Monday, June 10, 2013

My last letter from Nebraska!

Familia y Amigos,

It's been a crazy week, and this is now the last e-mail that I will be sending from Nebraska...I can't believe it has been 2 years. And it has been the best! Through the hard times, sacrifices, blessings, tears, and long prayers, I have gained a stronger testimony that this is the Lord's work and that He cares about us individually. I feel such great joy as I share the gospel with others and feel and know that they understand it. I'm so grateful that I was called to serve in the Omaha Nebraska Mission and be so spoiled! I'm grateful to have been called to speak Spanish, the celestial language. I'm grateful for the Spirit I've felt as I help others, and I'm grateful that the Spirit can change our hearts! I know that I am weak, but with God I am made strong. This work will continue to move onward. Christ is our Savior. God loves us. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It brings peace to the soul! I'm so grateful for each of you and all that you do! I'm going to miss the people I have met on my mission, but fortunately they live close enough that I can come back and visit! This church is true! I love it!

Really quick, I want to mention a few great last miracles I have experienced this past week:

I got to go to North Platte and do an exchange with Elder Hadfield from American Fork. I was touched by his strong testimony and the great work he is doing there. I had a few experiences with him that I won't forget. I don't have much time so I'll share one of my favorite ones. We were reading the Book of Mormon with a less-active brother and the Spirit was so strong. This less-active man had such a strong spirit and desire to come back to church. He understood the Book of Mormon and you could sense the feeling of peace that rushed through his spirit during that visit. As we read with him, Elder Hadfield received revelation of someone he felt we needed to visit. It was another less-active family that the Elder Quorum President in his ward had been trying to meet with for weeks. We immediately went over there and they were home. They let us in and we had a great visit about the power of Christ's Atonement. I know that it's real. I'm grateful that we each can receive personal revelation and that as we act upon what we think is revelation, then we soon receive the witness...after the trial of our faith. The Book of Mormon is a powerful book because it contains the words of our Loving Heavenly Father. He wants to help us and we can get His help as we read that book.  

Unfortunately we were outside of our area for about 1/2 of this past week so that we could serve other missionaries and go to a few meetings. Well, a few weeks ago, one of the Assistants to the President promised us that if we would do two exchanges a week and serve the other Elders around us that we would be blessed in our own area. Elder Wells and I have been doing that and this last week we really saw the fruits of it. We were outside of our area for three days and we had some of the most success in our own area than we have had so far in our time serving together. This last Sunday there were two investigator families and another investigator that came to church. And I know that this was a promise fulfilled from the Lord through another missionary. This church is true! I don't know exactly how God does everything that He does, but He does it and He does it well!
I love you all! Keep living the Gospel! I will see you soon! 

Elder Vawdrey

This morning's countdown status...TWO DAYS!!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Church Tour!

Buenos dias a todos que leen este E-mail! (Translation: Good day to everyone who will read this message!) Summer is starting to hit and it is still tornado season here. Thankfully nobody was hurt this past week from tornadoes in our zone. There were a few tornadoes that touched down and caused several companionships to hide in their basements for a few hours. But don't worry, no damage was done to anyone or anything...the Lord protects His missionaries, that is for sure!

Do you remember last weeks letter when I said we found those families out in a little town like in the middle of nowhere? Well hey, great news! haha They came to church yesterday and were warmly welcomed to the branch here! We were really excited to see them come, and they shared some great comments in their classes!

We also had a church tour with L and P's family, along with one of their friend's and her family. We showed them all the paintings in the church building, the chapel, and the baptismal font. It was another incredible experience. P was crying when we entered the chapel. We invited them to take a minute and to pay attention to how they felt. We then sang "How Great Thou Art" in the chapel and that was really powerful! And then when we showed them the baptismal font, and they committed to be baptized on the 29th of June. We are so excited for them, and I'm grateful for the great spirit of peace that is found at the church. There is power in dedicated buildings!

We were able to see several other little miracles this last week which was really exciting. I am so grateful for the privilege I have had up to this point to serve the Lord full-time in Nebraska. I have never been so happy in my life as I have served others and invited them to come unto Christ. I know that God lives, Jesus Christ lives, that this is their true church, and that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I'm grateful for each of you and the great influence you have on others! Hope you have a great week!

Elder Vawdrey

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Familia y Amigos,

Helloooo! I hope you all had a great 3-day weekend. Yesterday we went with our branch President's wife to a place called "Stuhr Museum." It is a place kind of like Nauvoo where the old pioneers traveled through back in the day. It was pretty cool to see their living quarters and it made me grateful for our living conditions now. They were a very industrious people back then, whereas now it's like everthing is just done for us. It made me think about the Nephites and the Lamanites. When they were righteous the scriptures tell us that they were an industrious people. It was probably a huge sacrifice to build different machines, but it was worth it in the end. So, it's my hope that we won't be lazy and take too much advantage of all the technology around us that we just rely on it more than ourselves. Hopefully that makes sense. If not, then sorry for making you read that paragraph. haha.

Anyway, this past week was another good one. We had a Zone Conference in Lincoln and it was so good! I can't believe it was my last one. It hurt me a little bit. I almost started bawling when our zone sang the closing song. haha It is a privilege to serve as a representative of Jesus Christ. I'm grateful that He called me to serve His children here in Nebraska, and I'm excited that my time to serve is not up yet.

Zone Conference
Elders Wells and Vawdrey

We went out to a little town out in the middle of nowhere on Thursday where some members from our branch live. Because they live like 50 miles away we haven't been able to visit them yet...but we were working with other Elders in their own area closer to this little town so we decided to check it out. Well, come to find out there are a couple of part-member families out there. Holy smokes! I don't know why they chose to live in that little town so far away, but the town was awesome, and I thought it was a way cool place. The families that live out there are all related and they have a cousin/grandaughter in South Dakota that is going to serve a mission, so I hope her example will bring all of her extended family back to church. We hope to see them at church this next week so they can enjoy the Spirit!

Also, R has been reading a lot in the Book of Mormon lately so we are really excited about her. We are hoping to help her be prepared for a calling and soon to enter the temple as well! Our other investigating family is doing well. We are going to do a church tour with them this week with some of their other friends, so we are excited for that.

Then, we found another family to teach this past week! Elder Wells found them when we were on exchanges and they are both from Chiwuawua, Mexico (hahaha I probably spelled that totally wrong!) and we went and visited with them the other day and talked about the importance of Jesus Christ. It was probably one of the best and favorite lessons that I've ever been apart of! The husband was about to become a priest in the Catholic church several years ago but decided that he felt getting married and starting a family was more important. And, they told us that they are curious about what we believe because they have friends that are Mormons in Mexico! We introduced them to the Book of Mormon. We are excited about them and hope that they read it.

To end on a funny note, as we were driving to the library today, I was sitting in the passenger seat of our truck (haha yeah we have a truck... we are super spoiled in Nebraska!) and I was talking on the phone with one of our members, and I put the phone on speaker so my companion could also hear the conversation. Well, my companion hit a bump in the road and the phone flew out of my hands and fell right through the seats and I couldn't reach the phone under the seat.... hahahha But the member could still hear us, so we were talkin to him on the phone (without the phone) as we drove. It was hilarious!

But anyway, I hope you all have a great week. I know this is the true Church and that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Be positive! Thanks for all you do. Love ya!

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, May 20, 2013

Blessings from on High

Familia y Amigos,

Buenas tardes! Blessings from on high were in abundance once again for us here this past week! I enjoy writing you each week because I am also reminded of a few blessings we received during the week. God is good to us...to all of us.

On Wednesday we had our monthly Zone Meeting, and for one of the role plays we got together in districts and each shared a blessing that we'd recently received after exercising faith. The Spirit was strong as each missionary shared their experiences and there was a lot of excitement for the work as a result! Elder Wells and I had a cool opportunity this past week to serve our branch president. He planned to tear up a good part of his backyard because the grass was dead and he asked if we could help him pull up all of the sod. We jumped at the opportunity and started pulling up the sod. Pretty soon we realized that it would take a while, so as we were picking it all up we were trying to figure out how to be most efficient with our time. As we were about to finish, we figured out a way how to roll up the dead sod just right so that it could be picked up quickly. By the time we had found out the easier way we were kind of frustrated because we were like "Man, I wish we would've known this easier way before we started, but then we realized that that's what the Atonement is all about. As life goes on, we learn more and more. Life is about progression. The goal is to become a better person as we go throughout life. So, don't look back.

This week, we had a Family Home Evening with a family in our branch who also invited one of our recent converts to join them. We talked about temples and the Plan of Salvation, and it was a spirit-filled lesson. The member family was showing the new member a picture of each temple on earth today and it strengthened MY testimony about how it is the Lord's house. I'm grateful that we are blessed with places like the temple to feel an abundance of the Spirit!

We also were able to meet with another investigator family this week. They unfortunately weren't able to make it to church yesterday, but they have been keeping their reading commitments, so they are doing well. We hope to visit them a few more times this week!

Tomorrow we are having a Zone Conference with the Lincoln Stake, so we are looking forward to that in learning more about how to help our investigators. And, we had some incredible thunderstorms this past week. I've never seen so much rainfall in such a short amount of time!

I hope you are all doing great! Thanks for all you do. Have a great week!

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Newest Member in Grand Island

Familia y Amigos,

Buenas Tardes once again! I want to wish my mom a Happy Mother's Day once again and say thanks for all that you do. Also all of you other mothers out there. I love the scripture in John 19:25-27, I believe, when Jesus is on the cross and right there below him is his mother and one of his other best friends. Christ says, "Mary, behold thy Son." And then says to his friend, "Behold thy mother." The way I see it is that Christ tells his mother Mary, "Look at who I've become...I've accomplished this because of all that you have done for me." And then before he dies, he tells his friend, "Please take care of my mom!" That scripture was close to my heart yesterday, and I want to be able to say likewise as Christ did: "Mother, behold thy son." Christ's second coming is near and we live at a great time. It's a blessing to be alive and especially to serve as a missionary. I'm so grateful for the privilege to serve my brothers and sisters here in Nebraska and have plans to finish with no regrets!

This past week was incredible for us. We received a call from our Mission President at about 3:00pm one day. He asked us, "Elders, do you have any appointments scheduled for tonight?" We told him that we had one. So he replied: "All right. I'm on my way." We were like, "Wait. Huh?" haha. He drove all the way from Omaha to Grand Island to spend a few hours with us! We took him to a Mexican restaurant and he bought us dinner, and then we went to our appointment. Our investigator had planned to be baptized two days ago but was pretty nervous and wondered if it was still what she wanted to do. With President Weston, we taught her a little bit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and focused on the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. President Weston testified powerfully of the blessings that would come to her in her life, and then Elder Wells and I also bore testimony! There was an incredible Spirit in the room and she decided that baptism is what she wanted to do because she wants to go to the temple soon! So, we got everything ready for her baptism and she was baptized on Saturday!! It was incredible!

The Newest Member in Grand Island!
 There were several miracles that happened in the process of getting everything ready for her baptism. Usually the baptismal font takes three solid hours for the font to be full and to have hot water. Well, because of some last minute emergencies that we had to take care of the morning of her baptism, we were unable to start the font until two hours before her baptism. Then, we had to do a few other things and were just praying that the font would fill up in time for the baptismal service. Well, when we got back to the church, the font was completely filled and the water was perfect temperature...all with 30 minutes to spare! Somehow the font filled completely with warm water in 90 minutes. That was definitely a blessing.

It was incredible to see our sweet convert in tears in Sacrament Meeting after she received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I know it's a real thing. I had the privilege of doing the blessing and confirming her a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and it was priceless. I know that the Spirit is real. God lives and loves us. Christ lives, and He died for each of us. I know it's true. Not because I have seen them face to face but because I have felt their love in my heart. This is the true church!

And then, the same night with President Weston, we went and saw our other investigator family and they told us that they wanted to come to church and be baptized. So we set a date for baptism and I just realized that they are planning to get baptized the Saturday before I finish my mission. That would be incredible to see them do this before I finish! We will do our best to help them, and I'm sure it will all work out how it's suppose to. This entire family came to church yesterday and had a great experience! We are really excited about them and hope they come again next week.

I know God loves us and that His blessings are all around us. Pray to notice them and you will. I have a testimony of that. Have a great week!

Elder Vawdrey

American Fork Elders UNITE!

Monday, May 6, 2013

"I stand at the door...and use my card"

Familia y Amigos,

Once again I wanna give a little shout out to my little brother Jayson and little sister Angi!! JJ, I hope you had an awesome birthday/Cinco de Mayo, and that you also have an awesome birthday, Angi! (this week) You guys are getting old. Holy smokes!

This last week was transfer week, and I am super excited that I am going to finish my mission here in Grand Island with Elder Wells! I was really hoping I would stay here and so my prayers were answered!

There were several good things that happened this last week. First of all, we met with the lady that we did a fast for two weeks ago. She told us that she is seeing the blessings that have come so far as a result of that fast. Her son that was making some bad choices is now at a correction center and from what we have heard, he is making great progress. This lady pretty much testified to us that she knows good things come little by little. She was unable to go to church this past Sunday, but we did find out that she has been reading the Book of Mormon on her own and is already in Alma! So we hope that she continues to see God's blessings in her life and that she will soon understand that in order to feel more of God's love and peace, she needs to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

As for other investigator, she is also progressing well. She came to church again yesterday, and she is planning on getting baptized on Saturday. We hope that all goes well for her and that it all works out.

We also met with our other great family this week. They are an investigator family and were taught by missionaries several years ago. In our visit last night, [the husband] told us that he always feels good when we come over and it makes him want to learn more. We were excited to see that he is sensitive to the Spirit and we look forward to working more with their family this next week! And then, he offered the closing prayer at the end of our visit and it was SO awesome. I love hearing investigators pray for the first time, it's so great!

And lastly, I had really cool experience with unlocking doors. So we were doing exchanges with the Elders in North Platte, and at the middle of the day we realized that we had forgotten to grab the referral sheet of the people we were going to try later in the day. So we went back to the Elders' apartment to get the referral sheet and when we got there the door was locked. Well, the Elder I was with tried to pick the lock with one of my cards (without any luck). He then asked me, "Can you do it?" I said, "We'll see." I said a prayer in my head and then the first time I stuck the card in the door, it opened!! haha. God is great to us!

I hope you all have a great week and that you see God's hand in your lives!! Thanks for all you do. Love you all.
Elder Vawdrey

Monday, April 29, 2013

23rd Hour, 59th minute, 59th second

Familia y Amigos,
First of all, I want to shout out a Feliz Cumpleanos to my older sister Brittni! I hope you have an amazing day and please know how grateful I am for your friendship, testimony, and example. You deserve a great birthday, so I hope it's a great one to remember!

The warmer weather is finally starting to settle in and I'm pretty excited for it. I pulled out all my short sleeve shirts today and I'm ready for summer. I've already got sunburned, so my face just keeps getting redder! haha I'll probably have to bring out the sunscreen one of these days.

This past week was full of many little miracles once again. I feel like my testimony was strengthened on Tuesday of the saying from Elder Packer and Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve: "The Lord blessed me in the 23rd hour, 59th minute, and 59th second." Elder Wells and I planned to knock part of a trailer park for an hour on Tuesday and that was the day when we didn't have our truck. So we were walking. Well, when we got dropped off at this trailer park by the other Elders, we quickly realized that it was freezing cold outside. We just decided to man up against it and started knocking some doors. Unfortunately, like the first 5 doors, nobody answered. Then, pretty soon some people started answering their doors but just didn't really have any interest in hearing the message or they were leaving to go to work. 

Well, there was ONE more door left in the trailer park to knock. As you can probably guess what happened, we knocked the door and a guy answered the door and before we even said anything he invited us inside his home! We were super excited. We got to know him for a bit and then he had a few questions for us regarding why there are so many churches in the world today? It was awesome. We taught him about the Restoration and he loved it. At the end of the lesson, we asked him if he would offer the closing prayer, and he was like: Yeah, sure! In his prayer, he thanked God that we were able to help him resolve his doubts. I felt so good when I heard that because I knew that it wasn't us that resolved his doubts...only the Spirit can do that. I'm grateful that I can be an instrument in God's hands to help others find answers to their doubts or questions. We arent sure how things will end up with this guy because he has a job with crazy hours, but we are going to try passing by again to see if we can visit with the rest of his family that were home when we visited. If anything, my testimony grew of God's blessings in our lives and that the Spirit is the one that resolves our concerns.

We also were able to meet with a few new families this week so we are hoping that we can continue to meet with some of them this week. Our other investigators are still progressing. The one we were hoping would be baptized soon is working through a few things...significant enough that unfortunately she isn't going to be ready for baptism this next Saturday. But we believe that she will make that decision soon. She knows the church is true and she has felt the Spirit, so we just need to help her remember that and then as she acts on her faith we trust that she will be ready for baptism and soon to enter the temple! We are hoping that she can have a big spiritual experience again this upcoming week!

Oh, we had the opportunity to do exchanges with the Elders in Lexington and that was a blast to go back and to work with the Elders there. We had some good experiences and learned a lot. As time goes on, I realize more and more that as we forget ourselves and just serve others, then we find ourselves. It's easier said than done but the joy that comes from doing missionary work and serving others is priceless.

I hope you all have a great week. Thanks for everything. Love you. I know this is the true church!

Elder Vawdrey