December 26, 2011


!Feliz Navidad!

Hermana Vawdrey con el Pte Detlefsen y su esposa

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas! My Christmas here in Argentina was a lot different than normal,  yet it was one that I will never forget. I'm sure it will forever be one of my favorites. This Christmas season has been really special for me because I have really reflected on the true meaning of CHRISTmas. Christ! (Alma 7: 7-13, Luke 2) What we really celebrate is that we have a Savior! Sadly, "V" and her kids didn't get baptized on Christmas, but we're not giving up on her yet! You don't need a special day like Christmas to have a baptism, because baptism will make any day special!

This past week we had a lot of fun things going on for the holidays. On Tuesday we had our "Super P-Day" in Bahía Blanca with half of the missionaries from our mission. It was really neat to all be in one place together. In the evening we had a talent show and a devotional with President Detlefsen. It was so good! My district did a musical number to the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". We all got Rudolph noses and played the song with glass bottles. Unfortunately, I didn't get a very good video of it, but it was really really funny. :)

A District of "Rudolphs"

Our rama had an activity this past week to go to rest homes to sing Christmas carols. We had a great turn-out from the branch, and the old people really liked it. There was this cute old man that kept trying to get us to take 2 pesos (worth about 50 cents) because he was so grateful that we came!

The best by far though was getting to talk to FAMILY! It was so great to see every one's faces again on Skype, and I'm so glad that it worked out for me to talk to Brian too.

Skype - one of the greatest Internet inventions!

But now it's back to missionary work, and I love it so much!!

¡Hasta la semana que viene!
-Hermana Vawdrey

December 21, 2011

Cardboard and Tin Foil

!Feliz Navidad!

Ohh Christmas is in the air, it's great. It turns out that "V" didn't get baptized on Saturday because she didn't feel quite ready. Long story...But! It worked out for the better, because now she and her three kids will all get baptized together on Christmas! We are so excited for them because there is no better gift you can give Christ to celebrate Christmas other than to follow his example and enter into the waters of baptism. :)

Since Vanesa is a single mom, they don't have much. Every time we go to their house I am reminded of how blessed we are. Four of her five kids sleep in one room, and only two of them have beds. The others just have matresses on the floor. Since money is tight they weren't able to get a Christmas tree this year, and since they are being so obedient to prepare for baptism, we decided we wanted to give them a Christmas tree. They have this little pine tree in their back yard, so we looked through our apartment to find things we could turn into ornaments to turn their little tree into a Christmas tree. We cut out shapes out of card board and covered them with tin foil. Hermana Freeman's mom sent her glow in the dark stars in a package recently, so we put string on them to turn them into ornaments too.

The decorations were so simple, yet "V" and her kids were so thrilled to have them. Once we started decorating the tree they really got in to the spirit of Christmas and got some old decorations out from their closet and started decorating all of their bushes and even the light pole in the back yard! It's amazing that all it took to bring the spirit of Christmas was the memory of Christ and some tin foil covered cardboard.

Yo sé que vive mi Señor. Jesucristo es mi Salvador y Redentor.


-Hermana Vawdrey

December 13, 2011

Eternal Investigator

¡Hola mis buenisimos amigos y familia!

We are really starting to have success in Pigué, it's exciting! It's interesting to see that on the days that we're almost exactly obedient, we almost get nuevos investigadores. The Lord is not kidding when he gives us rules to follow! As a companionship, Hermana Freeman and I are learning a lot. She is so awesome. Especially with having two latina sisters in the apartment, it's interesting to see different approaches and different priorities in missionary work. Yet it never does any good to compare yourself, you simply have to do your best for the Lord and he will bless you for your diligence.

The Cuatro Pigue Hermanas
So we have this investigator who has always been the "eternal" investigator. She wants to get baptized, yet she's living with her boyfriend and he doesn't want to be married. (Argentines are really weird about putting off marriage because divorce is really expensive. To avoid that they just live together for years and years without ever getting married. It doesn't make sense to me. You'd have so much more security knowing that you're married!) A few weeks ago we explained the Law of Chastity to her and told her that it is a requirement for baptism. She understood perfectly, but she wants baptism to be a family thing and told us she'll just wait until her boyfriend is ready to get married. Ughhh! If she only had any idea what she was putting off!

Earlier this week the new hermanas just happened to knock her door and had a lesson with her. And to make a long story short, she now has a fecha for December 25th to be baptized!! Hermana Freeman and I, along with this eternal investigator and the other hermanas, we had a group fast this week to help soften her boyfriend's heart so that he will be willing to get married, so that she can get baptized on the 25th. When we talked to her on Thursday she hadn't told her boyfriend anything yet about how she needed to get married so soon for baptism, yet on his own he'd payed the payment for their engagement rings! We are so excited for her.

"V" y su hija get baptized this Saturday! We are soo excited.

Here are some pictures, with love, from Pigué!

Our Christmas tree!
How do you like our ornaments?
The Four Amigas!
The clouds are SO beautiful here!
Cars are so tiny here!

Hope all is well at home!

-Hermana Vawdrey

December 5, 2011

The Lord is STILL a God of Miracles

The Lord put me through a whirlwind of learning this week. I had challenges. I had struggles. (Don't we all?) But I saw blessings and I saw miracles. I know that Lord is a God of miracles and they still happen now as they did in old Bible times. Miracles are a response to faith. "They were never wrought without prayer, felt need and faith." (Bible Dictionary -- Miracles) If we have the faith to allow a miracle to occur, and if we reach for the Savior's help, He will reach back, and He will lift and bless us with miracles.

One day this week Hermana Freeman and I were out contacting and were about to head back to our apartment, when we felt like we should knock this little house on the corner. It was about 8:45pm, it was getting dark, and this house had all its windows open and all the lights inside appeared to be on. We knocked--nothing. We knocked again--nothing. At this point I was confused why it seemed so obvious that someone was home and that they wouldn't answer. But for some reason I wasn't ready to give up yet. We knocked again--nothing! As we turned around to head back home, there was this man walking towards us with a huge grin on his face. It turns out that he lives there, and he said that he'd go in and ask his wife if she was interested. The next second she was there and told us to come in. We taught them about the Restoration, and the Spirit was incredibly powerful. They both accepted a baptismal date, and then the wife said the closing prayer! There is something so powerful about those simple, heart-felt first prayers. It's incredible! In it she promised the Lord that they would be baptized! YES! I think I was grinning the whole way home after that. :)

Two more hermanas arrived here in Pigué on Wednesday night. Both Latinas! Hermana Arancibia is from Chile. She goes home in March, so this will most likely be her last area. She is really bubbly and energetic, and surprisingly knows quite a bit of English. Her favorite phrases are: "Let's bounce," "freakin'" haha, and she is always trying to say "Vawdrey" correctly. Hermana Chento is from La Plata, Argentina. It's just a little bit north of our mission boundaries. She was actually called to Mexico on her mission, but is waiting for her Visa. For this reason we have no idea how long she will be here, but we'll keep her! She is awesome! She speaks sooooooooooooooooooooooo stinkin' fast, it's not even funny. However, I am grateful because it's like I have never-ending language study when we're in the apartment! ha

Pigué celebrated its 127th birthday this past weekend. It was basically their 4th of July, you could say. They have a tradition of making un omelette gigante. And by gigante I mean HUGE! They used 15,000 eggs! They had all the shells piled up in a pile...We used the big celebration for missionary work! Lots of people set up stands in this big park to sell stuff. They had a rule that we weren't allowed to teach or proselyte, so we set up a stand and handed out pamphlets. We're hoping that we will be able to have success from those that read them.

The world's largest omelette!

Other random things:

  • Hermana Freeman got pooped on by a bird this week when we walked under a tree.
  • An investigator farted during a prayer yesterday. hahaha I swear the Spirit was the only thing that kept me from laughing.
  • Our rama (branch) has a goal to be a ward either by the end of 2012 or by Enero (January) 2013!! Whoo!

I'm soo sorry, but the USB port doesn't work on this computer so I'm not able to send pictures this week. I'll be sure to get a different computer next week though. I'll be sure to send pictures of the new hermanas, our christmas tree, etc.

Hope you all are doing well!

-Hermana Vawdrey

November 28, 2011

The month of Baptism

¡Hola Hola!

We had both district meeting and TRI-Zone conference this week. It was so good, I loved it. Basically our Presidente has a lot of faith in us. He has a goal for our mission to get 1,000 baptisms for the year 2011. It's never been done before, but we're only about 250 away. That means that each companionship needs to get about 3 during the month of December. We set a goal for six. It's scary because that's kind of a big number, but we are feeling very confident that we can achieve it, and the field is getting whiter and whiter each week. :) Besides, our purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ and be BAPTIZED!

My district and our Thanksgiving treats: pumpkin pie, brownies, & jello cake

Our Pumpin Pie--it turned out pretty good!
(I'm not a pumpin pie fan though. ha!)

Hermanas Baker, McWhorter y yo at Conferencia de Zonas
(my companeras at the MTC)

Our little capilla (chapel)! So tiny!

Our Relief Society Room :)
While we were in Bahía for the conferences, we did some divisions with other hermanas in Bahía. I got a chance to work with another Hermana for a few hours, and it was interesting to see a different view point and style of doing everything. We have the same rules and same purpose, yet everyone has their own way of doing things! It was kinda fun! What did I learn from it? I like my companion, and I like my area. haha

We had a neat experience while teaching on divisions though. Hermana Alston wanted to contact these two teenage girls in the street...which I normally wouldn't have done because they are always grumpy and don't care when they are with their friends. Well, the girl's little sister was there and they told her to go get their mom who turned out to live just down the street. We then went to talk to her mom, Claudia, who was smoking, grumpy, and quite rude. But then all of a sudden she told us to come in! It was awesome! I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden she was willing to be taught. :) The lesson went great, and by the end after the prayer she got emotional because she was starting to realize that the gospel is what was missing in her and her family's life. It was so awesome! I'm just bummed because I won't get to teach her again!

As for investigators, our teaching pool is growing, which we are really excited about. We had to re-set "V" and her kids' baptismal date, but they are still doing great. I love the gospel. I know it's true. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, and we have evidence of it that we can hold in our hands and read! The Book of Mormon!

Get a free copy of the Book of Mormon by clicking here! Do it!!

Have a great week, everyone!

-Hermana Vawdrey

Grandma Rodgers: Happy 70th birthday! Hope it was great. Also, I received your letter this week. Thank you!

Jessica Dewsnup: Happy birthday!

Spring Hollow Ward: I received your package this week. Thank you so much!! I LOVED it! Thanks for all the prayers and support.

November 21, 2011

Keep your commandment seatbelts on!


So BIG news. We heard from our mission president last week that there are some new changes for our area. Missionaries are now to only have 2-3 areas for their entire mission...which means that we will serve in each area for 6-9 months! (He said generally 9 months.) That means that I could be here in Pigüé until April or possibly even July! Crazy, eh? I think it's great though; our investigators and the members need the stability. Not only that, but we will now be able to set long term goals. President said this will make us work harder when our area isn't a "dream area" because we won't have frequent transfers to look forward to.

As for an update for the week, two of "V's" kids now have a fecha (baptismal date)! It has been so fun to teach them. Kids absorb absolutely everything we teach, and it is really fun to watch. Ever since we had a family home evening with them, they love to sing primary songs or hymns...even though they can't carry a tune to save their lives. :)  We taught "V" the Word of Wisdom earlier this week. We explained to her why she needs to stop smoking, and she didn't doubt for a second! Gosh she's awesome. We're now working on helping her have the faith she needs to realize she can do it.

This week I've learned to realize how much of a blessing the commandments are for us. Sometimes they appear to be thick straps holding us back...but really they are protecting us from falling off a dangerous cliff of unhappiness and sin. Yeah, some of the commandments may be hard to follow, but the Lord only gave them to us because He loves us and he wants to be safe. He would never give us commandments that are impossible, neither would He ask of us to do something that is hard if it wasn't worth it. Sometimes we need to struggle for awhile to learn a lesson, but He is there every step of the way. Commandments give us an opportunity to show our faith and our love for the Lord, so why should we hesitate to obey! So, keep your commandment seatbelts on! You will never go anywhere where you won't need them.

Well everybody, Happy Thanksgiving! It's weird to think that it's already that time of year because it's about 78 degrees right now. Thanksgiving isn't a holiday here in Argentina either, so I won't be eating turkey. But we have zone conference on Thanksgiving and we're going to try to make a pumpkin pie! We'll see how that works out with Argentine ingredients...haha

Love you all!

-Hermana Vawdrey

November 14, 2011

In the strength of the Lord


¿Cómo andan? It's been a great week! We traveled a lot because we had our district meeting in Bahía Blanca, and then we had conferencia de estaca también (Stake Conference also) en Bahía Blanca. We had about 40 people from our rama (branch) that attended conferencia de estaca. It was great! Fuimos muy animadas. (We were very excited.) Our rama got a double-decker bus so that everyone would have a way to get there. It was about a two-hour bus ride, but it was a great opportunity to get to know the members and to strengthen los menos activos (the less active).

Presidente Detlefsen y su esposa (and his wife) spoke at conferencia and did a great job. They are very inspiring.

Adriana and Jorge Detlefsen
Conferencia de estaca was good. I understood parts. Words, really...haha but my castellano is still improving bit by bit each day.

This week we got our oven, washer, and toilet fixed by some hermanos en la rama. FINALLY! Half of our bathroom is no longer covered in a puddle, and we don't have to wash our clothes by hand any more. :) We are verrry grateful. Ohh, the little things. I'm learning very quickly how spoiled we are in the United States.

This week after district meeting, we had what we call an esfuerzo (literal translation: strengthening) here in Pigué. That's when other missionaries come to work in a certain area to help the missionaries get more references and find more investigators. It went well. We are very grateful for their efforts because we have several more potential investigators. Whoo!

It took us several weeks to learn, but street contacting and knocking on doors doesn't bring much success here in Pigué. We have now been focusing on the menos activos (less actives) and other references we get from the members and it is working a lot better. By doing so we were able to get 7 menos activos to church that haven't been for years!!

"V" (name withheld), our favorite investigator, is still doing great. Since she and her boyfriend are separated, she decided to look for a job this week. She found one the first day! She realized that was a blessing from the Lord, and that is only a small thing the Lord has blessed her with lately. :) We visited her and her kids the other day and she said they had been praying together as a family! We didn´t even tell her to do that! The gospel is such an incredible thing because once people learn a principle the Holy Ghost will always help guide them to know what other things they can do to bring more happiness into their lives. :)

In my study this week I really liked the scripture in Words of Mormon 1:14
"And in the strength of the Lord they did contend against their enemies, until they had slain many thousands of the Lamanites. And it came to pass that they did contend against the Lamanites until they had driven them out of all the lands of their inheritance."

How cool is that? Many THOUSANDS! That is a big number. We too can slay that many thousands of Satan's temptations. The Lord is perfect and His whole plan is simply so that we can become perfect too. Do everything in the strength of the Lord. Start with a prayer to invite the strength, end your day with a prayer of gratitude, and the amount of success and blessings you will receive will be more than you could ever imagine.

I love you all!

-Hermana Vawdrey

November 7, 2011

Spare it a little longer

¡Hola Familia y Amigos!

I am now halfway through my first transfer in Argentina. I can hardly believe it! The work is hard, but soo rewarding. I thank the Lord every day for the opportunity I have to serve Him and His children here in Pigüé.

I told you a little about "V" (name withheld) last week. She's the investigator we're really focusing on right now because she is progressing a lot. Guess what? SHE HAS A FECHA! (A baptismal date: November 26th!) We are so excited for her. Her testimony is growing and she is truly "hungry" to learn more about the gospel. After our first lesson with her we committed her to read the Introduction to el Libro de Mormón, and then at least the first chapter. We went back three days later and she had read clear until 2 Nephi 30! That's like over thirty pages! We were shocked, speechless, and SO happy for her.

It has been a hard week for her because she and her boyfriend are separated now, but she specifically said that reading el Libro de Mormón has given her "the strength to stand." :) She started reading it the first day we gave it to her, and she said the ancient writing style, the stories and the underlying morals really intrigued her, so she couldn't put it down! It's incredible to be able to watch the power of el Libro de Mormón already blessing her life. She and her two older kids came to church yesterday, and we hope to get fechas for her three oldest kids who are baptismal age.

The rest of the week was hard because we weren't able to have very many people let us in to teach. But it's moments like teaching "V" that make it all worth it. Mom, it's like what you said in your last e-mail, you have to focus on what you DO have. Yeah, our number of lessons isn't very high, but the investigators that we do have are gold mines.

My scripture study this week has been a great strength for me--as always. Like "V", there were moments when it "kept me standing." My favorite chapter I read this week (surprisingly) was Jacob 5. That's the famous account where Jacob quotes Zenos about the allegory of the wild and the tame olive trees. I've always hated that chapter because I never understood it. This time, however, I took the time to read the foot notes, and I learned so much! It really is a beautiful allegory, and is very similar to the way Christ teaches in parables.

I got a lot of strength from it because it talks a little bit about missionary work. The Lord weeps because the trees are dying and withering away, but He lovingly says: "Spare it a little longer." He nourishes them, and then He calls servants (missionaries, prophets, apostles, visiting teachers, home teachers, bishops, etc.) to labor diligently with all of their might that they may prepare the way. That is why I am here! To labor with all of my might and to prepare the way. I know that the Lord has many things planned for me while I am here in Pigüé, even if it takes me awhile to see the "fruit." The same goes for all of you! When life is hard, and you don't understand why you are not having success when you are giving it all you have--KEEP GOING! The Lord has something planned. It will get better. It will end, and you will reap that fruit. :) All we can do is keep working hard and trust Him!

I love you all! Have a great week!

-Hermana Vawdrey

October 31, 2011

NOTHING is impossible with the Lord!

¡Hola otra vez!

I can´t believe it´s already Monday, the week went by so fast! To be completely honest, the first few weeks here in Pigüé have been a little bit rough since we are both new to the area. We have to take the time to get to know all the members, investigators, recent converts...and then gain their trust. It´s going to take time. The first 6 days here we did a lot of contacting and set up a lot of appointments, but every single one fell through. We´d show up to their house and either they wouldn´t be home or the would be "busy". Ugh. However, our first lesson was absolutely incredible!

The investigator´s name is V, and she has a pretty interesting story. She and her boyfriend have 5 kids. Her boyfriend´s sister is a recent convert in our branch, so that´s kinda how she found out about the church. When they came to church last Sunday she flat out said that she wasn´t really interested, she was only their for her kids and her boyfriend. But then when we went to go teach her, her perspective was completely different! They recently moved to Pigüé because it´s a better, more safer place to raise their kids. Before they moved here life was pretty rough. They were starting to do better financially so they got a car, but the day after they got all the insurance stuff squared away with it, it was lit on fire!! It was one awful thing after the next, but she said ever since they moved to Pigüé life has been better. The first day they were able to find a house to move into, her boyfriend got a job...they went to vida esta buena! We went to her house planning on teaching the first lesson, but she and her 12 year old son had a lot of questions that we ended up answering. They are very ready for the gospel, and I am very excited to teach them. :)

Earlier this week our mission president called us and said he will be sending 2 more hermanas to Pigüé soon! (Probably next transfer or something) We´re very excited. Our branch is very small, but very strong. On Sunday we only had about 20 people that attended church. We could use more missionaries here.

Our mission president has promised us that if we work hard to baptize people, the one stake in Bahía Blanca will grow till we have 6 stakes. And he promised us that if we do that, one day we will get a temple in Bahía Blanca! I feel very privileged to be one of those that the Lord is trusting in to help build the church strong enough to have another temple. :)

I´m still loving Argentina! I can feel myself already getting absorbed into the culture and traditions of Argentines. They are a wonderful people. Most of the people here are Catholic...but they don´t really even know what that means. haha When we go to talk to people they recognize us as missionaries and pretty much always say something to the effect of: "I´m very catholic, I just don´t go to church." uhhh...? Argentines are big talkers though, so sometimes if we talk to them long enough we can talk them into sharing a message with them. :)

My Castellano can still use a lot of work, but I get better every day. It´s still hard to discern one word from another because they speak so fast! I just keep reminding myself that if Heavenly Father said Nephi could build a boat--I can learn Castellano! :) NOTHING is impossible with the Lord!

  • Argentines always have to greet every person and say good-bye to every one
  • It´s pretty much always windy in Pigüé  (I have to wear glasses most of the time)
  • When a car is for sale, they put an empty (or water filled) pop bottle on top of the car
  • Argentines always sing very loud, and very off key
  • Most common foods: meat, empanadas, Dulce de Leche, helado, mashed potatoes, pan! (bread)
  • I feel very tall
  • My apartment is very small and simple! "Very Argentine," my companion says. She also said this is the nicest apartment she´s had on her whole mission...hmm...not sure what I think about that! haha

  • Oh! I had this goal to use up all of the ink in a pen, because it would be proof of all of my hard work studying. :) I started using it in the MTC and it finally ran out this week so I had to get a picture with it. ha!

  • The first few nights in our apartment I didn´t sleep very well because I felt like I was sleeping on a bar. The second night I decided that I´d look under the mattress to see what was under there and I found a little ladder!! (Like for a bunk bed) I don´t know if the elders put it there for support or if it was like a prank they pulled on us like the story of the princess and the pea? Ha I guess I´m a princess!

I love you all!
-Hermana Vawdrey

October 24, 2011

Hola from ARGENTINA!

¡Familia y Amigos!

¡HOLA FROM ARGENTINA! Yes, I did arrive safely. Family, I´m sorry you never got an email from my mission president. I´m not sure what happened there...he took a picture of our travel group and all of us with our new companions, so I´m not sure what happened. But, I am doing great! I love Argentina!

The Elders and Hermanas that arrived with me to Bahía Blanca (with our Mission President and his wife)

It turns out that our flight from Atlanta to Buenos Aires was pretty much a miracle flight. A volcano erupted in Chile a few days previous, so all flights to Buenos Aires had been canceled. Our flight was the first one that was allowed to go. I guess the Lord really needs us in Argentina right now! :) The traveling itself was crazy. (Family, I was sad our phone call ended unexpectedly! What a rip! I was sad too that we didn´t get to have a real good-bye or a chance to bear my testimony in Español...but I just got word that for Christmas I am allowed to SKYPE! How awesome will that be? I´m already looking forward to it. :)

Okay, so the flight to Buenos Aires was ridiculously long. I didn´t really sleep much because I was so excited that I was finally going to Argentina! And those planes are never comfortable anyway... But, I lucked out and got to have a window seat.  My favorite was when we flew over Jamaica :) It popped out of nowhere and was just covered in lights. It was really cool to see from above. Anyway... so we landed safely in Buenos Aires, and we all got through customs without any problems. All of our luggage arrived too, so we were pretty excited. There was a man waiting for us as we were leaving the airport to help us with our next travels. We loaded up all our luggage into a van with windows covered up with cardboard (Awesome?) and then rode a bus to another airport where we would catch a plane to Bahía Blanca. We arrived at that airport and the travel guy helped us all get tickets. The only problem was that we barely missed our flight so we had another four hour layover. Uh! When we arrived at the airport in Bahía Blanca, our mission president, his wife, his daughter and the two zone leaders were waiting for us. They took us to the mission home, fed us dinner, and then gave us a place to stay for the night. (The hermanas stayed at Mission President´s house, and the elders stayed at a house down the street.) The only problem was that we didn´t have any of our stuff! It was all in that van on the way to Bahía Blanca! Ha. So we had to wear the same pair of clothes for 3 days! No bueno. The sweet mission president´s wife spoiled us though and got us a new pair of garments and let us shower and get all cleaned up. Finally!

The next day (Wednesday) we got our new companions and area assignments. My companion´s name is Hermana Freeman. She is from Arizona, is the second of 6 kids, and has been in Argentina for a year now. We get along great and I am excited to serve with her. She is a hard worker and I have already learned a lot from her.

Hermanas Vawdrey y Freeman

My area is called Pigüé (pronounced peeg-way). It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! There are a lot of trees and parks, and the people are wonderful. Our apartment is on the top floor of the highest building in the city haha (Dad, It´s on Casey Ave if you want to try to find it on Google maps or whatever)

Inside our apartment

Our kitchen

When I first got to Argentina, everything felt very "baby" (as Kate Norma Beckstrand would say). You see LOTS of little cars and lots of old trucks. I love it! Nothing is any bigger than it needs to be. Most houses are only one story, and everything is very simple. Most of the streets here in Pigüé are cobblestone. :)

I´m definitely not in Kansas anymore. Or Utah, or the United States for that matter! But I love Argentina!! I absolutely love the people...just not how fast they speak. haha I think they speak 1,000 miles per hour. Actually, probably 5,000 miles per hour :) I don´t understand much, but each day I make improvement. Pigüé has about 15,000 people. Our mission president refers to Pigüé as 15,000 potential baptisms. :) Our weekly mission standard is one baptism a week! I am really excited about that. It will take a lot of hard work, but the people are very ready for the gospel. We are the first hermanas to serve here in 20 years! I´m honored for the opportunity to serve here. The area is small. There is a small branch in Pigüé, but the members are strong, and we have many potential investigators. It will take a while to get going since we are going in "blind" (both of us are new to this area). My favorite though is our view from the balcony in our apartment. Since we are on the tenth floor we can pretty much see all of Pigüé! :) Every time I look out there I think of all the people that need the gospel. I can´t wait to give it to them!

View from apartment
View from apartment

View from apartment
View from apartment

Well my time is short. I´m so sorry. We have an hour on the computers every Monday from 5-6. Email is probably the best form of communication, but it´s only for immediate family...then it takes up my email time too. :s But other than that the pouch mail and is a great way to send mail. (Only dearelder has a 2 week delay. I guess that´s the price I pay for being in another country!) Packages are expensive to pick up I guess, but if they are 4lbs or less you avoid the extra fee.

I hope all is well! The church is true! It´s true in Argentina, in the United States, and everywhere else!

Mucho amor,

Hermana Vawdrey

October 13, 2011

Knowledge comes from "time to time"

Hola Amigos!

Last Thursday I got my travel plans!! It seriously felt like Navidad. It's definitely down to wire now because I'll be leaving the country in CUATRO DIAS! I don't think I could be more excited. I'm trying not to get "trunky" because my last days here are important. I want to make sure that I am prepared. I don't want to have any regrets.

As a district we are striving to speak todo Español all day long. It's really hard, but it helps me realize how much Español I really do know. Now it's up to me to practice it so that I can conjugate everything correctly into the different tenses. We have now covered all of the grammar lessons that are expected to be taught at the MTC, so we are starting to teach each other during class to further engrain the principles into our heads. I have been reminded time and time again that it is such a miracle that missionaries can leave the MTC after only 9 weeks of studying a language...and be ready enough to go out into the world to teach the gospel! I know my Español is far from perfect and it will take awhile to get there, but I know the Lord doesn't expect us to be perfect all at once. Like it says in D&C 1:28:

"And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time."

-Notice that it doesn't say that we will receive knowledge all at once. It says we will receive it from "time to time!" I need to be humble. We need to be humble! I know that as we are humble the Lord has promised us that He will bless us and help us become strong. The catch is that this will happen on the Lord's time: from "time to time", not on our time when we think it's right.

I've thought about this a lot this week. I am no perfect missionary, I am no perfect teacher, and my Español is definitely not perfect...but I am trying. I've realized that the people of Argentina don't need a perfect missionary to teach them. They need a real person. They need someone who is also struggling to try to do their best. Life is the exact same way. If we were perfect, if everything in our lives were perfect, there would be no reason in being here on Earth! The Lord sent us here to learn and grow, to struggle and to succeed--and to have the opportunity to turn to Him for help and guidance. I know He is always there to help us. He wants to help us, we just need to let him.

On Tuesday Julie B. Beck spoke at the devotional! She is such a wonderful speaker. I love her, and what she has done for the women of the world and for the other members of the church. She talked about how important it is to love your companion, to love your mission president, and to love the people. I'm realizing that more and more every day. Love is the answer to everything! Charity: the pure love of Christ can solve every problem. If we could only view each person as the Lord does, as his precious sons and daughters, our thoughts, our words and our actions would be completely different.

Yesterday my companionship was asked to demonstrate teaching in front of all the new missionaries. I felt so honored to receive the invitation because we were selected out of lots of missionaries! There have been many moments over the past week when I have felt very inadequate to go to a completely different country, speaking a new language...but then the Lord keeps giving me opportunities like this that make me realize that I am completely capable. Our lesson went pretty well. Our instructions before we went in were to get to know the person and start teaching a lesson--and he would stop us whenever we got to a point where they were starting to grasp the principle we were teaching, and then he would turn it over to the new missionaries to teach. Well...we got to know her, said a prayer and then they stopped us! I was so sad because I wanted to teach her more so bad! (She's from Guatemala...and it turns out that she was a REAL investigator!) BUT! The fact that he stopped our teaching so quick was a huge compliment because we got to a good teaching point really quickly!  :)

Hermanas Vawdrey, Griffin, and Baker

It's interesting that even though it's been 8/9ish weeks in the MTC, our trio still struggles with having a balance of who's teaching. I think that's just the curse of trios. However, I'm SO grateful for both of my companions! I'm so grateful for their patience with me. They have taught me so much. It's going to be hard to start over with a new companionship, but I guess I better get used to that!

I'm so grateful to be a part of God's Army spreading the gospel. I know it's true.

Mucho amor!
-Hermana Vawdrey

October 6, 2011

It's black or it's white. It's wrong or it's right.

Hola! Hola!

Dad, you ran a marathon this past weekend, but I feel like I have just ran a spiritual marathon! It has been the greatest week. I'm exhausted, but I have so much joy right now. I have learned so much. General Conference was awesome, wasn't it? I loved each and every talk. I think I took like 15 pages of notes in my little notebook :) I felt like every speaker was talking specifically to me, and there was so much that was said that I want to teach to my future investigators in Argentina. After one of the sessions on Saturday, there was a prayer said that really touched me. He specifically blessed those who had not yet heard the messages of the prophet and the apostles. He blessed them to be touched by the spirit and that they would feel of the truthfulness of the message. I immediately thought of my investigators that I will teach. That blessing includes them! It's neat to think that others are already praying for them. The Lord truly is constantly preparing his children to be ready to receive the gospel.

General Conference - October 2011

L. Tom Perry's talk was one of my favorites. I loved the warnings and counsel he gave to us. He is truly a powerful speaker. During his talk I was sitting in the bleachers of the big gym here at the MTC, and the floor was literally shaking from his words! I know prophets are called of God, and in that moment I knew that was the Lord's voice coming out of his mouthpiece--an apostle. He talked about how important it is to share our testimony. We should never be ashamed to tell others about Jesus Christ's church. So often people learn from our examples of the testimonies that we live, but when they are ready to hear more we need to be prepared to teach them! When we bear our testimonies they will feel the spirit and it will testify of the truthfulness of your words. It's important to be bold. The gospel is either completely true or completely not. It's black or it's white. It's wrong or it's right. It's of God or it's of Satan. I know it's completely true. I know it's "white." It know it's right, and I know it's of God. I wouldn't go all the way down to Argentina for 18 months to preach a lie!

Speaking of Argentina, I get my travel plans TODAY! I'm freaking out. I'm so excited. I only have 11 more days left at the MTC--which is absolutely terrifying since I have so much more to learn, but I am so excited to leave and go in to the field! We celebrated our eighth week at the MTC yesterday, and I can hardly believe it has been that long already.

Sorry that my email is a little short this week, but I hope you all are doing well! Thanks for all of the prayers and support. Have a wonderful week :)

-Hermana Vawdrey


-Carrie Helland & Sister Shannon Carlston: I hope you both had a wonderful birthday! I love you :)

-Jessica Garlick DYER! Congrats on your wedding on Saturday! I wish you the best. And thanks SO much for sending me an announcement. I loved it. It was funny because a few weeks ago I was thinking how I needed to contact you somehow to request an announcement, and then the next day it came in the mail!

-Randy, thanks for that email you shared this week. It's great to hear that you're doing missionary work out there in Pokey. Oh by the way, I met a sister here the other day who you had helped before at your clinic. I don't remember her name, only that she is going somewhere Korean speaking. She has short brown hair and black rimmed glasses. I don't know if you'll even remember her by that, but she sure had some great things to say about you! Whether you're talking about the gospel or not, you're doing a lot of good :)

-To those of you thinking about serving a mission...stop thinking! Do it! I promise you that you won't regret it. It has the possibility of being the hardest two years (or 18 months) of you life, but I promise you that it will be the best two years (or 18 months) for your life.

September 29, 2011

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come unto you."

Ohh missionary work is great! It's been such a good week. Yesterday was awesome because our two investigators had their final interview before their baptisms (which will be on Saturday) to see if they are ready--and they both passed! WHOO! I've never been so excited for a pretend baptism. :) They have been wonderful investigators. I have grown so attached. By teaching them I think I am starting to grasp the love that Heavenly Father has for each and every one of his children. He doesn't love one more than another, and all he wants is what is best for us and what will make us happy! I'm praying that I will get to teach both of those investigators at least one more time, because if not I am going to be heartbroken! I have grown to love Rueben and Serio so much. I can hardly wait to teach my real "Rueben" and "Sergio" in the mission field. 
My Spanish is still getting better and better every day. Some elders in our zone came up with a test to prove whether or not you speak Spanish well. What they do is they come up to you and say "Say Jesus Christ." If you speak Spanish well, you'll reply with "JesuCristo," and if you're still stuck in English mode you'll say "Jesus Christ." haha Well I passed the test because I replied with "JesuCristo!" I don't think that necessarily means that I speak Spanish well, but it still makes me feel good that Spanish is starting to become my "native language" like I was promised in my setting apart blessing.
This week I have really grown to love scripture study. I have always loved reading my scriptures, but now I am truly understanding the meaning of "feasting" upon the scriptures. I crave it. I want it. I need it! Not just for me, but I need it for my investigators, for my companionship, for answers --> it's my passageway to receive revelation! I've come to learn that simply feeling the spirit is receiving revelation! Revelation isn't necessarily knowing which scripture to share with your investigator, or what to say to another missionary when they're feeling discouraged--it's feeling the love of God and our Savior! 
I wear the name of JesuCristo every day!

Since I wear the name of JesuCristo on my name tag every day, I have strived to get to know Him better so that I can be a better example of Him. I am so humbled to know of the love that Christ has for me. He died for me because I am not perfect--and He wants me to be! He loves me that much! He loves you that much! While He suffered all that pain he thought about me specifically. He thought about you! And He didn't quit. We are that important to Him. He will never forget us because we are written on His hands and His feet! John 14:18 "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come unto you." I know my savior lives. I know He loves us. Yo se que Dios siempre tiene un proposito por cada cosa en nuestro vidas.
I love you all!
-Hermana Vawdrey

September 22, 2011

Obedience brings blessings, but exact blessings bring MIRACLES!

Hola otra vez!

This week has been a big week for many reasons. I passed my one month mark here at the MTC, and I now have only one month left! For that I am really excited, but also a little bit worried. The first month went by so fast, and it's scary to think how much more I need to learn in a month. However, I know this is the Lord's way! If he says we will be ready after 9 weeks of being at the MTC, then we will!

My companionship has made leaps and bounds this week. Our amount of CPI's (companionship inventories) has lowered--which I am extremely grateful for. We've learned the importance of being completely honest with what is going through our heads so that we can have more unity. I feel very blessed and humbled to be in a trio because of the opportunity it gives me to turn to the Lord for comfort and advice when we have our differences. This week Hermana Griffin was called as the Senior Companion, so it's been interesting to see a new way of leadership. Our teaching is also improving each day, and our investigators are still doing great. We have really bonded with our district this week also, which has been so great. They feel like my second family! 

Sister Britter's MTC District
Probably one of the hardest rules for me to keep here at the MTC is no dancing. Ah! It's such a big part of me, it's hard to just turn that "off!" After sitting in class for 8 hours straight, I get the wiggles and all these clogging rhythms get stuck in my head and I just need to get them out! I'll be completely honest with you, if ever I was alone in the bathroom I would clog :) However! We have been counselled many times lately that "obedience brings blessing, but exact blessings bring MIRACLES!" I felt like that was really directed at me, and so I set some new goals to allow exact obedience to bring miracles into my life. I mean, who doesn't want to see miracles in their life? I decided to commit to the Lord that I wouldn't clog again while I am here at the MTC. So far so good! It's been stinkin' hard, but I have felt the support of my Savior each and every time I am tempted to dance. I know it seems so simple, but I truly have seen miracles each day since I have given that up. I now have to run at least a mile or two every gym time to get my energy out, but I know the Lord ALWAYS provides a way for you to accomplish what He has commanded you to. (1 Nephi 3:7) One of my favorite scriptures this week is found in Romans 5: 3-6. The Lord has some interesting ways to teach us lessons, but I know He knows exactly what He is doing, and He will never let us down.

Elder Russell M. Nelson
So two weeks ago I was asked to say the closing prayer at the devotional on September 20th. Of course I said yes, but I was freakin' out because, what do you pray for with the entire MTC listening to you?! Well Tuesday came and then I started worrying that I wouldn't be able to say the prayer in English! I have pretty much stopped praying in English, so when I practiced earlier in the morning it was like this war in my head between English and Spanish words. haha I guess that's a good sign because I'm forgetting my English, but I still spent most of the day praying that I would be able to say the prayer without any accidental Spanish words. After dinner was incredible because the spirit here at the MTC was SOOO strong. You could literally feel the presence of a servant of God. It was the neatest feeling! Come to find out, the choir was going to sing "Consider the Lilies" (President Monson's favorite song,) so then I my companions had me getting nervous that I would be praying for the prophet! Well it turned out that Elder Russell M. Nelson came to speak to us! (I was super excited since I know his Grandkids: Lindsay & Russell). It was incredible. He talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon, and how it is THE tool we need to convert God's children to the church. He showed us the October issue of the Ensign and the incredible words said there. The entire magazine is dedicated to the importance of the Book of Mormon. I highly recommend that you read it, because it is so good! When the time came, I went up to say the prayer, and I DID IT! I did it in complete English! I was so happy. I was shaking really bad because of nervousness, but I did it! It was absolutely incredible to have the privilege of saying the last words after an apostle. I selfishly made eye contact with him when I turned around to walk back to my seat, hoping that I could shake his hand or something...haha but he didn't. At least I made eye contact though, right!

Well time is short when you're serving the Lord. I hope all is well! 

Love you! 

-Hermana Vawdrey

Ps. Ellie, CONGRATS on being married! I'm so happy for you.
Pss. Brother Nadauld-thanks for teaching me how to do a good handshake (back in like 2005-ish when you were our home teacher) because people compliment me on it all the time!
Psss. Chantelle Lyman, I see your brother here all the time :) Hope you're doing well!
Pssss. BYU 50th ward, thank you for the letters you sent me last week! It's so great to hear from you.

September 15, 2011

I am weak, but with the Lord I am STRONG!

Sister Britter
Brittni's companions
It's been another great week here at the MTC! This week starts my fourth week. That means I'm almost half way through. I'm totally in denial, time has flown by so fast!
My Spanish is really coming along. As a companionship we're getting a lot more confident in lessons, so we can now focus more on our teaching methods rather than our Spanish. :) One day this week we had a substitute teacher and he had us teach him as a new investigator. When we first went to go talk to him it took a few tries for him to let us in. Dude. That rejection is not a good feeling! I'm not really excited for that in the mission field, but I guess I better start preparing myself for that now! There were definitely lots of highs and lows this week, but the Lord is teaching me so much. I'm realizing that sharing the gospel is way more important that any trial I am faced with. In many ways I am "weak," but with the Lord I can do anything! (Alma 36? Sorry, I don't have my scriptures with me.)
Estudiando el Espanol!
With Sergio this week we went over the baptismal interview questions to help him prepare and be fully ready for baptism. We had two elders in our district go in and act as a ward member and another as someone who is also getting baptized soon. They insisted that their names were Mario and Luigi. We had a hard time being serious at first :) It went so well though! It was a big testimony builder for me that missionary work doesn't end once they get baptized. New converts need a good support system of friends and church members to keep them strong in the faith.
If ever we have a tough lesson, my companions and I go visit some of our favorite elders. They all have a physical disability of some sort so they are all serving an "internet mission." They share the gospel over g-chat, Facebook, and other ways online. Isn't that so cool! Technology is such a powerful tool. One of the elders introduced himself to us as "the happiest man on the world." I love it! He said he's never had a bad day because once he starts feeling down he chooses to be happy and tries to learn from the challenge. I hope I can keep that kind of attitude throughout my mission. :)
The 3 "senior hermanas" in our zone left for the mission field yesterday. (Which makes us the old, "experienced" ones.) It was hard to say good bye, and I'm realizing that those goodbyes are going to be one of the toughest parts of serving a mission because you get to know them so well! You get to know them spiritually, so the friendship runs deep. The MTC is very efficient because they left first thing in the morning, and then a couple hours later we got 3 new hermanas! They are all going state-side, but they will also be going spanish speaking. One of them actually went to AF High and another one was in my Food Science class at BYU last semester. It's fun to see familiar faces. As the coordinating sister I was able to help give them orientation and show them around the MTC. It's crazy because it seems like it was just yesterday that I was the one getting lost every day. :)
 Russell M. Ballard came and spoke to us during the devotional on Tuesday. It was awesome! Normally they only have one general authority come every couple months...but since I've been here he's the second one!! He had a wonderful message. He talked about the importance of always standing up for the gospel. He talked about the importance of goals. He said "you can be good. You can be excellent. If you set the goal to do it." I love that! Success as a missionary only comes through persistent hard work and dedication.
Life is great when you're serving the Lord! I love you all. Have a great week!
-Hermana Vawdrey