Monday, January 16, 2012

My Prayer

This last week was great except that somehow I got pink eye! AHH! It seems like these past two weeks I have just been diseased, but now I am 100% recovered from my pink eye and overall I feel great. By just being here on my mission and working hard I have found that the days are so much more fun if I am completely focused on the people. They are my life for two years and I love them.
I love these verses in 3 Nephi 15: 9-10, in The Book of Mormon. It says, "Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life. Behold, I have given unto you the commandments; therefore keep my commandments. And this is the law and the prophets, for they truly testified of me." He is the light in my life and He is the law in my life. Without Jesus Christ I would be lost. I love my Savior so much, and that is why I decided to serve a full-time mission.
I had an experience this last week that really touched my heart forever and strengthened my testimony of prayer. We have someone who has been investigating the church for almost a year now. His name is Noe. He knows this gospel is true and he wants to be baptized, but there have been some obstacles. He loves his girlfriend and has wanted to respect her decisions and desires. She is not interested in the church at all, so it was hard for him to progress in the gospel. He was torn between the gospel of Jesus Christ and his girlfriend. This past Friday his girlfriend left him for good and moved with his daughter to Santa Monica. He was torn apart and was so upset about his situation, so he got down on his knees and began to pray to our Heavenly Father for peace and comfort. During that prayer we knocked on his door, and when he opened the door and he was crying. I asked him, "Noe esta bien?" (Noe are you ok?), and through his tears he replied, "No." I instantly knew that something had happened and asked, "Esta Rosi?" [(Is Rosi here? (his girlfriend)] He replied, "Ella no esta. Tienen un momento? Por favor pasen." (She is not here. Do you have a moment? Please come in.) He wanted us to come in, so we came in and sat down. He told us what had happened and began to sob. He was so upset and I felt so bad for him, yet I knew that as hard as it was for him, it could be a blessing in his life. I felt like NOW he could follow the example of Jesus Christ and progress in HIS church. Now he could feel that fullness and happiness in his life. We talked to him about the gospel of Jesus Christ and about how through it we can have peace and comfort. I know that in the toughest hours of my life, Heavenly Father has been right there next to me, carrying me and helping me through. Without this gospel those tough hours would have been so much worse. We told him, "By reading in The Book of Mormon, praying daily, and coming to church again you can feel the love of our Heavenly Father in your life. Through Him we can overcome the struggles and challenges in our lives. The only one that knows exactly how you feel right now is Jesus Christ. Not only did He suffer for our sins, but for our physical and emotional pains and sorrows as well. This is the way Noe. We are here to help you. We want the best for you and we know that our Heavenly Father loves you." That is the best feeling in the world … to be an answer to someone’s prayer. That night we were put in his path for a reason … we were the answer that our Heavenly Father sent Noe. That is why we are missionaries. Noe needed us … to be instruments in the hands of the Lord. Heavenly Father ALWAYS listens to us, no matter WHERE we are or WHO we are. We are ALL His children and He loves us. All we have to do is humble ourselves and get on our knees to offer up our hearts and desires to our Father in Heaven. The best part of this experience?  Noe has a baptismal date set for January 28th.  It brings me great joy to see my brother making this decision in his life and opening this door to his salvation. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of it and hope and pray that it actually happens.
We had an amazing Zone Conference this past week in Davis, CA. I love Zone Conferences not only because you see people from other parts of the mission but because of the messages that are shared. President Bunker gets fired up sometimes, and I love it. He definitely lets us know the things we need to work on in our lives and in the work here in the Santa Rosa, California Mission. I love him. He is truly a man of God. I know that all he wants to do is magnify his calling and do all he can to love us missionaries. President Bunker gave his "State of the Mission Address", as he put it. He talked about his vision for the mission for this upcoming year and how we were going to achieve it. Our goal for the mission this year is 520 baptisms collectively as a mission. That is not only our goal, but our purpose as missionaries … to baptize. As missionaries we are responsible for the salvation of the people in our area and our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through FAITH in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, REPENTANCE, BAPTISM, receiving the Gift of the HOLY GHOST, and ENDURING to the end. The mission is about people and not just numbers, but goals and numbers stretch us and help us grow. It helps us gauge how the work is going. I loved Zone Conference and felt so juiced up to get out there and invite others to be baptized!
My prayer is that I can be that instrument in the hands of the Lord every day; that I can love every person here enough to have the courage to bring the light of Christ into their lives. I pray that I can be an answer to other people’s prayers. I feel so blessed … I AM so blessed. I feel like I gave up nothing to come out here, because the blessings I receive in return are so much greater. Every night I thank my Father in Heaven for this opportunity; to serve him in the name of Jesus Christ, to be His servant and to be a witness of Jesus Christ. This privilege has changed my life and I wouldn't trade anything for these last 5 months. These experiences have molded me into someone I thought I could never be. I like to think that we should always shoot for the stars, because ANYTHING is possible with the Lord. Thank you all for your letters, your love and your support. I know this church has the fullness of the gospel on the earth today. Amo Mi Mision.
Les Amo,
Elder Vance

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