Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Week 7 - only 2 more to go

Dear Family and Friends,

I love all of you so much. This week has been great. This week I remembered to make a list of all of the things that I needed to tell you. All of us are getting so excited to go to Dever/Argentina. We are ready to bust out of this place, and at the same time I am so grateful for the time here.

So I have had amazing study times this week. I hope you do not mind hearing about them because I am going to tell you :) I have been feeling the need to be more humble....which as all of you know is really difficult. I learned a couple of things that have really helped me with this. One of them is always remembering Jesus Christ and what He did for me and the rest of the world. I love the gospel. So I am trying to remember Him more (you would think that would be easy being a missionary). Another day I was studying in the Book of Mormon in Alma 5! Seriously it is so amazing. While I was reading I realized that it was perfect for our investigator Flor. In this chapter, it talks about a Shepard...Christ. What name will He call His sheep by? His name. We really want to commit her to being baptized but she won't keep our commitments. Luckily the Lord helps us alot when we speak Spanish. We invited her to read the Book of Mormon again. I hope tomorrow that we can invite her to be baptized! Just in case you forgot, Flor is our teacher. I dearly love her, but she is so hard to teach :) I was able to bear a powerful testimony to her. I can't wait to see how she responds tomorrow!

This week our teacher was talking to us about our purpose as missionaries. We were talking about how hard this time is. She told me something that I don't think I will easily forget. We are like a house. Sometimes in our life we see the need for renovations. We decide we need to change one part of our life ( we invite the Savior to help us change them.) We begin wanting to renovate our bathroom and quickly realize that more than just those walls have been torn down. We have to become a home....and eventually a temple. We need to change. I know that I have felt alot of remodeling going on inside of me. Some days are so hard. BUT...I know that this is to make me more of who Christ wants me to be.

Last week...out of the blue....our Elders had us all get together at the end of the day and told us how grateful they were for us. It was great. I really do love them and their example! Also our teacher got a bunch of people from her ward to come to the TRC (its where volunteers come and let us practice on them :)). We were able to teach Carrol and Dillian. She is from Ecuador....and GUESS WHAT!!!!!!!! I understood her! I loved teaching her and her cute one year old! She is going to come back this week and we are so excited!

Also on Saturday we had our first baptism.....well mock baptism! The baptism of Alejandro Fernando Ramirez Jr. III LOL....IT was so great. The spirit was there and I really loved it. Hermana Thomas and I were the Missionaries and it was just so wonderful.

So some miracles occurred this week. On Sunday I was called upon to speak in Sacrament meeting! ! ! Yeah Spanish!!!!!! Luckily I wrote a long talk. It was so wonderful. I was just sitting there not thinking I was going to speak, but I was called on. My talk went so well. I was able to talk for a whole 7 minutes!!!! I didn't even just read off of my paper...I was able to add in my thoughts! It was so great. And I felt totally confident up there. The Lord really helps when I speak Spanish! And everyone said I sounded great and they could understand what I was saying. ..... and I don't think they were lying to me!

Fantastic right?

Also on Monday, I had the goal to not speak one word in English. I was so nervous about Monday that I even had dreams about being so sad because I spoke in English lol. Well Monday came and honestly it was fine. I was able to speak in Spanish! I spoke English very little....usually in class or at  an important workshop. So I probably spent a total of 10 minutes in English! It was amazing. I am planning on making that a regular goal.

So I really love it  here. I am learning so much. Some of our lessons have been so great. Yesterday we were teaching about the Plan of Salvation to some elders. I just felt the Love of God in that lesson. I know that He loves us and that is why we have this plan. "O how great the goodness of our God!"

I love my life right now. It is so hard at times. . . like really hard. Sometimes I don't see eye to eye with my companion. Sometimes I don't feel like I am becoming anything more than a girl from Lubbock, Texas.  BUT every once in a while, the Lord tells me that He loves me and shows me how many people love me. I am so grateful for these moments. I see  why we have been given the Book of Mormon. Why we need a prophet. Why God gave us a plan. Its all because He loves us and He wants us back. I am so excited to share that love with others. I don't know where I would be with out it.

I can't think of anything funny to say.....except that Erick (our investigator) 's family is still alive....but  I still cannot understand his Spanish....This week I think he was talking about him being in a

I love you all and all of the letters. They brighten my day more than you know. Please continue to write...even if it is a small letter.

We should get out travel plans this week!

Hermana Spencer

Shot out - Stephanie Haygood ! Gracias! 
Alice and Cathy - I hope you are doing better!
Sallie - LOL...I saw your  sis again!
Katie- Love you
Hannah - I loved the letter! You are an angel!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dear Everyone!
Another week has passed. It has been a great one full of meeting goals.

This last week we had a goal to teach 75 lessons as a district and guess what we did it! It was great. Also I had a personal goal to eat only salads.....which if you know me you know how I feel about salad. I don't hate them, but I feel like they are a side dish. I have felt so much better not eating "MTC" food. My energy level was up and so was the general good feeling of being alive....not weighed down with fried food. 
So this week I remembered to bring my journal to email.....
Last week Hermana Thomas and I have one of the best conversations as a companionship. We had just taught "Flor" our investigator/teacher. The lesson wasn't going horrible, but I could tell that something was wrong with H. Thomas. After the lesson - she just broke down. She doesn't really cry. She said that she just realized that she needed me. She felt really inadequate in that moment. I was so grateful for this because some times we have a hard time togther - its bound to happen when you have spent so much time together. Ever since then I have felt more love for her and I think our companionship unity has greatly increased. I have also seen her dillegence level increase as well. We have been so much better this last week.

Hermana Thomas was asked to be the coordinating sister for our zone. I was so excited. We are getting 3 new there will be seven in our zone. We have had Hermana Loftus this week. She leaves tomorrow for the Dominican Republic. I am going to miss her. It has been nice having her in our companionship this week.

This week we have a goal to teach 105 lessons. Honestly it has been rough. Since Her. Thomas is coordinating sister - we have less time to teach because of meetings. So this has been a little frustrating. Also some of our appointments feel through (which obviously happens in the real world), which isn't that commmon here at the MTC. Our whole district is having a hard time meeting this goal. SO of course we are still striving to meet this goal. I am so glad that we have goals. They have helped me out the most.

So another great story from this week. We were teaching our tutor, Hmo. Penallilo aka "Paul." He was an investigator. It was our first time teaching him. In spanish he told us how hima nd God were going through a divorce. He wouldn't tell us why, he just kept saying "I don't know." Eventually I found the root of the problem. He is a doctor at a NICU here and he just saw a baby die, and the way it happened made me wonder if God really does love him (which is usually what we always ask first). I was able to not alone speak Spanish at him....but I was able to find a scripture in espanol and address his concern. I really felt like I was teaching by the spirit. I was so grateful for this experience. Some of our lessons have been so powerful. I really felt like the spirit was there and that I was focused on him and the words in espanol came. He said he understood everything we said....which is honestly amazing. We also taught two hermanas yesterday. We taught them about how they are daughters of God and how He has given them talents. I just love teaching, because it always strengthens my testimony as well.

So a crazy/sad/funny story - This last week we taught our new teacher "Erik" I have a really hard time understanding his spanish. Well we could not seem to get him interested in the lesson. We really tried to get to know him and I felt that it was great. Well two days later after the other Hermanas taught him.....we realized something.....We asked him about his family and we couldn't understand his response......he pointed up and I thought he said they lived upstairs.....BUT HE MAY HAVE SAID THEY ARE IN HEAVEN! You can all imagine my horror when I realized this might be the case! Crazy huh! Let’s hope that is not what he said.

Also I have had my testimony grow so much of Joseph Smith. Yesterday I read all of JSH and it was so great! I love the priesthood and how Oliver Cowdry talked about his experiences. The gospel is so amazing. I just love it.

So I miss all of you. Sometimes it hits me how long this all is. Sometimes I'm sad, but then I realize that I have to be here to help others find their way home. That is the only way! I really miss random really is great. Or warm winters.....

This morning we went to the temple....and it snowed again......and it was cold. The temple is so great. I am loving all of my experience and all of them are hard. I can't wait to look back and realize how much God has done for me and has helped me do for others!

I love you all....please send me mail!

Hermana Spencer

Shout outs:
Megan: Thank you so much for the letter it made me laugh so hard. I will write you one now that I have your adress.
Sallie: Good luck at school.
Meek: Thanks for the 2 letters.
Alice: I haven't heard from you I hope you are doing great!.
Happy Birthday to Melanie, Kali, Kip, and Chris and soon to be Meekayla and Sallie!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hello Family and Friends! I have survived 5 weeks!

Dear Everyone,

I am so excited to write today! This week has felt a little longer than most! 5 Weeks today I have been in the MTC. Crazy huh!

So the most exciting news is: Elder Holland came and spoke last night! He was amazing. He brought the spirit big time! He spoke to us about missions of course. One thing that he told us is how his mission meant everything to him. He says this in every talk he ever gives about missionary work. This time it hit me. This is why I need to go to Denver! I realized that Denver is where I can have my mission mean everything to me! I loved it. He also gave us some advice on how to do better as missionaries! We need to be studying better, planning better, and we need to be teaching better. He of course gave us some tips for each of them. He also told us about after the Savior died and the Apostles went back to fishing. He told us about how the Savior asked Peter, "Do you love me?" The Savior asked them to leave their nets, and when he did he meant forever. He asked them to feed His sheep, he meant forever. He asked them to be His apostles, he meant forever. Elder Holland told us about what this means for us. We must leave our nets and feed His sheep forever. He told us of one of the reasons we have Preach My Gospel (Which is the greatest!) - so many missionaries come home and turn away from what they know to be true. PMG was designed to convert the missionary so they would have the gospel written on their hearts. When we have the gospel written on our hearts we will want to share it with others. So I have been asking myself today "Do I really love the Savior?" If I do I will do better!

Also this week we made a district goal to speak only spanish on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. So yesterday, we spoke in spanish and for the most part I could get my point across. So the language is progressing. The thing that is the hardest for me is remembering how to conjugate the verbs while I am speaking. So I talk funny but it is getting better. I have come to appreciate English so much more. It is weird to pray in English now. Another goal we had as a district is to teach 15 lessons this week outside of class. Which pretty much takes up any free time we have. We have already taught 6 and will be teaching more today! All of them have been in spanish. On Friday we go to what is called the TRC and people volunteer their time to be an investigator. This is difficult because of the time limit and because of the language. However, we did good. Hermana Thomas and I have really been working on being unified, also we have worked switching off better - and they totally saw that! We taught them the plan of salvation and the Word of Wisdom.

So since we had a lesson on the Word of Wisdom, we were learning about it in class. I have learned why the Lord gave it. He didn't give it to us so we could be healthier (which is defintely a bonus), but He gave it to us so we could have His spirit with us. He knew that things would happen in the world that would cause problems and that men would conspire to do evil things! So I think everyone should look at D&C 89 again! AMAZING!

Also we have a new teacher, Bro. Hollenbaugh! He is great. He bears his testimony about how his mission changed him. He says that he is mexican in his heart. He always says something that inspires us to be better, or at least that makes me want to be a better missionary!

So less serious matters - Volleyball. I don't know how much I have told you about volleyball, however, I play everyday! AND I am actually getting better. There is a new elder in our district that sounds like the seagulls from Finding Nemo. All he says is Mine, Mine, Mine and honestly it drives us all crazy!  Another thing I am grateful for is our Elders. There are some Elders with some serious digestive issues....flatulating is gross. Yesterday we were teaching "Mine" Elder and his companion and he farted in our lesson. Can you believe that!

Another thing that is funny- my companion the other day while we teaching kept saying Jesu Smith instead of Jose Smith - so funny!

We went to the Temple this morning and of course it was great! I love going to the temple!

Ohh Sis. Thomas just reminded me - Every Friday night, all of the Hermanas from our zone come to our room and we have a girls night - which only lasts for 30 minutes but it is so fun! We celebrated our one month in the MTC. 4 weeks till Denver! All of the rest of the Hermanas are leaving this next week. :( That really makes me sad. They are going to Argentina and also Domican Republic.

So I love all of you so much! I love getting mail! SERIOUSLY! It is one of the highlights of my week!

Smile the Gospel is true,

Hermana Spencer

Shout outs -

Katelynn - Joseph is getting married crazy! I'm glad school is going well
Kayla - I knew you wouldn't last!
Dragon Posse - Thank you for all of the mail! Please write me and send me pictures!
Sallie - Hermana Loftus is going to be my companion (or one of them) next week and would love to see your pictures before she leaves so send them soon :) She leaves Thursday.
Hannah - I just got your package! Thank you so much! I loved it and I love you!
Sam Sarlls - ;) Loved all of it. You can write me long letters any time!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hermana Spencer's Wonderful Week

This week has been full of miracles!

Spanish is so great! It is still hard but I can definately teach so much more this week. My comp and I have been striving to learn alot of espanol this week. I am so grateful that I took latin. It finally has a purpose. I can understand the grammer of spanish so much better because of it. We have had many subs this last week because of the holidays. So we have learned alot of different things this week. I love learning so much. I have seen that when I am more obidient (staying on task, giong to bed exactly at 10:30, etc.) I am able to learn so much better. I have seen the blessing of serving a mission already.

I have seen amazing things happen with my spanish this week. My comp and I on Friday or Saturday bore our testimonies to a native spanish speaker and she understood us. I also bore my testimony in complete spanish on Sunday in sacrament meeting. It was so powerful. I could actually feel the power of those words in that language. Miraculous things are happening here in Provo!

It has been a rewarding week. The devotionals and talks we have heard have been amazing. I can't even begin to describe the feelings in my heart. The gospel is changing me. I don't think that I have learned alot of new facts but I have felt a greater understanding about everything. The Plan of Happiness is so amazing. I am only begining to understand how wonderful it is that Heavenly Father provided us with a Savior. I can see why we need to let the world know about these things. I love the gospel so much. I wish that I could even articulate the way I feel about this!

This morning we had the opportunity to go to the temple (it has been three weeks - such a long time). It is always so hard to stay awake because it is the only time when I am not moving around :) However it was so amazing this morning. I had such a powerful time. Afterwards many of us Hermana's spent some time relflecting. It was so great and wonderful.

I wish that I could remember everything from this week. Ohh New Years! Like normal "Hermana Spencer" style, I threw a party. We had 15 Hermanas come to our room and eat and play a game. It was so great. I really felt like a normal person on a Friday night...until quiet time and then we all got ready for bed. We had such a great time. We are planning on spending every Friday night there.

4 of the Hermanas left this week - it was so weird. I loved them. I wish that we could all be together always. It is great to see them leaving though. I really wish that everyone could see the MTC. It is a great place, but I am excited to go to Denver.

Ohh Funny Story: There is a box that people but things in when they leave. Hermana Cocina (Kitchen) and I always go looking in it. I was trying to describe what we were and she decided we were pirates. So we call this our "booty" lol. Hermana Kitchen loves to write stories (she actually reminds me of Melanie :) ) She is writing a little blurb about our bathroom. We have four stalls. #1 has no door.  #2 squirts water at you. #3 Is the one every one fights over. #4 always gets clogged. It is just funny to us and probably sounds boring to all of you.

I love you all so much. The gospel is so great! The Book of Mormon is so amazing. I really think that everyone should take time to reflect apon it. I have felt its power these past couple of weeks and I don't think that it is just because I am a missionary.

Thank you for all of your letters!

A couple of shout outs:
Kayla : thank you for the package! I loved it! i really needed the lip gloss.
Zac! You are awesome - I'm praying for you!
Katie - I love you so much and wish I could see your face with that huge smile!

I hate that I have to go! I love you all. Please write - they bring so much sunshine to my days!

Your Favorite Missionary,
Hermana Spencer

Monday, January 3, 2011

Semana Numero Tres

Hola Famila y Amigos,

Three weeks!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas. It was a rumor that we were able to email on Christmas - however, we were able to write some letters! Christmas was very relaxing. So here is what occurred:

Christmas Eve - we had a wonderful time in class. Our teacher made all of us plan of salvation foamies! I loved it. We also got to see another one of the classes act out the nativity which was so funny. Then we were assigned to teach our class part of the Christmas story. We had the story in the Book of Mormon. I am so amazed at the faith that they had. I love that Nephi went and prayed and Christ answered his prayer and said that He was coming. I love that there was no darkness, only light. Christ is really the light of the world. We then were able to have a Christmas Eve Fireside - we waited in line along time to find out it was a member of the MTC Mission Presidency lol. It was great though. We also watched Mr. Kruegers Christmas and it was great because it reminded me of home.

The next morning, CHRISTMAS! We woke up at the normal 6:30a.m. We got ready and opened our presents. Thank you so much to everyone that send me things. It was funny to see what we were excited about. I loved the Texas Sunshine mom! I was also excited about face lotion!?! We were all grateful for things that we normally would have been like que? My companion loves Hot Cheetos and she recieved a box full of them! It was so funny. She is so funny. She was so excited to open presents probably more than anyone I know. We then went to breakfast and then to the Talent Show. It was AWESOME! Elder Petersen, my district, did a magic trick. He was super I have no idea how he does what he does even when he does it right in front of me. So many missionaries had great talents. One of the most memorable one was when a group of Russians got up and sang "you a missionary now" to the tune of Lady Gaga's Bad Romance. It was a little strange but hilarious. Most acts sang/ played the guitar/both! One Sister sang a song I can't think of the name right now....ahhhh (when you have the time ticking down it gets kinda of stressful lol). So many of them were great. Then we ate a great turkey lunch and packed our sack breakfasts. We then went to our devotional and guess who came........Russel M. Nelson! He was great. He read us the Christmas Story...and for some reason I really liked that I got to hear the Christmas story from an apostle. He talked about the Savior and blessed us and our familes! It was so wonderful. That night we were lucky enough to hear two men act out A Christmas Carol. They were so talented. It was great. President Smith (MTC Pres) gave us some scriptues to read about Christ that night and it was great to see how the prophecies have been fulfilled. I love it so much! Isiah is so wonderful. I also got to take pictures with Veronica and Alex Washburn.

Then Sunday! I did not get called on to speak. YAY! My spanish is getting better. I can now teach and bear my testimony about so many things. My teaching skills definately need to improve. I am so glad that I get to be here for nine weeks. I would freak out if I was leaving soon. Sunday was so great. In Relief Society, Sister Nelson spoke to us. AND GUESS WHO ELSE CAME...........Sherri Dew! She didn't speak to us, but it made me giggle because I was in RS with Sherri Dew (this reminds me of Evonne, someone tell her for me!). Sister Nelson was such a great speaker. She told us about companions and how important it is to have good friends on your mission and after. I wish I could share more with all of you. Sacrament was great. I loved what my branch president said. He spoke about Haiti. He volunteered last year when all of that happened. I loved hearing about it. I really cannot believe that things can get so bad. I was so touched. I know that we all have opportunites to help people in this world. I love that the gospel teaches love! Ohh I love it so much.

Today we were able to clean the Temple! It was great. I got to clean one of the chandaliers and vaccum. It was so simple and yet so beautiful. On  the way there we were attacked by snow and slush. By the time we got there my companion was soaked and I might as well not have dried my hair! It was so much fun though. I love the temple and can't wait until it is open again. Today is just full of cleaning and laundry. Ohh i almost forgot, right before we were going to come here my companions hair spray exploaded and everyone was screaming and hairspray was going every where and luckily i covered it with a towel and rushed it out of there. It was so funny.

Also I am getting better at volleyball! I am actually enjoying it! I love life so much. It is hard but ohh so worth it.

This week the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation have really hit my heart. I will share more about this next week!

I love all of you. Please continue to write and know how much I appreciate them!

Hermana Spencer