Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Transfer Week!

This week I will have my first transfer on my mission. That means I will be leaving the area I started in and move to work somewhere else in Georgia. I've been here for about four months. The members here are awesome and I will definately miss being with them but I'm sure as a missionary it's not hard to grow to love the people you work with. :)

I am in the Cherokee spanish branch in the Marietta stake, kinda the north west corner of Georgia, and now I will be moving a tad bit east to the Cumorah branch. Biggest change I think will be the main mode of transportation there. I have had a vehicle up to this point in my mission and now I am going to a bike area. I'm down! :) It's about time I get to use my bike! Maybe I'll get to have one of those stories where I ride all the way to an appointment in the rain and they aren't there but some miracle occurs and we end up baptizing the next prophet. I don't know, I'm sure it happens more than you think!

This past Sunday we had the nice experience of attending a Southern Baptist church service. So the term 'mega-church' is used when churches try and be LDS conference centers for one congregation. This church was huge. First Baptist Woodstock Church. I have nothing bad at all to say about my experience there. My companion and five other missionaries in our suits and ties and skirts ( the sisters had the skirts. I promise I don't wear skirts to church) we went into a building which on the inside did remind be of the conference center. It was a little less formal with a bit more colorful lights and a choir and band on stage but it was cool. The main preacher wasn't there but there was a substitue who spoke about a parable Jesus gave about how 'the harvest indeed is great but the laborers are few'. Really great scripture and really great doctrine. They are honestly so right about the importance of Christ in our lives yet lack much of His Gospel, especially on the part where they believe that if you die without a relationship with Christ you go straight to hell for eternity. When put into perspective with the doctrine that has been revealed to us through prophets it is relieving to know that there will be a chance for everyone, even after death. The people were nice there and I would for sure go back another day to see a little more. :) Next church: Pentecostal. I hear they have a pretty good time at church.

Well that would seem to be it for now. We are going to be heading off to a barbecue that is being held in another ward. But our missionary tags are like a VIP pass to all church activities everywhere. So It's all good :)

Stay safe! Have fun! You only live once, at least in this mortal state of probation, so be smart!

Elder Vance

P.s. Just wanted to give a quick update about the Rodolfo and his wife that I talked about in my last email. We did go back and talk more with them. They didn't read the assignment we gave them :( But we have not lost hope! I won't be here any longer but I'm sure Elder Rindlisbacher will take good care of them.

P.s.s. Sorry about any spelling errors. Spell Check isn't working right now :(
Family of Chihuahuas

The long and windy road.
It would be nice to be able to see while driving.

Member family-Gonzalez

Member family-Guerra

Member family-Ayala

Missionary Mascot

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Deep down, trailer parks are nice...Waaay deep down.

How's it going? That's a great opening line isn't? A retorical question that really gets no information out of anyone because people end up just answering, 'Good'. Well, I hope you're doing well as well as doing good. Things are shining brightly upon us in Georgia. And by 'shining brighty' I mean 'raining heavily'. Lots of rain lately, but I'm not complaining :) I enoy it.

It's really aweomse the moments when you meet someone at just the right moment. The whole 'I'm usually not here at this time' or 'ya, we were just about to leave when you came by' situations. Sometimes people try and use those as excuses for them not having enough time to talk with us but I do enjoy the moments when you can snese the hand of God in the moment of running into people

This past week we met a really nice family just before they were about to leave their house. We had previously knocked on their trailer door but they weren't home. (We actually had knocked on the back door but it's difficult to tell with trailers sometimes!) We saw their car out front one day and we chose to knock on their door again. We did so and a man in his late thirties opens up. He was tall for hispanics and had dark curly hair with a bit a scruffy-short beard look going on. Our excahnge went as such:

me- "Hello, how are you? My name's Elder Vance and this is my companion Elder Rindlisbacher"

Rodolfo- "Hi, I'm Rodolfo." (He would happen to be the third Rodolfo I'd met so far. Firm hanshake too)

me after a slight pause- "How's your day been going?"

Rodolfo- "Good up to this point. And yours?"

me- "Good up to this point as well. :)" (We were about to go into our line about being representative of Jesus Christ when he spoke next.)

Rodolfo- "Would you like to come in?"

So without even us asking he invites us in. We already liked this guy. His wife was inside finishing up some food when we walked in. They turned out to be super nice and we ended up just talking and getting to know them for a little while. Honestly he reminded me of my dad in hispanic form. Haha, really. He had the curly-type hair my dad does, the same beard my dad does when he goes camping and he had a nice sense of humor too. I will admit, it did look like he worked out more than my dad does but I'm sure my dad can tackle a mountain bike course better than he can! ;P

In the end they gave us some soda and little mexican pastries and we evenutally shared our message about the Book of Mormon and the restoration. We invited them to read and pray and they agreed to do so, but everyone usually does anyway. They were fun to talk with and I hope and pray that the spirit touches their hearts as they take the time to act on or invitation. They are just one example of how God can bring people into your path everyday. I'll keep you updated on what happens with them. :) 

But for now I must head off intothe great beyond and continue my quest of improvement and progression on the Lor'ds errand! By that I mean head to the stake center and get take down in basketball :( I am not too good at basketball... 

Elder Vance

Monday, July 8, 2013

Buenos Dias!

I hope everyone is doing well. I know there have been tornadoes and fires and floods all over, so I hope you are all safe and sound! It's getting crazy out there!

I'm safe and sound here. Well at least safe, I'm not so certain how sound I am. 'Safe and sound' that's an interesting phrase when you take a look at it. Being safe is easy to understand, but being sound? What am I supposed to be a noise? Can I at least choose the noise? Like the voice of an orca swimming in its pod, that's the noise I pick to be. But who is the judge on if it's a good sound? Of course that's not what it really means but I am realizing more and more that many of the things I say in English don't make a lot of sense when you break it down. 

In this case the word 'sound' simply has multiple meanings. But when you start recognizing the phrases you use, you will begin to see many of the idioms that just mean something because that's what it means. Confusing? A little. The reason I bring this up is because we have begun teaching an English class at the chapel I go to. The best way to realize how weird your language really is is to try and teach it to someone who doesn't speak it. But I do really enjoy teaching English. It's a chance for me to be in the language-teacher seat for a change. I can sympathize for someone learning English because I have been learning Spanish. In the end the only reason I can speak it at all is because of the Lord's help. :) 

But ya, the english class is something we are going to try and get running and utilize as a finding tool for new investigators. We are already hoping to see a few of our investigators at the class tomorrow. It's fun stuff! This past week we have had a lot of new investigators and lessons taught. Not so hot on the contacts side but it's a skill learning how to balance finding and teaching just right. And i'm just beginning to learn how! :)

I hope your 4th of July was fun and firework-filled! Ours was cloud and rain filled. It's been raining a ton lately! And Georgia rain is fun because out of the blue it will just start dumping buckets of water and then it will be lightly sprinkling the next moment. I think it's fun to watch, not fun when it floods, but I like the rain. Lightning is nice too, not fires though. Fires are mean to people. Fire? Useful. Fires? Mean. Just getting it clear for you.

Overall, things continue to move onward! We seek to find the elect as God continues to touch the hearts of His children. Thank you for your prays not just for me but for all of the missionaries out there. 

"The standard of truth has been erected, no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing.." 

So don't be an unhallowed hand. Well I guess in a way we all are unhallowed hands.. I mean, never mind.

Con mucho amor!

Elder Vance
Giant rubiks cube in front of the high school.

July 3 forecast: Rain

Member family.

Amazing clouds in Georgia.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Otra dia. Otra tortilla.

!Buenos dias!

Things are alive and well here as the Georgia Atlanta North Mission (GANM) begins it's month of consecration! Basically for the month of July we are going to consecrate ourselves and missionaries to the Lord even more than we have been. Yes, in reality we should be doing this already, but we are imperfect beings who frequently need a reminder of how to act. This mission did one last August and it brought forth many miracles! As we begin anew to follow each rule more diligently and pray more fervently we have been promised once again to see the hand of God working miracles in the lives of His children.

The food down here is still good, just in case you wanted to know. Tonight we are going to eat with a great investigator, Rodolfo, and his family. Carne asada here we come! Rodolfo is a great guy who has been making changes in his life for the better one step and a time. He has been coming to church for the past month and will eventually be baptized. Every person is different so change takes different amounts of time in the lives of different people. 

This past week we were able to hit the goal of seventy contacts for the week! (Seventy one actually!) It is a mission standard of excellence to contact at least ten new people a day, which makes seventy per week. It can be difficult a lot of the time, maybe when you don't have enough time to go and talk to new people, but we made it this week! The first time for me as a missionary actually :) Seventy people really sin't a whole lot compared to the billions people in the world. But with the 70,000 plus missionaries out there now that could be about 5 million new people talked to a week! Which is also about 250 million people a year! By that rate we could give the worlds entire population, around 7 billion people, the chance to accept or deny the Restored Gospel in just 28 years. Not that long at all really. But that's still only in the perfect missionary world. Whatever the case may be the work in still moving forward one soul at a time!

!Que Dios les bendiga muchisimo! Voy a seguir trabajando en el campo misional aqui. No puedo esperar hasta el ultimo dia cuando podemos arrodiarnos ante los pies de nuestro salvador. 

Elder Vance