August 25, 2011

Days go by like weeks, and the weeks go by like days

Hola Familia!
You've probably heard the saying that at the MTC the "days go by like weeks, and the weeks go by like days." I didn't really understand that at first, but now I really do. Time is the weirdest thing! I feel like I have been here forever, yet it seems like it has been a really short at the same time. Yesterday as a companionship we celebrated our one week anniversary at the MTC with some BYU creamery ice cream! It was fun to see the new "greenies" and remember that that is where we were just a week ago. I have learned so much it is crazy. The spirit is such a powerful tool, and it is neat to watch myself, my companions and the rest of my district progress.
I forgot to tell you last week that both my classroom and my bedroom are on the top floor, so we go up LOTS of stairs! The worst part is when we start panting and look up to see that we still have two more floors to go. haha I guess we'll stay nice and heathly though! My companions and I have been trying to make sure we make the best of our gym time so we have a goal to run at least a mile each day or go to the early morning work out session. Exercise is so great! I've really gained a testimony of it in the past few weeks because it is such a great natural way to give yourself an energy boost.
The past few days have been interesting between my two companions and I. Trios are definitely a challenge because then there are always three different opinions, three different ideas, and three different emotional states to work with. As hard as it is, I feel so blessed to have it because with three people we come up with the greatest ideas to use while planning lessons for our investigator. :)
As a companionship we have been praying to forget our English. It's definitely working! My spelling is already going down the drain because I mix up the spelling of English and Spanish words. haha I'm doing my best to speak in as much Spanglish as possible, so I sound a lot like a gringo! Yesterday we learned the difference between Ser y Estar so I am now able to put some sentances together. It feels so good!
Yesterday was supposed to be our last lesson with our investigator Jorge. Things were going so good with him!! He went to church with his family (his wife is already a member) and he committed to get baptized in a month! We were so excited. Even though Jorge is just a pretend/practice investigator, we got so attached to him. We really grew to love him and we really cared about his salvation. We prepared all day long to teach him a lesson about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and when we knocked on his door he wasn't there! It was Pablo, his "brother-in-law!" Oh my gosh. It was terrifying because we had to completely change our lesson on the spot to meet Pablo's needs. It went okay...but since we didn't prepare for him it wasn't as great as some of our previous lessons. I later found out that our teacher knew that it wouldn't really be Jorge we would be teaching, so at first I was really upset. But then I realized that I am going to experience things like that all the time in the mission field. I'm going to get attached to investigators, and one day they will be gone or they will decide that they are no longer interested. As painful and hard as it was to learn that lesson that way, I know that I will now be more prepared for when I go to Argentina because I will always have a plan B!
Life as a missionary is really starting to sink in because my first name already sounds weird to me. The other day when I bought some study supplies at the bookstore, I had to stop myself from signing my name as Hermana Vawdrey. :) We met with a Visa consultant yesterday to finalize paperwork and all he had to say about Bahia Blanca is that we will be very cold and we will see lots of penguins! Ah! I laughed to myself when I remembered that the last movie I watched before I left was Happy Feet, which is about dancing penguins! I'm glad I thought to order thermals, and Dad, that's too bad they arrived right after I entered the MTC! Funny, though.
Everyone here is so friendly. My teacher is awesome, my district is awesome, and my zone is even more awesome! I meet another missionary who is going to Bahia Blanca almost every day! There is a ton of us! I see Scott Andrus (is that his name?) Caleb Garlick, & Devin Vogelsburg all the time. They wish you good luck, Bri! And Jack Vawdrey, I think you have an identical twin! I'll have to find out his name.
Well everyone I hope everything is going great! I know the gospel is true, and I feel so blessed to serve as a missionary to share the gospel. :)
Te amo!
-Hermana Vawdrey

August 21, 2011

First letter!


The MTC is so great, I absolutely LOVE it! Right now I have my first P-day...well kinda of a mini-P-day because it's only about two hours long. I am very excited to have a chance to email you though because I can type a lot faster than I can hand write letters. Here I am on only my fourth day, but I have been learning so much. Yesterday was kind of a hard day because my companion, Hermana McWhorter got switched to another district. Since her Spanish is already very good, she skipped a whole level and moved up to advanced. She now is scheduled to leave in two weeks! Her visa will most likely not be done so she will probably get assigned state side. It is very crazy how quickly we bonded in just the two days that we were together. I am expecially grateful that I got along with my first companion so well because not all of my companionships will be like that.

I am now in a trio with the other hermanas in my district. Their names are Hermana Baker (the one I met before the MTC) who is also going to Bahia Blanca, &  Hermana Griffin who is going to Denver Colorado Spanish speaking. Hermana Baker has a very contagious laugh and is quite enjoyable to be around. Hermana Griffin is from Canada so she always says funny things like "beg" instead of bag, or "washroom" instead of "bathroom." We get a pretty big kick out of it.  Our companionship has been great so far. I was worried at first to be in a trio, but it has been good!

Yesterday we taught our first investigator, Jorge, and it had to all be in Spanish! AH! But it actually went really well. I am really proud of us! It was definitely our first time and we have a long ways to go, but we felt the spirit! We said a prayer before and I really think that made all the difference. There were many times when we would ask a question and then we would only understand some of what he said so we wouldn't really know how to respond! Or we'd be speaking en Espanol and we would "hit a wall" because we wouldn't know how to say a certain word. We kinda had to play charades with him to get our point across, but I think he knew what we were trying to say. At one point I was supposed to teach him how to pray and then say a prayer as an example...only I forgot to teach him how to pray other than the fact that I told him to close his eyes! haha My companions & I laughed about that for quite awhile afterward. It's crazy to think that in a few weeks I will be able to truly carry a conversation. I now know how to pray in Spanish and testify in Spanish, and it has only been four days! I can already feel the gift of tongues working in my life. I have made so much progress, it is unreal!

We have a great teacher and a great district. I will be the junior companion for the first half of my stay at the MTC, and then probably senior companion for the next half. There are now three hermanas in our district, and six elders. I think the elders are a little intimidated by us since we are older so we are trying to get to know them better. Life as a missionary is awesome, but it is non-stop. It's funny how much joy we get from the simple things like laying on the ground for a minute at the end of the day, or on P-days when we have longer than five minutes to take a shower.  :)  From all of the studying and workshops I've realized that I am here to learn how to speak Spanish  for my future investigators, not for myself. :)

I'm sorry this is short, but my time is up. Thank you for your letters! Te amo!

-Hermana Vawdrey

August 16, 2011

Sacrifices are Privileges

The past few days I’ve felt like I’ve been living a life of “lasts.”
My last  full week with my family.
My last time seeing friends.
My last family vacation.
My last time driving my favorite car…

What I’m leaving behind is starting to kick in, but the excitement of what is ahead of me is absolutely indescribable. Serving a mission is a great sacrifice, yet an immense privilege. I am so excited to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands to help spread the gospel. I’m so eager to share the love that Christ has for each and every one of his children. The gospel is my lifemy eternal life. Everyone on this Earth is a child of God, some of them have just forgotten that. I’m excited to help them remember where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going. I’m excited to make the gospel their life.