Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Hopes of Glory

Happy New Year Everyone!!! I hope you all had a great last year and I look forward to hearing how things are going throughout this year. I also hope we all take some time to think of some things we need to work on in our lives.
I found out that I am staying HERE in Fairfield for another transfer! My address will be the same and I am so excited to have the opportunity to continue to teach the people here and to feel of the spirit they carry in their hearts for another month and a half. Elder Rollins is being transferred to Vallejo and it's hard to see him go. We have been working together for the last three months and he is so great. Looking back on our time together I only see the good stuff. All missionary companionships have their differences, but seeing us overcome those little things so that we could serve the people is what I love to look back on. As a companionship we have really grown so much and it seems like just when you start to work really well together one of you gets transferred; but I know he will be a blessing to the people in Vallejo. Elder Arredondo will be my new companion. He is a native Spanish speaker so I am excited to learn more about how to speak better Spanish! He has been out for about 20 months, so he is almost done with his mission. I am excited to work with him and get to know him better. Elder Tanner is leaving to go to Santa Rosa for his last transfer to train a new missionary before he goes home. It's sad to see him go as well, but Elder Noris is still here in Fairfield and he will be paired with a new elder (Elder Bittner), which should be fun.
Like many of you, during this past week I have been thinking a lot about where I used to be at this time last year in my life. I was getting ready to go to my second semester at BYU-I and was preparing to submit my mission papers. I was anxious to start another fun-filled semester, but I was also a lot different then. I think about those times and compare the person I was to the person I am now. I like to remember who I was because I can see how far I have come. Everyone has their own story, their own journey. I know that my journey would have been a lot different without this gospel, the atonement of Jesus Christ, and preparing to serve a full time mission. Now that I am here, time is going by waaay too fast and I am trying to cherish and learn from every moment.
I have grown to love The Book of Mormon because I have found answers to my problems and comfort from the pages of that great book. I love the story about a missionary in The Book of Mormon. His name is Aaron and he teaches the king of the land of Nephi (the father of Lamoni) about eternal life and repentance. In Alma 22:14 Aaron says, "And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king." I LOVE that scripture. It is only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we can be CLEAN and OVERCOME physical and spiritual death.
This past week had its highs and lows. On the high side, we were able to teach a lot of people during the week, but the low was definitely the food poisoning over the weekend. I felt SO sick as my body was rejecting the food I ate earlier that day. I had to stay close to the toilet and was in the bathroom in the middle of the night shivering. As my body was shaking, my stomach felt like it was being torn apart. I honestly felt like my body was shutting down. My whole body felt weak and I knelt down and said a prayer to my Heavenly Father; a plea of help to stop the pain in my stomach and my convulsions. I got this overwhelming sense of peace and the pain slowly subsided. My shaking came to a stop and I was able to get control of my body and crawl back into bed. I know Heavenly Father heard my prayer. I know He LIVES. He listens to us and is ALWAYS there for us. All we have to do is turn to Him, as He is literally our Father in heaven, and He loves us so much.

I look forward to hearing from you all and to see what happens this year in 2012!

Les Amo,

Elder Vance

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