Friday, December 21, 2012

One Night, One Star, One Child


Before this life we all lived in the presence of our Heavenly Father. We talked with Him and walked with Him. We did not have bodies and yet He did. He made a plan and laid it out before all of us. He needed one of us to sacrifice ourselves for all the rest of His children. He needed someone that would do His will and not their own. He needed someone that would be perfectly obedient to His commandments. I know the person that volunteered to come down to be the Savior of the world was Jesus Christ. 

"With the birth of the babe in Bethlehem, there emerged a great endowment - a power stronger than weapons, a wealth more lasting than the coins of Caesar. This child was to become the King of kings and the Lord of lords the promised Messiah- Jesus Christ, The Son of God." 
- President Thomas S. Monson -

Christmas has always been a special time for me and my family. I look back and remember all the special moments I have shared with my family and friends and the laughs and love that accompany those precious memories. The Christmas season is such an exhilarating time for me. Looking back, I hardly ever remember the gifts I received. But the thing I always do remember is that Jesus Christ has been at the heart of every Christmas of my life. I attribute that to wonderful and faithful parents that always taught me to follow Jesus Christ in my life. As a young boy I remember sitting by the fireplace and my mother reading Christmas stories to me and my four younger sisters. I could feel a spirit of love and I could feel how close the young precious babe was to me. To this day, I know and believe that the true meaning of Christmas is love. 

I have felt that love throughout my life, that special love that Jesus Christ offers to all that remember and come unto him. Christmas as a missionary is something very special to me because I have the opportunity to share that love with everyone I come in contact with and see that love change the lives of many.

"To catch the real meaning of the "spirit of Christmas", we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes "the Spirit of Christ". 
- President Thomas S. Monson -

There was one night that changed the world for eternity, one star that shone through the heavens, and one child that would save all mankind. I know that this one event changed the world forever. I know that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem to the virgin, Mary. I know He was sent from our Heavenly Father to come to earth and save us from our sins. I know that He lives and that He loves us. I also know that any person can change and become a new person through Jesus Christ. I know that His birth, mortal ministry, and sacrifice for us was part of God's plan from the beginning. I know that one day Jesus Christ will come again, and it is up to each of us to decide whether to follow Him or not. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ and that is one of the reasons I decided to serve a mission. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to testify and bring this special message about Jesus Christ to my brothers and sisters here in California for 2 years. I love testifying and teaching people about Jesus Christ. I feel so blessed for all the many things Heavenly Father has given me. I love my mission and am so grateful to my family and friends who love and support me here. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and share the true meaning of Christmas with your friends and family. It is because He came, that we may all live with our families forever.

"Jesus Christ is... the light of the world because his example and his teachings illuminate the path we should walk to return to the presence of our Father in Heaven". 
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks -

"There is a magic in Christmas. Hearts are opened to a new measure of kindness. Love speaks with increased power. Tensions are eased...

"Of all things of heaven and earth of which we bear testimony, none is so important as our witness that Jesus, the Christmas child, condescended to come to earth from the realms of His Eternal Father, here to work among men as healer and teacher, our Great Exemplar. And further, and most important, He suffered on Calvary's cross as an atoning sacrifice for all mankind.

"At this time of Christmas, this season when gifts are given, let us not forget that God gave His Son, and His Son gave His life, that each of us might have the gift of eternal life"

- President Gordon B. Hinckley -

Los Quiero Mucho!

Elder Spencer Guy Vance

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our Gifts

“For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.” - Doctrine & Covenants 46:11

I am filled with gratitude for the special and wonderful gifts that my Heavenly Father has given me. My eyes have been opened to all the gifts God has given me throughout my life and throughout my mission. I love the Christmas season and the time we have to think about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

These are some blessings I have received in my life:

My family and friends that love and support me in my life … I am so blessed to have such a great family and friends. I know my parents are the perfect parents for me and I am so grateful for them and for helping me stay on the path that leads to everlasting happiness. They both are Christ-like examples to me. I am grateful for my four sisters that shine with the Light of Christ and virtue. They are my four special lights that I will always keep close to me. I love my family.
I am grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that, because Jesus Christ came to earth and suffered for me, I can let go of my past and look into a future filled with hope and light. I know I can repent daily and be forgiven of my sins. I can live a life full of happiness and joy. Now that I have a strong testimony of His Atonement, I have no desire to sin and to do evil. This is the greatest gift God has given to man … His only Begotten Son. How grateful I am to know that I can be free from sin through the Perfect One, Jesus Christ. 

I am grateful for my mission. These last 16 months have been the greatest months of my life. I have learned how to recognize the Spirit and how to love all those I come in contact with each day. My mission has changed me forever and I look forward to the rest of the time I have left. I know that God has a plan for me and for every one of you. I know that what I bring to everyone as a missionary is true. I know that the true church of Jesus Christ has been restored and put back on the earth. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he did see God, the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I know that every page of The Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ and his ministry to the people here in the Americas. I know that ANY person can know of its validity by reading it and through praying sincerely to know if it is true. I know all of these things because it has been given to me directly from my Heavenly Father. It is pure knowledge and pure intelligence, because it comes from Him. I am grateful for my testimony.

I am grateful for all the talents and gifts that God has bestowed upon me in this life. I know that when God gives us spiritual or temporal gifts he expects us to share them with everyone. I know that it is up to me to decide how I use my gifts in this life. I want to use my talents to serve God until the end. I know that through my talents and gifts I can inspire others and help others come unto Christ. I know that it is through our own talents and gifts that we can help others see and develop their gifts and talents.  

"God knows our gifts. My challenge to you and to me is to pray to know the gifts we have been given, to know how to develop them, and to recognize the opportunities to serve others that God provides us. But most of all, I pray that you will be inspired to help others discover their special gifts from God to serve. I promise you that if you ask, you will be blessed to help and lift others to their full potential in the service of those they lead and love. I testify to you that God lives, Jesus is the Christ, this is the priesthood of God, which we hold, and God has prepared us with special gifts to serve Him beyond our fondest hopes. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." -President Henry B. Eyring 

I know we all can change the world one step at a time. One small act of kindness through this Christmas season can change someone's life for eternity. I invite you all to be a light in someone's life this holiday season, and to always remember the true meaning of Christmas. Remember the greatest gift that was ever given to us was Him.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not meant to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unceasingly give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." 

Los Amo,

Elder Spencer Guy Vance

Sunday, December 2, 2012

This Day of Thanks

Well, I found out this past week that I am being transferred to Napa and will be working in an English ward! Something new! My new companion will be Elder Cosman, and I am excited to serve there with him. I am so dearly grateful for these past few weeks in Santa Rosa. The people here truly have changed my life forever and I know I will always carry them in my hearts. I hope one day (hopefully during my mission). I can return and see their progression in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

With Thanksgiving and all the experiences I have had here recently, I want to give thanks to my Heavenly Father. I know that I am a son of God because I have been so richly blessed in my life. There is no substitute for the happiness I feel as I live the gospel of Jesus Christ and keep the commandments God has given me. That is what leads to true and lasting happiness ... keeping the commandments of God. I know that God is real and that He lives. I know that He lives because when I pray I feel His presence and receive personal guidance through the Holy Ghost. I am grateful for the guidance my Father above has given me, because He knows what is best for me and for ALL of His precious children.

I look forward to the challenges ahead of me here on my mission. I know that my faith will continue to grow as I climb the mountains the Lord puts in front of me. I know that Jesus Christ walks by us, step by step. I know that when no one else understands what we go through or feel, He does, because He has suffered for all of it. How grateful I am to know that Jesus Christ died for me and for all mankind. I know that He lives and that soon He will come again in His glory. I love my mission because it brings me closer to Him.

The toughest times of my mission have been when I have had to leave my areas. These people are my family. They are my brothers and sisters and I know God placed me here for them. I know that there are many more that need me here on my mission. I want to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ and serve him until the end. I am so grateful for all of my family, for they have anchored me in my life and helped me focus my life on Jesus Christ. I know I was born into the family I was born into because I needed them. My parents are my heroes because they helped me see who I am; a son of God. I know that we all need to be grateful at this time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I pray for all of you and I pray for my friends that are currently serving missions around the world. I know that their lives are being changed for the eternities and that they are bringing more of our brothers and sisters into the fold of God through Jesus Christ. I will keep you all posted about my adventures in the land of the vineyards. This day I give thanks for all the many miracles and blessings I have seen here in beautiful Santa Rosa.

Los Amo,

Elder Vance