Sunday, September 23, 2012

Your Name

What an amazing week it has been. The weeks fly by here on the mission because it is such a fun adventure. It is tiring and hard work, but at the same time I am having more fun than ever. You just have to enjoy it. Elder Lenon and I have seen some great miracles during this past week. Lupe continues to progress; she went to a Spanish fireside with Elder Gavarret and loved it! She also came to a baptism the other day and she felt such a special spirit there. She continues to read and pray and I know that in these upcoming weeks she will be baptized. Elder Lenon and I are so excited for her, as we have been on this journey with her, and it is amazing to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ strengthens and changes people. We have seen the changes in her and seen how much she now depends on the Lord. We love being here with our people in Santa Rosa and serving them and I hope stay for a while.

This past week we were privileged to have Elder Gavarret from the Quorum of the Seventy come and speak to us. He is from Uruguay. He spoke to us with such power and conviction. The very first few things he said struck a chord in me and I was filled with the spirit of God. He said, "You don't know the effect of your success. You can cut open an apple and count the seeds, but you aren't able to cut open the seeds within the apple to count the apples that will come from those seeds. Pray for others. Serve others. They will not forget you, they will not forget your name." I thought about all the people I have met on my mission and about those I have had the opportunity to teach and bring closer to Jesus Christ ... all the people I have loved and continue to love. A wave emotions swept over me and it brought tears to my eyes. I thought about those I will never forget ... those that I will have a spiritual connection with forever on into the eternities. In that moment my love deepened for my people here. I looked back into the pool of memories to see those people that will be in my heart forever. I know that I have needed them and that they have needed me. I will remember their names and it was special at that moment to hear that they will not forget mine. Elder Gavarret continued, "All of you are winners ... you decided to come here. The best way to help your family members is to do your best here. Pray for your families, stand up and go to work." I want to be the best missionary I can be so that my family can be blessed and so that those in my family that are struggling can find hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

"The Atonement of Jesus Christ brings hope to all. As missionaries we are the bringers of hope and we receive hope through the Atonement. When we sin we experience spiritual death, or in other words, we separate and further ourselves from God. Jesus Christ has already done the work, it doesn't need to be done again. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is a conditional gift, which means, we must do our part in order to access it." - Sister Alba

I can testify to the truth of that statement. It is through repentance that those burdens we carry are lifted off of us. We must repent (do our part) to be saved. Christ has already suffered, but we must access that precious gift through repentance. When we do, those burdens are lifted and we feel the light of Christ grow within us. We have a desire to improve because we feel the warming sensation of the Savior's arms around us. It gives us a fresh view of our lives and with that comes the hope we all can and need to endure to the end.

I love this part of a song: "He knows your joy, He knows your pain, He knows your heart, He knows your NAME."

I know that Jesus Christ knows your name. I know that he knows YOU because He died for each and every one of us. When we are going through a trial or a challenge in this life, He knows. Not only did He suffer for our sins but also for every physical pain, emotional sorrow, and affliction we have or ever will experience in this lifetime. He suffered for hours in the Garden of Gethsemane and bled from every pore. He did it so He could walk beside us. He did it so He could lift us in our darkest hour. He did it because He loves us. I am forever grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We bring this to everyone so that all may have faith, repent, and come unto Christ through baptism. I am grateful for this privilege to be a bringer of hope. It is never over ... no matter what you have done or how lonely you may feel, always know that there is someone that knows you. There is always someone that has felt what you feel. There is always someone that knows your name.

Los Amo Mucho,

Elder Vance

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