Monday, March 31, 2014

Jesus Esta Pasando Por Aqui!!!

What's good family and friends?? I can feel it in the air that change is on the horizon for all of us in the near future. Don't you love change? 

The change that will be taking place for me is another good, ol' transfer. I will be moving from the Oconee River branch, in which I am now serving, to the Stone Mountain branch in Lilburn. Lilburn happens to also be the home and headquarters of this the Georgia Atlanta North mission so I will have the opportunity to be around the President and his wife as well as the Assistants to the President a bit more often. 

I am excited and of course nervous for this transfer. No one said you couldn't love something without being completely nervous about it sometimes. I mean, if you miraculously found out that the Second Coming was happening tomorrow wouldn't you be a bit excited and nervous? At least maybe at first. But just as with all good changes, one eventually adjusts and moves on and increases in patience and love and joy. Well that's the goal, right? But it seems that we have in front of us all a lifetime of 'bearing with patience our afflictions with a firm hope that one day we shall rest from all our afflictions' (Alma 34:41)

Well there was your Spiritual-V8 for the day. :D But I exhort you all (exhort = big invite. Like, I highly suggest you to do whatever it is I'm inviting you to do..Scripture language. :3 ) to take more time out of your day to read your scriptures. I'm telling you, there are some great hidden treasures in them. 

About the work specifically we were able to have one of our investigators, Elvia, come to sacrament meeting yesterday! Yay! She brought her two kids as well. She had been attending regularly about five years ago but them stopped. Now that we found her again we have been really trying to do everything we can to get her to church without literally dragging her there. She is from Peru so she cooks amazingly! They left after the first hour, but I'm not complaining because that is progress. She is just one of the people I am sad to be leaving. But I am being replace by my 'son', the elder I trained, so he will do just fine continuing the work of his great dad. ;D As a missionary you always have your ears open to hear the progress of people in older areas you've been in. Love is strong in the mission field. At least it is as you continually try your best to have the Spirit with you. Honestly, it has been a witness to me of the divinity of this work all the time that I have felt a deep love for the people I teach. Till we meet at Jesus' feet.

The title of this email is a line from a song that was sung in a little Pentecostal church Elder Thomas and I went to. 'La iglesia de dios casa de santidad' was the name, I think (The church of God house of holiness). It was a lot like the other one I previously went to. They were all very enthusiastic about how they worshiped God. You want to randomly shout praises to God from your seat? Feel free when you are there! We saw and heard a nice mini-play about Abraham and also heard a few songs about Jesus. I have great respect for all of the members there and what they taught about raising your family with a strong, strong faith in Christ. Really, it is churches like these that give people the foundation to travel through life and one day accept the Restored Gospel in it's fullness. It did get pretty hot in that little room though. :p

Long email this time, sorry, but sometimes there is just lots to say. Or maybe there isn't anything to say and I just go on and on about nothing. Whatever the case I'm glad you still know who I am and I hope to be able to remember your names when I get home. ;)

con carino,

Elder Vance

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Missionary Fun!

!Buenos Dias!

So this past week I was able to have some enjoyable experiences including another trip to the ER. No, three hour trips to the ER because your companion with a shrimp allergy mistakenly ate some aren't always loaded with fun. But while there I not only was able to have some nice Book of Mormon study, I also enjoyed speaking with a nice Mexican family as they came and sat near me. We are now going to visit them this weekend! It is so very easy to make new Latino friends especially as a missionary. :)

I also had the opportunity to do an exchange with one of my Zone leaders, Elder Galvez. He came into the mission field with me and is from Guatemala. He has spent the past few months working in an English ward because of his leadership position, which made him really fun as we contacted in an all-latino neighborhood. Perfect language skills do help as a missionary but the most important language is that of the Spirit. He definitely has both. It was very funny to see how bold and straight forward you can get with people. Well, with people from Central and South America at least.

Elder Galvez: "Oh so you are Catholic? We are Mormons."

Senora: "Why?"

Elder Galvez: "Because it's the true church!"

In the end, a straight up invitations for people to out of no where become Mormons doesn't go far. But it is a fun way to start a conversation.

Elder Galvez: "So you went to our church before? What did you think?"

Random guy: "Well, it was...unique."

Elder Galvez: "Oh.. So do you want to be unique too?"

We worked hard that day but didn't even feel like we were working because we enjoyed it so much.
He has definitely taught me that a strong love and testimony of the book of Mormon is key to being a missionary. Every time he told people he knew the Book of Mormon was true I could feel that he really believed it. Great example. :) We will be seeing one another at BYU Provo after our mission time is over too. Long conversations into the night about mission stories and Avatar: The Last Airbender marathons await us both. But for now we are engaged in a great cause and cannot come down!

I'm excited for General Conference! Are you?? Love you all. Got to go.

Elder Vance :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Errors in Translation

Good morning dear friends and family. :) How's the whether where you are at? It's a nice rainy day here in Athens, Georgia. It's not horrible though. I enjoy when it thunders and lightnings! Though i has only rained today... No loud thundering quite yet..

This morning, though, I had the opportunity to translate for a woman at her orthodontist appointment. It's kinda funny what actually gets through the translation process. At least it is for me. 

What the orthodontist says:

'Well it seems you have a sever case of *long teeth disease name* and are in need of urgent care from your dentist before any further action of moving or adding missing teeth can take place. If we don't act now you could possibly lose you teeth in the next ten or fifteen years.'

What I say to the patient:

'Uhh, well he says you need to clean your teeth better.... Tic Tac?'

Haha, well it went better than that. But it is a tad nerve-racking having to translate for people. But it is also really fun. :) Will I do it for a living??? ..No. But I'm sure I'll get to be useful to multiple people down the line of my life.

This week we were able to have a meeting with a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy as well as have a baptism in our branch. It ended on a very spiritually high note. :) It was not an investigator of my companion and I but my companion was able to baptize her. She is a 22 year old girl from Nicaragua visiting her family. Or looking to get married.... Or both. I don't know, but she was very ready to receive the gospel despite opposition from some of her family members. 

That is about it for now I suppose. We must be on our way to Walmart. Or Target if we are feeling fancy. Eh, all we are buying is Luck Charms anyway. 

Love you lots!!

Elder Vance

P.S...... More about his zone conf
We had an amazing zone conference with Elder Kopishke from the first quorum of the seventy. He is from Germany so he kinda sounded like President Uchtdorf. He had a better accent though. But the whole meeting was just us aking questions and them him following the Spirit as he answered us. It was a six hour meeting! With lunch of course. And I wished it could have gone longer. It was so gooooood!!!! His wife had a thick German accent and was so cute as she spoke. She looked like she was going to burst as she spoke because she was so happy about the Gospel. Kinda like an overly excited Grammy. :) I loved it!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

If that's not the biggest oversight in the universe...

Quick weekly update! ....In poem form.

Interesting week, that much is quite true
A few good things accomplished and lots still more to do

Three days stuck at home as my companion was blowing chunks!
Me just sitting at my window sling-shotting rocks and small chipmunks (I kid!)

After lots of Ibuprofen and one trip to the ER (no joke!)
My companion is all better and enjoying his Diet Coke

We had the amazing blessing of hearing an Apostle of the Lord
Who brought a powerful spirit with the sound of his soft words

Now that its Monday and we are back on track and ready for another great week
We'll shout praises to God and go forth for Zion as the scattered elect we seek

...I'm sorry for so many poems but I just have to shake things up from the normal emails. :D Yes we went to the Hospital for my companion's shoulder pain (really random too) and he is all better now. Well, let's hope he is. :D Our branch is having a baptism this Saturday, which is great! Not from us though. There are four elders in our branch. But it doesn't matter who does it, it is a blessing all the same.

Yay for spring break! Have fun and be safe! :D ...unless you don't have spring break yet. Patience is a virtue :)

-Elder Vance

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hello, beloved!

Beunos dias!

I haven't much time at all to write this email but I just want you all to know I love you and am doing great. I really am seeing improvement in the way I work and the way my companion and I work together. I am still the district leader here in Athens and am trying to help out my fellow missionaries in their areas. I think it is fun :)

This weekend we will get to hear from Elder Cook from the Quorum of the Twelve. Exciting! I love each opportunity we get to listen to a general authority of the church speak to us. I'll let you know whether he brings good tidings of great joy or sends fire and brimstone raining down upon us. :) Only the Lord knows.

Spanish is great, the food is greater. The branch is chugging along as we try and find all those lost sheep out there. I am always grateful for your prayers on our behalf!!

con mucho amor,
Elder Vance

p.s. Oh ya, I highly suggest watching the newer Mormon message about bullying! It's super great :) I may have shed some tears whilst watching it. ;')

Elder Vance's imagining what the missionaries, the son's of Mosiah, email home might sound like;

Well...13 more years to go. I wonder how their emails home were. 'Hey mom. Doing well here with the Lamanites. I'm just working as a servant for the King so far, watching sheep, cleaning horses and stuff. Almost got married too! (I'm tellin you, just because I am a missionary all these girls want me!) Oh ya, I chopped off a few arms yesterday and I might have killed a few guys with my sling. Hey, it was p-day and they wanted to fight. We'll see how this one turns out. Talk to you later! -Amon"