Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Image of God

This past week my allergies were bugging me pretty bad, so that has drained me a bit, but I am doing well and overall we really had a great week. Sonoma County is probably the worst place on earth for allergies, but I am eating tons of local honey to keep me going and I know that the Lord is sustaining me. I just received word that one of my younger sisters tore her ACL again … in the same knee as a year ago. All three of my older sisters have torn two ACLs each playing soccer … six ACL surgeries in the last 4+ years. Her name is Emily and she is really devastated because now she will no longer be able to play soccer due to the risk of tearing it a third time. I love my sisters and it is hard to see them go through the surgery and recovery process, but I know they were all made stronger because of it. I am grateful for my family and for how strong they are in the gospel. It is such a blessing to have had the opportunity to be born of goodly parents. I am grateful I decided to come out here and serve because Jesus Christ is changing my life every day. I know the tests of my faith and trials I face are all part of God's plan for me. 

Great things are happening in the Brush Creek Ward. We are training the ward on how to do missionary work in their lives. They are excited (and so am I) for all the blessings the Lord has in store for us. Elder Mahoney and I are brothers forever. I love serving with him and being his companion. I am grateful for what I have and what the Lord has blessed me with on my mission and in my life. I love being a servant of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and I know that this next week is going to be a great one!
Last week I was reading in The Book of Mormon and the following conversation in Alma 18 really struck me. It is between Ammon (who was a missionary) and King Lamoni, who didn't know much about God. Ammon teaches King Lamoni about who God is and who we are here on this earth.

28 ...And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth?
 29 And he said: Yea, I believe that he created all things which are in the earth; but I do not know the heavens.
 30 And Ammon said unto him: The heavens is a place where God dwells and all his holy angels.
 31 And king Lamoni said: Is it above the earth?
 32 And Ammon said: Yea, and he looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning.
 33 And king Lamoni said: I believe all these things which thou hast spoken. Art thou sent from God?
 34 Ammon said unto him: I am a man ; and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought to a knowledge of that which is just and true;

Elder Mahoney and I talk with many people every day who don't believe that God exists or that we came from Him. But I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that He knows each and every one of us personally. He knows our hearts and our intentions. I know that I was created after the image of God. We are all his children. We all have spiritual gifts and divine potential. He wants us to become like Him and to have all that He has. The first thing we teach anyone is this very principle; God is our loving Heavenly Father. We can go to him in prayer and He will answer us. I love having the knowledge that we were created by Him and we are His children. He wants us to have peace and happiness forever, and I know that can come from what we teach, as servants of the Lord, Jesus Christ. We are here to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember each and every day of your lives that YOU were created in the image of God and that He loves YOU. Thank you all for your continual love and support. This experience is truly bringing me closer to my Heavenly Father and to His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
Los Quiero,
Elder Vance

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