Monday, December 17, 2012

Christ is the Way

Familia y Amigos,

Hello once again, I can't believe it has been another week. It was a busy one for us and a lot of great things happened! I hope you all can say that great things happened for you as well!

Anyway, to start out this past week we went out to Broken Bow to do exchanges with the Elders serving there. During those 2-3 days, we saw several miracles that strengthened my faith and taught me a lot. First of all, I went with Elder JACKSON first!! Yeah, every time I hear "Elder Jackson," I think of Corey! haha I hope you're doing well, Corey! Anyway, this Elder Jackson is about to finish his missionary service and so he has a lot of experience. When I first went with him, we walked to go see a former investigator. I swear my legs felt like they were going to fall off because we walked a few miles and I'm used to just using our car. But, when we got to the house, it was pitch dark and didn't look like anybody was home. And nobody was. At this point, I was just thinking to myself, "Well, we are here for a reason. We didn't come here for no reason." So we walked around the block to check out the area and as we walked down one block we decided to knock a few doors. Nobody was really interested in the message, but then we saw that there was a lady outside next door out BBQing. So we acknowleged her from a distance and said "Hey, what are you cookin'?" haha  To make a long story short, this lady was way excited to see us. She said, "I was hoping you guys would come to my house. I saw you walk by my house the other day and knock a door across the street and you didn't knock on my door." We were like wow! Well, as we got talking to her, she said she knows some members of the Church and that she use to go sometimes with an older lady, but she isn't a member and she said that she hasn't gone back to Church because she thinks the members might judge her for not coming. We then testified about how Christ's Atonement is infinite and that all that matters is what God thinks of us, etc. She then accepted a Book of Mormon! And just the other day, the Elders there had a great lesson with her. So that was super cool.

Then, like 10 seconds later, we started walking down the street again and we saw a guy pull into his driveway and kind of speed-walk to the front door. I said "Hey, are you just getting back from work?" And he was like yeah! haha And to make a long story short, he told us that he used to go to church and mutual every week as a kid with one of his friends but then he just graduated from high school and got a job and is just too busy. He said that he works from 8am-7pm everyday. But then, he also said that he believes that it is very important for people to go to church and he said that he wants to come back to church and meet with us. My faith was greatly strengthened by this experience. He said he wants us to come over again in the evening one day after his work. This guy seemed more sincere than many other people I have met and I can totally see this guy being a powerful missionary and helping many people come unto Christ.

So in all, I feel like I learned a great lesson: Elder Harker and I need to walk more. We mostly just use our car to go from appointment to appointment, but the last few days we have started walking more and we have seen great things happen. And also, we saw our first snow fall of the winter the other day! haha but it was only a trace...which actually we were very happy about. No snow is nice for us missionaries, but not for the farmers and such.

Later on this week, we had a ward Christmas party and Elder Harker and I sang a few songs again. Santa was at the party too. It was fun!! We talked to a ton of people there and several members brought some of their friends so we talked to all of them as well.

Then, just yesterday, Elder Harker and I made a "team-up" calendar and talked about it in the Ward Coordination Meeting before church, and the members were very supportive of it! So Elder Harker and I are like doing handstands right now...because we feel that the foundation of the work here in Lexington is growing! As Elder Bangerter said about his mission in Germany, I also feel that the work is hastening in Nebraska! And then, last night our Bishop came on team-ups with us and we had some great visits with some of our investigators, and that was great. So, life is going great here in Lexington.

As for an update on a few of our investigators:
M: she has been taught by missionaries before and when we met her she said her concern was with the Book of Mormon. She didn't believe it was true. But then we probably had one of the greatest 1st lesson's with her and she said she would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and would be baptized if she receives her answer. And, basically the same thing happened with a guy named J that we're teaching. And then we saw F and M last night with our Bishop and that was great. We invited them to read the Book of Mormon and attend the baptismal service this next weekend for a child of record in the ward here.

To finish up, I just want to bear a brief testimony about the study I did this morning. We have zone conference tomorrow and we were asked to prepare a talk.

I was thinking about our Heavenly Father and the great love He has for us. He wants us to be happy and receive Eternal Life. But in life, there are two things that hold us back from receiving Eternal Life: 1) Physical Death and 2) Spiritual Death or Sin. Because God loves us, He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to perform the infinite Atonement to make it possible to have Eternal Life. So Jesus Christ provided THE WAY to receive Eternal Life which we can access through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives by faith, repentance, baptism, etc. we can come closer to Christ. All in all, the only way that we can receive Eternal Life is through Jesus Christ. I know that He lives. I am so grateful for His Life and all that He has sacrificed for me and each of God's other children. And I know that it's only through Christ that we can live with God again. The Church is true!

I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember Jesus Christ. I will strive to do the same and continue to strive to apply His Gospel in my daily life. Thanks for all of your great examples and support.

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's cool!

Familia y Amigos,

Hello hello! I cant believe it's Christmas time, but I hope that you all had a great week and are starting to feel the true spirit of Christmas.

Just last night, Elder Harker and I did some good ol' caroling at a few members' homes in our ward. Elder Harker made some brownies from scratch... a recipe that he got from his mom, and they are WAY good by the way...and so we wanted to give out some brownies to members of our ward to wish them a Merry Christmas and thank them for all the support they've given us. After singing at their doors for like 2 seconds, they'd let us in and then we'd sing for them inside because it was FREEZING outside. It was -7F degrees yesterday morning with windchill. haha. But anyway, we shared a Christmas message with each member family and that was awesome.

Also this week, we did exchanges with the Elders in Phillipsburg, Kansas and that was "cool." With one of the Elders, Elder Evans, he had planned to go knock doors for most of the afternoon. So, I went along with it, and it was really cool to see the progress that occurred throughout the day. At first nobody was answering their doors. Soon people started opening their doors but weren't interested. And then, after a bit, people weren't interested but accepted a pamphlet. Until, after dinner, we prayed for guidance and the first house we knocked was a lost sheep and a former investigator. They are a family so that was way sweet! They unfortunately were busy at the moment and couldn't visit, but they told us they wanted us to come back and that they want to come to church. So Elder Evans and I were like, "COOL!"  And after that, Elder Evans and I were feeling good about the street we were on and so we decided to keep knocking. Well, as we were walking to the next house, we were talking about how cool this part-member family was and when we got to the door of the new house, they had a screen door that had the word "COOL" smudged all over it! hahaha. It made us laugh and it made me think about how God has a sense of humor. Cool! haha

And good news with H, our newest convert. She got her temple recommend yesterday and will be going with the Lexington Ward to do baptisms for the dead at the end of this month!! We are way excited for her. And we might be able to go with them. We aren't allowed to do baptisms for the dead as missionaries, but we would take H's son and also V to the Trail Center. So we'll see if that works out. And V had an interview with the mission president this week. So now we wait to hear back from the First Presidency if he can be baptized yet or not.

We didn't have too much success this week with the current investigators we have right now, so we are hoping to see them progress this upcoming week. We have received a lot of referrals from members lately so we are working with them, and that is exciting. We just need to keep pushing and put our trust in God and I know that we will have great success this next week and see people wanting to progress!

But, I hope that you all have a great week and good luck to those of you with finals this week. I'm grateful for each of you and your love for the Savior. He lives!

Elder Vawdrey

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

He knows your voice

Familia y Amigos,

Hey there! It's already December and we still don't have any snow! haha woo hoo. That makes it nice for us missionaries because we can still drive our cars. But, I'm sure we will see snow here soon. Anyway, I hope you all had a great week. I first want to say Congratulations! to my little brother Jordan who got baptized this last weekend. I'm very proud of you and for that big decision you have made. I hope you had a great experience! And also, congratulations to the AFXC team! Man, I'm so proud of you guys too. 2nd in the Nation... that is amazing. AFXC is only getting better. wow.

This past week, H and P got baptized, and man I'm so excited for them. They were baptized on my little brother Jordan's birthday, and that is a day I will always remember. H and P were SO excited. It made me laugh to see the excitement of P. Apparently at school that day, he went around telling all of his friends and teachers that he was going to get baptized! haha He's already spreading the Gospel and he wasn't even baptized yet. Anyway, we ended up having the baptismal service in Kearney, because they don't have a baptismal font in Holdrege. But that didn't keep people from coming. There was a great group that came to support H and Pand that made it so much better. After a few talks were given and we went to the baptismal font, somehow, the water in the font had gone down a whole step so we were like, "Oh boy!" But, it all worked out. For H, it took us 4 times to baptize her until she finally went completely under the water...but that turned out to be great for the testimony meeting afterwards.

I would say my favorite part of the baptismal service was the testimony meeting after the baptisms. For those of you who didn't already know, P is obsessed with this "Penguin" game that he plays. It is really hilarious and he would always talk about it in each of our lessons. Anyway, I had the opportunity to share my testimony and I shared the one thing I knew about penguins...which is that with every penguin, they all have a differenct voice/call. Likewise, we all are unique and have different abilities. And just like how a mama penguin knows the voice of her penguinees (haha not sure how to say baby penguins), our Heavenly Father knows our name and our voice. God is our loving Heavenly Father. And then P told me of an experience he had the other day. He said that his friend at school lost his red pen, so P prayed for his friend that he could find his pen. And the next day at school, he found it. P is a great example to me and has a strong testimony that God answers and hears our prayers.

On Saturday, we got an emergency phone call from a member moving from Iowa to a place called North Platte, NE and his U-Haul had flipped on its side as they were traveling. Anyway, to make a long story short, we helped this man fix his tires on his car and then his family got a ride with a member to North Platte to their new home. However, later that night, we got a call from him again saying that he needed our help to move his stuff from his U-Haul to a different trailer. Well, when we met him at the towing place, the manager there told him that he had to play money in order to get his stuff. And they charged this guy $1709 to tow his U-Haul trailer 8 miles. It was unbelievable. But my heart was broken when I heard this guy from South Korea and speaking broken English, just begging the manager of this towing business to lower the price because he didn't have any money and no insurance. Well, to make a long story short, the manager made him pay $1200 to get his stuff and we helped him unload his U-Haul. As we were doing that, we opened up the U-Haul door and the door caught onto a piece of his bag of rice. The rice started falling to the ground and he said, "No, no, no, no, my rice!" I grabbed a plastic bag and then we scooped his rice back into the bag. I felt so bad for this guy...and you could tell he didn't have much. And then, as we helped him unload his truck, several times we heard him say: "Oh man, this broke." But towards the end of unloading his trailer something really cool happened. Among all the things that had broken in the accident, he pulled out two pictures from the middle of the trailer. One was of Jesus CHrist and the other one was of the Temple. Somehow neither one of these pictures were scratched or broken one bit. That was a testimony to me. And really, from this experience I learned that God knows us by name, he loves us, and he is watching over us. Thankfully, this man soon got home to his family in North Platte and I wish him the best!

Not a scratch on these two beauties!

And also this week, Elder Harker and I prayed asking the Lord to help us find someone or a few people by Saturday evening who are prepared and willing to come to church and want to be baptized. As a result, we had an older Hispanic lady named T at church and she wants to be baptized. We truly believe that was a true miracle. However, we later found out after church that she is going to California for a few weeks to visit family for Christmas. So, hopefully we can send the missionaries to her out in California. And we received a few more member referrals this week and one of them said they want to be baptized, so there are miracles happening here and we are really excited!

But it's been a great week, and we are looking forward to another one. I hope you all have a great week as well. Love you all and thanks so much for your support!
Elder Vawdrey