Monday, July 28, 2014

"You have to shout, there is a live chainsaw next to me!" "I can't hear you, what??"

*ding dong* Hello. My name is Elder Vance. And I would like to share with you my most amazing week. (That is to the tune of the opening song of the Book of Mormon musical, which I don't particularly approve of but have just happened to heard that song a few times..)

All musicals aside, my week was fairly eventful. Especially service-wise. Lots and lots of service. Which is great, of course! But at the same time pretty tiring. We helped people move, we helped people sand and paint, and we even helped people remove large pine trees from their backyard! The trees one has been a once a week project for a few weeks. This member family is aiming to flatten and clear out their yard requiring the trees to be removed. The husband of the home scales up the trees shopping off branches and we haul them out. Then when he starts on the main tree trunk, we all stand by pulling on a rope to help the tree fall AWAY from the house or other people. Don't worry, it's completely safe. As long as we run quick enough.. But it is pretty funny to see the husband and wife talk while he is forty feet up in a tree with a chainsaw going. They just shout at each other but still can't hear or understand one another. Haha, oh married life. Not that I'd now the first thing about it..

Anyway, this week we found a few more investigators that seem promising. A Catholic hermana who opened up to us and started crying on her doorstep and two grand kids of a member Sister. We are still teaching, or trying to teach, the family of seven. We haven't been able to see them in a bit though. :( What I've learned though is that no matter what there is always going to be bumps in the road. But that's part of life, right? :) We can't weaken our resolve! But we can stop for frozen yogurt along the way. 

My companion is so good. He loves the people we teach so much and has great faith in finding miracles. He is an example to me! And after the mission we will both go back to his place in a Hawaii and chill there. He's got the hook ups, as he likes to put it..

'The struggle is real' -Elder Auelua (My comp) Copyright 2014...All rights reserved.

Love you all!

-Elder Vance

Thursday, July 24, 2014

You're killing me Chris.

I love meeting people! 
Well, I guess it would be more accurate to say that I love meeting nice people! And even more, I enjoy meeting nice people with whom I can relate. Most Latinos are super nice and will talk and give you food; and its awesome we talk and they laugh because you are white and can't eat chili peppers. But for the most part I can't really relate in too many ways with most of them, for most of them have immigrated from their country and are struggling to find work and support a family and don't know English. I definitely understand more about and sympathize more for their cultures and struggles, but I don't really share those struggles with them. So for me it is a sweet treat to knock on a door and be greeted by someone that I can say that I am similar to in personality and experience. I'm thinking now of a funny guy named Chris that we recently ran into.

"Nice to meet you, Sir. We are missionaries for Jesus Christ. How's your day been going?", we say to a man in his late twenties sporting glasses and a beard.

"...I'm alive.", he replies with a comically-sinister look in his eyes. (Kinda like this --> O.o)

From the get-go I knew that if given the opportunity I could be good friends with this guy. With a little talking we found that he was a self-proclaimed, anti-social guy who enjoyed reading and had actually read part of the Book of Mormon thanks to his old Mormon friend from a while back. I guess it's just the part of me that doesn't want people to feel left out that gravitates towards those who get classified as 'the nerd' or 'loner' because they play video games or like comic books or just are a bit awkward around people (Who doesn't do awkward things around people at some point??). And because I too have a special place in my heart for some good ol' video games and certain cartoon shows and other 'nerdy' things, I feel like I can connect with others who do as well! 

So we talked with Chris about what the message was that we shared and tried to get him to let us in and talk more. He was somewhat resistant claiming to have social-anxiety and just wanting to 'go crawl in a corner somewhere and sleep.' That's when I looked up to the ceiling and said, 'You're killing me Chris!' In the end we gave him a Book of Mormon and our card. He thanked us for being friendly and talking. I hope he calls us or that we see him again. But whatever the case I enjoyed the chance to meet that guy. Haha, oh Chris...

Loving people is awesome! Connecting is sweet! Sharing the Gospel is where it's at!

Te amo, te adoro, te compro un loro.

Elder Vance

Monday, July 14, 2014

I love my companion!

Buenos dias hermanos!  Que tal? Como estan? Acaban de llegar del trabajo? Oh, que beuno! Just starting my email the way I start a contact. 

I hope you are all having a great summer full of twists and changes and new things and lots of sleeping in. That's pretty much how it is for us down here. Minus the sleeping in. And not too many twists or changes either. We did recently find a family of eight to teach! Please pray with us that their desire can be sincere and that we can catch the Spirit enough to teach them! 

Have you all emailed my lil' sister yet? She should be in Canada by now! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, my sister recently decided to move out of the country and become a street urchin, knocking on doors for her food and water and making a lot of people give her odd looks. Yep, she's a missionary. Well, that's accurate minus the street urchin thing. I'm sure she has a nice, slightly worn, possibly cockroach infested apartment to stay in. Pray for her!

My companion and I have been growing closer together these past days. I love those moments after conflict where we talk it out and open up. Some of the sweetest moments tasted my this elder have been shared between my companions and I working out problems. Elder Auelua and I get along great and are so glad to be working together. We have only taught a few official lessons to people to we are not that used to teaching together. But that's why we talk it over and work until we get it right! :D And he turned 21 this past week. Happy birffffday copmanero, you!

Other than that we are still walking and knocking and talking and stalking.. I mean, not stalking. O.O Well, at least it's probably not technically stalking. But hey, we have to be on top of those less actives and investigators when they aren't coming to church!

-Elder Vance :D

Converts and investigators from his previous area...

Monday, July 7, 2014

There are flying squirrels in our apartment.

My dear friends and family, I'm overjoyed to be able to email you once again! 

How's that for an opening line? I worked hard on it, I promise. But I am glad to be talking with you, in the closest way that we can as missionaries. To make it a more personal experience just imagine my voice speaking this email. And if you by some chance don't know what my voice sounds like, it's somewhat of a mix between Morgan Freeman and the guy who does the opening for General Conference. Got it? 

Well, Elder Auelua and I are doing great together. He is different in many ways than all of my companions. For one he is the first darker skinned companion I've ever had, which is sweet. We laugh well together, work well together and study well together. We are in the finding mode right now because we have zero investigators. Zip! But it's good for us. All the knocking doors and street contacting we are doing together is really helping us get better acquainted with how each other works, talks, teaches and eats. (And believe me, we eat a lot!) This isn't our work, it's the Lord's. So we just have to keep doing our best and setting goals to improve and let His will be done. Sounds like a plan!

So Elder Auelua is a bigger guy. He is part Samoan and Hawaiian, so it makes sense.  And he loves to use that size against all of the other elders. In an interesting way. He waits until you are in your bed asleep or just not expecting it. And then from somewhere nearby the soft, deep voice of Elder Auelua is heard chanting part of the song, 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' ...Oh-weem-bo-whap....oh-weem-bo-whap... And then he gets you! The 'flying squirrel', as he likes to call it, gets you. And you feel all 300-Polynesian-lbs land on you. It's just as fun as it sounds. :) But he is for sure the life of the zone.

Anyway, I love you all and have got to get back to work. Pray for the missionaries in your areas! (And my newly-made missionary sister!) This work isn't just for the missionaries. :D

-Elder Vance