Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 ...And So It Begins

Well hello there everybody! Let me tell you, it was so great to Skype with [the family] all this past week. You are all so wonderful! Ha, unfortunately, not a lot has happened since I last skyped with you all, so I'll just mention the few things that did happen as well as a little about Christmas.

So we spent a ton of this week with members. We ate sssssssoooooooooo much food! We also got to dance around the Christmas tree which is a tradition here in Denmark. We all held hands and sang songs together as we circled around the Christmas Tree. We also ate a ton of Risalamande which is a Danish Rice Pudding. At Christmas time they have a game with this pudding where they chop up a bunch of almonds and put them in the putting, but they leave one unchopped almond in as well. Whoever finds it is supposed to hide it in their cheek while the others search for it. Whoever finds it gets a present. Unfortunately, I never won, but my companion one every single time!!

The best part of the Christmas season was our opportunity to serve. On Christmas Eve we baked a bunch of cookies, printed off the First Presidency Christmas Message with a link to the Nativity Bible Video, and delivered them to some of our investigators and less actives. They were so grateful for our visit and even though we couldn't stay and talk because they were all busy, we could see they really appreciated that we thought about them.
Our Glorious Christmas Tree - Thanks Mom!

We also had the opportunity to help the Frikirke move their church. They moved to a new Building and all of them were so surprised to see the Mormon Missionaries come to help move them during the Holidays. They asked why, and we said because we love to help. They were so grateful and we heard them talking to each other about how great those Mormon/American boys were. It was a great opportunity to share the Christmas Spirit.

This week marks the beginning of the new year. I'm so excited to see the fireworks here in Denmark, apparently it's amazing. I'm especially excited though to begin my one and only full year spent doing the Work of the Lord! It's weird to think that 2014 is going to be spent completely on my mission. It's an exciting thought though.

Well, that's most of what's happened to me this week! Thank you for your love and support! I don't have Pictures right now, but I actually have videos. I uploaded them up on my Google +. You can see them from all of your Google + accounts and see them. It's an awesome setup and I think from now on I'm going to use Google+ to add Pictures/videos because they're instantly available to anyone who wants to see them and can be downloaded as well.

Can't wait to tell you about New Year’s Eve and my trip to København! Love you all!


-Ældste Wawro

Monday, December 23, 2013

Glædelig Jul! [Merry Christmas]

Elder Brindley & Elder Wawro
A very Merry Christmas to one and all! 

Congratulations to Haley on being called back again for MDT! And congratulations on all the orders for the tamales! I know Nathan has been way busy with all of the Christmas Concerts but man, I really miss it. I was reading some letters from friends today while listening to music and "Carol of Joy" came on and it made me really miss singing that at this Christmas time. There are few things better than singing in Temple Square during the Christmas Season.

Super excited for this upcoming week. I explained how Christmas works here in Denmark to Casey, so I'll reexplain it again in the same words.

In Denmark they celebrate Little Christmas Day on the 23rd, Christmas Eve on the 24th is their big celebration day where they open presents and such, Christmas Day on the 25th, and Second Christmas day on the 26th! They're like Hobbits! So we have so many appointments with members for this next week. It should be a grand old time.

New Companion: Elder Brindley
So this past week has been pretty fun. Went down to Copenhagen again to pick up my new companion, Ældste Brindley. Ældste Brindley comes from this little town in Wayne County called Torrey. He came in a group of 9 Elders. He's really great and I'm super excited to get to work with him this next transfer!
Meeting Elder Brindley

I also picked up this huge box full of things needed for the new apartment/district. We had so many things to carry with Ældste Brindleys things, Ældste Kinchs (Ældste Huffakers new companion) things, my suitcase for staying in Copenhagen, and my huge box which weighed way too much for my liking! We were a miserable lot, but we survived and made all the trains.

I didn't get to go to the Temple, sad day. BUT, I will be going on the 2nd of January (Happy Birthday Dad) for a Leadership Conference in Copenhagen. All of the District Leaders and Zone Leaders are going down for some training and they told me to bring my Temple Clothes with because we'll be going through the temple! I'm super excited for that.

This last week really has been pretty uneventful. 2 of our days were completely shot because of the trip to Copenhagen. We did get to help a few people with moving and one day was a complete day activity! We got there at 8 in the morning and then left at 5. We've also met with lots of members as they are all excited to meet the new missionaries.

Right Place at the Right Time
We did have one great experience though that comes to mind. Yesterday, we were on the way to a members appointment but we had some extra time so we decided it would be best to just contact on the way to make up for the extra time we had, so we filled out some cards and left. It was raining pretty hard and Ældste Brindley and I quickly realized that there wasn't anybody on the road. We walked almost completely down to the members house (about 30 minutes away) without a single contact! Of course nobody wanted to come out in the rain and we were starting to wonder what in the world we should do.
9 New Missionaries and Their Trainers

I then had the thought to go visit this investigator that we hadn't visited in a while. It didn't really make sense in my head because we really didn't have that much time, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, and also this investigator was never home. But Ældste Brindley and I discussed and decided just to drop by. Strange enough, he was just walking out the door when we got there to go down to spend the Holidays downtown for the next few days so we wouldn't have been able to meet with him for the next week at least. He told us he only had 5 minutes before he had to leave, which was perfect for us because we did not have that much time either, but he let us come in and give a Christmas message. He seemed to really appreciate it and we were all thankful that we were able to catch him exactly at the right moment!

That's all for now, until Christmas, so have a great next couple days until we Skype! I can't wait to talk to you all! Love you all!


-Ældste Wawro

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Surprises

What a wonderful time of year it is! Despite the bitter cold, the sickness, the moisture, the money spent, the darkness, and other misfortunes this time of year always feels special filled with joy. Among these feelings are also many surprises, as far as gifts are concerned. I have a few to share with you all now.

First off, I'm sure you've all been wondering about what is going on with transfers. It's been something that Ældste Huffaker and I were waiting on the edge of our seats all week for- that is until Wednesday. You know that if you don't get called then you are staying, but alas, in the middle of our District Meeting my phone began to ring, so I stepped into the hall and looked at the caller id. "Præsident Sederholm".

He told me that both Ældste Huffaker and I will both be training. I can hardly believe I'm training again! It's pretty awesome. I feel like my entire mission has been one training session. I went straight from being trained to being paired with a missionary who finished training at the same time as me to training, and now training again! But then, we realized that one person was staying and one was going. So we asked who it would be.

So yes, alas I am being transferred. So I bet you are all wondering where in the world I'm being sent to. Well, I'll tell you! Here's a hint: I'm opening a new area. And the lucky area is......(drum roll please)............
Transferred.  But to where?


Haha, I'm moving into a new apartment in Randers and now we'll have 2 sets of missionaries here! So luckily for me, I'll be spending Christmas here in Randers! Looks like I'm going to be in Randers for a long while.

BTW, here is my new address here in Randers:

Ældste Christian Patrick Wawro
Hobrovej 21, St. TV
8900 Randers C

But, that wasn't the end of the call.

There is also a new District being formed and he asked me to be the new District Leader for it. Now I don't feel ready for that responsibility at all! I must have been the only option or something because I feel like I'm still trying to figure out what kind of missionary I am. I guess it's pretty cool though, but again, I don't feel ready to be in leadership position. Luckily the Lord always qualifies his servants!

So tomorrow I'll move to my new apartment (which is only like a minute away from my current apartment) and then leave to Copenhagen to pick up my new missionary and materials for the new area/district. Crazy stuff!

Speaking of crazy stuff, how was the Hobbit???!! Amazing?!!! Wow, can't believe it's already out. I feel like I just saw the last one. Actually, when I was going to visit one of our investigators he was playing a way sweet tune, I asked what it was, and he told us it was the Credits Track from the new movie!!! What's it called, “I See Fire?” Something like that. Well, it sounded waaaaaaaayyy coo! Can't wait to see it in another...well...long while.

Too bad that Mom got sick. I actually got way sick as well. Thanks Ældste Huffaker.  Præsident Sederholm actually quarantined me in my apartment, mostly so that I would become healthy in time to pick up the new missionaries tomorrow. So for two days last week I was stuck in my apartment. Talk about cabin fever! But I'm basically all the way better now.
Gammel Estrup Castle

By the way, I did get the last package with the stocking! Thank you so much for it. I haven't looked inside yet, I just saw the candy on top though. And thank you Casey for the Wonderful Card! That was awesome of you to write that. The bear is way cool too. I keep it on my study desk so I can always remember the true story of Christmas.

I didn't actually get to see Ephraim's Rescue with the rest of the mission!! I told you that we were going to see a movie at our Zone Conference, but a storm came and hit Jylland way hard so we needed to drive back early and stay indoors!! The trains actually closed down so a bunch of missionaries needed to stay in Århus so they all got to see the movie...all well.

Also, thanks for the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas songs! I love getting new songs. I love all the songs I already have, but I listen to them so much that it's nice to hear some new ones.

So as for my last week...

Last Tuesday we were able to take one of our friends from the Fri Kirke down to SUV (which is the Young Single Adults Weekly Activity) in Århus to meet some other Mormons around our age. It started off a little rough and she seemed kind of lost and alone at the beginning, even though the members were trying to be very inclusive. As the night went on, though, she really opened up and started to talk and get to know the members. It turned out to be a great evening. The best part was our talk on the way back to Randers though. We were able to see where she personally stood and she shared some of her concerns she had with our religion. We were able to explain all of these things very well in a non-hostile manner while still being confident that what we were saying was true. We ended by telling her that it doesn't really matter what we say though, it all depends on what she decides to find out for herself. We'll never convince her of the truth of anything, it's the power of the Holy Ghost that will tell her whether or not the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph was a Prophet, and this is the true church again here on Earth. I really hope she begins to read and just tries to find out for herself.

We had another lesson with a less-active member from China. He was really stressed out because of a bad business deal he made that he needed to solve fast, but he still let us in the door to talk. We ended up having a really great discussion about our faith. Because he's from China he doesn't have a Christian-background at all. When I first met him a few months back he thought the only Christian church was the Mormon Church! Anyway, he has had some discussions with some friends recently who have been trying to disprove our religion to him. He told us that a lot of what they had to say made a lot of sense to him. They asked him why he would join a religion that would restrict him from all of these things (smoking, sex, alcohol, etc...) that would make him happy? We told him that our religion was one that focused on giving us long-term happiness and not immediate gratification. We explained to him and asked him to picture what his life would be like with these things 20 years down the road versus was it would be without them.

He told then said, "Ya, actually what you said makes a lot of sense. You always seem to say the right things, it's like you're really good at debating or something!" We told him that it wasn't that we were good at debating, but what we had to say was true. The great thing about is that he is always open to hear what we have to say and I believe he truly believes in everything we tell him. We were able to finish off the meeting with a review of the Plan of Salvation which answered a lot of his other questions as well.

We also had another lesson with that one couple we meet with often. We went through Ether 12 again, really slowly because he had a lot of questions. We had a really good discussion but by the end it seemed like very little progress was made to help him agree to and hold commitments. We prayed and he told us he would drive us home (because I was sick). We got to the apartment and he just sat there for a second, and then said, "You know, I haven't prayed to God in a while myself. Let's pray together right now." And he went on to say a truly sincere prayer to God! It was amazing! We really hope that this begins to mark real and sincere interest in finding/building his testimony.

So Ældste Huffaker, I, and a couple of the members have also made a little Danish Christmas Band. We've had a couple gigs so far (the Randers Branch Christmas Party and the Århus Ward Christmas Concert) and we are actually way good! The one member, Bjarne Nielsen, is a professional Violinist and plays in the Randers Symphonic Orchestra, first chair I believe. He is incredible. His wife, Claire, plays flute and Ældste Huffaker and I play guitar and I also sing. I have recorded one of the songs we've played, I just need to find a way to send the videos to you...either way, you'll get them sooner or later! It was way fun to go down to Århus again and see all the members that I knew from once upon a time.
Gammel Estrup Castle

Well, that's my week. We'll probably be skyping Christmas Day around 8 AM (MST). That's what we've discussed so far with the members, we need to see how it all works out with the new missionaries, but if anything changes I'll let you know next Monday. But plan on that!

I love you all! I'm mailing my Christmas presents to you today so I really hope they make it by Christmas! Have a wonderful week!

-Ældste Wawro

Monday, December 9, 2013

19 Days til "Jul"!!!

Elder Wawro with MTC Companion Elder Madsen and current companion Elder Huffaker at the Jylland Zones Christmas Dinner  
Why hello everyone! Can you believe it's already the Christmas Season? Ældste Huffaker and I have created a Christmas music playlist that we've been playing non-stop in our apartment to get into the Christmas spirit.

Speaking of Christmas, this is the month for Skyping! So, you asked about when, and that I'm still not completely sure of. I have to talk with the members we're going to be with. Here, they celebrate Christmas on the 24th, actually, and I'm not sure who we're going to be with at what time on the 25th and which ones of them will have Skype, so I will give you an exact time next week! Is there a particular time that works better with your schedule, or is whenever fine? I'm going to assume it will be around 8-10 AM (Mountain Standard Time) that I'll make the call. But I'll have definite plans next week! (unless I get transferred)

There's actually a great possibility that I could be transferred next week, the week before Christmas. I really hope I don't, I'd love to spend Christmas in Randers, but I guess we'll see! And I think, Mom, that you should still send the packages here to the Randers Apartment because if you send them to the office I won't get them in time.

Hey, so I've been sending a lot of people to my Facebook to add me as friends. I don't know if you have been already, but if you could get on my Facebook every so often and add any friends that are living in Denmark that would be great!
Elder Lindstrom (Trainer), Elder Wawro, Elder Huffaker (Greenie)

So I just found out that the Christmas song "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly" is actually a Polish Carol! Did you know that? I think it's awesome because that song is beautiful.

So, I don't have a ton of time today because Ældste Huffaker has another doctor’s appointment today. He got sick this week with a 38.4 degree Celsius [101 degrees Fahrenheit] and so we've actually been in our apartment for the majority of the week.  Also, I'm going to try to send some videos so that will take up some time as well.

Last Monday we were invited to go to another Bible Study with the members of the Fri Kirke [Free Church]. It was a really great night filled with questions about missionary life and "Mormonism". It appears that they really enjoy our company and their views of Mormons are changing drastically. They decided to read Romans 8 and discuss the chapter, which I was okay with because it's one of my favorite chapters! So we read it and we were able to talk about our favorite points in the chapter. Eventually, I was able to bring up Romans 8:16-17

“ The Spirit itself beareth a witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 
  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. “

Ældste Huffaker then started asking great questions about what they thought about where we come from and why we are here. He then began to share what we believed about pre-mortal life. One person, who started becoming a little more hostile over time with his replies, said that it doesn't say anything in the Bible about us living with God as Spirits, so where did we get this doctrine from? We began talking about prophets, but it became apparent that this man wasn't too eager to actually listen to what we had to say. The others, though, seemed a bit more curious and by the end of the night we got 3 to say they would come with us to SUV [?] the following Tuesday! The one man also seemed to calm down over the night and actually told us we didn't need to pay him for the food he made even though all of us were supposed to pay 30 Kroner [$5.52], so we're glad we were able to make a good impression on them all.

We've also taught a couple lessons with Peter and Anika, and they both went pretty well. We're excited for his little bit of progress as far as faith is concerned. We've now been focusing on grace, Forgiveness, and what exactly Christ's role is in all of it. He's had a lot of questions about that so we've been preparing to explain most of his questions in the following lesson.

The highlight of our week was at the Christmas party we had last Saturday. We had been passing out wrapped copies of the Book of Mormon on the street with invitations to our Christmas party and had invited all of our investigators to the Party. Unfortunately, all of our investigators said they couldn't come and because Ældste Huffaker became sick we couldn't go out and pass out all of the invitations we wanted to. We were scared that nobody would show up to the party besides members, so the night before I prayed that God would lead SOMEBODY to come to the party.
Randers Branch member at Christmas party

Finally, the party came and when we got there it was only us and a few other families. But 15 minutes later the church flooded with people, members and non-members! There were guests that were invited by members that came from invitations we had passed out with wrapped Book of Mormons, and from other random means. Even the [one of our investigator families] came even though, earlier that very same day, they said they couldn't because they were sick! We had around 60 people there and 20 of them were non-members. It was truly a miracle!

Randers Branch Christmas Party
We hope this upcoming week we will be able to find and teach even more people than the previous week. Ældste Huffaker has gotten a little better, but we're stopping by the doctor today to get him checked up.

That's about it for this week! Again, we were in our apartment for the most part so don't have a whole lot to share. But thank you so much for all the letters and gifts and emails you all are sending! I love them all so much! Have a great week!

-Ældste Wawro

P.S. - Ældste Huffakers parents are going to be Provo so they might try calling you this week.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Christmas Season has Begun!!

"We also wrapped a bunch of copies of the Book of Mormon and have been passing them out as Christmas Presents! "
Why Hello everyone! It is great, as always, to read and reply to your emails! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I had as much of a Thanksgiving as I possibly could have [despite] not being in America and all.

Before I forget...Happy Birthday Mom!! Well, Happy Birthday tomorrow. I sent a postcard so I don't know when it's going to get there but know if it's not there tomorrow it should reach there within the next couple days!

I haven't had the chance to meet the new Temple President [who is the Uncle of the Ramsey Family in Utah] because I've only been to Copenhagen 3 times in my life...once when I got to Denmark, once when I took the language test, and once when I picked up Ældste Huffaker. So I haven't had any time to visit the temple or meet any members who live there!

I've actually been pretty warm, so you don't need to worry about me! The thermals really help out a ton! I'll let you know if I need anything else, but I believe I'll be good.

Progressing with Danish 
The language is coming along fine. Danish is a crazy hard language (the people here say the hardest besides Finnish or Chinese. Not sure if that's true...maybe they're just being prideful). It's so hard because the pronunciation is insane!! It's nothing like what's written and they use their throats for everything. They also don't have any rules so when you ask why they say something the way they do they usual will respond with I don't know. This must be the one mission in the world outside the United States where everyone there is fluent in English as well so when they hear you're not from here they will switch to English A TON!! It's so frustrating! Sometimes they think they're really good at English, but really they're really bad and it's really funny because I'll speak something Danish to them, they'll catch a hint of an accent, and then reply in some weird Danglish that I can't even understand! One time I knocked on a door and a man answered who heard my accent and so he yelled at me, "I'M NO INTERESTING!!" and slammed the door. I just started laughing and said to myself, "You're right, you are no interesting."

But Danish is coming along just fine. I understand almost everything now (except the other day a couple Danes started discussing politics and I had NO IDEA what they were saying) and I can say just about anything I want to in one way or another. Every day I see that there is still so much to learn, but I'm making quite a bit of progress daily!

I don't know when or if I'm getting transferred. I won't find out until around the 15th. I really hope I don't right before Christmas though!
Still in Randers and living on "Prince Christian Street"

This past week we had a lesson with an ex-member and the Senior Couple have been working with her, but they decided to invite us to go and teach about the Priesthood. I had met her one time before but we stay very long. Her room that she lives in was filled with smoke and it just felt dark and uncomfortable being in there. This past time though was completely different. It was like she was an entirely new person. The room didn't smell of smoke and she just looked so much happier. We had found out that she hadn't smoked at all for almost 2 weeks! She also surprised us with her knowledge of the Gospel and her strong faith she seems to be rekindling. It was truly amazing and remarkable to see.

Hope Precedes Faith
We also had a lesson with [an investigator] family at the Nielsens home. It was a fantastic lesson. It began as a Thanksgiving Dinner that Søster Nielsen prepared for us because she knew that it was the Thanksgiving season. We all had a good chat around the table and the Nielsens were really great about asking the [investigating family] a lot of good questions. We then went to the couches and the Nielsens asked me for the spiritual question of the night (the Nielsens like us to ask a spiritual question that we can discuss together whenever we visit). I didn't really know what I wanted to ask so I sat there thinking for a minute. Finally, I felt like I should ask,

 "What was the first block of faith which you made your foundation in your search for the truth?"

It was kind of a weird question and I felt a little uncomfortable asking it because Peter [one of the investigators] has been pretty adamant about telling us that he currently has no faith. The Nielsens both gave really great answers, and then it came to Peter. Peter first said he didn't know and so Søster Nielsen cut back in to keep it from being to awkward. I felt so dumb at that point in time for asking a question like that!

Then, after Søster Nielsen kind of made an end of her thought, Peter cut back in. He said that he currently did not feel like he had enough faith but what he did have was based on hope of there being something more, a purpose to this life, and a Great Creator. It was amazing! The rest of the night was discussing this hope and other such topics. It turned out to be a wonderful night and a wonderful blessing for us all.

Last night we got to go sing in the branch choir for a Baptist Church. They really appreciated us coming and we made a ton of friends. I could feel the Spirit really strongly while we were singing. Everybody was coming up to us and thanking us and asking us to come back another time to sing. We also got to pass out a bunch of fliers for our branch Christmas party for this next Saturday, so hopefully some of them show up!

We also wrapped a bunch of copies of the Book of Mormon and have been passing them out as Christmas Presents! That has been really fun and people are much more willing to except presents than just books.

Ya, well, that's all for this week. I love you all, hope you all have a fantastic week, and can't wait to hear from you again next week!


Ældste Wawro