Monday, October 31, 2016

Duces Elder Mthethwa (Week 11)

Well, as by the title of this email, you can tell that I had to say goodbye to Elder Mthethwa this morning. We dropped him off at the bus station which was pretty sad, elder Mthethwa was such a good guy, and such a hard worker and funny guy, I loved being able to be his companion and am honoured to have been his last comp! but it's all good because for the next few weeks I'll be in a trio with elder miner and elder smith!!! TRIO?! The grass is way green!! Gotta give some credit and a shout out to my cousin Trevor Thompson, that kid is a stud, and I had to use some of his lines from some of his previous emails, love you man! Anyways, I'll be here in a trio for an unknown amount of time until my new companion is chosen and sent here, but I'll be in Swansea for Christmas!  🎄🎄☃️

Before and after I emailed last Monday we went out to city centre, we went shopping and I got a ton of winter clothes stuff, it's pretty nice. Sorry to break the bank dad. We went to a place called Nando's for lunch, it's a really good chicken place. We also went to this Welsh souvenir place so I got a few cool things. One thing I've learned is how honest the Welsh people are, a worker at the store told me what I was buying was £29, then I gave her £40 and apparently she only gave me £1, but I didn't realise it, I was still in the store, and 5 minutes later she ran up to me and was so sorry for not giving me my £11 change back, and I didn't even realise it. Wow, I love the honesty here.

Tuesday was a decent day, honestly not my best day. We taught Gxxx on her doorstep for an hour, I was freezing, the wind and mist is a bad mix haha. After that we met up with Axxx, and played pool with him, that was a blast. It reminded me of all the times me and the crew would gather at Issac Berretts house for pool. I won two out of three games 😉 we had ward coordination and then got subway with the ward mission leader, and then I got the best news of the day: I'm staying in Swansea, I was SO relieved, and now I'm hyped! 

Wednesday we saw Kxxx and Gxxx, both good lessons. I started out exchanges with Elder Smith, but then ended up with elder miner. We got some solid potentials and then had the best dinner and experience of my mission so far, best non spiritual experience that is, we went to...FIVE GUYS. America. We walked in, and the guy at the cash register said to us "by the looks of it, it seems like you're from America and that you've been to five guys before, welcome home". Those words brought so much happiness. I was hyped. Was it expensive? Yes, I spent £15 on one meal. That's way expensive. Was it worth it? Absolutely, it was such a cool experience. I felt like I was back in the States, it had the same feel, and more importantly, the same taste. I was so thrilled. And while I know I won't taste of five guys soon, I will be back again.

Thursday we had our district meeting, which was fun. The Sister missionaries knew I've been dying for some American pancakes, so for lunch, sister wadsworth made some American pancakes for the district, it was so amazing. American food is where it's at guys. Only mistake though: there was some extra pancake batter so I decided to make an extra one, and I put way too much oil in the pan, so I pretty much deep fried a pancake, that was interesting. After that we went over to Kxxx's place to paint for a while. And after that, we went to Royston's house for dinner! He fed us this amazing kish thing and salad and for dessert, apple crumble and rice pudding, it was SOOOO good, this guy is so cool.

Friday was a pretty good day. We met up with Dxxx, also pictured below, and then went back for weekly planning and lunch. Not much else for most of the day, I got two naps in during lunch and dinner so that was cool I guess. We played volleyball at night which was fun too.

Saturday was one of the best days of my entire mission. We had lunch with Shaun at his place, followed by him showing us some studio c skits and jamesthemormon, that was a good time. Then...Kxxx's baptism!! Everything went super well!!! Except one thing...the water in the baptismal font was BOILING hot, oh my gosh it was crazy, but it was such a cool experience. She was so prepared for that moment, and she already wants to go out teaching with us which is way rad!! I got to baptise her and elder Mthethwa did the confirmation! After the baptism, we had a ward Halloween party called trunk or treat! That was way rad also! It was such a good day.

Sunday was rad too. We went to church which was pretty sweet, then we went back to the flat so elder Mthethwa could pack, and I watched the face to face studio c thing, which was sweet, check it!

As always, I'll end this with a spiritual thought, by far the most important part of my letter in my opinion: one of my favourite hymns that I've been reflecting on has the lyrics, "When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your blessings; See what God hath done. …Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings; ev’ry doubt will fly, And you will be singing as the days go by." I want to challenge each of you to reflect on the blessings the Lord bestows upon you throughout the day at the end and throughout each day. No matter how hard of a time you are having, I promise you the strength to get through anything as you do this, I leave you with this blessing as you faithfully thank God for his hand in your life. As you do this, your hearts will overflow with gratitude. 

I miss you all, I pray for you all, and I love you all. Make sure you all have a legen-wait for it-DARY week, LEGENDARY!

Elder Varner

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mission Boundaries . . .(Week 10)

Dang, I know some of you might be thinking:fetch, why would Dallas leave the mission boundaries, continue reading to find out...

The past week has been another good one filled with miracles left and right. No, actually this week wasnt good, it was absolutely amazing. This was the best week so far of my mission. I would like to apologise because this letter is a lot longer than normal, even though normal ones are long, I appreciate your time, so thank you!

Last Sunday we went to church in the morning and I had to give a talk in sacrament meeting. I decided to give it on prayer, and to be honest, it was probably the best talk I've ever given, the spirit really guided it. There was like ten investigators and recent converts between all the missionaries in the ward, which was sweet. I love this ward and these people, this has to be the best area ever, I love these people. After church we traveled through the lone dreary wilderness of the United Kingdom to go stay in Harbourne for the night.

After only 5 hours of sleep on Monday night, I woke up, got ready, and went to the Solihull Chapel. At the beginning, we all got to shake Elder and Sister Cooks hands, which was amazing. They went on to both give amazing talks. Sister Cook talked about how music can bring the spirit, and also how our first "convert" is ourselves. Elder Cook didn't have one specific topic, he answered some questions and talked a lot about his mission, but all I'll say is that he is a sure witness of Jesus Christ, it is incredible. After that, we all got to hangout and eat lunch with the other missionaries from the mission. I got to see Elder Hill (formally known as Ben), and the rest of my mtc district, which was super fun! Me, elder Mthethwa, elder miner, and elder smith drove back to Wales after, and got a super nice roast dinner thing for like £6, I was thrilled.

I woke up Tuesday morning with a super bad sore throat, which sucked. But elder mthethwa asked me to pray about a street to knock doors on, and after a few minutes I felt good about one, we knocked the first three doors, no response, fourth door, no immediate response, we were beginning to walk away, when a lady answered the door and invited us in to talk, her name is Gxxxr, Welsh name I think. Anyways, she seems pretty solid, which is exciting. After that, me and elder miner went to go talk to people at the city centre, lots of success for that, it was fun! We also went to Starbucks which was seriously legit cuz it reminded me of home.

Wednesday had nothing exciting at all.

Thursday was a busy day, every minute was packed. We went early to zone meeting, which was pretty cool. After that, we met with Gxxxr again and she seemed super happy about our message. We then met with Axxxa who is looking forward to her baptism which is NOVEMBER 12th! Then we met with Kxxx, who is getting baptised  THIS Saturday!!!!!!! She is so amazing, she's so prepared and we are all pretty excited! After three lessons in a row, non stop, we ran, literally, to Royston's house for dinner. There's a picture with him attached on this. He is so funny, I love that guy. He has the biggest heart, such a genuine person, he's 80 and he looks way younger, and he has so much energy, I would've thought he was late 40s or 50s, crazy! I love this guy, he's one of those guys I'll never forget about.

Friday we left at 4:30 am to go to Birmingham for a follow up trainers meeting. It was so early, but I managed to get sleep. We had to take a train, and I thought "man this train thing will be so cool". I have never been so wrong in my entire life. I thought it'd be like Harry Potter, but it was a train with way too many people squeezed on, both ways. For those who want that Harry Potter experience, just go to Harry Potter world at universal. The meeting was quite fun though, it was cool to see my mtc district again. 

Saturday was pretty good. We met with Aaron again which was cool. We had stake conference session 1! It was really good! President and Sister Leppard came to it and spoke. Elder smith and elder miner spoke too on inviting people to church and bringing people back to church. My favorite talk was by far sister Leppard's talk! She spoke on how there are no ways around challenges, so we should go through them with a good attitude. Come what may and LOVE it!!! After, Kxxx had her baptismal interview with President Leppard and she is officially getting baptised and confirmed this weekend!!!! She was so excited and we were all way excited! I'm so hyped!! Also, our heater broke earlier in the day, but finally got it working at night. It's good cuz it'll be a cold winter...

Sunday was a good day, just stake conference and planning and stuff. Oh, gxxxr came to church, and she liked it so much that she told someone about our church after, things are looking good.

Now, for those of you who wanted to know why I left the mission boundaries, it really isn't a cool story, but it catches attention. Four of us were driving to Birmingham for the mission conference when we realised that we had to go through Bristol to get there, right as we were crossing over the boundary, we called president about having to leave the boundaries to get to it, and he seemed cool with it, I guess there's a lot of trust with the zone leaders, but man, at least I can say I've been to Bristol now.

Quick Spiritual Thought: elder Holland once said about the Book of Mormon, "Brothers and sisters, God always provides safety for the soul, and with the Book of Mormon, He has again done that in our time. Remember this declaration by Jesus Himself: “Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived”--and in the last days neither your heart nor your faith will fail you". The Book of Mormon can bring peace and protection as we read and pray about it constantly. I have seen so many blessings as a result from reading the Book of Mormon daily. The Book of Mormon is true. It is my hope and prayer that we read from it for the peace and protection it offers. 

Well, thanks for tuning in this week. Keep the Jager family in your prayers, spread love to everyone. Till next time 

Elder Varner

Sent from my iPad

Picture 1: Me and Elder Hill
Picture 2: MTC District
Picture 3: Royston's Dinner Appointment
Picture 4/5: The Crew aka Zone

Picture 6: Elder Miner and I at Starbucks

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hey, Hey, Hey ... Hey, Hey, Hey, Living Like We're Renegades (Week 9)

SURPISE...Pday isn't Tuesday, it's today for some reason, so here's an email for your weekend, I'll be back on next Monday, the 24th, so hope this does some justice. This past week has been so amazing!! This is the most fun and the happiest I've been in a long time, and I love these people so Flippin much. It was a lit week!

After emailing on Monday, we met up with the district and the sister training leaders and went laser tagging and to this dessert place called Kaspas, which was absolutely life changing. It's incredible, I can't do it justice. We went to Liberty Stadium(where Swansea City plays, the football club), and I bought my first football/soccer jersey, which I was pretty excited about. We also grabbed some legit fish n chips with Will Roberts, the elders quorum president, and he told me about this legit golf course called Langland Bay, apparently the Ryder cup was played there in 2010, which may be false, but I'm already making plans to play a round there soon so stay tuned! ⛳️ oh also, at dinner, the waiter asked how long we were in the UK for and I said two years while raising two fingers, which is flipping someone off here, we all laughed cuz it was a sincere mistake, I apologised and the waiter was cracking up big time

Tuesday was a lot of finding, with no real success, not too much for the day to be honest, but it was a good day, and the spirits still ran high, I don't really get sad or mad when people reject us, more unmotivated sometimes, but I'm working on it. Oh there was a kind of funny moment, these two little 12 year olds came up to me and my companion and asked if we were from America, I said I was, he gave me a fist pump and got kind of excited, which was nice cuz I feel like a lot of people here don't like Americans haha

Wednesday, honestly I can't remember that much from this day, but we had a lesson with Kxxx, which was amazing as always. Oh also, it was my first "Dodge Night". Dodge Night is where we find out what is happening for the next transfer, which is actually crazy. Dodge night, it's no joke, like at all. The district is staying the same, except sister swapp is moving to some other area, but the rest is the same, and me and elder Mthethwa are staying here, no trio for now!

Thursday, we had zone conference in Cardiff, which was fun. Um we went finding for a bit, I had some good energy, I was happy. We saw Axxxn again, and he was cool, but needs to start making more progression gospel wise, but we will keep trying. After we saw Axxxn, the district all got dessert together at kaspas for sister swapps last night, and that was fun!

Friday, what a day. We had a lesson with Dxxxn, which went pretty well. After that we hung out with one of elder Mthethwa's convert from a while ago which was fun. Then we taught Kxxx about tithing with brother Roberts from the bishopric, he is the guy in the center for the volleyball pic in black. He's exactly like brother Doyle, he's so funny, brother Doyle: you would love this guy. We had volleyball, huge show up, like that picture is only half the people that showed up, it was crazy, and it was so fun, I love this place, I'm so happy I'm staying here another transfer. My favorite two guys in the ward are brother roberts and Shaun fish, he is the guy with the hat on the very right, he invited us over for next week to hangout and listen to Jamesthemormon and for dinner, that'll be a super fun dinner appointment, man I love this place, I don't want to leave, at all. I hope I get to stay here past Christmas. 

Of course I'll end this off with a spiritual thought: a few years ago, elder Holland said "I would say to all who wish for more faith, remember this! In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited!" Stay true to the faith you have! I promise you as you do this, your faith will grow, and you will receive blessings for it!

Anyways, I love you all! Have a good week and Stay blessed!

Elder Varner

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sunny With A Chance Of Rain (Week 8)

October 10, 2016

Well, another week has passed, and it's been another great one full of miracles left and right. To everyone who thinks my emails are too long, I'm sorry haha. So BIG NEWS: we found out over the weekend that transfers are this Friday so elder Mthethwa might be leaving because he will only have three weeks left and the mission home is far away, so we will either be in a trio or I'll have a new companion. Also...a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is coming to speak to all the missionaries in our mission next Monday the 17th...Elder Quentin L Cook!!!! Which also means I will not be able to email next Monday, but I'll be able to email next Tuesday most likely!

After emailing last week, us and the zone leaders went to a place called the Gower to visit with one of elder Mthethwa and elder miners old converts, the family's name is the bxxxs. The guy is named Jxx, this guy is freaking crazy, he's one of the funniest people I've ever met, no filter what so ever. Super generous though, they bought all of us lunch and dinner, and the Gower was stunning.

Tuesday was a sweet day. We had some member visits and a great lesson with a cool guy named Jxxxn, he's 21, things are looking good for that. We did some service at some man shed thing which was kind of weird to be honest, but oh well. And we had dinner with Royston and Fiona, I sent a pic with them a few weeks back. These people are my absolute favorite. We spent three hours at their place eating and talking, which is two hours too long to be at a dinner appointment, so we are gonna set up appointments at 7:30 with them so we can say we have to leave for curfew, but they are so funny, and super generous, Royston is like 78 apparently but he has the energy and personality of a guy in his 20s. We all jammed out to some gospel choir, and it was an amazing night. And happy birthday dad! Don't worry, I didn't forget. Also, total miracle for the day, we were walking back from town and we saw the sister missionaries sitting on a bench with a member, and they had been trying to get a priesthood holder so they could give this member a blessing, and the other elders just told them they couldn't at the moment, and we walked up right at that moment and were able to giver her a blessing, their prayers were answered, and I saw, first hand, how the lord directs are paths.

Wednesday we really didn't do anything too much, just a lot of finding people to teach.

Thursday we had district meeting, and then some finding and talking to people at the city centre, it was crazy, after awhile I was getting bored and tired of talking to random people, and right when I said a prayer to regain excitement, the next person we talked to said he'd love to meet up again and talk more! Man, God answers prayers guys. He does, if I've learned one thing out here, that's it, but I've learned more too. We also met with Kxxx again, man, she's so fetching solid, she has her mind set on the 29th for baptism and she's gonna do it! We were walking through city centre back to our flat around 7, and I saw like over two thousand college students and there was a dj and I got so hyped. Finally, people out past 5pm! And I couldn't do anything, but I was pretty excited to see that this city had some night life. 

Friday, a member took us to an all you can eat place which was really good. We met with Axxxn after and a new investigator named Axxxa. She's had a really hard life, like crazy hard, but she really wants the gospel because she knows it'll bless her life, she told us she wants to get baptised, wow. She wants to aim for November 12th, flip...miracles, so many miracles.

Saturday not much happened, we talked to a few Chinese students who seemed interested. We also had another lesson with Kxxx, wow, she's so solid. She asked us how much baptism cost, and when we told her it was completely free, she seemed so relieved but she said she was ready to drop like £1000 on it no big deal, that goes to show how solid she is.

Sunday was my first real fast Sunday of the mission, fasting can be hard because I get headaches when I'm dehydrated so it was hard towards the end, but I felt a lot of peace from it. Testimony meeting was the strongest spirit I've felt so far on the mission, I loved it so much. Kxxx and Axxxa both came to church and everyone there loves them, they are pretty much part of the ward already. It was a good day, but man I was exhausted after. Oh and the Flippin gospel principles teacher asked us Saturday night what we wanted him to teach the next day, he said she would. And then that homie didn't show up, so I totally had to wing a lesson but it went well, next time I'll make elder Mthethwa do it haha

Spiritual thought of the week: in conference last week, Elder J Devin Cornish said the most powerful and inspiring thing I have ever heard in my entire life, he said "I witness to you that if you will really try and will not rationalize or rebel--repenting often and pleading for the grace, or help, of Christ--you positively are going to be “good enough,” that is, acceptable before the Lord; you are going to make it to the celestial kingdom, being perfect in Christ; and you are going to receive the blessings and glory and joy that God desires for each". Wow, wow, wow. Elder Cornish has a way with words, you'll know what I mean if you listened or watched that talk, he is so uplifting. We have a promise that if we try and repent, that we will make it to the celestial kingdom because of Christ's grace. He said it the most straight forward I've heard it. We all have things we've had to repent of before, but even after repenting, we may sometimes still feel as if we will never be able to obtain the celestial kingdom, but through christs grace, we CAN! This is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ! This is the best thing on earth! If you have repented of something, but are still struggling to forgive yourself, keep following Christ, I promise you the relief you seek will come, I know that for me, forgiving myself takes time, and that's because repentance is not an easy thing, it takes time, the consequences of mistakes can last a life time, elder Cornish said that too, but he said that as we repent we will positively be good enough!

This week has been great, my confidence has risen so much it's crazy, I feel confident to walk up to absolutely anyone and it's sweet. Life is good and it keeps getting better. Pleas please continue sending words of encouragement, there are hard times, and I do love to read the emails, so if you are emailing me, keep it up, if you haven't, try if you can haha. Now the reason I call this email Sunny with a Chance, no not the old Disney channel show(but gold star for you if you remember that), it's because Swansea is supposed to be one of the wettest cities in the U.K., but it has been SO sunny this week, it's been quite great. No rain at all for the last 8 days!!

Have a blessed week! Love you all! zàijiàn!!!!!

Elder Varner

Monday, October 3, 2016

Bus Problems (Week 7)

October 3, 2016

Wow, what a week it was! This area is so fetching lit right now, no joke guys, this is so lit right now, I don't even know where to start, but I'll try:

after sending my emails last week, I got my haircut, probably the shortest I've got it cut in a long time, hope you all like it ;) we went to subway, and visited a less active named ExGx, super funny guy, he said he will come out to an activity sometime. After visiting with him, me and elder mthethwa made the sketchiest walk I have made. Wales is a super safe place, but walking through allys and a dark forest is sketchy, but we made it alive, as elder gilbert would say, I ain't scared, I go to church!

Tuesday we had to go out to myrthr for a double district meeting with President Leppard and Sister Leppard. They emphasised new code texts that are meant for evacuation because apparently a ton of stuff is going down around the world lately and we are being super prepared for the worst. we took a sketchy looking bus back to the hood(otherwise known as Swansea), it took two flippin hours, not much for the day to be honest

Wednesday was a super foggy day. we went to the church in the morning to make flyers for general conference. When we left we were trying to find the bus stop that'd take us back into town, and I saw the bus that we wanted to take, and I turned around, realised that we weren't near the bus stop and I saw elder Mthethwa just start booking it! I was like "holy fetch!" I started running full speed, which is still pretty slow, in order to try to beat the bus to the bus station, and we missed it haha. Then we headed to the other bus stop and I saw that bus, I started booking it even faster than the last time, I wasn't gonna miss two buses in a row, I don't mess. We barely caught it, in the fetching rain. Jeez guys I can't stress this story enough, it seriously was so close. That wasn't the end to our bus problems, we missed two more buses throughout the day, one time was because some fetcher lied to us on what side of the road we had to be on for a certain bus, and then the other bus never came when it was supposed to. We had a 45 minute walk back to our flat, and it wasn't raining anymore, but it was so misty outside. Do you know those misters at theme parks that are super heavenly on a hot day? Well imagine that X10, but it being on you for 45 minutes with wind. I was SOAKED by the end of the night, but it's all good, we had a long day but found some success.

Thursday we continued to deal with bus problems, we wanted to visit a lady who just got out of the hospital named CxJx, and we took the wrong bus, so that's fun. We met with Kxxx ( the lady that came up to us last week and asked for a Book of Mormon). It was our second meeting and we talked to her more about baptism, and I extended the invitation to her to be baptised and she said yes! She says that she will pray more about a date and get back to us soon! This chick is on fire guys, she's 29, a college student, and she has read to Alma in one week, fetching golden, it's crazy, we are so blessed to be able to have run into her and that we can help her come unto Christ more. It amazes me to see how prepared she is, it excites me so much. We met with Axxxn after and he talked a ton, we met with him for two hours, he said he'd be baptised if he developed a testimony so we have work to do there. I finally made a legit chicken meal thing, and we jammed out to sons of provo (gold star for you if you know that reference) My confidence was strong as we talked to people, it started out as a hard day in personal study, but Satan was just trying to bring me down, and when I got over negative thoughts and vibes, it turned out to be the BEST day in the mission so far. This is the happiest I've been so far.

Friday was sweet too! We had a good lesson with One of our investigators named Dxxxn, he started out asking a lot of questions trying to get us to slip up, but we bore our testimonies and he felt the spirit. We did some finding, and ran into Shaun from the ward. He says that he is gonna move to Idaho or Utah with his family next year early on! I'm so hyped! I'll get to see him a ton after the mish! We got to hang with him for like 30 minutes and talked to him about byu and how Jamesthemormon is getting huge, he said that jamesthemormon is crazy big now in the states, and all I have to say is I told you so. I started listening to him early this year before he got super big, and a ton of people bagged on him, but now he's huge! Check him out! Carry Me Away is my favorite by him! We had another lesson with Kxxx, it's looking like she'll be baptised on October 29th, She's so solid, it amazes me so much. We got some guys from the ward to come out and play volleyball at night, which was fun.

Saturday/Sunday:fetch its already October, that's crazy. Three of our three appointments fell through so we grabbed lunch at a pub with some other elders. We watched the Saturday morning session at 5:00 here on Saturday and oh my gosh it was amazing. Conference as a missionary is so amazing. I had so many questions answered and I felt the spirit so strongly. I'm so happy after it, and it is the best general conference I've ever watched. Every session is incredible and you all need to watch or listen or read it on . Kxxx came to watch conference on Sunday and she loved it! 

This week was great, but there were hard moments, but those depressing feelings go away as soon as I forget myself and go to work! I've learned and applied that a lot and I'm growing to love this more and more.

I'll leave you all with one spiritual thought: It's hard following general conference because we have to come down from that peak experience of feeling the spirit so eloquently and clearly. Elder Holland gave this counsel last general conference, "First of all, if in the days ahead you not only see limitations in those around you but also find elements in your own life that don’t yet measure up to the messages you have heard this weekend, please don’t be cast down in spirit and don’t give up. The gospel, the Church, and these wonderful semiannual gatherings are intended to give hope and inspiration. They are not intended to discourage you. Only the adversary, the enemy of us all, would try to convince us that the ideals outlined in general conference are depressing and unrealistic, that people don’t really improve, that no one really progresses. And why does Lucifer give that speech? Because he knows he can’t improve, he can’t progress, that worlds without end he will never have a bright tomorrow. He is a miserable man bound by eternal limitations, and he wants you to be miserable too. Well, don’t fall for that. With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed." The messages we heard over the weekend have inspired and uplifted those who watched with prayerful intent. And In the upcoming days, I would encourage you to all embrace what elder Holland said in this quote, and to use these messages we heard over the weekend to constantly uplift us and to never give up. 

 I love you all. Have a blessed week!

Elder Varner