Monday, November 26, 2012

It works out again!

Familia y Amigos,

Sorry it is so late in the day that you are receiving this e-mail today. To make a long story short, we had to drive all the way out to Lincoln today to pick up my coat that I accidentally left out there from some meetings we had attended last week. But we are good to do e-mails now so...coolbeans.

Anyway, this week was GREAT! We are continually seeing tender mercies each day and one of which that we will always remember was the baptism of GA! I had the privilege of baptizing her on Saturday and then she was confirmed on Sunday by Elder Harker. She was so excited to be baptized and had a big smile on her face all night. It was so cool to watch her and also see many of her non-member relatives at her baptismal service. I'm so grateful for her great example and desire to make covenants with her Heavenly Father and strive to become more like Him. I was reminded of the covenants I made at 8 years of age, and all I can say is that I am proud to be a MORMON!

GA is 9 years old and the Primary loves having her in their class. I'm so grateful for the privilege it has been to work with her and see her progress in her faith in the Savior. I hope that she continues to move forward in living the Gospel throughout her life.

GA got baptized!

 As part of the program for her baptismal service, she asked Elder Harker and me if we would sing "How Great Thou Art." Of course we accepted but at the same time we were like "Huh? Us?" haha So we practiced singing it during comp. study and anyway, we decided to sing part of it in Spanish and part of it in English. And not to brag or anything...but I think we sounded pretty good. haha Or maybe there was an angel actually singing behind us without us knowing? I don't know? haha But anyway, it was an honor to sing that song at her baptismal service because that is one of my all time favorite church hymns. A couple people cried and right after the meeting Bishop Horton asked us if we would sing it in church next week. Oh boy, look what you've done to us GA! haha But, it's all right.

Then, H and P are continuing to progress as well! They will be having their baptismal interviews tomorrow and if all goes well, they will be baptized this Friday at 7pm. So keep them in your prayers. We feel that they are prepared and have experienced a broken heart and contrite spirit. We are excited for them and hope that everything works out with their baptisms this Friday. They each were given their own Book of Mormon and Bible so they were pretty excited about that. We were going to wait to give those to them at their baptism, but the Branch President said that he thought it would be better for them to have the scriptures beforehand. I'm not going to question him. Sounds like a great idea to me. And they have enjoyed reading out of their new scriptures.

So, Elder Harker and I are so grateful that we are able to see the blessings of the Lord in great measures right now. And as for F and M, they were really sick this past week, so we dropped by and gave each of them a Priesthood blessing. We will check up with them tomorrow and see how they are doing.

Other than the work we have been receiving many other blessings. One huge "temporal blessing" for me that we were blessed with just today was that Elder Harker and I got to have a tour of the Nebraska Football Stadium. It was flipping SWEET! I have pictures of this along with GA's baptism. So, like I mentioned earlier, I left my coat in Omaha last week. Well, the A.P.s were going to give it to me at transfer day but they forgot it and gave it to the Elders in Lincoln, so we had to drive all the way there today and we found out last night that the Lincoln zone was getting a tour of the Nebraska Football Stadium today and they had an open spot, so OF COURSE we jumped on it. And there were many other blessings on top of this...but time is short.

Elder Heisman

Cougar fan turned Cornhusker fan?

I love you all and am so grateful for your examples and support. I hope that you all have a great week and I hope that my little brother Jordan has a great experience at his baptismal service this upcoming Saturday. I love you buddy. I'll be thinking of you. Thanks for your great example. Until next week,

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, November 19, 2012

Getting the water ready!

Familia y Amigos,

HOLA from Lexington, NE! I hope you all had a great week and I hope you all know that I'm grateful for all you do, your great examples, and your testimonies. And I hope you all have great plans for Thanksgiving this year!

But anyway, as for an update on this past week, it was a great and crazy one. First of all, I was gone from Lexington for 3 days because of meetings we had, and by the end of the third day, I was just so pumped to get back to Lexington. On Wednesday, we had a leadership conference in Omaha, so we drove for a long time and the next day listened to Elder Watson speak! He is one of the people who wrote Preach My Gospel. He is a great teacher and I learned a lot from this conference. He mentioned how the Omaha, NE mission is sitting on GOLD right now and I totally see it. Several of our investigators are finally progressing and it is so sweet see. Elder Watson covered a ton of stuff regarding missionary work and gave us a lot of suggestions of how we can become better teachers. For each lesson we teach as missionaries, he challenged us to teach the key doctrine in each of the main lessons. Like for Restoration of the Gospel, if you were only to teach one thing, you should teach about REVELATION. For the Plan of Salvation, if we were to teach one thing, we should talk about the ATONEMENT. And for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we should teach how it's THE WAY! I used these punch words and ideas in teaching this week and it made a huge difference. We weren't so worried about having to teach everything and the investigators understanding of what we were teaching seemed to improve. So anyway, any other missionaries who may read this e-mail, I encourage you to give this a try and see if it helps at all. This is only one of the many things that Elder Watson taught. I would type up everything if I had the time. He also mentioned how 70% of last year's converts were from Former Investigators. I thought that was really interesting, because I haven't utilized Former Investigators much on my mission so that is something I am going to change. But anyway, the next day we had a meeting with just our zone and then on Friday, we did exchanges with the Elders serving in a place called "Broken Bow." haha. So, it was a pretty spirit-filled couple of days!

As for Lexington, the work is still going well! G will be getting baptized on Saturday, and she is excited to get baptized. She asked me if I would baptize her, so I'm hoping that I can stay here in Lexington for another transfer. Transfers are on Friday, so if I happen to get transferred I won't be able to be at her baptismal service. But, we will see how it works out. And then, H and P are planning on getting baptized on the 30th of November still. H had a problem with smoking but last we heard, she hasn't had a cigarette in 10 days. We hope that she can continue moving forward and overcome that trial she has. We weren't able to meet with F and M this week because we were so busy and gone most of the week, so we hope to see them really soon and hope to see them at church again soon. Other than that, we have been able to find a few more new investigators, so we are really excited. We saw a lot of miracles and blessings once again this week, and again, if I had time I would write them all down.

On Saturday, Brother K in our ward baptized his 8-year-old daughter. Bro. K is a recent convert of just a few years so it was cool to see his excitement to baptize his daughter. And for your information, there is going to be some great Christmas videos and such on www.mormon.org/Christmas so I invite you to check them out sometime.

But anyway, I don't have much more time. I hope that you all have a Happy Thanksgiving. A member in our ward challenged us to make a list of 100 things we are grateful for. I think I'm going to do it. And if you feel the desire to recognize the blessings you have, I encourage you to do the same.

I'm grateful for the Savior Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for all that He did for me and that even though I'm not perfect, He still loves me. I know He loves each of you. Have a great week,

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, November 12, 2012

Becoming converted

Familia y Amigos,

Happy Veterans Day! We had no idea that it was a holiday today until we got to the library and saw that it was closed. So we were able to call a member in our ward to use their computers. But anyway, before e-mails today, we went to the Military Base here and wow, it was the perfect day to go. We had planned on going there today for a little while but we had no idea it was Veterans Day, and we also had no idea that they would have so much stuff going on there today. We were able to get some sweet pictures around military vehicles and we got there just in time for some donuts and a guest speaker who talked about how blessed we are to be a free country. So I want to say a quick thanks to all those who are fighting for our country and our freedom. We are so blessed. And I will have to upload some pictures next week. I'm not able to do it with the computer I'm at right now.

Earlier this week, we had a zone conference that was probably the best meeting I have been to during my mission. It was all based around Elder Bednar's talk from this past General Conference about Becoming Converted. He talks about the difference between Testimony and Conversion and how testimony is the sure foundation for conversion. In the talk, it mentions how we become more converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It also mentions the things that permit us from becoming more converted. I strongly encourage you to reread this talk. I learned so much from it. But I think the biggest thing that stood out to me about becoming converted is that it is all based around FAITH. We have to DO something to become more converted. It takes ACTION to become who we want to become. And another thing that really stood out to me was PATIENCE. Probably one of the most important parts of conversion is Patience. Because we can't just become converted to the Gospel overnight. It takes consistent daily efforts over a period of time. As we keep the commandments and submit to the will and timing of God, overtime, we will become more converted. One thing that I also realized is that we shouldn't focus on getting an "ENOS" or "NEPHI" experience, but rather we should focus on becoming worthy to receive such an experience. As we keep that mindset we will enjoy the journey and overtime gain the Conversion we hope for.

And then, the next day, the Zone Leaders came down to Lexington and did exchanges with us and that was an amazing experience. Several miracles came about and we were able to help several people! The work is going well here in Lexington. We have a member that gave out a Book Of Mormon to a co-worker and also invited a family to church. Unfortunately, the family didn't make it to church, but hey he's planting seeds!

We are being blessed here in Lexington. We have 3 people that are planning on getting baptized in the next few weeks. A 9-year-old girl has been taking the missionary lessons and it has been way fun to see her progress and see her excitement to get baptized on Nov. 24. And then H and P that live in Holdrege, NE are planning on getting baptized on Nov. 30 (my little brother's birthday!) whoot whoot. As for H, she is in the process of stopping her addiction of smoking. She has stopped before but she went back to it...but when we taught her the Word of Wisdom she told us that she won't buy any more packs of cigarettes! She has been going to church for the last several weeks now and you can tell that her countenance is changing! It is fun to see. So we are hoping that she can continue to fight off her addiction to smoking and we know that it is possible! I have seen people do it before on my mission!

And as for F and M, they didn't come to church yesterday. They, for some reason, fell back into their mindset of "we will go if we can.. we will see how we feel when we wake up." We have a hard time helping them want to commit to come to church. They read the Book of Mormon between visits, but they don't commit to come to church. So hopefully we can have some good visits this week with them, help them realize the importance and blessings of attending church, and then hopefully see them there this Sunday.

But other than that, things are going well. Elder Harker and I are enjoying our time here and hope to have another great week! And I hope you all have a great week too. I love you all.

Elder Vawdrey

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Just over the hill!

Buenas tardes Familia y Amigos,

How was Halloween? I hope you all had a great time and were able to get a good stash of candy! Even as missionaries, we got some candy. Some members had bags full of candy left after Halloween night and so they gave us a huge bag. That was sweet. And we found "sparklers" fireworks in our apartment the other day and since we've been asked not to play with fireworks, we decided to give them out to trick-or-treaters. haha We only had one trick-or-treater come by our place, but we are glad because it was nice and quiet as we were able to watch the movie "17 Miracles" in our apartment since we had to be in our apartments by 6pm. And yeah, Mom, we kept the tradition going of good old chili for dinner!

It was another good week for us in Lexington. The members are starting to have some missionary opportunities and it is SO cool to see that. We have a new High Priest Group Leader in our ward and he has been amazing. He is really humble and it's exciting to see the members to do missionary work here!

On Saturday, we met with F and M again, and our biggest concern with them was that they needed to get married before we could really help them to progress more. On Saturday we found out that they had already got married! haha They got married back at the end of August, but they never told us. FREAK! haha But it's all good. It has been really fun working with them and we hope to continue helping them and that they continue to keep commitments so that they can one day be sealed together in the temple! And there are more miracles like this that just keep happening all around us. We just had an African guy come up to us and ask us where the church is. He was baptized 3 years ago and just moved here from San Diego.

On Thursday, Elder Harker and I went down to Phillipsburg, Kansas to do exchanges with the Elders there and I was able to do the baptismal interview for one of their investigators. This was the first time I have ever had that opportunity, and that is something I won't forget. It was with a 9-year-old kid, and he was just super humble and excited to be baptized. A kid's testimony is so simple and powerful. I'm so grateful for that opportunity that I had to do that. All I could think about was this little boy one day serving as a missionary and doing the baptismal interview for another kid ready for baptism as well. I can sense lot of blessings and miracles just over the hill that are coming. We just need to keep working hard and put all our trust in the Lord!

I hope you all have a great week! And enjoy the rest of the warm weather while it lasts. Thanks to all of you and all that you do.

Elder Vawdrey

"17 Miracles" and chili-dogs!

Trick or Treat!