Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"Kevin, you are so weird." "He's not weird, he's awesome!"

Buenos dias! (I'm not sure what that means but I'm pretty sure it's French or something. Hm, German, maybe?)

The highlight of our week was definitely our time spent with our top three investigators, Maria and her two sons Kevin and Brandon. I have mention them before and how they didn't show up for church two weeks ago. We stopped by late and turns out they were all sick. *PHEW* Just like when you send a text to somebody and they don't respond your mind starts going 100mph reasoning as to why they didn't respond. We do the same things as missionaries.

"They didn't show up for church? Oh no, maybe their car broke down and their cell phones all fell into a puddle of water so they can't call us! Or maybe they got lost and showed up at a different church and are now getting baptized there! Or maybe they realized that they just don't like redheads at all! Oh man, we are just horrible missionaries! "

That's kind of what it sounds like in our heads. But it all just turns out to be our silly imagination most of the time. :) So we were able to have another lesson with them and they actually even came to church yesterday! Best part is that they loved it! Kevin, who is nine, joined his brother Brandon, who is twelve, in the older kids class. And he was participating and everything! Haha I'm serious, these kids are so funny and weird at the same time. I can't help but laugh, shake my head and say 'Kevin, you are so weird!' after he comes up with a very witty comment or super smart response to a question. But I'm always reminded that they are not weird, they are awesome.

They have all accepted to be baptized too. We are looking at the beginning of June for them. Help us out with your prayers to get them there! :)

Other than that the only 'big' news is that we may paint a wall in our apartment purple. Hey, someone has some leftover paint we can use. So, why not?

-El Elder Vancito
District before transfers

New comp Elder Young

New comp Elder Young

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hey!! How are y-...Oh, your faces all froze...

How were all the missionary to family Skype sessions this weekend? Hopefully as good as mine was! Even though at times it felt as though there was nothing much to say of any real significance it was still nice to see the fam. All went well, even though the wifi connection cut out multiple times causing some pretty funny frozen face images. 

This week was good (I probably say that about every week but that's just because no matter what every week is a good one!). Transfers are in two days! My current companion, Elder Welker, is going to one of my old areas with an elder who was also trained by my trainer. Now that I've been out for a bit I have all these connections to people and places around Georgia. So it's fun to hear who is going where and what is happening with old companions and old areas. I am going to get the MTC companion of the Elder who I trained. His name is Elder Young. Never served around him but I only hear good things about him. So I'm excited :) Change always brings excitement. And sometimes tears. And usually growth and progression! And on rare occasions you may see change bring ice cream... Only the best kids of change do. :D

So our top investigators are still those two younger kids, Kevin and Brandon. They haven't been able to come to church because their mom was sick. We stopped by before church yesterday and talked with them. The hope has not vanished, it is still there! We were able to talk with the mom a bit about how she is willing to listen even if somethings we teach are a little different. She pointed out how she is really questioning why she still carries some of her own beliefs. "Conviction or tradition?" she said. So that made us happy :)

I...I love you all. Don't go breaking my heart now... Unless of course you find something better than me, then by all means! 

-Elder Vance :D
Mother's Day Skype call with Elder Vance.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Feast upon the good word. It's the Law!

I love you all. You know that, right? Though my love is imperfect and limited, it is there. 

But you know what I don't love right now? Food. I have had enough of that stuff in my life. I think I am done with it. I am going to start studying seriously the plausibility of an all water diet. 

Okay, I'm not giving up food. But after yesterday I might think hard about it! We were given the opportunity to go with the English ward Elders to their dinner with a loving Haitian family. This family has a tradition going on fifteen years that they do with the missionaries. 'The Law'. That is what is is called. To do the Law one must eat two full plates of food, a bowl of fruit, a piece of cake and then ten Snickers ice cream bars. It may not sound like much but the human stomach wasn't necessarily designed to eat like that, heh. I only got to three bars. :( Not that many. My companion got to nine. He wasn't feeling so well afterward. 

Well, I don't advocate frequent 'feasting' of that kind but I do advocate feasting upon the words of Christ. We are teaching two younger boys, ages nine and twelve, who are just learning how to feast upon the words of Christ. They are very bright and quick to understand and have expressed their desires to be baptized. They sadly did not come to church yesterday and we aren't sure why. We haven't yet been able to talk with them yet. But I know they are very special sons of God who He has allowed to come in contact with us for a reason. :)

Do you all have something special planned for your mother for this Sunday? I know I do! It has something to do with Skype and me talking to a computer screen... But I'm sure you all can come up with something good too :)

-Elder Vance

Tie burning for hump day.  A few weeks after the fact.

A boy and his reptiles.

More from their "selfie" session.  

What happens when you run out of miles in your car. 

Missing his doggies :)

Two missionaries eating "The Law."

Hey... we're... missionaries..Sorry, gotta catch my breath here..

Helloooo there!

How are we all doing today. Good? Great! I'm doing fantastic here as well! 

Not sure if you could guess but what the title suggests is true, we have been riding our bikes. In this lovely area of Stone Mountain we are blessed to drive a nice Volkswagen Jetta. But poor distance planning lead to us being super close to the limit of miles we are allotted to drive meaning we had to pull out the bikes and bike helmets. Riding brought back the memories of my time spent in Roswell on a bike. It is a different experience proselyting on bike because of the ability to stop and talk with most people you see. In our few days of biking we for sure we able to meet some very interesting personalities. We always leave a contact laughing and feeling grateful that we were able to meet that specific person, whether or not they were really interested in what we had to say. My companion, Elder Welker, is a bit sore but glad to be experiencing the mission life the real way. Though he tiredly admitted as we rode the second day, "This was a lot more fun the first time..".

We have been meeting a lot of awesome people who show genuine interest with a potential of Gospel acceptance within the upcoming weeks and months. Wow, I sort of said that like I was giving the statistical reports for the church. Haha, we all know it isn't the amount of baptisms that matter, though numbers have their place, but it is the depth of conversion and the long-term retention of people that allows Zion in her beauty to rise. We had an investigator come to church yesterday who has been reading from the Book of Mormon without needing us to really push him. 

I've come to learn that there really is a need for opposition in all things. It does help me to not get discouraged understating that. It's easy to meet a great new person interested in learning more and then becoming super bummed when the first signs of opposition show up. As I change my mind set from, 'Wow, this person is golden! I really hope there aren't any obstacles with this one!' to, 'Wow, this person has been really prepared. I wonder which obstacles we will need to walk by their side to overcome together' (was that cliche enough?). Something like that. :P Stress, pressure, and opposition are good and are requisites for real change! And I'm not just reading that in books. I have a front row seat to watch it happen in others as well as in myself. But don't be expecting anything more than a young-looking, freckle-faced kid to come home next year. Well, maybe you could add adjectives like 'handsome', 'glowing', 'muscular' and 'always super humble' to that list. Hey, there's nothing wrong with some self-promoting options now and then. :)

Stay safe. Stay warm. Sleep only five minutes more than needed. Try some fried SPAM, its' good.

With lots of love!
Elder Vance