Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good Mis·sion·ar·y week

Dear Family,

It's wonderful hearing from you guys, I always look forward to your emails and letters.
This week was pretty cool. Last Monday on P-Day I got to go to a golf course and play golf for the very first time in my life. I sucked at it but still it was legit. Today we actually are going to go to the driving range so I will be able to practice my swing. The members here spoil us, lol. The P-Day ended at 6:00 p.m. and that same night we went to members’ home for a very nice dinner.  Bonus: I was asked to give the blessing that evening – my very first Priesthood blessing. KOOL:)

We did not get any new investigators, which sucks! I love meeting new people, and talking to them comes much easier with every passing day and every new experience.  I am still not talkative in the sense that I let people who like to talk a lot do the talking.

Jonathon, the gentleman who was close to baptism, is finished with the lessons as of Friday. We have finished Lesson 4 about the commandments. He says he still wants to get baptized but wants to wait a while. So we'll continue working with him, meet with him regularly and help him understand the importance of making and keeping covenants and how we receive blessing by exercising our faith.

We also met twice last week with children of Sister from our Ward who are preparing to be baptized. It is really awesome when we have an opportunity to teach them because they LOVE to learn. Roy talks about how he wants to be a missionary when he will grow up, and his sister Marie, is just so smart. They love God so much, now all we can do is pray and hope their father allows them to be baptized and to use their agency.

Thank you for your letters and your love, I appreciate it dearly. Dad, that story that you just sent me in your last email was awesome and it was just what I needed as we work with a less active member and his non-member wife. He has trouble understanding and retaining information so I will use this story and some scriptures to illustrate in a simple way the importance of learning line upon line and precept upon precept. WOW that’s so amazing thank you so much for that story. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Mom, please don’t worry I will remember to take with me all my belongings during transfers (promise:).  As for my needs, I don’t need anything at this time, I'm healthy and having a blast …ok, you can send little something for Easter.
Make sure to tell Taylor Marriott waaaasssssss uuuuppppp!!!!! from me. I'm glad to hear he is doing well. Tell him that I'm proud of him, that he is a great kid and a good example to me and to keep up the good work.

Have a great week and say Hi to everyone for me.

Love ya'll,
Elder Wawro

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

'Greene' mistakes

Dear Family,

Last week was very good and productive! …and I definitely enjoyed it.  We have been experiencing very good whether here in Jackson  …like today, the temperature is in the 80's.  Wow my companion and I are very lucky. We might actually go golfing today for Preparation Day and we just got back from Don Panchos, nice Mexican Restaurant here in Jackson.

This last Tuesday we have had District Meeting which I really enjoyed. My companion who is the District Leader prepared a really good learning experience for me and the rest of the Elders and Sisters. I enjoyed the role plays that we got to do with the other missionaries because it helps a young missionary like myself who still at times depends on his senior companion and trainer for suggestions and tips.

I’s been fun learning from my companion because he definitely knows what he is doing and is always willing to provide really good pointers …and that surely helps me to become a better missionary.

So this past week we have taught a lot of the second lessons (The Plan of Salvation), during which I frequently forgot to talk about the ‘Fall of Adam’.  Typical ‘greene’ mistake, so I guess I have an excuse  ….no I'm just kidding:). Hopefully as I continue to have opportunities to teach the second lesson more I will become more comfortable and teach better. But it is all a learning process and that’s what makes it fun. Because no matter how long (or short) you have been on your mission there is always something you can learn.

I am excited because during this week’s personal study I decided to concentrate in depth on the Atonement and why it was necessary that Christ died for us.  So it will be a very good spiritual experience. I was actually inspired to do this by a talk me and my companion listened to during companionship studies a few weeks back. The talk was given by Doctor Skousen a long time ago. But it is AWESOME!

So we had some good teaching opportunities this last week and I am excited for the next couple of days as we will have opportunities to teach some of the people we have recently met. We have an investigator right now that we are teaching, just a great guy and we will be teaching him lesson four this Wednesday. We also have some really cool less actives that we are teaching and visiting with, and hopefully they start coming back to church because that’s where they belong. I do not know what it is but the people in the south are just so cool. They are kind, service oriented and just great to be around.   The Little Rock, Arkansas mission is the best.

Wow I am sad to hear that Sacramento could possibly be flooded, I will definitely keep all of you in Sacramento in my prayers. I know that if the Lords will be that there should be no flood than it will not happen. Remember that the Lord will not give you a trial that you cannot overcome. So have faith.

I love you all so much!!!! And I am grateful for all your support!!!  The Lord has blessed me with so many great experiences and I am grateful for them all.

Oh, I almost forgot. I still get fed every day, I'm a lucky dog. I still have plenty of money on the visa card mom. Please do not send the Easter package until I tell you because the next P-Day I will find out if I am getting transferred or not, so I'll tell you where to send it then.  Also I will get you pictures next week.  The article you sent me was phenomenal, what an inspiring conversion story.

Love ya'll,
Elder Wawro

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Only in the South:)

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I needed them and will still need them as I try to do my best. Also, thanks for the news update on the missionaries in Japan, I know it must have been crazy for their families back home.

Before I forget, our apartment number is 817, the 817 in ‘Trace Drive’ is the apartment number. Sorry for the confusion, the address looks like an address for a house.

So we did not experience much success this week:-(  I’ve had my first Zone Conference, meeting that encompasses a couple of Districts that make up a Zone. It was great. President Drewes gave a wonderful message about loving our neighbors as ourselves. He gave many references in the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price. I had never realized that loving our neighbors was a commandment just like, ‘thou shalt not steal’, or ‘thou shalt not commit adultery’ and that this commandment isn't to love thy neighbor when it is convenient for you but ALWAYS.  I love reading in the New Testament, in the book of Matthew Chapter 22 verses 36 – 40 where Christ answering peoples question ‘what is the greatest commandment’ without flinching and without them asking him says "and the second is like unto it ……" emphasizing how important loving our neighbors really is (second to the first commandment by like a millimeter:).  It is a principle that I will definitely try to implement and live by a lot more during my mission and hope to carry it through out my life. Even though Zone Conference was from about 8:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. it went by really fast and we (I) have learned so much.

My Sacrament meeting talk as well as Elder Andersen’s talks went well. I spoke on ‘My Purpose’ which is the first chapter in ‘Preach My Gospel’, and related it to the purpose of members and their roles as missionaries and what they can do to fulfill their roles. My companion spoke on the ‘Restoration’ and the ‘Book of Mormon’.

I would encourage you guys and everyone who reads this email to get a copy of ‘Preach My Gospel’ and study and read through it in personal study, family study and during family home evenings. It can be useful even outside of a mission. The doctrine and principles taught from the first chapter to the last can be used and applied in our everyday lives. So I would encourage you to do this and I know if you do it, than you will see a renewed take on the gospel and missionary work in general.

Our investigator Jonathon who is the closest to baptism right now, was in Arizona all of last week, which meant we did not have an opportunity to teach him the last lesson. No one else is progressing, so no one right now would be worth mentioning, but I keep hoping (and praying) that there will be some success around the corner.

It was kind of sad yesterday. Elder Andersen and I went to sister in the Ward. She is divorced and has two children both just over the baptism age. Both children want to be baptized but their dad who they live with will not allow them to. It is so sad because they both have a testimony that the Church is true and they just love to learn about the gospel, so maybe sometime soon their dad will soften his heart and allow them to enter the waters of baptism.

Anyway, here is a funny story; well at least I think it’s funny. So as you already know my companion is a District Leader which means that sometimes we have to go on splits with some of the missionaries in our District. One day we went on splits with the missionaries from Trenton, a little town in Tennessee north of Jackson. As we were driving down the streets of Trenton, I noticed that the residential area speed limit signs are at 31 mph all around this little city.  I had never seen a speed limit like this in my life. Here is the funny part.   Elders from Trenton told me that apparently the 31 mph speed limit came about because the wife of City Mayor got a speeding ticket for going over the speed limit on a street with a speed limit of 30mph. Now take a second and guess how fast she was driving   ........you got it 31 mph, so in consequence she got her husband to legally change all the 30 mph speed limit signs to 31mph.  Haha:), only in the South.

Wow, I am so incredibly excited for Jordan Barrett. He will have a blast and it will undoubtedly be the best experience of his life. Oh my gosh, I’m super excited right now. Tell him congratulations for me!
Please send my best wishes to Brother Call, well I guess President Call now. He will be a great Elders Quorum President.

Once again thanks for all the updates and for keeping me posted on stuff. I hope you guys have a wonderful week!   And Remember... I LOVE YOU!

Elder Wawro

Monday, March 7, 2011

'Up and down' week

Dear Family,
So I have had an up and down week just recently and my companion and I will try to be much more productive.

The highlight of the week came when on Thursday the Zone Leaders came on exchanges with me and my companion. So I spent all of Thursday with Elder Badger who really taught me how to be a better teacher. We actually ended up receiving 3 new investigators total from just tracting South Jackson. Than later that night Elder Badger and I had a good experience with a part-member family. The husband is a member but less active and his wife is Baptist. Although at this time she does not agree with our church on everything, she is very nice to the missionaries and admires them. But anyways, at the end of our visit with them she was present when we were reading from Jacob Chapter 2 with her husband and she took part in some of the discussions and conversations we had with him, so I felt prompted to give her the Restoration pamphlet before we left and now we will be back to teach them the lessons, starting Thursday:).

We are currently teaching a man named Jonathon. I actually never have gotten to teach him yet because they taught the first 2 lessons before I got here and the next time we had a chance to teach him was when we were on exchanges, which sucks. It’s so cool because he wants to be baptized and he knows the Book of Mormon is true but he just does not want to put a time table on his baptism yet. So pretty soon we will be able to go back and teach him lesson 4 and hopefully he will commit to a baptismal date.

So you know how mom loves brick houses well, in the rich neighborhoods here in Jackson all the houses are made of brick and they are so beautiful. Mom you should be jealous! Their front yards are like 10 times bigger than our back yard.

I love you guys so much, and I will try very hard to find a ways with the help of the Lord to get my companion more motivated so that I don't end up slacking off with him:).
I wish you all great week and much success in everything  …say Hi to everyone in the Ward for me.
Elder Wawro

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My first area ...Jackson, Tennessee

Dear Family,
Before I forget, here is my address, 817 Trace Drive, Jackson Tennessee 38305. We live in a nice apartment complex but the apartment is not so pretty because it has been poorly maintained:-(.

My very first night here in Jackson, Elder Andersen and I got a referral to visit a sister in the Ward. Very nice lady who lives with her mom. We blessed her home and left her with a copy of the Book of Mormon and then we went back and visited her on Friday and brought her a copy of the “Finding Faith in Christ” DVD.  Unfortunately because she is not mentally stable enough to understand anything about the Restoration or about the Book of Mormon we will meet with her sometimes and just read with her but she is not an investigator.

WOW!!!!!!!!! The members here in Jackson feed the missionaries. Every night so far we had dinner. One family let the missionaries use their computers for emailing to family and we can use their washers and dryers for which they supply all the detergent and dryer sheets:).  Every Monday they take the missionaries to a Mexican restaurant.  On Friday, one of the sisters in the Ward, who is a manager of the local Steakhouse restaurant, let us eat for free whatever we want. So this past Friday, for an appetizer we got sweet potato fries which comes with a caramel dipping sauce. Oh my goodness, one of the best tasting things I have ever had, you guys should be very jealous. They also have great ribs. So, as long as I stay in Jackson, I'll never go hungry:)

The Ward here in Jackson is very small, probably 1/4 of the size of our ward, but that is because they have more than 250 inactive members. WOW. So reactivation plays a big part of our role here in the Ward.  Elder Andersen and I attended the PEC for the first time here this past Sunday. In  two weeks me and my companion as well and the Ward Mission Leader will be speaking in sacrament meeting about the missionary work, specifically, focusing on how to find people to teach, the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. And you might like this next piece of information, the Bishop of the Jackson (TN) Ward is from Canada.

Remember how we were deciding about which bike to buy, you guys should be very happy we chose theone we did and that it was not as expensive as the other bikes, although mine looks awesome and is PERFECT for a missionary, because I will not be using a bike too much on my mission, which totally sucks. And I will never use the bike here in Jackson for as long as I am with my current companion (Elder Andersen) because he has a dead right eye and he is not allowed to ride a bike or drive a car. So we drive everywhere and your son is the driver, fun stuff. The only time we don’t use the car is when we tract, although we drive the car to the area we will be tracting.
I feel very lucky because President and Sister Drewes are great! They are so spiritual and very caring, which makes the missionaries want to work hard for them. We did not get reimbursed for the cost of luggage, but that is ok because here in Jackson missionaries don’t spend too much money as we get fed every day.

It sucks that Kayla, Ben, or Beth didn’t get into BYU Provo. I thought that Kayla will for sure ...BUMMER. Oh well, they will all have a blast at BYU Idaho and they can all hang out when they get out there. I am very happy for all of them because I know how good BYU Idaho is and they will not regret going to school there.

I am glad to hear that all of you guys are doing great. I hope you guys continue to stay busy and to continue to stay close to Heavenly Father. Good luck with everything back home and remember I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, here are a few picks from the MTC and the field (will send more next week).
Elder Wawro

Goofing up in my room

On the way to the Temple

My MTC District ...kodak moment

Catching ...the vision (or rays:-)

MTC is over

New Missionaries with President and Sister Drewes

First day in Arkansas Little Rock Mission

Hey Family
First off let me say that all of us (myself and the Elders and Sister) arrived safely here in Arkansas.   Oh, is it beautiful!  I am beyond being excited though little nervous. President and Sister Drewes are AWESEOME!
Our Mission is huge and apparently very successful especially as of late.  President Drewes is so cool, he is a total spiritual giant and I will love to serve under him. Sister Drewes is so nice and loving and she is like our mother here  …but don’t worry nothing can replace you guys.

Final thoughts;  I feel safe here and I know I will love to serve these good people here.
Love you guys with all my heart. Be safe.
Elder Wawro