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 menos...it 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. Well...it 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 conocimiento...how 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!!