Monday, March 27, 2017

What A Joyous Day It Will Be (Week 32 Wylde Green, England)

this has to be the fastest week of my mission, no lie guys! it's been a pretty good one so sit back, relax, kick back to a chick fil A shake, and enjoy this latest episode from across the pond!

reliving the glory days
well there's two different things I mean from this! first off, last week we had mid-trainers meeting (a half way meeting for those who are training and being trained) and there was also a new trainers meeting so I got to see Elder MINER AND CLAYTON! I was beyond hyped! Before the meeting we had to give some missionaries who were there early, streets to knock and stuff and elder Miner was there so me and him got to relive the glory days for an hour! I miss that guy so much, Swansea was the glory days. And also I guess I'll talk now about the new transfer elder Garrick is going to Leicester zone, elder Galarga is going to Coventry, and coming into this district is...ELDER HILL, like BEN HILL from back home, we will be in the same district and will even get to do exchanges at one point this upcoming transfer, the hype is unreal!! And elder Clayton will be here for a week as well while he waits for his new companion to come in so we got the dream team district for the next week!

dr Phil in the HOUSE
the mission is cool because it's full of firsts and I had a few of those this last week. PxxJxx and Syyyya are doing well, but on Wednesday they had some argument going on so no joke I played dr Phil when we were over there, I could totally replace that guy cuz With the help of the spirit, their argument and problem got totally resolved with each other. Nothing too new with them though, their wedding is in under three weeks now which is crazy! the time is flying so so so fast. all of the other people we are meeting with aren't too solid so I'll skip over them for this week. We are working with a recent convert too that just moved from walsall, his name is Dxxxanny, I might have mentioned him last week, but he's a super cool guy, had a hard past, but he's working his tail off to change his life and he's such a good person. his prayers have to be the most sincere prayers I've ever heard, it feels like he is pouring his heart out to god whenever he prays. If we all prayed like that we would be so far ahead of where we are now.

a witness in Walsall
we had district meeting in walsall on Thursday so we spent the night on Wednesday. i went undefeated in darts too. always a fun time. After district meeting I went on exchanges with elder galarga from Ecuador which was pretty fun. no joke I could be a witness for someone out here cuz we were walking around and a car was driving past us, two girls in the car, and the one in the passenger seat was crying and all of the sudden the driver speeds up and the passenger hits her head on the window and gets knocked out, i guess that's walsall for you though. for my bday district dinner last Monday we went to nandos as well.

study time just got real
oh man, so i read recently the President Nelson Young Adult Fireside that he gave in January, and in it he challenged everyone to study every thing the saviour has ever said, and I decided I'd do that so I started from the topical guide and this week I focused on the bread of life part of it. It's so good, I'd recommend to all of you to study more about Christ, and you'll feel his love stronger than you ever have before.

Spiritual thought:

We are almost in flipping April already, that's mental, I was thinking a lot about Easter actually and what it really means to me, and I'd have to say that the greatest gift we are given is the fact that we will be resurrected. Elder Johnson of the Seventy said in conference last April, "I am grateful for the blessings that are ours because of the Atonement and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. For all who have laid a child in a grave or wept over the casket of a spouse or grieved over the death of a parent or someone they loved, the Resurrection is a source of great hope. What a powerful experience it will be to see them again--not just as spirits but with resurrected bodies."  We've all lost someone in our life, someone who we loved deeply. While I know many who have lost loved ones, friends and family, I want to focus on two. In life we all go through our own trials, some of which might be physical disabilities and disease. Brad Cook was my seminary teacher for two years, and he is also one of my best friends, he's told me a few times of his story with Tavi, and I can't even imagine the joy he will feel, when he sees her in a perfected state, free from all manner of limitation. I also think of my mom. 11 years ago from yesterday, my mom passed away from breast cancer. Her trial included countless doctor visits, pain, bedrest, and more. As hard as it was and is to not have her here anymore, I can't wait for the day, where I'll get to see her and be with her again as she is in her perfected state, free from the disease that caused her so much pain and suffering. What a joyous day that will be. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and all he did. Because of him, we will all live again and overcome death.

Hope you all enjoy conference this weekend, check it out on on Saturday and Sunday! ALL of you! I love you guys, let's get it this week!

Elder Varner

Sent from my iPad

pics 6, 9: miner reunion
pics 1-2: the homie searle 
pic 5,10: cool memorial thing in walsall with gallaraga
pic 4: birthday dinner at nandos 
pic 7, 12: the main man dxxanny
pic 8: farewell to elder cohen
pic 11: hammonds DA
pic 3: the man from new zealand himself, elder gaffney

Monday, March 20, 2017

and the 18th year did end in a broken iPad screen. And it came to pass in the commencement of the 19th year ... (Week 31 Wylde Green, England)

wasssssssuuuuuuuuuppppp party people, it's your boy DV with another episode out here in the motherland. seven months in the uk and still no accent, but it's always a blast and the work is going swell, a major THANK YOU to all of you who sent happy birthday emails and to those who sent letters and stuff! big shout out to the homie Ryan gates as well! alright let's go!

first timer 
I've never, ever in my life cracked a device, ever. you can already see this playing out now based off this and my title, but lemme explain. so a month ago I dropped my iPad screen straight up and nothing happened, I was so shocked it was still fine, there was a tiny crack in the corner, but I kinda ignored it. well last Monday night I went to grab my iPad and I guess I grabbed the corner of it that was cracked and all of the sudden literally the entire iPad, crack marks went over it all. It's not the worst, but I'll have to deal with it at one point. made it almost 18 years without making that mistake, but guess you can't live in the past.

work work work
not too much news for this week. PxxxJxxx and Syyyonya are awesome, the rest of the people we are working with are flaky but good people. We met a guy named Dxxxxaniel, he's 17, and is Muslim not because his family, but because his friend told him to be one, he hates it and his parents are jehovahs witnesses and protestants so interesting background we have there hahah. He's a really cool guy, asks super sincere questions and is progressing well! It's nice when people are genuinely interested because I don't want to force anyone to be interested. just typical knocking and such but the work was good this week!

bday hype
yesterday I turned 19, it was a pretty fun birthday, not as fun as chucking soda off a roof like last year, but still fun haha. church was good too. we went to the Robertsons for lunch and had a sweet roast meal, then the best Oreo pie I've ever had, no lie guys! we stopped by the O'Grady's for a bit and then had ward coordination. it was one of the funniest meetings of my life oh my days haha, . . . . we went over to PxxxJxxx and Syyyonya's and they surprised me with a nice dinner and cake and also some shirts, then today me and elder Jensen went golfing. 14 holes in and it started DUMPING rain, jeez, it was a fun round though. 

spiritual thought
during life we go through hard times, sometimes they leave us feeling broken. elder Holland said once "Know that one day the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Though we may feel we are “like a broken vessel,” as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter." God will never forsake us, he has a plan for each of us, and when we trust in him, that's when we find true happiness.

I'm sorry for the crappy email, honestly nothing really happened this week, but I'm alive and well. Also someone check out my bracket and tell me how I'm doing cuz I have no flipping clue how many games have happened if any yet. But have a good week, I love you guys!

Elder Varner

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mexican Turn Up (Week 30)

man I really cannot win with my health, I've had mild food poisoning on top of my already existent stomach problem for the last 24 hours, but...this last week has been one of the best and most fun weeks of my mission! here's what happened in the latest episode across the pond!

mexican march
GOAAALLLLLL! out here for the young men, all the activities this month are Mexican themed. so this past week we all did "Mexican football", which is literally just soccer but using an American football instead while wearing sombreros and mustaches, mines was real though 😉 I also taught the whole YM program how to play three flags up so I'm gonna get them hooked on American football soon enough. I love getting to be with the young men in this ward, missionaries back home in the flintridge hood helped me so much before coming on my mission and I always wanted that chance to be a good example to other young men and help them get out on a mission, and I'm getting that chance here! more to come with Mexican march next week...

the best work in the world
the grind went sooooo well this week! miracles left and right! I'll start out with our teaching pool! PxxxJxxxx and Syyyya are still going strong! nothing too new for them, but we continue to meet with them in prep for their wedding which is next month!!!!! the ward is doing such an amazing job of fellowshipping them too! we are still working with Alex on reading the Book of Mormon, which he is, now it's just getting him to church. as for finding new people, we found so many cool people this week. one really cool lady, her name is Jyyackie. We met her in her garden as she was working on it, and she happily invited us back. She's an older lady, and long story short, she really just invited us back to feed us some cake and talk about life, we taught her the whole restoration lesson and at the end of it she told us she really wasn't interested in learning more, but still wants us to stop by if we are in the area. another cool couple we met, pretty young too, nxxxick and ayyylicia. we went by for our appointment with them and when we knocked on the door and told them who it was through the door, they seemed surprised and said to give them ten seconds to tidy up, and then as he was opening the door, he was also putting on a shirt, and she was in a robe so if we get far enough with them we'll have an interesting lesson on the law of chastity haha.  not too much else this week that's out of the ordinary.

breaking ankles
on Saturday we went to Walsall to play sports with our district and PxxJxx, Jxxosh (Syyonya's nieces' boyfriend), and Axxiden and some other guys from Walsall. It was a blast, we played football at first, like soccer, and believe it or not, I'm actually getting a bit better at this game, I scored a goal, like a legit cool one, where I totally faked out the guy. Also played basketball and drained some shots like Jimmer! is he still balling out in china or is the season over there?

district turn ups
on Friday we had district finding and also district meeting with interviews with president leppard! I love interviews with P-Leppard! it's so nice being so close to the mission home too because I feel like I'm getting closer to him, it's nice to grow that relationship! other than that not much new for the district, every Monday we ball out now though so my game should be back to 100% soon enough, probably before my health gets back to that haha.

Book of Mormon
This week I've really focused my personal study on reading the Book of Mormon and it has made all the difference, my study has more focus and my testimony of the Book that we share with others all day has grown so much. so many people just tear down the Book without even giving it an honest attempt. This last week, it had brought so much peace and assurance. I'd challenge you all to set aside time every day to read from it. Also got to watch the face to face with elder Holland and president eyring, it's on and I'd HIGHLY recommend it to you all!

updates on the crib
we had spring cleaning last week and now our flat looks 736592649373% better, it was so flippin messy before, now we can actually see the ground, just kidding it wasn't that bad before,  it was pretty close though.

random ish
the weather has been actually nice this week, like I saw the sun on every day and even wore a short sleeve white shirt one day, summer be coming! oh my days we were at the Owens for a dinner, and out of no where brother owen brings in this hand grenade that he bought off these two older ladies earlier, and his wife saw it for the first time when we did. ill be honest, the pin was still in it and im pretty sure that those ladies were dilusional and that it was an active grenade, but hey, im here still so maybe i was wrong.

here's a spiritual thought on hope that really means a lot to me. in an older conference talk, elder Holland said "Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. Of that I personally attest." I know that even when times are hard and we feel like we are hopeless and stuck in whatever situation, that there is light up ahead. good things always come to the faithful, god has promised it time and time again and he always keeps his word. the faithful will receive blessings, rest, and happiness, whether that be in this life or the next. keep holding on and don't give up. good things are to come.

thanks for tuning in for another week. weird to think it's been a year since turning 18 but I'll be flippin 19 on Sunday! church turn ups haha, well I gotta go, love you guys more than you know!

Elder Varner

some photos and video of balling up with the district, mexican young men, nice cars, and grenades

Monday, March 6, 2017

Chas Mar Indeed (Week 29)

flipping heck its been another week, and it's been a pretty good one out here in the motherland, let's get it!

So I finally went to the doctor last week and good news...I DONT have a gluten intolerance!?! the doctor said that there was something wrong with stomach acid, something called GERD I think so he gave me omepriole to take every day for ten days to a month and said I should feel better. I don't feel 100% yet but boy, that medicine has helped so much so far. I've had a nasty cold this last week too, I just can't win with health out here haha, but it's all good cuz nothing is stopping me from rising and grinding, and overall the medicine is actually working! Just gotta be patient with it.

Birmingham Love
I have a love for big cities, like a giant love. Well since my doctors appointment last week was in Birmingham, we got to eat in city centre. My words, as my good friend Elder Gilbert would say, as I walked through this celestial city centre were "Chas Mar!" Chas Mar, indeed. Of course I chose to eat at Five Guys, some may say it's an obsession, but I say it's my American Love.

Pancake Day
I don't even know if that exists in America, but it does here, so we went with the young men for mutual for games and pancakes, I love how involved we are getting with the young men here, we are even working on doing a mini mtc here! These young men are legit!

Exchange with a Scott
Last week I went on exchanges with Elder Campbell, from Scotland, he's a lad. It was a pretty fun time going to Birmingham with him and going over to PJ and Sonya's. We brought that Jyyy Bxxxxp guy with us, he's hilarious, and his conversion story is crazyyy, he's awesome.

The Grind
This last week, as always, we knocked doors and on Saturday we were getting so many people who just weren't interested in the slightest, and I won't lie, I felt a bit discouraged after awhile, but as soon as I got over those feelings, bam! two new investigators came, Sophie and Tom, I'll talk more about them next week after we see them again. We visited a less active lady, Zyyy Cyyyts, her family aren't members, but her son is interested and she is super cool and we are going back on Wednesday night to see them again! We've been meeting with a guy named Alex too, he's way cool and has been keeping his commitment to read the Book of Mormon every day, and his testimony is visually changing, there is power in the book! PxxxJxxx and Syyyya came to church yesterday too which was exciting. We had a conference thing that was broadcasted to all Northern Europe and the speakers were Whitney Clayton, Linda Reeves, Elder Dikes, and Russell M Ballard, it was a really good conference, and it was super cool cuz it was directed at the people specifically in this side of the world. 

Officially a Missionary
as of last Friday, I am officially a missionary cuz we finally started using bikes as our main way of transportation. it is so tiring, but way faster, plus I'm down to lose more weight. I came out on my mission around 210 pounds, and now I'm under 180 and the biking has just begun. 6 months to sexy? More like 24 months to sexy haha, that's a program a lot of missionary's do out here where the last six months of their missions they actually try to workout and stuff.

Coming in CLUTCH
Dave Roberts, from Swansea, went to America a few weeks ago for his sons wedding and while he was there he got me TONS, and I mean tons, of chick fil a sauce and snickers and kool aid, I got a giant box from the Swansea zone leaders last week with it all, so clutch! I was beyond stoked!

The members in this ward are still beast as always. Connor and Rosie Ogrady gave me a copy with the English Cover of the first Harry Potter book cuz it's the philosophers stone, instead of sorcerers, and the cover art is cool too, that was sweet of them. We had lots of flogged appointments but still had fun! District meeting and district finding happened in walsall, pretty typical stuff. One funny story before I go though, so we were knocking doors on Saturday and we were talking to this catholic guy for awhile, he was cool but not interested, and we were knocking a door next to his after and all of the sudden he opens the door again and just says "wait are you guys the ones who have multiple wives?" And we were like "nah different guys". I totally picture it in my head where after talking to us the first time he went back in and his wife probably asked him who he was talking to, he said the Mormons, and she was probably like " are they the ones with the multiple wives?" And he probably said " I don't know let me check" and then that happened haha. I was dying.  Oh and Elder Kinard was kebabtized by someone holding the kebab authority last week. He was kebabtized in a way better place than I was, the kebab shop we went to was actually good. Kebabs aren't the same here as they are in the States, I thought they were just meat on a stick, but here it's like greasy meat with sauce and other stuff either on top of fries or on pitta bread. 

My spiritual thought is really directed at some of you today who I care about deeply, but the message can be used by everyone, President Uctdorf said in conference a few years back "I am reminded of a time in the Savior’s life when many abandoned Him. Jesus asked His twelve disciples: Will ye also go away?
“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”
There are times when we have to answer the same question. Will we also go away? Or will we, like Peter, hold fast to the words of eternal life?" This world we live in is filled with doubt, having doubts and questions aren't bad, but when we let them hold us back of blessings that we need, they can be spiritually destructive. In the world we live in, it's hard to be a Mormon, it's not easy, and we all have to ask the question "will we also go away?" Or will we stay and hold tight to the gospel, I promise each of you peace, comfort, and joy as you hold fast to the words of Christ. If you have doubts and questions, keep studying prayerfully the scriptures. If your plant (faith) was dying, you wouldn't stop watering it (praying and reading the scriptures). 

it's been another fast week and I'm looking forward to another one out here. crazy that we are in March, but I'm finally not gonna be 18 soon which I'm hyped about haha. have a lit week and remember that Elder Varner loves you!

Elder Varner

pics 1-3:birmingham love
pics 4-6: squad pics be like
pic 7: elder kinard and I with PJ about to scare Campbell and Galagarga
pic 8: CHICK FIL A
pic 9: kebabtism
pic 10: holbrook and wallace, flippin lads
pic 11: elder jensen and i in front of a weird door knocker thing
pic 12: almost there
video: fun @ mutual