Sunday, August 26, 2012

His Hand

The last week has been filled with amazing spiritual experiences. There have been so many people that were put in our path this past week that I know were placed there by our Heavenly Father. There are so many people out there that are searching and waiting to hear the fullness of the gospel. I know that is true because last week Elder Lenon and I were able to find many new people and our area continues to grow and be blessed. Elder Lenon and I continue to work on our Spanish. We both love testifying about and teaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to all we come in contact with in Santa Rosa. At times when I go on exchanges to English areas it is difficult to teach in English! I love the Spanish culture and I am grateful I have been called to this mission here in California. Elder Lenon has taught me so much. He is such a diligent missionary and I am grateful for his worth ethic and the sacrifices he has made to be here. I hope I can serve with him for another transfer because I am learning a great deal from him. Every day I am reminded that the Lord's hand is in this great work because I see the changes and blessings that come to those that open their hearts to this great message that we bring.

This past week I attempted to ask myself this question at the end of every day:

"Have I seen the hand of the Lord today?" -President Henry B. Eyring

As a missionary it is a rare occasion to have everything go as planned. Appointments fall through, you maybe feel sick or tired, people don't want to talk to you, or maybe your spirits are just not where they should be. I think in this life, things don't go as planned. We all are thrown into the perfect storm every once in a while and wonder how the Lord could possibly be reaching out to us. I want to testify that His hand is always in our lives and He gives us those tender mercies that we can all see. So last week I tried to ask myself the question above, and throughout the week I recognized that I always felt happy because I could see how the hand of the Lord blessed me or helped me throughout the day. No matter how long the day was, how many appointments fell through, or how many times we were rejected, I could always name off things that the Lord bestowed upon me and blessed me with each day. That is what has brought me happiness. That small question, "Have I seen the hand of the Lord today?", has helped me open my eyes and look for those tender mercies of the Lord. At the end of the day it brings me back to One who watches over all of us every day. I know He watches over us and listens to our prayers.

We talked to a woman named Lupita on the street last week. She was so open to the gospel and the message of the Restoration. She wanted to find out which church was true because she had attended so many throughout her life. Elder Lenon and I both bore testimony to her about the plan of salvation, the plan that God has made for us as His children and for our families. The plan, if we follow it, will grant us eternal life with our families. I told her that families are meant to be together forever and that death is not the end. She had such a special light about her and she was a true seeker of the truth from the moment we met her. She has four children and wanted to to know more. We got her information and told her we were going to stop by in a few days. The next day we went by to see someone. We knocked on the door and no one answered, but the next door over opened and it was Lupita. We taught her about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. It was such a spirit filled lesson. I know that Lupita and her family were put in our path by the hand of the Lord. In another lesson we had with her recently, she told us she was so confused and she wanted to know what was true. I remember saying, "Lupe I know that your search for the truth has ended. I know that this church is true with my whole heart and the only way you can know whether what we have taught you is true or not is through prayer. If you pray we promise you that you will recieve an answer through the Holy Ghost that all that we have taught you is true." Her final prayer at the end of that lesson is one that I will never forget. She pleaded with our Heavenly Father to show her the way and to give her an answer; to put an end to her confusion so she could follow Jesus Christ in the fullness of His gospel. There are so many people out there today that are confused and lost. Just like the young man named Joseph Smith in the year 1820, there are many who desire to know among all the churches today which one is true. I love all the opportunites we as missionaries have to testify to people and to promise them blessings. Lupita came to church today with one of her sons and that was such a blessing to see. I know she was given to us as a tender mercy from our Father above.

 I love being a vessel for the Lord in which the gospel of Jesus Christ is brought to my brothers and sisters. It has been such a blessing to be raised in a home that was founded upon the principles and doctrine of Jesus Christ. I do know that our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ live. I know that what we bring as missionaries to the homes of the people here in Santa Rosa is true. I know the Lord's hand is in every one of our lives. At times for me it can be hard to see, but when I do, I treasure the tiny tender mercies in which my Father above shows me that He knows me and He loves me. I know it is people like Lupita that are put in the paths of missionaries around the world, because God is our Heavenly Father and we are His children. I love you all and I invite you, as you go about your day, to ask yourself, "Have I seen the hand of the Lord today?".

Los Amo,

Elder Vance

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