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.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

God Be With You Till We Meet Again

Wow. Where do I even begin!? Last week was just an emotional rollercoaster. It has been a fantastic and very special one.

As you know, Hermana Steinfeldt and I are just loving and soaking up everything about every experience we are having together. I really needed her. This area needed her; and the two of us together have been a remarkable thing to see. She has truly blessed my mission and my life. We have so many miracles waiting for us here in Hospitalet! I can´t wait to see what else we will witness together!

Tuesday: I went on intercambios with Hermana Arauco! She's such an exceptional hermana! We just have so much fun! I always learn something new and great from her! We contacted this super sweet lady, Yolanda, at the very end of the night who was just sitting on this bench and talked to her about the Book of Mormon and she seemed pretty interested so we set up a follow up appointment! I hope it turns out great!

Wednesday: We had an appointment with Dari! Back story … Dari is about 31 years old, she has a 15-month-old baby boy and she is from the Dominican Republic! They have become some of my favorite types of people! They are just a blast! Three years ago, she was being taught by some missionaries in her country. She didn´t feel like it was her time then. But now, she said she is ready to pick a path and stick with it! On Sunday we were walking to church and she came up to us and told us she wants to hear about our message! MIRACLES! We bore powerful testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Atonement. She told us that, if she prays and receives an answer that this is true, she will be baptized! She is so prepared and just the cutest thing ever!

Thursday: We were able to visit a lot of the less active members in our area. It truly was a blessing. I have loved getting to know all of the members here. They are the BEST! I love it when the youth come out with the missionaries. They always tell us how much they want to go on missions now, because they spend so much time with us and are able to see these miracles each and every day!

Friday: ZONE CONFERENCE! It was so emotional! I bawled my eyes out, but … what else is new? The Paces were with us and it was "basically" our new last time seeing them. I can truly say that this time getting to know them has been one of the greatest blessings in my life! I cannot even begin to describe my love and appreciation for these two spiritual giants in my mission and my life. They are a couple of the most loving, kindest, knowledgeable, humble people I've met. Hermana Pace talked about how we need to always be spiritually fed, because just as we can't go without food and water for more than a day or two or three, the same is true regarding our knowledge of the gospel! We have to keep feeding ourselves every single day so that we don't we lose our testimony! We can´t eat or be spiritual fed on Monday and expect for it to last until Wednesday or Thursday. We´ll die spiritual! It can´t be a stale testimony, it´s gotta be fresh!
Then President Pace talked about the sacrament! He said that our faith should never be determined by anything that happens with people or situations. He said: "The center must hold, and the center is the sacrament." He then talked about how, if we have faith and always remember the Atonement, then we should never stray away. It´s so true.

Saturday: Today was an incredible day. We able to have an appointment with Dari and President Pace! It was amazing! We taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end. I was a little intimidated at first, but it was powerful, and Dari couldn´t deny it! Dari is just incredible and has so many desires to learn, to change, and to stick with it strong. Just like we promised her … she will be a very amazing and strong member of our church someday soon! She has a baptismal goal for the 11th of July. Please keep her in your prayers.

After the appointment and after she left, President Pace asked if we could give a prayer of thanks. It was so tender and dear. He was very emotional and I was touched when he said, "I pray that when the hermanas go home from their missions, to their families, they will be able to know that they gave their all in the service of the Lord. I am so grateful for this opportunity to have had this lesson with the hermanas, because I rarely get the chance. I love serving with them and among them." We later said, "President, thank you so much for coming and helping us. We really needed it." He replied, "No hermanas … I needed it. I can´t thank you enough." Bless his heart, I love President Pace so much!

Sunday: FATHER´S DAY! What an amazing day, and a very sacred and important day for all of the fathers around the world … and my Daddy. He shared with me a few of the life-changing events that happened on this wonderful day, years ago. ”Sunday (June 21st is a special day ...
-          Celebrating the sacred privilege of being a father.
-          Celebrating 28 years since the day I asked your sweet mom to marry me.
-          Celebrating 30 years since the day I was baptized (6/21/1985).

My response to him: "Wow. How special. Isn´t it just beautiful how life works out? God is so perfect. And so is His plan. I am so grateful for all 3 of those celebrations! Thank you for being the greatest example I could have in my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For the love, the counsel, the support, the help, the funny memories, the spiritual moments and life-changing experiences that you have given me through my entire life. I could never thank you enough. I love you SO much dad.  Te amo papĂ­!"

Dari came to church and sat in the front row with the Vargas family, and all the missionaries spoke! I was nervous, but it went well … my 6th talk! We also saw the Giorginos! My awesome MTC teachers, whom I love, were in Barcelona for the weekend and just happened to show up at our church building for Sacrament meeting! I couldn't believe it, it has been well over a year!

Monday: President and Herman Pace – our last concilio with them. Our Concilio (Leadership Meeting) in Barcelona was seriously incredible! We learned things from the Paces that were inspired and exactly what I needed. Hna Pace talked about Faith, so full of spiritual power that I felt like I was capable of doing anything! She's such an incredible teacher! Then President Pace talked about forgiveness and how to develop better relationships between your companion, the members and investigators, and anyone in general in your life. It was exactly what the Lord wanted me to hear. I'm so grateful for my leaders and for their thoughtful and inspiring teachings that help me become a better missionary.

The assistants (Elder Dunn and Elder Skousen) asked all the missionaries to write a thank you letter to the Paces. They made a huge book out of all the letters and the Paces loved it! Our zone leaders, Elder Dailey and Elder Ponce, also asked a member to make a big lighthouse out of foam and then wrote all of our names on it. It turned out really cute. It was really sad having to say goodbye to the Paces on Friday as a Zone, but even more so this past Monday. At the end of Concilio, we had a testimony meeting. The Spirit was so strong, and everyone went up and bore such heartfelt testimonies of the power, divinity and beauty of this gospel. President Pace ended with his testimony. Tears were streaming down everyone's faces. After that, we all gathered close around the piano and sang our mission hymn 'Brillan
Rayos de Clemencia' (Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy) and everyone was bawling! President Pace offered the final prayer after that and for about the ten minutes we were praying there was not a dry eye in the room. Afterwards, President Pace said let's sing some more. We did and the room was just filled with the spirit. It truly was such a great meeting!

I´m sad the Paces will be leaving us next week. But I´m so grateful that I could have the opportunity to learn and grow from them. I truly love them so much! I´m excited for our new mission president, President and Hermana Dayton. They have been preparing for the last 6 months and I just know that we are going to see so many more miracles with them and learn a lot from them. They are called of God.

I absolutely loved Concilio yesterday. What a special and sacred experience we all had together. Our lives will never be the same. Thank you for all you have done. I cannot even begin to express how I feel.
President Monson says, "Change is one of the most constant things in our lives." I always think I don´t like it, or I won´t like it, but every time it happens, something extraordinary evolves from it. We learn and grow. We are crafted and molded into who we were born to be … new experiences, new opportunities … a new life!

And it is in and only through our Savior, Jesus Christ, that we can become perfected and change for the better forever. I love this gospel with every fiber of my being, and I love being a missionary. There is nothing greater, nor more rewarding, and we are going to hold our centers and declare it throughout the eternities.

I love you all. You are in my prayers. I´ll see you before you know it. God be with you … till we meet again.

Hermana Lydia Pamela Vance

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