Monday, November 24, 2014

The Bornholmies (Wawro + Horrocks)

Elders Horrocks & Wawro at the Mogensen family farm
Hello family and friends!

Let me begin by stating: I love Bornholm.

I really do! It is an experience that you won't get anywhere else. Ya, it's pretty cold being out in the middle of the Baltic Sea, but it's so beautiful here. Hands down, the most beautiful part of Denmark. The cities here are just so amazing! They're small, but they resonate old Denmark. They've been able to preserve this old cities and keep them so authentic as well as clean, it's just beautiful. Knud Mogensen (Ældste Mogensens Dad) took us to help him on his drive around Bornholm to collect his egg cages from the stores and so I got to see a ton of the Island. 

It is a little weird, though, because if you meet people that have been born and raised here on Bornholm, they don't speak really Danish. They speak a dialect called Bornholmsk which is a combination of Danish and Swedish. Knud Mogensen speaks true Bornholmsk and it's actually way hard to understand him sometimes! It sometimes feels like I'm at the beginning of my mission again, but not really that bad. Luckily, there are a lot of people that speak normal Danish here as well.

Ældste Horrocks is actually not the new missionary. He just trained Ældste Curtis who got here in August, but Ældste Curtis is the one who has just been transferred. Ældste Horrocks has been here for over a year now. This is his 5th transfer on Bornholm, so he knows the island quite well!
View of Copenhagen from Vor Frelsers Kirke

I'll start off with our lessons for the week. 
We taught a man named *T*. *T* is interesting because he is really into the Gospel and talking to us, but he will never actually do anything. But what he will do is give us names of people to visit! He is a referral machine! We got a new referral from him that we stopped by and she is way positive! So, despite the fact that he's not progressing, *T* is doing great at helping us share the Gospel with others.

*M* and *N* are a mother and daughter who live really close to the church here in Rønne. They really love talking with the missionaries, but that's one of their problems. They only like talking with the missionaries. The daughter is actually fairly interested, but the Mom doesn't want to be preached to at all. She only wants to have small talk and hygge with us, so that makes things difficult. Not sure what to do for them, but we'll figure something out.

We went up north to visit our friends *E* and *N2*. *E* owns a Pizza Shop and is from Mexico, and *N2* is one of her employees. *E* loves us! She also is very religious. She's been to church multiple times before and keeps a Book of Mormon in Danish and Spanish at the Pizza Shop. Also, because she likes us so much, she gives us free pizza every time we come! We had a really good discussion with her about prayer and the effect it has in our lives. She's a very intelligent lady, as is *N2*, and would both make great additions to the church here on Bornholm.

Yesterday, after church, we visited a couple that lives in Aakirkeby, but I actually can't remember their names...well, anyway, they were way friendly to us and very excited. They made some very bad choices while they were younger but they've really been working to improve their situation and have come a long way! We hope that they recognize that with God this change can become even better and more permanent. 

Church was a great experience for me this week! Yesterday I received a calling, (ward pianist because Sister Mogensen has been called as ward pianist for the last 25 years or however long she's been on Bornholm) gave a talk, and played piano for a musical number! They're definitely keeping me busy! We also had 2 investigators come to church: *B* and *Y*. They both really enjoyed it, *B* is definitely a lot more positive. But his mother, *Y*, doesn't want to convert and is reluctant to let him. We don't really know what to do, but we are just hoping and praying that something will happen in that family to open their hearts.

The view from the top of the Mogensen's Egg Farm.
Otherwise, we've had a ton of service with the Mogensens. We are building their new house, because they have to move from their old one. The missionaries before have already laid all the cement, we're working more on the walls, especially putting up the insulation and dry wall. We also just put up the walls for the garage. It's really hard work, but that family deserves it. That family has had a lot of misfortunes during their stay here on Bornholm. I've really come to love, appreciate, and respect that family, and I'm sure that will continue the longer I'm here. It's actually really increased my respect for Ældste Mogensen as a kid. The Mogensens are the ones who owned the egg farm that Sister Wright was telling you about, and that family worked on that farm every single day. Amazing family, they are the greatest. 

I'm also really grateful for that Christmas break we spent [three years ago] working on our downstairs a few years back. Who knew that doing that would prepare me for helping the Mogensens out here? Even though I did not enjoy doing it back at home, if I hadn't had that experience cutting drywall and measuring and the importance of makings things to scale (because our downstairs was such a good example of how hard it is when it's not to scale) I would have no idea what I was doing here. 

Otherwise, this has been just a marvelous experience. It's definitely weird after being in Copenhagen and having so much contact with other missionaries to coming here where we have none, but I actually have enjoyed that. It helps me to stay focused on the work.

Here's the new address, by the way:

Ældste Christian Patrick Wawro
Østergade 49D, 1.2. 
3700 Rønne

So feel free to send packages and letters!

Love you all!

-Ældste Wawro


I forgot to tell you all some of the biggest news!!! Do you remember
Margareth at her baptism
Margareth Jørgensen? She was an investigator in Ordrup who used to be a member that moved to Birkerøds area. Well, last Saturday she was finally baptized!! I wanted to be there so bad, but there was no way I could get there from Bornholm. But she's been amazing, as I've said before, the way that her life has changed from the first time I met her when she yelled out, "Hey, I was a Mormon once!" to now is truly incredible. I'm so grateful we continued to teach her, even when it was hard and seemed hopeless, because now her life has changed for the better.
David and Lisa, the one who was baptized a couple weeks ago.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bornholm Bound!

Sorry for the delay, but I spent most all of yesterday traveling here to Bornholm. I'll explain to you a little about how it went down...

We had to be at the station in Copenhagen Central at around 8:45. We had some time before Ældste Metcalf was getting his new companion, so a bunch of us went to go see Vor Frelsers Kirke [Church of Our Saviour]. It was absolutely amazing. Pictures will come after this email. Actually, it was pretty funny because it was closed, but the caretaker was there and we convinced him to let us in because I was leaving to Bornholm and would otherwise never be able to see it. He let us in for free! So that was a tender mercy.
Afterwards, we ate, grabbed my luggage, and went to the train station where we took the train to Ystad, Sweden. There, we needed to get on a ferry, but because I needed to take my bike on I needed to take a different way than Elder Horrocks (my new companion). So basically, I had to ride a bike by myself in Sweden to get to a different portal to get on the ferry. That was exciting, I was not that surprised, though, to see that that part of Sweden looked very similar to Denmark. It was neat to be in Sweden for a little bit!
The famous spiral spire of Vor Frelsers Kirke
[Church of Our Saviour]

The ferry was nice as well. Nothing is taxed on the ferry so you want to buy stuff (especially food) while you're on-board. So I got a ton of Danish candy for way cheap! We arrived at Bornholm at a little bit past 8:00 PM.

The apartment is great! Elder Horrocks is great as well, and we have the senior couple who live right next to us. On the island it's only Elder Horrocks and I, and the senior couple who is serving as the Branch President at the time. So really, Elder Horrocks and I are the only full-time [proselyting] missionaries here. Everything is way smaller here, but it's almost like a fairytale island! Everything is so clean and neat and just looks so European! It's amazing.

[Here is a link to a short video of helicopter footage over some of this beautiful rural island located in the middle of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Poland:

But I'll let you know more after I've seen more of it. Here's what's been going on the past week:

We got the most positive referral ever out of the blue! I got a text from a random number where he proceeded to introduce himself and tell us how he has been seeking after the truth for the last few months. He's visited many different churches and recently has been introduced to ours and is very interested. He asked us if we could bring a Book of Mormon to our first appointment because he didn't think his triple combination which he ordered from would get there in time! We're so excited to meet him and see what happens with him.

*L* has officially decided to find out if the church is true or not. We had an amazing lesson with him and his sister, [a new convert], this week. She has been such a good example to him on how the church can bless someone and is always trying to answer any of his questions. We've started giving him certain chapters to read in the Book of Mormon with questions to try to answer so that he can learn how the Book of Mormon gives answers to the questions of the soul. I think he's going to get a testimony, and not to long in the future either.

Ældste Metcalf, Ældste Mogensen, Ældste Sakurada and I were in the middle of a service project at a members apartment when we heard a knock at the door. The member had left, so we assumed that had just forgotten the key or something. I went and opened the door, and to my surprise there were two Jehovah's Witnesses standing in front of me! It was quite the surprise for me, but I think more-so for them as they found 4 Mormon Missionaries waiting behind the door. One of them was way nice, but the Senior one was trying to prove us wrong. Luckily, we had the truth on our side and couldn't give any good answers to a lot of the questions we drilled them with. I don't generally like to Bible-Bash, but I don't like people to tell me that what I believe in was false. They actually left with a couple cards, so who knows what will happen with that!

Lisa Jansen was confirmed last Sunday, and I was so thankful that I was able to participate in the giving of the Holy Ghost the last Sunday before I left. They have been such amazing examples of how the church changes people. To see where Lisa is now from where she was has been quite the journey, and there's only Christ to thank for that. I'll miss them but I have no doubt that they're going to do great things in and for the church.

So I had quite the eye-opening experience the other day. We found two new investigators this past week named *D* and *H*, whom are married to each other. The first time I met *D* was probably a couple months ago. Elder Metcalf and I were knocking doors and at the bottom of this apartment complex was a long line of doors. We didn't have a ton of time left, so we decided that I would take one end and he would take the other. Of course, the last door I knocked was *D*. He is an very strong agnostic and doesn't believe in God. He comes from the Netherlands and was baptized, but left the church when he was 8 years old. We had a really long discussion where he was trying to tell me that God couldn't exist, and I shared why I believed he needed to exist. At the beginning he told me that there wasn't proof that he existed which began a discussion of science and such. I testified of how science was evidence of God, but at the end of the conversation bore my testimony of how the greatest evidence I can give him to begin with is the Book of Mormon. He said he would like one, but I didn't have one in Dutch on me so I told him I would bring one by later.

I had to put an order into the office for one in Dutch because they didn't have any, so I didn't get the book for another month. When we finally were able to stop by again he luckily was home again, and as soon as he saw me he said, "Hey, it's Christian! *H*, guess who it is, it's Christian!" I was dumbfounded because I didn't even remember telling them my first name, and the fact that he remembered that was incredible to me. Apparently, since our conversation at the door, he had investigated a lot into the church online and had become very interested to learn more. He was busy working on the apartment then, but he gave me a Dutch promise that he would call.

A couple week later was last week, and I found out that I was getting transferred, so I wanted to meet with them before I left. So we stopped by, made an appointment because I was leaving, and met with them last Saturday. And it was an amazing appointment. *D* and *H* are two of the nicest people I've ever met. *H* grew up in communist China, so she was always told that God couldn't exist. She had a bit of a Buddhist background, but recognized that something is missing in Buddhism so she's been searching for the truth since. We had a great discussion about some of our basic beliefs, the commandments, and how God loves us and wants to bless our families. Write before we left, *H* turned to me and said, "Christian (still working to have them use Elder Wawro), *D* was really impressed by you during your first conversation at the door. He doesn't just talk to anybody or invite them in, especially when it comes to religion. There was something special about you that he's kept talking about ever since then." 

I've thought about that a lot since then. I mean, he was definitely way more intelligent than I was, he was older, I'm definitely not the most charismatic person I've ever met. So, I've concluded that it must have been the Spirit. It's amazing how someone like *D*, who's completely atheist, could even notice that something was different about us. It's made me so grateful that we are promised God's Spirit when we get lost in the work and give ourselves to him. I'm way disappointed that I'm not able to stay to help teach them, but I really feel like they are going to find what they are looking for in the church.

I'm going to end this email with some more big news. I got the letter this week with my release date. I'll be coming home the 25th of March. Because the date is a little earlier than I first imagined, I actually want to attend Spring Semester instead of Summer. Could you look online and see if it's possible that I begin school a semester earlier than I told them when I left? That would be great!

I love you all and can't wait to hear from you! Sorry again that it was late, but, well, there wasn't much that we could do about that. Have a great week!

P.S. - The camera just died and I can't connect it to the computer, so you might not get the pictures this week...we'll see.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Baptisms and Transfers

At Zone Training
This week is a week with BIG NEWS!! So listen up!

First, to Mom, I'm not quite sure what I want for Christmas yet. But I'll let you know next week! I need some time to think about it

This was a great week to get to learn the zone a little bit better. I was on splits up in Heslingør with Ældste Pitcher and Virum with Ældste Mogensen. Both were great splits and they are fantastic missionaries and I learned a lot. Helsingør has some great work happening up in Helsingør. Sophus and Vibeke are progressing really well. Ældste Pitcher really showed me the importance of using our priesthood power in our missionary work. Great experience! Ældste Mogensen and I found 3 new investigators while we were on splits! The two most positive ones are a man and his girlfriend from Nepal. We had a great lesson about the Restoration, and especially our relationship to God. They both seem very sincere in their desire to find the truth. High expectations for them!
On splits with Elder Pitcher in Helsingor

Ældste Metcalf and I also found a family this week from Nigeria. They were a referral from the Gladsaxe 1 Sisters who contacted them on a train. Ældste Metcalf, Elijah, and I went and taught them last Friday and it was a really nice appointment. The father actually hasn't been baptized into a church before, so that's a big desire for him to find out which church he needs to be baptized into. The mother has been living here in Denmark for 5 years by herself because her husband hasn't been able to get a VISA in Denmark, so he can only visit every once in a while. It's a way hard situation, but we're hoping that they'll see how the church can help keep their family strong, even in these difficult circumstances.

Lisa Jansen was finally baptized!! We are so happy that it happened!! So many missionaries have been a part of this and we're so lucky to have been here when it happened. Of course, it happened in France, but they will be coming back today and she'll be confirmed in our ward on Sunday. Lisa is going to be an amazing addition to the ward! We now just need to make sure that she gets her calling and home-teachers visit her ASAP!
At Zone Training

Our Zone Training was so much fun last week! The Zone Training went really well, it was about finding new investigators. This past week we had the highest amount of new investigators in who knows how long?! Our District actually led the Mission in most found new investigators. We were richly blessed because of the faith of the mission and the zone specifically.

Afterwards we had our talent show and it was sssooooooo funny! So many good acts! I put a video up of mine, Ældste Metcalfs, Ældste Mogensens, and Ældste Sakuradas barbershop quartet that we first practiced the day of. It's pretty terrible, but so funny! A video is posted here:

I also got to be a part of a couple other musical acts as well as did the historic "Mexican/Polish Folk Dance!" Definitely one of the stranger moments of my life.
The infamous Polish/Mexican folk dance

Well, here comes the real big news (besides Lisa, of course). I just got the call here in the library, and I'm getting transferred. And you'd never guess where. Well, I'll start off by saying that I'm no longer a Zone Leader! I'm headed to my last area as a normal missionary! I loved being Zone Leader, especially with Ældste Metcalf, and it was one of the biggest growing experiences of my life! But I'm excited to just focus on the work now.

Well, enough build up, my last area will be.....................................................................................................................................


I'm going to Bornholm!! The little island between Sweden and Poland with less than 40,000 people! The branch there has about 15 people, including missionaries. The Mogensen Family consists of the majority of that branch and I'm so excited to be with the Mogensens! Ældste Mogensen is one of my best friends and now I get to go and spend Christmas with his family! It's going to be a big change, though, because I'm going from being so engaged with other missionaries to being put on an island where all other missionaries are at least a ferry away, and all other missionaries in the Danish Mission are a ferry and a train ride away! It's going to be quite the growing experience, but a time where I'll be able to focus solely on the work! I'm way excited. :)
Zone Talent Show

I love you all so much, and next week I'll probably be writing from Bornholm! If you don't get an email next Monday, it's because I have a ton of travel to do. I'm not sure how it's going to work, so expect the unexpected! Have an amazing week!

-Ældste Wawro

Monday, November 3, 2014

Member-Missionary Work, It's Great!

Elder Metcalf, the Assistants, and I at Tivoli Gardens [2nd oldest amusement park in Europe] around Halloween! We got in for free because one of the Senior Couples has a Year Pass!
This week has been a good week for transition. Ældste Metcalf and I are making some changes on our priorities in our missionary work and what we really think is most important. We went through all of the baptisms in the mission this year and found out that well over 50% of them were member referrals, only 2 baptisms were found by knocking. That definitely was an eye-opener for us, so we've decided to focus more on the members and get them more excited for the work! We've started a plan with the members where we stop by once a week for only 15 minutes and share a message and make some goals, and so far all the members we've done this with are way excited for it! Since then we've received 4 referrals and others will come!

We've met with *R* a couple times this week. This last time we did service for him because he's trying to rent out one of his rooms so he needed it to get cleaned out. It was just us three and you could tell that he really enjoyed the help and the company. He also said that he'd come with us to Stake Conference this Sunday, so hopefully he'll enjoy coming back to church!

We've met with *U* again. He had just been in the hospital. He's doing a lot better than he was, but he is still just depressed. But we're making progress. He considers us his friends now, so hopefully as friends we'll be able to reach out to him a little more and he'll be more willing to receive help. 

We had a few other lessons with some new people, but none of them are super positive. One of them was a woman who knew a lot of Mormons from the States. Way nice, but not really interested in investigating the church. I think that's the biggest problem we're having. Ældste Metcalf and I can find investigators, but we're having a harder time finding "interested" investigators.

But! *L* is getting baptized this weekend! Wow, *D* [her member husband] and *L* have just been fantastic. Ældste Mogensen and I went to their apartment to eat and so that he could give her the baptismal interview. We had a great conversation, she passed with flying colors, and *D* and I had a great conversation about what they could do to help do missionary work! They have such a desire to do their best. They aren't perfect, there's still a lot that they have to work on (like the rest of us) but their desire is there.

The zone is doing great as well. We're definitely starting off the month on a high note after a little of a more difficult month. We had more member present lessons and more baptismal dates than we've had in a long time. We have a fantastic zone who is all trying their best to improve. I've been blessed to serve with some of the best missionaries we have to offer! We're actually holding our zone training tomorrow where we will also be having our Thanksgiving Dinner and be holding the Annual Turkey Bowl!! Huzzah!

Other than that we had a fantastic Mission Leadership Meeting. It really was inspirational and I learned a lot and hope to apply it! I only hope that I'm going to be able to keep up with the pace that the mission is setting. It's definitely been amazing to see how much the mission has a desire to improve and how our leaders have been setting such good examples to change as well. It makes me want to be a better leader and missionary.

Love you all! 

-Ældste Wawro

Pictures - Elder Metcalf, the Assistants, and I at Tivoli around Halloween! We got in for free because one of the Senior Couples has a Year Pass!