Monday, July 17, 2017

south side! (Week 48, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Mason)

Hey everyone!
First I gotta give some big shoutouts to the homies Issac Berrett and Garrett Cook who are leaving on missions this week! That's so crazy that you are both leaving now! It's come so fast! You'll love it! Also a big happy birthday to my awesome aunt leslie!!!! Today marks 11 months of me being in the United Kingdom, the time seriously gets faster and faster, and with it comes a sense of urgency to the work, because my time out here is so short and I want to do everything I can to make the most of it.

This week was a good one! I did have health issues the entire week, had a super bad cold and etc, but it's all good cuz it didn't stop me from rising and doing the grind out here! We visited Vyyerena again, she's a less active in the ward, and we met with her daughter this time as well, and they both came to church yesterday!! It was so cool to see them both there! We are really gonna be focusing our efforts on them, they are way cool! It was a miracle to see them there, and they were early too! We visited another less active/part member family one night around 8:40 just when we were in the area and it was amazing timing, they are having some family issues at the moment and we set up a time this upcoming week to go do a family home evening with them! We worked most of the week in the southern part of our area in some poorer areas, but wow, the people in those communities are so much humbler and receptive, people will just offer us cold drinks and they'll actually talk to us. 

Do you know that moment when you realise you shouldn't have said something? Well elder Mason had one of those this week, we knocked on this door, and the lady who answered was Muslim and we were talking to her, and elder Mason innocently said "where In the Middle East are you from?" She was born in London...awkward, but she was so nice about it haha. Some guy saw us from a distance and he was one of the biggest grown up chavs I've ever seen, he started yelling at us to see if we were "knocking off" I was beyond confused, but turns out knocking off means ditching school, when he saw we were missionaries he started rapping about us so that's cool. It rained a lot this week, there was one day where I would have been drier in a swimming pool. 

We had interviews with president Leppard which were great as always, he's such a good guy! We also had our district meeting and our district is three people bigger, we now have sisters ackley, Thornton, swasey, wadsworth, and Siri ek. But sister Thornton goes home next week and sister Siri ek and wadsworth are moving to a new area next week but it's a pretty big district right now!

My spiritual thought of the week is about procrastination. Something we all do in different extents. President Henry B Eyring said "There is a danger in the word someday when what it means is “not this day."...The God who gives us each day as a treasure will require an accounting. We will weep, and He will weep, if we have intended to repent and to serve Him in tomorrows which never came or have dreamt of yesterdays where the opportunity to act was past. This day is a precious gift of God. The thought “Someday I will” can be a thief of the opportunities of time and the blessings of eternity." We can apply this in every aspect of our lives. Don't delay improvement and action. I'm gonna borrow something the homie elder wayment whose killing it out in Texas said last week, he said the only two days we can't do anything our yesterday and tomorrow. Be invested in TODAY! Don't wait! Check out the talks "this day" by Henry b eyring, and "your four minutes" by Gary e Stevenson. Thanks for letting me borrow some of that Coop! Happy year mark ๐ŸŽ‰

Have a good week! Go serve some people around you and lift where you stand! And always remember that Elder V loves you!

Elder Varner

Sent from my iPad

pic 1: crossing tracks
pic 2: post-interviews
pic 3: sweet view on a day where i would have been drier in a pool

pic 4: RIP OFF of chick fil a 

Monday, July 10, 2017

did someone say relief society district? (Week 47, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales; Elder Mason)

Family and Friends,

What's good guys! Hope you've all had a great week! Thanks for tuning into another episode! Boy has this week been a fast one, people are right when they say the time just gets faster and faster!

The work has been decent here, it definitely is the roughest area I've been in so far for the work, but that doesn't get us down, we doing the grind day in, day out! We have some promising return appointments for this upcoming week which we are excited about! Thanks for everyone who gave some advice about that faith thing for Axxled! We got to teach him and his brother Hxxoel this past week, and they asked a lot of sincere questions. We ended with a video of Elder Holland bearing his testimony of the Book of Mormon, then we bore our testimonies of its truthfulness and you could totally tell the spirit just punched the room in the face, it was incredible. Instead of questioning our testimonies, they were touched! At the end of the day, it all comes down to actually reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it. If it's true, then we really do have a living prophet on the earth today and the priesthood has been restored and this church really is Christ's church on the earth today, if it isn't true, then this is all false. When we invited someone to read it and pray about it, they asked us "if I get the answer that it isn't true, would that change your opinion or make you reconsider?" Without a moments hesitation I said "no, I've received a witness of the truthfulness of this book, and I can't ever deny this knowledge". It's so important to gain your own testimony of the Book of Mormon and the church rather than relying wholly on someone else's testimony. 

One other really cool experience took place on Saturday while we were traveling to a street that we were gonna work on, we rode past one street which had a potential we had tried stopping by a few times, I felt like we needed to go stop by this guy, but I kind of ignored it, we got further and further from it, and the feeling got stronger, I decided we had to turn back and go. Well the guy, Jxxohn, who we were trying to stop by was home and he let us in, we got to teach him the restoration and invited him to find out for himself by reading and praying, and he was down! I'm so grateful I listened to the spirit!

Nothing else too crazy for the week, no one showed up to football on Friday and we only had a few guys for basketball so we ended up playing a game called "pressure" just like the good ole days with the cousins in AZ and Riverside! Church was good yesterday, I've been trying to take notes during it because it helps me to stay focused and to get the most out of it I can! We had MLC last week in Birmingham which was so cool, president Leppard's trainings always get me excited to go out and work! We are getting a new set of missionaries in our area on Tuesday, two more sisters! So now we are what people would call, a relief society district which means more sisters than Elders! Haha

There was so much good stuff this week in personal study, I wish I could tell you guys all about it, but I'm just gonna share one verse. In Jacob 1 there's a verse that says "Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to ​​​come​ unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his ​​​rest​". As I studied this I thought of all my diligent leaders I was blessed to have as I was growing up. I would not be here if it weren't for AMAZING priesthood leaders, I can't list off all of them because there are too many of them, some including my dad and my uncles, chad boberg, brad cook, bishop hill, dave Buchanan, Danny woofinden, Jeffery bleak, Glenn mehner, Paul cook, Tony hladek, Jon crozier, bro DO, hunter Hartman, and so so so many more. I could write books on each one of these men. I'm so grateful for their friendships and their examples to me. I know I wasn't an easy kid, but I'm so grateful all my leaders never gave up on me, I'm so grateful that they saw more in me than I did, and I'm so grateful for them helping me build and strengthen my testimony. I owe them everything.

Well thanks for reading this book. To the brotha Tyler and my uncle Kraig, happy birthday! Hope you all have a legen-wait for it, and I hope you're not lactose intolerant (I might be) because the next word is-DARY, LEGENDARY week!!!! Love you guys! Don't fredette it!

Elder Varner

Sent from my iPad

pic 1: cool bridge with old church out in the distance
pic 2: scooby doo, where are you?!
pic 3: cardiff BABY!!!
pic 4: the homie holbrook
pic 5: elder terry!
pic 6: reunion with the old comp, sinclaire
pic 7: bowen!
pic 8: random iguana guy we found
pic 9: fourth of july!
pic 10: no caption

pic 11: just for you guys ;)

Monday, July 3, 2017

the build up! (Week 46, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Mason)

Hey guys!

Thanks for tuning into another one of these emails! I know that they can be long sometimes but it means a lot that you're taking the time to read this! This has to have been one of the fastest weeks of my mission! It's not that a ton of cool stuff happened, but we worked really hard and I know that this area is better off for the last week of work we did!

We are starting to work with two part member/less active families! One less active lady named Vyyerena, from Germany, is super cool, we are gonna try to start meeting with her whole family in the upcoming week or two! We are also gonna start working with a family that formerly investigated the church who are from South Africa, they are really cool, just very busy but they want us to reteach them, more to come there! Lots of knocking doors as well this past week, we found a lot of people who want us to come back but only time will tell if they are really interested. We had a really good lesson with Axxled. He's got a Protestant background, so he has a lot of questions and concerns but they are all very genuine questions, it really is gonna come down to him reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. He has issues with how we believe that faith alone won't get us to live with God again, and also a few other things, if you have any advice for that hit me up! We had a pretty cool tender mercy yesterday as well, none of our investigator friends came to church but out of nowhere a really cool less active named Pxxaul who we've been visiting showed up, he's way cool, he used to be a professional boxer and he's gonna teach us some moves and feed us some curry later this week!

I ate chicken feet this week, which was probably the weirdest thing I've had to eat on my mission, it actually wasn't bad, just super spicy. We got to go to city centre to do some finding before a dinner appointment which was fun, it's cool to see so many people and get to talk to a ton of them about the gospel, plus you have every type of person in that kind of setting. We got some fresh Welsh cakes as well ๐Ÿ‘Œthere was one day where we had two meal appointments which might sound good but it sucked cuz I was so full going into the second one which was only a few hours later. 

For last pday we went to Caerphilly Castle, which is one of the biggest castles in Europe, it was so cool!! I'll try to attach some pictures, but due to some technical difficulties today I might send them next week.

Basketball and football were pretty fun this week. The basketball is amazing here, we had a legit competitive 5v5 this week, and I probably did one of the coolest things I've ever done in a game. I drained back to back to back deep 3's and leading up to one of them I got a steal, one of a few. It was a pretty sweet game! 

This week for personal study featured step 3 of the ARP Manuel which is to Trust in God. It was such a good section! I would highly recommend studying that Manuel to anyone who wants to draw closer to Jesus Christ! Step 3 talks a lot about turning our will to God's will. It also says "As Elder Maxwell observed, this submission to the Lord is hard doctrine. It requires us to rededicate ourselves to His will at the start of each day and sometimes every hour or even from moment to moment. As we are willing to do so, we find the grace, or enabling power, to do what we could not do for ourselves.
Continued submission to God’s will reduces strife and brings more meaning to our lives". Turning over our agency, which is the most meaningful thing we could give to God, doesn't limit us, but it actually enlarges our ability to choose for ourselves and makes us more free. Christ said himself, whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for Christ will find it.

Happy bday to the homie ethan thompson and grandma Jayne! Have a good week guys! I love you all! Look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not, fear not

Elder Varner


Monday, June 26, 2017

gypsies on the run and go! (week 45 Rhibwina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Mason)

Hey everyone!

Thanks for tuning into another session from across the pond! This week had its high highs and some low lows but I made it out alive and stronger for it which is what's important!

The work was so rough this week, we were taking L's left and right whether it be investigators dropping us or just at door steps. We had a few solid restoration lessons this last week though. I always feel the spirit as I testify of the restoration of the gospel, even when people reject us or try to bash with us (which happened a few times this week). One guy said to me "I bet I know more about your religion than you do", and that got me frustrated because some people have a totally false idea on what we believe. 

My health hasn't been the greatest this week, I've had some of the nausea stuff come back this week more, but I think I just ate something that was bad so hopefully I'll feel better soon. I always hold onto that lyric that reads "I believe that there is light up ahead". I know things always get better, we just gotta keep on hoping and doing all we can do.

We had some absolutely LIT sports nights this week. Basketball on Saturday night was unreal! We had a nice 5v4 game going on and I was hitting some deep threes ๐Ÿ‘Œbut the real craziness happened on Friday night at football. We were at a park near city centre playing football and out in the distance we saw some horses with chariots, six of them with a bunch of teenagers/young adults in them, they started riding through our field and at first I thought it was all fun and games but then a few of them started trying to run over some of us, one of them jumped out and took one of our footballs and rode off. And another was about to run over my bag which had my iPad in it, until one of our guys lifted up his chariot to save my bag. Well that guy's friends weren't too happy about that. They all jumped off and were swearing at us and threatening us and me and one of the young men got pretty far away by that point, eventually it all got calmed down because we all just walked away. Later on, the cop's started chasing them through the city. If you didn't get that, here's what I want to say in a few words: gypsies are real and they're worse than chavs. 

This week I've been trying to work a lot on the Christlike attribute of charity and love. In Moroni 7:47-48 it reads "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ". I know that as you pray and ask god to help you see others as he sees them that you'll be blessed with charity. I've felt that love so much this week as I've tried harder to serve others and as I've prayed for it. The world needs more charity.

Happy birthday to my grandpa Bill and my cuz Mack! Love you two! And I love you all! Have a good week and go serve some people!

Elder Varner

pic 1: cardiff city centre babyyyy!!!
pics 2-6: zone conference ft. clayton, smith, clauboux
pic 7: random rivers

pic 8: cardiff bay!

Monday, June 19, 2017

croeso i cymru! (Week 44 Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales - Elder Mason)

Fellow BYU fans! What the heck is up?! Thanks for tuning into another episode across the pond! This last week has been a weird one to say the least! There were some high highs and some lower lows, it is so hard to leave an area. Honestly I thought it was hard leaving Swansea, but leaving Wylde Green was even harder, I'm so grateful for everyone in that ward, it really did become home to me and I made some amazing friends there, but I'm sure I'll grow to love this ward as well! Wales can't get enough of me I guess! And I've been out for ten months now! The time is flying!

Boy am I happy to have been transferred to Wales at least! The people here are so nice, even when they reject us they are nice. One guy yesterday opened the door and said he wasn't interested but he'd be more than happy to give us an ice cream bar. The people are just pleasant here. 

I managed to work my way over from Birmingham and switch platforms twice with two suitcases AND a bike, I definitely won a medal for that. Nah, only reason I was able to do that were some super helpful people that God sent my way to help me, I have no doubt about it that He sent angels my way to help me! I was greeted by elder Mason and we got straight to business! This area is so clutch! We have a university on the border of our area that we are gonna start using and the people are so friendly. The sun has been shining like crazy this week as well! It's been a warm welcome back to Wales indeed, literally it's like burning. 

We've had a lot of success for this first week of the transfer! We are currently building up a pool of people to work with, one of which accepted a baptismal invitation for the 29th of July! His name is Txxommy! We have a lot of work to do with him and the others so stay tuned. Every Friday is football Friday out here so we played some fรบtbol last Friday, I am still straight garbage at it, but it's all good cuz I redeemed myself at basketball, which we play every Saturday night. We got a nice 4v4 going, I only had church shoes to wear to it (semi-long/boring story) but I still balled out with some nice mid range drainage. We are like a 2 minute walk from the chapel so we are gonna start going a few mornings every week to ball out for an hour!

Just one other cool experience: so we went to visit the Gould family the day after I got here. They are members in the ward, and their 33 year old son passed away from cancer two weeks ago, leaving behind a wife and three kids. We were talking with brother and sister gould and as they asked about my family, I got to share a bit of my experience with my mom passing away. They asked me questions about how I dealt with it, if it ever gets better, and we just had a real heart to heart convo. Tears were shed as we shared testimonies. I shared with them D&C 130:2 which is all about eternal families. At the end of our visit, he asked me with tears in his eyes "do you think you were sent here to help us through this?" I've got such a strong testimony that  Jesus Christ leads not only his church, but his missionaries, I know that he inspired President Leppard to send me here and that the Gould family is one of the reasons I'm here. We attended their son's funeral, which had over 600 people present, on Saturday and brother Gould told me that he was so grateful that I'm here to help them through this. I've had some of my most spiritual and emotional experiences in the last week. 

This week for my personal studies featured chapter 2 of the ARP Manuel which is all about hope. Having hope that Jesus Christ can really heal us and cleanse us from sin and hope that we can live with our families and god again. In it, it used a scripture I loved! It's alma 32:27, which says "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." Gaining a testimony and strong faith can come from even simply a desire. I know that my testimony came simply from a hope that my family could live together forever, and that hope grew into what now is my testimony. Alma 32 is such a beast chapter as well!

mae'n ddrwg gennym ar gyfer yr hir e-bost! cael da wythnos! Rwyf wrth fy modd i chi guys! edrych at Grist ym mhob meddwl, amheuaeth beidio, nac ofna 

Elder Varner

side note: for the last sentence, translation errors may occur due to google translate

Sent from my iPad

pics 1-3: last pday ft the homie hill and a fam pic
pic 4-7: farewells to the ogradys and pj/sonia, the moreton fam, and the owens
pic 8: duces kinard!
pic 9: reunion with miner before he flies back to the promised land!
pic 10: sweet golf course we live near

pic 11: in the front, the homies kinnunen and langi, in the back we got your boy DV and elder mason