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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Holy Ground

The past couple weeks have been interesting; we’ve been back and forth to Barcelona twice in the past week for different conferences and getting our residence cards. The crazy part is that my poor companion, Hermana Worthington, has been sick with a pretty bad case of bronchitis and we have gone to the doctor a few times, trying to figure out which medication will work for her. I just want her to be better, as she has had this for a while now, and I know it´s been frustrating and painful for her. Please keep her in your prayers.

All that aside, we have really been enjoying it here in Bilbao. I seriously LOVE this place. We have seen so many miracles with the people here. We have been able to reach out to many recent converts and less active members in our area. It is interesting to go into members’ homes … even if they don´t come to church or are having all sorts of problems in their lives or are relatively new members … when you enter you can still feel the Spirit so strong. You can see the Light of Christ in their eyes and they have some of the greatest testimonies. I love working with them and showing them that no matter how far they think they have gone from church or from God, that He is still RIGHT there; and so are we. We are ready to lift them up and do our very best to serve them, teach them, inspire them and just love them. When I was set apart as a missionary, I was told that I would rekindle the fire of the gospel for those who have fallen into inactivity, and I hope I am doing that. We are merely the instruments of the Lord, helping to remind them of the importance of this gospel in their lives, and how much our Heavenly Father loves them.

Missionaries experience a lot of things that they usually have never had to deal with before and sometimes experience different challenges that they must face with great faith. The other day we were in a family´s home, teaching one of their friends (I´m going to call her Valery) who is 20 years old and staying with this family for the week. We have begun teaching Valery, and she is just great! She has so many great questions and just wants to learn more! The family she is staying with has some problems … between the mother and father, the father and the older sons, the mother and the daughter … you name it. As we (Hermana Worthington and I, Darwin (who is a recent convert) and Valery) were teaching a lesson in her room, the wall next to ours began to shake. We heard banging, screaming and yelling from the mother, father and sons. They had gotten into a big fight and it got pretty bad. Honestly, we were a little scared and didn´t know what to do. Valery ran out the room to see what was going on, but quickly returned. She said she was really nervous and scared. I had the sudden prompting that we should say a prayer. We all huddled in a circle in this tiny bedroom, and knelt down. Darwin offered the sweetest prayer, and I began to cry because the Spirit was so strong. It was as if we could feel someone giving us all one big hug. He asked for there to be a peace within this home, that we could all feel God´s love in that moment, and that everything would be okay and that everyone would be safe. As we ended the prayer, we shared with Valery how much Christ loves her and this family; that it is the gospel of Jesus Christ that brings us this comfort and happiness. I gave her a hug and told her that everything would be okay, and it was.

As missionaries, we are also are able to have the REALEST moments of our lives … the most sacred and powerful ones … those ones where everything goes quiet and everything seems to move in slow motion. The veil between us and heaven becomes so thin, and we are able to have these incredible, life-changing realizations and revelations. It is difficult to explain, and I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity to be a servant and missionary of Jesus Christ. There is NOTHING like it.

I heard this song the other day on my iPod while my companion was sick and sleeping. As I listened to it, I began to break down a little bit as it made me think a lot about my mission. Take a moment to read the words (or look it up online; it´s incredible!).

I guess my life has somehow been like the woman caught in sin
She sat there broken at His feet she knew the law
But heard "let he who’s without sin cast the first stone"
And not a single one was thrown
With no man left there to accuse, she left behind her tattered shoes
I’m on Holy Ground now, and I don’t ever want to leave
Hold me here now and keep my feet planted down in what I’ve found
Upon this holy ground
I know I didn’t have to leave to find this feeling inside me
But I left it all the same, I broke the rules to win the game
And now it’s clear from where I stand, I could’ve always felt His Hand
And though His touch I did refuse, I’m laying down these tattered shoes
With every moment standing here I can feel Him drawing near
And if I could stay in this place I’m sure that I could see His face
And yet I know life must go on, so let this memory linger on inside
Become a part of me...
I’m on Holy Ground now and I don’t ever want to leave
Hold me here now and keep my feet planted down in what I’ve found
Upon this holy ground. -  David Osmond

As I heard this song, two kinds of “holy grounds" came to my mind. First, that Spain has become a holy ground for me. I consider this a very sacred land. I have seen miracles, day in and day out. I have experienced those “heaven on earth” moments that are almost too special to share at times. It has become a part of me, and will be a part of me for the rest of my life. It will never be forgotten.
The second holy ground is that this opportunity as a missionary has put me on higher and holier ground. A grand, new plane of thinking and feeling; emotionally and spiritually. I look at things from a different, but better, vantage point. I am able to see my life with an eternal perspective. This experience has lifted me and continues to do so every day. I have grown immensely, and I want to stay in this place forever. This holy ground, this sweet spot, this new me that I have created for myself, this new state of living life.
I know that if I stay in this place, that I will see the face of the Savior, knowing that I did all that I could to continue on this climb and share this holiness with everyone. I can feel Him drawing near, and so can you! If we do our very best to serve Him, and increase our own progression, we will see miracles within ourselves. We can always feel His hand. It is the time to lay down OUR tattered shoes, and turn our will over to the Lord. Come unto Him!

I love you all! Find YOUR holy ground … and don´t ever leave.

Con cariño,
Hermana Vance

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