Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Spencer's Christmas 2011 email!

So I know you are all wondering what my Christmas was like! It was
actually very fun! On Christmas Eve, we got to sleep in till 8am,
which doesnt sound like much, but it was actually very nice! A great
break from getting up at 630 every day and working all day! After
that, we got to have pancakes and cinnamon rolls for breakfast! That
was really nice! Then, we had free time all day. I wrote some letters
and stuff. Did you guys ever get the package full of pictures I sent?
I Hope so. After that, we went and played basketball. About an hour
into the game, President Clark and his wife came down to say hi. Pres.
Clark was watching us play basketball and he came over to my friend
and I and said, `Im going to go put my shorts on and show you boys how
this game is played!` Sure enough, he came back and played basketball
with us! It was really cool. He is a very nice person. He and his wife
are ending their mission in the middle of January and then we will be
getting a new MTC President. Christmas Eve night we had a devotional.
No apostles came this christmas, which was unfortunate. It was all
because of the visa situation! That stinks! But Christmas was still
good. The brazilians really celebrate Christmas eve more than the
actual day. There was TONS of fireworks that night. Like, we couldnt
go to sleep till like 2am. On Christmas morning, we woke up and opened
presents. My present was just great mom! So much good candy! I was
very happy to have that! Then we went to church and then we just had
free time all day. Christmas night we got to watch the First
Presidency christmas devotional. Pres. Monson said `When we keep the
spirit of christmas with us, we keep the spirit of christ. That is so
true and I especially felt that this christmas. It was hard to be away
from home. But this Christmas was the first one I had that wasnt all
about presents, Santa Claus, and other traditions. This christmas was
all about the Savior. And it was really good.

The best gift I got this christmas? I
gained the strongest testimony of the book of mormon. I had a goal to
finish it by the end of December and I actually did it! I know that it
is a True book. Without it, we would not be members of this church.
The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. If the book of
mormon is ture, and it is, then Joseph Smith was a prophet of god, and
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church on
earth today. I know this is true because I have learned for myself. It
is my hope and my prayer that anyone who is reading this who does not
have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon do that which is
necessary to gain one. Read it faithfully. Pray to god to know if it
is true. And I can promise you as a representative of the Lord Jesus
Christ that you will get an answer. I promise you. And I testify that
these things are true. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus
Christ, Amen.

Hope your Christmas was good! I feel your thoughts and prayers every
day. Thank you all so much for everything! Hope you have a good week!
Love, Elder Spencer Eastwood.

Friday, December 23, 2011

December 20th 2011

Bom dia everybody!!! Tudo bem!? I hope everything is going well for
you all up there in America. Things are very well here in Brazil. The
weather is hot, the food is still beans and rice, and the language is
still coming along. We have now officially learned all the tenses.
Past, present, and future! So now, I can tell stories and talk a lot
better than I used to be able to.

Im really getting used to the weather here. Its
going to be so weird having Christmas in 95 degree weather with 100%
humidity! The first day of summer here is tomorrow, so Im
reaaaaaaaaaaaaally looking forward to that, haha :)

The MTC is great. Ive made
lots of good friends. Our district leader, Elder Goodrich, is
hilarious. He and I have become very close. He likes to do a George W
Bush impression and I do a Bill Clinton and Barack Obama impression
and we just ´debate´ with each other all the time.

Sometimes, I get discouraged
though. The language is HARD. Its very hard. There are so many
different sounds and pronounciations and words and stuff like that. In
Portuguese, asking a question is the same as saying a statement. There
are no words for ´Will you´ or `do you` or ´are you`. So thats pretty
fun. Some days are better than others. But the greatest thing is
looking outside. The city of São Paulo is so beautiful. You know how
awesome it is to see a huge park in New York City (Central Park)? Well
here, its one HUGE city and tons of little parks and trees and
forests. Its like they built the city around the jungle. Its really
morning we drove to the temple and it was interesting to see more of
the city. On the left side of the freeway was the `wealthy`part of the
city. All the big buildings, businesses, nice apartments, shopping,
and etertainment and stuff like that. On the right side of the
freeway, however, was the favelas. It was sad to see. They are so
crowded and the `houses` are made out of trash, wood, cardboard, and
metal scraps from off the side of the road. Its interesting to see
that contrast.
temple was really good this morning. Probably the best experience Ive
had at the temple. I went in with a heavy heart. This past week has
been a real struggle for me. Ive been very homesick, very discouraged,
and very stressed. I went into the temple with a prayer in my heart
asking Heavenly Father to help me. I came out with the knowledge that
Heavenly Father is aware of my struggles. He knows what Im going
through. He is here for me.

I know that Im here in Brazil for a reason.
It becomes clearer and clearer everyday. The Spirit is so strong with
me. I have a real testimony of the Church. I know that it is true. Im
beginning to love the Brazilian people already. I cant wait to get out
and share the Gospel with them and help change their lives. I know
that Brazil is where Im supposed to be right now, because this is
where the Lord needs me to be.

I hope everyone has a good Christmas!
Hopefully you get some awesome stuff from Santa Claus. Christmas
should be good here at the MTC. The President of the First Quorum of
the Seventy is coming to speak to us on Friday. And it is rumored that
a member of the Twelve Apostles is coming on Sunday night to speak
with us. Exciting! I love you all so much. Thanks for your prayers and
your thoughts. I feel them everyday. Talk to you next week :)

Love, Elder Spencer

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 13th, 2011. First email from the Brazil MTC

Hi Everyone! Greetings from Brazil! Sao Paulo is really cool! Its like
a cross between New York City and Newport Beach. There are buildings
everywhere. You would not believe how many people are here. It is
packed. So many people. But the city is really green too. Like, you´ll
see lots of buildings and stuff, but then there are tons of trees too.
I found a picture printing place up the street here and am gonna try
to get some printed later today. Then I´ll mail them to you guys so
you can all see all this cool stuff here in Brazil!
The food is pretty
good, literally beans and rice every day! And its always the same
kinds of beans and rice. So that gets boring. And for lunch and dinner
we get a different kind of meat, that is always pretty good. They dont
season their meet with anything but salt. But the best part is just
all the awesome fresh fruit we have!!!! Seriously!!! Watermelon and
pineapple and mangoes and passion fruit and guava every day!!! Its so
amazing. I LOVE IT. Although, the watermelon we are recommended to not
eat....because they pump it full of their own water to make them
bigger...and the water here is NOT purified. So if you eat the
watermelon, you get diarrhea till Easter ;) The pineapple is amazing
here, though. Its the best thing Ive ever had!

The Portuguese is coming along well. Its
only my third week learning it, so its still pretty difficult. But it
is fun to learn it! There are some similarities to English, but for
the most part, everything I know about the English language gets
thrown out the window. Portuguese is cool. Tomorrow, we are having a
English Fast. We will not be using any English all day. Its going to
be one of our quieter days, hahaha :) To be honest, I feel like I
learned more at the Provo MTC. The teachers there always showed up on
time. here, they often don´t come, and we end up studying and teaching

weather was SO HOT the day that we landed. It was hot and humid. The
first few days I was sweating like a pig and I had to take two showers
and change my clothes a lot. But now, Im used to the weather. Its
really, really, REALLY nice. There´s always a cool breeze blowing
through. Its so nice and sunny. Except when it rains. Let me tell you,
you´ve never seen rain until you´ve seen it in Brazil. It just comes
down and down. Once it starts, it doesnt stop till like 10 at night.
Its crazy. And it´ll go from a awesomely bright day, to just straight
pouring rain in seconds!

Well, we went to the Sao Paulo Temple today and it
is the coolest temple! Everything is in portuguese, which was kinda
hard, but overall, I felt the Spirit in this temple moreso than in any
other temple Ive ever visited! Going to the temple as a missionary is
such a blessing. I can literally feel the Lord in there with me,
comforting me, lifting me up, and letting me know that He is proud of
me. It is such a good feeling.

Well, I hope everything is going okay
back home! I miss you all like crazy! Dad, I am trying to find out
where the Harley store is in São Paulo, but I don´t know if it is
close enough for me to visit. I may just have to get you guys shirts
and the jacket pins when I get to Goiânia! Oh, after the temple we
went to a WalMart here. It was crazy! Everything is in Reals, and they
dont have tax here so if it says its 10 Reals, its exactly 10! Pretty
cool. I got some American candy that I have been craving ;)

I love you
all so much! I miss you a ton too. I think about you every day and
always keep you in my prayers! Have a great week! Write me a lot! I
love you! :)

Love, Elder Spencer David Eastwood

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Brazil MTC

Elder Eastwood landed in Brazil this morning. Here is a picture of him with his district at the MTC in Brazil.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Elder Eastwood's First Email!

Hey everybody! it's your favorite son/brother, Spencer!
Everything is going very good here! I have everything packed and ready to go for tomorrow. Going to be a long day of flying! Four hour lay-over in Atlanta, Georgia will not be fun, especially followed by a 9 and a half hour flight to Brazil. And today I found out that the brazil MTC does not have AIR CONDITIONING!!!! WHAT IS THIS! WHO SIGNED ME UP FOR THIS!?!?! Oh right. I did ;)
Ummm lets see. On wednesday after you guys dropped me off, I went through the office and got my missionary tags. It's so cool to wear them! All your life you see the missionaries and you're like, "I can't wait to just wear that name tag!" It's such a nice feeling to have my name, "Elder Eastwood" on the same badge that has the Savior's name. Well, after that on Wed. we went to our first language class, which was really difficult. The teachers here are only allowed to speak in Portuguese. But we learned how to say basic greetings and that we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Thursday was our first full day at the MTC and let me just say it was THE LONGEST DAY OF MY LIFE. We wake up at like 6:20 and then we literally are working or studying or walking all day, for like 16 hours, until we finally get to bed around 10:30. It went by so slow. My companion and I were falling asleep in class, which was not good because the next day (friday, our third day here) we had to teach an investigator in PORTUGUESE! We barely know any of the language and they made us teach an investigator! OH MY GOSH I WAS SO SCARED! But, more on that later! I'll tell you about my companion now! His name is Elder Moses, he is from the Tri-City area in Washington State. He is pretty cool. He reminds me a lot of Taylor Almond, so that could be either good or bad. Hahaha just kidding! We are getting along really well. I will try to send pictures in another email later today!
On friday, we spent the day studying the language and making a lesson plan because at 1:00 we had to teach an investigator named Henrique together. When we first went into the room to teach him we were really nervous. All we really knew how to do was say a couple prayers, read the short phrases of the lesson plan we had written and then bear a simple testimony. before we went in, we said a prayer that henrique would understand us and that the Lord would bless us with the gift of tongues. Let me just say, the gift of tongues is real! Elder Moses and I struggled through the lesson and towards the end, we were really stressed out, the Spirit prompted me to bear my testimony. I had no idea what I was going to say, but I opened my mouth, started the first part of the testimony (Eu sou que...) and it all just came out. The Spirit was so strong. my companion later told me that I bore my testimony in almost perfect Portuguese and that I sounded just like our teacher, who has been speaking the language all her life. Henrique was visibly touched as the Spirit confirmed to him of the truthfulness of my testimony. he invited us back to teach him the next day! SO COOL!
Saturday we went back to teach Henrique and we taught him about Joseph Smith and the book of Mormon! He accepted our challenge to read it and to pray, asking God if Joseph Smith really was a prophet of God! So that is good. I actually won't get to teach him again because I'm leaving on Tuesday, but hopefully I will have the chance to teach some investigators in Brazil! The language is coming along pretty well actually, especially for only being here for five days! I can now say a whole prayer, bear an entire testimony, and have some pretty decent conversations too!
Sunday was Fast sunday, and it was really cool! It was actually kinda good to have a break from the food. Not that the food's bad. It's actually pretty okay. it just makes you really....umm....i don't know how to say it appropriately as a missionary. let's just say you a lot of noises that people normally laugh at. On Sunday we also had Mission Conference where the whole MTC Presidency speaks. The MTC President is really nice and he is really hilarious. He is very loving. he bore a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and then challenged us all to read from it at least 30 minutes a day! i would like to challenge everyone who reads this to read the Book of Mormon at least 30 minutes a day as well! It is an incredible book. I've realized that even more here in the MTC. It's so good. It can answer any questions you have and can comfort you in your time of need.
this morning we went to the Provo Temple, which doesn't look that great on the outside, at least I think so. It looks like a beautiful box haha. Cause all temples are beautiful! But the inside is really cool and they have this HUGE chandelier that looks like its so heavy it will fall down!
Anyway, I'm doing very good here. yes, I miss you guys a lot. I miss everyone in my family and all my friends. But whenever i get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story. just kidding! Actually, whenever I get sad, I pray to Heavenly father for comfort and I instantly feel the holy ghost there with me. I've never felt it like that before. If you ever need comfort, the Holy Ghost will be there for you, if you ask for it. The Spirit is the most comforting thing in the world! i know that this Church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a real prophet of God, and I especially know now that the book of Mormon is a true book. It is the word of God. I love it very much. I can't wait to get to Brazil! Everyone write me!!!!
i love you Mom! thanks for the pictures! that one of you and me looking at each other and smiling before I walked away on Wednesday was really awesome! It's my favorite picture ever!!!!
I love all you guys very much. Miss you all too! I will have a different P-Day next week, but look forward to my email and I look forward to hearing from you guys and all my friends!
Also, I will try to send some pictures later today...if I have time left....
Anyway, love you guys....
love, Elder Spencer Eastwood!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Flying out to Brazil

Elder Eastwood called letting us know he is enjoying the MTC. His roommate is from Washington, which is as close to Canada as he can handle! He also informed us that his visa came, and he will be flying out to Brazil on Tuesday, December 6th, at 9:47 AM.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Good Luck Elder!

Today Elder Eastwood was dropped off at the MTC! We will all miss him so much, but we know he made the right choice to serve the Lord! We are so proud of him! His sister, Paige, will be running his blog, posting emails and pictures from Spencer so visit often!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Spencer's Farewell Talk

Good afternoon, brothers and sisters! I’m excited to be standing before you on this beautiful day. I’d like to start off by saying, “Thank you.” I’ve never received as much support and kindness as I have in the past six months since I received my mission call. Everyone has always been so excited and interested in me serving my mission and for that I thank you all. I remember when I got together with some of my friends and read them my mission call. They all made the same last minute guesses that I’d be serving in Canada, a country that I have always wanted to visit. They were just as surprised and excited, as I was to read that I had been called to serve in Brazil!
Brazil never crossed my mind once when we were all guessing where I would be called, in fact, the only person in my family that guessed Brazil was my grandpa, who I am named after and who also served in Brazil, so that’s the family fun-fact of the day. But “It’s alright, the Lord moves in mysterious ways” and there’s no doubt in my mind that Brazil is where I am supposed to be for the next two years.

As I said earlier, I’ve been asked to speak on unity, which is a topic we hear often in the Church. It’s an attribute that we continually are told to bring into our lives. Unity means, “to be joined as a whole”; to be “one”. Throughout Jesus’ life, He taught many different concepts that can be tied into “unity”. One of these is a very basic concept that we have all heard many times: “love one another.”

How is it possible for us to be unified with one another if we can’t first love one another? Our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ want our hearts to be “knit together”. That union in love is not just a simple idea. It is necessary if we intend to return to our Heavenly Father again.

In Doctrine and Covenants 38:27, Christ says, “…Be one, and if ye are not one, ye are not mine.” To be part of Christ’s Church, we must all come together as one. If we strive to be more Christ-like, as we are told to do time and time again by our prophet, then we should be striving to be kind and loving to every single person we meet. Christ never picks favorites; Christ never has conditions for His love. Christ loves everyone unconditionally. He is the ultimate example of “love one another”.

Possibly the biggest example of unity is the Godhead. Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Three separate personages, yet they are all united under one single purpose: “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”. As members of the Church, we are all united under one single purpose as well. That purpose is to spread the Gospel across the world. And, when one thinks of “spreading the Gospel”, the missionaries of the Church are called to mind. They are the ones who are out in the world, spreading the Gospel, and bringing joy to so many people, every day for the two years that they serve.

Missionaries must be united with their companions; they must be united with their mission president and other mission leaders. But most of all, missionaries must be completely united with Jesus Christ. Christ can lead them to those investigators who need to hear the message the most. Christ can lead them to those who may already believe in Him, but just need that extra “push” and that extra confirmation of truth from the Holy Ghost.

With the Spirit, Missionaries are unified not only with the companion whom they are teaching with, but also with those they are teaching. President Henry B. Eyring once said, “The Spirit puts the testimony of truth in our hearts, which unifies those who share that testimony.” The Spirit leads to personal peace and to a feeling of union with others. The Spirit unifies souls. And unified souls lead to unified families, a unified Church, and a world that is at peace.

Our purpose as Latter-Day Saints is not only to spread the Gospel, we are to teach and uplift each other. Those of you that know me well know that my favorite band is U2. One of my favorite songs by them has a line in it that I think represents this purpose very well. It says, “We’re One, but we’re not the same. We get to carry each other, carry each other. One.”

I think that this applies to us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Together, in the Church, we are one. But we are not all the same. We all have different backgrounds, different families, and different lifestyles. We all have different things that we pray about and different people we pray for. We all have different blessings that are manifest in our lives.

But, as I said previously, we have one thing in common. We are all unified by our faith in Jesus Christ. We are all united under one cause. And because we are all here today, we are currently fulfilling our duty to God. This duty is found in Doctrine and Covenants 23:7, “Behold it is your duty to unite with the true church.” Because we have each other, to lean on and to depend on, it is that much easier to be united in the true Church of Jesus Christ.

Our trials are easier to get through when we have those we are unified with lifting us up and carrying us through the darkness and into the light. I know this is true because I have seen it happen right here in our ward. Though there have been many trials, many sicknesses, and we have lost a few of our dear brothers and sisters, we have always had the constant love and unity from other ward members to rely on. Seeing so many kind acts of service take place has strengthened my testimony incredibly.

When I received the topic of unity I was thinking of how I have seen unity in my life and several examples came to mind. One of the standout examples was watching Sister Biesinger visit the Forsey family multiple times a week during their family’s trial. Seeing the love, compassion, and friendship that Sister Biesinger showed to the Forsey family proved to me that unity exists, especially in the Highland 27th ward.

Another example is when my mom had surgery a couple months ago. The next few nights after she returned home, Sister Thunell, Sister Thompson, and Sister Lewis each brought our family dinners and were there willing to help my mom and my family with anything we needed. These simple acts show the unification of our ward. Even though they are simple acts and we may take them for granted, they all bear the same message, “We are here for you. We are going to help you through this. We’ll do it together.”

Having support from family, friends, and neighbors is a vital way to continuously feel joy in our lives. When we are unified together under a good cause, The Spirit is with us. Doctrine and Covenants 42:45 contains a phrase that reads, “Thou shalt live together in love.”

When we work harder to be kinder to our families and those we associate with, the Spirit will be in our homes. And when the Holy Ghost is with us, it will be so much easier to “live together in love.” Living together in love here on Earth is a great way to prepare us to have eternal life in Heaven with our Father. Because there, not only will we be with our families and those we love most, we will be in the presence of Our Heavenly Father: who loves us more than we can imagine.

Unity is important because who would want to travel through this life alone? We all know what it is like to experience loneliness. Likewise, we all know how it feels to be surrounded by friends and loved ones to help us on our way. Which one would you want to choose? I for one, as I’m sure everyone here, would rather have friends and family and, most importantly, the Savior with us. These people should be a constant blessing in our lives.

Friends can be the ones we turn to when we are having a bad day, when we are bored, or even when we are in need of a spiritual conversation. I recall one experience when I had gone on a camping trip with some of my friends. Around two in the morning, after a few of the other guys had gone to bed, a couple of my good friends and I stood around the campfire and had a wonderful and uplifting conversation about the Church. We discussed the scriptures, we discussed listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and we discussed the sacrifice that the Savior made for each and everyone of us. I will always remember being up in the forest, sitting under the stars. And I will always remember the amazing presence of the Spirit that I felt there that night. Some of the greatest spiritual discussions can come from friends. There is an amazing spiritual power when friends come together and bear their testimonies to each other about what they know to be true and right.

Families are the ones that will always be there, in this life, and in the next. We were born to each of our parents for a reason. We were given our respective brothers and sisters for a reason. One reason is so that we could always have a constant ring of support surrounding us. In a unified home, there is a warm Spirit of love. I know this to be true because I feel this spirit in my home every single day. And each member of my family plays a part in bringing this spirit into our house. Probably the most important part is the one played by my loving mother. My mom is the kindest person I know. She has taught me how to love everyone, to look past their faults and their missteps and to love them for who they truly are. My mom is the reason our home is such a happy home, filled with love. One of the things I love most about my mom is how she is always so happy to see me. Even when I came home a lot later than I was supposed to be, she wouldn’t get mad, she would just smile and tell me that she was glad I was home. That has always meant a lot to me.

My dad has always set an example of unity in our home, by not only being such a responsible and loving father, but by being a worthy priesthood holder. He has always put his children’s needs above his own and he is always ready to give a priesthood blessing when it is needed. My family is very blessed to have him in our home.

My sister invites the Spirit into our home by just being one of the happiest girls I know. She is always happy and excited and doesn’t find many things to complain about. In fact, I have never once heard her say something bad about someone else, which I think is amazing. She is also a really good sport, especially when I try to embarrass her in front of all her friends. My brother invites the Spirit by always using his upbeat and carefree personality to make us all laugh. Plus, he has just the right amount of “annoying little brother” in him. I’m very proud to say that my family is completely unified through Jesus Christ.

And that brings us to The Savior, who is the most stable person on which we can rely. He is always there and He is so close to us. I think a lot of the time we take for granted how close the Savior truly is to each and everyone of us. If we are struggling with preparing for a test at school, or a presentation at work, or preparing a farewell talk, or preparing for a mission – the Savior is there to help us and to guide us. I remember when I was preparing for my talk today, I confided in one of my best friends that I was worried I wouldn’t know what to talk about. Madi told me to just pray that the Spirit would be with me and if I did that, I would know what to say because the Lord would be there helping me. I am glad to say that that night I got on my knees and prayed to my Heavenly Father for help and for guidance, and the next day I was able to finish this talk.

I know that the Savior can be with us each and every day of our lives. As it says in Doctrine and Covenants 4:7, “Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you”. The Savior is always with us; He is just waiting for us to ask for His divine help.

There are several ways we can receive our loving Savior’s help. One I have already mentioned is prayer. Another is diligent scripture study. The scriptures are wonderful tools that have been given to us for our day. There is not a problem that we will face in our lives that cannot be answered by principles taught in the scriptures. When we read the scriptures, the Holy Ghost can impress thoughts upon us that can not only help unite us with each other, but can help us do things that we need to, even though they may be scary or challenging. I will share an example of both of these with you.

For the past two months, I have been sending out a text every night to the priest quorum in our ward. This text has contained a daily scripture and a spiritual thought. My hope when I started this daily text was for the priests’ to become more unified by reading a daily scripture and that they would hopefully discuss these scriptures with each other. I was filled with the Spirit when the bishop told me one day that on a Wednesday night, each of the priests had shared how grateful they were for receiving these daily scriptures. I remember one time sending out a scripture about the importance of bearing our testimonies and how doing so can help others’ testimonies grow. One priest replied to me saying, “I was debating on whether or not to bear my testimony in seminary tomorrow and this scripture helped me decide that I should. Thank you.”

The scriptures can unite us, not only with each other, but also with our Heavenly Father. Every time we faithfully read the scriptures, temptation is pushed out of our minds. Every time we read the scriptures, we are brought closer to God. The scriptures, in my life, have been the single greatest testimony builder, especially when I have combined them with faithful prayer.


I would like to close with my testimony. I know that the scriptures are the true word of God. I know this because I have read them and learned for myself. I send out a challenge today that anyone who has not read the Book of Mormon all the way through to please do so! It is such a wonderful book. It is such a true book. I testify that the Book of Mormon was written for our day.

I testify that this Church is true. I can’t wait to get out on my mission and try to throw my arms around the people of Brazil as I teach them the things I know to be true. I hope that the Spirit will be with me every day, to help unite my investigators together in the Gospel. I know that families are a great way for us to become more united with our Heavenly Father. I want my family to know that I love them all very much and I’m grateful for the things I have learned from them.

I testify that God truly listens and answers our prayers. And I want my friends that are here to know that I know Heavenly Father is always listening to them. You do not have a problem in this life that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ cannot help you get through. Pray always that you may understand God’s will for you. I testify that these things I have said are true. I testify that God loves each and every one of you, as do I.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Blessings of Missionary Service

I found this great article today while reading a missionary preparation website:


"I was recently reading a talk Elder Carlos E. Asay, former member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Presidency of the Seventy, gave a talk on the blessings of sharing the gospel. This is what he said:

“Perhaps your desire or will to serve would increase if you understood more fully the blessings associated with missionary service. God often reveals commandments and blessings together. For example, he gave the Word of Wisdom listing the commandments, and, at the same time, he recited a number of blessings that those who obeyed the commandments would receive. I would like to discuss with you some of the blessings associated with full-time missionary service. I can’t list everything, for there are so many blessings that I cannot number them, but I will share those that appear to be most common.”

He then listed these 17 blessings of missionary service:

  1. Eternal Life: “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (Matt. 19:29)
  2. Leadership Training: “Returned missionaries provide valuable leadership in the Church, especially in the developing countries of the world.”
  3. Building the Kingdom; Preparing a People for Christ’s Second Coming: “Wherefore, may the kingdom of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come.” (D&C 65:2, 6.)
  4. Memorable Experiences: “President Kimball has referred to missionary service as high adventure. He did so because the work is stirring and exciting.”
  5. Establishing Abiding Friendships: “The friendships we establish in the mission field with companions and converts become eternal.”
  6. Developing Love and Understanding of People: “Missionaries gain a love and understanding of others through their service.”
  7. Rendering Service: “He doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you.” (Mosiah 2: 23–24.)
  8. Being a Peacemaker: Elder N. Eldon Tanner said: “If every member of this Church would accept the call of our prophet today …and become missionaries in very deed, we could contribute more to the cause of peace than all the power that might be gathered together by all the governments.” (Conference Report, Oct. 1962, p. 69)
  9. Developing and Polishing Character: Stephen L Richards, formerly of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, talked about the influence of missions upon the Latter-day Saints. “The fundamental character of our manhood and womanhood has been improved,” he said.
  10. Forgiveness of Sins: Elder George F. Richards, also a former member of the Quorum of the Twelve, said: “In the name of the Lord I want to promise you that in the acceptance of the mission call and the dedication of yourself to the work, the Lord will forgive you of past transgressions.”
  11. Growth of Testimony: “Missionaries teach and testify… Each time they do, they invite the Spirit, and the truths they proclaim become more and more deeply ingrained in their own souls.”
  12. Companionship of the Holy Spirit: “Of all the companionships established in the mission field, the most cherished is the companionship of the Holy Spirit.”
  13. Closeness to the Lord: “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served?” (Mosiah 5:13.) “No one will ever fully understand the Savior’s work until he has invested in the business of saving souls, for that was the Savior’s role.”
  14. Growth in Faith: Mission “experiences plant seeds of faith in their hearts.”
  15. Growth in Knowledge of the Gospel: “Missions are schools of gospel learning, even schools for the prophets.”
  16. Peace of Conscience: Elder George Albert Smith taught that missionary work brings “peace and happiness beyond all understanding.” (Conference Report, Apr. 1922, p. 53.)
  17. Joy: President Heber J. Grant testified: “[I] had more joy while in the mission field than ever before or since.”(Improvement Era, Oct. 1936, p. 659.)

“I have given you seventeen blessings that result from missionary service. There are more—the list is almost endless. Please understand that these blessings and more can be yours, if you become converted to the service and make yourselves available to respond” (Carlos E. Asay , “The Blessings of Sharing the Gospel,” Prospective Missionary Conference in Provo, Utah, September 1984).

President Spencer W. Kimball once said that “missionary work, like the tithing, will pour out blessings, as Malachi said, so many blessings that there’ll hardly be room enough to receive them (See Mal. 3:10.)” (Area Conference Report, Korea, Aug. 1975, p. 61).

I know that missionary service requires sacrifice, but I also know that “sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven” (“Praise to the Man,” Hymns, no. 27). I add my testimony to Elder Asay’s and President Kimball’s that as you faithfully serve a full time mission, the blessings of the Lord will be poured out upon you. You and your family will receive blessings of both temporal and spiritual nature which will grant you joy in this life and in the eternities."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Favorite Quotes from General Conference, Oct. 2011

What an amazing thing Conference Weekend is. The Spirit that I felt while watching, listening, and reading the words of our prophet and the general authorities was so strong. I wish that I could feel the Spirit that strongly each and every day of my life. What a wonderful blessing it is for us to have a living prophet on the Earth today. One of the most profound and humbling things that I heard in all of conference was when President Monson said, “I am always humbled when my Heavenly Father communicates me.” He is a true prophet of God and President Monson understands God’s will for this Church and the people that follow Him. I ask that we all keep our beloved prophet in our daily prayers. Prayer does work, and we all need the blessings that come from it.

Love, Elder Spencer David Eastwood

Favorite Quotes From General Conference, Oct. 2011

You will not make a major mistake without first being warned by the promptings of the Spirit.” – President Packer

“The voice of the Holy Ghost comes as a feeling, rather than a sound.” – President Packer

“Great power comes from memorizing scriptures. It is like finding a new friend – providing motivation and inspiration when needed and can be a key to unlocking the miracles of heaven.” – Elder Scott

“Be diligent in keeping the commandments of God . . . always return thanks to Him in your prayers.” – Elder Scott

“Be as quick to kneel [in prayer] as you are to text.” Ian S Ardern of the Seventy

“The cost of repentance is swallowed up in the joy of forgiveness.” – Elder Christofferson

“True repentance is not superficial. It has two simple requirements: Confess your sins and then forsake them.” – Elder Christofferson

“Your fingers have been made to text and tweet not just to communicate with friends, but to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord.” – Elder Bednar

“Compared to God, we are nothing. But to God, we are everything.” – President Uchtdorf

“At times, we may feel invisible, alone, or forgotten. But we must always remember that we matter to our Father In Heaven.” – President Uchtdorf

“Be righteous examples to others . . . the most important thing we can do is share who we are.” – Elder Perry

“In the age of the Internet, ‘every member a missionary’ is a much simpler task.” – Elder Perry

“This is a time of increasing opportunities to share our beliefs.” – Elder Perry

“If we will just listen, the Spirit will bless us to know what to say that will highlight a truth of the Gospel.” – Elder Perry (can you tell that I loved his talk yet?)

“If you are associating with people who pull you down, use your agency and heed the promptings of the Holy Ghost to be directed in what you should do.” – President Packer

“If any of you have stumbled in the journey, there is a way back. There IS a way back. The process is called repentance. Christ gave his life to give us that gift.” – President Monson

“God knows where you need to go on your mission. He knows your mission president, He knows each of your companions and what you will learn from them, He knows what families you will interact with, and He knows what challenges you need to endure in order to grow.” – Elder Waddell of the Seventy

“Three things every young man should do when preparing for a mission: 1 - Arrive on your mission with your own testimony. 2 – Arrive on your mission worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. 3 – Arrive on your mission ready to work.” – Elder Waddell of the Seventy

“Brethren, we speak boldly to you because, frankly, subtlety just doesn’t work.” – Elder Holland

“The Lord has drawn lines . . . you can’t travel down a forbidden path and then challenge others to follow the straight and narrow.” – Elder Holland

“When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation has passed.” – President Monson

“Too often we pray for patience, but we want it right now.” – Elder Hales

“Sometimes I do not receive an answer to my prayers because the Lord knows I am not yet ready for that answer.” – Elder Hales

“Don’t let any influence come into your home that would affect your commitments to the Lord or your family.” – Sister Dalton

“The Book of Mormon acts as a confirming, clarifying, unifying witness of the doctrines taught in the Bible.” – Elder Callister

“Don’t let the Book of Mormon be hidden from your view because of other things in your life.” – President Eyring

“I am always humbled when my Heavenly Father communicates with me. . . I’ve learned to recognize it, to trust it, and to follow it.” – President Monson, Sunday morning session.

“Let us stand in holy places and be not moved. We can do this as we invite the Spirit into our lives by living the Gospel.” – President Monson

“In this world, where nearly everything is changing, His constancy is something on which we can rely.” – President Monson

“When one accepts a covenant and fulfills their part, they immediately receive the blessings.” – Elder Nelson

“Jesus Christ is the life and the light of the world . . . He is the life because He is creator of all things. He is the way and the light because His teachings show us the way back to Father . . . He is our creator, and through His resurrection, we will all live again.” – Elder Oaks

“Even though I left my mission, my mission didn’t leave me . . . my mission was the best two years for my life.” – Elder Richardson, Second Counselor Sunday School Presidency

“The Holy Ghost is the real teacher and witness of truth.” – Elder Richardson

“The Spirit does not teach all at once. It teaches line upon line, here a little, there a little. It teaches us those things we need to know the most at that time.” – Elder Richardson

“The Holy Ghost teaches what we must know and does so that we may become what we must be.” – Elder Richardson

“Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that what is important to us is important to Him.” – Elder J. Devn Cornish of the Seventy

“The object of prayer is not to change the mind of God, but to secure the blessings He already wants to give us.” – Elder Cornish of the Seventy

“I testify to you that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us. I acknowledge His hand in all things.” – President Thomas S. Monson

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Two Months!

Goiania, Brazil

I fly to the Brazil MTC in less than two months! November 22 is so close now! It seems like forever since I opened my call letter to find out I would be going to Brazil.

Where I will be serving!

The past four months have gone by so slowly. When I read my call and it said that I'd be there on November 23rd, I remember thinking that that was sooooooo far away. Now it's almost here! And I'm getting nervous. And excited! It's going to be a great two years for me. I can't wait to see what my life will be like for the next two years. I am excited to see myself grow spiritually and to see my personality change.

The capital city of Goiania

I'm excited to meet my mission president and to meet all my different companions. I'm excited to see a new part of the world that I've never even thought about visiting before! Whenever I was asked where I wanted to go on my mission, I was thinking I'd like to go somewhere in Europe or Australia or New Zealand. South America never even crossed my mind. And now I'm going to Brazil! I think that just proves that God sends His missionaries where they need to be, not where they want to be. But I'm sure that once I get to Brazil and start teaching the Gospel I will want to be there more than anywhere else in the world. I'm very excited to start this new chapter in my life!


Elder Spencer David Eastwood

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Favorite Scripture

“Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – (3 Nephi 12:16)

The very first time that I read the Book of Mormon all the way through, many scriptures stood out to me, as they would to anyone who reads the Book of Mormon. But I always remembered the sixteenth verse of the twelfth chapter of the third book of Nephi. Even after finishing the rest of the book and the several hundred other verses, 3 Nephi 12:16 was embedded into the front of my mind.

The Spirit spoke to me so strongly when I first read this scripture and I remember writing down in my journal what I felt about it when I first read it:

“Today I read 3rd Nephi, which has so many amazing stories that it is hard to pick just one to talk about. But the Spirit impressed a certain verse on me so strongly, that I can’t think of anything else to write down. The verse is 3 Nephi 12: 16. I love this scripture so much…I think it may very well be my favorite scripture.”

The verse is a simple one, but I think it has such a strong message. Every person in this world has so many special gifts and talents that our Heavenly Father has given them. If we use these talents to complete good works, we will truly glorify our Father in Heaven. Heavenly Father is so proud of His children, especially when we choose the right.

Imagine how happy He is when we resist temptation and do the right thing. Imagine how happy we will be when we choose the right, when we help those in need, and when we spread this wonderful Gospel to those who need it. Imagine Heavenly Father appearing to us in front of a multitude of people and announcing as He did in 3 Nephi 11:7, saying, “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.”

How amazing would that be, to have our Father in Heaven tell us directly that He is pleased with us, and that we have glorified His name? The Lord probably will not directly appear to us, but we have something just as wonderful here with us: The Holy Ghost. The Spirit will confirm and testify to us that the Lord is well pleased with us.

It really is not hard to let your light shine or to show people your good works. Too often I think we are embarrassed or even scared to do these simple things, and I don’t know why we are. Why wouldn’t we want to have that great knowledge that our Heavenly Father is pleased with us and that we have glorified his name?

To those who are embarrassed or nervous, I promise you that nothing bad will come from letting your light shine! The Lord wants us all to be happy and He will never, ever lead us astray. He is always pleased with us when we follow His commandments and do what is right.

So let your light shine before all people, that they may see your good works! Bear your testimony at the next fast and testimony meeting in your ward! Share your favorite scripture with your friends! Some of the greatest spiritual experiences I have ever had were when I was having spiritual discussions with my best friends. There is an amazing spiritual power when a group of friends get together and confirm and bear testimony of the truth of this Gospel to each other.

I promise you that the Lord will be pleased with you and that He will let you know it. The Spirit will confirm it to you. Pray for strength from the Lord, that you will be able to share your light with everyone around you. I promise that He will help you.

I testify that the things I have shared are true! I have seen them in my life. I have both seen and felt the blessings that come from sharing testimonies, reading the scriptures, following the commandments, and glorifying the name of our Heavenly Father. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I challenge everyone that has not prayerfully and faithfully read it to do so. You will receive spiritual guidance that you will not be able to find anywhere else and you will be blessed immensely for it! Read the Book of Mormon and find a scripture that really speaks to you and share it with your friends! Tell them why you love it so much and what you think it means. Testify of its truthfulness. You will be blessed and the Spirit will confirm to you that the Lord is well pleased.


Elder Spencer Eastwood.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Hi everybody, this is Spencer. I haven't left on my mission yet, but I am so excited and I can't wait to get out into the field and start serving my Heavenly Father. I fly out on November 22 and I report to the MTC in Brazil on the 23rd! Right before Thanksgiving!

I guess that the visa application process takes a long time, especially when missionaries are being sent to Brazil. So that's why I don't leave for like four months. Oh well, the time just gives me more opportunity to prepare myself! I am right now finishing up reading the Book of Mormon, which is truly an amazing book. It is a great blessing to have on this earth and a great example of the restored Gospel. My testimony of the Book of Mormon grows with each day that I read it. I am also trying to learn some Portuguese before I leave in November! I think knowing some basic phrases would be very helpful. But hopefully the fact that I am going straight to Brazil will make learning the language a bit easier for me.

I don't know how long I will be at the MTC for - I won't learn my departure date until the first week that I am there - but hopefully not too long, so I can get to Goiania and start teaching the people of Brazil!

Anyway, I set up this blog so that my family, friends, and everyone I love can be informed about what's happening with me on while I'm on my mission. My sister, Paige, and my mom will be running this blog and they will be posting emails from me and stories and stuff! So please, read it :)

Also, write me letters and send me pictures!! It's always hard for a missionary to leave his home, his family, his friends, and everything he knows and loves. So keep in touch and send me letters!! It would make me very happy :) My mailing addresses for both the MTC and the mission office are on the right side of the blog. Also, I included my email address!

"Obrigado e eu amo todos vocês!"

- Elder Spencer Eastwood