Monday, March 12, 2018

stuffed! (Week 81, Leicester, England, Elder Johnson)

hey hey hey! this week was been another baller week out here in the city of leicester. elder johnson and sister smith were kebabtized and to be fair, the kebabs were actually kinda legit. usually they are super greasy but the place we went to was pretty fancy. 

we did loads of work with members this week which was a blast! we got to teach rxxxa (rxxxr) twice this last week, both times with members and we taught the restoration and the gospel of Jesus Christ. when we asked him what he knew about prophets, he practically taught us about prophets. he says most of what we teach just clicks with him. when we taught the priesthood, I showed him my priesthood line of authority and he loved it! he told us when he finds out if this is true he wants to be baptised, which is way cool! our teaching pool is actually pretty good right now! still meeting with fxxxxi and we went with him to one of his church events on Saturday which was nice but so obvious that there was something missing there-the spirit! but it was an enjoyable time and we met a lady from Texas as well, crazy!

typical finding near the university, we met this homie from Africa who told us he had a dream the night before that he was going to meet us, that was interesting.

random, but honourable mentions
  • our ward mission leader’s wife brought homemade cinnamon rolls and I’m sorry mom, these were the best ones I’ve ever had! it was sick!
  • balled out with some African and Canadians at the park and I stuffed one of them pretty hard, always good to get the hoop sesh in
  • dang I’m sore, we went running this week and are planning on making that a regular thing, and then we were playing some football and I took an elbow to the chest and boy that knocked me down, it’s all good tho cuz what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. kinda like getting hit by that car...

other cool stuff happened but I can’t remember all of it. ive been thinking a lot lately about the importance of goals. president m russell ballard once said “I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential.” Setting and achieving goals allow us to reach our potential. Whether it’s a goal for sports, work, school, religious, anything, setting goals and holding ourselves accountable will help us to become who god wants us to become!

happy birthday to my aunt candice and all the other homies! I love all of you and hope you have a rad week across the pond!

Elder Varner

Monday, March 5, 2018

Snow Storm Emma is "the whore of all the earth" (Week 80, Leicester, England, Elder Johnson)

emma “is the whore of all the earth”(1 Nephi 14:10). there were two crazy storms from the east (#beastfromtheeast) and the south (storm Emma) and they teamed up and hit us like a ton of bricks! the beast and Emma hit us so hard! we had to be in by 8 every night because of the weather and we weren’t allowed to bike. by far the coldest week of my entire life, it was -15 one day. but we smacked the beast and Emma, this week was by far one of the best weeks of my life. if any of you knew how hyped I am right now! it was such a good week so let’s get it!

wednesday was fetching cold, we were talking to people at the uni and decided to stop in the student union and grab some hot chocolate (thanks dad!). we spent some time there and then went out into the storm and did a few laps around university road, and literally 5 steps before we stepped onto campus property again (where we can’t talk to people about the gospel), we stopped this guy named Rxxxr. He walks past our church several times a day and he was super interested in chatting so we went in a cafe with him and taught him and answered his questions for over an hour! then we walked 40 minutes with him to the chapel area (he lives next to the chapel, like what?!?!) and then we gave him a chapel tour. he studies law at the uni by the way! we kept in good contact with him and then he came to church, all 3 hours, and loved it! he was participating in the discussions, asking good questions, and wanted to stay long after to talk with us! we taught him a bit about the plan of Salvation and the three kingdoms of glory rather than a heaven and hell and he loved it, he’s always believed hell is a state of mind so it just clicked with him. and if we were 10 seconds ahead when we walked by him, we wouldn’t have met him. he’s a miracle.

other notable events:
  • we ate at a baller bagel place called ‘bagel break’ and it was legit-I got a chicken tikka bagel sandwich 👌
  • our whole flat complex alarm went off at 230AM and Emma was just screaming, it was freezing but apparently it was a false alarm that was set off because of how cold it was
  • we were doing some online proselyting at McDonald’s and two people started up a convo with us and we were chatting with them and all of the sudden some guy comes up to us and starts trash talking us, I started to pray in my head that he’d go mute so he wouldn’t take the spirit away and no joke, this homie was dead silent after I finished that silent prayer and didn’t say another word, it was unreal
  • I saw a guy in what I thought was a clippers hat, so I stopped him super enthusiastically and it wasn’t a clipps hat and it was so awkward...ouch
  • we went with Fxxxxi to the Bxxambury’s (member couple) house and had dinner and a lesson, we taught the plan of Salvation and the spirit was so strong! undeniable!
  • We met a [] homie who transferred from Purdue university to Leicester university. He actually played American football at Purdue and we had a sweet conversation about American sports with him, I was beaming!

there are too many notable things that happened this week. honestly it was the most bitter cold week of my life, but by far the best and happiest week! we still had challenges here and there but the highs outweighed the lows by far! elder Johnson is a beast! we have a ton of fun and he’s such a hard worker! I feel way blessed!

i was reading a great talk by elder Holland called “place no more for the enemy of my soul”, in which he talks about some points useful for all of us as we strive to overcome temptation:
  • “start by separating yourself from people, materials, and circumstances that will harm you. the pull of proximity can be fatal”
  • “Pray without ceasing. Ask for angels to help you.”
  • watch what media we are taking in. what might seem harmless may have spiritually dulling effects on us which could lead to sin. “An old proverb says that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, so watch your step.”
  • “Whatever thoughts you have, make sure they are welcome in your heart by invitation only. As an ancient poet once said, let will be your reason.”
  • “Cultivate and be where the Spirit of the Lord is”

And i would add the counsel to look unto the lord in every thought, doubting not, fearing not. I testify that through the atonement of Jesus Christ we CAN overcome temptation, and if we have slipped off the path leading to eternal joy, we can hop back on because of Christ Jesus. His love, mercy, and enabling power is extended to all.

major bday shoutout to the cousin Trenton! i love you all, have a legen-wait for it and I hope you’re not lactose intolerant because the next word is-dary, LEGENDARY week! 😘

Elder Varner

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ballin with Johnson! (Week 79, Leicester, England, Elder Johnson)

ballin’ with Johnson!

fam what’s on the up and up! this week has been jam packed, ups and downs left and right! it was sad to say goodbye to the homie Stock, we had a ton of fun. elder johnson, from Ogden Utah, came and we’ve worked our tails off this week! he’s one of the hardest working missionary’s ive served with! and on top of that we are having a blast!

here’s a few highlights from the last week:
  • we balled up big time throughout the week. we were with the other elders and we saw two homies shooting around so we played basketball with them and then on Thursday we had a basketball night at the chapel and I was just dropping 3’s on everyone. my team was the dream team! 
  • as usual we went to the Uni a lot this last week and we had so many good touches, I think we gave away over 15 copies of the Book of Mormon and met so many cool people! we spent some time in town as well and we met a lotta weirdos, town centre on Saturday was so weird...
  • we got let in by this Indian guy yesterday and he’s had a rough few weeks trying to support his young family, we bore our testimonies and taught him the plan of Salvation, we handed him a Book of Mormon and he seemed honoured to take it
  • Lots of good dinner appointments! 

tons more happened this week but I just can think of it all right now, but it’s been lit out here. i just wanna bear my testimony this week that I know that this gospel is true. I’m so grateful to know of God’s plan for each of us, and for the knowledge I’ve been blessed with to know that God loves us. i know that central to that plan of his is Jesus Christ. i know I couldn’t get through life without him. i know that he lived, died, and rose from death so that he may help us in our lives. he is the author of our salvation. he is our perfect example. he is my Savior and he is my best friend. i know He lives.

Major bday shout out to my awesome sista McKell! hope you have a great day! I love all of you! have a lit week! look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not fear not 😘

Elder Varner

Monday, February 19, 2018

i actually got hit by a car (Week 78, Leicester, Elder Stock)

well this week was even weirder than last week. it was packed from start to finish and I hit 18 months of being in the UK. by far the hardest 18 months of my life, but the best 18 months. words really can’t describe the last 18 months. to find out more about the title of this email,  you gotta read to the end...
here’s a few highlights from the last week:
  • football golf last Monday. your boy DV shot 4 over par ⛳⚽
  • we were unlocking our bikes last Monday evening in city centre and some drunk guy came up to us and started speaking another language at us, then he put his hand on my bike and said it was his bike, we did a stare off for like 5 seconds and then he bailed. guess I’m just too intimidating for him
  • we had zone conference which was heavily focused on using the book of mormon 
  • we ate dinner on Valentine’s Day at a newly wed’s house, but it wasn’t as awkward as you think it’d be
  • met with rxxxyan, he’s had a rough week, but he recognises that the days he prays are always better so we’ve called him at 7am to pray with him-cool deal
  • did the Book of Mormon highlighting method at the uni and had tons of “good touches”
  • on Friday I went to Birmingham for my ‘self reliance’ meeting which is a meeting for people going home within six months and preps them for readjusting into normal life and school-got some 5 guys shakes to celebrate 18 months out here
  • we were talking to people and I made eye contact with some guy who looked at the Book of Mormon and then back at me, and crossed his chest, I don’t know if he was cursing us or praying for us, but I’m guessing he has no clue what we believe
  • read 1 nephi 1 with fxxxawzi
  • BREAKING NEWS: this morning I walked into McDonald’s with elder kataja and some woman approached us asking if we had some time, we said we did and she took us over to a table to taste test 2 new products for McDonald’s and we got to take a survey for it and we even got paid for it! #highlyfavoured or should I say it was #highlyflavoured

president Thomas S. Monson once said “The Savior taught His disciples, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” 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.” This week I had a few moments where I felt so unmotivated and so crappy but each time I forgot about myself and served someone else, my problems seemed to dissolve. So whenever you are struggling, some good old fashioned service might be the answer to your problem.

and yes I did get hit by a car. I was riding my bike and I looked to see if I could cross a mini side road and a car turned into it WITHOUT flippin signaling and he didn’t even slow down. next thing I knew I was on the ground, and the homie just drove off, luckily it wasn’t too bad but sister Leppard told me to go to the ER, they x-rayed my elbow which was in a lot of pain and luckily nothing was broken, I’m all good, just pretty shaken up and sore. seriously don’t worry I’m totally fine, I was out working within a few hours of getting hit. and there were so many tender mercies along the way. god placed people in my path to help me and it could have been a lot worse, oh and my bike is fine!

elder stock is ducing out tomorrow to wales and I’m getting an elder kade Johnson, I’ve met him once and he’s legit, it’s gonna be one lit transfer out here in Leicester! I love you guys! If you made it this far, double golden star for you.

Elder Varner

Monday, February 12, 2018

Dream Team! (Week 77, Leicester, Elder Stock)

this week was an interesting one, probably one of the weirder weeks I’ve had in awhile! ups and downs along the way, but throughout it all the Lord was blessing us! god is so good!
so we were in city centre talking to people and on the way back to our flat we thought we would have a friendly convo with our homies, the jehovahs witnesses. well we were having a great convo talking about how the world needs god more than ever, when some random guy walks up to us four and just starts trying to bash with them. he was telling us “these JWs sit there at their stands and don’t ever say a word to anyone” and we said “clearly this conversation is proof that they do talk to people” and he was speechless for a few seconds and then he started to try and bash us, but the JWs had our backs and were standing up for us. us four were the weirdest dream team ever! 

as far as our teaching is going, we are meeting with a few people. we’ve got some new people up and coming this week which I’m hyped about! we are gonna see Rxxxyan again which I’m stoked for cuz he’s been reading the Book of Mormon on the daily! we also met with fxxxawzi and he invited us to a church event of his, so we went and it was really cool but at the lunch after two guys tried to bash but we just shut them down and kept turning differences into similarities. as we showed love instead of being contentious, they gained some respect. we met a really cool homie named JxxxJ, and we met him as we were walking in the park and we felt like we needed to go left so we did and bam! met JxxxJ within seconds. He’s super interested in learning more about having a modern day prophet!

other than that it’s been a typical week in the motherland. yesterday it was sunny, then snowed, then was sunny and clear, and then chucked it down with snow. the weather here is as indecisive as a teenage girl. anyways I just finished the Book of first nephi in the Book of Mormon and if I had to choose just one thing I learned this time around it’s the importance of remembering spiritual experiences. Laman and Lemuel were humbled by the lord multiple times, they saw angels and saw the power of god, yet they would quickly forget those experiences and become prideful. when we have spiritual experiences, we ought to write them down and frequently reflect on them. if we don’t remember god’s goodness, our conviction of the truth will decrease and we are at risk of letting pride seep into our hearts! So don’t FREDETTE your spiritual experiences! start today by recording how you saw the lord’s hand in your life each day!

this month has a few bdays-happy birthday to brad cook, Riley Glenn, the homie Jimmer, and everyone else! Have a LIT week and don’t fredette that Elder V loves all of you!

Elder Varner