Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The big fat shoe

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was hard and wonderful. I always sit down and wish that I could tell you all amazing things that have happened...and they have but I forget a lot of them when I sit down in a random chair at a library somewhere in Denver.

Hermana Coughlen and Elder Valdez won the Habenero Challenge.....sort of......no one really wins. We went to ross about an hour after this....and she ran outside to trow up.....so I akwardly handed the skirt I was looking at to the lady and said ..."can you hold these...I think my friend is throwing up outside." She was fine....but doesn't think she will ever do that again.

We had transfer meeting last week. We got so many new Elders....no sisters. And a lot of missionaries went home....crazy to be thinking that this will happen to me in the not to distant future. Expect me to be weird....in a good way. I love transfer meetings because they hold all of the mail you get for like a week. And for me and Hna. Coughlen it was like Christmas :) I love it! We got some good letters! We then ate some breakfast with Hna Thomas and Hna Day. Then can you guess what we did? We worked!

Some days it is difficult to give it all....but most days no. Spanish is getting better, but some days I still stink at speaking. We have a new greenie in the ward (one of the Elders) and he is a native. He is able to do all of they things that I want to do. (Which means I have to get over it :) )
We have found some really great people. Heavenly Father really answers prayers. We have been praying to find people that are ready and we have found random people. We went back to contact a random contact and met her family. Turns out they were meeting with the missionaries last year. We also started teaching a husband of a lady were were already teaching. He has so many questions. Some of them crazy but all of them are fun. Looks like we will be helping with a wedding :) Hermana Ruiseco almost made it last week....she smoked on Saturday :( So we went back and talked about how she can do it. She is struggling a lot ( her husband still smokes) but she always feels better after we are there. We really have seen miracles. They are small. We find random people. We visit someone randomly or turn on the right street and are able to help people. I know that it really insn't random. Heavenly Father is using us and it feels so great to be used. We have also been teaching with members more this week than ever. The lessons with members are so different that I realized. So go with the missionaries :)

We still both feel super new. So inadequate. Sometimes we teach with other missionaries and just realize how much we need to improve. Today we are taking the rest of our p-day and creating a awesome scripture list. We are using our hall way and I am super excited. Weird to do that for fun...but thats how it is.

So this letter is going to be a little sorter, mainly because today I can't type as fast as I normally do. Yesterday, I had a great testimony building experience. We prayed alot that the speakers would be prepared for our investigators. I had a hard Friday and Saturday. Saturday night I really poured out my heart to Heavenly Father....I just felt like I wasn't being effective and it really worried me. Sunday came and the talks were exactly what I needed to hear. The first speaker was a white man that served his misison in south america. He told a story from his second week in the mission. They had found a golden family and just felt so good about them. Well this family at the time was attending another church. One day they go by and the women opens the door a little and tells them that they can no longer meet with them and have decided to keep attending their church. Well the spirit told him to do something....he still couldn't speak spanish...and he is super tall. So what he did was put his big fat shoe in the door and say "No" in the best spanish he could muster lol. It surprised her and his companion. His companion in english said what are you doing? Well he told her that she needed the message and basically bore his testimony...which I sure wasn't the most eloquent. The lady then said I will go talk to my husband. They waited outside for like 15 mintues. She came back and said she will meet with them. Well now the husband is a bishop and two sons have served missions. I realized that I can do this even if I cannot speak. I just have to trust in the spirit more!

It was a wonderful experience for me. The Lord does answer our prayers!

I love you all,

Hermana Spencer

I hit 6 months!

Dear Everyone!

I am so excited to write you all of the wonderful things that have happened this last week. First, I am not getting transfered! YAY! Neither is Hermana Coughlen! This will be our thrid transfer together and it really looks like we will have a lot of success! Here are some highlights!

1. Hermana Ruiseco started the stop smoking program and is doing great!
2. We found 12 new investigators this week.....we set the goal for 5 and we had that by thursday! We were just so blessed last week.
3. Today a lot of the missionaries are doing what we call the "Habenero Challenge." This is where everyone sits around a table with one glass of milk....they all eat a Habenero and the first one to drink the glass of milk looses! I am not doing it....because for those of you who know .... Haberneros are really hot. My companion is in on the challenge......I hope she wins! She can really handle spicey stuff.....and I can only handle a little habenero.
4. We are seeing so many people progress. I love it!
5. The mission is getting me new scriptures! Yay so hopefully tomorrow at transfer meeting they will be there. Ohh and none of the spanish sisters are moving!
6. I still have Hermana Coughlen! YAY!
7. Part of me wants to be a part of a spanish branch when I get back. The food is just so heavenly. I thought that we had good food at our activities...but no. On Saturday we had a wonderful ward activity. It was in the church parking lot with grills....carne....agua de pina.....todo! Really I love it.

So here is a story that protrays a little bit of misisonary work. The other day we went to contact some people that we had talked to before. We saw a lady talking spanish....so our spanishdar went off. We went and talked to us and she told us to go talk to her husband....who was in the house with the door open....(it seemed like she was getting rid of us). So we walk up to this door and there is a man sitting there with out a shirt and we tell him that his wife told us that we need to go talk to him. So he went and got a shirt. We talked a little bit more and he told us to come in....so then we had to tell him that we had this rule where we can't go in his house with out another women there....so we stood out of the house akwardly. He kept waiting for his wife to come back (and it looked like he was trying to get rid of us). She finally comes back and WE GET IN! We sit down on the couch and then we both look at each other and with our eyes say "WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO!" Usually things flow before and its more apparent with what we need to say. Well luckily Heavenly Father really blessed us. We had no idea what we said, but I know that they listened. I really felt good in the lesson. I was even able to speak good spanish. A lot of times I stumble on my words, but this time I didn't. We have another appointment with them tonight and I really hope that they are ready for the gospel. Hermana Coughlen came up with a good analogy for when this happens: Its like your older brothers convincing you to ride a rollercoaster....so you do it. But when you get strapped in you are thinking....what was I thinking.!?!?! That was the lesson.

I have really been thinking about my mission so far. It has been hard. I won't even lie. So what do I want to get out of this experience? I really could go through the motions and help people...but I have to give myself. This is harder than I thought it would be.

MY GOAL: To come to know the Savior, Jesus Christ and through the process help others come to know Him too.
One of my favorite scriptures is John 17:3! It is wonderful. This is my goal.

So how do we come to know Him?
I have some ideas. I think a lot of it is Mosiah 5:13. We have to serve Him...and follow this scripture! He has to become a part of us. Elder Holland said that we have to walk some of His path to really know Him...the hard times and follow His example. I never want the Savior to say to me, "I never knew you, or you never knew Me."

I am doing well. Times are great and times are hard! Thank you so much for your prayers and letters. Every time I get a letter it adds more happiness to my mission!

I hope you all are doing wonderful!

Hermana Spencer

Monday, June 13, 2011

Girls are like flowers...

So another week has passed....and to me it only feels like a couple of hours.

So some news: We are no longer three.....Hermana Coughlen and Judd actually got in a fight....so Hermana Judd is gone. Well only half of that is true. President Maynes called on Saturday and told us that Hna. Judd would be transferred on Monday, a week before transfers. The English Sister world just went crazy last week. She is sort of white washing with another sister. Crazy...Spanish was just a sick joke for her lol.

Well the work is still going forward. A less active family, la familia Rivera, of ours is doing great. We don't have to go wake them up at 7 every Sunday! Miracles still do happen. We also got to watch Yazmin do her calling yesterday. She is the chorister. She did so well. She was just so cute. She bore her testimony too about how much she loves us :) She is doing great. So many people are opening up to us. Hna. Ruiseco is a less active that a lot of people have given up on. She opened up to me the other day at dinner. She told me the reason that she doesn't go is that she feels guilty because she smokes....we really had no idea that she did. So I am now learning how to explain the churches program to stop smoking in Spanish. It is amazing how the Lord lets us meet people that we can just love and care about instantly.

Well we and I really just want a baptism. We have seen so much success with all of the less actives. I really just want to meet people that are just ready. So hopefully soon we will have some news. We have some people that could get baptized this next transfer and obviously those we have not yet met. We found Mexican Mecca. It is bordered by a giant field, the north mission, and the north mission. It is barely in our mission, but we have so many great potentials and a new investigator. Her name is Maria...and she just let us in and told us all about her search for God and the right church. She doesn't believe that there is a perfect man to run a church but she does believe that there could be a person who tries their best to follow God. So we shall see.

A funny story for you all. The other day we were visiting Hna. Noriega. She really could die any day. Its kinda sad, but she is ready to go. She lost a toe recently and was in the hospital because she blacked out. She is such a sweet lady. I actually am really starting to like old people. We read to her twice a week. We went by the other night and her son's friend was there. He was drunk....or wasted what ever you want to call it. He was speaking in English and Spanish so it was a little hard to understand. He mentioned that he wanted to change. Well Miguel (the son) came in and apologized to us for his friend. He admitted that he had been drinking too. But he started talking to us. He told me that his cousin sells weight loss medicine and that he could get some for me really cheap. "You don't look bad, but you could be skinner and look better. Women are like flowers, you have to feed them." He then proceeded to tell us about what his dad taught him. He said " my dad taught me to drink and how to treat a lady. You don't hit them....unless there is a good reason." It was so funny. Then he went outside and got us the only rose that was in the yard. It still had the thorns on it and everything. All of this happened while reading in the Book of Mosiah!

Well so everything is really good here. My mission president wrote me today and said: God stretches us to our limits and that is when we see miracles....so its stretching time!

I love you all,
Hermana Spencer

Friday, June 3, 2011

Memorial Day that didn't

So.....this week was interesting. I am little bit sick and achy, but we are still busy like always. Here are some highlights!

Ate lunch at a members house with her parent and their friends.....little did we realize that their friends was the pastor of a local christian church....

Ate a El Salvadorian Christmas dish that had tons of mayonnaise .... Hna Coughlen milked it out of her bread....we laughed so hard.

Grisel - She has 3 boys and lives with a member Yazmin! She is progressing so well. We went by on Saturday and poured out all her beer. We got some great photos. We have had some really great lessons with her lately and I really think that she will progress to baptism.

 Yesterday - I didn't get to email....because of the holiday. We picked up two English sisters for some fun yesterday. One of them is related to Logan and Megan Smith in Lubbock crazy! We decided to go to our ward activity. We showed up and it was only the Elders and the Bishop. Sad.....so we went and got a Frisbee and luckily some people showed up. We ended up playing some with the kids and eating delicious meat. Seriously I am going to be a meat eating machine. Everyone is getting out their grills and let me tell you they do not mess around with carne! Afterwards we went geocaching! Thanks Cathy! We had a good time and then the craziest saddest thing happened. We went to vacuum out the car and it was really windy. So.....wind + skirt = : / So it was interesting. I was really trying to hurry to not expose myself. Well we finished and I realized that my scriptures were not in the car. We had left them on the back of the car and driven off....we went back and they are no longer there. We are going to call the gas station today to see if anyone has turned them in. If not luckily we go to the temple tomorrow and I can buy some new ones.... I won't lie I cried a little.

Less actives are progressing. A family paid their tithing on Sunday and it was so great. The ward is really starting to trust us and give us more referrals.

Being a missionary is hard work. We only have two more weeks in this transfer and I am really worried about next one (like always). My Spanish is getting better but I still can't understand everything and explain myself super clearly. The Lord knows me so well and knows that I need to be humble. We are really trying to change the way we do alot of things. This week we are going to drop alot of people because they are not progressing. This is a hard thing to do. It hurts when someone does not accept the gospel.

I love you all. I really do love being a missionary. I am so glad that I am able to do this. President emailed me last week and said "expect success."

Hermana Spencer

P.S. Cathy can you send some more geocaches that are a little harder :)