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