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 card...so 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!

Ha...so 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