Monday, May 15, 2017

My Best Decision

Friends and Family!

Yesterday was so fun, as I had the opportunity to skype with my family for Mother’s Day. I was so happy to see their faces and just talk to my best friends! Whenever I talk to them I just feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for them, especially my parents. It was a special moment being able to hear them tell me that they are proud of what I am doing and becoming, but as I told them yesterday … everything I am, and everything I am doing has a direct correlation to the way I was raised by THEM! I love my mom so much and I always hear her voice in the back of my head about being safe, or about how to better serve people. I am trying to become more like my Savior here, but inevitably I am becoming more like my mom and dad, because they are some of the most Christ like people I know. I love my family! One of the highlights was when my sister-in-law Nicole told me at the end that her unborn baby (Jackson) was kicking the whole time when I was talking, and now he knows my voice! It was just such a great day yesterday.

This week one of our investigators, Evandro, received an answer to his prayers about baptism! He called us and told us that he had a dream with us that was really a spiritual experience for him. We were really touched by the Spirit when we heard the dream too. In the dream, he said that he was really sad and upset, and then he saw us and we walked up to him and said, “Evandro we are here, everything will be alright”. He told us that he felt a peace that he has never felt before in his life, and in that moment he knew that we were the angels sent to bring happiness into his life. When we marked a day for him to be baptized he was so excited and said, "Don’t you guys worry! I will be getting baptized”; so we are helping him prepare to be baptized. When I was thinking about this experience later, it reminded me that when we receive an answer from the Lord we need to be ready to act without delay. We can’t overlook the responses and answers we receive from God, and we need to be actively seeking the Lord’s council in every detail of our lives. My companion and I always laugh a little at the end of our prayers together because sometimes I pray about the most random or little things. I would give you examples of the things I pray for sometimes, but I am too embarrassed, haha. I never used to really do that before my mission, but here every day I am learning how to have more reliance on our Heavenly Father; and I know that if it’s important to me and a righteous desire, then it is important to Him! I know that He wants to hear from us and is waiting to bless us in the big and little things. I have gained such an appreciation for the power of prayer.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to bear my testimony in Portuguese to my family! As I started, I didn’t even know where to begin or what to say, not because of the Portuguese, but because words don’t do justice to how I am feeling! I think I said 10 times that I love my Savior and that I am so grateful for all that I am learning here. I am so grateful for my testimony. It has always been one of the most precious things to me in my life, but now I have so much more depth and understanding of my purpose and role here on earth, and where I can turn for real peace and happiness. I feel this way more now than before my mission, because every day I am doing the things that are fundamental to keeping and growing a testimony … reading scriptures, serving, praying, exercising faith and being a disciple of Christ.

Since I have been in Parnaiba, we have seen the full spectrum of testimonies … from the rise of less actives, to the fall of strong members, even return missionaries. The difference you may ask? Those who are or aren’t studying the scriptures and praying. The strange thing is that I didn’t have to leave my country or learn a new language to strengthen and fortify my testimony; I could have done it there too. But I am so grateful I am here; it is by far THE BEST AND MOST IMPORTANT DECISION I HAVE MADE IN MY LIFE. I hope to always keep my testimony burning bright and alive, and we all know exactly how we can do that. Our testimony is either growing or dying, it is never static. Ask yourself where your testimony of the gospel is at right now, and then do what you need to do to move it in the right direction. I love you all so much, but right now I love these Brazilians more. #SorryNotSorry


Sister Vance

p.s. See below - when you’re only worth one cow instead of 8 … haha.

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