Monday, December 25, 2017

He is The Reason for the Season! (Week 70, Stroud, Cheltenham, England, Elder Frenkel)

what did adam say to eve the day before christmas?

merry christmas, eve! 

get it? haha, what a cheesy joke

surprise Christmas email coming in your way! yep today is our pday as well so my family gets a weekly email and SKYPE! hyped for that! merry Christmas to all of you! I don’t want to make this too long but here’s some highlights:
  • Christmas themed district meeting and Christmas zone activity ft watching the face to face event with elder ballard and elder oaks. you all need to check that face to face out! ballard and oaks were throwing out some gems during that!
  • lots of knocking doors, met a few cool people as well! we did district finding a few times and we did caroling from door to door, our entire 6 person district got let in 2 doors as we sung together, and one was this Italian guy who kept offering us a little tea and coffee, when we said we don’t drink that stuff, he said it was just a little, I escaped that by asking for water! Haha
  • Yesterday at church we had a Christmas nativity and a munch and mingle after which was awesome. This ward is taking amazing care of us this Christmas season with gifts and dinners, they are amazing here! And thank you to all you lovely people who sent packages or letters to me, they really meant a lot! πŸ˜˜

British food of the week: I’ve loved pretty much all that has been fed to me on my mission, we had an amazing English breakfast with our bishop and his family over the weekend and it was bomb! But we also got fed something called Christmas pudding, it’s a classic British Christmas dessert loaded with raisins and other [] stuff, it’s aged for like 6 months or something as well, wouldn’t really recommend that! Haha

Christmas season is amazing, it’s a fun time of year packed with fun movies, presents, food, family, parties, etc. But there if that is the extent to your Christmas season you are missing out on so so much. The only way to get the most out of this time of year, to feel the most peace and happiness is to embrace what Christmas is all about, which is Jesus Christ. It’s CHRIST-mas. Maybe to get the whole spirit of Christmas, we need to drop that last syllable. I’m so grateful that I have a Heavenly Father that loves me enough to send His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to atone for my mistakes. I’m so grateful for the love Jesus Christ offers me, and that he offers each of you. His loving hand of mercy and peace and joy is ALWAYS extended towards us, no matter what we have done, all we need to do is to reach out to him. 

I love you all! Fam, I’ll talk to you in a few hours! To all my other homies, next time I talk to you it’ll be 2018!!! Be smart on New Year’s Eve, merry Christmas! May your holiday season be filled with peace and joy πŸ˜˜πŸŽ„✌

Elder Varner

Monday, December 18, 2017

right place, right time, right away!! (Week 69, Stroud, Cheltenham, Elder Frenkel)

monday night 8:30-walking back to our flat when we suddenly decide to stop at McDonald’s for dinner
as we walk in I noticed all the rubbish all over the place and I said to Elder Frenkel: “let’s throw this stuff away for them”
we proceeded to throw away a ton of trash and I didn’t think anyone was watching us but as we finished ordering our food, I went to grab my card and the cashier said these beautiful words: “it’s on the house”

free mcdonalds was just the first of many miracles for the week. this week was packed with recognising and acting on spiritual promptings! it was another FAB week out here! we are grinding out here! this is the hardest I’ve worked on my mission!

I won’t include every amazing thing that happened this week because we’d be here til Christmas but here’s a few highlights:
  • we were knocking doors on tuesday night and we felt pretty good about the street and bam! first door this homie named Fxxx let us in! i was so surprised I almost forgot what to say. he’s so cool and when we gave him a book of mormon he shook our hands and looked us in the eyes and said with determination “I am going to read this book”. Getting let in while knocking doors is rare here so that whole experience was unreal! And there were so many factors that fell into place for us to be at that street at that time!
  • we had an awesome ward Christmas party on Friday night and one of our investigators even showed up and loved it! this ward is quite small but it is like a family-I love it! also had a Christmas zone Conference on Thursday which was sick!
  • we were trying to pick a street to knock on Saturday night and we decided to go to this one that we felt strongly about, well a few doors into it we met an awesome guy named Hxxxx literally right as he was walking out his door! He believes there is something after this life but isnt sure exactly what and he was way excited to see us. “Right place, right time, right away!!”-espn’s commentary on the byu vs Utah state game a few years back describes that moment perfectly!

There were loads of cool experiences but I’ll save you all time this week and save them for later! I also got to speak in church yesterday. I spoke on joy, hit me up if you want me to send you a copy of the talk! Here’s a quote for the week, Elder Neal A. Maxwell once rightly said: “The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we ‘give’ … are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us.” When we turn over our will to God’s will, he will pour down blessings! Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven! This Christmas season, the best gift you can give to Jesus Christ, is ultimately yourself.

Merry Christmas everyone! Or should I say Happy Christmas! Anyways have a great Christmas and don’t fredette to go serve someone this week! I love you guys!

Elder Varner

Monday, December 11, 2017

gold mine week (Week 68, Stroud, Cheltenham, Elder Frenkel)

if any of you had any idea how hyped I am right now! this week was filled with miracles and fun stuff left and right! im even more hyped than we all were when jimmer was dropping dimes at byu!
to start out all the madness, we had exchanges with elder Bassett and elder Johnson and I got to go with the homie Johnson! We had a sick lesson with Vyyy about the importance of CPR (church, prayer, and reading the scriptures) and it went so well. Then we knocked some doors and we saw this house decked out with Christmas decorations and right before the door opened I said to Elder Johnson “let’s sing”-so we started singing Christmas carols to this 17 year old kid and you could just tell how weird he felt about it, it was so awkward but it led to a fun conversation and he even invited us back!

Wednesday we caught a lift with a member to a place way down south called Malmesbury, it’s like 12 miles south and the best way to describe the area is “the field is WHITE ALREADY TO HARVEST” I don’t think missionaries had been here in years and we saw so many cool things happen, here’s a few miracles:
  • Elder Frenkel and I each picked 10 streets and we decided we would knock every street that we picked in common, which turned out to be four. On all four streets we knocked, we found some sick new people to teach and we knocked into less active members who hadn’t seen missionaries in years
  • As we were waiting for our ride to pick us up and take us back to Stroud, we both felt like we needed to knock a totally random door we were near, so we did turned out to be another less active member who hadn’t seen missionaries in years!!

There’s so much stuff for this week and I want to tell you everything but I’m just gonna tell you a few more of the highlights:
  • for district finding in Cheltenham we handed out free hot chocolates in the town!
  • doctors appointment in Birmingham-I had a blood test and am waiting on the results for that, but I’ll live :)
  • we were on our way to go knocking doors and I was in a pretty cruddy mood and I started praying as we were walking, and a different street popped into my head, I kinda shrugged it off, but it kept coming back to my head, so we went and knocked the street and nothing, then we felt like we needed to go back and reknock one door and we did and an African family answered and invited us back. I’m so grateful that I listened to that prompting.
  • It SNOWED yesterday! And after 1 inch of snow in the morning, church got cancelled, crazy! We went over to the Rxxxson family’s house for lunch and to teach them the plan of Salvation and the spirit was so strong as we testified of god’s plan for us. We were asked “what will the celestial kingdom be like?” And just the thought of how amazing it will be brought tears to my eyes as we bore our testimonies to them. it was a great afternoon with them and we even got in a bit of a snowball fight after, video included!

Here’s a sweet quote that we can all use in our lives from Richard G Scott-“We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day” We are the sum result of our choices and our daily choices, big and small, determine who we become!

Sorry for the novel today, I held back on a lot more stories which just goes to show that this week was seriously incredible! Also birthday shoutouts to my aunt Kristen, my sista Julia, and my aunt carolee! Love you guys! Make it a LIT week! πŸ˜˜

Elder Varner

Monday, December 4, 2017

it's flippin december (Week 67, Stroud, Cheltenham, Elder Frenkel)

weird right? three weeks from today is CHRISTMAS! we are trying to go all out with light the world. we even set up a stand in town on a night where there was a big celebration and an hour into having it set up I made eye contact with some guy who was near the community office, and I knew it was all over, that rat went in and reported us and then a minute later we were asked to leave, but it was fun while it lasted! you should have seen us take that whiteboard down the giant hill into town Center! 

It has been an interesting week and I don’t want to bore you to death with everything so here’s some highlights:
  • on Tuesday I said duces to Elder Ey, which was kinda sad because I love that homie! I had two hours by myself while waiting for elder frenkel and I decided to go into some shops to look around, one shop had some cool Stroud shirts with this captain America looking logo and I got talking to the designer and it got into the topic of religion and he mentioned how he didn’t believe a loving god could cast people down to a fiery hell and I got talking to him about the plan of Salvation and how God wants the best for us, it was a really cool moment and as Trev would say, it was a way “good touch!”
  • Gxxx Rxxx took us to home teach the Rxxxs and it was so cool because everyone in the family was sharing missionary experiences they had over the last few weeks and lemme just say, they are on fire with missionary work. the spirit was so strong in there and I couldn’t stop smiling!
  • We went to visit Vyyy with Gxxx and we had a great little visit about priesthood blessings and light the world. At the beginning she told us that she was dog sitting her neighbor’s dog and that I might want to keep my bag away. Well, I didn’t. I put my bag on the ground next to me and the entire lesson the dog was silent...because it was chewing my bag apart. At the end I went to pick up my bag and the handle was ripped off. I reached for the shoulder straps and those were torn off as well. I grabbed the ripped pieces and shoved them in my pocket before Vyyy could see because I know she’d feel bad and I didn’t move the bag in the lesson because it was going really well. I took one for the team there. It’s all good though because one of Gxxx’s daughters fixed the bag up for me
  • Gloucester is now in our district so the district is elder frenkel (Germany) and I, sister Koivisto (Finland) and sister alayon (Philippines), sister knight (Utah-she knows the Wilkinson’s!) and sister Kavaka (Tonga). So yes, I’m a relief society president again, and it’s a crazy group!

Elder Frenkel is awesome, super nice guy and really easy to get along with! We have a lot of fun and work really hard! He’s been out for twelve weeks so I’m his second companion! Stroud is still the same as last week: hilly, beautiful, and kind of weird. The ward is great here. My health still isn’t good. But at least the church is still true.

I actually felt really sick this last week. First off, I am seeing a doctor this week so hopefully I’ll have some good weeks ahead! usually it’d be a lot harder on me to feel so crappy, but the best way to describe how I felt this week despite the trial would be exactly how it’s said in Mosiah 24:13-16. 
“13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.”

I believe in the promise in italics in verse 16 and the rest of these verses. The Lord truly did lighten my burdens placed on my shoulders. I think he does that for all who will turn to him in their trials, he may not take them away, but he will provide a way. If god leads you to it, he will certainly lead you through it.

this email is already a book but I got some bday shoutouts to the homie Cayden McCluskey (last Saturday), THE HOMIE TREV (today), my cousin Brooklyn, and also a shoutout to the cousin Ethan on his mission call to Provo! well I gotta run and go give these homies in my district the footworks in chair fΓΊtbol! Hope you all have a LIT week! I know I’m about to! Don’t fredette that Elder V loves you guys!

Elder Varner

Monday, November 27, 2017

duces Ey!! (Week 66, Stroud, Cheltenham, England, Elder Ey)

Hey everyone! Hope all you homies had a FAB thanksgiving! Even though I was far across the pond I hope you didn’t forget about me over here! We had a pretty solid turkey day over here, the McArthurs (an American/Scottish) family had us over for dinner and we had a real American thanksgiving meal! It was awesome! You guys better work on your football skills because I’m winning the turkey bowl next year! πŸ˜‰

We had a weird start to the week...Elder Clauboux got ET’d to the office which left Elder Ey and I with elder galaragga (trio) for the week. And I went on exchanges with elder Kovach so it was a super chaotic and weird week. While I was with elder Kovach we were walking to a street we planned on knocking, and I was praying when a former referal we had tried stopping by came to my mind, we stopped by and she invited us back! Just a cool experience that shows that if we will pray always, we can receive impressions from God.

I felt super sick Friday to Sunday, I think I got the stomach bug to add on top of whatever I already have, but I’m starting to recover from that, a lot of people have it worse than I do so I don’t really have the right to complain much about my affliction. 

I decided to listen to a bunch of conference talks in the middle of Friday night while I felt super sick and one of them is called “None Were With Him” by Elder Holland, it’s pure gold! I listened to that thing multiple times over the last few days. He said “one of the great consolations is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path--the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: “I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].” I know that He has not left me comfortless or alone in the trials I’ve faced/am facing in my life, and while it’s still not easy, because of him it’s possible.

Almost forgot, dodge calls came in and I’m saying duces to Elder Ey tomorrow! he’s off to rugby! I’m getting an elder from Germany! I’m nervous but excited for the upcoming transfer out here in S T R O U D! Also the new Christmas video, light the world, is out NOW! I’ll attach it and you can also check it out at! Spread it like wildfire!

I love all of you and I really miss you guys! Don’t ever fredette that! Have a LIT week! I’ll try to do the same! Look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not, fear not ✌😘

Elder Varner

also some of you asked for my address to send letters or stuff for Christmas so here it is!