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