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

September 8, 2011

We Are Children of God

Hola! Hola!
Como estan? Thank you everyone for your letters this week. Because of the holiday on Monday I didn't get any mail for a few days, but then I got a JACKPOT on Tuesday so that was sweet! Me gusta! The MTC is still great, I love it. Each week I see more and more missionaries I know from home. It's great to see the sacrifices people are making to serve the Lord.
This week has been really busy. We now teach at least one investigator every day. As a trio we're still trying to figure out the best teaching style to use to make sure that each of us have the chance to say everything we want to. I'm understanding more and more everyday why the Lord put us together as a trio. Hermana Griffin and Hermana Baker both have strengths & weaknesses that I don't have, and I have some strengths and weaknesses that they don't have--so it's neat to see how everything evens out when we work together. :)
One of our investigators, Sergio is seriously kicking our trash!! He's soo ready to receive the gospel, I love it! He's the one I was telling you about last week, who committed to baptism the first visit. :) Well good news, he still wants to be baptized! We invited him to read the first chapter of el Libro de Mormon, and by the next visit he had read through Mosiah! YEAAAAH! Then two days later he had finished the whole thing! What a stud. We were so excited. He's really pushing us to study harder so that we can meet his needs and answer his questions. One of our weaknesses is that we talk a lot. haha Imagine that! Our appointments almost always go over time, so yesterday he told us he only had five minutes. (We think he did that as a test to see if we really can talk for only five minutes... haha) So I had the idea to bring my alarm clock with me and set a timer so that we would know when we had one minute left. He laughed at us, but we did a lot better at finishing on time.
Being on time is definitely a skill a missionary needs. We are learning this more and more each day. If we're late, that means we're missing out on personal study, or it may put us late for our next appointment. This is the Lord's time, and like it says in every missionary's mission call letter, we are "to devote" ourselves, our time, and everything really to the Lord so that we can achieve everything the Lord wants of us. My companion reads us this quote each day as a pep-talk before we go teach our investigators:
"I am a child of God. My authortiy is above that of the kings of the Earth. By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my master and he has chosen me to represent him. To stand in his place, to say and do what he himself would say and do if he personally were ministering to the very people to whom he has sent me. My voice is his voice, and my acts are his acts; my words are his words and my doctrine is his doctrine. My commission is to do what he wants done. To say what he wants said. To be a living modern witness in word and deed of the divinity of his great and marvelous latter-day work. -Elder Bruce R. McConkie
Don't you love that! I think it's so inspiring. Not only that, but look at the first part: "I am a child of God..." It doesn't say "I am a missionary," it says I am a child of God! We don't have to be missionaries to be an example of Christ. As grateful as I am to put my best friend's name on my chest everyday, it's not necessary to be a representative of Jesus Christ.
Elder Vawdrey! Remember how you said it was your goal to bear your testimony in church one time while you were in the MTC? Well this past Sunday was fast sunday, and I thought about you often and the courage you had to bear your testimony, and how I should do that too! It was crazy because the second I walked into the room for Sacrament Meeting, I knew that for some reason the Lord wanted me to bear my testimony. Most of the missionaries that bore their testimonies spoke great Espanol, (which is intimidating) but somehow I worked up the courage to get up there and bear my testimony. It was short and sweet, but I said the whole thing in Espanol except for one sentence! :) I know for a surety that when you put in the effort, the Lord will too. The Lord wants to reward us, and the Lord wants to bless us, but we need to ask him for the help and the blessings. That is the whole objective of prayer!
Oh! I've been called as the next Coordinating Sister! It's kind of like a zone leader I think, except that I am just over the sisters. I'm still getting the hang of the responsibilities, but  I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve my zone and the Lord.
I love you all!
-Hermana Vawdrey

September 1, 2011

Give Him your heart!

Hola Familia!

I have been in the MTC for 2 weeks now and it has already been one of the best and one of the hardest two weeks in my life. Yesterday in particular...I think I felt every emotion in the world all in one day! Happiness, frustration, joy, anger, inadequacy, contentment, confidence, sadness, exhaustion...etc. Esta bien! I love how much I am growing. Thank you all for all of your love, support and prayers. I can testify to you that prayer is one of the most powerful tools we have been given on this Earth.

I forgot to tell you last semana, pero yo soy in a beginning Español clase, and am doing well. I am making progress every día. I talk like a gringo, y I´m proud of it! Mom, (and every one else) you said you wanted to learn Español! Well...our teacher taught us the trick to learn Español quickly:

1. Lift your right foot off of the floor.
2. Extend your arms out like a T.
3. Touch your left ear to your left shoulder.
4. Move your right foot forward and back.
5. Stick your tongue out and reapeatedly say arrepentimiento.

hahaha Kidding! There´s no trick. The only trick is persistant diligence.It's hard, but when we put in the effort the Lord will reward us. This applies to anything! Bad habits, school, etc.

Our branch president told us that if we want to be fluent in the language, then we need to read the whole Libro de Mormon en Espanol while on our mission. If we do, he promised that we will be fluent in the language by the time we go home! That made me so excited! I'm gonna do it, no questions asked. Right now I don't understand everything, but the power of the spirit is the best good teacher.

As missioneras, nuestro objectivo is to invitar a las personas a venir a Christo. In order to do that I have put a lot of studying in to learning about Christ so that I can become more like Him--so that I can be able to know how to invite others unto Christ. The journey has been incredible! Christo es muy the point that we can't even comprehend how much he and the Lord loves each and every one of his hijos! I love being at the MTC because each day when I leave my room to go get ready for the day, there's a picture of Christ right there. :)

Ah! Jeffrey R. Holland came and spoke to us in the devotional on Tuesday and it was absolutely INCREDIBLE! I wish I had time to repeat everything he said. He is such an incredible apostle. He is such a powerful speaker! He told us that if the LDS church were to have an icon, it would be two missionaries! He got very serious and told us to remember what our forefathers have given for the church, and to make sure that we don't damage that reputation. This is the generation that ancient prophets have talked about for many generations. It is now that we are spreading the gospel to every "nation, kindred, & tongue." I feel so privileged to serve!

He did a little Q&A towards the end of his talk, and one of the quesitons was, "What is the greatest gift you can give to the Savior?" He said without hesitation, "Give Him your heart!" I love that! I know that is the greatest gift we can give Him, because he gave everything for us! God gave his only begotten son, his only perfect son, for all of the imperfect ones! I know as we give our hearts to Christ, we will in return recieve the greatest gift. We will become closer to our Savior and we will gain eternal happiness.

Yesterday I decided to truly put this into practice. We had an appointment to teach an investigator for 30 minutes. THIRTY MINUTES! And I hardly speak squat! I was slightly terrified during my preparation but then I remembered that the Lord trusts me and knows that I can do this. He called me to serve! I gave Him my whole heart during my preparation, and I think for the first time...truly forgot myself. We were preparing to teach him about the love of Christo, and I kept getting the impression to ask him if he would be baptized. Uhh...what?! We only met him for about 3 minutes previously, and to ask him to be baptized? It seemed like crazy talk! We knew he was thirty, not married, not going to school, not working, and living in his parents house. Some life, huh! We were ready to kinda scold him and explain to him that he has a purpose in this life! Well we went in there and the spirit was so strong! I kept thinking, "what would Christ want to tell Serjio if he could talk to him for just thirty minutes." My heart is already beating again just thinking about it. As we talked to him we found out that our first impression of him was completely wrong. His parents had died, and he is really struggling to cope with that and to find a job. I honestly don't take credit for what I said because I honestly don't really remember what was said. I'm sure my grammar was horrendous, but I know the spirit is the real teacher...not my ability to speak the language. But I felt prompted again to ask him if he wanted to be baptized, and he didn't even studder, HE SAID YES!!! Ohhhh the absolute joy I felt was so incredible. I was so happy! We have a long ways to go to prepare him for baptism, but I really learned the importance of relying on the Lord to know what to say, because He knows us better than we will ever know ourselves.

Well my time is almost up, but know that Yo se que la iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias es verdadero! TE AMO!!

-Hermana Vawdrey