Monday, May 7, 2012


This past week I found out that I am going to be staying here in Davis for another transfer! I have also been assigned to be a Zone Leader here with Elder Richins. My companion Elder Lopez will be making a minor move down to Woodland with Elder Vasconcelos, but they are still here serving in the same branch so I will still see them both a lot. I am excited to have the opportunity to serve as a Zone Leader. It is a privilege to have this opportunity to love and serve more of my fellow missionaries. I know that the Lord will help me fulfill my new assignment and that He will be there every step of the way.

Elder Russell M. Nelson from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles once said, "Moments are the molecules that make up eternity."

This last week I had some awesome experiences that I would like to share with all of you because I know that you all will be able to feel the spirit and hope that you will grow from these experiences as I have.

On Saturday, Elder Lopez and I were contacting and walking down the street when we saw a few kids playing basketball. We walked up to them and I said, "Hey, how are you guys doing?" They stopped playing for a second and said, "Good." We introduced ourselves as missionaries and then I asked them their names; they were Dominic (13), Andrew (15), and Diego (13). I then asked, "Well, can I play?”. They said, "Yea, let’s play 2-on-2”, and they wanted Andrew and me to play together. I took my backpack off and took a few warm-up shots. Before we started, I said "Hey, let’s play for this ... if we win you all have to listen to me and Elder Lopez for 10 minutes about why we are missionaries and what we do. If you all win, well, hmmm …we'll give you guys a dollar each." They were pumped! I have never seen kids so enthusiastic to play for a dollar! Haha. They agreed and the game began! We were playing to 10 and Dominic and Diego (the opposing team) took a quick 2-0 lead. At first I was just messing around, until I realized that I actually had to get into it and win!  I started to really play and due to our height advantage Andrew and I soon took home the gold by winning 10-5. After the game ended I said, "Alright, you remember the deal!" I took the basketball and I began to teach them simply about our beliefs; about how we know that the true church that Jesus Christ established when He came to this earth has been restored in fullness in these latter days through a modern day prophet named Joseph Smith. I shared with them my testimony that I know that this gospel could change their lives in every aspect, forever, and about how I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and we have a living prophet today named Thomas S. Monson. It was one of the coolest experiences of my mission. Elder Lopez shared his testimony as well, that he knows this gospel is true and that this is something that could bring more happiness into their lives. It was hard to hear that none of them really knew what Jesus Christ has done for them and that they didn't know that they could be with their families forever after this life. I know that those young boys were put in our path for a reason that day. I felt an instant love for them, because I knew that they are my brothers. Diego asked, "Where do we go after this life?" I explained to him that our Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of us. It is a plan that, if we follow Jesus Christ, allows us to return and live in His presence forever in the Celestial Kingdom of heaven. The plan is called “the plan of salvation” or the “plan of happiness”. I bore testimony that I know we all accepted that plan before this life, to come to earth and be born into families, receive knowledge, and follow Jesus Christ. It was an experience that I will never forget. I hope that Andrew, Dominic, and Diego never forget the spirit they felt on the day they had an opportunity to talk with representatives of Jesus Christ. I know they felt it, because I felt it. That moment changed my mission because I realized that I only have a limited amount of moments to use, and how important it is to magnify each of them and make them become a part of me.

Early last week Antonio and Veronica were on track to get baptized, but unfortunately they told us they needed more time to figure out a date that works for them to get married and baptized. They want to do both (be baptized and get married), but they just told us they need more time and didn’t want to feel pressured to do it. Elder Lopez and I were a bit down on ourselves because we thought, "What did we do wrong? They were so on track and in the last week they pushed it off." We didn't see them too much after that during the week but they came to church on Sunday and that is when everything changed. It was fast and testimony meeting, a meeting where the members come to church fasting and have time to share their testimonies with the congregation. The spirit was so strong during that meeting and Veronica got up and bore her testimony. She said, "I am so grateful for Elder Vance and Elder Lopez. From the first moment they knocked on our door our lives have been changed. I used to have so many problems before they came, but I have changed. I love them. They are angels from God sent to me. I know that to be true. I know that this church is true. I want to get married because I want to be baptized. I want this for my family because I know that this is true." The love I have for Veronica and Antonio has grown so much. In that moment I felt the love of my Heavenly Father testify to me that I am making a difference. I am a vessel that brings this light to all the people here, and for that I am grateful. Veronica and Antonio are going to get married and baptized soon. I just know it. I love these experiences; these moments that make up my mission.

I love all the beautiful things my Heavenly Father has put around me … my family, my friends, this gospel, and this earth. I know that moments ARE the things that make up our eternity, and these are only a few of the moments that make up my life and who I am. Moments are the start of special memories we can all take with us, even after this life. Cherish them and make the most of them, because they can only last as long as you want them to last. I love my mission. Thank you all for being a part of the precious moments of my life.

Les Amo Muchisimo,

Elder Vance

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