July 31, 2012

Don't forget the ducks!

Hey everyone!

It's already been another week? It was a good one. Yesterday especially was a day of miracles! My testimony of fasting was strengthened a lot. Three of our investigators went to church, and all three of them absolutely loved it! It was incredible to see them be touched by the spirit.

My Castellano still improves every day, and there is at least one day a week when I have a moment when I remember that:

1. I live in a foreign country
2. I speak a foreign language
3. I do it everyday like it's no big deal

That's crazy! And it would NOT be possible without the Lord. I love how much I am learning and I am grateful everyday for the chance to teach the gospel and also strengthen my relationship with my Father in Heaven

This week there were a couple moments with my Spanish where I said something funny without knowing what I said. I had to tell you! First of all, the other day I was explaining the steps of prayer. I told E that he could read the basic steps of the prayer on the paper if it would help. Only I didn't say "steps" (pasos), I said "ducks" (patos)! ha "Follow the ducks!" Yeah. Don't forget to do that...hahah We got a good laugh.

Then, last night we were talking to this guy who kinda mumbles when he talks. He gave us a piece of this cake he made and then he kept talking about random stuff about the US and some airlines. Very random. He asked me a question and I thought he asked me if I like brownies. So I was like, "Yeah! I like brownies!" No, it turns out he was still talking about airlines. He was talking about some company that sounds like brownies I guess. Maybe I was hungry? haha

We love our investigators. One of them, Ed is super open to learning about the gospel and talks about his baptism all the time. M and E and friends, they both have studied religion a lot and are looking for the truth.

Hermana Newton and I took the challenge of Presidente Detelfsen to read the Book of Mormon in 30 days, and today we FINISHED! Man, it feels so good! I love that book. I know it's true. I always yearn and crave to read it more. I was sad to finish it because I didn't want it to be over! I plan on starting it over again to see what the Lord has in store for me learn from it this time. :)

All right, this letter has been really random. Sorry about that. My finger tips are now too cold to feel the keyboard, but I hope all is well! I love you all!

-Hermana Vawdrey

PS: I got my scripture tapas!! (leather covers) They turned out so good. I am so excited about them.
PSS: Spring Hollow Relief Society, thank you for the recipe book!! My companion and I are using it, and the recipes are so great!

PSSS: Grandma Rodgers, thank you for writing me so faithfully!

Bible cover

Triple Combination cover

Quad cover

Hermana Vawdrey teaching her companions to smile with a hidden top lip

Our sweet washing machine in the kitchen

A much nicer living room than our last apartment!

Answers to questions from home:

Q: Where do you clean your clothes? Laundry mat/members house?
A: We recently got an AUTOMATIC laundry washer! We're so excited, and really spoiled. We air dry the clothes after, but there is a spin cycle on the machine so normally they're pretty dry when we take them out. Before we had to take it to a laundry mat--super expensive. :(

Q: Are your clothes holding up okay?
A: My clothes are doing good! No worries :)

Q: Are you healthy?
A: Yes :) And in every blessing I have ever gotten on my mission the Lord always blesses me again with good health.

Q: When we mail packages or mail how long does it take before it gets to you?
A: 3-ish weeks. Sometimes it takes awhile for the mission home to mail it out to Mar del Plata though. So it depends.

Q: Tell us more about your new companion.
A: Hermana Natalie Patricia Newton: That's cool you´re friends with her mom through missionary mom! She's a great missionary. We're similar in a lot of ways and get along great. :) Went to BYU, almost got married, called off the wedding, went on a mission...She's studying nutrition. Is an incredible teacher. Super smiley, energetic. Oldest of 3...the list goes on. Hopefully that's some fun details :) Oh and she clogs! We probably competed against each other at Nationals in the past. She also did the BYU folkdance team and traveled a lot with that, and also for study abroad things.

Q: Do you have weekly responsibilities in your ward? Or do you get to always accompany your investigators?
A: We go pick up our investigators if necessary, but it's better to help them get to church on their own. We have a meeting once a week with ward mission leader, we have lunches with the members just about every day...the ward members are great. They do a lot.

Q: How can we be a better support from home? 
A: Nada. You are all SO supportive. Thanks for everything

July 23, 2012

Want something? Give something!

Hey Family!

Big news of the day: I no longer have lice! YEAH! You can trust me when I say I am probably the most relieved person in the world right now. It was not fun, and I hope and pray that I won't have to experience that "blessing" again. Once is enough for me!

This week was a little crazy because we moved in to our new house!! We are super excited because there is a lot more space. The old apartment we were in was just not accommodating. It got to be a little bit stressful because there just wasn't room, and we'd have to move study time around and everything to accommodate with the tiny bathroom and kitchen. Our contract for the apartment ends this month, and the Lord blessed us quickly to be able to find a new place to live. There are some members in our ward who are moving to Buenos Aires because they are going to work in the cafeteria in the Buenos Aires temple.  They were looking for someone to rent their house, so we jumped on it!  It's just a humble little casita with one bedroom and one bathroom, but it is SO much bigger than the apartment where we were. We're really excited about it. I meant to take a bunch of pictures to show you the new place but I didn't have time, so I'll be sure to do it next week.

The move ended up being kind of a headache because we found out last-minute Tuesday night that we would be moving the next day (Wednesday). We were all like "Uhhh...when are we supposed to pack? We've got appointments all day long?" The Lord blessed us to make all of the arrangements to get it all done. He really takes care of his missionaries. Some of the office elders came to help us move and we loaded up all of our stuff into their car. When we pulled up to the new house the family was still painting and not ready for us to move in! Ah! We ended up having a funny extra night in the apartment with everything still packed up in suitcases.

Living out of our suitcases!

We like to see it as a tender mercy though. For some reason the Lord didn't want us to move in just yet into the house and we may never know why! Everything worked smoothly the next day however, and the members were able to help us get all settled.

This week we started teaching a guy named E. He's really cool! He's from Peru and speaks a whole bunch of languages. He heard some of the missionary lessons growing up, but never got baptized. We contacted him in the street one day and he told us that he wanted a Book of Mormon! Yeah...okay. We can help you with that! haha He now has a baptismal date and we are really excited to start teaching him.

This week I was really humbled to see how blessed I am. I have never had to worry about not having food to eat the next day, or wondering what I can put on the top of my house to make a roof that won't blow away during wind storms. The people here in Argentina are so strong. They deal with trials that I would never have even imagined! They are so creative too! When something breaks they just find some way to fix it! Even if it's totally trucho and cheap. haha

Yesterday in church we talked about sacrifice and I really liked it. We talked about how if you want something, you have to give something! The trick is trying to identify what you need to give, and then you can do and accomplish whatever you want!

I hope you know that I know this church is true. I know it without a doubt. The gospel is the only true happiness, and if we strive to remember our Savior we will always be able to find the happiness that we are looking for.

I love you all!
-Hermana Vawdrey

The bedroom in our old apartment. Can you say tiny?

The room where Hermana Newton and I studied.
We called it the cubby because it was so small!

We had two mattresses on the ground, but they would only fit
when the door was closed. We would have to wait until everyone was
in the room to put them down (yet we made it work)!


July 16, 2012

The Power of Love

Family and Friends,

This past week was exciting because we got to meet our new mission president, Presidente Parreño! We had quick interviews with him on Wednesday, and then had a zone conference the next day. Presidente Parreño and his wife are from Spain, and I am loving their accent/lisp! I can already tell that a lot of things will change with our mission by having a change of mission president, yet I am excited for the changes. He is very genuine, loving, and down to earth. His wife is a little spitfire too, it's awesome! She is a convert, yet has one of the strongest testimonies ever. She talked to us for a good hour about how to make our street contacts better--because she does it all the time too. How cool is she?!

Hermana Parreño

Conferencia de Zonas de Mar del Plata

During the conference Presidente Parreño talked a lot about the power of love. If we love the Lord, we'll serve him. If we serve him, we'll learn to love his children. If we love his other children, we'll want to serve them...and the list just keeps going on and on. Later on that day we received a reference of an X-investigator from one of the members. At first I didn't want to pass by because we've already been by before and she is just not progressing! But then I remembered what Presidente talked about and we decided to go so show our love and trust in the Lord. We went by and she told us that she had just been praying to the Lord for help and comfort, and then she heard us clap outside! (This is about the fourth time this has happened now) :) She let us right in and she said that now she wants to get baptized. She told us about all of the little miracles she has seen lately and basically set her own baptismal date. My jaw just dropped! We see miracles here all of the time, and I am humbled more and more every day by the unconditional love the Lord has for us :)

R and K got baptized on Friday!! We are SO excited for them! Technically they are in Hermana Jensen and Hermana Linco's area, but I helped teach them when we first set their baptismal date, so it was neat to see some "fruit of my labor!" R is the younger brother of S, who got baptized last week. Then K is R's uncle..but they're both ten years old. (Figure that one out...) Yet miracles are happening here in barrio Puerto because the members in their family are starting to re-activate. :)

R y K's bautismo

Hope all is well :)
-Hermana Vawdrey

Other News:

  • Today for P-Day we went to this lighthouse/tower thing where you could look out and see the view of Mar del Plata and the ocean. SO BEAUTIFUL!

Hermana Newton y yo

Mar del Plata - If you're wondering if I miss the mountains...you're right!

  • I got lice this week. :'( NOT funny. Don't worry, Mom, I'm okay. What's the most upsetting part is that there is no way to say where or when, or from whom I got it from. :S Oh Argentina...
  • We're going to be moving to a new house this week because our contract is up. And the apartment is really really tiny...

Lunch with G

July 9, 2012

Two days of miracles

Happy belated 4th of July!

I wish I could say that we also celebrated this past week with parades, BBQ's and fireworks, but instead we celebrated with cold, wind, and lots of layers. Winter is here and I probably gain about 5-10 pounds in clothing each morning when I bundle up to go out and work. :) Yet this week was really neat because amid the bitter bitter cold, the joy of the gospel gave me so much warmth to just keep going.

Earlier in the week Hermana Jensen and Hermana Newton had to travel out to Bahía Blanca to do some paper work with their Visas and such. Because of this Hermana Linco and I were companions for 2 days. I'm telling you...they were two days of miracles! I don't know what it was, but the Lord clearly had been preparing us and other people for these two unexpected days when we would be working together. It was absolutely incredible. It was seriously just one miracle after another!

Two of our investigators kinda disappeared lately. We could never find them. But we decided to go by them one morning and they happened to be opening up their store right when we got there! It had been a whole week since we had taught them the Word of Wisdom and they told us that they had both quit smoking, and it had been three days since they smoked a cigarette! They each used to smoke 3 packs a day! I thought I didn't understand when they first said that! Awesome!!

SR got baptized on Saturday, and it was such a great day! :) She's technically in Hermana Jensen and Hermana Linco's area now, but I helped teach her several of the lessons so it was so neat to see that my efforts helped her progress to her special day to make eternal covenants with her Heavenly Father. Her uncle was able to baptize her too, which was awesome because awhile ago he wasn't very active. Her baptism has been a great blessing to her family because many were less actives, but they are all reactivating right now!!

Hermana Newton and I are going through a hard time right now when it comes to finding new investigators. The cold makes people so much more closed and so much more unwilling to listen. It's definitely an unwelcomely long trial of faith haha but we're learning a lot together. I guess that's how it normally is though, right? Trials of faith aren't normally welcomed, yet when we face them with the strength of the Lord we have the strength to overcome them. :) Every challenge and trial is worth it whether or not we can see the outcome right now. I know my Savior lives, and I know he is right there at our side each day to hold our hand and guide us back home to him. I am so grateful for the gospel and I know it's true!!

Thanks for all the support back home! Love you all! "¡Chaucito!"

-Hermana Vawdrey

Being with Hermana Newton has been really fun because she helps me see things that are so common to Argentina :) For example:
  • The other day we saw a guy riding his bike. Only it didn't have handle bars. hahaha He had both of his hands stacked on top of each other holding the metal thing where the handles should be. Que trucho...
  • How EIGHTIES everything is! Side ponytails, high tops, leggings, leg warmers, the baggy T-shirts, etc.

July 3, 2012

Hermana Newton!

Hey hey hey!!

Alright, so news from Argentina is that I have a new companion! Her name is Natalie Newton--from Colorado. She has actually been waiting for her Visa for 6 months, so she's be serving in Ogden, Utah since about January. She is super sweet, enthusiastic, and so excited to be here. She's 21, and before her mission she studied Nutrition at BYU, was on the BYU Folkdance team...and she clogs! As we started talking we realized that we are connected through several people in the clogging world. She clogged with the Babbots for several years, but also knows the Steel family really well. I guess she knows Angi because she talked to her about a year ago about how I am here in Bahía Blanca. Crazy! We have a lot in common and I am genuinely excited to be companions with her. Sometimes I wonder why she needs to be "trained" because she already speaks Spanish fluently! The big LUCKY!! I guess her dad served his mission in New York--Spanish, and he has only spoken to her in Spanish ever since she was a little girl. Kinda cool! I'm excited to help her learn about Argentina however. It's definitely a different place! It's been fun to laugh at some things that are so Argentine, because they already seem so normal to me!

Hermana Newton y yo

We had a good week. She arrived in Mar del Plata on Thursday at midnight. Since there are four hermanas in Puerto now we decided to split our area to work more effectively. When we did this it unfortunately left Hermana Newton and I without any investigators. We've been working hard to find new ones and we have already had many powerful, spiritual experiences together. I know for a fact that we need to be companions right now, and I am so excited for everything that she has already taught me.

Earlier this week before Hermana Newton arrived, Hermana Linco, Hermana Jensen and I were in a trio. We had some really neat lessons. As unusual as it is, we ended up teaching the Word of Wisdom to three different people within two days. Every time at the end we asked them if they had any problems with any of it. Each of them did, (like coffee, cigarettes, tea, etc.) and so we asked them if we could take it with us to remove the temptation. And all of them said yes! It was so neat to experience their faith and willingness to rely on the Lord to change. Every once in a while I remember to stop and think of what I am doing as a missionary. We're strangers, we go up to them, promise blessings, tell them they need to change...and then they do it! The Lord works in incredible ways!

One day this week Hermana Newton and I were out contacting in the street and I had the idea to go knock the door of this one house. As we got closer we realized that it was a duplex so we went to go decide which doorbell to ring. Right then this guy came out the door, so we just started to talk to him and teach him. I started talking to him about the importance of prophets...and I was NOT planning on explaining that--yet that's what came out! Right after that he was like "yeah, that's actually really interesting. I'd like to know more about that. Do you have something else I can read about that?..." It was so neat because the Lord knew that that man needed to hear about the Restoration through prophets, so he put the words and thoughts into my mind.

Ok. One last story. Saturday was one of those missionary days when you're working so hard, talking to everyone, trying every idea you have...and no one wants to listen to you. We had pretty much exhausted all of our plans and then I had the thought to go by a reference we received from a member. We went and clapped at her fence (because that's just what you do here haha) and she was so excited when she came out!! We went in her house and she told us that right before we came she was praying to the Lord for some help and comfort. Then right after she ended her prayer she heard us clapping! It was such a tender mercy of the Lord. After hearing that it made our whole day of no success worth it. The Lord is aware of all of his children, and he made sure to help us be where we needed to be to help out his one in need.

I know this gospel is true. The Lord knows us more than we know ourselves, and he loves us so much!

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

Las hermanas de Mar del Plata