Thursday, June 28, 2012

Here's to the Time

This past week was bittersweet. Yesterday, we had a mission conference and we all said our goodbyes to President and Sister Bunker and President Bunker gave his last words to us. I was full of emotion. It was an amazing feeling to be with all of my brothers here in the mission and to feel the love that was present there. A few return missionaries came back for the conference and what a joyous reunion that was; to see that they were still my brothers in the gospel. President and Sister Bunker have served so faithfully and they will always have a special place in my heart. President Bunker has changed my life. I look up to him so much and I have learned so much from him. I have learned how to become a better leader and how to have more Christ-like charity in my life. It was sad to give my last hug and say my last goodbye to him but I also know that our new mission president, President Alba, is going to be great. President Bunker gave us many words of wisdom and advice but I would like to share something Sister Bunker said ... "We can become the people we see in our dreams." I never thought that I would become the person that I am today.

20 years ago today, I was born. I was raised by goodly parents and I was born into this gospel. I don't know why I was given such an opportunity to grow up with Christ as the center focus of my home. Sometimes I wonder why I was given such a special opportunity and others were not. I am grateful to have this in my life. I have seen the blessings from living a Christ-centered life. I have been molded and changed by Jesus Christ and for that I can never go back to the person I was before. My mission has changed me because I have been able to see the difference between those that follow Jesus Christ and those that don't. The difference is pure joy; a happiness that lasts, a light that glows from within. Everyone has an opportunity to have it in their lives, and for that I know that what I am doing here in California is not a waste of time. I know that through helping others come unto Jesus Christ, I am bringing myself closer to Him as well. The focus of serving a mission is to help others, but in turn the one who is helped the most is yourself.

I was able to have a birthday dinner with Selena, Luis, and their family. It was the only birthday gift I needed. To be with them. These are the best days of my life. I love being with my people. At their house we had a spagetti dinner and a cake. They didn't have candles for the chocolate cake so instead they put a match on the cake, lit it, and that was my birthday candle. Being in their small apartment I recognized the love I have for this family. I know they are a big part of why I stayed here in Davis. They are still reading the Book of Mormon together and praying everynight. The Lord is truly blessing them and they know it. These moments are the precious moments that are making up my eternity and I am grateful.

Time goes by so fast. Our time on this earth is limited. It is not our time. We are given our time and our lives by a loving Heavenly Father. I know that serving a mission isn't even a fraction of all the wonderful things I have been given in my life. My heart is full of gratitude to live another year on this earth and especially to be here on my mission. For those that are debating to serve a mission ... DO IT! I had no idea how much a mission would change my life for the better. It is a blessing to serve and to be a representative of Jesus Christ. Everyone has a chance to choose their future, everybody has an opportunity to choose their destiny. I look forward to the experiences I will continue to have and for the lives I will be able to touch. There is a lyric that I love that says, "Givin' it all the only one who was and is and yet to come."

I know that Jesus Christ lives and I know He will come again. I do not know this because I have seen Him but because I have felt Him in my life. He has been next to me and to you every step of our lives. Only time will tell but I know that if we allow Him into our lives He is the one that will change us. I love my mission and I love the life that I am living because I feel the spirit of God in my life. It is that same spirit that testifies to me that this gospel is true. I love you all and remember that our lives are special in the sight of God.

Les Amo Mucho!

Elder Vance

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