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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ud1PH7jt3kk

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 store.lds.org 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 mormon.org 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.