Christmas Skype with Elder Josh


DATED:  December 22, 2014

I would like to report on all the fun stuff we did this last week. On Thursday we had Specialized Training. It was a good meeting. After the meeting we had lunch and we had some fun. They did a white elephant gift exchange. Every companionship in the Stake brought a gift, under $5. It was fun, we took a bottle of Martinelli's sparkling cider. We stole it back though because we really wanted it. haha. After we had District Presentations. They had each district prepare either a skit, talk, musical performance or something like that. We read a Silent Night Talk, then Elder Carter sang the first verse of "Silent Night" A Capella and then we had everyone in the room join in on singing the 2nd and 3rd verses, also A Capella. We wanted it to be kind of like how it may have been in the trenches of WW1. We were the last district to go. The spirit was already in the room, but after that the spirit was very, very strong. It was neat.

On Sunday we had church, but we only had sacrament meeting so that we could go up to the Stake devotional in Charleston. After church, some members named the Matsons took us to their house for lunch and then we rode with them up to Charleston. Sister Matson is the one that wrote the skit that we did, and Bro. Matson was the main character, Ebeneezer Scrooge. The Skit went great at the devotional. I’ll send you all a picture. Elder Carter and I played the part of Missionaries, and we went and knocked on Ebeneezer's door to stop by to visit him at the request of his Nephew, Bob Crachet. There were about 400 people at the devotional. It was fun. All the Missionaries also got up and sang "O come all ye Faithful" during the devotional. That was also really neat.

For a thought today I would like to share some things from an awesome talk called "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence." We listened to this on our way up to Charleston yesterday. I would like to share some quotes.

"The adversary knows that faith in Christ—the kind of faith that produces a steady stream of tender mercies and even mighty miracles—goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right. For that reason he will seek access to your heart to tell you lies—lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of that same evil theme.

As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can’t approach the throne of God with real confidence. Whatever you do, whatever you pray for, whatever hopes for a miracle you may have, there will always be just enough self-doubt chipping away at your faith—not only your faith in God but also your confidence in yourself. Living the gospel in this manner is no fun, nor is it very healthy. Above all, it is completely unnecessary! The decision to change is yours—and yours alone.

I would like to share six practical suggestions that, if heeded, will dissipate these evil voices and restore to you the kind of peaceful assurance and spiritual confidence that is yours to have if you only want it."

Here is a summery of those 6 things.

1. Take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being.
2. Take responsibility for your own physical well-being.
3. Embrace voluntary, wholehearted obedience as part of your life.
4. Become really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly.
5. Become really, really good at forgiving.
6. Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience.

I just want to encourage you all to go and study this talk. You can find it by Clicking

I would also just like to share some things I have been thinking about lately.

Things wont change unless you do something about it. You wont change until you do something about it. We have to want to and be willing to change. Change takes commitment, Real commitment.

This life is a mortal experience where our spirit gets to be in a body and learn new things. We are spirits in a body. Your spirit was created by your Heavenly Father who loves you. Every time you pray you are talking to your Father. He knows you!

Every single person on this earth has trials, and has always had trials. There are hard times for every single one of us. There is no anomaly where someone is able to go though this life without experiencing something tough. God is very aware that we have these trials. They are part of the purpose of us being here. Don’t give up when you are going though hard trials. There are billions of people on this earth that are successful in overcoming hard things. You are not an anomaly to that either. (I hope that one makes sense)

Ponder what it means to be a True Follower of Jesus Christ. And look at the Blessings.
In the Guide to the Scriptures it says this under the definition of "Perfect." Complete, whole, and fully developed; totally righteous. Perfect can also mean without sin or evil. Only Christ was totally perfect. True followers of Christ may become perfect through his grace and atonement.

Or in Moroni 7:47-48 it states "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."

And then the definition of Pure in the Guide to the Scriptures says "Free from sin or guilt; blameless. A person becomes pure when his thoughts and actions are clean in every way. A person who has committed sin can become pure through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and receiving the ordinances of the gospel."

All of these things relate. True Followers are those who strive to live like, think like, and be like the Savior. As it states in 2 Nephi 31:13 "...follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent..." If we do this then we will have charity and will become pure, as He is pure and will be able to, through the atonement, become complete and pure and perfect and qualify to live with Heavenly Father again. We will be freed from our sins. Those weaknesses that we have can become strengths.

So the Invitation? 2 Nephi 31:10 "And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me..."

I think I kind of shared about this in a previous letter, but here it is again, maybe with something new. I am very grateful for my Savior who shows me the way. I hope I can be like him.

I love you all. Keep you heads up, and your hopes high. There are great things in store for those who follow Christ. :D MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Elder Spencer


DATED:  December 15, 2014

This week has been a good one. We have been able to find some potentials that we are going to be able to see next week. The people here are very nice. We offer lots of "Christmas Cards", which are the "He is the Gift" cards. Pretty much everyone says they would like one, and then we try to talk to them and we invite them to learn about the "Mormon Church" or "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." We have found some people that are really curious about it and want to learn. It's neat.

We had the Ward Christmas Dinner this week. There was so much great food! We had a Santa Clause, and all of us in the District got our picture with him. We have 3 sets of missionaries serving here. Oakhill, Beaver, and Beckly are the 3 areas. We are all in the same ward. Here in Beckley, we are blessed to have many great members. We have dinner appointments every day until the 30th. That’s really great! I really enjoy dinner appointments for a few of reasons, 1: I get to try awesome food from a ton of different people. 2: You get to fellowship with the members and get to know them in a better way then you can at church. 3: You get to help build the members and help them do missionary work. I have noticed that Units that feed the missionaries do a lot better at missionary work then those that don't.

So this next week we have a very busy schedule. We have specialized training, and as a part of that we are doing a Christmas Devotional within our zone. Each District has about 3 minutes to so something. Either a skit, talk, song, etc. We are going to read the Silent Night talk and then Elder Carter is going to ACapella sing the first verse of the song, with everyone else joining him for the last 2 versus. Then on Sunday, Elder Caldwell and I get to speak in Sacrament Meeting, after we are going to practice our Skit that we are doing for the Stake Christmas Devotional in front of the Ward, and then we are going to head up to Charleston. The missionaries are going to sing "O Come All ye Faithful" in the Devotional and then we are going to do our skit that we are doing with the ward. Lots to happen next week. Christmas is such a fun time of year.

I love you all!


Elder Spencer



DATED:  December 8, 2014

Transfers went really good. I woke up at 4:00 on Thursday Morning and got a ride up to Princeton to catch the Transfer Train. The Transfer Train is two, 15 passenger vans and a big box truck that goes from Roanoke to Charleston and every missionary gets on it to go up to Charleston. Beckley is between Princeton and Charleston, so normally I would have gotten off there, but for some reason things worked out so I got to go all the way up to Charleston. It was fun. I got to see a bunch of really great missionaries. There are many friends that I have made out here. Serving with people is so great! After Transfers, I rode back down to Beckley on the Train and met Elder Carter. He is great. He has been serving for about 8 months now. We live in a house with 2 other missionaries. Elder Brenchley, From Farmington Utah, and Elder Caldwell from Morgan Utah. Elder Brenchley knows Kevin and Maggie Bullock. He is in their ward. Kevin was his Bishop. SMALL WORLD!

Church yesterday was great. There are quite a few people that know the Vests very well.  All the new missionaries got a very warm welcome. One of the Sisters here in the ward came up to me, her name was Sister Doolittle, and said that she went to Utah once with Deanie for Christmas and met our family. She said she remembers talking to Dad, and she remembers that I was there too. I was a baby at the time. I think I was about 1 year old, is what we figured. SMALL WORLD!

On Sunday, Elder Carter and I also got asked to participate in the Stake Christmas Devotional. We are part of a 3 minute skit. We are playing the part of "Elder" who knock on someone's door. My line is "Very well" and Elder Carters is not much longer. It's a small part, but It think it's awesome!

For a short thought. Who are you? What are your Names and Titles? I have been thinking about this lately. Think of all the Names that Jesus Christ has. i.e. Savior, Redeemer, Creator, The Son of God, etc. All these names identify who He is and what He does. So think of different titles and names that you have. Father, Mother, Home Teacher, Visiting Teacher, Friend, Brother, Sister, or maybe even think of your own name. It identifies what you do. When we are baptized we make the covenant that we are willing to take upon ourselves the Name of Christ. Now, our name, my name even, Elder Josh Spencer is an imperfect name, imperfect person, but Christ's name is perfect. So, as we make and keep our covenants, we take his name upon us so we can be identified with his name.  So who are you? Each of us has a perfect potential. We each have goodness and light within us. No matter what mistakes me make or how bad we mess up, we will always be Children of The Most High God. That will never change. Because of that identity, we don't need to stoop to give in to sin. Sin can be put beneath us so it is not a stumbling block, but we first need to find out who we are and what we can become.

Each of us has certain rights. We know we have rights legally, but do we know our rights spiritually? We have the right to find out truth. We have the right to find out that we are children of God. We have the right to act, to use our agency. We have the right to gain revelation. We have certain rights because of who we are. Now we know that in order to receive we must act. It is our Right and Privilege and Obligation to learn who we really are, and to Learn what the Truth really is.

I love you all. Remember your Names and Titles (and not the negative ones). Act accordingly with Who You Really Are.


Elder Josh Spencer

Christmas Tree in Richlands

Elder Spencer and Elder Blaine
Our last picture together  :*(

Elder Rasmussen, Elder Robbins, Elder Hess, Elder Ramirez, Elder Spencer
and Elder Tan.  All of these missionaries have served or are serving
in The West Side of Charleston.  WEST SIDE, STRONG SIDE!


DATED: December 3, 2014

Well, I am transferring from Richlands to Beckly, WV. I am going to be with Elder K. Carter. I am pretty excited. It's a good sized city. I am, however, pretty sad to be leaving Richlands. There are some really great people here.  I am also really going to miss Elder Blaine.

Well, I’ll tell you about my Thanksgiving. First we had a Thanksgiving lunch on Wednesday, Then we had a lunch on Thursday, and then we had a dinner on Saturday. I have been stuffed most of the week. It was a lot of fun. There was some really good food. I know this is a little worldly, but one reason I do love being a missionary is being able to try so many different ways of making food. It has been fun.

Elder Blaine’s Birthday was also this week. Jeremy, an awesome member down here, had us over to his house for dinner. He made a Lasagna. After, we had a "Cake in the Face" fight. We didn't start it, Jeremy and his family did. Poor Elder Blaine kept on getting hit. I’ll send some pictures. Every time he went and cleaned it off, they got him again. They probably got him 7 or 8 times. I got hit once, and I hit Jeremy once, but other then that, I just ran. haha. It was really good cake too. :D

So, I don’t know how many of you have seen this yet, but if you go to there is a new "He is the Gift" video. It's pretty sweet. They gave us special pass along cards to go with it, and they are doing a YouTube take over on December 7th and also doing some advertising for it in Times Square. It is sweet. The initiative invites everyone to do 3 things. To Discover the Gift, Embrace the Gift and Share the Gift. We received an Email that contained this in it:

"As you seek to help others discover, embrace, and share the gift of Jesus Christ, the foundation for success is your own life. What can you do this month to come more fully unto Jesus Christ? What can you offer Him? How can you become more like Him? As you seek to be more like Him, your capacity to help others to do likewise will be magnified."

I really like those questions. I have been pondering them and making plans to make this Christmas, the most Christ Centered Christmas I have ever had. I want to invite each of you to do the same. Look at this quote and apply it in your life. People are often so grumpy and stressed at Christmas time, yes it really can be stressful, but, why? Why are we buying gifts, making meals, and putting up lights, why are we doing all of this? Because we are trying to, or at least we should be, doing it to remember the First Gift. The Gift of Jesus Christ. We should be trying to be more kind, more gracious, more charitable, and more like Christ. Christmas is not about what you get, but what you give. What have you been given? Christmas time is awesome. I love the gifts, the food, the family, the decorations, the movies, and just so much about it is just awesome. This year though, I am wanting to remember the WHY of it all. IT is all become of Christ. "HE is Christmas."

Share the Gift. Watch the video and share it on facebook or email. Show it to people at work or school. 
“Remember, that which one willingly shares he keeps, while that which he selfishly keeps he loses." – ELDER THOMAS S. MONSON

As you share the gift though your testimony, actions, and whatever else you can come up with, this will become the most Christ Centered Christmas of your life! 

I love you all! 


Elder Spencer

Big Lazagne!

I got Jeremy

Really, really good cake!

Cake 2 Face!