Tuesday, July 17, 2012


This past week had it's ups and downs. Elder Richins and I saw many miracles last week and it has been such an amazing blessing to be here in the Davis/Woodland area for another transfer. Six months ago I was just entering this area and my love for the people has grown beyond what I ever could have imagined. I know the Lord has blessed me with charity on my mission, and with that I have learned to love people in a way I never have before. Being a missionary is not always easy. I try to stay as positive as I can but I know for a fact that there are days that are tough. I guess the reason I don't often talk about those days is because the moments of joy that fill my life as a missionary far exceed the trials that I face. The only way I remember them is when I look back in my journal that I write in daily and read about those difficult days; the days when I experienced fatigue, rejection, disappointment, weariness, sorrow, or pain. Yet I know that those were the days that I grew the most; those were the days my faith in God was tested.

My mission thus far has been a roller coaster, filled with thrills, highs, and lows, I am definitley not content because I know that there is much that I still need to learn and experience. I always wanted to serve honorably and serve my mission with no regrets. I am not a perfect man, but I do know that the Lord has used me as an instrument to fulfill his work. It is an amazing feeling to have the spirit working through you.

My father sent me an email last week that said, "Thanks for the note and update … I am always inspired by the spirit of your letters and your blog, but sometimes I really just like to hear how my son (inside the missionary) is doing too." I was thinking about that and I was brought back to my own testimony. How am I doing? How have I grown and where do I stand?

I was reading in The Book of Mormon this week, in Alma 30, and it helped me answer my questions. Korihor, the anti-Christ, ridicules Christ, the Atonement, and the spirit of prophecy. He teaches that there is no God, no fall of man, no penalty for sin, and no Christ. Alma testifies that Christ will come and that all things denote there is a God. Here, Alma is speaking to Korihor:

40 And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only.

After this Korihor asks for a sign, a sign that God exists. This is Alma's reply.

 44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.

I love the words of Alma. As I read The Book of Mormon, they hit me so hard and gave me such clarity. We talk to people daily. Unfortunetely some of them choose not to believe in God. After reading this I asked myself, "What evidence is there that God does NOT exist?" There isn't any. Like Alma told Korihor, "Save it be your word only." That strengthened my testimony of my Heavenly Father, that He exists and He is there. At one point in our lives we have to have God because we have nothing else.

I don't believe in God and Jesus Christ because I have see them. I believe in them because I see EVERYTHING else. I see my family and how this gospel has blessed each one of our lives. I see the difference in the level of my own happiness according to the degree and depth I am following Jesus Christ and the commandments of God. I see this beautiful world that has been created for us so that we may all have a chance to pass this test of mortality and return to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father. I have felt the love of God in my life when I have felt alone or afraid. I have gained spiritual knowledge and a testimony through the Holy Ghost. I have felt the joy of forgiveness and the healing powers of the Atonement.  I have never seen God or Jesus Christ but I know they live. To me, there is too much evidence to ever disprove it. I am grateful for the perspective my mission has given me about what is important in this life and what I must personally do to obtain eternal life and live with God again.
"God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future ... to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities. God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can't if you don't pray, and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't BELIEVE." -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

To answer the question my father asked me above, I feel the best and happiest I have ever felt in my life. My testimony of this gospel has grown exponentially and my faith continues to grow. I am in the service of my fellow men and in turn I am in the service of my God. I love my mission and the good person inside of me has changed and become someone new, something better. The gospel enhances us, it makes bad men good, and it makes good men better. Every day is a new challenge and a new day to learn and grow, and for that I am so grateful.

I know that having faith is having a firm belief in something we cannot see. To know if there is a God one must kneel and pray, because I know all spiritual truths and answers come through the power of prayer. We must humble ourselves and align our will with His. Thank you all for the love and for your prayers. I promise you that they are felt. We ALL are children of God and we ALL have an opportunity to return to live with Him again.

Les Amo,

Elder Vance

"You may already know, deep in your soul, that God lives. You may not know all about Him yet and do not understand all His ways, But the light of belief is within you, waiting to be awakened and intensified by spirit of God."

-Robert D. Hales

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