Monday, December 23, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

Elder Vance here. I don't have much to say today and I don't have much
to say even wat I don have BUT I shall give a little update on how
things are going down here ( or 'up here' depending on where in the
world you are) in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission. :)

We had our Christmas party this week and it was a blast! Old friends
and companions and a nice talent show. Our investigator pool is
growing little by little. We are teaching a family of five that is
close to baptism if they would only come to church and read their
scriptures more! That's the eternal missionary problem. If you don't
read, pray, and keep comitments, you don't recieve a testimony. :( But
we shall not give up! :D We taught this 18 year old investigator that
has met with the missionaries for a couple months. It went well and he
could be getting baptized one of these upcoming weekends.

The weather recently has been warm and rainy. Quite different than the
usually white and wintry Christmas I'm used to. Well I guess it never
did get too white in Las Vegas but it hasn't snowed at all here. Sooo,
ya it's a bit different. But I do enjoy it here a lot. I will never
quite again experience Christmas like a missionary does. One really
has to soak up the experiences here! :D

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and hope you all find ways to
give a gift to your Savior this season by serving your neighbor. Who
is your neighbor, you ask? I'm sure there is a good parable you could
read in the Bible all about that ;)

con mucho amor,

Elder Vance

Former companion and great friends, Elder Chilcote and Long and Sister Beck

Former District leader, Elder Amaro from Mexico 
With Elder Santos from Brazil

With Elder Loveland

With his District leader Elder Evans

With Sister Adorable.  That is really her name. 

Elder Vance did some contacting at a huge flea market

Branch Christmas party.  Love all those cute brown heads. 

Elder Vance in the kitchen with Elder Galvez, his zone leader from Guatemala

Elder Vance and Sister Beasley.  She is a friend of Makenzie's from SUU!

Christmas as a missionary is fun!

Letter from Dec. 16, 2013

How is everyone this week? I hope things are going swell as most
schools are finishing up their last week until Christmas break. :)

This week has been filled with walking, talking, a bit of stalking (I
kid ;P) as we spread Christ's name here in Georgia. We have been
spending a lot of time down in a neighborhood that is full of
diversity! And by that I mean it's mostly blacks with a few Latinos. I
enjoy the feeling of being in different surroundings than I'm used to,
but my companion on the other hand is a bit nervous to go there
anymore. Some people down there have expressed their beliefs that we
are working for the police or social services and that we are just
using this 'church' thing as a disguise. Are they going to do
anything? Nah. Will we push our luck though? I'd rather not. So after
tracting most of the buildings we are leaving it alone for a good
while before returning :)

The people down here are great and the religious excitement is excited
as Christmas roles around. God bless and I hope you all have a great

Tambien uds. estan invitados a una fiesta navidena este sabado en la
capilla aqui en Georgia. Para todos que estan cerca ;D

Elder Vance

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I admit it. I play with Barbie dolls.

What a beautiful month we have here as we get ready for Christmas and
remember our Savior more. Winter here in Georgia has been less than a
'winter wonderland' as the temperature is still in the 60-70 range and
it seems to rain most days. I'm grateful to have a car and feel
compassion for all of the wet missionaries on bikes.

Right now we have five people with a date for baptism. One is an 18
year old girl going to UGA here and the other is a lovely family of
four. The family was found and taught a few lessons by our Zone
leaders. One of our Zone leaders is from Guatemala so he's pretty good
with his Spanish. (Though he wishes he could be as good as me :p) We
have been working hard and were able to talk to a lot of people this
week. It's so awesome just stepping back and seeing all of the amazing
and different people we meet every day.

Two people I want to highlight this week: 3 year old Naya; and 54 year
old Billy;

Naya is a little black girl with a whole lot of attitude! So funny to
talk with! She enjoys inviting us to come into her house and showing
us the picture of Dora she has in her room. One time we said to her,
'Here, we want to give you a picture of Jesus.' and she responded
quickly with 'Where he at??' Elder Dudley and I just laugh and laugh
at how quick and full of energy she is.

Billy is a nice old-looking man with a white beard on his face and a
beanie on his head. Everyone in his neighborhood knows him and he is
full of interesting things to say! We believe he has some sort of
mental disability but he is nice and fun to talk with. We saw him
walking one day looking kind of bummed out so we asked him what was
wrong. He simply replied, 'I don't want to talk about it, homes.' He
has lots of friends from the 'hood' and derives much of his language
from them. He brings a smile to our face when we think of him. :)

Other than that our week has been great, we ate awesome Latino foods,
I played dolls with a ten year old, and gave a five minute talk in
Sacrament meeting. We're pressing forward here and wishing all a very
Merry Christmas! :D

No cae mucho nieve aqui,

Elder Vance

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hello from Athens Georgia


Basically I love you all and don't have too much time to write this
email. But the gist of what has gone down recently is I am now in a
different area with a new companion. Well, sorta new. I was actually
with him before I trained my last companion. So we are reunited in a
new area. :)

Athens is a lot more open with fields and farms and long roads with
not much traffic. I am driving a car now, which is pretty neat. No
accidents so far. I'll try and keep it that way.

Elder Dudley, my current companion, and I are off to a great start of
hard work! He only has six weeks left in his mission so he is trying
to make it the best possible. I am going to do my best to help him
accomplish that. :D

Our apartment is clean, are car is clean, our clothes are hung up, our
Mormon.Org cards are ready to go and we are prepared to baptize
nations! Or at least do whatever the Lord would have us do. The branch
is the Oconee River Spanish branch and they are great! Each branch has
it's differences and each has it's great, great members (which is
everyone, cause they're all great!). I'm excited to get to work here
and am always thankful for the prayers and support form home.

My Thanksgiving was good too. Had two dinners of normal thanksgiving
food with a little Latin twist in some areas. Just for those who were
wondering. :3

Les qiuero mucho!

Elder Vance
 Me and the Bartlet family. I am standing kind of awkwardly...but they are awesome!

My district before I left. The camera looks to have some spots on its lens. 
But these are a great bunch of  Elders :)

Member in our branch and I think that's her little cousin. The little one is so cute! We walked in the first time and she said 'Oh, you guys are handsome!' and then she kissed us on the cheek...Do i need to talk to President about that?? ;P


What's good family and friends?? Elder Vance here with another little update on mission life here in good, ol' Georgia.

So this week is transfer week! Yikes! Different companions, different areas, and sometimes even different languages!! At this point most missionaries here in the Georgia Atlanta-North mission have already found out where they are going. I am currently in Roswell, GA in the Cumorah Spanish branch with my 'son' Elder Chilcote. I will now be leaving this area and going to Athens, GA to the Oconee Spanish branch with Elder Dudley. Elder Dudley just happens to be the elder that I was with BEFORE I trained Elder Chilcote. So I will be spending the last six weeks of his mission with him! :) Doesn't happen too often that you get put back with the same companion so quickly but 'I'll go where you want me to go' :)

I'm sad and excited to be leaving this area. The members are great, the investigators too, and I'll be leaving behind many good memories. Of course I'll be taking a copy of those memories with me in my brain so I'll have them for hopefully quite a while!

Our good friend Johnny has not been baptized yet but his faith in Jesus Christ has for sure grown in the past month. I don't think we could have done much more or taught any differently to have gotten him baptized while I was here. He has progressed a lot and is moving toward his Father in Heaven at his pace. That's just the way it seems to go as a missionary. there is never 'one size fits all' for the way one teaches and helps people enter the waters of baptism. 

Remember, perfection may be the ultimate goal but a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Our Eternal destiny will not be reached here, but we set the tone of our progression in the hereafter through the choices and desires we make and have now. As we desire to come close to God and be more like Christ, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ our ability to act on those desire will be greatly increased beyond our own, mortal, faltering ability. Everyday as a missionary I learn a little bit more about the Plan that God has for us and my love for Him and everyone else grows. No, I'm not too different than when I left home nine months ago, still that goofy, fun-loving redhead kid; But my experiences sure have expanded. Worth every minute :)

Oh, tambien encontramos una rata muerto en la casa de un miebro este manana. Solo si queria saber.

Con mucho amor!

Elder Vance