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