Monday, July 30, 2018

the best two years (Week 101, Stourbridge, England, Elder Kelleher and Elder Wilson)

this week went by way too fast, these two years went by so quickly. i can’t believe this is my last email to you all. but we will get to that later in this email! after pday was over last Monday we went knocking doors and while doing so, the last door opened up and it was a girl named Ayyykile. she said she has just been searching for a church to join and she’d love to have us come by to teach her more. so the next day we went back and taught her the restoration on her doorstep, it was one of the best lessons I’ve been in. 

we went to redditch for an exchange and had loads of great conversations. good touches are where it’s at! we did some service this week, dropped off flyers for a ward activity in the area surrounding the chapel, had a ward pioneer night activity, had district counsel, and more. lots of recognising promptings and getting to act on them, best feeling in the world. 

we met with rob this week as well. he said he’s had an urge to quit drinking tea and coffee and he’s “just rolling with it”. so dope. 

the last two years have been the hardest of my life, but by far the best of my life. ive never been happier, and I know that the happiness I’ve experienced out here is directly related to the fact that my focus has been on the saviour and serving others. for two years, I’ve lost my worldly life, but in return I’ve truly found my life. I now understand my potential as a son of a loving Heavenly Father. For two years I have worn His son’s name on my chest. I’ve been mocked, spit on, and more. Being able to feel a glimpse of the saviour’s life has made me love him so much more. I’m not close to perfect, I’ve still got loads of weaknesses, and I’m grateful I have the rest of my life to work on them. I’m grateful that Jesus Christ has consecrated my efforts out here. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know it with every ounce of me. No matter what we’ve done, we can turn to him for a fresh start. He can comfort us, he can change our hearts if we let him. I love Him and I’ll spend the rest of my life wishing to be back here sharing His love with the people of Britain.

its been real. ill see you guys on Wednesday night at 6:15 at john wayne airport! On the dot! I love you all!

Elder Varner

Sent from my iPad

Monday, July 23, 2018

never trunky!! (Week 100, Stourgridge, England, Elder Kelleher and Elder Wilson)

what a flipping week! this week has been so lit! one of my favourite weeks of the past few transfers!

last Tuesday we went to Harbourne for interviews and I had the opportunity to teach a friend named alex who I taught over a year ago in Wylde green and I taught him with...elder kinard! it was so cool to teach with “my boy” again! i had my departing interview with president hughes, he is such a loving guy, and so is his wife. we talked about a whole range of things and it was just great. we were on a bus back to stourbridge and I had an impression to start talking to the guy next to me. im not going to lie I didn’t really want to, and I was waiting but I had the distinct impression that this man was going to get off at a certain stop so I started talking to him right away, we had a great conversation and he got off right where I was told he would. it was also my 23 month mark so we went to a dessert place and got hot cookie dough and ice cream to celebrate!

we taught our friend, rxxxob, who i mentioned last week. he is such a good guy. he asked us why we don’t believe in the trinity, and then before we could answer he showed us like ten scriptures from the new testament that disprove the trinity, he’s a beast. when I first met him he swore all the time, even last week he was swearing quite a bit, but he’s completely given up swearing now. as we grow closer to Christ, our weaknesses are turned into strengths and we start to act as he would. and it’s so great to see rob becoming the man god wants him to become.

on Friday we went to draw chalk art at the park but it started sprinkling a bit. we saw four young chavs playing some ball so we went over and started a 3v4 and we were DOMINATING. anyways that’s besides the point, within 10 or 15 minutes we were surrounded by fifteen chav and chavettes. they were all 14/15 years old. we became their friends, talked for awhile, played some ball, and then they asked us about what we do and why we live the way we do. these 14/15 year olds all live a pretty crazy life style and they were in shock hearing that we live the word of wisdom and the law of chastity. one of the chavettes asked “so what do you do at a party if you can’t get drunk?” and I said “I have fun, talk with people, dance, and remember what I did the next day with no regrets”. she then said “that actually sounds nice, I think I’ll try that sometime”. we didn’t teach them loads but I know that it was a solid touch and that those chav and chavettes will remember that conversation. 

the next day we actually got to draw chalk art at the park. there was a massive Christian event being held later in the day and they did not look happy as we shared scriptures through chalk art. we went back later and all our art was destroyed. the opposition to this church and the Book of Mormon strengthens my testimony of the truthfulness of what we share. if what we shared wasn’t true, there wouldn’t be close to as much opposition as we face.

this ward definitely struggles, we only had 22 people at sacrament meeting yesterday. and 10 of us don’t belong to the ward boundaries originally...we are trying to serve the ward because they don’t really want to help out much, we made snickerdoodles for them this week. i gave a talk on the covenant we make at baptism and that we renew each week as we partake of the sacrament.

i found this quote and it goes as follows, “If our lives are centered in Jesus Christ, He can successfully mold us into who we need to be in order to return to His and Heavenly Father’s presence in the celestial kingdom. The joy we experience in this life will be in direct proportion to how well our lives are centered on the teachings, example, and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.” the last two years I’ve had the chance to centre my life on the saviour, and to turn my will over to his. it hasn’t been easy, and there have been times where I’ve selfishly sought my own will, but I have tried my best to give my all to my saviour. as I’ve done so, I’ve experienced great joy, joy which I never knew was out there. as I’ve lost myself, i finally found myself.

i love you guys so much, hope you enjoyed this super long email, I’ll still send one out next pday, I’m excited to see you all next week, but I’m hyped for this week cuz it’s gonna be lit! gotta go out with a bang! look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not, fear not.

Elder Varner

Monday, July 16, 2018

dead dogs and smelly chavs (Week 99, Stourbridge, England, Elder Kelleher and Elder Wilson)

this week absolutely flew by! it’s been a really weird week but it’s been a lot of fun. lemme just say I’m happy that I’m still here in the trio in stourbridge haha, that was a close call last week.

we did some door knocking, some street contacting, and more. as a mission we are working hard to leave “good tastes” in people’s mouths, I love the whole good touches theory! we worked for a day in woodsetton and on the bus ride back there was a really obnoxious chav guy and he was so crude and loud and at the end of the bus ride he came up and sat behind one of my companions and started insulting him, he was so drunk, and he smelt so bad, it was a wild ride to say the least.

and then we were doing service a few days later and we were digging in a backyard and we dug up an entire set of bones of a dog that had been buried there a few years back, that was quite the experience if you ask me.

we taught a Christian man this week about the three kingdoms of glory and showed him 1 Corinthians 15:40-41 and 2 Corinthians 12:2 and he was freaking out, I’ve never seen anyone so excited about the plan of salvation, he kept saying “I can’t believe I missed it! It’s right there in black and white”, he also called Paul a gangster. It was a sweet lesson.

we had a lemonade stand yesterday to give away free drinks to get our church name out in the public, it went really well. a lot of people were shocked that we were serving the community because people don’t even say hi to each other here. we also did a leaflet drop this past week.

elder dieter uchtdorf once said “by design, the Lord chooses “the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” The Lord does this to show that His hand is in His work, lest we “trust in the arm of flesh.”’ i am a weak vessel, I’m not the best teacher or finder, im not always in the best mood, I still have plenty of weaknesses, but I know that the Lord has used me as a means of blessing His children. I am simply an instrument in His hands, I’m not responsible for any of the miracles I’ve seen, it is all Him. I don’t know a ton, but I know that God lives and loves each of us. I know he sent His perfect son, Jesus Christ, to atone for us. I know that God has called a prophet on the earth, He has brought back His church to the earth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints IS Jesus Christ’s church established on the earth. It is the only place to find the original and complete teachings of Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for this chance I have to be an instrument in God’s hands.

hope you all have a legendary week! I know I will! I love you guys!

Elder Varner

Monday, July 9, 2018

heat wave!! (Week 98, Stourbridge, England, Elder Kelleher and Elder Wilson)

UPDATE: I drafted this up earlier and then I found out I’ll be getting emergency transferred to Nuneaton for my last 3 weeks out here. Don’t worry I didn’t do anything but I’m fixing someone else’s mistake so I’m moving later today, with that in mind, here’s my weekly:

hey everyone! it’s been another busy week over here! it’s been filled with lots of finding, lots of promptings recognised and acted upon, lots of spiritual lessons learned, lots of everything.

we met our new mission president, president and sister hughes. they are from chorley which is a little city up north near the temple. they are so awesome, during the zone conference you could literally feel love radiating off of them. i gave my departing testimony because it was my last zone conference, that was really weird, i still feel like I got here a week ago, even though it feels like I’ve never been anywhere else other than this little island. 

i was fighting a pretty gnarly cold for the first half of the week so I felt like rubbish. but it’s all good cuz I’m a lot better now. i was like Micheal Jordan, just grinned straight through it. if you don’t know yet, England is absolutely killing it in the World Cup and it’s the easiest intro for talking to people. these brits are so hyped! also this summer has been the hottest summer that this country has had in YEARS. lots of other stuff happened but I think I’ll just keep this one short.

while this talk was given about priesthood service, this applies to all. president henry b eyring once said “When I find myself drawn away from my priesthood duties by other interests and when my body begs for rest, I give to myself this rallying cry: “Remember Him.” The Lord is our perfect example of diligence in priesthood service. He is our captain. He called us. He goes before us. He chose us to follow Him and to bring others with us.“ When Jesus Christ was on the cross, he announced “it is finished”. His spirit left his body and he taught us a lesson as he went to the spirit world to continue his holy work in bringing souls unto him. When we feel tired, let us remember our diligent, loving saviour. 

I love you guys! Have a great week! Look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not, fear not ✌😘

Elder Varner

SIKE: New update: so this morning one of the assistants called me telling me I was being emergency transferred. So I packed ALL my stuff and was ready to leave. We went to go grab some lunch and they called me and told me I had to get to my new area ASAP. so I was like ok and booked it back to my flat only to get another call from them and they said after thinking about all the factors of the situation it made most sense for me to stay here in Stourbridge so I'm staying here in a trio. Elder Wilson will get a new companion next week and I'll finish with elder kelleher after that. Love you guys!

Monday, July 2, 2018

let's get it! (Week 97, Stourbridge, England, Elder Kelleher and Elder Wilson)

“you’ve got five seconds to get off my property before you die by the sword”. what a week. that homie wasn’t in the mood at all. ive only had a handful of death threats but this one was probably the funniest of them all. it hasn’t been a bad week at all. im loving the trio right now, it’s so much fun! we are finally getting good at teaching and finding together so we are in sync, just like Blake griffin and Chris Paul and deandre Jordan! 

lots of sweet conversations this past week. I’ve been trying to bear my testimony as much as possible lately. we bore testimony a lot about eternal families this past week and it’s sad when we ask people if they’d want to live with their family after this life, and they say yes, but they aren’t willing to see if there is anything after. we also found a dope town centre to work in on the outskirts of our area. in an hour of talking with people we gave away loads of stuff. it was almost as fire as the university in Leicester!

we are working really hard out here, it’s hard sometimes, people’s hearts are really really hard here. and it can be hard because members here don’t really want to help in the work. you know the ward isn’t down for missionary work when they won’t come on teach with you and when they won’t let you visit them in their homes. and now we can’t really stop by less actives or part member families because of data privacy laws which are new here. lots and lots and lots of tracting. but that doesn’t pull me down in the dumps! we are grinding to find those whose ancestors have received and accepted the gospel on the other side!

Howard W Hunter once said “A great indicator of one’s personal conversion is the desire to share the gospel with others. For this reason the Lord gave an obligation to every member of the Church to be missionaries.” I’m so grateful for this time I’ve had in the United Kingdom to be a representative of the Saviour. Throughout my time here, my desire to share the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has increased so much. We have the most important message in the world, and our job is to share that with each of God’s children. As we strive to increase our testimonies, our desire to share that with others will increase. As a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, I promise each of you that as you strive to share the gospel with others, your own testimony will be strengthened, and you will feel joy in the lord’s service. Remember, every member a missionary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i flippin love being a missionary, this is the best time of my entire life, here’s to another lit week! i love you all and I’m pumped to see you all in a month from now!

Elder Varner

Monday, June 25, 2018

trio! (Week 96, Stourbridge, England, Elder Kelleher and Elder Wilson)

wow it’s been one crazy week! one of the more random ones of my mission! i dropped off elder odle at the train station last Tuesday morning, it was kind of sad saying goodbye, we got on really well.  i picked up elder kelleher and elder Wilson and we got to work. it’s so weird being in a trio, I mean 3 random guys showing up to your door is a bit odd but we make it work. we are working both the stourbridge area and the woodsetton area because elder Wilson will be going back to woodsetton once his greenie comes in in July. 

we did find some success this past week! one cool experience was on Tuesday night. we were walking to a place we wanted to work at, and on the way I walked past a street and I felt a “nudge” to go and knock that street. i almost put aside that prompting but I decided to act on it and that street was bumping! we met some sick people on it! another day we were walking and I saw a young couple walking on the other side of the street, so I ran across the semi busy road and started talking to them! as we got talking one of them mentioned the loss of her sister and how that’s been hard on her, we testified of eternal families and the plan of salvation. it was such a good convo! im a lot more confident with recognising and acting on spiritual promptings than I used to be, it’s cool to see that improvement.

during some less effective finding time we called all the funeral homes in the area and put our names on the clergy list. who knows what will come from that. we had a sick ward western bbq night and it was so lit! so many people came and it was a blast! a random guy walked into church on Sunday as well, total miracle. he liked it a lot but as we taught him there’s a lot of concerns that came up, we will do our best with him but still a miracle! 

here’s a motivational quote from president hinckley: “You can be excellent in every way. You can be first class. There is no need for you to be a scrub. Respect yourself. Do not feel sorry for yourself. Do not dwell on unkind things others may say about you. Polish and refine whatever talents the Lord has given you. Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, but with great and strong purpose in your heart. Love life and look for its opportunities, and forever and always be loyal to the Church. Never forget that you came to earth as a child of the divine Father, with something of divinity in your very makeup. The Lord did not send you here to fail. He did not give you life to waste it. He bestowed upon you the gift of mortality that you might gain experience—positive, wonderful, purposeful experience—that will lead to life eternal.”

each of you are a child of god, he knows you perfectly. he does love you, and you have everything on your side. after all, if god be for you, who can be against you?

i love you all!! don’t ever fredette it!

elder varner