DATED:  July 21, 2014

This has been a pretty good week. I am sitting here trying to think about what exactly happened, and I can't really remember anything to specific, but hopefully stuff will come to mind as I continue to type.

First off, Thank you so much for all the birthday cards, wishes, gifts, and everything you all did for me to try to make my day special. It was a great day. Earlier in the week, we got the package for Banana Cream Pie stuff, which I made Saturday and ate on sunday (don't worry there is a video). I really enjoyed the balloon that you guys sent me too. It has been floating around the house, and it seems to go where it wants to. It has a mind of its own. I also loved the giant card that everyone signed. It is awesome. Thank you so much!

On Thursday we drove up to Morgantown and had a district meeting and Interviews with President Salisbury. It was great. He is a great person.

For the thought for today, I will tell you about something fun we did at the District meeting. Elder Anderson and I were asked to come up with a role play for us to do at the D-meeting. We wanted to teach the principle of Witnesses and how when there are more witnesses it motivates people to act. So for an object lesson, we got a box, and we taped candy to the inside of it. We took this box to the meeting. It was closed and people were asking what was in it. We told them that there was nothing in the box, then we would shake it to show them. They all believed us. So when it was our turn, we went to the front of the room. We opened the box. No one could see in it, and we called up one missionary to come and tell everyone what was in the box. So he came up and said, "Well, there's candy in the box." We asked everyone to show by the raise of their hand if they believed This Elder. Half the people raised their hands. We decided to get another witness, so we asked for another elder to come up and tell everyone what was in the box. He said the same thing, that there really was candy in the box. We asked who believed the testimony of these 2 witnesses, and no one raised their hand. They thought we were pulling a fast one on them. These 2 Elders started trying to convince everyone that there really was candy in the box. Finally someone said they believed there was candy, and so we told them to come up and look at it. He did and he said that there was candy in the box. There were 3 witnesses of the candy. It was interesting because people still didn't believe it. So one by one the people were finally convinced to believe candy was in the box and they would come up and find out for themselves. One sister was funny, she came up and looked in the box and said "Wow, there really is candy in the box" with a chuckle. All these people started to testify to the non-believers that yes, there is candy in the box! That they can come and see too. It was super funny because people weren't expecting candy to be in the box, and they were all surprised when they saw there really was candy. It was super fun and also very funny.

I am sure you can see the gospel applications to this, but I will share some thoughts I have on it.
Sometimes we may have many testimonies around of us something that is reality or truth, but we will still refuse to believe it for fear of embarrassment for because we are skeptical that someone is trying to hurt us. Sometimes the missionaries would say, "you know, our leaders wouldn't lie to us, so I can going to come and see for myself," (by the way, the assistants and the Zone leaders were the first people we asked to come look in the box). They found out that what they were being told was TRUE! There really was candy in the box! When they found out there was candy in the box they were really trying to convince the others that it was true.

We have leaders and people in our lives that have "seen in the box" and they are trying to help us to believe and "look in the box ourselves." It takes faith and courage to look in the box. It's not easy. I am sure we all have our doubts and our concerns, but we know deep down what is right and what is true. We can tell the difference between good and evil. The scriptures, prayer, and Church attendance help us to be strong enough, to be convinced, to believe, to get up and to act and to find out for ourselves if what our leaders (especially the Prophets and Apostles) are telling us is true.

I know that this Church is true. It's the only true Church as stated by Jesus Christ himself. All other churches are false. This is the only church with it all. That’s a bold statement, but it is the truth. What a blessing it is to be a part of this church. Lets all have the courage to continually look in the box and remind ourselves of our testimonies. Let us share them Boldly so that we can help others receive the blessing of the Gospel. Jesus Christ is real, He lives. In His name, AMEN!

I love you all!


Elder Josh!


Dated:  July 14, 2014

This was a pretty good week. We were able to meet with a good amount of people, more than usual this week. At our meeting where we met President and Sister Salisbury, another missionary gave us a referral from a member in their area that knew some people in our area. This young couple they referred us to had taken the lessons up in PA but then they moved down here and fell through the cracks. So we went to try to contact them, and they weren't home, or so we thought. I guess they were at the neighbors and they saw us leaving. They found out that a member of the church lived on their street, so they went to her house Saturday night and asked her if she went to church and if they could follow her to church the next day.  So they came to church and seemed to really like it. Everyone thought they were already members and they had to keep saying, "we aren't member, yet." haha. It was fun. So hopefully some great things happen there. Also, Shawna was confirmed yesterday. She is glowing.

Elder Anderson had an assignment to speak yesterday. There was another lady assigned to speak as well. Each of them were supposed to go for about 15 minutes. Well, the lady went first and only spoke for 5 minutes. So Elder Anderson had 35 minutes to fill. During the middle hymn, the person conducting asked me to come up and speak also if there was time to fill. So Elder Anderson went for 20 minutes, he tried to stretch it out as long as he could, so I had the privilege of giving a 12 minute impromptu talk. It was actually kind of fun. There was a guy sitting in the back of the room that held up a 10 on a piece of paper. I thought he was telling me there were 10 minutes till the meeting was over, but after inquiring about it after, he was actually giving me a "10" for on my talk. I guess he really liked it. It was funny. We also taught Gospel Principles and then we went to primary and talked about baptism and confirmation to the kids. It was a fun Sunday.

Another random note, Elder Bednar was in Charleston doing a youth fireside yesterday, but we did not get to see him. It is cool to have had him here though.

It was hot this week and it also rained a crazy amount, and apparently there was a little tornado that touched down just outside of our area for a minute or so.

This is a quote at the end of the "Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration" and it is found in D&C 128:19 Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. 

The Gospel brings joy. I am very grateful for the Gospel in my life and for family that embraces the Gospel. If you read this section, Notice all the exclamation points (S. Gifford Nielsen said that when he was here in the mission).

The Church of Jesus Christ has been restored by Jesus Christ through His prophet Joseph Smith. I know it and it is true and real!

I love you all!


Elder Spencer


DATED: July 7, 2014

This was an exciting week. We started off by going to a small zoo in Masontown on our p-day. It was pretty sweet. We saw lions, tigers, and bears!!! O MY! We saw all kinds of monkeys (and we had quite a bit of fun with them too) and a giraffe, and then some other animals. We went with Cory, he is a member and we have developed a great friendship.

Later in the week, Thursday, we got to meet President and Sister Salisbury. They are a lot of fun. I think we will really enjoy them. They were very kind and loving and you can tell they just love each other.

On Friday we had a Zone meeting. It was good. We played a quick game in the zone. The first person started by making a weird noise to a rhythm, then the next person would add a different weird noise to the rhythm and so on until you went all around the room. It was hilarious! There were like 30 of us in there, so by the end it sounded really weird, but it was fun. I made a chicken noise. :D

Another blessing this week was we got to see Shawna get baptized. We did it after church yesterday. It was a great baptismal service. It went very smooth.

I really enjoyed hearing about the family reunion. As I was reading your emails to me about it I felt like I was there. I could just picture everything and all the love that was there. Thank you for sharing it with me. :D As I was writing this email this thought came through my head "Family Reunions are a taste of Heaven." Let me explain why and also I have been studying about Charity a lot this last week. I don’t know why but I have. I will share with you some of the things I have learned. Charity is the pure love of Christ. I read through Moroni 7:45-48. I also listened to Elder Holland's talk  "The First and Great Commandment" (Here is a link so you can go watch it  The First and Great Commandment). It's about Peter’s exchange with the Savior where Christ asks him 3 times "Do you love me?" I went to another scripture in Moses 7:32-33.

"The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;  And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;"

So something stood out to me in this scripture. to give a little background, Enoch had just looked up into heaven and saw God weeping. He asked him "how canst thou weep?" and that scripture was the Lord's response. What I get from this is God is looking down on his Children and he sees the wickedness and the evil, the hate and the malice and it breaks his heart. We are His Children and he wants us to love each other and to love Him, our Father. That’s what he wants. That's what the Great Commandments are, right? Love God and our neighbors as ourselves? In the pre-earth life we were all together, we are all brothers and sisters, and God has asked us to love each other.  He doesn't want us to fight, to tear down, to persecute  he wants to to just get along and work together to live with him again. He wants us to help, to rescue, to lift and to build each other. Ultimately God wants us to love our Family, our Father in heaven and our brothers and sisters. OUR FAMILY! Our Neighbors are our brother and sisters. No wonder God sent his son into the world to show us how to Love! (John 3:16) To serve and to care and to watch over and to protect.

True Followers of Christ will be filled with love. One of Christ's commission to the Apostles was stated in this scripture: John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

Earlier in that chapter Jesus Christ showed them an example by washing their feet.  Christ showed us how to love, and he has loved us so much! He performed the greatest act of love when performing the atonement (John 15:13, Ether 12:33, and 2 Nephi 26:24). So as we go through life, lets have "charity towards all men" (D&C 121: 45) and lets serve them. (A note to ponder: How has Christ Showed his love specifically to you in your life?) That is what he agreed to when we "left our nets" and became followers and disciples of Jesus Christ. I love the song "He Sent His Son." It reads.

"How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness?
He sent his Son, a newborn babe, with peace and holiness.
How could the Father show the world the pathway we should go?
He sent his Son to walk with men on earth, that we may know.
How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death?
He sent his Son to die for us and rise with living breath.
What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way.
What does he ask? Live like his Son."

Now this is a long email, and I hope it all makes sense. I invite you to go look up the references I have shared and study about Charity and Love. Pray that the Holy Ghost will teach you something new about it. You will probably get different things out of it than I did because of our individual needs.

Always remember "Charity Never Faileth" and by having and demonstrating charity we will conquer the Evil one.

So one day when we return to our Heavenly Father, we will have a very big family Reunion. Thats why I kind of think family reunions here are a taste of Heaven. The love and happiness we feel from our families here is just a tiny amount compared to what it will be in the Kingdom of God.

On another note, I would like to thank my whole family, for being such a great example of Charity. As I have studied this principle I have been thinking of lots of people that have demonstrated charity to me. Honestly, I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for my parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends and all those who have taken time to serve and love and help me. So thank you! I love you all very much. I am grateful for each of you and your influence.

If you made it all the way to this part, thanks for reading the whole email. I hope it made sense. :D

Love ya!


Elder Joshua R. Spencer

Even when you are born with a long neck, it still might
not be long enough, but don't let that keep you from
trying! (I am sure there is a true principle in the Gospel
you can get out of this photo . . . )

He came out of his shelter and came over to the fence
to say "Hi". He he.  he was big.

Selfie with an Alpacka!

We were handing this monkey stuff, like sticks, rocks, flowers,
leaves and everything.  It was funny.  At one point, I held on to the stick
so he couldn't pull it, and he was trying to yank it out
of my hands, and he couldn't.  (Ha ha, take that monkey.)  Then
he started screaming and yelling getting all mad at me.  He he.


DATED: June 30, 2014

So this week we had a couple of neat experiences. We did lots of service. We helped Buck weed eat his yard. We also helped Cory move and some other members named the Scott's move. On Tuesday Elder and Sister Kowalis (the vehicle coordinator) drove up and gave us a brand new 2014 Nissan Frontier. The Colorado that was in the shop got finished last friday, and they took our other Colorado and drove them down to charleston to get sold. We also had a branch Social this week. We had ice cream and hot dogs. It was fun. We also had a ton of extra miles this month due to not having a car for the beginning of the month, so we were able to drive to farther places in the mission. We went to the very edge of our area, 24 miles away, to a  little town called Folsom. We had a referral for an 8 year old named Maddi that wants to be baptized. Her mom is a member but not on our records. So we went by last night and taught her. It was fun. She was excited.

I don’t have much of a thought for you this week, but one thing I will say, God watches out and is mindful of each of us. This last week of the transfer, Elder Anderson and I were short on money and food because of transfers. But we had food given to us. We were about out of bread and some members randomly gave us bread. Other things like that happened. This is a the truth, God Cares.

I love you all!


Elder Spencer

P.S. So we also got invited to a reunion this week for a family in the Branch. So we went to it. Now there is a man named Uncle Herb that lives in Bountiful Utah. In fact when I talked to him I asked if he knew Chris Beynon (my seminary teacher) and he said they were in the same ward. So that was cool. Their daughter came up also from Bountiful, and I got to talking to her and she works at Viewmont. I don't remember what she teaches. I was hounding her with questions asking her who she knew that I might know. I asked her if she knew Daniel. She said she didn't at first. Then I started talking about Daniel and how he did the welding program with Mr. Heiner. She then knew who he was. She told me that Mr. Heiner brags about Daniel all the time and uses him as an example of a success story for going through the welding program. So that was cool to hear. It's a small world. By the way her name was Ms. Seeley, if any of you might know her. She said she had heard of like everyone I asked her about.