“Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” Lord Of The Rings, J.R.R. Tolkein

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sorry this is a bit late but this week was a crazy one.

We were able to talk to Nate on Christmas Day for a long time and it was so joyous. Nate is the same old Nate. He filled us in on so many things and he expressed his love for all of you and your support means so much to him. He loves the work he is doing as well as the people he works with. He did mention that many of the Canadian stereotypes are true. He is getting pretty good at imitating them. 
 Everything is "sic" meaning awesome, "Gongshow" meaning crazy, or he was calling us dude. We did a lot of laughing during our FaceTime! This letter was sent before our Christmas conversation. 
Christmas Eve at the Abe Wolvers family home.

Loads of fun!

Wolvers Christmas tradition of fondue.

The newest and most exciting news is that Elder Keith and I might have the opportunity of working in Montana. As of now, we cover the "Del Bonita" branch which is part of the Magrath Stake. Elder Keith was using his LDS account to inspect our proselyting boundaries, and he discovered that our boundary actually stretches quite a ways into Montana. We asked President Nicholas if it would be possible to get our passports and go into Montana. He said that he would look into it, and if it was a possibility, we would be allowed to go into Montana once a month. I really want to go to Montana. Not only because it would be refreshing to be back on American Soil, but because Uncle Dave served there. I would love to go and explore the places that may have once been his areas. But that's just some awesome news.

The only other thing is a lesson that I had that was one of the most amazing experiences that I have had on my mission so far. I literally cannot describe to you how much this lesson meant to me. So here's the story. We have been teaching a group of youth from one of our wards. They are sort of rough around the edges in the sense that they haven't been making the best decisions, but we have been teaching them in an effort to help them find Christ. I love these kids. I seriously cannot articulate how much I love them. I love them as if they were my own children. Three of them are members of 6th ward in Magrath and the other two are a couple of Native kids from 3rd ward (we're poaching them from the Sisters, but they're okay with it). Tyson, Emalee, and Connor are from the 6th ward and Ina and Wyatt are from 3rd. We've known them for a while and I've been having so many experiences with them that have changed the way I look at the gospel. But in this particular lesson, miracles happened. We were talking with them about receiving their patriarchal blessings. We described the blessings that come from receiving that kind of a blessing and about how it can give them direction in life. They were all super psyched to get their blessings! But then Elder Keith and I started talking about the worthiness requirements to get it. That's when things started to get a bit more interesting. Ina in particular started to get extremely fidgety and looked more and more nervous. Elder Keith and I looked at one another and both knew. We both discerned her need. But she didn't say it. So we flushed it out. We both began going over the several requirements for the blessing. We explained that the temple recommend questions, when answered correctly and honestly, would permit receiving a patriarchal blessing. As we were describing this, Ina burst into tears. I went over next to her chair and knelt next to her. She looked at me, and I told her that everything was going to be alright. I talked to her about the concerns she had. She was afraid to go to her bishop - a place that I think we all have been before. Elder Keith and I were able to calm her down. We taught her about Bishops. We taught her about the love and the peace that they can invoke in our lives. The whole time I talked about this with her, my mind was drawn to Bishop Graves and Bishop Hall. I can't tell those men how appreciative I am of their patience and love on my behalf. And because of their loving examples, I was able to describe to Ina what kind of peace she could expect from talking with a servant of the Lord. And then one of the most touching events of my entire mission occurred. Ina, with tears in her eyes, looked at me and said "I can do it. I know it's the right thing to do. I'm going to talk with him and get all of this out of the way." I felt the love of Jesus Christ for Ina Old Shoes. She is such a valiant soul. She is one of the most amazing people I have ever met, and she's only 17 years old. She is brave. She trusts Jesus Christ. That night, it was reconfirmed to me why I am here. I am here because of people like Ina. I am here to help them, and the best part is that it has nothing to do with me, or Elder Keith. We are only the conduits for the power of the Lord to pass through. The spirit touched Ina that night, and it was the privilege of my life to participate in helping Christ help her. I love those kids as if they were my own, and I'm so proud of them.

I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas, and that everyone remembers Jesus Christ. He is the Lord and Savior over our souls. He is the literal Messiah of our world. He is the Son of God, and He is the greatest gift that God has ever given us.

I Love You all, and Merry Christmas!

-Elder Warenski

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

6th Ward Christmas party.

Relief Society sisters dropped off some goodies.

Sister Hernandez's fabulous hat.

Prices in Canada are really extreme!

The Spackman's in some pretty serious toques.
Elder Keith is fantastic! He and I are like brothers now! He's really brought out my mischievous side, and I'm still trying to work out if that is a good or a bad thing;D We have been pranking the sisters quite frequently and they have been pranking us back. It's a fabulous past-time;D Our investigator has actually kind of ran off for Christmas... which is kind of a bummer for us, but good for him. He went to Toronto to visit his family for a few weeks. He won't be back until January, so we'll start teaching him then, I suppose. It's good to hear about the bishopric again! They're fantastic! I miss Brother Snapp... And I freaking miss Kalin.. Gosh... That kid must be a TITAN in the mission field. And when does Scott Smith get back? I can't remember. I think it should be soon.

As for my bit of emailing, I've got to admit that this week was pretty uneventful as far as the work goes. We taught a load of less-active lessons. But one of those less-active lessons was with Brother Gimblett! He is a man that Cameron (Skinner) taught while he was here! Brother Gimblett is a really good man and we are going to try to help him quit smoking. He says he wants to save some money;)

One other thing is that I am having the time of my life studying the material that Grandpa emailed me. I am so grateful for Grandpa Jackson. He is seriously one of the greatest examples of my life. Through him, I have experienced the love of God, and I'm so grateful that he has been there for me. And the stuff that he sent me in his letter has really been helping me understand more about God and more about what he expects of me! So special shout out to Grandpa this week!

I'll have more to say next week! Christmas is coming and I'm so excited! Thanks for all of Your love and support! I pray for You every night!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, December 8, 2014

Elder "Superman" and his new companion, Elder Keith
I'm glad that the radio show went well! I knew it would! I'm glad that it has been touching people's lives and I'm proud of you for running it with Robinne and Duffin! Duffin is such a stud! That guy can do ANYTHING! I'm glad that you got more support from the ward as well! Good on Michael and Nancy, the Torres' and the Dugovics for coming! I'm glad that they were touched by it! Theater and Music are powerful platforms to teach people about incredible lessons!

I'm glad you got Abe's texts! He's a way nice guy and a really chill member. PLEASE send me the film of the show! That would be fantastic to watch! My new glasses aren't very thick at all actually! But Brother Leishman is an ophthalmologist and he told me that my prescription got a bit worse, but that it should start to chill out. The glasses are great, and EVERYONE calls me either "Superman" or "Clark" around here. I'm glad that you're getting all set up for Christmas! It's been pretty good up here getting into homes to see how everyone celebrates. To be completely honest, Christmas up here is exactly identical to Christmas in the states. Magrath is home away from home. I'm going to be really busted up when I have to leave... The people here are like family now. I've made some friendships that I will definitely have the rest of my life, and into the next life.

It's actually weird that you mention Kristian and Tara. I had a dream about Kristian last night. We were both off of our missions and we were back at the theater again. We were so happy and we were talking about all of our adventures on our missions. I don't think it's a coincidence that I had that dream. It might do Tara some good to know that I had a dream like that. I've learned on my mission that nothing is accidental. There is a reason for everything.

Alright, now to fill you in on everything that is happening in Magrath.

So recently I've been trying to get in contact with a boy in the ward who is struggling. He is Emalee's older Brother. Emalee is the girl that I wrote about in last week's email. He has been really struggling, but I saw him a few days ago. I have been trying to befriend him as much as possible and we are getting closer. I've also met his girlfriend and her brother a time or two. They are the natives that I have been talking about. Ina and Wyatt Old Shoes. (Yes, their last name is Old Shoes.) Ina actually told me her full native name and I have memorized it to show her that I care THAT MUCH, haha;D Her name is Agh-go-mien-nist-egho-ski-aski. Pretty cool, huh? I love the Natives. Their culture is incredible.

Another thing! I'd like to give a special thanks to Greg and Joni this week! Elder Gibbs and I were at a dinner appointment (this happened before Elder Gibbs was transferred) and I spotted a papyri sitting on a shelf in this couple's home. I looked at it, and it was the weighing of the heart. Because Greg and Joni taught me all the amazing material in the Ancient World class, I was able to give a dinner message to them about the final judgement using the scene of the Weighing of the Heart! It was probably the coolest dinner message I've ever given on my mission! So special thanks to them! The people who owned it didn't even know what it meant! Now I'm sure they'll never forget it because of the crazy missionary who taught the gospel from an Egyptian Papyri.

I've had a lot of opportunities lately to work with the youth of the wards that I cover. This is my favorite thing to do. I love helping the youth out. They have so many questions and curiosities about the scriptures and the gospel, but they won't ask them because they are so used to getting shut down (apparently). We are giving them a great opportunity to ask questions about the gospel and we are having a ball helping them out. They are so smart and I love it when I get a question that I have to study! It's been a huge growing experience, and I love every second of it!

As I've already told you, transfers were on Thursday. I have decided that I loathe transfers with my entire being. I hate them. They are the most stressing, anxiety-filled event of the whole mission. Figuring out who my new companion was ate at me. I love Elder Gibbs like a Brother, and to see him go made me die a little inside... It was that bad. They called Elder Keith's name at transfers and I hadn't the foggiest who he was. We drove back to Magrath from Lethbridge, and I am going to be honest and say that things were rocky. We didn't quite click immediately like I did with Elder Gibbs. He didn't talk much, and that was weird for me... Maybe it's because I talk so much... lol. He started off real quiet and solitary. The first day was weird. I was getting really nervous that this was going to be the way the whole transfer would go. I was starting to get anxiety about it and I couldn't believe how stressed I was. I remember that we were sitting in the living room on Thursday evening, right after transfers, and I felt like crap. I just got up and walked into our room and fell on my knees and prayed. I prayed that I would be able to do what it took to get along with Elder Keith. I prayed that we would both be able to find things in common and that we could have more of a light atmosphere. The next morning we were doing studies. You could cut the tension with a knife. It was horrible. Then I started talking to him about something I read in the scriptures. We got talking about it, and then we got into a ton of deeper doctrine (which you know I love) and things started to get lighter. Our relationship was getting substantially better. I was so grateful!

But nothing brought us together more than the prank we pulled on the sisters this week>:) Ever since that single event, we have been as thick as thieves.

We were about to meet up with the sisters to go to a party that was at a nonmember's house for the holidays. We printed off a fake legal document. It stated that they were being sued by "Joanne and Bill Hanks" (totally made those two up) and we stuck it in an envelope that we addressed to them from the "Queen's Bench" (the Canadian Criminal court) in Lethbridge. They FREAKED OUT. The lawsuit was based on a "parking violation." They then started to review every parking job they had done in the past week. Sister Hernandez was so flustered! She kept on saying "I'm not going to court!" and Elder Keith and I were laughing so hard! We finally told them it was us, and they took it really well;) After that, Elder Keith and I have been great friends;D

One last thing that I have realized this week is just how much I love the people here. Now that Elder Gibbs has been transferred, I feel such a responsibility to the people here. They are my family. I love them so much and I want them to have all of the happiness that they possibly can have. I just sat thinking about all the people that I have come to know and love in this town, and I can't help but feel the most profound love for them. Jesus Christ is helping me to experience a love deeper than I can comprehend. He is allowing me to feel a tiny fraction of HIS love on behalf of the people of Magrath. I'm extremely proud of my service in this town and I always will be. Not because of anything I have done, but because of what Jesus Christ has done and continues to do for all of my family here in Magrath. If God had left it just to me, this town would be in ashes.

That about covers this week - and a little bit of last week! Thank you for all of the support that you give me and thank you for the kind words, the photos of home, and the stories about the family! It means so much to me! Keep on being amazing and continue to do the things that Jesus Christ would want you to do! Be the friend to another that you would want for yourself! This life is not about us! It is about Jesus Christ!

-Elder Warenski

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Catching up with Post from December 2, 2014

So the biggest news this week is that Elder Gibbs is getting transferred! We will be going to transfers on Thursday in Lethbridge, and that is where I will get my new companion and Elder Gibbs will head up to his new area in Calgary.

No worries about Thanksgiving. We actually had it with the Harker's (Our 6th ward mission leader) and his wife is American, so we got all the good stuff like turkey and stuffing and the works! It was yummy and we had a really fantastic time with them. It felt ALMOST like a thanksgiving with Family:) But not quite;D Also! As far as Christmas goes, I will for sure be able to figure something out with Facetime. I think I will go over to the Evan's house for Christmas. They have two sons out on missions also, but we should be able to work something out with them to be able to facetime.

The Missionary work is going good! We are still trying to work with Justin. He's not quite making enough room in his life for the Savior right now, so we are trying to help him remember that Jesus Christ is the most important thing he could possibly be focusing on. He is extremely logical and very black and white when it comes to time investment, so we are trying to help him understand how vital the Savior and his help are to his life. Other than Justin, we have one other potential investigator. His name is Jeremy Loose. He is EXTREMELY difficult to contact. I've only ever talked to him once. He works insane shifts at work and so it makes it difficult for us to meet with him. I also think he's ignored us a few times because he sees our car pull up. So this week I'm going to go over to his house but park next door at the Evans;D He'll never know what hit him haha.

I'm so excited for the radio show!  Regardless of whether or not you can send it to me, make sure that you film it so that I can come home and watch it! Do that with all the shows while I'm gone. I want to see them all! Especially any shows that you do with the Springville Playhouse. I hope someone filmed and saved Steel Magnolias for me... But knowing Greg, he totally filmed it.

So the only other news I really have it that we did a huge youth activity with the Stake and it was AMAZING. The youth were supposed to be missionaries for a day! They woke up at 6:30 and they studied and then came to the Church, which was turned into an MTC for the day. They got companions and mission calls and they even got name tags. It was absolutely awesome! As full time missionaries, we were able to help them learn about missionary work and we got to role-play as investigators so that they could learn how to teach some of the lessons. At the end of the day they had a testimony meeting and the things that the youth had to say were beautiful. I really wouldn't mind working with youth when I get home. I would find that really fun. That is all neat, but here is the thing that I want to share with you;
There is a girl in the ward that I was able to help pretty specifically. She is in Grade 10 and we immediately hit it off as the best of friends. One day I was talking to her and she just seemed so sad and depressed. When I asked her about it, she told me that she felt like Heavenly Father had abandoned her. She said that she felt completely and utterly alone and that she couldn't feel Heavenly Father with her. This made me really sad... I felt so sympathetic for her because I've felt that way as well sometimes. I prayed in my head that I could know what I could do to help and that I could possibly help her to be happy. I felt a serious genuine love for her. I now know that what I felt was Christ's concern for her. I'm getting choked up even typing this! This single event made my entire mission worth it. So here is what I did. During Fiddler on the Roof, Amber gave me a card that had a picture of Christ on it, and on the back it had the "Footprints in the Sand" poem on the back. I had it tucked away in my wallet. As I prayed to know what to do for her, Heavenly Father prompted me to give the card to Emalee. I was kind of torn because the card had helped me so many times that I didn't necessarily want to give it up, but I knew it was right. I went up to Emalee one day after sacrament meeting. She still looked really downcast. I told her that I had something that would help her but that if I gave it to her, she needed to keep it safe and use it often because it had become so sacred to me. She agreed. I didn't have the card with me at that moment, so later that day I wrote her a letter and told her that whenever she was sad or felt that God was absent, she needed to pull out the card, look at the Savior, and read the poem. Elder Gibbs and I signed the bottom of the page and then went over to her house to give it to her. She wasn't home because she was at volleyball practice, but we left it with her mother.
Later, on the next Sunday of that week, she came up to me in tears and said thank you. She said that having that card really helped her feel Jesus Christ's love for her. She now keeps it in the back of her iphone case. Because of that tiny thing that Jesus Christ gave her, she was able to feel His love and know he was there. This is one of the dearest points of my entire mission thus far. I have felt the love of Christ on behalf of one of his children, and I was able to help Jesus Christ reach out to one of His daughters. It was an amazing moment in my life. I love Jesus Christ and I'm so grateful that he reached out to Emalee. Now, she is happy and she is even reaching out to others who feel hopeless. She gave me a little note after the missionary activity telling me how grateful she was for the card and how much it meant to her. That note is one of the most important possessions I have out here. It reminded me why I was out here and how much Jesus Christ cares about us all individually. I'll never forget that.

I hope all of you are doing well and I love you all! Make sure you take care of yourselves! Enjoy the cold! Be happy it isn't -31 Celsius where you are at! haha Love you!

-Elder Warenski

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

POST FROM LAST WEEK- There was a technical problem with my email so Nate re-sent the letter from last week.

I'm so glad that the 1940's show is coming together! It looks so stinkin' cool! I wish I could have been a part of it. What an awesome idea! PLEASE send a video! That would be so cool! Haha I'm sure Zibetti and Tasi will do fantastic! I saw them dance once, and I'll never forget it. They're phenomenal. And Joy! Joy's always been one of the best dancers that we have. She'll do fantastic. And tell her that she's lucky that I'm not there to step on her toes the whole time this time around;D

I'm so excited for you, about the house! And I'm glad you did it through "David";D I love Jason so much! He is amazing! And he'll help you out. I trust him. I'm glad to hear from him! I miss him, and I miss the Foreigner! It's a shame about Brother Snapp... I love him so much and I wish that he could have an easier go about his back. I'll pray for him and I know that Heavenly Father will look out for him. He will. I know it. And Kirk Jacobson. That is so so so sad... I loved him. He is such a good man, but now he is back with Sister Jacobson. I'm sure they're very happy.

So I have a few things to tell you/ask you about! First, I wanted to ask you what the heck is going on with America! We hear so much from the canucks up here, but I never know what is true or not. There is ONE SOUL up here who gets Fox news, and he told me a few things last night at dinner that I wanted to hear your opinion on. I heard about Obama's executive action with all the illegal immigrants and that Putin is moving more troops into Russia, but past that, I don't really know what's up. And as Perchik says "I must know what's going on in the outside world!" haha.

Another thing that I wanted to tell you about is the rampant problem we are having with investigators right now. I share it with you so that you can help people in Springville to do better, and do some member missionary work. The biggest problem with our investigators these days is the attitude they have that they are "too busy" for our message. It is starting to tick Elder Gibbs and me right off. People are too busy to get the best news of their lives. People are too busy to learn about Christ. People are too busy to find peace in their lives. Elder Gibbs and I have been trying to help them understand how important the message we are sharing with them is, but somehow we aren't having a lot of luck. So pray for our investigators. Justin Meekes and Jeremy Loose. Jeremy Loose isn't even an investigator yet, but he is optimistic about learning the gospel. He is just too "busy" *rolls eyes*. It made me reflect on the things in my life. It made me think of the things that I am "busy" with. Am I too busy for Christ?

Last but not least, I want to tell you about the dinner appointment that we had last night! We had dinner in Spring Coulee which is a little town west of Magrath. We were with the Edwards family. They have two kids, Jack (6) and Brittney (almost 2). We couldn't get the kids to settle down and listen, and so the spirit brought something to my head to teach them. I taught them the story of when I went branding with Grandpa and I was bucked off the horse! It was amazing to see how interested Jack became when I shared with him that my Grandpa jumped about 6 fences to get to me to save me from the horse! He agreed that I should have listened to Grandpa and stayed in the ranch house with Aunt Gale;) He also agreed that he should probably listen to Mom and Dad more often:) THAT is another reason I am on a mission! If I can even help a little guy like Jack learn a lesson like that, it is so valuable! And thank you to Grandpa for hopping all of those fences to come and save me! That would be one of the first times that I would learn about the Atonement. That memory is really dear to me and I'm grateful that Heavenly Father brought it back to my mind so that Jack could learn from it as well.

I Love You and I pray for you every night! I hope that the everyone is doing well and remaining faithful to Christ! Take care of yourselves! I miss you and I am doing my best!

-Elder Warenski