Monday, February 28, 2011

D 5/8 Road and Another Week in the Mission

Dear Family and Friends,

First off I love you all and am so grateful that I have people that like reading my letters, writing me and most importantly praying for me. I really need all of these.

So you are probably wondering about the title of my email. Grand Junction has really odd street names. They have names like 32, 28 1/2, and then roads like D 5/8. How odd is that. They even have a Road Ave. Ever since I have been here I have wanted to tell you all about the crazy roads. So I made sure to do it this week.

So Miryam was baptized on Saturday. It was so great. It was a little stressful all in all. 1 hour before we were worried about the special musical number (Hermana Day and I .....crazy I know), the programs (we didn't know if they would make it), and people coming to support Miryam. Well lets just say that prayers really are answered. Everything went lovely. Right before the baptism started our Mission President decided to show up :) So he was there and it was great. We had a spanglish baptism because she knows so many people. Our special musical number went fine. We sang Venid a Mi (Come Follow Me) and I even did the alto part...BY MY SELF....that is definitely a first. The talks were great and the spirit was there and there were non-members/less actives etc!!!!!!! All in all it was great. Ohh the only odd thing was a dog present. A little one :) Luckily it didn't make too much noise.

Yesterday was the confirmation. Which is always my favorite for some reason. I love how every time I hear the words "Receive the Holy Ghost" no matter what the language. I always feel the spirit strongly. I love the power of the spirit in my life. I have seen it over and over again.

So it looks like I am going to be driving soon...maybe tomorrow. So that will be a change. I would appreciate your prayers with this. Luckily Grand Junction is not to crazy, but our area is huge and I haven't driven in 3 months. Well I know that I will be fine, but I am still a little nervous.

So since I just wrote on Thursday I will tell you all a little more about my life:

So I live with members who attend an English Ward here. They are really nice and occasionally bake things for us. We live in a pretty nice house in a nice neighborhood. We drive a Corolla ( I really can't think of how to spell that). It actually reminds me a Laynes car lol.

We eat quite a bit of beans. Which I luckily love. We serve in a branch with 2 other Elders. I love our branch. They are always so nice to me. It is really interesting to see a branch with lots of new members. So things at times do not go as planned. We have alot of fun with everyone. I am amazed at how busy Sundays are at times.

P-days They are almost like other days, but we are just busy with different things. We go to walmart, wash the car and email. On days like today we have an interview with our mission president. Who by the way is fantastic. We also do laundry at home. We then either do something fun or we take a nap and write letters. I like to write letters because I get them :) Just so you know sometimes writing is a great sacrifice. I am so tired. The Lord really gives me strength to always get up at 6:30 and to do everything that day with a smile. I am so very grateful He loves His missionaries.

We are so excited for this week. It already looks like a great week. I just want to let all of you know that missions are a refining period of time. I didn't realize how prideful I was....sometimes it still surprises me how humble I need to be. Spanish is coming along. I really do love the language and can't wait till I can speak more. At times it is frustrating when you know exactly what would help them, but you can't say it. I have been amazed at what I can say with my limited vocabulary.

I know that this is a special work. The Lord's hand is really in it. I see it so often when I am paying attention. I am amazed at how many prayers I need to say some days. I no longer worry as much about what exactly I will need to say because the Lord really does fill my mouth and at times I can't even remember what I said. So everyone help the missionaries. Think of people that you know that need the gospel - pray about it. Be a Member Missionary!

I love you all and look forward to all of your mail (hint hint) ohh and if you have time write Hermana Day!

Hermana Spencer

Shout Outs:
Cathy, Mom, and Grandma - Thank you for the packages! I really felt loved!
Anna, Katie, Meekayla - Thank you so much for the letters!
Elder Seipert's Mom - Thank you so much the letters esp. from Elder Seipert. Tell him I say hi!

I hope I got everyone! I really appreciate all of them!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sister's Conference and Rosa

Dear Family and Friends!

I love all of you so much....especially the ones that write me :)

Grand Junction is great. We are having a good week already. I wasn't able to write on Monday because of President's Day and then because we had a sister's conference.

So let me try to remember last week. We did not reach our goal sadly. One day no one was home...we had appointments the whole day and most of them we decided to get some ice cream. A member owns a Dairy and we get free homemade ice cream. That cheered us up a bit and then the day got better. We were able to teach alot.

I want to talk about this week more than anything else. We had 6 investigators at church. I also got to see someone pay tithing for the first time. Watching that was amazing. I knew how much faith it took for that women to pay tithing. Also just seeing all of them at church filled me with joy. I mean that. I sat in awe for a couple of minutes just so happy.

The next day, we didn't really have a P-day, we drove to Denver. When we first got there we decided to meet up with Hermana Thomas and Hermana Wilkerson (Hermana Day's MTC Comp)! I was so happy to see her. I really didn't expect to be that happy. We talked about how we feel about Spanish, the Members, the work! She feels the same way I do! We feel at times like we do not know anything and that it is never going to get better. BUT, I know I felt better after talking to her. We were at a bowling alley....and that was in jeans....:) Then we went to the mission home to be greeted by our mission president and his wife. We had such a good time. We ate dinner, talked about mission stuff, sang and talked. I met all of the sisters in the mission. There are 19 of us this transfer. I was amazed by all of them. I loved talking to them and meeting all of them. There will only be 6 Hermanas after this transfer. One is coming out of the MTC and 2 are going home. This means we have no idea where people are going. Hermana Day and Hermana Wilkerson are the only old Hermanas. Hermana Coffee (a nickname) has only been out a transfer longer than Hermana Thomas and I. So I am excited to see what happens. Sisters Conference was great because I really felt the importance of improving and it was great to reflect on my short time here. I have already seen small miracles - like fitting food in my stomach after my second dinner that day (by the way I feel horrible for making the Sister Missionaries in Lubbock eat so much). Or just talking in Spanish. Randomly I get called on to pray, teach primary, and bear my testimony. We also got to go to the Denver Temple! I just thought of Katie and Cathy and thought...they sat here too :)

We drove back on Tuesday night. Yesterday was AMAZING.

We have a  new progressing investigator. She has been investigating for a long time. Her son wants to get baptized but she wouldn't let him. She is now investigating and I really think we can put her on date :) Also our investigator that is getting baptized this weekend :) Miryam invited her friend Rosa last week to an appointment. We didn't even know that she was coming. We taught about tithing and fasting and Rosa asked questions. She didn't seem too interested, but she asked us to make an appointment with Miryam when she could come! So yesterday Miryam had her baptismal interview and we took Rosa on a short tour of the church. I felt the spirit so strongly when we were talking about the gospel. We were talking about a couple of things and she said - this sounds so familiar.  We told her the story of Joseph Smith and the spirit was there. We then talked about the Holy Ghost with her. She said that she felt it last week when we taught her and Miryam and that's why she wanted to meet with us again. SO I have HIGH hopes for this one! The Lord has really been working on her. She wants to be taught more!

So things are great! We are busy but life is good. I miss all of you so much some times. I think of random experiences at times.

Please continue to send your love to Colorado!

Hermana Spencer

Shout Outs:
Meekayla - Thank you for your letters I will reply this week!
Cathy - Thank You for the talks and the letters! You just make me smile!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

First Week in the Field!

Dear Familia y Amigos!

So I am here! I am so happy to be writing you all. So I will try to tell you lots. The first day we had orientation. Hermana Thomas and I met President Maynes and Sister Maynes at the airport. They were just great. We rode with them all the way to the temple, where we took pictures (which should be coming your way). Then we went to the mission office and met all the staff and had lunch. I then met with my mission president for the first time. He told me that sister missionaries have a higher chance of getting married and they have more kids. I wasn't exactly sure why he told me this, but I guess it is good to know. lol. I really enjoyed meeting with him. Then we had some activities with the APs. We had more food and more talking and we were just so exhausted.

Ohh and the end of the MTC was great. I just realized it has been a long time since I have been able to write.

Then on Tuesday we got lots of snow. We stayed at the mission home and left for transfer meeting. So....drum roll.....I am in Grand Junction. I was moved out west. Hermana Thomas stayed in Denver. My trainer's name is Hermana Day. We had to drive forever to get here because of the snow. It took quite a while. So Grand Junction - we get sonic and dry cleaning for free! Just thought you all would like to know. We live with members.

Hermana Day is from New Zealand/Georgia. She has been out like 9 months and graduated from BYU. We cover the whole area of Grand Junction. Our Branch here is very big. I love the members here. We have a good amount of investigators and less actives and recent converts that we are working with. My first day we, I mean Hermana Day, put a wonderful investigator on date - Sonia. She is absolutely great. She has a daughter that is almost on date. She wants to get baptized, but has a fear of water. Our other investigator with a date is Miriam. She is twenty and is so amazing. She is getting baptized next week. We work with a lot of less actives and part member families. Many of the people we meet with are very poor. A lot of them live in trailers. I love so many of them already. My favorite is Hermana Landrum. She is less active and loves having the missionaries over. She just makes me laugh so hard. The other night we met with her and taught her about tithing. Hermana Day and I really felt the power of our calling. We were able to testify powerfully. I just can't wait to see this hermana return to church.

So my fun......hahaha. I can understand people over 50% already, which is alot. Sometimes I have to wait until I fully know what is going on before I comment. However, I have made a lot of progress with just not being scared to open my mouth. Even the first day I was able to do more than I thought I could. Yesterday in church, I had to get up and introduce myself. It was hard, but I did it in my perfect spanish :) I really do love the people. Every one of them had been so patient with me. Hermana Day helps me out alot as well.

So I will probably be here for several months. That is the trend with Sisters here...especially Hermanas. I love it already. I have already helped make talmales! One thing that is odd for me is kissing peoples cheeks. I just never really thought about it before, but it is becoming easier :).

This last week we taught 32 lessons. This week we are hoping to get to 45. Which is very possible. I am very excited about my spanish and am glad that I have alot of time to progress. We are really busy. But I am so glad that we are. We have done a little tracking, and I have had the door shut on me....not super rudely.

Well I love you all and would really like mail:

Hermana Spencer
c/o Jarvis Family
2872 Bear Canyon Ct.
Grand Junction, CO 81503

Life is great. Some moments I really struggle inside, but I have been able to do everything that I have needed to do. I am surprised at how positive I have been. I am really excited about everything.

I won't be able to email till Tuesday because of the Holiday!

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

Hermana Spencer

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hey Family and Friends,

Boy do I love you! I am so happy to be writing you right now! So to tell you a couple of things. I am leaving on Monday to go to DENVER! I am so excited. We report to the travel office Monday morning at 5:00am. We have a couple of other missionaries that are flying with Hermana Thomas and I. We leave Salt Lake at 8:30 and get to Denver at 10:00. I am so excited! The rest of our district will stay in Provo until 11:30 that day and will fly to Argentina. We will already be oriented, and tracking by that point.

I have so much to tell you. First items of business. I would love to get mail from you in Denver. I know the first couple of weeks will be hard - so please pretty please with a cherry on top write me! You can still send me Dear Letters until Friday at 12. After that they will just throw them away. Also please send written letters now to my Denver address. I only have the mission home's address at this time but they will get mail to me. Please update people who don't read this with my information.

So Denver - Did I tell you how excited I am!?! Well I am. So the other day we got a letter from all of the Hermanas in Denver. There are only seven of us. We have 4 areas. 2 in Denver, one in the mountains and a Spanglish area....which I don't know where that is. Also we will most likely be living with members so that is great. Their letter was short but comforting. I am so excited to meet them. They also sent us pictures. Snow.....Temple.....Fun!

So Miracles of the week.....and this one tops all the miracles as of yet: Two of our Elders - Elder Lynch and Shaw - taught a real investigator, Lida, two weeks ago. Well the lesson went really good and she was excited about what they committed her to do. They told her to pray before and after she read the Book of Mormon. Well guess what? Last Sunday, our teacher Hma. Purziani told us that she did the commitment and has decided to get baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah really! So she is getting baptized this weekend. Hopefully they can get permission to leave the MTC and go :)

This week has been great. I feel so ready. This obviously means that my spanish is still not perfect, not even close. BUT, I feel a great desire to share this message. Last week we taught Flor, and it went okay. We really worked hard on our message we wanted to share with her. We even got a member to come with us...another teacher. It was so great. I felt a strong desire to love her more, and i really wanted her to know that this was true. So we invited her to be baptized...she didn't say no and she didn't say yes. So that is our plan this week. :)

Okay so funny/sad story. Yesterday I was working on my pro volleyball skills and I hurt myself....or the ball hurt me. My thumb hurts so much. It is swollen and jammed and bruised. So if there are lots of typos it is partially my thumbs fault and my lack of English skills. So also we left the MTC yesterday because Hma Thomas was getting some warts her hands are all hurting. So yesterday we took pitiful pictures of us because our hands hurt so bad that it was hard to change clothes after gym. LOL....I am really going to miss volleyball. When I return, I definitely want to play a lot more of it :)

So since I am getting ready to leave, I wanted to let you all know what I have learned while I have been in here - or at least a part of it:
  • I have learned that missionary work is hard. Yes HARD. Not that I thought it was going to be easy, but it is a lot harder than I thought it would be.
  • I have learned so much Spanish. I really mean that. I feel like I can at least teach all of the lessons. That is something that I thought was almost impossible. I learn more and more every day that we have the gift of tongues. Really. The Lord has blessed us so much.
  • I have learned that the Lord calls on the weak and the simple...if you aren't weak and simple - you kind of are by the time you leave.
  • I love my district. These young men are amazing. I have learned so much from them. Also the Hermanas are normal and that gives me comfort in thinking about my future companions.
  • My testimony has increased dramatically. I love the gospel and am so grateful for this opportunity. I never could have imagined that this is what Heavenly Father's plan for me would be. I am starting to learn that there is a reason why I needed that extra time. I needed to learn a lot.
  • I have grown to love people so much more. I see why we are sent to proclaim the gospel. People need it. They need to know there is a reason they are here and also that there is a way to have happiness in this life.
  • I love my family so much and I miss them!
  • Also I love my friends so much!
So all in all....I am so happy to be here! I feel the spirit working really hard on me. I know that it is refining me to be better. This next week is going to be very exciting/interesting/scary/great! Please write me!

I love you all,
Hermana Spencer

Shout outs:
Kayla - I am so should expect a letter.
Megan - Thank you for the pies! I loved them. They brightened my day so much.
Cathy - thank you so much for the pictures and the letters. You too Katie!

I love you all! Ahhh! I am so excited!