“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

Monday, December 28, 2015

Nate with President and Sister Miles and Elder Christensen after FaceTiming with family.

45 minutes is NOT ENOUGH. It was so good to see everyone though! Man, I just chat with you, Mikaila, Cierra, Justin, Quincy, and Dad, and it just makes me miss all of you so much! What a ride. Soon enough though, we will all be having our awesome chats and Sunday dinners again. As of yesterday I have 8 months left on the mission. SO bittersweet. But hey! I asked President Miles in my email to him today what he thought about my situation as far as school and work go. I should be getting some answers soon! Tell Aunt Jen for me that from experience I can tell her the first skype call can be brutal! But tell her not to worry. Josh is in the hands of someone more loving and capable than anyone we could ask for. He's serving Christ, and he knows it. Josh is a tough little beggar, too. He can survive anything! Everything gets better after the 6 month mark as well. He'll start kind of accepting that the mission is the reality and he'll really get into it soon enough. I've heard that for foreign missionaries it can be hard to skype as well because they are immersed in another culture, and right when they start getting used to it, they skype home and they see the culture that they would MUCH prefer. :) He'll be alright, though. I have all the faith in the world in him!
I most definitely did receive Grandma's package. She wouldn't believe my amazement when I reached into one of the socks and found the $10 she sent me! I literally fell to my knees on the floor and shouted hallelujah. Elder Christensen just sat and laughed at me. But those were some groovy socks! I can always count on Grandma Jackson to pick the best socks and ties! Those ties are just awesome :)
I also got Aunt Kellie's letter and money! Thank you thank you thank you! The letter that Uncle Kels wrote was a great recap for me, and I'm very grateful for the gift.
Dream Bars sound SOOOOO good right now. That's a dangerous thing for me. We just went in on a competition with President Miles. We are having a competition to see who can lose the most weight by Easter. It's going to get pretty intense. President Miles is a competitive guy, so I've gotta be on my "A" game. By all means send the dream bars, but I guess I'll only get to have like.... 1 a day instead of horking them all down at once! Elder Christensen and I went on our first run this morning. We're going to swap days between lifting some dumbbells that we have in our apartment, and taking a morning run. It will be good to get back into shape.
I'm so pumped that Uncle John and Aunt Christine moved to Springville, AND next to my home-town Canadians! That's awesome. I'm really glad that they live nearby now. I remember that we'd always have to take a trip to see them in Gunnison, and there was probably no way we were going up to Oregon, and now all we have to do is drive up the road! That's going to be awesome.
I agree with you about our FaceTime on Christmas. I could have talked forever. It makes me look forward to the night that I get home. I can't wait to just sit and talk and tell stories until you're so sick of me you'd wish I'd just go back, haha.

Alright, so one special Christmas moment for this year:

As I might have already told you, we had a Christmas devotional for the missionaries with President Miles in both halves of the mission. About 100 missionaries at a time. Both were great, but the one in the south most definitely took the cake for me. It was incredibly spiritual and really touched me. What would happen is we would gather everyone in the south to a stake center in Lethbridge, and we'd have a super nice dinner with them. Then we would have a devotional in the chapel. Several missionaries performed some awesome musical numbers, and then Sister Miles spoke to us. She announced to us a gift that she and President Miles were going to give us at the end of the meeting. This year, they gave us a Book of Mormon with their testimony pasted in the front of it. The whole mission will be reading the Book of Mormon by Easter, and they will be marking specifically -1. Every reference to the Savior and -2. Every time the Savior speaks. We're about 4 days in now, and it's already been incredibly revelatory. I'm so grateful for President Miles. But that wasn't even the best part. The best part was when President Miles spoke to us.

He told us a story. Years ago when President was running his business, he decided that they would give all of their employees a turkey for Christmas. Somehow, a few employees had been missed and had not received their turkey. So President hopped in his car and drove down to the warehouse where they were keeping all of the turkeys they had purchased. As he was getting out of the car, President saw a woman standing across the frozen parking lot. He thought it was kind of odd, but kept moving. He entered the warehouse, grabbed three turkeys, and loaded them into his car. When he finished loading the turkeys, he glanced behind and saw that the woman was still standing there. He received a prompting to go and talk to her. So President Miles approached the woman and kindly asked her "Can I help you in some way?" She looked at him and said over and over how she had no diapers for her son. President was moved with compassion and told her that he would buy her the diapers. They went to the nearby grocery store and he escorted this poor woman in, and then gave her some instructions. He told her to grab a cart and that she was to fill it. He then told her he would be back in 15 minutes. So he left, and when he returned she was no where in sight. He began to comb the store until he finally found her. There, in the back corner of the store, stood the poor woman. She held only two small soup cans like they were bricks of gold. President Miles walked up to her and told her that they were going to try again, but this time he was going to help her out a little. He then began to lead her through some of the aisles and suggested some different food items, etc. Once he figured she had a good grasp on what she needed to do, he told her that he would be back again in 15 minutes and that when he came back he wanted to see her cart all the way full. When he returned after the 15 minutes, he found the woman had filled her cart successfully. As President lead this woman through the check out and paid for her cart of groceries, he had an amazing insight come to him through the spirit.
This poor little woman - whom President still believes to this day had never even been inside a grocery store - is a lot like one of God's children who doesn't know how to read the Book of Mormon. President Miles - who would have been the metaphorical missionary in this story - simply led her to the store, and let her have at it. The Grocery store is like the Book of Mormon. Sometimes we - especially as missionaries - simply lead someone to the Book of Mormon without actually teaching them how to SHOP. President Miles explained that as we - the missionaries - read through the Book of Mormon, specifically highlighting the areas in which the Lord is referenced and where He speaks, we would be learning how to "shop" in the Book of Mormon. We would then be able to finish the Book of Mormon with our "carts" full.

This is seriously one of the most touching stories I have ever heard. I'm very grateful that I have an example of generosity and charity in President Miles, but I find myself even more grateful for the lesson that he taught me about the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful that I am able to read the Book of Mormon this way. With specific emphasis on Jesus Christ. I have gained more knowledge, insight, and testimony of the Savior in the past 4 days of reading than perhaps in my entire mission. I know Him better now, and I'm getting to know Him better every day.

I am grateful for my testimony of the Lord. I am grateful that there was a Savior sent for me. He truly is there. He could walk right through the door of the room you are in RIGHT THIS SECOND. He would know your name, and He would give you a hug and tell you how grateful He is that you are His. I'm grateful for the church that He has set up. No un-hallowed hand can stop it, and no man runs it's affairs. It is run by the very God of Heaven and Earth. He is my King. He is my Lord. He is my Best Friend. And He is all of those things for you as well, whether you want Him there or not.

I love you all! I hope you had an amazing Christmas. On to 2016!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, December 21, 2015

Mother Dear!

Sorry to you - and everyone else who reads this - that there wasn't a very substantial message this last week! To further explain the hoopla of last week, I'd need to tell a story longer than I am willing to type, so I'll just give you the tiny version.

This transfer was an absolute headache. It didn't help that I also got the flu in the middle of it.... Sheesh.... All of the stake boundaries for the city of Calgary were re-aligned recently, so there was a headache and a half trying to get all of our zones figured out, all of our missionaries situated, and figuring out who should cover what ward, where 100 missionaries were going to email their families, have p-day, district meetings, and zone meetings, etc. It was seriously insane. We've been dealing with the repercussions of the transfer since it happened. It's bad news bears, lol. On the bright side, however! I was at the departure fireside for the missionaries that were going home, and in the middle of the meeting, in walks Doug Clarke! He was one of my companions when I was serving in the Fish Creek YSA a few months back! He had flown in from BC to come and say hello to a few people. It was a tender mercy. Seeing him was amazing. He really was a brother to me.
Like I said, Elder Christensen and I are getting along SMASHINGLY. We've already gone through some pretty crazy things together as far as transfers go, so we are fast friends. Elder Christensen is from Logan, UT, and is a classic farm boy. I really enjoy his "get 'r' done" attitude. We're laughing and joking all the time, so things are great. We had our southern mission Christmas party on Saturday as well! The south half of the mission all gathered in Lethbridge and we had a great big meal and an amazing fireside by President and Sister Miles. There were lots of really great musical numbers as well that were put on by the missionaries, as well as some of the senior missionaries from the office. We have two new Senior Missionaries. Elder and Sister Thorley. They have really good voices. We'll be having the Christmas party for the North zones on Tuesday at 6 o'clock, so that should be really fun.
Other than that, we're just hunkering down for Christmas! We don't really have a tree.... or decorations.... or anything like that, lol.... But we are going to be just fine. Between being at the McLachlan's house and being at President's we'll be in good hands.

Well that's kind of all there is for the update.

Pictures will be coming soon! I forgot my cord to plug my camera into the computer..... :( But don't worry! They will be up soon enough. That's good to hear that my beloved dream bars are on their way :') I have missed them so much. That's so good to hear about Merit's students getting out and doing some awesome things in the community. That is really going to help the school get out there and get known. I'M SO PUMPED THAT CIERRA GOT MARTHA!!!!!! I am seriously dying!!!! We freaking tried to get her to audition for a lead for AGES and now she FINALLY has one!!!!!! I will definitely be praying for her. The first lead is a scary one, but she'll do wonderfully:) She's on of us! It's in her blood as much as it is in ours. I believe in her!!!

Anyway, things are going great! My "Dark Year" is almost over! That is a missionary term for the year that you don't see your family at all. I didn't see you guys at all in the year of 2015... But I will in 2016 ;)

I can't wait for Christmas and I'm loving the opportunity to serve Christ at this time of year! I love you!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, December 7, 2015

There's really only one major thing that I want to highlight this week, because it was pretty stinking miraculous. This week I had the opportunity to meet Sister Beth Spackman. She happens to be Elder N. Eldon Tanner's daughter! This was one of the craziest experiences I've ever had. I was on exchanges with Elder Lybe, and we went to see her to check up on some invitations that Elder Lybe and his actual companion had extended to her. I had no idea who she was when Elder Lybe told me that we were going to go over. When we got to the door, Elder Lybe told me that she was N. Eldon Tanner's daughter, and I almost keeled over! When I met her, she was incredible. I told her that I was named after her father, and she said "There's no one better that you could have been named after!" with a stern granny voice. At the end of our lesson with her, she showed me a great big picture of President Tanner in the hallway of her home. Unfortunately, my camera was dead.... However! She lent me a SIGNED COPY of "Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God" by President Tanner, so I'll need to take that back to her. And when I do, I will be getting a photograph or two! But anyway, after she showed me the painting of him, I realized that this was as close as I'd ever get to President Tanner, and so I asked this sweet little lady what a lesson was from her father that has helped her the most in her life and that she would never forget. She told me that there were loads of those, but she narrowed it down to two things:

1. Obedience
2. Love

She talked of how President Tanner would consistently speak to his children about discovering what the Lord would have them do and then to DO IT. Reminds me of Mom's family motto for our house: "When the Lord wants us to do something, we DO IT." Interesting how all that lines up, eh?

Then she spoke of how President Tanner was always so kind and loving. Not even exclusively with his family, though he loved them more than anyone. He always said that he wanted to create an atmosphere in his office so that anyone who left it would feel better than when they entered. How awesome is that! He was apparently known to see everyone that he met and ask himself what he could say/do to help that person or make them happier. And then once he discovered it, he would do it.

For this week's email, I just want to encourage everyone to be a little more obedient, and a little bit more loving. Those are two lessons that would change the world if we could really try and incorporate them into our lives.

Not much else happening. Just gearing up for the transfer next week and doing our best to help our area.

I would like to bear a testimony this week to finish off my email, because I feel that I need my beliefs to be know concerning a few things:

I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe in kindness, love, caring for our fellow man, and defending the one who is hated and alone. However, I do believe that there is absolute truth and that moral relativism only leads to confusion and unhappiness. I've found that by my own experience. God Almighty has declared His law, and it will not change for mortal men, however mighty they may think they are. The Lord is not interested in making a "politically correct" church by changing eternal law so that others can feed their own justification and self gratification. He declares absolute law because He loves us and doesn't want to see us harm ourselves by kicking against the pricks. I stand with this church because I know that this is the way through which we come closest to the Lord. There are imperfect people in this church. But that isn't unique to the church. The world is absolutely full of imperfect people. We need to get used to that. But loving and defending our brothers and sisters is something that should always be upheld, no matter what their beliefs. We extend that love and defense to all, hoping - praying - that they will do the same for us.
I love Jesus Christ, and I am imperfect, but I am sure trying to be like Him.

-Elder Warenski

Monday, November 30, 2015

I'm really glad that you got to talk to Hilary. Isn't she incredible? What a woman. You should meet Rob as well! But you will :) Christmas is just around the corner, and you'll get to meet two new members of our family. It seriously is a familial feeling when we are around them and their children. It is the most at home I have ever felt on my mission. You will love them!
I got my box alright.  I'll hide the one stocking for my comp until the new one gets here. I want to get the wrapped gifts out so that I can put them under our little tree that we'll hopefully be getting sometime today :). I'm seriously going to go all out for Christmas this year. I felt like last year I really didn't do much that was Christmas-y, and because of that I didn't get as much out of it. But not this year! This year I am going to do the whole 9 yards! I'm so pumped that the dream bars are on their way...... I have been waiting for them and I can't wait to chow down! The best thing would probably be to drop them off at the mission office. If I gave you our cell phone number, I think it would be too much temptation for you ;D 

That's so funny that you had to wrestle a few people in the old ward for my missionary plaque! That's nuts! Didn't think anyone over there missed me that bad ;D I'm glad that they're going to have me speak when I get home. I owe so much to 5th ward. I love them all so much. 25 DAYS TILL SKYPE! I'm waiting with baited breath. Seriously! I can't wait for it. And President Miles has indeed put out the definitive 30-45 minute limit.... But it's alright! It will just have to be more concise. So if you have things that you're dying to say/ask/proclaim, make sure you write them down so you don't forget! Or you could just wing it, whatever works;) That's good that you're decorating the house!  I told the McLachlan's that you might not do as much because I wasn't home - like last year. But I'm glad you're getting into it. I'm pumped that you're watching all of the Christmas classics! Elder Roberts and I have been listening to "Silent Night" and "Angels We Have Heard On High" by Josh Groban and it makes me think of the family:) In a good way. I don't actually get very trunky at all. I'm elated to be on my mission, but I'll be thrilled to go home at the same time, if that makes sense.

Alright now for my update! I am going to center it around the video "A Savior Is Born" that is now featured on mormon.org/christmas, so here it goes:

I have been wracking my brain about what I can do this Christmas season to make it super special. It is, after all, my final Christmas on my mission. While I have been pondering this, I've been thinking about how important it is to me to know Jesus Christ. So this Christmas Season, my goal will be this: By the end of Christmas, I will know Jesus Christ personally. I will know Him better than ever before. The problem is that I have no idea HOW to do that. I mean, of course, there are the classic primary answers like reading scriptures and prayer, and while those things will most definitely be a part of what I do, I want to do something very specific. So if you have any ideas, send them my way!

Now about the video. I watched the new video and I thought back on how amazing it was that they chose Children to speak about the birth of the Savior. I couldn't think of anything more appropriate. I also really love how they define Immanuel. "God With Us". I love that definition. We encounter loads of people on our missions that have no relationship with Christ. They have no concept of Him, that He is around us, that He watches over us, that He cares for us. That He Loves us. God With Us is a good place to begin in understanding Christ's Character. He is always with us. It doesn't matter who we are, where we have come from, what we have done, what we have seen, heard, or felt. He is there, and He will take us where we are and begin helping us. He can heal our wounds. He can give us peace. He can show us love. President Miles always tells us that he has a testimony of Jesus Christ. He told us once that he had perfect confidence that if He wanted to, Christ could walk right through the door of the room we are in. I think sometimes I forget just how real He is in my life.

My Savior lives. I know it. I feel Him here even as I type this email. He is my all, and I hope that this Christmas season we all can bring Him back to the center of our lives.

I love you all! Merry CHRISTmas. (Not "happy holidays", "merry xmas", or any of that rot. ;D)

-Elder Warenski

Monday, November 23, 2015

First of all-
YOU ARE SENDING ME THE HOME-MADE HOT CHOCOLATE?! I'm so pumped. I love that stuff.
Yes, we will most definitely be celebrating American Thanksgiving! Fortunately, we will be on an exchange with the Cardston Zone Leaders that night, so we will be hooked up! We are good friends with Elder Einfeldt and Elder Fullmer, so they said they would get a dinner with some members that were celebrating! We're set:)
Thanks for the advice on the food. Good grief, I was just at a loss. But! I have decided what I am going to do to exercise in the morning. I downloaded and printed off the United States Army workouts, so I'll just do those in the morning. That ought to help out, even if it's only for a half hour.

So this week we're going to be in the South half of the mission all week. We'll be going to Lethbridge, Cardston, and Cranbrook in British Columbia this week, so wish us luck. I'm sure driving through Crowsnest Pass is just going to be FANTASTIC again.... It's like.... a 4 hour drive from Cardston to Cranbrook.

Now for the amazing news! 

Elder Warenski and Hilary

Elder Roberts and Rob

Rob, Hilary and family

First I'll fill you in on Rob and Hilary's baptisms:
It is literally one of the most amazing successes of my mission. I got to baptize Hilary and Elder Roberts baptized Rob. After their baptisms they stood up and gave the most wonderful testimonies I have ever heard! You would have thought that they were members their whole lives. The Baptism was super spiritual as well. I baptized Hilary, and right when she came out of the water, she was weeping. I put my arm around her and we stood in the font for a few moments so that she could just cry. She felt the spirit so strong! She then watched Rob get baptized and it was absolutely amazing. Rob came out of the water and did a double fist pump in the air and just said "Yes!". It was awesome. They are also going to have us over at their place for Christmas:)! So I'm super pumped for that. You'll get to meet them:)

Alright here is the other awesome thing I have to tell you about:

I mentioned a week or two back a stake conference that Rob and Hilary attended. Well I want to tell you what Elder K. David Scott said at that conference. I think it would be good to talk about. So I'll share with you some things that he said:

He was speaking about prophets and about how important they are. He related an experience in which he was in a new area 70's meeting that was presided over by Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder Ballard got up to instruct everyone. He said this: "We, the Brethren, are amazed at how fast the world is going south in every possible way. As Seers, it is our responsibility to look 5-10 years into the future to discover how best to prepare the Saints." Elder K. David Scott told us that all of these exhortations to keep the Sabbath day holy are in direct response to the seeking of the Brethren. Elder Scott told us that the Lord had revealed that Sabbath Day observance was the way in which our faith would be strengthened. He told us that they foresee some hard things happening in the near future. He said not  in 5-10 years, but the NEAR future. He said that the way we would be able to withstand these things would be through our Sabbath Day observance. He said the Brethren want us to give the Sabbath Day back to Jesus Christ.
He ALSO said that the Lord does not consult with mortal men to make a politically correct church. That is not how He works. He runs and directs the Church that God Almighty has set forth, that is built upon unchanging truths, and that will never be removed again from the earth.

Knowing that, I choose to stick with the Prophet. My testimony is firm, and it's here to stay. I love the Savior and His gospel! Love you all!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, November 16, 2015

This week has been one of the most miraculous weeks of my entire mission. Seriously one of the best. And here is why:

Rob and Hilary McLachlan are getting baptized on Saturday and we have had more incredible lessons with them. Last week, after our dinner, we went to a lesson to watch Meet the Mormons with them. After the film, Rob came up to Elder Roberts and I and told us that he was going to be baptized with Hilary. I don't remember if I told you, but Rob had some hesitation in being baptized. But after some thought and prayer with Hilary, he decided that he was ready and that things were going to be alright. So that was awesome! BUT THEN! Some even more amazing things happened.

Yesterday was Stake Conference for the Foothills Stake. To make matters even better, we had an Area Seventy preside over the meeting. Elder K. David Scott. So many incredible things were shared by him, and we truly did learn straight from the spirit. It was an incredible meeting. Rob and Hilary were in attendance - which really isn't a surprise in the slightest. Hilary and Rob attend everything. They are some of the most faithful members I know and they're not even members yet. But anyway, we asked Rob what he thought about the meeting, and he was so positive. That's actually an understatement. He said that many of the stories shared could have been his own personal story about coming to the church. He said that he had never heard someone speak with the power and authority that Elder Scott had displayed. So Elder Roberts and I pulled Hilary and Rob up to the front of the chapel to meet Elder Scott. As they shook hands with him, it was amazing to see Elder Scott basically confirm to them all of the truths that he had taught. Rob explained to Elder Scott that his words sealed the deal. He had no doubt that it was the true church and that it was the correct place for his family to be. He then told Elder Scott how the Lord had saved their family at a time when it was literally on the edge of destruction. He even told President Miles at the same time that he had never been more sure that this was the right path for his family.

We had a lesson with them later that night, and we asked Rob and Hilary about all of the things that they loved about church. Hilary expressed that she loved how genuine people were. She felt that church was a completely different thing everywhere else, and that she had always felt silently - or even sometimes publicly - judged by others. She noted how everyone within the congregation was so accepting and loving of her and her family.

Rob then took the floor and explained how he pretty much loved everything. He remarked again about the authority in which Elder Scott spoke. He said that he works with CEO's in the oil company and that he has never before seen a CEO inspire his team with such power. So we bore testimony of the Priesthood and how Elder Scott was saying what the Lord wanted him to say. Then Rob told us how he also loved the incredible structure and organization of the church. He talked about how he loved that people wore shirts and ties - and then said "you know, more people really ought to be doing that!". He said that he loved how the youth were so much a part of the church and that they were learning how to speak in front of people and function in society. He said he loved the Hymns - how they were reverent and respectful toward God, as opposed to the "shouting and shaking" that he observed in so many other places. He said he loved how people were constantly bearing testimony to reinforce their faith and the faith of others. How everyone was so humble, so quick to shed a tear, yet laugh and congratulate and love at the same time. How everyone built one another up and encouraged one another. That everyone felt needed and that they were a vital part of the church.

As he said these things, I truly witnessed a miracle. This man and his wife have found Jesus Christ. They have found the truth. I even recognized so many things about the church that I did not even realize were blessings. We have witnessed miracles in the lives of these people. Their entire conversion, according to logic or chance, should not and COULD NOT have happened. The Lord has brought them to Him and prepared them to hear His message. My testimony of this is adamant.

I love my Savior. I have been honored to see His hand over the past weeks with the McLachlan family. I have seen the power of the Atonement. And I am honored beyond words to have been a part of this wonderful experience.

Thanks for all of the support and love that is sent to me. I love you all!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, November 9, 2015

Leadership meeting...and lunch!

I don't have a load of time, but this week has been loaded with miracles. But before I get to that, let me address this topic:

As far as things go with the changes made to Handbook 1 of the church, I wonder where everyone's faith has gone. I am really beginning to see how faithless people have grown and how at every single buffet of Satan's winds people seem to just give up so easily. I am reminded of the Apostles and the Savior in the ship during the tempest. One man eventually ran to the Savior in panic wondering if He even cared that they were about to "perish". Did he not know that the same ship that carried him carried Jesus Christ? The Savior calmed the tempest, and then gave his response: "Why is it that ye have no faith?"

My point is that it is so easy to get caught up in the tempest and then just admit defeat and jump ship. So many claim that church leadership has given up on them or that the Savior Himself has. That is simply not true. If we accept that, we bow to a lie of the devil. The Savior never abandons us. But what I've found is that we are all quick to abandon the Savior. I refuse to abandon the Savior and His chosen servants. To all who say that they are aged men who simply steer the church in whatever way they like, I disagree. What a foolish judgement. I stand faithfully with the leaders of the church, and with my Savior. I invite first and foremost my family and my friends to do the same, because I love each and every one of them. I don't speak as a missionary or representative of the church, I speak as a Son, Sibling, and Friend.

Alright, now that that's over, I can tell you about the amazing things that have happened this week!

Hillary and Rob McLachlan - the miracle family from New Zealand - are for sure going to be baptized on November 21st. Their zeal for truth has lead them to miraculous witnesses of the truthfulness of the church, and it has given them a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the love of the Savior in their lives. The gospel is going to bless their family so much.
We had an incredible lesson with them and Rob and Hillary were so touched. Rob gave one of the most holy and hallowed prayers I have ever heard in my life, and then received a scripture - Ether 12:27 - that quite literally changed his life. Elder Roberts and I had prayed the night before that Rob would be blessed with a miracle to receive his answer. The morning of the next day for Elder Roberts and I was absolute hell. It was the worst morning of my mission. Satan was at our heels and we felt miserable. But then when we went to teach Rob and Hillary, all was well. We felt the weight leave and the Spirit of God filled the room. It was incredible. The Lord really blessed us with a literal miracle. I am so grateful to be witnessing all of these amazing things!

Other than that, the week has been going per usual. Exchanges with the Zone Leaders start tonight, and I can't wait. That's when I feel the most useful.

I love you all and I'm grateful for all of your support!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, November 2, 2015

Elder Roberts, President Miles and Nate

We pretty much didn't really do anything for Halloween. We were driving down to Lethbridge that night, so all we did to celebrate Halloween was exchange terrifying things that had happened to us. 
 I tell you what. Even out here, I'm saying a lot more things in the "next year, when I am home.... " format. Not trunky, just thinking;)
Abe Wolvers called me to tell me he messaged you about the farewell for the missionaries returning home. Mom, that was seriously one of the hardest experiences of my mission. Two of my companions - Elder Gibbs and Elder Clarke - went home. I cared so much about those guys. I got up to lead the music right after everyone that was departing bore their testimonies. It was really, really hard. We were singing God Be With You Till We Meet Again, and when the second verse came, I started to cry. I couldn't hold it in. Those two changed my entire mission and I owe so much to them. They helped me overcome deep personal trials and struggles within myself. They will never know how much they helped me, or how vividly I saw Christ in their character. I love them so much and I can't wait to see them again. They are truly my brothers. 
And Abe is right. I want to get back in the mission field so bad! But there are definitely things that I will miss about all this hoopla in the office. I am going to miss being around President Miles more than I can even express. He's an incredible man. He's become a 2nd father to me, and Sister Miles a 2nd mother. They are great surrogate parents ;)

Alright, I don't have much time left, so I'll go quick with this:

This week, I have some big news. I met Elder Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles yesterday at a Stake Conference in Lethbridge. President let us accompany him to the stake conference and told us we would be able to meet him. Mom, he is amazing. He is settling into his calling as an Apostle and he's truly a man of God. It was his first Stake Conference assignment as an Apostle and he told the congregation that he was giving them his first Apostolic Blessing. It was one of the greatest privileges I've had on my mission. I shook the hand of an Apostle of Jesus Christ and heard from his own mouth his witness of Jesus Christ. It was incredible.

Alright the next thing! Our investigators are coming right along! The McLachlin's are one of my favorite families of all time now. They are incredible and I love them so much. They are great friends.

And as a last bonus fun thing, I am now shaving with a straight razor in honor of Halloween and our Sweeney Todd cast:) I've never had a closer shave! I've been shaving with it for about a week, so all my nicks and cuts are healing up ;)

I love you all so much!

-Elder Warenski

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Nate and his companion, Elder Roberts

Happy birthday to my Grandpa Jackson! One of the greatest men I have ever known. He has been a beacon of light in my life and has taught me countless lessons about hard work and how to be a good man. I love him so much and he'll be someone that I continue to look up to forever. I always try to be like Grandpa Jackson. Happy Birthday Gramps!

Cierra! I'm so happy she went to Homecoming with Jacob Griffin. She's so awesome. I actually had a dream just last night that I was home and that Cierra and I were hanging out watching movies! So awesome!
Congratulations to Teija Rosenberg as well! She'll be a great missionary. I'm glad that the people from 5th ward still miss me ;) I love them all so much! I miss coming to church every Sunday and being around the people that I have been raised with.
So this week, we taught one of the most amazing messages of my life. Also! I need to fill you in. We didn't actually baptize Guy. He had some complications (he needs to work out a few things before he can be baptized) and so we had to push his date back a month.... So that was disappointing.... HOWEVER! :) We are teaching Hillary and Tob McLachlan. Let me fill you in on who they are. They are originally from New Zealand. If I remember right, she is from the North Island and he is from the South. Get this. She was at a doTerra convention in Salt Lake. After the conference, she went back to the hotel, but really had nowhere else to go the rest of the day. The man who drove her back to the hotel asked her what she was going to do, and she responded pretty much nothing. So he invited her to come to Temple Square with him and his wife. She accepted. They showed her everything that there was to offer. She even got the tour of the Tabernacle. How cool is that! Anyway, one thing led to another, and she got in contact with the Church up here through some pretty miraculous means. It was amazing. And now we are teaching her family. Her husband is amazing, her children are just awesome to be around, and they have really become amazing friends to us personally. They are on date to be baptized. I'm so glad I get to know them.

Anyway, not much time today! This week is transfer week so we're trying our best to get everything organized and ready to go! It's a 5 week transfer, so the next one will be a 7 week one!

I love you all so much!

Elder Warenski

Monday, October 19, 2015

This week was amazing. We have a baptism scheduled for Friday. Guy DeLage from Montreal will be baptized! He has had the most amazing transformation. Literally, the man was apparently a part of a biker gang that was more hard-core than Hell's Angels. But now he is just a teddy bear. The man is incredible. He quit smoking, drinking, and a whole lot of other things to be a part of the church to be closer to Jesus Christ. He kept on telling us how much the church is working and how much it really is true. He is so faithful and it is a privilege to see him go through with this. I'm so grateful to know him.
Another amazing development is a man named Alex Rzepa. He is Jewish, and he has been investigating the church for around two weeks now. I'm SO happy to say that he is on date for baptism. He is one of the most amazing investigators I have ever met. He is SO in tune with the spirit, he just doesn't necessarily realize it quite yet. The Lord is really reaching out to him. One of the miracles that happened this week was this:
Alex came to church on Sunday. When he got there, he told Elder Roberts and I that his wife wasn't too thrilled about it. We asked him if it was still alright for him to be there, and he assured us that he was fine. We walked into the chapel and sat down on one of the pews. And guess who walked in??? (No, it wasn't his wife.) It was a member of our ward named Bjorn Larsen! And guess what?!?! He knew Alex!!! And guess what!!!!! He is Alex's family's DOCTOR!!!! AND GUESS WHAT?!?!?! Alex's wife really likes him! What are the chances of that! Bjorn said he looked at him and he had a million thoughts go through his head telling him why it couldn't be Alex, number one being "HE'S JEWISH!?!?!". Haha. But the Lord really set up a miracle right there. Alex was going to talk to Bjorn about going out and having a drink with him, and so we're super hopeful that his wife's heart will be softened. It is amazing. We are seeing so many things just light up. I've never been such a successful, busy, and happy missionary before. We have 5 people on date for baptism in our area!!!! 5!!!! I've only ever had 1 or 2! The mission average is like.... 1.3 or something like that per area! The Lord is really blessing us. It's all because of Him.
Exchanges were great! I've never been over into British Columbia before, but it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The Kootenays are super beautiful. It was a completely different place out there. Super mountainous and lush. After living in the prairie for this long, it was really weird, hahaha.

Anyway, I love you so much! I hope everything is going well,

-Elder Warenski

Monday, October 12, 2015

Name tag pics are very popular.

Nate didn't provide the name of this Elder.

Random pic. But interesting sign on the right.

Calgary skyline at night.

Another missionary, unnamed.

Heavenly Father is really blessing us a ton. In EVERY aspect because HOLY COW. We had SO MUCH SUCCESS this week Mom. But I'll get to that soon ;D

SO! The news for this week. Heavenly Father has been INCREDIBLY generous. He's given us so many people to teach and some really exciting things have happened!

Just to put this into perspective, over the course of my entire mission, I have only ever had one investigator on date at any given time. This week, we put 3 on date in 2 days!!!!! BOOM!!!!!! And we already had one on date, so that's 4 people on date! I'm so pumped I can't even contain it.... And what makes it even better is that we have a couple more that are super close to being on date. AND A MIRACLE HAPPENED YESTERDAY! Some members met this woman from New Zealand. A few days ago she went down to Utah for a DoTerra convention. She met a man who helped her get back to her hotel and then he graciously invited her to spend the rest of the day with he and his wife on temple square. So she took the tour of temple square and spent the day talking about the gospel. So when she got back up here, she brought her WHOLE STINKIN' FAMILY to church yesterday!!!! We taught her a lesson and then committed her to take the lessons! Mom, Heavenly Father just passed a family to us! I've never been more excited... Mom, the work is really accelerating up here and it is making everyone so excited. The mission is changing and it's really making a push to break some records. President Miles is doing an awesome job and I love him.

Other than that, the mission is rolling along! I am emailing you from Medicine Hat today. In a few hours I'll be over in Magrath, and then the next to Cardston, and then finally to Cranbrook in British Columbia! So it's going to be a full week of travel.

I love you all!


Monday, October 5, 2015

Conference was FANTASTIC here in the mission. We're glad the Quorum of the Twelve is back up to it's full strength/capacity and I can't wait to see how Elders Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund make us all proud! What a bunch of fantastic guys! I definitely loved Elder Holland's talk as well... Holy cow, it hit me hard. It made me think of the times right before my mission that you helped me through. All of the help that you gave me and all of the love that you displayed. Honestly, Elder Holland is right. I don't know of a more accessible, potent, and ever-present way that anyone can feel the love of the Savior than through a mother's love. I actually was really touched by the talk for Mikaila's sake as well. Mikaila and I email back and forth and in some of the emails she has been explaining the joys, struggles, challenges, and goodness of being a mother. When Elder Holland said that he was going to speak about mothers, I wrote at the top of the page in my conference notebook "This talk is for Mikaila." I'm grateful for all of the Mothers in my life. Especially the 3 I grew up with ;D
Yeah, I was pretty much waiting for President Nelson to dive out and catch President Monson, but I guess he didn't need to. Honestly, I'm with Elder Bednar. I don't see the physical weaknesses of the prophet as a faith destroyer. I see them as faith builders. It's amazing to see the Lord preserving these brethren so that they can impart every ounce of wisdom to us that they possibly can before they cross the veil. I love it. I love the gospel. I think that Elder Bednar was pretty key in explaining that even though the senior leaders of the church are "just a bunch of old white men" (as said by many), they are the leaders and guides for our spirituality.
I did indeed have an amazing birthday! It honestly was pretty uneventful, but conference has always been my greatest birthday gift:) And I did get the packages! I wore the shirt and the tie that grandma gave me to conference. I loved the card Grandma! I told my companion "Hey! Do you wanna listen to some un-legit music?!" And then I burst open the card and started jammin' out to the guitar solo from "We Will Rock You", haha. It was more or less funny to him, ;D And I love the little flip-book that I got from you! I am using it for my "Ponderize-ing" scriptures;) This week I'm starting with Alma 26:22! I think it will help me move the work forward. Thanks for the birthday cash, too:)
Cierra going to homecoming?!?! Geez.... this is all just too much.... She's not supposed to be going! I mean she's only like what..... 12? ;) I love you, Cierra!

Alright, now for my update:

So things are going well this week! We've had a lot of opportunity to be around President Miles over the past couple weeks, and I can honestly say that it has been incredibly inspiring. He is an amazing man that is teaching me so much. Learning from him has been an amazing experience.
We have been extremely busy and this assignment can be pretty tedious sometimes. For instance, for the next two weeks I will hardly see Elder Roberts at all because we will be on exchanges for the full two weeks. On Sunday we drive to Medicine Hat and do exchanges there, and then we'll work our way across the south. After that week is over, it's going to be board week, and then transfer week after that. It's going to be INSANE. A whirlwind. Time is passing so fast I can't even hardly comprehend it.... I can't believe conference is already over.... It's nuts. Anyway, that's what we've been up too.

Now, my "spiritual update" comes in two parts this week. With the first part, I'll share a story that shows how the Lord can put us in EXACTLY the right place at EXACTLY the right time.

So this week we went on exchanges down in the south with the Lethbridge East Zone Leaders. Elder Fairbanks - the elder I was exchanging with - told me about how we had an appointment in Magrath that day. I was of course thrilled because that was my first area and I miss it so much! So we drove down there the next morning. We taught the lesson that we came to teach - which went really well, by the way - and the appointment was over faster than we thought. So we were driving through Magrath, and I all of a sudden got the impression to visit the Spackman's, who we lived with when I served there. We were already running a bit late and it was out of our way, but I felt so strongly that we needed to stop by. So we did.
I walked up the steps to the house and knocked on the door. Their front door has a window in it, and so I saw Sister Spackman turn the corner to come answer the door. She saw me, and she immediately burst into tears. Elder Fairbanks and I entered the house and she gave me a big hug. Brother Spackman was lying on the sofa because he just had his knee replaced. Then the hard part came. Sister Spackman described to me how her daughter had taken her life back in May. She had taken it really hard, and though she was recovering she still was having trouble. Elder Fairbanks and I spoke with her about the Plan of Salvation and how comforting it was to have a Father with a Plan. Before we left we asked if we could leave a blessing on their home. We prayed as we left that they would have the spirit and comfort of the Savior. As we were saying our farewell's, Sister Spackman said to me that she knew everything was going to be okay. She said that if God sent us to them, he would take care of her. She said it was as if two Angels came to the door.

Jesus Christ prompts us to heal people on our way. He will ask us to heal the sickness of the souls of others, and even in some instances their physical sickness. We need to be sure that we are ready to accept the call, follow the prompting, and as President Monson says, go to the rescue.

"If you have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to feel, you can reach out and RESCUE others." - President Monson

I have a testimony of that, and that it is through Christ that we receive Eyes to See, Ears to Hear, and Hearts to Feel.

The other part comes from a talk that I was reading from Elder Holland entitled "Come Unto Me". I highly recommend reading the whole talk, but here is a portion of it:

"“For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed,” he said, “but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed [from thee]". I love that. The hills and the mountains may disappear. The seas and oceans may dry up completely. The least likely things in the world may happen, but “my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed [from thee].” After all, he has, he reminds us,“graven thee upon the palms of my hands” (1 Ne.21:16). Considering the incomprehensible cost of the Crucifixion, Christ is not going to turn his back on us now."

I want everyone who reads these words to know that they are not abandoned by Jesus Christ. He is the Captain of their Souls and will help everyone no matter what. Like Elder Holland says, the least likely things in the entire world could happen, but still his kindness will not depart from us. If you struggle with your testimony, that's fine! Everyone does. The only way that we'll ever grow our testimony is through struggle, heart-break, trial, and pain. He will help us.

I bear testimony of the Savior of the world. My witness of Him is strong and it burns within me. I love Him with everything that I am, and I didn't just wake up one day with that testimony. I worked for it. If we look for Him, we will find Him. Whether that be for the first time, or the second, or the third.

I love you all!
-Elder Warenski

Monday, September 28, 2015

Yes Mom, I am indeed still alive. There are quite a few missionaries that are freaking out about all of the blood moon stuff. Honestly, I find it pretty strange as well. It really doesn't matter in the end, because the Lord is going to take care of us no matter what. I think the Church did well to warn people about just jumping on board with every Tom, Dick and Harry that claim they know a prophecy. It is pretty irritating on the mission because a bunch of missionaries think that they are pretty expert in their knowledge of that stuff. Obnoxious! Anyway.

My first full week was a whirlwind. Because I was re-assigned on a transfer week, I had to do a bunch of stuff for transfers and didn't even have a clue what I was doing most of the time. Luckily I got some pretty good training, so things went decently well. I'm also reaping the benefits of never getting nervous in front of a crowd. That really helps. Thank Robinne! Taking the departing missionaries to the airport was really cool. As I was driving them there, one of them asked me how it made me feel to do something like that. I told them that it just made me more ticked that 13 months of my mission were already gone!!! I am going to love coming home and seeing all of you, but holy cow. I am going to miss this mission. I'm glad that you also mentioned the arriving missionaries. Mom, picking up those missionaries from the airport was one of the coolest things I have ever done. The new missionaries arrive with such a zeal and optimism that re-kindled my own. It was awesome. I'm really loving the experiences that I am having. It is definitely hard. Holy cow.... There were a couple nights there where I went to bed feeling like I was drowning. But everything always gets better! That's a miracle of the Atonement! God makes us stronger to conquer the challenges ahead of us. I will definitely not be spending the remainder of my mission as an assistant. I had an interview with President and he says that he wants to keep leadership cycling through fairly often. So no:) I'll be back to proselyting eventually! And yes, I'd definitely rather go back to proselyting in the end. I enjoy serving the mission, but I also love having a little part of the vineyard to tend;)
Congrats to Seth Manesee on being such a stud! He's going to tear it up on his mission, I just know it!

Thank you so much for the birthday box! I'm going to love it. President and Sister Miles actually had me over to the mission home last night for a birthday dinner! Sister Miles made ribs, funeral potatoes, and some awesome garlic rolls! It was so good. It was really touching because I didn't even tell Sister Miles about my birthday. She even made me a pie, haha. I can't wait for General Conference either. I can't wait to just soak it in. The motto of my mission has been "just make it to Conference." I always leave Conference feeling refreshed and ready to work again! Especially since we get 3 new apostles!!! We were talking about it, and I've got it all lined up with a sports metaphor. President Monson is Head Coach. President Eyring and President Uchtdorf are Offensive and Defensive coaches. The quorum of the Twelve are your first stringers. President Nelson is the new Starting Quarterback. The Seventies are the college teams that they will draft out of;D And then the Presiding Bishopric and the other Auxiliaries are Special Teams;) Ask Grandpa what he thinks about that, hahaha.


So here is what I've learned this week. This morning we were in the car listening to the talk "Beware of Pride" by President Benson. It was read over the pulpit by President Hinckley when the address was given. We play talks in the truck when we're driving - which is a lot. As we were listening to it, one of the lines that really hit me hard was this:

"'What will men think of me?' weighs heavier than 'What will God think of me?'"

As you know, I've been trying to refine my leadership skills to be able to communicate love and genuine interest in people. But I've also had a rough time trying to discover how to deal with contentious situations. Honestly, I think that line right there is the key to thinking quickly in tough situations. We need to ask ourselves what God will think of us and our actions, and be less concerned about what others think or say. I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father was able to teach me that, and I am looking for ways to have the Savior help me to apply it. He is seriously helping me every day. I've never felt closer to him than I have on my mission.

Well, this week we begin the chaos. This transfer is a 5 week transfer, so we have to get all of our exchanges with the Zone Leaders done pronto. We'll be driving down to Lethbridge tonight, and then we'll drive back up to Calgary again on Wednesday night. Then on October 11th we'll be heading to the South for the week to do an exchange a day in the south zones. We'll be going all the way from Medicine Hat to B.C. and then back up to Calgary through Banff. It's going to be super busy.

I'm loving life, loving my mission, and Loving the Lord. He is everything to me!

Love you so much!!!

-Elder Warenski

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Elder Warenski does not have a post for this week. He emailed to let me know that he was made Assistant to the President on Sunday and has been in intensive training since. He is a bit overwhelmed as you might expect. He was excited that he will be traveling the whole mission and serving in splits with Zone Leaders. He is excited to pick up new missionaries at the airport today.

Monday, September 14, 2015

First off, thank you, and Kellie, and Grandma and Grandpa for the counsel on confrontational situations! Seriously, I can't tell you enough how much that helped. Gaining all that wisdom from the people that I respect more than anyone was really amazing. I'm super grateful. I'll be prayerfully studying what you have outlined and I can't wait to implement it. It's really helping me already! Mom, I couldn't agree with you more when you say I am growing so quickly. I don't even know what to do with myself! The Lord is really accelerating my learning and teaching me the things that will help me in the future. Sometimes I get "growing pains", but that's the name of the game! Growth is always uncomfortable and disjointed, but through the Lord we can all make it through. Learning from President Miles has been an honor! He really is an inspired man. While Elder Martino was here (I'll get to the details in my update) he talked about how, yes, there are definitely people within the bounds of this mission that individual missionaries are meant to personally help, but he mentioned that he believes a lot of the reason we are called to the missions that we are in is so that we can associate with our assigned Mission President and Wife. Mom, President Miles is teaching me so much, and I'm so grateful for him. Out in the Mission Field, the Mission President and his wife become a surrogate Mother and Father to the missionaries. There's no need to worry about me in that regard, because I'm well taken care of! Elder Martino told the missionaries that they didn't need to worry about how to treat their spouse as long as we followed the example of President and Sister Miles. Mom, it's so true. He treats her like an ANGEL, and she is always a constant support and strength, both for herself and for her husband.
And as far as learning from Grandfather Jackson, the counsel and wisdom to be gained has been unrivaled by nearly every other mentor in my entire life. I can't speak well enough of him and the impact he's had on my life. He's always been right there to help guide and direct.
I'm glad that Curious Savage is going so well! Glad to hear Enoch came to see it and visit. Enoch is just a straight up stud. I miss him so much! It's kind of insane. The last time I saw him was right before a performance of Joseph. My voice was giving out and I didn't feel good about performing that night, so I asked him if he'd give me a blessing. So he took me into Xanthe's room and gave me a blessing that assured me that the show would go well and that I would perform to the best of my ability. I don't think we had a better show that entire run. Thank Heaven for the priesthood, and thank Heaven for a worthy guy like Enoch to be ready and willing to use it. What a guy. I would love to do some shows with him when I get home;)

I haven't actually taken many pictures in the last few weeks, but I repented a little this week and took some good ones. There is one of David Peterson, who is one of the members in the shirt burning video. David served his mission in the Scotland/Ireland mission, and so he wears his kilt to church all the time and always sneaks us Irn Bru;) You'll see on the drive.

Luke McIver is awesome! I'm so glad he and Sarah are in some theater classes. Theater will really help them flourish. They are going to be amazing! The McIver Clan is always so kind to send me packages. Beth always sends the most thoughtful, hand-made cards. She seriously has a talent! I miss Ginger too..... That kid is a brother!

Alright, now for my update!

This week has been pretty awesome. I'll start with Elder Martino!
He pretty much gave the juiciest talk that I've heard on the mission thus far. He talked a LOT about working with members, but honestly, it was his talk on obedience that really hit me. It was incredible. He spoke of how much we expect of our investigators. He outlined what we ask them to do as we teach them the discussions. We expect them to change the way they eat, drink, dress, speak, live, and think. And then we expect them to change the fabric of their nature and change things about their character that are just overwhelming. And then I think the Texan in Him came out because he said "We expect our investigators to do all of this, and you can't even get out of bed at 6:30?" HOLY CRUD! After that comment was made, an Elder raised his hand and explained how many missionaries struggle with just that. Waking up on time. Then the elder asked how we could access the Savior's grace to help us wake up on time. Again, Elder Martino's inner Texan came out and his answer to that question was "You get over it." SO AMAZING. I think a lot of Elders make small problems into big ones by imagining them into these huge issues. Waking up on time is simple. GET. UP. I just loved how he said what everyone was thinking, haha.
Anyway, I also got to very briefly speak with him about Robinne! I asked if he remembered her and he said "Of course I do!" and then I told him that she was proud of him and he said that he was really grateful. He didn't have a lot of time, but it was good:)
Other than that, things have been going pretty well! I'm doing well and I'm loving every second out here! My love of the Savior is growing and all of my happiness is in Him!

I love you!

-Elder Warenski

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My companion, Elder Williams is just fantastic! I swear, I feel like my life is being Narrated by a professional. It's amazing. Everything he says is like it's coming straight out of a movie! He's been teaching me all the British ways;D I'm so ready for Scotland! 

Stephanie Melchor's boss was visiting Calgary. He arranged to meet Nate and Elder Williams.

Stephanie's boss is amazing. He's such a good man. He is one of the leading Scientists worldwide and he's one of the most humble and kind men! We were just sitting in a Tim Hortons having drinks and a doughnut and he was so kind. He didn't even know us (just through Stephanie) and he bought our food. I really enjoyed it. Stephanie is awesome! So glad she's my friend.
So I don't have much time, but I'll give you the update on my week.

This week was another toughy, to be completely honest. But I like to think that I conquered it! I had to come to grips with some things about myself, which was actually really helpful.
I went on an exchange with one of the Assistants this week. He's a really dear friend. Elder Hudson Smith. We had been having a LOAD of problems in our Zone with one missionary in particular that just can't seem to be obedient.... Even after a couple of personal interviews with President. Anyone who knows me knows that I really don't like contention.... I freeze up.... I can't think, I can't speak, I just stand there like a chump. I've had to deal with some of that lately, and I hadn't really done very well. So on this exchange, I spoke with Elder Smith about it, and he told me some things that really picked me up. I explained to him how I felt that there were so many things about myself that I felt impaired my leadership. One being my inability to deal with contentious situations. So I talked to him about it. Elder Smith told me that in the end, I really just needed to believe more in myself. I needed to stand my ground and be firm. And then he said something really amazing that will ALWAYS stick with me. He always draws things back to the Savior - like a good leader - so he said this:

"The world loves us BECAUSE of things.... Jesus Christ loves us IN SPITE of things. You need to love yourself not BECAUSE of things, but IN SPITE of your short-comings. Just as Jesus Christ would."

That hit me like a brick wall. Elder Smith taught me about the Atonement right there. Suddenly I felt way more able to deal with the struggles that come my way! And also, my awesome mother sent me a meme that really helped me out:) It came at exactly the right 
time, by the way.

I just want everyone to know that I love Jesus Christ! I love how He supports me and I love that He has confidence in me, and can change me! He is going to make my weaknesses strengths, and I love Him for it!

Thanks for all the support! I love you so much!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, August 31, 2015

Mother Dear!

My week went pretty well and pretty weird at the same time. Tell you in a second, haha;)
I've been having memories of Halloween for weeks! Elder Williams asked me if I had ever seen Hocus Pocus. I told him how we used to watch it every single Halloween along with a bunch of other Halloween flicks! He said that was a really cool tradition. I think so too:)
That's awesome that Curious Savage is opening! I'm sure the show will be fantastic! Make CERTAIN that you film it so that I can see it! I want to see them all when I get home!
The Facebook stuff is going along!  We have been meeting with the Stake President and calling the Bishops in the stake at the request of President Miles. Just to let them know what is going on and how we want this to be a Member/Missionary effort this time around.

I miss the Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit so much! But I keep it close. We'll be tracting and I'll start singing "the road goes ever on and on" or a bunch of other songs! Heck, Elder Williams and I pretty much sang through Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat two days ago. Pretty much the entire thing. We did a lot of walking. It was brutal.
I miss the Food and Care Coalition! We actually do something similar to it up here, but it's pretty much just a regular soup kitchen. It's pretty grimy and dirty, but it's good. At least people are getting fed. It's about to get a lot more popular as the winter rolls around.

Alright! Now for my update!

This week, the weather was absolute crap! We got all of the smoke from the Washington fires, and it was brutal. Calgary - and pretty much all of southern Alberta and B.C. - were suffocating in smoke all week. They have a scale that measures health risk according to the filthiness of the air. 10 is absolutely abominable, and Calgary was at a 12! And unfortunately, that's probably the day when Elder Williams and I were tracting the most... But because of the Lord's blessings, neither one of us has even had a tickle in our throat! It's been a real blessing.
My shirt-burning was awesome! We burned it on the Bow River here in Calgary! You'll see the pictures and video and you'll laugh. We were trying so hard not to get caught by anyone in the Forest service because I'm pretty decently sure there was a fire ban. Shhhh, don't tell. But we burned the sucker and that's what counts! And honestly, we burned it over the water, so I really don't see what the problem was. But that marks a year! One year down, one more year of growth, struggle, spirituality, walking, and bittersweet happiness left! I have so many mixed emotions about the thought of going home, but I'm ready for anything:)

The only other thing to tell about is just some things that I've thought of about prayer.
This week we had some more issues with the missionaries in our Zone.... I remember you telling me about a returned missionary speaking about how getting called to leadership is hard in the mission because you see all of the scummy things some missionaries do. I can definitely testify of that. It's tough. Not to mention, people look to you to have a solution, and sometimes you just don't have one. This was really weighing on me this week, and it began effecting my overall mood, which was NOT okay with me. We got home one night this week - I can't remember which day - and I remember just going and sitting on my bed. I was BENT on getting rid of the dark cloud that was over me and I wasn't going to stop until I could find peace about the situations around me. I was determined to not let the circumstances, situations, and decisions of others control how I felt and how I was going to behave. Elder Williams and I were in our beds reading right before the end of the night when I decided to go to our study room and just pray my heart out. I got on my knees and just poured out my soul to Heavenly Father. I told Him about the struggles that I have been having, and I told Him how I was feeling. I explained how all I wanted to do was love these missionaries who were giving us all this disrespect and grief, but that I couldn't find a way to help. That night, I stayed on my knees until I felt better. The miraculous thing is that He was there to hear me, and that I know for a FACT that He loves me and wants to communicate with me. I miraculously received the peace that I was looking for, and Heavenly Father even gifted me with some inspiration on how to deal with these two struggling missionaries. I have never felt more in my entire life that I have a personal relationship with Deity. It really hit me hard in that prayer that an All Powerful, All Knowing, Ever Present Being was listening to my prayer. I cannot stress enough to anyone who is reading this: There is A God that Lives. There is a God that Loves. There is a God that Hears your words and is concerned with the condition of your heart. He Loves You, and I can tell you that because I know how much He loves me. ME.

If He can love me, He can love you.

I am so grateful that I can communicate with God whenever I need to.

I love you and thank you for everything!

-Elder Warenski

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

They seem to like each other.

Elder Williams and Elder Warenski

Thursday will begin the most bittersweet countdown of my entire life! I can't wait to burn my shirt, hahaha.

That's funny about Out of the Frying Pan and The Curious Savage. I miss those shows so much. I really did enjoy Out of the Frying Pan. It was a tough, spur of the moment show, but it really was a ball. I enjoyed marching around in my pajamas. And that costume change in the first act is something that I am VERY proud of, haha! I miss Robinne, too. I think of her loads!
That's awesome about our Stake Conference! I am excited to meet the Stake Presidency when I get home! And I love that insight into repentance. I was studying Repentance in Preach My Gospel just the other day, and it was great. The Spirit has been teaching me a lot lately and it has been awesome! Gosh Seth Manesse is such a stud...Directing the missionary choir and all.
That's awesome that you're in touch with Williams' Mom! I put two new pictures on the google drive, so be sure to send those to her.
I'm excited for the Birthday package and I LOVED the hump day package! Those shirts were pretty clever, hahaha;) The Minion was dope!
I honestly have literally a STACK of letters that I need to send off, I just haven't had the chance to get to a post office yet! I will try my hardest to get one this week! CIERRA WILL GET A LETTER! I PROMISE! I'm just a little slow sometimes;)
Alright, so this week was pretty slow for missionary work but we had a lot of things to do. Let me explain.

This week we met with President Miles again for Facebook. Basically, we determined ways to roll out Facebook to our Zone. President has asked that Elder Williams and I coordinate the efforts within our Zone and within the Calgary South Stake. Oi. That's going to be a load of work, but hey! We're chomping at the bit to get started. Apparently President Miles talked with President Craig (South Stake President) about Facebook and it all went well. We're now trying to figure out what the next steps are, and we're working really closely with Brad Karl. So that's some exciting news!
The other big news is that Elder James B. Martino will be coming to the Mission on September 10th to speak with the entire mission. President Miles asked me to put together the musical numbers and the choir numbers for that event, so it's going to be INSANE working Facebook and this at once, but once again. I'm ready to do ANYTHING that I'm asked to do. President is too much of a stud. I can't say no to him;) I've found some arrangements for a musical number with a Violin and Piano, and I've found a full choir arrangement that we'll pull together in the coming weeks with the Northern half of the mission. I'll be working pretty close with A.P.'s, so that will be fun. Thank heaven we've got some dang good musicians in this mission.
There was some torrential rain this week. Another one of Winter's brutal attacks to get a foothold. I got drenched to the bone because none of my jackets would hold up against the rain. That's why I spent some extra money this week, unfortunately:/ It was to stay dry. Other than that, church was awesome yesterday, and I really am feeling great about my mission. I'm nowhere near where I want to be when I finish, but that's why I've got another year ahead of me:)
I've thought a lot about my mission in the past few days/weeks. Approaching my year mark is almost surreal. I have dreamed my whole life about going on a mission, and now it is already half over! I can definitely say that there has been good times and hard times, but the hard times don't seem so hard because of all of the growth and good things that I experience along the way! It reminds me of a quote by Neil A. Maxwell: "Our afflictions, Brothers and Sisters, often will not be extinguished, they will be dwarfed and swallowed up in the joy of Christ. That's how we overcome, most of the time. It's not their elimination, but the placing of them in that larger context." Isn't that amazing??? I was watching the "Because He Lives" video at a dinner appointment. I learn something different from that video every time I watch it, but this time there was one part that particularly touched me. The shots say "He

is here, through the good, the bad, and everywhere in between." I'm paraphrasing, of course. But when it says "the bad" there is a shot of a woman sitting by the bed of an ill elderly man. It hit me incredibly hard at the dinner message last night. Based on what Elder Maxwell says, the woman's pain would not be extinguished because of her prayers..... But she has the opportunity to put her pain into perspective with the larger context. The Joy of Jesus Christ.
In light of my year mark, I want to offer my testimony. It's the greatest gift that I hold and the most valuable piece of my life. I live for it. I would die for it. There is nothing in this world I wouldn't give to see Him whom I have served and to thank Him for the opportunities that He has given me. Both the good and the "bad". Jesus Christ is a huge part of my life and continues to grow stronger and stronger in my life as a result of me ASKING for Him to be near me. I have realized more and more in the mission field that honestly, I am just a scrub. I'm a nobody. I don't know enough, I don't have enough, and I can never be enough.

On my own.

But with Jesus Christ at the helm of my life I am a Son of a Living God. I am somebody. I know enough, I have enough, and I can be everything that He would have me be.

Thanks to everyone who supports me out here. And also for my Grandma Jackson. She types me up a letter every week and that means the world to me. She'll never know how much I value her advice and optimism.

Thanks to Dad for building me up and helping me with concerns and questions. Thanks to Mikaila for sharing the joy of her Motherhood with me. Thanks to Cierra for being herself and for being patient with me.

And thanks to my Mother, for making me who I am.

I love you all! Let the countdown begin!

-Elder Warenski

Friday, August 21, 2015

So my new companion is Elder Jared Williams. He is from Lincoln, England! He loves Football (soccer) and he's teaching me Cockney Rhyming Slang;) You'll have to look that up on your own. Kind of hard to explain.
He just became a Zone Leader and he's a natural. He does everything pretty well. Things are going well between us and we are already getting along "smashingly";)
Other than that, we haven't really had much go on this week except for a bunch of disobedience issues in the Zone.... It's become pretty obnoxious.... Some of the Elders haven't been being very obedient, so this week has been full of phone calls and speaking with the Assistants and President Miles. I really, really love President Miles. He is an inspired leader and he takes care of situations in such a loving but firm manner. I'm learning so much from him as I help him as best I can. I'd follow that man anywhere! He reminds me of Grandpa Jackson, except Grandpa is way better. I'm a little biased:)
Well that's pretty much all the news aside from the fact that winter will be back here in a month or two. And I'm guessing it's coming back with a vengeance..... Winter was fairly mild last year so I suspect it's going to be pretty insane this season. But on the bright side, hockey season is almost here! I know I can't watch any of the games, but I love hearing about how the Canucks are doing. Everyone has been saying we've got a pretty good team this year;)

I love you so much! Thanks for all that you do!

-Elder Warenski

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The approaching storm.

Then comes the light.

Nate and Elder Clarke taking shelter from the storm.

Taking shelter at the church house.

Lots of hail.
So here's the update of the week!

Starting with the Hail: It was EPIC. The hail was about the size of marbles for us and we got hammered pretty hard, but we made it back to our flat so it was okay. The REAL crazy storm was the one that happened on Tuesday! It was literally like... INSANE amounts of rain and hail. Elder Clarke and I cover basically the whole Calgary South Stake, and we were biking on the furthest end from our flat when it hit. It was NUTS. We were near a chapel, but we didn't have the keys, so we had to huddle ourselves and our bikes in an arch of the church and basically wait for help to come. The power went out for an entire community in our stake! I KID YOU NOT. There was a family that literally pulled a canoe out of their garage and canoed down the streets because the flooding was so bad. It was absolutely amazing. We had so much fun running around in it!
So the next thing is kind of a funny story..... Elder Clarke has some hippy things that he does, and one of them is growing Kafir. Kafir is a Russian Grain that grows all by itself as long as you have it in milk or water. It loads the milk or water that it is in with pro-biotics, and apparently it's super good for you. So he was growing his Kafir in some water and he had forgotten about it. It had been left there for pretty much 3-4 weeks. Most likely 4. He finally remembered it..... He decided to give it a sniff... I swear I almost witnessed the death of my companion..... The smell contained within the jar resembled something of rotting corpses and death. I shot a video that I'll be sending where you will see Elder Clarke and I running like girls away from the stench. It was seriously probably one of the top 5 most horrible things I have ever smelled. Anyway. Moving on.

P.S. The reason I'm emailing on Tuesday is because it is Transfer week. Speaking of which!

So the transfer news is in. I will be staying here, but I'm unfortunately going to be saying goodbye to Elder Clarke.... I'm really actually kinda bummed out that I'm losing him because he is seriously one of my most solid companions..... I hope that I get someone good for this upcoming transfer. I'm going to need him. Elder Clarke will be going south, and we're losing two other really good missionaries from our Zone. But it's all good! We'll make do with what we've got. It won't faze the Lord's work.
Zone Conferences are coming up, and I'm not going to lie, I'm kinda stressed out. President Miles asked me to train 2 Zones of missionaries on Personal Refinement through the Holy Ghost. It's going to be pretty insane. I hope I can make him proud.

Anyway, that's really pretty much all of the big news from this week. Other than that, I am having a BALL out here. I love every second of this mission. Even the hard times! I've been thinking a lot about self-mastery and doing hard things, and I'm learning more and more that anything is possible. I am becoming the person that I want to become through Christ. One step at a time. Minute by minute.

ALSO! I love my cousin Josh. I think he's finding out how the mission is. I am so glad that Aunt Jen is sharing the messages from Josh with me, because I love them. Just like him, there are some days when the only thing that carries you forward is your Faith and Knowledge that you are where you need to be. But you know what? That's really all we ever need to know. If we have that knowledge, we can do anything. Josh is a strong kid and he's going to do amazing things. And I'm glad he's getting along with his Trainer! Some missionaries don't, and that's always a sad thing..... I loved my Trainer. I saw him just the other day and we had lunch. Nothing has changed ;)

I love you! Thank you so much for all you do!

-Elder Warenski