Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Week 3

So here is yet again another email from that one redheaded elder you may or may not actually personally know but still seems to want to share his mission experience with you. :) I realize by now that it can get somewhat repetitive if I keep making my MTC emails basically the same, 'Yup, its my 3rd week and I had good times and felt the Spirit. Bye' True, but I won't do that to you. I'll try and change it up a bit.:)
So this past week one of the Elders in my district got a concussion. Fun way to start out an email, right? Well The story goes (I wasn't there but I've heard it enough times to know it pretty well) that this Elder, Elder A., was on his way along with his companion and other Elders to the Gym for morning Gym time. He's a basketball player. So were the other Elders. As such, he was getting them pumped up for there game which was soon to occur. While walking to the gym he turned and began walking backwards and started pretending he was guarding another Elder in a game of basketball. He got low, arms wide, ducking side to side. One big duck and turn later. WHACK! There happened to be a metal pole right in the way of his head. Down he went and Up his companions and friends went (in intense laughter). So yes, the Lord protects his missionaries...Just as long as they aren't being, how do I put this lightly, stupid. He was only bed ridden for about two days but he's fine now.
On a more spiritual level we were able to watch 'The Testaments' this past Sunday. If you haven't seen it before it's an account of certain people in the Americas around the time before and during the visit of the resurrected Christ to the Nephites. I thought the 'Joseph Smith' movie got me emotional! I really love 'The Testaments'! The spirit is very strong whenever I watch it. I get pretty teary eyed. Not that everyone is supposed to get emotional when they feel the Spirit but I seriously can't help it. But I'll take that as a blessing from Heavenly Father:) (I also get emotional when I watch The Prince of Egypt....Man, i'm going to watch the stuffing out of that movie when I get back......anywayyyyyyy..)
Hope all of you are doing great in whatever phase of life you are in! I'm continuing to progress and get better as a missionary in general and with the Spanish language. I am going to try and immerse myself more into it by speaking more as to be more prepared for the field! :D
Hablare con ustedes ...umm....later!
-Elder Vance

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Week 2

Week dos! (That's '2' for all of you non Spanish people out there) In the middle of my second week here at the good old MTC :) One main thing that I have seen so far with my experiences here is that it's not as bad as some people make it out to be.

"It'll be the longest day of your life, trust me" 
"Just make it to the first Sunday and you'll survive!"

Those phrases and others like them were constantly put into our brains by Elders and Sisters who had been here for a few weeks. In all honesty though I didn't have to 'endure' the first few days or 'just make it' to Sunday. I enjoyed it lots actually!! :D Yes, we have had long class hours and long days dressed in church clothes but I really don't mind that. I love what we are learning and I love looking spiffy in a dark suit and tie all put together by a nice shiny tie-clip and a black name tag. So incoming Elders and Sisters, don't be worried at all.

I'm not sure how you guys imagine the MTC life to be like, y'know, apart from the classes and devotionals. My cousin Jessica described her mental picture of it as a bunch of kids sitting in their dorm rooms crying over being home-sick and scared. Well it's actually not like that at all Jessie :P The best way to describe it would be to say that it's like living with a football team. (One of my roommates was actually on the BYU football team! Redshirted for his mission, though.) But it's just a bunch of really cool Elders hanging around with each other telling as many jokes, quoting as many movies, and messing around just as much as a typical college dorm. At least the BYU type of college dorm. Everyone is super nice and when it comes down to it everyone has a strong testimony behind their eyes. So I hope that helps your imagery of the good ol' MTC. :)

So through it all, even if I do feel a bit exhausted by the end of the week the Sunday devotionals and movies are a great break from the work! This past Sunday we heard from Brother and Sister Littlefield who work in the MTC as a part of the recommendation process. Their talks were great! They spoke about how miracles can happen through your faith. Mormoni makes it clear in the Book of Mormon that God is still a God of miracles and that people 'don't see them' today only because of the lack of faith some people may have. Great mission stories and other examples made for a great devotional. Afterwards we watched the Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration movie. Love that movie so much! I can always, always count on it to bring the Spirit into my heart. :)

I feel like so much happened that I wanted to say but I can't seem to think of much more at the moment. It's pretty cold here. Just in case you wanted to know that.. I do so enjoy wearing a big missionary coat. :D

!Buenos suerte! in all your journeyings in life! :) Thanks for the love, letters, and prayers :) Please send more of all of the previous! :)

Your favorite redheaded Elder in the MTC going to Georgia Spanish speaking,

Walking on walls.  Walking on water comes later.

Gingers of the MTC unite. 

The crib complete with Tongan companion.
How we learn Spanish.

Black name tag worn proudly!

 Alter Ego

Elder Vance and his posse at the temple

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

First Email!

Hola!! Como le va?? Estoy muy bien aqui al MTC!

So as you may be able to tell I am working on my Spanish. :) Form day uno my classes are completely in Spanish! But what better way to learn a language than by immersion?! My companion is Elder Roberts. He's a super chill Tongan guy! We've been able to get along very well with each other as well as with our other two roommates. 

The district I am in is also the bomb! (Can I say that as a missionary??) My teacher could not be any cooler! He really reminds me of a Spanish speaking- John Bytheway! He loves us a lot and we all love him back! We are his first district he has taught before but he could easily have been doing it his whole life! He wants to become a social worker and help abused and neglected kids. What a great example of how to use Christ like attributes in your life! He makes learning Espanol very, very fun.

I have been able to experience two actual missionary lessons and yes they had to be in Spanish. The 'investigator' was a teacher who played a Chilean woman with three kids. Ana Maria! The great thing about her character is that Chileans speak very slowly!! It is still somewhat deficil (difficult) to understand some of the things she is saying we did very well from my point of view! :D

Thus far I can pray and give my testimony is spanish, two great things to use in a discussion! I am continuing to learn more and use it in my daily conversations. The first day we were specifically told, 'If you can say it in Spanish, you are FORBIDDEN to say it in English!' And of course, that was told to us in Spanish. what great work i'm involved in!! 

I have loved my experience in the MTC so far and yes I do really enjoy the food! It is such a great experience to sit with 3000 Elders/Hermanas (Sisters) and sing 'Called to Serve' or 'Praise to the Man' together! We enjoyed a great devotional yesterday and a film of a talk Elder Holland gave at the MTC back when Gordon B. Hinckley was the Prophet. What a great speaker! If you thought Elder Holland got eccentric in General conference you have to see him speak at the MTC! Just a few quotes from him are:

"Salvation is not a cheap experience!"

"You are not at liberty to be disobedient! (As a missionary)"

"It is His work, so you have to do it His way!"

"Don't you dare waste these two years! You will never again get an opportunity exactly like this ever again in your life!"

"For these next two years you will be closer to what an Apostle of the Lord is like, as myself, then you ever will be again."

"Go and astonish somebody!"

- Elder Holland

Everyone felt so pumped for missionary work after that talk including myself! :D I have loved to see so many of my friends at the MTC and know that they are strong in the gospel and out here for the same reason as I am. They really stress the Missionary Purpose here. Mi Objectivo! Invite others to come unto Christ! With the spirit I know that I can 'astonish' someone as Alma the younger was astonished by an angel! I can speak with power and authority if I have the Holy Ghost with me. 'Obedience brings blessings' is a popular phrase here but one i like better is 'Obedience brings power!!'.

Yo se que Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial. Yo se que Jesuchristo es nuestro Slavador y Redentor. Yo se con todos mi corazon que ustedes pueden saber si ustedes pregunta Dios en el nombre de Jesuschristo.

I know this was a long letter but really this is shorter than what I could have written about my experience so far. My spanish is not even close to being good but I will continue to press forward! Don't look back when you have started pushing the plow! 

Yo amo a todos!
-Elder Vance

Monday, February 11, 2013

Drop Off!

Drop off was successful.  Hard for the mama and the family but Brandon was JOYFUL!  Smiles the whole time.  Here are some pics from  Wednesday Feb. 6 that day.

In front of the Provo Temple

Words of wisdom for Jared.

Ready to conquer the world

Little brother photo bomb

Last walk together

Mama hug and a sad Colton


Sunday, February 3, 2013


Brandon's address while in the MTC, starting Feb. 6 until March 19.

Elder Brandon Robert Vance
MTC Mailbox # 303
GA-ATLN 0319
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

A paper and pen are a terrible thing to waste.

Boy to Man

My second born, and oldest boy, has grown up right before my eyes. And like millions of mormon moms before me I am voluntarily letting him leave me for two years.  The boy who did not speak for the first two years of his life will now be speaking to hundreds in a language he doesn't even know yet.  My heart is heavy but my spirit is grateful for his willingness to serve.  Love my boy.

I will be posting all of his letters and a lot of pics here.  So let the journey begin...