Monday, August 14, 2017

on top of the world ey' (Week 52, Rwibina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Yim)

my homies! what's up! this week has actually been flipping great and this upcoming week looks even better!! wanna start this by sending some love to all of you. seriously thank you for all the support you've given me so far out here so far, it's been a crazy adventure and I couldn't have made it this far without you all. thanks for being the best friends and family a byu fan could ask for 😘 also a big shoutout to one of my best friends Ben Conover who is finishing up his mish this week!
i don't really know where to start. we taught a few more lessons this week than usual, but not the traditional ones where it goes super smoothly, lots of door step lessons. we have so many new friends and potentials but we are struggling to help them become progressing friends. we saw Dyyianne this week and let's just say that it was one of those too good to be real situations. her heart was harder this week. she still wants to meet with us but she says there's no way that she is coming back to church and that she doesn't read the scriptures because she already knows it all and she has a few more major doctrinal issues. she says she knows the church is true but I don't know if I believe that. members have told us it'd be best to stop visiting her because she wastes a lot of missionaries time so we are gonna give it another week or two and then make a decision. we are gonna try to commit her to reading and praying everyday because she has been so deceived, thinking that god told her to wait to follow some of the commandments. it's hard because I care about her and her heart is hard right now, but we will see how it goes. we knocked plenty of doors this week and met some really cool people. one cool experience, we were knocking doors and I saw a guy who was on the sidewalk walking towards us a few houses ahead and usually I'd just keep knocking but we ditched the doors and started talking to him and he isn't too religious but he wants to learn more about Christ because he's been through a lot and has some regrets, he's interested in coming to church especially, and that's where your boy DV came in and told him about the gospel. we are gonna see him again this week, it was cool to see god put people in our path because we weren't originally planning on working in that area but felt we should last minute. 

so much other stuff happened this week so here's a few honourable mentions:
  • exchanges with the zone leaders, Kinnunen and Dastrup, it was a blast. we visited Pxxaul Pxxace, a less active, who is the coolest guy ever, he used to be a boxer and he gives haircuts as well. we also visited the gxxoulds and shared the because of him video, I love how that video always invites the spirit, it testifies of Christ so simply, but powerfully
  • some guy named john showed up to church this week and he's visiting from...CALIFORNIA. it was so cool talking to someone from Cali again, he might come out with us this week
  • we went to a baptism of a young boy this week, jxxosh mxxaizey, who recently turned 8. it was so cool to see how excited he was to follow Christ. no wonder why we are told to be as little children!
  • and let's not forget the guy who screamed at me. we were walking to a house and I saw two guys working on a car and I asked if we could help, and one of them just gives me the look and after a few seconds screams at me full force "ARE YOU A MECHANIC?" alright I guess he didn't need help haha

i studied so much good stuff this week but my favourite was studying step 6 of the arp manuel which is about "change of heart". there's so much good stuff in there so I'd recommend you all to study it and I'll just share a quote from it. president ezra taft benson once said “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature. …" how you may ask? first is to recognise your weaknesses and to ask for Christ to help you overcome them. once you have that change of heart and beat those interior demons, nothing on the outside can do anything to you, nothing else really matters so turn to Christ.

some of you skimmed this email and some of you just read a book of an email, thanks to you all. if you skimmed I guess in a sentence here's my week: IM ALIVE AND WELL AND AM LOVING LIFE AND THE CHALLENGES AND TRIALS THAT IM FACING, God is so good and I fetching love you guys 😘

Elder Varner

Sent from my iPad

pic 1: some welsh for y'all
pics 2-3: squad
pic 4: exchanges
pics 5-7: coolest place ever
video 1: jimmer or dallas?

Monday, August 7, 2017

ELY (Week 51, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Yim)

hey everyone!
how the heck is it August? I never thought August would come again. this week went by pretty fast and there were some great moments and some rough ones. i got food poisoning which is always fun but I'm feeling better now, I've officially started my dairy free diet so in a few weeks time I should know if that's the issue or not. I know that everything will turn out fine and I'll grow from this trial.

all of our investigators are on vacation for the month of August so that means we hit the finding grind hard this week! we found several cool people in the Ely (pronounced E-Lee) hood but I'll just take the time to talk about one new gator of ours. Her name is Dyyianne. She was just a number I saw in the phone and we decided to text her to see if we could meet up and to our surprise she said we could come over. So on Friday we went over and she let us right in. Dyyianne is a 78 year old woman who heard of the church 25 years ago, and investigated it for 18 years. She has a full testimony of the Book of Mormon and the restoration, in the front of her Book of Mormon she wrote "this is the truth". I was about to ask her right then why she hadn't been baptised, but I felt like I needed to wait and she kept talking about her history, she has faced and continues to face loads of persecution for believing what she does. And then the reason why she never was baptised, she prayed and asked god if she should and she said that he told her "not yet", which was 18 years ago but she won't pray and ask him again because he already answered her then, she also believes that there is no heavenly mother. She has to be one of the most prepared people I've ever met, and I know we can work with those concerns so keep her in your prayers, she's a miracle!

district meeting was sick this week, I gave a training on setting goals. we balled up on Saturday night and had a total of ten people at basketball and it got so lit! I felt like jimmer! Also just a few random things about Ely: there are 12 year old chav gangs everywhere and their parents don't care about anything they do, there are still posters up for movies that came out over three years ago, it smells like weed. But most of the people are much humbler than people that are in Rhiwbina itself.

this ward has been so amazing at feeding us it's unreal, we had dinner appointments almost every night last week. last Monday we had a family home evening with a family whose mom is less active and it was so amazing. we also ate with the maizeys, Verena, the winters, and Leon! we went to visit a less active man named Sxxtephen, he's in his late twenties and he's a convert to the church, he served a mission and was a stud of a missionary but just fell always for some reason. We are trying to work with him on resolving some of his concerns so we committed him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it everyday.

the Book of Mormon is the best way to resolve doubts and concerns. Preach My Gospel says "All objections, whether they be on abortion, plural marriage, seventh-day worship, etc., basically hinge on whether Joseph Smith and his successors were and are prophets of God receiving divine revelation...The only problem the objector has to resolve for himself is whether the Book of Mormon is true. For if the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was his prophet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and it is being led today by a prophet receiving revelation." I'd invite each of you, who have some concern or doubt, to find out for yourself if the Book of Mormon is true or not. It all comes down to whether or not it's true, and I know it's true.

Love you guys, have a baller week! 😘🏀

Elder Varner

pic 1: cardiff city stadium 
pic 2: this picture doesnt do it justice, this hill was so flippin steep
pic 3: the jones fam
pic 4: found this tagalog book of mormon in our flat and thought of the brothas adam and garrett
pic 5: district lunch last pday

Monday, July 31, 2017

let's get it! (Week 50, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Yim)

Fam! what is up! this week has been an interesting one to say the least, it felt so long, it wasn't bad but we did so much knocking doors it was crazy! also I had to take a few days break from going dairy free cuz the McCluskey's sent me some of their famous cookies and there's no way I wasn't gonna enjoy those, thanks for the love guys 😘
so last monday for the end of the transfer we did a BBQ at the chapel and then had a family home evening at the Greens (Ward mission leader's family) with a few Chinese recent converts which was fun! Tuesday was the day, transfers. It was weird seeing elder Mason leave especially because now I'm leading this area and I still don't know a lot of people but it's all good! I was with elder kinnunen in the car for a few hours before picking up elder yim! Elder yim is such a homie! He's from Hong Kong and speaks both Cantonese and mandarin, so he's been teaching me a few phrases this past week! The Chinese members here love him! He's been out on his mission for like 6 months and he's so funny, it's gonna be a fun one with him! Our district is back to four people, us and sister Swasey and Ackley, but they are way cool!

so everyone in our teaching pool was either gone this past week or didn't answer their phones so we were left knocking doors pretty much all week. We went out to the hood (place called Ely) a few times and every time we do finding there, we never know who's gonna answer the door, it's crazy. The weather was whack this week as well, dumping rain every day, but it's cool to keep working in all weather conditions. as the byu fight song says, we grind rain or snow, and for us it happens to be rain haha

So I didn't get to see bishop Hill or his family because it didn't get approved but I still got to see elder hill for a minute to get my package, it was nice to see him again. Thanks for the package fam! It meant a lot, especially the handwritten notes! not a ton really happened this week, so much finding, but we had fun and this week already looks so lit so I'm hyped outta my mind right now! Dinners lined up on the nightly!! let's get it!

This week was step 5 of the ARP Manuel which is about confession. Now that's a hard one, it takes a lot of humbling to admit faults to yourself, the lord, and a priesthood leader and trusted friend, but it's always worth it in the long run. President Kimball said “Repentance can never come until one has bared his soul and admitted his actions without excuses or rationalizations. … Those persons who choose to meet the issue and transform their lives may find repentance the harder road at first, but they will find it the infinitely more desirable path as they taste of its fruits”. Repentance, turning away from bad habits and towards god, is always worth it even thought it may be hard at first. I can testify that this is true.

Well I love you all! Shoot me an email sometime! 😉 and don't be missing me too much! Look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not, fear not ✌

Elder Varner

pics 1-2: the crew, aka the district
pic 3: they didnt wanna hear us...
pic 4: american love
pic 5: FHE, Green family is on the left
pic 6: mccluskey cookies 😍
pic 7: duces ben!
pic 8: duces llangi!
pic 9: BBQ 
video 1: transfers be like

Monday, July 24, 2017

duces mason! referral from sister draper (Week 49, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales Elder Mason|Elder Yim)

Hey everyone!
What is on the up and up! Hope you guys have had a great week! Thanks for tuning in again! This last week has been a good one but boy have I felt sick at some points, just with nausea. So I think I've pin pointed it all down to me having a dairy allergy so I'm currently trying to cut out dairy and that seems to help, I just need to give it a few weeks. I went to Asda to get some dairy free cookies which also don't have gluten, so the cookies are dairy free, gluten free, egg free, wheat free, and they are also free of happiness...hahaha. Just kidding it's not actually that bad, it tastes pretty good. And sister wadsworth brought me some dairy free brownies today so that's cool.

I had a pretty cool tender mercy on Saturday. So we were on exchange with the zone leaders and it all went pretty well, but I was feeling pretty sick, and at the end of the day I got off the phone to one of the other missionaries in my district and I saw a text, well it was from the referral centre in Missouri and it said it was from a sister draper. Well we kept texting about the referral and at the end she asks "are you the elder varner from California" and then it hit me that she is Rachel Draper, like the one from back home. So that was pretty cool to get a text from someone I knew from back home. There were also multiple times where I felt a bit low and in those moments I saw rainbows, and I really felt like Tavi Cook was right there with me helping me push on.

We had a Book of Mormon fireside yesterday after church which went pretty well, we made a mega Book of Mormon for it (picture attached below). It really is the keystone of our religion! Our teaching pool is actually pretty solid now, no new news for them for the last week though. We visited the Gxxould family again and we shared 1 Nephi 1:20 with them and I really felt God speaking through me, and there were some things I said that I don't think I've ever said in a visit, but I felt led by the spirit. 

Only funny thing for the week was we locked up our bikes to a pole and when elder Mason went to unlock it the key snapped, so we spent the next hour trying to figure out how we were gonna get this lock off cuz we were kinda in a sketchier part of the area. Well after loads of time we finally got some tweezers and got out the key, used the spare key and somehow unlocked it.

This week I studied out of chapter 4 in the ARP Manuel, what a great chapter! It was all about truth and being honest with yourself and the lord, one way we can do that is through keeping a journal. It said "When you prayerfully write about your life, you give the Holy Ghost an opportunity to help you see and understand the potential lessons that come from each of your experiences." I can personally attest to this, when we write about our experiences the Holy Ghost can teach us lessons. I've had so many of those kinds of experiences out here! So go keep a journal and be honest when you write in it. When you aren't being honest the only one you are hurting is yourself. When we are honest, that's when god can really help us to improve and overcome!

Oh I almost forgot! I'm staying here for the upcoming transfer and will be getting Elder Yim from Hong Kong! Elder Miner trained him so I'm hyped! It's gonna be a blast out here! Elder Mason is going to Leicester. Best of luck to my brotha Adam who is headed out to the Phillies this week! Enjoy it man! Love you all! 

Elder Varner

pic 1: DA at the winters
pics 2-3: district meeting
pic 4: giant BOM
pic 5: fam, youll never believe it, i bought (on my own will) a...salad on exchanges 
pic 6: birthplace of the author of charlie and the chocolate factory
pic 7: cool view 
video 1: america!

video 2: DA at the maizeys, elder mason was acting as samuel the lamanite



Monday, July 17, 2017

south side! (Week 48, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Mason)

Hey everyone!
First I gotta give some big shoutouts to the homies Issac Berrett and Garrett Cook who are leaving on missions this week! That's so crazy that you are both leaving now! It's come so fast! You'll love it! Also a big happy birthday to my awesome aunt leslie!!!! Today marks 11 months of me being in the United Kingdom, the time seriously gets faster and faster, and with it comes a sense of urgency to the work, because my time out here is so short and I want to do everything I can to make the most of it.

This week was a good one! I did have health issues the entire week, had a super bad cold and etc, but it's all good cuz it didn't stop me from rising and doing the grind out here! We visited Vyyerena again, she's a less active in the ward, and we met with her daughter this time as well, and they both came to church yesterday!! It was so cool to see them both there! We are really gonna be focusing our efforts on them, they are way cool! It was a miracle to see them there, and they were early too! We visited another less active/part member family one night around 8:40 just when we were in the area and it was amazing timing, they are having some family issues at the moment and we set up a time this upcoming week to go do a family home evening with them! We worked most of the week in the southern part of our area in some poorer areas, but wow, the people in those communities are so much humbler and receptive, people will just offer us cold drinks and they'll actually talk to us. 

Do you know that moment when you realise you shouldn't have said something? Well elder Mason had one of those this week, we knocked on this door, and the lady who answered was Muslim and we were talking to her, and elder Mason innocently said "where In the Middle East are you from?" She was born in London...awkward, but she was so nice about it haha. Some guy saw us from a distance and he was one of the biggest grown up chavs I've ever seen, he started yelling at us to see if we were "knocking off" I was beyond confused, but turns out knocking off means ditching school, when he saw we were missionaries he started rapping about us so that's cool. It rained a lot this week, there was one day where I would have been drier in a swimming pool. 

We had interviews with president Leppard which were great as always, he's such a good guy! We also had our district meeting and our district is three people bigger, we now have sisters ackley, Thornton, swasey, wadsworth, and Siri ek. But sister Thornton goes home next week and sister Siri ek and wadsworth are moving to a new area next week but it's a pretty big district right now!

My spiritual thought of the week is about procrastination. Something we all do in different extents. President Henry B Eyring said "There is a danger in the word someday when what it means is “not this day."...The God who gives us each day as a treasure will require an accounting. We will weep, and He will weep, if we have intended to repent and to serve Him in tomorrows which never came or have dreamt of yesterdays where the opportunity to act was past. This day is a precious gift of God. The thought “Someday I will” can be a thief of the opportunities of time and the blessings of eternity." We can apply this in every aspect of our lives. Don't delay improvement and action. I'm gonna borrow something the homie elder wayment whose killing it out in Texas said last week, he said the only two days we can't do anything our yesterday and tomorrow. Be invested in TODAY! Don't wait! Check out the talks "this day" by Henry b eyring, and "your four minutes" by Gary e Stevenson. Thanks for letting me borrow some of that Coop! Happy year mark 🎉

Have a good week! Go serve some people around you and lift where you stand! And always remember that Elder V loves you!

Elder Varner

Sent from my iPad

pic 1: crossing tracks
pic 2: post-interviews
pic 3: sweet view on a day where i would have been drier in a pool

pic 4: RIP OFF of chick fil a 

Monday, July 10, 2017

did someone say relief society district? (Week 47, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales; Elder Mason)

Family and Friends,

What's good guys! Hope you've all had a great week! Thanks for tuning into another episode! Boy has this week been a fast one, people are right when they say the time just gets faster and faster!

The work has been decent here, it definitely is the roughest area I've been in so far for the work, but that doesn't get us down, we doing the grind day in, day out! We have some promising return appointments for this upcoming week which we are excited about! Thanks for everyone who gave some advice about that faith thing for Axxled! We got to teach him and his brother Hxxoel this past week, and they asked a lot of sincere questions. We ended with a video of Elder Holland bearing his testimony of the Book of Mormon, then we bore our testimonies of its truthfulness and you could totally tell the spirit just punched the room in the face, it was incredible. Instead of questioning our testimonies, they were touched! At the end of the day, it all comes down to actually reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it. If it's true, then we really do have a living prophet on the earth today and the priesthood has been restored and this church really is Christ's church on the earth today, if it isn't true, then this is all false. When we invited someone to read it and pray about it, they asked us "if I get the answer that it isn't true, would that change your opinion or make you reconsider?" Without a moments hesitation I said "no, I've received a witness of the truthfulness of this book, and I can't ever deny this knowledge". It's so important to gain your own testimony of the Book of Mormon and the church rather than relying wholly on someone else's testimony. 

One other really cool experience took place on Saturday while we were traveling to a street that we were gonna work on, we rode past one street which had a potential we had tried stopping by a few times, I felt like we needed to go stop by this guy, but I kind of ignored it, we got further and further from it, and the feeling got stronger, I decided we had to turn back and go. Well the guy, Jxxohn, who we were trying to stop by was home and he let us in, we got to teach him the restoration and invited him to find out for himself by reading and praying, and he was down! I'm so grateful I listened to the spirit!

Nothing else too crazy for the week, no one showed up to football on Friday and we only had a few guys for basketball so we ended up playing a game called "pressure" just like the good ole days with the cousins in AZ and Riverside! Church was good yesterday, I've been trying to take notes during it because it helps me to stay focused and to get the most out of it I can! We had MLC last week in Birmingham which was so cool, president Leppard's trainings always get me excited to go out and work! We are getting a new set of missionaries in our area on Tuesday, two more sisters! So now we are what people would call, a relief society district which means more sisters than Elders! Haha

There was so much good stuff this week in personal study, I wish I could tell you guys all about it, but I'm just gonna share one verse. In Jacob 1 there's a verse that says "Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to ​​​come​ unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his ​​​rest​". As I studied this I thought of all my diligent leaders I was blessed to have as I was growing up. I would not be here if it weren't for AMAZING priesthood leaders, I can't list off all of them because there are too many of them, some including my dad and my uncles, chad boberg, brad cook, bishop hill, dave Buchanan, Danny woofinden, Jeffery bleak, Glenn mehner, Paul cook, Tony hladek, Jon crozier, bro DO, hunter Hartman, and so so so many more. I could write books on each one of these men. I'm so grateful for their friendships and their examples to me. I know I wasn't an easy kid, but I'm so grateful all my leaders never gave up on me, I'm so grateful that they saw more in me than I did, and I'm so grateful for them helping me build and strengthen my testimony. I owe them everything.

Well thanks for reading this book. To the brotha Tyler and my uncle Kraig, happy birthday! Hope you all have a legen-wait for it, and I hope you're not lactose intolerant (I might be) because the next word is-DARY, LEGENDARY week!!!! Love you guys! Don't fredette it!

Elder Varner

Sent from my iPad

pic 1: cool bridge with old church out in the distance
pic 2: scooby doo, where are you?!
pic 3: cardiff BABY!!!
pic 4: the homie holbrook
pic 5: elder terry!
pic 6: reunion with the old comp, sinclaire
pic 7: bowen!
pic 8: random iguana guy we found
pic 9: fourth of july!
pic 10: no caption

pic 11: just for you guys ;)