Monday, August 25, 2014

Transfers Already?!

Elders Wawro, Crank & Mogensen
Hello, everyone! I'm going to apologize in advance that this email is going to be a little bit shorter, but I am short on time. I hope you'll forgive me.

So transfer happened! I am sure you are all dying to know what is happening with me:

I'm staying, and Ældste Metcalf is going to be my new companion! [Elder Metcalf and Elder Wawro were in the same MTC group]

We really are so excited for this transfer. We have big dreams and even bigger faith that we can start to see some change in our area. Our teaching pool has diminished, so it's time to get to work. Ældste Metcalf and I are really good friends and both have great desires to work our hardest, so basically I'm really looking forward to this transfer.

 Ældste Crank, Ældste Mogensen and I had a fantastic week together. We had a couple amazing lessons and we really grew to love each other in our time together.

We met with *Joseph* and *Jenny* this last week. It was a great lesson. *Joseph* want's to come back to church so badly and has been giving such an honest effort to do his part to become fully active again. His girlfriend, *Jenny*, is also currently investigating the church. Apparently she did a lot of studying because she knew all about Joseph Smiths experience, him getting the gold plates, and a lot of church doctrine. She also had begun reading in the Book of Mormon and just the day before *Joseph* caught her reading the Doctrine and Covenants. She had some really good questions that we were able to answer and ended up presenting a baptismal plan for her even though she's really hesitant about the idea. It turned out to be an all-around great lesson.

*Sarah* is our investigator from the United States. She leaves to go back to America this week. She is a self-proclaimed atheist and we had a really hard time talking about how religion could help her. She always loved to talk, but she was always very clear when she said she never had the intention to convert. But *Sarah* and I have become really good friends and she's always appreciated the thoughts that we've shared with her.

She said since it was probably our last time we could meet she said we could talk a little bit about the Book of Mormon. But she just wanted to hear about how the Book of Mormon and Mormonism has blessed our lives, because she was atheist and not willing to change. However, something powerful and different happened in this lesson. The Spirit really took over and it seemed like we were really able to ask the perfect questions and share the perfect stories at the perfect times. We bore testimony of what we knew to be true. 

By the end of the lesson she said, "Wow, I never imagined this happening. I wish I had had more of these kinds of talks with you before. You know what?  I'm going to try this whole praying thing tonight!" Her heart was softened and you could see that our faith in God really made an impression on her. I don't think I'll see her again here in Denmark, but I hope she does pray and receives an answer that God lives.

We also had a ward picnic this week where a couple of investigators came to watch Elder Crank do his Indian dance. Everyone seemed to love that and we were happy that our investigators had the chance to mingle with the ward.

We did service for President Paulsen in the Stake Presidency and I sawed wood for 2 hours straight! My hands are destroyed with blisters but it was actually really fun. Best part, somebody was walking down the road and commented to President Paulsen about all of the hard work we were doing, so President Paulsen offered us to go over and work at his house! So now we have service lined up with one of his neighbors.

I really appreciated the growing experience I had to be with Ældste Crank and Ældste Mogensen. I really do love them and I hope Ældste Crank has a safe trip home [He finished his mission today]. Ældste Metcalf and I are stoked for this next transfer and we are going to hit the pavement hard and watch the miracles happen.

I love you all! Have a great week!


-Ældste Wawro

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bon Voyage Elder Merrill!

Grundtvig's Church, Copenhagen
So today's been a weird day. I just dropped Ældste Merrill off at the Copenhagen Central Station and now I'm with Ældste Crank and Ældste Mogensen for the week. Safe travels to Ældste Merrill!

Because it was Ældste Merrill's last week we spent a lot of it visiting members and saying goodbye. We had a lot of great discussions with the members and it actually was a great way to build up our relationships with the members. I got to know a lot of them more personally and we were able to get them excited about missionary work.

Whole District: Elders Wawro, Merrill, Crank & Mogensen
Sisters Rigby and Murrey
I had splits with Ældste Mogensen and it was great! It was a lot of fun to be working with one of my old companions again and to see how we've both grown as missionaries. We had an appointment with *Henry* [name changed for privacy]. *Henry* is a member who has been recently returning to church after a long lapse in activitiy. He's decided it's time to come back. We showed him a plan that Ældste Crank and d Ældste Mogensen made for him to get to the temple and he loved that. We also talked about prayer and how it would bless him in all aspects in his life. He seemed to realize how prayer could help him strengthen his struggling relationship with his girlfriend *Lucy* and asked us also to pray for them. This was a testimony to us about prayer because just a couple days later he and *Lucy* came to church together!

We also met with another man named *Joseph*. He's an inactive member and is very well read in the scriptures. We were trying to read out of the Book of Mormon with him but he kept questioning how the Book of Mormon quoted the passages in the New Testament even though the Book of Mormon records were written before the events of the New Testament. This has been a significant struggle for him and we are having difficulty helping him to see that the Book of Mormon prophets were shown those New Testament events by way of revelation and visions.  I hope something happens to soften his heart so that he can see more with eyes of faith!

Ældste Mogensen and I also visited *James* and *Jenny*. They were investigators that Ældste Mogensen's Mom found when she was a missionary here! They are so nice. They're actually coming with us to the ward picnic this Saturday so we hope that will be a good experience for them!

Elder Teixeira teaching at Mission Conference
We got to go to the Temple this week and see the newest of the Temple Videos! It's always so great to go to that temple. I hope you get to experience it, the Temple is beautiful. And actually, I saw one my Zone Leaders who was in the MTC with me! He is a missionary in Sweden and because he is serving in the southern part of Sweden those missionaries go to the Copenhagen Temple instead of Stockholm. We've been on our missions about the same amount of time, he's 2 weeks ahead of me. It was way fun to see him. It was also our last activity as a district so that was special.

We had the amazing experience of having my first Mission Conference this week. Elder Teixeira from the Quorum of the 70 and the Europe Area President came and spoke to us. Let's just say, he set some very high expectations and standards which we are all excited to start working towards and applying! He really was so great. One of my favorite parts was when he expressed his gratitude towards President Sederholm and how all missions are blessed with good Mission Presidents, but President Sederholm is special. He said that the Prophet, the Quorum of the 12, and the Quorum of the 70 all love President Sederholm and keep an eye on the special work that he does. So I'm very grateful for President Sederholm. :)
Training at Zone Conference

Now, answering some of your questions:

Yes, Elder Merrill went home today. So I'll get my new companion next week.

At our Zone Conferences we (the Zone Leaders) train, the Sister Training Leaders train, and President Sederholm train. We train on the Chapter from Preach my Gospel that President Sederholm assigns, but then the Zone Leaders decide what we need to focus on in that chapter. We make plans, set goals, and learn how we can improve. This last Zone Training was on Chapter 11, “Commitments.” President Sederholm interviews us personally quarterly.

I love you all! Thanks for writing, even though it was so late in the night! I hope you have a great week!


-Ældste Wawro

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Let the Good Times Roll!

Jarom Sederholm (President Sederholms youngest son) and I on his last Sunday before the MTC and then to South Korea!
Goddag to ya'll!

I'd like to start off by saying thanks to Mom for sending all of those recipes! We're excited to try them this week!

I'm also grateful that Aunt Janene and Aunt Rachel have been keeping me updated about the Sisters Wawro in their missions! I love to hear all about their mission experiences as well.

I really wish I could be there at Yellowstone with you all this next week! I'm sure it will be a grand ol' time.

Just some information you may be interested apparently there isn't a transfer that ends in April, there is one in March and May. Since I began my mission in April I'm not sure which month President Sederholm will want to send us home in. So just as far as picking me up, if you're still interested in doing that, I'm not sure yet what month it will be in. If it is in May, which I personally think it will be, I can imagine that it would be difficult to come out here because it's the end of the school year and Nathan's graduation. I'll let you know when I find out more, but just something to think about!

We finally were able to move *Janet* [name changed for privacy] this week. We had some people from the ward to come and get her moved, and the missionaries in Birkerød were waiting in her new apartment to help move everything in. We are going to really miss *Janet* here. We have really come to love her, and she's come to love us! She actually told me that I was her son or grandson. And Lo and Behold, even before she left she gave us another referral! She met a Mexican lady that is here on vacation who apparently used to go to the Mormon church with her parents, but stopped when she was really little. But she wants to come to church this next Sunday! *Janet* is just such a great missionary, even though we're still not sure if she's a member or not! She will be missed.

We met with *Susan* [also name changed, the Filipino investigator], and of course, we found out that she doesn't actually live in Holte, but she lives in Birkerød's area. That's ok, though, as long as she's baptized that's what's most important! We had a lesson with her and it went really well. Jacob Sederholm (President Sederholm's son who got back from his mission a month or two ago) was with us and he was a big help! 

She was a little confused about faith and grace, and was confused why we would have to do anything besides just having Faith in Christ to be saved. We began by asking her what it meant to be saved. She said it was to live with God and Jesus Christ forever in happiness. That's of course, correct! We then explained how God has so much more in store for us than just saving us from our sins. He wants us to become something. Something that is better than what we really are. And how can we hope to be happy with God if we haven't tried to become godly? But, of course, in the end it is only through the merits and mercy of the Atonement of Christ that we can be saved and that any of this is possible! She was happy to hear that and I feel like it made more sense to her than just to believe we are saved by faith. 

She does still have some questions about Baptism though. Her previous church kind of confused her into believing that baptism actually isn't even necessary anymore, so we'll have to try to resolve that concern. As she reads and prays, she'll start to resolve a lot of her own concerns. Now all we have to do is set up a new appointment with her that the Birkerød Elders can come to so we can make the trade-off so that they can begin teaching her.

Our investigator *Mary* was married to *James* on Saturday! *Mary* met the church from David who is a member and now she has such a strong testimony. They already have plans to go to the temple one year from her baptism! We haven't really been able to meet with them since they were so stressed about because of the wedding, but it sounds like she is still planning to getting baptized this month! We still have a couple more principles that she needs to be taught before she can be baptized, but we'll get that taken care of once they get back from their honey-moon.

While waiting for our train we ran into a less-active named Robert. I barely recognized him because I've only seen him once or twice before for a few seconds at his door, but he told us he was too busy so try again some other time. He never seemed particularly positive so we hadn't made so much of an effort to keep stopping by him. Robert's from Australia and has a PhD in Indian Culture and Studies. We talked for a long time at the station and he sat next to us on the train. We were so blessed to be able to run into him there because we built a friendship with him that we couldn't otherwise get. By the end of the conversation he invited us to go stop by one of the castles in the area with him one of these days! 

We stopped by him a few days after and he let us into his house for our first time. We talked for a little bit and then he said he was going to work in his garden. We asked if he would like some help, and he gratefully said yes! So Ældste Merrill, Robert, Robert's son, and I all went to the garden to work for a couple hours. It was a great way to get to know both Robert and his 19 year old son better and a way to start gaining their trust. I can see already that they are really starting to warm up to us and hopefully we can start talking a little bit more about the church in the near-future.

Yesterday, Jarom Sederholm gave his missionary farewell talk. It was way good! He is so prepared, but of course, he is a Sederholm. He leaves flies to America on Tuesday to enter the MTC and will leave to South Korea nine weeks later. He is the youngest son of the Sederholms so you could see President and Sister Sederholm were pretty emotional to see their last son getting ready to leave on his mission. Jarom invited us to his farewell gathering after church, and we didn't think President would actually let us do that, but he had gotten permission from his dad to invite us. So we spent the evening at President's House eating and talking to everyone. For lack of a better term, it was a "hyggelig" [translation: cozy] evening. So best of luck to Jarom as he begins his mission!

Other than that, there's not much more to say. Ældste Merrill has reached his last week of his mission, so today is his last Monday and Preparation Day before I drop him off at the train-station. Next Monday I'll be made companions with Ældste Mogensen (again) and Ældste Crank in a tri-companionship for one week until transfers happen. So I'll be a solo-Zone Leader for a week, should be fun enough. ;)

I love you all! Keep praying, don't stop singing, and stay classy.

-Ældste Wawro

Monday, August 4, 2014

"By Small and Simple Things are Great Things Come To Pass..."

I got to visit the Christus this last week in Vor Frue Kirke! Absolutely amazing, I got the chills just looking at it.
Hello Friends and Family! I have a lot to talk about this week, so I'm going to jump right in to it!

We had splits with the Assistants this week and I was here in Ordrup with Ældste King. I really learned a lot from Ældste King and I truly appreciate his leadership he's given to the mission. We stopped by a lot of people on splits, but the highlight was our lesson with *Janet* [name changed for privacy]. We helped her get packed up and ready to move, and afterwards we gave a lesson about studying the scriptures. It went great and you can definitely see how much the church has blessed her already. When we first met her she was truly struggling from a lot of the problems going on in her life. But we saw how much she loved the church that first Sunday, and we love to see how this Gospel is changing her. We are going to miss her when she moves this Friday.I got to visit the Christus this last week in Vor Frue Kirke! Absolutely amazing, I got the chills just looking at it.
The statue was being constructed in 1820 and was finished in 1821. The artist was inspired to write these words above the Statue which says in Danish: "Denne er Min Søn Den Elskelig Hører Ham" which means in English, "This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him." Coincidence? I think not!

We also had splits with Birkerød this past week and I was with Ældste Enniss in Birkerød. He is a really sincere missionary. He really wants to do his very best and love the people in his area. I was really impressed with his attitude and desire. He also showed a lot of interest and love to me which is such a great quality to have and one which I really appreciate. We had a great time together in Birkerød.

We made a ton of appointments with people while we were there and stopped by a lot of people. It was pretty funny, actually, because I had to use Ældste Metcalfs bike and he is so much taller than I am so I had to stand the entire time while cycling! I was pretty sore afterwards, to say the least, but we were greatly blessed!
At Latest Leadership Council

Probably the thing I'll remember most was our appointment with *Doug* [name changed for privacy] and his brother. They have investigated the church before but dropped the missionaries because they didn't really see the need for a Book of Mormon or organized church. We made an appointment with them the evening before and then stopped by the next day. They are amazing. Just from reading the Bible they basically believe everything that we do already. They truly are incredible brothers and the love for people and their understanding and love for the Gospel is absolutely incredible to see. Their father was a Muslim but while he was in prison he had a dream about Jesus Christ which really confused him. So in one night he read the entire New Testament and became converted to Christianity. He spent the rest of his time in prison teaching his inmates about Jesus Christ and converting them to the Gospel.

Their father sounds like the most incredible man. They always really loved meeting with the missionaries because they love meeting fellow Christians here in Denmark, but they felt last time that the missionaries were trying to tell them that their faith was wrong and we were right, which troubled them because they knew that their faith in Jesus Christ was correct. We were able to explain to them that that wasn't the case, but we were just trying to add on to the correct faith which they already had in Christ and build up their faith, no tear it down. They were extremely pleased from that answer and have decided to start reading in the Book of Mormon! I really have high-hopes for them.

I was also able to see Ældste Enniss in action with some members. We started a family mission plan with a lady in their ward and afterwards went to eat at a member's home named John Thompson. We ate some Rødgrød med Fløde and Ældste Enniss led in a great lesson about the Atonement. Great lesson, great appointment!
Heart of Copenhagen!

I then got back to my area with Ældste Merrill. To be honest, I've been feeling a little down. I've not really been sad or anything, but there hasn't been a lot going on in our area and we've been trying our best in our current circumstances, but because of Ældste Merrill's knee it's been hard to do a lot of our own finding. It's been especially hard because I feel like I am becoming the best missionary I've ever been, but I haven't been able to act to my full potential. Basically we can just stop by members, our current investigators, and old potential investigators. So the next few days we didn't even have any appointments. Sunday morning when I began my fast I decided to fast for a new investigator that we could begin teaching...and the miracles came. And from the most unlikely of sources as well. *Janet*.

On Saturday *Janet* was waiting for us to come by and help move a washer, but on her way home her watch broke and she needed to go get it repaired which made her late for our appointment. But while she was waiting at the bus stop in front of the watch place, she met a Filipino woman, around 24 years old, and started talking to her. *Janet* has been so happy for all the help that we've been giving her that almost instantly she started talking about missionaries and the church with this Filipino woman, and the Filipino woman ended up asking if she could come to church with her the next day, and *Janet* said of course! So, sure enough, *Janet* comes walking in to church with her new friend, walking very proudly because of her great missionary work!.

The Filipino woman is a very strong believer in Christianity, but since she's moved to Denmark about 9 months ago she has felt lost, abandoned, and that she hasn't been fulfilling her duty to God. It's also always been her dream to be a missionary. Five days before her coming to church with us, she came across a movie on YouTube. It's titled, "The Other Side of Heaven." I think we all know that movie. But she absolutely loved it and it was the first time she ever had any experience with our church. After that she really started thinking over religion and started searching for a church to go to. Friday evening, she got down and just prayed that God would give her some guidance in her life, because with all of her friend and family problems she just felt lost. The very next day she met *Janet* at the bus stop.

She actually didn't have any clothes to bring to church, so *Janet* gave her some dresses that she could have to come to church in the future. She loved Sacrament Meeting. She described it as if there was someone who had a hand on her shoulder the entire meeting, and there was just peace in her heart. After Sacrament Meeting we went and taught a class to her in English with the sister missionaries for Sunday School about the Restoration, because the person her generally teaches English Sunday School was gone. It was probably the most amazing Restoration lesson I've taught in my entire mission. She is so sincere in her search for God and what's right. She began by telling us that she desired to come closer to God, and we assured her she was in the right place. 

We taught the Restoration up until the Great Apostasy, and right after that, she asked us the question, "Well, what do you all think about dispensations? I mean, Adam had a dispensation, and so did Moses and Abraham, so what does your church think about dispensations, especially in the time that we live in?" We hadn't even used the word "dispensation" in our lesson yet, but she already knew herself what they were. We then shared the story about Joseph Smith, explained to her that we now live in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times and then testified that we knew that these things were true. I think that was the only time that I got emotional as I shared my testimony about Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith being called as a prophet, and this being God's church.

She then asked, "What's the Book of Mormon, and how is it different from the Bible?" Apparently she learned just a little bit about the Book of Mormon from the movie. We explained where the Book of Mormon comes from, how it is used with the Bible, and how it's ultimate purpose is to invite people to come unto Christ and verify the truthfulness of the work. She then asked, "How can I get a copy of that book?" We assured her that we could get her a copy.

And as if it couldn't get any better, she asked, "What does your church think about baptism?" Seriously?! It was as if she was inspired every time to ask the exact right questions at the precise time we wanting to talk about those topics. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and the other class was trying to get in so we didn't get to talk too much about baptism, but I feel like if we had 5 more minutes, she would have accepted a baptismal date. But we have a time to meet with her tomorrow and talk more about the church.

There is something special about her, and I'm not sure what it is. But all yesterday I was really emotional in church as I thought of all of the little miracles that happened in her life to prepare her for the big miracle of meeting us. I am especially grateful as I think about us teaching *Janet*. There was some driving force that gave me the patience and the love needed to continue teaching *Janet* even when it seemed we were making very little progress. And I truly do love her. And now, not only *Janet's* life has been changed as she has returned to the church but now we've met [this Filipino sister]. And I already have such a love and strong connection to her which I cannot describe. Thank God that he has put me here in Gladsaxe, and not only that, but that he has made it a trial and a struggle so that when these blessings have come that my joy has been filled to overflowing. Thanks be to God that I'm a missionary.

I love receiving your emails and letters. I can't express how much I appreciate all the sacrifices you all have made to send me out here. I don't even want to think where I would be in my life without me mission. So, thank you, and remember that I love all of you! Can't wait to hear more from you next week!

-Ældste Wawro