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.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Women of God, Men of God, Children of God

TRANSFER WEEK!! Woohoo! I am still training Hermana Worthington and still a Sister Training Leader in Bilbao. The missionaries in our ward and district are changing up a little bit. Our two Canadian elders are leaving, Elder Coleman and Elder Hardy. It’s sad because our district has been really close. They all are such incredible examples to me and I couldn´t thank each of them enough for all they have taught me. An elder (Elder Hernandez!) from my district in Valencia is coming up to Bilbao. I also found out they are whitewashing (or putting two new hermanas into the area at the same time) my area in Valencia. The hermana that took my place in Valencia (Hermana Stilson with Hermana Gillette after me), is coming up to be a companion with Hermana Mendez (my Guatemalan companion!) in LogroƱo! A lot of big changes throughout the mission, with so many missionaries going from the South to the North and from the North to the South, and some going from big cities to little islands! We have about 18 new hermanas coming into the mission and 2 new elders. There are a lot of young missionaries who are being asked to train and be leaders, which is crazy, but exciting! It will cause everyone to rise up, to understand their true potential, and seize the challenge with great faith. It is going to lift this mission and everyone´s spirits ... I can´t wait … forward, upward and onward! We all need these "spiritually sky-rocketing" moments in our lives and in our missions.

Because of transfers, we had 7 hermanas stay in our apartment last night! We had fun, as they are all so special and are going to continue to see miracles in this mission. I can’t imagine being anywhere else than in the middle of Spain right now, surrounded by this army of the Lord´s servants. There is NOTHING like it.

I love my companion, Hermana Worthington, so much. She is so strong, so patient and so open and humble. She works hard, she knows why she is here, and she strengthens me and my testimony, each and every day. We have a blast together!

This week, we had the opportunity to have interviews with President Pace. The Paces are the best! I always really enjoy our interviews. Every phrase of encouragement or piece of counsel he gives me, I really take to heart. It is always inspiring, and I am always touched by his words, even if we are just sitting there for a couple of minutes, looking at each other, sharing our testimonies with tears, and simply saying “thank you” to one another. It means the world to me. He thanked me and said, "Hermana Vance, you inspire me. You are so smart, you work hard and you know what you are doing, and it shows. It is obviously working. Everything I ask you to do, or at least try, you have done. As a leader, a missionary, as a companion, as a sister, as a friend, as a daughter of God and disciple of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ … I don´t know what more I could ask you to do. Thank you for your wonderful service. It will bless you for the rest of your life. Your future husband, family, friends, life and everything you cherish, in 5 years, 10 years, or 25 years … will ALL be affected and blessed because of your faithful service. During this moment in your life and your mission, you have just sky-rocketed, and this will set the course for the rest of your life. Keep up the great work. This is a GREAT time in your mission."  When we prayed together at the end he added, "It is hard for me to see so many incredible, amazing missionaries finish their missions and go home, because it hurts and it leaves a big hole for me. But when I really get to know missionaries like you, those holes are filled. You don´t replace them, you JOIN them. You have become one of those exceptional missionaries for me in this mission. Thank you, thank you, thank you … for deciding to serve. We need you here, and that is why the Lord called you here." He said something similar during my first interview, when I came into the mission. I have always looked up to the other hermanas (Hermanas Reid, Gillette, Munns, Manwill, Mangelson, etc.), more than they could ever know, and I never knew if I could ever be like them. They always knew their purpose and stayed on it. They were flawless and consecrated missionaries in my eyes. They shaped my mission and my life. I just hope that I continue on this rising climb and become the true disciple that I know I was born to be. I can´t thank President Pace and the Lord enough for believing in me, encouraging me and trusting me. I´m excited for this next transfer with Hermana Worthington, to hit the ground running!

I saw this quote the other day, on one of the other hermana´s walls … it says: "Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity." - Margaret Nadauld

I really liked this because she is absolutely right. This is the time to stand out and stand up; to be the women, men and children of God that He intended us to be. People can see your bright lights, your Christ-like examples and your burning testimonies. Don´t ever lose it … stay strong and steadfast in CHRIST. Don´t forget who you REALLY are, in the midst of a world that is telling you who you "should" be. You know better. You are literal sons and daughters of the Almighty God. He loves you and wants the best for you, found on the path only through Christ.

In Mosiah 3:17 it reads: "And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent."

Remember who you are. I love you all, my brothers and sisters!

Hermana Lydia Pamela Vance

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