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!

Monday, November 20, 2017

"we've cried together, we've laughed together ..." (Week 65, Stroud, Cheltenham, England, Elder Ey)

*high councillor speaking during sacrament meeting*
as he talks about a member he sees in the congregation: “we’ve cried together, we’ve laughed together, we’ve even slept together!”

yes that was actually said yesterday in church. you read that right. he didn’t mean it like that though and he realised that right when he said it, but it was hilarious.

this week has been a chaotic one, we had two exchanges. for the first one I was with elder mkhulise (from South Africa) in Cheltenham and then I was with elder galaragga (from ecuador) here in Stroud. they were both fun exchanges and they are both good guys. exchanges are always cool but it’s so weird spending so much time out of my normal area with my normal companion, we have two more exchanges lined up this week as well...

when I was with elder mkhulise we stopped by a less active homie named Axxdam, []. he told us his conversion story and how right after his baptism, both his mom and his best friend died. however he never doubted God’s love for him, as we were talking about having an eternal perspective, he said if he could restart his life he’d say to God “put me on expert mode”. He, my friends, has a beautiful perspective on life.

one other cool experience. Elder Ey and I decided to knock a street and 50 houses into it all we accidentally ran into an investigator that we’ve been trying to get in touch with and it was a miracle. even more cool, the flat complex he lives in is usually locked but it just happened to be unlocked this time :)

I listened to a talk called the 17 Points of the True Church and it just lists out qualifications the true church of Christ must have (all from the bible) and let me just say, either God isn’t real or this church is true. There is no inbetween, no other church on earth meets the qualifications Christ set for His church except for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know that Christ leads this church and I’m so grateful to be here for this short time, representing him, inviting all (both out here and all of you lovely people) to come into His church! It may be clique to say but the church is true fam!

I flippin love you guys, and in the spirit of thanksgiving being this week, I’m so grateful for each of you. honestly words can’t rightfully show how much I love each of you. Thanks for helping me and supporting me despite my BYU obsession and other stuff. Have a great week, enjoy some thanksgiving feasts for me this week, wreck some homies in the turkey bowl πŸ‰ and always remember that elder V loves you! πŸ˜˜

Elder Varner

Monday, November 13, 2017

live from Stroud! (Week 64, Stroud, Cheltenham, England, Elder Ey)

“So when the Prince gets baptised what kind of helicopter should we ask for?”

That was just one snippet of our conversation we had about baptising the prince of England who has a home here in our area, we were getting so hyped about the idea of that, I think our heads were in the clouds somewhere! Haha

It was a fast week! Not the best for feeling great but learned lots of great lessons and had fun! We had some sick dinner appointments with Bishop Crew and the Ribouets! We are continuing our effort to build a pool of people to teach and it grew by 2 this week! So we have been texting all of the formers in our area Book and we got a response from a woman named Iyyngrid, we went to her house to do service the next day and we are gonna see her again tomorrow! She’s had a hard time the last few years and the gospel could help her so much! And that’s why we’re here! We also visited a lady named Vyyicky, who lives out in a town called Cirencester which is 12 miles away from Stroud, and she’s way solid. She wants to be baptised really badly. So you may ask well what’s the problem? [] they now want to get married, but they want to have a super nice wedding, but hey maybe I’ll get to speak at a second wedding πŸ˜‚

We had exchanges with the zone leaders over the weekend. I went with elder Johnson to all the far out places in our area because our area is bigger than the mission Viejo stake boundaries haha. While knocking doors we ran into a guy that absolutely hated us, he said “Mormon is an idiot”. We responded by saying “you mean Mormon the prophet, from 400AD?”. He then said “I’m pretty sure he was around in the 1800s”. “No sir, you are thinking of Joseph Smith”, almost said to him looks like he was the idiot there but I held it in! He tried tearing us apart for 5 minutes and we left before it got too bad, it was crazy though.

We had interviews with President Leppard which was awesome, he’s an inspired guy! I know he was called to lead this mission and he is led by God! We biked out to this town near us and the bike ride reminded me of trek with all the random hill trails. Yesterday was Remembrance day (like our Memorial Day) and Church was only 2 hours so we could all go to the parade and ceremony in town, it was a humbling experience. We had a sick Ward coordination meeting as well where we discussed faith for awhile, our Ward mission leader is such a beast!

Many of you saw a Facebook video of me and my homie Elder Clauboux teaching the restoration. We are doing a live question an answer session on Wednesday November 22nd at 10AM California Time over Facebook so tune in and post some questions!

I studied Helaman 5 this week and as my homie Trev has said, it is such a heater! 

“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”

If we develop and strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ, we will have the strength to do all things. I know he lives and he is a foundation you can build on, he won’t let you down!

Weird to think it’s been nearly 15 months, time keeps going by faster, just don’t ever fredette that I love and miss you homies! 

Elder Varner

Monday, November 6, 2017

DID SOMEONE SAY FACEBOOK!? (Week 64, Stroud, Cheltenham, England, Elder Ey)

YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT-we are now on FACEBOOK! and I’m allowed to be friends with all of you homies BUT if you want to talk with me about life or normal stuff please only use this email to contact me, but I can answer any Church-related questions over it! I’m excited to be able to use this tool to help move forward the work here in Stroud!

it was a pretty average week, we had a zone Conference about Facebook on Wednesday which was cool. We had to be in at 6 on Halloween and to keep up the tradition I made last year, I bought a bunch of American candy and then wrecked elder ey in settlers of catan. good times. we knocked some doors on Halloween as well, but people were not down at all to talk! we didn’t talk to as many people this week as we usually do, partly because of our busy weird schedule, and the people we did talk to were not down at all, we took some L’s but it’s ok because following weeks like that are always LIT weeks so this week is gonna be sweet!

we also got to volunteer for the royal British legion’s annual Poppy Appeal, which supports troops and their families! and we started doing a member missionary work program with the Robinson family (brother Robinson is one of the coolest Ward mission leaders ever) and that’s going super well! nothing too crazy happened this week but here’s a thought:

David A Bednar once said “it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.” So many people here who are no longer associated with the church left because they were offended. So many people hang onto anger because someone “offended” them, but in reality being offended truly is a choice which we make, so choose to take the higher road and forgive and do that which is harder to forgive, forget!

major bday shoutout to one of my main homies, D-RECK JONES! happy birthday man! I love you all! Look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not, fear not πŸ˜˜✌

Elder Varner