBA in the ward talent show with a 12 year old!


Hermana Spencer
P.S. Happy  Birthday Katelynn!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Feliz Halloween

Dear Family and Amigos,

Happy Halloween! So just a little about today! We got a new car....a brand new Toyota Carola - RED! We might call him Guapo!
We also went to the Denver Nature and Science Museum and I extracted DNA! It was so much fun. It was nice to feel sciency again. I felt waves of missing science, which was kinda weird. All of our district and a couple of other missionaries went because it is free today. We are totally going there when we come visit my mission. We got to see dinosuars, fossils and birds. I just really liked it. Other missionaries probably thought I was anti-social.....but I just wanted to read the whole time. I loved watching the kids get excited about science. The only bad thing is that we lost the phone at the museum.......dua dua dua!

Hilda and Juan are still progressing. Jonathan their son, was an Elder for Halloween. I just love that kid some much. They are really having a hard time, but it is great to help them develop their faith. I really love it! I really hope that they will get baptized soon. Manuel still has a hard time doing his we decorated his apartment with reminders.....neon background! Love it! We have seen some great progress in people and also have received alot of referrals from the ward!
On Saturday the ward had its Halloween activity. We had to make a Joseph Smith Room. This last week we got a good amount of snow and it was great for us and not so great for trees. We used a lot of the broken branches to decorate our room. It looked super cool! Kids couldn't get candy from Hna. Romero unless they told us about Joseph Smith. We also had nachos.....with jalapenos (seriously they were delicious)! We had a great time. The Elders in our ward are really great and are helping out alot.

So last week we did the unthinkable! Habenero Challenge! That's right...I ate a whole habenero. We started by playing Jenga with commantments. Who ever knocked down the tower had to eat the habenero first. It was such an intense game of Jenga! You also had to say a commandment to go and when you didn't you had to pull out two pieces. Vivi the recent convert....knocked it down first. So she ate one and it didn't seem to affect her. Then we all decided to do it. Elder Ovalle went first....he is from Mexico/Utah....and he looked like he was going to die. He was punching the table. Then we decided that I was up next. I was so scared. So I put it in my mouth and chewed it up nice and good. It went fine for the first minute and then the hottness set in and I thought I would die! I drank a god two glasses of milk.....but it wouldn't take away the heat. I even had my tongue just sitting in the glass of milk. Elder Lopez was next. He is from Peru and really cant eat anything hot. I thought he might die. He even ran outside and started eating snow. He was also saying he hates Mexico. He was the funniest by far. Next, Hna Romero went and she had pain in her ears. I would totally do it again! It was a lot of fun and I have it all on video. So now I really can eat hot things. Later that night....Elder Lopez had some....problems. Lets just say he had an upset stomach or more. Hna Romero and I were fine.

Romans 12:1-3

 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

This scripture along with Moroni10:33-end really affected me this week. I feel like I need to give up somethings. I want to be able to say to God that I really would give up my "nets" and follow him. I love the scriptures so much. They help me realize how amazing the gospel is. This morning I watched Glen Beck's conversion story and it touched me so much. I love that the Lord is so mindful of us.

I love you all and hope that you enjoy November!

Hermana Spencer

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My 6th transfer here

Dear Familia y Amigos,

I am doing super swell! We are working super hard here. I don't have a lot of time today because I was writing my family!

So this last week was transfers! Nothing really changed that much. We got a new district leader. Hna. Thomas is still in her greenie area!

I can't even remember what happened last week except for a couple of stories.

On Tuesday we had an amazing day! We worked so hard....and ate just as much as we worked. I mean it....every house we went to gave us food. We were in the north that day and the first house we went to gave us beans, tortillas and chile. The next one gave us a snicker ice cream could I refuse that, I love them. Then we showed up at a new investigators house and she had prepared a full meal for us. We brought Finding Faith in Christ over to watch. It turns out that they didn't have a remote control and insisted on watching it in English. So we were in the kitchen eating this mean of pasta, beans, meat, chile and tortillas....ohh and soda...while this group of Mexicans is watching a movie in English.....also preparing ourselves for our dinner that was scheduled right after this appointment (ohh the library just gave me more time! YAY!) It was just so funny. We then went to our next appointment....dinner. It was the best dinner of my mission. It was just hilarious. We were so full.....So FULLISIMA! We ate with this super cute family and talked about funny things. Also we ate habero...which I love. They loved watching us eat chile. We were just dying laughing the whole time. We were so full that day and it was just a great day because we saw so many people we love. We also met this lady working on her yard. She has not been able to have children and adopted a child from Mexico. They won't let her bring her daughter here and it is really hard for her. We ended up saying a pray with her in the middle of the street. She cried and It was really one of the best contacts ever. We have an appointment with her tomorrow. Right before that we sang to this guy and he got out his wallet and paid us $5 for our song Bahahahahhaha! We then gave to another guy to go to the hospital.

So that day was fun!

Yesterday marked one year since I went to the temple for the first time. I love the temple so much and am so glad that I was and am able to go. We went to dinner with a family from our ward. The wife is American and the husband is Mexican. They both speak Spanish. He plays the guitar and she plays the piano. They both sing. They are a really cool family. He talked to us about how he feels a hunger to talk to God and how music helps him. He plays so beautifully. I felt the Spirit so strong and because of his words I felt a desire to speak to my Heavenly Father. We talked about the need to cry to God. I feel like I get so tired that I have no energy to pray with all of my heart. I have been studying prayer. I love how the Bible Dictionary says that prayer is work and is the way to obtain the highest of all blessings. I need these blessings. Last night, after a really hard day with my companion, I got on my knees and really talked to my Father. I felt His love and His Spirit and knew that things would get better. I know that my mission needs to be hard. I know that I am learning more than I realize. I really hope that all of you reading this will think about your relationship with your Father. How are your prayers? How do you feel when you pray? Do you feel like you give it your all? Do you feel like He answers them? You should write me and tell me about it. I know that God is so aware of us. Yesterday the testimony of an investigator helped me to know this. He said that when he went to a church activity (when they really didn't want to go) he walked into the building and felt the love of God and knew he needed to get baptized. As missionaries we did nothing....well we did invite him to the activity....but God did it. He loves us so much. Manuel is progressing so much.

I love you all and Love being a missionary!

Hermana Spencer

P.S. Ashish - I got your letter! Expect one soon!

yay denver 4th!

Hello Family and Friends!

I am writing from beautiful Denver! I am also not getting transferred....this means half of my mission is here in Denver 4th! I am obviously super excited to be here again. So please send me some mail .... I haven't gotten any in quite some time :)

So news....
So the news. Juan and Hilda are praying for a baptismal date. They are really excited about getting married and baptized. We have had a lot of great experiences with them as of late. They are just progressing so much. We can't even take credit for this...they are just prepared.
Manuel is progressing so much. Yesterday, we had a great lesson in which he bore his testimony. We sang "Nearer My God To Thee" and Manuel said that he just felt something enter and leave peace.  We taught the Plan and it was just so wonderful. I knew the Spirit was there because I learned so much. It was amazing. He is  now praying for a baptismal date. This is a big step because he has been taught a lot by other missionaries and has had a couple of baptismal dates. He had a wonderful time at church yesterday. It will probably be in December...who knows maybe I will still be here.
Mary sadly will not be baptized this week. Her dad doesn't really understand and so we are going to look for a family that speaks English to help us with him. Hopefully this will get better.

So this last week was really good. Hna. Coughlen is training in Grand Junction...which means that there is a good possibility that I train next transfer. I got really nervous last week that I was going to get transferred. ....Thank goodness no! People are even excited that I will be staying. YAY! Hno. Rivera is doing great as our ward mission leader. Many less actives are making great steps to progress.

Funny moments....
Yesterday after greeting a less active member with a kiss.....(she is a girl....and that's what you do in the Spanish kiss on the cheek.....I kiss probably 20 people most days) and her of our investigators asked us, "where is my kiss?" He may or may not have been drinking. .... so yeah

Hna. Romero is just super funny all the time. She will randomly roll down the window and wave at people. She is really sad that she did not get her goal of contacting someone in the form of chasing them on a bike....hopefully this happens soon.

Elder Valdes is a missionary that I have served around a couple of times. Something happened in his area and so he is with our Elders. He is from Mexico and learned English here. We have come to the agreement that Hna. Romero and I are going to visit him in Mexico after our missions. I will learn to speak better Spanish and we will see if this actually is true.

Elder Ovalle today was cold after we ate lunch with Hilda and I gave him my long coat as a joke....well it fit him. ... :( He then proceeded to wear it in walmart. It didn't look to girly so he was okay but his companion didn't let me live it down the whole time. I learned last week that I am 4 years older than him....we wouldn't have even been in high school together. By the way family....his dad's name is Hector Maldonado...crazy huh!?!

I love being a missionary. I am so amazed by the way the Lord has helped me. I really want to change....I want you all to see me different because of my mission. I love that the Lord magnifies my small acts and that he helps us with our weaknesses. I honestly feel like this is the only time when I am really when I am weak with the Lord's help. This last week in district meeting everyone trained. It was a very powerful district meeting. I talked about being motivated an optimistic. I really am glad that the Lord helps us stay happy.

I love you all!

Please write and pray lots!
Hermana Spencer

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crispy Colorado

Familia y Amigos,

Colorado is so lovely these days. There is so many beautiful colors. The weather is "nice and crispy" says Hna. Romero. This is the last week of transfers :( I am really sad about that. Time is just moving so fast.

Last week:
We were really working hard to get a good balance of everything that we are supposed to do as missionaries. That means - teach, find and contact people. We had a very balanced week and it was amazing.
Last week we put Mary on date. She is 11 and is the daughter of a new member of our ward. Her mom is from Mexico and speaks Spanish clearly....however her daughter Mary grew up here and speaks almost nothing of Spanish. So she goes to our ward with her Spanish speaking mom and sister. She was so cute when we taught here the other day. We told her that we were going to talk about baptism (it was the second time we have met with her) and she then says...."Can I get baptized this Saturday?" We explained that she needs to understand a little bit more before she gets baptized. So she should get baptized next weekend. Hopefully I am still here! She is super cute.
Hilda is still progressing. She loves going to church and has really noticed a lot of changes in her life. This week she wrote her testimony of the Savior and it is just so wonderful to help people make changes in their lives. We also figured out why Alonzo doesn't want to get baptized - he thought he couldn't date until he was a grown up and for a 13 yr old this is a deal breaker. Luckily Hilda explained this to him ;)
The Rivera family is still doing so great. Hno. Rivera just got called as a Ward Mission Leader! YAY! Ana, the daughter, gave a talk this Sunday and it was just wonderful. They are doing so great. They should be going to the temple very soon! I really hope that I am in Denver because I can go with them and watch them be sealed. I am just so excited!
Some other highlights of the week:
-I ate octopus for the first time. It was in a soup with shrimp, crab, oysters and some veggies. I feel like I can almost eat anything these days with a smile on my face. The octopus wasn't bad just so you know!
-We had a ward activity where we taught how to have Family Home Evening. We had Hna. Rivera tell us what FHE is and then I gave a lesson with a good chunk of the ward. I taught about the Sabbath Day and it was super funny. They loved it. We then had  a relay race and a pie eating contest. It was a good activity.
- Battle with the North Mission! So there is this little patch of earth where lots of Hispanics live....and us being Spanish missionaries really like talking to Hispanics :) So when Hna. Coughlen and I found this place we declared its name to be MECCA! We have taught several people there. Well we get a call from the elders one night saying that the North elders say that MECCA is in their mission......So we had this frenzy of calling between the two mission offices and the mean North Elders....(they really are kinda mean). And sadly we lost MECCA and along with it investigators.
-Visa Missionaries - So two sisters that will eventually go to Peru are now in our mission: Hermana Cambell and Hermana Case. Hermana Thomas and Day are training. So they split up there area and are both there.

Yesterday we went to the botanical gardens with President and Sister Maynes and Hermana Day and Hermana Cambell! It was so beautiful. It was wonderful to just walk around and take some pictures. I will have to send some home. It was just wonderful and it was free! It was nice to do something different.

So Transfers.....I do not know where I will go. We are getting a new Spanish sister next week....and she either goes with Hna. Romero and me or with Hna. Coughlen and Wilkerson.....or everything gets crazy. I am worried that I will train....but I now feel a lot better with Spanish and teaching. So I will let you know Monday where I will be going....but send your mail to the mission office :)

Things are going really well here. I love it. I love knowing how much God loves His children....or at least understanding this a little better. I love this line from Pres. Uchtdorf's talk:

The “what” and “how” of obedience mark the way and keep us on the right path. The “why” of obedience sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic. It magnifies our small acts of obedience into holy acts of consecration.

This really is the true in the work of missionaries. When I understand what I am actually doing, I see more miracles and my small efforts are magnified. A good example of this is talking to people on the street. It is still hard to do after all of these months to walk up to a stranger and talk about God. BUT every time I do it, I always feel more of God's love. On Sunday we went to dinner in a nicer part of down town where a member lives. We left and we saw this girl sitting down. I said, "lets go talk to her." So we went and it was so wonderful to be able to testify of God's love. She is homeless and not doing all of the things she should, but God still loves her. I love knowing that He puts people in our way and we have the opportunity to testify. I am going to miss that so much: having a reason to open my mouth.

I really do love the gospel. I have realized that God is so much more powerful than I could have realized. I see His hand more in my life and feel is love. The mission gets easy in some ways and always harder in others. I am realizing more and more how I can give more of my self to the work. I really hope that when I go home I get a little more of the why and put it in practice. I wish the time would go by slower. 

I really love all of you and love that you are praying for me and writing me. All of you are helping me and the people here more than you know.

"Conpermiso....Grandota" (Excuse me.....huge thing) -Hna. Romero moving a TV from the is only funny because she accidentally directed the "Grandota" at a group of women.
"Mom am I black?" - Aime .....she knew she wasn't black

Smile the gospel will always be true,

Hermana Spencer

Monday, October 3, 2011

La Conferencia General

Dear the best people in the world,

So I can't even remember what happened this week besides conference. I will try to remember.

Han. Romero found out what is wrong with her knee and they are hoping physical therapy will work.

I trimmed a was actually a lot of fun...I only have a couple of scratches!

We had a great district meeting this week. Two very recent converts came to talk about what helped them and ways to improve. I remembered why I am on a mission. It was so wonderful to see the changes that happened in their lives. The lady had really bad anxiety and was afraid to talk or leave the house. She ended up talking to the missionaries and her whole life changed. This is for Cathy! She said "The LDS church is like Texas....its just so friendly. It was like coming home." She is from San Angelo.
The other guy is Jovan. He is like 20 or 21. He just got baptized a week ago. He came with a missionary name tag....with his name taped on. He just loved it. He has already felt so much happiness. He loves the church. He wanted to joint the church just so he could make a profile :) (BY the way you should all make some and tell me and I will show people them :) ) We all then went out to lunch and he tried to buy my wendy's. lol.....

Conference - I love conference so much. Really it is the best thing in the world. Saturday morning we watched conference at Juan and Hilda's house. It started out really crazy. Right before we got there, their nephew fell and hit his he ended up going to the hospital. When his mom got home....she got a little crazy and there was a lot of yelling. We were in the basement watching apostles speak....and who knows how much domestic violence was going on up stairs ...just kidding..... a little. They loved conference though after things quited down a little. I loved that President Uchtdorf talked about TEXAS!

My Spanish definitely has gotten a lot better. I didn't understand everything...but I got the jist of things. I listened to a couple of talks in English and it is amazing how your language touches your heart. I loved President Monsons. Lately, I have heard about a lot of disobedience and it has made me really sad. Sometimes it is hard not to want to be disobedient because it looks like more fun. I loved that President Monson talked about this very thing. He said that the world does look appealing, but happiness and peace are only found through the Spirit. You can only have the spirit if you are obedient. I felt like the themes were BOM, obedience, personal revelation and how to be happy! I loved the talk about the BOM and why we need it. I also loved the Saturday afternoon talk about "it is better to look up." I find my self "looking down" sometimes and it is just so much better to look up to God and ask Him for help.

Being on a mission is the best thing ever. I love feeling God's love. I love telling other people that there is peace and happiness. I love helping people know that there is just so much more in their life. I loved the talk about missionary work yesterday. I just want to love everyone and help them feel the spirit.

I love all of you and can't wait to hear from you!

Your favorite missionary!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Discouragement and Happiness

Dear Family and Friends,

So this last week was like the hardest week of my mission, it was also a very good one. So we have been working very hard. My new companion is really great. She struggles like the rest of us, but we are doing wonderful together. Last week, we knocked, and tried to contact so many people. I loved it.

We have a lot of progressing investigators. I really thought things were just going great. I gave a great training the other day in District Meeting over how to fight discouragement through having charity and bearing a strong testimony. Its amazing what can happen if you have charity. I really felt the Spirit and I learned so much from the Elders and my companion in this training. We were also invited to sing at stake conference with all of the rest of the missionaries. It was amazing. Right before the conference we practiced. They decided to have us sing in Spanish....there are not that many of us. I was really glad that I could do that for the ward members that came. It was a whole session on missionary work. It was great. Our mission president spoke and it was amazing. We also had a nonmember sing "O Divine Redeemer" (and I really need that song now). It was so powerful. I love the way music can invite the Spirit.

After the conference we were planning on visiting our great investigators Thelma, Felix and Esperanza. We were so excited to see them. They had already done their reading and we brought cookies for the kids. We were so excited to put them on date. I felt so good about it. We went and they thought it was Sunday that we were supposed to come by and Felix was sleeping. So we made an appointment for Sunday afternoon. Lately I have been really struggling to understand why I haven't seen any baptisms. It is not everything, but it hurts when you see other missionaries that don't work as hard get baptisms. I was so excited. We were listening to Stake Conference in Spanish (which is still harder to understand than English lol) and there was a wonderful talk. The stake president talked about the purpose of life. He said that the purpose of life is not to receive blessing (or in other words the purpose of a mission is not to have tons of baptisms) it is to prove faithful to Jesus Christ. This really hit me. It was just so true. My mission president always says I am a great missionary. During this talk Thelma called and told us that her husband doesn't want us to meet with them any more. He wants them to be Catholic (yesterday he took them to church for the first time in years). I couldn't hold back the tears honestly. I just didn't understand. Everything was going so perfectly and then it was just gone. I had spent all morning thinking about her. So yesterday was just a really hard day. I felt like I couldn't be the missionary I wanted to be. It hurt all day long.

So this morning I needed to read some things to bring me up. I read some really great scriptures.
D&C 123:17
Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

This scripture changed the way I thought about my work. I need to do the work cheerfully with all of my power and then leave it up to God and wait for the miracles to happen. I really don't know why I have seen so many people get so close to baptism and move, don't want to listen or just say they don't want it. I don't know, but I really think I have a lesson to learn. I don't know God's ways and His ways are not mine, but He does work in mysterious ways for the salvation of His children.

I then read 2 Nephi 4:15-35

This gave me some much comfort because God just knows me so well. Read it!

I am still sad about Thelma, but there are other great blessings and prospects. On Friday we taught Juan and Hilda the nonsmoking program. They haven't smoked since. We went by today (yes today :) ) because Juan doesn't work today. We had an amazing lesson about baptism. Juan asked us why we needed to get baptized in water. It was so amazing how the Spirit led my words and how strong it was. They both understood so much. They looked at each other with new understanding. We put them on date for the 15th of October. I am so excited. It felt so good.

Also can I just say I love being a missionary. Today we were at the grocery store and someone asked me if i was a LDS missionary (its my favorite question). I love that I can say yes! His name was Jake. A lot of his family are members. It was so nice to talk to him and invite him to learn more. I love that.

So I am still in the work out program. Every morning....I hate it, but after eating salads and working out hard core I definitely feel better. We played soccer today and Frisbee. So my companion is super good.....and you all know me so I won't lie. I'm not that good. I did block the ball with my body a couple of times. The elders are nice and tell me good job...but I know the truth lol.

Tomorrow is Zone Conference and it is all about how to fight discouragement and I am so excited.

Funny story time!
1. The other day we went to lunch at a less actives house. She told me what we were eating and in my head I So I kept trying to whisper it to Hna. Romero.....psssssstt! Pig Skin! pssssstttt! Pig Skin! Yep we ate boiled pig skin. I won't lie I didn't like it. I got a huge piece. Hna. Romero got a napkin when she wasn't looking and wrapped her food in it and hit it between her legs. I was too close to the member so i couldn't. I tried to cut it up to look like I ate more and then hid some of it in the corn husks of the tamale I was eating. It was just so funny. I can't adequately describe over email why it was so funny.
2. Yesterday we talked to a creepy old guy named Larry. It was one of the most interesting contacts. It stared out with " When God made your face, He was just showing off!" He was trying to convince me about science....luckily I could at least prove in my head he was wrong. That degree came in handy. Luckily a testimony is so much more powerful.

Family and Friends - I love the gospel. I love the Book of Mormon. I know it is true. I know that God loves us and that He gives us trials because we have so much to learn. I know that we can prove He is real, because I can test the commandments. I can test His promises. He always does what He says He will. I love being a missionary. I don't want to the time to go any faster and I don't want to ever have to not be a missionary. I love you all very much. I hope you liked this email. I am doing great.

Hermana Spencer

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

9/12 Mustard Yellow

Dear Loving Family and Wonderful Friends,

It has only been two days since I emailed I don't have tons to say, but don't worry it will be a good email.

I have hit my 9 month mark on the mission. I can't believe time is going by so fast. I really wish that I could be here for longer. I feel like I have SO MUCH to learn. I guess that is just how things work. I am just really trying to work hard and have no regrets.

So our ward activity was FANTASTIC! We had so many members, less actives, investigators and random people there. It was incredible. I loved it. The food was great. We gave out a couple of Book of Mormons and also pamphlets and got some referrals....which are a missionaries best friend. However...they all live in the NORTH MISSION! One of them is from Mexico and practically all of her family are members. I asked her why she wasn't and she said she didn't know. She really is so excited to meet with us....but she lives less than half a  mile outside the mission.

We should be having a baptism really soon. We have found some really great people lately. We met this lady Thelma. She has two kids and the lesson we had with them was superb! This last week without Hna. Coughlen has been different, but so GREAT for me. I feel more confidence and it has made me rely on the Lord more for guidance. I really hope I get to stay in the area a little longer, but if I stay any longer I will have been here for 9 months and that is a really long time.

So random things:
We have so much fun teaching people English.
I love knocking.....I don't like it when we start, but I always love it by the end.
Yesterday we taught the youth about and it was amazing. We watched this video about a scientist and it made me miss lab work. I almost cried. Who knows if I will ever do that again.
Today I found one of the cutest yellow jackets ever.....and it was half off at a thrift store! (Future Sister Missionaries....go to thrift stores. They are the best).
I have started working out hard core (meaning some days I can barely walk lol). Every morning I say I don't want to do it...but I always survive.
My Spanish is improving...everyone says so. Saturday after the activity, the Bishop told us that he forgot to assign people to talk (he dropped his daughter off at college last week), and asked if we could talk. So I prepared for 15 minutes and gave a talk in Spanish. A couple of months ago that would not be possible.
Also this week we are eating salads.....its not that bad especially because people fry almost everything for dinner.
I love the Book of Mormon more than anything in the world! It really is changing my life. It can change yours too!
Sometimes the elders make me go crazy!
I am training at district meeting this week over charity, bearing a powerful testimony and also not getting discouraged....we will have to see how to tie those in together.

So everything is super great here! I love you all!

Hermana Spencer

9/10 Crazy Denver 4th

Dear Family and Friends,

Holidays really throw off things. We have not really had any time this week to email. So you will be getting double emails...sort of.

I am still here in Denver 4th! BUT, with a new companion, HNA. ROMERO! Hna. Coughlen is in Grand Junction baptizing thousands....or soon will be. Hna. Romero is from San Diego and has a transfer less than me, she loves soccer, and she was like less active forever!  (she told me what to say about her)!

So I am trying to remember what happened the last week of the transfer. ... ...

Hilda our awesome investigator is still doing awesome. On Sunday her and her husband went to church and to Sunday school. This class was the best class EVER! Juan, her husband, asked a question. I don't remember what the question was exactly, but he talked about being confused (just so you know we have only taught him once at this time). Him and Hilda asked lots of questions....then all of our less actives and recent converts that we visit answered. They assured them that everyone feels confused at one point and that is why we have church and they all bore their testimonies. IT was WONDERFUL. Hilda is also almost done with 1 Ne. She is loving it. Juan also wants to be baptized. We really hope that they can be baptized this transfer. They have several obstacles to overcome.

Also it has been an amazing week. I was really sad to see Hna. Coughlen go. I really do love her very much, but this week has been so great for me. I have been so blessed by Heavenly Father. My Spanish has improved, and so has my confidence. We have found some really great investigators and are just having a great time. I have really felt Heavenly Father's hand in the work this week. I was really nervous to not have Hna. Coughlen, but I realized then and now that I need to grow. I have a great goal! We have a section in the back of our planners to write down about people we talk to. I am going to fill it up and i am super excited. Yesterday I had an awesome experience with a Pentecostal! It was really fun to talk to him. I really hope that he talks to the missionaries when they stop by.

Also we have started a work out program....yep. I am so sore and every morning I think I am going to die. lol.

Also yesterday we were at a less actives house and her 19 yr old nephew was there. We were friendly with him and invited him to read the Book of Mormon with us. Well he leaned close to my companion...awkward. We invited him to an awesome ward activity and he asked if we would be there. We said yes and he said OK, I'll come. Then when we were leaving...I went to give a handshake while he was asking for a hug....then I freaked out and just said....WE can't hug! ... (Hna. Romero says that he had his arms all ready for a hug and I blocked it)...Then he shook my hand and hermana Romeros and ran upstairs. It was super funny and awkward. Poor guy!

So things are great here in Denver 4th! We have a great activity tonight Noche Latina. I am really excited to meet everyones friends and eat the food!

I really hope all is well! Love being a missonary!

Hermana Spencer

Monday, August 29, 2011

Membership Activation

Dear Family and Friends,

I am so tired. I don't know how I function some days. Before I talk about this last week, I want to share an experience. Today has been a rough day. I am feeling socially awkward and just down. Which is dumb, because then you just think of yourself and become more selfish. I have been praying that I would be the answer to someones prayers for the past couple of days.  Just now we went to Sally's to get some hair dye for Hna. Coughlen. I was just standing there looking at things and this lady named Hannah Smith came up to me. She asked "are you a missionary?" I love it every time when i get to say "yes, yes I am." She told me that she was an ex-communicated member and that she never sees missionaries. She has been looking for them a lot lately and also a church building. She can't invite missionaries over to her house because of her boyfriend....luckily there are lots of parks :) She said yesterday she was talking about this to her grandma and how much she misses the church, that she has been praying for it. I got her information and told her we would give her a call. She said we had made her day. I gave her a hug and was so happy that I could do that for something. Just being in the right place at the right time. Heavenly Father does answer prayers.

This last week was an interesting week. We are realizing more and more how to tell if people are really ready to accept the gospel. When they are not, it is so much harder to invite the Spirit. This last week we dropped one of our investigator families. It was so sad to see her with all of her knowledge reject these things. She wants to sleep in. It broke my heart a little for her children. They will not be able to have these blessings right now in their life. We are also going to have to stop going by with several more of our investigators. Sadly, this needs to happen. I talked to Pres. Maynes about this and he told me that God prepares people and so when they are ready, we can help them. I am really sad because we are going to have to drop Maricela Gonzalez. I love this lady. She is always wearing heels even if she is going to stay in the apartment. She has 3 of the cutest boys. She is a really good person, but hasn't opened her heart. We keep trying to think of what we could do to help her, but the answer isn't that sadly. I am really sad to go by this week and tell her that we can no longer come by.

Hilda is progressing a lot. I hope that I will be able to see her baptized. She has a lot of issues. She needs to be divorced ($600), get married, quit smoking and open a new case with immigration ($1500). She has already started seeing blessing. Last night we taught to keep the Sabbath Day holy. It was a great lesson for the kids and also the recent converts we had with us. The recent converts now really understand what they should and shouldn't do on the Sabbath. I love it when members also get taught along with investigators.

 Saturday night we got a call from the North mission elders. One of our old investigators that moved over there was going to be getting baptized on Sunday. Well they asked us to speak....
So that was interesting. Sundays are always so crazy. We leave the house before 7:45 and then run around like a crazy person....yep only one crazy person....not two. So I gave a talk in Spanish with 5 minutes of preparation. It went pretty good. It was an extremely weird baptism. The bishop was late, it was in a different mission (we go to church outside of the mission), one of the elders from our ward baptized him and we spoke. But it was a great day! We then had a meeting with the ward council and talked about less active work. It was fantastic because Hermana Rivera bore her testimony about how better is her life now shes active. We are really excited to see the results of this work in the ward. Then the elders in our ward had a baptism. I directed the music! It was great. I was glad we were able to help.

This last week I have studied Repentance, Baptism, the Atonement and the Way.....basically the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The scriptures have truly been teaching me this week. Christ is the only way. There are a couple of things we need to do to...have faith in him, repent, be baptized, etc. When we do this we are following His commandments and are repenting or constantly changing. When we do this we receive His mercy. If we keep doing this we can live with Him again. There is obviously more that I have learned. My heart has been touched to understand just a little bit more about this great opportunity I have in this life.  I love being a missionary! I really hope that we can find the prepared.

Josh (someone get this to him) - I love you so much and am so proud of should write me all about it!

Here is another story from Hna. Coughlen:

So ready for another episode of the "la vida loca de la hermana coughlen"? I woke up a little under the weather, but I usually blame that on the high grease diet and obscene amount of meat we eat (with questionable origin... for some reason the use of refrigerators is not well taught in the Hispanic culture...) but it just didn't seem to quit that day... I did not want to stay at home because there is so much to do, so many people to see, and who just wants to sit at home all day when you got nothing there but two desks and one CD... so we went to work. Hna. Spencer kept trying to get me to tell her how I felt because she knows when it comes to that I can be a dirty liar because I want to work. We were down by one of our favorite people's houses, Hilda Hernandez and since it is hard to get down to that part of town we just HAD to go. As we were sitting in the car preparing a little the urge to throw up got a little stronger, but it had been bugging me all day so I figured I would be fine. As we reached the door I looked at Hermana Spencer and said, "we gotta go home after this." "and we gotta make this visit FAST." She agreed and immediately Hilda opened the door. As we were at her table in the basement where she lives I started out good. But soon the only things I could do to comfort myself was a slight rocking motion and fidgeting of the knees. I tried to hide it the best I could but at the end of the lesson when Hna. Spencer asked Hilda is she had any questions she said, "about this (referring to what we had just taught) no, but what's wrong with her?!" (looking at me). I tried to explain and being a good Hispanic she tried to play Dr. and prescribe me something.... As she was explaining the pills she was going to give me hermana Spencer says my eyes turned black and without saying goodbye I started to book it up the stairs and out the doors (which was conveniently locked...) Right when I got out and stepped onto the grass.... HUUUUGH!!! there it went! I looked like a sick dog. After decorating her lawn 6 times with my vomit I looked up at her with sad eyes and said "lo siento". She said it wasn't a big deal and that she would just spray it down with the hose when we left... how embarrassing... at least she already wants to get baptized!! HAHA! I feel almost 100% better now. The hardest part of the day was staying inside that day because we had to follow our rule "If you are throwing up or if you have diarrhea... we don't work!"

Just so you this is a rule of the mission....Hna. Thomas and I decided this a LONG time ago... but as of yet it has only applied to Hna. Coughlen.

Love you all,

Hermana Spencer

Monday, August 22, 2011

English Class

Dear Everyone....

I have a couple of minutes to write to you!

We are doing really great here. We have two people now on date. Hilda Hernandez and Nancy Lujan. Hilda is doing incredible. She loves church and has great fellowshipppers. We had one of our recent convert families, the Palacios, give them a ride and sit by them in church. They are amazing. The other night we took them to the appointment with us and they brought pizza. We asked Hilda to be baptized and she said yes....and bro. Palacio then said do you know what that means? It was funny for some reason. They were baptized last October.

A funny story about them: One time we went over there (at this time they scared me) and they were telling me some story about rain. Hna. Coughlen was in the bathroom (which when you barely speak Spanish and don't know the people is really scary). I didn't understand part of their story and they turned to each other and the wife said....she doesn't understand. (And of course I understood that part!) Now she loves us and just wants to make us food.

So they are just doing wonders with Hilda. Along with them is the Fam. Rivera. They are also from El Salvador. Hilda sits inbetween Hna. Palacio and Hna. Rivera in Relief Society in the first row. It just makes me beam!

It was really nice to be with Hna. Thomas last week. It was great to see that we both had made so much progress. They also told her how much my Spanish had improved. I really heard that like 50 times last week...which I guess is a good thing. They always start off with ....when she got here she couldn't speak for nothing...but now look at her. LOL. Even the old lady we visit in the Nursing home said it lol. Hna. Thomas is of course a fantastic missionary.

We are really glad that our ward is progressing and that hopefully soon we will have a baptism. Transfers are in two weeks yet again....and I am really nervous. Hna. Coughlen and I have been companions for so long! I am scared to get another companion, but am also so excited at the same time.

Last night a huge black man named Big....asked to take us out for a burrito. It was probably one of the funniest contacts ever. We of course told him no. He then offered to take us to get coffee so I told him about the word of wisdom lol. I ended up saying....just take the pamphlet for your salvation....its more important than a burrito!

I am so full of gratitude to be a missionary. I love the gospel so much and am learning lessons I never thought I would learn and some that I didn't think I needed to. The Lord is slowly changing my heart. Here is a thing that I learned this morning in Personal Study. I studied Repentance. Preach My Gospel says something profound:
Bringing our lives in line with God’s will through
repentance is a central purpose of our lives. We can return to live with God the Father only
through Christ’s mercy, and we receive Christ’s mercy only on condition of repentance.
With out repentance we can not live with God. The Scriptures say over and over again....why? When we repent we can have the mercy of Jesus Christ. Because of His Atonement we can have mercy and live with God again.

I love you all very much.

Love Hna. Spencer

P.S. Thanks MeeKK

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Best Ward Activity Ever


So this week was super crazy. I don't have a lot to write about, but it was amazing.

It was a little different. We spent a lot of time preparing for our ward mission night.  We made invitations, programs, practiced and practiced. We wanted to make sure we could explain everything we needed to do in Spanish. We were given 20 minutes to present how members can invite their friends. The Elders also had 20 minutes to explain our role as missionaries and what the role of members is. President Maynes also came and spoke about retention. The activity was a huge success. The Spirit was there so strongly. We all felt that we were doing the right thing. President Maynes was fantastic. He spoke to as many people as he English lol. He shook their hand. He loved them. We got a great translator for him. He asked everyone who was a convert to raise their hand. Most of the people were converts. He then asked who loves the gospel. He then said who did I shake hands with. ... He had missed a couple and said "I'll get you later!" He then talked about how he was able to be friendly with the people even though he couldn't speak their language. He then said....we need to love people that come to church...less actives...recent converts...and investigators. The way he said everything touched so many hearts. The spirit was there so strong, I didn't worry about my Spanish. The ward was friendly yesterday and more willing to help us.

Also we had president interviews on Saturday. It was great to talk to President. He told Sis. Coughlen "You both are working to the bone and seeing no results (as in baptisms)." It is true, but he gave me a lot of hope. He told me to not measure my success as a missionary by baptisms, but by obedience. We also talked about hunting the prepared. When we find someone who is prepared, it is so much easier to teach them. We really worked on finding this week and now have 12 new investigators. I am really excited about all of these people. President just gave me some comfort and we also talked about teaching skills. I am really excited to see how my teaching skills change.

Ohhh....... Sis Coughlen just reminded me. Here is a story:
"This week we also went to go visit one of the people we were teaching, turned out they moved randomly (not uncommon with illegals) and the new tenets are a family of super ghetto-south black people! It was a blast to talk to them, especially since they had a few cock-tails in them... well, one of the guys was trying to call his lady friend over away from our group but she yelled back and said "Don't get in the way of my Jesus talk!" Eventually he sauntered over and tried to do a "hand-shake" with her. They failed about 3 times and on the last attempt a baggie dropped to the floor.... the man looked at her with big eyes, eyeing the ground where it fell and pulled her in to whisper something. I just laughed and pretended not to notice so that the situation didn't get any more awkward. We should have said, "That's what happens when you do a drug deal in front of "Jesus people" (as they called us). Never a dull moment."
That was when I trying to explain the Plan of Salvation....

I also got a blessing from President Maynes after the activity. I haven't had one since I was set apart. It was so wonderful to hear that Heavenly Father loves me and that He is pleased with me. So many of the same blessing were promised that were in my setting apart blessing. I am so grateful that these things will happen.

So I love my mission. Every time I realize how fast time is flying....I get scared because I don't want to leave. I have been studying the Book of Mormon alot. I will finish today marking every reference to Jesus Christ. It has changed the way I look at the BOM. I love it so much and am so grateful I can always study it.

I am going to go on exchanges with Hermana Thomas tonight and it should be fun!

I love you all so much,

Love Hermana Spencer