Monday, February 24, 2014

Just Checking In.

Hey world! It's been a week already? Time sure does fly. Unless of course it has a fear of flying, then it just takes the bus (Time wouldn't ride a train, though, because that's just silly).

This past week we have happily found old investigators and older less actives who shall now be fellow-shipped back into the fold. Or at least receive the best efforts of two fancy dressed ministers of the truth. And if that doesn't work then yes, my companion and I will step in an see what we can do. No, I kid, I kid. We will do our best and God will do the rest! Not that He only helps after our efforts are expended. On the contrary He is our source of power that pushes us to our limits day to day!

Our relationship with our branch is growing as well and we are doing our best to really focus on the referrals given to us by members. After all, this work can't reach it's fullest without everyone pitching in! Or rather 'sickling in' if I were to stick to the example given by the Savior (D&C 4). :)

I am happy it is warming up here and hope that it stays this way forever. And ever. It feels good. And now that the Mexican cook outs are coming along we will get offered even more food than ever! Oh boy I'm excited! Those blessings naturally come to hose who serve the Lord. Well, I guess really as long as you speak Spanish and are somewhat friendly you could get offered some delicious foods too. Rosetta Stone here you come, right? ;D

All is well in Zion, all is well! (As long as we keep working it is!!) I pray you all have a blessed week filled with missionary moments. 

Abrozos y besitos

Elder Vance
Mom can I have one?

Like my new watch?


Letter (Poem) from Feb 17, 2014

Transfers are here and looks like I'm staying.
Another six weeks here in Athens??? Hey, I'm just saying..
Same companion, same branch, same troubles ahead.
Honestly, I'd rather be back home in my bed.
Am I serious? OF COURSE NOT! Who am I kidding?
It's too worth it to do the Lord's bidding.
I'm stronger each time I knock on another door.
Progression and learning, Yep, that's what a mission is for.
I love my companion, I love all the people
I love our little church white it's white, cross-less steeple
Now lets go harvest cities and baptize those nations
This truly is a work worth of celebrations. :D

There you go. My week in poem form. I have little time right now so that's how I decided to explain how things are going. We were stuck in our apartment for a day this week due to more ice and snow and we walked for about two days after that because the roads were all closed. We were able to find an awesome previous investigator and extend a baptismal date to her! Hopefully we will be filling up that font in the coming weeks. We shall see :)

Love you all!!

de su hermanito favorito,

El Elder Vance

Just hanging around UGA Football field.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Nitty-Gritty

We all hear those stories of the big miracles that happen as a missionary. Those 'Golden' investigators being found and baptized. Converts getting shunned by their family for joining the church but still pressing forward because they have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Elders struggling with the language all of the sudden being able to speak clearly and fairly fluently unto the confounding of the wise and learned. Finding $20 in your pocket while doing laundry on Preparation Day. All big, bright, and shiny stories. And they are praiseworthy, too. Absolutely fantastic, testimony builders that are very fun to listen to! But so often are the other twenty three months not talked about much. You know, the nitty-gritty part of missionary work. The 'behind the scenes' that has to take place in order for those other big events to happen.

The hours of morning studies, the daily planning sessions, the two to three hour weekly planning sessions, the piles of paperwork needed to be filled out, the District trainings, the Zone trainings, the scrambling from door to door before church starts to try to get people to come to church, the last minute phone calls to find a member to come with you to a lesson after another member had to cancel for work; 

The hours upon end of walking up and down streets meeting all sorts of different people who come from all sorts of different backgrounds with all sorts of different needs and interests, the times where we have to explain over, and over in the absolutely most straight forward way what Priesthood authority means for them to still not understand it well, and even the times where you think you think you see a quarter on the ground but it's actually just a round-ish rock. All of that and more go into moving the work forward.

It's all important, it's all necessary, and it's all worth it. Not just for the big, bright, shiny moments but because of all the little miracles. All of the little rays of light that warm our spiritual faces every day. Those moments when you look into the eyes of someone you have been teaching for two weeks and feel a deep love for them. The memories of previous people talked to who lit up your day but who you never saw again. The moment where after hours of prayers and tears you feel a small glimpse of joy, just for a moment, that gives you enough hope to go on. That is what makes up a mission.

So, nothing huge has happened this week. But still, so much has happened. I feel like a rubber band being stretched further, and further. It's fun stuff :D

Love you all!!!

Elder Vance

Monday, February 3, 2014

Saul to Paul, Brandon Vance to Elder Vance

How goes it everyone? Yes as you may have heard we had some snow. It was bad enough to shut lots of things down for a while. You'd think like, what, six feet of snow to do that? Well it was about two inches or so. Georgia did not get it's merit badge in Snow Preparedness. Maybe Utah will teach it some day. But we were able to make a few little snowmen and throw a few snowballs. So all is well in Zion! :)

We were able to have four investigators come to church yesterday! Still no commitments for baptism but I'm sure with all of this work a small difference is at least being made. A difference inside of me is for sure being made. I was reading about the Bible missionary Pal this morning and  was really impressed by, well, everything. He went from persecuting to saints to being an example for all of them. A lot of people ask us missionaries why we have that tile of Elder and I think at least one of the connections that could be made can be seen when looking at Paul. Along with a life change his name was changed as were the names of other ancient prophets. So for these two years God want us to have a pretty big life change as we are dedicated everything we have to His service. So the name change ties it all up in a pretty, red bow. No, I'm no Paul right now but I definitely love the example he set for all of us. And he is only one of many.

No more goat heads seen or eaten this week only prickly potato and sweet bun and hot chocolate breakfasts. I love you all and wish you the best, blessed week. And I will pray for all of you Bronco fans.

Elder Vance
Snow Day!

The Snow that shut down Georgia

Snow Selfies

So we ate dinner with some investigators last night and for 'dessert' we had this prickly potato thing! It's called a chayote and basically feels like a...a...what are those little prickly animals called? Not porcupines...oh well. So it feel like one of those things and tastes like a potato. You don't eat the outside but you open it up and spoon out the inside. Not bad :)