November 18, 2013

God is good.

Hear the beautiful counsel of Jeffrey R. Holland. I too know that God loves us. He IS good.

"He is our Father, and He expects us to pray, and trust, and be believing and not give up, and not panic, and not retreat, and not jump ship when something doesn't seem to be going just right. We stay in! We keep working. We keep believing, keep trusting, following that same path and we will live to fall in His arms and feel His embrace and hear Him say, 'I told you that it'd be okay. I told you it would be all right."'

August 26, 2013

August 22, 2013

Life as an RM.

Ever since I got home, whenever I see someone I haven't seen in a long time they normally ask at least one of the following questions, if not all of them:
  1. How was your mission?
  2. How is it being back?
  3. What are your plans now?
  4. So, are you dating anyone?!/Can I set you up with "so-and-so?" (Ps. Did you know that "so-and-so" is actually found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary? #FactoftheDay.)
Question #1-How was your mission?
I’m sorry. That question can not really be answered in a word or a sentence. Nor can it be summed up in a sacrament talk in church. It's indescribable. Serving a mission is….. Look. I’m trying and I can’t even explain it. No hay palabras. It is the most all-in-one-experience you could ever have. It’s wonderful. Hard. Life changing. Challenging. Demanding. Intense. Unexpected. Joyous. Unforgettable. Incredible. Wonderful. Rewarding. All of that and more. And on some days, it wasn't uncommon to feel all of that in just one hour. 

So how can you explain all of that in one word?! I think it's a gift from God that you can't, because it makes it even more special.

Question #2-How is it being back?
 How is it being back? ha's the same kind of a concept. It's a mix of emotion. Most of the time it's really great! And then there's those days when you realize just how awkward of an RM (Returned Missionary) you are because you feel like:
  • you have to say Hola/Buen dia/Buenas Tardes to everyone that walks by.
  • Or how you naturally feel like sharing a scripture after eating a meal.
  • Or wondering why you don't have to call your district leader at 9:30pm to pass on the datos.
  • Or feeling like you need to give everyone a beso or a handshake.
  • Or how you still think in Spanish--which makes you stutter as you try to figure out how to say it in English.
  • Or walking outside on a windy day and out of habit slapping your leg to keep your skirt from flying up...and then remembering that you're wearing jeans.
  • Or how light switches here in the US generally flip up and down rather than from side to side.
  • Or feeling like you need to call a Remis (taxi) to get home when it starts getting dark.
  • Or you turn the knob on the sink that says "C" expecting hot water to come out...
  • Or realizing that you're actually at the point where you feel like you can express yourself better in Spanish rather than in English.
It's weird. But there's fun things too, like:
  • carpet!
  • dishwashers, washers & dryers
  • not having to wear flip flops in the shower
  • being able to drive a car
  • air conditioning
  • ovens with temperature control
  • streets that don't flood over when it rains
  • unlimited email time
  • TECHNOLOGY! Please. It's changed so much. 
  • or being able to talk to someone of the opposite sex for more than 5 minutes and not feeling bad for it
  • peanut butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, Ranch dressing, cheese that isn't queso cremoso, Mom's cooking, & milk that actually takes good!
  • sleeping in past 6:30am, or staying up later than 10:30pm
  • being able to hold babies!
  • running water. And hot running water that doesn't run out
Question #3-What are your plans now?
School and work, people. That's what you should do when you're twenty-something. Luckily it was easy for me because I already finished a chunk of my major before my mission, so now it's back to the books, the classrooms, and the sewing lab! 

Question #4-So, are you dating anyone?!/Can I set you up with "so-and-so?" 
That's always a funny question. But to answer: No, and yes.

When I look back at my mission and the rules I had to live by, or the sacrifices I had to make to go without the simple day-to-day things we take for granted here in the United States--I'm happy. I loved every minute of it. 

It's just good to be back.

August 6, 2013

I'm home.

Hello everyone! I'm HOME! 
And trying to learn how to be a normal person again. ha 

I'm amazed to see how many people are still visiting my blog! I feel bad I've taken so long to post something, because you're probably waiting for an update. As they say in Spanish: mil disculpas! (1,000 apologies)

Well. As for an update: I've been home for about four months already. I can NOT believe how fast the time has flown by. Here I am now with school starting in less than a month! What?!

Many people still ask: What's it like being home? It's...strange. Luckily the adjustment coming home wasn't too hard for me. But it wasn't easy either. Just strange. Sometimes it feels like I'm in a dream, like I'm going to wake up any minute to an obnoxious alarm in Argentina at 6:30am and roll over to the cold tile floor to start another day with a prayer. I miss that. But I know that all good things come to an end.

What's interesting to me, is the "mini-identity crisis" returned missionaries go through when they come home. You see, if you did it right, you don't come home the same person. You come home and realize that the world really did keep going without you, and you need to figure out how and where you want to fit in the world.

Luckily I've figured it out a little. While on my mission, I realized just how passionate I am about teaching and helping others be happy. I'm going back to BYU Provo to finish my Bachelor's Degree in FACS-Ed (Family and Consumer Sciences Education). I only have about a year and a half to finish. Woot! But until next month when school starts, I'll be busy working. Working a lot. (With an emphasis on the lot part) Being a big kid and being a college student includes many bills and expenses that add up quite quickly. I'm currently working two part times jobs. One of them is at VitalSmarts, which is a súper awesome company. Check it out, they'll change your life for good. And then I teach Spanish at the MTC! aka: the second coolest thing I've ever done in my life! (My mission being the first coolest thing)

But, in a nutshell, that's the update. I'm busy, happy, and finally blogging!

March 25, 2013

This is it!!

Friends and followers of Hermana Vawdrey's blog,

The hour is approaching!! 41 hours and counting...and yes, we are counting!

Brittni has truly given her whole heart to HIM as a full-time missionary. We are so proud of her and the efforts she has made in His service. We thank each of you for the positive influence and support you have extended to her through the last 19+ months. She will begin her travels home tomorrow and we will reunite with her on Wednesday.

Details of when she will be invited to speak in her home Sacrament Meeting will be posted once she comes home--we will let her be the one to invite you, but know that you are each welcome to come and support her, and to give her that long, overdue hug. 

Hurrah for Israel!
Steve and Jen Vawdrey and family

March 18, 2013

The last full week of my mission

Familia y amigos,

Today I start the last week of my mission. What?! Like Alma said in the Book of Mormon, "I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." My mission has been an experience that has changed me. It has changed me for good. I left on my mission with a strong testimony, and now I finish with an even stronger testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The principles of the Gospel are engraven upon my soul. I have experienced such great joy that causes me to not even be able to “say the smallest part which I feel.” I've gone through good times and hard times, but I'm grateful for all of it, because I got to know my Savior. I know Him! And I can honestly say that He is my best friend. He has been at my side every day and at every single moment. He has never left me, and I know He will never leave. He patiently waits for us when we struggle, and He cheers us on until we have the success that we desire. I'm grateful for His love. I'm grateful for the Atonement that He endured so that we can live with Him again.

This week I had a really neat experience that I want to share with you. To do so, I'll have to back-track a couple of months. One morning back in December I was studying in Preach My Gospel. I read a part that talked about the importance of sharing why you decided to serve a mission. I remember at the end of my study, I prayed to the Lord that he would bless me with an opportunity to share why I decided to serve a mission. That same day, Hermana Gallegos and I stopped at the church in between appointments to use the bathroom. As we were leaving, a young lady was coming in. She looked at me in the eye and asked, ¿Can I ask you why you decided to serve a mission? I couldn't believe it. The Lord answered my prayer that very day!

I began to tell her how I sadly never really planned to go on a mission. I wanted to serve a mission in the future with my spouse, but I wanted to graduate college, get married and start a family. In November 2011, I was going through a tough time and I asked my dad for a father's blessing. He told me to not forget about the option of serving a mission. I remember being frustrated because that was not the answer I wanted at that time. However that blessing planted the seed. I kept the thought of serving a mission at the back of my mind for several months. By the time General Conference came around, I decided to pray about it for good to see if that was what the Lord wanted me to do. It was interesting because during the entire conference, there was never a talk specifically on missionary work. Yet the entire time I felt a burning desire in my heart to serve a mission. I realized how much I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior. And what do you do when you love the Lord? You serve Him by serving your fellow men!

I remember how anxious I was waiting for the perfect moment to announce my decision to my family. And my brother Brian's arms opened wide as if I had just scored the most phenomenal touchdown for the Lord. To this day I have never regretted that decision. I love being a representative of Jesus Christ. I love that I get to dedicate all of my time to help my brothers and sisters learn more about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation.

As I shared my experience with this young woman, tears started to stream down her face. All she could say was thank you! ¡Gracias! ¡Gracias! She told us that she was thinking about serving a mission and she was at the church to have an interview with the Bishop to get his opinion of whether or not she should go.

On Tuesday I happened to run into this young woman again at the church. She ran up to me, hugged me, and thanked me again for sharing my experience. She then told me that she was at the church to have her final interview with the stake president so that she could finish her mission papers. I'm humbled to know that I was able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to help another one of his daughters prepare to serve a mission.

Testimony in Spanish
No sé si tendré tiempo en la semana que viene para escribir, así que quiero compartir mi testimonio de que sé que la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Dias es la iglesia verdadera. Yo he llegado a conocer la verdad de muchas cosas durante mi misión mediante el Espíritu Santo, porque Él realmente es la manera que Dios ha preparado para conocer su Evangelio. Sé que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero. Contiene la plenitud del evangelio y el "hombre se acercaría más a Dios al seguir sus preceptos que los de cualquier otro libro." (La introduccion del LdM) El Libro de Mormón habla a mi alma cada vez que lo leo, y yo siempre deleito mucho en leerlo. Tengo testimonio de que José Smith era profeta. Mediante de Él, El Señor restauró el Evangelio y hoy día tenemos la misma autoridad y la plenitud de la iglesia que Jesucristo estableció. Estoy re contenta para decir que soy miembro de la iglesia y sé que aunque no soy perfecta, algún día, mediante la expiación de Jesucristo puedo volver y vivir con mi hermano Jesucristo y mi Padre Celestial. Así que "por lo tanto, gloriémonos, sí, me gloriaré en el Señor; sí, me regocijaré porque es completo mi gozo mío; sí, alabaré a mi Dios para siempre. He aquí, ¿quién puede gloriarse demasiado en el Señor? Sí, ¿y quién podrá decir demasiado de su gran poder, y de su misericordia y de su longanimidad para con los hijos de los hombres? He aquí, les digo que no puedo expresar ni la más mínima parte de lo que siento." (Alma 26:27)

English Translation
I don't know if I will have time next week to write, so I want to share my testimony now that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church. I have come to know the truth of many things during my mission through the Holy Ghost, because he really is the way that God helps us understand His Gospel. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It contains the fullness of the Gospel, and 'man would come closer to God by following its precepts than any other book' (the introduction of the Book of Mormon). The Book of Mormon speaks to my soul each time I read it, and I greatly delight in reading it. I am a witness to the fact that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Through him The Lord restored the Gospel and today we have the same authority and the fullness of the church that Jesus Christ established. I am so happy to say that I am a member of the Church, and although I am not perfect, some day, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ I can go back and live with my brother Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father. So 'yes, I will glory in the Lord; yes, I rejoice because my joy is full; yes, I will praise my God forever. Behold, who can boast too much in the Lord? Yes, but who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy and kindness to the children of men? Behold, I tell you that I cannot express the slightest part of what I feel." (Alma 26:27)

I love you all! Hope you're well! Have a good week. :)
-Hermana Vawdrey

The little brother of one of my Mar del Plata converts

He was baptized shortly after I was transferred out of Mar del Plata

This cute boy was baptized last Saturday.
He attended his uncle's baptism a few weeks ago and felt the
Holy Ghost. He wanted to feel this spirit all the time and
chose to follow his uncle's example and be baptized as well. :)

One of our sweet investigators from the Dominican Republic

I love this little family! The cute little boy wants to get baptized.

March 11, 2013

Last Zone Meeting

Hellooo everyone!

Time is flying. It's already Monday! What?! Mom! I received your Valentine's Day package. Thank you! That was quite the package! Hermana Rodriguez and I were really excited.

We had a really great week, and once again we witnessed many miracles. On Tuesday we had a Zone Meeting, and since it was the last zone meeting of the transfer, all of the missionaries that finish their missions at the end of the transfer were asked to bear their testimonies. That was such an incredible experience. There are six of us in our zone that finish their missions this transfer. The spirit was incredibly strong and it was neat to see how converted we have all become as a result of trying to invite people to come unto Christ. (Hello, run-on sentences! Sorry. That's how they speak here in Argentina.) It truly was a moment I will never forget. It was neat to reflect on the progress that we have made in every aspect of our lives. One Elder talked about how we go home as different people. It's true. I'm still Brittni Vawdrey. But, I'm not the same person I was when I came on my mission. But I'm the new and improved! And as horribly sad as it is that our full-time mission is coming to an end, our missions don't end. As members of the Church we are missionaries every day of our lives. It's just time to change the location. The Lord needs us to be in other places, doing other things so that we can continue to help Him bring all of His children unto Christ.

Another day this week we had quite the adventure because there was another big storm. It didn't rain much, but the wind was out of control! Which isn't that pleasant when you have to walk around in a skirt all day. haha. Because of the wind it ended up cutting out the lights! We got to our apartment one night and had to plan by candle night. :) It was funny because the lights came back on at about 10:25, and we go to bed at 10:30. So we had 5 minutes of light before we had to turn it out again. :)  But it was a good experience to realize just how blessed we are to have light and electricity. For example, instead of taking the elevator we had to hike all of the windy stairs. God has a funny sense of humor sometimes to help us remember just how blessed we are, right?

We found several great new investigators this week. And N came to church! It was such a miracle! I wish I had time to tell you all the details. I just have to say that when we give the Lord our hearts, when we do absolutely everything in our power, He does the rest. :)

I know the gospel has been restored. We have the fullness of the gospel on the earth today, and it will never be taken away again! I love my Savior. I know He lives. I know the Lord hears and answers every prayer. We are children of God and we have so much divine potential that we can't even comprehend it. Only because the Lord loves us, and wants us and trusts in us to accomplish great things. So. Keep doing those great things that you're doing. You're making the Lord proud!

Family, I love you! I hope you have a great week! Les quiero mucho!
-Hermana Vawdrey

As a request from the Mama, here are some fun facts/quirks about Argentina:

  • People here in Barrio Pueyrredón love Backstreet Boys. And AC/DC. ha Dad, it makes me think of random times driving in "Gus" when we would listen to AC/DC on the way to the boy's sports games. Good times!
  • Floppy hair! Oh my. I've never seen so many loose, floppy ponytails in my life! And it's always right on top of their head! ha I get a kick out of it.
  • Umm Fashion, (because I naturally notice that) saggy crotch pants are every where. "Pantalones feos" is what I call them. They're so ugly I got a pair because they'll be fun to use for some costume parties in the future.
  • Argentines LOVE stickers! They put them on everything. Phones, computers, cars, wallets, etc.
  • Pan. Argentines cannot live one day without eating their pan (bread)/ They eat bread every day. And it's funny because when it's served they almost never put it on their plate, it always goes on the table.
  • They are so direct! If you look fat, have a bad hair day, etc. they tell you! It's like Grandpa Jon. hahah No filter. ;)

But I love these people. I want you to know that.

Brian Edwards! HELLO!! I got your letter! How great to hear from you. :) I meant to write to you quite a while ago, but I figured you had moved already from the previous apartment address. I hope you're enjoying your internship-trip thing in New York!

Hermana Rodriguez and me
Thanks for sending new socks, Mom. This is what I was wearing!
So pretty before it rains. The sky is huge here without mountains.

March 5, 2013

I LOVE the Book of Mormon!

Family and Friends,

Again, my heart is full. To quote an investigator, "I am in LOVE with the Book of Mormon." It is true! It penetrates my heart and allows the Lord to communicate to me in a way that no one else can. It was a hard week, but it was possible because of all of the encouragement, faith, hope, and "love notes" that the Lord helped me find this week in the Book of Mormon. I know I can always find them there.

Yesterday we witnessed a miracle. Remember last week when I told you about J? He's the "tough guy with long, shoulder-length, curly hair, piercings, beard, tattoos, etc. Not anymore! He came to church yesterday in a white shirt and tie. He borrowed his friend's dress shoes and polished them up all nice. And, he cut his hair!! Wow. I wish I had a before and after picture. It makes me think of the movie "The Other Side of Heaven" when they find the drunk less-active guy and clean him up and bring him to church. That's totally how it was! J was grinning from ear to ear the whole time. He talked to the bishop and he has the goal to get the Aaronic Priesthood in the next little bit. Incredible. No one is ever too far off the path of the gospel to be able to be cleaned up, forgiven, and changed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that my Redeemer lives. Because if it wasn't for him, we would never be able to see these moments of immense joy.

I don't know what it is, but Hermana Rodriguez and I have a talent for finding investigators with really interesting situations and doubts. haha Presidente Parreño came with us yesterday to a lesson to help us try to re-activate an RM/ex-obispo (bishop). And well...that was intimidating. What do you do/say during a lesson when your MISSION PRESIDENT is sitting next to you?! But the Lord comforted me through the Holy Ghost and we had all of the words and direction we needed for that lesson. It went really well.

We're working with another investigator that was going to an evangelical church before, but she had a really bad experience because the people judged her because of her poverty. Sad. We've been able to practice charity, and I've been able to witness that charity, the pure love of Christ that truly heals every problem and every situation. It's interesting because in these past few weeks the Lord has really pushed me out of my comfort zone. We've taught investigators that have concerns or doubts that I've never had before. It's blessed us with the opportunity to consult with the Lord and receive personal revelation of how we can help his children come back unto him. And it's made me remember something that Hermana Juli Jensen once told me. "No one really knows how to be a good missionary. You just have to try." That's some serious wisdom there. No one really knows! No one really knows how to be a perfect father, perfect teacher, etc. You just have to try! And somehow in the middle of all the trying, the effort, sweat and tears, we figure it out.

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true! The teachings and the doctrine are perfect--not us. We're all just trying to figure it out, little by little, precept by precept.

Family, I love you. Thanks for all that you do. Have a great week!

-Hermana Vawdrey

February 25, 2013

The Lord takes care of his missionaries!

Family and Friends,

Wow, family, new ward huh? That's really exciting. I love change. After 12 years of living right on the borders of the ward boundaries, I guess it's about time that we get bumped into another ward, right? AH! And did you hear! They opened up 58 new missions in the world! TWO in Argentina, EIGHT in Mexico, and many more. It's so neat to see the gospel spreading throughout the Earth. :) I'm still anxious to see when a mission will open up in China. :) Ty: I can see you serving your mission there!

Mom, Happy belated birthday! And M (one of the members here) says Happy Birthday too! I showed her a family picture the other day and she called you the young, rubia, movie star. haha It's true. You're beautiful. I hope you had a wonderful birthday.

Yesterday we witnessed something truly remarkable. MG, one of the members has been working on coming back to church. Her son has been inactive for years and years, but he agreed to have a Noche de Hogar (FHE) last night. He got baptized when he was 14, and he is now 35. He's got long hair, a beard, and he's covered in tattoos. Ha! We decided to keep it simple, and we taught about the faith. We read in the Book of Mormón when Alma compared faith to a seed. It was incredible to watch how the spirit brought all of the gospel topics to his remembrance. He truly had a repentent heart and said he wants to change, and he wants to come back to church. We gave him a new Book of Mormón and he started to cry. He told us about how he felt when he got baptized, and how he wants to feel that way again. It was such a blessing to be able to witness that. The Lord has been preparing him to come back, and we are feeling so blessed to be able to help him.

We heard some interesting news the other day: Remember how we used to live in another apartment here in Barrio Pueyrredón? Shortly after we moved there was a huge fire that badly damaged the 11th floor (where we lived) and several other apartments. The Lord takes care of his missionaries!

The church is true! And it always will be. I love you all! Have a good week.

-Hermana Vawdrey

February 18, 2013

I'm súper rubia!

Hello Hello!

Hey! Happy Valentine's Day! Mom and Dad--Thanks for still being in love :) Les amo y admiro mucho! What exciting news about the changes in the ward. I´ll be anxiously waiting to see what ward I'll come home to. Ha! And Jack is already going to the MTC! Hopefully all will work out quickly with his Visa. And here's a shout out to Audrey Gee and Brad: FELICITACIONES! Congrats! I'm excited for you. Hope all is well.

So it's still super hot here in Bahía Blanca. ¡I'm súper rubia! I've never been so blonde in my life! But things are going well. We had another great week! This week Hermana Parrreño (Presidente's wife) came with us to a lesson with one of our investigators. It was super intimidating at first to have Hermana Parreño there, but it went really really well. She is a convert, and was very catholic before so she was able to relate to our investigator really well. The spirit was super strong and we know she felt it. This sweet sister is off to Buenos Aires to take finals this week, but we're hoping to witness a miracle baptism soon. :)

Ohh! So we heard that the Church is growing so much in Argentina that they are going to open up a new mission in Argentina! WOOT! It sounds like the limits of Bahía Blanca will stay the same, but it's still great news. It's all to accomodate the many youth going to serve missions.

We went and visited a sister from our ward at the hospital this week (she's the one in the ward who fills up the lunch calendar for the missionaries.) The poor thing has been in the hospital for several weeks now. She's recovering very slowly, so we decided to pay her a visit. She's too weak to breath by  herself, so she's got a tube in her neck and in her nose...and she hooked up to so many IV's and machines that I don't even want to know how many. So sad. Yet her smile when we walked into the room was something I will never forget. Her eyes lit up like a little child. Since she has the tube in her mouth she can't speak. Yet incredibly we were still able to communicate with her because she would move her lips like she was talking. Her husband helped us out a lot too. We sang her favorite hymn: Grande Eres Tu (How Great Thou Art). I don't think I'll ever hear that hymn again without thinking of her. She is such a neat woman.

This week I learned something interesting in regards to judging others. Really we shouldn't ever judge, right? But Hi. We're imperfect people, and it's our natural instinct. Yet there are certain instances when we need to judge. For example: we need to judge those who will be our friends, that they will help us stand in holy places at all times, in all things, and in all places. I found it interesting this week as I was studying in True to the Faith, that we need to train ourselves to not necessarily judge people, but judge their situation. We need to think of their situation that makes them do what they do. If we do that, normally our judgments are completely different because we come to understand more of why they are the way they are.

Ay. Time goes by way too fast. I wish I could write more. But I thank all of you for all of your love, prayers and support. Have a great week and I will talk to you again soon! Un besito!

-Hermana  Vawdrey

February 11, 2013

It's not an event. It's a PROCESS!

Family and Friends,

Hello! I'm glad to hear that things are well. Not excited to hear all of the trunky things about school and going back to the real world...ha pero bueno. I'm happy. I want you to know that I'm happy! I love the gospel and I love that I become more and more converted every day. Dad, I loved what you shared with your ward the other day that not just "every member a missionary," but every member an investigator! It's true! Our road to conversion does not end when we meet the missionaries, or when we get baptized, or if we finish the Book of Mormon again. It's not an event. It's a process! I've been studying that a lot lately, and I love it! Our lives, our testimonies, our joys, our sorrows, our laughs, and our cries are not events. It's all part of the process of our personal conversion.

To all of you that are thinking about going on a mission but can't quite make a decision. Stop thinking! Just do it! It's good. It's right. You're only going to be more happy, more converted, and more secure in the gospel. And you get to be a representative of Jesus Christ and help your brothers and sisters while you do it. Serving a mission is an incredible thing. An incredible process. Just the other day I re-read my missionary call letter. I found it interesting because part of it says that...okay más o says through our hard work, diligence, and reliance on the Lord we will be able to BECOME the missionaries that he wants us to be. Again. It's not an event, it's a process. The word "become" means that it is a process. When you leave the MTC or when you complete a year on your mission, that doesn't necessarily mean that you have become a good missionary. It's a continuing process. I think even those who completed their missions keep going in their personal process of becoming the missionary the Lord wants and needs us to be. But what's so wonderful is that we can do it. We CAN become the missionary, the children of God that He wants to be as we rely on Him.

This week. was hot. What else? ha No, it was a good week once again. We saw many miracles. We're working a lot with a girl named J. She's 24 and has investigated the church quite a bit. She's really smart, has a lot of do you say that in English?? (knowledge/understanding) But she gets stuck on little things, and it turns into big doubts. We're learning a lot that when investigators have a doubt, it's normally only a tiny part of the real doubt. There is always something deep down based on a bad past experience, or a misunderstanding. That's when the role of the Spirit comes in. We're focusing on asking "inspired questions" to try to find the real doubt. Presidente Parreño's wife is going to come with us to a lesson tomorrow to help us out. We're excited.

Ah! News: Yesterday they called a new mission leader! And get this: It's J's dad! Super cool. What would be even more cool is that if the first baptism we have with him is his daughter. Hmm. But the Lord is in charge.

Mama, here's your questions:
  • The first group of new young missionaries will arrive to our mission right after I leave. We're expecting a group of over 30!! (Depending on how everything goes with their Visas) Everyone is very excited and anxious about the new "jovencitos."
  • Forever ago you asked me how many there are in our district. There are 8 of us. 4 companionships, 4 elderes and 4 hermanas. Then there are 30 of us in la Zona Bahía Blanca. 6 hermanas I wanna say?
  • Our ward recently has had about 50 people there for Sacrament Meeting. There is room for growth, and lots of menos activos (less actives).  :(  But our bishop is fantastic, and some of the members are always willing to help us out.  :)
  • Our apartment? It's good! We love it! It's quiet because there are just two of us. I feel like I always have to have music on. ha But it's cute. I recently used my interior design skills and we put pictures us on the wall to make it feel more homey.  :)
All right. I'm almost out of time. Family I love you! Amigos, you too. :) Hope you all have a great week!

-Hermana Vawdrey

PS: Sarah Pinnock: CONGRATULATIONS on your mission call to Bahía Blanca! You are going to LOVE it! I am really excited for you. Hopefully we'll be able to meet before you leave :)

We were given a bagful of fresh grapes. We're loving it!

Our study area

"Living" room


February 4, 2013

His way is perfect!

¡Hola Familia mía y amigos!

It sounds like you all had a fun week. I'm glad to hear that all is well back at home. Here in Argentina I'm doing good too. :) This past week our mission president challenged us to have a "semana celestial," or a celestial week to strive to be the best we can be, the most obedient, diligent, faithful possible. It was a really neat experience. Yet again, we saw so many miracles. For sure Satan was trying his best to discourage us with the heat and the "never-ending siesta," but as we endured to the end each and everyday we were able to see the Lord's hand in our lives. Sometimes the miracles didn't come until the very end of the day, but Hermana Rodriguez and I had some really neat experiences. Have I ever told you that I love being a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Well...I do.

The beautiful little girl we baptized last week

One of the cute members we've been focusing on lately had a neat experience. She was living with her mom and her son, but her mom is really against the church and would try to do anything possible to create distractions when she tried to study the scriptures or pray. Finally she decided that she wanted to move and find her own place to live so that she could have a place where the Holy Ghost could dwell. We taught her earlier in the week about prayer and how you should always pray to counsel with the Lord before you do anything. (Alma 37:37) A few days later she sent us a text message saying that she prayed to the Lord for His help, and through a big miracle was able to find a new place to move to! It makes me smile so big to see her growing so much spiritually. I can see in her countenance now just how much more she confides in the Lord. It's a beautiful thing.

This cute little abuelito (grandpa) got baptized this weekend en el Barrio Villa Serra de los Élderes Adkin y Whiteman. He's 76 years old, and a 77 year old member baptized him. :) Poor grandpa can hardly walk, and he can't bend his knees very well so it made it hard for him to get baptized. I think they had to try 7 times to get it right! At first he didn't go completely under the water because he didn't bend his knees. Then he finally did, but the cute old member baptizing him mixed up the words of the prayer. I was sitting next to an investigator at the time. She was super worried about this poor old man that had to keep trying to get baptized. But the spirit helped me teach a profound lesson as I was explaining to her that baptism is a very sacred thing. It's a covenant that we make with our Father in Heaven. It is the door to enter into His presence. And His house is a house of order! You can't just go through the motions, get part of it right, and expect to go in. It has to all be perfect. He is perfect, and His way is perfect!

Elder Atkin, Member, Convert, Elder Whiteman

I was also humbled this week by the example of one of the members here in Barrio Pueyrredón. Presidente Detlefsen's mother-in-law has been really really sick and was hospitalized. A medication she was prescribed to take had some really bad side effects, and after time her stomach was all perforated and infection had spread through out her entire body. She's in her seventies. The poor thing! She was in a medically-induced coma for about a week so that the medics could control the infection and help her body heal. This past week she was making lots of progress so they took out the breathing tube and everything and now she's on bed rest. Her calling in the ward is to make the calendar for the missionaries so that they can eat with the members. They said the second day that she was out of her coma she was already worrying about the missionaries and how she hadn't been magnifying her calling for a week. That woman is a die hard example of someone who wants to serve the Lord. She is always focused serving others. Now don't worry, we've been fine. We just filled up the calendar ourselves while she was in the hospital, but it was so sweet to hear how quickly she remembered her responsablity to serve the missionaries. :)

All right, I'm out of time. But I hope you know that I love you all and hope this letter finds you well :)

-Hermana Vawdrey

Juli J! I got your dearelder! It made my day. Thank you! I can't wait to be your friend in the real world. Don't worry, I'm working hard, but I'll be home soon. Hope you're enjoying institute! Love you Hern.

Sergio: Recibí su carta también! ¡Gracias! Espero que disfrutara sus vacaciones y que todo esté bien. Mi buena amiga la Hermana Squire está ahora en Barrio Puerto. Cuídela para mi, bueno? Mande saludos a su hija y la famlia Greco!

ESTEFANIA HENRIK!! Felicidades por su llamamiento misional! Estas nocitias me pusieron re contenta :) Será una misionera de diez!!

January 28, 2013

I am converted!

I live in a land of miracles. So many incredible things happened this week! It was kind of a roller coaster of emotion, but we ended it on such a spiritual high! It was a week when the Lord truly blessed us for all of our efforts and the righteous desires of our hearts.

First of all, C got baptized! She`s nine years old and is such a sweet girl. Like the famous Primary song, she is like a sunbeam. She carries the light of Christ with her everywhere she goes, and I feel so grateful that I got to know her, and that I got to be one of the missionaries to help prepare her to get baptized. It was kind of a fight to get permission for her to get baptized (because she often lives with her Grandma in another pueblo), but thanks to the hand of the Lord we were able to help this sweet girl follow the example of Jesus Christ and get baptized. It was a beautiful baptismal service too...minus the fact that the hot water for the baptismal font didn't work. :S Thank goodness it's so hot outside because it wasn't a big deal. (I would send a picture, but we're at the ciber that erased my last memory I'll send one next week. I sent a picture of her in last week's letter, however.)

We found an investigator this week that has an interesting story. A little while ago she was living in Barrio Hospital, and while she lived there she met Hermana Rodriguez. She recently moved here, and then we saw her in the street one day and she recognized Hermana Rodriguez! We recognized that as a big sign that the Lord is putting both of them again in the same place. When we first talked to her she didn't have a job, they didn`t have any light in their house, and she hadn't eaten for 5 days because she didn't have money. Heart wrenching. We taught her a little bit, read from the Book of Mormon, invited her to pray, and promised that if she would trust in the Lord that she would be delivered from all of her present afflictions. The next time we saw her she came out of the house crying at the sight of us. She said after we left the other day she prayed for help. She was able to find a job for both her and her daughter! "He heard my prayer, chicas!" she said. We're really excited for her.

Oh. And OH my gosh. Yesterday was a day of miracles. A went to church! And her boyfriend! (who has been less-active for years.) It was incredible. The members received them so well. There were 3 other less actives that came yesterday, and C received the Holy Ghost! We were on cloud nine.

I am converted to this gospel more and more every time I go to church. Every time I pray, hear a prophet's voice, witness a baptism, etc. This gospel is true and I am so grateful to be able to dedicate all of my time to proclaim it!

I love you all and hope you're well!
-Hermana Vawdrey

  • Spring Hollow Young Women--Thank you for your package!! Thank you, thank you. I actually received it about two weeks ago and I kept forgetting to tell you. Thanks for thinking of me! Love you all!
  • Grandma Rodgers--I also received your package. THANK YOU! Thank you so much for your love, prayers and support. I love you!

January 22, 2013

Coincidence? No!

Queridos amigos y familia,

I just want to start out and say, BRIAN! Elder Vawdrey! You are so cool! Thank you for your e-mail today. I truly view you as a spiritual giant, and I am proud to be able to call you my brother :)

Well here we are again. Another Monday! Crazy. We had such an incredible week. We witnessed so many miracles. We saw so many fruits of our labors, and I feel so humbled every day to be able to do so with Christ's name on my chest. Several missionaries en la Misión Bahía Blanca finish their missions today, and it's starting to freak me out because this is my last transfer. I'm next. It makes me feel sick. I'm not ready to be done! Thank goodness this last transfer is a long one. :) I'm realizing just how much the Lord has qualified me during my mission, and He still does! Like the famous scripture says, "The Lord chooses the weak ones...but whom he calls he qualifies."

Being a missionary is a challenge. I could wake up everyday and make a very long list of all the challenges I face every day, but instead I choose to make a list of all of the blessings I receive, how much patience the Lord gives me, and how many of his children I get to help invite to come unto Christ. And that list is always sooo long. ¡Es maravilloso!

This week was neat to see in those tough moments how the Lord blessed me with just the amount of energy, or just the amount of patience necesary to do whatever the task was that he wanted me to do. He always gives us the "necessary." Then it's up to endure and to trust in Him that he is there to help us.

I love the Atonement! It's real. It has changed me. It changes people every day. It empowers us, and it truly is the secret to every New Year's Resolution. I found a quote by Elder Henry B. Eyring the other day that 'If ever you feel the influence of the Spirit in your life, that is evidence that the Atonement is working in you.' :) And that's because the Spirit testifies of the truth, it moves us to do good things and to abandon the actions and things that keep us from becoming more like God. So! If we're doing good things, and the spirit is present, all we need to do is follow the promptings of the spirit to accept and to put the Atonement in practice and we can basically conquer the world!

The other day after lunch we had planned to go by an investigators' house because they weren't home for the appointment we had for them the previous day. Right when we got to the house she pulled up in her car! Coincidence? No. We started talking a little bit outside and she said that just barely while she was at work (she works at a carnicería--butcher shop) 3 muchachos came in and robbed all the money they had. She was pretty shaken up, the poor thing. But amidst all of that, she insisted that we come in and share our message. We explained to her the Restoration and the spirit was incredibly strong. She loved every minute! At the end we asked her if she was willing to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized, and she was like YEAH! Of course! We were shocked. She is so prepared to hear the message. That day especially, with the robbery, she had to endure something difficult so that she could recognize better the things that God has given her. We feel like she has a lot of potential to progress, we're praying hard!

We had a lesson the other day with an ex-investigator. We stopped going by a few months ago because she left for vacation. Yet we felt prompted to see her one day, and sure enough she was home! We went into her house, and she said, "Chicas! I was hoping you would come by because I wanted to tell you something! Remember last time when you came to my house and we kneeled down and prayed? You prayed that my brother could stop drinking so that he wouldn't be so sick. And guess what? He stopped drinking! I went by to see him two weeks ago and he was drinking tea instead of alcohol. I couldn't believe it! So 5 days later I went back to see if he really had stopped drinking. And he still hadn't drank any alcohol, he was drinking tea! Then a few days later I went by again to see if he had fallen back into his old habit again, but no! God heard our prayer! He answered it! My brother has been an alcoholic for years! And now he's completely given it up!" She is a sweetheart. It made our day to see her experience the evidence that the Lord answers our prayers.

Yesterday we were contacting a bunch of references, and we were on our way to visit some recent converts. On the way we passed by the house of some ex-investigators. (We recently stopped going by because they weren't progressing.) But right as we were going to keep walking by, the boyfriend opened the door! Coincidence? No. They invited us in, and as we chit-chatted, Hermana Rodriguez and I panicked for a second over what the Lord needed us to teach them. The thought came into my mind to read Lehi's dream in 1 Nefi 8. We read part of it with them, applied it to them, and asked them where they think they are in the dream? The spirit was really strong and the girl started crying because she was feeling the spirit. Not only that, but they really, truly promised to come to church on Sunday. I couldn't believe it. We are so excited for them!

Okay. I'm out of time. Family, friends, I LOVE YOU! Be good. Live the gospel and enjoy the blessings.

-Hermana Vawdrey

A cute girl we've been teaching

La Zona Bahia Blanca

January 14, 2013

We saw a 1/2 cow man!


So I hear you're living in a Winter Wonderland back home, enjoying the single digits, eh? Here we're "enjoying" the triple digits. :S Dandy. It hit 100 degrees several times this week. Bleh. It makes the siesta seem really really long sometimes, but we still had a really great week. :)

MOM! I got your dearelder and the package you sent me. Thank you thank you! I absolutely love the picture of Christ smiling. I have it on the wall next to where I study and it helps me everyday to remember that he is proud of me and what I am doing. :) And I got the Christmas newsletter and the pictures of Brian and his compaion. What funny kids! I loved it! Thank you for all of the missionary experiences you shared too. They helped so much.

Here in Barrio Pueyrredón we find lots of people and we teach a lot, but the people just aren't progressing. Because of this we're striving to be even more obedient, and trying to improve our teaching by using the scriptures more. The challenge from our Zone Leaders is to get to the point where we can resolve any question or doubt by just using the Bible or the Book of Mormon. So far it's going well. I feel like I've learned a lot of doctrine this week during my studies. I love it. When the hour completes, I always want to keep studying! here's a story of something interesting that happened the other morning. We were waiting at the bus stop to go to our District Meeting. I was chatting with Hermana Rodriguez and then all of a sudden this man crossed the street (dodging traffic as he went) with 1/2 of a COW on his shoulders, on his way to the Carniceria (butcher shop). And then he went back to the truck to get more. hahahaha Mom. I can picture your face. haha Yeah. That's what happens in Argentina. Gotta love it.

This week we met a man who, at the beginning, was feeling really uneasy and nervous. The lady that lived in his house before he did did lots of witchcraft and lots of weird stuff, so we're thinking some of the bad spirits stayed in the house. Creepy. We were able to have the Elders bless the house and I think it was a really neat experience for him. He was able to witness the power of the Priesthood. Now every time we pass by his house we can never find him home...but it's neat that we could still help him out in a moment of need. I know it is something that he will always remember, and hopefully one day he will be more willing to learn more about the church.

One day this week we were out knocking doors...and getting a lot of rejection. But after one door, we turned around and it was like a cheesy Hollywood moment because this house seemed to be all lit up and angels were "singing hallelujah in our heads." Hermana Rodriguez and I looked at each other and knew that we needed to knock that door without even saying anything. We knocked the door and an older lady came to the door. She saw us and started to close the door, but we immediately started talking because we felt impressed to tell her how much the Lord loves her. She she then opened the door wide open and started crying. She is passing through a hard time with her family and with health and was wondering if life was even worth living. It was one of those moments when I just marveled at how much love the Lord has for us. He really does care about us so much, and in our moments of greatest need, he always sends someone to "rescue us." I'm so grateful to be one of the Lord's missionaries to help him preach his gospel and share the love that he has for all of us.

Yesterday at church we talked about the incredible miracle of the Atonement, and there is a quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland that I absolutely love! Here's a rough translation: "When the difficult moments come, we can remember that Jesus has to desend below everything before he could rise to the summit. He suffered pains, afflictions and temptations of all classes in order to be full of mercy and know how to comfort His people in their afflictions. " I love that. Even HE, the perfect Savior had to hit rock bottom before he could have a fullness of joy. That's truly how it is. So to those of you who feel like that woman that we found, who have "hit rock bottom," just remember that the fullness of joy is just around the corner. All we need to do is go to Christ because he is waiting to take our hand to lift us up. :)

Family and friends, I love you! Take care and I hope you all have a great week.
-Hermana Vawdrey

January 7, 2013

I'm an influencer!


Here we are again with a new week. So weird. I'm sitting here in the ciber trying to remember all that I wanted to tell you. ...A stray dog just walked in and licked my ankle. Mmm. Thank you.

It was a good week! Sùper hot, but it was a good one. Just a warning, I'm struggling to write in English because I speak Castellano all the time with my companion. So if my letter doesn't make sense or my spelling is horrendous...that's why. (Dad, feel free to correct my grammer.)

For New Years Eve we went over to the O family's house again. They are so good to us! We had a yummy asado. We had to be back in our apartment by 10pm. At midnight they did something that I though was so cool! V (the mom) filled up some balloons with helium, and attached a scripture and a card with the church's address and meeting times. At midnight they went outside and let them go--hoping that some person would be able to find it somehow. Fun idea. You never know, someone really in need may have found one!

We had interviews with Presidente Parreño this week, and a zone conference. What's weird...and not right...was that it was probably my last zone conference because we only have them only every 3 months. But it was such a great conference! Presidente and his wife are so inspired, and we learned so much. We invited some members to come also and we had them role play as investigators to practice our teaching. It was fun to think back to the first zone conference I had because I was absolutely terrified! I couldn't understand much, and couldn't say squat so I dreaded the practices. Now it's no big deal! It's neat how that change happens. That's really how life is. During the learning and growth period it's hard and painful. But then when you stop to look back and see your progress you can see just how far you've really come! Now I'm sitting here with my Latin companion, and it's not even a big deal! The gift of tongues is so incredible. I still give all of my credit to the Lord. Learning a language and being a full time missionary would never be possible without the help and encouragement of the Lord.

El Presidente and his "Golden Plates"

This week was a big learning experience for me because I realized just how many people I have influenced. I'm an influencer. I can really see that right now. I think that's why Presidente Parreño needs me here right now, and the Lord has blessed me with my current assignments for a wise purpose in Him. It's hard. I'll be honest with you. I pray for patience and charity a lot, but the Lord is always there to pick me up the second I feel overwhelmed. :) I love my Savior. I know He lives. I know His healing power is real, and I know there is no one, and no thing that His healing power cannot heal.

Hermana Rodriguez y yo

Thank you for all of the support back at home, yàll. I feel so blessed. Keep livin' the gospel and I'll talk to you soon!

-Hermana Vawdrey

Mmm. Spaghetti!

My last day with Hermana Gallegos