Monday, September 29, 2014

Meet the Mormons!!

Hola friends and family! My, are you looking lovely today. I could just scoop you all up and eat you in one bite. But I won't. :)

The only thing that I can think of to tell you all is give you a short review on the upcoming movie from the church, Meet the Mormons. We were gathered as missionaries and allowed a sneak peak of the movie. It was really, really good! Like really, it was great! It opens up with a bunch of stereo typical Mormon jokes and even clips from television shows and movies that make reference to the Mormons. Then it goes into the lives of six different individuals from around the world who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. Each is so different from the other and each is so amazing. I really just have only good things to say about this movies, and it's not just because I am a missionary. (Or is it?) But honestly, you need to all go when it comes to theaters near you. The opening day will determine how long it stays in theaters and a bunch of other stuff, so get your friends and some popcorn and head on in! You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be moved. :D

On the side of missionary work in Norcross, Georgia, we are doing well. We are finding a lot more people to teach and my new companion, Elder Galvez, is really teaching me a lot about being an effective missionary. There is a difference between working hard and working smart. You need to do both anyway. :) I am still running each morning, which isn't too unbearable anymore. We'll see if I get those nice six-pack abs from it though. If not I want my money back!

It is getting chillier down here. Sweater weather is coming up soon! Be prepared!

Con carino y chocolate

Elder Vance

Taking people to church

Sunday Selfie

Monday, September 22, 2014

Simon yes, "Ay, cuate! Como anda?

My fellow citizens of Earth! I am doing fantastic! Just thought you'd like to know. I mean, what else am I supposed to say? It's true of course. I really am doing fantastic. I loved my time with Elder Auelua but I am no longer with him. I am now with Elder Galvez de Leon. Fancy, right?

So last week was transfers and the rumor was that I was getting as a new companion Mr. elder Galvez, whom I met in the MTC actually. He is from Guatemala and is a super good missionary. Lie, really. He is good. And I am excited to be with him. I had always wanted to but never thought I would. And now we are together and ready to rock and roll! Of course not really rock and roll because that music is not approved for us. We'll just stick with our nice MoTab for now :)

Some changes taking place so far with my new companion is our morning workouts. I have never been a fan of running in the mornings and Elde Galvez is. So w are running! A lot. And sure I don't LOVE it yet but I might, perhaps, just possibly be able to say that I'm not as tired during my morning studies now that I've been running more. So hopefully that keeps up! We have high goals for these weeks together and by golly we are going to achieve them! :D

It is really fun to be with a native companion because, well, they have perfect Spanish. And I get to learn a bunch of cool, new words. Like 'cuate' which is another way of saying 'friend'. Or 'simon' for 'yes' instead of just 'si'. I'ts just a whole bunch of fun. Overall I think we will do well together and I am sure ready to learn a lot from him. 

Take...luck! Take care of the luck that you might have...Don't everybody look at me, I'm a moron. (Brian Regan for ya?)

-Elder Vance

Monday, September 15, 2014

Errors in Translation

The two Elders nervously look at each other and then down at the headsets they were just handed. No amount of door contacts could have prepared them sufficiently to handle a task like this. Their shiny, brown, new shoes couldn't even fill the pit in their stomachs that at this point. 

'Do they seriously want us to do this?' the darker Elder said to his fellow redheaded missionary. 'I mean, speaking Spanish is one thing but translating is a whole different story!'

'Come on, you've got this. You're from El Salvador for crying out loud!' 

'Well, yeah. But I don't know enough English. You know more Spanish than I know English, so you do it!' he said as he pushed the translating equipment into the hands of the other.

'Are you kidding? I can't translate! Well, I did it once but that was a long time ago and it was only for one person. Man, I was so nervous for that.'

'I'm nervous for this too! Just do it with me, we can take turns.'

Elder Vance was the picture of being on the brink of decision. His fiery hair glowed as though his thoughts were setting his head ablaze. Elder Portillo had his usual huge smile on his face as he nervously laughed in reply to the stare of his missionary friend. A voice began to echo from the speakers as the second counselor of the ward took his place at the pulpit and began to welcome the congregation to the sacrament meeting and following Primary program.

'They're starting now. They need us!' Elder Portillo spat out.

'Alright! Let's do it!' Elder Vance said in reply as they plugged their device into the wall and got ready to speak. 'I mean, how hard could this really be? It's just a bunch of kids.'

Though they were unsure of their ability, the two, young Elders took their seats and began to speak. Their exiting, new adventure began.

So, did you like that? That was my literary-artistic way of portraying my experience of having to translate from English to Spanish for the combined primary program we had on Sunday. Haha, it was actually pretty fun. Some of the children who got up to speak their part were unintelligible so we had to do our best to get something from it. "Umm, I think she said 'Jesus loves me'."

Our week was great overall. We have three people with a baptismal date for October and are hoping all goes well. Transfers are on Wednesday and I will be staying and my companion will most likely be leaving. We heard from the grapevine of who I will be getting as a companion but of course anything is possible. So I'll let you know next week.

No other huge news at this point. Yes, I love you still. No, don't turn and look at your neighbor, I'm talking to you. ;D
-Elder Vance

p.s. I heard Apple announced the new iPhone6. Not that it has anything to do with me right now, just checking .:3

White boy gets schooled

A Micronesian family shows Elder Vance how it's done

White boys can't jump or break open coconuts

Monday, September 8, 2014

Yes, my birthday just past. Yes... I know I don't look 21.

Estos son las mananitas!!

Sorry, that's just part of a Spanish song that is sung at birthdays. I heard a bit of it last week as people congratulated me on surviving this long and wished me many more years of life :) It's funny what people say when we ask them how old we look. We get all kids of answers. Some think I am way older than I am but I think most agree I look a tad younger than twenty one. I'm just going by faith that that's how old I actually am.

Thank you to all of those who sent me cards. Your words and prayers mean more than anything to me! And thank you mucho, Mom, for the huge box of food. I now have enough cereal to last til doomsday. Or at least until transfers. Whichever comes first.

The work has gone on here as usual. In our mission there is a push to increase the amount we work with the members as opposed to simply knocking on doors. We will be getting trained more about that this week, but, hey, if it means less doors to knock than I'm down! Of course I don't mind tracting :) Switching things up a bit wouldn't be a problem, though. We have no super big changes in our investigator pool so far but we meet a lot of great people everyday. We're looking for 'the one'!

We had a nice, normal Fast and Testimony meeting yesterday in church. Nobody got up and said anything crazy or told super long stories. So I hope that's a sign this week will be good, haha. :) I hope you all have a great week as well. I'm still kicking around here in Norcross, Georgia. Keep kicking wherever you are! And as my father once said and possibly quoted from someone else, not sure... 'Remember, wherever you are.. There you are.' 

-Elder Vance :D

Birthday boy

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Branch Baptism

This week was a good one overall and I'm left with more experience and a sunburn to remember it all. The sunburn mostly comes from playing soccer with our branch at the picnic they had yesterday. Man, do those Hispanics love to play soccer. We tried to get a game of rugby going as well but we had few takers.

Turns out that my companion and I did not have a baptism this past Saturday like we had hoped for. The other elders did on Sunday though, which was nice. :) They had been working with the husband of a member family who asked for himself to be taught and eventually was baptized. It's always the best when the person does it for himself and is not compelled to do anything. The same thing happened with our investigator Christian. He just still needs to have the actual baptism. He is seventeen so we have to wait for actual permission given by his mom to go through with it. But he is still strong!

We recently found a new family of five that we taught the Restoration of the Gospel to and gave copies of the Book of Mormon. They are la familia Luna. From Mexico. Catholic from birth. The usual. But they are super humble, funny, and like most other Latin Americans, generous with their food. They seem more legitimate than the other family of seven we found a while back. So pray for them and we will do our best to help them along!

And just in case you were wondering, yes, I turn the big twenty one this week! Finally, the age where you get what you have been waiting for your whole life. That's right, a driver's license that is horizontal instead of vertical. Yep..What? Did you think I was talking about something else?

Love you all! Stay safe, warm, and full of oxygen!
-Elder Vance

p.s. And I am not saying you have to, but just in case you were going to send a birthday card you would send it to this address:

105 Treecorners Pkwy
Norcross, GA 30092

Just so it doesn't get lost in the mail. :)

P day soccer game
Zone Conf.

90th birthday for Papi!