Monday, January 23, 2017

Trying To Be Like Jesus

Hello Everyone!

I know I say this every week, but it was another amazing week! I finished my first transfer and just found out I will be staying in Parnaiba for another transfer! I am so, so happy. My heart would break if I had to leave these people tomorrow, especially on my birthday! By the way, thank you all for the birthday wishes. I feel so overwhelmed by all the emails, but also so loved. I know many of you can’t believe I am in my 20’s because I still act like a child, but that’s just me! This week Jose Eugenial was baptized, and it was so lovely. My companion and I sang “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” at the service and we didn’t make it through without tears. My heart was full of gratitude when I looked up and realized that we weren’t the only ones feeling the Spirit. The whole room joined us in singing as well. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, including Jose. I was so proud that I was able to help someone follow the example of Christ. We had a short testimony meeting afterwards, and the Spirit was so strong. Jose bore his testimony as well, and he spoke with such authority that he knew that this was the true restored church. He thanked me and Sister Bagotoli by name, and I have never felt more grateful in my life for my Heavenly Father and for the opportunity I have to be here. Words can’t describe what my heart felt in that moment. I am so grateful for my Savior, and the perfect example He is to me. Every day, I am trying and want to be more like Jesus. I can truly say that I have felt as the scripture says, “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” (D&C 18:15)

I need to share a story that touched my heart. I have a friend serving in Africa Mozambique, Portuguese- speaking. There is a man that they are teaching who was diagnosed with polio as a young child; his legs don’t work, but he walks on HIS HANDS! Every day he walks on his hands to work, and works for 10 hours so that he can provide beans and rice for his family. Last Sunday it was raining a ton there, and they had flash floods. Many people didn’t show up to church because of the conditions, but this man walked to church through this storm on his hands. This man is beyond an example to me and his story touched me to the core. It made me ponder my life and think, “what am I doing to show my dedication to the Lord … what am I sacrificing”? Many of you might be thinking that I am already sacrificing a lot, being here for a year and a half, but I am telling you right now, this isn’t even enough time. I need to do more and be more. I have been given so much and haven’t given much in return. It has been truly humbling to see the sacrifices people make here. I wish I could tell you all more, but just know that I love it here. I haven’t eaten anything besides rice and beans and meat, but I can’t tell you how good it is to me. These people are so special to me, and I am so happy to be serving them! This birthday is going to be the best one yet! I love you all!

Sister Vance

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