DATED:   October 27, 2014

This week has been really good. I have so many thoughts and feeling flowing around in my head.

First off, we were able to teach quite a bit this week. We have been meeting with some amazing individuals, who are really demonstrating their Faith. I will give one example. We are working with a really neat young couple named S___ and T___. We have been teaching them for about 2 months or so and they have become very good friends to us. Last week we taught them the Word of Wisdom. We were a little nervous to teach it because we knew they have some struggles with it. After we taught it we asked if they would live it. They agreed and said they would do the best they could. We asked if we could take their coffee (they just bought it like 2 days before this so it was very full) and coffee pot. They said we could. I could tell that T___ was very nervous to do it because she drinks a lot of coffee and she was worried about how much it would affect her. But in faith she let us take the coffee stuff. I was very amazed by her faith and her willingness. The next day we asked her how she was doing, and she said she has had no problem giving up the coffee. It hasn't been hard for her. I feel that because of her faith, God has helped her give it up.

I would like to share another experience we had with S___ this last week. So S___ works for the city on the sewer lines. Sometimes when there is a problem with the sewer, it is often on someone’s property, and if that is the case, the person is responsible for fixing it themselves. The city doesn't do it. But S___ will tell the person he will come and fix their sewer lines for free if they will provide the parts (and that is if he doesn't already have them). On Saturday, Elder Blaine and I accompanied S___ to do some work on this old lady's house in fixing her sewer. We dug down outside her house, cut out the old line, and put in a new one. It wasn't a ton of work, but if a plumber would have been called out to do it, it probably would have been $600 or so. She was very grateful for the service. Later that day S___ and T___ came to our chili cook off. It was great to see them there. Then that evening, we went over to see a member named Brother L___. He had in-laws over from out of town. Bro. L___'s sister-in-law accidently flushed her  keys for her car, house, and whatever else a mom has on her keys, down the toilet. Bro. L___ asked us to call S___ to see if he could come over and maybe help us recover them. So S___ came down and we opened up a flush drain outside the house, and spent the next hour or so trying to flush the keys out. We didn't think they went all the way to the main line because they are heavy keys. We didn't have any luck getting them. We got word this morning though that S___ stopped by during work and put a camera down their line to see if the keys were in there. He found them right by where the house line goes into the main line. He got the keys. I was again amazed by his charity and how selflessly he serves others. This is just what he does. If he can help you, he will.

The other day Elder Blaine and I sang "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" during Comp Study. I love this song. Here are the lyrics. Read it as a story.

A poor, wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not pow'r to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.

Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered; not a word he spake,
Just perishing for want of bread.
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate, but gave me part again.
Mine was an angel's portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
The crust was manna to my taste.

I spied him where a fountain burst
Clear from the rock; his strength was gone.
The heedless water mocked his thirst;
He heard it, saw it hurrying on.
I ran and raised the suff'rer up;
Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
Dipped and returned it running o'er;
I drank and never thirsted more.

'Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
A winter hurricane aloof.
I heard his voice abroad and flew
To bid him welcome to my roof.
I warmed and clothed and cheered my guest
And laid him on my couch to rest,
Then made the earth my bed and seemed
In Eden's garden while I dreamed.

Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
I found him by the highway side.
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment--he was healed.
I had myself a wound concealed,
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And peace bound up my broken heart.

In pris'n I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor's doom at morn.
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him 'mid shame and scorn.
My friendship's utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
But my free spirit cried, "I will!"

Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name he named,
"Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto me.

I then read the Scripture Matthew 25:31-40

"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

I read a definition of faith this week that said "when you have faith you obey the Laws and Ordinances of the Gospel and Serve Christ." It has been weighing on my mind the importance of serving our fellow man. As we take care of each other, we will be happy and receive blessings. In the song above, I put in bold the blessings that I noticed the man received for his service. I feel like this "though" it is kind of random, but I’ll try to sum it up. True faith leads to action. The action we do is obeying and service. That is the covenant we make at baptism. We need to be serving every day. S___ is a great example to me of this kind of service. Having Charity towards our fellow man is so important. I know that as we serve others, and go out of our way to serve others, we will have an immense measure of happiness. I love also how much of an example President Monson is of this principle. We are His hands.

Another quick thought that I had this morning. We sang one of my favorite hymns #85 "How Firm a Foundation." I’ll post it here also.

How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
Who unto the Savior, who unto the Savior,
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

In ev'ry condition--in sickness, in health,
In poverty's vale or abounding in wealth,
At home or abroad, on the land or the sea--
As thy days may demand, as thy days may demand,
As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o'erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee, and sanctify to thee,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

E'en down to old age, all my people shall prove
My sov'reign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And then, when gray hair shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs shall they still, like lambs shall they still,
Like lambs shall they still in my bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, I'll never, no never,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

So, I really like the last verse of this song. Whenever I sing it, I think of "I" as talking about me. So I usually think of "I, Elder Spencer, Will never forsake." But, I read it different this morning. This is my personal feeling. I could be wrong, but I realize and believe that when this song uses the word "I" it is referring to God, or Jesus Christ. So now look at the last line. "I, Jesus Christ, Will never forsake YOU!" This just helped me realize and remember the promise that Jesus Christ will never forsake us. He will help us and carry and protect us. He has not and will not ever, ever, ever leave you! I like thinking of it like this.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
HE will not, HE cannot, desert to OUR foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
HE WILL never, no never, HE WILL never, no never,
HE WILL never, no never, no never forsake!

D&C 84:88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

Sorry for the long letter, but the last part of this come from Elder Hollands Talk "None were with him."

"For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.

But Jesus held on. He pressed on. The goodness in Him allowed faith to triumph even in a state of complete anguish. The trust He lived by told Him in spite of His feelings that divine compassion is never absent, that God is always faithful, that He never flees nor fails us. When the uttermost farthing had then been paid, when Christ’s determination to be faithful was as obvious as it was utterly invincible, finally and mercifully, it was “finished.” Against all odds and with none to help or uphold Him, Jesus of Nazareth, the living Son of the living God, restored physical life where death had held sway and brought joyful, spiritual redemption out of sin, hellish darkness, and despair. With faith in the God He knew was there, He could say in triumph, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” 19 

Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: “I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you]."

I am grateful for the "angels" in my life. There are so many. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and his Atonement. This life isn't so hard when you realize that you really don’t face it alone. Each of us have our own team cheering us on. God Will Never Forsake! That is the Truth.

I love you all.


Elder Josh Spencer

P.S.  I forgot to talk about this in my last email. This last week our branch held a Fall Festival. As part of the festival we did a Chili Cookoff. Elder Blaine and I entered into it. We have been telling everyone all month that our chili was going to win. haha. Well, we didn't have a recipe, so we asked T____ if she had a chili recipe. She gave us a Campbell's soup recipe book that she didn't want anymore. We looked through it and found a simple chili recipe. We made a trial run of it. It was ok. We decided to modify it a little bit, and we made our chili and took it to the cook off. It won! HAHA! We were pretty tickled that it actually wont. There were 5 other chili's there. They were all really good. It was pretty funny to watch people's faces when they asked us where we got the recipe and we would tell them, "it's from a Campbells Soup Recipe Book!" It was super fun. The sad thing is I really didn't get to eat much of our chili because it was all gone at the end.

We did Pumpkin Bowling for the kids after the cook off. It was fun. Elder Blaine and I also Participated in some games. I’ll attach a picture.  That was just a fun part the week I wanted to share with you all.

 Love ya!

Donuts on a string!

This is what we won for winning the Chili Cook Off.  It's a sticker
that lights up!

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