Wednesday, February 27, 2013


What a crazy week! It probably was the most exhausting week of my mission, but I loved it! My new assignment is stretching me and helping me reach my full potential as a missionary. There are always things that we need to do, like giving rides, getting materials out, fixing things, and so forth. Being so busy has helped me trust in the Lord and go to Him in mighty prayer for energy and help. Elder Mahoney is such an amazing missionary. He has a strong testimony of the gospel and is willing to go the extra mile. I love serving with him and I hope we stay together for a while. 

This past week I had one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission. I would like to share it with you because it was so special and so powerful. 

We received a phone call from a member named Adam. He had recently moved in from Minnesota and is working for a solar panel company. His family is in Minnesota and he said he is working to save up money to bring his family out to California. He told us that his roommates wanted to take the missionary discussions, so we went over and we taught his roommate named Matt one evening. He is 34 years old and from Lacrosse, Wisconsin! It was good to hear some northern accents (I was born and raised as a child in Wisconsin). So we taught Matt about the Restoration and the prophet, Joseph Smith. He showed a lot of interest and wanted us to come back. The second time we came back was such a sweet experience. Adam invited three other young men from their Vivint Company team to hear the lessons. So it was me and Elder Mahoney (Missionaries), Carter (20 yrs old- Less active member from Utah), Anthony (21 yrs old- Less Active from Utah), Matt (Investigator), Selver (19 year old- recent convert from Utah), and Adam (the member) in their apartment. Everyone had their story. Selver recently was baptized in Utah 4 months ago, Anthony and Carter both left the church in their teens, and Matt was investigating the church. We all were together. We opened The Book of Mormon and read 1 Nephi Chapter 1. We all took turns going around the room reading one verse each. As we were reading, a real peace filled the room. The spirit entered, and by the end of the chapter it was so strong. It was a feeling that was undeniable, and a feeling of joy and comfort swelled in our hearts. Anthony said, "I can feel it. There is a special feeling here." Carter, with tears in his eyes, said, "I can't even talk man, I haven't felt this in a very long time." The spirit testified to us all that what we had just read was true. Elder Mahoney and I went on and talked about repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Selver, the recent convert, shared his testimony of repentance. "In high school I didn't care about anything, but at one point I came to realize that I was living in sin, and that something was missing in my life. Through praying, I was able to receive forgiveness for my sins. I remember driving one day after I had prayed and I felt something come over me. It was an experience I will never forget. It is a feeling that is hard to describe. I just knew that Jesus Christ died for me. I knew that I was forgiven and that this church was true. At that point, I made the decision that I needed to be baptized." The spirit pricked our hearts as we spoke of what Jesus Christ did so that we all can be forgiven of our sins. It was such a special moment. Adam, the member, bore a heartfelt testimony that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is real, and that because He came, we all can be cleansed of sin. They all committed to go to church and to repent of their sins and follow Jesus Christ more fully in their lives. That experience helped me see that we are all in this together. Selver, Carter, and Anthony went to the singles congregation this past Sunday. Adam and Matt came to our church yesterday. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true and it brings us together as children of God. That night I learned what the word "brother means" and our experience brought us together as brothers. We all committed to following Jesus Christ together. Member, non-member, active or less active; we are brothers, and it was a sweet and tender moment for me. I know that it is never too late for anyone. I know we can never give up on anyone, and that includes giving up on ourselves. I love being a missionary and helping others follow the example of Jesus Christ. Matt has a baptismal date for March 23rd. He is so excited and we are excited for our brother as well.

Los Amo,

Elder Vance

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