Thursday, August 28, 2014

Countdown Week 4 ~ Ice Bucket Challenge Week! VWU

Here is Elder Vester's email from this week. He is doing really good considering the condition he is in. His procedure done in January doesn't seen to hold. I am not sure that he should have been cut wood, tearing down a barn and putting up a fence. He is a real trooper and does what needs to be done. Sure love this missionary. Can't wait to have him home.


So, this week was pretty uneventful.
For some reason, that I can't comprehend, everyone has been throwing buckets of water on people.
And, we were asked to dump water on people from our 2nd story windows, not once, nor twice, but three times.
And then we got free food from the restaurant downstairs. I'm only assuming that happened because we were dumping the water onto Freckle's employees, and our landladies. 
So, that was kind of awesome.
There is also a new guy working there that showed some interest in the church, so with any luck, we'll get to teach him.
We had to go down to Spokane for a tri-zone conference. I'm not sure what to think of what happened there. haha. It was mostly mission politics, and that always messes with me for a few days. (I finally understand what one of my last companions meant when he said the mission conferences here makes him loose focus as a missionary. Haha.)
And as a random side note, the song "Derezzed" from Tron Legacy is a musical manifestation of my soul. It has been decided.

So, I guess this is the part where I say something spiritual. 
I guess, lets talk about my momma.
My mother has been the greatest strength to me on my mission.
She has always had the spirit so close to her, and she has always told me what I needed to hear. Sometimes, It was not what I wanted to hear, but my mothers letters have always been the most valuable treasures I have accumulated on my mission.
As of lately, they have been what has kept me going. I've had some experiences happen to me in the mission that have made me very critically think about why I am here, and if I am making the right choices, not only as a missionary, but as a son of God.
And every single time, my mom has come through, and has helped confirm that I have made the right choices. 
Doing what I am doing, and continuing to be a missionary.
I only have just a handful of weeks left that I get to teach this Gospel in this way, and I am going to fight it out to the bitter end, no matter what.
27 days.
I've made it 2 years, I can make it another month,
I love you all, and we shall see what this week shall bring for me.
Stay close, and talk to you soon!
~Elder Vester

Countdown week 5 ~ Today Is A Good Day, To Have A Good, Good Day: VWU

Sorry I got behind. I don't have much longer to do this. I have to stay on top of it.


This is Tim and Joann. I'll talk about them in a sec.
So, this week has been good. I've seen the hand of the Lord working, and sustaining many. Tim, Joann, and myself included. The Lord understands my weaknesses, and even still is willing to work with me. I have seen so many small miracles this last week. It has been so humbling to be able to be here, at this time, and have these experiences. I have said this once before, but I'll say it again. I love being a missionary. Coming to this mission, and having had the experiences I have had HERE have been some of the most tender mercies I have ever received in my life.
In the book of Job it says "The good Lord giveth, and He taketh away"
I believe that this scripture call also say "The loving Lord exalts and humbles."
Heavenly father allows us to pass through some things, because he knows it will makes us better in the end, IF we allow it. In the missionary guide, Preach My Gosple, it says that "God rejoices with us in our triumphs and weeps with us in our sorrows."
Heavenly Father weeps when we suffer. He is our father, and he does not want to see us suffer. But, he knows it will be good for us. We would learn, and so he lets us suffer. Not because he likes to watch us squirm, but because it's the only way we can learn some things we need to know.
The Lord gives us trials, and the Lord, takes them away. And blessed be the name of the Lord for it!
It's taken me a long time to learn this, and somewhat understand it.
Besides, when you know that God loves you, then what else do you need to be happy? 
I love this quote from JK Rolling
"Rock bottom was the solid foundation, upon which I rebuilt my life."
So, at some point, we have to be taken to rock bottom, so we can have a solid foundation.
We have to meet the lowest point in our life, so we can lay the foundation stones of Faith, Love, Repentance, Good Works, and Saving Ordinances. 
Ok, I'm done now.
The week really was amazing though.
Tim, decided that he was not quite ready for baptism. And much to my surprise, he followed up his comment with "I WELL be baptized in the future, but I need to find some answers first."
So, even if I don't get to see his baptism as an Elder, I'll get to see it as Jacob.
The actual baptism was wonderful. The spirit was so strong, and it was so meaningful to see how much support Joann has been receiving.
And whats more, Joann has already began doing missionary work herself. 
This last week, she told us of a friend of her's named Rick. She told us that he needed to talk to us.
One thing led to another, and Rick is now a new investigator. 

One thing is for sure.
I never regret for even a second my choice to finish my mission. (both times I had to make that choice. 6 months ago, and 3 weeks ago.)
Thank you all for all the prayers that have been offered on my behalf. 
You're the best.
We will see what this week brings us.
After all, I only have 4 more "Vester Weekly Updates" to write.
I love you all, and I'll see you next week!
Elder Vester
Cleaning the font! One of my favorite parts of getting ready for a baptism! Mostly because I get to play in the water. Haha!

And this is a list of things to not buy in bulk. It came from a very sleep deprived Vester and Naranjo on Saturday. Haha

This is Tim, Joann, Brother Andreas, and us.

Joann and Brother Andreas

Monday, August 11, 2014

Countdown Week 6 ~ Simply Put, FULL STEAM AHEAD! VWU

It is hard not to get excited about Elder Vester coming home, 41 days! I will miss his emails!

This week flew by! Normally the last week of the transfer takes forever to go by. But this week was an exception.
We had a lot of fun this week, for sure. Elder Naranjo and I are the most dynamic companionship I've ever seen. Haha. I'm really grateful I get to spend my last 6 weeks here, in this area, with him. Normally I have a track record of getting a good companion for just a few weeks, and then getting stuck with someone who is hard to work with. So, It's nice to see the streak has been broken.
It's actually kind of surreal to be entering my last transfer. I wonder if this is what it's like to be entering the last term of your 7th year at Hogwarts? Like, it's nice it'll be over soon, but you don't want it to end?
I don't know. But, either way. I am so grateful for it all. I'm not sure what the next 6 weeks will bring me, but I am excited all the same.
I'm so excited for Sunday! Not only will it be Potluck, but most importantly it will be Tim and Joanne's Baptism. On Sunday, she was feeling up to going to church, and she went around inviting everyone to her baptism, and telling everyone how she's quit smoking, and it did my heart good to see how well the members are accepting them into the ward family.
It's been a very, very long time since I last had an investigator start calling me their child, and now Tim and Joanne have started calling us their children. I'll have to come visit these wonderful people.
if there is one thing that I feel I have really felt and learned this week, it's that God our Father, and Jesus our Savior, know us and love us.
In church this week, the poem "Footprints in the Sand" was read.
This has to be one of my favorite poems ever. Every time I hear it, I can't help but feel the spirit, and I love it.
I was reminded just how close our savior is to us. He takes us by the hand, and guides us. And in the moments we don't think we can make it anymore, he picks us up and carries us, and most of the time we don't even notice. It's only till after, when we have been through it, and we look back, and we see just how much he really does guide and carry us.
This is something I have seen in my mission, now as I come to an end.
There have been many times that he has carried me.
And I am no special case. he loves you, just as much as he loves me. 
So, look for the single pair of footprints, and thank him for the moments he sacrificed for us.
I love it.
I know this is the true church, and that God guides and directs this church by the hand of a modern day prophet. 
I know the atonement is real, and that Jesus has given his all for us.
I love you all, and I'll see you next week!
~Elder Vester

So, this is the fabled Joanne!

She put this sign up about a week ago. I just HAD to get a picture of her with it. Is this what it feels like to be a successful state side missionary? because it's totally awesome.

We also  had Zone Meeting this week, and we took our last zone picture because transfers. It's pretty great. :D

And look! This is my area. It's actually pretty clear in this photo. I thought the sun looked cool. So I took this. Haha. the fire is just about 10-15 miles away from here. I'm awaiting the Evacuation notice. YEAH~


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Countdown week 7 ~ Determination: VWU

It has been a rough week for Elder Vester, but with fasting and many prayers I think he will make it!

So, this week has been very long. Today was not much of a p-day, either. But, that's mission life.
This last week has been a real test for me.
I'm not sure how many my parents have told, but I'll come out and say it.
The surgery I had in January has failed, and I now need to have another, much more intense surgery to correct my veracose seal.
I've been in a lot of pain for the last 3 weeks.
Last Monday, I was about ready to throw in the towel. I told myself that if I would not be able to work the way I need to, that I would come home.
And much to my surprise, I was able to work this week.
On top of that, Heavenly Father reminded me of some things.
So, lets back up a bit.
About 2 months ago, when the branch was re-organized, the Sunday school president was called to be the new branch president. And the lot fell to me to teach until further notice.
(He did give me a break. they called a woman to be a teacher this week, but she is only able to come every other Sunday. So, I still get to teach the youth often. haha.)
This last Sunday, in "Come Follow Me", the lesson was on the importance of journal keeping.
Well, I just so happen to bring the journal that had about the last 5 months of Brasil in it.
Now, even though I have managed to move on from the negative experiences I had there, I never went back to look at it. So, I sat there on the couch with the scriptures in one hand, and the journal in the other.
And as I read, I could not help but laugh! I remember going through some really hard trials, and writing them down, and now looking back, I  find so much humor in them.
And I realized just how great the mission has been for me, and just how much fun I have had.
And, I would never admit this normally, but, as I was preparing, my scriptures fell to the ground.
When I went to pick them up, they were open to Alma 26:27. it jumped out from the page, and it solidified everything for me. 
"Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."
That was it for me.
I knew what I needed to do. There was no turning back for me.
Heavenly Father not only softened my heart, but helped me to see the joy in the work that I had been missing for a long time.
The joy that comes from sharing the Gospel.
Now, with this, I made the decision to stay. No matter the physical cost. The damage was already done in Brasil, and I have nothing to lose from staying here, and only blessings to gain.
And this was confirmed by an experience I had Sunday morning.
My 2 main investigators, Tim and Joanne are trying to overcome smoking, and I was being a helicopter missionary. On Thursday, we gave her a blessing, and we left it to the Lord.
On Sunday morning, she gave me a call, telling me she would not be able to make it to church because she was on her way to the hospital to get shots in her head for her migraines. But, she told me that she had not smoked in 4 days.
I was so over joyed that I started to cry.
And so, God has not only told me to stay, but to keep working, and be happy, because I would be blessed, and would bring blessings to others.
So, yes. It'll be a long last transfer. But I have people I need to bring closer to Christ. I did not come back out on the mission to finish early.
So, to all of you who have been praying for me, and fasting for me, and making all kinds of sacrifices for me, 
Thank you.
I have felt your spirit, and your love, and it has been instrumental in helping me stay strong.
I love you all, so very very much, and I will see you soon.
When September ends.
Take care, and lets hope I stay in Republic with Elder Naranjo! Because as of yet, President does not know of my condition, and should I get transferred, the cat might be let out of the bag. Haha.
I'll talk to you all next week!
Love you all.
Elder Vester

So, today I said goodbye to one of my favorite elders in this mission, Elder Romero. But! he lives in Snowflake! So, I'll see him soon

And check this out! My companion has been working on this all transfer for me. It's a fancy wooden sword called a "Bokken".