Thursday, July 20, 2017

You Will Never Regret It

Hi Everyone!

Well, it was a great week, not counting the time when a dog tried to attack me as I just stood there, ice cold, eyes shut, and waiting for him to bite my thigh off. It’s fine though, he only bit off a part of my bag. I used to like dogs, but I think I will always have PTSD from so many ravenous street dogs here. Also, as of this week, our brick cell phones are able to send texts, so that has been a weird experience, bringing back my muscle memory from my pink razor in 6th grade, hahaha!

I am trying to lose my American accent, but too many times the following situation happens me … I start talking with someone in the street and the person asks me if I am American. I say “yes” and continue to keep the conversation more focused on the gospel, bear my testimony, and try to ask them inspired questions about Jesus Christ. The person responds with one or more of … "did you vote for Donald Trump?", "Do you have a Facebook where I can practice my English”, or some totally unrelated point, haha. That’s my life … my companions try to encourage me and tell me it’s not just my accent that gives it away, but it’s the fact that I am white, with light eyes and my hair is getting blonder and blonder each passing day. It’s a hopeless situation.

We brought Irmao Gerry to the shelter where we have the group of investigators! He talked to them and I just wanted to scream. He taught and shared his own experience of being baptized and the changes he has seen in his life. He told them, "I know how you are feeling too, I used to live on the streets, but if you listen to what these angels that God sent all the way from the United States and Sao Paulo, you will never regret it". I was literally biting my knuckle because there is nothing greater in the mission than seeing your recent convert testifying to your investigators. The Spirit is so strong. After the lesson, we got the whole group kneeling and said a closing prayer. One of them, who we thought wasn’t paying attention, asked to say something. We were a little surprised, but he bore his testimony too … that this is the path that will help these men and so many other things. I was so shocked but he had such an impact on the men there. It was a lesson I will never forget. The next morning we had planned that we would walk to pick them up and walk with them to church. We were running a little late, and I turned to my companions and I was stressed and said we need to run! We turned the corner, and what did we see? Irmao Gerry walking in the middle of the road with 7 of the men from the shelter! It was like a scene from a movie! I don’t think I have ever smiled so big in my life. They loved church and a Seventy was in our ward that day and later asked about all of our investigators! They also came to a devotional at night with two Seventies there!

We had a zone conference, and a speaker told us that he wanted our missions to be hard, to be the hardest thing we have ever done. He said that in the next life we will be surrounded by prophets and even Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father will look at us and ask us, "What did you for me?”, “What did you sacrifice for the gospel, or to save my lost sons and daughters?”. The prophets will say that they were persecuted and hated, and even Jesus Christ will say that He bled from every pore. Then it will be our turn to answer … will there be an awkward silence or will we be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the prophets and be able to say that we too gave our lives? Not physically, but did we give it all of our time and attention … did we truly gave it our all? I loved that.

Being here in a different country and culture has made me grateful. When a member gives us a ride in their car, I smile the whole way just because I don’t have to walk. Haha, it’s so funny how there are so many things I took for granted. I have been looking to be more thankful and grateful in my life. I have realized that the happiest people are also the most grateful people in the world. After this week, which was so good, I felt prompted to say a prayer of gratitude. It was so powerful me and such a good reminder. I am trying to realize that the hand of God is everywhere, and the blessings from my Heavenly Father are so abundant … I know that they are everywhere!


Sister Vance

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