Monday, February 27, 2017

What the Fizzle Flip? (Week 28 New Companion Elder Kinard)

family and friends, wassssssup. it's your boy DV! so I'm gonna do this email different today and you can let me know if you like it more than the other typical emails or if you'd prefer those, so hit me up with your opinion! πŸ˜˜

Straight outta Preston
well the week with elder claboux was a blast, and last Tuesday we got our new companions. It was so sick to see elder Miner again, I say it every time I see him, but honestly he's the best. so my new companion, straight outta the preston mtc, is...elder Kinard! he's 18, from fishers, Indiana! he is such a focused missionary and is a straight up stud! the next two transfers should be a blast!

The Beauty of Progress
this past week has been so cool to see those that we are teaching progress in their knowledge of the gospel. it's so cool when you see an investigator feel the spirit and really act on it. sooo PxxJxx and Syynya! we met with them twice in the past week and both times were super fun, it's been incredible to see the changes in them. Syyyonya's sister, Jyyyessie, who came to church last week, told us in the last week that she had been reading the Book of Mormon with her son every night since church, and said she was so excited to join the church in Cardiff, honestly I was so hyped to see how much her heart had been softened and how she was feeling the blessings of the gospel! I think in the upcoming week we are gonna work on the Book of Mormon with PxxJxx and Syyyonya! It's so key to read the Book of Mormon daily! We went over the  baptismal interview with them and they are so ready and prepared. We also went to visit a former investigator named Kyyyelly, when we got to her house she answered and we could tell she was about to not let us in, but she ending up did. For an hour we had a heart to heart lesson with her about the Plan of Salvation and how she would be able to see her mom again, who passed away last year, it was amazing to literally watch her heart be softened.

The Golden Grind
this past week we also did a ton of knocking doors, like a ton. the first night with elder kinard was pretty sweet cuz we were able to teach a few lessons at people's doors. but two cool experiences: so we had to stop by the church for something mid-week, and I felt like we should take a different way just to try it out, well we talked to a few people and then we ran into a guy that use to meet with the sister missionaries and he was super down to meet again so we are seeing him again this week! next experience: we were walking to church yesterday and we weren't talking to people on the trail on the way down cuz we were running late, but as we walked past one guy I felt prompted to talk to him, so I went with it and stopped him and he was super interested in how the gospel can help him, he's had a hard life and moved here last week actually, he's in his twenties and was a miracle, no other words to describe it.

Money Members and Gluten-Free Prison
this ward has been so amazing, especially at feeding us. This week we had dinner at the Fells, the Robertsons, PxxJxx and Syyonya's, the other Robertsons, and the Pughs. We also stopped by the O Grady's at one point, they are all incredible, I truly couldn't make it without them. I had to go gluten free the whole week, wasn't the worst, thankful to my incredible dad for ordering me some gluten free food this week, he's the BEST and I mean that. interesting for sure, I don't know how jake does it haha. I've felt pretty sick the last 48 hours so I don't think it's gluten but it could be still, I'll be going gluten free until the appointment. but the good news is I'm going to the doctors this week FINALLY, never been so excited to go to the doctors. please don't worry, I'm fine, I'll live, just nausea, and it'll be gone soon!!! side note: I now have a sore throat so that's a plus haha

just some random funny things that happened, honestly most of the funny things that happen out here are probably just funny to me cuz missionary life. Elder Campbell and I were knocking doors together for district finding and we were getting a lot of doors shut in our face halfway through our intro, and we just kept talking and acting out the conversation with the shut door, kinda a smart alec move, but it was hilarious. Also we knocked this Jewish guy's door and he just said to us "I respect what you're doing, but if I talk to you, my family would kill me", did some weird laugh, and shut the door. I was like "what the frizzle flip?". Nah I didn't say that, I heard one of the youth in the ward say that though, I hope that phrase isn't a trend haha

As always I'll close with a spiritual thought: sorry this is gonna be kind of long, and I might have said this before. Elder Holland gave a talk on the Book of Mormon in 2009 called Safety for the Soul, if you haven't read it, read it. In it he says "For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history--perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died--from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so'". I testify that this is true. The Book of Mormon is true. There is no way that a young man just made it all up, there is no way, not a chance, that he could have just made up a book like it that brings peace and comfort to the soul. And if anyone is foolish enough to deny the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon without HONESTLY reading it and praying about it, then they have been deceived. And those who read the Book of Mormon daily, in the last days, their hearts and testimonies will not fail them.

dang this is still super long but it's in a better format I think. last thing is a big birthday shoutout to my sister McKell! Happy 17th birthday! You're awesome!

Rwyf wrth fy modd i chi guys! wedi gwych yr wythnos ac yn aros hardd! πŸ˜˜

Elder Varner

ps. that's Welsh btw

pictures of elder kinard, elder miner, and more, also the talk Why 1820?

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Season for Everything - Six Months - Congrats Jake and Kendra (Week 27)

well I've had better weeks, but I've also had worse weeks. This week was a week of feeling sick a lot, but grinding it out and still having a blast. I don't think I've laughed this much in a week ever. elder clabaux is a legend! ive officially been in the UK for six months now, it has been the hardest and darkest six months of my life, i have had some of my lowest lows, where i didnt think i could take it anymore, that being said, it has been the best six months of my life, where ive felt Gods love the most, some of the happiest moments of my life have been here, my testimony has grown, and honestly it has made me a believer in myself. 

last monday was kind of an emotional one, not even as much for me, but seeing other people tear up makes me tear up haha. we went and played some basketball in walsall and of course, I still got game haha, and if you think I don't just FREDETTE ABOUT IT! I'm pretty sure Jimmer's birthday is this month so a big bday shoutout to the biggest baller of all time. we went to the O'Grady's and Pxxx and Syyyya came too so they could say goodbye to Clayton. We hung out, and all sang some hymns together. If you knew me back home, you knew I hated singing anywhere, but I love singing hymns here, nothing invites the spirit more. It was an emotional night. 

Tuesday was a weird one, total blur. we just hangout at the flat in the morning and by noon we were at the mission home for transfers. it was way fun to see people like elder hill, terry, Miner, Ey, the list could go on for dayzzz! also said goodbye to Elder Hatch and elder Hellyer, both super cool missionaries who finished their missions last week. also pretty sad to say goodbye to elder Clayton, it was one heck of a transfer, I'll miss that kid a ton. Elder Clabaux and I headed back to the flat to get settled, we had a few appointments flog us but it's all good cuz we did the normal grind and knocked some doors, found some cool people who have some potential, and went to the Owens for dinner. It was a pretty good day, but change is so weird. I get so comfortable with an area and a companion, so change always feels totally life-changing haha, but it's all good.

Wednesday started kinda rocky, just felt nauseous for it, when we went to the mission home I asked Sister Leppard about it and she said to keep a food log for a few weeks so we could track what is making me feel so crappy, then I can see a doctor for it. It was dumping rain the entire day until we left the mission home so that was a tender mercy for it to stop! Haha, we went to try to visit some referrals but they weren't there so we went over to PxxxJ and Syyyya's, had some pizza, and talked with them for awhile, it was a good night in the end!

Thursday was good! We left pretty early to get to our district meeting in Walsall but it was a sick meeting, I gave a training on baptism doctrine and it really made me reflect on how baptism isn't the end goal, it's really the beginning, we always have need to progress and become better, receive temple blessings, partake of the sacrament every week, that's what enduring to the end is. We did some district finding there and I went with elder Garrick, it was pretty funny, found some cool people for them to go back to. We went back to Wylde Green and visited a couple in the ward whose name I can't spell to save my life so yeah haha, they're cool, we knocked doors for a bit and found a few really cool people, one family we are seeing again tonight!! I'll update you guys on that next week! We went to our flat to eat dinner and contact people on our phones for the rest of the night.

Friday was a super busy day, we had zone conference with the Birmingham Zone in Wylde Green, it was SOO nice to get to talk to elder hill more, it's so cool to see him out here. The zone conference was pretty good. One thing I really liked from it was when President Leppard said that God expects just as much from us as we do for our investigators, it gave me a different perspective which was cool. By the time it was all over it was like 3:00, we went and painted someone's house for a few hours and then had ward coordination meeting and dinner, it was a good day out here!

saturday had some miracles while knocking doors! we went to visit a potential and he actually let us in to share the restoration, I literally forgot for a second what we were supposed to say haha, he was a really cool guy. we met a few other really cool people who committed to reading the Book of Mormon. There was one point in the afternoon right before dinner where I just felt super nauseous, and all of the sudden a wave of homesickness just hit me so flippin hard. I hadn't been homesick since last year but all of the sudden I was just not in the mood and I felt literally sick, well we kept knocking doors and this Jehovahs Witness lady answered the door, and it was the last door before dinner, I was not in the mood to debate her, so after she tried to prove her point to us, I bore my testimony to her that I did not come out here for two years to be converted, I came out here because I have a firm testimony that God loves us just as much as the people in the times of the bible, and because of that he has modern day prophets, well she didn't say anything after that, but she did invite us back. Sharing testimony in all situations is so key cuz it lets the spirit work. After that we went to dinner at the O'Gradys. I still felt sick but was able to make it through the dinner. Let me just say that the O'Gradys are some of the coolest people ever, it's members like them that help me keep going.

Sunday was a much better day, church was good. Syyya invited her sister to come to church, she lives in Wales, so she came and by the second class she was in tears because she felt the spirit so strongly, we got her set up with the missionaries out there. It's so cool to watch the gospel change people's lives, god truly does prepare people. during the third hour of church we got to spend it with the young men, which I was sooo excited about! we are tight with the YM president and he wants us at all the activities now, and we are really working now to create a stronger program, including a mini mtc! After church we did some knocking doors and then went to PxxxJ and Syyya's for dinner, it was a good day.

This past week had its ups and downs for sure. I felt sick a lot this week but it's all good, I've been talking to sister Leppard about it so I'll go to a doctor soon to figure out what the heck is going on, she told me to go on a completely gluten-free diet for the next two weeks, so if you have any good gluten free food ideas or anything, PLEASE tell me ASAP! but don't worry, your boy DV is still having a blast and is working his tail off! God is good! 

as for a spiritual thought, I'd challenge each of you to watch the "Because of Him" video, and to think about what Jesus Christ means to you personally. I've mentioned this video before but I loved watching it this week so much because I know, no matter what I'm feeling, that Jesus Christ knows how I feel, and is standing next to me in all things. Because of Him, i can get through hard times. Because of him, I can repent and become better. Because of him, I can live with all of you beautiful people again. Because of him, I stand here preaching to the people of England and Wales, that they can return to their families and God again.

major bday shoutouts to Ben hill and Riley Glenn. Two of my best friends in the world, I'm a bit closer in distance to Ben right now than Riley, but nevertheless, I love both of you guys and hope that you see this.

i fetching love you all. look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not, fear not ️️

Elder Varner

Sent from my iPad

pictures of TRANSFERS (sorry i cant caption which is which), also some pictures with PJ and Sonya, district meeting, and some more! and also the wedding! congrats jake and kendra!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Duces Elder Clayton (Week 26)

well dodge night came yet again, this transfer was by far the fastest of them all! so elder Clayton will be a district leader in Lincoln, I'll be staying to train and I'll be with an elder from France whose name I can't spell to save my life for the next week while we wait for the new group to come in (he's training too!), elder Ohare will be a DL out in Coventry, elder Garrick and campbell are staying in Walsall, and elder blair is going to chelmsey wood with one of my favorite people ever, elder Ey! 

oh my days last monday was so fun haha, honestly I just laugh thinking about it all. our district and the zone leaders, elder smith and elder Wallace, went golfing and if you have any clue how golf can be, you can imagine how slow a group of 8 golfers is. no, we didn't split up into two groups. 8 people-one group. I can't even do it justice how slow it was, after four holes we just gave up, but it was so much fun just cranking it out for two hours with everyone! other than that and emailing, PxxJxxx took us out to a carvery and then we went back to his house and talked more with Syyya and her niece Cyyyy and her boyfriend Joxxsh, it was a good time. it's nice to show them too that we are normal people because most of the people in Sonia's family think we are just weird crazy people.

Tuesday we went to visit Axxxlex, he's a former investigator that we've seen a few times, but he said he was recommitted to meeting us and is now on a baptismal date for March 25th! he's really excited about it which makes us excited! a few lessons flogged but Tuesday night was low key SICK! we taught seminary! words can't even describe how much I miss seminary, I truly had AMAZING teachers: sister Sanderson and Campbell, and Brad Cook! it was so much fun to talk about the restoration with them and I feel like they learned something and I know I did! after that there was a young men's activity and they invited us to come which I was way hyped about! we all did exercises for an hour and then made a big dessert thing and did a contest to see who would do best, I got second πŸ‘πŸΏ it was so nice to be in young men's again haha, I miss it so flippin much!

Wednesday was fun! We had zone meeting in the morning/afternoon. It was good, my favorite part was the fact that there was a BASKETBALL court there, don't worry, your boy DV still has game! we had dinner at the Fell's and then went to PxxxJxxx and Syyyya's. We showed them the Scott Sterling videos too and they were dying! 

Thursday was pretty good! I had a trainers meeting in the morning, basically just went over how to train a new missionary. It was cool and way cool to see elder Miner again, I miss that homie so much! not much else happened until that night when we went over to PxxxJxxx and Syyyya's. They made us stir fry which was pretty good too!

Friday was a day of visiting potentials, we set up some return appointments, found a new investigator named Kelly who's cool, not much else happened to be honest. 

Not much happened on Saturday because elder Clayton had to work on some of his college app essays but PxxxJxxx picked us up and surprised us by taking us out to a quick few rounds of pool and one round of bowling, which was fun, don't worry your boy DV won two games, we talked to him about how he felt about the church, and he loves it so much, it's so cool to see how the gospel changes people in such quick periods of time. I feel so blessed to have been able to witness this. Later that night we went out to dinner with PxxxJxxx and Syyya, and Connor and Rosie OGrady from the ward. They took us to a super nice curry place, way generous of PxxxJxxx cuz it had to have been like £15 a dish, it was amazing and it was a fun time! Also it snowed today so me and elder Clayton had a few mini snow ball fights, he got some good hits, but I got the last laugh! Haha

Sunday was pretty good, it had its ups and downs for sure. Church was great! PxxxJxxx and the fam came to church! The ward loves them so much! It's so cool! We went over to the Mace's for a nice roast lunch! They are huge soccer fans, or fΓΊtbol, so I am learning a lot more about how it all works here haha. After that we went back to our flat to clean, plan, and stuff. I started to feel super nauseous at one point, and I asked elder Clayton to give me a blessing. I am so grateful for the priesthood. That blessing helped me so much not only physically, but spiritually. I felt gods love so much during it and I can testify to you that priesthood blessings work. Also it was DODGE CALL NIGHT, which I already talked about haha

It was a really good week out here, I can't complain. I wasn't really sick this week, just nauseous at some points, but it always gets better. I think I just got some weird virus thing at the end of last transfer and it's semi messed with me this transfer, but I'm overall starting to feel better, don't worry guys, I'm alive and well and am LOVING life so much right now!! :)

I've been thinking a lot about attitude this week which leads into my spiritual thought for you all this week: president Hinckley once say "There is a terrible ailment of pessimism in the land. It’s almost endemic...I come … with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I’m suggesting that we accentuate the positive. I’m asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort." I couldn't say it better, there's so much pessimism out there in the world, people who can't see the good in life, people who tear down people who are happy, I'd ask each of you to look for the positives in life, I promise you, that even in your hardest moments of life, that there is something to be optimistic about, guarantee it! Love life and look for its opportunities! Plus you have more fun when youre optimistic, that's one of the biggest things I've learned on my mission so far :)

it's time to ball out like jimmer right now with the district one last time before transfers, lets all have a LIT week as we are more optimistic! love you guys, you're all the best valentines a guy could ask for! πŸ˜˜

Elder Varner

pictures and videos of...bowling, elder miner, elder griffin and the korean sister, a picture with the ogradys and PxxxJxxx and Syyya, and snow! and golf and the Fells DA (the one that clayton took a selfie for)
Sent from my iPad

Monday, February 6, 2017

Jordan flu game? More like Jordan flu transfer! (Week 25)

Just call me MJ! i have the habit of just being sick this past transfer whether it's a cold or just my stomach feeling awful or whatever, but it's all good because I feel way better right now and I've been able to do the grind the past five weeks out here...and I'm LOVING IT! this week was amazing other than being kind of sick, but what I mean by sick the last few weeks is just not feeling 100%, but I'm still riding and grinding like MJ himself!

last monday was a pretty normal Pday, but it was fun! we emailed, we played chair soccer, and ate some food. nothing too exciting but my skills in soccer are getting better slightly every time I play! but you know, just gotta be patient, after all it's line upon line, precept upon precept. just gonna take some time til I'm the next Messi!

Tuesday was a super good day, like a really good day. We had to do some shopping in the morning, and then tried stopping by two former investigators, but both weren't home. And that takes us to 4:00, we were walking in this little town centre and some guy came up to us and started asking us questions about mormons and Joseph Smith, and I was pretty excited, until...he started talking about aliens and the mothership. that homie was on a whole other planet! haha, we went tracting before dinner and the fifth door we knocked we got let in and this super cool guy named Chxxs was super interested in everything. He hasn't believed in God in like 15 years, but he said he would read the Book of Mormon by tomorrow (from when you are seeing this), so we are seeing him this week again, he was way cool though. We had dinner at the Sharps, they are a really cool couple in the ward, and we had some good garlic chicken and fries. After that we went to Pxx and Syyy's and Syyy's niece was there and now she is interested in the church and so are two of Pxx's relatives, and they know so much now. They've ran into a ton of anti stuff online but they keep hold the the faith they already have and doubt their doubts! we all should follow that example they've shown so far and doubt our doubts!

Wednesday was sweet. We had our district meeting and then after that I went with elder blair to Walsall for exchanges. It was a pretty fun time out there, we knocked some doors, found a street named after the one and only Buchanan family, love those guys! We also went to ward Coordination meeting which was boring as heck because it was Walsall's meeting, not mine. 

Thursday was a way good day! We exchanged back and I was with Elder Zegara, from PERU, for the day because elder Clayton had a meeting with those who are going home in six months. Let me just tell you guys, elder zegara is a flipping legend. It was so fun knocking doors with that guy! We started talking to this older guy from Iraq, but he didn't look old, and he started talking about how not enough churches teach about the law of chastity, so we explained that we did and we taught him about that, the resto, and more haha. Didn't think I would teach a law of chastity lesson in the middle of the streets but hey, I was wrong! We also found a guitar in someone's front yard so we jammed out for a quick minute, check out the video below! By the time me and elder Clayton met up again, we had our ward coordination meeting and then went by Pxx and Syyy's for an hour and answered more questions and stuff!

Friday wasn't a great day and not much happened at all, it wasn't too bad, just nothing happened.

Saturday was an amazing day though! we did some district finding in walsall in the morning and I went with elder Garrick from my mtc group and it was a blast out there! we went to subway for lunch and then went to a baptism that Walsall was having, that Dxxxy guy I talked about like a month ago! It was a great baptism and I was happy to be there! Pxx also came and checked it out and loved it too! Then a guy named Jay Bishop, he came to Swansea in October, and his family took me and elder Clayton out to a carvery place. Such a funny guy so it was a blast! Then we tried setting up some appointments and stuff but nothing from that really, and then we met up with some members from Coventry who wanted to see Elder Clayton for a bit. It was a fun day, highlight was the baptism!

Sunday was good too. Church was amazing and Pxxx came too! Syyy stayed at home cuz her kids were sick again, but we will see them a few times this week! One thing that stuck out to me a lot in church is how the only thing we take with us after we die is our testimonies and who we were, not any possessions. just something to think about! after church we went to go sing 'How Great Thou Art' to a lady from the ward in the hospital. tears came to my eyes as I saw how happy she was to see a group of five of us singing that song, and the Spirit was there no doubt. we then visited a couple from the ward, the hammonds, they are really nice so it was fun to talk to them for a bit. he's a byu fan so that's sick as always! i also met a fellow 49ers fan which was the first time so far for me out here! Riley Glenn would be way hyped if he was here, this guy was a proper fan! Haha. Then we went back to our flat and weekly plan and clean and stuff. ''Twas a fun day.

In other news, elder Wagner called me yesterday and told me that I'll be training a new missionary starting this upcoming transfer which I'm both excited and way nervous for, but I know that God will guide me through everything if I put my trust in him. I don't know if I'll be staying in Wylde Green or whitewashing an area, I find out Sunday night so stay tuned!

This all leads into my spiritual thought for the week! As I got the news, I couldn't help but feel inadequate, and after feeling like this for a bit, a scripture came to my mind, ether 12:27, which says "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." I know that God will lift us above our weaknesses if we let him. He will lift us through weakness and challenges and to something greater than we could ever imagine. It takes faith and work, but he does truly turn our weaknesses into strengths. I can testify that this is true.

keep the emails coming, I love them! this next week is gonna be good, I can feel it and I'm absolutely hyped about it!?! I gotta run and show these homies how to golf again cuz the first time wasn't enough apparently haha, DV classic mission edition round 3! Love you guys! Don't ever fredette it!

Elder Varner

ps. jimmer is the best in the world and anyone who says differently needs to rebuke themselves and admit that he is the true king of basketball 

also a few people asked for my address to send mail to so here it is!

187 Penns Lane
Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands
England B76 1JU
United Kingdom

Sent from my iPad

well i promised more pics so heres some pictures and videos ft. elder zegara and the video of me playing guitar and we both sing a song haha, some cool old churches, the district, dxxx's baptism in walsall, JAY bishop, and more including the best sports play of all time in honor of the superbowl, and the pdf version of the why 1820 talk, which i talked about last week!

-the guitar video might come in a little later, sorry guys!