Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Word of the Day is "Poder" -to be able to

When practicing my Spanish daily and taking an hour to study each morning I am left to come up with techniques or ways in which I can improve my language skills most efficiently. My companion has taken to making hundreds of flash cards for vocabulary improvement as well as working in a Spanish literature work book. I have used a work book for a bit and have yet to make flash cards, which I probably should. Sometimes though I don't know what I should focus on! There is just too much to learn! 

"Should I study up on past-subjunctive today or focus on mastering the preterit tense? Hmm..How about I just sit here thinking about all of the different things I could be doing and not actually do any of them." 

So instead of trying to do everything I am going to focus on one small aspect at a time. One word at a time really. And today the word of the day is the verb 'poder' (poe-dare). It means to be able to. It's a very important verb in Spanish and can be sued in many situations. An important phrase I want to teach you is 'Si se puede'. Basically meaning you can do it. It's possible! 

Really the practice of focusing on one small piece of something at a time can and should be applied to many other aspects of life. Especially the spiritual side of life. Sometimes we get down and realize all of the areas in which we are lacking, maybe patience or humility or charity or faith, and we just want to flip a switch the next day and be better at every single one of them! As a missionary I have come to see that that is not how it works :( unfortunately we all are subject to the limitations of mortal existence. It's not possible for us to run faster than we are able! We have weaknesses. But what does the Lord say about weaknesses? '..I give unto men weakness that they may be humble..for if they humble themselves before me..I will make weak things become strong unto them.' Ether 12:27.

So if you're looking to better yourself and take a few more steps toward Christ I would like to help you on your en devour. Pick one thing, maybe two but no more, that you would like to improve on. Focus on that one thing and pray for strength and help from God to improve in it. I promise that if you humble yourselves and have the faith to take small steps at a time you will begin to see His hand in your life. 

Well there is your spiritual energy drink for the day. :) Georgia's warm and rainy and the people are as ready to hear the Restored Gospel as ever. We just need to find them. We have an investigator named Rodolfo who has been coming to church and listening to all of our lessons. We are hoping to get him a date for baptism this week. God works one soul at a time! :) Oh ya, and the worldwide leadership training broadcast last night was great! Hope you were able to enjoy it as I did!

No more words. I'm all done. Go, go grow up. 

Elder Vance :D

Monday, June 17, 2013

Feliz Dia De Los Padres

This email is directed towards my dad. I wish I could be home to give him a great big hug or tell him I love him in person but it looks like this is as close as I'm going to get. 

Yesterday in church the primary sang the song 'I'm so glad when daddy comes home' I love that song. Really. My eyes started to water up and I couldn't help but stare at that group of children singing to all of their dads with a huge smile on my face while thinking of my own dad. That primary song makes me want to do just what the lyrics say, 'put my arms around his neck and climb up on his knee', I think I'd be a bit big for that now but it's the thought that counts :)

I think of my dad so often while serving my mission. This week there has been a lot of storms and lighting. There was a tornado super close by one day too! The siren went off and everything! where were we at that time? Well my companion and I were standing out on a member's porch watching.... Probably not the smartest. Buuut last night the lighting was sooo loud it woke us up! It seriously kinda scared me! And I immediately wished I could run to my parents rooms and snuggle up next to my mommy and daddy to hide from the thunder and lighting. (don't worry, our investigators believe i'm manly) 

The point is there is nothing I can really say to express what I feel about my great dad. But I tried my best to get close with this spanish poem that I wrote for him.

Mi Padre:

Mi padre es mi amigo favorito
aunque a vezes es un burrito
Le doy gracias por darme lo que yo tengo
Y basicamente todo lo que he querido 
a la mejor no se todo lo que ha hecho
para darme un vida llenido con gozo
una dia yo quiero llegar a ser como Roberto
Y crear una familia y darle todo
No hay palabras para decir lo que siento
Solomenente estas: Padre, Te amo.

I love you Dad! You gave me more than just my red hair and partially dashing looks. You gave me everything. Because of you I have this chance to serve the Lord for two years. My laugh, my (awesome) jokes, my sense of humor, all from you.(we're going to consider that a good thing for now). For now, the only thing I can do to repay you is work my hardest. Give it my all. Do my very best for the Lord and for you.

con todo mi amor,

Elder Vance (Little Red, son of Big Red)

Unsuccessfully trying to change a flat tire.
New companion Elder Rindlisbacher

Monday, June 10, 2013

Todays Forecast is Mixed Sunshine and Thunderstorms

Greetings from awesome-weather-Georgia! 

The weather down here is pretty nice. Although it is still under 90 it is still really humid! It's nice though that it does rain quite a bit. And when it rains, it pours. We went tracting one day in a nice trailer park when it started to rain a little bit. We ran and grabbed our umbrellas and continued on. Within about three minutes the rain got so heavy that our little umbrellas couldn't protect us. We had to hide in our car for a bit. Luckily we even had a car! Yay for mission vehicles! :D

This past Saturday we had a baptismal service for two of our investigators! I'm sure I've mentioned them before but it was a mother and sixteen year old daughter we found while knocking doors. Griselda, the mom, and Delia, the daughter, accepted everything really well from the beginning. It was pretty impressive to see how willing they were to accept as truth something completely new and change their lives forever! They were obviously prepared by the Lord. He was there long before we were. I baptized Delia and Elder Clark baptized Griselda. It was a really nice service. :) They were confirmed yesterday in Sacrament meeting. Elder Clark did his in Spanish and I did mine in English because Delia speaks more English than Spanish. (I say that but really just hadn't practiced confirming anyone in Spanish enough! :p I did do that baptism in Spanish though! :D ) All in all it went really well. They have been accepted warmly into the branch by everyone.

Our other investigators are doing well. We actually had one come to church yesterday. A great guy named Rodolfo. (I have been exposed to so many awesome Hispanic names out here!) Our good ol' English investigator Chris also came to church with us. We actually attended the 9:00am english ward with him.(ended up being at church for over six hours!) Such a great guy! Very sincere. Hopefully he can open his heart to the Spirit.

In other news I am getting a new companion this Wednesday. I found out last week that I will not be training a new Elder. (and I'm just fine with that for now ;P) My new copmanion will be....*drumroll*... Elder Rindlisbacher! (Rind-lis-baw-ker) The cool thing is that he is the Elder who trained my MTC companion. So I have met him before and he seems like a great Elder. Excited to get the know him as we work together :) Hopefully his Spanish is better than mine. I'm still roughing out all my kinks with Spanish.....which are many. But i'm getting a lot better!

All in all things have been going well. Todo van bien! Change is exciting and necessary in life! 

Yours truly (as opposed to 'mine falsely'?),

Elder Vance 
Mom's new favorite picture.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hola Amados Hermanos Mios!

Greetings from Georgia! Home of the...well home of the people from Georgia I guess. (supposedly they are supposed to have peaches down here but I have yet to eat one!)

This next week will be the last full week that I will have with my trainer and cousin Elder Clark. He soon goes off to the world of BYU, jobs, and awkwardly trying to impress girls with his Georgia-learned Spanish. What fun! I soon will get a new companion as well. Learning to live and work with new people all the time is one of the biggest learning experiences of the mission. I'm a bit sad that Elder Clark is leaving. We got a long really well! (Maybe too well sometimes) But oh well, here goes new things!

So last week and the week before I was able to go on an exchange with my district leader as well as his companion who is as new as I am. The interesting thing about one of the exchanges is that my district leader doesn't speak Spanish and we were still working in my area. So I had to be the lead in Spanish!!! :O I was pretty nervous about it at first but it turned out fine. I have no idea what I said though! :D

Good news time! We have two baptisms this Saturday. Investigators that we found and taught from the beginning. So all the glory goes to us! Yay for pridefully doing missionary work! Nahh, I'm absolutely joking. Thinking like that is a one way ticket to sending the Spirit away and inviting the devil in for an evening snack. Or brunch.. Anyway, the point is that the Lord simply used Elder Clark and I to teach a couple of His children who had been sufficiently prepared to receive the restored gospel. It's quite the calling being a full-time servant of God. 

One last thing! A cool little miracle happened a couple days ago. We were teaching a referral that we had received from a member the Restoration. The member that was going to teach with us showed up at the end as we were leaving. As we shook hands and were about to go another car pulled into the drive way. It was a neighbor who had a passenger who nobody knew. this mystery man walks in and points towards Elder Clark and I and says, 'I've been looking for you!'. He turned out to be an inactive member who was baptized twenty years ago. I really have no idea why they knew to be there at that time but all I know is that it was a miracle. He is so ready to have that peace from the Gospel back into his life. 

I'll keep it up here. Keep fanning the flames of your faiths wherever you are! Learn to play piano if you're going to serve a mission because it rocks! 

Con amor,

-Elder Vance
Elder Vance at a Civil War train museum

Doing service for a member
Elder Vance and Clark at church

Their district in Kennesaw.
Elder Clark goes home next week!!