“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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ties sound awesome! I'm thrilled you bought some more. Missionaries LOVE ties. Don't worry about me burning them, either. The only tie I will ever burn is at 6 months. The next thing I will burn is a shirt at the 1 year mark;D

I CAN'T BELIEVE SAM IS GOING TO RUSSIA!!!! HOLY COW!!! That is seriously the most exciting thing ever! I'm so proud of him and Jacob for getting their calls. So awesome!
I was actually thinking about how crazy it was that the school year is almost over. That is insane! Only one more year of school and then I will be a few months shy of hopping on the plane and coming home. Still quite some time, but you know. Time moves no matter what;) Yeah, having things to look forward to is amazing. I think that is why the mission goes so fast for the missionaries. There is always something to look forward to. We have transfers, district meetings, zone conferences, zone trainings, new companions, new areas, new people.... The list goes on and on. All of those things kinda keep us going so fast that we can barely keep the time straight.

Kira is, sadly, pretty much stalled... Her parents didn't sign the baptismal form for her to be baptized, so we are going to teach her the rest of the lessons and pray for a miracle. If that miracle doesn't come, then we have to drop her as an investigator, but continue to fellowship her. That will be the Lord's way of telling us that the time is not right. And that is fine. This is one of the "seed-planting" experiences of my mission.

I'm looking forward to FaceTime with you on Mother's day. I don't think we'll have any problem chatting away. I'm excited to talk to you guys. I miss you so much! I'm glad you found the Mother's Day letters of the past while you have been going through all our stuff, as well. I never had a problem coming up with things to say in those letters. You were so good to us and you helped us learn the gospel, never telling us WHAT to believe, but showing us what there was to believe, and letting us make our own decisions. Which leads me to my update!

So this week in our ever-so-cynnical Taber 2nd ward Elder's Quorum, we had something of a showdown. Everyone was talking about parenting and how they felt it should go. Some suggested that we shouldn't helicopter our children but just let them do their own thing. Some said that utter authority was the only way to go. I thought back to how I was raised and what really made me want to follow God more. I remember a few things that I learned when I was younger. In the discussion, parenting was discussed in the scenario that the child had made an error. The question was what the parent's involvement should be with that error. Like before, some said you have to evaluate an effective punishment and then move on from there. Others said that their kids would work it out themselves. But from my experience, it's a mixture of both. First off, whenever I would approach my mom with a problem, she wasn't in it to punish me. Holy cow! Like she wants to add more of a punishment upon what I'm already experiencing as a result of whatever it is I did! No! She was ALWAYS more interested in resolving the issue than punishing me and making sure I knew how wrong I was. I also remember, though, that we weren't just free reign. We were disciplined. We still viewed Mom as a leader, but I gained SO much more respect for my Mother when I received her HELP not her judgement. Both of us knew when I was wrong. It was moving on from that that was so important to me.

Teaching by example was also another thing that really helped me see things clearly when I was a kid. I remember one time when I was like.... 9, probably... Mikaila, Cierra, and I were with Dad. We were just coming out of a gas station that we had fueled the car at. Dad saw a cheque on the ground that was written out for a pretty large amount of money. Anyone else would have just left it there or maybe even taken advantage of it. But Dad picked it up and we followed the address to the house. No one was home but he tucked it away in the screen door of the home. I was so little, and that act may seem unimportant to a lot of people, but in my little 9 year old eyes, my Dad was a hero. He taught me honesty and kindness and that really helped me understand things better.

I am really grateful for the upbringing that I had and for the examples I had. Both from my parents and from all the other examples around me. Like Grandma and Grandpa Jackson, people in the 5th ward, and tons of others. They changed my life. I'm really grateful.

The only other news this week is that I have become a die-hard hockey fan. I'll explain over the Mother's Day call how it happened, but for now I can say that I am a die-hard Vancouver Canucks fan. I'm loving Canada, loving life, and loving my mission!
Thanks for all the love and support that come my way!

I love you!

-Elder Warenski

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

So glad that everything is going smoothly again with the house. That's a relief! And I'm glad that Bishop Hall is helping out. I love Bishop Hall so much. He is a stud. He taught me so much about hard work and dedication while I worked with him on that house in Payson. I still value that experience a LOT. I'm disgusted with how people were seemingly taking advantage of you as well! What a bunch of knobs! Who do they think they are? Oh well. Good thing we have Bishop Hall around to sort people out;D I've also been wondering how sending letters to you guys is going to work? Is there a new address that I should be sending them to, or what? Just let me know how it works. Speaking of mail, I got a package from the McIver clan yesterday! It was full of all sorts of goodies and even some knee-high leprechaun socks! I wore them while I played basketball and the other missionaries were obviously jealous;D

Anyway, back to the reply!

Congrats to Kim and Chariley! Hope their new house turns out great. CONGRATS to Jacob Mortensen! I can't believe it! Kansas, Wichita. I love that kid so much. I'm glad that he's going out. He's going to be such an incredible missionary! I've been thinking about how many people I am going to miss from the ward as well... It's insane. But just because we're moving doesn't mean we can't see them anymore. I'm sure I'll go visit them loads after the mission. 17 years is a long time.
I'll email Josh. He and I have been talking recently, and I have emailed him my testimony. I hope it helped. Stirling - the guy who lives above us - went on his mission to Argentina, so I've been asking for tips that I could give to Josh. I'll email him again soon.

Elder Smith is AWESOME! This kid is seriously like... "The Chosen One"! I'm so proud of him and the way that he works and the way he cares about others. Elder Smith always talks about really getting to know people. He talks about understanding them. Where they come from, who they are, etc. It's awesome. He really has a good teaching spirit about him, and he is just downright hilarious. I got the letter from President Nicholas about becoming a trainer, too;D Pretty fancy, eh? Training is so fun.

MOTHER'S DAY IS GOING TO BE SO SICK! Holy crap I have been looking forward to it for so long. I can't wait to just chat with you guys! So awesome. I have many a story to share;)
And holy cow!Thanks for reminding me about the Humanities Field Trip. Kol Ami and Cathedral of the Madeline. I loved that field trip. It literally changed my life. Big surprise there;D It's Humanities!

Alright so here is MY update for the week! Pretty exciting news!

Kira is on date to be baptized May 9th! She is the 12 year old that we have been teaching from Barnwell. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and she has had her confirmation of its truthfulness! We only need her parents to sign the permission slip for her to be baptized... That's the catch. Pray SO HARD for her. Last time someone put her on date, her dad flipped a bird and told her that it wasn't going to happen. Please pray for her. She needs all the help she can get. Literally, if we can get that permission slip signed, we have full permission to baptize her.

The Next big news!

Aganita is also on date to be baptized! She is on date to be baptized May 23! We are so excited! We taught the second lesson last night and addressed some concerns. Last night was a miracle. I'll tell you the story:

So we had been planning to meet with her since last week. We had prepared to have a member present with us, but 2 hours before the lesson, we called and found out that he wasn't going to be able to come. So I called Stirling to see if he could come, but he couldn't either because he had to babysit while Julie was at Yoga (yes she does yoga, and she is DANG good at it). So I was scrambling around at P-day in Lethbridge trying to phone someone to come with us. I was cycling through the contacts on our phone, when I came to a guy named Nigel. He is a recently re-activated Less-Active. He was reactivated about a year ago, and once he was reactivated, he then baptized his wife and his children. So I had an impression that I should ask him. So I took the phone into the hallway of the church and called him. He picked up and I asked if he could come with us to the lesson and I explained the situation to him. He kinda grumbled about it - to my dismay - and said that he'd have to shuffle a bunch of things around, but that he'd do it. I thanked him profusely and then hung up after we agreed on a time to meet at Aganita's and stuff like that. After hanging up, I kinda felt weird... He had kinda grumbled about doing it, so I started to wonder if Nigel was the right guy to bring. But I'd been prompted to call him, so I just put my doubt aside.
So the hour came. We pulled up to Aganita's house and a minute or two later, Nigel showed up in his enormous black work truck. He popped out and gave us a box of girl-guide (Canadian girl scouts) cookies, and I thanked him again. The cookies were a good sign;) We went up to the door of the house and knocked... No answer. I was having a HEART ATTACK. Nigel like.... Re arranged his life to come with us! What if she didn't answer! I started praying that she would come to the door and let us in. A few minutes passed, and I rang the bell. Then FINALLY Aganita answered the door. This moment was CELESTIAL! We have been trying to contact her for 3 weeks!!! So we went into her home. We began to teach her the second lesson and we re-established our expectations for why we meet with her. We explained that the reason we come over so much and the reason why we are so eager to share with her is because we know how important our message is. We know how much it will touch her life. She really began to understand. Nigel was on FIRE. At the beginning of the lesson, he wasn't really "in it". But about a quarter of the way into it, he was giving everything he had! He was asking so many inspired questions, and he was rocking it! One of my favorite things he said was when we invited Aganita to church this Sunday. She was concerned and asked "Will there be anyone that I know?" Nigel immediately raised his hand and told her that he would be there and that she could sit with him. I was seriously on the verge of tears and I am again even as I'm typing this. The love that Nigel was showing was incredible.
One of the questions that we asked Aganita was what she felt when we came over and taught her. We asked if she had any specific feelings when we came over to teach her the gospel. She responded by telling us that she could see our dedication as missionaries, and that inspired her. I was so honored. It was then that Nigel popped in again. He said to Aganita "You do know that they don't get paid for this, right?" Aganita looked shocked. Nigel spoke again "These guys leave their family for 2 years and pay out of pocket to be able to do this." Elder Smith and I then explained our situation as missionaries. I then told her why I had come on a mission. I'll now tell you what I told Aganita:

I am serving a mission for Jesus Christ. I serve him full-time for 2 years because I love Him, and I would do ANYTHING for Him. He has been with me every minute of my life, and He has blessed my life and my family. I have the blessings of the gospel, the blessings of an Eternal Family, and I have a personal relationship with DEITY. And because of that, I am here to share that joy with others.

Aganita agreed to come to church, and that if she received a witness of the truthfulness of the gospel, she would be baptized on May 23.

This is another one of those sacred experiences of my mission. I am seeing the gospel message change the lives of those that I teach.

The moral to this story is that if you can make room for the gospel message in your heart, you will see God's hand in your life. He will confirm the truth of the gospel to you. If that were not true, I would not be on my Mission.

I love you all! I hope everything is going well. Please remember Aganita and Kira in your prayers. They need them!

-Elder Warenski

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Writing on Stone was AWESOME! We didn't see any of the Aboriginal writings... Hmmm... Maybe our guide didn't know where they were. That's weird. But we had a good time. It was awesome to run through the Hoodoos. They are awesome, and it wasn't even hot. It was a nice temp and we were loving it. 

Elder Smith is awesome! I must admit, I thought I was going to die for the first 2 or so days. He was pretty tough. He's a little awkward, but he got more and more awesome as the days went by. He'll be my companion for the Mother's Day FaceTime, so you'll get to meet him:) And I have to say, part of the reason why we started getting along so well was because there is this side of Elder Smith that reminds me of Josh. He has this hilarious side that is just like him. After that, everything got way easier. We are total homies now, and the work EXPLODED when he got here. Mom, seriously. I have never been so busy in my entire mission. In fact, we are SO busy that I keep on forgetting things and places because of how much I have to remember! When you are training, you sort of have to think for everyone, so it can get kinda tedious. But Elder Smith is really coming along and I am having a BALL teaching him about missionary work. We are becoming more and more dynamic every day, and he has a desire to work. I couldn't ask for better. He's from Nova Scotia. Coal Harbor - a suburb of Halifax. He's been to Scotland, so we are making more plans to get over there;) I swear Mom, it's meant to be. It pops up EVERYWHERE.

That is SICK that Cierra went on a single date!!! lol That is awesome! If anyone gets too touchy feely, let me know and I'll send out a few emails. I have people. Let all of her dates know that.
And those porcelain dolls you found under the house are seriously terrifying. I remember them. They scare me spitless. I remember Mikaila and I playing under the house once, and finding them and running out screaming. So so so scary. I don't blame Mikaila telling Dad to be careful on the way home with them. I am an eye-witness of their horror.

So I actually have a SUPER funny story for you this week! This is probably the funniest story that I have got on my mission thus far. I will later record it on the USB recorder so that you guys can hear it straight from me to you, but for now I'll type it out and you guys can enjoy it;)

This happened Friday night (04/10). It was Elder Smith's first day of proselyting, and we were contacting people on the Potential Investigator's list from our Area book. We come to a little apartment complex. We go down into the basement entrance and knock on the door. We hear a voice yell from inside "If it's the landlord, I'm smokin' in here!" Elder Smith looked at me terrified. Next thing we know, someone opens the door. He was about average height, extremely thin, and his sandy blond hair was all in a commotion. He had a cigarette between his fingers and before we could even say a word he looked at us and said "Oh.... come on in." So we walked in. His house was filled with smoke, despite the fact that he'd placed himself on a chair next to the back door. It was open, because from what we gathered his landlord didn't want him smoking in his flat;) He sat back down on his chair in the kitchen and continued his smoke. We kinda stood there for a few seconds and waiting for him to say something, but he didn't, so I asked if we could pull up a chair. He said "Of course! Of course!" and so we sat down with him. Now, based on my interaction with him, I could tell he wasn't all there. Looking into his eyes was like looking into foggy windows. So we started to try and talk to him about The Book of Mormon. He told us that he had already read the book. We were surprised/confused, and so we showed him a copy of the book. "No! Not that!" he said. He then scurried into his living room and pulled a book off of a cluttered shelf. It was quite literally entitled "The Book". Lol. I was trying so hard not to laugh through this whole experience. You'll see more why. He began to ramble more and more, going on about how he was an atheist and how he was reading "The Book" to try and better understand the Bible. I leafed through some pages of "The Book" and could see that it was basically just another interpretation of the Old Testament. The guy was baked.... absolutely baked. So I started asking him some questions to try and figure out what he knew. He then doubled back and said he wasn't an atheist... I was quickly beginning to understand that we couldn't take him seriously as an investigator. He told us about his hard life and how he had quit pot.... We wondered what he had replaced pot with, because he was very obviously not sober. When we started talking to him about the contents of the Book of Mormon, he cut us off and told us that he was way far beyond our understanding. Then he related the experience of how one time he had eaten two bowls of mushrooms and got super stoned. He said that he then traveled to the center of the universe and saw a door. He went through the door and saw God, lying asleep on top of an orb of light (by this time, I am seriously holding back my laughter with every ounce of control I have). In his own words he said "I saw this guy with a long-a**  beard laying on an orb of light. It was God. He was asleep at the wheel." (LOLOLOLOLOL) Then he said he saw things that he can't even tell us because they are so far beyond our understanding, but he gave us "hints" like saying that it was technology that we couldn't possibly understand. Then he said he exited the center of the Universe through "whispering hands", hahahahahahaha. I needed to laugh, so I told him that we had an appointment and that we had to go. He told us that if we ever wanted to know what the Universe was REALLY about, we should come back later and he would tell us. So we left. I looked at Elder Smith's face and he was dumbfounded, hahaha. His first day of proselyting and he gets something like that?! What a lucky guy! I mean, yeah, we probably could have been shanked or shot or something, but you know, it was pretty hilarious! We have been laughing about it for days. Just thought I would let you all know how much fun I'm having;) And what the effect of drugs has on the human mind.
Love to all,
Elder Warenski

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Me standing in front of the "Happy Barn" in Barnwell.

Moccasins handmade for me by my tribe.
They are made of deer hide.

Downtown Calgary. I would be terrified to
serve in the city. I prefer the south.

Elder Ellison. Super funny guy. One of our
group that visited Writing on Stone.

Elder Ellison brought a brown sheet and
light saber to "toy" around with.

So we took some nerdy pictures.

Writing On Stone. These are called Hoodoos.

Elder Reid standing on a hoodoo.

Lounging over a cliff.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cardston Temple Trip

Looking happy and healthy

I am SO PSYCHED for the new house. Seriously. I looked at the pictures and it felt good, so I approve;) Especially since "my room" will be almost double the size of my old room;D It's going to be kinda sad to see the other house go, but I'm too happy about the prospects of a new start to be too sad. Not to mention, my apple tree at the old house got cut down to a nub that one time, so my childhood died with it's branches (no, I will never let that go). Glad Cierra finally came to terms. I miss Jared Gaskill and Nathan Agle so bad! They are so freaking awesome for being supportive of your move! It's good to know they will still come visit. And you're right. If it is God's will, nothing is going to stand in His way! I don't quite think President Nicholas would let me fly back down for a week to help you move.... He's a pretty reasonable guy, but that might be a little out of reach. But I'm sure you could get help from loads of people. Just MAKE SURE YOU ASK. Seriously. Don't do it all yourself.

Alright so here is the big news!!!

This transfer, President Nicholas asked me to train! WOOHOO! I'm actually super excited! I get a missionary fresh out of the MTC that has greeny fire! Someone who will want to work - hopefully - and that I get to mold and shape.  It's going to be a ball. I will be picking him up Wednesday at 1 o'clock in Calgary. Which is going to be awesome. It's about a 2 - 2 1/2 hour drive up there (which is kind of really annoying) but we'll live. He'll stay the night with Elder Reid and I, and then we will take Elder Reid to transfer station on Thursday where he will be transferred somewhere in the South. No new area though. I'll be training this new Elder in Taber. Which will be fun:)
Conference was awesome! The dissenting votes at conference were pretty surprising to Elder Reid and I as well. We were sitting with the Sister Missionaries in the chapel when it went down. The Church Handbook of Instructions Vol. 2 states that giving a dissenting vote in General Conference is appropriate, but I just wish they could find a better way of doing it than disturbing the spirit of conference by just shouting at the pulpit. There has got to be a better system than that. But yes, President Uchtdorf handled it wonderfully. I'm not worried about it, and neither should anyone else! Thomas Spencer Monson is the Prophet of the Living God. God knows it. President Monson knows it. I know it. And anyone who questions it can have the answer through faith, prayer, and obedience. I have my answer, and I am firm in my testimony. Hopefully those people had their concerns heard and they are moving toward a peaceful solution. I just don't like the fact that so many people are jumping on the "President Monson is sick, so that must mean he is a lunatic and can't speak, or lead the church anymore" train. Not a single person outside of President Monson's family, the Quorum of the Twelve, and President Monson's doctors probably even know what is happening. Everything is pretty speculative at this point. And besides. He is God's prophet. Nothing is going to happen that the Lord is not going to take care of. People just need to calm down. He is still my Prophet, and their Prophet. And that doesn't change based on Tom, Dick, and Harry's assessment of President Monson's health.
Elder Holland's talk was inspiring to say the least. I am always amazed by what an incredible story-teller he is. Sterling and I were talking about it yesterday night at dinner, and we both were so touched by the way he told the story. Any general authority could have told that story, but only Elder Holland could tell that story with so much power. I love that man so much. He has touched my life.

I am DEFINITELY happy and positive:) There is no greater thing I could be doing right now, except maybe helping my mother move;) Haha. 

On a side note, I bought new razors this week and with glazed over eyes started singing to them "These are my friends, see how they glisten! See this one shine, how it smiles in the light. My Friends!" hahaha.

Love you all,
-Elder Warenski

P.S. Pictures on the way.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Glad Dolly is over. I could tell that you guys were having a go of it, so I'm glad that all of that stress is behind you. I know it was hard, but of all of the accounts I have heard - from you, Benjamin Griffin, Blythe, etc. - I've been really proud of the way our theater department responded. Blythe told me about the day at the Temple grounds where everyone sang hymns and offered prayer. What an incredible group. They have it figured out. In a time of trouble, petition the Lord and He will never let you down. Also proud of the volunteers who got the lights up in time for the show (Blythe said it was several hours of work so that is amazing). I will begin praying for the Lord to provide someone to give the theater the needed money for the lighting system. He will provide. I know He will. I'll also send out an email to Jonah, Kristian, Tyler, and Will. We'll all be praying for it. We all owe a lot to the theater. Blythe is so amazing.... What a girl! She mentioned in her email that Dolly would be her last show with Merit in High School, and that cut me deep! It reminded me of how that felt with 7 Brides! So crazy. It's all so surreal.
I am kinda apprehensive about transfers, but that is normal. Transfers are always horror. Not knowing who you will be with is the scariest part. New areas are not even a stress. I seriously would be fine with serving anywhere. It's just the companion. That's the scary part. But I'll be alright. I trust God, and I've already survived 5 transfers, so I'll be fine. Elder Reid seriously isn't that bad. We all have our moments. He's a homie;D

I can't believe Enoch is almost home! That is insane! I still remember the day I said goodbye to him. It was right before Joseph opened. NUTS. I'll bet Kate is excited;D Ginger and Nitsua have been emailing me all the time. They tell me what's going on at work and stuff, so I'm getting updates. They have no excuse to be slacking on keeping in touch with you! They're in the same bloody city! I read Benjamin's epistle and loved EVERY WORD. Seriously, it was a bomb. Such a blast to hear from him. He's such a good guy. If only we could all be as good as Ben Griffin. We'd all be headed straight for heaven.

I have pictures, but I am working on getting them on. So many issues. But they are coming! And I have pictures from "Writing On Stone". It was so cool! It looks like Goblin Valley. There are tons of Hoodoos everywhere and it was loads of fun to run through them right next to Milk River. It was a blast. Not any plans for Easter. Probably just same old same old. We will be going to the Stake Center for Conference. Just like last time with Elder Gibbs. It is like the SUPERBOWL for missionaries, so we'll probably get some junk food and line it up in between us on the pew. We will feast on the spirit and on our junk food;D 

I got Aunt Kellie's package! It was so awesome. Seriously. Just hearing from all of the family was a blast. I especially loved Jake's. He can rest assured that all the time that he spent trying to get the hand-writing right payed off. I could read every word! I am just surprised his egg was wrapped in a walmart bag and duct taped shut;D

Nothing super incredible happened this week. Just kinda the same old grind. Just gearing up for Conference and trying to do better every day. The mission gets better with every day that passes. I seriously can't believe I'm already 7 months out.... It's incredible to me. I've dreamed all my life about coming on a mission, but now I'm already 7 months done, and not nearly the missionary I want to be by the end of it! Anyway, I hope all is well, and if it isn't, it will be;)

-Elder Warenski