“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, 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