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