|(Spencer sent this today but he went to the temple a few weeks ago.)|
Thanks for all your letters and support. I love reading every week about your weeks and how things are going back at home. I love you all and want you to know how much I miss you and pray for you.
I've been studying a lot in the Book of Mormon again, and I just finished reading all the Isaiah chapters in 2nd Nephi. It's hard to get a lot out of Isaiah but I managed it all right. I had to switch back to English to read that part. I love to read Chapter 29 to the people here that tell us we are blasphemous for having another Bible. That always shuts them right up. Even though they know what we teach is true, sometimes, they shut us out. It's like you wrote, Dad, about the message from Pres. Eyring, that we can have a testimony but not a conversion. We must allow that testimony to grow in us and to change us. We must act and not be acted upon. That reminds me of James 2 in the Bible when it talks about Faith and Works.
This week we had a conference as leaders from all over the mission. We all went together as ZL's and DL's and slept in the AP's house. That thing is a MANSION!!! We went to the meeting and I learned a lot. This mission hasn't been doing so well and so the AP's and President Bowler put together a slide show to show us all the problems we are having in our planning and in the datos (what's datos in English?) (data) We have 3 golden rules now, 1. Invite to be baptized in every lesson; 2. Invite to come to church in every lesson; 3. Ask who else would benefit from our message in every lesson.
So we've been doing that in every lesson and we have 18 people now with a baptismal date set. We just need to get them there now. We've been intesifying our lessons too. I've been working and teaching the doctrine really simply and really short so that everyone can understand it. Elder Saucedo told me recently after a lesson, "Elder, how do you do it? You play with all the investigator's minds until they find themselves agreeing with you and accepting invitations." My only thought on this was that this next week will be really hard if we aren't on top of everything in making and setting appointments, and following up on commitments.
I'm grateful for all the thoughts that you all shared. I've been praying for answers and for help and for courage to keep going. I'm glad I have a loving Heavenly Father who answers my prayers through my family and friends.
We didn't have the baptisms this week because we talked to both Alan and to Angel and both still will be baptized but not until the 21st. We talked to Alan and asked if he would like his mom to be able to come to the baptism and he said yes, so we moved to baptism till the 21st. That will give us more time to prepare too. Angel is really ready to be baptized but he just needs to learn all the Commandments. We've already taught them once but he's forgotten because it's been a while. So we're teaching the commandments and then he'll be baptized. Also, his girlfriend is a member and got really sick and he wanted her to be there for the baptism so he was grateful that we could postpone it.
So we'll have three baptisms on the 21st of Feb. Alan, Angel, and Miguel Antonio.
Miguel is also ready and still reading the Book of Mormon. He's finishing 1st Nephi now but hasn't been able to read as much because school started up here again and so he's been involved with a lot of homework. But he's still progressing towards baptism. He didn't come to church last week but I didn't see his sister their either (his sister's a member) and so they must have had something as a family come up. We're heading to his house this week to see how he's doing.
If you could send some yoga exercise workouts my way for my birthday, I'd love that :D. I'm just looking for something I can do in the morning to wake me up and keep me stress-free. There is a lot of stress on the mission and I don't like feeling tons of stress. I think if I had some yoga workouts in the mornings, I'd do better to focus.
We were sick this week too. I just got a headache and runny nose but Elder Saucedo is just adjusting to the food and had his insides turned around. He's doing better now, just drinking a lot of water like Hermana Bowler told him to do.
This week, I wanted to practice exercising charity more. I want to love the people more and I don't want to just go through the motions of giving service. I want to feel what I'm doing, more. What are your thoughts about charity? I'm going to be studying everyday this week to help me make my mission touch me more in my heart.
Thanks for all your prayers, thoughts and help. I'm really happy that something finally started happening to help Lindsay get better.
Hurrah for Israel!
Mom, Thanks for your thoughts that you shared with me. That was what I needed. The testimony of parents has a life-long impact on the strength of their children. When everything is looking dark and dreary for me, I too, just pray and sing a hymn. I don't know if you remember at the beginning of my mission when I was sick, but I couldn't sleep and my body hurt so much. But, when I sang "I am a Child of God" I saw you and Dad singing to me and I couldn't feel the pain anymore. As long as I was singing, I didn't have the pain. Thanks for helping me learn the power of Hymns as I grew up, both you and Dad.
Dad, We didn't have the baptisms this week but we'll have three on the 21st this month. I'm really excited for that and we're already planning it all. I did an interview this week actually for an investigator that's preparing to be baptized. It's interesting to conduct an interview but when I do it, I try to think of how Bishop Walker conducted his interviews with me and how I felt while talking to him. I also think of how I feel when President Bowler interviews me. I want to help the investigators feel the same way that I have felt in my interviews. I feel lots of love and kindness. It doesn't feel at all negative but it feels just like it does when I talked to Grandpa before he died. Sincere and helpful, only uplifting, and the Spirit was there.
As far as how Sundays are, this last Sunday was great! We didn't have many people come and there are a lot of people sick in the ward but the lessons were still great and we discussed a lot about Agency and how we draw closer to Christ. Agency and The Atonement are inseparably connected and forever will be. Agency, I learned is an infinite law of heaven and that without it, we could not exist because God would not exist. I am eternally grateful for a Savior who loves me personally and knows me perfectly. I feel his love every time I read his words and every time I ask for forgiveness.
When Elder Saucedo became a member, he was the only one in his family to convert. His mom is now listening to the lessons. He has shared his conversion story and how he prayed to know if it was all true. He said that he hungered, kind of like Enos when Enos prayed for forgiveness. And when he prayed for forgiveness, he felt forgiven. He felt the Spirit testify to him about the Savior and the love that God has for every one of his children. After that, he decided to be baptized and then now he's serving a mission. I have a really strong testimony about God's love for us. The Savior wants to forgive us. And even though we are weak and stubborn sometimes, God is always there and he will always listen and never will turn away from us as long as we try to come unto Him.
Finally, Dad, I just like you letters. The format doesn't change the feeling I get when I read letters from home. Just keep writing because I love you and I feel your love and mom's love everytime I read your letters.
Kristen, hahaha thanks for the pictures you sent me. You are really white. I remembered this week, randomly, that one time you told me as we walked to early-morning seminary, "Spencer, you are just a zit-face!" and that always just cracks me up. :D Thanks for the humor you send my way to lighten the days and the load.
In my patriarchal blessing it says that I will be sent to a difficult land to serve my mission, and sometimes it seems like the bad outweighs the good. Even though it might appear that way, bad will never overcome the good.
D&C 18:15 says, "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"
...and in Alma 41:5, "The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good..."
...and finally, Nephi wrote that they "lived after the manner of happiness" (2 Ne 5:27).
I don't know why I wrote you about happiness, but it made me even happier. So, if you benefit from it or not, I benefited from writing about it. Love ya! :D
Keep smiling... cause, as the family of a dentist, we all have great smiles. ;D
Tons of love, Spencer
PS I sent a picture of me at the Temple a little while back. I don't know if you have it already but there it is again for you guys.