Monday, December 17, 2012

Christ is the Way

Familia y Amigos,

Hello once again, I can't believe it has been another week. It was a busy one for us and a lot of great things happened! I hope you all can say that great things happened for you as well!

Anyway, to start out this past week we went out to Broken Bow to do exchanges with the Elders serving there. During those 2-3 days, we saw several miracles that strengthened my faith and taught me a lot. First of all, I went with Elder JACKSON first!! Yeah, every time I hear "Elder Jackson," I think of Corey! haha I hope you're doing well, Corey! Anyway, this Elder Jackson is about to finish his missionary service and so he has a lot of experience. When I first went with him, we walked to go see a former investigator. I swear my legs felt like they were going to fall off because we walked a few miles and I'm used to just using our car. But, when we got to the house, it was pitch dark and didn't look like anybody was home. And nobody was. At this point, I was just thinking to myself, "Well, we are here for a reason. We didn't come here for no reason." So we walked around the block to check out the area and as we walked down one block we decided to knock a few doors. Nobody was really interested in the message, but then we saw that there was a lady outside next door out BBQing. So we acknowleged her from a distance and said "Hey, what are you cookin'?" haha  To make a long story short, this lady was way excited to see us. She said, "I was hoping you guys would come to my house. I saw you walk by my house the other day and knock a door across the street and you didn't knock on my door." We were like wow! Well, as we got talking to her, she said she knows some members of the Church and that she use to go sometimes with an older lady, but she isn't a member and she said that she hasn't gone back to Church because she thinks the members might judge her for not coming. We then testified about how Christ's Atonement is infinite and that all that matters is what God thinks of us, etc. She then accepted a Book of Mormon! And just the other day, the Elders there had a great lesson with her. So that was super cool.

Then, like 10 seconds later, we started walking down the street again and we saw a guy pull into his driveway and kind of speed-walk to the front door. I said "Hey, are you just getting back from work?" And he was like yeah! haha And to make a long story short, he told us that he used to go to church and mutual every week as a kid with one of his friends but then he just graduated from high school and got a job and is just too busy. He said that he works from 8am-7pm everyday. But then, he also said that he believes that it is very important for people to go to church and he said that he wants to come back to church and meet with us. My faith was greatly strengthened by this experience. He said he wants us to come over again in the evening one day after his work. This guy seemed more sincere than many other people I have met and I can totally see this guy being a powerful missionary and helping many people come unto Christ.

So in all, I feel like I learned a great lesson: Elder Harker and I need to walk more. We mostly just use our car to go from appointment to appointment, but the last few days we have started walking more and we have seen great things happen. And also, we saw our first snow fall of the winter the other day! haha but it was only a trace...which actually we were very happy about. No snow is nice for us missionaries, but not for the farmers and such.

Later on this week, we had a ward Christmas party and Elder Harker and I sang a few songs again. Santa was at the party too. It was fun!! We talked to a ton of people there and several members brought some of their friends so we talked to all of them as well.

Then, just yesterday, Elder Harker and I made a "team-up" calendar and talked about it in the Ward Coordination Meeting before church, and the members were very supportive of it! So Elder Harker and I are like doing handstands right now...because we feel that the foundation of the work here in Lexington is growing! As Elder Bangerter said about his mission in Germany, I also feel that the work is hastening in Nebraska! And then, last night our Bishop came on team-ups with us and we had some great visits with some of our investigators, and that was great. So, life is going great here in Lexington.

As for an update on a few of our investigators:
M: she has been taught by missionaries before and when we met her she said her concern was with the Book of Mormon. She didn't believe it was true. But then we probably had one of the greatest 1st lesson's with her and she said she would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and would be baptized if she receives her answer. And, basically the same thing happened with a guy named J that we're teaching. And then we saw F and M last night with our Bishop and that was great. We invited them to read the Book of Mormon and attend the baptismal service this next weekend for a child of record in the ward here.

To finish up, I just want to bear a brief testimony about the study I did this morning. We have zone conference tomorrow and we were asked to prepare a talk.

I was thinking about our Heavenly Father and the great love He has for us. He wants us to be happy and receive Eternal Life. But in life, there are two things that hold us back from receiving Eternal Life: 1) Physical Death and 2) Spiritual Death or Sin. Because God loves us, He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to perform the infinite Atonement to make it possible to have Eternal Life. So Jesus Christ provided THE WAY to receive Eternal Life which we can access through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives by faith, repentance, baptism, etc. we can come closer to Christ. All in all, the only way that we can receive Eternal Life is through Jesus Christ. I know that He lives. I am so grateful for His Life and all that He has sacrificed for me and each of God's other children. And I know that it's only through Christ that we can live with God again. The Church is true!

I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember Jesus Christ. I will strive to do the same and continue to strive to apply His Gospel in my daily life. Thanks for all of your great examples and support.

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's cool!

Familia y Amigos,

Hello hello! I cant believe it's Christmas time, but I hope that you all had a great week and are starting to feel the true spirit of Christmas.

Just last night, Elder Harker and I did some good ol' caroling at a few members' homes in our ward. Elder Harker made some brownies from scratch... a recipe that he got from his mom, and they are WAY good by the way...and so we wanted to give out some brownies to members of our ward to wish them a Merry Christmas and thank them for all the support they've given us. After singing at their doors for like 2 seconds, they'd let us in and then we'd sing for them inside because it was FREEZING outside. It was -7F degrees yesterday morning with windchill. haha. But anyway, we shared a Christmas message with each member family and that was awesome.

Also this week, we did exchanges with the Elders in Phillipsburg, Kansas and that was "cool." With one of the Elders, Elder Evans, he had planned to go knock doors for most of the afternoon. So, I went along with it, and it was really cool to see the progress that occurred throughout the day. At first nobody was answering their doors. Soon people started opening their doors but weren't interested. And then, after a bit, people weren't interested but accepted a pamphlet. Until, after dinner, we prayed for guidance and the first house we knocked was a lost sheep and a former investigator. They are a family so that was way sweet! They unfortunately were busy at the moment and couldn't visit, but they told us they wanted us to come back and that they want to come to church. So Elder Evans and I were like, "COOL!"  And after that, Elder Evans and I were feeling good about the street we were on and so we decided to keep knocking. Well, as we were walking to the next house, we were talking about how cool this part-member family was and when we got to the door of the new house, they had a screen door that had the word "COOL" smudged all over it! hahaha. It made us laugh and it made me think about how God has a sense of humor. Cool! haha

And good news with H, our newest convert. She got her temple recommend yesterday and will be going with the Lexington Ward to do baptisms for the dead at the end of this month!! We are way excited for her. And we might be able to go with them. We aren't allowed to do baptisms for the dead as missionaries, but we would take H's son and also V to the Trail Center. So we'll see if that works out. And V had an interview with the mission president this week. So now we wait to hear back from the First Presidency if he can be baptized yet or not.

We didn't have too much success this week with the current investigators we have right now, so we are hoping to see them progress this upcoming week. We have received a lot of referrals from members lately so we are working with them, and that is exciting. We just need to keep pushing and put our trust in God and I know that we will have great success this next week and see people wanting to progress!

But, I hope that you all have a great week and good luck to those of you with finals this week. I'm grateful for each of you and your love for the Savior. He lives!

Elder Vawdrey

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

He knows your voice

Familia y Amigos,

Hey there! It's already December and we still don't have any snow! haha woo hoo. That makes it nice for us missionaries because we can still drive our cars. But, I'm sure we will see snow here soon. Anyway, I hope you all had a great week. I first want to say Congratulations! to my little brother Jordan who got baptized this last weekend. I'm very proud of you and for that big decision you have made. I hope you had a great experience! And also, congratulations to the AFXC team! Man, I'm so proud of you guys too. 2nd in the Nation... that is amazing. AFXC is only getting better. wow.

This past week, H and P got baptized, and man I'm so excited for them. They were baptized on my little brother Jordan's birthday, and that is a day I will always remember. H and P were SO excited. It made me laugh to see the excitement of P. Apparently at school that day, he went around telling all of his friends and teachers that he was going to get baptized! haha He's already spreading the Gospel and he wasn't even baptized yet. Anyway, we ended up having the baptismal service in Kearney, because they don't have a baptismal font in Holdrege. But that didn't keep people from coming. There was a great group that came to support H and Pand that made it so much better. After a few talks were given and we went to the baptismal font, somehow, the water in the font had gone down a whole step so we were like, "Oh boy!" But, it all worked out. For H, it took us 4 times to baptize her until she finally went completely under the water...but that turned out to be great for the testimony meeting afterwards.

I would say my favorite part of the baptismal service was the testimony meeting after the baptisms. For those of you who didn't already know, P is obsessed with this "Penguin" game that he plays. It is really hilarious and he would always talk about it in each of our lessons. Anyway, I had the opportunity to share my testimony and I shared the one thing I knew about penguins...which is that with every penguin, they all have a differenct voice/call. Likewise, we all are unique and have different abilities. And just like how a mama penguin knows the voice of her penguinees (haha not sure how to say baby penguins), our Heavenly Father knows our name and our voice. God is our loving Heavenly Father. And then P told me of an experience he had the other day. He said that his friend at school lost his red pen, so P prayed for his friend that he could find his pen. And the next day at school, he found it. P is a great example to me and has a strong testimony that God answers and hears our prayers.

On Saturday, we got an emergency phone call from a member moving from Iowa to a place called North Platte, NE and his U-Haul had flipped on its side as they were traveling. Anyway, to make a long story short, we helped this man fix his tires on his car and then his family got a ride with a member to North Platte to their new home. However, later that night, we got a call from him again saying that he needed our help to move his stuff from his U-Haul to a different trailer. Well, when we met him at the towing place, the manager there told him that he had to play money in order to get his stuff. And they charged this guy $1709 to tow his U-Haul trailer 8 miles. It was unbelievable. But my heart was broken when I heard this guy from South Korea and speaking broken English, just begging the manager of this towing business to lower the price because he didn't have any money and no insurance. Well, to make a long story short, the manager made him pay $1200 to get his stuff and we helped him unload his U-Haul. As we were doing that, we opened up the U-Haul door and the door caught onto a piece of his bag of rice. The rice started falling to the ground and he said, "No, no, no, no, my rice!" I grabbed a plastic bag and then we scooped his rice back into the bag. I felt so bad for this guy...and you could tell he didn't have much. And then, as we helped him unload his truck, several times we heard him say: "Oh man, this broke." But towards the end of unloading his trailer something really cool happened. Among all the things that had broken in the accident, he pulled out two pictures from the middle of the trailer. One was of Jesus CHrist and the other one was of the Temple. Somehow neither one of these pictures were scratched or broken one bit. That was a testimony to me. And really, from this experience I learned that God knows us by name, he loves us, and he is watching over us. Thankfully, this man soon got home to his family in North Platte and I wish him the best!

Not a scratch on these two beauties!

And also this week, Elder Harker and I prayed asking the Lord to help us find someone or a few people by Saturday evening who are prepared and willing to come to church and want to be baptized. As a result, we had an older Hispanic lady named T at church and she wants to be baptized. We truly believe that was a true miracle. However, we later found out after church that she is going to California for a few weeks to visit family for Christmas. So, hopefully we can send the missionaries to her out in California. And we received a few more member referrals this week and one of them said they want to be baptized, so there are miracles happening here and we are really excited!

But it's been a great week, and we are looking forward to another one. I hope you all have a great week as well. Love you all and thanks so much for your support!
Elder Vawdrey

Monday, November 26, 2012

It works out again!

Familia y Amigos,

Sorry it is so late in the day that you are receiving this e-mail today. To make a long story short, we had to drive all the way out to Lincoln today to pick up my coat that I accidentally left out there from some meetings we had attended last week. But we are good to do e-mails now so...coolbeans.

Anyway, this week was GREAT! We are continually seeing tender mercies each day and one of which that we will always remember was the baptism of GA! I had the privilege of baptizing her on Saturday and then she was confirmed on Sunday by Elder Harker. She was so excited to be baptized and had a big smile on her face all night. It was so cool to watch her and also see many of her non-member relatives at her baptismal service. I'm so grateful for her great example and desire to make covenants with her Heavenly Father and strive to become more like Him. I was reminded of the covenants I made at 8 years of age, and all I can say is that I am proud to be a MORMON!

GA is 9 years old and the Primary loves having her in their class. I'm so grateful for the privilege it has been to work with her and see her progress in her faith in the Savior. I hope that she continues to move forward in living the Gospel throughout her life.

GA got baptized!

 As part of the program for her baptismal service, she asked Elder Harker and me if we would sing "How Great Thou Art." Of course we accepted but at the same time we were like "Huh? Us?" haha So we practiced singing it during comp. study and anyway, we decided to sing part of it in Spanish and part of it in English. And not to brag or anything...but I think we sounded pretty good. haha Or maybe there was an angel actually singing behind us without us knowing? I don't know? haha But anyway, it was an honor to sing that song at her baptismal service because that is one of my all time favorite church hymns. A couple people cried and right after the meeting Bishop Horton asked us if we would sing it in church next week. Oh boy, look what you've done to us GA! haha But, it's all right.

Then, H and P are continuing to progress as well! They will be having their baptismal interviews tomorrow and if all goes well, they will be baptized this Friday at 7pm. So keep them in your prayers. We feel that they are prepared and have experienced a broken heart and contrite spirit. We are excited for them and hope that everything works out with their baptisms this Friday. They each were given their own Book of Mormon and Bible so they were pretty excited about that. We were going to wait to give those to them at their baptism, but the Branch President said that he thought it would be better for them to have the scriptures beforehand. I'm not going to question him. Sounds like a great idea to me. And they have enjoyed reading out of their new scriptures.

So, Elder Harker and I are so grateful that we are able to see the blessings of the Lord in great measures right now. And as for F and M, they were really sick this past week, so we dropped by and gave each of them a Priesthood blessing. We will check up with them tomorrow and see how they are doing.

Other than the work we have been receiving many other blessings. One huge "temporal blessing" for me that we were blessed with just today was that Elder Harker and I got to have a tour of the Nebraska Football Stadium. It was flipping SWEET! I have pictures of this along with GA's baptism. So, like I mentioned earlier, I left my coat in Omaha last week. Well, the A.P.s were going to give it to me at transfer day but they forgot it and gave it to the Elders in Lincoln, so we had to drive all the way there today and we found out last night that the Lincoln zone was getting a tour of the Nebraska Football Stadium today and they had an open spot, so OF COURSE we jumped on it. And there were many other blessings on top of this...but time is short.

Elder Heisman

Cougar fan turned Cornhusker fan?

I love you all and am so grateful for your examples and support. I hope that you all have a great week and I hope that my little brother Jordan has a great experience at his baptismal service this upcoming Saturday. I love you buddy. I'll be thinking of you. Thanks for your great example. Until next week,

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, November 19, 2012

Getting the water ready!

Familia y Amigos,

HOLA from Lexington, NE! I hope you all had a great week and I hope you all know that I'm grateful for all you do, your great examples, and your testimonies. And I hope you all have great plans for Thanksgiving this year!

But anyway, as for an update on this past week, it was a great and crazy one. First of all, I was gone from Lexington for 3 days because of meetings we had, and by the end of the third day, I was just so pumped to get back to Lexington. On Wednesday, we had a leadership conference in Omaha, so we drove for a long time and the next day listened to Elder Watson speak! He is one of the people who wrote Preach My Gospel. He is a great teacher and I learned a lot from this conference. He mentioned how the Omaha, NE mission is sitting on GOLD right now and I totally see it. Several of our investigators are finally progressing and it is so sweet see. Elder Watson covered a ton of stuff regarding missionary work and gave us a lot of suggestions of how we can become better teachers. For each lesson we teach as missionaries, he challenged us to teach the key doctrine in each of the main lessons. Like for Restoration of the Gospel, if you were only to teach one thing, you should teach about REVELATION. For the Plan of Salvation, if we were to teach one thing, we should talk about the ATONEMENT. And for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we should teach how it's THE WAY! I used these punch words and ideas in teaching this week and it made a huge difference. We weren't so worried about having to teach everything and the investigators understanding of what we were teaching seemed to improve. So anyway, any other missionaries who may read this e-mail, I encourage you to give this a try and see if it helps at all. This is only one of the many things that Elder Watson taught. I would type up everything if I had the time. He also mentioned how 70% of last year's converts were from Former Investigators. I thought that was really interesting, because I haven't utilized Former Investigators much on my mission so that is something I am going to change. But anyway, the next day we had a meeting with just our zone and then on Friday, we did exchanges with the Elders serving in a place called "Broken Bow." haha. So, it was a pretty spirit-filled couple of days!

As for Lexington, the work is still going well! G will be getting baptized on Saturday, and she is excited to get baptized. She asked me if I would baptize her, so I'm hoping that I can stay here in Lexington for another transfer. Transfers are on Friday, so if I happen to get transferred I won't be able to be at her baptismal service. But, we will see how it works out. And then, H and P are planning on getting baptized on the 30th of November still. H had a problem with smoking but last we heard, she hasn't had a cigarette in 10 days. We hope that she can continue moving forward and overcome that trial she has. We weren't able to meet with F and M this week because we were so busy and gone most of the week, so we hope to see them really soon and hope to see them at church again soon. Other than that, we have been able to find a few more new investigators, so we are really excited. We saw a lot of miracles and blessings once again this week, and again, if I had time I would write them all down.

On Saturday, Brother K in our ward baptized his 8-year-old daughter. Bro. K is a recent convert of just a few years so it was cool to see his excitement to baptize his daughter. And for your information, there is going to be some great Christmas videos and such on www.mormon.org/Christmas so I invite you to check them out sometime.

But anyway, I don't have much more time. I hope that you all have a Happy Thanksgiving. A member in our ward challenged us to make a list of 100 things we are grateful for. I think I'm going to do it. And if you feel the desire to recognize the blessings you have, I encourage you to do the same.

I'm grateful for the Savior Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for all that He did for me and that even though I'm not perfect, He still loves me. I know He loves each of you. Have a great week,

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, November 12, 2012

Becoming converted

Familia y Amigos,

Happy Veterans Day! We had no idea that it was a holiday today until we got to the library and saw that it was closed. So we were able to call a member in our ward to use their computers. But anyway, before e-mails today, we went to the Military Base here and wow, it was the perfect day to go. We had planned on going there today for a little while but we had no idea it was Veterans Day, and we also had no idea that they would have so much stuff going on there today. We were able to get some sweet pictures around military vehicles and we got there just in time for some donuts and a guest speaker who talked about how blessed we are to be a free country. So I want to say a quick thanks to all those who are fighting for our country and our freedom. We are so blessed. And I will have to upload some pictures next week. I'm not able to do it with the computer I'm at right now.

Earlier this week, we had a zone conference that was probably the best meeting I have been to during my mission. It was all based around Elder Bednar's talk from this past General Conference about Becoming Converted. He talks about the difference between Testimony and Conversion and how testimony is the sure foundation for conversion. In the talk, it mentions how we become more converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It also mentions the things that permit us from becoming more converted. I strongly encourage you to reread this talk. I learned so much from it. But I think the biggest thing that stood out to me about becoming converted is that it is all based around FAITH. We have to DO something to become more converted. It takes ACTION to become who we want to become. And another thing that really stood out to me was PATIENCE. Probably one of the most important parts of conversion is Patience. Because we can't just become converted to the Gospel overnight. It takes consistent daily efforts over a period of time. As we keep the commandments and submit to the will and timing of God, overtime, we will become more converted. One thing that I also realized is that we shouldn't focus on getting an "ENOS" or "NEPHI" experience, but rather we should focus on becoming worthy to receive such an experience. As we keep that mindset we will enjoy the journey and overtime gain the Conversion we hope for.

And then, the next day, the Zone Leaders came down to Lexington and did exchanges with us and that was an amazing experience. Several miracles came about and we were able to help several people! The work is going well here in Lexington. We have a member that gave out a Book Of Mormon to a co-worker and also invited a family to church. Unfortunately, the family didn't make it to church, but hey he's planting seeds!

We are being blessed here in Lexington. We have 3 people that are planning on getting baptized in the next few weeks. A 9-year-old girl has been taking the missionary lessons and it has been way fun to see her progress and see her excitement to get baptized on Nov. 24. And then H and P that live in Holdrege, NE are planning on getting baptized on Nov. 30 (my little brother's birthday!) whoot whoot. As for H, she is in the process of stopping her addiction of smoking. She has stopped before but she went back to it...but when we taught her the Word of Wisdom she told us that she won't buy any more packs of cigarettes! She has been going to church for the last several weeks now and you can tell that her countenance is changing! It is fun to see. So we are hoping that she can continue to fight off her addiction to smoking and we know that it is possible! I have seen people do it before on my mission!

And as for F and M, they didn't come to church yesterday. They, for some reason, fell back into their mindset of "we will go if we can.. we will see how we feel when we wake up." We have a hard time helping them want to commit to come to church. They read the Book of Mormon between visits, but they don't commit to come to church. So hopefully we can have some good visits this week with them, help them realize the importance and blessings of attending church, and then hopefully see them there this Sunday.

But other than that, things are going well. Elder Harker and I are enjoying our time here and hope to have another great week! And I hope you all have a great week too. I love you all.

Elder Vawdrey

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Just over the hill!

Buenas tardes Familia y Amigos,

How was Halloween? I hope you all had a great time and were able to get a good stash of candy! Even as missionaries, we got some candy. Some members had bags full of candy left after Halloween night and so they gave us a huge bag. That was sweet. And we found "sparklers" fireworks in our apartment the other day and since we've been asked not to play with fireworks, we decided to give them out to trick-or-treaters. haha We only had one trick-or-treater come by our place, but we are glad because it was nice and quiet as we were able to watch the movie "17 Miracles" in our apartment since we had to be in our apartments by 6pm. And yeah, Mom, we kept the tradition going of good old chili for dinner!

It was another good week for us in Lexington. The members are starting to have some missionary opportunities and it is SO cool to see that. We have a new High Priest Group Leader in our ward and he has been amazing. He is really humble and it's exciting to see the members to do missionary work here!

On Saturday, we met with F and M again, and our biggest concern with them was that they needed to get married before we could really help them to progress more. On Saturday we found out that they had already got married! haha They got married back at the end of August, but they never told us. FREAK! haha But it's all good. It has been really fun working with them and we hope to continue helping them and that they continue to keep commitments so that they can one day be sealed together in the temple! And there are more miracles like this that just keep happening all around us. We just had an African guy come up to us and ask us where the church is. He was baptized 3 years ago and just moved here from San Diego.

On Thursday, Elder Harker and I went down to Phillipsburg, Kansas to do exchanges with the Elders there and I was able to do the baptismal interview for one of their investigators. This was the first time I have ever had that opportunity, and that is something I won't forget. It was with a 9-year-old kid, and he was just super humble and excited to be baptized. A kid's testimony is so simple and powerful. I'm so grateful for that opportunity that I had to do that. All I could think about was this little boy one day serving as a missionary and doing the baptismal interview for another kid ready for baptism as well. I can sense lot of blessings and miracles just over the hill that are coming. We just need to keep working hard and put all our trust in the Lord!

I hope you all have a great week! And enjoy the rest of the warm weather while it lasts. Thanks to all of you and all that you do.

Elder Vawdrey

"17 Miracles" and chili-dogs!

Trick or Treat!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Harvest

Buenos dias Familia y Amigos,

How are y'all doin? I hope you all have some sweet Halloween costumes or at least plans to do something fun on Wednesday!

This past week was AMAZING. I have been able to see several miracles each day and it has been so cool. Things have just been all working out lately and people are progressing!

First of all, Elder Harker and I decided that we would go through and contact all the people on our ward list that we haven't met. As we were going around contacting them, there was one lady that we went to go try. As we were walking up to her house, she was just coming back from checking her mail accross the street. We got talking to her and she soon told us that she actually wants to start coming back to church but she just doesn't have a ride. Elder Harker and I were both like "Wow!" So a few days later we were able to visit her with some members and then she came to church on Sunday, which was actually 45 minutes away because it was stake conference. So that was way cool. That strengthened my testimony that the Lord is always preparing people for us. He puts us in the right place at the right time. And we have had several experiences like this this past week.

Also, in the past, I have mentioned how we have visited with F and M. Well, we thought that we should go see them this week. So, we went to see them and we had a good talk with them about the Plan of Salvation. They told us that they wanted to start coming to church and we were both way pumped! Then they invited us to eat lunch with them. And to make a long story short, they were former investigators and haven't been to church in probably a year. And they also ended up coming to stake conference as well. We were way excited to see their commitment to come to church...even though it was stake conference, 45 minutes away! They have been able to overcome several health issues that was stopping their progression, but they are doing well now and are showing greater interest in the church!

As for stake conference, we were asked to help translate the meeting into Spanish. I was like, "Oh boy!" I was a bit nervous at first but right before it was my turn to translate, the thought came to my head, "You don't have to be perfect. Don't worry about it if you don't get it all right. God doesn't expect me to speak Spanish perfectly right now." And it turned out to go way good and now I want to translate again!

Translating Stake Conference!

 And one of the main messages in stake conference was about the blessings that come from the temple. We are able to feel of God's love in great abundance at the temple, inside and outside of the temple. So I encourage you all to make plans to go to the temple. Great blessings are in store by doing so.

Other than that, we were also able to find a sweet hispanic family. We met with them and had a great visit about the Restoration. They were super pumped to hear the message and they have a lot of questions that have to do with the Plan of Salvation...so we are excited to go see them again and hope to help them find answers to all of their questions.

It has been an amazing week as for seeing others progress in the Gospel. The Lord's hand is in our lives. I have come to really realize that this week. God loves us and His arms are always extended towards us. As we turn to Him, He is bound to bless us.

Have a great Halloween and a great rest of the week. I love you all.

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, October 22, 2012

What goes around, comes around

Familia y Amigos,

Good morning! I hope it has been a great week for each of you. This past week was actually a tough one for me, but last night we experienced a miracle.

Yesterday, we called a member of our ward asking if he would like to go on team-ups with us and he informed us that he actually wouldn't be able to make it, but he then invited us to come over to his house for dinner last night. He told us that his sister would be there for dinner as well, but that she is pretty against the church. He said, you are welcome to come over and eat with us and if you bring the Spirit with you, then maybe you can touch my sister's heart a little bit! That statement opened my eyes a little bit and helped me better realize that we aren't the teachers, the Spirit is the real teacher. So anyway, we went over to his house and once we walked in the front door, his sister was there to greet us and she didn't seem uncomfortable at all.

To make a long story short, it was a very comfortable visit and the food was amazing. He cooked up some good old roast, potatoes, salad, peach cobbler, etc. But as we ate dinner, the member and his sister were talking about all of their fun childhood memories together, and my heart was filled with gratitude as I heard them talk about that because my mind was taken to the great times I had before my mission with my older sister Brittni.

Hermana Brittni Vawdrey

 I thought about what a great blessing it has been for me to have a true friend like my sister. I don't know if that means that I was homesick for a second.. haha but I do know that thinking of the great example Brittni is to me brought me a feeling of great gratitude. So I want to say a quick thanks to Brittni and I'm grateful for your great example to me.

Well, this great experience keeps going...after we finished dinner the member asked my companion and me, "Hey, do you guys want a tie?" haha And man does he know us well!! We were like, boo ya!! Next thing we knew, he came back up to us offering us a tie!! I was so stoked because I was actually wanting a new tie! haha The Lord knows our desires. But anyway, after we got the tie, I was waiting for a good time to step in and ask if we could share a message...well the member soon asked us if we would share a message and so I was stoked. My heart was full of gratitude and I felt like I needed to talk about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I opened up to Alma 7:11-13 and before reading it, we invited everyone there to think about how they have seen God's blessings in their lives. As I read it, I choked up a little bit. If you're not familiar with these verses, I encourage you to read them...it talks all about what Christ did for us. After I read these scriptures, we asked each person about how they've seen God's blessings in their lives. When, we got to the sister, the first thing she said was: "That was interesting that you shared that and asked me that question, because last night, I had a dream..."

At this point, I was stoked because if ever you hear someone say that, you know its gonna be good. Anyway, she said that she has recently been thinking about how she feels her life is really hard and there isn't much good around her, but then she had a dream the other night and in that dream, God was showing her many of the blessings that he has given her in her life and the blessings he has given her right now. She then shared how she feels so much gratitude for the many blessings that she has because she has many. We then talked for a little while longer about blessings. But anyway, the Spirit was really strong. And I hope that we were able to plant a seed in this sister's heart about God's love, and that this church is true. It will be interesting to see if anything more comes of this visit with them here in the soon future!

And a analogy that the member told us at dinner was about a little pebble. If you throw a pebble in the middle of an ocean, it creates a wave that goes in all directions and goes on forever. He related that to how every good act we do has an influence that goes on forever. The good act this brother showed us by inviting us over for dinner and giving us a tie is something that went a long way for me and is something I will never forget. I know that when we do good things, we often don't immediately see the blessings that come from them, but they will make a difference. I'm sure of it! And I hope that I can be better and do more good acts of service so that I can help lighten one another's burdens.

I just want to thank you all for the good acts you do each day and for the influence that you have had and continue to have on my life. I love each of you and hope that you all have a great week!

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, October 15, 2012

Seeing another smile is priceless

Familia y Amigos,

Buenos Dias!! I hope you've all had a great week. It seems like I just e-mailed you yesterday, but even since last Wednesday, we have seen several miracles here and have received many blessings. Elder Harker and I have been getting along really well and he got me started running again. haha The last time I went running was with him in Omaha. So, it feels good to go running again in the mornings. It's starting to cool down a lot but that hasn't stopped us. We might go running one of these days with one of our investigators who we saw out running the other day.

Elder Harker y yo

Anyway, Elder Harker's first day here, we drove out to Holdrege and met with V and H at the Holdrege church and met the branch president there. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and it was awesome. We focused on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and as we were teaching, I remembered a video from lds.org by Elder Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It's called "The Will of God."

It's a video about this bush, and this bush grows these long branches and gets really tall. Well, the Gardner of the garden saw this bush and cut it all the way down to the roots. Afterwards, the Gardner looked down at the roots of this bush and thought he saw a tear and as if the bush was saying to him, "Gardner, how could you do this to me? I was big and tall and now all the other bushes and trees in this garden will look down at me." Then, the Gardner said to the bush, "Look, I'm the Gardner here, and I know who I want you to be. I want you to be the most beautiful bush in this garden and bring forth great fruit." And overtime, as the bush was patient, it became very fruitful and was a beautiful bush in the garden. At the end, the bush said: "Thank you Gardner for loving me enough to cut me down." I shared this story with V and H and I felt the Spirit really strong and really felt the love that God has for us. Sometimes we may wonder why we go through the hard times that we do, but if we are patient with the Lord, we will soon realize that God knows who we want to become and who He wants us to become and He is our Gardner. And, if we are patient, everything will work out for our good, and we will all end up like this beautiful bush in the garden! I love that video.

Then, this week we have been able to do a lot of service for members in our ward. And as we've done that, we've seen a lot of miracles. I feel like the members are really gaining trust in us and that is so exciting to see! We went and did service for an older man in our ward and helping him clear up his electric fence by cutting down several trees. It was sweet to use a chainsaw, but I'm feeling it in my back now. haha But anyway, this old guy was really grateful for our service to him...and in the process we were able to cut some firewood for another guy in the branch.

On Sunday, after our missionary correlation meeting with our ward mission leader, we noticed that Bro. McNeal's trailer was out front of the church doors full of chairs and tables from the ward activity we had the night before. Bro. McNeal was in meetings at the time and church was going to begin in like 45 minutes...so we just decided to go put all the chairs and tables away. After church, Bro. McNeal came up to us and said, "Thanks so much Elders, you have no idea how much that meant to me. That made my day!" At that moment, I felt the true joy that comes from serving others. I feel like I'm realizing that there are opportunities like this everywhere you go if you just look for them. And like Elder Ballard said about the honeybees, your individual efforts might not seem like much, but they do make a difference. I love knowing that I was able to lighten another's load and to see another person smile. I hope to do that more. And I challenge each of you to strive to do the same. Service...it's a great way to feel the love of our Heavenly Father.

I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for your love and support. I love you all very much. And congrats to all those of you who have recently received your mission calls or engagements. I wish you all the best.

Elder Vawdrey

We ran into someone with two zebras in their backyard.
Had to get a picture! :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Staying in Lex...

Familia y Amigos,

Good morning! I hope you have all had an amazing week. I just realized that the date tomorrow is 10-11-12. Man, that is so sweet! haha But anyway, we got a call from our Mission President this morning about transfers and I found out that I will be staying here in Lexington once again! I was kinda surprised but I'm excited that I will stay here and to know that the Lord still needs me here for a while! I'm excited to better work with the members and hope to help and serve a lot of people for the rest of my time. And crazy news, I will actually be getting a new companion. I'm sad to see Elder Boyer go but he will do great in his next area, Storm Lake, IA.

My new companion will be Elder Harker! He is from Oregon and ran cross-country in high school. He is way excited to come to Lexington...he has served in only one area so far on his mission and it was for 5 transfers. haha I've met and worked with him before in past areas and he seems like a great kid. Pretty sure we will have a lot of fun together and learn a lot! So it will be another great transfer!

As for this past week a lot has been going on, but I just realized, I just started a new planner and I can't remember all the way back to last Monday of everything that has happened so I will try to remember what has happened.

This week we went to go see one of our investigators, and his 4 year old son let us inside. Unfortunately, he was busy, but he lives with a bunch of extended family and so we were able to talk with a bunch of his relatives. We met one kid, A. He is 20 and is just working in Lexington and getting ready to go back to school in a few months. We got to know him pretty well and he asked a lot of questions about what we do as missionaries because he said that he sees us all over the place. haha So we got talking with him a lot and answered a lot of his questions and he seems really interested in learning more about what we teach, so we are way pumped to work with this kid. He reminds me of a former investigator I taught back in Columbus, NE...so I'm really excited to work with him.

Then, as for V and H, they were both able to watch a few sessions of general conference and they LOVED it! We were stoked! We asked them what their favorite talks were and they would've give us a specific answer because they said they just loved the whole thing. Perfecto! But anyway, we are going to go see them tomorrow so we are excited for that as well.

And as for General Conference, I loved it! All the questions I wanted answers to were all answered and man, I'm just pumped right now! I'm grateful for present day apostles and prophets that live Christ-like lives and can help us know how to do the same. How exciting--the news about how 18 year old boys and 19 year old girls can now go out and serve missions. That is so great! Those lucky kids will be able to experience the blessings from serving a mission a year early. And because of that, I'm sure there will be a ton more missionaries in the world!!

This is how I felt about President Monson's missionary age announcement!

But, maybe really quick I will share something I loved from General Conference. I noticed how one topic that was talked about a lot was of Gratitude and enjoying the now. I especially loved Elder M. Russell Ballards talk about the honeybees and how the diligent work of thousands of bees brought great results...a cup full of honey!! haha It's comforting to know that every little act of charity makes a difference. I can testify that it has made a difference in my life when I receive acts of charity from others and I hope to do that more for others. We truly are a blessed people and have so much to be grateful for! I have made changes to be a more grateful person and it seriously has changed my outlook on things 100-fold.

And so I hope that each of you were able to watch General Conference and are applying the things you learned! The applying is usually the hard part, but we need to because the blessings are so great! I hope you all have a wonderful week, and a great 10-11-12! Thanks for all your love and support. I love each of you!

Elder Boyer and I visited our bishop's hog farm on P-Day

This hog farm is ranked #1 in the world!
That's how they roll here in Nebraska!

Elder Vawdrey

P.S. Corey Jackson, I hear that you sent me a package and I still have yet to get it, but I should get it tomorrow! I am flipping stoked to get it. I'm so far out in Nebraska that it hasn't gotten to me. haha But thanks so much. And I hope life is going great for you and that you are enjoying school! Love you bro!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Humility from children

Familia y Amigos,
Buenos Dias again and happy 1st day of October. Wow, I can't believe we are already into another month. Dang, time flies way too fast.
This week was kind of unusual compared to past weeks. We were able to visit with several less-active members and recent converts. But Elder Boyer and I have been trying to do better at working more effectively. We have been working with several people in the past that we only would visit like once a week and we realized that that isn't effective, so we have been making changes and seeing less people more often and it has been sweet. So I have been learning about the blessings that come from simplifying and I have greater concern and love for the people we teach because of it.
Anyway, we had one visit in particular that I really enjoyed this week. We had dinner with a less-active family and afterwards we watched "The Restoration" with them. It was really cool to see the enthusiasm of the kids as they shared what they liked and learned from the movie. We had a good lesson about the importance and blessings that come from prayer and that thanks to Joseph Smith, the true church has been restored on earth once again today! Prayer truly can change the night to day. And one thing in "The Restoration" that stood out to me this time is that the movie starts out by showing a little tiny plant in the ground and then at the end of the movie it shows that little plant again along with the big tree the plant became. It got me thinking about how change and growth is usually slow and occurs over time. Sometimes we want change really fast but that's not always how it works unfortunately...so I find comfort in knowing that we learn and grow little by little.
Then, on Sunday, it was the Primary Program for our ward. haha oh man... that's always a week full of laughs and the spirit. But I loved seeing the enthusiasm of the kids as they sang simple and true songs. There was one little girl at one point that sang a solo to the song: "I like to look for rainbows, whenever there is rain. And ponder on the beauty of the earth right after rain..." It was way awesome! So it was a great Sunday, and next weekend will be just as good with General Conference! I'm way excited.
And also, we are working with an investigator named V. He actually lives in a little town like 30 minutes away from us and he has been to church a few weeks in a row now. We are going to go do service for him tonight and then have a visit with him on Tuesday. So we are excited for him. I will keep you updated on him next week.
But I hope you all have another great week and that you can make time to watch conference!
Thank you all for your love a support!
Elder Vawdrey

Monday, September 24, 2012

I am a tool...in the Lord's hands!

Familia y Amigos,

Buenos dias otra vez! I hope you all have had a great week and are striving to be positive! I found that helpful to me this week and I learned a lot. This week was a crazy one and many unexpected things happened.

First of all, we got a call with like 12 hours notice that we were going to have interviews with the Mission President. And that was exciting. It is always a very uplifting and learning experience when meeting with the Mission President. He mentioned to me the many changes that he feels inspired to make for the mission and his hopes for me, so it's my hope that I can be a tool in God's hands to help him accomplish what he hopes to have accomplished in the mission. One thing that President Weston said to me that I really like is that it doesn't matter how many scriptures you have memorized, but what really matters is how humble you are. If you are humble then the Spirit can work through you. So, I have been thinking a lot about that and I feel that being grateful for what I have is one way that helps me to be more humble!

Then, as for some crazy news...we had planned for J to be baptized on Saturday but unfortunately it didn't happen. Satan has definitely been working on her and her husband and many things have been coming up. It's really sad. But, they actually are moving away from Lexington on Wednesday, although they may actually be back this next weekend. So we really don't know what will end up happening.  Anyway, we just hope that if she isn't baptized this next week that one day she will enter the waters of baptism. It's hard to see someone come so far and then have to move away, but hopefully it all works out for the better.

Later this week, we went to Philipsburg, Kansas to have a meeting with the missionaries there and do exchanges with them. That turned out to be a great experience! When I was on an exchange with Elder Draper, we witnessed a few miracles. For lunch, we went to good old McDonalds, and while we were there, I just kinda looked around at all the people in the restaurant and I was overwhelmed thinking about how these people are living hard lives with no knowledge about the Plan of Salvation. It made me so grateful for the many blessings that I have to be a member of Christ's church. And then right after this, we drove out to a little city to see a few people and we had a member with us who was a recently returned missionary. We walked about a mile to a house and the lady turned us away so we started walking back. But then on our way back, we got a call from her saying that her friend wants to hear our message! Sweet!! haha So we went back super excited and we had an awesome lesson with a girl named K. It was one of the most powerful restoration lessons I have been a part of on my mission and it was an experience that I will never forget. So hopefully [she] will continue to progress in the Gospel. But one thing I learned from this experience is that this was probably one of the days that I have been most humble. And I think because of that, we were able to have a good lesson. So, I am going to strive to continue to be more humble so that I can be a better tool in the Lord's hands.

And then as for another good thing, we are working with a less-active and he has been to church a few times now. But the thing that is so exciting with him is to see him progressing and slowly gaining more respect for Jesus Christ. Each week at church his appearance has gotten better and better and it has been so cool to see. I feel that that is true success...progression! And then a recent convert, W, passed the sacrament on Sunday and also received a calling so that was really exciting to see as well!

But this week has been a humbling one. Spanish is something that helps me to be humble because I'm not the best at it. But one thing I have realized is that you just gotta do your best and strive to be humble because if you're humble, then the Spirit will help you to say what needs to be said. So, I have learned a lot this week and I hope to learn more this next week and be a better tool in the Lord's hands.

I hope you all have a great week and can seek to look for the many blessings that you have! They are there!

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, September 17, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

Familia y Amigos,

Buenos Dias! I hope it's been a great week for each of you. Fall is definitely on its way! I love it.

This week was a really crazy one and really good at the same time. Like I mentioned in last week's email, Elder Nash of the Quorum of the Seventy came to our mission last Monday, and then on Thursday I had another conference that was in Omaha. So this week I was on the road for a long time. But at the other conference I went to in Omaha, we reviewed a lot of what Elder Nash taught us on Monday and then my mission president talked to us about the importance of being positive. In life, there are so many things that are good. And there are so many things that you can find that are going wrong. But if we just focus on the good, we will be filled with more light and joy and just enjoy life more. I have noticed that sometimes it is way hard to focus on the positive, but really it's always there. Our mission president encouraged us to be positive all week long and so that is what I'm going to go for this next week. I have noticed a big change in my happiness in life as I focus on the positives. I liked how my mission president put it... have an attitude of Gratitude!

Anyway, as for Lexington, the work is moving along here and it's way exciting! We met with J a few more times this past week and she had her baptismal interview and we feel she is ready to be baptized this next Saturday! We are really excited for her and she has definitely showed her willingness. At church on Sunday, I saw her grab a tithing slip and put money in it and she currently is unemployed, so that was a testimony builder to me. Also, on Wednesday, we asked her how her Book of Mormon reading was going and she told us that she had actually been reading in D&C. haha We invited her to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon that night and she said, "Oh, I'll just read the whole Book of Mormon tonight." haha We were like, huh? and she said, "Yeah, I'll read the whole Book of Mormon tonight, I'm a speed reader!" haha We were like... alright, just try to get something out of it. The next day, we met with her again and she had read 1/2 of the Book of Mormon. haha So that was way sweet to hear! She said she didn't understand it all but she remembers the first three chapters of the Book of Mormon pretty well. So, at least she got a lot out of the first few chapters! haha She wants to finish the Book of Mormon before her baptism on Saturday!

Then, we did exchanges with the zone leaders and I learned a lot about how I can do better with language study, and my zone leader taught me how to be more confident with talking with the people and he was a powerful teacher with the Spirit, so it was a good time.

At church, we really saw the fruit of our labors!! So exciting. The first week I came to Lexington, there were only 2 people in our Gospel Principles class that we teach, and this Sunday there were eight! There is one lady that a hispanic member has brought to church for a few weeks. We announced that J is going to get baptized this next Saturday and we invited this lady and she said that she wants to be baptized on Saturday too so there would be 2 baptisms. haha We were like... um... well, we need to teach you first! haha it was pretty funny. So she feels comfortable around us missionaries and we will have our first real lesson with her tonight! So we will see how that goes.

So, things are well here in Lexington. I'm really enjoying my time here with Elder Boyer! He's a great Elder and is a great example to me. I hope you are all doing well and have another great week. Be positive! It will change your life!

Elder Vawdrey

We taught this cool kid how to tie his tie!

Another buddy was excited to get his learner's permit

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We're not in Kansas anymore (but we were)

Familia y Amigos,

Buenos Dias! Today is 9/11. Wow. I can't believe that happened like 11 years ago. But, I hope it's a good day for everyone...focusing on the good that came from the incident of 9/11, like how many families came closer together because of it...instead of focusing on the negative. That is basically what my companion, Elder Boyer, was talking to me about this morning. I thought he made a great point. A positive attitude can change the night to day. If we are positive, we attract good and good things seem to happen. As for Elder Boyer, we have become pretty close buddies. We have really been enjoying our time here! But anyway, this past week was AMAZING! I seriously could sit here and type up a letter that could go on and on of great experiences, but of course, time isn't sufficient. But, I'll try to share some of the sweetest stuff that happened!

As for investigators, we met with J again this week and taught her the Plan of Salvation! It was a blast teaching that lesson and she was excited about it and thought it was so cool. This past weekend, she went to Utah and visited the temple grounds of three different temples. And, she went to the Brigham City temple open house. We asked her what she thought about all of it and she responded with: "Well, I understand why people would want to go back to that place!" And she told us that at each temple, there were missionaries around and every single one of them came up to her and started talking to her. She said that the missionaries never came up to her husband, but just came straight up to her! haha We told her that that must be evidence that those missionaries were following the Spirit! She just laughed. She is planning on getting baptized on Sept. 22.

As for F, the other guy we contacted outside his house last week...we haven't been able to get in touch with him unfortunately. We are hoping that we can see him tonight!

For district meeting, we got to go to Kansas! So I've now officially been to all 4 states in the mission! I've shared some pictures we took in Kansas.

Then, we were super pumped to see a few investigators and a less-active come to church the other day! We were able to teach two friends of a hispanic member at church about the Restoration and that was sweet!!

And to finish, yesterday we had a Zone Conference in Lincoln because Elder Nash of the Quorum of the Seventy came to our mission!! Holy smokes, that conference was AMAZING! When he got to the church and we got to shake his hand and give him a man hug, it was POWERFUL! wow. Just to fill you in on a little bit of what happened, the first part of the meeting was about Hope. Having hope is trusting that everything will work out for your good. We then learned about the sacrament and he asked us: "Why do you brush your teeth in the morning?" and "Why do you study in the morning? Why do you do this or that?" He basically said that as we capture the reasons why we do those things and let it work in us, then we will be great missionaries! I thought that was way cool. If we can bring ourselves to understand the "why" of why we do things, we will feel the Spirit more and enjoy life more.

Elder Nash of the Quorum of the Seventy

But anyway, that's kind of a super brief update for the week. I am just so grateful for the many blessings that the Lord is giving us. He has been giving us so much and I'm grateful to know that God is always there. He is real. And he wants to help us along the way; we simply have to first seek and find Him! This church is true! Have a great week!

Elder Vawdrey

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Perfection Requires Change

Familia y Amigos,

Buenas Tardes! I hope you all had a great Labor Day yesterday and that you all did something fun if you had the day off! The library was closed yesterday, so because of that we're here today! ha

Anyway, this past week was transfers and it has been quite the crazy week...definitely a lot of changes. It sometimes is stressful when you are the one left in the area and another Elder comes in and you have to show him around everywhere. So I was feeling pretty overwhelmed this week. But it's all good. I like the quote: "Perfection requires Change." I guess you could change that and say "Progression requires Change" because I'm definitely not perfect and don't plan to be soon (even though I wish I was), so I'll focus on the progression part for now. But anyway, Elder Boyer, my new companion, is from Syracuse, UT, and has a great energy for the work and is a very hard worker. He worked several different jobs before his mission and I was surprised when I heard what he did for work. haha But anyway, he's a great Elder and I'm really excited to work with him.

On Friday we were able to visit with J again and we taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She understood it well and seemed to like it all. And she went out to Colorado and Utah to go visit 3 different temples with her husband this past weekend. I guess she went to the Brigham City temple open house. So we were excited that she went on the temple grounds...there's no greater place she could visit. So we are excited for her about that. She still has her baptismal date for 9/15, but we may move that back depending on how things go the next few days.

And then last night we had a great night! Several of our plans fell through and we ended up knocking several doors in a trailer park. We didn't really have much success doing that. But when we knocked on one door, we saw a guy across the street sitting by himself in his yard just listening to music. I was about to walk past, but I thought we might as well talk to this guy. Well, when we walked over to him I first thought he would get up and go into his trailer but he didn't! haha yes! He stood up and came right up to us and shook our hands. I was way surprised. We just got talking to him for a bit and got to know him and then he was like "You guys wanna come inside?? And we were like, yeah! haha So pretty soon we found out that missionaries stopped by his place every once in a while several months ago but then they just stopped coming. But anyway, we asked him why he thought there were so many churches in the world today and he said, "I don't know. I've always wondered that. Do you know?" And we were like, yeah we do! haha So we ended up teaching him the 1st lesson and it went really well. I feel like my Spanish was better than it has ever been in that lesson too, so I was feeling super good. But anyway, he said he wanted to be baptized if he finds out that the Book of Mormon is true! coolbeans. He's from Guatemala! We are excited that we decided to talk to him.

And then right after that, we met a guy named G who is Pentecostal. I don't think I've met a Pentecostal person yet, so that was pretty cool. He is from El Salvador and speaks English fluently. But anyway, we got to know him pretty good and we are hoping that we can get in with him again here in a few days.

But today I feel like my eyes have been opened a little more as I've thought about how God doesn't expect us to be perfect, He just expects our best. I think that is a very hard thing to grasp, but I'm grateful that He helped me to realize that again today! I love the story about the Debtor and how the guy who was in debt didn't have the money to pay his dues. But then, a man stepped in and said "do your best and I will take care of the rest." And that man is Jesus Christ for each of us. We are all indebted to Him. And to Him I am so grateful. But even then, I feel that I'm not grateful enough. But I know as we give our all, He will do the rest!

Have a great week!

Elder Vawdrey

Last day with Elder Terris

Elder Boyer

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Changing it up!

Familia y Amigos!

Buenos Dias from the "West Side" of Nebraska! How are y'all doin?

Well, we got a call from our Mission President this morning about transfers and we found out that I will be staying here in Lexington and Elder Terris will be going to Omaha. Elder Terris and I were both hoping that we would stay together one more transfer because the work is starting to roll here and we were having a blast...but we are both excited about the change anyway and we both feel it is what needs to happen and we will both learn and grow a lot! But I am stoked that I will be staying here in Lexington! This is a sweet little place and I believe great things will be coming to the area this next transfer!! My companion will be Elder Boyer...he just finished serving in Columbus, NE, so it will be fun to catch up with him about the people there. But I'm excited to work with Elder Boyer. I've met him before and he's a cool kid and a great missionary, so I think next transfer will also be a blast and hopefully we can see a lot of growth here in Lexington in the next couple weeks. But I'm grateful for the time I've had to serve here with Elder Terris. We had a blast and we became really good buds. So hopefully we can serve around each other again later on in the mission!

But this past week once again was full of miracles! Serving a mission is the BomB! there are so many sweet experiences! And this past week, I feel like I learned a lot personally about how I can be better and of the love that God has for each of us! First of all, we went and did exchanges with other Elders in our district and had some sweet experiences with them. Currently, the Elders down there are meeting in a school because the church is under construction and a family lives in the school. haha It's pretty legit. But we were able to teach a girl at their church (the school) and taught her the Plan of Salvation. And wow, it was really different teaching in English. haha But it was so fun to teach her the Plan of Salvation and she was just like..."Wow that makes sense!!" haha It was way exciting to see her understand it, so hopefully she continues to progress. Her dad is a convert of like 5 years so we will see how that ends up. And then the first picture below is a picture of me on a SWEET old-school bike from a member! haha you gotta check it out! :D


And then as for our area, we met with a girl named J. Her husband is a member and J has come to church with him for the past 2 weeks. They are a young, newly-married couple and J wanted to hear the missionary lessons. So we met with her in the church after the block was over and had a good lesson with her and taught her about the Restoration. She seemed to enjoy the lesson and accepted a baptismal date for Sept. 15. So, we we're excited for her and hope that things continue to work out well for her. Her life is pretty much a miracle because she told us of several "near-death" experiences. She has been in a few car accidents and has been run over by go-karts several times. Not sure what all happened with that. haha but we told her she better be careful because like a cat...it only has 9 lives! But, we promised her that by joining the true church, she will have the best life! haha

And then we also had a sweet lesson with a hispanic guy. He's a former investigator and isn't currently going to a church. But, when we went and saw him, he asked us why there were so many churches in Lexington! (FYI-- There's like 20 different churches in the small 8,000 people town of Lexington) so we explained to him about the Book of Mormon and the authority of the Priesthood. And really, nothing made sense to him until we brought out the Book of Mormon, which I thought was really cool and was a testimony builder to me. We showed him a few scriptures in the BoM and the Bible and he was like "Wow, why don't all churches believe in this book? My companion Elder Terris said: "Because this is the only true church! haha It was amazing to see our investigator understand the importance of the BoM and that this is the only true church. We are going to go see him again tonight, and we're hoping that he read!

So, we are so pumped that the work is starting to move forward. And it was amazing...this week we had a few random people come up to us and phone calls from people wondering who we are, what we're doing, and a few of them want to hear the missionary lessons! whoot! I love it when the Lord just like puts people right in front of us! haha And Elder Terris and I have been striving to overcome our fears. I still have the fear of just talking to random people on the street. It goes off and on, but sometimes it's just hard to go up and talk to someone because it feels awkward. Maybe it's the fear of rejection? I don't know. But sometimes the fear overcomes me. So Elder Terris and I have been striving to overcome that. I've realized that I just shouldn't fear...just go out and get 'er done and not worry about what the people will think of us.

But anyway, I hope you all are doing well. Thanks so much for all your love and support. It means so much! Have a great week!

Elder Vawdrey

My District

Who needs snow?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Potatoes anyone?

Familia y Amigos,

Buenos Dias! I can't believe it's been another week and if I remember right, I believe Elder Corey Jackson returns home from his mission today! Holy smokes! I can't believe it. So Corey, if you happen to read this, I hope all goes well for you back in American Fork and thanks so much for your example. You are a great pal and I know that the Lord is watching out for you!

This week was kind of a unique one. We had zone conference and then we did exchanges with other Elders in our District and then with our zone leaders. So I learned a lot. It was our first zone conference with President Weston and I thought it went really well. The Spirit was strong and President Weston is a very humble guy.

We got a phone call from a guy in our ward this week to come to a truck stop and help unload potatoes out of a semi-truck. We were wondering what it was all about, so we went to check it out and apparently there was a huge truck full of potatoes that went to Walmart, but Walmart found a few potatoes were rotten so they denied the whole truck of potatoes. And I guess the truck driver was a Mormon, so he called up our Stake President, and then he called up some members in our ward to come by and pick up some free potatoes. So we got there and loaded up members trucks with 50 lbs. bags of potatoes! haha... Some of the members in our ward started knocking from door to door by the church and asking people if they want free potatoes. Many of them accepted and then the members would tell them that they are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that our church was just around the corner if they wanted to come! haha And so that has been a sweet service project for us. And this whole past week after our visits with investigators and members, we ask them if they want some potatoes and that always puts a smile on their faces! So, if anyone wants some free potatoes, give us a holler! haha jk but funny thing is we had one guy actually come to church. I'm not sure if it was from the potatoes, but he lived in the area where the members delivered the potatoes. So anyway, we have just a ton of potatoes right now!!

As for the people we are working with, there are 2 stories that I want to share.

1) The recent convert, "W" went to the temple on Saturday!! We were so stoked! He's the one that said it was "in his heart" to go to the temple. Well, we went over Friday night to remind him about it and at first he said, "There is no way I can go. I have to do this and this and this." Well, as we got talking to him, I was just hoping that his heart would be softened and know of the blessings that will come by attending, and pretty soon he decided he would go! And it is amazing to look back and see how the Lord provided a way for him to go. He had a lot of things he needed to do... but after he committed to go to the temple, everything just worked out and he ended up not having to do any of the things he originally had planned to do. Everthing just fell through... so that was so cool to see. Because of his desire to attend the temple, the Lord provided him with the way to do it! And then we passed by to see him on Saturday night after he got back and he said: "It was SO beautiful! The most beautiful place I have ever seen!" It was so cool to see his big smile and excitement from attending the temple!

2) We went and saw our investigator named J, and we have met with him before. But in our visit with him, he had a lot of questions at first and it kinda seemed like he was trying to bash with us... but my companion and I decided to show him the Restoration movie and then talk about the Book of Mormon. And it was amazing to see how his heart changed. He told us that he would read a chapter in the Book of Mormon and then pray about it. And he also said he would be baptized. So, we were excited about that and hope that he reads the chapter!!

So, things are going pretty good for us here in Lexington.

We have recently been finding cockroaches in our apartment... and they are huge. It is flipping nasty. But we think it's hilarious when they try and run away from us because they run way slow!! haha So hopefully this cold weather will kill them off soon.. if not, we will!! haha

But, I hope you are all doing well! I love you all and am so grateful for your examples and support! Have a great week!!

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, August 13, 2012

Seeing the Fruits

Familia y Amigos,

Buenos dias otra vez de aqui en Lexington! It's been a great week for us here and I hope you can say the same about your past week from wherever you are. I hear school starts up here really soon. I can't believe another school year has arrived. So good luck to those of you who are getting ready to go back to school and enjoy the rest of your summer!! But as for here in Lexington, it's starting to get a lot cooler which is really nice. We are hoping that we have a good fall season here this year, but we will see how it goes! haha

This past week, one of my companions, Elder Hugentobler, finished his 2-year mission and returned to his family in Ephraim, UT. It was sad to see him go, but things have been going good here and Elder Terris and I are enjoying our time out here!! This past week was a humbling experience for me when Elder Hugentobler left, and that is how it always goes when there is change. ha But funny story really quick with Elder Hugentobler leaving. Our mission president came to pick him up from our apartment and when we had all of his stuff ready and went to put it all in the car we quickly found out that our mission president locked his keys in the car! haha It was really funny, but I felt bad for him. He spent the next 1.5 hours sticking our metal hangers through his car windows to try to unlock the door but had no luck. Then, he remember that he had "OnStar" and so he called that company and they immediately were able to unlock the car without any cost! haha.. so that was a funny experience. We were glad that everything working out in the end. That's always how it goes if we stay persistent! haha

We found a new investigator this week named O. He is in a part-member family so we are hoping to work with him a lot in the future. He believes the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He pretty much knows a lot about the Church but he hasn't quite exercised faith much and said he wants to wait to be baptized. He needs to get married to his girlfriend first before he can move forward and be baptized...but we had a good visit with him and his family this week about how the Gospel Blesses Families and we showed them The Family: A Proclamation to the World! They liked it...but they didn't come to church yesterday so we will stop by their place here again soon.

Then, on Saturday, we saw several miracles. And I want to share a few of them.

First of all, one of the recent converts here, J, is moving to Lincoln to help his mom out... but for just a few weeks. He hasn't been to church for several weeks, but we have stopped by to see him every once in a while. Well, on Saturday morning, we got a knock at our door and it was J. He told us that he is moving to Lincoln and was going to leave right then but he told us that he wanted to postpone his trip until Monday so that he could pass the sacrament at church on Sunday! We were both surprised and way excited for him that he wanted to do that. And he came to church and passed the sacrament and he had a great experience!

And then we went and saw another less-active kid named D. He was baptized several years back but his parents aren't members and church hasn't really ever been a big part of his life. Well, we had a planned lesson for him but once we got there he asked us a bunch of questions and we ended up teaching him something completely different. It was cool to look back and see that, but it was a blast to visit with D about the "why" of the things we do, and the purpose of life. We asked him who he wants to become and he told us that he wants to serve others and do good for other people. He was really open to us and is just a really humble and nice kid! He hadn't been to church for 2 years and he committed to the Lord in the closing prayer to go to church with us yesterday and HE CAME!!! whoot! When he came to church, he said he felt the spirit and that he hadn't been in a long time. It was nice to see many of the members in the ward greet him and make him feel welcome! And it was awesome to see the smile on his face at church. In sacrament meeting, I was surprised that he knew many of the hymns. One of the hymns we sang was "I Stand All Amazed" and when he heard the conductor say we were going to sing this song, he leaned over to me and said: "I love this song!" I just replied, "Me too!" haha but as he said that to me, I could feel his desire to feel greater peace in life and love for the Lord.

And then we also had a zone meeting this week and I learned a lot of stuff at that meeting. The meeting was focused on not getting discouraged and humbling yourself. There was a quote shared that I really like and have heard many times: "Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, it's thinking less about yourself." I can testify that I know thinking less about yourself and more of others is truly what brings great happiness in life. I have seen that a lot this past week. I got a little discouraged after Elder Hugentobler left this week because some of our investigators just dropped out on us. I was getting frustrated thinking that we didn't have many investigators at the moment but I decided to say a prayer for comfort. Right after that was when we went and saw "D" and he committed to come to church! I feel like that was a total answer to prayer and I know that God is watching over us. He loves and cares about us. And he doesn't care about how hard we work or the results that come from our work, but rather he just cares about if we are faithful to Him and constantly striving to do our best!

The Church is true!

I hope you all have another great week! Thanks for your love, support, and great examples!!

Elder Vawdrey

Elders Terris, Hugentobler and me

Thank goodness for OnStar!