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 ;)

Monday, July 3, 2017

the build up! (Week 46, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales, Elder Mason)

Hey guys!

Thanks for tuning into another one of these emails! I know that they can be long sometimes but it means a lot that you're taking the time to read this! This has to have been one of the fastest weeks of my mission! It's not that a ton of cool stuff happened, but we worked really hard and I know that this area is better off for the last week of work we did!

We are starting to work with two part member/less active families! One less active lady named Vyyerena, from Germany, is super cool, we are gonna try to start meeting with her whole family in the upcoming week or two! We are also gonna start working with a family that formerly investigated the church who are from South Africa, they are really cool, just very busy but they want us to reteach them, more to come there! Lots of knocking doors as well this past week, we found a lot of people who want us to come back but only time will tell if they are really interested. We had a really good lesson with Axxled. He's got a Protestant background, so he has a lot of questions and concerns but they are all very genuine questions, it really is gonna come down to him reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. He has issues with how we believe that faith alone won't get us to live with God again, and also a few other things, if you have any advice for that hit me up! We had a pretty cool tender mercy yesterday as well, none of our investigator friends came to church but out of nowhere a really cool less active named Pxxaul who we've been visiting showed up, he's way cool, he used to be a professional boxer and he's gonna teach us some moves and feed us some curry later this week!

I ate chicken feet this week, which was probably the weirdest thing I've had to eat on my mission, it actually wasn't bad, just super spicy. We got to go to city centre to do some finding before a dinner appointment which was fun, it's cool to see so many people and get to talk to a ton of them about the gospel, plus you have every type of person in that kind of setting. We got some fresh Welsh cakes as well 👌there was one day where we had two meal appointments which might sound good but it sucked cuz I was so full going into the second one which was only a few hours later. 

For last pday we went to Caerphilly Castle, which is one of the biggest castles in Europe, it was so cool!! I'll try to attach some pictures, but due to some technical difficulties today I might send them next week.

Basketball and football were pretty fun this week. The basketball is amazing here, we had a legit competitive 5v5 this week, and I probably did one of the coolest things I've ever done in a game. I drained back to back to back deep 3's and leading up to one of them I got a steal, one of a few. It was a pretty sweet game! 

This week for personal study featured step 3 of the ARP Manuel which is to Trust in God. It was such a good section! I would highly recommend studying that Manuel to anyone who wants to draw closer to Jesus Christ! Step 3 talks a lot about turning our will to God's will. It also says "As Elder Maxwell observed, this submission to the Lord is hard doctrine. It requires us to rededicate ourselves to His will at the start of each day and sometimes every hour or even from moment to moment. As we are willing to do so, we find the grace, or enabling power, to do what we could not do for ourselves.
Continued submission to God’s will reduces strife and brings more meaning to our lives". Turning over our agency, which is the most meaningful thing we could give to God, doesn't limit us, but it actually enlarges our ability to choose for ourselves and makes us more free. Christ said himself, whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for Christ will find it.

Happy bday to the homie ethan thompson and grandma Jayne! Have a good week guys! I love you all! Look unto Christ in every thought, doubt not, fear not

Elder Varner