“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