Monday, June 10, 2013

My last letter from Nebraska!

Familia y Amigos,

It's been a crazy week, and this is now the last e-mail that I will be sending from Nebraska...I can't believe it has been 2 years. And it has been the best! Through the hard times, sacrifices, blessings, tears, and long prayers, I have gained a stronger testimony that this is the Lord's work and that He cares about us individually. I feel such great joy as I share the gospel with others and feel and know that they understand it. I'm so grateful that I was called to serve in the Omaha Nebraska Mission and be so spoiled! I'm grateful to have been called to speak Spanish, the celestial language. I'm grateful for the Spirit I've felt as I help others, and I'm grateful that the Spirit can change our hearts! I know that I am weak, but with God I am made strong. This work will continue to move onward. Christ is our Savior. God loves us. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It brings peace to the soul! I'm so grateful for each of you and all that you do! I'm going to miss the people I have met on my mission, but fortunately they live close enough that I can come back and visit! This church is true! I love it!

Really quick, I want to mention a few great last miracles I have experienced this past week:

I got to go to North Platte and do an exchange with Elder Hadfield from American Fork. I was touched by his strong testimony and the great work he is doing there. I had a few experiences with him that I won't forget. I don't have much time so I'll share one of my favorite ones. We were reading the Book of Mormon with a less-active brother and the Spirit was so strong. This less-active man had such a strong spirit and desire to come back to church. He understood the Book of Mormon and you could sense the feeling of peace that rushed through his spirit during that visit. As we read with him, Elder Hadfield received revelation of someone he felt we needed to visit. It was another less-active family that the Elder Quorum President in his ward had been trying to meet with for weeks. We immediately went over there and they were home. They let us in and we had a great visit about the power of Christ's Atonement. I know that it's real. I'm grateful that we each can receive personal revelation and that as we act upon what we think is revelation, then we soon receive the witness...after the trial of our faith. The Book of Mormon is a powerful book because it contains the words of our Loving Heavenly Father. He wants to help us and we can get His help as we read that book.  

Unfortunately we were outside of our area for about 1/2 of this past week so that we could serve other missionaries and go to a few meetings. Well, a few weeks ago, one of the Assistants to the President promised us that if we would do two exchanges a week and serve the other Elders around us that we would be blessed in our own area. Elder Wells and I have been doing that and this last week we really saw the fruits of it. We were outside of our area for three days and we had some of the most success in our own area than we have had so far in our time serving together. This last Sunday there were two investigator families and another investigator that came to church. And I know that this was a promise fulfilled from the Lord through another missionary. This church is true! I don't know exactly how God does everything that He does, but He does it and He does it well!
I love you all! Keep living the Gospel! I will see you soon! 

Elder Vawdrey

This morning's countdown status...TWO DAYS!!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Church Tour!

Buenos dias a todos que leen este E-mail! (Translation: Good day to everyone who will read this message!) Summer is starting to hit and it is still tornado season here. Thankfully nobody was hurt this past week from tornadoes in our zone. There were a few tornadoes that touched down and caused several companionships to hide in their basements for a few hours. But don't worry, no damage was done to anyone or anything...the Lord protects His missionaries, that is for sure!

Do you remember last weeks letter when I said we found those families out in a little town like in the middle of nowhere? Well hey, great news! haha They came to church yesterday and were warmly welcomed to the branch here! We were really excited to see them come, and they shared some great comments in their classes!

We also had a church tour with L and P's family, along with one of their friend's and her family. We showed them all the paintings in the church building, the chapel, and the baptismal font. It was another incredible experience. P was crying when we entered the chapel. We invited them to take a minute and to pay attention to how they felt. We then sang "How Great Thou Art" in the chapel and that was really powerful! And then when we showed them the baptismal font, and they committed to be baptized on the 29th of June. We are so excited for them, and I'm grateful for the great spirit of peace that is found at the church. There is power in dedicated buildings!

We were able to see several other little miracles this last week which was really exciting. I am so grateful for the privilege I have had up to this point to serve the Lord full-time in Nebraska. I have never been so happy in my life as I have served others and invited them to come unto Christ. I know that God lives, Jesus Christ lives, that this is their true church, and that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I'm grateful for each of you and the great influence you have on others! Hope you have a great week!

Elder Vawdrey

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Familia y Amigos,

Helloooo! I hope you all had a great 3-day weekend. Yesterday we went with our branch President's wife to a place called "Stuhr Museum." It is a place kind of like Nauvoo where the old pioneers traveled through back in the day. It was pretty cool to see their living quarters and it made me grateful for our living conditions now. They were a very industrious people back then, whereas now it's like everthing is just done for us. It made me think about the Nephites and the Lamanites. When they were righteous the scriptures tell us that they were an industrious people. It was probably a huge sacrifice to build different machines, but it was worth it in the end. So, it's my hope that we won't be lazy and take too much advantage of all the technology around us that we just rely on it more than ourselves. Hopefully that makes sense. If not, then sorry for making you read that paragraph. haha.

Anyway, this past week was another good one. We had a Zone Conference in Lincoln and it was so good! I can't believe it was my last one. It hurt me a little bit. I almost started bawling when our zone sang the closing song. haha It is a privilege to serve as a representative of Jesus Christ. I'm grateful that He called me to serve His children here in Nebraska, and I'm excited that my time to serve is not up yet.

Zone Conference
Elders Wells and Vawdrey

We went out to a little town out in the middle of nowhere on Thursday where some members from our branch live. Because they live like 50 miles away we haven't been able to visit them yet...but we were working with other Elders in their own area closer to this little town so we decided to check it out. Well, come to find out there are a couple of part-member families out there. Holy smokes! I don't know why they chose to live in that little town so far away, but the town was awesome, and I thought it was a way cool place. The families that live out there are all related and they have a cousin/grandaughter in South Dakota that is going to serve a mission, so I hope her example will bring all of her extended family back to church. We hope to see them at church this next week so they can enjoy the Spirit!

Also, R has been reading a lot in the Book of Mormon lately so we are really excited about her. We are hoping to help her be prepared for a calling and soon to enter the temple as well! Our other investigating family is doing well. We are going to do a church tour with them this week with some of their other friends, so we are excited for that.

Then, we found another family to teach this past week! Elder Wells found them when we were on exchanges and they are both from Chiwuawua, Mexico (hahaha I probably spelled that totally wrong!) and we went and visited with them the other day and talked about the importance of Jesus Christ. It was probably one of the best and favorite lessons that I've ever been apart of! The husband was about to become a priest in the Catholic church several years ago but decided that he felt getting married and starting a family was more important. And, they told us that they are curious about what we believe because they have friends that are Mormons in Mexico! We introduced them to the Book of Mormon. We are excited about them and hope that they read it.

To end on a funny note, as we were driving to the library today, I was sitting in the passenger seat of our truck (haha yeah we have a truck... we are super spoiled in Nebraska!) and I was talking on the phone with one of our members, and I put the phone on speaker so my companion could also hear the conversation. Well, my companion hit a bump in the road and the phone flew out of my hands and fell right through the seats and I couldn't reach the phone under the seat.... hahahha But the member could still hear us, so we were talkin to him on the phone (without the phone) as we drove. It was hilarious!

But anyway, I hope you all have a great week. I know this is the true Church and that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Be positive! Thanks for all you do. Love ya!

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, May 20, 2013

Blessings from on High

Familia y Amigos,

Buenas tardes! Blessings from on high were in abundance once again for us here this past week! I enjoy writing you each week because I am also reminded of a few blessings we received during the week. God is good to us...to all of us.

On Wednesday we had our monthly Zone Meeting, and for one of the role plays we got together in districts and each shared a blessing that we'd recently received after exercising faith. The Spirit was strong as each missionary shared their experiences and there was a lot of excitement for the work as a result! Elder Wells and I had a cool opportunity this past week to serve our branch president. He planned to tear up a good part of his backyard because the grass was dead and he asked if we could help him pull up all of the sod. We jumped at the opportunity and started pulling up the sod. Pretty soon we realized that it would take a while, so as we were picking it all up we were trying to figure out how to be most efficient with our time. As we were about to finish, we figured out a way how to roll up the dead sod just right so that it could be picked up quickly. By the time we had found out the easier way we were kind of frustrated because we were like "Man, I wish we would've known this easier way before we started, but then we realized that that's what the Atonement is all about. As life goes on, we learn more and more. Life is about progression. The goal is to become a better person as we go throughout life. So, don't look back.

This week, we had a Family Home Evening with a family in our branch who also invited one of our recent converts to join them. We talked about temples and the Plan of Salvation, and it was a spirit-filled lesson. The member family was showing the new member a picture of each temple on earth today and it strengthened MY testimony about how it is the Lord's house. I'm grateful that we are blessed with places like the temple to feel an abundance of the Spirit!

We also were able to meet with another investigator family this week. They unfortunately weren't able to make it to church yesterday, but they have been keeping their reading commitments, so they are doing well. We hope to visit them a few more times this week!

Tomorrow we are having a Zone Conference with the Lincoln Stake, so we are looking forward to that in learning more about how to help our investigators. And, we had some incredible thunderstorms this past week. I've never seen so much rainfall in such a short amount of time!

I hope you are all doing great! Thanks for all you do. Have a great week!

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Newest Member in Grand Island

Familia y Amigos,

Buenas Tardes once again! I want to wish my mom a Happy Mother's Day once again and say thanks for all that you do. Also all of you other mothers out there. I love the scripture in John 19:25-27, I believe, when Jesus is on the cross and right there below him is his mother and one of his other best friends. Christ says, "Mary, behold thy Son." And then says to his friend, "Behold thy mother." The way I see it is that Christ tells his mother Mary, "Look at who I've become...I've accomplished this because of all that you have done for me." And then before he dies, he tells his friend, "Please take care of my mom!" That scripture was close to my heart yesterday, and I want to be able to say likewise as Christ did: "Mother, behold thy son." Christ's second coming is near and we live at a great time. It's a blessing to be alive and especially to serve as a missionary. I'm so grateful for the privilege to serve my brothers and sisters here in Nebraska and have plans to finish with no regrets!

This past week was incredible for us. We received a call from our Mission President at about 3:00pm one day. He asked us, "Elders, do you have any appointments scheduled for tonight?" We told him that we had one. So he replied: "All right. I'm on my way." We were like, "Wait. Huh?" haha. He drove all the way from Omaha to Grand Island to spend a few hours with us! We took him to a Mexican restaurant and he bought us dinner, and then we went to our appointment. Our investigator had planned to be baptized two days ago but was pretty nervous and wondered if it was still what she wanted to do. With President Weston, we taught her a little bit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and focused on the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. President Weston testified powerfully of the blessings that would come to her in her life, and then Elder Wells and I also bore testimony! There was an incredible Spirit in the room and she decided that baptism is what she wanted to do because she wants to go to the temple soon! So, we got everything ready for her baptism and she was baptized on Saturday!! It was incredible!

The Newest Member in Grand Island!
 There were several miracles that happened in the process of getting everything ready for her baptism. Usually the baptismal font takes three solid hours for the font to be full and to have hot water. Well, because of some last minute emergencies that we had to take care of the morning of her baptism, we were unable to start the font until two hours before her baptism. Then, we had to do a few other things and were just praying that the font would fill up in time for the baptismal service. Well, when we got back to the church, the font was completely filled and the water was perfect temperature...all with 30 minutes to spare! Somehow the font filled completely with warm water in 90 minutes. That was definitely a blessing.

It was incredible to see our sweet convert in tears in Sacrament Meeting after she received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I know it's a real thing. I had the privilege of doing the blessing and confirming her a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and it was priceless. I know that the Spirit is real. God lives and loves us. Christ lives, and He died for each of us. I know it's true. Not because I have seen them face to face but because I have felt their love in my heart. This is the true church!

And then, the same night with President Weston, we went and saw our other investigator family and they told us that they wanted to come to church and be baptized. So we set a date for baptism and I just realized that they are planning to get baptized the Saturday before I finish my mission. That would be incredible to see them do this before I finish! We will do our best to help them, and I'm sure it will all work out how it's suppose to. This entire family came to church yesterday and had a great experience! We are really excited about them and hope they come again next week.

I know God loves us and that His blessings are all around us. Pray to notice them and you will. I have a testimony of that. Have a great week!

Elder Vawdrey

American Fork Elders UNITE!

Monday, May 6, 2013

"I stand at the door...and use my card"

Familia y Amigos,

Once again I wanna give a little shout out to my little brother Jayson and little sister Angi!! JJ, I hope you had an awesome birthday/Cinco de Mayo, and that you also have an awesome birthday, Angi! (this week) You guys are getting old. Holy smokes!

This last week was transfer week, and I am super excited that I am going to finish my mission here in Grand Island with Elder Wells! I was really hoping I would stay here and so my prayers were answered!

There were several good things that happened this last week. First of all, we met with the lady that we did a fast for two weeks ago. She told us that she is seeing the blessings that have come so far as a result of that fast. Her son that was making some bad choices is now at a correction center and from what we have heard, he is making great progress. This lady pretty much testified to us that she knows good things come little by little. She was unable to go to church this past Sunday, but we did find out that she has been reading the Book of Mormon on her own and is already in Alma! So we hope that she continues to see God's blessings in her life and that she will soon understand that in order to feel more of God's love and peace, she needs to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

As for other investigator, she is also progressing well. She came to church again yesterday, and she is planning on getting baptized on Saturday. We hope that all goes well for her and that it all works out.

We also met with our other great family this week. They are an investigator family and were taught by missionaries several years ago. In our visit last night, [the husband] told us that he always feels good when we come over and it makes him want to learn more. We were excited to see that he is sensitive to the Spirit and we look forward to working more with their family this next week! And then, he offered the closing prayer at the end of our visit and it was SO awesome. I love hearing investigators pray for the first time, it's so great!

And lastly, I had really cool experience with unlocking doors. So we were doing exchanges with the Elders in North Platte, and at the middle of the day we realized that we had forgotten to grab the referral sheet of the people we were going to try later in the day. So we went back to the Elders' apartment to get the referral sheet and when we got there the door was locked. Well, the Elder I was with tried to pick the lock with one of my cards (without any luck). He then asked me, "Can you do it?" I said, "We'll see." I said a prayer in my head and then the first time I stuck the card in the door, it opened!! haha. God is great to us!

I hope you all have a great week and that you see God's hand in your lives!! Thanks for all you do. Love you all.
Elder Vawdrey

Monday, April 29, 2013

23rd Hour, 59th minute, 59th second

Familia y Amigos,
First of all, I want to shout out a Feliz Cumpleanos to my older sister Brittni! I hope you have an amazing day and please know how grateful I am for your friendship, testimony, and example. You deserve a great birthday, so I hope it's a great one to remember!

The warmer weather is finally starting to settle in and I'm pretty excited for it. I pulled out all my short sleeve shirts today and I'm ready for summer. I've already got sunburned, so my face just keeps getting redder! haha I'll probably have to bring out the sunscreen one of these days.

This past week was full of many little miracles once again. I feel like my testimony was strengthened on Tuesday of the saying from Elder Packer and Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve: "The Lord blessed me in the 23rd hour, 59th minute, and 59th second." Elder Wells and I planned to knock part of a trailer park for an hour on Tuesday and that was the day when we didn't have our truck. So we were walking. Well, when we got dropped off at this trailer park by the other Elders, we quickly realized that it was freezing cold outside. We just decided to man up against it and started knocking some doors. Unfortunately, like the first 5 doors, nobody answered. Then, pretty soon some people started answering their doors but just didn't really have any interest in hearing the message or they were leaving to go to work. 

Well, there was ONE more door left in the trailer park to knock. As you can probably guess what happened, we knocked the door and a guy answered the door and before we even said anything he invited us inside his home! We were super excited. We got to know him for a bit and then he had a few questions for us regarding why there are so many churches in the world today? It was awesome. We taught him about the Restoration and he loved it. At the end of the lesson, we asked him if he would offer the closing prayer, and he was like: Yeah, sure! In his prayer, he thanked God that we were able to help him resolve his doubts. I felt so good when I heard that because I knew that it wasn't us that resolved his doubts...only the Spirit can do that. I'm grateful that I can be an instrument in God's hands to help others find answers to their doubts or questions. We arent sure how things will end up with this guy because he has a job with crazy hours, but we are going to try passing by again to see if we can visit with the rest of his family that were home when we visited. If anything, my testimony grew of God's blessings in our lives and that the Spirit is the one that resolves our concerns.

We also were able to meet with a few new families this week so we are hoping that we can continue to meet with some of them this week. Our other investigators are still progressing. The one we were hoping would be baptized soon is working through a few things...significant enough that unfortunately she isn't going to be ready for baptism this next Saturday. But we believe that she will make that decision soon. She knows the church is true and she has felt the Spirit, so we just need to help her remember that and then as she acts on her faith we trust that she will be ready for baptism and soon to enter the temple! We are hoping that she can have a big spiritual experience again this upcoming week!

Oh, we had the opportunity to do exchanges with the Elders in Lexington and that was a blast to go back and to work with the Elders there. We had some good experiences and learned a lot. As time goes on, I realize more and more that as we forget ourselves and just serve others, then we find ourselves. It's easier said than done but the joy that comes from doing missionary work and serving others is priceless.

I hope you all have a great week. Thanks for everything. Love you. I know this is the true church!

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Power of Fasting

Familia y Amigos,

Buenos Dias! I hope you're all enjoying the spring rain! I love it. And thank you all for your birthday wishes... I had a great birthday yesterday! It's been a fast 21 years.

This past week was another great one. Our investigators are progressing very well. One in particular came to church again yesterday and a member family invited her over for dinner, and us too, this next week, so we are really excited for that and for how the members have fellowshipped her so well. I feel like she is teaching me so much as we are striving to teach her everything about the Gospel. During some of our lessons, her brother or sister sometimes come by and she always asks them if they will come to church with her on Sunday! haha It's super funny. She is a big influence on a lot of people and she will have an even greater influence on them as she continues to come closer to Christ. In one of our visits with her this week, we were reviewing with her once again with how her Book of Mormon study is going and she just keeps reading and reading! It is so cool to see. But after we asked her how she has felt as she reads the Book of Mormon she paused a moment and then said: "I feel that I have received my answer that this is what I have been looking for." The Spirit filled the room and then we had a great lesson with her about the Plan of Salvation. We are so excited for her and hope and pray that she continues to progress.

We also have been working with another lady this past week as well. We have been working with her for a while and her son is giving her a headache. He has been around some bad friends and isn't doing too well, so we decided to do a fast for her son that he would have a humbling experience. Throughout the week, we ate dinner with a few different members and we told them about how our investigators are doing and when we told them that we were going to fast for this dear sister's son, they asked if they could join the fast with us. So several members fasted with us yesterday. I was grateful to see the willingness of the members to help out. This investigator also came to church again yesterday and now we are just going to wait and see what happens, but I trust that God is all powerful and everything will happen as He sees fit. We hope that all goes well!

And as for another miracle, we went with a member to go visit with a recent convert. When we got to her house we noticed her van wasn't there but we went and knocked the door anyway. Unfortunately she didn't answer so we waited just a few minutes for her. We also called her a few times but she never answered. We decided to go visit with a less-active member and once we sat down and were getting to know her a little bit better, there was a knock at the door and guess who walked in? The lady we were looking for AND her family!! haha BOO YA! Got 2 birds with a stone in that one! haha. We ended up reading in Ether 12 with them and had a sweet lesson. And then the less-active member came to church the next day and even brought her step-brother who isn't a member! So we were way pumped.

Then, for my birthday yesterday, we had dinner with a member family and ate some good ol' Cuban food! It was delicious. And then at church we had Branch Conference and the Stake Leaders talked about the importance of self-reliance. We were excited to see a few other less-active members that we have been working with also come to church!

Family, thanks for the birthday package! haha I got a good laugh out of the things you sent me. Brittni, thanks so much for the scripture covers, those are flipping sweet!

We are looking forward to this next week. We need to find some new investigators so we are going to put a big focus on that this week! I hope you all have a great week.

Love you all,
Elder Vawdrey

Monday, April 15, 2013

God Has the Keys!

Familia y Amigos,

Buenas Tardes! This past week was pretty incredible and several amazing things happened. My testimony was strengthened greatly that God hears and answers our prayers and that the Spirit brings us peace.

To start out the week, we had interviews with the Mission President and that was awesome. In my interview we talked a lot about the importance of writing down personal revelations that we receive, so that is something I have been doing more of this past week. He promised me that as I write down what I learn that I will receive more revelation and better know how to help the people in our area. So I was way pumped about that and put it to the test. It has helped me see God's hand more in my life. 

After interviews with the Mission President, we had zone meeting and it was all about the Book of Mormon and Enduring to the End. Our Mission President has been instructing us to read from the Book of Mormon each day and to invite our investigators and members to do the same. I know that this is inspired. We read the Book of Mormon with a less-active family this past week and there was a great spirit there. And I know that the Book of Mormon gives us strength to fight through trials and to endure to the end.

Later this week, we did a church tour with one of our investigators. We had a few members from the branch there as well and it was an amazing experience. We had the members meet us at the church a little bit early so that we could review everything we wanted to do and then we got a bit nervous when our phone rang a few minutes before our appointment and it was our investigator. We were hoping that she wouldn't cancel the appointment and thankfully she was only calling to say that she couldn't find her car keys. haha So we were like "Whew!" Right as we were about to go with the members to pick her up she called us again and said that she found her keys so we got another good laugh out of that. haha 

Anyway, she eventually got to the church. After we introduced her to the members...who she apparently knew before...she seemed to feel really comfortable with them. We soon started out by talking about the Book of Mormon and reviewed the chapter she had read and then we went through the church and explained the pictures that were on the walls and all the classrooms. Before we went into the chapel, we invited her to pay attention to how she feels and that we would give her a minute just to think. Once everyone walked into the chapel, it was quiet...and the spirit was powerful! After about a minute we looked over at our investigator and asked her how she felt and she was in tears. It was incredible the spirit that was in the room! It was so cool. She said that she felt so much peace and that she just can't describe how happy she felt. We then explained how that is the Spirit testifying to her that it's true! And then she said: I will be here on Sunday!! We were SO stoked!!

Okay, but that's not everything. We wanted to show her the baptismal font as well but the doors were locked to get to the font. Before we went to the font, I snuck away to unlock the doors but none of the keys worked. I then said a quick prayer that Heavenly Father would open the door if possible and that if I missed the right key to unlock the door that he would help me to find it so we could show her the font. Right after the prayer, I grabbed the first key on the keyring to unlock the door and it worked! So I then said a prayer of gratitude. But then, I realized I had to go through another door that appeared to be locked to get to the baptismal font. haha So once again I said a quick prayer and asked for help and the door opened. I then said another gratitude prayer. I know that the Lord had His hand in all of this because after the tour I went to lock the doors and none of the keys we had would work.
I have a testimony that God answers our prayers and I'm grateful that He answered mine at that time so that we could show her the baptismal font. This sweet investigator then came to church on Sunday and had a great time. She is planning on getting baptized the first weekend in May!

I hope you all have had a great week. Love you all.

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, April 8, 2013

General Conference!

Familia y Amigos,

Once again General Conference was awesome! I hope you all were able to watch it and that you had a great weekend. Elder Wells and I watched each session in Spanish and it was cool for me to notice the difference of how much I understood compared to the first time I listened to it in Spanish over a year ago. And even though I didn't understand everything, I feel like I got the main points of the talks and still felt the spirit. So we are just trusting that the Lord gave us the answers that we needed. It makes me glad that God speaks to all of us in the same language: The Holy Ghost. So, no matter what language you speak, you can always feel the spirit.

This week, we went and had dinner with a part-member family and for a long time they have been telling us that they wanted to cook us frog. haha Well, this time they did. I was pretty nervous to try it, but it actually didn't taste too bad! I actually liked it. It made the father of the home really happy! And we were excited about that because he is the non-member of the family. And after dinner we shared a message about the importance of prophets and then he came to a session of conference. So we are excited about him. He is from Cuba, and he talks super fast. It gives me a headache sometimes trying to understand him. But we are in the process of teaching him and we are planning on having dinner with his family at another member's house. So we will see how that goes this week.

We also met with a lady who I guess was taught by missionaries several years ago. She had a lot of questions about our beliefs and why there are so many churches. She told us that she has met with Jehovah's Witnesses a few times but doesn't feel that their doctrine is true. She has also gone to other churches for different religions but she told us that she still hasn't felt like they are the ones for her to join. We were super pumped when we heard all of her questions and we taught her the Restoration. It went really well and then we invited her to come to a session of conference and she came! The only down fall was that there was only 1 member family there at the church for the session that she went to. From the looks of it right now, she will have a concern of joining a church with a small congregation, but if the Spirit touches her enough, I don't believe that will matter. We are gonna go see her again tonight!

And then, we visited with another family last night. They were a recently married couple with 2 kids and then a grandma was also there. We felt like the visit went really well there too, but we think the grandma will be the hold up there and it might be tough to have frequent lessons. So we are going to try and focus on them a lot this next week.

We also did exchanges in a city called York. And I swear that town is full of old people. haha We had some cool experiences there though. We prayed in the morning for opportunities of service and we noticed several opportunities during the day. We saw an older couple raking the leaves in their yard and we offered to help but they said no and said "We don't want you to get your clothes dirty." I was like "No, it's no problem, that's why we're here." Well, I saw an extra rake leaning against their house, so we went and grabbed it and started helped them out. By the end, we were able to introduce ourselves and talk about Christ. It was really cool and they said: I didn't know you guys did stuff like that.

It's pretty interesting to hear about what people don't know, or misinterpret, about the church. But I'm so grateful to serve as a full-time missionary for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that as we go about doing good by serving others, hearts are touched. I know we have a loving Heavenly Father who answers our prayers. He has a perfect plan of happiness for us if we will just submit ourselves to His will. I know the church is true!

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Vawdrey

Zone Leader Conference

Monday, April 1, 2013

He knows our desires!

Familia y Amigos,
Happy April Fool's Day! The weather has been warming up a lot and a lot of people are outside. It's really exciting. Also, I want to say thanks to my older sister Brittni for her great example and I hope you adjust well to the real world. ha

This past week, Elder Wells and I had a really cool experience. We were looking at our list of investigators and potentials and at the moment none of them had a date planned for their baptism. Elder Wells and I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help us know who to focus on and who is ready to make covenants with him. We originally hadn't thought about this one person in particular. He's from Nicaragua and his wife is from Cuba. We had an appointment set up with him that day and we felt like he was the one. So when we visited him, we talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, explained the purpose and importance of baptism, and then he said he wanted to be baptized. It was really cool how it all just worked out and that the Lord blessed us to think of him.

Later on in the week, we had planned to eat dinner with a member but she was single so we needed to bring another guy with us. We decided to call a less-active man to come with us and he agreed. When we got to the member's home for dinner, they didn't answer and we soon found out that they had to go to the doctor for her daughter. We felt bad for this less-active member who agreed to come with us and then the appointment cancelled...but he surprised me at his first response when we found out the members weren't going to be able to feed us. He said: "You guys wanna go to Subway?" We said yes and then without us realizing it, he paid for our food. I was really grateful for this guy. I'm grateful for his good heart. We, in return, shared with him an Easter message and had a great visit.

Then, we had several little service opportunities during the week, such as: Helping some cubans move an entertainment center, helping people fix their fuses in their homes, etc. I'm grateful for these opportunites to serve other people and to share my testimony with them. I love being able to share my testimony daily, because it is strengthened as I share it.

I'm grateful for each of you and the times when you've been an "angel" in my life and also in the lives of others. Every little act makes a difference.Hearts are touched. I hope you all have a great week. Thanks for your love and support.

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, March 25, 2013

We meet again!

Familia y Amigos,
Good morning! I hope you've all had a great week. This past week was transfer week and I was excited to hear that I'm staying here in Grand Island, and that Elder Wells is my new companion! We lived together when I served in Omaha. There were 4 of us living in the same apartment and he was one of the Elders in the other companionship, and it has been a lot of fun being with him. He is from San Diego, CA, comes from a great family, and he just finished serving with Elder Pese, one of my past companions. Elder Wells is a hard worker, humble, and has great love for the people here. So I'm really looking forward to this transfer! My past companion (Elder Morgan) finished his mission and I wish him the best back in American Fork! And I also wish the best to my older sister, Hermana Vawdrey, as she finishes her mission this week! Love you, eh!
Elder Morgan left on Monday night and Elder Wells didn't get here until Friday, so I was doing missionary work with the other English Elders here in Grand Island and also the Elders in Hastings. It was fun to be with them and see how they do things in their areas. And then a few members from the Spanish branch here went on splits with me during the week to find a few of our investigators, so that was awesome. We have some good people that we're teaching right now, but we need to keep increasing our pool. One of which is M. She actually said the closing prayer in sacrament meeting yesterday. I was kinda shocked when I saw her walking up to the front after the closing song, but then I realized she was saying the closing prayer and I was like, Wow! And it was really good. haha
Another guy we're teaching is the non-member of a part-member family, and he read two chapters in the Book of Mormon the other day, so we were really excited about that. Also, in our visit with him he volunteered to say the closing prayer. In our past visits, he has always refused to pray so that was an incredible change! haha We were super excited!
The members are great here. They feed us a lot and they have been giving us referrals which is super exciting. So it should be another great week. And I'm guessing this week will bring us the last snow storms for a while. I'm so looking forward to the warmer spring weather. Life is good here in Nebraska! I love it here. Hispanics are such a kind people. It's great to be a missionary. I know this is the true church!
Have a great week.
Elder Vawdrey

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spirit Touches the Hardest of Hearts

Familia y Amigos,

Buenos Dias otra vez! The weather is starting to warm up out here and it's about time to bring out the short-sleeve shirts! I'm excited.

This week was another good one. As I mentioned in last week's letter that the Branch Presidency changed in our branch...well, only the Branch President stayed the same and he was out of town on Sunday so the two new counselors took over the meetings at church on Sunday and seemed to do a great job. It is so exciting to be here with all of these changes happening.

This week is transfer week, but for some reason the schedule changed up a bit so our Preparation Day is today. Anyway, I won't know who my new companion is until Thursday and then he won't get here until Friday (I'm pretty sure and hope I stay here). My current companion, Elder Morgan, leaves for Omaha today so I will be working with the other Elders here in Grand Island until my new companion arrives. I am so grateful for the time I've had to serve with Elder Morgan. He has been a great influence on me and he has taught me a lot! He returns to American Fork, UT this next week so if any of you know him and happen to see him tell him hi...and hi from me as well. :) I feel comfortable with the area here and feel ready for the change to occur, but I will miss Elder Morgan.

Earlier this week, we went to North Platte and I did exchanges with Elder Hadfield from American Fork, UT! haha It was an incredible day and we told different powerful spiritual experiences that we've each had on our missions. So cool. And we had one experience in particular out there that was incredible to me. The four of us were invited to eat lunch with a less-active member who had invited several of his employees over as well who are not members of the church. One guy was super anti-mormon and just was asking us all these ridiculous questions about the Church of his misconceptions. Well, we responded to them the best we could and then he made the mistake of asking us, "So how do you know that the Mormon church is the true church?" haha I just thought, "Testimony Meeting, here we go. Time for the Spirit to take over." So anyway, each of us all bore our testimonies and it was really powerful. My heart was beating hard. Then, pretty soon we went our different ways. Well, I just got a call from Elder Hadfield this morning telling us that this guy went up to the less-active member afterwards and asked him some really sincere questions. One of which was if he could have a Book of Mormon. He said he wanted to read it! So that was way cool to hear. It's true that the Spirit can soften even the hardest of hearts. I hope that he reads the Book of Mormon with the right intentions. Based on our experience with him, I think he will.

I hope that you all have a great week. I know this is the true church and that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. Thanks for your love and support!

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, March 11, 2013

New Branch Presidency!

Familia y Amigos,

Good morning! I hope you all have adjusted to Daylight Savings Time by now. Elder Morgan and I were afraid that Daylight Savings would make several of our members late, but everyone showed up on time so we were really excited. There also was a little blizzard Sunday morning here...it looked worse than it really was...but even though that happened, we still had a great turnout at church, for which we were so glad to see. Some exciting news about our Spanish branch this past week: The Branch Presidency got changed up so now Hispanics are now the Presidency! We are really excited about the change and think that a lot of success will come here in the future because of this change!

Also, this week we had a Zone Meeting and then a Spanish specialized meeting. It was the first Spanish meeting that has happened in this mission for a really long time. It was really cool to join up with all of the other Spanish-proselytizing missionaries in the mission and I was asked to conduct the meeting in Spanish as well so that was really cool. There were a few Hispanic members that came to the meeting to practice role playing for a bit and Obispo Spangler from the Omaha Spanish Ward was also there to give a training. It was a sweet meeting.

Nebraska Omaha Mission - Spanish-speaking Elders

We had a good week with investigators. We were blessed to catch several people home and we had some good visits. First of all, we met with a young family that apparently heard of the Mormon church in their own countries (Nicaragua and Guatemala) and the mother of the family went to church several times. So we are excited to work more with them. They asked us several questions and then we read the Book of Mormon with them and invited them to read it together before our next visit.

Then, we also had a few lessons with some 9-12 year old kids and their families. One of our lessons was pretty interesting. We brought a nerf dart and nerf gun and used it as an analogy to explain the importance of prophets. We had a target set up across their yard and told them first to just throw the nerf dart at the target. Then, we gave them the gun and had them shoot at the target. The target represented us here on earth. The gun represented the prophet. The nerf dart represented the word of God. And the person shooting at the target represented God. So, without a prophet, it's really hard to get God's word to His children here on earth. But with a prophet, God can help us to know all that He wants us to know!

Overall it was a good week. I can't believe this upcoming week is my last whole week with Elder Morgan before he finishes his mission, so we are hoping to end with another great week!

I hope you all are well and that you have a great week. Thanks for your love and support.

Elder Vawdrey

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Familia y Amigos,

Hello once again! I hope this new month has been treating you well thus far. If not, make it good :)

This week was a great week for us here in Grand Island. A lot of good things are happening and I feel like I have learned a lot this past week. Earlier this week we had a meeting in Omaha and the topics of the meeting were: The Spirit, Book of Mormon, and Keeping a Journal. The Spirit was really strong there. Then, yesterday we had Stake Conference and they talked about a few of the same things, but mainly the temple and the Book of Mormon. One of the committments they extended to us in both of these meetings was to focus more on the temple and read from the Book of Mormon each day. It seems like the bad in the world is getting worse and worse, but the good is getting better and better. The temple and the Book of Mormon are two key things that will definitely help us personally to become better and better. This past week I learned a lot from the Book of Mormon and it has been hard to put it down and end the hour of study time. I didn't think before my mission that 3 hours of study time wouldn't be enough. haha I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon and I know that it increases our faith as we read it. And then when we apply what we learn, the Spirit changes our hearts. I am going to continue studying the Book of Mormon, and I want to invite each of you to do the same. I know that you will find greater peace in your life as you do it and that as you sacrifice just even a little time each day to read in it, then your day will go so much better. I know that the Book of Mormon answers the questions of the soul and that we will feel God's love in greater abundance as we do it, and our relationship with him will grow.

Then, when I learned about keeping a journal, it hit me that I need to do better at that. God gives us many blessings each day, and it's easy to forget them when trials come our way. That's why we have church each Sunday and why we pray at mealtimes...to remember our Heavenly Father. I have felt God's love greater in my life when I have kept a journal and recorded the blessings he gave me. And as I review these journal entries later, my faith is even more strengthened. So I invite you to keep a record of your blessings each day as well so you can REMEMBER God's tender mercies in your life when times get hard. And I commit myself to doing the same, because if I don't, then I am a hypocrite. I have hard times and I know there are hard trials that will come into my life in the future, so I want to do these things now so that I will be prepared. And I hope that when those trials come that I will be as prepared as I need to be.

I had another experience this week that reminded me of the blessings that come from focusing on the fundamentals. On Saturday we went to the church and played basketball with members in our branch. Before beginning the games, I warmed up differently that I usually do. I decided to put into practice some of the drills I was taught when I played Jr High basketball. After doing so, I just felt so good...my shot felt smoother than ever and I was making more of my shots than I usually do. I realized that it's because I did those fundamental drills before playing the game that make me play better.

As for a new investigator we met this week, we had a great experience. This investigator is a friend of a member in our branch. This member did a team-up with us and we visited with this young woman for the first time. The member told us beforehand that she wanted to learn about the Plan of Salvation so we went planning on teaching that lesson. As we started teaching about God's love that He has for each of His children, she just started crying and said: "But I don't feel like He can forgive me because of all of my manys sins. I don't think He would still love me after everything I have done. But if there is a way for me to live in Heaven again, how do I get there?" When we heard this, my heart just filled with gratitude to know that we do have a Heavenly Father that loves us and wants to live with us again. And He has provided the way for us to get there, and we belong to the one and only true church that has the authority to do it. We then taught about Jesus Christ and His Gospel. We mentioned how through faith, repentance, and baptism, she can receive a remission of all her sins. She agreed to be baptized and said she wants to do it on April 21st...my birthday! I can't think of any greater birthday present than to see someone enter a covenant to come closer to Christ. I hope that she continues to progress, and that through her faith, she can be forgiven of all her sins and possibly be ready to enter a covenant on that day.

I know this church is true and God loves us. I hope you all have a great week.

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, February 25, 2013

I love hot chocolate!!

Familia y Amigos,

This past week was "white" for us here in Nebraska. We got 8 inches of snow and we hear that there is more to come later today. Unfortunately we didn't have our car this week so we did a lot of walking, but it was pretty sweet to bring out the good ol' snow boots and we just got our car back! It was in the shop because some other Elders got hit the other day and they could only take the car to the dealership here where we live, so we gave them our car for a few days. Thankfully the Elders didn't get hurt...they actually were eating lunch at a restaurant and a car ran into their parked car. Ha!

Great things happened here in Grand Island this week even though we didn't have the car. We had Zone Conference and it was really powerful. We were also able to work with members a lot this week and as a result we were able to get in with two new part-member families! So we are really excited about them. We ran into one of them through service and what happened reminded me of the scripture: "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass."

A reunion with Elder Pese!!

The day after the big snowstorm, we walked over to a less-active lady's home to introduce ourselves and share a quick message. Then, as we were walking back to our apartment, we thought, "Hey, we should go back and shovel her driveway." So that's what we did. And first of all, you never know how big a driveway is until you shovel it. haha We soon realized that her driveway was HUGE, but it all worked out for the better. The lady, came out and helped and we got to talk to her the whole time. As we were about to finish up, we asked her about her conversion story to the Church. She then informed us that the first time she came in contact with the missionaries was on a day when it was snowing outside. She was going through a lot of trials and she saw two missionaries walking in the street outside her window and she had a feeling that she needed to talk to them. She waved at them through the window but they didn't see her, so she ran outside and invited them into her home for some hot chocolate. And then from there, she received the lessons and soon got baptized. She then told us that she wants to come back to church and she invited us in to her home again for some hot chocolate. We had a really good visit with her and then she introduced us to her sister and grandson who both want to learn about the church and receive the lessons. I thought the coolest thing about this whole experience was that she met us missionaries in almost the same circumstances as the first time she met missionaries. I'm grateful that my companion was inspired to go shovel her driveway!

And then as for another investigator, a sister had a few hard trials this week but she pushed through and came to church on Sunday which was a great sign, and she wants to get baptized...so her date is still set for March 17! This will be Elder Morgan's last weekend of his mission so that will be really cool for him too if that all works out.

There were several other great things that happened, so we're really excited for another week ahead of us. We also heard in church on Sunday from a member on the high coucil that 58 new missions are going to open soon. So that will be cool.

I hope you are all well. Thanks for your love and support and have a great week.

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Foundation is Growing!

Familia y Amigos,

Happy President's Day a todos! Does that mean everyone is off work? I don't even know. But whether you are or not, I hope it is a good day.

As I mentioned in last week's e-mail, this past week was transfers and more than 1/2 of the Elders in the zone are now trainers/greenies so it has been fun to see new missionaries. There were a lot of changes in the zone but we feel that it will be another great transfer. I'm grateful to be serving here with Elder Morgan still. On transfer day, after picking up one of the new Elders, we went with him and his trainer out to lunch. But before we did that, we had him drop off his stuff at his apartment. Right as we were about to leave to go get lunch, a member from his ward drove up with a van full of cupcakes. She came at the perfect moment to welcome this new Elder into the ward. So that was really cool, and we even got a cupcake as well, and it was probably the best cupcake I've ever had. It was a brownie cupcake with Reeses Peanut Butter frosting and Reeses Peanut Butter cups on top! haha

One big highlight of this past week was that a recent convert received the Aaronic Priesthood in church yesterday. It was really cool to see that every guy in the Priesthood quorum stood in the circle to ordain him to the Aaronic Priesthood. There are several solid guys now in the Elder's Quorum which we are really excited about... the Foundation for the branch is growing! And really I don't think it has much to do with what the missionaries are doing, these men just have great faith and are finding their inner strength from the Lord. They are all a great example to me. I'm grateful for the privilege to serve with and around them.

On Saturday, we had a Valentine's party for the branch and we were excited to see several non-members there. We were able to talk with them for a little while and then two of them came to church the next day!

As for M, we were able to talk to her for a little bit last night, and her kids told us that they want to be baptized on the same day as her mom. So we are looking forward to that. They are scheduled to be baptized on March 17.

We had several other pretty cool experiences this week too with some new investigator families so we hope that we can continue to meet with them this week.

This morning I was reading in 1 Nefi 18 about Nefi and his family traveling to the promised land. I really like that chapter because it talks a lot about how the Lord blesses us as we keep His commandments. I know that this is true. It mentions how the Liahona led them to the promised land as they obeyed what it said. I know that the Book of Mormon is like that Liahona for us today. I hope that each of us can study it often to gain Heavenly Father's guidance for us in our personal lives so that we can know how to receive Eternal Life.

I love you all and hope you have another great week.

Elder Vawdrey

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Transfer week

Familia y Amigos,
Good morning! Today we found out about transfers. I'm grateful that I will be with Elder Morgan for another transfer here in Grand Island. I feel like I'm getting more comfortable with the area, but I'm glad that Elder Morgan will be here for one more. And this is actually Elder Morgan's last transfer. So we are looking forward to this upcoming transfer. There are a lot of changes here in this zone but we are really excited about it. And good news... Elder Hadfield, from American Fork, UT is coming to the Kearney zone so I will see him every once in a while!! I was way pumped when I heard about that!
As for this past week, we saw several miracles. On Tuesday this past week, the Assistants did exchanges with us in our area and it was an incredible day. So there was one experience in particular that was pretty incredible that I want to share. It strengthened my testimony that God loves us personally and that he speaks to us through the Holy Ghost.

So back a couple weeks ago, we received a family referral from a member in our branch. We had a visit with this family and we felt like they had great potential, but the husband was drunk during the lesson and so they weren't too open with what we had to share. We thought we would give them a break for a little bit, hoping that overtime, they would be more prepared to hear the Gospel. Well, this past week, this family kept popping into my mind. And when we were planning the night before the Assistants did splits with us, I felt like we should go pass by their house.

Anyway, in the mid-afternoon the next day we finished visiting a few people and then I was super thirsty, and so I told my companion that day, hey I'm really thirsty. And then he asked me: "Well, what are you gonna do about it?" And I said, I'm going to have faith and hope that when we go pass by the that family's house that they will give us a water! haha So anyway, we got to the their home and knocked their door. The mom invited us right in and the first question she asked us was: "Hey, do you want some water?" haha we were like YES! At that moment, I knew God knew exactly where I was at and exactly what we needed. Anyway, she informed us earlier that her husband was asleep and asked if we would like to share a message with her and her son or if we wanted to pass by another day when her husband is awake. We told her we wanted to share a scripture with her and her son and then we could pass by another day and share a lesson when her husband was awake. So when we sat down and were about to share a scripture, her husband walked into the room. He had just woken up! He walked in and was like: Hey guys! haha. He was super friendly and we talked with him for a minute. Then, he asked us: So where did your church come from? haha We were like "That is a great question!" And then we taught them the Restoration, and it was probably one of the most powerful Restoration lessons I've had on my mission! The family told us afterwards that they want to get baptized and so we set them for mid-March. We were super pumped. And then right before we left, this brother promised us that he would read the Book of Mormon before our next visit! So we are really excited about this family and hope that they do move forward and read the Book of Mormon. Apparently they have been pretty involved in the Catholic church, but they seem to be open and willing. So I will keep you informed on this family.

Then, things are also going well with our investigator, M. She goes over to a member family's home each week to read in the Book of Mormon and Gospel Principles Book with them, so she is progressing really well. She is planning on getting baptized March 3.

We are excited about how things are going here in Grand Island and feel that there is a lot of potential here.

I hope you all are doing well and that you have a great week and Valentines Day. Thanks for all you do and your love and support!

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lessons of Patience

Familia y Amigos,

Hello once again! It has already been another week and I once again feel grateful as I think back on the blessings that we received this past week. In the beginning of the week, we were really having a hard time just finding people to teach. We had tons of lessons planned and people to see and it seemed like they all just kept getting cancelled on us. And then, unfortunately, we were having a hard time finding new investigators. But, it all has made sense when I look back and see the many miracles that we received these last few days and I feel like God was testing our patience. We had a few solid visits this weekend and it made all the patience-testing worth it.
At church yesterday, my companion and I were experiencing the roller coaster of emotions. We had invited a lot of people to church and were super excited and then not many people came for the first two hours. I was praying that we would be comforted and know that it was according to God's will. Then, my companion got up and bore his testimony in Sacrament Meeting and mentioned how he's grateful for trials because they allow us to learn and grow. And when he came and sat back down he leaned over to me and told me about how he noticed a few investigators in the congregation that had slipped in without us knowing. And to make a long story short, I feel like I gained a better understanding that all things work for our good and everything happens according to God's will. I grateful for a Heavenly Father who loves us.

In church, we had several powerful experiences. First of all, a new Cuban family that just moved into the branch just a few weeks back brought a friend with them to church. She and her husband (or boyfriend) both came two weeks ago to church, but only she was able to come today. We were able to teach her while we were at church with the Cuban family that brought her to church and it was a great experience. We felt that the lesson was going really well and she accepted the invitation to be baptized. We later found out that she isn't married to her friend, but apparently she got married to a random guy in Ecuador so that she could get her papers to live in America. So, we are running into this problem a lot lately. Lots of people love the Church and want to be baptized, but they need to get married! haha. Fortunately, there is a couple that will be getting married this Thursday, so we are really excited about that. But Elder Morgan and I just keep telling ourselves that one of these days we are going to meet a family that has two married parents and that are ready for the gospel!

As for our Priesthood class in church, a young man received the Melchizedek Priesthood and that was really cool. Right after, the teacher basically poured out his vision of what the branch could become. He talked about how the way it will grow depends on if we do our hometeaching. And then he said, "I want us to be 100% on home teaching." He then asked the bold question, "Who is with me and willing to do their home teaching 100%?" Several men stood up. It was powerful for me to see that. It reminded me of D&C 4 where it says: "Wherefore, if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work." I'm grateful for these faithful men and their desires to serve the Lord. I too want to do the same and I hope that Elder Morgan and I can help others want to do the same as well. It was so cool.

Later in the evening yesterday, we were able to have a few great visits. One of which was a visit with a guy from the Dominican Republic. My companion was so pumped because he served there for a little while, and this is the first Domincan that we've met together and his first here in Nebraska. This guy let us right in and he knew people that my companion knew. Apparently, this guy is a recent convert of a year but has gone less-active and lives with several other non-members, so we are going to go back and teach them again this next weekend!

Elder Morgan and I are excited for this next week. We are expecting it to be a week of Miracles. So I'm excited for next week to report the many blessings that come!! Have a great week. I love you all and thanks for all your love and support.

Elder Vawdrey

P.S. I want to congratulate Cade Hill on getting his mission call to OMaha, NE (Spanish). This mission rocks!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Passing through Lexington!

Familia y Amigos

This week we were outside of our area a lot. We went on exchanges with 3 different companionships and worked in their areas. I really enjoyed going back to Lexington and working with the Elders there. It was fun to see several of the people that they are teaching that I use to help teach. It was cool to see Elder Harker there with his new companion as well and to see that things are going well for them!

On Monday this past week we did a Family Home Evening with a recent convert and his family and it was awesome. When we got there, we were a bit surprised because his daughter said that she had a lesson prepared. So she taught us all about tithing and she helped me find a sweet scripture in the Book of Mormon that talks about tithing, so that was sweet. And then after her lesson, we watched "The Restoration" movie with them. I love that movie. It is super powerful and makes me appreciate Joseph Smith more and more each time I watch it. But we are really excited about our investigator. He reads from his scriptures every day and we get text messages from him often asking questions about the Gospel.

But it amazes me how even though we were out of our area for several days this week, the Lord still helped us to have success in our area. It was great to see a handful of our investigators at church even though we weren't able to have a sit down visit with them this last week. Then, probably my favorite part of this week was to see 8 hispanic priesthood holders in Priesthood class on Sunday. Usually it's only like 4 or 5...but this week a few less-active men came and that was so cool to see. We kind of had to drag one guy to church, but he wanted to come and he seemed to have a good time so hopefully he comes back again next week! He told us to knock on his window Sunday morning to make sure he was awake. We did that and then pretty soon he came out with a thumbs up and said he was awake. haha. But then we were 1/2 way through the first hour of church and he still didn't show up, so we went and passed by his house again, and he had fallen back asleep. haha But he woke up, got ready and then came to church, so we were way excited!

It has been a good week. I hope you all can say the same and I hope you all have a great upcoming week! Thanks for all your love and support.

Elder Vawdrey

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Inspired Cat!

Familia y Amigos,

Hello once again! This last week was really busy for us and really good. We have seen several miracles happen each day and it just amazes me.

On Tuesday, we had interviews with the Mission President and then afterwards we had zone meeting. It was a very spirit-filled day. As Elders were going in and out of interviews with the Mission President, Elder Morgan and I had the opportunity to meet with each companionship in the zone and talk to them about their areas and about how things are going. It was really cool to get to know the Elders better and hear of the great things happening in their areas, seeing their desires to help others, and also to hear of the trials they're facing in their areas. And it was great to be interviewed by President Weston too. He told me: "You are in the right place at the right time." I do feel that this is where the Lord wants me. I'm grateful to be here in Grand Island and I'm loving my time here.

In our zone meeting, we gave trainings about how to teach with convincing power... and really it all comes from two things: 1) The Spirit (which is gained through Obedience)  and 2) The Word (which is gained through studies). We focused our trainings on #2 and as I have applied what we taught, I have seen a great change in our power as we teach and in my love for others. Probably the greatest conclusion that came out of the meeting was that we can teach with convincing power as we study with the intent to help others! True revelation is received when studying on behalf of others. I love the scripture in D&C 63: 9-12. We talked about how as missionaries we see this potential of who we can become and we want it so bad. Sometimes we feel like we are doing all that we possibly can to reach it, but it just doesn't happen. And what I have come to realize is that the reason why it doesn't happen is because our desire is for ourselves. We are demanding spiritual gifts for our own benefit...to gain the praise of men. God doesn't give men the Priesthood to give themselves blessings. Therefore, God won't give us any gift if our intent is just to glory in ourselves. For example: Joseph Smith getting the plates. God wouldn't give him the plates until his intentions were to glorify God, not to get rich and show off to other men of the brass plates.

Elder Morgan trained about how in life: hope is the destination; faith is the power that moves us towards the destination; and charity is the motivation. But, if charity isn't our motivation (for the benefit of others) then we won't be able to reach our hope. I think this takes a lifetime to understand and apply, and even then we won't understand it all. But, I'm trying to understand it better each day.

And real quick, as for a quick miracle that just happened yesterday. After church we went to go stop by a less-active member's house, and when we knocked nobody answered the door. When we got back to our car, we were trying to get warm for a second as we were figuring out who to see next, and then I saw a kid at the neighbor's house peek his head above a bush and looked right at us. At first I was like what the? haha and then I realized, he looked just like one of the kids that lives at the house we just knocked. When we watched this little kid for a bit longer, we realized he and his little sister were trying to catch their cat. haha. So we got out of the car and tried to help them catch their cat. After a while of chasing it down, cornering it, and it running through our legs a few times, we finally got it. haha. And because of that cat, we were able to talk to these kids and they told us that their family was going to come to church but slept in and didn't want to show up late. Then, he told us that they would be home on Tuesday at 3:30 so we are going to go back then and see them. So, we are grateful for that inspired cat that led us to those kids so we could schedule an appointment with this less-active family.

The work is going well here. We have been blessed with a lot of people to see and some members brought a non-member family to church yesterday. And they're Cuban! haha But, a big problem we are facing right now with our investigators is that like 5 different families we are teaching all need their parents to get married. So if you wish, so you can keep that in your prayers!

I hope you all have a wonderful week. Thanks so much for your love and support!

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, January 14, 2013

God is good to us!

Familia y Amigos,

Another week has gone by that was full of miracles. The phrase "God is good to us" has come to mind several times this past week. It has been great to serve with Elder Morgan, the other Elders who live with us, and those we are teaching.

Fortunately, we were able to see the fruits of the labors from the Elders before us. I'm grateful for their hard work and because of it, Elder Morgan and I have been able to see the results of all that they've done. It has reminded me that this work isn't about me. And I don't change people. Change is a result of the Spirit over a period of time.

There were two individuals that were baptized this past weekend. The first was a single mom with a handful of kids and we knew that her heart was in the right place when last week she decided to walk to church since her car wouldn't start. She lives more than a mile away from the church and it was freezing cold outside. That was evidence to me that she has great faith.

And then another guy got baptized. His wife and 2 kids were already members of the Church and so it was so cool to see him be baptized so that their family can now be an eternal family. It's actually a pretty crazy story with him. So, he apparently has been going to church off and on for the past 3 years and missionaries would teach him, but when Elder Morgan and his previous companion went to teach him, they invited him to be baptized and he said: "Oh. I didn't know I could get baptized. The other Elders never invited me to get baptized." So Elder Morgan and his previous companion were like "What?" haha so after making sure he was all good to go, he got baptized. But anyway, he has a solid testimony. And both [converts] are planning on going to the temple for the first time in two weeks! It is such a privilege to be a part of this work.

Also at church yesterday we had a new family move into the branch and they have just SUPER solid testimonies of the Gospel. The husband walked right up to the Branch President and said "Hey, I am here to serve, you just let me know how I can help." I was amazed when I saw this and it made me so excited. It reminded me of a scripture. I believe Christ said it to Heavenly Father: "Behold, Here am I, send me." I feel as if I want to say the same. I hope the Lord trusts me to do whatever He wants me to do.

I spoke in church on Sunday in Spanish for the first time and I felt like it went really well. I just hope somebody got something out of it. I know I did as I was preparing for it.

After church, and the baptisms, Elder Morgan and I were super starving. It was like 4:30pm and we hadn't eaten lunch yet. The church is several miles away from where we live and the people we wanted to see all lived near the church. We decided that we would sacrifice a little more hunger so that we could visit a few more people. That's when we visited with P and G, and the first thing they asked us when they invited us in was, "Have you eaten yet?" We told them no and then they fed us. Elder Morgan leaned over to me and said: "God is good to us!" About 30 seconds later, P was talking about how the Lord blessed their family with a lot of food and then he said word for word "God is good to us!"

It is true. I feel as if I have really learned this since I've come to Grand Island. I'm grateful for those who want to serve others and that through them we can feel God's love. and then right after that visit, we went to another investigator family's home and they fed us a huge plate of food...Ah, too much good. haha

And there were several other miracles that happened this past week. I hope that you can all look back and try to find a miracle that the Lord gave you. The more we do it, the easier it is to see. Have a great week. Thanks for all your love and support.

Elder Vawdrey

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Work is hastening!

Familia y Amigos,

Hello once again! I'm still trying to adjust a bit from coming here from Lexington, but wow, I feel like I'm where the Lord wants me. I LOVE this place. Grand Island is AWESOME. I am serving with Elder Trevor Morgan, (from American Fork, UT)! He was a year older than me in High School and we didn't know each other before, but we knew each others friends and we have a lot in common. And he has a strong testimony and is a great example to me of humility, so I am really looking forward to serving with him for at least several more weeks.

Meet Elder Morgan!
(I've got a Jolly Rancher in my mouth so my cheek looks huge! Ha!)

Elder Morgan's previous companion left a bunch of ties for me!
We are in a Spanish branch and this place reminds me a lot of my 1st area...Sioux City, IA. The members here are incredible! We live in the basement with the branch president, so that makes it nice if we ever need to communicate with him. But yesterday at church, the guy who taught Priesthood was going to teach about the talk from Elder Russell M Nelson that talks about "If you have any questions, ask the missionaries." Well, he decided to teach something a little bit different...about how the members can help the missionaries. haha Elder Morgan and I were like "Wow!" He talked about feeding us like every day, which was cool, but the other part that we were the most excited about was when he said that we need to give the missionaries referrals!! We were like "Nice!" And then last night, this guy that taught the class invited us over for a dessert and they had a family join us as well that aren't members of the church. We got their contact information and they want us to come by again this week! So we were super pumped about that!

The work is going really great here. Elder Morgan and his previous companion really worked hard by the Spirit and are seeing a lot of fruit from their labors, so it's my hope that I can help continue that in some way. Ah, there is so much I could tell you about. This week was just full of miracles, right and left.

I'll just mention one... We went on exchanges with some Elders in Hastings, Nebraska and they had a hispanic family that they wanted us to contact. So I went with another Elder to go see them and they were probably the MOST SOLID hispanic family that I have ever taught on my mission. They were totally prepared to hear the Gospel and that pumped me up so much because this happened just my second day here. We taught this family about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and at the end of the lesson, both of the parents said that they felt so peaceful and they believe everything that we taught. They accepted the invitation to be baptized and then they travelled 20+ miles to church on Sunday! That was so amazing for me to see their love for the Lord and desire to follow Him. The sad news is that they actually are moving to Virginia today. haha So we are hoping that the missionaries out there jump on this referral quick and can help this family towards receiving the Holy Ghost!!

And then there will be two baptismal services this next weekend so that's really exciting. We just need to keep the work going and keep finding new investigators.

I'm grateful for the little miracles that the Lord gives us each day. I know that they happen. We just need to look for them.
This next week is going to be super crazy. Lots of things to do...one of which is I have been asked to give a talk in church this Sunday, and if I remember right, this is actually my first time giving a talk in Spanish... because all of my other areas has been mainly English members, so I'm hoping that that goes well! haha

But I'm grateful to know that we don't have to be perfect, that we have a Savior that has prepared the way for us to be happy in this life and in the next for eternity. I learned the other day that we can receive the Savior's help and peace as we have a broken heart and contrite spirit. So I hope that I can do that so that I can do this work how the Lord wants me to and to overcome my weaknesses so that I can help others more.

I hope that you all had a great New Years! I love you all and thanks for all of your support! Have a great week!

Elder Vawdrey

Last moments with Elder Harker

Thursday, January 3, 2013

It's a New Year!!

Familia y Amigos,

I wish you a late Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! Sorry, I don't think I sent out a letter last week. There was so much going on, and our P-day was on Christmas Eve and the libraries were closed. But I hope that you all have enjoyed these past few holidays and have a vision for another great year! I still need to set my new year resolutions. haha. We had a great Christmas and New Years here in Lexington. It was great to talk with my family and I am so grateful for the opportunity to do that through Skype. Thanks family and friends for all you do and your great examples...it means so much to me. I wanna give a little shout out to one of my best buddies, Jeff Nelson! I'm proud to call you my friend. I hope you had a great mission. I heard your talk was amazing. I hope that you are doing well, that you adjust back to normal life, and that you continually feel of God's love. Thanks so much for your great example.

This e-mail is going to be a hard one for me because I'm pretty much in shock right now and surprised at the confidence the Lord has in me. I feel that He has more confidence in me than I do and for that I am so grateful. Tomorrow is transfer day and I've been called to serve in Grand Island, Nebraska with Elder Morgan (FROM AMERICAN FORK) as a Zone Leader. I'm so pumped to serve with Elder Morgan but I am feeling very inadequate. I'm not sure why the Lord wants me to serve there, but I will do my best to serve the best I can and strive to overcome my personal weaknesses so that I can serve Him with all my heart. I am going to miss Elder Harker and all the people here in Lexington. I served for 6 months here and feel that the Lord has taught me a lot. It hurts to say good-bye but I know it won't be forever. I hope that our investigators and the members here continue to Endure to the End and trust in the Lord. And I hope that they all gained something through me and that they will know that I feel privileged to have served with them.

We received many blessings once again this week. We were able to meet and teach a lady named K. She is friends with several members here and we met her at the birthday party of one of the members here. We got to know her a little bit and then asked if we could stop by sometime and share a message about Jesus Christ. She accepted the invitation and we have already seen her a few times and she has been reading the Book of Mormon!

And then, just last night we got a referral from a member serving in Omaha, and as for referrals, we are asked to contact them within 24 hours. We weren't quite sure what to do with this referral because she lives like 30 minutes away and there was no phone number. We thought about going but then we were thinking...ah, but what if there is no guy there (we can't teach single girls without another male there). Well, we prayed asking the Lord that if it was right in His eyes, that we could go there, find her home, and be able to teach her. Well, we drove 30 minutes out to her house and we knocked on the door and she answered it right away. Her name is J and she invited us right in since her boyfriend was over. So we were like: WOW, this rocks!! And then they even fed us turkey soup!! haha double bendiciones!! We got to know them well and then shared a message about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We feel it went really well and Jamie said that she wants to come to church! nice!

So there are many more blessings that I could share but once again time isn't sufficient. But I hope that you all can set some good new year's resolutions. And I hope that we can all feel of God's love. And, congrats to Cade Hill who will soon be coming to Nebraska speaking spanish!! Que bueno! Have a great week. And thanks to each of you for all your love and support!

Elder Vawdrey

PS: I failed to say thanks to all those who have been so kind and considerate who have contributed financially to my mission. You're in my prayers. Thanks so much!!