Hello everyone! I hope you all had a great week! Thank you to everyone who supported my sister´s homecoming this past weekend. It sounds like everyone had a great time. I send my love from Valencia! The work is going great here! Can you believe that summer is almost over? Most of you are going to be heading back to school. How crazy! It´s getting a LITTLE cooler here; it hits below 90° about one day a week! Haha, but it´s so great!
We had a talent show in our ward the other day, and people did all sorts of things. Our district was going to do something, but it was too last minute, so we didn’t. But when we were there, my companion told me, "Hermana, you HAVE to do something!” My response … NO WAAAYY!! I have nothing prepared! Long story short, after the pressure of just about everyone there, I sang a hymn on the spot (AGAIN). After I sang, "How Great Thou Art" (Grande Eres Tu), all of the old women told me, "wow, preciosa hermana!" You do what you gotta do, I guess, haha.
The other day, we were teaching one of our new investigators, Billy. He is a 6’5” African with the biggest heart, and he is from Cameroon, where they speak French! He knows some English as well, and he is so sweet and really wants to know the truth for himself. He has begun reading in The Book of Mormon and understands almost everything! He said the book makes perfect sense to him, and he thinks it is true, but still needs to pray about it. We asked him what it would mean to him if God answered him and told him that it was, in fact, TRUE. He responded by saying "If this book is true, and I receive that answer for myself, then this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and His restored church, and I want to change my ways and follow Christ. I want to start with a clean slate, and leave everything behind me." He said he wants to be baptized on the 6th of September! We are so excited for him! Please keep him in your prayers.
There is another man that got baptized this past Saturday, who is also from Cameroon; but he only speaks French. His name is Julio, and he was taught by one of the elders here who is from France, Elder Delue. We went to the baptismal service and it was just incredible. All of the people that spoke at the service knew both French and Spanish. Most of them spoke in French at first, and then translated it into Spanish. It was a really cool experience for me, because when they were talking, I pictured myself as my sister Madeline. I was just in awe as they were talking and I could not believe that my sister can talk like that, fluently! I got a little emotional when Julio shared his testimony in French, as I pictured the people that my sister taught and the baptismal services during her mission. I am so grateful for that tender mercy. It was also interesting because, when they would speak in French, I could only pick up about three words (like Baptism, the Spirit, or Jesus Christ). But when they started translating into Spanish, I was relieved and thought, "Whew....finally something I can understand!" Haha, but then I realized that Spanish isn’t even my native language! Haha, o madre mia! My Spanish must finally be getting better!
This week we had a specialized training meeting with our mission president, President Pace. He is always so inspired and I love every opportunity we get to meet with him. Every time I see him he always thanks me and tells me how much he cares about us. He is one of the most loving men I have met. He reminds me so much of my dad. He is the greatest! One of the things he said was, "You can´t bear testimony that is old or stale. It HAS to be alive! You have to be doing things every single day to grow and strengthen your faith." I think that is so true; and teaching people this principle and trying to do it myself has really helped me. I am learning so much about myself and I feel myself growing stronger every day! We never stay in the same place … not even for one day. We are either growing closer to our Father in Heaven and coming unto Christ … or we are slowly drifting further and further away. I encourage all of you ponder this question and ask yourself, "Which way am I going?"
I love you all so much. Thank you for the examples and friends you are to me … I can really feel your love! Until next week!
Muchisimas gracias por todo! En serio!
Con amor para siempre …
Hermana Lydia Pamela Vance