Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Count your many blessings!

Amigos y Familia,

Hello once again...and mom, sorry that this e-mail is a day late. Because of the holiday yesterday, the libraries were closed and we weren't able to find a computer to use and send e-mails. But thankfully we were able to get to the library today to send a quick little something something. haha But how are you all? I hope you all had a great week last week.

This past week for me has been full of learning and enduring.

Right now, 4 of us Spanish Elders share an apartment in Omaha and it is a blast. However, we only have one car so we have to share it. dang. haha but I'm grateful we have one at least haha. But because of the first week of the transfer, our monthly allotment on miles just went by super quick and so all this week we had to walk so that we can stay below the monthly allotment. So, it was a sacrifice to walk around everywhere and it made me appreciate having a car, but thankfully it's been nice weather and our investigators live somewhat close to our apartment.

This week, we were able to find a couple of new investigators so that was really exciting. Because we didn't have the car we were able to do some street contacting and that was awesome. I think a lot of people saw us more and we were able to talk to more people because of it. So, even though we didn't see all the people we really wanted to, we were able to still see several and find several others as well!

One individual that we have really been trying to work with is E. He is going through a lot of trials right now and so we feel this is the perfect time to share a message about Jesus Christ and His Atoning sacrifice. We have met with him a few times, but it just seems like he doesn't really take it in. He loves our visits and talks a lot, but he just doesn't seem to show a lot of interest and really just doesn't commit to it. From this I have realized the importance of Agency. I so badly wish we could just tell people how to truly find true happiness... I love the quote that says: "If you want to help someone get to an island, don't tell him/her how to get there; just show him/her the blessings, and they will want to find their way there." When we remember the blessings that come from living the Gospel, we will want to live it. So we are hoping that when we see him tonight, we can be in tune with the spirit and show him the blessings that come from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Another reason why this week has been a learning one for me is because I have been thinking a lot about what it means to "do your best." I have often felt that if I'm not the best or don't have baptisms, then I'm not good enough. Well, this week I feel like I got humbled and finally am realizing that numbers truly don't matter. Doing your best doesn't mean that you have to be the best at whatever you do, it just means that you do your very best and strive to improve yourself one step and one day at a time. It's a process...and it's a long one, but I've seen great blessings already come because I've realized that more. I'm grateful for the opportunity that I have to learn patience even though I know I don't always have much of it and it's hard to get...but I know that anything is possible, especially if it has to do with the Gospel and we rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ for help. I know that the Atonement is real. Christ really did suffer for us and wants to comfort us in times of trial. He has a plan of Happiness for us. It's only during the times that we forget that He is the Master when we begin to be impatient or feel our trials are overwhelming. So from me this week, I would hope that you all choose to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ more in your lives. It's truly the way to happiness and joy in this life and the next.

One way that I realized the blessings more this week from living the Gospel is because we had the privilige to attend the temple this week. Wow, I don't think I've felt the spirit that strong in the temple before. There is amazing peace and joy that is only found in the temple. It's worth shooting for. There's always something we can do better. We just have to take one thing at a time and focus on the most important things.
I love you all. Have a great week! 

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Spirit is the Real Teacher!

Familia y Amigos,

Wow, another week in the books. I hope you are all doing great and have plans to enjoy another week wherever you are!

As for this past week here in Omaha, Wednesday was a big day....we had Zone Conference. In the conference we learned a lot about the importance of being converted to the Gospel and helping our investigators to do the same. Our Mission President talked about how too many of us just have baptisms as a statistic...and we need to throw that out the window. He mentioned how a person has to come to church 3 times before baptism...but that's a MINIMUM. I thought it was a really good conference and I like what he said about how if we are converted, we will know how to meet the needs of our investigators through the Spirit and we will have more progressing investigators. When I heard that, I was like, boo ya...I need to convert myself more!!

But I feel like a learned a good lesson this week. We ended up knocking a lot of doors and the first day we just had absolutely nothing going for us. And then the next day, it was getting late and we just thought we should hit up one more door before we finished it up and the lady that answered the door, N, was super willing to visit with us and then we scheduled a return visit with her. This was a tender mercy from the Lord to me, I felt like. But, I learned a lesson from it that it's only the Spirit that really teaches people...it doesn't matter how many times you've been to church or how many scriptures you can quote. All that matters is if you are converted. So that is something I want more.

Then, lastly we had a bomb visit with an investigator and a member came with us. The Spirit was really strong as the member shared his testimony about the Restoration and so I'm excited to see what happens with our investigator, E!

But I'm sorry, there isn't much to report for this week. We did a lot of organizing in our area and area book, so hopefully these next few weeks we can get more things rolling here with investigators!!

I hope you all have a great week! Thanks so much for all your support and examples! I love you all so much!

Elder Vawdrey

Dad, congratulations on completing another marathon!! That is so sweet. I'm sure that's pretty tough to make time to run with all of your other responsibilities. Wow. But, way to go! And thanks for your letter again this week! I'm so grateful that I have such great parents and they write me each week.. and my brothers and sisters as well. I love you guys!!

Mom, thanks for your letter and attached missionary journal haha. It's fun to hear your experiences from your mission as well. But hey, you might be interested in hearing that I went on an exchange with Elder Harker this last week. My companion went on an exchange with our district leader, so I went with Elder Harker and we worked over in his area. He is a very hard worker, wants everyone to hear the Gospel, and walks really fast. haha We were able to find some good potentials for him I think for this next week, so we will have to wait and hear what happens with that. But, this morning I went running with him...and he reminds me a lot of Robby Lee. And flip, he runs quick, I was having a hard time keeping up with him. We ran on a muddy trail and my legs are sore. haha but it was nice to go on a run with him.

Angi, good luck with finals!! Ah, it's gonna feel so good when it's done. I hope it turns out as good as you hope!

Tyler, good luck getting a road bike. Good luck with finals for you too. Work hard!

JJ, congrats on getting your Arrow of Light! That's sweet. And tackle football? That's sweet!! You'll be a great player.

JoJo, good luck with soccer.

Family, thanks so much for your weekly e-mails. I love hearing from each of you. I'm glad all is well and that summer is almost here! whoot. Have a great week!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The blessings are flowing!

Familia y Amigos!!

How are you all? I hope you had a great mother's Day!! It was a blast to talk to and see my family on Skype yesterday and to find out that everything is great and that the family is continually striving to increase their testimonies. I just want to say thanks again to my mom. I'm so grateful for you and your great example. Everything that I have and am is because of you. And I hope you had a great rest of the day! Love ya.

Virtual family hug

As for a quick report on this past week, Elder Pese and I feel like we learned a ton. We changed the areas a little bit between the 3 companionships here in Omaha, so we are in the process of finding out which members are in whose area. So as for this week, we pretty much had to just do missionary work by our own efforts. And I realized that missionary work is very difficult if we just try and do finding ourselves. I'm so grateful to be serving in a ward right now and to be serving in another area where the members are so willing to help us out.

But this week, Elder Pese and I knocked a lot of doors and just felt like we were teaching basically the same thing at each house. We thought it would be good to always talk about the Restoration but after each lesson we just felt like the lesson didn't go well. We decided to change things up a little bit.. and so we tried to ask more inspired questions to the people we contacted and wow it made such a difference. I feel like I am starting to understand better the voice of the Spirit and that it truly is the Spirit that guides this work and helps it move forward. Without the Spirit, your teaching will go no where. so anyway, long story short, Elder Pese and I felt like we had some really solid visits this last week and we felt uplifted after several of them. I think that is how I can realize if the Spirit directed the lesson or not.

But things are going good here. Another really exciting thing that I just heard about today was back from when I was serving in my first area...Sioux City, Iowa. When I was serving with Elder Thayne and Elder Jones, there was a night when we just had no one to go see and we had been knocking a lot of doors. We didn't know what to do and so we decided to say a prayer in the car to find out if there was someone the Lord wanted us to see? Well, after the prayer we shared whatever came to our mind. Elder Thayne and Jones didn't have anyone in mind...having been just new to the area. But there was one name that came to my mind, that I had never taught a lesson to before but we contacted her once at the door. But I said her name, M, and we went and saw her and we were only able to set up an appointment. But, I just heard from Elder Jones today saying that M just got baptized and her son as well!! I am SO pumped!!! YEAH!!! I feel so grateful for the many blessings that the Lord constantly gives us and helps us to know that what we are doing is the right thing to do. Missionary Work is so great. It has it's long days, but moments like this are priceless and make all the long days worth it. I'm so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows our needs, our thoughts, our worries, and our interests and is always right there to help us out. We just need to show faith and he will be there. Really quick I heard an analogy the other day that I really like.

This life is like us on a row boat. You need a paddle on each side of the boat in order to go straight and fast. Our sunday school teacher related it to the importance of our personal agency and trust in God. If all we ever do is just trust in ourselves and say we can do it on our own...our boat is just going to go around in a circle. Likewise if all we ever do is rely on God to show us everything that we should do, we also just go in a circle. So moral of the story, we need to trust in the Lord as we exercise our agency. whoot. love it!!

Anyway, have a great week everyone. I love you all so much. Thanks so much for your love, support, testimonies, and examples. You're actions speak louder than your words. Thanks :)

Elder Vawdrey

P.S. here are some pictures from the last few weeks. Enjoy :) haha    Elder Pese in the dryer, my bad sunburn, us on Mormon Street, burgers at King Kong, and some of the cutest kids ever !!

Elder Lobster

Let see...permanent press?

King Kong burger...appropriately named!

Mormon Street!

Some of the cutest kids ever!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day!

No letter from Elder Vawdrey since we chatted with him for
nearly 45 minutes yesterday on Skype. He's doing amazing!

Monday, May 7, 2012

She came!

Hey familia y amigos!

I hope you've all had a great week this week! It's been good here in Omaha! It's now just the 4 of us Elders here...the 5th that was showing me and my companion around the city went to serve in Lincoln, so now Elder Pese and I are taking over the Omaha North area. We are excited and ready to go to work!

We have been able to meet with a lady named N quite a bit lately. I was amazed by her faith that she showed this past week. When we stopped by early in the week to visit with her, we found out that her ex-husband had gotten into a car accident just down the street because he was drunk. She seemed just shocked about everything, but she still insisted that we come in. We were kind of surprised that she let us in, but we ended up having a great visit with her and talked about church and how she can feel great peace there. She committed to come. Then, Sunday morning, we were waiting outside the church for her to arrive and then she didn't show up. bummer. Well, after Sunday School, we got a call from her and she was apologizing because she had quite a crazy morning. She still wanted to come and so she hurried over quickly to the church and was able to make it in time for Sacrament meeting. We were way excited to see her there and her kids as well! But I saw great faith from her part, insisting on us to visit with her when obviously she had a lot of things going on, and then coming to church on Sunday amid tons of distractions going on at home. We hope that she will continue to progress and keep her baptismal date for the 26th of May.

On Saturday, us missionaries here in Omaha were in the Cinco De Mayo parade. Before it started we passed out mormon.org cards to people on the streets...and HOLY SMOKES...I don't think I've ever seen so many people at a parade before. It was SO packed. We gave out 1000 cards...so we hope that at least one person has enough faith to give us a call or check out the website.

But things are going well here. This morning we did a deep clean of our apartment, and it looks pretty good, I'm not gonna lie. It feels really good to have a clean apartment.

Anyway, I am short on time of course again. But I hope you are all doing well. I love you all. Have a great week!

Elder Vawdrey