Monday, January 8, 2018

Leicester on the rise and grind (Week 72, Stroud, Cheltenham, England, Elder Frenkel| transfer to Leicester with Elder Stock)

what’s good guys! sorry only half of you got my weekly email last week, the computers weren’t working but I hope you all had a good New Years! it’s been a busy last week here!
last Monday PJ and Aiden (homies from Wylde green) came down to visit and we went to Gadfield Elm (its the very first Mormon chapel in the world)-pretty cool stuff! No one was there so to get into the building you had to answer church trivia questions to open the door. It was sweet to see pj again as well! He’s been rockin lately-he recently got the melkezidek priesthood and is planning on the temple soon!

Tuesday was district meeting and interviews which were great-I talked a bit about our mantle as missionaries. we did a lot of knocking doors this week and even got let in a few doors. my fav convo we had though was with one [girl] in Gloucester-she isn’t very religious but we just bore so much testimony and we watched her heart soften-it was way cool! 

we went to mlc on friday in birmingham-as a mission we are gonna work a lot on using the Book of Mormon in every aspect of the work. it was a good meeting! not a ton else for the week other than the typical knocking doors and member visits.

I found out last night I’ll be leaving Stroud tomorrow to go to...Leicester City Center! I’ll be follow up Training an elder stock from Utah! I’m stoked! There’s two universities in our area and from everything I’ve heard, it’s gonna be an absolute blast! I’ll miss it here in Stroud though. The ward may have been small, but it was a family, I love this ward and the area in general is beautiful. I also loved all the missionaries I got to serve around here. It’s a bitter sweet departure but as the familiar hymn says “I’ll go where you want me to go”.

It was sad hearing about the death of Thomas S Monson. I know he was truly the lord’s prophet on the earth. I’m so grateful that God still speaks to prophets and apostles today, that the authority to act in god’s name that was here when Christ lived on the earth has been restored. You can know for yourself that god still speaks to prophets and apostles by asking him in prayer. I thank God for the life of president Thomas S. Monson. Here’s some quotes from him that have had a major impact on my life:
  • “When you are on the Lord’s errand, you are entitled to His help”
  • “My brothers and sisters, there is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today”
  • “Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies”
  • “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved”
  • “I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish--and in effect save their lives”
  • “May we ever be courageous and prepared to stand for what we believe, and if we must stand alone in the process, may we do so courageously, strengthened by the knowledge that in reality we are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven”
  • “I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives. I so testify with all my heart in the name of Jesus Christ”

Im definitely nervous for the upcoming week but i think it’s gonna be a great one! I love you all so much. keep me in your prayers this week and have a lit week, I’ll try to do the same. look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not, fear not ✌

Elder Varner

Monday, January 1, 2018

and the 2017th year did end in ice (Week 71, Stroud, Cheltenham, England, Elder Frankel)

week 72: and the 2017th year did end in ice. And it came to pass in the commencement of the 2018th year...

happy New Years! where did 2017 go? I can hardly believe how fast the last year has gone by! 2017 was the hardest, most fun, craziest, happiest year of my life! and 2018 is gonna be even better! lots of fun stuff this last week to end off the year!

on Christmas Day we went to the rxxibouets which was a blast! for Christmas dinner we had turkey (with cranberry sauce), stuffing, bacon wrapped sausages, potatoes, and more! it was sooo good! skyping the fam was fun as well! it’s weird because it felt so normal to talk to them and then at the end reality kicks in that missionary life starts back up, it’s hard to describe.

the day after christmas is boxing day which is a shopping/lazy day so we got to shop a bit and went on this cool hike/meal with a family named the Lxxewis’ and their nonmember friends! we did lots of knocking doors and had some good conversations with people, lots of “good touches”, we are struggling to build a good teaching pool here but we have some sweet plans for the upcoming weeks and month so things are looking good here! we have been working really hard on gaining the trust from members of the ward and it’s amazing to see the progress!

there was ice everywhere this week! we were slippin and sliding everywhere. I can’t physically do the splits but there were a few times where I got pretty darn close. We had our district meeting in Cheltenham, and before we ice skated in the car park. that’s how much ice there was, we legit ice skated in the car park. the meeting went good as well, I gave a training on tender mercies, something which I’ve been trying to focus more on lately. 

some of you may have set new years resolutions, maybe one of you has already broken that resolution. setting goals and being accountable for them is so key! elder Ballard once said “Over the years, I have observed that those who accomplish the most in this world are those with a vision for their lives, with goals to keep them focused on their vision and tactical plans for how to achieve them. Knowing where you are going and how you expect to get there can bring meaning, purpose, and accomplishment to life. . . . A goal is a destination or an end, while a plan is the route by which you get there. . . . A key to happiness lies in understanding what destinations truly matter--and then spending our time, effort, and attention on the things that constitute a sure way to arrive there.” I’d encourage you all in this new year to be a little kinder, a little more loving, a little more selfless, and to come closer to Jesus Christ! You won’t regret it!

sending a happy birthday wish to my aunt melissa! hope you guys all have a fun first week of the year! wish I could be playing at the DV classic this new years but I’ll have to fight for the trophy at the end of this year! don’t fredette that Elder V loves all of you! look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not, fear not ✌😘

Elder Varner

Monday, December 25, 2017

He is The Reason for the Season! (Week 70, Stroud, Cheltenham, England, Elder Frenkel)

what did adam say to eve the day before christmas?

merry christmas, eve! 

get it? haha, what a cheesy joke

surprise Christmas email coming in your way! yep today is our pday as well so my family gets a weekly email and SKYPE! hyped for that! merry Christmas to all of you! I don’t want to make this too long but here’s some highlights:
  • Christmas themed district meeting and Christmas zone activity ft watching the face to face event with elder ballard and elder oaks. you all need to check that face to face out! ballard and oaks were throwing out some gems during that!
  • lots of knocking doors, met a few cool people as well! we did district finding a few times and we did caroling from door to door, our entire 6 person district got let in 2 doors as we sung together, and one was this Italian guy who kept offering us a little tea and coffee, when we said we don’t drink that stuff, he said it was just a little, I escaped that by asking for water! Haha
  • Yesterday at church we had a Christmas nativity and a munch and mingle after which was awesome. This ward is taking amazing care of us this Christmas season with gifts and dinners, they are amazing here! And thank you to all you lovely people who sent packages or letters to me, they really meant a lot! 😘

British food of the week: I’ve loved pretty much all that has been fed to me on my mission, we had an amazing English breakfast with our bishop and his family over the weekend and it was bomb! But we also got fed something called Christmas pudding, it’s a classic British Christmas dessert loaded with raisins and other [] stuff, it’s aged for like 6 months or something as well, wouldn’t really recommend that! Haha

Christmas season is amazing, it’s a fun time of year packed with fun movies, presents, food, family, parties, etc. But there if that is the extent to your Christmas season you are missing out on so so much. The only way to get the most out of this time of year, to feel the most peace and happiness is to embrace what Christmas is all about, which is Jesus Christ. It’s CHRIST-mas. Maybe to get the whole spirit of Christmas, we need to drop that last syllable. I’m so grateful that I have a Heavenly Father that loves me enough to send His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to atone for my mistakes. I’m so grateful for the love Jesus Christ offers me, and that he offers each of you. His loving hand of mercy and peace and joy is ALWAYS extended towards us, no matter what we have done, all we need to do is to reach out to him. 

I love you all! Fam, I’ll talk to you in a few hours! To all my other homies, next time I talk to you it’ll be 2018!!! Be smart on New Year’s Eve, merry Christmas! May your holiday season be filled with peace and joy 😘🎄✌

Elder Varner

Monday, December 18, 2017

right place, right time, right away!! (Week 69, Stroud, Cheltenham, Elder Frenkel)

monday night 8:30-walking back to our flat when we suddenly decide to stop at McDonald’s for dinner
as we walk in I noticed all the rubbish all over the place and I said to Elder Frenkel: “let’s throw this stuff away for them”
we proceeded to throw away a ton of trash and I didn’t think anyone was watching us but as we finished ordering our food, I went to grab my card and the cashier said these beautiful words: “it’s on the house”

free mcdonalds was just the first of many miracles for the week. this week was packed with recognising and acting on spiritual promptings! it was another FAB week out here! we are grinding out here! this is the hardest I’ve worked on my mission!

I won’t include every amazing thing that happened this week because we’d be here til Christmas but here’s a few highlights:
  • we were knocking doors on tuesday night and we felt pretty good about the street and bam! first door this homie named Fxxx let us in! i was so surprised I almost forgot what to say. he’s so cool and when we gave him a book of mormon he shook our hands and looked us in the eyes and said with determination “I am going to read this book”. Getting let in while knocking doors is rare here so that whole experience was unreal! And there were so many factors that fell into place for us to be at that street at that time!
  • we had an awesome ward Christmas party on Friday night and one of our investigators even showed up and loved it! this ward is quite small but it is like a family-I love it! also had a Christmas zone Conference on Thursday which was sick!
  • we were trying to pick a street to knock on Saturday night and we decided to go to this one that we felt strongly about, well a few doors into it we met an awesome guy named Hxxxx literally right as he was walking out his door! He believes there is something after this life but isnt sure exactly what and he was way excited to see us. “Right place, right time, right away!!”-espn’s commentary on the byu vs Utah state game a few years back describes that moment perfectly!

There were loads of cool experiences but I’ll save you all time this week and save them for later! I also got to speak in church yesterday. I spoke on joy, hit me up if you want me to send you a copy of the talk! Here’s a quote for the week, Elder Neal A. Maxwell once rightly said: “The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we ‘give’ … are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us.” When we turn over our will to God’s will, he will pour down blessings! Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven! This Christmas season, the best gift you can give to Jesus Christ, is ultimately yourself.

Merry Christmas everyone! Or should I say Happy Christmas! Anyways have a great Christmas and don’t fredette to go serve someone this week! I love you guys!

Elder Varner

Monday, December 11, 2017

gold mine week (Week 68, Stroud, Cheltenham, Elder Frenkel)

if any of you had any idea how hyped I am right now! this week was filled with miracles and fun stuff left and right! im even more hyped than we all were when jimmer was dropping dimes at byu!
to start out all the madness, we had exchanges with elder Bassett and elder Johnson and I got to go with the homie Johnson! We had a sick lesson with Vyyy about the importance of CPR (church, prayer, and reading the scriptures) and it went so well. Then we knocked some doors and we saw this house decked out with Christmas decorations and right before the door opened I said to Elder Johnson “let’s sing”-so we started singing Christmas carols to this 17 year old kid and you could just tell how weird he felt about it, it was so awkward but it led to a fun conversation and he even invited us back!

Wednesday we caught a lift with a member to a place way down south called Malmesbury, it’s like 12 miles south and the best way to describe the area is “the field is WHITE ALREADY TO HARVEST” I don’t think missionaries had been here in years and we saw so many cool things happen, here’s a few miracles:
  • Elder Frenkel and I each picked 10 streets and we decided we would knock every street that we picked in common, which turned out to be four. On all four streets we knocked, we found some sick new people to teach and we knocked into less active members who hadn’t seen missionaries in years
  • As we were waiting for our ride to pick us up and take us back to Stroud, we both felt like we needed to knock a totally random door we were near, so we did turned out to be another less active member who hadn’t seen missionaries in years!!

There’s so much stuff for this week and I want to tell you everything but I’m just gonna tell you a few more of the highlights:
  • for district finding in Cheltenham we handed out free hot chocolates in the town!
  • doctors appointment in Birmingham-I had a blood test and am waiting on the results for that, but I’ll live :)
  • we were on our way to go knocking doors and I was in a pretty cruddy mood and I started praying as we were walking, and a different street popped into my head, I kinda shrugged it off, but it kept coming back to my head, so we went and knocked the street and nothing, then we felt like we needed to go back and reknock one door and we did and an African family answered and invited us back. I’m so grateful that I listened to that prompting.
  • It SNOWED yesterday! And after 1 inch of snow in the morning, church got cancelled, crazy! We went over to the Rxxxson family’s house for lunch and to teach them the plan of Salvation and the spirit was so strong as we testified of god’s plan for us. We were asked “what will the celestial kingdom be like?” And just the thought of how amazing it will be brought tears to my eyes as we bore our testimonies to them. it was a great afternoon with them and we even got in a bit of a snowball fight after, video included!

Here’s a sweet quote that we can all use in our lives from Richard G Scott-“We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day” We are the sum result of our choices and our daily choices, big and small, determine who we become!

Sorry for the novel today, I held back on a lot more stories which just goes to show that this week was seriously incredible! Also birthday shoutouts to my aunt Kristen, my sista Julia, and my aunt carolee! Love you guys! Make it a LIT week! 😘

Elder Varner