Monday, March 23, 2015

There and Back Again: A Missionary's Tale

Traveling to first area in Denmark nearly 2 years ago
Well, this is it. Two years have come and gone. I won't say that they've been the easiest or the fastest two years of my life, but now that things are closing you wish you could turn back time and relive the mission again. I don't have too much time today, so I'll stick mostly to the activities that took place this last week.

On Tuesday my good friend Ester from Copenhagen took us out to lunch, got me an awesome birthday present, and gave us a tour of the giant ship, Pavl Anker, which she works on! It was awesome and I'm very grateful for everything that she has done for me.

We had our Zone Conference this week and it was such a bittersweet experience. We were trained on the new Easter Initiative which the church is doing. It looks great! We then got to watch "Meet the Mormons" which was so good! Definitely that last story really hit home for me. I also played the musical number, I Believe in Christ, and President Sederholm actually had me play it a second time right before he announced transfers! That was exciting to hear where everyone was going in person, but it was way emotional when he got to me. It was also really rough when I had to give my departing testimony. These missionaries have been my friends, companions, fellow servants for Christ! It was hard to think I wouldn't see most of them again for a long while.

We had a few other lessons, found a new investigator, rode a broken down bike which we duct taped together because my bike was given to Elder Brindley in Copenhagen, had an awesome eating appointment in Svaneke with a couple non-members, Marianne and Lars, and had service at the Mogensens. There are lots of little stories I could share, but I only have time for one.

The Miracle:

6 investigators, 2 less-actives, 31 total people in church. I could not have asked for a more satisfying conclusion to my time on Bornholm and my mission. Because of the change in the branch presidency, the mission president, stake president, old senior couple, and new senior couple were all present. We had a couple guests, then our less-actives came walking in, then Saskia, Siff, one of Saskia's kids, Jane Larsen, Lis and Steen came! It was an absolute miracle! The Spirit was so strong and all of them were so touched. It was amazing to look out and see that chapel completely filled with people. It was all I ever wanted, to help this branch which I love so much.
Bornholm Branch Building

And that was the hardest part, leaving the island. It was probably the hardest thing I ever had to do. Especially leaving the Mogensens. It meant the end of my time on Bornholm, the end of my time as a missionary, and the end of being with the family I have come to love so much.

But now, I get to see you all again. Yes, it's hard to leave, but this gospel is a gospel of faith and hope. And faith always looks to the future.

I love you all so much. Thank you for loving and supporting me these past two years. I could never express gratitude enough. See you tomorrow.

For the last time,

-Ældste Christian Patrick Wawro

Elder Wawro will be speaking in his home Ward at 1 PM at 430 East, 700 North, Orem, Utah.  All are welcome to attend!

Monday, March 16, 2015


That's right. As of yesterday I became the big 21. I'm legal! I don't really know what I'm legal to do, but I can do more than I could before! So that concludes the 20th year of my life, the one year I dedicated completely to the service of God and my Lord, Jesus Christ. I'd venture to say, the greatest year of my life.

This week has been nothing short than spectacular. You just come to love every second you have on your mission, especially when you're serving on the greatest little island in the world. 

Let's talk about some highlights from the week:

Last Tuesday we went to Østreskolen with S* to do our English presentation to the class. It was so much fun! But more importantly, they got to see that us Mormon Missionaries weren't intimidating people. We started off acting like we couldn't speak any Danish and all of the class had to ask us questions in English about who we were, where we come from, why we're here, and other such facts about ourselves. So they all got to learn that we were missionaries sent here for 2 years to talk about our church. They also had us sing a song and we sang "Come Thou Fount' of Every Blessing" for them. They thought we were superstars and by the end they all asked for our autographs, ha! But the best part was seeing how grateful Saskia was for our help. She's planning on coming to church this Sunday, so we'll keep her in our prayers that she'll make it!

Picnic with J*
We met with J*, and that always goes well. She wanted to do something special for us because The Middlemas's and I are leaving and it was also going to be my birthday in the next couple days, so she took us out to a picnic next to Safirsøen, and it was beautiful! It was also a way fun time, and by the end she committed to coming to church with us on Sunday, so we're praying for her as well! 

Our less active friend, E* is doing great as well. He is so appreciative of the missionaries. He's also been holding our commitments about reading in the Book of Mormon. I feel strongly that if he continues to read it will help him to regain his testimony which he's lost.

K* is the one we skinned the rabbits for. She owns the only shoe repair shop on the island, and she was so grateful for our help that she offered to repair my destroyed shoes for free! They look so much better than they did! It's amazing how some of these people you come to know and love can show so much charity to you. I've only met her a handful of times, but I already feel really close to her and her family. 

So, on Saturday we had planned to go out and do service for K*, but she got sick so it was cancelled. So we had a bunch of time on our hands, which we decided to use to bike to all of the people we could that lived too far away to reach by bus. So we ended up taking this bike tour which took us against the wind for what felt like the entire way, through the forest, up and down hills, off-road biking, to put it simply, we were all over the place! The ride ended up being about 45 km, it was supposed to be longer but we ran a little short on time. 

After a really long biking tour, we found a new investigator! He lives in Lobbæk and his name is N*. He's a way nice guy with 2 little dogs. He used to work in a prison here on Bornholm, Iceland, and Greenland, so he's seen some pretty nasty things in his lifetime. He knew the missionaries from when they lived in Lobbæk and really likes us. We found his record and decided to give him a try. He seems to be pretty open and told us we are always welcome to come back, and come back we will!

My birthday, as you know, was yesterday and it was so great! We first had church, but then we went up to Hasle to visit one of our investigators. We were supposed to be at the Mogensens between 6-6:30 for my birthday dinner, but we found ourselves out of our appointment with the investigator by 6:00! So Ældste Redd and I biked back to Rønne as fast as we could through the forest! 10 km. Off road. 25 min. I have to say, not too shabby!

Then we went with the Middlemas's to the Mogensen's house, and it was so great! They asked me what I wanted, so we had frikadeller with brune kartofler, it tasted so good! Then I got some awesome gifts from everyone which I am SO grateful for! Then, to top it all off, my own birthday cake! It was a great day, I must say - a great way to turn 21.

So, today, I must apologize for writing so late. But we had the funeral today for one of the members of our Branch, Inger Borgen. Inger Borgen had been a member of the church longer than any other member of our branch, and she just passed away a few days ago. Towards the end she was suffering pretty bad from dementia and couldn't even really talk. In the end, it was probably best for her to go at this time, she really couldn't do much at all and she finally is resting in peace. It was a great service today and we were glad we were able to participate.

We had a few other lessons on top of this all, so it really was a great week. There's just so much to be done in the next week, its crazy! But, there is nothing else I would rather be doing than this work here on Bornholm.

Expect a letter next week, I should be writing! I love you all sssssssssoooooooooooo much and look forward to reading your emails, and talking to you! Have a great week!


-Ældste Wawro

A Week of Sailing!

Every week continues to be a great week! We sail to and from Copenhagen this week, and it was a splendid experience where we learned exactly what we needed to hear for our area and missionary work. We have some great leaders in the mission right now, so we were grateful for our Zone Training!
District at Kronberg Castle

While we were up there, we also held our District Activity! We went to Kronborg Slot (Hamlet's Castle) and it was way fun. Even though I'd been there before, it's always fun to be with the District. We also had our member friend, Jessica Dalberg, there to show us around because she had grown up right around that castle.

Arriving at Christian Island
Then, today was quite the adventure. Today is John Mogensen's 9th birthday, and so we decided to take a road trip. I had wanted to do this for my birthday, but it ended up working out better this week, so we did it for John's with the Mogensens! They've been so good to us to take us to these exciting places. We took a trip to Christiansø (The Island of Christian/Christian's Island), this small island in our area, and it was an experience to remember! First off, the weather was absolutely beautiful today! But because it's not the summer season, they don't have the usual summer ferry that sails. Instead we took the small little postal boat that they use to deliver their mail! So that was exciting! Arriving to the island I discovered that the population of this island is 90. 90 people - I thought Bornholm was a small island! We were able to explore every nook and cranny of that island in 1 1/2 hours. Very small, but extremely beautiful!

Our appointments that we had when we got back were fantastic! The Lord blessed us so much with progression and success in this last week (as well as every other week). We had another opportunity to do service with J* this week, but the best part was the lesson. She has had a concern recently where she doesn't really believe that it's necessary to believe in any specific thing. She said she was 90% sure that it didn't really matter. But at this lesson we decided to show her "Come and See" from David A. Bednar's last General Conference talk. It made all the difference to her. By the end of the lesson she committed to read and pray that evening about the Book of Mormon! The talk just really hit her and helped her to understand why we invite people to come and see.

Another investigator, S* invited us over for dinner, and again, another great lesson was had! Turns out, she's been reading random chapters in the Book of Mormon and had lots of questions, especially about baptism. We had a great discussion, and by the end she invited us to come and speak to her class that she teaches. So tomorrow we'll be headed over there and be able to talk to all of her students.

N* and C*, what a miracle! They also had us over for dinner, and it turns out that N* has been smoke-free for over a week now! And not only that, but both of them have felt the power of the Atonement of Christ as she's struggled to overcome her addiction. She bore powerful testimony on how she knows that He has helped her to continue and that she knows He lives. It was incredible! So there is great progress being had with those two, we'll see where it leads them in the near future.

Lots of good things are happening on the island. Every day I look out and just think how lucky I am I got sent to this place. It's my home! I look forward to hearing from you all next week, and next week I'll be the big 21! Love you all and have a great week!


-Ældste Wawro

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"...I make weak things become strong unto them."

Ældste Redd and I had a great week! Even though we didn't get to as many people as we wanted, the people we did meet with were great appointments and we were blessed with new opportunities to serve others.

Last Monday actually started off as a great day! There's a member that I was really close with in Copenhagen that's named Ester Ørum. She's fantastic! She works on the ferry that goes from Denmark to Bornholm, so last Monday she had some free time and wanted to take us out to lunch. We went to a restaurant called "Texas" and we got some great big burgers with fries, it was delicious! It really was a great time with Ester! Afterwards, we went out shopping at our local grocery store, Netto, and suddenly I felt way sick in my stomach, and we had to come right home. I ended up getting the stomach flu and had a fever and terrible aches all over my body as well as a host of digestive problems (which I do not need to go into much detail) which lasted the next few days. I felt bad that we couldn't go out and Elder Redd was stuck inside, but I was feeling like I was going to die! Luckily, I'm mostly over it now and feel a lot better. Saturday, though, I started getting hives all over my body and every time I scratch somewhere they appear there as well. I still have them, but they've been getting a little better. As far as my health goes, it's been a little bit of a slower week, but it's on the rise. The Lord has strengthened us so that we could still see miracles happen despite our weaknesses!

Thursday was the first day that I was feeling good enough to get up and do something, and that day we had J* come with us the Mogensens. It was such a good evening! J* is so kind and brought gifts for all of the kids as well as their dog! The Mogensens were just as welcoming and kind as well. Patrice and Knud were great at getting to know her and just trying to be her friends. We were able to share a message where everyone participated and it was actually quite special to be able to teach in the environment of a member's home. We had a great spirit there and it was another great step for her progression!

N* and C* continue to surprise me every time we meet with them, especially C*! He actually held his commitment and they both bore their testimonies on how they know that God answers their prayers, where before, N* didn't even know if she believed in God. She also has started to stop smoking completely, so she's asked us to continue to pray for her that that goes well. Two great people who are very grateful for what the missionaries have done for them in their lives.

One of our new investigators, H*, is an amazing man. He was a very successful lawyer in Syria with lots of money, property, yet still a very humble and righteous man. He truly believes in God and lives his faith as well as his wife and children. But, you've probably heard of the terrible happenings in Syria and they literally took all of his money, cars, and property and he needed to flee to keep his life. He's been working every day to get his family to Denmark, but it's been a hard, long journey. His many trials have been difficult, but in his heart he still believes in God. He really appreciates our visits. Hopefully we can help him see how the Gospel can help him and his family, even in these circumstances.

On Sunday we were able to use our talents and play some music for a non-member's birthday! Her name is M* and she's a friend of the Middlemas's. She is so fun and full of energy, despite her age! She's never celebrated her birthday before because her parents were divorced when she was a kid and her birthdays just bring back bad memories. But the Middlemas's set up a birthday party for her and we came with to be the musical performance! So I played piano and guitar, and Elder Redd and I sang together for her a few different songs. She absolutely loved it! She started to cry and just said how nobody had ever done anything like this before for her. Her husband, L*, and her son were also with us and we ended up talking around a cake Sister Middlemas made for us. They were not too interested in meeting the young missionaries before, but now they love us and are already setting up another time for us to come back! So it goes to show, when you show love and use your talents, you can open people's hearts.

That was the majority of our week. I would say, even though we didn't have a plethora of lessons because of my sickness, the Lord greatly blessed us with success. We were able to touch the hearts of a few and it brought joy to us in turn.

Elder Redd and I are headed to Copenhagen today to go to our Zone Training, so it should be a fun next few days! It's crazy to think that Carina is home now, Kaleb is getting home next week, and everybody else that's home! So my Homecoming will be on the 29th? Let me know when you find out the topic. Luckily, we have too many awesome things going on to give it too much thought. :)

I love you all and hope you have a spectacular week!

-Ældste Wawro

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fastelavn/"Kill the Wabbit!"

Hello dear family!

You may be a little confused about the title of this email. Everything will be quickly explained.

Fastelavn is a holiday they have in Denmark. It's kind of like Halloween where you dress up. They also have a tradition that is kind of like a pinata. In the olden days they didn't use pinata. Instead, they had a barrel that had a live cat in it that they hit until it died (weird stuff). Luckily, now they fill the barrel full of candy, not cats.
Celebrating "Fastelavn" with the Mogensens

Fastelavn was last Monday and we spent it with the Mogensens until the evening where we went out to work. We saw a few sites on the island, one being Ekkodalen which has some awesome cliffs! Then we went back home and hit the barrel and did some other stuff as a family. It was way fun, and I'll make sure to send some pictures!

Well, this week was a little bit of a setback as far as numbers go. It's not that we didn't work hard, because we definitely did! A ton of our work consisted of doing service which we were so grateful to help others with. That's one great thing about this island, there's always service to be done!

We still taught quite a few lessons even though most of our really positive people couldn't meet this week. There's been a sickness going around and many of them have caught it. But of the lessons we had they all went fairly well, but the one that I want to talk about his week was with J*. J* is still going strong. She's been reading and she's been in church recently. We committed her to watch Elder Bednar's "Come and See" talk from General Conference. She couldn't come with us to the Mogensens last week, but we have it all set up for this week! I believe that will help a lot.
Cliffs at Ekkodalen

We biked out to Klemensker this week because no missionaries have really worked there before. Unfortunately, we knocked there for two hours and not a single potential!!! And then a storm hit. The wind start blowing crazy against us the entire way home for about 50 min! That will be a night we will remember in the future, ha!

The other great thing was the fact that we were able to do service for K*, Jessica Dalberg's sister! They've been really apprehensive of the missionaries, but by the end K* was so grateful for the help. They have an awesome farm up in Olsker and an amazing house, but they need a lot of help to take care of it. We had some great conversations with her and her son.  I feel like we're going to become great friends, and from there, who knows what miracles can happen?

Building in Klemensker
But you may be asking, what service did we do? Well I'll tell you. First we moved a bunch of wood, and that was great. Then, she led us to a pen where there were a bunch of rabbits. We then proceeded to pick these cute little rabbits up, break their necks by hitting them with a crowbar, then skinning and gutting them! What?! Never imagined I would be killing and gutting rabbits on my mission. She wanted the pelts and the meat, so we helped her with it all! We even got to take one of the rabbits home and Elder Redd and I made a stew out of it. It was pretty weird at first, I won't go into too much detail, but now we know how to skin and gut animals if we ever need to survive out in the wilderness!
Kind of self explanatory

In the end, it's been an adventure filled week. Elder Redd and I will continue to work even harder and more effectively this next week! We look forward to the miracles that are going to happen on the island. 

Love you all!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Walking, Church, Hippies, and the Gospel.

Hello Hello Hello!

It's still great to be on the Island! All the snow has melted, but we've got that nasty wind back. Luckily, it's not too bad and Elder Redd and I just keep trudging along!

Hey, I'm also supposed to tell you not to worry, all the missionaries are safe. I don't know if you've heard about the shooting that happened in Copenhagen this weekend, but the church has taken good procedures to make sure that no missionaries are around the vicinity where it happened. And really, with us two being on Bornholm, it really makes us not have to worry. So don't worry! :)

I'm glad to hear Casey had a great birthday! She's grown up so fast! And congratulations to Nathan on making it into the MDT Program!!! That's amazing! Sounds like things are going well with the family.

It actually has been quite a miraculous week. The miracles started on Monday with a random potential investigator. There actually was written a random address on our whiteboard with no name on it. I'd always wondered what it was, but the address was in village called Arnager so I just never thought much about it. Well, Elder Redd and I decided that we might as well give it a shot, so we decided to bike out to Arnager. It was pitch black and the only light we had was a light I've attached to the front of the bike. Because so much of Bornholm is rural, you need a light or else you can't even see the path that you're on. Little did we know that this path would bring us through the middle of a forest! Ha, we had to bike so slowly to make sure we didn't run into anything!

But don't worry, we arrived in safety to Arnager. The interesting thing about Arnager is that when the missionaries came for the first time in the beginning of this dispensation, it was Arnager that the entire town was converted and moved to America. They even had to defend the missionaries from a mob at one point in time! The city used to be a big city, but now there's hardly anyone there because they all moved to Utah to build up Zion! So it's a pretty special place.

Well, we arrived and found the house. A man answered the door, and he told us he believes in all religions. He was way nice though and willing to listen. His wife came out and she was way nice to us, and they both said that we were always welcome to come back. Then their cat came out of the house and started walking around us and wanting to be petted by us. They were dumbfounded, because apparently the cat hates strangers and NEVER goes around them. So they kept commenting about how there must be something special about us, some special energy. Then we started to leave and the cat kept on following us! Ha, they were so surprised! But they are excited to see us again, we'll see if we can baptize the rest of Arnager!

We had a great experience with [the newly baptized member] Jessica Dalberg. So she was still over until Thursday this last week, so she took us out to lunch and we were able to teach her daughter a little to help her get ready for her baptism over in Copenhagen. We had a great time, but the best part was when we had to meet up with Jessica's sister, K*. The missionaries actually have met with K* before I got to the island, but she dropped us when I tried to set up an appointment. Her husband is really against the church. Anyway, we got to talk to her and we were able to set up service at her farm. They have been really busy because they own the only shoe repair shop on the island and have a ton of property to take care of. Hopefully service can open their hearts so they can be more open to the message in the future.

Saturday was a pretty crazy day. We bought a day-pass for the bus so that we could visit all of the investigators that we normally cannot get to because we generally have to bike everywhere. We began our morning by going to a town named Olsker. Now, I thought Olsker was a lot bigger than it actually was! It's really in the middle of nowhere and hardly anyone lives there. We had 3 stop-bys, one was in at a Rehab Center and the other 2 lived way far out in the country. Because we took the bus, we didn't have our bikes so we had to walk. We walked a ton! One lady was actually way nice and we'll try to stop by her again. The other one turned out to be a complete hippie! He owns this farm where he tries to save all the animals on the Island so he has like 30 horses and donkies, sheep, mules, all sorts of animals. Way nice guy, but a pretty crazy experience! The rest of the time was spent up in Allinge, Sandvige, and Hasle and that all went pretty well.

We've continued to be really blessed with teaching lots of lessons. We've had a few member presents, going out to Gudhjem with Frants to visit L* and S*, we've found a couple more investigators, and things just seem to be going great. Our investigators are progressing! It's just getting people to make that next step of accepting a baptismal date. We've been inviting lots, hopefully it will really hit home with one of them soon. But we actually have a few investigators that are getting close.

On Sunday we had 2 investigators come to church. One of them was T* again! We never would have guessed that out of all of our investigators he would have been the one to come two weeks in a row!

The second person was J*. She has been doing so well. She has been reading in the Book of Mormon almost every day, and now she's come to church. She seemed to really like it and the members did a great job at reaching out to her. She especially has been getting along with the Mogensens, and Patrice invited her over to dinner on Thursday! Hopefully that would work out, because with the combination of her reading and her getting friends in the church, that could give her the desire she needs to take the next step. We invited her to baptism, and she definitely has a few hesitations, but if she continues as she has been doing she will be baptized.

Well, I love you all! Hope you enjoy these pictures of the sunset, it was pretty amazing! Have a great week!

-Ældste Wawro

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Beginning of the End

On splits with Elder Clawson walking down a Bornholm road
Today begins the first day of my last transfer...
Honestly, it doesn't feel right. At this point in time it feels too soon. I can't and don't really want to imagine life not being a missionary. These have been the greatest two years of my life.

But, today, I'd prefer not to focus on that aspect of my life. Elder Redd and I have seen a miraculous week! We actually led the mission in finding new investigators, so the Lord has been generous to us.

I have to thank Mom for the packages, first of all! I got them both and the Mogensen kids loved the Pop Rocks and all the other candy! Thank you for sending that, we've also enjoyed our fair share of candy as well. ;)  Also, is it possible to get tickets to General Conference this April? That would be awesome for us to go up and see that! If not, that's fine, but it would be pretty neat if we could.

The Lord has been pouring out his blessings on the island of Bornholm!

It all started with our Zone Training this last week. It was a great Zone Training and it was actually exactly what I needed to hear at that time. I think my faith has been dwindling a bit recently and I haven't been as bold about inviting people to baptism. It really was an eye-opener to me that I haven't been inviting people to make that next step towards complete repentance, and how are they ever going to be able to repent themselves if they don't have a goal to motivate them? So I've been doing some repenting myself and have been trying to be more focused on what our purpose as missionaries truly is. 
On the ferry with Ældste Brindley and Ældste Clawson

Then we had splits! Ældste Clawson and Ældste Brindley came out with us to the island and it was so great! We learned a lot together and just really enjoyed splits. The things that I probably learned the most was how much I love this island. I truly do love it here and consider it my home. Ældste Clawson especially helped to rekindle that love for this place. It's not often we get visitors here on The Rock, but we really appreciated this opportunity.

Here are the two big miracles that happened in the week:

We found 5 new investigators this week! The Lord has again blessed us with more than we've deserved as we've tried to follow the counsel of our leaders. Elder Clawson and I had about 10 minutes before we needed to head somewhere else and we were debating whether we should just go then. We decided to knock 3 doors before we moved on. We only knocked on one, and then this man from Syria answered and let us right in! He had two friends with, one of them being more interested than the other. We didn't have too much time because we had another appointment, but we explained our purpose, set up another appointment with 2 of them and invited them to baptism. They told us if they found out it was true they would. The Lord blessed us as we acted in faith to at least knock a few doors.

Elder Brindley and I went up to Allinge to work the next day. We had some potentials we needed to go to, but I got lost and couldn't find one of them, so we decided to move on to the next one. We got there and an elderly couple opened the door and let us right in! They were so nice and open to listening to what we had to say! They are extremely religious and were so eager for us to come by again. Another blessing from the Lord.

Our last investigator was found that evening after the Birkerød Elders had taken their ferry back to Copenhagen. Elder Clawson mentioned someone that we should maybe stop by. She had dropped the missionaries before, but it had been almost a year. Elder Redd and I stopped by her and she let us right in! She is from Greenland and has a faith in Christ. She was super nice and also open to our message. She also said that if she found out the church was true that she would be baptized. We truly were so blessed to find these people and we hope we can keep the faith and diligence to find even more people!

The second big miracle happened on Sunday. I got a text that morning from Jessica Dalberg (was baptized 3 weeks ago in Helsingør) saying that she was coming to the island and asked what time church was. We had already become good friends from when I went up on splits to Helsingør, so I was excited to see her. The problem was, church was starting only 30 min. after she arrived on the ferry and her family didn't want to go to church. So she started thinking that she wasn't going to make it which made her sad because she hasn't missed church since fall began. But her faith was in the right place and we were able to make it that she came to church alone as the rest of the family went to go begin their vacation. She's an amazing woman!

Then, after we pick her up and get to the church, I get a call. It was T*. T* has investigated for some time but struggles with a few things, but he truly believes in Christ. We've been stuggling on how we could really help him, but I've had too many experiences on my mission which showed me that I can't give up on anybody. Well, anyway, he called and I answered and said I didn't have too much time to talk because church was starting, but then I got the feeling I needed to invite him to come. We invite him every week and he never comes, plus it was going to begin in a few minutes, but I decided I should invite him anyway. He replied, "yeah, yeah..." and then we ended the conversation. But lo and behold, 30 minutes later T* comes walking in the doorway! He stayed for the rest of Sacrament Meeting and also Sunday School, and he participated quite a bit! He still has a long way to go, but this could be the start on his road of to a better and more fulfilling life. So Elder Redd and I again were blessed to see the Rønne Church a little more filled than it usually is. It gives me hope that there are people prepared and ready to accept the gospel.
Speaking with President Sederholm during Zone Training

Last Tuesday, right after the Zone Training, I actually got a blessing from President Sederholm. That was a very special moment for me. I needed some help and guidance on how I could stay focused and give everything I had for my last transfer. There are a few things that I've thought about that were in the blessing.
-That I need to stop worrying so much and enjoy my last transfer
-I need to do the work in the Lord's way and then we'll be blessed with success
-This transfer will be a bittersweet experience. As I approach the date where I will both head home it will be sweet because I'll be coming home, but bitter because I will be leaving home.

We've been greatly blessed this week, and I know it's because we're trying to do what the Lord wants us to do! President Sederholm is keeping Elder Redd and I together for this transfer. This place is special for me and have been filled with some of the greatest moments of my life. Bornholm truly is my home.

I love you all! Happy Birthday this week, Casey, and I hope you all have a great Valentines Day as well!


-Ældste Wawro

Thursday, February 5, 2015

On the Island, We're Wet, but Happy!

Bornholm Branch Building in Summer
Merry Christmas! Well, I might as well be saying Merry Christmas because of all the snow we've been getting recently! The middle of the island has especially been hit by the snow. It keeps snowing, then raining, the melting, and then snowing again. So basically everything is wet and/or frozen, always. The wind hasn't been as bad as it was a few weeks ago, but every once in a while it hits us hard! One evening Elder Redd and I were just getting soaked out in the rain, and we were biking down the bike path and a gust of wind came and hit us so hard it brought us to a complete stop on our bikes! Fun times, memories you never forget. :)

Just thought I'd add as a side note: I registered for all of my classes for summer semester this morning, so you don't have to worry about that! Everything should be all set and finished. And Elder Mogensen in Salt Lake I believe has switched apartments, but Patrice isn't home right now so she can't get me the address. I'll try to get it, but I don't think I'll be able to until next Monday.

Elder Redd and I have actually been quite busy! At times we've had a hard time trying to fit everything in that we've wanted. I suppose a part of that is that our investigators don't live that close together so traveling takes a bit of our time, but we've been managing! We've been greatly blessed that many of our investigators have been progressing and holding our commitments. I'll give a few highlights of some of the lessons we had.

N* and C* are still going strong! They've held every commitment, read everything we've told them to, seen everything we've asked them to see, and have just been doing great! I feel like they are really gaining a basic understanding of who God is and why Jesus Christ is such an amazing gift. They also want to come to church as soon as they get a car that can transport C* which should be coming in a couple weeks. Some great progress happening with them!

We put together some more cabinets for an investigator this week. She is such an amazing lady! The Middlemas's were also with and had a great time with her. After we were finished with the cabinets she made us a delicious dinner. Then she proceeded to give Elder Redd and I a giant box full of food for the future! But, the best part of the lesson is that we had found out she had been doing the reading challenge we gave her and she had been reading in the Book of Mormon every single day. And not only that, but she had written down what all the scriptures we gave her were about and any questions she had about them! Not too shabby, I must say! We can see that she is really seeking, and with seeking comes a confirmation! Next, we just need to get her in church.

We had a lot of other lessons, but they all kind of follow the same story. The people that we visited this week have been holding their commitments! We've seen the blessings that we've been receiving have been a direct result of mine and Elder Redd's effort to be obedient to what we learned in zone training and the Teixera points. Not going to lie, after Elder Horrocks left I had a bit of a hard time because I didn't know that many people and I felt the obligation to get to know our investigators so we ended up staying a lot longer and forgetting the points. But we've been trying to do better and have been seeing the blessings because of it!

Well, sorry to disappoint, but no pictures this week! We're headed up to Copenhagen today so we'll probably get some pictures from up there. I'll try to do better this week!

I love you! Vi ses!

-Ældste Wawro

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

There Are Angels In Our Midst

The cliffs near Jons Kapel (John's Chapel)
So, this has been an interesting week. It's had extreme highs, and it's lows as well. It's been a week of motivating and humbling. Elder Redd and I taught lots of lessons (and I'll share a little about all of them) and also had some success finding.

But first, let's talk about the awesome Preparation Day we had last week! We spent it with the Mogensen family and we visited two places: Jons Kapel and Hammershus. Oh, they were amazing! The cliffs on Bornholm are so beautiful! But boy, there were a ton of stairs! Hammershus is an ancient castle ruin, over 1000 years old. It's built on a hill right next to the sea, and it's absolutely incredible! I felt like I was walking into a movie! It turned out to be so much fun, especially because we were enjoying it with the Mogensens!

Here's a quick description about all of our lessons:
Hammershus Castle Ruins

N* and K* was a great appointment! They held their commitment to watch Elder Bednar's "Come and See" video and they loved it! N* said that she began to tear up as she watched it, and they were both impressed with the way he presented our purpose as missionaries. Great lesson, great progress, we have high hopes for them!

S1*, S2*, and M* were all together with us for dinner at S1*'s and we had a really good discussion about Moroni's Promise. Apparently, M* had already gone and checked out a Book of Mormon from the library and started reading it! All of them were really open and plan to read and pray about it!

S3* and L* are doing great, she actually printed off a lot of coupons for my mom! You can see that S3* already has had a big appreciation for the missionaries, it's too bad that she's not been in the church for a while. But she still believes in everything and hopefully will bring her husband with her into the church again!

M2* is from Burma and is a new. He's Buddhist and is very nice. We gave him the first lesson in Burmese from Preach My Gospel. He has some friends who he said would be interested, so hopefully we'll meet them soon!

J* needed help putting some furniture together, so we did just that! We brought Elder Middlemas with us and we had a great time with each other. J* really appreciates the missionaries and everything we have done for her, and she is also really open to our message. We made a list of short scriptures from the Book of Mormon that she can read and she committed to do it!

R* is a new investigator. He was a previous investigator a while ago, but then his wife got sick and he didn't really want to do anything other than focus on her. We found his record and decided to stop by, and we found out that his wife had passed away about a year ago. It was really hard for him, but he says he know that he will see her again. He doesn't know why, but he has that feeling. So we shared a part of the Plan of Salvation and he really appreciated it. Hopefully we can help him to see what he can do to make sure he's prepared to see her again!

T2* is Burmese and a new investigator. He has a great family and seems open to our message. We also gave him the first lesson in Burmese, so we hope he reads!

T3* was our last lesson of the week. Tommy used to believe in Christianity. We had a really good discussion with him where he told us his story of why he left his faith in God. We established a good friendship, now we just need to find out how we can help him return to the faith he had!

It really was a great week. We taught lots and found lots. We had tons of our investigators say they would come to church, and we were way excited about that because President Sederholm was coming to church on Bornholm! So Saturday evening, Elder Redd got sick and needed to rest, so I began to fast and pray that it would be made possible that our investigators could come to church. I wanted a miracle to happen to show the branch that we could build up the church on Bornholm, because I love this branch so much. So I prayed with all my might and energy of soul.

Then the next day came, the meetings started, and nobody had come. Not one of our investigators. I thought I was going to be a lot more crushed, but a peace had entered into my heart that morning that told me that everything was going to be ok. I also happened to be speaking that Sunday after President Sederholm, but when I stood up to speak I didn't end up giving that talk that I had written. I talked instead about God's will, and I hate to say it but that's when the disappointment and emotions really started to hit me and I lost a bit of control of myself up on that stand. We had worked so hard to get them in church! Why?! Why couldn't they just come and see how good this could be for them?! But after I could regain myself a little, I finished my talk and sat down.

Then President stood back up and went to the stand, and these were the only words he said. He looked at me and said, "Elder Wawro, there are many souls in this room today." Then he sat down. Looking around, there were only about 15 people there, but he wasn't talking about us. The Spirit filled the room and I imagined that very room filled with people one day! But then, right then, we were in the presence of angels.

I'll always remember that experience. I don't know that we'll see much happen while I'm here. But I'm willing to work and do everything in my power so that one day, maybe just one day, this church on Bornholm will not have space to contain the many people that will want to come hear the word of God. I know it could be like that. It should be like that. We'll do what we can so it will be like that.

You learn many things on a mission, many that you'd never imagine you'd experience.

Well, I love you all! I hope you all have an amazing week, and I'll be praying for you!


-Ældste Wawro

Sunrise from our apartment