“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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

SO. The big news. I have been posted in the Calgary South Zone. It isn't the epicenter of the chaotic city, but it is still chaotic city. It is crazy. There is always so much going on and crazy things happening. Calgary is probably just as big if not bigger than SLC. But it's a million times more hectic. The traffic is murder and the streets are confusing. HOWEVER, I am beginning to get used to it:) I now know how to get to our house from anywhere in the city, and also to the Mission Office, Mission Home, and our church. There's so much to tell you! I'm trying to get it all organized in my head! 

So my new companion is Elder Douglas Clarke. He is from Abetsford B.C. His mom moved while he is on his mission too;D He's originally from Mission, B.C. Another Canadian companion! He's really super chill. I don't think I've ever heard him raise his voice or yell or even speak loudly at all. Which means he's quite a bit different than I am;D Which is good! We are the best of friends already and are having a ball serving together. I couldn't have wished for a better missionary to train me on how to be a Zone Leader. Also! Because we are Zone Leaders, we serve in a YSA ward. It's call the Fish Creek Park YSA ward. Church was a ball. I'm meeting so many people who have been on incredible missions and have done incredible things. This one guy we went to dinner with served in Scotland, and he showed me where to find Irn Bru! That's the "national soda" of Scotland. Apparently in Scotland it out-sells Coke and Pepsi. Which is insane!

Anyway, here is some other news. When I arrived at the apartment (yes, we actually had our own apartment to begin with) I found out that we had to be moved out by the 30th. That wouldn't have been a big deal except for the ENORMOUS mess that had been massed in the apartment. Why am I always the lucky guy who gets to clean up everyone's mess? Elder Clarke wasn't to blame though. He said that he and his previous companion had been cleaning it all out and trying to get things sorted out. The process had been going on for months. So basically what happened was we had to clean out a flat that had been lived in by missionaries for just about 15 years. There was SO MUCH JUNK, Mom. Like seriously. I felt like I was on an episode of Clean House. It was that bad. We called our Zone and they were super good to us. They helped us clean everything out basically all day Saturday. It was great because we got the old apartment basically cleared out but I also got to know the Zone. The only problem was that because we had to worry about speed, we just had everyone load everything up into the mission vehicles and then chuck it in our new flat. Which created an enormous mess in the new apartment, which is a basement suite beneath some members. So that was intense. And to top it all off, Elder Clarke had been vomiting all morning so we got a late start. But the poor guy was a trooper and we got most everything cleaned out. Then last night we spent the remainder of the night just tidying up all of the things that had been thrown into our new apartment. So now it's clean - for the most part - and we're happy it's over.

Gee, I hope that made sense. Probably not. So in summary, just know that it was hard, it sucked, it was 30 degrees centigrade, but we made it through, and that's all that matters:)

ALSO! This is important! Now that I'm in the North, I am able to receive mail EVERY FRIDAY! WOOHOO!!!!!! We pick up mail from the mission office on a weekly basis. So you can write me as much as you want and I will receive it at LEAST within 2 weeks if not less than that. So that should be exciting.

The other thing that I've been thinking about a lot lately is how our thoughts and perception change everything around us. The way we think is inseparably connected to the way we live. If we can cultivate better thoughts and cultivate virtue rather than vice, we can become something - through Christ - that is greater than anything we could become on our own.

Thank you for everything that you do for me! I love you!

-Elder Warenski

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sara. Ready for baptism.
So big news in the Mission/Area/Transfers! Here it all is:
News in the Area:

Sara was baptized! The baptism was amazing! I made a pretty funny mistake though;D I knew I'd be the one to screw it up... The baptism was fantastic and everything went according to plan. Until I had to change that is.... I forgot a dry shirt. I had to just go into the meeting wearing a dry jumpsuit, lol. It was pretty funny. But all in all, it turned out spectacular! She is extremely happy and tomorrow night we'll have dinner with her and Brother Zaugg, our Ward Mission Leader. We'll be blessing her home at the same time. So glad to see some success in Taber:)

News in the Mission:

President Miles got to the mission today. At least, that is what the A.P.'s said to us before we went to Makisu that one time;D Can't wait to meet him and see how he is! It will be an awesome change for the mission and a great beginning for all the missionaries.

Also, yesterday I got an email from the Assistants. They informed me that effective this transfer I will be serving as a Zone Leader. Holy cow.... I was only JUST BEGINNING to get the District Leader stuff down.... and now this, lol. That's fine. Heavenly Father will help me through and help me to be the missionary He needs me to be. No worries here:) God is at the helm:) Apparently - and this is just what I've heard - it's pretty odd for someone to only be a DL for one transfer and then get re-assigned as a Zone Leader. So here goes nothing.

Transfer News:

So because they've made me a ZL, I am going to be transferred. I got the call this morning that I will be getting transferred North. This will be the first area in the North that I have ever served in. And there are only certain Zone Leader areas, so I only have a few options. These are ALL of the Zones in the mission:

Zones in the North:
Calgary Zone
Calgary North
Calgary South
Calgary East
Calgary West
Foothills Zone

Zones in the South:
Lethbridge Zone
Lethbridge East
Cardston Zone
B.C. Zone
Medicine Hat Zone

So because I got the call North, we know it isn't any of the Southern Zones. But the only Zone Leader Slots open in the North are Calgary West, Calgary South, and Calgary East. Calgary West is where Elder Gibbs - my trainer - is serving, so if I went there I would be his Zone Leader, and that would be cool. On the other hand, I could be sent to Calgary East. It is literally the most ghetto part of the mission. There is a ton of shady stuff that goes down over there. And then there is always Calgary South. That is the Zone where the Mission President lives. If I get sent there I will most likely have a lot of interaction with the new Mission President, so that will be an adventure. We'll see who I get as a companion and what area I get! And we'll see how the ZL thing goes, haha;D

I'll keep you posted on where I go! If I can't email you, then you'll be able to see my "current city" on facebook change.

Other than all those things, it's pretty much the same;D

I love you all and I am learning so much up here! I'm seeing myself grow and become something better than I ever imagined and I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ. He is helping me through it all! If it weren't for him, my failures and shortcomings would be permanent.

-Elder Warenski

Cameron Lake

Elder Smith and some Sister Missionaries Nate didn't name.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

It's good to hear that all is well with Quincy! I was really worried about her. Elder Smith and I read the email and we immediately kneeled down and prayed for her in the Family History Center. It was scary. I can only imagine what Mikaila and Justin were feeling.

ALRIGHTY THEN! I have a whole slew of good news this week!

Update on Sara:

So this is going to be the long part. Because there's so much good stuff!

Sara was interviewed by President Nicholas on Sunday for baptism. She passed with flying colors! She will be baptized this Saturday at 4 p.m.! We are ECSTATIC! She is really excited/nervous, and is reaping the blessings of a gospel-centered life! But it gets better! This last Sunday, the Taber Stake Presidency was reorganized. Because of this change, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Vern P. Stanfill of the First Quorum of the Seventy came to reorganize the Stake. We invited Sara to Stake Conference and told her that there would be visiting area authorities who worked directly with the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. She was so happy to come! So we attended the Sunday session of Stake Conference. Brother Zaugg - our incredible Ward Mission Leader - saved seats for us that were just 3 rows behind the sacrament table. We saw the Stake Presidency reorganized and then we heard from the General Authorities. Their talks were touching and inspiring. But the best part was what happened next.
I wanted Elder Hallstrom to shake Sara's hand SO BAD. I knew it would be a huge testimony builder. I mean, heck. His family was only sitting 2 rows in front of us. We had to be able to catch him. The meeting ended and everyone was rushing around in the chapel. I stood and began keeping track of everywhere he was going. Then he finally came down to get his wife. I jumped out into the sea of people in the aisle and then jumped into the pew directly behind his family where he was bending over talking to his grandmother who had come to attend the meeting. He looked up at me and I extended my hand.

"Would you be willing to shake hands with our investigator?" I asked. I was already having a battle within myself. I was trying not to "fangirl" because the moment I shook his hand I realized that the same hand I was holding had probably shook the hand of Elder Holland.... Which made the fangirl inside me squeal...

"Absolutely! I'll be right over," he said.

I was so excited!

So Elder Hallstrom plowed his way through the oncoming tide of people coming through the aisle with Elder Stanfill in tow. He finally made it to Sarah, Elder Smith, and I.

He smiled at Sara and shook her hand. He asked how far along she was in her investigation of the church. Sara looked at me a little starstruck, so I told Elder Hallstrom that she was having her baptismal interview with President Nicholas that same day. He smiled again and looked at her. He then said this (as well as I can remember it) to her:

"We are so proud of you for becoming a member of the church. Now, listen. We want you FOREVER. Not just for a little while. FOREVER. You are about to make a life-long commitment. But it will be the best decision you will ever make in your life."

Sara just looked dumbfounded. We all did. It was incredible. He had to leave so he then walked over to me. I shook his hand and told him thank you, and then he left with Elder Stanfill.

It was incredible. Sara had an incredibly spiritual experience on Sunday, and I am so glad that success is coming. For her. For Elder Smith and I. For everyone. And now she is set to be baptized at 4 o'clock on Saturday evening. I am so happy and I'm very grateful for all of the help that Heavenly Father has given us all in this process. This will be number two:)

And the best part is? Mikaila's prayer came true. Sara has two sons, Lincoln(2) and Viktor(1). We are helping to make an Eternal Family:)

The only other thing that happened that is mentionable was that we went to Waterton, except this time we went even more places. We hiked Bear's Hump just like last time, but we also went to Cameron Lake and the Red Rock Canyon. It was AMAZING. We saw 5 BEARS while we were up there. And 2 of them were a mother and her cub. They were right in the town and the forest service had to chase them away. It was awesome. I'll send you a bunch of pictures that Elder Smith took, as I am still out of a camera.

I love you! Take care!

-Elder Warenski

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

So weird that school is out... That's crazy. This is the first time that I've been away when school has been out. I wish I would have been there for graduation, but I saw some of Xanthe's speech on Facebook, and it was awesome.

Cierra is making a pipe, eh? Well that ought to be fun.... To uh.... Fake smoke with. I know from experience! Do you remember that one time that Jared Gaskill gave me that pipe for Christmas and I tried to smoke oregano? Yeah me too.... I remember sucking a bunch of oregano into my mouth. Worst. Moment. Ever.

The DL position is going alright. Pretty darn humbling. I am realizing more and more what a cruddy teacher I am, so Heavenly Father is really refining me. I've been getting some good counsel from my Zone Leaders. I really do love Elder Weidner. He helps me out so much. He'll never know how much I look up to him, but I really do.
Which brings me to my story for this week! Well, a combination of stories....

It's another hilarious one, so you are welcome:) I will be telling this story till the day I die.

Friday night, Elder Smith and I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I went to Lethbridge with Elder Weidner and Elder Smith stayed in Taber with Elder Fairbanks. As Weidner and I were driving to Lethbridge, we talked for a while and really got to know each other. We had a ball. We got back to their apartment in Lethbridge and got winding down. Elder Moss and Elder Harris were still staying at their flat because of the violence that had happened there a little over a month ago. It was a good time;) The best part was this. Weidner, Moss, and Harry were all in the bedroom talking, but I had to have a wee, so I went into the bathroom. I sat down - yes, I sat down. Don't judge. I was tired... - ready to go. But then I saw tiny little legs underneath the baseboard of the wall opposite me. I panicked. They began to move out from under the board, and a huge, red, nasty, centipede was revealed. It was disturbing. But the most disturbing thing was that it ran AT me. Like, full on attack mode. So I just stopped having my wee - because I was so scared - and I pulled up my pants and ran out of the bathroom. I screamed for the others in the bedroom saying "QUICK! COME HERE! IT'S ENORMOUS," which I quickly realized was an incredibly unfortunate wording, and they all looked at me weird. I told them it was a huge bug. Then Elder Weidner went HAM. He has a pretty irrational - but in this case VERY rational - fear of insects. When we looked back in the bathroom, we saw it crawl underneath the base of the toilet. It was out of reach now. But Elder Weidner could not leave it there alive. Elder Harris was sleeping on the floor, and if we left it alive, we were convinced he would be dead by morning. So Weidner grabbed a knife and began scraping the blade all over underneath the toilet. Nothing happened. We had to get under the toilet somehow. So here is what Weidner decided to do.
He ran into the bedroom and grabbed his lighter and a can of shoe odor-reducer. He then knelt on the floor of the bathroom and proceeded to spray a spout of flame under the toilet. It was beautiful. This went on for around 20 minutes. No lie. We only went to bed once we were totally convinced that the little bugger (pun intended) was dead.
The next day we woke up and did studies and all that jazz. We proselyted the whole day through. We went to a place called Henderson Lake in Lethbridge. It's a park right next to the lake. We street contacted there for hours, and the night was winding down. It was at this time that we got a call from the Assistants to the President. They told us that they had mail for us and that they would meet up with us at the park. They got to the park and we got our mail in our car. Then Elder Kelly - the AP's are Elder Kelly and Elder Smith - asked us where we wanted to eat. There weren't a whole lot of options in Lethbridge since everyone with me ate there all the time.
But there was one place.
Makisu Sushi House.

I have told you about it before. It was the first restaurant I had ever eaten at in Canada. But what I didn't know is that there is a challenge in the mission. Makisu is all you can eat, and Kelly and Smith wanted not only to eat there, but to set a record for the highest amount of Sushi rolls ever eaten by Missionaries there. So Makisu it was.

We arrived at the Sushi House and took our seats. All of us had broad smiles and a determination to do what we had come there to do. And that was to eat 300 Sushi Rolls between the 4 of us. Makisu is a buffet, and we were all hungry. So we began ordering. Every kind of sushi you could imagine. Crab, shrimp, salmon, tuna, California rolls.... It was all there. Kelly wasn't a huge fan of fish, so they even had chicken rolls. We were eating at an incredible rate.

As we began getting more and more full, we realized that 300 sushi rolls was going to be an impossible goal. We're missionaries. We know when goals are realistic or unrealistic. So we altered our count to 200. We HAD to make it to two hundred. Minutes passed... We kept on slamming roll after roll. But we were nearing our goal. Now the crazy things began to happen. Elder Weidner ordered some sushi that he particularly didn't like. It was on accident, but we didn't know how to recover. It was a really grimy sushi. It had pieces of mango on the top, and Weidner hates mango. Smith had also eaten a Tempura roll, which is enormous. It's the width of a coaster for a drink, except much more thick. So they were both really struggling. Weidner was really hurting, but he said he could finish off the grimy sushi if we would keep going to get to the goal. Smith then told us that he'd help Weidner. It was up to Kelly and I to finish the order off. We decided to order chicken rolls for the remaining count. We could slam them for days. So we ordered. The sushi came and we began.

At this point, Elder Weidner was DYING.... He ate the last sushi of his share, and almost threw up all over the table in the process, but he manned up and held it down like a boss. Bet then tragedy stuck. The waitress approached us with one more platter of sushi and told us that we had ordered it. These were the final count to reach the 200 count. The only problem was that it was a whole platter of the grimiest sushi on the menu. The roll was a black wrap filled with rice and a raw piece of pink fish meat. The texture of these rolls is enough to kill you. But we couldn't just let the goal down.

Elder Weidner.... That blessed, blessed man... Decided that he was going to help us. But before he did, he decided he was going to clear his palette.... And he did this by taking a chunk of Wasabi out of the dish in front of him and chucking it into his mouth.

Smith, Kelly, and I SCREAMED for him not to do it. But he did it...

His eyes were panicked at first..... And then they closed. The chopsticks fell from his trembling hands onto the table. His hands raised slightly and slowly, hands open, palms to the sky. It was so slow and serene. He then opened his eyes and tears began to stream down his eyes as he looked to heaven for help.

At this point Kelly, Smith and I are laughing our guts out. Which really only made us feel more sick in the long run, but it was worth it. While Weidner was recovering, Kelly and I finished off the chicken rolls. Now the only thing left was the dreaded black wrap rolls. We each took turns plugging our noses and snarfing them as fast as we could. At one point, poor Weidner - he really is a team player. So incredible - insisted that he help some more. He popped another into his mouth, almost barfed AGAIN, and swallowed successfully. Then the pain hit. He leaned against the wall and just looked at me. He then quoted the Lord of the Rings, the Two Towers when Frodo and Sam are in Osgiliath:

"I can't do this, Elder Warenski..."

Elder Kelly began laughing so severely here we thought he would vomit. He was in tears.

I looked back at him and said "I know, Elder Weidner.... We shouldn't even be here..... But we are...."

It was all very dramatic. As you can tell.

At this point Elder Smith said he needed some alone time in the bathroom. He left and then 10-15 minutes later came back and reported that he had thrown up. But it was alright! The goal still stood because he didn't barf up any sushi. Apparently it was all just bile. He pounded one more roll, and then Elder Kelly had the last one. He couldn't do it. He hated fish so much.

So I took it. I tossed it in my mouth, plugged my nose, chewed, and swallowed with all the might that I could muster.

We had done it. 200 sushi rolls at Makisu. We have gone down in History. Mission Legends.

I have attached some pictures. The order of Elders is thus:

Elder Smith, Elder Weidner, Elder Warenski, Elder Kelly

In the 2nd picture, Elder Weidner is making the exact gesture that he made when he foolishly downed the Wasabi.

I hope you all enjoyed the story! I love you all!

-Elder Warenski