Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Gospel is Life-Changing

Friends and Family!

I love it here! It is totally a different world, but it is where I belong. I walk the streets and all I can think about is that this is exactly how I pictured my mission … exactly. Heavenly Father truly knows me. I have been able to see my Portuguese improve every day that I am here. I learn new gospel terms and also some fun/funny words as well, just for kicks. The 5 native Brazilian sisters help me with that for sure. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I seriously can’t even imagine Christmas because it is so hot here! It is so great here, but don’t remember what it feels like to be cold because I am always sweating, even right after I step out of an ice cold shower! My Christmas was definitely one of my favorites. We woke up and all of us sisters were singing Christmas songs and we handed out some little gifts. I got a mango and a little pack of Starburst, and I don’t think I have ever been more excited in my life about two starbursts. Of course when I opened it, it was two pink ones (aka, my favorite), which was just a Christmas miracle, haha! After that, we walked around to our investigators because we wanted to remind them again about church, but a lot of them weren’t home. We walked to church, and when we turned the corner we saw Raimundo, and I about lost it. Raimundo is one of our investigators. He is an alcoholic and my first day here I met him on the streets when he was drunk. We have taught him lessons, and he is completely different. There is a serious difference in his countenance and it is simply amazing. We sat with him in church and my companion and I sang and it was just the best Christmas present. I was able to Skype/talk with my family on Christmas night and it was so awesome. I love them so much and they are so special to me. I am who I am because of them. When we hung up I wasn’t even sad, I just felt so empowered and so inspired. My family is truly my biggest support, and inspire me to work my hardest every day.

The most difficult thing about this week was trying to figure out how to help people have a desire about the gospel. A lot of people can’t read here, and so we really rely on the Spirit to testify of the truthfulness of the gospel. So many people are just very casual because they don’t understand how essential the gospel of Jesus Christ can be in their lives. When I share my testimony in a lesson, I testify that this gospel is life changing! The Savior and His Atonement have changed everything in my life. I can hardly explain it. As I am serving here, so many times I have had what feels like déjà vu, but I know that it is really that I knew these people before we were born, and I was called to testify to these people and to LOVE these people for my Savior. My companion and I pray every day to better know how to serve these people more, and be the Savior’s hands. I haven’t eaten dinner in 2 weeks, because we just don’t have time to stop the work. This work is amazing, and life-changing. The scriptures are life-changing. I want to change people’s lives down here through the knowledge that I have been blessed with in my life. I am so grateful for this opportunity and all the lessons that I am learning. I am thankful for my Savior and I feel honored to represent Him and serve in His place. I love you all, and Happy Holidays!

Sister Vance

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