Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"Så er det Jul igen!" [Translation: “So its Christmas again!”]

Can you believe it?! It's already Christmas again! It's pretty hard to believe that this time last year I was in Randers. We're not going to get a white Christmas here, just a gray, windy, rainy, cold one! But luckily, we're stuck with some of the best people ever on this little island so it's going to be so much fun!

I'll start with yesterday because that was quite the surprise! So we were walking down the gågade [pedestrian street] in Rønne when all of a sudden a marching band comes marching down the road! The gather in front of the big Christmas tree and everyone surrounds it. Then the Priestess starts sharing a Christmas message and everyone starts singing because it's Advent Sunday! It was fun to stop and listen for a second, but it was even MORE fun to start passing out cards to all the people surrounding the tree. All we would say was "God Jul!" and hand them a card. And every single person would accept one. It was amazing and so much fun! Hopefully some of those people watch the videos.

We had our Christmas Party on Saturday and it was a great success! We had three guests with us who weren't members! We brought Steen Hansen to play with me for the music numbers, Ruth brought her son, and the Bøvings brought a friend who just moved here from Brazil! It was so much fun and they all loved it as well. We also were able to show the "He is the Gift" video at the party, and again, everybody loved that as well. We were so happy to have everyone there and had a great time.

Elder Olson from the Area-Seventy in Sweden also came to our ward Christmas party as well as our Sacrament service yesterday. He held interviews with me and Ældste Horrocks and talked to me specifically about being an essential part of the branch here. That was all fun, but the best part was when we went to the Mogensens and helped give a blessing to both Patrice and Knud. Knud was the one that actually gave the blessing to Patrice, and it was powerful to see him exercising his Priesthood to bless his family. We then blessed him and he stood up and called Ældste Horrocks and I his two sons. It was quite a special experience for me and I'm so grateful to be a part of this branch and that family.

So we got our transfer calls today: Ældste Horrocks is finally leaving "The Rock." He'll be going to Søndeborg. We knew that was going to happen, he's already been here 7 1/2 months. I'll miss him a lot, we had a ton of fun together! He also made a huge impact in the lives of the branch, especially the Mogensens.

But you'll never guess who I'm getting (who will be my final companion as well).
Ældste Redd!! Ældste Redd is in my MTC group, but apparently he's extending so he'll leave a transfer after I do. It's going to be so much fun to end with someone that I started with!

Well, that's my week! I look forward to seeing you on Thursday!! Love you and Merry Christmas!

-Ældste Wawro

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Letter From Sister Middlemas

Glaedelig Jul

Dear Horrocks and Wawro families,

My name is Sister Middlemas, and it is my delightful experience to write to you  in behalf of my husband and I, who are the Senior couple here on Bornholm with Elders Horrocks and Wawro.  We know you would love to be here, as a fly on the wall so to speak, and watch them in action.  We have sent five sons and daughters on missions and know how much you love and miss them........especially at Christmas time. 

Can I say to all of you, that this great missionary companionship is truly a team on the Lord's errand here on Bornholm.  They have accomplished so much good for the Mogensen family, who needed to be rescued from so many unfortunate circumstances in their lives.  They needed the physical strength from both of them, as well as the Christ-like attitude of serving with unconditional love!   You can be so proud of them, as they are working so hard many days in each week , on their home, under less than pleasant circumstances.   They always have a smile and a willing heart!  They have certainly taught us a lot about teamwork to bless others.

I am sure you are looking forward to their Skype visit on Christmas, and may you enjoy every minute with them.

All our best to you for a Joyful Christmas Season, as you remember  The Gift  given to us from our Heavenly Father, over 2000 years ago.

Sister and Elder Middlemas

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Weather Outside is Frightful, but the Gospel is so Delightful!

Døndalen Waterfalls
Once again, we are loving life here on Bornholm. Despite the rain, cold, and terrible winds we've been having for the past week, Elder Horrocks and I both love the people and this place so much. It's actually been way cold here. It's been raining and the wind has been blowing so hard. On Friday all the power went out on the Island for about 1 1/2 hours. Luckily we were at the Mogensens, so we all lit candles and had a great time together.

Here's a miracle that happened:
So Ældste Metcalf and I were out working a few months ago and decided we needed to stop by somebody who never seemed to be home. We've stopped by him countless amounts of time and I still don't know what he looks like. Generally, his wife answers. So it was weird that we thought we should do that, but we did it anyway. Somebody else answered who we'd never met before. She was a young African woman, probably in her 20's, and was way nice! She told us that he wasn't home but she'd give him the message. Right before we left, we asked if maybe she would be interested in meeting with us. She said, "Actually, I've been looking for a church to get my 2 kids baptized into. That would be ok if you stopped by my place." We found out she lived out of our area in Slagelse and so we referred her address to them and never heard back about it.

Her name is Maria Assane and I just found out that she was baptized this last Saturday. I didn't even know they every started teaching her! But I am so grateful that we were attentive enough to the Spirit to stop by even though our wisdom would have told us not to.

We've been lucky enough to share the "He is the Gift" video with as many people as possible, and everybody seems to love it. We're also so grateful for the cards, they are way easy to give out to people. We had an appointment with an investigator where we did some service for her and then gave her some cards that she could share with her friends because she liked the video so much! So the video works!
We hiked with the Middlemas's to the waterfalls last P-Day! It's Denmarks largest Waterfall! (Not that big, but beautiful nonetheless)

We saw a gospel choir this week in the Nyker Kirke [Nyker Church]! Ha, one of our investigators was singing in it and invited us to come, so we brought the Mogensens. It was fun, Christmas music and always brings that Spirit with it!
With the Mogensens at the concert!

We went up to Allinge because I got some referrals from a member in Gladsaxe that she told me to visit and deliver Christmas cards to, so we went up there to do just that. Unfortunately, they weren't interested, but that gave us the opportunity to stop by a man who was a previous investigator and is a very nice man. We had a great chat (he really likes to talk) and he said he's coming to the Christmas party this week! We're hoping he comes!

There's this less-active in the area named Erling. He's a very nice man. We actually had a great conversation with him, though. We got a broader picture of why he went inactive, but I think he can come back. He's made a list of questions about the church that he says nobody can answer. I haven't heard these questions, but I don't think it really matters. I have a question for him, "What about the Book of Mormon?" I think if he starts reading and praying about that book, he's going to start resolving a lot of his own concerns. Plus, he misses the friends that come from the church.

This was a great miracle. We met with a previous member, and Knud Mogensen actually came with us! He's been asked so many times by missionaries to come with, but never would. But when we asked this time, he just responded very matter-of-factly, "Hvorfor ikke? Jeg kunne godt hilse på ham." [Translation: “Why not? I could greet him.”] And he was great in the appointment! I feel bad for the former member, though, because he's completely left Christianity. He's kind of moving into a more Buddhist belief system. But he really appreciated our visit, said we're always welcome, and may come to the Christmas party.

It's been a good week. I can't believe it's almost Christmas. But I'm look forward to skyping all of you this upcoming week! I love you!

-Ældste Wawro
Sister Middlemas

Monday, December 8, 2014

"He is the Gift"

Zone Conference
We have some great news:

The Mogensens are officially living in their new home now! It is not finished, but we've finally finished all of the rooms (ending with the master bedroom) and all of their clothes and food are moved in. It's amazing to see this home come together! It really is so much of an improvement from where they were living. I wish you could see it. Because they're living there, we had the opportunity to help dedicate the house to the Lord. Knud [Mogensen] gave the prayer and it was a great experience for everyone. We'll continue to help a lot with the house, but now that they're moved in we can definitely shift focus more towards finding new investigators and helping those we already are teaching.

We had our Zone Conference this week, and it was sooooo good. I'm sure you've heard how the church is doing this "He is the Gift" initiative, and it's so exciting. It's like what Elder Bednar said that we're going "sweep the earth as with a flood!" Make sure that you ALL share this video at least on facebook.

On our way up to Zone Conference, we took a ferry to Ystad in Sweden and from there drove with the Middlemas's to Copenhagen. We were supposed to stop by IKEA on the way there, but we got lost...the Middlemas's also had an appointment with some friends there so we ended up waiting in a car in Sweden listening to some Spanish guitar for an hour. It's amazing how similar, yet different Sweden is, especially in architecture.
At Zone Training

But something else happened at this Christmas Zone Conference...because it's the Christmas one we always watch a movie together, and guess what movie we saw........FROZEN!!! Oh man! Frozen was sooooo gooooood! It was the first "normal" movie I'd seen in almost 2 years, and I enjoyed it so much. Watching it with President and all the missionaries made it way fun as well.

Some more great news, Steen is coming to our Christmas Party! Steen is a professional guitar player so we've set it up so that he and I are going to have a concert portion of the party where we'll play some Christmas songs together. We practiced for our first time this last week and had a blast! So we're excited to have him with for that and hope that he'll see how the friendship and doctrine of the church can help him.

Yesterday we had a crazy/frightening appointment...We went to go visit this referral we received. We'd met her once before and she seemed way nice, so we were looking pretty forward to this appointment. We brought our branch president, Ældste Middlemas, with because we needed a third man. She let us in time, but we quickly found out that she was drunk, I mean, very drunk. Basically, she wasn't interested at all in what we had to say and altogether was just frightening to be with. So we decided we needed to get out of there as fast as possible. Luckily, we survived.

We've also been able to use the new "He is the Gift" video for lots of people, both members and non-members. You can see it at: http://www.mormon.org/christmas?cid=HPFR112814529. The Mogensens have all shared it on Facebook and are having very positive responses from their friends in school. Our investigators have also really enjoyed it. We were with some investigators yesterday and they absolutely loved it! They even shared it on Facebook right afterwards and just praised the church’s public relations department.

We showed it as well to another one our investigators, who also really benefited from the message as she's been really busy with decorations and parties etc. She actually, as well referred us to her neighbor to do service for her. So we went over there and her neighbor was very grateful for the help. We worked in the garden for about an hour and have a return appointment to help out tomorrow. Bornholm has been a great place to find service!

By the way, I got the package slip on Saturday, so today I can go to the post office and collect my package! I'm excited to open it, but just so you know, it's here on Bornholm and safe.
Also, I need to repent...I didn't take any pictures this week...I'm sorry!!! But Ældste Horrocks, Ældste og Søster Middlemas, and I are going on a hike this week to a waterfall, so we'll get some pictures there!

Love you all, and have a great week!


-Ældste Wawro

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

Things are running along great here on Bornholm! It was another great week with Ældste Horrocks. The sun actually shined a few times this week. We are getting ready to leave on the ferry to go to Sweden to catch a train to Copenhagen for our Christmas Zone Conference! Yay! Happy December everyone! And especially Happy Birthday to my wonderful Mother in just a couple more days! I can't tell you how blessed I am to have you as my mom.

We also had Thanksgiving with the Mogensens! The Mogensens feed us all the time because we help them so much. They take good care of us and they've pretty much become our family here in Denmark.
View of Rønne from when you pull up on the ferry

We had a lesson with *T* earlier on this week. Again, *T* isn't all that positive, but he always has referrals for us. This week, he had a friend over. His friend is 23 years old and is a very nice and open person. We were able to talk about the Book of Mormon with him and the entire time we talked about it his eyes were really wide and he asked lots of great questions. When we told him he could have one for free, he was really excited! We were having high hopes with him until we asked him if we could meet again and he just said "No." That was disappointing, but if he actually reads he'll know how to get in contact with us for further questions.

We found another new investigator as well. We had an eating appointment with a couple of our other investigators, both just amazing, christian ladies. They had invited their friend, to come as well. He is a very intelligent man in his 30's who is just begun again to practice Christianity. It turned out to be a really good appointment and at the end, he quoted a scripture which Ældste Horrocks had just read that morning in his personal study. He thought that that was awesome, and by the end of the night he said, "If you ever are around Nexø, make sure that you stop by. You two are always welcome at my place." So we're excited to start teaching him!

Towards the end of the week we received a call from an unknown number. It was from some students here that wanted to interview us about "Mormonism" so on Thursday we met up with them at the library and they interviewed us! They asked some great questions and didn't ask anything negative or strange about our religion. There was one of them that really seemed interested in everything that we were saying. It was a great opportunity to let them know what we really believe in and for them to present it at their school. We also made sure that if they decided to look for more information to look at mormon.org and lds.org.

As you know, a great deal of our time was spent helping the Mogensens as well. Things are going great, they are actually starting to sleep in the new house now even though not all of the rooms are finished. By some miracle we were able to move all of the stuff for the 3 kids that lived in the factory out and collect all other personal belongings by yesterday evening. I tried to imagine what would have happened if we weren't there. There is no way that they could have done it.

I've really come to love that family. I love serving them and love being with them. They deserve so much more than what they have, but are still content with the situation they've been given. I've learned a lot from them and will always remember what they've done for me, even though it's only been a couple of weeks now.

Hey, well, those are all of the important details of the week. Just remember, I love you all! Have a great first week of December!

-Ældste Wawro