Monday, September 18, 2017

king of the court!!!! (Week 58, Rwibina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Yim)

if any of you had an idea of how hyped I am for this upcoming week! this week is gonna be so lit! I just can feel it! the last week was actually pretty good, my health wasn't the best but oh well, we met some cool people and had a lot of "good touches" as my homie t money would put it! also I hit my 13 month mark yesterday, and it's so crazy how fast time is going by! It is actually getting faster and faster and I kinda want it to slow down!

we had dinner at vyyerena's this week and we sat there for maybe five minutes tops with her and then her partner came in and she left for a bit and we talked to her partner, Jxxames, for over 30 minutes about good vs evil and how serving others brings true joy. a month ago jxxames would always leave the room when we came and now he loves talking to us and a friendship is really starting to develop, he's starting to trust us a ton and we are starting to ease into the gospel with him, he has so much potential!

on Tuesday we asked our beast Ward mission leader for some advice and he told us we should start working in a place called thornhill. I had worked there a few times but no one was ever interested and we got some harder rejection. when he told us we should start working there I felt like Alma when he was told to go back to Ammonihah after facing much rejection. we haven't had any success there yet but I know it'll come!  at one door, a young mother opened and we talked with her about how families are eternal and she wasn't too believing of that, I bore my testimony of how families truly are forever and she totally felt the spirit, you could literally see that she was feeling it and she knew she was feeling something, she then declined our offer to teach her and her family, but it was so cool cuz the spirit was just so present!

lots of random stuff this week but here's a few honourable mentions:
  • some guy wished us a merry Christmas because he thought we were jehovah witnesses, either way, Christmas in September?!?
  • winter has pretty much arrived, I guess the UK just decided to skip over Fall and head straight into winter, it's been getting so cold here!
  • Had a visit with an awesome couple, the Nyyaylors, they are pretty much a senior missionary couple, they spend all their time visiting people and when we stopped by they fed us a ton of food, gave us a few referrals without us even saying a word, and even had their professional nutrionalist friend give me advice for my stomach problem over the phone. god bless the naylors!
  • we helped the gxxould's move a bunch of stuff and they told us that because of our help that the wife was able to make it to her job and that their daughter made it to an audition in Bristol. It was nice to hear that something we did really helped someone.
  • #starspangledbanner at district meeting
  • a lit basketball evening, we got twelve homies there and we did king of the court! you know I was king!

I've been thinking a lot about having an eternal perspective and how important it is. Spencer W Kimball once said “If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective.” We can feel peace and hope when we remember that life is eternal, and that one day we will be victorious over all the trials we are facing in this life. Hold on, believe in good things to come. One day things will truly be better. Even if you feel broken, know that one day you will be made whole, and you will feel a fullness of joy, whether that comes in this life or the next, just keep pressing forward.

The last few weeks have definitely been rougher on me with health problems and the slowness of the work here, but I really, fully heartedly know that this week is going to be so much better and I'm looking forward to telling you about it next week. Don't worry about me, I'm ALIVE AND WELL AND STILL HAPPIER THAN IVE EVER BEEN! I love these Welsh homies and I love you all, and I'm so grateful for each of you. don't ever fredette that! now go serve someone who is feeling down!

Elder Varner

Monday, September 11, 2017

operation talybont!!!! (Week 56, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Yim)

hey hey hey! whats up fam!

the time has been flying out here, I know I say that every week but it seriously has! this was a good week, but the work is so slow here though. we are really struggling to build a teaching pool and im not gonna lie it's frustrating because I feel like we are working so hard and we just aren't getting anywhere with it. I know that things are gonna start heating up with the work soon, just gotta keep doing our part and working our hardest, we don't control other's agency, we just invite them to act. I'd love any finding advice though if any of yall have some! we are really trying to work with members now so we will see how that goes, just gotta trust the process and trust the lord and be patient! we are starting to work in a little uni village area called talybont that we think might be private property so we are going all mission impossible status and have come up with a plan to creep in and knock a few doors at a time to not get caught haha

man we had such a sick hoop session on Saturday night, like so sick!! there was one point in our game where I just was draining back to back to back shots, I seriously felt like Jimmer! made me miss the good ole church ball days haha! we had an awesome district meeting as well, I gave a training on enduring to the end and how charity and love is such a key part to that. love is the best motivation to keep going! our district is great right now as well! it's me, elder yim (Hong Kong), sister Olsen, and sister swasey (both from Utah). It's a pretty cool district.

we had plenty of little tender mercies along the way this week, whether that be someone just taking the time to talk to us for a few minutes or random last minute lessons, it's been good. even though you can count the amount of lessons we teach each week on one hand, I feel like we are doing what the Lord wants us to do and I feel like he is shaping me into the servant and son he wants me to become. it definitely can be rough sometimes out here but it's been a blast so far and I love these people, it's not supposed to be easy, just worth it. it is so worth every minute out here, and it's so cool to read journal entries from the beginning of my mission and to see how much I've changed and how much stronger my testimony is, I know that Jesus Christ lives.

lastly I thought I'd share a quote with yall: president uchtdorf said once "So often we get caught up in the illusion that there is something just beyond our reach that would bring us happiness: a better family situation, a better financial situation, or the end of a challenging trial. The older we get, the more we look back and realize that external circumstances don’t really matter or determine our happiness. We do matter. We determine our happiness." Happiness is a choice which we make every day. We can choose to be happy no matter what the circumstances of our life are. Our focus, not our circumstances, determine our life. And if we choose to have that focus be on Jesus Christ and his gospel, we can be happy no matter what. So, CHOOSE today to be happy, don't wait. Don't wait for better circumstances to come to choose to be happy, or one day you may look back and realise that you chose never to be happy. Choose today to be happy!

A major shoutout to all my homies who are finishing their missions and have gotten back recently including the homies benjo wenjo, Austin cook, the biggest patriot I know-Jacob Buchanan, kolton McCluskey, cayden norton, and Ben hill! I know there's more but I don't have a perfect memory right now-anyways thank you for being amazing examples to me!

I realise today is the anniversary of 9/11, and many are suffering due to natural disasters at this time. May our prayers go out to them from the bottom of our hearts, may we stand a little taller and help others, may we be a little kinder, go out of the way to help others, be a friend to the lonely, reach out to those in need, we need more of that in the world we live in. I love you guys and trust that you'll be the kind of person this world needs at this time. Now go have a lit week! Look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not, fear not 😘

Elder Varner

Monday, September 4, 2017

the book of mormon has arrived! (Week 55, Rhwibina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Yim)

hello, my name is elder varner, and i would like to share with you the most amazing book. well for those of you who have seen the book of mormon play* then you get that reference! the play is kicking off in london and they are advertising it EVERYWHERE! we are gonna get so many questions from those who go and see it soon!

wise chav advice of the week
*riding our bikes to get to somewhere in Ely (ft us and 15 chav kids on bikes*
us: "Hey how are you doing?" (as we are riding past them)
chav kids: "don't wear a helmet, BE A HELMET!"

words to live by...this week wasn't anything too crazy but it was a really good week! everyone was sick this week with colds: members, investigators, and me haha but it's all good cuz we found a few really cool uni students that we are seeing tonight and I got some high hopes! I found out last night that I'll be staying here in Rhiwbina with elder yim for anotha six weeks! Sister Ackley is leaving and our district is getting sister Olsen, we are hyped for this upcoming transfer cuz we have some amazing stuff ahead in this area!

 we worked in Ely again this week, always nice to be in the hood, we befriended a few 12 year old chav kids which was interesting. We told them how the peace sign backwards in America is totally ok (doing that here is flipping someone off) and then we left and knocked on a door of this African family and the kids were standing at the fence and they did the peace sign backwards at one of the girls who was at the door and she grabbed a shoe and chased that chav! It was so random, Ely, what a place.

we had a mission conference last Thursday with elder De Feo of the seventy. It was a great meeting and he talked a lot about melting hard hearts and the mantle of being a missionary. We truly are witnesses of Jesus Christ in all things, in all places, at all times. As members we need to always stand as a witness of Christ. It was sweet to see more people from my group again as well!

I came across a quote that I just love so much and I wanted to share it with all of you, to those religious friends of mine and also my non religious homies. Gordon B Hinckley once said "Many of you think you are failures. You feel you cannot do well, that with all of your effort it is not sufficient. We all worry about our performance. We all wish we could do better. But unfortunately we do not realize, we do not often see the results that come of what we do. You never know. You never know whether you do any good. You never know how much good you do." I know for me personally, I've felt like I haven't helped a lot of people recently, and I felt pretty down about that and how the work has been pretty slow here with friends of ours and members. And coming across this quote really changed my perspective. I know that as we do our best, even when our efforts don't seem to be doing much in whatever it may be, we are touching and changing lives. I hope and pray that I continue to be an effective tool of the Lord's in helping others around me.

also a major happy birthday to T-CHAZZY today and congrats [to Taylor Lewis on your call to FRANCE]!!! hope you have a great day! You're awesome! All of you are awesome and I flippin love you all! Now go find someone who is going through a hard time, someone who is ill, lonely, sad, and go serve them!

Elder Varner

Monday, August 28, 2017

my sweet summer is gone (Week 54, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Yim)

my homies! what's up guys thanks for tuning in again, especially after last week's book I wrote haha. it's been an up and down week. the beginning of the week was pretty rough just because I felt so sick but I started getting better and this weekend was just so so amazing! 

here's the update on my health: so after a month or so of going dairy free I came to the conclusion that I don't have a diary intolerance which is good and bad, bad because I still don't completely know what's going on but good because I'm NOT DAIRY FREE anymore!!! the joy is so real! I talked to sister Leppard about it and we think it's IBS caused by stress, anxiety or nerves, which I didn't even think I had but I guess the more I think about it the more I realise I do have it more than I would like. I think when I admit to myself that I have that it becomes a lot easier to deal with though and I have more power to control it. I also stopped taking omeprasole this last week and that helped a bit to.

the work went pretty well this week! I've never been so excited for summer to end cuz now our homies are coming back from vacation! who remembers that song where it says "my sweet summer is gone"? Alright, We had a lesson with Axxled and shared with him bits from Joseph smith history, he had a lot of questions and we committed him to read the Book of Mormon every day for three weeks so we will see how that turns out. we also had another lesson with the home girl Syyophia from last week! she had read from the Book of Mormon in pretty good detail since the last time we saw her and it was so cool cuz she was asking about the jaredites and so on without even looking at the book as she asked so it was cool to see someone actually keep a commitment! we taught her the plan of Salvation and she really was touched as we bore our testimonies of Jesus Christ and how he is the very centre of our heavenly father's plan. we brought a member out to visit Pxxaul Pxxace (a less active boxer guy) and it was such an amazing visit, we shared with him the "good things to come" Mormon message and it was exactly what he needed, his words, I'm so grateful for the spirit that leads and guides us as to what to share with others. Heavenly Father truly knows what each of us needs! Pxxaul also came to church yesterday and he told me that one of the talks seemed as it was just for him and his situation and my heart was full of pure joy. I love Pxxaul Pxxace! He's such a beast! I'll try getting a pic with him next time we see him!

we did a lot of service this week which was awesome. had interviews with president and sister leppard which was great as always. last Monday we went to a place called st fagans which is some Welsh history place, it was kinda cool. I feel like there's more that happened but I can't remember it so here's a spiritual thought

An old proverb says that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, so watch your step. remember that little decisions have big effects on our lives and the lives of those we love. think of those who love you and would be shattered if you let them down, including your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. it's so sad to meet people whose family has been destroyed because of a few foolish decisions which led to major problems. for those of you who feel that they have made too many mistakes or that they are unforgivable, please remember that the atonement of Jesus Christ leaves no scars. whatever you have done or whoever you have become, you can improve and become better, you can leave behind the past. it isn't too late, and Jesus Christ welcomes you home with open arms. I have felt his unfailing love again and again, all we have to do is turn to him. and please remember that every action has consequences so watch your step.

I am alive and well, please don't worry about me. I flipping love these Welsh homies and I hope I don't get transferred next week cuz this place is sick! I love you all! Look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not, fear not ✌😘

Elder Varner

Pix: DA with the winters, bakers, district meeting ft the mission dog, st fagans last pday and the BEACH, and one of the million rugby fields here

Monday, August 21, 2017

half way?!?! (Week 53, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Yim)

family and friends,

what is good! to start out I gotta give a happy anniversary shoutout to my dad and mom! love you guys and hope you have a great day 😘 this week was baller, and I'm not saying that just because we balled out at 6:30 every morning at the chapel for morning exercise. having the basketball court in the chapel so close to us has been a major blessing!

this week all around was just great! the only rough parts was having to stop meeting with dyyianne, we are gonna stop by every few weeks just to chat but her heart is so hard against accepting the gospel. she won't even read the scriptures anymore because she says she knows it all, it's really sad but we tried our best to help her commit to living what she believes, and I guess now just isn't her time. there were times this week where we just took too long to get from place to place so one of our goals is to be more timely. ok now to the good stuff, we were knocking doors and the third door we knocked on this street has four flats inside of it, and we rang the bell for the first one and told this lady what we were doing and she said wait a second and to our surprise, she actually let us in! i almost forgot what to do next. her name is Syyophia, she is an Indian student at the uni and doesn't have a strong Christian background but wants to learn more and try it out. such a miracle! and then our main homie Axxled just got off his trip and he texted us asking when we could meet up so things are heating up over here!

we did loads of member visits, we are trying to work better with the members of the ward. this ward has been good at feeding us and this upcoming week is more proof of that. the weather has been decent kind of haha, winter is coming that's for sure. we had a ward picnic in a place called Barry which is right next to the beach, it was so flipping nice to see the ocean again! haha, we got to meet up with that guy from California who came to church last week and we have him a blessing because he was really sick and was by himself out here, he bore his testimony to us of the priesthood and it was so powerful.

alright here's a spiritual thought from week 7 of the arp Manual. this week's studies were focused on humility and one major part of that is sacrifice. we can't expect the lord to change our hearts if we aren't willing to make sacrifices. not all sacrifices are giant, but I'd challenge you all to sacrifice whatever may be holding you back from developing a stronger relationship with the Lord and I promise you he will bless you 100X more than he already is now. Your sacrifice is only a humble reminder of His "great and last sacrifice" on your behalf. 

I know this email is already turning into a novel, but this last week I hit my year mark of being out here in the UK and I just wanted to share some thoughts. this last year has been the hardest, loneliest, and darkest year of my life, filled with disappointments left and right, rejection, fatigue, and so many more things. That being said, this last year has been the best year of my life. I have never felt so much love. Love for the gospel, love for people, love for Jesus Christ. I have never experienced so much joy and happiness, I have never laughed so much, I have never smiled so much, and I have never felt the spirit so much. I have felt so much love over this last year and despite the trials that have had me on my knees praying more than I ever have before, I wouldn't trade this last year for anything. I have grown so much in so many different aspects including confidence and knowledge, but most importantly my testimony of this work. I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ and all that he has done for me and for how he has helped me develop over this last year. this last year has been a rager and it's only the beginning. thank you to each of you who have supported and encouraged me over the last twelve months, I love you all.

here's to year 2✌

Elder Varner

pic 1: nice cars in mini pakistan
pics 2-3: beach baby!!!
pics 4-5: cool british parks
pic 6: five guys!!!
pic 7: another cool park

Monday, August 14, 2017

on top of the world ey' (Week 52, Rwibina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Yim)

my homies! what's up! this week has actually been flipping great and this upcoming week looks even better!! wanna start this by sending some love to all of you. seriously thank you for all the support you've given me so far out here so far, it's been a crazy adventure and I couldn't have made it this far without you all. thanks for being the best friends and family a byu fan could ask for 😘 also a big shoutout to one of my best friends Ben Conover who is finishing up his mish this week!
i don't really know where to start. we taught a few more lessons this week than usual, but not the traditional ones where it goes super smoothly, lots of door step lessons. we have so many new friends and potentials but we are struggling to help them become progressing friends. we saw Dyyianne this week and let's just say that it was one of those too good to be real situations. her heart was harder this week. she still wants to meet with us but she says there's no way that she is coming back to church and that she doesn't read the scriptures because she already knows it all and she has a few more major doctrinal issues. she says she knows the church is true but I don't know if I believe that. members have told us it'd be best to stop visiting her because she wastes a lot of missionaries time so we are gonna give it another week or two and then make a decision. we are gonna try to commit her to reading and praying everyday because she has been so deceived, thinking that god told her to wait to follow some of the commandments. it's hard because I care about her and her heart is hard right now, but we will see how it goes. we knocked plenty of doors this week and met some really cool people. one cool experience, we were knocking doors and I saw a guy who was on the sidewalk walking towards us a few houses ahead and usually I'd just keep knocking but we ditched the doors and started talking to him and he isn't too religious but he wants to learn more about Christ because he's been through a lot and has some regrets, he's interested in coming to church especially, and that's where your boy DV came in and told him about the gospel. we are gonna see him again this week, it was cool to see god put people in our path because we weren't originally planning on working in that area but felt we should last minute. 

so much other stuff happened this week so here's a few honourable mentions:
  • exchanges with the zone leaders, Kinnunen and Dastrup, it was a blast. we visited Pxxaul Pxxace, a less active, who is the coolest guy ever, he used to be a boxer and he gives haircuts as well. we also visited the gxxoulds and shared the because of him video, I love how that video always invites the spirit, it testifies of Christ so simply, but powerfully
  • some guy named john showed up to church this week and he's visiting from...CALIFORNIA. it was so cool talking to someone from Cali again, he might come out with us this week
  • we went to a baptism of a young boy this week, jxxosh mxxaizey, who recently turned 8. it was so cool to see how excited he was to follow Christ. no wonder why we are told to be as little children!
  • and let's not forget the guy who screamed at me. we were walking to a house and I saw two guys working on a car and I asked if we could help, and one of them just gives me the look and after a few seconds screams at me full force "ARE YOU A MECHANIC?" alright I guess he didn't need help haha

i studied so much good stuff this week but my favourite was studying step 6 of the arp manuel which is about "change of heart". there's so much good stuff in there so I'd recommend you all to study it and I'll just share a quote from it. president ezra taft benson once said “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature. …" how you may ask? first is to recognise your weaknesses and to ask for Christ to help you overcome them. once you have that change of heart and beat those interior demons, nothing on the outside can do anything to you, nothing else really matters so turn to Christ.

some of you skimmed this email and some of you just read a book of an email, thanks to you all. if you skimmed I guess in a sentence here's my week: IM ALIVE AND WELL AND AM LOVING LIFE AND THE CHALLENGES AND TRIALS THAT IM FACING, God is so good and I fetching love you guys 😘

Elder Varner

Sent from my iPad

pic 1: some welsh for y'all
pics 2-3: squad
pic 4: exchanges
pics 5-7: coolest place ever
video 1: jimmer or dallas?