Hello everyone; I hope you had a FANTASTIC week and weekend! Last weekend was General Conference and it was AMAZING! I loved it and I learned so much. If you haven´t had a chance to watch it yet, I HIGHLY recommend it. Juan, our Catholic friend, came with us to watch it and he LOVED it!
There is a movie coming to theaters called, “Meet the Mormons”, and it seems really neat. You all will have to go see it and tell me how it was! http://meetthemormons.com
I know I say that I love Valencia every week, but it is so true! We have so much fun, every single day, and we are also seeing some incredible miracles right before our eyes.
Matilde is still out of town, so we are trying to work with her this week on her baptism. Frank feels good about being baptized so we’ll see what happens this week. We had an incredible Zone Focus Meeting this past week, and it truly inspired me. I know that this is the work of salvation. I know that it is only through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, that we can return to live with Him.
One of the biggest miracles thus far on my mission happened to Hermana Gillette and me this weekend. It was interesting because my sister, Madeline, just sent me an email that read, in part: "Always remember that ‘prepared people don't need a lot of time’. GO FIND THEM! There are golden people out there. Often times they won't look like the golden ones, but when the Spirit prompts you to act … ACT … and talk to them! I promise you that the Lord will lead and guide you to those that are ready." She couldn´t have been more right! Last Thursday, we talked to this man on the street and started talking to him about our church. At first he didn´t seem like he would be interested. He was on his phone and it was late, and he was kind of doing his own thing. But after we started talking to him, everything changed. His name is Filipe and he is 33 years old, born and raised in Valencia, and if I had to describe what he looks like, I would probably have to say a cross between Josh Groban and Jesus. He surprised us by starting to talk to us in English! He went on to tell us that he actually lived with a Mormon family in Utah for a month when he was 13 years old. He said he didn´t remember a whole lot, but he did remember going to church with them every Sunday. He really loved his experience all those years ago, and wanted to know more.
We invited him to meet us Friday night at the church so we could discuss more. When we were talking to him at the church we were walking around and talking about all the different things. The Spirit was SO strong there. It was incredible. We taught him and testified of The Book of Mormon and that it would change his life as it has changed ours. He just kept asking questions and wanted to know more. At the end of the lesson we asked him if we could end with a prayer, and if he would try saying it. He was a little nervous, but he wanted to give it a try. I asked him if we could kneel and as we did he said "Oh, I remember now. I did this all the time with the family in Utah. I love it!"
Long story short, last weekend he came to two sessions of General Conference! He watched them with us in English and said he knew these were men of God. After the final session, Hermana Gillette and I met with him and asked him how he felt. He said he felt great! Hna. Gillette said "You are in the right place!", and he said, "I know. I think I was in the right place Thursday night too. Why did you choose to talk to me out of everyone that night?" We told him, “because you are a child of God, and the Spirit told us to talk to you." He went on to say, "I have had the same questions for 33 years and no one to talk to about them. I feel like everything I have been learning over these past few days … it all just makes sense ... it´s like I´ve heard it before. I know these things are true."
Tears were welling up in my eyes as I was able to witness this man beginning to remember who he really is … a divine child of God. We all lived with our Father in Heaven before this life, and all He wants is for us to come back. We, as missionaries, are simply here to remind these people of that truth. Felipe remembers … and now he wants to prepare to be baptized this week! Keep him in your prayers!
Also, during General Women’s Conference, this part of Dieter F. Utchdorf´s talk really hit home with me. I encourage all women, young and old to read/watch this talk. Our Heavenly Father loves us SO much!
"My dear sisters in the gospel, whether you are 8 or 108, there is one thing that I hope you truly understand and know:
You are loved.
You are dear to your heavenly parents.
The infinite and eternal Creator of light and life knows you! He is mindful of you.
Yes, God loves you this very day and always.
He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.
And God knows of your successes; though they may seem small to you, He acknowledges and cherishes each one of them. He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens—even when you are struggling with your own.
He knows everything about you. He sees you clearly—He knows you as you really are. And He loves you—today and always!
Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? Do you think your value to Him changes based on how many followers you have on Instagram or Pinterest? Do you think He wants you to worry or get depressed if some un-friend or un-follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe?
He loves you not only for who you are this very day but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become.
More than you could ever imagine, He wants you to achieve your destiny—to return to your heavenly home in honor.
I testify that the way to accomplish this is to place selfish desires and unworthy ambitions on the altar of sacrifice and service. Sisters, trust in the saving power of Jesus Christ; keep His laws and commandments. In other words—live the gospel joyful.
It is my prayer that you will experience a renewed and an expanded measure of the beautiful love of God in your lives; that you will find the faith, determination, and commitment to learn God’s commandments, treasure them in your hearts, and live the gospel joyful.
I promise that as you do so, you will discover your best self—your real self. You will discover what it truly means to be a daughter of the everlasting God, the Lord of all righteousness."
These talks really inspired me this past week! I LOVED ALL of the talks I heard, especially from our prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I know they are truly men of God and are called of Him and communicate directly with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We have a prophet and apostles, just as during the life Jesus Christ, because He established His church on the earth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith in the year 1830. I know these things to be true, and … So … Can … You. Ask for yourself … pray, and I promise you that God will answer.
Dieter F Uchtdorf Talk:
With all my love,
Hermana Lydia Vance