Wednesday, February 22, 2012

This Night I Pray

This last week was a bit crazy with my new responsibilities, but I am doing very well. The people here are amazing and they have really made my transition from Fairfield to Davis/Woodland a good one. I learned a lot this past week, and being a district leader and a trainer is really stretching me. We have been working hard and now I am just used to always being tired; but I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. I am training a new missionary named Elder Lopez. I have to share his first and middle name with you because his full name is Angel Moroni Lopez. How legit is that?!! He was born in Guatemala and has lived here in the U.S. for the past nine years or so. He is golden ... just like the statues of the Angel Moroni on almost all the temples of our Lord. He is probably the most humble man I have ever met. I am his trainer but I really feel like he is training me. He is soft spoken and has connected so well with the people here. His testimony is so pure and fresh. My Spanish is really taking off because he is a native speaker and almost always talks to me in Spanish. I love him. He has this energy that I cannot describe and wants to talk to everyone, which is amazing. He motivates me to do even more. We are getting along really well together and we have such a beaming vision for this area. It was a cool experience the first night I met him because, in that first moment he bore his testimony, I knew we were going to be together as companions.
At first, the thought of starting up a new area, having to train a new missionary and being a district leader gave me a lot of anxiety.  I didn't want to let anyone down and I felt inadequate at times. So one night this last week I got down on my knees and prayed. I asked with all the sincerity of my heart for comfort and guidance from my Heavenly Father. An overwhelming feeling of comfort filled me. I had complete confidence in myself and trust in my Heavenly Father that everything was going to be okay. I think it is so wonderful that we can always pray. We can pray anywhere or anytime we want or need to … and our Heavenly Father wants to hear from us. He is just like our earthly father. He wants to know how we are doing and he wants to help us. Praying is simple and prayer is the way we build a special relationship with our Father in Heaven. We address Him directly at the beginning of our prayers because we are literally speaking to Him. As we sincerely thank Him for blessings and ask Him for help and guidance, I know that He hears and answers those requests in due time and in ways that we need them answered. As we close in the name of Jesus Christ, we recognize that it is through Him that our relationship and prayers are mediated. I have seen miracles through prayer and I continue to build that relationship with my Father in Heaven. God is our loving Heavenly Father and he knows each and every one of us personally.
Elder Marvin J. Ashton explained, "We have been commanded to pray under all conditions wherever we are. Our spirits are heaven drawn, anxious for constant communication with the source of all great strength." I know that our spirits are heaven drawn as I have felt compelled to go to Heavenly Father in prayer many times in my life.  It is a natural feeling, because before this life we lived with our Heavenly Father and could communicate with him, and prayer is a way during this mortal life for us to communicate with him on a daily basis.
I love a verse in the Bible in the book of Joel 2:28. It says, "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions." As missionaries we pray many times a day. We pray for our people and I have seen that, as I have sought out the Lord in prayer, I have been blessed in this work. If your prayers are heartfelt you will be blessed. I know your vision of life will change because mine has … my vision of what really matters in this life is so much different than it was six months ago. I have learned to trust in the Lord and He has always, always come through.
I love my mission. I say that so much but I mean it every time. I have learned so much by seeing others change and turn towards God. I love my Heavenly Father. He is my best friend. Every night I pray to Him because I love Him and I want to give thanks to Him. He has showered me with blessings and love. I pray for you all; my friends and family that love and support me. I pray for my fellow missionaries; to strengthen all of them around the world.  I pray for my people here; that their hearts might be softened so that they too can come into the fold of God. I invite any of you that haven't prayed before or haven't prayed in a long time to do it. Strengthen that connection and become closer to our Father in Heaven. I love you all. Prayer is the link between you and heaven. Remember, He always listens.
Les Amo,
Elder Vance
p.s. The mission office in Santa Rosa has a new address (changed on this page) if you are sending anything there.

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