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.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christ is the Fourth Watch

¡HOLA! Hello everyone! We had transfers this past week, and my companion, Hermana Mendez is getting transferred! She will be going to Logroño, the zone next to mine, so I will still see her at zone conferences! She is so great and I will miss her a lot. She taught me so much, and I really look up to her in so many ways. Exciting news for me … I was asked to be a TRAINER! I went to Barcelona to pick up my new trainee ... she is coming straight out of the Missionary Training Center in Madrid. I am so excited! I do feel a little inadequate, as my Spanish is rough sometimes and still feel like I don´t always know what I am doing, but I know that as I continue to learn, have faith, and be exactly obedient and testify, the Lord will continue to look out for me and my companion! All of the trainers were there at the mission home waiting for the new missionaries to come in. There were 7 hermanas coming and 6 elders, and we were all so anxious and excited! After several meetings and a wonderful and delicious meal with President and Hermana Pace, it was time to find out about our companions. President Pace first picked Hermana Worthington and said "Now Sister Worthington, all of the trainers here are incredible missionaries, that´s why they are here, training, but there is one that I was a little hesitant about putting you with because I think there should be a limit to how happy and fun a companionship should be!  But I´m going to do it anyway, because you two are going to just skyrocket! Can you tell me … do you know … where Bilbao is on this map??" I just shot up out of my chair and ran over and gave her the biggest hug! She is just the cutest! I am so excited to be her companion! She also went to BYU-Idaho, and graduated in 2013, and we have some of the same friends and hobbies! She is ready to work hard and knows why she is here! I can´t wait to see all that we will do together!

The people here are doing incredibly well! We have been teaching Alex, is a 20 year old boy from Bolivia, for a while now. He is amazing and he has so many great questions and just wants to know the truth in his life. We had a lesson with him this past Monday that I will never forget. We read with him in The Book of Mormon and he was having doubts about some things. Hermana Mendez and I testified about the truthfulness of this gospel and how much it has blessed our lives. We reminded him that we are his age and we KNOW how he feels, including the pressures he is feeling with school and family and friends. We expressed how happy and proud we were of him, that he was taking this chance at such a young age to learn this for himself. As we testified, tears rolled down all of our cheeks. The Spirit was SO strong. He couldn´t explain what he was feeling. He said there was this fire in our eyes that just pierced his heart as we told him we KNOW these things are true. We told him that if he will simple pray and ask God, with FAITH, that he WILL receive an answer, through the power of the Holy Ghost. I know you all can do the same. If YOU have doubts, get on your knees and ask the One who knows ALL things.

I learned something very interesting this week. I have read this story many times in my life, but this was the first time I learned a NEW part of the story. In Matthew 14: 22-33, after the Sermon on the Mount, Christ went to the mountain alone to pray and sent His disciples onto their boat:

"22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
 24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
 33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God."

I can´t get this imagery out of my head. Jesus Christ is a God of The FOURTH WATCH. I didn´t know what the fourth watch meant until now. The fourth watch means the time period between 3:00am-6:00am in the morning. It means that in the midst of this storm, He didn´t come to save them right away. So yes, he might wait until dawn, in the final hours of the night, in our last moments of desperation, looking down upon us from the outskirts. All this while we are struggling and fighting through our own personal storms … but he is always there, watching out for us. He will NEVER give us something we can´t handle. After we have done OUR part, He will carry us. He ALWAYS comes through. I can testify of that. He will never leave us alone. If you have done EVERYTHING you possibly can, you have EVERY right to call down the powers of Heaven for help. I know that He can save us on the water, because He has saved me many times. He has taught me how to stand, how to fight, how to fall and how to stand right back up. He first asked me "to leave my nets" (to leave my old life behind) and come FOLLOW Him. Now he is asking me to step out of the boat (get out of my comfort zone and push past what I might have THOUGHT was my breaking point) and WALK WITH HIM. I don´t know how much more he will ask me to do, but I am willing to do it.

"There comes a point in everyone´s life when you have to have God, because you have NOTHING else. And our job as missionaries, is to make sure when that point comes, that they know he is RIGHT there." -Sister Voyles

I love this work! I love being a disciple of Jesus Christ. I KNOW He lives, and that He loves me, and the He is always there. And after I have done all that I can, He will get me through. I know He loves each and every one of you too! This season is a time to remember His birth, but more importantly, his LIFE and His love, example and sacrifice for you!

Have a great week! You all are fantastic and special in every way!

Hermana Vance

(For those of you that didn’t see the Christmas Devotional last week … it was great!)

Christmas Version of Hallelujah:

One of my favorite "O Holy Night" versions:

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