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!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's in my heart!

Good afternoon mis Amigos y mi Familia!

I hope you have enjoyed this past week! As for here in Lexington, we had some great experiences and pretty soon there will be some changes here. First of all, as for the changes that are going to occur, one of my companions, Elder Hugentobler, will be heading back home this Wednesday. He has completed his mission and so it will be Elder Terris and I taking over the Lexington area. He will be greatly missed. He has really built up this area and we all had a lot of fun together. And he was usually the person that would cook us our food...he loved to cook, so somehow Elder Terris and I and going to have to adjust to cooking our own food again. haha But I think it will be nice to be in a 2-some companionship again. I'm hoping we both learn and grow a lot this next week.

On Wednesday this past week we had an awesome visit with the African recent convert..."W." We went over to teach him about the Priesthood and Temples. And as a ward here in Lexington, they have a temple trip that they are going to go to in Omaha later on this month and so we were hoping to invite "W" to attend and do some baptisms for the dead. Well, when we started talking about Temples, we showed him a picture of the Salt Lake temple and he was like..."Wwooooowwwww." haha It was hilarious. And we got talking to him about what we do at the temple and he quickly told us...you do baptisms for the dead. haha. And when we mentioned how the ward is going to go to the temple soon, he said "I know." And then he named off the day they were going to go. We were surprised that he had remembered from church. We were like, "How did you know that? And he responded with, "IT"S IN MY HEART!!" It's comments like that and moments like that that just remind me of the joy that comes from the Gospel. I'm so grateful for this experience, and is probably something I won't forget.

Later on in the week, we went with "W" and another recent convert to the church to show them how to pass the sacrament. It was a really cool experience and it reminded me of the day when I became a deacon. Unfortunately, W was too nervous to pass the sacrament this Sunday and so hopefully we can build him up to do it this upcoming week. But we got him a white church shirt and man, all he needed was a missionary tag and he would've looked like a missionary. haha

We also visited with C and H...they are an African couple and they had been taught by my companions a few times before I came here to Lexington, but we had a good visit with them about the Proclamation to the World and the blessings that the Gospel brings to our families. C seemed interested, but they are going to have a baby soon and they are going to move in about a month, so H said she doesn't want to go to church until after they move. So, hopefully we can hold onto them for the future.

Then, as for F and M, we saw them this week as well and found out some deep concerns. They haven't really been progressing much, M has bad health, and that is their excuse for not attending church. And, they aren't married. So they would need to get married before they can do much else. So we are hoping to have a good visit with them this week!

Other than that, I got a haircut today and I'm looking really good! haha But that is about it from here in Lexington. Things are going pretty good here. Hopefully we can do some good finding this week. I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for your love and support!

Elder Vawdrey