HI! HELLO! HOLA! KAIXO! BON DIA! I hope you are all doing well! I´m going to try something a little different this week, going day by day.
I absolutely LOVE the hermanas in our piso (Hermana Moser, Hermana Bastidas & Hermana Arauco)! They are just incredible! We have all become so close. We really do feel like sisters (hermanas)! We had preparation day and we all just hung out and had fun walking around different parts of Barcelona and shopping. They have become great friends and I love them! At night we were able to meet with a lady in our ward named Yennis. She is so sweet and has two little kids, Marjorie and Markel. We were able to talk about the importance of families and what we can do together in our home to strengthen one another and build our faith. Yennis actually shared her conversion story with us. The Spirit was so strong, and we saw the joy in her eyes when she told us how she felt when she and her family were sealed in the Madrid Temple. What an adorable family!
Today we had a TON of eating appointments with members! It was fun, but I literally thought I was going to die! I was having flashbacks of Valencia over the summer when we just got fed so much! We had about 3 dinners today! The food was great, but just a little much, haha. But I have loved getting to know the members more here, because they have such strong testimonies and incredible stories (conversion stories, mission stories, life stories, you name it!). We saw Luis, one of our investigators, today as well. He is interesting, and we love him so much, but he has a lot of problems. He is from Barcelona and is about 45 years old. He lives alone and his mother died a few months ago. He is constantly falling back into his drug and alcohol problems. It has been an ongoing battle for him throughout his entire life. But he has made a lot of improvement, and he wants to change. We strongly testified about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that none of us are perfect, but that through Christ we can be made perfect. He can change us. He can strengthen us. He knows and loves us, and wants to lift us up. I know Luis will come around one of these days. Please pray for him.
Today was MY 1 YEAR MARK in the mission! Time is soaring right before my eyes. It honestly is a pretty weird feeling! The hermanas are so funny, right before I woke up they surprised me with music, balloons, posters and tons of confetti to celebrate! Haha, they got me good! This has honestly been the best year of my life. Full of endless memories, life-changing experiences and heaven-on-earth miracles. I am so blessed to be here and serve these wonderful people of Spain. I love them so dearly.
Wednesday = Miracle Day! We saw so many great things today! We met so many great families and people in the street who are so prepared! We visited a member named Maritza. She is so great and just cracks me up! I love her! One of the first things she said to me was, "You are just sweet! It´s like you’re covered in honey! But you also have a lot of character … you tell people how it is, and you don´t mess around! That´s one good combination!" She´s hilarious and blunt and I just love her to bits! Her daughter, Natalia, is not a member and she is about 20 years old. We have really started to gain a great relationship with her and we hope to meet with her more often! We shared this scripture with them and a few other people today … it’s amazing and in The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:26.
"And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”
I know this to be true and something we should strive for in our lives. People should be able to recognize each of us as a disciple of Christ and a child of God at all times and in all things and in all places. We need to be examples for our children, family and friends, and all of those around us. We need to teach them and show them, that it is through Christ that we can gain the remission of our sins and feel that happiness.
I was able to go on a companion exchange with two hermanas in The Islands of Spain! Talk about incredible and gorgeous! What an amazing opportunity! It was in Palma de Mallorca, and was such an amazing opportunity and a phenomenal day!
Friday and Saturday:
Long story short … I don´t know if we got some kind of food poisoning or if there is some type of bug going around … but Hermana Moser and I had to stay home for two days because so were sooo sick. We had a lot of stomach problems, cramps and threw up for two days straight. I had yet to get sick on my mission … I guess I was due! But I did get a lot of cleaning, organizing and journal writing done (and a little bit of sleep)! The other hermanas were so sweet and took good care of us! The elders also came over and gave us a Priesthood blessing. The Priesthood is so real. I think it was the first time I had ever asked someone, besides my dad, to give me a blessing. It was so powerful, and definitely a testimony builder for me.
We FINALLY had enough strength to leave Sunday afternoon to go to church. We had a few people that came that we were not expecting at all! It is so funny, I always end up playing the piano for things. I can hardly play! I haven´t practiced in forever, especially sight reading! In Sacrament, the talks were given by the young men. They all spoke and it was just the cutest thing. They all talked about being missionaries someday. At the end, the young men´s president spoke, and it really touched me. He talked about how, when he was younger, he LOVED comic books and superheroes, and that he loves Batman and Spiderman, etc. He was talking about what a hero really is; that they don´t just have cool costumes and names and special powers. They are brave, selfless, fearless, kind; and they never give up. They do all that they can to help those in need … the lost, the afflicted, the struggling, the downhearted … those that need to see the light and hope in their lives. He gave examples of modern day heroes that we see all around us. We see them in our role models, our parents, our best friends, and those that are always there for us.
But he said that aside from all of that … there is One, who is the greatest and most perfect superhero this world has ever seen. That hero is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He came to this earth to save us; to do the will of the Father and to redeem us from the "villains" and evils around us and in this world. He came to save us from ourselves. He was the only one who could have done that, as He showed and performed the greatest act of love known to man … His atoning sacrifice. Because of this, we too can defeat the things that are impeding us. We can battle, fight and conquer our weaknesses and imperfections. He knows us perfectly and is always there to help and to save your day, every day. Never doubt His power and love. He watches over you and protects you. He is your Savior and best friend, and always will be. Trust him … he is right there.
I love you all! Have a great week! Be superheroes and conquer your “villians” with the Lord who is on your side!
With all my heart,
Hermana Lydia Pamela Vance