Welcome to España! I´m here at the Madrid Missionary Training Center! On my way here from JFK airport, I was writing in my journal when I saw three young men come and sit near my gate. I knew they had to be elders, haha! I introduced myself, and we were all so excited! Then about six other elders and two sisters (Hermana Stott and Hermana Dewaal) eventually came to the gate as well. We were all making little connections about where we lived, where we went to school and where we were going to serve our missions. Hermana Stott and I are the only ones going to Barcelona, everyone else is going to Madrid or Malaga. About six of us were going to the Madrid MTC.
The Madrid mission president and some people from the MTC picked us up, and they were all so nice and you could immediately feel the love. The mission president was bummed that Hermana Stott and I were not in their mission. After exchanging my US dollars for Euros, getting our luggage and taking some group pictures, we were off! Hermana Stott, Hermana Dewall and I got in our MTC van and met up with a girl from Canada who will be serving in Madrid and an elder and sister from France who will be serving in Paris! Look out for them Madz! As we were driving we all talked about so many things, it was so fun. It is so beautiful here and the weather is AMAZING! I love it already! When we pulled up to the MTC, we all were so excited … the Madrid Temple is right next to the MTC and it is gorgeous. We will be going to the temple every Thursday! It’s a small group of missionaries here, 19 missionaries to be exact, so we will be in close contact with everyone! Hermano and Hermana Lovell (the MTC president and his wife) came up to us right away and gave us the biggest, warmest welcome.
Throughout the past week I have really grown to LOVE the Madrid Missionary Training Center! Words cannot even describe the joy I have here! It’s been 9 long and joyful days. As there are only 19 missionaries at the MTC, we have grown to love each other so much in just a week and half! It´s been incredible and so much fun! There are 7 sister missionaries. Sister Dewaal and Stott are from Utah and Sister Dewaal went to BYU-I! Sister Hillman is from Canada! Sister Tarahu is from Tahiti! Sister Leaubof is from France! Madeline, you could end up training Sister Tarahu or Sister Leaubof when they get there, so look out for them! Sister Elowise is from Russia, and the elders are from all over as well! We have people from Italy, Germany, Russia, France, Portugal, New Zealand, Wisconsin, Alaska, Spain, and Siberia! It has been so fun spending time in this cultured environment. It has also been such a testimony to me that the gospel is true and that this is the Lord’s church. As I hear a Russian elder bearing his testimony of Jesus Christ in English, or a French sister talking about the blessings of this restored gospel and then hearing the translator tell us what she said … it just brings me to tears every time, as the spirit is so powerful. My Spanish is getting so much better, even though we just started having lessons! Every teacher or person here just speaks to us in Spanish! It´s crazy! Our teachers are some of the funniest, most spiritual and amazing people I have ever met! I have learned so much from them and I have grown to truly love them with all my heart! It´s funny to watch them try to speak to us in English, because they always mix things up! One of my teachers, Hermano Bajaña from Ecuador, asked me on the first day when we were talking about hobbies, ‘Hermana Vance, what are your favorite hobbits?’ We all just started dying laughing! But I love it! Sister Dewaal says I have been speaking Spanish in my sleep, haha!
We get to go to the temple every Thursday, we have service projects on Friday, we play soccer almost every day with the locals, go to the park on Saturdays and contact people, we give talks every Sunday in Spanish … so much going on, so busy and loving it so much!
I love my mission! I love the gospel of Jesus Christ! Have a great week and write to me!
Hermana Lydia Vance
p.s. For the next month, I will be at the following address:
Hermano Lydia Vance
Spain Missionary Training Center
Calle del Templo N° 2