Monday, August 29, 2011

Service...do it for others, and if necessary, with words

Familia y Amigos

Hola, hola!! It's great to hear from you!! Oh wow...I'm here typing in the library and there is a bat flying around and just went over my head!! AH!! hahahha So I am sitting short in my chair ;) But, I'm glad you are all keeping busy and just enjoying life!! Yes!!

This week has been crazy. Constantly busy for us here, lots of service, and so we very much appreciate sleep at night. This whole week, we have been breaking down sand bag walls again. One family we did it for was the Dial family. They are non-members and through the whole process of taking down their wall, they totally opened up. They looked up to see how big their sandbag wall was...which was HUGE! But anyway, they said it had 29,000 bags of sand and was a total of 1.7 million pounds. hahah Well, that is definitely an overstatement. It wasn't that big, but it was huge. It took like 10 of us 2 whole days to break down the whole wall. The last stretch was the most difficult of course, but we pushed through and really enjoyed the feeling of having finished it. The father of the Dial family works for a steak business here in Sioux City, Iowa and he offered to cook us steaks! Beauty. So yeah. We ate steak the other night...best steak I have ever had. They were like an inch and a half thick haha. Yeah, it was delish. But the best thing of it all was when they told us what they learned from this whole experience. The father told us how he has always believed that everyone goes through at least one hard thing in their lives and of all things, he thinks this was his hard thing. And he told us about how when we are serving others, we are blessed in return. The whole community really came together because of this flood. Except for one lady...who didn't want to help anyone with theirs but demanded that people help her. And as things turned out, she was the only person whose house was somewhat flooded. Wow. How do you figure that? So the Dial family told us that if we serve others we will be blessed in return. I believe this was an example of the importance to serve others. If all we do is focus on ourselves and demand help, we are less likely to receive it then if we decided to serve others first :)

Anyway, throughout this service experience with the Dial family, they were open and were really respectful to us missionaries for our help towards their family. We didn't ever share a lesson with them because it just didn't feel right. But, we left a good impression on them and hope they will be open to receiving the gospel as time goes on because we really want to teach them!! But they know our beliefs and they respect them. The Lord is in control...and I hope that this family will choose to receive the gospel someday!!

The people are so nice to us here. They feed us constantly, I have now only had to cook like 2 meals haha. I love it. One lady we go see is less-active and we visit here a time or 2 each week and take care of her lawn and house and things because she isn't able to do it herself. She insists to buy some of our groceries for us.. :) haha I love her. She is way nice.

I experienced my first baptism on Saturday. An investigator from the companionship before me helped a guy named Julian to accept the gospel and his baptism was just the other day. The spirit was strong and it was fun to see his family there supporting him. I gave a talk about the Holy Ghost, but it was in English. Julian speaks English and Spanish but for some reason wanted his baptism to be all in English. His wife speaks better English. I believe that is the reason why. Then, later Saturday night, we went to 2 weddings. haha wow. Before today I think I have only been to like 2 weddings in my whole life, so it was a crazy day. One of the couples will be married in the temple in a year...the wife just got baptized a month ago and then I don't know what will end up happening with the other couple. I hope they get married in the temple because I have seen both and I know that temple marriage is so important and much better.

Another service thing we did this week was we went down to Nebraska to clean a church that had been vandalized. It was sad...but it's all cleaned up now :) And then at church yesterday, we were there for a total of 9 hours because of church, and other meetings. wow. They weren't lying when the missionaries said that Sundays are crazy.

And my companion is great. I love him. We are starting to become good friends and I am realizing why it is so important. The mission is great. I love it. Tonight, we have an appointment with a lady named Maria. We will be teaching the first lesson in Spanish and I am supposed to take the lead in the lesson. I'm really excited for it and to teach. This is the first lesson I will teach here in Sioux City with my companion!! But I hope you are all doing well. I wish you all the best. Have a great week at school and work and of course have some fun. love you all.

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, August 22, 2011

The life of a missionary in Sioux City, Iowa!!

Amigos y Familia,

Wow. It has been a crazy past week, lots of changes, and lots of great experiences!! I lied in my last letter about being in Nebraska...my first area is in Sioux City, Iowa. However, my area has part of South Dakota and Nebraska as well. It is a different world out here. Different culture, different people, but the church is the same and it is GREAT!!

After a great experience in the MTC, I got on the plane with 14 other Elders and sisters to fly to Nebraska.. one other elder was spanish speaking. We were met at the airport by our great mission president, President Kunz. He is such a great President. I love him. But the airport was pretty funny. So...if I can remember everything that happened, first of all...my bags weighed too much so I had to switch some things around. Then, when we went through the thingy, haha not sure what it's called...I put my carry-on through the security belt and the light went off. I had hair gel in my carry on so I had to throw that away. Then, when we arrived in Nebraska, my carry-on bag was gone. But, to make a long story short, all of us traveling Elders and Sisters got some good laughs and I arrived safely with all of my things after all :) Just gave the day some more spice, I guess you could say!!

It is very humid here.. so that has been crazy. But my first day here in the field was spent with the other new missionaries and President Kunz visiting all of the history sites here and it was so much fun. We had a big testimony meeting the first night, had interviews with President Kunz, and had some amazing food. We also were assigned to go with an experienced Elder or Sister for our first splits. And I went with Elder Starkey. We didn't have much success...after knocking on doors until we saw an Apartment complex. And I looked at him and was like "Ah yeah!!!" hahaha So we went over the the complex and the whole time I was thinking in my mind, I want our goal to be to enter into someone's home and teach the first lesson. Well, sure enough, at the very first door, we knocked and they immediately invited us in. Wow. And guess what, yeah! we taught them the first lesson!! haha. It was a tiny apartment with 2 families and the lesson was awesome. The committed to read the book of mormon and they want another appointment. So this was a total miracle. This was in the Omaha area, so other Elders will continue to teach them.

As for my companion, he is awesome! His name is Elder Rigby from Provo, UT. He is athletic, played as quarterback at Provo High and may try-out for BYU football. He is a big guy! haha He has lots of experience out here in the field and is currently the district leader. He is really nice, has great faith, is really good with people, doesn't worry much about things, and loves the cold!! haha I quickly found that out after my first night with him when I woke up to the thermometer at 55 degrees. What? hahaha. I pretty much froze but it was a good way to wake us both up. haha It actually felt really nice.

The mission field here is different than I expected. I thought I would teach lessons non-stop, but as for here in Iowa, right now it is pretty much just a SERVICE mission. There has been lots of flooding out here so we have been putting up and breaking down sand bag walls. It is hard work, but I am getting some big biceps ;) Anyway, the people are SO nice here. The members are so kind. I haven't had to cook a single meal yet. wow. And we get fed lots of steak, chicken, beans, and tacos. Wow...I'm gonna get so fat. haha

All in all, the mission is amazing. My companion is great, the people are amazing, and there is lots of work. I hope you are all having a great week and for those of you getting ready for school, I wish you the best. Thanks for much for your love, and your cards. I love you all so much. Hope you got a little taste of the sweet city of Sioux ;)

Elder Vawdrey

Nebraska, Here I come!

11 August 2011

Familia, Friends, le amo!!

First of all... I got my Travel Plans!!! Woo!! I leave on Tuesday to Nebraska. I'm sad that I wont be able to see my sister at the MTC before I leave... but I guess the Lord's will is different. But... I am SO excited for Nebraska. I can't wait until I can just go talk to people about the gospel. I feel like I know enough spanish to carry a conversation with someone and teach the lessons, but we will see how fast they speak out in the field!! haha

I hope you all had a great week. I can't believe it's already the middle of August. That means school is starting up again soon. I hope you all are super excited for school :)

Well, last week, I talked about how I was so excited to teach a lesson to our investigator here at the MTC. And wow, it was SO awesome! We taught our investigator about the Atonement and the spirit was SO strong. We directed our lesson based on the needs of her than just teaching the lesson. I feel like this is the first time we really did this. And wow. Our investigator was crying during our lesson, and it was just so cool. After the lesson, as a companionship we said a gratitude prayer because we know that we weren't the ones that taught the lesson.
It is amazing, you can tell when the spirit is teaching or not. If you're not teaching with the spirit, the investigator doesn't pay attention and you feel like you are just saying whatever you can think of. But wen you have the spirit with you, it is powerful, and the lesson is just amazing. This is a lesson that I will never forget and will motivate me in the mission field.

Also, this Sunday was Fast Sunday, and I was debating whether or not to bear my testimony. Well, if I were to bear my testimony, I would do it in spanish...sooo I wasn't so sure if I wanted to. Well, once the Sacrament Meeting started, it hit me that I should go up and bear my testimony. although I just didn't want to. haha Then, during the sacrament, I felt the spirit strongly and I remembered that I set a goal at the beginning of my MTC experience that I wanted to share my testimony in sacrament meeting, so I ended up doing it. And I did it all in SPanish!! haha YES!!! I would so stoked. My companions said they understood everything I said...so Yes!! I was so happy!! And I realized how important it is to have goals. If we have goals in our lives, they can lead us for good. I'm so glad I set this goal at the beginning of my MTC experience. Just going up and bearing my testimony in spanish
really pumped up my confidence with the language and helped me to realize that if I truly just rely on the Lord, he will help me in everything I do. And i'M grateful for the opportunity that we have each month to bear our testimonies in church. It's an opportunity to share our testimony with others and thank the Lord for his great mercy and love in our lives!! I don't do it much, and so I felt like I needed to
this week!!

Later on Sunday night, I got a picture with Elder Robby Lee by the big map because he left Monday morning. It was the weirdest thing to say goobye to him again. haha I'm excited for him... he will be a great missionary.

Then, yesterday, one of our teachers told our district that we needed to combine with another district because there were lots of missionaries coming and 16 desks were in one room. and there was only 5 desks in our room. haha Having 16 desks in a room would be unbelievable, so I understand why this is needing to take place. Our little class of 5 elders was so much fun... and I am so grateful that we didn't have to combine with the other district a few weeks ago. This change was
definitely not as difficult as it would have been a few weeks ago. We wont have our same teachers anymore, which I will miss... but we gained 2 other teachers, and that is good too! we combined with another district of 5. And really, we only have like 4-5 days left here, so this change wasn't bad at all.

Overall, The MTC has been a great experience for me. I have learned more about myself, the Lord, and the importance of this life here in the MTC than anywhere else. I love missionary work. And I am so excited that my next e-mail will be sent from NEBRASKA!!! woo hooo. Thanks everyone for your love, examples, and letters. I hope you all have a wonderful week!! The church is true!!

Elder Vawdrey

Travel plans today!

4 August 2011

Familia and Amigos... HOLA!!!!

I just found out that we should be receiving our travel plans today, so I am SO excited!! I hear that they should come after dinner. I can't believe that I only have 2 more weeks left in the MTC. I am so excited to get to the field, but until then, I need to learn more!! But, anyway, I hope you are all doing well. It has been another great week here at the MTC and I have learned so much.

To start out on a funny note, in my district, there were a few pranks that happened. And one of which was on me. haha So...I received a card from my mom about how things were going on the home front and my extended family. I was so excited about what I read in the letter that I shared it with my companions. I told them how I have a cousin that just got engaged, another cousin that could be getting engaged, my other cousin is about to finish his mission, and my sister preparing
for her mission. Well, I was telling them the story in spanish, but I forgot how to say cousin. I thought it was "primo" but after asking my companion, he said "no, it's novio." Well, for those of you who speak spanish, you are probably laughing right now. Well, anyway, I told them about all of "novios" and as I was expressing my excitement, I noticed that my companions and district all were trying not to laugh. I thought they were just so happy for me. haha well, I realized what "novio" meant after my district leader asked me, so... how many "novios" do you have? So, I responded with oh, like 60. haha. And then I found out that "novios" means "boyfriends." WOW. seriously. haha But it was a good laugh for a while. And likewise, something happened like this to several other Elders in my district.

As a companionship this week, Elder Hansen suggested that we read scriptures together each night before bed. So we read scriptures for about 10 minutes and share our thoughts about them before bedtime. And that has improved our companionship and also our personal testimonies!

On Tuesday, Elder Lund (former member of the 2nd quorum of 70) spoke. He gave an AMAZING talk about faith. It was SO awesome. So I thought I would share a few things about it that I liked. "Faith is a process, not an event." To be successful in life we need to know how to exercise faith, how to learn by faith, and how to help others do the same. Then, he talked about how we need to hear the word and have a soft heart in order to have 1. desire/hope 2. Action 3. Witness/Confirmation. "The real test is if you will act on the hope you have within you or if you will demand proof first." I loved this talk. It strengthened me so much and I know that increasing our faith will build up our testimonies, bring us closer to Christ, and feel of his love. Oh and one other quote "We can't see the love of God...but we can feel it as we come to learn about the Savior and learn about how he suffered for each of us individually."

Well, back to a funny note really quick that just happened. So, I'm here typing and sitting next to me was an Elder facing the other direction that looked just like Elder Lee. So, I punched him and was like "ELDER LEE!!!" haha And well...it wasn't Elder Lee!! But he is in his district. But hey, apparently this Elder that looked like Elder Lee was falling asleep so I woke him up :) hahaha

This week, the MTC is now teaching a new curriculum. It started just yesterday so yesterday was a bit different. But I love the new curriculum. It's more focused on investigators and how to teach. And it came perfect timing because our fake investigator we have been teaching is getting baptized on Saturday! But...we will continue to teach our other fake investigator: DIANA. And wow, it has been a good experience.

Well, the background of her is that she has never been very religious and has recently been separated from her family because of bad choices. So.. tonight we are teaching her about the Atonement, which I am excited for. I think it will be a great lesson. I know that God truly loves us all so very much no matter what you have done. The Atonement is incredible and infinite. I hope you all know that.

Lastly, as a district, we realized how fast these last 2 weeks are going to fly by and so we just had like a 40 minute talk that we were going to work as hard as we can so that we can be as prepared as possible when we get to the mission field. I am so excited to get to the field and I am so grateful for an awesome district who always wants to work hard and obey the rules. I hope that we can all finish our MTC
experience on a good note by giving everything we have and obeying the rules!!

Overall, I love you all. Thank you so much for your love, your support, and your examples. This life is so important and it is so great...depending on your attitude. My companion gave a comment the other day that I love: "Faith is having a good attitude and trying to serve others while you yourself are going through a trial." It's so true. So... exercise faith amigos. This life is great. The Lord has
promised that he wont give us anything we can't handle. So, our trials are solely for the purpose to make us stronger. Are your trials making you stronger and closer to Christ? If not, how can you change that? Life is good. :) We all struggle, but that's why the Plan of Happiness is so great!! Have a great week.

Elder Vawdrey

Going to work!

28 July 2011

Hola familia y amigos!

How's the summer going? I can't believe it is already 1/2 over ;)

I had many awesome experiences this week! First of all, when we taught one of our progressing investigators last week. We were wrapping up our lesson and talking about the importance of prayer. It was going great and then after my companion finished a thought that he had, he told the investigator that I was going to teach her how to pray. And I was like... yeah! haha It was really funny because, we weren't planning on teaching our investigator about how to pray during this lesson, and so I didn't know exactly how to teach it in spanish because I didn't know the vocabulary. Wellst, I just explained it the best way I could...sometimes just by showing her what to do instead of saying it. haha But I'm grateful for this opportunity. My companion already knew how to teach people how to pray, but he decided to give me the opportunity. So that was awesome. Then, our other progressive
investigator, after we had taught the lesson, I concluded with my testimony and I was using words that I have never said before in spanish. It was so sweet. I had heard the words said before, but I had never used them before. And I was using them...now that was SO sweet!! haha

Next of all, as a district, we decided to make the rule that we wouldn't say a single word of English during gym time. And if we say a word in English, then we have to stop playing basketball and run the rest of the gym period. Well, on Monday, I believe, we were having a dandy old time playing basketball. After the game, we were shooting again for teams, and when one of my companions was shooting. I yelled out: "LET'S GO ELDER!!" nooooo!!! hahaha So I spent the rest of gym time
running around the track, haha. Atleast I was encouraging my companion on the way right?!! haha. So, this happened once again later in the week... I said: "PICK LEFT." So.. I will probably never forget those 2 words in spanish again for as long as I live. haha. But, this rule has really pushed me. It makes me only speak spanish. And when someone starts talking to me in English, I just talk back in spanish... and hope that he stops talking soon. haha jk

In the line for food during lunch the other day, I noticed that standing behind me was one of the spanish teachers here at the MTC. For a minute, I didn't want to say anything to him because he was native...and I knew he would talk muy rapido. Well, my only decision was to be confident when he asked me where I was going to serve my
mission...and stuff.. in spanish haha. so I talked to him for a bit He is from Argentina, and I was like "hey!" my sister is serving her mission there. haha So that was really cool to talk to a native spanish speaker during lunch for a bit. And what really made my week was on Sunday during lunch. There was an Elder in line behind me going on a spanish speaking mission as well... and I was thinking, hey I'm going to talk to this Elder. So I did. ha And I talked with him in spanish for
like 15 minutes. Seriously. It was SO cool!!

Also this week in my scripture study, I learned so much and felt the love of the Savior. I have been reading in Alma, and I read through the chapters of Ammon cutting off arms, The Anti-Nephi-Lehies, the 2000 striplings warriors, and Alma the Younger. Wow, those stories are powerful. I felt the spirit very strongly as I read these stories. I loved the story about the Anti-Nephi-Lehies and how they buried their weapons of war deep in the earth. What are our weapons? What are things in our lives that are keeping us from feeling the love of God or his spirit everyday? I realized that I could bury some things in my own life, and that has blessed me this week. We need to bury those things in our lives that are making us angry or unhappy about life. When we stop thinking of ourselves and start serving others, we will feel amazing joy. I have really tried to do that this week and I have experienced a great week. Focusing on serving others brings such purpose to life and
the joy of the Savior. And then, I also love the story of Alma the Younger and how the Lord was merciful enough to save his life. An individual who had gone contrary to God's will and the Lord helped Alma realize what he was doing wrong. And then Alma became one of the greatest missionaries known to mankind. wow. what a great story. I know it to be true. God loves us all, and he will help all of us to bring
about good works when we turn to him and bury our weapons!!

Then, of course the devotionals every week are awesome. For those of you who need patience, this is for you. haha :) "Patience=the process of perfection: accepting that which cannot change and working against it. Firm, steadfast, and immovable, even when it's hard." And also..."It's often in the waiting than in the receiving that we learn the most." And then... "When someone says you can't, listen to the part of you that says you can." haha whoot. Now you get a taste of what the
devotionals are like here. Amazing.

I hope you all have a great week and remember who you really are: Children of God. He loves you so much. Thanks for your letters and all your love and support!

Elder Vawdrey

Tender Mercy of the Lord

21 July 2011

Dear Friends and Family,

Hola!! I hope you are all doing so well!! I feel so happy today...just thinking of how much the Lord is blessing me and each of you.

To start out, last week I think I talked about how I was asked to give the closing prayer in spanish in sacrament meeting next Sunday (last sunday) and yeah it was awesome!! haha I thought a little bit about what I would say before the meeting, but as I got up and began walking up to the pulpit, my stomach was filling up with butterflies. Then, I was like... why should I be nervous, I pray in spanish multiple times every day, so no reason to be nervous. Well, I was still a little nervous haha but it went well. I got up there... and thanks to the speakers who spoke by the spirit, I felt guided in spanish of what to say...saying things that I
hadn't planned to say! Nobody came up to me after the prayer saying I said something wrong, so I am pretty happy :) haha

A little later on Sunday, we went to the cafeteria for lunch before our next meeting and I brought my backpack with me with Preach My Gospel and tons of other stuff that I needed with me. I put my backpack on the rack before going to lunch and as you can probably guess, I came back to get it after I finished eating and it was no where to be found. I thought, "oh no!" haha But at the same time, I wasn't too worried about it because I figured that if I wanted and needed it bad enough, the Lord would help me to find it. So anyway, I went to my meetings after lunch and I didn't need the things that were in my backpack. Then, Monday came around and the lady at the front desk called my name. At this point, I knew it was my backpack. Sure enough, I went to the front desk and there it was!!! haha yes!! And it was perfect because after this, my companions and I were preparing to teach our progressing investigator, so I needed the materials in my backpack. So...from this
experience, my testimony was strengthened that the Lord knows our needs and wants. He knows us by name and he will help us in times of need!! I was super happy to get my bag back. haha And it's crazy how little miracles come into our lives like this all the time and we don't even notice them. So as for my thought for you all today...look for the Lord's hand in your life daily. He truly is there all the time. I have been amazed as I have been reading the scriptures, the word "remember"
is in the Book of Mormon so much. We need to remember our blessings so that we have greater faith in times of trial. ;)

Next of all, I have been meeting with a spanish tutor like 2-3 times each week...and that has helped me SO much. The tutor is way nice and helps me mucho with the language. He has helped my spanish a lot and right now I just had the thought of how it's kind of like the Savior. The Savior is our tutor in life. If we turn to him, not just in times of need, then he will always help us and bless us!

Earlier this week, about 20 of us Elders at the MTC from American Fork got together for a picture. That was awesome and it was fun to see them all at the same time. Although, there were still a few Elders from A.F. who weren't there...they forgot about it. haha but esta bien!

And one more thing...one night earlier this week, a member of our district presidency came into our classroom and said that we have 10 minutes to prepare to teach him about the 1st vision in SPANISH. We were like: oh, ok, cool! haha So, we split up the lesson between the 5 of us in our district and then after 10 minutes, we went upstairs and taught him. It was an awesome experience. The first vision is so powerful. I love teaching that lesson. He complimented on our spanish and said he
felt the spirit!! yes!! haha

The MTC is awesome. I love it. And time is flying by. I really can't believe that today is another preparation day. It feels like last week's was just yesterday.
seriously. Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week. I love the gospel, the church is true, and may you see God's hand in your life :)

Elder Vawdrey

Espanol is rolling!

14 July 2011

Hola mi amigos y familia!!

I hope you all had a wonderful week. Lots of rain I hear. You Gotta love the rain... and of course the sun!! ah yeah!! And thank you all for your letters. It is always fun to get a letter. :)

It has been an amazing week this past week. I have learned a lot!! To start out...I have a new companion, making us a 3-sum. Elder Stearns is the one that just joined us. He is really nice and is good at speaking spanish. So I'm excited to work with him. And this week, as a companionship, we taught all of our lessons to our investigators in spanish!! It was SO awesome. And I am understanding almost all of the words in our lessons. I still have a lot to learn, but I am receiving so much help from the Lord and my companions. Teaching lessons in spanish is now like my favorite thing to do... it makes me feel SO good. haha and more importantly, it makes the investigator feel super good too. :)

On Sunday night, after church and devotional, we watched the "Testaments" and wow is that a great movie or what?!! My favorite part of the whole movie was at the very end when Christ ministered among the people and healed the sick. Jacob took his blind father to see Jesus Christ. When he was walking his father to see Christ...his father (Helaman) asked: "is it really him? where is he? what does he look like? what is he doing?" I pretty much lost it at this point. haha It made me ponder upon those people in Nebraska. Missionary Work is bringing the blind to see again the truth and happiness they once knew. AH!! I love missionary work.

Earlier this week, one of our teachers (Hermana Murillo) acted as an investigator for us again. During our lesson...she cried, and the spirit was really strong. Then, that night, we had a testimony meeting and she explained how important missionary work is and how much she has seen us all grow and teach with the spirit!! Nothing meant more to me than when she said that she has seen me grow so much with spanish and that Heavenly Father is truly helping me. I know that I am being helped everyday. But, the next day in class... we had a big shocker! Our other teacher's boss came into our class and asked our teacher to come out in the hall for a minute. When he came back in, he continued to teach us the lesson and then explained that our district was going to be combining with another district
because there are so many more missionaries coming in soon. We were all shocked!! We couldn't believe it. One elder in our district broke his watch because he was so angry. haha But... this was probably the hardest moment so far of the MTC experience knowing that we now will have new teachers and investigators :( Well, the next morning, we moved all of our stuff into the classroom with the new district. And after about an hour of class, we were in the middle of companionship study outside and then we found out that we no longer had to combine districts!!!!! YES!!! They made a mistake with the combining of districts. Wow... I can't even describe how happy I was. This was a bitter-sweet experience for my whole district because we were all so close and we were going to have to combine with several other missionaries. But, it worked out afterall!! And then, more good news, the last hermana in our district got her visa to go to Dominican Republic and she left that day. crazy. So there is 5 of us Elders together in our district with our same teachers and investigators. So...life has its up's and down's but there is always more up's, depending on how you look at it!! So, find the positives!!!

Yesterday, our teacher Hermana Murillo was teaching us about how to help our future investigators to know how to overcome addictions. She told us that its important for us to know how they feel as they strive to overcome their addictions...and the only way to do that is by overcoming an addiction ourselves. Then, she said: "I want you all to overcome your addiction of speaking English." haha The whole class went silent. haha But, I know that this is an opportunity for me to really grow and learn spanish so I am really excited to do this challenge and get a glimpse of how investigators will feel.

Today, I was confronted by my zone leaders who asked if I would give the closing
prayer in sacrament meeting on Sunday in spanish. I gladly acceptable the request and know that this is another blessing from the Lord giving me an opportunity to practice spanish in front of a group.

The MTC is wonderful. I love every minute of it and I am learning so much!! I hope you all have another wonderful week. Enjoy this wonderful summer weather!!!

Elder Brian Vawdrey

Preparation is Key!

7 July 2011

Hola Hermanos y Hermanas,

Como estan?!! I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July this week. At the MTC, we had a special fireside to celebrate our freedom in this wonderful country..and then they let us go outside and watch the Fireworks that were going on over at the stadium of fire. That was so awesome. But it was really weird, because they let us stay up till like 11:00. We are use to going to bed earlier than that... but it was worth it. The fireworks were saweet!!!

As for my district, we are now down to 6 of us. 2 Elders in our district left this morning to go to the MTC in the Dominican Republic. One more sister will also join them in that MTC in a week or two. But...we are starting to become very close in our district. haha oh we have lots of fun, and we work hard too of course!! :)

On Tuesday, we made it our goal as a district to speak spanish ALL day long, no
English. That seriously was the coolest day ever. It was like a switch went on with my spanish. I figured that ya know, this is a great opportunity for me to really speak the language and learn a lot...so I spoke as much spanish as I knew all day long and I was so confident about it. In our class that day, I said the opening prayer and my teacher was amazed...after we said Amen, he said that my prayer was like 98% perfect. Wow.. it was the greatest feeling ever. And I know that it's not me that is speaking. The spirit is helping me so much, it is undescribable. Such a wonderful feeling though. The gift of tongues is real. So, I am going to continue to speak as much spanish as possible for now on so that I can be as prepared as possible before I get to Omaha, Nebraska!! And the other day before a devotional, I sat right next to some sisters who told me that they are also serving their
mission in Omaha.

It was one of those "wow...cool" moments! haha you know what I mean. Anyway, that was cool. :) They are going English speaking but they said that there are 18 other missionaries in their district who are also going to Omaha. Yeah!! whoot!

This week, my companions and I (We are a 3-sum) learned about the importance of Preparation! We teach 2 fake investigators 2-3 times each week and on Monday I
think it was... we taught one investigator in particular and it just didn't go well at all. All three of us just felt like we were speaking by ourselves and not with the spirit. We talked about it after the lesson and realized that we need to do better at preparing. Before teaching this lesson, we just all reviewed our own notes and chatted with other Elders in our district. And then right before teaching the investigator, we said a prayer. but we realized that we could do better. So, yesterday, before we taught the same investigator, we spend about 30 minutes beforehand preparing the last of all things that we needed to be prepared and be more worthy of the spirit. We began by having a companionship prayer. Then, we took 5 minutes by ourselves to ponder upon our investigor and try to receive revelation for them. Afterwards, we shared our ideas with eachother and created an outline of everything we would talk about in the lesson. Once we did that, we prepared for as
many answers as we thought the investigator would give us for our questions. Then, we ended our preparation by having another prayer. And we immediately saw blessings from this. Right when we walked into our classroom after preparing the last things, we were going to drop off some of our stuff and our teacher showed us pictures of our fake investigator snowboarding...which was a specific thing we were going to
relate a gospel topic about to that specific investigator. And then, when we met with our investigator, we said a prayer before doing anything else. and, the whole lesson was just unbelievable. It was as if the spirit just took off. seriously. Everything that the investigator was needing answers to, we had answers for. And the spirit was so strong. My companions cried and I got all choked up too in the lesson. And, I had the strongest feeling to commit the investigator to baptism...so I did, and he said.....YES!! haha yeah!! woo hoo. I have never liked hearing that word so much in my life!! We were all so happy.

So.. when we are prepared, the spirit can bless us. I know that is true. Like the scriptures say: "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear!" We taught this lesson in English because it was our first time teaching this lesson and we needed to make sure we made up ground from our last visit...so our next lesson with the investigator tomorrow will be in spanish.

I can't explain the things I am learning here at the MTC. Probably more than anything I have learned here in the MTC is that God's love for each one of his INDIVIDUAL children is SO amazing. he wants nothing more than for us to be happy in this life and to return to him. The church is true. God lives! I know it!

As for a crazy story, in gym this week..we played basketball of course. But, in the middle of our time there, an Elder just started screaming... and we were like "what is going on?" We turn around and we see this Elder's foot in the air that is like 90 degrees facing the other way. Apparently he landed on someone's foot. Yeah, NO BUENO. That scared me way bad! I talked to the Elder today...he dislocated his ankle
and fractured it in 2 places. Based on what the doctor says tomorrow will determine what happens with him. I wish the best for him. That is just so sad. But the gym is closed for the next two weeks for cleaning, so that will be good for us to forget about that injury and play some sand volleyball :) So...that was a scare for the week...but all is well.

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful week. Remember that you are a child of God and that he loves you more than you could ever imagine!! The church is true!! Get out in the sun and enjoy this amazing weather. Summer is the best!!

Elder Vawdrey

Elder Vawdrey meets "Elder Vawdrey"

24 June 2011


Well hey!! Time for another letter for you. Muchas gracias for your letters. I loved reading them. There is a lot that I can report this week! It has been a learning week, that’s for sure.

The other day I was just chomping away and loving my dinner and then an Elder I didn’t know came up to me and was like, “Hey Elder Vawdrey, how are you?” I was
like, “Oh, I’m just great. How are you?” And then I saw his nametag: “Elder Vawdrey.” I was like, “WHOA! Haha So, I got talking with him for a while. We got a picture with our nametags. His parents are Michael and Susan Vawdrey. They live in Seattle, but this Elder is going to New Mexico on his mission.

But, now for a spiritual experience. This miracle just occurred yesterday. My companion and I taught the 1st lesson to a fake investigator. I had prepared to share my testimony after the lesson in SPANISH and when the time came, I was
amazed! The Spirit was SO strong. I was talking really slow, but I did most of it in Spanish! I learned that the gift of tongues doesn’t mean to know every word in Spanish, but rather, it means to know what words to say that the investigator NEEDS to hear! It was so cool!

So my district is actually really small. There was 8 of us, but now there is 7 because one of the sister’s went up to the Advanced class. So there are now 6 Elders and one Sister. And in 2 weeks, 2 of them are leaving for another MTC. It’s nice to have a small district. I love it!

I didn’t know anyone in my district before coming here, but I love them. We have a mix of personalities and we all work well together: 3 in my district are going to Dominican Republic, 1 to Las Vegas, one to New Mexico, my companion to Washington D.C., and me to Nebraska!

Here is an example of what a day really consists of here at the MTC:

6:30am - Wake Up

7:00-7:40am - Personal Study

7:40-8:15am - Breakfast

8:15-9:15am - Personal Study

9:15-12:15pm - Classroom Discussion (learn Spanish, companionship study)

12:15-1:05pm - Lunch

1:30-2:20pm - Exercise

3:00-6:00pm - Classroom Discussion (Preach My Gospel, teach investigators)

6:15-7:20pm - Dinner

7:20-8:15pm - TALL Lab (study Spanish on computer)

8:15-9:00pm - Language Study

9:00-9:30pm - Planning

9:30-10:15pm - Get ready for bed

10:15-10:30pm - Quiet time

10:30pm - Lights out

This is just an idea of a day. Actually this has more stuff than a usual day. We stay busy. First week was crazy, but not it’s settling down a bit. Yeah, sorry, everyday actually isn’t like this. This was a bad example. Haha

I am sleeping great. By the end of the day, I am just wasted. And yes, the Espanol prayers…they are getting longer by the day, but thanks to a loving Heavenly Father, He knows our thoughts if we don’t know how to say it in Spanish. My district is helping me to learn so much!

I have seen Robby Lee every day since my last letter. Haha But, our gym times are different. We have an hour of gym each day. I usually play basketball, but the gym was closed this week because of new mission presidents and their wives are coming for meetings so I played Frisbee with my companion.

Overall, I’m doing good. It’s fun being with a companion all the time, but at the same time, it’s kinda weird. But…the Church is true! I love it so much and God’s love for each of us individually is indescribable! Have a great week!

Se que la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias es verdad. Dios ama todos Ustedes!

Elder Vawdrey

Letter #1

20 June 2011
Hola Mi Familia!!

Como estas? I am doing muy bien! We have been given a few minutes to write a letter home today. The MTC is AMAZING! Wow. After hugs, tears, and all that jazz, all the elders were so welcoming and I just had no desire to cry. I know that I am in the Lord’s hands! Before I even entered the doors, I saw Elder Robby Lee! That was so sweet to see him. Then, I saw several other missionaries here throughout the day that I know from school, A.F. Heritage Tours, etc.

After I got my nametag, I met my espanol professoro, Brother Dangerfield. When he told me his name, I was like “Great!” haha But he is a great guy and the spirit is EVERYWHERE! I quickly met my companion “Elder Hansen” and he is from good old BOISE, IDAHO! Haha  Booyah! He played football in HS and so is athletic, but he also has a great testimony. He has been a really nice kid and is a great listener! And he weighs 170 lbs...in case you were wondering!

For dinner I at roast beef...MTC lunch lady style! haha and I must say I was pretty impressed. We soon heard from the President of the MTC and got to take part in teaching investigators. And wow, it was AMAZING! I shared my testimony to this one guy and shared the first discussion. Honestly, it’s not as overwhelming as I thought it would be here! It is wonderful here. Muy bien! Time flies like crazy.

I need to go, but just know that I am doing great! I love it here! I am super excited that today finally arrived. I will be writing letters on Thursdays, I think...but we won’t have time tomorrow! Buenos suerte this week and have tons of fun! I love you all mucho much. Ty and Dad, good luck with RAGNAR! The Church is true!

PS: Today is Thursday now. I didn’t send this letter yet because I had no time. But, I have a few more minutes to write. :) Sooo, mornings are crazy. Everyone wants to go to the showers at the same time, so my companion and I are going to try to switch things up so that we aren’t so stressed in the morning.

I had my first companionship study today and we studied Spanish. And no, it is not a cake walk here! There are a few missionaries in my district that are already really good at Spanish, so that is sweeet! Having other people that know more will help me to grow more and grow more rapidly. My companion and I are trying to talk in Spanish as much as possible. We laugh when we can’t pronounce the words right! It’s busy here, but SO amazing!!

Elder Vawdrey