“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, 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

Monday, August 3, 2015

So I just need to do a shout out for Tara Greenwood this week. Your Facebook message was hilarious. I was actually laughing pretty darn hard at my computer and really just thinking about how hard I hit my head on that screen door, hahaha. Only some will understand ;)

This week was pretty normal. Something exciting, though, we are working with this member.... He's incredible. He was in the Arizona Tempe mission. He has become a huge role model for me. Everything that I want to be. He was trained to use facebook by the head of proselyting of the church, and he's been meeting with President Miles about Facebook. President is using him and it's so exciting! Just to give you a taste.... Last week, we found 8 New Investigators, Taught 10 Member Present Lessons, and 3 Less-Actives on Facebook. That was in 3 HOURS. That's it! It's like lightning! And all but one of those people is from Calgary! But the dreaded news has finally come. Due to some pretty stupid disobedience and some missionaries who just can't get their crap together, Facebook is to be shut down completely by this coming Monday.... Which is really sad.... Because we were seriously TEARING IT UP on Facebook. But it's okay. Sometimes our obedience is more important than our understanding. This decision has really led me to think a lot about faith. C.S. Lewis said "Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances." I thought a lot about that quote when things went sour with Facebook. Clarke and I were super bummed out because it is such an amazing tool. But we don't need to understand. We are going to hold on to the fact that we KNOW that President Miles is inspired and forget the rest. Because that's what we decided and we're stickin' to it! :) We'll have to see how things go.

I think the same thing happens all the time in the world. Elder Clarke and I were talking the other day about how it seems like there is no one in the world today who stands on principle. I look on all of the great stories that I hold in my heart and all of the amazing people I've met in my life and I think that one thing unites them all. They are all men and women of principle. It doesn't matter what happens. They stick to their guns. They stick to what they know is right. And that is inspiring! So we are trying to be more like our heroes this week, and I invite you to do the same thing! 

Now to say some things about Banff!

Banff was absolutely GORGEOUS. Breathtaking. Sad to say, it was pretty rainy when we went, but it wasn't bad because we had the most fun in the Hotel. Basically we got into some mischief in the hotel with Spencer, the member who took us. He is absolutely crazy! We went into all the back rooms and took a ton of goofy pictures! The pictures of us in sombreros was taken in a storage room in the back of the hotel that I'm pretty much 110% sure that we weren't supposed to be in. It was amazing. I haven't had so much fun in a long time. Spencer is a ham. We would walk into the fanciest parts of the hotel and he would randomly just start singing Phantom of the Opera songs at the top of his lungs. When asked why he did it he just said he felt fancy, hahahaha. He also loves to yell things out the window while he's driving, but that's another story ;)

In other news, I have found myself saying "eh" a TON more. It's actually kind of alarming sometimes.... I'm becoming.... ONE OF THEM...... 0.0

Sorry I had to write a quick one today... It's getting really really hectic.... But I love you so much!