April 30, 2012

Our examples can be LOUD

Hey everyone!

This past week was interesting because we had success in a way that we hadn't necessarily planned before hand. Yet that's how the Lord works a lot of times, isn't it? We had Stake Conference this weekend, so most of the week we spent going by all the recent converts and the less active members to tell them about Stake Conference. By doing so we were able to have many experiences where we were able to help some people in the exact moment that they needed it. So cool.

Ohh, and one of the new investigators we found this week is named J, and he's so awesome. !J! !J! !J! He was another reference from one of the members, and he is a dynamite investigator. He's 17 years old and knows a bunch of the youth from young mens. He's been to several of the activities over the past few weeks and over time he took out a bunch of his piercings without being told to--just because of the example that he saw in the youth. We were so excited! It really helped me realize how LOUD our examples speak sometimes, and most of the time we don't even know! Since he has already been to church a couple of times already, he has a baptismal date for next Saturday!! Depending on how fast we are able to teach the lessons and get his interview done, we'll be able to see if we can still do it next Saturday or if it'll need to be delayed a week. Regardless, M is going to get baptized on FRIDAY! YEAH! We are so excited for her. She is so excited too. She counts down every time we see her. :) 4 DAYS!!

Í'm so lucky to serve in this ward. Seriously. I don't know why I got to be so lucky! We're already to week five in the transfer, and I'm hoping that I'll be lucky enough to stay at least another transfer. We'll have to see. Things are still great with my companion Hermana Jensen. She is so awesome! I learn so much from her and she makes me laugh all the time. She spoiled me big time yesterday for my birthday by making me french toast for breakfast and hiding little notes all over the place. She's really sweet.

Yes, yesterday I turned 22. I now "have 22 years!" Crazy! It was a wonderful birthday. We had Stake Conference, Presidente Detlefsen and his wife were there (they both sang Feliz Cumple to me after) and then Elder Juan Carlos Avila of the Seventy was there to speak! He came and shook my hand afterward. Woot! It was a really good conference. And I understood what they were saying! (Which was a big improvement from the last Stake Conference when I was struggling to still make out words! haha)

There are about 6 or 7 people in our stake who are waiting for their mission calls, and they all shared their testimonies. It was so powerful! It brought back so many memories of all my excitement and anxiousness. The Lord's army of missionaries is growing bigger and bigger every day! I thank the Lord every day for the chance that I get to serve Him and help my brothers and sisters remember why we are here, and what we need to do to be on the right hand of God after this life. :) The Church is true!!

-Hermana Vawdrey

Las Misioneras en Mar del Plata
Ohh. Funny story. Yesterday we went to a member's house for lunch to celebrate my birthday. The mom made a cake on Saturday and then had to leave to go somewhere. Her son got home shortly after she left, saw the cake, and ate like almost half of it! Hahahaha!! We got such a good laugh.
CG and I
He likes cake!! 
P y yo 
Hermana Jensen!
Hermano V (our mission leader) and his wife also had us over to have what he calls a "member cake." 
It was a great birthday. I felt very spoiled!

Random responses to a letter from home:
  • Amber and Matt Lebaron are doing the Bike Across America thing?! Please tell them that I think they are some of the COOLEST people in the world. :) How awesome.
  • Tell Chris and Alyssa congrats for me! What a BEAUTIFUL baby boy! 
  • Ben Beddes is going on a mission? YEESSSS!  
  • Yeah. The Church IS true. :) 

April 24, 2012

Let us be faithful to him!

Family and Friends,

We had some pretty neat experiences this week. I received an email from my mission president last week, challenging me to try to go by all of the less active members in our ward boundaries. We decided to really make this happen, and we were able to pass by about half of them! One day we went to the house of a guy named F. He came to the door and we quickly learned that he is both deaf and dumb. But we totally had a conversation with him! For about 20 minutes! It was awesome!! Something happened awhile ago that caused him to lose all of his hearing. However, since he was able to speak before the accident, he moved his lips the whole time like he was really talking. Between reading his lips and his "extremely dramatic Argentine body language," we were able to know what he was saying. It was incredible!

Hermana Jensen and I both walked away thinking: We just had a conversation with a man in a foreign language, without sound! If that's not proof of the gift of tongues, I don't know what is!

It brought back lots of memories of my first few weeks here in Argentina when I didn't understand hardly anything people were saying to me. It was almost like I was just watching their body language just like we were with F! Now I'm having conversations with people that can't even speak vocally. Crazy.

It was great because F was able to explain to us that he wants to go to church, he just needs a ride. He gave us his number and told us we can have members text him if they need to communicate with him. We're hoping to help re-activate him and many other less actives. Time will tell!

By passing by less actives we were also able to find a new investigator: N! (A daughter of a less-active). She wasn't able to go to church yesterday, yet we have a lot of faith in her.

The bad news is that O wasn't at church yesterday. He was supposed to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday too! We're pretty worried. We have no idea what happened, and no way of contacting him because he doesn't have a phone number, and he just moved into a house that is just outside of our area. His testimony is so strong, and he has so many desires to do what the Lord wants, so hopefully we'll be able to track him down tonight and figure out what happened.

I'm getting to the point when I can read anywhere in the scriptures and pretty much have a good idea of what it's saying. I can speak Castellano! Crazy! This week I read this scripture during one of my personal studies and really liked it:

1 Nephi 7:
 12 Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.

Faith is truly the power. When we have faith we can do anything! Faith gives us the power to change. Faith gives us to the power to change our desires and overcome any challenge. :)

I love my mission. It's one of the best decisions I have made. I am so grateful to be able to be a missionary and to share the gospel to my brothers and sisters in Argentina.

I love you all. Hope you're doing well!

-Hermana Vawdrey

Orlando's registro. It's official! Okay, almost.
He still needs to receive the Holy Ghost for it to be complete.

A view of the OCEAN from our kitchen window.

Hna Jensen, I.M., and me. I.M. is a convert we visit every other Saturday.

He is so cool! He was a professional tango dancer "back in the day"!

El Centro

We had to go downtown to pay a bill.

It was so fun to see the big city!

April 16, 2012


Family and Friends,

GUESS WHAT?! "O" got BAPTIZED!! This past week was absolutely incredible. My first baptism! Wow. There are honestly no words to even describe the joy! I'm still just smiling all the time! Really I just feel privileged, blessed, and so loved by my Heavenly Father! Yeah I helped teach the lessons and helped "O" progress towards his baptism, but the Lord is truly the One who played a key role in "O's" conversion.

"O" - My first baptism!

According to "O", he ended up in Puerto by "accident," but we all know there is no such thing as accidents! They are just the Lord's way of getting our attention sometimes! Awhile ago he and his wife separated, and shortly after he got some really bad infection in his knee. He went to several doctors and many of them said that they would have to amputate his leg. He did not want that, so he came to Puerto to see some kind of a specialist. He told all of his friends that they should start praying for him so that he wouldn't have to get his leg amputated, but they all said, "No, YOU need to pray, "O"! Pray to God and tell him that you need his help. He'll help you." He was just at a really hard time in his life. He even considered committing suicide if he had to get his leg amputated because he didn't want to live without it! But he ended up praying...and to make a long story short, the doctor was able to help him and he didn't have to get his leg amputated! He had to be in a wheel chair for awhile and later on he had to use crutches, but they saved his leg!

One day he was "walking" with his crutches, and he met a member, a recent convert: "CM". She invited him to come to church, and then we ended up seeing him later that week too and also invited him to church! And he came the next day to church! Shortly after we set a baptismal date for him, and he has worked towards it ever since!

I have been so humbled by "O". Because of the things he has been through, he is so humble and is simply looking for something to help bring purpose into his life and help him be happy. He pretty much accepted everything that we ever taught him. This past week we taught him the Word of Wisdom and asked if he had a problem with any of those things. He told us that he smokes a little, and when we asked him if he thinks it will be hard to quit, he just said "No! I'll quit today! I'll never smoke again!" He said that without us even asking him to! He has so much faith, and truly understands the blessings that come from keeping the commandments. It's incredible! After we taught a lesson and would ask him to keep a commitment, he would pretty much always respond with: "Sí! Porqué no?" (Yeah, why not!) He's so awesome.

The day before his baptism we watched the Joseph Smith movie with him, and he absolutely loved it! He bore his testimony afterwards and it was one of the sweetest, most sincere testimonies I have ever heard. It was incredible to think back to when I first met him, job-less, homeless, hungry...and now he has his own testimony! He has the light! It really was, and is, a miracle to watch it happen.

He is so happy. He is just beaming!! I can't help but smile every time I see him. :) Just now, before Internet, we were crossing the street and he came over to say hello. He was still grinning from ear to ear. He told us that he is just full of peace, full of joy, happiness, and the Spirit.

Tomorrow is my 8th month mark on my mission. I can't believe it. I still feel so new because I have so much to learn until I'll be the missionary that I want to be. "O" was my first baptism and it was totally worth the wait! He's a CONVERT, not just a baptism.

Me, "O", and Hermana Jensen

"O" and the Elder who baptized him

Que dia fabuloso!!

I hope you all are doing well :)
-Hermana Vawdrey

April 9, 2012

It's more important to BECOME!


This passed week was a big week. I learned a lot. Like I told you last week, I have a new companion. She may be one of my favorite companions yet. Think of Rochelle Price + Kusco (on The Emperor's New Groove). Yeah, absolutely hilarious. She keeps me laughing, that's for sure!

Me and Hermana Jensen
It's been an interesting week because since I've already been here in Puerto for a transfer, I'm kind of expected to be the "senior companion"...and it's absolutely terrifying. I still feel so "baby" in my mission. I have SO much to learn! And then to be put in charge all of a sudden? Well..it's pushed me in many ways, we can say that.

Earlier this week we had our usual meeting with the ward missionaries and the ward mission leader. This is when we talk about all of our investigators, the lessons we've taught with them, their needs, the needs of other members/less actives, etc. Since my companion was new to the area she didn't know what had happened the previous week, so I had to do all of the talking for almost 30-40 minutes straight! En Castellano! It was so hard! And so scary! I felt like I was speaking like two words a minute. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but really, it was hard. But I did it! I can't tell you how relieved I was when that was over! But I did it! Even now when I think about it, I talked for 30-40 minutes straight! I carried a full conversation all by myself! Of course, it wasn't perfect by any means, but the language is finally really starting to stick.

Hermana Jensen and I thought a lot about the ups and the downs about being a missionary. We're here because we have a desire to serve. We want to invite others to come unto Christ and be baptized! We want to help people be happy! We live a higher level of obedience, because when we do so we receive a higher level of blessings. Because of this, as missionaries we are hard on ourselves. There are always days when you feel like you fall short or you feel like your best isn't good enough. We all get that way. We're human! We strive to be perfect, but it's just not possible! Yet what I have really been learning is that we get frustrated because our weaknesses don't just change over night. We get frustrated because it takes time. We're not patient enough! Yet our best is our best, and the Lord is proud of us for every little good thing we do to improve ourselves, no matter how small that is. I've learned that it's not important just to change, it's more important to become. And as long as we're becoming better each and every day...then we really are changing!

I've been able to watch one of our investigators this past week becoming a better, and a newer person. (Is that even a word? My English is leaving me. I now use my dictionary to check how to spell English words...) I told you a little bit about him last week. His name is "O". And he's going to get baptized this week!!! We have been meeting with him almost every day to teach him a little bit more and he is so awesome! He is hungry to learn about the gospel. We taught him the Word of Wisdom a few days ago and he told us that he smokes a little bit. We asked him if he thought he would have a hard time quitting smoking and he said "No! I'll stop right now! I'll never smoke a cigarette again. I want to be better. I want to do what God wants me to do because he knows better that I do, and if he says I need to stop smoking then I'll do it!" YEAH!! We were pumped.

We have several other investigators that have a lot of potential to also get baptized this week or possibly next! The Lord is really blessing us. He's really blessing this people and I feel so priviledged to be able to teach them and learn from their faith.
Equipo Misional - This is almost all of our ward missionaries

Las misioneras

Our Zone!

Our district: Elder Galan, Hermana Orton, me, Elder Forbes

Hermana Orton's birthday

Soy del Puerto!!

In the terminal, saying good-bye to Hermana Orton.
Almost all of the ward missionaries came! :))

Hope all is well at home. :)

Les quiero!
-Hermana Vawdrey

April 2, 2012

Hermana Juli Ann Jensen

Familia y Amigos,

So I've got some news for you all! I already have a new companion! Hermana Orton got transfered to Puerreydon, which we were very surprised about. We only got to be together for one transfer. It was a great transfer together though, and I am very grateful for the time that we had together. She has such a love for the people and this work, and her energy is contagious!!

My new companion arrived this morning at about 5:30am. Her name is Hermana Juli Ann Jensen, and she's from Ceder City, Utah! She is such a hoot! En serio. She makes me laugh so much, and I am already so excited to serve with her. She has been in Argentina for eight-ish months now, and speaks Castellano well. I am excited for what the Lord has in store for the two of us here in Puerto.

It ended up being an eventful week, and again we saw many miracles! Last Saturday we passed by a recent convert. One of her friends happened to be at her house, so we invited him to church! And he went! Then he just happened to sit by our ward mission leader during sacrament meeting--who asked him if he would listen to the missionaries, read the Book of Mormon, and go to church every Sunday for a month to see if he needed to be baptized. And guess what?! He said he would! We met with him a few days later to teach lesson one, and he now has a baptismal date. :)

A few days later we had a prompting to pass by another recent convert, who is now less-active. We passed by about 10 times this past transfer and they were never home. But this time they finally were! They let us right in and it turns out that their home teachers were over just about to start sharing their message. They invited us to join, and about one minute later a friend of their daughter walked in. The home teacher then transitioned the message into the first discussion and asked the girl if she would be interested in listening to the missionaries. We were absolutely shocked! Two investigators in one week--all prepared by the ward members! I truly am so blessed to be able to serve here in Puerto. I love it!

General Conference this weekend was awesome, wasn't it? Man, I love listening to the prophet's voice! Luckily I got to listen to 3 of the 4 sessions in English, along with about 20 other Elders who serve here in Mar del Plata. The last session I watched in the home of our ward missionary. I understood the general idea of the talks in that session...but definitely not every word! It was neat because even though I didn't understand everything, that was probably my favorite session! It gave me a chance to sincerely listen to the Holy Ghost, to what I needed to learn and do from each talk to be able to serve my brothers and sisters in Argentina.

I loved thinking during conference that my family and friends were all listening to the same messages at the same time! We are so blessed to have the technology to listen to conference in many languages and in many countries all over the world! The church is true in every part of the world! I am so grateful for the chance that we have every six months to all join together to be uplifted and hear a prophet's voice. Remember what you learned during conference. Remember the promptings you had during conference. Now is the time to act on them!

I love you all!
-Hermana Vawdrey

Ps. I'm sorry, I had a ton of pictures I wanted to send today but the computer I'm at doesn't have a USB port :( Next week!