Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Detour from Demark - California Carlsbad Mission

Elder Walsh and Elder Wawro Goin' to California!

This last week has been very tiring. I thought the Missionary Training Center was hard work. It's not like out in the mission field. That's alright though because I love it.

It's been great to hear about every ones experiences! Congratulations Haley on the Syd Riggs Scholarship, I knew you could do it. And that is awesome about your roommate being from here. What's her last name? Nobody has said anything to me yet so I probably am not in her ward. I wish I could have seen your talk and slide show. I always loved going to those.

Nathan, I don't know if I trust you on the road by yourself yet. Ha, just kidding! ...but really. Good thing I'm in California! I didn't remember you saying you were trying out/tried out for Cries of Freedom but that will be a way great experience. Way to be a patriot! And congratulations on Charlie Brown as well, you're living a dream of mine.

Don't worry Casey, you'll get to the pool eventually. And maybe, if you work hard, you will get as tan as I am. Thanks for always sending the quotes as well! I love reading them and always apply them on my mission. I also totally agree with you that free food is always good food. I'm sure the class will be great!

Mom/Dad, my address is 451 W. Bobier Drive, Vista, CA 92083. Thank you for all the packages you sent me in the MTC. They all helped me out so much. Nathan told me that rehearsals start soon for Charlie Brown so good luck with that! I'm not allowed to meet up with any of the family around here, but that's so cool that they are so near! Make sure you tell Ben good job on graduating... and make sure you tell Elijah hello for me!

Now, here's a little of what has happened this past week...

After getting off of the airplane Elder Walch and I met up with the mission president. His name is President Cook. I don't know a whole lot of his personal life since I was kind of just thrown into the midst of things but I really like him. He is a very strict mission president, a little bit intimidating. He talked a bit about the mission, interviewed us, and then we went to the transfer meeting. Getting there I realized that Elder Carson Redford was in my mission! He's not in my area but it was cool to see him.

As you know I was assigned to Temecula with my trainer, Elder Campbell. Elder Campbell is a great trainer. He has a huge passion for the work and tries his best to be the most effective missionary he can be. I have learned a lot from him. Probably the most important thing is the importance of member involvement in missionary work.

The first few things I realized upon getting here were these: It's really hot here, I need new shirts (since all I had were my clothes for Denmark weather which is not quite the same as California weather...), There are a ton of Mormons here, not very many people want to hear what we have to say.

I quickly discovered that we did not have a single progressing investigator in the area. Elder Campbell was a newer missionary to this area as well, so we had remnants of what the last missionaries left behind. This past week has all been working with the members and contacting.

The funny thing about contacting here is that every single person knows about the Mormons. They have a friend, neighbor, relative, etc. that's a Mormon. Unfortunately, that means that they think they already know who we are and that they don't want to have our message. Our week was not filled with a whole lot of success in that department, but we did receive some.

We met a man who called out to us. He asked us if we were the Mormons, we said yes. He asked if we believed in living prophets, we said we did. He then smiled and said, "I could believe that!" He literally contacted us! That was a blessing. He plans on having us over after graduating and his schedule starts calming down.

There's another family named the Greens. They are way cool. They are an African American family who are super religious. They are way into the Bible and try their best to provide service wherever needed. The dad served in the military and both parents teach their children the commandments of God. They basically live all of the commandments and are practically Mormon already! He's started reading the Book of Mormon and last we checked with him was just about to start Alma 32. Great chapter.

Last night I placed my first Book of Mormon on a contact. It was late and we were about to head back home but decided to visit a less-active family. As we were heading down we saw them drive away which was disappointing because we have to walk everywhere we go. The car was about a 15 minute walk away back. We saw an open garage and remembering that we were commanded to talk to everyone, even though the people inside looked a little sketchy from a first glance and knowing I was probably about to get mocked as usual, I called out to them and introduced ourselves. The lady called out to us and we began talking about the Book of Mormon and eternal families. We ended up talking to her and her cousin for about 20 minutes. We gave her a Book of Mormon, challenged her to read and pray about it, she said she would and that she would call us because she was interested in learning more. I suppose we will see where this goes.
Elder Campbell & Elder Wawro at San Diego Temple

It's been so great being here. It's hard work, harder than I ever imagined, but it's so wonderful. It's amazing to see the little miracles God gives us every single day. Never take them for granted or not only will you not recognize God's hand in blessing your life, but you will receive less. I've grown ever closer to my God and my Savior.

Happy Memorial Day! I love you all! I can't wait to hear back from you!

-Elder Wawro

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Carlsbad California Mission?

Elder Wawro & Elder Campbell in Temecula, California

None of the Danish Missionaries in the MTC got their visas before they finished their training in the Missionary Training Center.  So instead of travelling to east Demark today, Elder Wawro headed west.  He has been temporarily reassigned to the Carlsbad California Mission until his Danish visa arrives.  Tonight we received this text message and picture from his new Bishop in Temecula California,

"Hi Brother and Sister Wawro.  Your son just arrived in our area in Temecula CA.  We're glad to have him.  Thank you. Bishop Hales." 

I will post more details as soon as we hear from him.
-Patrick Wawro

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Final Week at the MTC

Hej med jer!

I'm going to start this one by thanking everyone who has written me while I've been here. I've enjoyed reading everyone's letters so much and they have helped me out a ton. For everyone I haven't replied to yet I do plan on writing you, I just don't have a lot of time to write letters throughout the week. I DO want to write you though and love receiving your letters. Hopefully I'll get caught up this next week.

Things are starting to pick up as we reach our departure date. I still feel like I'm pretty inadequate with the Danish language. I'm teaching better but I feel like I'm not quite up with some of my district. Language is something that does not come very easy to me, but I'm hoping and praying that the Lord will help me.

Oh! Something that just happened today at the temple that was pretty cool. I was doing initiatories at the temple so I picked up my names and went to do them. I looked down at my card and saw that I had a William Sherwood, lived in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England. I probably just did the work for Robin Hood or one of his Merry Men. ;)

 I am so excited for Will Wright! That is amazing he is one of the Icelandic speaking missionaries. There are only 8 missionaries in Iceland and 2 of them are leaving soon. Icelandic is pretty crazy though, he is going to be here for 9 weeks. Tell him to write me about it or something because I would love to talk to him about it.

Tomorrow I'm singing at the meeting for all the new missionaries. I auditioned and they told me to sing for that. That's going to be a pretty cool experience. One of the Sisters, Sister Murray, is accompanying me. We're doing Beautiful Savior from the music that I brought with me. I'm so grateful for that music, thank you so much for putting that together for me!

Make sure that Carina writes me as soon as she gets her call! I want to hear where she is going from her! So don't tell me, have her write me! Also, tell David Buckley for me that I am so excited for his call! He is going to be an amazing missionary.

I'm going to try to take more pictures of me while I'm here. The biggest problem is that we've been doing pretty much the exact same thing for the past 5 weeks and so there isn't a whole lot of things to take pictures of...but I'll see what I can do! And as for my hair gel, you might have to get it off of Amazon now that I'm thinking about it so if that's too much of a hassle don't worry about it!

Customs at Denmark is pretty funny. On any package you send to Denmark just write "GIFT." If you say you send medication and write "MEDICATION" on the customs box or whatever they will just pull it out and then tax me. Also, Cheetos and Beef Jerky is illegal in Denmark so don't send me those...I know, weird.

Ok, time to give you all a heads up. As of right now our VISAs have not come in. They may delay when we leave the MTC or they may reassign us for a transfer if we don't receive them in time. If anything happens or changes I'll be allowed to call home for 5 minutes to tell you about it. It doesn't really look like we are going to get our VISAs in time, but for some reason all of us have this feeling that they will. Maybe it's just a feeling of peace, I don't know for sure. We fasted on Sunday that we would receive them in time and we've been praying hard. If you can pray for us as well that we will receive our VISAs that would be amazing.

Thank you again for getting my Line of Authority and Pedigree chart. They have been asking us to have those and I'm excited to see my Line of Authority. I was also wondering if you could find a book on the Apostle Peter...The more I learn about him the more I come to love him. I'm wondering if Elder Holland or someone has written something on him since he has talked so much about him in conference talks. If you can find a book on Peter that would be so helpful for me.

It's amazing being here. I used to think I had a very strong Faith, but after all of my studying and watching conference talks and reading scripture stories I know how little my Faith really is. Thankfully, we are only asked to have a desire for an increase of Faith and we will find it. "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." -St Luke 22:32. I believe that more than anything THAT is the purpose of the MTC. If Christ thought that even one of His 12 apostles, of whom he gave all the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, was not entirely converted than how much more need we to be converted? We cannot strengthen our brethren until we completely, entirely, without a single doubt in our mind believe what we are teaching. It is through our belief and our faith that the Holy Ghost testifies the truth of what we are saying. It's like the Brother of Jared. Through his faith he was able to see Christ. Through our faith Christ is able to be shown to the ones we serve.

I love you all so much! Thank you for writing me and for your uplifting words. Every day I am grateful for this opportunity to serve in Denmark. I have such a love for all the people already. Pray that I'll be there in a week! And, in the words of Billy Joel, "Keep the Faith!"

Jeg Elsker Jer!

-Elder Wawro

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

4th Week at the MTC

Hello everyone!
I loved looking at all the pictures you sent me. They were awesome and it was way fun to see what has been going on. Ha, I'm still laughing that Nathan is going on dates. Crazy!

I want to talk a little bit about all my friend missionaries:
1. Michaelah enters the MTC tomorrow, huh? That's so great for her! She will be an amazing missionary. Make sure you tell the Thompson family hi and good luck to them!
2. So I was talking to Elder Zushi the other day and we was telling me that he was probably going to need surgery. I really hope for him the best. I can really tell he has had a large variety and quantity of trials, but I know the Lord has a plan for him. I will keep him in my prayers, but I have faith that things are going to turn out very well for him. I can feel something big is in store for him.

So a few things have happened this past week. The Swedes just left so now we are the oldest ones in our zone. That is insane to think about. I feel like I just got here, but at the same time I can't really imagine having a life outside the MTC...it's a weird feeling.

Today I went to the temple and did sealings for the first time. That was a way cool experience. The promises that were given there strengthened my testimony on eternal families. Heavenly Father really wants us to be the happiest we can be. While I was there the temple worker who was doing the sealings called me up but didn't know how to pronounce my name. He asked me and I told him. He then asked me where it was from and I said Poland. He then asked me why I didn't pronounce it with V's instead in W's like how it would be pronounced in Poland. I didn't really have an answer, so he did all the sealings pronouncing my name as Brother Vavro instead of Wawro. It was pretty funny. Apparently Danish people are going to have a really hard time pronouncing my name. That's what my teachers have said as well as some Danes here in the MTC. One girl from Denmark told me I made up name and it wasn't an actual name! That was pretty funny as well.

Now here is a funny story:
My district had to go to TRC which is where we teach volunteer investigators. This particular TRC we were going to Skype with members actually from Denmark. It was kind of a big deal because of the time difference and contacting people, so we were all a little nervous. Once we got into the building my district proceeded to go up the stairs while Elder Madsen and I decided to take the elevator because of his ACL problems. On our way up the elevator broke down and stopped! We were trapped inbetween floors while we were supposed to be teaching the members in Denmark. We pressed a button to call the front office to send someone to fix it but they said it may be half an hour before they could send someone to fix it, so we waited. We knelt down and prayed that the Lord would help us get to our appointment. 20 minutes later the elevator started moving and the door opened to reveal one of the TRC employees. He told us he had been looking for us and that we were there just in time to meet a member who just got on. It was an awesome experience that was pretty funny as well.

On Sunday I was appointed as the new District Leader. I don't know how I feel about it because I kind of like just doing my own thing. But I know that if we follow the rules as closely as we can we will be so greatly blessed. I'm praying that the Lord will give me strength to do what needs to be done in a manner that will not offend or make people mad. I can tell that everyone in my district is improving slowly with our character. The more we study the teachings and character of Christ the closer we come to becoming like Him.

I am literally blessed with the best teachers I could ever ask for. Brother Pullan served most of his time in Copenhagen so he has a very Copenhagen accent. Brother Williamson served in Ughland (which is like the hick version of Denmark) so he can be hard to understand at times, but it's so great to have that experience. Brother Stacey is incredible as well. He served everywhere so he has a very diverse accent. He also sounds and acts exactly like Ross from friends. It's actually mind blowing how similar they are.

The MTC is great, but even though I don't feel super great about my Danish yet I am so excited to get to Denmark. The more I learn about it the more I love it. I really feel like I was blessed with the absolute best mission I could ask for.

Thanks again for all of the letters. I love receiving them and they help me out so much. I love you all so much!

-Ældste Wawro

Thursday, May 2, 2013

3rd Week at the MTC

Hello everyone! Thank you so much for everyone who sent me letters :) Tell all of our friends and family thanks as well. I love hearing all about what's going on in all of your lives.

You may be wondering why I'm emailing you today. This week they changed my schedule so now my Preparation Day is on Tuesday. Since I'm only allowed to write on Preparation Day I had no way of telling you all beforehand, so now you know Tuesday is the day I read and write emails.

I'm so glad to hear that you are actually doing You're A Good Man Charlie Brown! I wish I could see it because I know it's going to be a way fun show. I'm still sad that I missed West Side Story and from what I've heard from you all it was pretty amazing. Hopefully you recorded it so I can see it when I get back.
Today I realized that tomorrow is Nathan's birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATHAN. 16 years old...that's crazy! Ha, I was laughing when I heard how Claire asked Nathan to Spring Fling. It's exciting that you get to take that next step in your life.

This week was the first week where I was finally able to start teaching investigators without having to read a pre-written lesson the entire time. I'm finally being able to say basic sentences in Danish from the top of my head. Danish is really hard because there are practically no rules to anything. You pretty much have to learn every word individually. I know now more than ever that the gift of tongues does not come naturally but it's something I'm going to have to work on really hard. I know if I try my best that Heavenly Father will make up the difference.

Everyone in my zone is really close. This has been cool because I've become really good friends with the people going to Sweden. I met one return missionary who was Elder Jay Sargent's trainer out in the field. I also met his teacher in the MTC. Both of them told me that he is a fantastic missionary and is doing really good work.
The longer I'm here the more I realize how false my perception on missionaries was. Growing up I always imagined them as these really mature, incredibly intelligent, ever obedient people. They aren't though. They are very ordinary people. From here they don't look like anything special, including myself. They seem young and demonstrate many qualities of immaturity. That's what I find so amazing about the MTC. Somehow the Lord is able to take these incredibly young boys and mold them, shape them, and create them into something truly special. Reading through the scriptures you see this same thing happen time and time again. He takes raw materials and crafts something beautiful that can bring some soul unto repentance.

I am increasingly realizing that my life is not my own. Not just my mission life, but my entire life. My life was given so I could give it others. There is absolutely no separation between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and my everyday life. I know now that whatever I decide to do when I get back needs to be something that helps with the progression of the Kingdom of God. I don't know what that means exactly, but I know I need to help.

A mission is hard work. I have days where I'm tired the entire day. I spend hours at a time in a classroom which would normally drive me crazy. Yet I love it. I love every second of it here. I would not trade this experience for the world. I can feel my Heavenly Father touching my soul every day and making me a little bit stronger. I feel so weak and inadequate at times, but he will make me strong.

I love you all so much! Happy Birthday again, Nathan! I'm praying for you all and can't wait to hear from you again!

-Ældste Wawro