November 18, 2013

God is good.

Hear the beautiful counsel of Jeffrey R. Holland. I too know that God loves us. He IS good.

"He is our Father, and He expects us to pray, and trust, and be believing and not give up, and not panic, and not retreat, and not jump ship when something doesn't seem to be going just right. We stay in! We keep working. We keep believing, keep trusting, following that same path and we will live to fall in His arms and feel His embrace and hear Him say, 'I told you that it'd be okay. I told you it would be all right."'

August 26, 2013

August 22, 2013

Life as an RM.

Ever since I got home, whenever I see someone I haven't seen in a long time they normally ask at least one of the following questions, if not all of them:
  1. How was your mission?
  2. How is it being back?
  3. What are your plans now?
  4. So, are you dating anyone?!/Can I set you up with "so-and-so?" (Ps. Did you know that "so-and-so" is actually found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary? #FactoftheDay.)
Question #1-How was your mission?
I’m sorry. That question can not really be answered in a word or a sentence. Nor can it be summed up in a sacrament talk in church. It's indescribable. Serving a mission is….. Look. I’m trying and I can’t even explain it. No hay palabras. It is the most all-in-one-experience you could ever have. It’s wonderful. Hard. Life changing. Challenging. Demanding. Intense. Unexpected. Joyous. Unforgettable. Incredible. Wonderful. Rewarding. All of that and more. And on some days, it wasn't uncommon to feel all of that in just one hour. 

So how can you explain all of that in one word?! I think it's a gift from God that you can't, because it makes it even more special.

Question #2-How is it being back?
 How is it being back? ha's the same kind of a concept. It's a mix of emotion. Most of the time it's really great! And then there's those days when you realize just how awkward of an RM (Returned Missionary) you are because you feel like:
  • you have to say Hola/Buen dia/Buenas Tardes to everyone that walks by.
  • Or how you naturally feel like sharing a scripture after eating a meal.
  • Or wondering why you don't have to call your district leader at 9:30pm to pass on the datos.
  • Or feeling like you need to give everyone a beso or a handshake.
  • Or how you still think in Spanish--which makes you stutter as you try to figure out how to say it in English.
  • Or walking outside on a windy day and out of habit slapping your leg to keep your skirt from flying up...and then remembering that you're wearing jeans.
  • Or how light switches here in the US generally flip up and down rather than from side to side.
  • Or feeling like you need to call a Remis (taxi) to get home when it starts getting dark.
  • Or you turn the knob on the sink that says "C" expecting hot water to come out...
  • Or realizing that you're actually at the point where you feel like you can express yourself better in Spanish rather than in English.
It's weird. But there's fun things too, like:
  • carpet!
  • dishwashers, washers & dryers
  • not having to wear flip flops in the shower
  • being able to drive a car
  • air conditioning
  • ovens with temperature control
  • streets that don't flood over when it rains
  • unlimited email time
  • TECHNOLOGY! Please. It's changed so much. 
  • or being able to talk to someone of the opposite sex for more than 5 minutes and not feeling bad for it
  • peanut butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, Ranch dressing, cheese that isn't queso cremoso, Mom's cooking, & milk that actually takes good!
  • sleeping in past 6:30am, or staying up later than 10:30pm
  • being able to hold babies!
  • running water. And hot running water that doesn't run out
Question #3-What are your plans now?
School and work, people. That's what you should do when you're twenty-something. Luckily it was easy for me because I already finished a chunk of my major before my mission, so now it's back to the books, the classrooms, and the sewing lab! 

Question #4-So, are you dating anyone?!/Can I set you up with "so-and-so?" 
That's always a funny question. But to answer: No, and yes.

When I look back at my mission and the rules I had to live by, or the sacrifices I had to make to go without the simple day-to-day things we take for granted here in the United States--I'm happy. I loved every minute of it. 

It's just good to be back.

August 6, 2013

I'm home.

Hello everyone! I'm HOME! 
And trying to learn how to be a normal person again. ha 

I'm amazed to see how many people are still visiting my blog! I feel bad I've taken so long to post something, because you're probably waiting for an update. As they say in Spanish: mil disculpas! (1,000 apologies)

Well. As for an update: I've been home for about four months already. I can NOT believe how fast the time has flown by. Here I am now with school starting in less than a month! What?!

Many people still ask: What's it like being home? It's...strange. Luckily the adjustment coming home wasn't too hard for me. But it wasn't easy either. Just strange. Sometimes it feels like I'm in a dream, like I'm going to wake up any minute to an obnoxious alarm in Argentina at 6:30am and roll over to the cold tile floor to start another day with a prayer. I miss that. But I know that all good things come to an end.

What's interesting to me, is the "mini-identity crisis" returned missionaries go through when they come home. You see, if you did it right, you don't come home the same person. You come home and realize that the world really did keep going without you, and you need to figure out how and where you want to fit in the world.

Luckily I've figured it out a little. While on my mission, I realized just how passionate I am about teaching and helping others be happy. I'm going back to BYU Provo to finish my Bachelor's Degree in FACS-Ed (Family and Consumer Sciences Education). I only have about a year and a half to finish. Woot! But until next month when school starts, I'll be busy working. Working a lot. (With an emphasis on the lot part) Being a big kid and being a college student includes many bills and expenses that add up quite quickly. I'm currently working two part times jobs. One of them is at VitalSmarts, which is a súper awesome company. Check it out, they'll change your life for good. And then I teach Spanish at the MTC! aka: the second coolest thing I've ever done in my life! (My mission being the first coolest thing)

But, in a nutshell, that's the update. I'm busy, happy, and finally blogging!

March 25, 2013

This is it!!

Friends and followers of Hermana Vawdrey's blog,

The hour is approaching!! 41 hours and counting...and yes, we are counting!

Brittni has truly given her whole heart to HIM as a full-time missionary. We are so proud of her and the efforts she has made in His service. We thank each of you for the positive influence and support you have extended to her through the last 19+ months. She will begin her travels home tomorrow and we will reunite with her on Wednesday.

Details of when she will be invited to speak in her home Sacrament Meeting will be posted once she comes home--we will let her be the one to invite you, but know that you are each welcome to come and support her, and to give her that long, overdue hug. 

Hurrah for Israel!
Steve and Jen Vawdrey and family

March 18, 2013

The last full week of my mission

Familia y amigos,

Today I start the last week of my mission. What?! Like Alma said in the Book of Mormon, "I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." My mission has been an experience that has changed me. It has changed me for good. I left on my mission with a strong testimony, and now I finish with an even stronger testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The principles of the Gospel are engraven upon my soul. I have experienced such great joy that causes me to not even be able to “say the smallest part which I feel.” I've gone through good times and hard times, but I'm grateful for all of it, because I got to know my Savior. I know Him! And I can honestly say that He is my best friend. He has been at my side every day and at every single moment. He has never left me, and I know He will never leave. He patiently waits for us when we struggle, and He cheers us on until we have the success that we desire. I'm grateful for His love. I'm grateful for the Atonement that He endured so that we can live with Him again.

This week I had a really neat experience that I want to share with you. To do so, I'll have to back-track a couple of months. One morning back in December I was studying in Preach My Gospel. I read a part that talked about the importance of sharing why you decided to serve a mission. I remember at the end of my study, I prayed to the Lord that he would bless me with an opportunity to share why I decided to serve a mission. That same day, Hermana Gallegos and I stopped at the church in between appointments to use the bathroom. As we were leaving, a young lady was coming in. She looked at me in the eye and asked, ¿Can I ask you why you decided to serve a mission? I couldn't believe it. The Lord answered my prayer that very day!

I began to tell her how I sadly never really planned to go on a mission. I wanted to serve a mission in the future with my spouse, but I wanted to graduate college, get married and start a family. In November 2011, I was going through a tough time and I asked my dad for a father's blessing. He told me to not forget about the option of serving a mission. I remember being frustrated because that was not the answer I wanted at that time. However that blessing planted the seed. I kept the thought of serving a mission at the back of my mind for several months. By the time General Conference came around, I decided to pray about it for good to see if that was what the Lord wanted me to do. It was interesting because during the entire conference, there was never a talk specifically on missionary work. Yet the entire time I felt a burning desire in my heart to serve a mission. I realized how much I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior. And what do you do when you love the Lord? You serve Him by serving your fellow men!

I remember how anxious I was waiting for the perfect moment to announce my decision to my family. And my brother Brian's arms opened wide as if I had just scored the most phenomenal touchdown for the Lord. To this day I have never regretted that decision. I love being a representative of Jesus Christ. I love that I get to dedicate all of my time to help my brothers and sisters learn more about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation.

As I shared my experience with this young woman, tears started to stream down her face. All she could say was thank you! ¡Gracias! ¡Gracias! She told us that she was thinking about serving a mission and she was at the church to have an interview with the Bishop to get his opinion of whether or not she should go.

On Tuesday I happened to run into this young woman again at the church. She ran up to me, hugged me, and thanked me again for sharing my experience. She then told me that she was at the church to have her final interview with the stake president so that she could finish her mission papers. I'm humbled to know that I was able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to help another one of his daughters prepare to serve a mission.

Testimony in Spanish
No sé si tendré tiempo en la semana que viene para escribir, así que quiero compartir mi testimonio de que sé que la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Dias es la iglesia verdadera. Yo he llegado a conocer la verdad de muchas cosas durante mi misión mediante el Espíritu Santo, porque Él realmente es la manera que Dios ha preparado para conocer su Evangelio. Sé que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero. Contiene la plenitud del evangelio y el "hombre se acercaría más a Dios al seguir sus preceptos que los de cualquier otro libro." (La introduccion del LdM) El Libro de Mormón habla a mi alma cada vez que lo leo, y yo siempre deleito mucho en leerlo. Tengo testimonio de que José Smith era profeta. Mediante de Él, El Señor restauró el Evangelio y hoy día tenemos la misma autoridad y la plenitud de la iglesia que Jesucristo estableció. Estoy re contenta para decir que soy miembro de la iglesia y sé que aunque no soy perfecta, algún día, mediante la expiación de Jesucristo puedo volver y vivir con mi hermano Jesucristo y mi Padre Celestial. Así que "por lo tanto, gloriémonos, sí, me gloriaré en el Señor; sí, me regocijaré porque es completo mi gozo mío; sí, alabaré a mi Dios para siempre. He aquí, ¿quién puede gloriarse demasiado en el Señor? Sí, ¿y quién podrá decir demasiado de su gran poder, y de su misericordia y de su longanimidad para con los hijos de los hombres? He aquí, les digo que no puedo expresar ni la más mínima parte de lo que siento." (Alma 26:27)

English Translation
I don't know if I will have time next week to write, so I want to share my testimony now that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church. I have come to know the truth of many things during my mission through the Holy Ghost, because he really is the way that God helps us understand His Gospel. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It contains the fullness of the Gospel, and 'man would come closer to God by following its precepts than any other book' (the introduction of the Book of Mormon). The Book of Mormon speaks to my soul each time I read it, and I greatly delight in reading it. I am a witness to the fact that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Through him The Lord restored the Gospel and today we have the same authority and the fullness of the church that Jesus Christ established. I am so happy to say that I am a member of the Church, and although I am not perfect, some day, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ I can go back and live with my brother Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father. So 'yes, I will glory in the Lord; yes, I rejoice because my joy is full; yes, I will praise my God forever. Behold, who can boast too much in the Lord? Yes, but who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy and kindness to the children of men? Behold, I tell you that I cannot express the slightest part of what I feel." (Alma 26:27)

I love you all! Hope you're well! Have a good week. :)
-Hermana Vawdrey

The little brother of one of my Mar del Plata converts

He was baptized shortly after I was transferred out of Mar del Plata

This cute boy was baptized last Saturday.
He attended his uncle's baptism a few weeks ago and felt the
Holy Ghost. He wanted to feel this spirit all the time and
chose to follow his uncle's example and be baptized as well. :)

One of our sweet investigators from the Dominican Republic

I love this little family! The cute little boy wants to get baptized.

March 11, 2013

Last Zone Meeting

Hellooo everyone!

Time is flying. It's already Monday! What?! Mom! I received your Valentine's Day package. Thank you! That was quite the package! Hermana Rodriguez and I were really excited.

We had a really great week, and once again we witnessed many miracles. On Tuesday we had a Zone Meeting, and since it was the last zone meeting of the transfer, all of the missionaries that finish their missions at the end of the transfer were asked to bear their testimonies. That was such an incredible experience. There are six of us in our zone that finish their missions this transfer. The spirit was incredibly strong and it was neat to see how converted we have all become as a result of trying to invite people to come unto Christ. (Hello, run-on sentences! Sorry. That's how they speak here in Argentina.) It truly was a moment I will never forget. It was neat to reflect on the progress that we have made in every aspect of our lives. One Elder talked about how we go home as different people. It's true. I'm still Brittni Vawdrey. But, I'm not the same person I was when I came on my mission. But I'm the new and improved! And as horribly sad as it is that our full-time mission is coming to an end, our missions don't end. As members of the Church we are missionaries every day of our lives. It's just time to change the location. The Lord needs us to be in other places, doing other things so that we can continue to help Him bring all of His children unto Christ.

Another day this week we had quite the adventure because there was another big storm. It didn't rain much, but the wind was out of control! Which isn't that pleasant when you have to walk around in a skirt all day. haha. Because of the wind it ended up cutting out the lights! We got to our apartment one night and had to plan by candle night. :) It was funny because the lights came back on at about 10:25, and we go to bed at 10:30. So we had 5 minutes of light before we had to turn it out again. :)  But it was a good experience to realize just how blessed we are to have light and electricity. For example, instead of taking the elevator we had to hike all of the windy stairs. God has a funny sense of humor sometimes to help us remember just how blessed we are, right?

We found several great new investigators this week. And N came to church! It was such a miracle! I wish I had time to tell you all the details. I just have to say that when we give the Lord our hearts, when we do absolutely everything in our power, He does the rest. :)

I know the gospel has been restored. We have the fullness of the gospel on the earth today, and it will never be taken away again! I love my Savior. I know He lives. I know the Lord hears and answers every prayer. We are children of God and we have so much divine potential that we can't even comprehend it. Only because the Lord loves us, and wants us and trusts in us to accomplish great things. So. Keep doing those great things that you're doing. You're making the Lord proud!

Family, I love you! I hope you have a great week! Les quiero mucho!
-Hermana Vawdrey

As a request from the Mama, here are some fun facts/quirks about Argentina:

  • People here in Barrio Pueyrredón love Backstreet Boys. And AC/DC. ha Dad, it makes me think of random times driving in "Gus" when we would listen to AC/DC on the way to the boy's sports games. Good times!
  • Floppy hair! Oh my. I've never seen so many loose, floppy ponytails in my life! And it's always right on top of their head! ha I get a kick out of it.
  • Umm Fashion, (because I naturally notice that) saggy crotch pants are every where. "Pantalones feos" is what I call them. They're so ugly I got a pair because they'll be fun to use for some costume parties in the future.
  • Argentines LOVE stickers! They put them on everything. Phones, computers, cars, wallets, etc.
  • Pan. Argentines cannot live one day without eating their pan (bread)/ They eat bread every day. And it's funny because when it's served they almost never put it on their plate, it always goes on the table.
  • They are so direct! If you look fat, have a bad hair day, etc. they tell you! It's like Grandpa Jon. hahah No filter. ;)

But I love these people. I want you to know that.

Brian Edwards! HELLO!! I got your letter! How great to hear from you. :) I meant to write to you quite a while ago, but I figured you had moved already from the previous apartment address. I hope you're enjoying your internship-trip thing in New York!

Hermana Rodriguez and me
Thanks for sending new socks, Mom. This is what I was wearing!
So pretty before it rains. The sky is huge here without mountains.

March 5, 2013

I LOVE the Book of Mormon!

Family and Friends,

Again, my heart is full. To quote an investigator, "I am in LOVE with the Book of Mormon." It is true! It penetrates my heart and allows the Lord to communicate to me in a way that no one else can. It was a hard week, but it was possible because of all of the encouragement, faith, hope, and "love notes" that the Lord helped me find this week in the Book of Mormon. I know I can always find them there.

Yesterday we witnessed a miracle. Remember last week when I told you about J? He's the "tough guy with long, shoulder-length, curly hair, piercings, beard, tattoos, etc. Not anymore! He came to church yesterday in a white shirt and tie. He borrowed his friend's dress shoes and polished them up all nice. And, he cut his hair!! Wow. I wish I had a before and after picture. It makes me think of the movie "The Other Side of Heaven" when they find the drunk less-active guy and clean him up and bring him to church. That's totally how it was! J was grinning from ear to ear the whole time. He talked to the bishop and he has the goal to get the Aaronic Priesthood in the next little bit. Incredible. No one is ever too far off the path of the gospel to be able to be cleaned up, forgiven, and changed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that my Redeemer lives. Because if it wasn't for him, we would never be able to see these moments of immense joy.

I don't know what it is, but Hermana Rodriguez and I have a talent for finding investigators with really interesting situations and doubts. haha Presidente Parreño came with us yesterday to a lesson to help us try to re-activate an RM/ex-obispo (bishop). And well...that was intimidating. What do you do/say during a lesson when your MISSION PRESIDENT is sitting next to you?! But the Lord comforted me through the Holy Ghost and we had all of the words and direction we needed for that lesson. It went really well.

We're working with another investigator that was going to an evangelical church before, but she had a really bad experience because the people judged her because of her poverty. Sad. We've been able to practice charity, and I've been able to witness that charity, the pure love of Christ that truly heals every problem and every situation. It's interesting because in these past few weeks the Lord has really pushed me out of my comfort zone. We've taught investigators that have concerns or doubts that I've never had before. It's blessed us with the opportunity to consult with the Lord and receive personal revelation of how we can help his children come back unto him. And it's made me remember something that Hermana Juli Jensen once told me. "No one really knows how to be a good missionary. You just have to try." That's some serious wisdom there. No one really knows! No one really knows how to be a perfect father, perfect teacher, etc. You just have to try! And somehow in the middle of all the trying, the effort, sweat and tears, we figure it out.

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true! The teachings and the doctrine are perfect--not us. We're all just trying to figure it out, little by little, precept by precept.

Family, I love you. Thanks for all that you do. Have a great week!

-Hermana Vawdrey

February 25, 2013

The Lord takes care of his missionaries!

Family and Friends,

Wow, family, new ward huh? That's really exciting. I love change. After 12 years of living right on the borders of the ward boundaries, I guess it's about time that we get bumped into another ward, right? AH! And did you hear! They opened up 58 new missions in the world! TWO in Argentina, EIGHT in Mexico, and many more. It's so neat to see the gospel spreading throughout the Earth. :) I'm still anxious to see when a mission will open up in China. :) Ty: I can see you serving your mission there!

Mom, Happy belated birthday! And M (one of the members here) says Happy Birthday too! I showed her a family picture the other day and she called you the young, rubia, movie star. haha It's true. You're beautiful. I hope you had a wonderful birthday.

Yesterday we witnessed something truly remarkable. MG, one of the members has been working on coming back to church. Her son has been inactive for years and years, but he agreed to have a Noche de Hogar (FHE) last night. He got baptized when he was 14, and he is now 35. He's got long hair, a beard, and he's covered in tattoos. Ha! We decided to keep it simple, and we taught about the faith. We read in the Book of Mormón when Alma compared faith to a seed. It was incredible to watch how the spirit brought all of the gospel topics to his remembrance. He truly had a repentent heart and said he wants to change, and he wants to come back to church. We gave him a new Book of Mormón and he started to cry. He told us about how he felt when he got baptized, and how he wants to feel that way again. It was such a blessing to be able to witness that. The Lord has been preparing him to come back, and we are feeling so blessed to be able to help him.

We heard some interesting news the other day: Remember how we used to live in another apartment here in Barrio Pueyrredón? Shortly after we moved there was a huge fire that badly damaged the 11th floor (where we lived) and several other apartments. The Lord takes care of his missionaries!

The church is true! And it always will be. I love you all! Have a good week.

-Hermana Vawdrey

February 18, 2013

I'm súper rubia!

Hello Hello!

Hey! Happy Valentine's Day! Mom and Dad--Thanks for still being in love :) Les amo y admiro mucho! What exciting news about the changes in the ward. I´ll be anxiously waiting to see what ward I'll come home to. Ha! And Jack is already going to the MTC! Hopefully all will work out quickly with his Visa. And here's a shout out to Audrey Gee and Brad: FELICITACIONES! Congrats! I'm excited for you. Hope all is well.

So it's still super hot here in Bahía Blanca. ¡I'm súper rubia! I've never been so blonde in my life! But things are going well. We had another great week! This week Hermana Parrreño (Presidente's wife) came with us to a lesson with one of our investigators. It was super intimidating at first to have Hermana Parreño there, but it went really really well. She is a convert, and was very catholic before so she was able to relate to our investigator really well. The spirit was super strong and we know she felt it. This sweet sister is off to Buenos Aires to take finals this week, but we're hoping to witness a miracle baptism soon. :)

Ohh! So we heard that the Church is growing so much in Argentina that they are going to open up a new mission in Argentina! WOOT! It sounds like the limits of Bahía Blanca will stay the same, but it's still great news. It's all to accomodate the many youth going to serve missions.

We went and visited a sister from our ward at the hospital this week (she's the one in the ward who fills up the lunch calendar for the missionaries.) The poor thing has been in the hospital for several weeks now. She's recovering very slowly, so we decided to pay her a visit. She's too weak to breath by  herself, so she's got a tube in her neck and in her nose...and she hooked up to so many IV's and machines that I don't even want to know how many. So sad. Yet her smile when we walked into the room was something I will never forget. Her eyes lit up like a little child. Since she has the tube in her mouth she can't speak. Yet incredibly we were still able to communicate with her because she would move her lips like she was talking. Her husband helped us out a lot too. We sang her favorite hymn: Grande Eres Tu (How Great Thou Art). I don't think I'll ever hear that hymn again without thinking of her. She is such a neat woman.

This week I learned something interesting in regards to judging others. Really we shouldn't ever judge, right? But Hi. We're imperfect people, and it's our natural instinct. Yet there are certain instances when we need to judge. For example: we need to judge those who will be our friends, that they will help us stand in holy places at all times, in all things, and in all places. I found it interesting this week as I was studying in True to the Faith, that we need to train ourselves to not necessarily judge people, but judge their situation. We need to think of their situation that makes them do what they do. If we do that, normally our judgments are completely different because we come to understand more of why they are the way they are.

Ay. Time goes by way too fast. I wish I could write more. But I thank all of you for all of your love, prayers and support. Have a great week and I will talk to you again soon! Un besito!

-Hermana  Vawdrey