I am serving a mission as a sister missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for a period of 18 months. I am serving in the Spain Barcelona Mission and I am speaking Spanish. I reported to the Madrid Missionary Training Center on May 13th, 2014, and I will return home November of 2015. I love each of you with all my heart and I hope to hear from you throughout this life-changing experience and journey.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stand Guiltless Before Him

Another great week in Valencia, and I hit the two month mark on my mission! Time if flying, but I feel great! Hermana Reid and I are able to run every morning and it feels SO good, especially because people feed us a TON here! We went to this African house and they said they were feeding us spaghetti. I love spaghetti, so I was SO excited. They asked if we ate a little or a lot, so to be safe, we said a little. The woman came out with this HUGE plate for each of us! The noodles were literally hanging off the sides! Hna Reid looked over at me and said, "Yep, you gotta eat it all. Otherwise she will hate you forever." All I know is that through the last 20 bites I thought I was going to pop! The next day we were eating and I took a bite of this chunk of meat and it was super chewy. I eventually asked what is was, and the woman said "corazon". Uhh, heart?!?! Heart of what!?! Luckily, I gulped it down with a full glass of water. Haha, some crazy experience, but overall the food here is really amazing. I am trying all sorts of new things and (most of the time) I love it.

I think my Spanish is getting better, slowly but surely … poco a poco right? The missionaries here tell me that my Spanish is much better than theirs was when they first came out. That’s hard to believe, because they all sound fluent now, but I continue to be hard on myself because I want to get so much better and faster, so that I can communicate with these sweet people here in Spain. Patience is a virtue … I can testify of that.

I was able to sing with Hna Reid and two elders at a baptism this past Saturday. We sang “O My Father”, but to the melody of “Come Thou Fount” (arrangement by Sally DeFord). It sounded so beautiful sung as a quartet, and everyone was in tears. My soul delighteth in the song of the heart always!!

On Saturday we were also invited to a 9-year-old’s birthday party. Haha, it was totally random and we hardly even knew this girl or her family, but it was fun. The little girl was jamming out to music and all of a sudden I heard the soundtrack from the Disney movie “FROZEN” come on, and I freaked out! My companion hasn’t seen that movie and doesn’t even know what it is, so I was just in my own world! It was the best, and it made my day!!
It really was a miracle that we were able to be there. This woman is a less active member of our church who hasn’t let any missionaries visit her in years. She said she felt so strongly to let us in a few days earlier, and that she loves the spirit we bring and wants to start coming back to church! We were able to share a message about Jesus Christ and talk about how important He is in all of our lives. We showed her the video, “Gracias a √čl” (“Because of Him”) on (see the link below). She said she could feel the love of the Savior SO strong in that moment. I bore testimony to her that she is a daughter of God and that her Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love her so much. All they want is for her to come back and to, once again, know her purpose here. Our Heavenly Father wants her to know in her heart that no matter what she has done in her life, she will never go too far past the reach of the Atonement of Christ. My testimony of Jesus Christ has grown immensely over these past two months … it’s difficult to even describe. Our MTC president once shared with us a quote from Bruce R. McKonkie, where he said, "When I die and meet God and Jesus Christ, when I touch the prints in his hands and feet, I will not know any more than I do now that … he is the beloved son of the almighty God, the Savior and redeemer of the world." Elder McKonkie died about a week after that statement, and it really made me reflect on my own testimony. I want to strengthen it so that one day I too can say that I know Jesus is the Christ, as surely as the day I meet him face to face. I want to be able to say on that day, as I stand before His feet, that I did all I could to help bring others to Him and will hope that He is proud of me.
“And I saw that I must soon go down to my grave, having been wrought upon by the power of God that I must preach and prophesy unto this people, and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ. And I have declared it in all my days, and have rejoiced in it above that of the world.
And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen.” Enos 1:26-27

I know our Savior loves each and every one of us. He wants us all to return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father forever. What can YOU do each and every day to draw closer to Him, so that at the end of your days, you can stand guiltless before your king? I challenge you all this week to do all you can to come unto Christ and become perfected through Him.

Love you all, forever and always …

Hermana Vance

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