Thursday, September 18, 2014

Countdown Week 1 ~ "This Was A Triumph. I'm Making A Note Here: Huge success" Vester's FINAL Update

Well this is Elder Vester's last week in his mission. I want to thank all of you that have keep him in your prayers while he has been out. He has grown spiritually as well as physically. We are very excited to welcome him home.

So, it's my last week! YEAH.
I've decided that if anyone asks me if I plan to go to the Young Single's Adult Ward, I'm just going to laugh maniacally, and walk away. I've decided that I need some time away from the YSA until I fully recover from the surgery. 
This last week has been well, hard. But, amazing in it's own rights. Monday, we had interviews, and I was able to say goodbye to a lot of the amazing missionaries in this zone. The rest of the week has kinda been a blur. I'm not sure what to really make of this. I'll finally be Jacob again by about 9:00 pm next Monday.
I'm excited, that's for sure. and at the same time, I don't feel like this is over. Haha. Like I have been doing this for so long, that I can't actually believe I have to change the routine again.
On my mission I've learned so much. I've had the pleasure to serve in 3 different missions, 3 different countries, in 2 different languages, with 19 companions, and 9 areas.
I have 4 journals, all of which I know will be a treasure to me later in life.
Sunday was a very emotional day for me. It was branch conference, so I had a chance to say goodbye to Stake President Stark, (I got to know him pretty well when I was in North Port.)
I was also asked to speak, literally right in the middle of Sacrament meeting, but I'm so grateful for that. I mostly talked about how much the Lord has been working in my life in the last 2 years, and how He's always these for us. I shared my "mission mottoes". I've never shared this on the blog, but there are two scriptures that are very special to me, and if you want to know them, you'll have to come to Homecoming!
I'm not sure when that would be, but you'll hear about it on facebook.
I guess it's time for me to close this.
I know the church is true, and this has been such a huge time of growth for me. I love this, and I will always be grateful for the people that have been faithful in supporting me through these two years.

"It's hard to understate my satisfaction." - Mom thought he colored his hair!

(Hair cut photos. Yes! That's sSster Bond, she does our haircuts for us, and it's awesome. <3)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Countdown Week 2 ~ A Week of Service :VWU

I am so proud of Elder Vester for all that he has done and for hanging in there. There should be just one more email from him next week. Enjoy!

So, I've noticed something interesting.
The longer I go, the more pain I have, and yet, the more spiritual the days become. 
This last week has been NOTHING but service. Haha. Monday was a holiday, so we spent it doing service and yard work for some elderly members in my branch . Tuesday was p-day, Wednesday, we also did more service. We cut about 6 chords of wood or so for a disabled man. (It was really neat. His daughter works for the member and investigator that we coordinated with to do the project, and she got so excited to know we would be getting wood for her Dad. Totally worth it.)
Thursday, we also spent the day splitting wood (following up from last Wednesday) with Brother Campbell. He's older, and pretty beat up, and needed to get his wood done before the cold rolls in. Friday, we had Zone meeting in Colville, and Saturday we did more yard work for less active members.
Every. Single. Day.
Most nights I was in so much pain I could hardly fall asleep till early morning. And finally, Sunday, I had had enough. I could hardly get up to go to sacrament. After sacrament, I asked for a ward member, and my companion to give me a blessing.
Through this priesthood blessing, I was able to understand a little better about what to do next.
I'm not doing any more service. The branch has really started to step up, and fill in the uselessness that I cause. Haha.
But, I know I can do this.
I have finally discussed this situation with my mission president, and he was really disappoint that i did not tell him about this sooner. I told him that I still had work to do, and things I needed to learn, and people I needed to see. I had to complete this work, and I would make any sacrifice necessary to do so.
He had no idea what to say to that. He just looked at me. He could hardly believe that I had gone the last 3 months in pain, because I needed to finish my mission.
So, I'm going to finish strong.
President is praying to see if he should send me home, but as of now, I'm being allowed to stay.
The members are amazing here, and doing anything they can to help. I love this place so much, and I can't wait to visit again after I am well.
So, I need to take my leave.
next week is my final email, and I can't wait!
I love you all so much, and I'll talk to you soon!
~Elder Vester
My last Zone photo. c:
I love these people!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Countdown Week 3 ~The Amazing Race: VWU

We are getting close to the end. What a great journey it has been. I have seen so much growth in Elder Vester, it makes my eyes water. I am so proud of the service that he has given over these past 2 years.
He has done a great job.


So, this week has been interesting...
You know that feeling, where you are anticipating something for a long time, and it starts out really slow, then zips by, and all of a sudden, it's taking forever again? Yeah. That's me right now.
This week has been so incredibly spiritual. I'm not exactly sure how to explain it. But, I'll try it like this.
It seems like every day has been getting more difficult to mount. Like, I'm putting more rocks in my backpack every few steps.
And, at the same time, I understand better what Alma talks about, in the book of Mormon, about how God made their burdens light. He did not take them away, but he did make them lighter. Every day has been getting more and more difficult. But, I've never been happier as a missionary.
On my sick days, I've had the chance to really reflect about how I am, and about what my mission has done for me. My current struggle has been knowing if I have gone home. 
Sometimes I feel like because I can't work every day like I should, that I am just wasting my time. And in the long hours of prayer and meditation, I always seem to get the same answer.
"Everything is going to be ok. You can make it. No sacrifice, is a wasted sacrifice."
I don't know why, but I know everything is going to be ok.
I've been through a lot in the last 25 months, and I know Heavenly Father has been taking care of me, and will continue to do so. I've seen more then most, and I've been so amazingly blessed.
I remember there was a point in my mission that I would not be sure if I could look back with a happy heart on the work I have done.
And thankfully I can.
It was only through the Atonement of Christ that I was able to leave the bad in the past, and continue forward, with my shoulders straight, and my head held high. Just today, even, I was talking about Brasil with Elder Naranjo, and the subject of my really difficult companion came up. (Back when I was in Cachoeiro.) And all the things I thought were so hard, and things I thought I could not put up with now, I laugh at! haha!
I am amazed at the many different ways that the Atonement can affect our lives. Not only can it wipe away the pain of sin, and mistake, but it can be a balm of healing to a injured soul. 
I've never quite understood it.
But, I'm getting a better grasp on it now.
We are almost never able to see change or progress in ourselves. It is only after time, and reflections that we can see where we've been, and how we've changed.
Like, a cut being healed. There is so much under the surface that we don't even see, or know what is happening. All we can see is the cut on the outside, when underneath, there is skin regrowing, veins correcting, tissues rejoining, and sinew reforming.
We can be so focused on the ugly scar that, that we forget to see the miracle at work inside of us.
This is much how I feel right now.
Despite the pain being even worse than it was when I was back in Brasil, I am at peace. 
I know that this was required of me.
A test of faith. 
Just another bump along the road to exaltation. 
I've given it my all. I look back, and I see how God has helped guide my steps every day, and I am so grateful for this work.
I am glad to say, that I will be going home with no regrets, and knowing I have satisfied the Lord in all I have done.
I love you all, and I'll be seeing you soon.
After all, only 2 more emails till I'm headed home!
19 days everyone. Keep on the look out.
This is the front of Elder Vester's apartment. You notice there is a BBQ place under his apartment.
~Elder Vester
This is a cute selfie!

Looking down the street from his apartment.
The last few pictures is the country side where he lives.