Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hey guess what?!?

I realized that I created a group called family and that all that this email goes to is in the family.  Wow the things you can do.  

Well this last week was Christmas. The day after Christmas it was no longer Christmas.  This is a hard thing for people to comprehend.  You don't go around saying Merry Christmas December 26.  It just isn't right.

So nothing really exciting happened this week work wise.   We didn't have many cool things happen. We went caroling Christmas Eve and Christmas night.  It really brought joy into people's lives.  I didn't really realise the power of caroling until these nights.

I was able to see my family and some other person on Christmas day too.  It was great hearing them and talking to them.  It is amazing how technology has really progressed.  We went to the Eckel house and partayed there that day.

This week I pondered Hymn #243 Let Us All Press On.  It was really exciting.  I absolutely love that song and it works wonderfully for keeping your mind on the work.  When thoughts that you do not want pop into your head just sing.  The greatest remedy.

So sorry for this short letter but nothing really happened.  So I continue to keep my eye single to the glory of God.

Okay so the greatest thing happened on Saturday.  Please add this section to the email for the week.  We went to the Ustazewski home and ate dinner.  They have a child who has some problems with her muscles so she can't speak.  She is starting to learn sign language.  During dinner we were talking and I remembered a little bit of sign language from the past (back when I set a goal in maybe 2010 or 2009).  I knew the sign for milk and I did it.  It made her day.  She is about 5 but is a little behind.  Just the smile and everything really made my day and made me happy.  See goals you set for New Years do affect you in the future.  

avec beaucoup d'amour

Elder Vance

Monday, December 21, 2015

No me gusto gatos

So this week I really learned how much I just cannot stand cats.  We went over to the Barteck home and it was just bad.  We walk up to the door and you can just smell cat urine.  We weren't even inside!!! We walk inside and from that point I had to breathe through my mouth because I would probably have vomited if I inhaled through my nose.  Just describing it makes me sick.  When we walked inside there was poop and urine all over the floor.  It was just so disgusting.  I had to sit on a couch that who knows if it had bed bugs or not. It just was not at all a good experience.  Supposedly she just lets in stray cats and feeds them but doesn't care to do anything else about them.  She also told us a story about how last night she slipped on Dog urine and fell and got it all in her hair.  We looked and there it was just under a newspaper.  It was just one of those stories you laugh about and realise how thankful you are for what you have.  I can laugh about it and tell people about my mission experience.

Well crazy has started back up again.  I had 6 weeks of sort of normal but now they are gone and I am back to the usual.  Today we ran into a Jewish Apostolic Pentecostal.  He was very interesting.  What he was saying wasn't going anywhere.  It just was really funny hearing him talk about speaking in tongues and the Israelis.  It just was quite funny to listen.

We picked up this lady named Madonna.  She seems interested and wanted to meet with us.  When was a former investigator and I wanted to go see her because of her name.  We stopped by and she wanted to learn more so we are planning on going back.

I think East Toledo has a skunk problem.  I just smell it everywhere.  Animal control really needs to fix it.

So our miracle this week happened yesterday for church.  We have been trying to get the Johnson family---investigators---to come to church.  On Friday they said that their work schedule has changed and that they can come to church.  We were just so happy and couldn't wait to get them.  We told them that we were going to meet them at 9:15 the following morning to help them get there.  It was a struggle to get to church because of some issues but they came!!!!!!!!!! The ward just loved them and it all looks promising.  this would have never happened if it wasn't for the many prayers said and the Lord really working with them.  It just made my whole month.  I am still so happy about it.

So this week my main focus was of course on Christmas which mostly relates to #ASaviorIsBorn. This video is so great and powerful so I challenge all this who are reading this email to share the link on Facebook or with a friend who might not have seen it.  I just really loved the scriptures they used in it.  Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6, and Luke 2.  They just are put together so nicely that makes this video so amazing.  It just is so important to focus on Christ and the true reason of Christmas instead of commercialism. 

Anyways, have a wonderful week and don't worry I am keeping my eye single to the glory of God.

Elder Vance

Monday, December 14, 2015

Toledo

Well I am officially in the Perrysburg ward.  My area covers East Toledo, Oregon (Ore ee gon is how it is pronounced), THE LAKE!!! and others.  It is a lot like what I started with, good amount of farm and complete ghetto.  The ghetto is a lot worst and due to the holiday season it is not advised to go out working.  I might get jumped or something.  

So some fun facts about Toledo is that it once was the capital for sex trafficking of the nation. There are a lot of drugs too.  It can be beautiful if don't see East Toledo.

My new companion is Elder Whipple.  He has been out about 9 months and has served here for awhile. He is from Gilbert Arizona.  Loves music.  Taller than me.  Don't know what else to say.

Nothing big has happened around here missionary work wise because I still am new but I look forward to progressing it to make it that way.

Well this year the first presidency has really focused on making the Sabbath day a delight.  It is so crucial to keep it Holy but also make it a fun day.  In Ward Council we watched a video about how to make it delightful.  There are those who dread the Sabbath day at home because there is nothing to do and there are so many restrictions but what they are really focusing on is spending the time with your family.  Make it a fun day to serve others.  Bake a plate of cookies every Sunday and deliver it to people in your neighborhood.  Do stuff on Sunday to make it delightful as a family. One of the apostles said that Jesus was persecuted for what he did on the Sabbath. Be creative and don't look at the lists of the do's and don't's.

So I feel a little weird right now so apologies for the letter. It might be the water (haha) inside joke with the Hayden's who we ate dinner with this week.  He got a new water filter and was just so passionate about it when telling us that he pretty much beat it. 

Well I will continue to keep my eye single to the glory of God.

Regards,

Elder Vance

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

So Long, Farewell

I actually think that was the same title when I got transferred last time.  It feels like it was only 6 weeks ago.  I have loved my time here in Rootstown and look forward to what the future holds.  I am guessing that I will go to Sandusky.  Don't really know but a guess.  I have to pack and do a lot of stuff before tomorrow.

Anyways this week has been absolutely crazy.  It started off with a hair cut and Mikes place.  We had a huge meal for like $4.  It was nice because a member gave us a hair cut and paid for our meal too.  She got it for free though because she knows the owner.  It was a real nice day.

December 1st we got to go up to Kirtland and party there for the day.  It was the mission conference and we got to visit.  It was really nice.  We watched a movie too which is unheard of.  The best 2 yrs.  It is quite funny that we were able to watch it.

We picked up a whole bunch of new investigators this week.  The first one is Brother Townend.  He is part of a part member family.  We went to his house and taught him about prayer and the Word of Wisdom. He thinks that because he was not dead it is okay for him toe drink and smoke.  We laughed a little afterwards but during the lesson we testified that through prayer he can receive answers if he is actually willing to change.  That was hard for him to grasp because during the lesson he kept getting progressively drunk.  It just was spirit filled with a little bit of laughter.

The second one is Brother Haworth.  He is a HQ referral who wanted a Book of Mormon.  We dropped it off to us and set up a return appointment.  We went back and he let us in and we tried to get to know him.  He said he is a college student and just living here with his boyfriend.  (At this time thoughts were flying through my head) We continue to talk which lead to the Restoration.  He has many conspiracies that might stop him in the future from progressing.  It is sad though that I won't be able to see him change.

The third one is Brother Smith.  He is by far the coolest one we picked up.  He is a member referral from Brother Fortson, his great uncle.  He is so ghetto and hip.  He was a past member of the Crips gang and is now searching for truth.  He relates to the Mormon religion because Mormon means black man and also Moroni (not I but ee at the end) is his rap name (I think that is what he said).  It is just so fun to teach him.  He wants to be baptized but he is living with his girlfriend who  is going though a divorce.  That will be fun to tell him.

The last one we are really working with is the Barnes family.  Brother Barnes wants his children to have the moral compass the church can bring so he is having us come over.  It is just so fun to go over and to see what goes on.  They are a hoot.  We teach their children about prayer and about all sorts of things.  Last time we tried having a lesson on the Tree of Life.  It went well.  I,on accident, beat my companion with a police baton though.  My mistake.  It hurts more than I though it did.  Anyways we are teaching them tonight and I just look forward to it.

Those are pretty much the people we are really focusing on.

Oh and when tracking yesterday we were stopped by a totally tree hugger guy.  He calls himself the Kent TreeMan.  This just shows how crazy he was.  He talked about how he fasts for 40 something days and a whole bunch of weird stuff.  I got to the point where (shame on me) I stopped listening to him.  He just kept on talking and talking and talking and it just wouldn't stop.  Luckily you just have to be bold and say "Hey we have another appointment, sorry we can't keep talking" and walk away.  Of course you give him a card but you give him an HQ referral card with the number on it.  Anyways I look back and just laugh.

So the scripture of the week goes to Romans 15:1. 

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak , and not to please ourselves. 

This scripture was picked out for me.  It really shows how much patience I have.  Elder Russell and I went through the Christlike attribute section and picked out a scripture that we both thought we could work on.  Mine of course fell under patience and how I need to be more patience when people don't do things the best way for it to be done.  So that is what I have been trying to work on.  Breathing really helps with it.  Also Christ *snapping*. Thought Christ all weak things can be made strong.  So as I keep keeping my eye single to the Glory of God I can work on my lack of patience.  

prends soin de toi, (French for something, don't really know)

Elder Vance

Monday, November 30, 2015

Hello

o happy late Thanksgiving everyone.  Hope it was enjoyable for all.  Here it was a great day.  We wore casual clothing.  (yes missionaries have casual clothing) It was just a nice break.  We went over to a less active part member home---the Davis family--- and partied there for awhile.  It was nice because I was able to play games and do a whole bunch of stuff.  They were making chicken wings for Thanksgiving.  To me, they were doing it right.  

After that we went to our the Shumway home for the feast.  It was real nice there too.  They just happened to have music playing and it was real nice.  I really liked the Hello song by Adele.  We ate and played games afterwards.  The turkey they made was the best turkey I think I have ever eaten.  It was delicious and amazing.  I am not the biggest fan of turkey but I just could not stop eating this stuff.  It was like they added cocaine or something to it.  We played Mortality, a Mormon board game like Life, afterwards which was weird.  I was the first on to be bishop even though I rejected going on a mission 4 different times.  It was just a weird game.  That was my Thanksgiving.

On Saturday we went to a Kent State Basketball game.  We were only there until half time trying to look for a less active.  He wasn't there sadly.  This was the only game this season he hasn't been to.  It was kinda upsetting.  We will track him down at some point. 

Yesterday, Sunday, was really off.  We were in charge of giving the gospel principle lesson on the Final Judgment.  It was going good but really no one can predict what happens in that class.  It went off, twice, to the topic of selling pot.  We had someone say that it was okay to sell weed to someone for $45 in order to feed their family.  I, being Elder Vance, busted up laughing.  We ended the class because it was the end but I still laugh to this day.  Just quite funny.

Alma 34:38 states "and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you".  This is the scripture we used a lot this week to teach about Thanksgiving.  We share that we must live in Thanksgiving daily and really be grateful for all the many things which we are given.  The more we are grateful the more Heavenly Father would like to bless us with. So really living in Thanksgiving is the way.
I will continue to keep my eye single to the glory of God.

Regards,

Elder Vance

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The new emojis

Well my lovely sister reminded me about the new emojis and I just have a funny story about it.  So the family we are going over to on Thanksgiving are the greatest people in the world.  They make me laugh.  So one day a few weeks ago she was mentioning how great the new emojis are because of the new one that flips people off.  She was like finally and was so excited and started using it.  Just the whole story made me laugh and so I thought I would share.  

That has been pretty much my week.  Just stories that make me laugh and made me happy.

The first thing to report on is that we found a golden investigator named Stephanie.  She is so happy that we are here to help and so spiritual that it is a good thing.  I just am so excited for her.  I see her getting baptized sometime here in the future.  She is absolutely amazing. She was going to the baptism this past weekend but got lost .  She had intentions but no phone to contact us.  She was also willing to introduce us to all her friends.  It was just an amazing experience.  

Also we have had much success within this area.  Elder Russell and I feel that we are really connecting with this area which is amazing.  We have started going out with Priest teaching Less Actives and Investigators.  We also are taking a lot of the members out.  It just is so fun to go out and teach. 

Well I will work harder to write stuff down during the week to report home.  I have sort of forgotten all that has transpired during the week.  I do remember that last night we chased Alpacas around until we caught one.  That was fun!!!

Well the scripture I have been ponderising this week is Doctrine and Covenants 4:5 mostly focusing on the "eye single to the glory of God" part.  It referred me to Matthew 6:22 which says that if the eye is single to the glory of God then thy whole body shall be full of light.  I am pondering right now and thinking about how if we look at things the way God looks at them we will be full of light.  But how can we do that?  God knows what glorious beings we can become.  He knows what can happen and what time it can happen.  So the way is to put our lives in sync with God.  Are we doing the things he commands us? Are we holding onto the rod and staying by the tree? Are we trying our hardest every day to have the Spirit with us and repent? If we live our lives the way God wants us to live our lives we will be full with light.  We will become glorious beings.  That is something we need to do on a mission.  If we are obedient God will shape us and lead us to become glorious.  I love being here and learning so much.  I will continue to do that and to keep my eye single to the glory of God.

With amor,

Elder Vance

Monday, November 16, 2015

Le Ward

So this week I would love to talk about le Rootstown ward.  They are absolutely amazing.  I love being here because all the ward members are so friendly and hip.  Every week we are given homemade bread which is to die for.  They use that bread for the sacrament.  The organist is a professional which is I absolutely love.  We have people feeding us and just willing to take care of us.  Someone took us to the store and bought food for us.  The love these people have for missionaries are so great.  I can't express enough appreciation to them.

So this week has been a very slow week.  I just feel like it's been forever.  We had zone conference which was fun.  We learned about family history and the fun things behind it.  We learned how to get investigators interested and how we can have them go to the temple.  It just was so fun to get to see the whole thing.

We also did service for this potential investigator family.  It was really fun because we did it with the sisters and they are just so fun.  It was wet and rainy though which made it hard but we still accomplished much.  We are going back and hope to continue to teach her.

We also have this other potential investigator living in South Carolina.  She once upon a time lived up here in Ohio but moved.  We went through formers and found her and got in contact with her.  We send text messages back and forth.  We are going to send it to the missionaries down there once she gets her house.  She was surprised that we had people down there.  Made us chuckle inside.

Well this week I chose to ponderise the scripture Proverb 12:22.  Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight. It is just one of those scriptures that just are so important.  Lying can be taken in so many ways.  I like to think about not lying to yourself. When you lie to yourself you get no where.  We recently watched the 12 step program videos and that is the first step.  Being honest.  No more lying and really come to yourself. That is what a lot of people have to come to in order to be converted.  They have to stop lying to themselves and come to accept truth.

Well I am keeping my eye single to the glory of God and I hope you all have a good week,

Elder Vance

Monday, November 9, 2015

And At Last I See the Light

And it's like the fog has lifted.  That is how I feel right now. This week I have felt like I have been in the fog.  Gotta love the flu!!! That has pretty much been my week.  Tuesday evening I started to get cranky.  Wednesday I started showing the signs and from late Wednesday evening on I have been sick.  So fun fact about Elder Vance is that he gets cranky right before he gets sick.  And also he takes so many pills so he doesn't feel pain. Almost finished a bottle of ibuprofen.  Today I feel like everything is starting to lift.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It is quite a nice feeling.  My fear is that I will have to deal with this again.

So this week we taught an investigator of a long time.  His name is Brother Brook.  His wife is a member and he hasn't converted yet because he has so many questions.  Some of them aren't relevant but that is our job.  We need to have him find ways to answer his questions but also have him receive answers for himself.  It is quite fun to plan for him and try to find new ways to help him.

We also teach this less active named Royal.  Every time I say his name of course I start to sing the song.  Anyways he is quite amazing.  He grew up in a troubled home and has a troubled family life.  His stories are so awe inspiring and amazing.  I just can't describe.  We are trying to get him to church because it will so benefit him.

We are also teaching a less active named Joseph.  He is so much like the Durey family if I have talked about them in earlier letters.  He just is flaky and not really willing to do anything.  He says he will be at church but then turns around and goes to a different church.  Our issue is trying to get him to see that our church is the church to attend over the fun Protestant church.  He doesn't want to give it up so that will be fun to deal with.

So this week I have been studying Our Heritage, the book from the church.  It is quite amazing all the things I learned about the prophets.  One of my favorite, Heber J Grant, stood out to me. "When he tried out for the baseballteam, he was teased for his awkwardness and lack of skill and was notaccepted as a team member. Instead of becoming discouraged, he spentmany hours of persistent practice in throwing a ball and eventually became amember of another team that won several local championships."  This really stood out to me.  When things were not looking to good for him he kept on trying and kept on going.  He had the same experience for his penmanship.  It was bad but as he kept working on it, it became amazing.  So it shows that not all of us can be experts at everything at first, however, if we put in a lot of hard work no matter what it is we can become experts and know how to play.  I see this while teaching lessons.  I am not even close to being a perfect teacher.  However as I do role plays and keep on teaching I can become a lot better.  I know that God will strengthen those who really put their heart and soul into things.  If you keep your eye single to the glory of God you can accomplish anything.

With deep affection,
--
Elder Vance

Main Street 



Monday, November 2, 2015

Mi habitación está desordenada

So no I have not been transferred to a Spanish speaking area, I just found a book that had words/phrases in Spanish and I thought this one worked perfectly well.   If you put it in a translator it reads my room is messy. That is what I can describe coming to this new area.  We, Elder Russell and I, got the call to go together to Rootstown.  We enter the apartment and it smelt like Pot and was disgusting.  Not a fun first day.  We actually spent that day cleaning because both of us cannot stand to live in an apartment like that.  Today we did more cleaning and it is a lot nicer.  I actually really like it.

Anyways so now we are here in Ravenna, not Italy, OH progressing the work in the Rootstown ward.  The first few days I had mixed feelings about this area.  I was devastated to leave the people I loved in Ashtabula but excited because of a new area with stores and places around. Right now I absolutely love it here.  I don't want to leave this place either.  For the first time on my mission we have had 5 whole dinner appointments in 1 week.  That is absolutely crazy for me.  The food is good too.  It is just a really nice place.

When we got here the second day we went through the Area book trying to find people we can teach.  None of the records were updated so we are pretty much starting over.  We have to update so much and fix a lot of things.  It is a good learning experience and really helps us out with what we should leave the area book in an area.  Anyways, we decided to go walking and we had a guy track us down just to talk with us.  He had some questions to ask us and he fired away.  He asked so many question. (Questions like: What is your stance on the new tracing thing and that the Native Americans are not related to the Israels.  At the end of it I just laughed and thought how different this really is. People just come out of nowhere just to attack your beliefs.

We were also transferred into an area with Sisters.  This is the first area I am in that has sisters and I really see a difference with the work.  I love them so much.  They are able to connect and just so loving.  It is so nice to have them in the ward.  We have started working with them more to help each other out.  Anyways, I just absolutely love this area.

A story that comes to mind with this weeks change is A Summer with Great-Aunt Rose by Elder Uchtdorf.  He tells of Eva, who, like me, left a comfortable place that she loved.  "Over time, Eva made a surprising discovery: Great-Aunt Rose was quite possibly the happiest person she had ever known!" I took that and applied it to me.  Over time, I will find that I am supposed to be here to learn, like Eva did, and to help others out.  If you haven't read this story, do so now.  It is a great one that everyone can get something out of.  Anyways, I will keep Enduring to the End even though sometimes I don't like too.  But I will also keep my eye single to the glory of God.

With love to all,
--
Elder Vance

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

So Long, Farewell

Well I got a call yesterday which told me that I am being transferred.  That means don't send anything to the address that once was.  It came as a huge shock but I knew it was coming.  I overheard that they were finding apartments around this area so I thought that the area was going to be split.  I am training so I also thought that I wouldn't be transferred but that was not the way.

Looking back I think of all the fun and all the hard times I have had in this area.  I have learned how to be more tolerant and also how to find charity.  I remember all the times we had to go to the Headley's because they are members and all the laughs we had with them.  I remember all the less active members we were able to help activate.  It just touches my heart.

I really am heartbroken because of this transfer.  I absolutely love these people and am so sad to leave them.  I felt like I was doing good in this area and then boom it comes, you're leaving.  I know that this is all directed by Heavenly Father so I know that it is for the best.

This week we started setting up programs to start bringing people in.  We started passing fliers to people so we can have them pass out them to others.  I just look back at how much this area has changed between Elder Demke, Elder Russell and I.  It just is surprising.  So next week if I am freaking out you know why.

We taught a pastor this week.  His name is Pastor Matt and he is absolutely amazing.  He is part of a free will baptist church and agrees with a lot of what we say.  He is just so peaceful and not looking to debate.  He has read the Book of Mormon 2 going on 3 times but just is scared to change.  It's like what we believe, if you have known the truth and reject it, it just isn't the greatest.  He feels the same way.  HE KNOWS IT'S TRUE!!!! (me screaming in my head wanting to help him change).  I do one day see him changing and being converted.

So this week I got revelation on the scriptures.  I took 2 Nephi 32:8 and applied it unto myself.  There are suggestions that people throw out when studying the scriptures like likening them unto yourself.  I took that to heart and did it.  I made it say that the Spirit teaches a missionary to talk to everyone while the evil Spirit teaches a missionary not to.  It really hit me and became a great blessing this week.  Through following that scripture we were able to find Lynda.  She is a Methodist who we became friends with and helped her with her yard.  It was a really great blessing.  Things like this really help with scripture study.  If we liken them unto ourselves and be willing to act on them then we will receive revelation.  It is bound to happen if we do it.  The scriptures hold so much more than just the stories inside.

I will continue to always keep my eye single to the glory of God.

With love,

Elder Vance

The oldest grave I've seen

Temple Pictures

Temple Pictures

Painting


Monday, October 19, 2015

Merry Christmas!!!

Well it has officially snowed this week and weirdly it made me happy.  Some would think that this really isn't Elder Vance, but it is!!! I was happy. That is the Merry Christmas reference.

Anyways, it has been a week of improvements and going back to the chalk board.  We are SO done tracking that we sat down and came up with new ideas to start gathering more people that does not involve accidents at all.  So with that we are going to start holding a Bible study class in two weeks.  It is exciting to have that here.

So crock pot dinners are the greatest things ever invented. We put stuff and come home at the end of the night and eat.  They taste so good.  We had spicy potato soup and cheesy potato casserole.  It was nice. Especially after biking 34 kilometers. 

So weather here is more bipolar than in Utah.  One minute it is so warm and nice out and just 30 minutes later it's raining and cold.  The wind shifts so quickly too.  It just is so crazy.

We still haven't been able to contact Cody.  He was the investigator with the baptismal date that disappeared from us.  We still pray that he will find the truth and come back but it's getting farther from us.

This last week we met with this wonderful Catholic couple who I just love so much.  They are like my Ohio grandparents I just love them that much.  Mr. and Mrs. Joslin are their names.  We talk and chat and talk about mission life.  They have 9 children and love talking about them.  They are really devoted to their faith but we still meet with them and teach them a little bit about Mormonism. I just absolutely love them so much.  

Gene is one we picked up.  He is an investigator of at least 5 years.  We are giving him a chance but he keeps looking at anti stuff online.  We tell him he will not progress but he will not stop.  It is quite sad.

We went to primary this week and it was amazing.  I absolutely loved being there.  I love the songs and stuff.  We talked about missionary work which was quite fun.

So I have picked my theme song for my mission.  It is "I'll go where you want me to go".  I just heard it and felt so touched by it.  It really is being humble enough to allow the Lord to make you who he wants you to be.  He will tell you to go where he wants you to go and he will tell you what to say.  it is quite magnificent.  It just all comes back to "Can the Lord depend on me?" If we are obedient and doing what is asked with all effort we can ultimately be led by the Spirit.  I know this and as I continue to (of course) keep my eye single to the Glory of God, He will lead me to where he wants me to go.

Have an absolutely fantastic week.

With absolute merry love,

Elder Vance




Monday, October 12, 2015

Huh?

I don't really know what has happened this week. It's Monday morning at 11:29am and I don't remember much. Oh well...

I remember the service we had this week.  I was so happy.  I love service.  We helped someone clean up their house on the outside.  I rode a lawnmower.  It was fun.  I just love it.  Service does really bring happiness. 

Okay so sadly we are not having the two planned baptisms this week.  One of them haven't been to church and the other one has disappeared from us.  Oh, it's really sad.  I was really thinking that they were not ready but still planning on going through with it.  Anyways that was the one really only exciting sad thing of the week.

So this week was the third fruit pie I have eaten.  I still do not like pie.  I am sorry for all those I have offended there with that comment.

Oh and for the lovely people out there I found a quote today from Elder Randall Bennett from the Seventy that said "discouragement is a choice".  I afterwards put "Don't choose it".  It really works for life out here and everywhere.  Times/ issues will come up and we have a chance to get discourage.  Don't do it.  It makes everything easier.  The Spirit doesn't work well under those type of circumstances.  So as you keep your eye single to the Glory of God like I continue to do, try not to get discourage when hard times come.  Turn to prayer. It works.

With lots of love,

Elder Vance

Zach by the lake


Monday, October 5, 2015

Winter

Merry Christmas everyone!!!! I have been through winter and I don't want to go back.  Okay so it was more like fall but it felt like winter.  I was wearing long sleeves, gloves, a sweater, and a scarf.  I'll send a picture next week.  I have also been sick which makes me more cold.  It just has been a cold week.  I love the rain though.  It was just nonstop raining.

So Ricola cough drops are now my favourite.  I used to be a Halls (forgot what they are called) fan but now I have converted.

So Conference came along and now is passed. It was good.  Talked a lot about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  A lot about faith, and the holy ghost.  I loved all the talks about women too.  It just was a good experience.  I hope we all take a scripture and ponderise it.  I have already started taking this into effect.  This week is Moroni 10:3-5.  These scriptures are used throughout the mission field to help people come to Christ by reading the Book of Mormon and pray about it.

Okay so we have people with a baptismal date!!!  This is so exciting because it's my first one.  I also think I am freaking out about it too.  I don't feel like they are ready but the Lord knows so I will continue to rely on Him.  Cody and Bob are working towards baptism.  We would love the prayers to help with their trials.  We can also get three more before the end of the year.  Christy, Christine (and maybe her family), and Tim.  They can all get baptised and we are excited to help them with that.

Not much has happened this week.  We are furthering people's faith and working with them.  It does help when you keep your eye single to the Glory of God.

Have a great week.

Elder Vance

Monday, September 28, 2015

Tips to survive missionary life

So based on what has happened this week and how this is also a journal for the future I have decided to dedicate this week to tips for missionaries.

This week we had Sister Capp come back!!!  That was exciting but also really awkward.  I regret not apologizing to her so for the future people out there, DO!!  Apologize to people you do wrong.  Even if it totally isn't your fault you should try to please people.

We also had a humongous problem with Ken.  The recent convert we had who just is not in a good situation right now.  He has said some sensual things to the missionaries that just aren't too good.  Don't ever, as a missionary, try to notify more people in the situation.  Notify the mission president and the bishop and leave it at that.  Who knows what it could do to other people.

If you are privileged with a car, do not abuse the miles for someone else.  Plan and be generous to future missionaries.  They have to deal with the same miles you do.  Be nice so in the future when it happens to you, you don't have to be stressed.

Speaking of stress, this week has been super stressful.  Having to deal with going over with miles it just sucks.  So please don't.  The best ways to get over stress is to work.  Just getting out of the apartment and being among the people is the best way to deal with stress.

Keep the apartment clean.  Cleanliness invites the Holy Ghost.  I am called Mother because I am all about being clean and doing the dishes every night.  Also learn how to clean before you come out.  Some missionaries do not know how to clean before they come out so learn.

When you get sick like I am today, get cough drops.  They help and like said before, keep on working.  If it is more serious call the Mission President's wife.  She will help you with your care.

Exact obedience is another step.  Being exactly obedient brings miracles.  You are more focused on your work and things change.  So please gain a testimony.

With that I totally believe that being exactly obedient brings miracles.  Just looking at who we taught yesterday showed that.  We finally were able to contact Christine.  She is the one who helped me when I fell off my bike.  I was so excited that we were able to teach her and to bless her life.  I see her becoming something great in the future.

So today was one of the first days that I wrote in my Book of Mormon.  I wrote in Alma 5:26.  I saw a connection with that and a conference talk this last conference.  The music of the gospel.  It just talks about how we need to focus our lives on the music.

I am working hard and I am excited to go forward with an eye single to the Glory of God.

With love,

Elder Vance

Monday, September 21, 2015

Relax, Don't Do It

A lot has happened in just the last week.  I went to my first ever exchange where I was receiving a new companion.  His name is Elder Russell from Saint George Utah.  This just happened to be my second companion from that area.  It might be a sign?!?!?!? I don't really know.  He is quite amazing.  I am his trainer and he is already doing better than I am. He has put his shoulder to the wheel.  We have a little more in common than Elder Demke.  He likes education but he also likes computer programming.  I know little to nothing about computer programming, but we still work together effectively.

So the whole ward has sort of forgotten who Elder Demke was.  When people ask where Elder Russell is from he says Saint George and they always relates it back to Elder Howard who served here before Elder Demke.  It is quite funny.

Also at transfers we got a new car!!!!! I was excited because it was a truck with four wheel drive.  He gave it to us because supposedly Ashtabula gets a lot of snow.  I laugh still because I don't know what I got myself into.  We are also struggling on miles because of taking the car.

It has been a very stressful week.  I hate change but sadly that is the only thing that is consistent.  It gets easier the more you do it.  I have sort of become the mother of the house because I do the cleaning because I hate mess.  It just is crazy.  I feel like the ward is disappointed with me because I work my hardest but it is not hard enough.  It just is so hard to please people.  I know that as I continue to pray and go forward with faith I will be able to adjust and become great.  

With the work this week we have been really working.  We have picked up more lessons and we don't just sit around doing nothing, we track.  It isn't the most fun but it is work.  We have seen blessings come from it.  We are teaching more people in this area than I have seen ever before.  I absolutely love it.  We picked up this family who seems interested and we are teaching them later tonight.  We just keep going forward.

So the Headley's, the people that I constantly talk about because they are so crazy, are working on getting a car so that they can come to church.  They are now able to drive and they are working on getting a car to church.  It is quite scary but also quite a miracle.  I thought they would never come to church but they are.

So I think I have been put with people on my mission to help me develop my Christlike attributes and to become a better parent in the future.  This last week has been a real patience tester.  A quote that comes to mind is from Thomas S. Monson saying "Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature.  There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all.  Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required".  I need patience because everything will pan out in the end.  I need to relax and not blow up.  It will help too as I keep my eye single to the Glory of God.  

Adios

Elder Vance

I love being out here.  I learn so much and continue to learn everyday.  Have a great week.

Me and the trees 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Because I'm Happy

I am in just a really happy state today.  The joy I have right now is just so full that I just cannot even describe.  I looked on my email and the Mueller Park Stake has started a giant group email.  It just made me absolutely happy.  

This week has been hard though.  Monday was by far the worst day I think I have had.  We were tracking and talking to people and we try going to this one house.  By the time we are in the driveway two dogs run out and start to bite us.  Well of course, we ran away.  I shed a few tears just because I could not hardly believe that someone would just have their dogs sick us.  To go on top of that, we went to someone's house to hand them a card and they threatened us with a gun.  We were kind and all but he still did.  But fun fact, that is not all, we called someone who was a potential investigator and he, over the phone, was yelling at us and telling us to f off.  Well, that was just Monday.  But the upside to it was that we found three new people to teach.☺

The rest of the week did go better.  We had training meeting because I have been asked to train.  That was a fun experience.  I loved going to that meeting.  We had to drive past Cleveland and so that was really exciting.  I am so excited to start training and to begin a new 3 months.

The trees here are starting to change color. It is actually quite scary.  I do not really want winter to start here.  I heard it gets below 0F.  NO NO NO.

So crazy story of the week goes to when we went to the H******'s.  We went inside this time which was a really crazy experience.  It is so hard to teach a lesson to people with so many distractions---that being bed bugs and such.  The worst distraction is when the fire alarm went off.  They said that sometime when the cockroaches run across the wires in the fire alarm it sets in off.  Elder Demke and I knew right at that instant that it was time to depart.  I am just laughing and thinking about how disgusting it is just to think about this.  Yet we will go back.

The best story of the week goes to Sister Molek.  Sister Molek is a less active who I just absolutely love to death.  She once upon a time was strong but since became inactive.  We have always been working hard with her to bring her back to church.  Well we haven't really gotten her to church but we have gotten her more into the gospel.  She is loved by a lot of people and was shown that yesterday at empty nesters.  She brought her friend and she went.  I feel like she had a good time and absolutely loved it.  We are working hard with her because she is leaving October 6th for two weeks and we don't want her to fall back. I just am so excited for all that goes on.

Because I am so happy today I have decided to share Moroni 7:45-48.  This scripture is all about charity and love.  I just have found charity.  When you find charity in every situation it just becomes easier to cope with all the negative around.  You find love for people you normally won't and just try your hardest to help them out.  When they stumble you try to help them up.  You just don't give up.

I love my work so much.  I am so excited about being out here.  My heart is so full today and my love is so great.  I will continue to keep my eye single to the glory of God in all times and in all places.

Thank you all and have a great week.

Elder Vance

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

You, With Your Words Like Knives

Just one of the many songs being sung this week by Elder Vance.  I have also been singing High School Musical, the Hymns like always, and many more.
I don't even know where to begin this week.  I have had so many things happened both good and bad that it is just crazy.  So Monday, 31 August, we get a call saying that I made a dog go to the vet and they want money.  STAB. I felt like horrible the rest of the day.  I was playing with a dog (which I no longer do) and it was starting to get aggressive.  I ran away from it because it was on a leash so I thought I could escape that way.  The dog broke the leash and now got problems.  I take full responsibility.  There was a full fiasco and now the member does not want any contact.  I felt absolutely horrible.  They said it wasn't my fault because she should put more control over the dog.  I didn't really know what to do so yeah...
Also on Monday we visited the H******'s.  By now you know how crazy they are.  They talked about how they support love is love and the whole gay thing.  That was a shock.  She also tried to teach one of her neighbors about the gospel and was teaching false doctrine.  It was not good.  We learned that day that we need to reteach everything.
So Tuesday was all well and fine until we had to go to the Hospital.  The other Elders in the district had an incident with a boil on the leg.  We went to the hospital again.  It was still as fun as the first time.  I still love the hospital.
Throughout this whole week we have been doing service.  We are now called as the service people of the ward.  We just do service for those who ask and a lot of people ask.  It is fun but it is also fun teaching. 
Yesterday, Monday, we had a breakfast with the ward and did a lot of service.  We also got a lot of dessert.  I was happy.  I also learned that I am training after just being trained.  It caught me by surprise and I laughed a little.
Sometimes in the world people will use words to hurt you.  It can either hurt you really bad or you can push it off.  I am learning to push it off and not to fight back.  It can be hard but the more you do it the more happy you will be in the future.  If you keep your eye single to the glory of God, like I continue to do, it will change your lives.
A scripture I found that I will put over the door in my house someday in the future is Philippians 4:13.  I heard it
and fell in love with it. 

We have a member who wants the missionaries to bless lottery tickets.

Thank you to all who emailed me and have a great week.  I promise I will write a lot better next week.

This made me laugh

Me and the Tree

Monday, August 31, 2015

You Got Me in Chains

So first to start off this week is this song.  I had an incident that put that song in my head.  Since then it really hasn't left.  It does relate to the gospel which I will report later on.
Mission changer week has hit and I have learned a lot.  Elder Bennett from the Second Quorum of the Seventy came to our mission and rebuked us in a loving way.  He told us about all sorts of stuff we can be doing to make us more successful.  He talked to us about teaching people at the door instead of just handing them a card.  He told us that even one minute can make a difference in daily schedule.  The meeting was just filled with so much good information. To attend that meeting we had to pass Cleveland which was a lot of fun. I love what that city looks like.  There we also ate Chick-fil-a.  It was a good day overall.
Throughout the week we have done service for a guy named Jacob who was moving.  We thought it was only going to be a one day thing but actually turned out to be a four day thing.  It was not a pleasant thing for us.  It actually reminded me about the Mormon message Lift.  Watch it if you haven't seen it.  But the infuriating part about it was that when we showed up to move stuff he was not packed.  That made me mad.  I was about to scream because he knew about the move for 3 months now and has done nothing about it.  One night we gave him a blessing and someone not of our religion tired to get in the blessing.  He put his hands when we put our hands.  We had to tell him no politely but it was a once in a lifetime experience I had to deal with.  So this guy was his friend. He was older, had three hernias, had a catheter bag hanging out so we can see his urine.  Had the catheter hanging up from his pants so the urine cannot get into the bag.  It just was a gross experience.  Looking back it makes me laugh.
We picked up three new investigators this week.  We picked up Tim, who is searching for God but attends a different church, Cody, who has a friend who is a Mormon and is rather interested, and Barb, who is a Catholic but open to what she hears. I love them all and hope to continue their progression towards truth. 
Fun crazy things of the week:
I TRIED BLUEBERRY PIE and didn't love it.  I am not a fruit fan for all those people out there.
I ate a whole lot of Chocolate Syrup with Ice cream.  I love is so much.
I got my eyebrows waxed by a member who really wanted to do it.  I have to say that they look good.  Not feminine at all or wild like they were before. Haha.
I picked up dog poop for service with a less active who took that same dog to church which was fun.

Okay so back to the chains.  The Devil can chain you up and make you feel like you are never able to escape.  Guess what? YOU CAN ESCAPE!!! There is a way to be free from guilt or shame.  There is a way of not feeling trapped or tied up in chains.  It is turning to your Savior.  As he says in Alma 7:11-12.  He knows what you have gone through.  He can help you throughout all you have suffered or gotten yourself into.  Turn to him.  Pray, talk to the people that represent him (Bishop, Stake President) and be open and willing to change.  I know this to be true.  I have seen it first hand with the people out here in Ohio.  They can change their lives and so can you, if you turn to him. 

I hope y'all have a great week and know that I am continuing to press forward with an eye single to the glory of God.  

With Love,


A really nice picture that i will see in the winter and realized how much I actually love the summer

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

D-Day

Happy d-day week.  This year is the 71st anniversary day of D-Day.  We saw a little bit of it; Conneaut every year puts on a reenactment of D-Day around the Dog Days.  It was cool to see.  We didn't stay there long and sadly I did not pick anything up.  It just was really cool.

This week we went to Wendy's to weekly plan (good source of alliteration). We saw someone get pulled over and arrested.  It was quite funny but also really distracting.  Also the music they played in Wendy's was really distracting.  Talking Body is one of my favourite songs right now.  Very distracting.  Anyways I have started finding love in the hymns right now.  this goes along with what I realised this week.  I realised that this is my life.  I don't really remember anything in the past or what my life used to be.  I dream a missionary and I live it.

So this week we didn't really teach a whole lot.  We did a lot of service though.  We trimmed trees and painted a deck.  The paining of the deck was by far the best.  I love paining and doing anything with painting.  I just found it fun.  I also learned that I am allergic to the fern type of plant.  Not a fun thing.

So this week we have been having members who have been struggling.  One of them is going through a nasty divorce because of his wife being all antimormonism.  It is quite sad to see him in this condition.  I want to help but there is not much I can do.

We picked up 3 new investigators this week.  One of them seem strong the other two seem wishy washy. 

I am excited to go forward with faith.  I am studying a lot more this week.   I have noticed a change in my Spiritual connection.  One quote I would like to leave: "role play is the way the Lord teaches".  If we continue to practice then we can learn.  If you just learn but do not apply then it goes out one ear.  So we do role plays all the time because that allows us to be prepared even when it doesn't work out that way.  The Spirit will help you when you are prepared.  Anyways there is my scattery email of the week.

I am keeping my eye single to the glory of God.

With love to all,

Monday, August 17, 2015

Come What May

Okay so these three words I heard while listening to I Believe in Christ.  They were the most powerful words that I heard.  I will believe in Christ no matter what comes my way.  It was just so amazing to hear and I've had them in my head all week.  Music can invite the Spirit and I know that.  I have learned to love the music I listen to.
Well this week we dropped a few more people from our investigator pool.  On Tuesday we went to Vicky's house and ate dinner.  During dinner when we were trying to connect our conversation back to the gospel she went into the other room and gave us back a Book of Mormon.  She told us she never reads it and was giving it back. STAB IN THE BACK!!!!! We were sad but she was sticking with her religion.  At least dinner was good.
This week we have also been trying to visit a potential investigator.  Christina was the one who we met when I fell off my bike and got a killer black eye.  We have been trying hard to meet with her but she is way too busy.  It is kind of infuriating.
This week we also met with a lady who goes by the name of Rose.  She is not there.  She always talks about her boyfriend and how she loves him so much.  We are still going to try to teach her but it might come to us dropping her.
We also ran across a lady whose name is Diana. She is fluent in Arabic, Hebrew and other languages.  She doesn't really believe the Book of Mormon is true but it was fun to meet with her. I don't think we will try to meet with her in the future to try to teach her.  My companion does not do so well with people completely bashing on his beliefs.  So we are avoiding that although.

This week I got a picture of the Mesa Temple with the Christmas decorations.  It so reminded me of my childhood.  We would always go to the temple and see the lights during Christmas time.  I also remember me trying to draw the temple so many times.  That is by far my favorite temple.  I just love temples.
Saturday we had to attend a Giveaway that the church was involved in.  It is a free school supply giveaway for the county because they are not too rich.  We sat at a table and waited for people to stop by to get gospel related stuff.  It was poorly planned on our part because we didn't know much about it.  So really we didn't have much interest from the people around.  I wish it could have gone better to be honest.
I don't think there is much left for the week.  We broke our record for the number of times we were able to build people's faith.  Elder Demke, my companion, lost to a 6yr old in chess. I went to the lake and played in the sand.
The scripture I wanted to emphasize is D&C 35:13-15.  My brother showed me this scripture and I have really taken a liking to it.  He gives much power to those who are weak.  I thought of Moses and how he not too strong but still was called to be a prophet.  It really is just quite amazing.  I know that I am weak and that I need to keep relying on the Lord.  I need to keep keeping my eye single to the Glory of God.
Anyways, have a great week.
With Love,

Elder Vance