Monday, December 29, 2014

It's go time!

"Well, hey everybody! Merry Chri-" 


"Woah, hey, I just wanted to wish every a merr-" 

"No! Just stop! It's January already. You can just say 'Hey'. "

"Well, 'Mr. Grouchy-Pants', it's actually only December 29th." 

"Like two days makes a big difference! The point is that Christmas came and is now gone and you'll have to wait til next December to mention it again."



"...and a Happy New year!"


Hello everybody! Just a little fun dialogue I spit out to represent how some of you might be feeling right now. Are you Christmas-ed out yet? Well, you at least have eleven months to recover. As for me, myself, and I it was an enjoyable week. Being Santa's elves and delivering 'Secret Santa' gifts, lots of yummy food, Skyping with the family, completely, totally-unexpected-visits from aunts, uncles, and cousins; you know, the usual. Well, that last one wasn't very 'usual' but it defiantly was unexpected. But what else can you expect when some of your extended family is going to Florida and you're in Georgia. 

Anyway, it is no longer the Holiday season. Now.. it's go time! Especially for those of us missionaries who only have a few weeks left in full-time service. No way I'm spending my time with overly long visits to member's homes we are hitting the pavement. We have already found a few really sweet new investigators and we have hopes to find some more. We are doing more tracting and working with some less active members and families. The members are really supportive and will help us out when we ask for help. Church also is changing from 10am to 2pm for 2015. And for the Spanish branch that means more after-church food partaking. Nothing to complain about on my part. :) 

With love and the best new year's regards,

Elder Vance

Monday, December 22, 2014

Let it drip, let it pour, let it flood!

Hey family, friends, and future GANM missionaries. I add that last one because I found out that a few missionaries in my mission read some of my emails home before they came into the field. They simply searched 'Georgia Atlanta North Mission' on Google and happened upon my Blog of emails. I guess I'm famous now or something. Or at least I'd like to imagine that I am. So if you happen to be one of those future missionaries, hello there. Get ready to serve in the best, most waffle-house'd mission ever! 

There is still no snow down here and it's not too cold. It is wet occasionally but that's not a huge problem...if you are lucky enough to have a car and not be on bike of  course! :D But even so, the sky isn't the only thing pouring down these days. So our washing machine only has two water-level settings, 'small' and 'extra large'. I thought that is strange so I decided to try and put it in the middle and see if it would fill to 'medium' level. Turns out it doesn't work like that. It's kind of an older machine. So we didn't know anything was wrong until maintenance came knocking at our door asking if we had a leak somewhere. I said, 'No i don't think...Oh my gosh!' I turned to the washing machine to see it flooding all over the floor. I had confused the machine to the point where it didn't know when to stop filling. Os it didn't. And it soaked through the floor into the neighbors first floor apartment. 

Jeepers, first I hit a little girl with my car, then I flood my neighbors apartment. What next? It turned out fine. The workers came in and sucked all the water up and gave us new floor padding under the carpet. The good thing is that they cleaned out under and behind the washer and dryer, which is nice! :) 

But on a more spiritual note we will be having a baptism this Tuesday for our good friend Christian. He's been waiting a long time for this and so have we. I'm glad I was able to be here with him form the beginning of his teaching to his actual baptism. We'll need your prayers that nothing goes wrong between today and tomorrow!

Oh, one last thing, all of the missionaries got to go to the temple this past weekend! It was my first time my whole mission because it is technically outside of our mission borders. So I was super excited to be able to finally go and enjoy the sweet spirit there and just, oh my goodness, I can't really express myself well enough over email. But it was awesome. If you can go to the Temple, do it. If you can't, well do it anyway! Or makes plans to one day. :) Really worth it.

Love you all! And as a few wizards put it one time, "Happy Christmas Harry!" "Happy Christmas Ron!"

-Elder Vance

Monday, December 15, 2014

I almost committed manslaughter

This week is the week of the mission Christmas get together and Temple trip. We are all super excited down here. Everyone has there new companion and are ready to rock and roll! With regards to missionary work, of course. Actual rock and roll is not approved... :(

Anyway! I'm with Elder Young again and he is excited to be killing me off. I'll do my best to stay focused and not make my companion trunky. I'm not trunky, really, which is the words missionaries use for someone who wants to go home already. I'm going to be way sad when I leave! But change is a part of life I suppose. 

Nothing has really happened that is worthy of report. We didn't have a baptism this past weekend because it was postponed on the request of the investigator. We are meeting with him tonight and will talk about it then. Some people just need a little more time than others. That's alright :)

One more thing, I accidentally hit a little girl with my car. BUT DON'T WORRY! She is fine :) It was a small townhouse complex and there were a lot of little kids running around at a hispanic birthday party, pinata and all. I wasn't paying attention and neither was she when she ran into the middle of the parking lot. I stopped when I finally did notice but still knocked her down with my headlight. Everyone screamed and her dad kicked and dented the car. I had no idea what to say to them! She was fine though. After driving off then concluding that we needed to fill out a police report for legal purposes we went back and talked to the parents. They turned out to be nice and not angry and the police came and took all the info they needed and it was over. In the end we said a prayer with the family and I got a little card with my report number as a souvenir :) the little girl who I had hit, who I found out was celebrating her fifth birthday that day, came up to me and gave me a juice box, which I saw as a peace offering :D 

After it all we took our dinner hour at the Waffle House down the road. Man, it was just a weird day that day.

But any-who! I love you all! Stay warm! Build me a snowman if you have snow in your area!

-Elder Vance :D

Monday, December 8, 2014

Who shall go up to the Mountain of the Lord?

Seasons greetings! Happy holidays! Merry X-mas! 

Just wanted to be politically correct, you know? Who's to say that someone might read my email who doesn't like 'Christmas' and gets all offended. we wouldn't want that to happen, now, would we? 

Just playing! MERRRRYYYY CHRISTMASSS!! Well, not quite yet. Still a few days til the actually 25th, but close enough! this is the time to sing loud a clear that 'Christ' belongs at the forefront of Christmas. Did you watch the Christmas devotional last night? I did. It was great! 

What was also great is that we had a baptism for the little sister of Pedro and went to the Temple and did Baptisms for the dead the following day! Oh how sweet the Gospel sound! We attended the Temple with two of our recent converts, Pedro Chavez and Martin Alanis. IT was a really sweet experience for everyone and made for some great Temple-side photos ;D

We are planning on having the Baptism of Christian Gutierrez this Saturday. Then maybe we'll be able to go to the temple again and do some more Baptisms. 

So transfers are this week and I am pretty sure I am staying here in Norcross until I go home in January. My companion is leaving and actually getting switched to a Portuguese branch. Haha, fun for him! And I have yet to find out who I'll be receiving here in the Norcross branch. We'll see. It'll all turn out fine.

'Til we meet again. Or until I email next week.

-Elder Vance

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dreaming of a White CHRISTmas

I didn't have to look at the calendar to know that it's December already. Why? No, it's not snowing yet. Just that all I am hearing now is that classing Christmas music wherever we go! I don't mind it or anything. It actually brings back a lot of memories of Christmases in the past. 

We are all dreaming of a white Christmas down here as well. Again, not referring to snow. But to people dressed in white standing in a baptismal font. We had a lovely baptismal service this past Saturday for the daughter of one of our other recent converts. And we will be having another one this upcoming Friday for the sister of a different recent convert that we have. If we can keep this up our Christmas will be the whitest one I've had yet! 

Among the various miracles we've seen recently is one of Jesus. No, not the one from the Bible. But the one from El Salvador (which is funny because 'El Salvador' means 'Savior'). Jesus Ventura is a 23 year old who has only been in the USA for about a year now. Upon arriving, illegally, he was apprehended and incarcerated. While in jail he came to the point of praying and pleading with God that if he were allowed to stay he would serve him, he just needed God to guide him. Later he was told he would have to go to court once a year for four years and was allowed to stay for at least that time. Once freed he began searching for a church and happened upon the number of the Mormon misisonaries. He remembered having seen them in his country but never attended before. So around Friday Elder Galvez and I get a message from Jesus saying he wanted to come to church. We got him a ride and stayed by his side for all three hours of church yesterday. We can't say for sure what will happen next but he has expressed desires to become a missionary himself and serve like we do. What a miracle!

I'll keep my eyes, ears, and heart out for more to tell you next week. Love you all!

-Elder Vance


This week was busy.
How about yours?
We had a wedding and knocked on some doors.
Said god bye to our friend and wished him farewell.
Hope he reads his scriptures so he won't end up in....a bad situation.

How are we doing? I don't have much time to type but in brief we had no baptism this week but are planning on having one this Saturday. We did have a wedding, though, of our recent convert Kiet. They are moving back to his place in Massachusetts today which is sad. :( But he was able to get his old job back and continue supporting his new wife's family from there. He is such as good guy! I'll miss that Korean-looking Vietnamese kid!!

I have two more things to say. One sweet and the other not so sweet but pretty funny. As we were driving to the library today to email we noticed a little kid in the car next to us looking at us while we were at a red light. One of the Elders in the car starting waving at him and as well got the attention of the dad. We rolled down our windows to be friendly and say hi and it turns out he spoke Spanish. He looked at us for a moment and then said, "Oh, are you from the Churcho f the Latter-day Saints? I am a member who just came from Mexico about a month ago and I don't know where the church is!" The light turned green so we couldn't talk much but we then pulled over and exchanged info. He said his wife was not a member either and was wanting to be baptized. It was just a crazy 'coincidence' that we found him like that but we know that wasn't just a lucky situation. God works in mysterious ways for the Salvation of his children. I'd count that as a nice, mini-miracle!

Thing number two: it was raining yesterday. But that's not any surprise. The funny and sad thing was that our driver-side front window was stuck down all day. We couldn't roll it up. And we got wet. It was open all night before we found out and then we tried to use a plastic cover to keep us dry but it didn't allow me to see as I drove. (my companion made me drive :p ) But it's not raining today and so far the car has not been stolen. Yay! :D Other than that we are all safe and sound down here in Georgia.

I love you all. Happy Thanksgiving! Merry Christmas! Happy New year! ..Just in case I forget to say those later. 

-Elder Vance

When Elders find an emergency blanket in their apartment...

Wedding time!