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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Blast-To-The-Past

Zone Training
This week could definitely be considered one of the more abnormal ones since my time here on Bornholm. Most of our week was spent up in Copenhagen from Sunday until Wednesday evening, and then Thursday is the service day.. Yet! The Lord always seems to bless us with more than I sometimes feel like we deserve. But let's start with our first few days in Copenhagen!

We were lucky enough to be on splits with the Assistants, Zone Leaders, and our District Leader this round at Zone Training which was a nice refresher because really we aren't able to have opportunities for splits on the island. Even with our district leader we generally don't have any time at all. But on Sunday evening we were with the assistants and were able to stop by a lot of people in the city and set up some appointments. Elder Oakey and Elder Child are some great missionaries. I really appreciate everything they've done for us.

After our P-Day on Monday I was able to be in Gladsaxe 2 Ward area in Copenhagen again with Ældste Metcalf! It was a Blast-To-The-Past moment for sure. We were able to stop by some of the people we taught together and it reminded me how much I appreciated out time together. The best was that we were able to stop by the couple we first met right before I left for Bornholm. They have been progressing so well and told me flat out that God sent us to them to help them understand more about Him. And to think they both were self-proclaimed atheists when we found them! We explained a lot about the church and the Prophet, and then I was able to play "I Am a Child of God" on the piano for them because they heard that I liked to play the piano. It was such a good appointment, I just hope so much that they take the next step and accept it all!

Splits were great as well with Birkerød missionaries! We were able to spend some time both with Ældste Clawson and Ældste Brindley. I really admire both of those missionaries, and it was especially great to see how much Ældste Brindley has grown since our time together in Randers! It was especially special to see the newly baptized member we taught Margaret again. I cannot believe how much that woman has changed since I first met her on the road in Ordrup. How different would her life be now if I had actually decided to stop teaching her like I initially thought I should?! Her life is changed for the better. She wrote a poem, actually, for me, and it means a ton. The missionaries have shown her love that she hasn't experienced from her friends or even her family. I'm so happy that I could have been a part of this experience that really shows how the Gospel has the power to transform absolutely EVERYONE!

The ferry ride, luckily, was much better than the one to Copenhagen. No sea-sickness this time around! We had some interesting lessons, though, back on the island.   We met with a couple who have been long-time friends of the missionaries but while they haven't committed to join the Church, but still love the missionaries. We, especially Ældste Redd, was having some great feelings from our training about focusing more on commitments with them and maybe something would happen to soften their hearts.

Our meeting with them definitely ended up being too long, though, and we had lost track of the time. That was unfortunate because we weren't able to talk as much about the commitments as we wanted to because we were already going to be late home. But we found out a big concern she has about prayer and trying to force your religion on others. But something changed as she noticed the sincerity of our efforts. She then was able to make a connection about how she, as a nurse, tries to get some people to get tests and examinations that could very well save their lives, but they're not willing to do it because of money, time, fear, etc. She wants them so much to see how important this could be to their health and, possibly, their survival! But they're sometimes not even willing to give it a second thought. I feel like when she was able to make that connection, it really softened her heart. We told her that she needed to just try, and then she could discern if it really was something that could help her.

The other appointment I'd like to talk about was with our two new investigators we found this week. One was a woman who was a previous member of the church and is married to a non-member. We found their record tucked away in an old binder and it had no address or number on it. Generally, I would completely discard a record like that because there's no way to contact them and there was only one lesson written, but for some reason I had some good feelings about their names. Maybe it's because it was written in pink, I don't know! I saw that Ældste Clawson was on the drop status and so I called him up and asked how we could find them. He told me relatively where they were and so Ældste Redd and I went on the search!

We looked through quite a few apartment complexes until we finally saw their names on one of the post-boxes. When they answered the door, they looked quite surprised, but were very friendly and let us in. As we approached our meeting with them I wondered if they would be good kingdom builders for the Rønne branch. I remembered Margaret and decided that as long as the Gospel can make a difference in their lives, that would be most important. She actually seems like she still has a testimony of the church, for sure that God is her loving Heavenly Father. Her husband is still searching for who God is. We ended up having a great conversation and Ældste Redd actually knows one of the missionaries that helped her get baptized a long time ago! So that was also quite the "coincidence." *cough, miracle, cough.* We have a return appointment and I have high hopes for them!

Ældste Redd and I have lots of people to teach, but I don't feel like many people that are progressing as much as we would like. We really need to find more investigators. So look forward for us to follow up next Monday on how that goes! There's great potential here, they just need to be found.

I'm so glad that Casey's talk went as well as it did. I hope some of the things I sent helped! That's also so funny that you think Ældste Redd sounds like Robert from “Everybody Loves Raymond.” I can totally hear it now!

I'm realizing that I am really going to have to start making some money when I get back for school. So I was thinking about starting giving piano lessons. It's seems like a great idea to me and it also makes it so I can choose my own schedule that can fit around my classes and also that I can get start ASAP when I return! So if you could find out sometime if there is anyone that would be interested in that, let them know that I'd be interesting in giving their kids piano lessons.

I love you all and miss you a ton! Have a great week!


-Ældste Wawro

P.S. - Enjoy the picture of our ferry, Povl Anker, as it was pulling out of port last Sunday during the storm. This picture was in the newspaper on Bornholm.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat!

Stormy Baltic Sea
This was how the sea looked right before
we left port yesterday for Copenhagen
I am currently writing from the big city, Copenhagen! We have our zone training tomorrow so we needed to come up. But, you see, a giant storm came and hit the island. Everything was closed down Saturday and most everyone was just staying indoors. All the ferries were also cancelled except for one on Sunday at 12:30, so we decided to take that what just in case the ferries got cancelled the next day and we wouldn't be able to make it to our Zone Training.

This was us on the boat at sea.
Let me just say, the waters in the Baltic were the roughest I'd ever seen! Generally its way calm, but this storm really shook things up a bit! It was bad enough that we couldn't take the usual ferry and had to take a different boat that's a lot older. This boat takes 2 h 45 min to cross the water opposed to the usual 1 h 20 min. And guess what that meant about the ferry ride? That's right, people were throwing up left and right. It was like being on a roller coaster for over 2 1/2 hours straight! Poor Elder Redd got way seasick and went through 3 bags of throw-up that I had to throw away for him because he couldn't stand.
Poor Elder Redd ready with his throw-up bag. :(
Luckily, I didn't get to sick, but this family right next to us at the beginning of the trip thought it was a smart idea to buy a bunch of fries and burgers to eat! Needless to say, that family had easy over ten bags of regurgitated food. But! We survived and all is well on Zion. You can see a short clip of us out on sea at the beginning on my Google+.

Google + video

We actually had quite a few lessons this past week. We would have had a ton, because on Saturday we had 6 lessons planned, but all except for 2 were cancelled because of the terrible storm that hit! But we'll just have to catch them at some different point in time.

The 4 appointments I would like to talk most about are these:

*N and *K had us over and told us to bring the Middlemas's as well. These people really need God in their lives. They've already made some huge changes so that they can gain full custody of their children again, but so much more would change if they found a strong faith in Christ. *K actually does believe in God and always has, although it's been a more passive belief. Our appointment focused on God's plan and purpose as well as the role of Jesus Christ in fulfilling God's purpose. We were able to answer a lot of their questions and concerns and you could definitely feel the Spirit in there. If anything, I strongly believe we can help them see how much they can be blessed by incorporating God more into their lives.

We had a day spent in Gudhjem to visit *L and *S as well as *I. *S is the one who played guitar with me at the Christmas Party. Our good friend Frants Bøving was with and both appointments were great! We talked about repentance with Lis and Steen and they told us that they would come to church with us. Unfortunately, because of the storm they couldn't make it. Then with Ivan, our investigator who was a sailor, we talked about the Restoration. He already believed completely in the Apostasy. We had to end right before the First Vision, so he has something to look forward to next time.

*E is a less active that has some doctrinal questions about Joseph Smith. He really likes us missionaries, though, and even though our appointment was Saturday night and it was storming outside, he made us dinner! We then talked about the church and he expressed more of his concerns. I think he appreciates that we are listening to him and not just trying to rebuttal him. We gave some explanations to some of his concerns, and then we invited him to come to church. We told him that Elder Redd was speaking and that we would both be singing a musical number together. He said he'd think about it, but he didn't have his car at the moment so he would have to walk in the storm the next day. I personally didn't have super high hopes that he would come, but I sure prayed that he would.

Sacrament meeting came and there were no investigators or less-actives there. The storm must have kept them all from coming. Elder Middlemas stood up and then said, "There were some investigators that should have been here today, and because of the storm they were kept from enjoying coming to church. We need to remember to constantly pray that we can get the missionaries investigators to church because we need them!" Then the meeting continued on. Right at the end of the first talk, the door opens and in walks *E! The rest of the meeting turned out to be a very spiritual one, and we could tell that *E was touched by it. It just goes to show, when you put faith and prayer together, miracles do happen!

I think there is some good progress being made here on Bornholm. We do need to find some new investigators, so we'll do better at planning more finding time, but the area has some great potential. We just need some more faith and prayers that miracles will happen because oh how we need more members in the branch!

I'll let you know how this next week goes. We're going to be in Copenhagen until Wednesday evening, so we'll probably have some adventures to talk about. I love you all so much and hope you have a great week!


-Ældste Wawro

Happy New Year

Bornholm is famous for having round churches.
This is one is called Nylarskirke and we biked by it on the way to Aakirkeby
Happy New Years everyone!!!

I can't believe that it's's crazy. 2014 was the only year that I spent entirely in the service of the Lord as a missionary! It's actually pretty sad that think that that came to a close. But I'm sure 2015 has a lot of adventures in store for us!

Happy Birthday Dad! You're the best ever and I hope that your birthday was an eventful one!

New Years Day was spent with the Mogensens, as you probably could have guessed, and it was so much fun! We played boardgames and watched all of the fireworks, and they even shot off some of their own as well! You can probably remember from last year, the fireworks are crazy here! Well, it was just a way fun evening and great way to close 2014!

Elder Redd and I are having a great time on Bornholm. It was a little bit hard to get in contact with a lot of our investigators because of the New Year, but I'm expecting this next week we're going to have some great success! This week started off with a visit with *E. I feel way sorry for the guy because he's let his desire to drink alcohol destroy his testimony. He keeps bringing all this stuff up about Joseph Smith and how the church can't be true because of what he's done, but deep down I feel like he knows it's true. He's just trying to feel justified in his breaking the commandments. But I do feel like we're starting to build a friendship with him. He is a nice guy, just a little lost.

So, Elder Redd and I decided one day that we were going to bike from our apartment to Aakirkeby to work. It's about a 16 km bike ride, so it takes a bit to get there. And boy, was it windy. It was way nice and beautiful bike ride from Rønne to Aakirkeby. The sun was shining, the strong wind was on our backs. There were times where I literally didn't need to peddle the wind was pushing me so hard!

We biked to some members and had a great talk with them and then biked a little bit farther out from Aakirkeby to meet a previous investigator named Jens Knudsen. He was a way nice guy, and just about as bornholmsk as you can get! He has a family and just seems to be a great father. We talked for a while, but it was late in the evening and we still needed to bike home, so we didn't get to talk too much. But we did get to pray with him and I feel like it did make an impact. We'll have to see how positive he really is in the future.

But unfortunately, by the time we got out it was already 8:30 P.M. and we weren't even back to Aakirkeby. Let me just say, the bike ride home was not quite as beautiful and enjoyable as the earlier ride. It was dark, cold, and the wind that was carrying us was now against us the entire ride home! The normal wind speed was around 47 km/hr with gusts up to 60 km/hr against us the entire way home! We biked for 45 minutes with times where Elder Redd and I literally were almost blown off of our bikes and found ourselves only halfway home in Lobbæk. So, we decided we needed to put our pride away and call the Middlemas's to pick us up. We parked our bikes at the Mogensens and got picked up. Ha, though it was miserable then, looking back it was kind of funny to picture us riding against that wind uphill. But we're survivors!

Ældste Middlemas came with us to an appointment yesterday with *N and *K and it turned out fantastic! We showed them the "Because of Him" video and got talking about new beginnings and the end of the old life because of the New Years. It was such a good discussion and they really seemed to appreciate it. You could really feel the Spirit in the room as we talked and answered questions. Not going to lie, they have a long ways to go, but I do think that they have great potential.

That's all the exciting stuff from this week! Elder Redd and I are having a great time together and really enjoying serving together! I love you all and have a great week!

-Ældste Wawro

P.S. - We biked by Nylarskirke on our way to Aakirkeby.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Glædelig Jul - 2014!

Merry Christmas Everyone and a Happy New Year! Thank you to everyone that sent letters, gifts, etc. They all were so greatly appreciated!!

I really can't believe 2014 is coming to a close. It's really flown by so quickly, yet so many things have happened. It's pretty hard to believe that in 2014 I've been in Randers, Odense, Copenhagen, and now on Bornholm. 2014 will always be my mission year; the only full year spent serving a full time mission.

"Rodger Buckethead"
The Square Snowman we built on Christmas Day!
It was so great to see you on skype on Christmas! The Mogensen girls just kept talking about how nice and awesome you all were! It's crazy that that's the last time that we'll be skyping, but I don't know that that's really hit me yet. The Mogensens really made Christmas great for Ældste Horrocks and I. They gave us great gifts, great food, and showed great love to us. We love the Mogensens!  We also experienced the Christmas miracle of receiving our first snow on Christmas Day! And ever since then, it's been snowy and cold! But we were so happy for the snow!

So, I'm here in the Church with Ældste Redd now! Transfers were crazy, we had to leave Sunday evening on the ferry to Sweden and then Monday morning Ældste Redd and I had like 6 hours in Copenhagen with all of his luggage. So we decided to rent a locker out and walk down Strøget to see if there were any great after Christmas Sales. And boy was there ever! I found my post-mission suit and its ssoooooooooo nice! And because it was during the January sales which are crazy in Denmark, I got it for even less money than either of my suits from Mr. Mac! So now it's sitting in my closet being stored away until that future day comes.

But I almost lost Ældste Redd in Sweden! We needed to seperate so that he could ride his bike onto the ferry, like I had to do, but the people forgot to tell him to get on with the cars and started to leave him behind until he yelled out to them to not forget him! He was the very last person onto the ferry, and I was freaking out because it was time for the ferry to take off and he still wasn't on! But luckily we are both here, safely, on the island. I can already tell we're going to have a great time and look forward to the miracles that are going to happen!

Because of the Christmas season it was easy to stop by people and just drop off Christmas cards to make them happy. We stopped by the elderly in the branch and they were very appreciative about that. We even had a couple people that were referrals from Copenhagen to me that we were able to visit, drop off cards, and give them a "He is the Gift" card as well!

We also had the great opportunity to go to S1 and S2 for a birthday dinner for Elder Horrocks. There were a lot of guests there that we got to talk to. Unfortunately, most of them lived in Copenhagen, but hopefully some missionaries can find them in the future. Anyway, S1 had read Moroni 10 which led to a great discussion with everyone there about God, spiritual gifts, and the church in general. Then, as we were leaving, S1 shared with us about how our discussions about prayer have made a big impact in her life and she was so grateful for that. I have high hopes for S1.

The 24th of December turned out to be a miracle. Let's just say, just about everything went wrong. We had to have everything moved out of the old house by that day and Knud was already stressed. The oven started smoking and the food didn't turn out right. Some of us were sick. It all kind of climaxed when we left to see a gudstjeneste [worship service] with the Mogensens and their dog, Sandy, broke into a cupboard and ate 500 kr. worth of candy, all of the candy to fill the kid’s stockings with the next morning. Everyone was frustrated, irritated, and just kind of down. We all surrounded the table to eat, and Knud decided that he wanted to be the one to say the prayer. He started to pray, paused, and then started to break down into tears as he asked God to help us remember what Christmas really was about and asked him to watch after his two sons out on missions. It was so powerful, and from that point on everyone was just smiles, laughs, and having a good time with each other. I'm still not entirely sure how it happened, but we were able to remember the Spirit of Christmas and it ended up being the best Christmas I've ever had. I learned that Christ can always find place in our hearts if we are but willing to let him in. Any situation can change if we just remember him.

Next time we write it will be 2015! I wish you the best New Years ever and love you all!!


-Ældste Wawro