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