February 28, 2012

New mission president announced!

Here's a letter Brittni's current mission president sent out to the missionaries of the Bahia Blanca mission.

Queridos Élderes y Hermanas de la Gran Misión Bahia Blanca:

Es grato para mí anunciarles quien será su nuevo Presidente de Misión, ahora es momento de que mantengamos la visión en bautizar cada semana para recibirle de la mejor manera. Preparémonos espiritualmente y sigamos trabajando con diligencia en esta gran obra.

Manuel Parreño, 53, fue llamado para presidir la Misión Argentina Bahía Blanca. Está casado con María Magdalena Piñol de Parreño. Asisten al Barrio Elche 1 de la Estaca España Elche. El hermano Parreño es 1° Consejero del Obispado, también sirvió como Presidente de Estaca y Distrito, consejero de la Misión Barcelona España, presidente de rama, y fue misionero de la Misión Barcelona España. Trabaja para el Sistema Educativo de la Iglesia como Coordinador. Nació en Elche, España.

La Hermana Parreño ha servido recientemente como Maestra de la Escuela dominical, misionera de barrio, consejera en la Presidencia de Mujeres Jóvenes de Estaca y como maestra de seminario. Nació en Elche, España.

Con amor en Cristo.
Presidente Jorge Detlefsen

And now in English (this is Brittni's dad testing out his rusty Spanish skills)...

Dear Elders and Sisters of the Great Bahía Blanca Mission:

It's exciting to announce who will be your new Mission President, and now is the time where we maintain the vision and baptize each week so that we receive him the best way we can. Let's prepare ourselves spiritually and continue to work diligently in this great work.

Manuel Parreño, 53, was called to preside over the Argentina Bahía Blanca Mission. He is married to María Magdalena Piñol de Parreño. They attend the Elche 1st Ward in the Elche Spain Stake. Brother Parreño is the First Counselor in the bishopric, and has also served as Stake and District President, counselor in the Spain Barcelona Mission, Branch President, and served as a missionary in the Spain Barcelona Mission. He works for the Educational System of the Church as a Coordinator. He was born in Elche, Spain.

Sister Parreño has served most recently as a Sunday School Teacher, Ward Missionary, counselor in the Stake Young Womens Presidency, and as a Seminary teacher. She was born in Elche, Spain.

With love in Christ.
President Jorge Detlefsen

Pictures will be posted as they become available.

February 27, 2012

The best kept secret of the Church

Hello Hello!

I'm trying to get used to living in a city again. I've gotta tell you...it's still very strange to come from a little pueblito to go to una ciudad gigante. Here in Mar del Plata there are paved streets! Street lights! People out during the siesta! Weird! haha But I am enjoying it. I really feel like this is where the Lord wants me to be right now, and there is nothing more reassuring than that. On top of that, I'm loving the change.

Yesterday I seriously felt like I was in a dream! The ward here is so strong, and the members are great. They are very friendly, and we have lunches with members pretty much every day except for P-day. Whoot! What I am most excited about, however, are the ward missionaries. We have about five of them, all of which are youth who are preparing to go on missions. It's awesome to see their excitement. We are going to start having a "companionship study" with them each week and practice teaching the lessons. Then we are going to start going out on divisions with them and allow them to help find and teach  investigators! These kids have such powerful testimonies. I am so excited to work with them.

Las Hermanas con Ward Missionaries

The young women in the ward had their New Beginnings program this week that we got to help out a little bit. From what I understood, they had the theme of how modesty never goes out of fashion. All of the Laurels got all dressed up in old wedding dresses and had a little modesty fashion show. The Priests and Teachers got all dressed up and escorted them around. So cute.

Missionary work is going well! We've been able to set several baptismal dates and there seems to be a lot of potential in this area. My Castellano is really coming along! I don't stutter as much (ha thank goodness) and I daily surprise myself with what I can say with the help of the Holy Ghost! I'm realizing more and more every day that a mission is the best kept secret of the church. You learn so much, you grow so much, and you get to help and serve your brothers and sisters all day, every day!

I love you all,

-Hermana Vawdrey

February 20, 2012

!Mar del Plata--Barrio PUERTO!

!Hola Hola!

Big news! I got transferred!! I am now in Mar del Plata--Barrio Puerto. It's a big city, so it's quite the change from where I was in little Pigüé. But I can't tell you how excited I am to be here! Everyone says this is "the ward" (yes WARD...not branch) to be in because it is so strong. Our area is huge. There is a lot of missionary support, so we get invited to lunches a lot. :) And I hear that there are so many members that it is to the point where they need to split the ward soon! I arrived here just last night after a really long 8-hour bus ride...alone. The zone leaders and my companion were in the terminal to pick me up luckily, so it wasn't scary.

My companion's name is Hermana Corinne Orton, from Provo Utah! She is full of energy and lots of ánimo por la obra misional. We haven't even been together for more that 24 hours yet...but I really think we're going to get along great. She seems to be a hard worker, very organized, diligent, and has a great love for our brothers and sisters here in Argentina.

Hermanas Orton y Vawdrey en Mar del Pata (Barrio Puerto)

Since I am now on the other half of the mission, I have a chance to serve with many of the missionaries that I haven't met yet. I met my district leader and zone leaders yesterday and was impressed by their support and ánimo to have me here in Puerto.

Right after Internet time we've got a cita with some conversos recientes. I'm excited to get to know the area! It's currently pouring rain, and it's very humid. Yes, I am wearing my rain boots!

Ohh, other random things:

  • You can see the ocean from our apartment window.
  • Mar del Plata is very famous for its strong-and-extremely-stinky smell of fish and lobos (seas lions). Lovely. My comp said I'll get used to it after a few weeks... :s
  • Hermana Freeman will "die" in Pigüé. She will be companions with Hermana McWhorter (my comp in the MTC!)

I have now been on my mission for 6 months! I honestly CANNOT believe it. It went by so fast. It's kinda scary because now I only have a year left...which is a long time and a short time all at once, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to dedicate another year of my life to the Lord!

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentines day and that you are all doing well!

Mucho amor!
-Hermana Vawdrey

Sorry, I don't have much time today so I'll attach a bunch of pictures!

Hermana Chento finally got her Visa! She left for Mexico on Jueves.

A true Argentine Gaucho (and a recent convert!)

Hermana Freeman y yo

El Campo en Pigue

A member from la rama en Pigue gave me this skirt!

Hermana Patricia (gave me the skirt and shirt on my last Sunday in Pigue)

Pigue branch members

This sweet couple faithfully had the missionaries over for lunch every week!

Una familia bien querida

Nuestro distrito: Elder Vazquez (Lider de Distrito) y
Elder Marambio (now serving in Mar del Plata as well)

Hermana Arancibia y yo

Our apartment building in Pigue
(Our apartment is the one with the window shades up)


Mi companera from our apartment balcony

Right before boarding the bus for Mar del Plata
(the drivers wanted to be in the picture!)

En el colectivo en camino por Mar del Plata!

February 13, 2012

Opposition in ALL Things

Familia y amigos,

Update: All of our investigators "died" this week. Either they moved, decided they weren't interested, disappeared, avoided us, or are on vacation. Pigüé has been hard because this happens almost every week. Yet, we're really learning the importance of hard work and dedication. When we give the Lord our heart He always blesses us, and even on those days when we don't have "success," we still feel of His love and we know that our desires to do our best is real success to Him.

Lately I've studied agency a lot since we have had a lot of our investigators choose to not progress. It's heartbreaking to invest so much into them, and then see them throw it all away. I'm learning how the Lord must feel when I choose to do something when I know better! Yet this is part of the Lord's plan for His children--an opposition in all things! If there wasn't an opposite to everything, we wouldn't know what true joy was! With the gospel and with this knowledge that everything has a purpose, we learn that:

"Weaknesses become strengths,
challenges become opportunities,
trials become temptations,
and adversity becomes an adventure
in the service of the Lord." 
(M. Russell Ballard, Our Search for Happiness, pg. 104)

On Friday we decided to go out to Puan (a little pueblo outside of Pigüé, that is part of our area). There actually used to be a ward out there a few years ago, but after several families moved, the ward was combined with the branch in Pigüé. It was fun to be in a different place and we enjoyed getting to know it a little bit better. It brought back lots of memories of our first few weeks here in Pigüé because we had to take the time to get a new map, get to know the members, and really start from scratch to see where to start to help the pueblo grow in the gospel again. We're looking forward to the next time we get to go out to Puan.

Next week is transfers!! Hermana Chento got her Visa and will be leaving for Mexico on Thursday! There is also talk that I could be going to another area, but we'll have to see. We find out Friday. :) I'm hoping for a change, but we'll see what the Lord has in store for me in just a few days!

Las Hermanas de Pigüé!

Celebrating Hermana Chento's birthday with ice cream

Our bulletin board

Hope all is well on the home front!
-Hermana Vawdrey

February 6, 2012

Nothing is too insignificant for the Lord to heal

Familia y Amigos,

One day this week we had another day where everything was falling through, and no one was home when they said they would be. Yet we are learning that a lot of times that just is proof that those people aren't really ready for the gospel yet, and we then have an opportunity to find someone else that is! With that attitude we just kept going and eventually we saw this guy smoking outside of his house, and decided to go talk to him. As we got closer we saw tons of old beer bottles and old cigarettes, and we wondered if he was drunk. Yet, we introduced ourselves anyway and ended up having a really powerful lesson. It turns out he lives with his brother, his cousin, and two other guys--who all work for the same construction company. They grew up going to an Evangelico church and had a good basic testimony. It was really fun to teach to their needs. We challenged them to read part of el Libro de Mormón to find out the truth for themselves. They committed to do it, and seemed sincerely hopeful to make a change in their lives. We're hoping that they will stay willing to learn more and to change their lives for the better. :)

Unfortunately on Thursday I woke up and my ankle was sore. By lunch it was getting swollen, and by night I could hardly walk on it! The swelling kept getting worse and worse and it was all discolored. Sadly I don't even have a good story because I don't even know what happened! I don't remember twisting my ankle or falling or anything. Maybe it just happened over time after walking so much? Eventually we went to the doctor to get an opinion of how to treat it and he said to rest for three days. 3 days??? Are you kidding me! I wanna work! But to make a long story short, I've been taking it easy for the past few days, got a Priesthood blessing yesterday, and today when I woke up the pain and the swelling was gone! I keep waiting for the pain to come back but it seems to be gone! It's a miracle! I have truly felt the power of the Priesthood and the power of prayer and fasting over the past few days. As a servant of the Lord I know I have work to do, and the Lord has helped my body heal so that I can keep going!

Hope all is well!
-Hermana Vawdrey