Monday, November 28, 2011

The Lord's hand is in our lives!


I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!!

This week was great. The Lord is blessing us mucho. There is a family that just moved in from Omaha that wanted to investigate the church. We contacted them and found out that the mother is a less-active, and the dad and daughter are investigators. A few days later we met with them and taught about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and how the gospel blesses families. The spirit was SO strong!! Oh my goodness. I don't think I have ever felt the spirit more strong in a lesson than I did that day. The mom and daughter were crying their eyes out...haha The gospel is such good stuff!!! But, they invited us over a few days later and we taught about Joseph Smith. We watched part of the Restoration movie with them and that really brought the spirit into the room. I was a bit nervous because when Joseph Smith walks into the grove, the mom and daughter got up and left for a second. I was like NOOooooo! haha but they quickly came back so I was happy. And then they cried again after the movie. The spirit was so strong and my companion asked the father what his thoughts were. And he said, "I feel that this is right. Like I believe everything that happened in that movie." So right there, we invited him to be baptized so he could feel that peace everyday for the rest of his life, and he said YES!!! And so did the daughter!! WHOOT!! They are set for December 17. So we are super excited for them. I will let you know how things go with them.

"Prophet of the Restoration" - 62 minutes

Then, another big event from this week was that we were in a parade in Seward, Nebraska the other day. The parade was put on by the city and was pretty much just to get people excited for Christmas, I think...not sure exactly. haha But anyway, there were like 20 of us missionaries who went and sang Christmas hymns on the float and that was way cool.

For Thanksgiving, we were super blessed as well. We were invited to the Couch's home for dinner, which was amazing, and then after visiting with them for a while, we went to the Hyde's home. We felt very loved and had a great holiday with some of the members of our branch and some investigators as well.

Sorry this update is a bit short but I am out of time. The Lord's hand is in our lives. I know that of a surety. Look for it and you will find it. The Church is true!!


Elder Vawdrey

Monday, November 21, 2011

Golden Moments

Familia y Amigos,

Elder Christoffel Golden Jr.
This past week, Elder Golden from the Quorum of the Seventy visited our mission and man was it powerful. All of us missionaries lined the hallway in the church as he came in and he shook all of our hands. He asked where I was from and he was like, "Oh nice!" haha Found out he is from South Africa. He has a sweet accent, but the coolest thing was the feelings that I had when I saw him. The whole church was just filled with the spirit. So powerful. And wow, it was a way good conference. He shared lots of sweet stuff, what we call the "Golden Moments." haha He really pushed the fact that we should focus on the simple things of the gospel, and that we don't need to know answers to crazy life questions to know this church is true. He shared how we can have the spirit more as we pray, study the scriptures, meditate during the Sacrament, and go to the temple. Also, several other things like faith will increase as personal righteousness increases. He told us that we ought to strive to baptize a family each month...that was pretty cool. Families make the best investigators for sure.

So, I'm here in Columbus, Nebraska, and it is like home. Seriously. The branch is super united. The Spanish and English are combined. It is a very Catholic area, but the members are strong and the potential here is sky high. It's starting to get cold. Woke up to it being 20 degrees outside the past two days. And this morning we went on a run with our branch president! haha It was so sweet. It felt SO good to run. We ran like 4 miles. Apparently the branch president has ran like 21 marathons. So, we will be running with him each Monday. Oh, it feels so good to run. My companion, Elder Keele, is from Boise, ID. He is a good kid. He has been on his mission for about a year and he is super smart.

The area is going very slow but has so much potential. This past week has probably been the hardest week for me thus far on my mission just because it is a change of everything. The people are different, and our teaching pool is very small. But, I know that big things are coming. I am sure things will really pick up this next week since I know the area a little bit and hopefully we can start working real hard.

But I had a great experience with Elder Keele this week that helped me realize I am where I need to be. We were eating with a member one afternoon and he suggested that we go see someone. And earlier that day we had talked about going to see this person. So, after we finished eating, we went over to this lady's house, and it was SO sweet. So, she is less-active...hasn't been to church in several years and is a big smoker. She invited us in and I could hardly breathe because she just smoked a fresh cigarette. Blah! But we sat down and she said: "I'M SCARED". We were just kinda startled and had her explain why. Then I looked at the foot stand right next to where she was sitting and there was an open Book of Mormon. She pointed to it and said, "Did someone send you here?" haha And we were like, um...no, we were thinking about you and wanted to stop by. Then she said, "I know God sent you." We were like Whoa! haha Then she said that her past week was way hard. She stopped going to drinking parties and wants to stop smoking and realized that she really wants to go back to church and start over. She said, "There is more to life than this." She read 2 Nephi 29 about "A bible! A bible!" and said that she knew that the Book of Mormon was true. It was a way cool visit and helped me to realize that I am where I need to be. She asked us if we would give her a blessing and it was so cool. I'll keep you posted on how things go with her.

But, Columbus is great. I love it here. And thanks everyone for your love and support. I love you all. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! We are going to a member's home for Thanksgiving and there will be a less-active and recent convert family there. I'm excited.


Elder Vawdrey

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good thing I like pizza!

Familia y Amigos,

Wow, what a roller coaster the mission is! But oh man, are the thrills awesome or what? This last week was transfers and pretty quick I met my new companion, Elder Keele! He is from good ol' Boise, ID!! haha. This is my 2nd companion from Boise. But once I got to my new area, Columbus, Nebraska, I immediately felt loved. As I met my companion, I realized that we have quite a bit in common, personality-wise...which is awesome. But I have realized that my first two transfers have totally prepared me for this area and my companion. It is amazing where the Lord puts us and we don't realize how good it is until later.

This city is lucky to have Elders Vawdrey and Keele!

Columbus, Nebraska is AWESOME. We have a branch that is English and Spanish (mixed) but it is much bigger than Sioux City. It is on the verge of becoming a ward and there is so much potential here. There are a ton of investigators for us to teach and I'm so excited. Just last night there was a Spanish broadcast and we didn't find out about it until like 3 hours prior. So...okay, we have some ward mission leaders and just all the members in general that are SO missionary minded, it's unbelievable. The father of a hispanic family is the 1st counselor in the branch presidency and he has a brother (and his family) that are recent converts and another brother (and his family) that are investigators. It was so cool to see his love for his brothers as they came to the broadcast and I met them all. I'm really excited for the investigators. They have family support and branch support.

My Spanish has really improved. I got here not having spoken much Spanish in lessons other than my testimony and/or a principle. But here, my companion has let me teach a bunch of lessons and lead them out in Spanish. I love Spanish. It is so fun to speak. The Lord is really blessing me.

Also, just this last week, I was worrying a lot about the money that I had left. For some reason, I only had like $40 on my card for the rest of the month and don't have much food. I don't know where all my money went. I had to buy a lot of little things and I guess they all just added up. Well, on top of only $40, I needed to still pay fast offerings. So, I was getting super nervous. Not having money is something that really causes you to appreciate what you have and sacrifice. So anyway, I prayed about this to know what to do, and how to have food for the month. And in the next two days, we received 11 frozen pizzas from some members in our branch. SO COOL. The members are so good to us here. And I have had several other miracles happen to me like this this past week. I would type them all if I had time. But, all in all, I know that God knows where each of us are and He loves us.

I have never been so happy in my life before. And I know that it's not because things are easy, but because my faith is growing. So, this past week I have really learned that, as our faith improves, our happiness improves.

Well, I hope you all are having a wonderful week. I love you all. Thanks so much for your love and support. I hope you enjoy the snow ;) and that you had a fun 11-11-11. Here, we decided to be crazy and eat 11 lifesaver mints at once. I have pictures ;) Take luck!

Elder Vawdrey

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm going to Columbus!!

Familia y Amigos,

Sorry, you didn't receive an e-mail from me until now. This week is transfer week and so our P-day is on Wednesdays on transfer weeks. But, I am being transferred to Columbus, Nebraska! It is in the Lincoln, NE zone, so I will be by the University of Nebraska and the capitol. My new companion is Elder Keele! I haven't met him yet but I'm way excited.

Columbus, NE - Brian's second area in the mission field

Being here in Sioux City has been great, and I have learned a ton, but at the same time, I enjoy change and am excited to see another part of the mission. Being with Elder Jones and Elder Thayne has been a blast, we have had a ton of fun memories and experiences!

It seems so weird... change. It's something that is constant and something that we must learn to enjoy. Sometimes it's hard, but it's from the Lord and it's His will. It's kinda hard to leave Sioux CIty because it's like my home-town! haha Looking upon my first 2 transfers is kinda funny. I didn't have any baptisms but this past Sunday, we had our first 2 investigators come to church! yes!! I will talk about that later. But I feel like I have done the things the Lord wanted me to do here...and I feel like he has kind of changed me for good here in this area. I feel like I have done all I could to help the work progress here...and whether I get baptismal numbers or not, it doesn't matter. :)

So... update from this week!! Oh boy! All right... so, all in all, 2 weeks ago there was like 37 people at church... and then this week there was 57!! WOW! It was unbelievable. Two weeks ago in church, there was only like 10 people at church including us and the branch presidency once the meeting began. And then, this week was just like: BOOM baby!! haha Whoot! I felt like this was a great blessing from the Lord. It has been tough to get this area going because of all the service from last transfer but this was a blessing from the Lord.

We met with the "O" family (name withheld), the ones I talked about last week, family of 7. They invited us over for a delicious dinner and then they shared their experiences of praying about Joseph Smith if he was a true prophet. It was so cool to hear both the parents share their experiences with prayer. They both received a small but sweet answer, but I love what Sister "O" said. She talked about how she had a dream about what we shared with her family and that she saw a light in her dream!!! NICE! I was like... boom baby... Dinero!! haha

We have also met with many other family this week. But there are two other families that I want to report on. First of all, the "N" family (name withheld), they are less active. We went over and taught them about temples and it was SO powerful. They said they think they should start coming back to church and that they want to be sealed in a temple. We will see how it goes. And then another family: Elva and Ruben! These two are the ones that came to church this week! Ruben is less-active and Elva is an investigator. The thing with Ruben is that he was offended from something. But things are cleared up now and their future is bright!

But I thought our visit with Ruben was interesting. Often, we get offended by things other people say or do or maybe we don't feel loved by others. However, when we get offended, it is our own fault. We can choose our happiness. But then, once Ruben talked about his worry with us, everything was fine. I love that. The best thing you can do if you struggle with someone is to talk to them. I love that. But sometimes it isn't just that easy. Sometimes we may need to humble ourselves a little bit before doing this... pray and study the scriptures. We all have our differences and challenges. But with the Lord, they are milestones to lead us to greater things.

I hope you all have a great week! I love you all tons.

Elder Vawdrey