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!