Monday, September 12, 2016

My Kebabtism (Weeks 3 & 4)

Family and Friends!!

I am so sorry for not emailing last week! We went to the field so we didn't have a chance to email, but this email will be crazy long so I hope that makes up for it. My emails should be good now that I have more time to write and I'm in the field! Don't worry, I promise to write less from now on after this, unless people like this majorly long email.

Zooming back to the mtc( yes you will have to read more to know where I'm at now), we took a sweet field trip to some church history sights! It was sunny most days in the mtc! I guess I scared the rain away(I hope I don't eat these words later on). We said goodbye to Sister Sawyer and Brother Nolan, which was pretty sad, I loved them. Me and elder abecia almost crashed a wedding reception on accident! So I guess you can call us the wedding crashers haha. I saw a stake dance happen right before my very eyes, it brought back the good old days of
when I use to go to stake dances as a kid...4 weeks ago hahaha, stake dances are sick, don't talk trash on them.

Kind of funny moment: we were sitting In a pretty big class/lecture thing and we saw a wasp, everyone yelled "kill it". Brother Webb (a teacher) said "that is a creation of God". Then 2 seconds later he said "by the way, wasps serve absolutely no purpose on this earth". Then some kid just squashed it! I don't even think it was that funny,
but we were all laughing so hard. I swear the dumbest things I find funny.

Snack time at night was absolutely LIT, I  mean it was literally lit. Someone started a fire in the toaster and I watched that beautiful flame almost come up and hit him. Don't worry, it got put out. also some kid got locked In a closet for ten minutes, don't worry he asked for it literally, we then said goodbye on Monday night :(

we left the mtc on Tuesday morning. It was actually pretty sad suprisingly. We had a three hour bus ride to the mission headquarters in Birmingham. Once we got to the mission home, we got to hangout for a bit. We all had interviews with the mission president. President Leppard and his wife are pretty cool, very to the point. We got our
iPads and also got to introduce ourselves to everyone on a cornerstone thing.

As I was going up, the sweetest thing happened! I was walking up and I heard someone yell out Dallas! I looked and it was Elder Ben Hill!!!! I was so excited, it was actually pretty emotional. We didn't get to talk for too long, but I know I'll see him here again eventually!

We got our trainers and my trainer is Elder Mthethwa. He only has like 7 more weeks left for his mission. He is from South Africa! Super chill guy! The next 7 weeks with him should be sweet! Literally everyone has told me that he is one of the best missionaries in the mission, and since training is 12 weeks, I'll have two trainers, one of which might be one of the AP's, that guy is a homie too! We are at SWANSEA WALES! We are white-washing this area! Which basically means that none of us have served in this area before and it was a shut down area before so we are re-booting it! Crazy!

Once we arrived in Swansea, we were greeted by the zone leaders, elder smith and elder minor. They are super super chill!! We dropped off our bags at the flat and all went out to a pub for dinner, it had been like 8 Hours since I last ate so I was starving! I got one of the best hamburgers I've ever had for only £5. It came with fries and a drink too so it was a pretty good deal!

We went back to our flat which is mixed I guess. It's in a sweet location, we are super close to the downtown areas, but the flat is a DUMP! Everything is way outdated but it's ok cuz me and my companion have had a few cleaning seshs where we started turning this into our new crib, it still kind of sucks tho haha

 We ran into a nice old gent named Dxxx, he talked to us about how the bible has been corrupted, we told him that we believe that the bible is the word of God as long as it is translated correctly, told him a bit of the Book of Mormon, and met with him again on Friday, he was super open to our message AND he doesn't believe in the trinity which is sweet cuz that's one of the biggest obstacles here, we meet again next week!

we went to tesco cuz we have no other food in the apartment. Remember how I said that tesco was a disappointment? Well, this one wasn't at all! It was crazy big, and it was sweet! Everyone was talking about
the new iPad and iPhone, what's the news there?

I got a Ton of food for only £27! But we had to walk back with like 6 bags to our flat, which was two miles away! I was dead tired and sore, I guess I'm getting my workout in tho haha

After recovering from that, we had to walk to the church so I could further set up my iPad. It was SUPPOSED to be only a twenty minute walk according to the zone leaders. It was an HOUR AND A HALF walk. Yes you read that right. We had to walk up a major hill called Mt Pleasant. It wasn't pleasant, it was torture. It was two miles up a
steep hill, and then much more. Look it up online and check it out, I swear I'm gonna be so dang fit by the end of these twelve weeks, the hills are crazy! The last 4 weeks, I've already lost around 10 pounds 
😳We couldn't even fully set up apps on the iPad so we really didn't have to go to the church, but on the way back we got to meet a girl
named Hxxx, who said we could stop by and talk, and some guy who speaks very little English.

we had our first district meeting( a district is all the missionaries in a close range, usually like 6 people out here). We didn't want to walk up mt pleasant again so we bought a monthly bus pass for £75, which the church says it'll reimburse us for it. The transportation here is super cool! The meeting was pretty fun! We have a lot of cool
things coming ahead. Apparently there's only 4 youth TOTAL, crazy, but not on my watch, we are gonna rebuild that.

We walked around a lot and tried to meet up with some members. So in our ward, we have 780 members...only 80 are active, which makes everything super tricky. Reactivation will be so key. We talked to an inactive couple, named the Sts. We talked to them for awhile, they said they would take us to see some sights, that'll be fun!

We have a new person we are gonna start teaching next week, he speaks Portuguese mainly, so I'm gonna start learning some basic Portuguese before! People LOVE when you speak their native language, and there are so many Chinese people here for school, so I actually am starting to learn Mandarin Chinese, it'll be sweet if I can learn. We have one mandarin speaking missionary in our district (his call was for mandarin), he walked up to a group of 12 Chinese college kids and started randomly speaking mandarin to them, and they got so excited! All of them set up a lesson with the elders! I want that skill haha, that elders name is elder miner, perhaps the funniest guy alive. I went on exchanges with him for an hour, his biggest fear is talking to young people, which shocks me cuz he is the most outgoing funny guy, any ways, I got him to talk to a group of ten 16 year olds who all turned out to be from Germany, which was fetching hilarious. Also, fetch is a huge word here

On Saturday we taught a guy named Axxxn, he works at a local musuem, doesn't know if God is real, but is willing to see if he is. He was awesome! The guy knows so much history! I love it! We meet again on Friday! I also ran into a guy who went to the Redding and Leeds festival, which is my dream music festival, I wish I could've talked
to him for an hour about it haha. I also had to walk up constitution hill, which is a super steep hill. The American constitution is much better hahaha

We went to church yesterday, and took a much better route, it only was a forty minute walk haha. We met the members, who are amazing! There's a guy named Shaun, who is suprisingly a big BYU fan, so he filled me
in on all the details! Looks like he'll be my best friend this football season hahaha. Other than that we didn't do much, there's a guy who runs a hot donut stand on the side of the road who is talking with the other set of missionaries, he waved us down and gave us some free donuts, the best I've ever had, so we have the hook ups now!

This morning, I finally bought a rain coat and we went to get food haha, not anything too exciting!

Now, for all of you who have made it this far in my email, and wonder what the heck a Kebabtism is, I'll explain: all of the elders in the mission take the new elder to a kebab place(they have shops everywhere here), and have them get their first kebab in the mish. So I went forth and was kebabtized. Wasn't the best, wasn't the worst, but now I'm an official member of the kebabtist church. 

Also, if any of you love me enough to send me letters or packages,this is the address for the next two years:

187 Penns Lane
Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands
England B76 1JU
United Kingdom

Quick spiritual thought: I read a really cool conference talk given by President Uchtdorf, where he says "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters--my dear friends--please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith
in the Lord Jesus Christ." This is so amazing! Never let a small doubt or question keep you from receiving the infinite blessings this gospel brings! Doubt your doubts, before you hold back the blessings waiting
for you!

Hope you all have the best week! Please continue emailing me, I love it so much and I love reading them on hard days, so words of encouragement are welcome! I love you all!

Elder Varner

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