Monday, April 24, 2017

Guns and Baptisms (Week 36, Wylde Green, England)

family and friends, 

what's good guys? ok I wanna start off with a quick experiment and if you are reading this, please go with it, if you are reading this shoot me an email saying anything cuz I'm kind of interested to see how many people read these emails still! anyways, it was a swell week out here and the weather was even comparable to back home. I got sunburned again for the second time out here, and I just found some sunscreen in our flat so I'll start using it, soon enough I'll have a nice tan going haha. eight months out here has made me even whiter than I was before. 

there was some cool stuff that happened this week, with every week, there are hard days and good days, and this week I think I had some of the highest highs of my mission and some of the lowest lows. I found out from the doctor what the result of my blood test was, I tested negative for H-Pylori, which might sound like a good thing, but if I had that, then I would just take medicine for a week and be done, but now I have to keep trying medicines and stuff. I'm not gonna lie, that was pretty sucky to find out that this still won't be fixed super soon, but I just have to have patience and faith that everything will work out in gods timetable, it always does. 

alright enough with the bad stuff: this week PxxJxx, Syyonia, and Axxiden all got baptised and received the gift of the Holy Ghost! Elder Clayton baptised PxxJxx, I had the privilege of baptising Syyonia, and Elder Campbell baptised Axxiden. They all had to be baptised twice because their legs all came up the first times around. It was so funny when Axxiden was getting baptised because out of everyone he is the smallest so we all thought he would go under the easiest, but his leg shot up out of the water and elder Campbell just reached over and shoved it under haha, it had to be redone, but it was pretty funny in the moment. The show up was really good for the baptism and elder vieter did the confirmations for all of them, him and his wife are serving here in the office. It was so cool to see them all after church yesterday, they had a light about them that is almost indescribable. They've gone through so much in their lives, especially PxxJxx, and it's almost a complete 180, and I'm so grateful I got to witness this change first hand. They are some of my best friends in the world and I love them to death. All of the times getting doors slammed in our face, getting sworn at, getting threatened, made fun of, just everything, that's all worth it in moments like this weekend. 

We were getting on the train this week to go somewhere and these teenagers were just acting so stupid, a few of the girls were throwing food at us, and they were all just harassing us for being from America. But you know, they are just jealous because they wish they could live in the land of the free and home of the brave haha. I don't even get mad when people harass us, I just try to view them as god would and then all that hate and anger turns into Christlike love. One cool tender mercy, we were leaving a visit at the OGradys when out of nowhere this guy comes up and stops us, asking us if we were christians, we started talking to him and set up a return appointment, and when we went he actually let us in. He told us of how he never really tried religion seriously, and how something was missing in his life. He's a way cool dude. Speaking of a member visit, we had some sick ones this week. Shoutouts to all the homies who fed us this week: PxJx, the Owens, the Ruberys (pictured below), and the Rudds! We literally have a DA every single night this upcoming week. God bless the Wylde Green Ward!

At one dinner this week, we were just talking, and the dad just left the room and came back in with a MASSIVE gun, it was flipping crazy, it was so random and I just had no idea what to say. Other than that nothing too funny for the week. 

I studied the restoration a lot this last week and Jospeh smith's first vision. Of course with that, I thought a lot about the Book of Mormon. After reading, and re reading the Book of Mormon, I can agree 100% with this quote: "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 know that there is no way that some uneducated young man could make all of this up, that he could have just made up the Book of Mormon, without leaving behind errors that would prove it wasn't true. Joseph Smith sealed that book with his life. He wouldn't have given up his life for a book that wasn't true, he wouldn't have looked to it for comfort in his last moment alive if it weren't true. The Book of Mormon is true, it came forth the way Jospeh said it came forth, from God. No other book can bring you closer to god. I would exhort each of you to take a serious study of the Book of Mormon and to watch it work wonders and miracles in your own lives, I know it has for me.

I fetching love you all. Look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not, fear not 

Elder Varner

Sent from my iPad

pics 1-8: baptism pics 
pic 9: ruberys ft. second amendment
pic 10: victorious
pics 11-15: still got black hops 

ive been sending so many pictures lately, but hope some of you enjoy the extras this week

pic 1: elder clayton reunion
pic 2: mix tape is dropping this june, get it anywhere
pic 3: this cat was just chillin on top of the car and it was giving me the death glare while walking up to take this pic
pics 4-7: zone meeting pow pow
pics 8: seeing the homie jensen

FROM FUNERALS TO WEDDINGS (Week 35 Wylde Green, England)

this might have been one of the most loaded and lit weeks of my mission to date...and today is my eight month mark of being in the UK! this week I proved to be a champion dealer in monopoly, got blood drawn, and a lot more so let's get it!

last week we were pallbearers at a funeral and this week we were at a wedding! PxxJxx and Syyonya got married on Saturday at the chapel and it was such a cool experience. There were so many non members at the church and while it wasn't a church service, there were still hymns and prayers, hopefully it softened some hearts! Elder Clayton and I spoke at it. While elder clayton was speaking, he mentioned how they were getting baptised this upcoming week, which I would've thought was fine, but PxxJxx didn't tell any of his family yet so...yeah haha. We didn't get permission to go to the reception but it's all good, it was fun to talk to people outside the church and stuff before they all left for the reception! It has been so cool to be a front row seat for their journey, I remember the first time us bringing up marriage, we honestly never could have imagined all of this happening. They are like family to me, I love them! We also wrote a speech for PxxJxx's cousin but he wimped out and didn't read it, it was loaded with gospel doctrine and stuff but unless you were a member of the church, you wouldn't even know it! Oh also, so we went to their house on Thursday night, and Syyonia's mom, and sister, and way more family was there. At the beginning of the night Sonyyia's mom was totally not down for us being there, but at the end she was almost in tears and accepted a Book of Mormon. We showed them the will of God video as well, everyone check that one out!

Zone Conference
We had this giant zone conference thing with half of the mission last week in Coventry. It was actually pretty cool, Elder Phillips, who is a general authority around here came and spoke to us, what's cool too is that he only came for our half of the mission and he said some things that really touched me, and it was a huge answer to some prayers, I'll explain more one day. I had to say the prayer on the food as well and of course, my voice cracked so flipping bad at the beginning and the ending, jeez I just can't escape the middle school years

Exchanges with the homie hill
I got to do exchanges last week with elder hill, like the elder hill from Ladera ranch, the Ladera ranch in California, the California in the United States, like the same United States I'm from. It was way fun to be with someone from back home again but it was kinda weird too, but good times!

Random ish
Lots happened this week but I don't have a lot of time right now so here's a few other random stuff:
-yesterday we were walking back to our flat and I felt strongly to go visit one of our potentials, we did and were able to show her the Easter video and got invited back this week, I'm so grateful I listened to that prompting
-we had a ton of dinners this week with PxxJxx, the Willmores ( they work in the office), the Robertsons, the Ruberys, the Owens, and more! This ward is stacked!
-we went to the belfry, the place they have played the Ryder cup at, this morning to hit balls on the range, I would kill to play one of these courses, i felt like I was on the mission viejo country club range again!
-there is a new basketball hoop outside our chapel in the car park (that's how they say parking lot here) so we woke early on Saturday morning to play with the homies Elder Searle and Smith

Spiritual thought
This email is already pretty long but I can't leave yall without one. Ezra Taft Benson once said about the Book of Mormon, “There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path.” I can testify that this is true. I finished the Book of Mormon again this weekend and everytime I've read from it, I've always felt happier. It's brought so much peace during my life, and there's so much crap on the internet about it that's absolute garbage. I'd challenge you all to read the Book of Mormon sincerely. It will bring you closer to god and Jesus Christ, and to your families, more than any other book.

hope you guys had a good easter! happy birthday to Adam and the homie Sam Hunter! love you guys! and I love you all!

Elder Varner

pics 1-8: the world famous BELFRY
pic 9: easter dinner with the willmores
pic 10: easter lunch with the robertsons
pics 11-13: wedding pictures

video 1: still got game!

so many pictures this week, sorry guys haha

pics 1-4: birmingham baby!
pic 5: the homie bishop mason
pic 6: the homie josh 
pic 7: exchanges with elder hill
pics 8-9: miner, claboux, and gilbert!

Monday, April 10, 2017

the willy wonka of burger craft (Week 34 Wylde Green, England)

teulu beth sy'n dda,

I say this every week, but this week was so fast, the days are fast, the weeks are fast, the months are slow but are getting faster! a quick birthday shout to one of my best friends ever Elder Cooper Wayment! he's out there killin it in Texas. Coop, I hope you have a sick day man, you deserve it!

wedding already?!
don't worry guys I'm not the one getting married, but PxxJxx and Syyyonia are getting married at the chapel THIS upcoming Saturday. Hype! I can't believe it's already happening, it's come by so fast. I've heard all of the wedding details are set so the only thing I have left to be a bit stressed over is the fact that I have to write the wedding remarks I'm giving and write a speech for PxxJxx's cousin to read at the wedding and I need to do them asap so wish me luck there. But all is well with the family and their baptism is gonna be the following week! it has been so amazing to see the changes in them the past few months. we aren't really teaching too many others. I've talked about that Axxlex guy, he's cool, but his reason for missing church last Sunday was a bit concerning. He said "oh I'm really sorry guys, im not gonna be able to make it to church this Sunday because my wife is being baptised into another church, it's pretty cool because I'm the one baptising her" and I was just on the phone jaw dropped because I didn't know whether to laugh or to ask him where he got the authority to do that, but we are seeing him this week so we are gonna see where his desires really are. we did some finding (or talking to people about the restored gospel) in the Sutton Coldfield town centre on Saturday. If you go there anytime throughout the week, you find some really weird people, but on Saturdays that place is pumpin with families, and we've been able to find some pretty cool people from it so far. 

a man, a city, and a burger
yes you might have predicted it just by this, but I was in Birmingham again this week and yes, I did go to five guys. was it hecka expensive? it hecka was, but it was also hecka worth it. so the last month I've been on omeprazole, the medicine for my stomach, when I ran out sister Leppard told me to go a week without it and then to tell her how I felt. Well all the nausea and stuff came back and I went to the doctor again. Either at the end of this week or next week I'll be getting a blood test, he thinks I have H-piori (might've spelt that wrong) but it's an easy fix with anti biotics so I'm hoping I have that because if I don't, it's more tests with medicines which is no fun...Birmingham is such a cool city though, I love the big cities and it was nice to be able to walk around after the appointment to get a burger. I'll keep you guys updated next week if I take the blood test this week. 

the sun still exists
I was pretty sure after being here since last August that the sun wasn't an existent thing. ok that might be an exaggeration but seriously, it was sooo nice this week. like it was actually warm throughout the week and it was beautiful. it's so much easier to go out and do missionary work when it's nice outside. I actually got sunburned this last weekend. I know that's not a good thing to be happy about, but it was the first time it's happened to me on my mission, and that's not an exaggeration. it was so nice playing sports too in walsall this week. we do sports every Saturday with the other elders and PxxJxx and Axxiden come out to it too, always a fun time. 

first time for everything 
well last week we were asked to be pall bearers at a funeral of a woman who passed away recently in the ward. We didn't know her, but apparently she loved the missionaries. It was a privilege to be able to attend the funeral. I felt like, just through the talks given, I actually knew her just a little bit. It's always sad to be at a funeral with those who don't have a belief in God because they have no hope whatsoever, I'm so grateful for this gospel and to know that god is there, and that families are forever. if I didn't have that knowledge, I'd be hopeless, and I would have no sense of purpose, we really are blessed. after the funeral there was a reception we went to for it which served tea. no I didn't have actual tea, tea as in little cakes and mini sandwiches, it was probably the most British thing I've experienced so far. We sat at a table with bishop Mason, and the high priest group leader and a few others. It was probably the funniest conversation I've had here. One funny thing that bishop said, and it was way funnier in person I promise. So I was telling everyone about how someone we were teaching was on the border of our boundaries with another ward, but we aren't sure whose it is, and I asked what we should do. They told me to just keep going to the guy. Then I said, there's usually an angel on one shoulder telling me what to do and a devil on the other telling me something else, where's the angel? Without a moments hesitation the bishop said "he's down at the bar, he doesn't get the chance too often" I know that's not crazy funny, but in the moment and in the situation I was dying. 

Sorry I know this email is getting long but here's some other cool stuff:
-we took out Jxxake Pxxoxen, one of the YM, out knocking doors with us. Then we went to young men's, where we just did games and stuff
-I had a really cool prompting this week: so we were knocking doors and talking about what we should do with the 30 minutes of free time we had, I felt strongly promoted that we should go visit Pyyrecious, a former investigator that we had been trying to get in good contact with lately, and we went and she was actually home and we had a really good conversation and are seeing her again this week, I'm so grateful that I followed that prompting

spiritual thought 
with Easter coming up this Sunday I wanted to focus this thought on Jesus Christ. If you haven't yet, look up the "Prince of Peace" video, it's AMAZING! elder Holland once said "However many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made … , I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.” I'd like to add my own testimony on top of that quote. I know that Jesus Christ lived, died, and lives again for each of us, so that we may be healed, reclaimed, and sanctified through him and his atonement. Because of him, we can live with our families forever. Because of him, death has no sting. Because of him, regret can become relief. Because of him, we are never too far gone, he will always be there with open arms. My challenge to each of you, as well as for myself, is to keep turning towards Jesus Christ and invite him into your life, nothing would make him happier, and nothing will make you happier.

happy Easter to you all! hope you have a great week and enjoy some baseball for me! can't believe it's already started! love you guys 😘😘😘

Elder Varner

ps. for those confused at the title of this email, check out the first pic!

pic 1: FIVE GUYS
pics 2-6: birmingham city centre
pic 7: american eagle pride
pic 8: reunion with hatch!
pic 9-10: first ones to ride in the NEW transporter with the homies Searle and Smithy
pics 11-12: soccer squad

Sent from my iPad