Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Hi Family,

This week has been very slow because of Christmas, so almost everyone was out of town and no one was home.  Because of this we got very few teaching appointments in for this week.  But the best thing that happened this week was skyping my family!!  It was so awesome to see them again and to talk to them!!

Something very startling happened on Sunday, the first counselor for our ward had a giant seizure during church and right before sacrament happened.  I had my head down and was thinking about some people we could visit that we have not visited in a while when I herd a very loud scream.   WHAAAAAA!!  My head shot up and Bro. G (the first counselor) was yelling very loud looking straight up and then fell off of his chair and started spasming and he had bit through his tongue  and lots of people came rushing to help him.  We called the 911 and had an ambulance come and get him.  After that we went to the hospital and gave Bro. G a blessing and hung out with his son and some close friends. I think we helped comforted them and lifted their spirits.   After an hour or so, they sent Bro. G home and we went back to church.  He is home and doing well.

CRAZY Sunday!

I am Happy and Healthy...
Short on time sorry,

Love you all,

Elder Vance

Elder Vance Listening to a Christmas Concert by Tyson on Clarinet
Family together again!
Elder Vance & Elder Elison opening presents Christmas morning

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Week 18 ~ Another Church!

 Hello All,

Christmas Zone Conference this week was amazing.  Remember the talk about the Atonement that I was writing?  Well, Sister Weston, the mission presidents wife, drew names to decide who would read their paper.   Everyone, including me was hoping not to have to stand and read their paper aloud.  All the elders around me were chanting Vance- Vance- Vance,  luckily did not have to read mine.  SIster Weston kept saying only 3 more about seven times.  We heard lots of Atonement talks some were very good.  There were lots of  great talks and instruction and it was a lot of fun.  

Then jump to the week end....

OK, I have to tell you what happened the last two days.  Which are Saturday and Sunday. 

Saturday, we moved a ton of things out of a members home in Red Oak.  It is about 30 miles away from Shenandoah.   We helped out four of the sisters missionaries that serve there .  It was about 17 degrees and I was in my Wrestling hoodie and jeans.  It was freezing but I was moving around so much I stayed warm and it was kind of like our morning workout.  After we finished with the move we got their old pogo stick for helping them, we haven't tried it out yet.  A little too cold and a little too icy for pogo-ing
Then towords the evening we had to go caroling with the sisters  (heavy on the HAD) and a member around the neighborhood.   We didn't have any where to change into our suits,  so we had to find a place to change.    Wouldn’t you know it, we had to change in a Kmart bathroom. It was a very interesting situation to change into a suit in a very small bathroom with your companion and hope no one comes in while you are changing.

Sunday, for the beginning of the day it was normal but at 10 o'clock we were invited to go to a friends church.  This church was the Methodist church.  We had the opportunity to talk with their pasture of the church.  We talked to him about our church a little bit and we also asked questions about his church and how it was set up and what they believed.  It was very interesting and we talked with him for about 2 hours.

Elder Vance

                                                             Christmas Zone Conference

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week #17~ Well, well,well, what do we have here??

Hello All,

So this week was just plain weird and very exciting.

On Monday we went to the Kanesville Elders apartment and hung out with them for p-day.  We found out that they had 10 pieces of foot-long small pvc pipes.   So we got there and we asked them what the pipe was for and they showed us by blowing the Nerf sticky darts at us really hard using. They continued to demonstrated on us and they shot very hard. It hurt alot!!! So… then it was open war between the four of us for about 2 hours.  I got shot in the butt, ear, nose, cheek, forehead, back, and teeth, and pretty much everywhere else on my body.  P-day or should we have called it Nurf war day!
During the week we went out for visits.  We try to schedule out who we want to see and meet with.  We teach lessons about things that come to us through the spirit.  There is no order, we just know what to teach them when we are planning for the day. 

On Friday, we had the most interesting food we have had yet.  We were at a less active members home.  It was warmed soft tortilla shell with a square piece of cheese in the center of it and a piece of breaded chicken that was cooked put in the middle of the tortilla and then covered in a very good sauce. It was soooo goooood!  Then we watched the testaments with them and made the husband cry.  It was very spiritual moment.  He is not a member. 
Saturday was a normal day for the most part we did service projects most of the day and drop-in visists on less active members to see if they needed any thing. Right before bed,  we decided to try out some of the more advanced functions on my camera.   My companion did swan dives onto his bed and I took a 60 frame per second picture of him and it looked like he was in slow motion, it was pretty awesome.
Sunday.  We had a new investigator come to church all by him self and we haven't even met him yet.  We taught Gospel principles class that day.  My companion has been playing a joke on two of the sisters in our ward making them think he is really from Australia and not from Utah.  So in an Australia accent he attempted to teach Gospel Doctrine.  During the lesson this new investigator told my companion that he was a very beautiful man and his accent was awesome and that he should be a movie star. !???!  Not sure why but we had a great lesson. 
FYI_I am healthy and feeling great.  I am writing a paper about the Atonement and need some ideas.    Would you ALL share your thoughts with me? 
So that was my week with a lot of service and visits in between!!!
Tell Preston nice job for loosing so much weight!! Keep up the great work!
Love Elder Vance

Thank you Mom and Dad  for everything that you do for me.

 Elder Auston Vance

Elder Vance  & Elder Elison Wishing you a Merry Christmas

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week #16 ~I am dreaming of Christmas!

Well hello there, today's story is about....
Elder Vance.....
bum bum buuuum!!!

So this week has been good so far and nothing special happened ...so far.

EXCEPT for the freezing cold!!!

This week started out like every other one but, when Wednesday came around the funniest thing happened (NOT) we had literally freezing rain.  The wind was so cold and the rain was to heavy that the water was literally freezing everything it touched (including me) and our windshield kept freezing.  Then on Thursday it snowed all through the night and got down to -10 degrees and then back up during the day to around 10 to 13 degrees.  Since then it has continued to snow and to get colder. 

So we spend a little more time in our apartment than we usually do.  So to make up for that, we began some extra training, missionary style. We needed to train for unexpected assaults.  We are doing this to sharpen our Ninja like reflexes so we can dodge any projectiles (like snow balls) or any assaults like little kids swatting us with sticks (which had happened).  

So to help us train, we each bought two little $5 foam short swords and we fight each other in the apartment, and Elder Elison had brought a little Nerf gun that shoots really hard and fast, and we take turns shooting each other with the gun and the other with his two swords.  The fun of being frozen in an apartment with extra time to entertain ourselves. 

On another note, we moved in two new members into their new house this week.  Now they are part of our ward.  One family is the Taylor's and brother Taylor seems really funny and cool.

I got your package and cards they are great fun.  My companion is Elder Elison he is from Richfield, Utah and he has been out for about 9 months and we are getting along great so far.

I did learn something that surprised the heck out of me, It is that all of the elements on the earth like ice and fire, wind, stone, water etc., are all intelligences.   Meaning that they have a soul of their own and can think for them selves and that they listened to Jesus because they respected him a lot.  What an amazing world we live in and how blessed we are to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ to teach us and help us through this life!

I just found out that I can Skype you on Christmas and also call you so make a Skype account and tell me what it is and I will try to Skype you on Christmas!!

Love Elder Vance

PS.  Tell Preston to he CAN loose the weight!!  He will make it to Varsity!!

Love you lots!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Week # 15~ WHOOOO, what a week!

So this week has been very full and sad and exciting and busy.

Monday- Preparation day went shopping and did regular stuff.

Tuesday-   Had exchanges with Elder Johnson from Glenwood.  It was a very fun exchange. During that exchange a new person moved in and we now have a new neighbor living next to our apartment.  He has is a wild possum, he hangs out in the little bare tree that is next to the walk way.  When we have to go to the basement to do our laundry and he just hangs there and watches us.  I am unsure if the thing will hiss at us or chase us, but we will see.

Wednesday- Today we had district meeting and we were up in Glenwood for most of the day and Elder Smith taught the lesson. 

Thursday- Today was Thanksgiving and also when we find out about transfers.  I ate 3 thanksgiving dinners that day and almost as much pie as the dinner.  So later that day I felt very fat and didn't eat breakfast the next morning. I still feel full. 

Then we found out about transfers!  I am staying here in Shenandoah and Elder Smith has been transferred in Omaha. My new companion is Elder Elison.  He is super awesome and we get along great!  It was very sad to see Elder Smith leave!

Friday- BLACK FRIDAY!!  Elder Quail in Glenwood is now training a new missionary who is Elder McMurry, he is 25 and Quail is 19. How fantastic for all these guys coming out to serve!   Elder Johnson got transferred.  When Elder Elison got with us to go home he forgot some things in his old apartment.  So we had to go to Wal Mart -REMEMBER BLACK FRIDAY-to get some basic things for him.   Inside the store was crazy!!  There were tons of people with shopping carts dashing everywhere.  I swear that I saw someone snatch something out of another persons cart from the corner of my eye.  But we survived!

Saturday-  Elder Elison and I went down to Skate Land and did service there like we do every week and nothing big went on that day

That was my week

Love Elder Vance

P.S. Tell Preston, Makenzie and Tyson “HI” from their Elder Brother :)


                               Down Town Shenandoah Iowa- Christmas

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week # 14 ~Your super COOL and awesome son!

Dear Family,

My play by play is kind of meek right now, because it is just getting really cold, really fast so no one wants to do anything with us now.  I guess it will be more active when they can get used to the cold.

It is freezing here now!! Last night it got down to -10 degrees and during the day it was around 15 degrees.  Then two days ago we had freezing rain for the whole day and our car froze.  I had to purchase a lighter a few days ago that I had to use thaw ourkeyhole to our car for it was frozen solid.  SO… the big exciting thing that happened this week is that we got a new investigator!! 

A few weeks ago I was telling you the story of a request that I received from our mission president. I was asked to seek out someone and share theirconversion story with him.  I feel that I was following a spiritual prompting.  My companion and I prayed about whom we should see.  I prayed alone in the bedroom and a name came to me saying Betsy C.  So later we went there and when we got there her daughter just happened to drive into her drive way(the daughter was about 26 and has 2 daughters who are 3 and 11months old), she is not a member and we helped her unload her car and now today she is aninvestigator that we are starting to teach.            

We are teaching her lesson 1, It is the message of the Restoration: God is our loving Heavenly Father, the Gospel blesses families, Heavenly Father reveals his Gospel in every dispensation, the Savior's earthly ministry, the great apostasy, the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and Pray to Know the Truth through the Holy Ghost. 

That is the first lesson that we teach investigators when we can set up a date to meet with them

We are teaching 2 investigators the new lessons (lesson 1,2, and so on). It is really exciting when we get new investigators to teach!

My testimony is definitely stronger because of teaching.  I am learning a lot while I teach also.

This week while we were walking around town to see if we could find some new people to talk to, we came across a house that had the name Vance’s on their mailbox.   We passed by their house and I wanted to go and knock on their door and tell them that we might be related somehow but we had to be somewhere at that time so we couldn't.  But next time when we pass their house I am so knocking on their door.

A follow up to last weeks letter…my retainer is fixed just right.  The Dentist was very nice and no more pain in the mouth!

Part of my exercising program these days, is just to stay warm! I did a ton of pushups and leg lifts this morning, it helped me feel like I could at least get up and going this morning!

I am reading in the BoM I am in Mormon 8. 

Here is a note to Tyson, who asked me what I do in a day.  My day in a weirdly shaped nutshell.  

I wake up at 6:30, work out, take shower, get dressed, try to wake up after shower, study until 11, eat lunch, go out into the freezing cold of the out doors and try not to slip on all of the black ice, teach investigators and less active members and recent convert members, eat dinner at a members house, come back at 9, plan for next day, do 12 week, maybe even playa game of speed (the card game) Go to bed at 10:30.  

Elder Vance

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week # 13 ~*SLAP* on the cheek

This week witnessed in first person by Elder Auston Vance
Sorry for the short letter last Tuesday but we couldn't email on Monday and we only had a few minutes for emailing on Tuesday.
So for this week I will tell you what has happened ….
Monday through Friday were average days.  Which composed of talking to less active members and members in their homes and teaching them lessons.
My health is up and down.  I have a cold of some sort, meaning I have a lot of nose blowing and a little bit of coughing.  I bought some vitamin C pills that have 1667% vitamin C in them so I think it is working to get rid of my cold.  I am taking three vitamins: one of them is a multivitamin that has a bunch of stuff for your body and the other one is the vitamin C and the last one is the fiber pill.

The other day I  was eating a Twix that I froze and while I was eating it I felt my metal part of my retainer came out and it hurt.  I then realized that my glue had come off of one or two of the teeth.  There are only two teeth- oriented places in Shen and one is a orthodontist office they won’t even take a look, because I didn't get my braces put on in Shen.  The other one is a dentist office, she said she would look at my retainer and see if they can fix it or not, so we will see if they can.   I am going there on Friday. I will try the dentist and let you know!
Saturday.     We went to Skateland because we do it every Saturday and everything was going normal until this girl, about 15 or 16, came up to me and just full on slapped me in the face.   I had talked to her a little bit just casually about what she was buying and she left and then came back and she just slapped me out of nowhere!??  She then laughed and then patted my same cheek that she slapped and said,  "See, their you go" and walked off.  I had to keep my hands in my pockets so I wouldn't do anything.  Then later she was lectured by the owner about slapping the people who volunteer there.  Slapping is better than KISSING!  At least for ELDERS!
Sunday.   This was the best day of the week!!  We got five less active members to come to church with their families!  All of the benches and all of the chairs that were set up were  filled with people and that day in church was super awesome.  I felt so good that five less active members came to church.  I have to say that some of them we kind of chewed out about not going to church. Amazingly, the next Sunday they all came and brought their families.  So I  guess the chewing out really got their attention to the reasons why they were not going and why they SHOULD go to church.
We find out about transfers on Thanksgiving Day, I don’t think I will be transferred on Thanksgiving so send packages to my address in Shenandoah.

As for my reading, I am reading in Mormon 4. 

Lots of love to everyone and thank Tyson for filling in my binder,
Love Elder Auston Vance

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Week #12 ~ 20 questions answered!

Here is a quick answer to as many of your 20 questions that I can answer…
This week has been super great!!

This whole week has been full of nothing but service. 
From raking some ones yard to playing fetch with a giant German Shepard.

My health is very good.
I am starting to catch a slight cold.
I am eating lots.
I am trying to eat less.  It is hard to cut down.
Thanksgiving we are literally going to five different families for dinner in one day!!
I am reading in the Book  of Mormon.
I am at 3 Nephi 21.
We are still in Shenandoah.
We find out about transfers on Thanksgiving Day.
Could you please send me the Piano Guys Christmas CD?   I would also love the first Piano Guys CD. 
Thanks for everything,
Love Elder Vance

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week # 11 ~ 2 New Zone Leaders + 1 Mother Baptized + 1 Temple Day = One Great Week!

The wondrous and fantastic Elder Auston T. Vance, missionary of the LDS church…
Now presents this week……

Monday.  p-day, was normal-ish.  We went shopping at Wal-Mart and got a few things and did our laundry and played a little basketball at the church.
Tuesday.  We found out that the area that our zone leaders were serving in, got white washed (where both missionary's get transferred to somewhere else for certain reasons) Elder Rigby was appointed as assistant to the mission president and Elder Neilson was transferred to another place because he only has a few weeks left on his mission.  So we got two new zone leaders who are not in any way familiar with the zone or the area that they are serving in.  They seem really nice and I have gone on an exchange with one of them already.
Wednesday.  We new we had zone meeting the next day, so we went up to Clarinda and spent the night with some of the elders who lived up there.

Thursday.  We had zone meeting all day up is Sioux City, which is about 3 or so hours drive away from our apartment.  We had to fast that morning and we were super hungry and for lunch they served us bread bowls with soup in them.  We had a very spiritual lessons and teachings that day.  After the meeting our zone leaders found out that we had a temple trip the next day, so we had to spend the night at another elders apartment again.   It would have been to hazard for us to drive all the way to Shenandoah and back.
Friday.  We had an awesome temple trip and did endowments and watched the new movie (Elder smith was seeing it for the first time). It was super great and very spiritual in the celestial room, all of the elders were hugging each other and really feeling the spirit strong. After that, we headed home.
Saturday.   We finally got home it was so nice to get to sleep on an actual bed and not the floor, which felt great by the way, We resumed the usual things with our area in teaching and visiting members and less active members.  The greatest thing was that we had another baptism that day.  Kyle (the person we baptized before that I was telling you about) baptized his mom.  It was super cool seeing someone who was baptized a few weeks before baptize his mom.
Sunday.  It was church and testimony meeting.  I didn’t get the chance to bear my testimony because a lot of people were giving around 10 minute talks.  I was really ready and feeling like I should.

So that is my week….
Love you lots and lots,
Love Elder Vance

Monday, October 28, 2013

Week # 10 ~ Pause, Ponder & Pray


Today I am feeling GREAT because…..  I just received two packages, one from Grandma  Carn and one from you.  They are full of fun Halloween goodies and fun.  Thank you, I cannot wait to dig in.  We have to stay inside all of Halloween day because of safety issues.  I appreciate the packages and love! 

So this week has been very interesting.

This week we were asked to type up a conversion story and we didn't know who to talk to about their story, so we did the "pause, ponder, and pray" tactic.  I said the prayer and waited before I ended it.   When I just sat there in the middle of my prayer and listened to the spirit for an answer, it came.  While I listened a name popped into my head. Then I ended the prayer and we went right over to the house of the person that had come to me. We met the sister that’s name came to me and learned of her fantasic conversion story.  We also had the opportunity to meet and get to know her daughter. So I am confidant that I have received an answer to my prayer.

Tuesday, Bud and Edna,  our neighbors, apparently found an abandoned kitten in their shed and have adopted it, it is a very young kitten.   It keeps making this high pitched "meow" over and over and over again, all day and night.  It is very annoying, but on a positive note, it makes us get out of the apartment faster.   So I guess it is kind of good.

Wednesday was normal and we talked to some members and less active members that day.   Towards the end of the day we were impressed to go see a certain less active members. We went and taught him a little lesson and when it was time to leave, we left and we were walking to our truck, we just so happened to pass a lady walking down the street to where we were going.   We talked to her,  we introduced ourselves and explained who we were and what we are doing.   She said that she has never heard of the missionaries.  She had never even heard or Mormons before!  So we gave her a quick lesson and gave her a pass along card and wrote our # on it and gave it to her!   It was awesome to find someone who want to learn more. 

Thursday was very interesting.  We helped move some people out of a trailer park and into a house that was pretty nice. We were moving them into the house and I noticed a ninja weapon, and I was like what the heck??   I noticed another weapon but this one was a small mace kind of thing with a thick wood handle and six sharp metal blades on the end of it and then I noticed a sword.  I was wondering why does this guy have so many weapons?!  He saw me looking at them and told me that he regularly goes to a local renaissance fair and regularly does battle with people. He wears a bear skin /fur trench coat for his costume.  Now he wants me to finish my mission and come back to their house so he can take me out to his favorite Renaissance fair and do battle with me.   Yikes I don’t know if I should be flattered or scared.  They were very nice people.

On Saturday we visited and had dinner with a member by the name of brother Wolfe.  We found out that he has been collecting magic cards (magic the gathering) since when it first came out in 1994.  I told him about Tyson liking the game of magic.  He then proceeded to show us every one of his magic cards.  He has stacks of magic cards about a foot tall to a foot and a half tall of decks that he has put together and he has enough to cover his whole table!!  Tyson would have loved and understood the visit much more than I.

So that was my week, interesting to say the least.

Love everyone so much,
Love Elder Vance