DATED:  January 20, 2015

Not too much has happened since I last emailed you. We were not able to email yesterday because the libraries were closed. So we are doing it today. We had a District Meeting this morning. Then we went to IHOP for lunch. Someone gave us some gift cards there.

Elder Kaydn Ence is my new companion. So now when I answer the phone I can say "This is Spence and Ence." He got here in the morning, so we got his stuff together and took it to the house. We also had another missionary with us that was waiting for his companion. In the morning I met the transfer train to drop of Elder Carter. I was able to see a whole bunch of missionaries, probably for the last time in the mission field, that I have made good friends with. Elder Blaine transferred from Richlands. I was able to get a report on how that area was doing. It was fun. We took the 3rd missionaries around with us until the afternoon when the Transfer Train showed up with his companion. We had a lady give us a ton of cookies, so when the transfer train showed up, I went up to the 12 passenger van and opened the door and asked if anyone wanted some cookies. All the Elders in there were very excited to have something to eat so they devoured them pretty quick.  I was glad. Haha.

I would just like to share something that I was studying this morning. First off in Preach My Gospel it says "Covenants place us under a strong obligation to honor our commitments to God. To keep our covenants, we must give up activities or interests that prevent us from honoring those covenants." (pg. 63) I was studying about commitment. PMG also says "Commitment is an essential part of repentance. It is the act of obligating oneself to a course of action and then diligently following through on that decision. When people are genuinely committed, they have real intent, meaning that they fully intend to do what they have committed to do. They make an unwavering and earnest decision to change." (pg 195) As missionaries we leave commitments with people to help them repent and to help them become converted to the gospel. We invite them to do things like repent, pray, read, come to church, live the Word of Wisdom, and the other commandments. When they keep these commitments, miracles happen and they change. When they don’t keep the commitments, they don’t change. I have found the same is for everyone. As we repent, we need to commit to change. We need to follow through with the decision. There are many things that keep us from accomplishing our commitments. Usually though, it is lack of effort or excuses on our part. If we really want to change, and become, we need to put excuses in the past and really change. There are promised blessing for keeping our covenants and commitments. We should think of them often. God uses the principle of "Following up" every week as we partake of the sacrament. We can think "How did I do honoring my covenants. What do I need to change?" The Gospel is one of repentance. Repentance is a joyful thing because we CAN change. We CAN become more. Set goals and commit to achieve them. That is when progress starts to happen. Hold yourself accountable. You can study pg 146 and pg 150 to learn more about Goals and Accountability.

Think about people in the scriptures who were committed and followed through with what they committed to do. What was their motivation? Think of the Strippling Warriors who were outnumbered and probably out skilled, yet they didn't fear. They made a covenant to defend their country, and they did. Think of Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah. They committed to go preach the gospel to the Lamanites. They were treated pretty badly a lot of the time, but they stuck to their commitment and look at the results. Think of Nephi, Enos, Moroni, and The Brother of Jared. Each of these men were people who committed to something and then did all they could to accomplish it. They were motivated and firm. They are people to emulate. The best example is probably the Savior in Gethsemane. He followed through. So, what motivates you to keep your commitments and covenants?

I love you all. Keep up the great work!


Elder Josh Spencer

Elder Spencer and Elder Blaine

Elder Spencer and Elder Carter

Elder Stout and Elder Spencer


DATED:  January 14, 2015

Transfers are this week. I am staying in Beckley. This is my last transfer. Elder Carter is transferring to Portsmouth Ohio. He is going to be with an Elder Gardener. I am going to be with Elder Ence. He came out with Elder Blaine.

I’ll tell you about a few neat things that happened this week. So on Sunday, I was standing at the door waiting for investigators, and I saw Uncle Bruce, and Aunt LahDonna, and Evan Thomas pull up in the parking lot. It was pretty awesome. They came down to church. They brought us a bunch of food, which I am so very grateful for. I sat with them during church (our investigators didn't show up). Also on Sunday, our bishopric was reorganized. That was also a neat thing to see. The Previous bishop was great. I really enjoyed serving with him. I am excited for the new bishop though as well because he is also a very great man.

On a not so good note, and I am not really sure if I should share this anyway... But I will... Elder Carter and I got very sick this week. We think we picked it up at Church. But Sunday night, we both went to bed feeling a little nauseous. Well all night my stomach was hurting. Ugg, it was terrible. I got up and went and threw up about 5:00 in the morning. Then I slept till 6:30. Then Elder Carter went and threw up. Then I threw up again. All morning we were pretty much playing leap frog, switching places in the bathroom about every hour to puke. Ugg. In the afternoon we stopped throwing up, and we just ached all over and had fevers. Even though we were sick, we were still able to joke around with each other and sympathize with each other.  We each had the same symptoms, around the same time. I got a fever, then he did. I started to have muscle aches, then he did. O man, it was terrible, but by the next day we were feeling pretty much all better. We had a few people bring us Sprite, chicken noodle soup, Ginger Ale, and lots of saltine crackers. We took care of each other and the members took care of us too. I haven’t been that sick my whole mission. Apparently it was a stomach bug that has been going around.

I learned a lot this week. I am excited for what this next transfers bring.

I love you all. Take care of each other!


Elder Josh Spencer

PS Every day when you wake up, Ask yourself "What kind of adventure am I going to have today?"

Elder Carter, Elder Brenchley and Elder Caldwell

It snowed a ton this week. The roads were ice packed, so we decided to walk to the library. We Bundled up. As we were walking, there was 2 older gentlemen in a car trying to get up a hill. We offered to help them. They agreed and pushed the car and got them up the hill. They said we were Heaven sent. I think so too. :D

After walking to the library.  It was snowing the whole time.

It's the new "Eyes Closed Pose."  ;D  At the New River Gorge.


DATED:   January 5, 2015

So I went on a couple of exchanges this week. First off I went up to Oak Hill and spent the day with Elder Chinn, and then on Thursday we went to Charleston for a zone meeting, and I exchanged with the Zone Leaders. I went with a missionary named Elder Degooyer. So, I’ll tell you how I met up with Bro. Thomas.

We got there and I asked Elder Degooyer if he heard about an Evan Thomas moving in. He said yes, he was going to live with Agus. So I told him that he was one of my Young Men's leaders from my home ward. He said "Well we have got to so see him!" So we got a hold of Agus and found out that Evan was going to be arriving that night. Perfect timing right! So we wanted to see him that night. We called Bro. Stratford, a member that was going to have Evan over for dinner that night, and it turned out that Evan wasn't gong to be at Agus's house until past 9:30. So we decided to try to see him before we went down to Beckley to exchange back. So we got his number from Agus, and texted him the next day. I didn’t let him know it was me, hehe. We texted him and asked if we could make a quick visit. He said yes. We went over and I got to see him. It was really neat!

We had a really neat experience while I was up in Charleston. We went to visit a member, and ask him if he could go with us to see another less-active member. He was all for it. The less-active member was the next street over, so we went to see her, but she was leaving as we arrived. Elder Degooyer wanted to try to see another lady that is less-active. She was the next street over. We walked there and found all her lights out. Now, to give a little bit of info about this member, she is completely bed ridden and can’t really do anything by herself. So it was weird that the lights were out because she couldn't turn them out herself. So we walked in and there she was just laying down still, but her power is out, and she had NO heat. This was a very cold day by the way. So we go and find out the breaker just got tripped, so we flipped it and the power came back on. This lady was freezing cold when we showed up. But she is fine now. I am so glad we were able to go by. The Lord was using us. She couldn't call anyone, and she doesn't really have anyone else to check on her except for the missionaries. I am glad we showed up. It's no coincidence that our previous plan didn't work out.

I would like to just share some thoughts that I have had this week.

I have been pondering why people do what they do. And I have asked people about this, and everyone always seems to go to the same thing, they want to be happy. I think I have talked about this before, but I am going to do it again. People are searching for happiness. Some try to find it in money, others in drugs or addictive substances, others try to find it in social status, and there are many other ways people try to find happiness. I really feel though, that true happiness is found from Godly things. Things like Family, Faith, Repentance, Progression, Service, and Love. Those things bring TRUE and LASTING happiness. The Book of Mormon teaches the truth, Alma 41:10 Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness. 

Another thought I have had is "Be your Best Self." Each of us are Children of God, with divine potential. I heard this week a definition of hell.  It is "Hell is when the person you are, comes face to face with the person you could have been." As disciples of Jesus Christ "we are not trying to earn heaven, we are trying to learn heaven" (Brad Wilcox "His Grace is Sufficient"). We are trying to become heavenly beings. So remember what your best self is. If you are tempted to make a wrong choice, remember your potential and make the choice to help you achieve it.

I love you all!


Elder Spencer

A Surprise Text

I received an awesome text and photo the other day from a family friend.

"Look who just found me!  I love this man.  What a spirit."
This is Elder Josh with Bro. Evan Thomas, a member of our ward who just moved to West Virginia.  Bro. Thomas was one of Josh’s Young Men leaders and a good friend.  How cool is that?!
             - Patsy


DATED:   December 29, 2014

It was a good Christmas. Skyping was really fun. We went to Bishop Geisler’s house for dinner and then they let us Skype there. There were many members that gave us a bunch of Christmas presents. We are very grateful for that. Our Christmas was great.

So I don’t know how many of you have heard of the Scout camp called "The Summit." But it is here near Beckley. It is the largest scout camp in the United States. We had a member give us a tour of it this morning. It opened in 2012. HERE is a news article about it. Elder Anderson came during the National Scout Jamboree, and they did a huge sacrament meeting.  It was a pretty cool place. They have a 3100 ft zip line. They had everything from skeet shooting to BMX to Skateboarding, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing and much more. It was a pretty neat place.

Church was pretty great yesterday. As a district we had 5 people come to church. Our whole district shares the same ward. It was pretty exciting. Elder Carter and I have been tracting and walk-n-talking, but haven't see any success from it yet. We are going though our Ward Roster to try to clean it up a bit. There are lots of people that have either moved, or died. So we are going to get that info to the Clerk. That’s the best update I can give as far as the work goes right now.

So, I’ll just share a short thought this week. As our conversion grows, we grow in our desire to deepen our relationship with our Father and with Jesus Christ. We want to know them, we want them to be our best friends. So how then do we come to know God? What can you change in your life so that you can come to know God? Here is a scripture to go along with this.

Mosiah 5:13 For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?

We can come to know God by serving him.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

I love you all. Have a happy new year!


Elder Spencer

P.S. So I forgot to tell you about another part of my week. We had a guy give us two $20 dollar gift cards to a restaurant called Lavash. It is a Mediterranean Restaurant. We took the Beaver Elders with us for lunch. I’ll tell you what we got. A Chicken Shawarma Wrap, A Kefta Kabob Wrap, A Pesto Chicken Sandwhich, and Honey Garlic Chicken Wings. IT was SOOO GOOD. And for Dessert we had Kanafah. We had a member call us afterwards and tell us she wanted to take us out to eat. She asked where we wanted to go. We told her Lavash. So we went there again for dinner. That time I got Salmon, and we also got Greek Lasagna. It was again really good. I’ll send Pictures. :D

Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Breakfast


Opening Presents

Elder Spencer and Elder Sister

Playing Missionary Impossible

Brass Plates?

The Summit Scout Camp

Zip Line
Zip Line

Skate Park

Climbing Walls

Ropes Course

A Big Bridge

The Treehouse

Bike Trail

This is Shawarma