Monday, June 17, 2013

Learning to Teach the Lord's Way in Arhus, Denmark

Hello everyone! It was so fun to see Ben and Haley's pictures for the Senior-Sendoff. It's weird to think that they're graduated now! It was also way cool to see you with the cast of "Resistance Movement"! I bet that was pretty cool, but it's too bad Caleb Jensen wasn't there. Of course, he's doing something much more important on his mission in Cleveland! 

I'll get straight to this last week:
Being here has brought all sorts of feelings. I'm in the most beautiful land with such history that you wouldn't even believe. My companion is great and living with the zone leaders is about the best thing ever. This last week has brought many feelings of excitement, frustration, tiredness, and most of all, an increase of faith. 

Not being able to communicate with people is literally the most frustrating thing that's ever happened to me. I only speak to my companion in Danish throughout the day and everyone else speaks Danish so I really don't speak much English until the evening right before bed. There were a few days I just wanted to kick something because I was so frustrated!  I have this testimony and this message that I want to share but I don't have words to share it!  When a lesson starts to go south and I can vaguely understand why but don't have any idea how to communicate the thoughts I have...oh, that's the worst. We came here with no previous investigators to work with. We had to start fresh (just like in California).

Elder Lindstrom and Elder Wawro
Funny enough, I think I needed to go foreign speaking. I think in California I depended too much on my own teaching abilities (which I probably became a little too confident in), and didn't rely enough on teaching by the Spirit. That has been my biggest challenge here: learning to listen to the Spirit. Heavenly Father put me in a position where I literally could not do anything unless I was listening to what he wanted me to say. He stripped me down completely so he could build me up again His way, not my way.

Last Monday, after I wrote to you all and read your emails, I went out to teach a former investigator from years ago (back when this area was open). I'll call her X. X is originally from Greenland and has a strong faith in God. She at one point even had a baptismal date! Unfortunately, she never gained a testimony of Joseph Smith, specifically with the importance of the Book of Mormon. We originally had planned to teach her about the Plan of Salvation since she had had all the lessons before. She took us off track though once we brought out the Book of Mormon. She said she respects the Book of Mormon but that Bible goes first! The Bible is the most important thing! In the end it doesn't matter so much what church you're a part of as long as you follow the Bible!

This was the first time in a lesson I actually understood what was going on, which was nice. She asked if my companion, who was doing the all the talking, knew the Bible. My companion said that he regularly reads from the Bible but most of his scripture study had been focused on the Book of Mormon. She did not like his answer and went off on him!

Then the thought that you gave me about the importance of the Book of Mormon in missionary work from Elijah [Thomas's homecoming testimony] came into my head. Finally I couldn't restrain myself anymore. I opened my Bible and read her a scripture in Acts where Peter says, "We cannot but speak the things which we've seen and heard." I then told her, in my broken Danish, “Here are the things I know. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God.”

She cuts in and says “But the Bible is first!”

I answered, “Nej!!” [No] “The Book of Mormon and the Bible TOGETHER contain the fullness of the Gospel. Joseph Smith is a prophet called of God in these last days! We left our families back home so we could tell you how to bless yours! I promise you if you read the Book of Mormon you and your daughter will be blessed and you will feel God in your life telling you that what we say is true.” 

We gave her a scripture to read and she said she respected us enough that she would. That was a miracle from God and the first time I felt the gift of Tongues on my mission. Thank Elijah [Thomas] for his testimony and tell him how it helped me from the first day I heard it.

We got our first baptismal date yesterday with investigator Y. It was kind of a miracle how it happened. I played piano today for a musical number in our ward and it went great. Afterwards this guy came up to me and complimented me on the music and told me how much his wife loves music. I thanked him and went my merry way. Later I saw him talking to my companion and I came back up to him. He asked me if I knew my scriptures, Bible and Book of Mormon. I said yes, I've read through them a lot. He said great! I've been waiting for someone who could answer my wife's questions. I'm a member and she's not, and she has a lot of questions she wants answers to.

Danish food is yummy!
To make a long story short, we met with her for 3 hours! It was way too long, but we answered her questions and in the end Ældste Lindstrom asked her to baptism and she accepted!

In the MTC I mentioned that I focused a lot of my time in the Bible and I didn't know why. I've already had a couple experiences where that study in the Bible has blessed us so much. God really knows what we need better than we do. The miracles He performs every day are without number.

I love you all so much! I can't wait to hear back from you!! 

-Ældste Wawro