Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Spread be Spreading! (Week 19)

happy Boxing Day guys! even though that's just a thing here, it's like our version of black friday. this last week had literally every emotion: hype, no motivation, happiness, homesickness, quickness, slowness, excitement, disappointment, but had the spirit the entire way through. it's been a fun week out here nevertheless!
last monday was sooooo sick, like amazing. we all went with kayleigh on a cool hike thing and it was gorgeous, wales is one of the prettiest places ever, i love it! shaun fish met up with us after that to play sports at the church and like i said last week, i still got game! we got back to the flat and i remembered the chick fil a sauce recipe i got earlier, so i made it and tried it! it was so good, like as good as the real chick fil a sauce!!! the hype was way real and now it's spreading through the zone and maybe even the mission soon! let it spread like wild fire!!!! so sick!

tuesday was rad! we started out the day meeting with Kxxx and her mom who is now interested in learning more! The lesson went rad and I'm hyped for the future! Not much in the middle of the day to be honest, but we ate dinner at Royston's and it was AMAZING as always, I love that guy. 

wednesday was pretty fun, kind of slow, but fun. we went with Kxxxx to go show people the Christmas video and that went ok, people were so busy so it was hard to get people to talk, I thought this was the time people liked Christ more haha, it still went ok tho! we taught this new guy named Mxxxs and he seems down to learn more! we will see him this week, he's an interesting dude, he's from Nigeria and at the end of the lesson he asked for 50,000 copies of the Book of Mormon or bible. I asked why and he said he wants to share scriptures with his people back home, this homie is a way better missionary than me! haha! also we had a miracle, this chick named Exxa texted us back after two months and said she wanted to come to church so we are hyped to see if it goes anywhere! 

Thursday started out pretty slow but it picked up! we spent most of the morning waiting for an electrician to come when we wanted to go talk to people so that sucked, but we went to the Hole's for lunch and it was awesome, these members are rocking right now for feeding us, maybe it's cuz it's holiday time, but still it's sick, and I've still lost like half a stone (7 lbs) this transfer so you know I'm hyped! after that we did some work at the church and we went back to the city centre (center is spelled centre here, I think I said that a while ago, but just a reminder), and we weren't too motivated to go work cuz it was raining and no one really was down to talk. Well we went out to a less active part member family and we decided to knock some doors before to at least show God we were gonna work even if we didn't want to, and bam! two return appointments! so tight! then the family we had been trying to get a hold of for months was home and let us in! they are so cool! hard work brings miracles, God notices us as we go the extra mile, in all aspects of life as we strive to be more like his son, Jesus Christ.

Friday was kinda boring to be real, no one really was down to talk so we just stopped by some members and went to sports night, a few elders came down from Merthyr to spend the night cuz we had a zone party the next day and that was fun. Elder Hatch from Utah and elder gafney from New Zealand, we stayed up so late just talking! Missions are hard, but they have some awesome parts as well. Like where else would I have the chance to be with a Swedish person, a Utah kid, and a New Zealand guy in the middle of a big city in flipping Wales just chilling at our flat? No where, missions are rad!

Saturday, or CHRISTmas eve! Such a sick day! We had a zone Christmas party and it got intense! White elephant, nativity scene, and a ton of fun games that people almost got hurt it, like one we had to all run to a chair to get a peace of paper and find someone who had the same one, and people were pushing and shovin! So sick! We had ward coordination party edition at five guys and then sang carols to some people, we also did secret Santa and sister Romero got me Krispy Kreme donuts! Jeez so much junk food! Then we had a ward carol service which was great, the spirit was so strong and it brought a tear to my eye. Christ lives! After we went over to the Hole's for an after party with the Roberts and it was such a blast. Gotta be one of the top three days of my mission, I loved it!

Christmas Day, or Sunday, was pretty sweet! We opened letters and packages in the morning, then went to church for an hour, and then went to the Roberts! It was so sick, the food was SOO good. So much food! Then I got to Skype the fam which was fun, it went by so fast though, and it got me a little homesick to be real. Then we all just hung out and talked which was cool, I love the Roberts!! Pretty fun Christmas Day!

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who sent letters or packages to me! I love you all so much! They meant the world to me!! For those who forgot, If you still wanna hit me up with a Christmas or New Years card it's not too late lol!

Also I thought I'd do something extra cuz some of you may not know some of these missionary terms I use:
Ward coordination: a meeting with people involved with missionary work in a ward(local church)
Zone: a group of missionaries in one big area
District: a smaller group of missionaries in a smaller portion of a zone

Spiritual thought: this weekend is gonna be the start of 2017! so lit!! so I got a few pieces of advice for you from across the pond. a) don't do anything stupid this weekend, just don't, be smart. b) many of you will come up with New Years resolutions, and if you're like me, you say you'll do something and then stop two weeks later haha, I would challenge you to come up with some meaningful New Years resolutions this upcoming year, especially in coming unto Christ. Some of you are Mormon, some are other sects of Christianity, some are atheist, and some are of other religions: no matter what religious belief you do or do not have, I would challenge you all to draw closer to Christ this upcoming year. A few possible ways of doing this? Treating others as he would, as a precious child of God. Visiting the lonely. Serving others and being an example to others. You can draw closer to him as you study from scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, there is power in that book. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it is evidence that Jesus is the saviour of the world, that he lives, that Jospeh Smith saw God AND his son Jesus Christ, side by side. It will draw you closer to Jesus Christ and God more than any other book will. 

well it's time again to bid farewell for another week. we find out what's happening next transfer this Sunday night so I will let you all know next Monday if I'm staying in Swansea for another six weeks or if I'm leaving. either way I want to express the love I have for this place, I really love it here and I don't want to leave at all to go to a new area, but I'll go where the lord wants me to go, and we will find out on Sunday. I love you all! Ill talk to y'all again next year!!!! Have a good New Years and stay safe!! ๐Ÿ˜˜

elder varner 

video 1: crazy game where we had to make animal noises and pair up with the person making the same animal noise as us, like musical chairs, but crazier!
video 2: me popping bottles at the Roberts for christmas dinner!
pic 1: royston
pic 2: liberty stadium, where swansea city plays
pic 3: the newest american chef
pic 4: swansea city afc
pic 5: the homie aaron
pic 6: ward coordination party at five guys!
pic 7: skype is hype!
pic 8: christmas with the roberts

(REVERSE ORDER from what shown)

Sent from my iPad

Monday, December 19, 2016

Teaching English to Refugees - Video with Elder Ben Hill - Meeting Professional Stunt Double - Food Poisoning Didn't Stop Us (Week 18)

Well, there were a lot of lessons to be learned this week, the first is that I'll never go bulimic, I mean I already knew that, but I was reassured this week how much I hate throwing up and being sick. and the other lesson was being sure that I can still ball out and get my Jimmer on! Check out the video attached of me making a three at the Cardiff chapel! I wish Swansea had a basketball court like that! I made my first five shots and my head was high above the ground after that! tell coach rose (byu basketball coach) to just sign me already!

honestly nothing to report on for last Monday other than emailing, but Tuesday was a blast out here! we went to Cardiff to have a zone conference with us and the Cardiff zone! Such a blast getting to see some homies including the homie elder hill! we attached a video to this email of us! also elder Garrick hooked me up with a Mountain Dew kick start which is unexistent here! Haha. We got back kinda late so we went with the Sister missionaries to go help refugees learn English, and that had to have been one of the most eye opening experiences I've ever had, those refugees were the kindest and most humble people I've ever met, in a short hour I felt so much love for all of them there, I hope I never forget that experience. other than that, we talked to Kxxx for a while, she's still so solid! She got called to be a ward missionary which makes her the only ward missionary in the ward, she's getting ready to go do proxy baptisms at the temple soon too so the hype is real for her right now! 

Wednesday was fun! We met with this guy named Axxxxh and he was a homie! Loved getting to know him more, don't know where it'll go, but we will see! After that we met with Kxxxx again which was fun! And then we did some unsuccessful tracting (knocking on doors), but it was weird, because even after constant denial I was just so happy being able to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon, it's true guys, I'll go more in depth on that later. Then we went to the church to meet with James Martin, one of the coolest guys in the ward, we all went to visit less actives and the first lady we talked to said we could come visit this upcoming week, the second was a family that said we could visit again (only the dad is a member, but has three young kids!!), and the third wasn't interested in religion, but he is wayy cool! His name is Chris Bromham, stunt double in Street Hawk which apparently was a super popular tv show back in the day, and more. He holds a few WORLD records and jumped with his bike over EIGHTEEN double decker buses! The guy is a legend! So freaking cool! It felt like I was talking to the guy from Hot Rod!

Thursday we started by tracting a lot, like so much, we found a few semi solid people to go back and visit, but not too solid, we are gonna work hard this week again on that, it takes time! We went with Will Roberts to help Kxxxx at her house, that took up most of the night and we also went to a food place that was kind of like Johnny Rockets, it was pretty good!

Friday was decent I guess, it was a rough day up until late afternoon when we went over to see Shaun Fish and his family, after that we knocked some doors, which wasn't too bad, and then the ward Christmas party! Oh man that was a blast! Well, until later that night, I'll explain...

Saturday started out so freaking rocky, we were all sleeping over at the zone leader's flat and me and elder miner stayed up just talking, reliving the glory days of the trio and more! Well I woke up at 3:00 am feeling super sick, I literally spent the next 3 and a half hours awake feeling like I was gonna puke, but didn't until like 6:10 or something, and jeez I felt so much better after that, I hate being sick with a passion, I think I got food poisoning from something at the Christmas party. I hate puking, definitely never going bolemic...throughout the day I switched constantly from feeling super sick to super good, but me and elder Holbrook worked hard, and he was sick too! Nothing stopping us out here! I loved going tracting with him, and then we met up with a few others to go to five guys for my FOUR MONTH mark, I know, not too much, but four months, that's decent! Haha, I only got a shake and fries cuz I wasn't feeling up for a burger, and the only food I had besides that for the day was an apple and a cookie. I went to bed at like 8:30 too 

Sunday was amazing as the usual! Church was good! I felt pretty good, my stomach still hurt, but not as bad. We visited DxxxKxxx again to bring him the sacrament and cuz it was his birthday! We got him a card and everything. On the way to his house, a car pulled up next to us and it was Kxxxxxamil! He's a recent convert who works at papa johns, and he asked what kind of pizza we wanted, and he put in an order and said it was on him, well we get back to the flat and thirty minutes later we got a pizza delivered to us that was HUGE and a cookie pizza thing and sodas, miracles are real! The homie hooked us up!

Well it's time for a spiritual thought, I was thinking about sharing a typical thought on Christ, which is still amazing by the way, but I decided to share on something else. For all of you who have read the Book of Mormon and have been touched by it, share it with others, give out a copy, do something! For those of you who have heard of the Book of Mormon, but haven't read it, read it. To those who are not Mormon but may be wondering why the heck I'd give up two years of my life to serve a mission, the Book of Mormon is the answer. For those who haven't read it, it is evidence that you can hold and read, that Joseph Smith truly did see God and Jesus Christ. It is evidence that God is real, and that he loves you. It is evidence that families ARE eternal. It brings comfort, peace, and safety for the soul. As you read it and pray about its truthfulness, you will know for yourself that it is true. If you haven't read it but want to give it a try, contact me and I can get you a free copy of it to check out, I promise you won't regret it. To those who have read it, read it again, continually. It brings peace during good and hard times. I know that it's true, it's brought me peace in my darkest times, and indescribable joy in the best times. Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is true, it is another testament of Jesus Christ. Families are eternal. Christ lives and he lived and died for each of you, he is the reason for the season. He is the reason for every season. This Christmas season and New year, I'd invite you all to invite him into your lives and try to be more like him, and as you do so, you'll feel joy you never imagined.

To everyone who got this far in the email, you guys are amazing. weird to think I'll be skyping my family in SIX days?!?! I love you all so much, and I hope you have a lit Christmas cuz I know I will!

Elder Varner

Sent from my iPad

pics include zone conference, the homie ben hill, me balling up in basketball, an awesome hike feat some sweet future album covers!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Preaching in a Cathedral (Week 17)

guys I don't know how, but it has been ANOTHER LIT WEEK! I'm so hyped up right now, and to top it off, I'll see Ben hill (one of my friends from back home who is also serving in this mission) TOMORROW! You know I'm hyped about that! this week had some miracles, funny stories, and more! check it!

not much to report on for last Monday. we kebabtised sister romero, which was a mistake because it left us all feeling like crap, kebab shops are the worst things ever. But I guess you just gotta do it for the vine...or the email! 

Tuesday was a pretty good day. We did a lot of finding but we will see if that was any good this week when we actually meet up with them. we went over to the Hole's house, a member couple, in the ward. they fed us bangers and mash, which is mashed potatoes and sausage, it was SOO good, no joke, they are such good cooks! following that we went to institute which was fun too, so weird to be around young people again! a lot of people thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses, not a super fun day, but not a bad one.

Wednesday was actually pretty fun! We had zone meeting which was cool, my favorite thing from it was definitely the spiritual thought that another elder gave. He talked about how if Christ was walking on the streets, he would never walk past someone and not say anything. It really made me think because as a representative of Christ, I shouldn't just walk past people. It reminded me of the scripture talking about how us walking out here with the gospel means nothing if others are walking around us not having the chance to hear about it. Definitely gave me a new perspective. After zone meeting we knocked some doors and visited some potentials, none of the potentials were able to meet, but we found a really cool family to potentially teach later on, read more to hear more. After all that we went to Syyyy's house to share a quick message but ended up talking about deep doctrine and life for an hour. Syyyy has to be one of the funniest guys I've ever met, when he moves to America we'll party it up in P-town all day every day!

thursday was so lit! we started by showing a few of our potentials the Christmas video. as we were visiting those potentials, we stopped by one potential whose name is Cxxx. we knocked, and another college kid answered and we told him what we were doing and all of the sudden five college students come to the door and start laughing and start calling out to [] Cxxx []. I was ready to just give them a pass along card and leave, but then they invited us in. Turns out the reason they were laughing was because they all thought that we wanted to record cxxx for a Christmas video, not show her one. that was hilarious, and such a huge misunderstanding haha. but all six college students wanted to watch it so we showed it and the spirit totally punched the room in the face and those students were way impressed. they were super interested in why we were out as missionaries and just interested in us as people, we are gonna try and stop by to see them soon cuz they actually liked us. it was such a cool experience, even if it doesn't go anywhere, planting seeds like no other is the plan! we saw Kxxx and talked to her about family history and then we went to Royston's house for dinner, which was incredible as always. It was a good day. 

oh boy Friday was fun! we met up with Dxxx for a lesson and we didn't know where to go, so he took us to a cafe in a Catholic Church. Do you know how awkward it is to teach a lesson and talk about Mormonism in a quiet Catholic Church with two Mormon missionaries and a guy who strongly dislikes the catholic religion? Well, it's awkward cuz everyone was just staring at us, but oh well. one of our lessons flogged so we went to go knock doors and we ran into...Shaun fish, it was cool talking to him for a bit! then we knocked doors on a street I felt an impression to knock on from a few days previously, well we knocked one side of it and there were some miracles! one girl wanted to see the video and I think we will stop by again soon! we got some cool potentials! two of them were super nice and asked if we would be willing to come again which was cool, but only time will tell to see if they become anything other than potentials, but they have potential! Haha. we ate dinner with miner and holbrook and then went to play chair soccer at the church for sports night, which was cool but I got no game in soccer at all!

Saturday wasnt too bad, it was raining the entire day but we had a few miracles still! At lunch we decided to text a ton of people and a less active part member family said we could see them next week! That'll be rad! Also a former investigator said he wants to meet up again! After all that stuff we went to visit some potentials and see the family we met earlier in the week, they are from Estonia, wherever that is, they were super kind, they loved the Christmas message! I don't think they are too religious but they should be hitting up the Christmas party this week! It'll be a rager no doubt!

Sunday was good! They always are! Church was sweet! After that we went to take the sacrament to a few members who were sick/unable to go to church and the spirit was so strong as we delivered it to them. They all have such amazing hearts. We knocked some doors too but not too much happened there, it's hard to gather motivation on Sunday afternoons cuz p-day is the next day haha, but we worked through it! This upcoming week we are really gonna try to find solid new investigators, not just for the Christmas video thing, but to really teach! 

As always I'll end with a quick spiritual thought! In the last general conference, David A Bernard gave a talk called "If Ye Had Known Me", if you haven't watched or read it, do it! My favourite quote from it is when he said "We often testify of what we know to be true, but perhaps the more relevant question for each of us is whether we believe what we know." This struck me a lot at first, and I thought about it a good amount, and then it sunk in. So often, we tell other people that the gospel can bless their lives, that they can feel comfort and be forgiven of sins through the atonement of Jesus Christ, but when we are going through a hard time, when we mess up, or anything else, it can be hard to recognize that the atonement can actually work for us. Always remember that the gospel and Christ's love is so individual to our needs and situations, trust the Lord, the gospel works. Believe in what you know!

a big thank you to everyone that emails me every week, I love you guys! a big congrats to my step bro Jake and his fiancรฉ Kendra on making things official! welcome to the fam Kendra! also, I heard byu is playing Wyoming in the Poinsettia Bowl game soon, should be an easy win for the Cougs cuz Wyoming is garbage in football! haha no chance of victory for them! rise and shout, the cougies are out! 

well, it's that time again, thanks for tuning in for this email, have a legen-wait for it, and I hope you aren't lactose intolerant because the next word is-DARY! LEGENDARY week! Love you guys! Stay beautiful! ๐Ÿ˜˜

Elder Varner 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Hitchhiking Miracles (Week 16)

what a week! and we didn't even get the chance to see all our potentials from the last few weeks! miracles left and right this week! we be getting hyped out here! this was definitely one of the funnest weeks of my mission so far!

honestly, not too much to report on for Monday, but i did get my hands on an American football and got to ball out with elder Sinclaire for a bit, I still got game!

Tuesday was a pretty hectic, but a miraculous day! We started by getting a call at 5am from the sisters saying they needed help to check train times(because they had to go to Birmingham cuz sister Gjevik was leaving and sister wadsworth had to get her greenie!), so we walked to the station and then a mile to their flat to help them walk to the station, so two miles! I'm gonna be so fit by the end of this transfer! After all that, we showered, got ready, and went to the train station again to say goodbye to elder smith, but the bus came TWO hours late so that was a chunk of time, then we got lunch and I went with elder Garrick of my mtc group, to five guys! Nothing better than taking an english chap to a good ole merican meal! Following all of that madness, we had two amazing lessons with Jxxx and Axxxx! Kxxx came with us to teach Axxx, and as we were walking to the lesson, someone came up to us and said they wanted to meet up! heck freakin yeah! Then we ate dinner at our flat with elder miner, elder bille, and elder jam jam. Then at 9:00 we went to the station again to welcome all the new people to our zone! I'm officially no longer the greenest missionary in the district thanks to wadsworth training! So hyped! The miracles didn't stop there, at 9:45 we got a call from a recent convert who is less active saying he wants to meet up with us!! And we got such a sweet referral! More to come on that!

Wednesday wasn't too bad, just not very productive, we set up a few appointments, the beginning of the day was pretty slow, but it did get better! We visited Dxxx Kxxx for awhile, that guys is so fun to talk to, such a good heart. After that we did some tracting, saw a bit of snow/ice, and then had the best less active visit of my mission. We went to visit a guy who used to be a bishop and a member of a stake presidency, who now is less active. He didn't really say why he is less active, but he said he still knew the church was true 100%, and that he was wanting to come back, but needed time. His wife passed away a few years ago, so I talked to him a bit about my mom and found some common ground with him, we showed him the Christmas video and by the end of that and me bearing my testimony he was tearing up, we got to talk to him for a bit more after and he gave us some hot coco. While he won't be coming to church soon necessarily, he did invite us to come back!

Thursday was good and bad. It was bad because no one wanted to talk to us, at all, except one guy who wanted to talk to me about trump and gun control, and I just had to sit there listening to it until I could say "as a full-time missionary for my church, I just simply haven't had the time to follow politics", and that was the end of that. Following a few hours that, then the day got good again! We met with the recent convert who was less active who called us on Tuesday night and he said he wanted to come back to church and the activities! So that was a miracle! And then we went to Royston's house for dinner, we had mac n cheese and I actually enjoyed it, my family has to be shocked with that one because I hate cheese haha. Oh also we had to pick up two elders who are serving in Milford haven, elder borelli and elder Elliot, elder borelli and sinclaire had to go to Birmingham so I was with elder Elliot for Friday.

Friday was SOO good! By far the best day I've had since being in the trio! Elder Elliot and I balled out in the area! He's from Oregon, such a cool guy, it was probably the most fun I've ever had finding! We taught a ton of street lessons and showed the Christmas video to a bunch of people, and everyone loved it! We even found a new investigator and a few solid potentials! The new investigator was a total fourth floor last door kind of moment, we decided to knock every door on a street and this guy named Jxxxn answered at the very last door after a street full of nothing, it was a miracle. Later on we prayed for which other street to knock and we decided on a street, for the first good amount of doors, no one showed even a bit of interest and I was starting to get a bit discouraged because it was cold and dark, but then a lady answered the door and said she wasn't interested because her mom had just passed away, but then I shared my story with my mom and she opened up a bit, we taught her a bit of the plan of salvation and gave her a leaflet(pamphlet) and she invited us to come again another time. We found some more potentials on that street and THEN we knocked a door and a lady answered and said she wasn't too interested because her husband passed away recently, again I was able to testify of eternal families to her and gave her a plan of salvation pamphlet. As we walked away from that street, tears filled my eyes because I realised that God truly did lead us to that street at that time. It was such a great day overall, elder Elliot is such a boss!! He has such a positive and outgoing attitude and we got along so well, it was nice to go Finding with someone who was so excited and positive! I hope I get a chance to serve with that kid again! 

Saturday was a sweet one too! We had district meeting and lunch which was rad, then we went finding and met some awesome people! We met a guy named Dxxx who used to be a boxer, has a daughter and wife, super funny guy, and actually is looking forward to seeing us again! The hype is so real guys!?! Then we had the homies miner and holbrook come over for dinner and we all went to an activity game night thing which was cool. Family, I tried so hard to get them to play the potato dancing game thing, but they didn't like the idea haha. Also I saw a stake dance activity thing right before my very eyes, I was closer in age with some of those kids than any missionaries, fetch, I miss dances guys, those stake dances every Saturday night were legit, I'd die to go to one right now!

Sunday was another sweet one! It started off with a miracle! We were walking to church and about half way there this van pulls over and the guy offers us a ride, and we didn't wanna turn down that opportunity so we went for it! Then once I got in the car I realised it was ExxxGxxxx, the less active member I've been trying to contact for a month! He drove us to church, he said he was sorry he couldn't meet up earlier but we could stop by sometime this upcoming week! Total miracle! Taking rides from potential strangers works! Just kidding don't do that, please. Church was sweet! I taught second hour on how we can joyfully endure to the end. Not much else to report on for the day.

Ill end this with a quick spiritual thought: President Nelson spoke a lot on joy this last general conference and he said "My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives. When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy. We feel it at Christmas time when we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” And we can feel it all year round. For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy!" We can feel joy all the time as we choose to follow Jesus Christ and learn to rely upon him at all times. I know this to be true for me and i promise each of you joy and peace as you do so in your lives!

Also a quick shout out to the baller Trevor Thompson! It was his birthday last week so happy birthday man! SUCH a stud!

I hope you guys all have a great week! Keep lighting the world this holiday season! Much love! ๐Ÿ˜˜

Elder Varner 

Sent from my iPad

video 1: elder elliot wrecking elder borelli
pic 1: elder ferran and I
pic 2: sister romero's kebabtism
pic 3: elder smith farewell
pic 4: west coast best coast
pic 5: the homie elliot
pic 6/7: the crew