Monday, March 25, 2013

Week 7- Georgia is Not Hot

So here I am in the good state of insanity....Oh yes, I am in the State  of Georgia as well. sometimes I take a step back and realize how weird it is to do what I am doing. Well compared to the rest of the world, that is. But then I take another step even further back and take a look at the whole picture and see that this mission fits nicely in the puzzle of life. At least my life. :)

So first, no, it's not hot here. It's actually cold. And windy. And rainy. And this morning it snowed. But I know by summer it'll heat up (at least that's what everyone tells me -.- ) I just hope that comes soon! I like being warm! Second, it is very beautiful here in the south! The first thing everyone on the plane noticed was all of the trees!! So many! They don't have any leaves right now but I hear that it's pretty spectacular once they do. Possibly a little claustrophobic for those not used to them. Being from a dessert where there is, well, nothing all around I'm not too used to trees. But I think I'll manage. If Boy Scouts taught me anything it was how to look at a tree. And occasionally walk around them. And even get stuck in them. But that's a different topic ;)

A lot of you have already heard about my first companion here in Georgia but for those of you who haven't I will let you in on the excitement. My first companion here is an elder by the name of Elder Clark. What's so special about him? Well as it turns out he happens to be my first cousin on my mom's side! I know, right?? I knew we were in the same mission but I didn't really think we would be companions. But when my Mission President told me that I knew my trainer pretty well already I was so excited! No awkward get-to-know-you phase for us! Now it's just the awkward 'Hey, your mom is my Dad's sister' phase... No, it's been awesome! What a tender mercy of the Lord! 

Other than that everything else is pretty much how all missionary work is. Wearing white shirts and ties and knocking on doors. Yup, I don't know if you were aware but that is all that missionary work is. All day. Everyday. For. Two. Years. Haha, well I'm glad it's not actually like that. Only some of the times. And the doors we knock on as Spanish missionaries are mainly trailer doors. That's not a bad thing, it's just a different thing. A whole different culture really. Elder Clark says he feels at home in trailer parks because that's where he gets to use his Spanish the most and he's been out for so long. (I'm actually his last companion. His last and my first, Que bueno!) So sooner or later it will feel like home to me too :)

The area I'm in right now for those of you who know Georgia, and for those of you who don't you can look at Google Maps or something, is the Marrietta Stake. We are in the Cherokee Spanish Branch specifically but we actually cover the entire Stake! Lots of driving! (Ya, we get a car :) ) Love the people so far! All very nice and welcoming of me even with my limited Spanish. I'm both a Greenie and a Gringo! (That's pronounced 'Green-Go' for you other gringos out there.) The food is indeed great! The members like to feed the missionaries a ton! And love to help me with my Spanish :)

Now that i'm in the field I really appreciate even more the letters and emails I get from my friends and family! I can't email back anyone expect my family but I will for sure write you a letter back! It takes about 6 days to get from here to Las Vegas or Utah or ...wherever, but please do write me! check my Facebook for the address! :)

It's all good down here. Have fun wherever you are! Keep me in your prayers. No, I actually take that back. Keep the people of Georgia in your prayers that need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Amor, paz y graso de pollo, (Love, peace, and chicken grease)
-Elder Vance

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Week 6- Georgia Bound

We were able to talk to Brandon at 5:00 am this morning while he awaited his flight to Georgia!  It was great to hear his voice.  He is happy and excited to enter the field! It was hard to say good-bye, again.

Brandon's last letter from the MTC

Well, I'll have to make this email breif because I need to do some packing. Yay for going into the field! Like thousands of missionaries before me from the first Samuel Smith to the great friends I have who are on their missions today I will be embarking on the real journey of missionary work! :D

The MTC is a great place. Those of you preparing to enter in I ask that you do so with a mind ready to obey, a heart ready to love, and a stomach ready to eat! (No really, be prepared to eat lots. Man, that ice cream is good)

Am I excited? Sure am! Ready? Doesn't matter cause I'm going no matter what! There is a chance that my cousin will be able to train me seeing as he is in the same mission that I am going to right now! But even if not, I will get to work! :)

Con todo el amor de me corozon.

-Elder Vance

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Continuing the Legacy

Last week here in the MTC! I leave for Georgia next Tuesday the 19th in the early morning. Am I excited? Yep! I'm I ready? Sure thing! Can I speak Spanish?? Claro que si! ......Mas o menos...... I'm not worried about the language. I'll just give it my all this week and arrive ready to really learn it en el campo (the field)! The MTC has helped me better understand my purpose as a missionary, which is 'Invitar a las personas a venir a Cristo..', to invite all others unto Christ. As long as I truly understand that idea, there is nothing that can completely stop me from serving faithfully to the end! Sure I might be slowed down by a few things here and there, but never completely halted. 

Thinking of that, i'm reminded of the film I was able to watch last night. 'Legacy'. I had never seen it before and all I knew was it was about the pioneers or something. And ya, it was. It was about the struggles, challenges, doubts, hopes and testimonies had by the few members of the newly organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of course some of the acting was a tad cheesy, but it was still really great! It painted the picture for me again of how much trial the followers of that supposed prophet Joseph Smith faced. Settling down in one place for enough time for a mob to be organized against them. Looking for their Zion through the mud, rain and frost that fell over the graves of their children and siblings. What faith! They never stopped! Even now as I type this short summary of their experiences I am feeling the same way when I as watching it last night. My heart swelled and my eyes watered as I thought back to the actual people, the actual families that were knocked back forth as they did what they felt had to be right! Some may have fell by the wayside but the for the most part they showed their faith and unshakeable conviction in the their Savior Jesus Christ and his newly formed Latter-day Church. I pray that by the time I die I can say that I had even an ounce of the faith that they had then. 

Well that was the spiritual message of the week from me! :) Please keep all the missionaries around the world in your prayers as we keep all of you in ours. 

Con Amor,

Elder Vance

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Week 4 - Two Weeks to Go

Two more weeks in the MTC to go for me! My district is now the oldest one in our Zone. we are now the top dogs. The big cheeses. The BESC (Big elders and sisters on campus)! Or at least we think we are. 

Things are the same here at the MTC as they have been for the past 4 weeks. It is warmer though. And the snow is melting away, but you can never really trust these Utah skies. one moment they are all, 'Hey, I'm sorry for dumping like 3 feet of snow on you as you walk from class to class. Here, I'll be sunny now.' and then 'On second thought, nahh, I feel like being a jerk. Here is some more snow and ice. Enjoy!' But it seems like the good weather is sticking this time. At least for the first 6 months or so in Georgia I won't have to deal with the cold. Just the hot, sticky, wet air that makes it feel like your in a steam room all day. Obviously the better weather:)

One change is that I am now the District Leader for my district. Pretty neat, huh? Being a successful missionary has nothing to do with position but I'm glad to accept the position and it's few responsibility:) The most important being getting the mail. Missionaries can get pretty vicious when they don't get their mail on time.  O.O But I think I can manage.

Great devotionals this past week, as usual. Last Tuesday Elder M. Russell Ballard came and spoke to us! Very exciting! We always speculate which general authority it will be on the Tuesday devotionals so when we heard it might be him we were skeptical but when the MTC President and everyone else on the stage stood up as we were singing we knew someone important had jsut walked in. He spoke about Preach My Gospel and what it really was. He stated that it was just a tool to allow us to speak the information and knowledge that we already had from our many years in Church in a simple, clear manner. Great speaker! Great Spirit! :) 

Nothing more that I can think of needs to be said now other than keep up the good work being you and I'll keep up the good work being a missionary! :)

Hasta luego!

-Elder Vance