Tuesday, November 22, 2016

One by One

Oi Amigos,

First, Happy Birthday to my beautiful sister Lydia! If you see her, please tackle her and give her the biggest hug for me! Happy belated Birthday to Papa Vance as well; I am the luckiest daughter in the world to have him as my father … so kind and so loving. If you know me at all, you know that my parents and siblings are truly my greatest friends. Everything good in my life has come from them. I miss them but I feel such a sense of gratitude towards them as I have been away from them. I love you guys.

Speaking of families, my "family" here at the MTC is getting disbanded! Two more elders (brothers) from my district got their visas and are heading off to Sao Paulo to finish their time at the MTC there. What is with all these goodbyes? I can’t handle it anymore, it is just too much, haha! I knew one of the elders, Elder Syme, from EFY (a summer camp) back in the day! He is going to my same mission though, so I will see him again. Our zone is so fun, there are missionaries going to Brazil, Portugal, Cape Verde, and Mozambique … all Portuguese speaking! We are all so close and it is just the best. We got new Brazilian missionaries this week, and it has been so fun not being the new kids here. There are so many different missions in Brazil, so most of us aren't going to the same mission but I know two elders that are!

This week it snowed, and I wasn't a fan of that! I am ready for the 104 degree Teresina weather (just kidding, I will probably complain about that too). This week I focused really hard on the language, and my hand still hurts after making at least 500 note cards! During every lesson we teach, I can see improvements and see how Heavenly Father is helping me when I say words in Portuguese that I have never even learned before. It is incredible. I know I still probably sound like a drunk sailor, because my grammar is far from perfect, but practice makes perfect. So I just throw words together and hope that it makes sense. Besides, teaching is not talking, it is just listening.

We watched a talk given by Elder Bednar, called “One by One”. It was exactly what I needed. I left with a new understanding of our Heavenly Father’s nature and our Savior's character. Jesus Christ would not invite us to become like Him if it was impossible. He cares about “the One”. When Christ visited the Nephites in 3 Nephi 11, it says that He greeted them one by one. In verse 15, it says “And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come”. There were 2,500 people there. Even if He would've spent just 30 seconds per person, that would've taken twenty hours. There are so many other accounts in The Book of Mormon and in The Bible, where the Savior takes time for just one person. One by one He ministered and taught, and He continues to do so today. Heavenly Father has His hand in everything. When I get out in the field, I know that I will realize that Heavenly Father brings me into people’s lives, and people into my life, for a specific reason. He works through us to bring salvation to His children. Elder Bednar said, "The first words that Heavenly Father said to man in these latter days was ‘Joseph’. He knows us by our name and He knows us one by one." There are no "coincidences" in life, especially when you are on the Lord’s errand. I can’t wait to teach two by two and teach one by one, and help people realize that they are a "one" to their Heavenly Father. I know that I am not called to just serve in a place, but called to serve in the place of the Savior, and teach individuals like He would if He were there with the love He has for each one of them.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! While I love my family, there is no other place I would rather be this holiday! We all have so many things to be grateful for … remember who to thank for all of your blessings!

Com Amor,

Sister Vance

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