It’s transfer week and I am staying in Bilbao! I was so shocked and excited, but also sad, because Hermana Worthington is leaving. She has changed my life and I am going to miss her so much! We will be close forever, and she has become such a close friend and an inspiring and strong example for me. I know she is going to continue to change the lives of others as well. She is going to Sabadell (just outside Barcelona) with Hna. Foncubierta! How blessed I have been to have such amazing companions. I love them with all my heart.
I realized that, after this transfer, I will have been in Bilbao for 6 months, or a third of my mission. Like they say here, "QUE FUERTE!" Haha, this place has truly become a second home for me. I love it. I love it. I love it.
There are a few hermanas who have just started their missions, but needed to switch trainers because they are really struggling. President Pace told me that he has chosen 3 hermanas to finish these hermanas´ training and that this mission needs me. He told me, "we need someone who has experience, who is obedient, who can speak the language, who gets along with the members, and has a true love for them … especially for their companions. We need someone who knows how to have companionship unity. We need your help to reset the course of this hermana´s mission. And I know you can and will do that." No pressure, right? Haha, I´m really excited though, and I know that my new companion will bless my life forever.
I actually met Hermana Manotas last night. She is originally from Columbia, but has lived in the south of Spain most of her life. She is incredible and is ready to work and just take off! She told she had a rough start and that things were pretty hard for her and her companionship, but she is excited to start fresh. I cannot wait for all of the miracles we are going to see together! She is adorable and I love her accent! I am excited for my Spanish to get even better!
This past week has been great! Honestly, every week is, as I feel like I have never had a "bad week". Of course, there are harder moments and stressful situations, but I have never let it get to me. I have tried my very best to be as happy and as positive as possible. This message that we share is of great joy and happiness! How can we preach about how amazing it is, how blessed people will be and how happy people will feel, if others can´t see it in us first?
We ALL have those moments of disappointment, those times of discouragement, and sometimes … we just kind of feel stuck and in a little bit of a hole. But my friend sent me an email last week with this scripture, and I just LOVED it! It reads:
“For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.
Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.
For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.
Remember this, which I tell you before, that you may lay it to heart, and receive that which is to follow.
Behold, verily I say unto you, for this cause I have sent you—that you might be obedient, and that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come." - Doctrine and Covenants 58: 2-6
There is a great conference talk (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/the-hope-of-gods-light?lang=eng) and an absolutely awesome video that I just love! You have to watch the whole thing, it’s incredible.
God IS there, and He knows YOU by name and He LOVES you. Even when we feel lost or confused, God WILL illuminate the path before us, no matter what it takes. Are we humble enough to be able to hear and understand what He is trying to tell us? “Spiritual light rarely comes to those who merely sit in darkness, just waiting for someone else to flip the switch”. This enlightenment comes to us day by day, little by little, like a sunrise, as we trust in our Almighty Father in Heaven who knows us, our lives and what we need better than we do. We can be continually filled with testimonies to share, love to embrace, faith to act, lives to bless and souls to save. Be faithful in tribulation. We cannot even begin to comprehend all that God has in store for us. With our natural eyes, we only get a small glimpse of this eternal plan. Of course we have challenges, difficulties, trials, burdens, sadness, heartbreak and moments of sorrow, but that is the reason that Heavenly Father sent His Son … to save us and to redeem us and to lift us from these pains. This life isn´t easy, none of it is … but through Christ it is possible, fulfilling and rewarding. HIS wounds heal MINE. We are lifted up on His wings of love and mercy as we yield to Him and His teachings. We can feel the peace of God´s infinite love and great light. Just trust Him.
I promise you that the blessings will come; that the hour may not be just yet or that you may not be able to fully see why certain things are happening in your life. But God does, and the hour is nigh at hand. It is coming; we just need to be patient, obedient and have faith. “It takes an act of faith to open our eyes to the light of Christ”. It’s right there in front of you. I encourage you to recognize this love and light in your life, and go forward with great eyes of faith! I love you!
Hermana Lydia Pamela Vance