Monday, July 30, 2012

Go About Doing Good

Familia y Amigos,

Buenos Dias! July is coming to an end and I can't believe it. Time just is flying. But I hope you all had a great week this week!

At the beginning of this week, my companions and I got back to our apartment a little bit early and we were thinking about what we should do next. One of my companions, Elder Hugentobler, suggested that we just walk around the block. We usually drive around in a car all day so we don't really talk to or see people outside all the time. So we decided we would give it a try. Well, we weren't exactly sure where we were going to walk to, and at one point we just stopped at the corner of the street to figure out who we wanted to go see...and then we saw a family coming towards us on their bikes. We didn't really think anything of it until the dad just came right up to us on his bike and asked us: "What are you guys doing, and who are you?" hahaha! Well, we talked to him for a while and we told him how we are sharing a message about Jesus Christ and that we are missionaries, and his first response was: "Cool, do you want to come over to my house?" hahahaha! We were shocked! We were like, "Yeah, for sure!!" And he was like, "All right, come over tomorrow night!" We were like, "All right! Cool!!" So, that was a big miracle to us. I know the Lord knew exactly where we were and he provided someone in our path to teach!

Well, we went back the next night and come to find out his wife use to attend the Mormon church. She speaks Vietnamese and she attended the Vietnamese branch that use to be here...but lots of the people moved away so the branch no longer exists. We haven't had a chance to talk to her yet though. She wasn't there when we went to go see them... but we were stoked when we were looking around and we saw a Vietnamese Book of Mormon on their shelf in the living room!! So that was sweet to see that, and then the guy told us that he met missionaries before on a bus when he was in California and loved what they taught him. So...after we got to know him a little bit, we taught him about the restoration, and it was sweet! We will come visit him again later this week. So I'm grateful for the seed that previous missionaries planted in his heart as they were riding on a bus so he could be prepared to hear our message today!

Then, as for F and M, we had a good visit with F. M was making tamales in the kitchen while we were there and she showed us how it is done! So sweet! And then they gave us some tamales when they finished! But, F is hilarious! He talked to us about how he had to get surgery on his shoulder He said, "I had to take cinco IBUPROFENS." hahaha. It was hilarious because he said it in English! But we talked with him about prayer and the importance of attending church. Well, F is super willing but the problem is M. They said they would "try" to come to church on Sunday because M was sick. They weren't there, so we will pass by tonight and see how they're doing and hopefully help them to better understand the importance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

And other than that, we have been blessed to have free passes to the Y, so we go there each morning and get some good exercise in.

Things have been going well! We did a lot of service this week too with helping people move. So things are going good! Sorry this letter is short. I'll try to send you a better one next week!!

I hope you all have another great week of summer! Thanks so much for your love and support!

Elder Vawdrey

Here are some answers to questions I received from home:

Q: Where do you clean your clothes? Laundry mat / members house?
A: We are lucky here in Lexington. We have our own washer & dryer in our apartment.

Q: Are your clothes holding up okay?
Q: My clothes are doing pretty good. I think they will last, but I'll let you know if I ever need anything.

Q: Are you healthy?
A: The past week I was pretty sick and so was Elder Hugentobler. And now I think Elder Terris is getting sick. But, we're fine. I think I only get sick when I'm stressed out. I still am pretty stressed now that I've been called to serve as the District Leader. I just need to learn how to trust in the Spirit more and relax!

Q: Tell us more about your new companions.
A: I have two companions right now. Elder Hugentobler goes home a week from Wednesday. he will be going home a little early like Corey so he can go to school at SNOW COLLEGE!! haha. yeah baby! He is an English-speaking missionary and is a great Elder. He has served as District Leader and Zone Leader several times. He has served with Elders who went A.P. after serving with him. He is a way good cook...loves to cook. He played football and basketball in school. K knows Preach My Gospel really well. And, he refuses to tell people here when is going home. He doesn't want people to know when he's going home. He is an awesome guy. I love him.

Elder Terris has been out almost a year now. He is super buff and loves going to the Y to work out each morning. He is a simple guy and also has a strong testimony. He played football in high school as well. He is someone that can help relieve stress. He's a great kid and is fun and easy to work with. I love Elder Terris.

Q: What are your responsibilities as a DL?
A: As a District leader, I am just in charge of holding a district meeting each week and collecting the #'s from all the elders in my district each Sunday night. There are three companionships in our district and they are a lot of fun. I am excited to work with them. And then more than anything, I just need to be a good example. And then, I will go on exchanges with each of the Elders sometime during the transfer. Probably here in a few weeks.

Q: Do you have weekly responsibilities in your ward? Or do you get to always accompany your investigators?
A: As for our ward, no, we don't really have any responsibilities...other than to strengthen the members and teach investigators. Actually, we teach a Gospel Principles class. Right now it's in English, but if we can get more hispanics to church, then we do the classes ini Spanish. Occasionally, the bishop will ask us to speak in church, but on my mission, I think I've only given two talks in church by assignment from the bishop or branch president. I've been pretty lucky that way! And sometimes we are asked to bless or pass the sacrament. I love it when that happens!!

Q: How can we be a better support from home?
A: I think you are being a great support! I love each of your weekly letters and i appreciate it SO much!! I don't think I have any other suggestions. I can keep thinking. Maybe just keep sending quotes, your testimonies, and entries from your mission (if you wish). But thanks for everything! I love you all!!

My Bishop (Pres. Uchtdorf look-alike) and Elders Terris and Hugentobler

The guy who helped us move didn't like the stump in our yard. Ha!

Happy birthday Elder Terris!

Chillin' in an investigator's hammock!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lexington, Nebraska

Familia y Amigos,

Buenos Diaz! I hope you are all doing great and are surviving this heat... And hey tomorrow is Pioneer Day I think! SO I hope you got some good plans for that! ha

So, this past week was transfer week and I got transferred here to Lexington, NE. It is a SWEET place. I flippin love it here! haha It smells like poo outside because there are like a million and a half cows and hogs, but other than that it is a great place. I have felt very welcomed here, I feel that this is exactly where the Lord wants me, and I have felt of his love greatly since I've been here. I am serving in a 3-sum with Elder Hugentobler and Elder Terris. Elder Hugentobler is a funny kid from good old Manti, UT and so he knows a bunch of friends I had down at Snow College. pretty cool. He only has 3 weeks left on his mission so Elder Terris and I will kill him off! But he is a great Elder, and an amazing teacher...blows my mind. And then Elder Terris is from Lindon, UT and he is freaking buff. haha I think I've played against him before in basketball and he is a great teacher as well. We have free passes to the "Y" here... so we will work out each morning Mon-Fri.

But when I first got here, I was feeling sick. And the other day, I actually was feeling really sick and so I slept in a bit hoping that I would feel better. And that morning I got a call from our Mission President early in the morning and asked me if I had heard? And when he said that I was like..uh...nuh uh...and I started to worry because I thought maybe something bad had happened to someone in my family...but then he said, "The Lord wants you to serve as District Leader." I was glad that nothing was wrong with my family and this phone call was not something I was expecting at all. I accepted the call...even though I'm not exactly sure why he wants me to serve in that calling. But, I'll rely on Him for help.

On Saturday, we had a baptism for a girl named A in the ward who was in a part-member family and so that was cool to see a baptism my first weekend here. And then on Sunday, A received the Holy Ghost, 2 other girls in the ward got baptized, and a recent convert received the Aaronic Priesthood. It was quite the weekend. The Spirit was very strong. And then Saturday night we had a ward activity at the bishop's house. And no joke, the bishop here, Bishop H looks identical to President Uchtdorf! haha It is hilarious. He is a great guy and he is known as the owner of the #1 hog farm in the world. hahaha so sweet! And there were a few non-members at the ward activity so that was sweet. But this place here in Lexington reminds me a lot of Illinois when I use to live in a place called Mahomet. It is a very laid-back town, nice people, and a LOT of corn! haha I have really enjoyed the laid-back town cause it helps me relax and remember the many blessings I have received and what matters most in life. It was hard to relax a lot for me when I was serving in the big city of Omaha.

Anyway, here in Lexington, it is an English ward and there is like 2 Hispanic families. Very nice people...and I see great things ahead for this ward. Where we live, we are surrounded by Africans! And they are SO awesome! We have been teaching a few of them and one of them "SW" just got baptized. Africans are hilarious. hahah oh man. I feel like I am serving in Madagascar with Elder Robby Lee...these Africans are amazing people. They are super nice, love white boys, and really want to learn about God. There is never a dull moment around them. But anyway, we are teaching one African guy named E right now and he is best friend's with "SW", his buddy who just got baptized. E has a lot of questions about the church and has strong desires to know how we worship. He's been reading in the Book of Mormon, he knows a ton about the bible, and wants to find the "right" church. As long as he continues to ask us questions and read in the Book of Mormon, I have no doubt he will find this "right" church soon!!

Just last night, we went and saw F and MH. When we knocked the door, F answered it and we asked him: "Como esta, hermano?" And he said "SUPER SUPER bien!" haha it was hilarious. He invited us in...I got to know them good and then after we reviewed a bit from our last lesson, we talked about baptism for a bit and then we watched the Restoration video with them. Neither of them have been baptized and they both want to. F prayed Saturday night and asked God to show him where he needs to go to find the "right" church and know where he should get baptized. so super cool. And they have been taught before by past missionaries. Well anyway, as we watched the Restoration movie with them, I was praying super hard that they would feel the Spirit and have open ears and that we could listen to them well and answer their questions afterwards. Well, as the movie came to an end, there is a part that shows when Joseph Smith's dad gets baptized by immersion in a river... and when F saw that he was like "I WANT THAT!" haha He said it has always been his dream to get baptized in a river. So if things work out we will have to find a river somewhere here in Lexington to baptize him! haha But they were both very receptive to the movie and they seem to understand the importance of baptism and really want to be baptized. We talked to them about faith and how they got to do more than just pray to find a stronger answer. And then I shared an analogy from cross-country!! whoot! And then we had a kneeling prayer with them. When we knelt down, we started explaining to them how we pray and then right in the middle of when we were explaining it...Francisco just started praying and he didn't stop until like 10 minutes later! haha It was hilarious. I was trying SO hard not to laugh out loud. But next time we go over there, we will have to talk a little more about prayer. haha But, anyway, they seem very interested...so we hope that they stay open and continue to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet. Francisco accepted a date to be baptized on the 3rd of September!!

One thing I have realized on my mission is that the hardest thing for people to comprehend is that only one church has the authority to baptize. Everyone thinks that all the churches are good as long as you believe in God. It gets frustrating sometimes...but I've realized that I just have to listen to them and try to explain it simply and hope that overtime they understand it!!

But things are going well here. I love Lexington and look forward to serving here for a while! I hope you all have a great week. Thanks for all your love and support. And we'll see ya next week.

Elder Vawdrey

P.S. sorry, I can't upload pictures again. I'll try to find a different computer where I can.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Going to Lexington, NE

Familia y Amigos,

How are you all? I hope you had another great week. Holy smokes...I can't believe it. Tomorrow is transfers and I found out this morning that I'm being transferred to Lexington, NE. I thought for sure I would stay here in Omaha for a couple more transfers. I still feel like I just got here. But I will be joining Elder Terris and Elder Hugentobbler (we call him hug a tobbler! haha) clear out West. I'm super surprised but I'm really excited as well. I served with Elder Terris for about a week when I first came here to Omaha with Elder Pese...he was here for about a week to show us around the city...and he was awesome, so I'm excited to join up with him. And then Elder Hugentobbler goes home in 3 weeks...he goes home in the middle of a transfer so I'll be in a 3-some for just 3 weeks it sounds like. This is like my 7th 3-some... haha weird. But from what I've heard, there is a TON of hispanics out in Lexington and they have been teaching like crazy out there. I'm pumped. But I will miss the people of Omaha very much. The ward here is amazing and I had a GREAT time serving with Elder Pese. Oh and Elder Pese will be taking over the area...haha yeah go Pese! But I'm so grateful I had the privilege to serve out here in Omaha! And who knows, maybe I'll end up coming back to this place?!

So other than that news....this week was pretty good. Last Monday, we were pretty frustrated because we weren't really having any success with any of our investigators. So we were praying on our way to J's house that we could just teach somebody. Well, when we knocked his door, he let us right in and we talked to him for a while and we both felt prompted to invite him to be baptized. So we did and he accepted!! It was a powerful lesson and Elder Pese and I were so stoked!! We feel like our prayers were answered and that God is watching over us! 

And then earlier this week we went and saw a less-active family and watched "The Restoration" movie with them. In that lesson, I seriously almost burst out in tears, that movie is powerful and I know that they felt it too. So we hope that they will come to church now so they can feel that more. And we found out that the grandma and niece that live with them aren't members of the church. And the grandma seemed super interested in the message of the Restoration. So we are excited about that!

As for a funny story...last night Elder Pese and I took the car to go see some people and when we got out of the car, we realized that one of the car tires was a little bit on top of the curb. Elder Pese looked at me and said: "Watch this. I'll get it off the curb." So he turned around and then hit his backside against the car and we heard a "POP." hahahaha And we looked at it and Elder Pese put a dent in the car with his bum. hahaha it was HILARIOUS. And it is a huge dent. So, he felt super bad. Hopefully we can get it fixed soon.

Elder Pese's "bum" dent

Other than this, I can't remember everything else that happened. I switched to a new planner and so everything that happened during the week is in my other planner. I don't have a very good memory. haha sorry. And the news of transfers blows my mind. haha but I'm super excited. I hope you are all doing well. I love you all and thanks so much for your love and support!! Enjoy another week of Summer!

Elder Vawdrey

Our Omaha District

Monday, July 9, 2012

He's There

Familia y Amigos,

Hello once again. I hope you all had a great 4th of July and didn't get into too much trouble with them fireworks. haha

As for this past week, if you were to look at our numbers, our week stunk...but if you were to look at the blessings, our week rocked! Here are a few of the blessings:

1. First of all, President Weston arrived in Omaha this week and we had a meeting on Tuesday to get to know him, his wife, and his son Jackson. Wow, they are going to do great things here. The Spirit was powerful as all of us missionaries made a line all the way down the stake center hallway and greeted him personally and then they bore their testimonies and wow. I was amazed. I'm excited to learn from them this next year. Super humble people and they are so close to, and in tune with, the Spirit.

2. Then, on Thursday I think, the carzar here took us Elders out to lunch for staying under the mileage limit like 2 months ago and he gave us 50 extra miles for this month!

3. On Wednesday, we had gone and seen everyone we could possibly think of and we were left with no other plans. So we started to walk back to our apartment to have an early dinner...and then a less-active family saw us walking across the street and yelled at us to come over. We went over and they were having a 4th of July feast!! haha carne asada, jalapenos, arroz, ensalada, and cactus. Yeah, I had cactus. And it was flippin' good! haha. But we ended up having a delicous dinner and visit with them.

4. Then, on Friday, we once again had nothing to do and there was a soccer game going on across the street. We walked over to watch for a second and then once we started walking again, a car came up behind us honking and said "Hey, Elders!" haha It was a guy who is less-active that just moved here to Omaha, and we had tried to see him just minutes before but he wasn't there. We were invited into his house and had an awesome visit with him. K well, this guy is probably the most simple person I have ever met. haha but one thing he said was really cool I thought...There is no line between having fun and working. It's all fun and it's all work. I liked that comment. All work we do can be fun if we want to make it that way.

5. Saturday, we went to see a recent convert who lived way far away and we could only take the bus. And when we got on the bus, there was only room for us to sit in the back. So we went back there and as I looked around, there was this one little black toddler that just caught my eye and all I could do was think about this kid and what life is like for him. My heart swelled up with gratitude for the many blessings we have as members of the Church, but it was also filled of pain thinking of this little black toddler who didn't have nice clothes on and his dad was wearing boots...and they don't know where to go or how to find true peace and joy. I feel like the Lord was trying to soften my heart and He made me realize how blessed we are. I wanted so badly to go talk to the black toddler's dad, but they got off the next stop and it just wasn't the best situation. But anyway, that was beside the point...we were going to see a recent convert and when we got off the bus, we couldn't find the house. Thankfully, we had a member that came and met us at her place and he came out and helped us find it. But, after we had been visiting the the recent convert for a while, I looked at my watch and realized we were about to miss the bus going back home. I was stressed out for a bit, but then I remembered something that President Weston said when he interviewed each of us and shared his testimony..."Don't ever worry. Trust that things will all work out." So, long story short, our lesson made us miss the bus, but I felt like we had a great visit with the recent convert and then in the end the member offered to give us a ride back home. And, if we had taken the bus, we would have been late for our next appointment anyway.

So, here is just 5 big blessings that happened this week and there were many more. Heavenly Father is there and is wanting to bless us. If we turn to Him, He will always surprise us with blessings.

Thank you all for all of your love and support. Have a great week.

Elder Vawdrey

P.S. I'm sorry I forgot my camera cord so I can't upload pictures. I'll put some on next week.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Power of Prayer

Familia y Amigos,

Hello hello. I hope you all had another great week. Anyone got fun plans for 4th of July? People out here have already started lighting fireworks off like crazy. A lot of people have tried to hit us with their fireworks when we're walking and riding bikes. It's making me angry. haha but I laugh everytime. But it will be interesting to see what it's like here on the 4th of July.

As for our most solid investigator right now, C, she had a sweet experience with prayer this week. We taught her the Restoration about a week or so ago and it was probably the best lesson Elder Pese and I have taught together. When we went back for the next visit, she told us about her experience with prayer. She recently got in a car accident and hurt her neck really bad so she has been on medication for a while. And she has a couple of kids that stress her out because they are always bouncing off the walls haha. Well the night after we taught her the Restoration, she was overwhelmed with all the stress she had so she knelt down by her bed and said a prayer. And she told us that once she finished her prayer, she felt like a wave of peace come over her and all of her pain went away. She said she felt like someone had touched and healed her, but she couldn't see him. boo ya!! We were so stoked to hear that. But problem is right after that, her boyfriend got home with a box of beer and pretty much ruined the spirit there. So, that stunk...and we haven't been able to get in touch with her since. But we are hoping to see her again tomorrow and help her understand more that that was the Spirit. So there is power in prayer...and there is an opposition in all things too. I like the quote from my Stake President back home..."Keep your knees on the ground and your eyes on Heaven."

We also just found out that our new Mission President arrived just a few days ago...President Weston. We will meet him tomorrow at a meeting so we are pretty excited for that.

And last good news: today, we are going to the Omaha Zoo as a district and we are super stoked!! I hear the zoo here in legit! I'll have to put up some pictures up on next week's e-mail. But I hope you are all doing well and have a great 4th of July. I love you all. Thanks for your love and support!

Elder Vawdrey