Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The last melon.

You remember that part in Ice Age, right? You know, the one where the birds are fighting for their melons when all of the sudden there is only one left. And then they all say in unison, 'The last melon!'. 

Well, this is my last 'melon'. My last greeting from the Peach State. My last time ending an email with the title 'Elder' before my name. The last time I'll get to write my mission president about the progress of our investigators and the relationship I have with my companion. The last time I'll get to think of funny phrases in Spanish to send home in my weekly email even though most people won't understand what it means. 

Here's one I made up: Hay muchos misioneros que se van, pero solo hay uno que se Vance.

Haha, I thought that was pretty funny. And so did the few members that I shared it with. (Although it's hard to tell if they were laughing because they thought it was funny or because they had pitied me). 

I loved my time here. If you couldn't decipher that from all of my last emails understand it now. I have grown a great love for  my fellow missionaries, the people native to Georgia, and especially the Latin American people and culture. I can't really  express everything I feel at the close of my mission. So I won't. But the song from the soundtrack of 'The Best Two Years' fits well. 

"Don't you know? Can't you see? I'm not who I used to be.
 Don't you know? Can't you see.. What your love has made of me."

I'm not done being molded but these two years were quite the refiners fire. Where do those fires stem from? The love of God. That's why we change as missionaries. That's why and how I've changed.

Nos vemos. Hasta luego. Que los vaya bien. Que dios les bendiga. Si no me puedes entender, ni modo, Les voy a ver pronto.

Un abrazo de,

Elder Vance
The last melon. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mi penultimo correo electronico

Thank you, Mother, for reminding me of the word 'penultimate'. It means 'second to last'. It's funny because I learned that word in Spanish before English. Well, I guess that's not that funny. But this is, indeed, my second to last email from Georgia. 

We were happy to see our good friend Christian Gutierrez finally get confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love that guy. I'm going to miss him when I'm gone. I'm gonna miss him by his hair...I'm going to miss him everywhere.. Okay, enough trying to quote songs I don't really even know. But I really am going to miss this place; These people; Their smiling faces; Well, they aren't always smiling. Sometimes they are looking at us with tired, squinty eyes wondering why we are at their door waking them up. And at the same time we are wondering why they are still asleep at one in the afternoon. 

No super crazy plans for the rest of my mission other than work. As a popular song for missionaries out here says, 'It's gonna take work! Breaking down the walls between us. Work! Puttin' all the armor on!..something... something...something..' Well, you get the point. :) I really can't express how the mission has affected me. I probably won't see the full implications until much later in my life. But one thing is for sure, I am glad that I chose to serve. Really, you can't get the results from such an experience from anything else. Spiritually, emotionally, physically (unless of course you just gain a lot of weight on your mission. You can get that from a few other experiences. For those of you who are wondering, no I haven't gained really anything out here).

I can't really think of much else to say. I love you all more than I know. Wait, what? Yes. *clears throat* ..anyway.

-Elder Vance

Monday, January 5, 2015

Feliz dos mil quince!

Happy 2015! Are you ready? This year's gonna be great, trust me. How do I know? Well, because with a good perspective on things every year is a great one! And the setting the Gospel of Christ at the center of our lives is a very good way to have a good perspective on things. 

But our new years was great. We stayed up til.....10:31pm..... Nah, I'm just kidding. It was New Year's Eve! So of course we were in bed at 10:30pm. Just like every other night. Yup, no exceptions of those rules, you future missionaries. But we were able to stop by our branch's party that night for just a bit to grab some food and wish everyone a happy new year. They partied hard til three in the morning. We were blessed with the opportunity to help clean up the next morning. :) That's what the missionaries are for, right? Well, kinda.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the not-too-cold whether out here. It rained hard this weekend but it wasn't too cold. It's a bit chilly today but with my thermal leggings under my pants nothing gets me down. Yeah. I'm a wimp in the cold. But who doesn't care about being a whip in the cold weather? This guy! I mean, This Elder!

We have no baptisms planned quite yet but we have been working with a lot of recent converts and less active members and it has been going pretty well. I am sure going to miss these people. Thank goodness we have technology like SnapChat. I mean, how else would I be able to express the sarcastic faces I make to these great people on a daily basis in a ten second window of time as well as with an easy-to-use, nationally connected user interface?? The people of Georgia have only a short time left with my actual presence, but they shall not forget this face and hair quite yet.

I hope you set some great goals for 2015! Don't break them too soon! <3's all around! 

-Elder Vance

Monday, December 29, 2014

It's go time!

"Well, hey everybody! Merry Chri-" 


"Woah, hey, I just wanted to wish every a merr-" 

"No! Just stop! It's January already. You can just say 'Hey'. "

"Well, 'Mr. Grouchy-Pants', it's actually only December 29th." 

"Like two days makes a big difference! The point is that Christmas came and is now gone and you'll have to wait til next December to mention it again."



"...and a Happy New year!"


Hello everybody! Just a little fun dialogue I spit out to represent how some of you might be feeling right now. Are you Christmas-ed out yet? Well, you at least have eleven months to recover. As for me, myself, and I it was an enjoyable week. Being Santa's elves and delivering 'Secret Santa' gifts, lots of yummy food, Skyping with the family, completely, totally-unexpected-visits from aunts, uncles, and cousins; you know, the usual. Well, that last one wasn't very 'usual' but it defiantly was unexpected. But what else can you expect when some of your extended family is going to Florida and you're in Georgia. 

Anyway, it is no longer the Holiday season. Now.. it's go time! Especially for those of us missionaries who only have a few weeks left in full-time service. No way I'm spending my time with overly long visits to member's homes we are hitting the pavement. We have already found a few really sweet new investigators and we have hopes to find some more. We are doing more tracting and working with some less active members and families. The members are really supportive and will help us out when we ask for help. Church also is changing from 10am to 2pm for 2015. And for the Spanish branch that means more after-church food partaking. Nothing to complain about on my part. :) 

With love and the best new year's regards,

Elder Vance

Monday, December 22, 2014

Let it drip, let it pour, let it flood!

Hey family, friends, and future GANM missionaries. I add that last one because I found out that a few missionaries in my mission read some of my emails home before they came into the field. They simply searched 'Georgia Atlanta North Mission' on Google and happened upon my Blog of emails. I guess I'm famous now or something. Or at least I'd like to imagine that I am. So if you happen to be one of those future missionaries, hello there. Get ready to serve in the best, most waffle-house'd mission ever! 

There is still no snow down here and it's not too cold. It is wet occasionally but that's not a huge problem...if you are lucky enough to have a car and not be on bike of  course! :D But even so, the sky isn't the only thing pouring down these days. So our washing machine only has two water-level settings, 'small' and 'extra large'. I thought that is strange so I decided to try and put it in the middle and see if it would fill to 'medium' level. Turns out it doesn't work like that. It's kind of an older machine. So we didn't know anything was wrong until maintenance came knocking at our door asking if we had a leak somewhere. I said, 'No i don't think...Oh my gosh!' I turned to the washing machine to see it flooding all over the floor. I had confused the machine to the point where it didn't know when to stop filling. Os it didn't. And it soaked through the floor into the neighbors first floor apartment. 

Jeepers, first I hit a little girl with my car, then I flood my neighbors apartment. What next? It turned out fine. The workers came in and sucked all the water up and gave us new floor padding under the carpet. The good thing is that they cleaned out under and behind the washer and dryer, which is nice! :) 

But on a more spiritual note we will be having a baptism this Tuesday for our good friend Christian. He's been waiting a long time for this and so have we. I'm glad I was able to be here with him form the beginning of his teaching to his actual baptism. We'll need your prayers that nothing goes wrong between today and tomorrow!

Oh, one last thing, all of the missionaries got to go to the temple this past weekend! It was my first time my whole mission because it is technically outside of our mission borders. So I was super excited to be able to finally go and enjoy the sweet spirit there and just, oh my goodness, I can't really express myself well enough over email. But it was awesome. If you can go to the Temple, do it. If you can't, well do it anyway! Or makes plans to one day. :) Really worth it.

Love you all! And as a few wizards put it one time, "Happy Christmas Harry!" "Happy Christmas Ron!"

-Elder Vance

Monday, December 15, 2014

I almost committed manslaughter

This week is the week of the mission Christmas get together and Temple trip. We are all super excited down here. Everyone has there new companion and are ready to rock and roll! With regards to missionary work, of course. Actual rock and roll is not approved... :(

Anyway! I'm with Elder Young again and he is excited to be killing me off. I'll do my best to stay focused and not make my companion trunky. I'm not trunky, really, which is the words missionaries use for someone who wants to go home already. I'm going to be way sad when I leave! But change is a part of life I suppose. 

Nothing has really happened that is worthy of report. We didn't have a baptism this past weekend because it was postponed on the request of the investigator. We are meeting with him tonight and will talk about it then. Some people just need a little more time than others. That's alright :)

One more thing, I accidentally hit a little girl with my car. BUT DON'T WORRY! She is fine :) It was a small townhouse complex and there were a lot of little kids running around at a hispanic birthday party, pinata and all. I wasn't paying attention and neither was she when she ran into the middle of the parking lot. I stopped when I finally did notice but still knocked her down with my headlight. Everyone screamed and her dad kicked and dented the car. I had no idea what to say to them! She was fine though. After driving off then concluding that we needed to fill out a police report for legal purposes we went back and talked to the parents. They turned out to be nice and not angry and the police came and took all the info they needed and it was over. In the end we said a prayer with the family and I got a little card with my report number as a souvenir :) the little girl who I had hit, who I found out was celebrating her fifth birthday that day, came up to me and gave me a juice box, which I saw as a peace offering :D 

After it all we took our dinner hour at the Waffle House down the road. Man, it was just a weird day that day.

But any-who! I love you all! Stay warm! Build me a snowman if you have snow in your area!

-Elder Vance :D

Monday, December 8, 2014

Who shall go up to the Mountain of the Lord?

Seasons greetings! Happy holidays! Merry X-mas! 

Just wanted to be politically correct, you know? Who's to say that someone might read my email who doesn't like 'Christmas' and gets all offended. we wouldn't want that to happen, now, would we? 

Just playing! MERRRRYYYY CHRISTMASSS!! Well, not quite yet. Still a few days til the actually 25th, but close enough! this is the time to sing loud a clear that 'Christ' belongs at the forefront of Christmas. Did you watch the Christmas devotional last night? I did. It was great! 

What was also great is that we had a baptism for the little sister of Pedro and went to the Temple and did Baptisms for the dead the following day! Oh how sweet the Gospel sound! We attended the Temple with two of our recent converts, Pedro Chavez and Martin Alanis. IT was a really sweet experience for everyone and made for some great Temple-side photos ;D

We are planning on having the Baptism of Christian Gutierrez this Saturday. Then maybe we'll be able to go to the temple again and do some more Baptisms. 

So transfers are this week and I am pretty sure I am staying here in Norcross until I go home in January. My companion is leaving and actually getting switched to a Portuguese branch. Haha, fun for him! And I have yet to find out who I'll be receiving here in the Norcross branch. We'll see. It'll all turn out fine.

'Til we meet again. Or until I email next week.

-Elder Vance