Monday, July 30, 2012

The Bittersweet

As of right now I am in a tornado of emotions. Everything is whirling around me because I found out that I will be leaving the Davis area. I am headed to the heart of my mission ... Santa Rosa! I have been assigned to be a zone leader in the northern half of Santa Rosa with Elder Lennon. I feel like I am being ripped out of here. It is so hard to leave a place where you have served, especially if it has been for 6 months, but I knew that my time was up. My 6 month stay in Davis has probably been the hardest time of my life, but it also has been the sweetest and most rewarding time, and has been filled with the most joy I have ever felt in my life. Selena and Luis both got baptized on Saturday, which was such an amazing experience. It was my last weekend here and I was able to be part of their baptisms. I had the opportunity to baptize Luis and Elder Richins baptized Selena. The Lord has truly blessed me. They were so excited about their baptisms, and to see their faces after they were baptized was priceless. That is what missionary work is all about. You can't put a price tag on the feelings and joy I have experienced. There is no substitute. Yesterday they both were confirmed members of the church and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. They now have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion to guide them in their lives and to help them choose between right and wrong. It was a great day to be here. I love this family so much and I know that, more than they needed me, I needed them. I saw how this gospel changed their countenances and their hearts. Through teaching them, I learned how to love and how to be more like Jesus Christ. They are being so blessed for the decision they have made to come into the fold of God. They will forever be in my prayers and have a special place in my heart for them. I feel like I have fulfilled my purpose here, which is to invite others to come unto Christ. I do this by helping them receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ through faith in Him and His atonement, and through repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

The next chapter of my blog will be taking place in Santa Rosa. It will be a new adventure and I am so excited to go and serve there. I have only heard great things about the people in Santa Rosa and I cannot wait to dive into the work. The best way to determine your future is to create it, and that is one thing that I have seen in all of the transfers and areas. Attitude really is everything. Bad areas in missions do not exist. If there are people there, then there is opportunity for the Lord to use you as an instrument to help bring His children back home. In the mission there is always change, and you are regularly being transferred from place to place with new people and new companions. I really enjoyed this quote about change:

"You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you." -Sri Ram

I just love being a missionary. A piece of my heart will always be here in the Davis/Woodland area. This place has changed my life forever. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to love these people and be their guide. This whole experience has helped me catch a glimpse of the eternal perspective; of what is really important in this life and how I can help others see that as well. I will definitely be back to visit, whether it is by receiving another assignment to come back here during my mission or if I have to wait until after my mission, I will be back! These are my people and I love them. I loved the people in Fairfield and I love the people here in Davis. It is such a blessing to gain charity in my life, to ask for charity and then to see how much your love grows for those in your area is a testament to me that God bestows that which is asked for, if it be for the cause of righteousness.

Tonight I leave and it pains me to do so. I know that God has much in store for me, and I look forward to that, and to the experiences ahead. I hope you all enjoy these blog entries; they help me recognize how, with the assistance of prayer, trials turn into blessings and that God is literally my Heavenly Father. He is always waiting to bless us; all it takes is a humble heart and a call to the heavens above. This is real. This is who I am becoming. A change every day in the right direction is a step toward dwelling in the presence of God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, for eons to come. Our lives on earth are but a small moment of eternity, and our actions determine who we are forever. Thank you all once again for the love, support, prayers, and letters.

Les Amo,

Elder Vance

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