The days are flying by and España is amazing. One of the reasons I love it here is because we walk around every day meeting locals, and it is so cool. I am surprised how quickly my Spanish is coming along, but I still feel kind of dumb when I talk to locals. They talk so fast to me and I just stand there and I am thinking, "Uhhhhh … HOLA? Haha" We get the chance to go to the local soccer fields every day and play with the local kids. They school us every time! It’s kind of embarrassing, even though I haven’t played in about five years! Don’t worry Mom, haha, I’m being extremely careful! No more ACL surgeries for me!!
Every Saturday we go to this HUGE park, bigger than Central Park, and we talk to people about Jesus Christ and about our church. The very first woman I said hello to saw my name tag and just started getting mad and said, "No, no, no! Never!" Haha, a good way to start, right? But I have seen some amazing things happen in the park as well, and some people are SO nice and want to know more about what we believe. A lot of people just stare! It doesn’t help that I’m blonde and I stick out SO much! We also sing A LOT here, and I love it!
It seems like just yesterday I was hanging out with my family, but now I have grown SO close to my NEW family here! All the French and Russians left last Monday, and it was sad. Now there are only 10 missionaries here! It’s crazy, but I love it so much because we have all gotten so close. I love all of the teachers … not just my amazing Spanish teachers, Hna. Suarez, Hno. Lopez and Hno. Bajaña, but I love all of them. We also get to hang out with the MTC president and the directors every day. They are incredible men of God, and I have learned SO much over the past two weeks from them. We have been teaching our investigators: Carmen, Ismael, and Mark y Joanna. They all have such different stories, but I have just grown to love them SO much. We teach them about the simple things, like faith, prayer obedience, Jesus Christ´s atonement, and the Book of Mormon. I have known these things were true my whole life, but I feel like now I´m JUST beginning to truly understand them. My testimony of this gospel has been strengthened so much through my experiences teaching these people. In a devotional we had, Elder Jeffery R. Holland gave a life-changing talk. He said:
"People are always talking about their missions and how they can´t wait to get back to real life, or how it’s going to be weird going back to real life. Well let me tell you something … this IS real life. For most of you, you haven’t had a more REAL LIFE experience ever than what you will go through the next 18 months or 2 years. You are going to be a part of people´s lives who are going through things that you have never imagined. So this IS real life. And you´re not going back to your old life … because, from this experience, you will be changed forever, and it will be nothing but NEW and BETTER things from here on out. If you´re wondering if you are doing the right thing, by being on a mission, I can testify that you’ve never done anything more right in your entire life. There is not a SINGLE day that goes by that I don´t think about my mission, or the people I met there. It was hardest yet most rewarding two years of my life. There are going to be times when you will say, I can´t do this! And you are absolutely right. You CAN’T do this … ALONE. You will need help from the Lord, your Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, because He´s been there. He KNOWS what you’re going through. Put your faith in Him, and you will witness miracles. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY."
I know this to be true. I love this gospel with all that I am, and I´m not backing down now. I have been so blessed to have an amazing first two weeks and I have been so blessed to be paired up with Hermana Dewaal. She is one of the best examples to me, and she works so hard every single day, and together we have seen incredible things happen. We have become best friends. She is so diligent and brings so much joy to everyone. She´s also hilarious, and we have been having so much fun and working so hard together here at the Madrid MTC! I love and miss you all! Have a fantastic week! You are in my prayers!
Hermana Lydia Vance