Monday, February 27, 2012

The Power to Motivate


Buenas Tardes! I hope you all have had a great week. This week for us here in Columbus has been crazy.

This week was probably the busiest week thus far on my mission, yet it was by far the most JOYful. We worked hard, and I felt that I started to think of others a lot more. I felt a love for the people here more than I ever have before. I am coming to realize that loving the people is so important and where true joy comes from. It's not just by obedience alone. Loving the people, and especially Jesus Christ, is the true leading cause to obedience and true joy.

This week, we had several lessons in which I felt the spirit stronger than ever before. And the time that I felt the spirit the strongest was when my companion bore his testimony of Jesus Christ to a recent convert. I have never in my life heard such a humble and heartfelt testimony of Jesus Christ. It actually put me into tears! haha

This week, we set "G" (step-daughter of "C") for baptism, and the work is really moving forward here in Columbus. It is so exciting. I'm so grateful that the Lord sent my companion, Elder St. Clair to serve with me. His testimony is powerful and is motivating me more than anything to become the best teacher that I can be and really help the people here.

I've come to realize the reality of serving a mission. It is hard. There are those days when you feel on top of the world and others when you feel like you are buried under the dirt. But those JOYful days far outweigh the others. It's been a great week. And I hope it has been for all of you as well. Sorry, I don't have more time to really share a specific story about this week. But, more than anything, I feel like I have felt this week the great love that God has for each individual person. It is amazing to see the Gospel change lives. The Power to Motivate to a better life is a testimony of Jesus Christ. I love you all. Have a great week.

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Phone Call


Hola! How was your Valentine's Day? Hope you did something fun, whether you got a special something from a special someone or not? If not, just know hey, you're with the rest of us 52,000 missionaries in the world. haha. In fact, my companion doesn't celebrate Valentine's day, he instead celebrates Chinese New Year. haha Well, anyway, we didn't do anything super exciting. However we did eat some candy hearts in our apartment before going to bed. Ya gotta love candy hearts.

But this week was an interesting one. We had a zone conference in Lincoln and that was amazing. And then, we had some great visits and a good phone call. haha

One of our visits this week was with "R" and "I". We taught them the Restoration and they really like the message. "I" said that she has really been wondering lately which church she should join. We invited her to be baptized in March but she has to talk to her husband first about it. The only problem about this is that her husband is Catholic and she said that he will never change. We will find out this next week. But we are hoping that sometime she can come to church with us if all goes bad with her talk with her husband.

I can't remember who I talked about in my letter last week, but unfortunately we only had one investigator at church on Sunday. It is very difficult to get people to come to church. There are only 3 hispanic families in the branch and the church isn't well known in this town because there are millions of Catholics and Lutherans here. Then, most hispanics have to work Sundays, so that makes it difficult. But, as for the one investigator who came to church today, her name is "G" and she actually brought a non-member friend as well! "G" is the step-daughter of "C"...the guy who just got baptized. She has been to church 2 weeks in a row now so we were excited to see her there. Back when we were teaching "C", we promised him that as he comes closer to Christ, that he will be a great example to his family and they will have desires to follow his example. Well, we are seeing that promise come true! SO COOL!! Well, after church yesterday, we get a call from "G's" mom saying that "G" wants to be baptized. haha She wants to be baptized in March. So we will see about that. We will start teaching her the lessons this week. But we really want to make sure that she actually WANTS to be baptized and is committed to it rather than just doing it because someone else did or because she thinks it would be cool. So we were excited for her and that she enjoys church.

Lastly, we had a great experience last night. We were out visiting some people in a little town called Schuyler and then a few appointments fell through so we knocked doors for a little while. Well, after a bit, and not having much success, we decided to go back to Columbus to try another potential investigator that we ran into earlier last week. So, we got to the trailer park and knocked on the door of the trailer that we thought was his. Well, to our surprise, this 6'4" hispanic lady came to the door. Wrong house. haha But, we introduced ourselves and she invited us in. We ended up teaching her the Restoration and really focused on prayer and why it's important. Well, before we were about to leave, she told us that she has been thinking a lot lately of what to do because her husband is in Mexico right now getting his papers and she is worried that he won't be able to come back. She said she was really grateful for us that we stopped by. And we explained to her that we don't believe that it was just a coincidence that this happened tonight. She committed to pray for comfort and to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet! We are excited to meet with her again in a few days. It's amazing how the Lord knows each one of his children. I have found many times in my life that the Lord meets my needs through other people. I think that's how this 6'4'' hispanic lady felt, but it was unbelievable for me to meet a hispanic woman that was this tall. HOLY SMOKEES. haha And her hands were like 2x bigger than mine! Wow.

Well, I hope you all have another great week. Thanks for all you do.

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Spirit is the real teacher!

Familia y Amigos,

Hola! I hope that everyone has had another great week and that you have a Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow. For those of you who are going to try and do something special, good luck. :)

This past week has been quite a crazy one. We have had some up's, some down's, some realizations, and some very spiritual experiences! We have been busy...but that has been a great thing. Sometimes we have skipped a meal because we have had so many appointments. But this is like the one time in my life that I have actually been kinda happy to skip a meal (except for Fast Sunday, of course) :) all because we had some appointments. We got a lot of new investigators last week and so we had some return appointments with them. Unfortunately, none of them came to church and some of them might be dropping. But I have really learned a lot about the importance of the Spirit in teaching this week. I have come to realize that there is a complete difference between teaching a lesson and teaching a person. Agency is something that makes it impossible for us to make someone believe something.

One big experience was as we went to contact a referral who was the wife in the home. When we knocked the door, the husband answered and we asked for his wife, "B". Well, he immediately said, "Oh, we are Catholics so yeah...haha And at this door we did something different than all the other ones we knocked on. Instead of saying what a great message we bring, we asked him a few questions about himself and why his beliefs are important. We were persistent with him until after about 5-10 minutes talking at the door, he invited us in and we had an awesome lesson about the Plan of Salvation. It was very powerful. And so right there I realized that it's more important to teach people specifically than just a lesson. The way to really get to someone's heart is by asking them specific and inspired questions.

Later this week, we visited with another family that we knocked into last week. We had a pretty good lesson with them. But the mother told us that they have had many Jehovah's Witnesses and other religious people in their home before and have pushed them really hard to get baptized, so they weren't interested. Well, my companion and I didn't know this beforehand and I thought it was interesting that we actually never really talked about baptism with them. They said that they liked us because they feel we are friends to them and that we aren't there just to force them to do something or baptize them. haha Well, baptism is the goal, but we are there to first get to know them, then teach and invite. So we are hoping that eventually they will come to church and even be baptized! :)

Anyway, good week. Attached is a picture of a basketball rim built into a tree! haha Yep, that's how we roll here in Nebraska trailer parks. Gotta love it :) hahaha

Have a great week everyone. Thanks for your love, support, and example. It means a lot!

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Lord is in it!

Family and Friends,

Hola!! I hope you all have had a great week and are doing well. I'm sure like all of you, we got a bunch of snow the other day...I guess winter finally decided to show up. haha The warm weather sure was nice but I knew the snow was going to come sometime soon.

Hey, Elder, I think it's your turn to scrape the windows!
Welcome to the Midwest!

This past week was transfers and my new companion, Elder St. Clair, is from Gilbert, AZ. This is the last transfer of his mission and it has been awesome serving with him. He is a very hard worker and wants to finish strong. I'm super pumped for this transfer because I can tell the work here is increasing and there are a lot of great things ahead!! This past week we have been contacting a lot of people and knocking doors. Saturday night was a night that was pretty special.

Elders St. Clair and Vawdrey

On Friday, we went to a trailer park and got a bunch of follow-up visits set up for Saturday. Well, when we woke up Saturday, we saw several inches of snow of the ground. haha That's the Nebraska I was expecting. haha But, we managed to get a ride out to this trailer park. Well, we started knocking on the doors of these return visits and come to find out each of them fell through. We were surprised by this because they seemed super solid. Well, we had planned to be there for 3 hours and we were far from our apartment so we kept knocking some doors. At one of them, a lady answered the door and said it wasn't a good time, so we asked if there was anyone else in the area that she knows who might be interested in this message. She immediately pointed at a yellow truck and said, "Go try that one." haha It sounded like she just made it up, but well, we thought "Let's try it, what do we have to lose?" So we knocked on the door and immediately they let us in and they were super interested in hearing about why we were walking around outside in the freezing cold weather. haha Well, we taught them about the Restoration and it was AWESOME!! They seem SUPER solid and they were super interested as well about the fact that we can live with our families together forever. So we have another follow-up visit with this family and we are super pumped!!

I told you I was pumped!

Then, following this visit, we also got into another trailer of another great hispanic couple. I know that the Lord led us to these people. It was freezing outside, our appointments fell through, and we could've called someone to pick us up but we knew we were there for a reason. I believe that if the Lord didn't bless us with follow-up visits with the people out there in the trailer park for 3 hours, we probably wouldn't have been there for that long. He works in mysterious ways. I know that the Lord is always in it...He's always got a purpose for where we are if we just trust Him and ask for help to know where to go.

So, things are going well out here. And I hope all is well for each of you. Have a great week!

Elder Vawdrey

My first baptism!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

His Face Smiles Upon Us!

Familia y amigos,

Hello Hello. How are y'all? It's been an exciting week here in Columbus.

This past Saturday, "C" got baptized! I need to find out how much he weighs, but just picture this huge guy, with ginormous hands, and only a size 15 ring fits his finger. haha...Elder Keele asked if I could baptize him. haha I was up for the challenge, yes sir... but man, "C" is a big guy. haha Well, funny thing was that he showed up to church and changed into his white clothes but we noticed he has on a brown belt, and so we were like...hey, sorry, but you gotta take off your belt. He says oh really?? uh oh. haha So he had to find some white rope in the church so he could use that to hold his pants up for the baptism. And then he was so nervous that he forgot to shave. haha "C" is awesome. But anyway, the baptism was a very powerful experience. "C" is one of the humblest people I have ever met.

After the baptism, I was talking to "C" about it. I said, "Man, isn't it so interesting how simple baptism is? You just go under the water and then come right back up and the ordinance is complete." He then told me about how he felt and he said, "Yeah, when I went under the water, it was like I saw the Lord smiling at me and I just had a feeling that everything is going to be alright." That is a statement that I will never forget. I said yeah...now you can know that on a daily basis because you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and you will know that the Lord is always by your side! The next day, he received the Holy Ghost, Aaronic Priesthood, and a calling. I'm so excited for "C". It has been amazing to see him grow as he has turned his life over to the Lord. I am excited to see him continue to grow in the gospel with his family!!

Tomorrow is transfers and I found out that I will be staying here in Columbus, NE once again! I'm very excited about this! It will be weird not being here with Elder Keele, as he will continue to share the good word out in Lexington. My new companion is Elder St. Clair. He was my district leader this past transfer and we seem to have a lot in common. I'm excited to work with him. This will be the final transfer of his mission, so I hope that he doesn't get trunky and that we can work well and hard together.

I wish I had more time to write, but I'm out of time. Just know that missionary work is great and things are well. I hope the same is true for all of you. I love you all. Thanks for your love and support. I know Heavenly Father knows us personally and is watching out for us. Have a great week!


Elder Vawdrey