Monday, September 23, 2013

Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Baptism of Brother
Dani Lakatos
Hilsen fra Randers! Another week has come and gone in the land! Everyone seems to be just as busy as usual, and things are the same here. I swear, every morning is like pulling daggers out of my eyes because I'm just so tired! It's ok though, I'll get my nap in a year and a half.

Now I know you are all on the edge of your seats waiting to hear what happened with transfers. Big news, I'm staying in Randers with Ældste Peterson! Nothing big is happening because there are a bunch of VISA problems. Only 3 Elders are coming this week and there are over 20 waiting for their VISAs from this group and from the last group. There should be some sub-transfers within this next month as more and more missionaries obtain their VISAs. 

It's so great to hear about Casey's volleyball games! Way to go Casey! Det glæder mig [translation: I am pleased] to hear Orem beat Mountain View, but when I heard yesterday that BYU lost to UoU I was distraught! All well, if I remember correctly I'll be home in time to see their next game. Great that Eric Sackett won a new car! Wish that happened to me. 

Can't believe David [Buckley] and Ben [Thomas] have already begun/are beginning their missions. David chose a great scripture to use. That is definitely one of my favorites. And I replied to Ben's email weeks ago so he did have the right email. 

Ha, speaking of scriptures, I have this huge quote wall above/adjacent to my skrivebord [translation: Desk] where I put sticky notes of some of my favorite scriptures. I'll have to take a picture of it sometime and send it to you, because there are a lot of sticky notes!

It's a little sad seeing the sun go down significantly earlier day after day. Pretty soon the sun is going to be completely down around 4:00. It's also starting to get colder. Definitely can't wait for that.

Copenhagen was pretty boring. We rode a train for 4 hours to get there, then we took the language/Danish History and Culture test (way easy), and then rode home. It was super sad though because 2 days later at Zone Conference Præsident Sederholm told all the other missionaries that when they make their way over to Copenhagen to take the test that they should make time to visit the Temple! Ældste Peterson and I were the first to take the test of our groups and so he forgot to tell us beforehand. All well, we'll get there one day! 

Here is my direct address if you want to write directly to me. It's a little risky because if it comes after transfers and I leave the missionaries will probably forget to forward it to me for a long time. I do get the letters significantly sooner though if you send them directly to me. Oh, and I got your package last week at zone conference! I haven't opened it yet like you said. Thanks for the package and also thanks for the sheet music!!! 

Ældste Christian Patrick Wawro
Pr. Christians Gade 15,st TH
8900 Randers C

So there were two big events that happened this week. I'll start off with Zone Conference...

Zone Conference
So we had Zone Conference with Præsident Sederholm. Let me begin by saying he is probably the greatest mission preæsident of all the mission præsidents. He just went to conference in France where they had 2 Apostles and many in the 70 in attendance. They focused on the importance of obedience and finding people. He came back and taught so many amazing things to us all He said we should make it a point to talk to every single person, even if you normally would judge them as somebody not interested. He also told us to "Not just believe in Christ. Believe Him." Believe His promises that He is gathering Israel for the final time and that He is hastening his work. He will lead us to the elect
Zone Training
At the end of the conference he told us that everyone in the zone was going to go out into Århus and find the elect. First we sent us out to pray what the Lord would have us do, and than have faith to do it. We had one hour. Ældste Peterson and I had the impression that we needed to give out 2 copies of the Book of Mormon. Now, in Denmark it is pretty hard to give out 2 in an hour, but we decided we would. We ended up doing it and both with people we normally would have not talked to.

The first was a Muslim lady and she was the 2nd person we talked to. Contacting Muslims isn't very fun because they see we come from the Church of Jesus Christ and decide they aren't interested. We contacted her anyway and told her that God had called another prophet and she took a Book of Mormon!

The second person was a couple that we found right when we were returning to the church at the end of the hour. They were having an intense conversation on a bench and we really didn't want to interrupt them...but Præsident Sederholm told us to talk with "Everyone", so we did. The man went off on this huge rant about how Religion was the root of all evil and the woman affirmed that she not believe in God. Again, we normally would have given up then, but we continued to deliver our message of the Book of Mormon cause we "Believed Christ" that he would help us know what to say. Strangely enough, she ended up taking a Book of Mormon! 

It was amazing to see and this experience was a huge testimony builder! Since then as we've tried to talk to everyone we have passed out 8 copies of the Book of Mormon in just the last couple days, and all of them with people we would not have talked to before.
North Jylland Zone Conference

Baptism in Århus
The second thing is that I had my first baptism here on my mission!!! It was with the Romanian in Århus named Dani Lakatos. He just got baptized on Saturday and it is amazing to see how his life has changed since Ældste Elsbury and I met him on splits. Our first appointment with him was on splits and I invited him to baptism but he said he couldn't because he didn't come to church. He said while he was in the church he felt so peaceful and he didn't know why, so obviously, we told him why. He said he loved the feeling, but he was too busy to come to church. A few days later Ældste Lindstrom and I received a text from him saying he wanted to live the 10 commandments. He is just a little older than me and we really connected since we began teaching him.
Baptism of Dani Lakatos
Elder Wawro and Elder Elsbury who first met Brother Lakatos
I can attest to the power of the atonement as I have seen Dani change his life completely around. He prayed every day for help in making positive changes in his life needed to qualify for baptism.  I have seen how he learned to rely on the Savior as he left all of his friends who were bad influences on him and replaced them with supportive members of the church.  Like all of us, he made mistakes every once in a while.  Yet now he has learned he can always get right back on his feet by repenting and praying for strength. He is completely a "new creature in Christ" as Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 5:17. 

I'd like to end with one of the scriptures I've read in Doctrine and Covenants. It's a letter Joseph Smith wrote to the people in Nauvoo where he explains Baptisms for the Dead and then attests to the greatness of the work. D&C 128:19, 22 -

"Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? ...Mercy from heaven...truth out of the earth...a voice of gladness for both the living and the dead...
Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause?"

-Ældste Wawro