Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The last melon.

You remember that part in Ice Age, right? You know, the one where the birds are fighting for their melons when all of the sudden there is only one left. And then they all say in unison, 'The last melon!'. 

Well, this is my last 'melon'. My last greeting from the Peach State. My last time ending an email with the title 'Elder' before my name. The last time I'll get to write my mission president about the progress of our investigators and the relationship I have with my companion. The last time I'll get to think of funny phrases in Spanish to send home in my weekly email even though most people won't understand what it means. 

Here's one I made up: Hay muchos misioneros que se van, pero solo hay uno que se Vance.

Haha, I thought that was pretty funny. And so did the few members that I shared it with. (Although it's hard to tell if they were laughing because they thought it was funny or because they had pitied me). 

I loved my time here. If you couldn't decipher that from all of my last emails understand it now. I have grown a great love for  my fellow missionaries, the people native to Georgia, and especially the Latin American people and culture. I can't really  express everything I feel at the close of my mission. So I won't. But the song from the soundtrack of 'The Best Two Years' fits well. 

"Don't you know? Can't you see? I'm not who I used to be.
 Don't you know? Can't you see.. What your love has made of me."

I'm not done being molded but these two years were quite the refiners fire. Where do those fires stem from? The love of God. That's why we change as missionaries. That's why and how I've changed.

Nos vemos. Hasta luego. Que los vaya bien. Que dios les bendiga. Si no me puedes entender, ni modo, Les voy a ver pronto.

Un abrazo de,

Elder Vance
The last melon. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mi penultimo correo electronico

Thank you, Mother, for reminding me of the word 'penultimate'. It means 'second to last'. It's funny because I learned that word in Spanish before English. Well, I guess that's not that funny. But this is, indeed, my second to last email from Georgia. 

We were happy to see our good friend Christian Gutierrez finally get confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love that guy. I'm going to miss him when I'm gone. I'm gonna miss him by his hair...I'm going to miss him everywhere.. Okay, enough trying to quote songs I don't really even know. But I really am going to miss this place; These people; Their smiling faces; Well, they aren't always smiling. Sometimes they are looking at us with tired, squinty eyes wondering why we are at their door waking them up. And at the same time we are wondering why they are still asleep at one in the afternoon. 

No super crazy plans for the rest of my mission other than work. As a popular song for missionaries out here says, 'It's gonna take work! Breaking down the walls between us. Work! Puttin' all the armor on!..something... something...something..' Well, you get the point. :) I really can't express how the mission has affected me. I probably won't see the full implications until much later in my life. But one thing is for sure, I am glad that I chose to serve. Really, you can't get the results from such an experience from anything else. Spiritually, emotionally, physically (unless of course you just gain a lot of weight on your mission. You can get that from a few other experiences. For those of you who are wondering, no I haven't gained really anything out here).

I can't really think of much else to say. I love you all more than I know. Wait, what? Yes. *clears throat* ..anyway.

-Elder Vance

Monday, January 5, 2015

Feliz dos mil quince!

Happy 2015! Are you ready? This year's gonna be great, trust me. How do I know? Well, because with a good perspective on things every year is a great one! And the setting the Gospel of Christ at the center of our lives is a very good way to have a good perspective on things. 

But our new years was great. We stayed up til.....10:31pm..... Nah, I'm just kidding. It was New Year's Eve! So of course we were in bed at 10:30pm. Just like every other night. Yup, no exceptions of those rules, you future missionaries. But we were able to stop by our branch's party that night for just a bit to grab some food and wish everyone a happy new year. They partied hard til three in the morning. We were blessed with the opportunity to help clean up the next morning. :) That's what the missionaries are for, right? Well, kinda.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the not-too-cold whether out here. It rained hard this weekend but it wasn't too cold. It's a bit chilly today but with my thermal leggings under my pants nothing gets me down. Yeah. I'm a wimp in the cold. But who doesn't care about being a whip in the cold weather? This guy! I mean, This Elder!

We have no baptisms planned quite yet but we have been working with a lot of recent converts and less active members and it has been going pretty well. I am sure going to miss these people. Thank goodness we have technology like SnapChat. I mean, how else would I be able to express the sarcastic faces I make to these great people on a daily basis in a ten second window of time as well as with an easy-to-use, nationally connected user interface?? The people of Georgia have only a short time left with my actual presence, but they shall not forget this face and hair quite yet.

I hope you set some great goals for 2015! Don't break them too soon! <3's all around! 

-Elder Vance