“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

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Well, the time is finally here. 2 years have come and gone, and now everything is coming to the most wonderful and fulfilling close. I honestly am just kind of speechless. In a lot of ways, the end isn't even real still. It hasn't hit me. But in other ways it has. There have been so many great friends that I have made out here. My Brothers, my companions. It's been great to be able to serve with them. Each one has inspired me and taught me in their own way. They've all made me a better person.

Well, I don't have much to say other than my testimony. The most important thing I have.

I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that there is a God in Heaven who is our literal Father. He loves us. If there are any that are reading this that still wonder about the reality of these things, then put your wondering to rest. Go to Him. Ask Him. Be sincere. He will answer.
I know these truths independent of any man, because it wasn't man that revealed them to me. I know these truths because God made them known to me. Through every experience of my life He has shown me what is really true. He has taught me that Family is of the utmost importance. He has taught me that His Son really did do everything that He set out to do and that because of His sacrifice, we can be saved and healed.
This gospel is not about a church. It is about the Son of God. He is real. He lives. He loves YOU.

I'm grateful that I know these things. I am grateful that my life has been altered forever because of the things that I have experienced on my mission. I'm grateful to my family for all of their support and love. It has carried me many times.

I love you all, and I can't wait to see you!

See you Friday!

-Elder Nathan Warenski

Monday, August 15, 2016

I'm glad that you were able to make it to Kristian's homecoming. I can't wait to see him again. Heck, I can't wait to MEET him again. I feel like with all of these missionaries returning, it isn't going to be so much like a reunion as it will be like being introduced to someone all over again. We're all going to be so different but so much the same simultaneously. Crazy stuff!
Funny that you mention the nightly hug I would give you before my mission. That has actually transferred to my companions while I've been out. I don't go to bed without telling them that I love them - in a totally manly way, of course ;D. It's guy love, that's all it is.... well you know the rest ;).
The schedule for next week goes like this! Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are all regular proselyting days, but on Thursday morning I have to be at the mission home at 8:45 a.m. From there we begin the 3 hour drive down to Cardston. We pick up some missionaries in For McLeod, and then we meet up with Sister Connors and Sister Kendrick in Cardston as they are serving in BC. We'll do a session at the Temple, and then we get a special talk from the Temple President in the Sealing room. I'm excited for that! What an awesome opportunity to be there with your Mission President, a Temple President, and all of your friends to just talk about everything that is holy. It's going to be incredible. After that, we will drive back from the Temple to the mission home. We'll probably get back around 6:00 p.m. and then have dinner after President does interviews with the BC Sisters. Then we'll have the departing fireside with President and Sister Miles. President shows us a few videos by the Prophet and Apostles about going home and then we have a testimony meeting. That night the Elders will be staying at a hotel on McLeod Trail in Calgary, and the Sisters will be staying at an office couple's house. We'll get up in the morning, and then there are several different groups that will be leaving because they have different times. Because of the tight time limit in between our group and the group before us, we will at the airport at 9:00 a.m. even though our flight leaves at around 2:00 p.m. but that should be alright. We all have plenty of stories to tell and plenty of things we all need to catch up on. The flight will leave at 2, we'll land at around 4:20, and then bam. The moment we've all been waiting for ;) So that's the plans!
We can for sure go to the temple on the Monday when I get back! That sounds great. Especially if Grandpa is going to be Sealing. That will be awesome. 
It's amazing how everything is coming together so beautifully! Let me re-cap what happened last week.
So this last week was full of twists and turns, but they were all good. Elder Shah and I got a call on Monday morning from President. He told us that we would be getting another companion. So the next day after our district meetings, we went and picked up Elder De Young. He is actually from Spanish Fork! He's a funny guy. We all get a long really well and it has been a blast. Elder De Young was sent to us because the actual transfer day doesn't happen until September 1st. So President sent us Elder De Young so that when I leave Elder Shah won't be flying solo. We've all been having a great time together. On Friday we went on exchanges with the Assistants. I was able to go with Elder Cervantes to Woodbine and have dinner with the McLachlan's. That was a pretty awesome reunion. They are doing so well. It was one of those "full-circle" moments as Elder Cervantes calls them. Elder Cervantes is from Costa Rica and goes home with my group. We talked a lot about how everything in the mission is beginning to just fulfill. Seeing the McLachlan's and how happy they are and how much the gospel is a part of their lives has really inspired me. The Lord really is working with everyone we love. After exchanges with Elder Cervantes we had a lesson just last night that was incredible. We were teaching Meyna and her son Caleb. It was an amazing lesson. Caleb seriously was giving some of the best answers to our questions that I have heard on my mission, and he is only 10. Like seriously, when we showed him a picture of the First Vision and asked him what he saw, he said "I see God the Father and God the Son." I almost died. He's one of the brightest kids I've ever met. We taught them all about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration, and Caleb is now reading the Book of Mormon. They're still on track to be baptized soon after I return home.
We're seeing miracles up here, no doubt! The Lord is in this work, and I'm so grateful how close to Him I have grown because of my missionary service. A week from today I will write my final email as a missionary, so I'll save all of the "touchy feely" stuff for next week, but I'm just very grateful for all that has happened in my time here.

Love you all!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, August 8, 2016


 That is so crazy that Kristian is home! What a guy. It's so good to hear that everyone is getting home alright and that we're all finishing up so well! I'll bet Tara is just beside herself with joy! That's sad to hear about Aunt Kellie. I hope she will feel better quickly and I'll for sure pray for her. That's awesome that Uncle John has been doing all that family history. It will be good to find more and more people from our own family. I would have loved to have been there, but soon enough we'll all be together in the Temple :) I can't wait to take Cierra to do baptisms. Really looking forward to it. 

Thanks for buying a memory foam pad for my bed. Honestly, I was a total wuss before I came out here, Mom. I have slept on the floor, couches, couch cushions on the floor, and so many other weird places that now I think I could sleep anywhere! But thank you for the memory foam ;) That was the best. I actually had a memory foam pad on my bed in Cranbrook (over a rock hard mattress) and that is the best that I have slept on my mission thus far.

I'm seriously exhausted, Mom. Like, seriously. I have never worked so hard in my life. Elder Shah and I sit down together every Sunday night and review everything that we've done in the last week, and it legitimately makes us so tired, lol. I can't wait to take a few days to rest up and then get back in the game. It's going to be so good to be home. Last night while I was brushing my teeth, it finally sunk in how long it had been since I had seen all of you. Like.... 2 years finally made sense in my head, and me and my head agreed that that was way too long! It's worth it only for the Lord!
This week in Chestermere was groundbreaking! We have been teaching Jeff and Meyna Freele and I'm happy to report that they are now on date for baptism! They will be getting baptized with their son Caleb on the 27th of August! Yes, it will be after I am home, but that is totally alright! I'll get in contact with them after the mission for sure.
It truly is a miracle that these things have been happening. When we got to this area, there was nothing here. We had no investigators, 1 or 2 leads where we could find any investigators, and we knew nothing about the ward. But it's been 8 weeks since then, we have found an investigator every single week since we got here, and now 2 of them are on date for baptism. That is a miracle. Christ has really been watching over us and helping in all of the work that we are doing. I can honestly say that none of this work has come because of anything that Elder Shah and I have done. Every single person we have found has come to us straight from the Lord. We're just really thankful to Him more and more every day.
Elder Shah and I were able to go to the Calgary Temple this week. It was really great to be back in the Temple. That is one of the things that I look forward to the most for when I get home. Being in the Temple whenever I want will be a great thing to enjoy again.
Thanks for all of the support, prayers and love from back home!
Love you!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, August 1, 2016

That's sweet that you got a letter from President Miles! I didn't even know that they did that. Yes, it really truly is getting very real now. I only have 25 days left and it's crazy to think about!

Now I'll update you on all of the incredible things that have happened in this past week!

1. The Director of Proselyting for the Church came to our Mission Leadership Council on Thursday. His name is Mike Hemingway. He and another chap named Brother Beesom(?) came. Interestingly enough, Brother Beesom lived in Springville for quite a while and was great friends with Ethan Edwards. But wait! The plot thickens! Brother Beesom came to see Ethan in Joseph during my junior year! He saw our performance and raved about it! Just an awesome fun fact.

Brother Hemingway taught us a lot about developing more faith to find people to teach. He told us some statistics. In our mission, we have to find 10 investigators in order to baptize 1 of them. The world average is finding 20 and baptizing 1, so we're actually doing incredibly well. But we could always step it up, which is what we're going to do! Brother Hemingway also spoke quite a bit on relying on the Lord more in EVERY activity, not just in teaching. I can't even tell you how true that principle has been to my mission experience. The second that you will just get out of the way and let the Lord do His work and use you is the moment that you gain a lot of power to do exactly what He would have you do. And that has been happening over and over and over again. It was an incredible meeting and at the end I had the opportunity of bearing my testimony to the group as it would be my last MLC. It was a hard one, not going to lie. I felt the spirit so strong and knew that the Lord was the with us. Good times!

2. So here is a crazy miracle that happened. Elder Shah and I have been teaching these two guys named Jodi and Earl. Earl is Jodi's father, and they live in a trailer park north of our stake center. Jodi has had a real problem with alcohol and is a kick-boxer, and Earl is a nice older man who is a retired rancher that has had both a stroke and a heart attack. We found them through miraculous means that I won't describe in this story, but the real miracle is what has happened in the past week.
So last week, we went to go teach them with a member, and we ended up teaching them out on their front lawn around a little fire pit they had. We taught them about a bunch of things, and then we left. Well they called us a day or so later and told us about how a bunch of guys drove up after we left and started hanging out with them. Jodi got into a disagreement with one of the guys there, but they were able to just agree to disagree. Until they left. Jodi went to shake hands with the guy, and while they were shaking hands, the guy punched Jodi in the jaw and took him to the ground. Then he just kept beating the crap out of him on the ground. After that, he and all of his buddies left. Jodi's jaw was broken in 3 different places. The cops showed up and took him to the hospital where they re-constructed his jaw and wired it shut. They also had to put iron plates in his mouth. When Earl was telling us all this, he asked Elder Shah and I to specifically pray for Jodi that night, that he would get better. So we did. A day or two passed, and we called them to check in with them and see how they were doing. Earl answered the phone and he was elated.
Jodi's jaw was healed. The night that he got home, he still had all of the plates and wires in his mouth. That night, the wires fell off during the night and so they went back to the surgeon. When the surgeon was checking things out, he couldn't find a single breakage or irregularity in his jaw, and his bite line was perfect. It was a miracle. They even understood that it was a miracle and that it had been done by the Lord because of our prayers.

3. The third and last miracle is awesome. We have also been teaching a middle-aged couple named Jeff and Meyna Freele. They live on the west side of Chestermere Lake and they have been having Elders over for years to help them with service. They have a 10 year old son named Caleb. Jeff works as a caterer for the diamond mines in the Northwest Territories, and Meyna stays home with Caleb. He works 2 weeks on 2 weeks off. We had a lesson with them last night in our Bishop's home. They came over, and we started teaching them the Plan of Salvation. As we taught them, Bishop Sullivan and his wife did fabulous in testifying of the principles that we were talking about. Toward the end, we taught them about the Celestial Kingdom. As we talked about it, suddenly Jeff began asking questions:

"So in the Celestial Kingdom, that is where God and Jesus are. Is that where our families are as well?"

We explained to him that yes, that is where our families are together forever.

"Wait... then what about till death do us part?"

Elder Shah and I turned it over to Bishop Sullivan. Bishop then beautifully described how he and Sister Sullivan had been sealed in the Seattle temple, and because that sealing was done with the authority of God they would be sealed for Time and All Eternity, NOT until death do they part. They were looking reflective. Then I started talking about Uncle Dave. I told them about how my Grandmother and Grandfather had lost their son in a battle with cancer. I told them that Uncle Dave had never smoked a day in his life and that he was a righteous man, but for a reason unknown to us, God's plan was for him to go. But I told them that Grandma and Grandpa only feel a sadness every once in awhile because they MISS him, NOT because they have LOST him. Jeff and Meyna were wide-eyed and their very next questions were what the requirements were to enter the temple.

I am seriously blown away by experiences like that. Seriously, that is what being on a mission is all about. Seeing someone's eyes light up when you tell them that their family can be together for eternity, bound by priesthood power, never to be separated by death or any other barrier known or unknown.

That's why I'm on a mission, and I know that what I teach people is true. I also know that God will make these things known to anyone that will ask Him with real intent.

I love you all! Watch for the miracles! They're happening up here in Canada, and I know they're happening for all of you!

-Elder Warenski

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Dear Mom,

I'm going to be honest with you, this might be a rough email because not a whole lot happened this week that was crazy. Honestly, I am having a completely different experience with nearing the end of my mission than most people have described to me. Most people say it's super bittersweet and all that.... But honestly, my experience has been pretty much totally sweet with pretty much no bitter at all. I am getting more and more pumped to go home, and more and more pumped to be on the mission at the exact same time.... Kinda hard to explain, but it's a pretty good feeling.

Nothing crazy happened this week except for one thing that was kinda funny but in a weird way. Elder Shah and I were sitting in Elder's Quorum this last Sunday when suddenly a sister raced into the room asking where the missionaries were. She looked panicked. So we went up to her and she said that a man had wandered into the foyer, sat down on the couch, and just started sobbing and telling everyone that he didn't feel worthy to be in the building. So we go into the foyer and meet this guy who reeks of weed and beer. The poor guy was sobbing his guts out, so we took him into the only vacant room in the church: The Nursery. I actually feel kind of bad because now the nursery room in our chapel smells like pot.... lol. But we helped the guy out as much as we could, we got him some water and some food and tried our best to help him out long enough for him to get a hold of his family. It was definitely an interesting contact. He even turned out being a less active member from Northern BC. Pretty crazy!

I love you all! I hope and pray that you're all doing well!

-Elder Warenski

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Well, here we are again at another p-day :) Congrats to Jonah on his homecoming! He's accomplished his mission and I'm proud of him! What a guy! I'm glad that he's with his family now and is starting a brand new chapter of his life!

This week was pretty cool! I began what is called the "My Plan" program that the church has created. It's definitely interesting. It is trying to get me to sign away my life :). Hard to describe, but whatever! It's all good! It sure does get you thinking about home. President also told me this week that I will be finishing my mission in Chestermere with Elder Shah. That's so exciting! Elder Shah is incredible and I really couldn't think of a better way to be finishing my mission. We're finding lots of people to potentially teach out here in Strathmore, and I have a feeling that this area will be where Elder Shah and I will be doing a lot of "seed-planting". There are so many people here that could be taught.

I don't really know what to say more about this week. I'm living the dream! The mission is incredible and I am loving every second of it! I am dedicating all I've got to the time that I have left. The Lord is my best friend and my testimony of him and conversion to him become greater every day!

I love you all!

-Elder Warenski

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

That's crazy that Jonah is having his homecoming soon. I can't believe it. He sent us his "final testimony" on the group email and it was pretty surreal. I'm glad that you and Cierra got your passport request forms! That's legit! We'll be in Scotland in no time at all ;) That is seriously something that I am really pumped for.
I'm going to be honest, I'm hearing a LOT of things that are happening in the world. Shootings in Texas, Minnesota, and Louisiana, as well as another in Bangladesh.... The world is getting messed up. And Mr. Putin's law is certainly going to do nothing to help Russia.... that's sad. The gospel could help their country so much!

Anyway, this week was miraculous! Elder Shah and I have been praying really diligently to be able to find some investigators, and the Lord is answering our prayers in incredible ways! This week we literally got a call from a person who called us just to tell us that they wanted to take the discussions. Never met them before in our lives. Then there was another lady who we had been doing service for who straight up asked us if we would teach her the discussions and we had the opportunity to teach her and her husband yesterday. There have been miracles happening and I'm so grateful that God is a God of miracles!

That's all for this week! Love you all!

-Elder Warenski
So...big oops. When I started to do this week's post I realized I forgot to post the blog for last week! Sorry, here it is!

As for the work here in Chestermere, things are going pretty decently well. This week we are having significant improvement. We have an investigator now, we're teaching a few less-actives that are really coming along, and we're walking LOADS. On Saturday my fitbit said I walked 20,000 steps.... Oi. But hey! Here's a funny story for this week!

So Elder Shah and I were walking back from our dinner yesterday evening. Thunder clouds were threatening in the distance, but we were pretty sure that we could make it home before it hit because it looked super far away. We had been walking for around 20 minutes when all of a sudden, hail began to fall. Elder Shah and I ran for cover next to a utility hut that was next to a park. It was starting to really come down hard and we were carrying a bag of left-overs that Sister Maund had given us. We had to do something because things were getting pretty rough. The hail was getting bigger. Elder Shah peeked around the corner of the shed that we were taking cover next to, and he couldn't see any type of shelter. Except for one thing: Two Port-a-potties in the parking lot of the lake parking. SALVATION! Neither of us were wearing jackets and we were already getting soaked, so we ran for it. It was probably around 100 yards to the port-a-potties. So we booked it as fast as we could, all the while getting pelted by hail stones. It was pretty intense! I almost tripped a bunch of times. But we took shelter in the port-a-potties until the storm started to slow down. Then we just walked home in the rain. :) It was good times! Our left-overs remained intact!

Anyway, make this week a good one! I love you!

Elder Warenski

Monday, June 27, 2016


I'm glad that you got to go to Blythe's farewell! She's an amazing Gal. She'll do great. She's been one of those people who has emailed all of the guys from Merit pretty steadily over our entire missions. She sends us "Grace-notes" which are funny things that her little sister Grace did that week. They were hilarious and adorable. And Hunter and Gavin are both studs, so I'm not surprised they did incredible. It is pretty insane that all of the homecomings are starting up. Jameson is home and Jonah and Kristian on the way. That's pretty nuts to hear. I felt the exact same way about getting the itinerary for my flight home as you did. The thing that I have prepared my whole life for is coming slowly to a close. It is an intense feeling. I am super optimistic about the remaining months of my mission as well as my future after it is concluded, but I'm going to miss it when it is over :) In a pleasant way. Not the "I've been home for two months and still can't remember my mission without crying" sort of way. That way is bad, lol. And yes, I'm just glad that I had a Mom who always showed me the right way and raised me to be the independent person that I am always striving to become. I can hardly wait to get back to learning things. I think I want to be Indiana Jones. Travel, adventure, romance.... It's all there. Yeah, I think I'll be Indiana Jones. But I'm going to have to get better with a bull whip. Holy crap. An Elder brought a bull whip to p-day last week and I was trying to do the Indiana Jones style whip, and I totally lashed myself on the back. I had a huge red bleeding lash on my back... Super not okay... lol But hey! Occupational hazard, right? ;)
I'm so glad that you got to talk to Elder Shah's mom! Elder Shah has told some awesome stories about her. She's quite a fire-cracker, that one. Pretty amazing stories. Elder Shah once got jumped. His mom found out and she told him that he needed to go back and fight them to get even.  So she went with him to fight them again. Shah had to save her life pretty much. I'm telling you, they have the best stories ever, lol. I'm glad that Grams and Gramps liked the Balut story and videos. It was really pretty awesome. I loved having the experience. I'm glad that Abe Jr. is finally home! That's pretty epic. I still remember going to their house as the first appointment on my mission. That was pretty awesome. What a family to be the first family to meet!
I'm glad that you got to do some work with the refugees. That sounds like quite an interesting ride. I'm glad Cierra got to be a photographer! That sounds legit. The world events are just getting more and more interesting. I'm glad we believe what we believe.

Well I don't really have a great deal to fill everyone in on this week. We had a pretty normal week. We're working as hard as we can to try and get the area going better. We're really on to something though. Last week we dug up 7 potential investigators. We're working hard with our ward council to be able to get things going for them. Our goal this week is to get them all investigating and progressing. We've got some good prospects, so hopefully things will turn out. Just keep praying for us!
I'm so grateful for my mission! I'm loving every day and every experience! I love my companion! Shout out to Elder Shah. One of the greatest I've served with. Love that guy.

-Elder Warenski

Monday, June 20, 2016

Brother Acido and Nate eating balut.

Elder Shah and Nate...Eat up!

Don't look too closely.

A couple of quotes that I came by this week are awesome. Check these out:

"Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth." -President N. Eldon Tanner
"He who wants to keep his garden tidy does not reserve a place for weeds." -Dag Hammarskjold (Secretary General of the UN)

Pretty awesome, eh? (Eh intended ;D)

Also! I wanted to give a Happy Father's Day to all of the amazing Fathers in my life!

First to Dad. What a guy! I'm grateful for my Father. I have thought a lot about him this week and I know that my Dad and I were sent here together for a reason. There is a reason why he was meant to me my Father, and I was meant to be his son! I'm grateful for every good thing he's done for me, for the encouragement he has given, for the belief in me and my potential that he has reminded me of. I'm grateful for his support of my mission. It means the world to me that my Dad would support me, and he does. I love him for it!

Second to Justin, my brother in law! I love that guy! He's an example to me of being a good man! I will always remember the words that he said to Mikaila when he proposed to her! He said "I want to take care of you the rest of my life". I gained a bit more of a glimpse into what marriage was when he said that. I understood what he said to mean that he was now dedicating his life to loving another person before himself. I've reflected a lot on that sentence since I heard him say it, and I admire him for his love of my sister and their daughter. And for being a Patriot! Justin believes in his country and labors for a cause larger than himself! A great man in my life!

Third, Grandfather Jackson. Words cannot even begin to describe the impact that has been made on me by one of the wisest souls I have been privileged to know. Grandpa taught me values of hard work, understanding, empathy, and love. Many of the things that he has taught me have provided daily help on my mission. I love him so much.

There are so many other fathers in my life that have set an amazing example, and I'm grateful for them all!

Alright, now for a funny story from the week. Yesterday, we had Sunday dinner with the Acido family. The are from the Luzon island in the Philippines - I think. That's near Manila where Grandma and Grandpa served in the temple. A few days before, they had offered to feed us, and joked about feeding us Balut. Grandma and Grandpa always talked about eating it, so I told them that if they bought it and cooked it, I would eat it. We showed up to Sunday dinner and they had a plate of eggs on the table. Elder Shah started freaking out! He looked at me with wide eyes. He seriously even started to sweat:) He got sweaty palms and the whole nine yards. It was hilarious. I am always down to try something at least once, so I had been used to eating weird things already, but Elder Shah was nervous as heck! And then the moment came. We had Brother Acido walk us through how to eat the little thing, and it was crazy. You crack the top of the egg open and peel back the shell a wee bit, then poke the thing with a spoon and drink the "soup" inside. Then, you start spooning out and eating the egg. Eventually you find the baby duck, and you just stick the little beggar in your mouth and chew away. It was really weird. It was like eating a balloon filled with really soft toothpicks that tasted like a boiled egg. It was nuts. Elder Shah couldn't even look at his, he just threw it in his mouth and chewed and swallowed as fast as he could. I sent a video, so enjoy! Anyway, it was pretty good food other than that. Awesome Philippino noodles and some awesome pork rolls. It was awesome. The Acidos are really good people and are super faithful saints! Their son is serving in one of the other Philippines missions.

Anyway, I love you all so much! Thank you thank you!

-Elder Warenski

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Sandberg family in Cranbrook

Well this week's updates are actually pretty substantial. A transfer has happened and we got a visit from President Russell M. Nelson. That was seriously an incredible experience. I'll try and cover everything that happened, but I've been so scatter-brained that you'll have to forgive me if I forget some things or if I seem all over the place.

We'll start with the transfer!

I've been transferred to a place called Chestermere. It is about 15 minutes outside the eastern border of Calgary. There's quite a bit of money here, so it looks like we're going to need a lot of prayers and we'll need to work super closely with the members. Lucky for me, Elder Roberts (he was my companion 4 companions back) was in the area before Elder Shah and I, and he keeps impeccable records. Seriously. The guy records EVERYTHING. The other news, is that I got purged into this area, meaning Elder Shah and I are both new. Neither of us know anyone or anything about the area. Another reason why we could use all the prayers we can get. It's pretty tough to purge into an area, but things are going well so far, we just need to figure out more of the ward and get some investigators. We got left with one investigator that Elder Roberts had contacted just a few days before transfers. They picked her up as an investigator and haven't met with her since. We went to her house yesterday for an appointment that Roberts had scheduled with her, but she was apparently too busy according to the man that opened the door. Hopefully she wasn't just playing Roberts about being interested. But we'll see!
It was really hard to leave BC. There were so many awesome things happening, and so many good people that I am going to miss more than they know. Elder Bryner was an amazing friend, and so were Elders Owens and Manarii. They had a pretty lasting impact on me. That was a straight up Brotherhood in Cranbrook. But the good news is that it is carrying over into my new companionship! Elder Shah is 19 years old and he's from San Bernadino California. We're getting on super well. We have the same dry kind of humor and he has a ton of awesome stories from growing up in California. I was also pumped because he is a runner! Booyah! I still get to work out this transfer! Elder Shah ran track for his high school in San Bernadino (Yucaipa High), so we are going to keep up the exercise! I want to be as fit as I can before I get back, so this is an answer to prayers :) But honestly now that I'm back up north it shouldn't be too hard. There is a curse in the south half of the mission that everyone just gains weight. It'll be easier to lose it up here.

President Nelson's visit was absolutely incredible. Hands down a life-changer, but not necessarily in the way that I would have thought. President Nelson talked about quite a few things, but honestly I found all of the power in the way I felt around him. Like.... The most powerful part of the meeting for me wasn't when he spoke. It was when he was just sitting on the stand before the meeting even began. I was sitting in the 4th pew back from the pulpit pretty much dead center, and I was just thinking about him and who he was. I got this super distinct impression from the spirit of his calling and who he was. It was completely out of no where. I don't think I'll ever lose faith in a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator again. That was extremely powerful. I know for a fact that he was called of God. It wasn't by his own appointment that he was chosen as an apostle. It was divine. I wasn't there when he got his call, I didn't see an angel come down and tell me that he was an Apostle of God. I actually got a better answer than all of those things put together.

God told me. And He told me 1 on 1 through the Holy Ghost. I don't need anything else because I know what I felt.

Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and so are all of the other 14 men serving with him in the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I know it from God and no one else.

Even though all the power came to me at the beginning of the meeting, I really loved some of the things that President Nelson said. One missionary stood and commented on how we need to be smiling. President Nelson replied "Men are that they might have joy! And if you have joy, please notify your face!" That got an uproar of laughter from the missionaries. It was awesome. He - like pretty much all of the other Brethren I've met - had a golden sense of humor. It was awesome.

Other than that, things are going well! Good stuff is happening and Elder Shah and I are getting right into the fray! We're doing all we can but we'll need all the prayers that everyone has to offer!

I love you so much! Never lose faith in the Prophet, and always wear a smile! Love you!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, June 6, 2016


This week was pretty awesome! Not many crazy things happened, but it was definitely a good time. We have been doing a bit of service work on our house because our landlord is not a member and we're gaining some good relationships with him by helping him so much. I still know how to do dry-wall work for walls and such because of all the good stuff Westin Drown taught me. That's really coming in handy. Some bad news is that I lost my camera this week.... Seriously one of the saddest things that I have ever experienced. I searched all day and couldn't find it. I already let Dad know. Hopefully one day he'll be able to forgive me... That was an amazing gift. But I have prayed and fasted that it would turn up! So we'll see what the Lord has in store. 

Since there wasn't really anything incredibly notable this week, I'll fill you in on some of my ponderings. I've been thinking a lot lately about Self Mastery, and Optimism. Over the past 7 weeks, I have been making it a point to run in the morning. Almost every morning for seven weeks I have run 2 miles. It has been one of the hardest things I've ever done! Consistency is a hard principle to learn. It takes discipline. But I've for the most part been reaching my goal. It's been awesome to take that self mastery and apply the discipline I have gained to the other areas of my life. Not just physical fitness. There is more order and more stability in life when we do that.
The other thing was optimism. I talked with Mikaila a bit about this one, and touched on it a bit in my email with Dad. Optimism is a life saver. We were walking in the street the other day trying to see who would talk to us. As I walked, I was pondering this principle of choosing what things to think about. Mikaila, Cierra, and I have been taught this principle since we were really young. We've always been taught that to a large extent we get to choose the way we think and even to some degree how we feel. As I thought about this, I thought of some of the negative thoughts that I have from time to time, and I realized very vividly that I don't have to be subject to those things. Why? Because I have an entire host of good memories and happy thoughts to call in as reinforcements. From all the memories with my family and friends to all of the spiritual experiences that I have had with the Lord, these thoughts can come to my aid whenever I need them. But only if I choose it. It's been really empowering. I think I've always known those principles, but this time they were confirmed to me through the spirit, and now they're being strengthened by the power of the Lord. It's incredible to see.

Anyway, I know the Lord lives! The church is true, the book is blue, and Moroni is always on the ball!

Love you all!

-Elder Warenski

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A "Titanic" ferry ride.

R2D2, Is that you?

That's a lot of stairs!

First, I want to share some amazing news with you! President Miles has announced to the mission that President Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve will be visiting us on June 11th! Needless to say, I'm PUMPED. I don't know how our mission keeps on getting so lucky with having General Authorities come. It's amazing. But yeah! So that's big news. Another thing is that I have some potential to get transferred on June 9th. We shall see though. I would give myself an 85% chance of leaving. It would be my last area. Which brings up the next thing!

This week Elder Owens and I were preparing for our Zone Training Meeting, and I was reading through a talk by Elder Bednar called "Becoming a Preach My Gospel Missionary". It is an incredible talk. Great advice and counsel for missionaries that want to become better. But this is the kicker. I experienced my first big wave of bittersweet-ness about leaving the mission. Realization is finally hitting me. As I was reading the talk, I realized that the talk wouldn't be addressed to me forever. In the talk, Elder Bednar is talking specifically to missionaries. And I realized that one day, that wouldn't be me anymore. The day will one day come when I won't be a full time missionary any longer, and suddenly when I read that talk, Elder Bednar won't specifically be talking to me... How depressing is that?!?! Haha, I think those are the things that I will miss the most. But you know what, things end, and it's okay. When the time comes, I will be ready to look forward with hope and a whole lot of enthusiasm. The mission has made me a pretty happy guy ;)

I trust the Lord with all that I am and I know He looks after each of us.

Love you!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mother Dear,

I'm glad that you were able to go represent at Uncle Brad's funeral. I'm going to miss that man. I'm glad that he got a cowboy send-off! That is awesome. I will most definitely visit Aunt Gale. She's awesome. Love that lady.

Anyway! I had a really really good week this week, and I can't wait to recap it for you! I'll start with the happenings of the week and then tell you about the spiritual bomb that got dropped on Sunday!

First off, I went on exchanges this week with Elder Fisher in Trail. Trail is about 3 hours west of Cranbrook and is the furthest area in the mission. It takes 7 hours to get to Calgary from Trail! The Trail Elders cover a city called Nelson that is to the North East. It is a beautiful place (Mikaila will know what I mean ;D). What's awesome is that we had to take a ferry to get there! It was so awesome. It is the largest free ferry in Canada. It took us across Kootenay lake and it was gorgeous. I'll have to send you some pictures of it. They are on their way. It was a really cool experience to be able to ride on the ferry. Really only missionaries that are serving in Trail usually take the ferry, so not many missionaries get that opportunity.

After that happened, the week blew by. Things just seem to be getting faster and faster around here.

Lately I've been pondering a lot on the principle of Self-Discipline. It's been interesting to see how a study of it has effected me. I have really started trying to apply myself with the little things in life to try and conquer my greater vices. Little things like making my bed, putting things back where they go, washing my dish after I eat. All of those things I did before, but it was always "I'll do that after I.....". It has been cool to watch how much more disciplined I have become just by doing things NOW. These little steps gave me a lot of motivation to try something big, so I started it with exercise. There was only one day last week that I didn't run a couple miles in the morning. I was actually really surprised at what a boost it gave me to accomplish that goal. I feel so much better and not just in a physical sense. It makes me feel good that I accomplished a goal that I set. But I've learned a deep spiritual lesson from all this, as we all often do from achieving physical goals. I have learned a lot about putting off the feeling of pain or exhaustion, or whatever, and just hanging in there. I've learned a lot about putting off the immediate gratification for a more lasting - or even sometimes eternal - reward. It's been really awesome to see the change in myself fundamentally as a person. And it didn't just happen over last week. I've been working on this and pondering on it for quite a while.

Alright, now for the really amazing story.

As I told Mom, I have been working in the primary during the 3rd hour of church as the primary pianist. This is literally the calling that I want for the rest of my life. It is amazing. Singing time has always been my favorite time, haha. Anyway, Sister Shortridge is our primary chorister, and she is awesome. She's our ward mission leader's wife. When she found out that I played the piano - that was about 3 or 4 weeks ago - she asked if I could come in during the third hour because she has no piano player. I sheepishly agreed because we all know that my piano skills are not quite incredible, but I couldn't turn down helping Sister Shortridge. We love her and her family too much. So the last few weeks, my piano skills have been getting more honed by the primary songbook. It is amazing to watch the kids. I always thought that people just said that to hide how hard their job was. It always felt to me that people just said those things to help them cope with how hard and crazy it is to keep primary under control and keep going. But truly, I have learned better.

We had an experience in Primary yesterday that I will absolutely never forget. Sister Shortridge picked out a new song for the primary to sing at their next presentation. It had 3 flats in it, so you can guarantee that I was panicking about whether or not I was going to be able to play it. Sister Shortridge said that she could play and I could conduct, so I chickened out and agreed to it. So singing time started and Sister Shortridge pulled a fast one on me!!! She told the primary that I was going to play for it. I decided I'd just hunker down and try it out. So we began the song, and I was basically sight reading. We ran through the song piece by piece to help the kids get their notes down just like theater. That only required the top hand, so things were going fine. But then she told the primary that we were going to run through the whole song! Yeesh. I didn't want to let them down, so I prayed hard that I'd be able to play well enough to get through. We started and I was doing my best. I wasn't hitting a lot of sour notes, but I was leaving a bunch out because my fingers couldn't get to them fast enough, haha. I did my very best to try and get through and then a miracle happened. At the end of the song, I looked up over the piano, and little Evan Jensen was crying in his little chair. Sister Shortridge ran over and knelt down next to him and put her arm around his little shoulders. Evan was feeling the Spirit testify to him.

The song is called Gethsemane and is all about how the Savior suffered for each one of us, and loves us.

Evan received a witness about how the Lord loves him. I was getting choked up behind the piano watching this little boy receive one of his first witnesses from the Spirit.

To everyone that is reading this, I want you to know that I watched a small boy receive a witness from Deity. Jesus Christ reached out to a small boy in a primary class. I saw Him do it.

I testify that He will do the same thing for you. He has done it for me.

I love you all!

-Elder Warenski

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The apartment mates

Exchanges with Elder Fisher

It's really sad to hear that Uncle Bradley passed away. I looked up to him a lot and really loved him. I always saw myself as just a city slicker, but Uncle Brad always called me Cowboy and that made me feel really good. I'll miss him for sure. A good honest and caring man. Paradise just gained one of it's greatest missionaries. Love you Uncle Bradley!

So this week we had the opportunity to go to the Cardston temple with the south half of the mission. Good grief, it already seems like so long ago. But it was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. Elder Owens and I spent the day before the actual event already in the temple working for our family names. William Robertson is now baptized, confirmed, and has received his Initiatory and Endowment. I'll be passing the reservation of the Sealing back to Grandma so that she and whoever else would like to may take care of his sealing. That's the last one he needs, so try not to delay him! He was there with us in the temple and wanted his work done.

On top of all this President has made another announcement. He got up at the zone conference after we got out of the temple session and told everyone that ANOTHER Apostle will be coming to the mission! HOLY COW! He didn't tell us which one it was because apparently he isn't allowed to say yet, but the whole mission is buzzing. How could we possibly be so lucky?!

We have a hunch as to who it is. We got to stay with Elder Williams in Cardston while we were there, and he said that there was word going around the President Nelson was going to be in Lethbridge at the exact same time that President announced we'd be receiving the visit. If we get to meet President Nelson, I'm going to be one happy camper ;)

Anyway, not really a ton to report on this week, but I love you so much! I'm glad I have such an amazing family and that there are so many miracles happening in our family! Love you!

-Elder Warenski

Thursday, May 12, 2016

This is Nate's email for this week...5/9/16

Face Timing on Mother's Day

The Cowboys and Cowgirls

Branding the calves

Mother Dear!

It was so good to speak with you guys yesterday. Happy birthday and Happy Mother's Day to you, the greatest Mother there is. Thanks for all of the sacrifice and hardship you went through, but thank you also for all the laughs you've shared, all the smiles you've given, and for being the greatest example of the Lord in the lives of me and my sisters. I love you, Mom.

So today's email is going to be a description of all the amazing miracles that have happened this week. We have all been fasting and praying so diligently to be able to see some work come to our area, and the Lord has really come through.

As of right now in our area, we are teaching 13 investigators, 6 of which are on date for baptism. When I got here we had 2 investigators. Elder Owens and I have been working our hardest to try and stimulate some success, but the Lord had other plans, and a lesson to teach us at the same time. Elder Owens and I were working in Kimberley one day this week, and as we were driving back from an appointment with a member, we decided to walk through the Platzl, which is like "downtown" Kimberley. Lots of ski shops and other things there. We honestly just went to kind of explore, but the Lord came through for us. As we came to a corner house at the end of the Platzl, there were four people sitting outside the house having drinks together. They were friendly and came up and talked to us, and we hit it off. We talked with them about the gospel. They all gave us their numbers and agreed to be taught. It was an absolute miracle. The Lord hand-delivered them to us.

Then it gets better. As we were cleaning out some of the junk in our truck the next day, I pulled out a folded up piece of paper that looked to be hanging out of the stack I was holding. I un-folded it and all of a sudden felt like I just HAD to read the whole page. It was an address given by Elder Holland in 1990. I read it, and I'll share a piece of it here:

"How does the 4th section of the Doctrine and Covenants end? I hear some of you muttering it: 'Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.' Do you know how many times that promise is reiterated in scripture? 'Ask and it shall be given; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you' is reiterated 120 times in the scriptures, more than any other scriptural phrase from Genesis to the Pearl of Great Price and more than any other combination of promises in all the scriptures put together. Is it conceivable, my beloved brothers and sisters, is it conceivable that God really means that? After a little while, my brothers and sisters, we need to stop quoting it, and start living it. Now the minute we really believe D&C 4, then I will be the one to sit at your foot and hear you quote it and I'll write every word down and put it in my little treasures of truth and say: 'I heard this from a missionary today who really believed it.' But I am so tired of hearing lip-service. The very thing that the God of heaven and earth decried in the grove that day to the boy-prophet: 'They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They teach for commandments the doctrine of man, having a form of Godliness, but they deny the power thereof.' I believe we have missionaries all over this church yapping D&C 4, who give lip service to that and no heart and who go through a form of delivery and believe nothing of its power."

BOOM. Talk about the rebuke of a lifetime. But I was hit with the spirit so hard. I immediately ran to the other side of the truck and read it to Elder Owens. To top it all off, we shared that same excerpt from Elder Holland's address with our Ward Mission Leader later that night. When he heard it, his eyes filled with tears. He told us that that same section of the talk was the very same one he had shared at the final zone conference of his mission. He had held it dear all his life. He immediately requested a prayer, and standing there in the entry way of his home, we spoke to the Lord and told Him how grateful we were for His gifts. It was incredible. Elder Owens and I were blown away because we were learning a very powerful lesson:

If we are trying our hardest and doing our very best to do the work, it is not possible for us to work harder therefor gaining more investigators. If we could always work harder, we wouldn't really need the Atonement, would we? When we are doing everything that we know how to do, and praying for the gifts that we KNOW the Lord can give, a miracle happens.

We Receive. Just as He promised.

I promise every soul who reads the words I have written: Jesus Christ, our Savior, means the words that He said. If you ask, You WILL receive. If you knock, it WILL be opened unto you. If you seek, You WILL find. All you have to do is do what you can and believe that the Lord will provide.

Jesus Christ has provided miracle after miracle for my companion and me this week after a night of struggle. We have experienced His gifts and blessings first hand. I have a testimony that the day of miracles has not ceased. The Lord is closer to us than He ever has been.

Lastly, I want to share something that the ward mission leader told us as we were walking out of his home that same night. He said this about member missionary work:

"I do massage therapy. I am not a massage therapist. Massage therapy is the thing that I have chosen to do in this life to keep my family alive, but that is definitely not what I plan on doing in the next life. I will not be giving massages in heaven. So if I don't do missionary work now - the only real and worthwhile work there is in this life - then I will not be ready for heaven because all I ended up being was a massage therapist. I will have forgotten that I was a child of God. When we are too caught up in a job or a hobby or a thing, we forget what is actually real. We forget our real identity, and we forget our only real and true work: To help others receive the gospel."

I hope we can all remember our real identity this week. Let's let go of the understanding that work and hobbies and tv and internet are the most important things in life. Let's all remember who we really are:

Sons and Daughters of the Living God who have the truth, surrounded by Sons and Daughters of the Living God who don't.

I love You all! Have an incredible week!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, May 9, 2016

This is last week's email from Nate (5/2/16). It didn't get delivered so he resent it today. 

The Branding Team

So this week was an absolute blast, mainly because of one thing:

We went branding! It was the spring brand on Saturday for Brother Dilt's ranch in Jaffray! I haven't been branding since Grandpa took me to Uncle Bradley's and I got thrown off that horse! I was like, 9 years old back then. And these cowboys did it old-style. They don't have a fancy machine like uncle Brad that grabs the calves so that you can just put the iron on them. You have to have a cowboy go in the pasture, rope them, drag them into the next pasture, and have two cowboys hold the little guy down. It was seriously the most fun service I have ever done on my mission. Just awesome. I have a few stories that go along with it!

So first off, it was pretty awesome to work with all of the different cowboys. I swear, there was only one guy there aside from the missionaries that didn't chew tobacco, and that was Brother Dilt, haha. EVERYONE chewed. But the cowboys were stinking hilarious. There was one named Sandy that was a younger chap. He was the one who taught me how to wrestle the calves. It was pretty cool to learn from him because he's just a soft spoken type of guy, so you have to listen real close. Then there was another guy named Clint. He was like.... out of this world. It was literally like he walked out of the movie "Silverado". The guy is a classic cowboy. Spurs, chaps, stetson; you name it, he had it. He was cracking jokes the entire time and it was awesome. He asked Elder Bryner - who is brand new in the mission - if he had brought his beer or not, and when Elder Bryner said he didn't have any, old Clint started shouting "No Beer?! How are we supposed to brand when we ain't got no beer?!" He was only joking, but it was super funny.

Then we started the actual brand. The Elders were all over it. It was SO FUN. I'm telling you. If Uncle Brad needs any help next year, I am SO THERE. Anyway, we were all getting down and dirty, and then the sisters wanted to give it a whirl. So we slowly started integrating the sisters in by having them share a calf with either a cowboy or one of the Elders. One of the sisters, who had never branded before or even really knew anything about it, grabbed ahold of the back legs of one of the bull calves and tried her best to get ready. Then Brother Dilt's son came up with the razor! LOL. I have never seen a girl's face so panicked! She watch this kid hack off the poor calf's "equipment" and then got all of the smoke from the hot iron in her face! It was hilarious to watch, but this sister is a good sport and kept on going.

The worst part was when Frankie decided to have a bite to eat. Frankie is a 350-400 pound cowboy that heats the irons and brands the calves while we've got them pinned. At one point, he was sitting on his bucket next to the furnace after he had gathered several of the "prairie oysters" and just started to have a snack. LOL. I still don't think any of the sister missionaries realized what was happening - thank heaven - but plenty of the Elders saw and had a blast watching him. The most dangerous thing about it all was that one of the cowboys who was roping - Jason was his name, I think, - was training a colt how to do it all, and the dang horse kept giving him trouble the whole dang time. I almost got a calf dragged over the top of me while I was holding down a different calf because the colt was running all over the place. That was actually pretty scary at times because you never knew what the little bugger was going to do. But it was all so fun!

It made me miss all the good times at the ranch! I'm just a city slicker, but Uncle Brad always told me I was a cowboy and I think I made him proud on Saturday ;) And Grandpa Jackson too. He's always been the cowboy in my life!

Other than that, nothing super spectacular happened. We had Stake Conference this weekend in Cranbrook so that was cool.

Anyway, I don't have a ton else to say, but I love you! I'll be wishing Mom a happy birthday on Mother's Day this Sunday! See you then! Love you all!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, April 25, 2016

Yes I do indeed have a new companion! Elder Daniel Owens from Ucon Idaho. He's an outdoors kinda guy and loves it here in BC. He's honestly perfect for the area. I'm glad I've still got Elder Manarii as well. He's such a funny guy. So cool that you went to Melissa's homecoming! I'm glad she did so well. Honestly, I know exactly what you're talking about when you explained your deja vu to me. Try being out in the field and then having all of the sisters that you came out with go home a month ago! That feels insane! You almost feel a little left behind because of the fact that you came out with them. It feels like you should be finishing with them, but you're not. Weird stuff, but whatever.

I can't believe that by the end of May I will have been out of High School for 2 years.... Holy cow.... That's insane. I honestly miss Merit! It was so good when I was there. I miss the theater most of all though... Gosh dangit I have so many withdrawals it's nuts. Elder Owens is a fan of 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. So I may or may not have downloaded Sobbin' Women onto my USB so that we could sing it :) Elder Owens actually has a pretty nice voice, and he also has a guitar that he brings to every area. We've been having a good ol' time every night singing a few songs before bed. Honestly, I feel really good right now. I'm singing, laughing - lots lately because of all the funny people in our zone - and Elder Owens and I are even running around 2 miles every morning. I never thought I'd say it, but I actually really have come to like running. Not the actual action itself - because it's painful and uncomfortable - but the feeling after is amazing. I'm not as tired anymore or anything like that. It's great. I've been running around 2 miles every morning for about 2 weeks now. I'm getting buff calves like Karen Amsden!!! ;D That was actually only a joke. Karen will always have the most ripped calves of them all.

This week was great! We had a miracle happen at church - your prayers are working! In sacrament meeting this week during the sacrament, I was writing in my journal. I have a special journal that I keep where I write "letters" to Christ. I do it all throughout the day if I think of something I want to talk to Him about or whatever. I like it because it's a way of recording my prayers. Someday my kids will read it when I'm dead ;) But anyway! Back to the story. So I was writing in it during sacrament meeting and I asked the Lord to please give us some more people to teach who really want to hear the gospel. Who have questions and who have desire. After sacrament meeting, my companion and I had to give a blessing to someone instead of going straight to gospel principles, so we went and gave the blessing and then tried to hustle to class as fast as we could. When we got back to class Brother Shortridge - our ward mission leader - was teaching the lesson, and we saw a girl sitting in the back of the class that we hadn't seen before. She was answering questions and everything. Brother Shortridge made it known through the course of the lesson that she wasn't a member! After the lesson - which was littered with this girl's awesome questions - we talked with her and asked her if she wanted to take the discussions. Brother Shortridge was a champ and told her that it was our job to explain the gospel to people. So we have our first appointment with her on Wednesday night at 8 o'clock! Pretty amazing! I thank God for watching out for us! He literally answered my prayer before I even prayed it because the girl was apparently already in sacrament meeting when we got there, we just didn't see her!

I love the Lord so much. He knows exactly what to give us at exactly the right time. It was really nice to see this girl find more truth and to see her eyes light up when things began to make sense.

I'm really grateful this week for my family. My Family drives me and keeps me going through thick and thin. I recently put up a bunch of pictures of everyone right above my desk, and it has proved to be pretty inspiring and motivating. It reminds me what I am doing all of this for: My family, and the families of others.

I love you!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, April 18, 2016

Alright, now for my update this week. This one is particularly amazing because on Saturday we met with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles! I can't even describe the experience, but I'm going to take a whack at it.

Elder Hopoi and I were fortunate to have some connections with Elder Christensen and Elder Cervantes, the Assistants. Because we were so far away in BC, they let us come up the day before and work their area. We had an appointment with the McLachlan's and I got to see them again! That was really awesome. So we stayed overnight in Woodbine, and then the day finally came! We arrived at the Foothills Stake Center at around 7:30 to help the Assistants set up. That was perfect because we consequently got really amazing seats! Eventually, 200 missionaries - the entire mission - showed up at the stake center, and then Elder Christofferson arrived. There we saw him stroll up the aisle with President and Sister Miles, as well as Elder Martino and Elder Larry Spackman, the area seventy, in tow. He then indicated for everyone to sit down. President Miles conducted the meeting and announced that the first thing to happen would be Elder Christofferson shaking all of the missionaries' hands! BOOYAH! So one by one, every single missionary in our mission lined up and shook the hand of an Apostle. It sounds so fan-girly, but I seriously still remember it vividly. He is a very sincere, laid back, and incredible man. After we had all shaken his hands, they returned to the stand and the meeting really began. We heard testimonies from President and Sister Miles, as well as Elder and Sister Spackman. Then we heard a talk from Elder Martino. It was great. Honestly, I feel like we were all just kind of waiting for the "main event." :) Finally, Elder Christofferson approached the pulpit, and the funniest thing happened!

Elder Christofferson got to the pulpit and told everyone to stand and stretch. He himself started to stretch, raising his hands high above his head. Then, with a grin, he put his hands on his head, then his shoulders, then he went for his knees, haha! That's right. Elder Christofferson almost started the meeting with head, shoulders, knees, and toes! It was really awesome. His humor was a treat the entire time. He opened up by telling us how President Miles owed him! He said that he had to pull some strings in order for things to be approved for the entire mission to be able to gather. He then told us how well he knew President Miles. President Miles had been Elder Christofferson's Stake President for 9 years. He told us that we had the best that they - the church - had to offer. It was incredible to hear how highly he spoke of President Miles. He said we had the best. And then he said "I don't know why you deserve it! You probably don't, but that's alright you've got him anyway!" :) That was awesome. He then told us about how he wanted us to pay close attention to President and Sister Miles. He said that oft-times a missionary is assigned to a mission simply because of the Mission President they will be serving with. One of my favorite things that he said in this section was "You can learn much from someone who has overcome by faith, when they had nothing else to turn to." That was extremely powerful to me, because I feel as though I've been surrounded by people like that my whole life. Elder Christofferson spoke of a lot of amazing things, but I'm just going to relate a few of them:

1. Elder Christofferson taught that we - the missionaries - are quite literally companions to the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He taught us from Doctrine and Covenants section 112 about how we are fulfilling the Apostolic commission to preach the gospel just as they are. He spoke of how important the Book of Mormon is. He said it would be the key to our faithfulness for the rest of our lives. He taught some amazing things.

2. It wasn't long when Elder Christofferson turned the meeting into a question/answer period. It was incredible. There were some missionaries with some really amazing questions. One of the questions was "what is the key to receiving personal revelation and revelation for those in your stewardship?" Pretty awesome! Elder Christofferson responded that we need to be prepared to receive what is coming. He explained that one of the greatest places that we could stand ready to receive is when we are in the scriptures. He said this is key. He told us that sometimes an answer will come to our minds while we are reading, and it will have pretty much nothing to do with what we are reading. Sometimes we simply just need to be in a position to receive, and the scriptures will always provide that position. This was a huge relief to me because I think I often want to go to the scriptures with my questions, but I feel like I need to read somewhere in particular to find it. But that apparently isn't really the case. I just need to be in a position to receive. That was inspiring! He also spoke about how we should not worry about how fast or how much we read. It doesn't matter. We only need to focus on our questions and put in the effort to receive our answer.

3. Another questions was one asked by Elder Todd who lives in our house in Cranbrook. He asked the question that he and I had come up with as we talked pretty deep with each other one night. "How do we incorporate the characteristics of those we admire into our own character without losing who we are?" It was amazing how he answered. He started off by saying "I wouldn't worry too much about that." LOL Well okay. He then explained that it is a good thing to try and mimic the positive attributes that we find in others. He also said that we shouldn't worry too much about becoming overtly "unique", because he said eventually we'd just cross the line and become weird, haha! That was hilarious! He said that he encouraged adopting the positives into our character, but then he said something incredibly powerful. He got serious and told us that NOTHING would ever change our identity. Nothing. Nothing would ever change who we really were, so we don't need to worry about it. That was a huge answer to my prayers.

4. Elder Christofferson also talked more on the Book of Mormon. He told us that if he were ever in court - because he used to be a lawyer - and were asked for evidence that Jesus was the Christ, that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, etc. he'd say (Holding up his Book of Mormon above his head and then thumping it down on the pulpit with surprising force) "Your Honor! Exhibit A!" It was awesome! He outlined how the Book of Mormon really was the evidence of the Messiah-ship of Jesus Christ and the evidence of the gospel message. It was really great.

5. The last thing I want to share is Elder Christofferson's testimony. Honestly, there is something different when you hear an Apostle bear their special witness of the Savior. Coming from one who knows him so personally, it really changes a testimony. Especially since that is part of being an Apostle. He gave his special witness to us, and the spirit was incredibly powerful. It testified to me that this truly was a man of God, and that Jesus Christ truly is the Savior of the World.

Overall, it was one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had.

That's all I've got for this week, but I love you! Thank you for all you do for me!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, April 11, 2016

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIKAILA! Tomorrow is Mikaila's birthday and I love her so much!

Alright now for the update:

Well I'm super happy to hear that you fasted for me, Mom, because that paid off. The week before last was pretty rough and Elder Hopoi and I were determined to get some awesome things done this week. And boy did we ever. Thanks to your fast, an inspiring email from Dad, and a lot of really really desperate prayers, we've finally begun to see some amazing success and miracles happen in our area.

Miracle 1:

We cover an outlying town from Cranbrook called Kimberley. It's up in the mountains to the Northwest of Cranbrook. A few weeks back Elder Christensen and I were on exchanges together - yes, my old companion - and we saw two kids sitting on a driveway on their phones. I put on a smile and started talking with them. We even took a face swap picture on snapchat. Then we gave them a pass-a-long card. Didn't think much else of it. A few weeks later, we get a text from them. They said they wanted to meet up. This is the first time in 19 months of my mission that I have ever had someone call one of my pass-a-long cards back. Such a stinking miracle! But it gets better. Elder Hopoi went up to Kimberley to have a lesson with them, and they were so awesome. We put them on date for baptism on the first lesson. It was amazing. The spirit was so strong. Then, after that, we went to an appointment with Darcy and Hayden again. We taught them the Plan of Salvation, and they absolutely loved it. Hayden is a really sharp kid. He answered all of the questions like he already knew the gospel, haha. After we left the lesson, we got a text from Darcy thanking us for coming over and helping he and his son become closer as father and son. It was amazing. They are also shooting to come to church this coming Sunday as a family. Darcy also has a little girl named Brook. It will be awesome to finally meet her. She had been with her mom for all this time. She's around 4 years old.

Miracle 2:

I got a text from the Assistants. Elder Christensen was telling me about some amazing things that happened in good ol' Woodbine Ward! I found out that Heather Littlelight, Tyson Littlelight (Heather's Grandson), and Alan Samad all were baptized! They were people that Elder Christensen and I found and taught together. Heather and Tyson are both from the Tsuu T'Ina reservation. I seriously can't even tell you how happy I am to hear that the seeds that we planted have finally been harvested. One of the most amazing things.

Miracle 3:

We had an awesome ward council this last Sunday. This may seem like a small one compared with the other two, but I can't tell you how happy I am for this. The members were coordinating well and everyone talked about individuals the entire time. The spirit was there and everyone seemed to be working together.

All in all, our prayers, fasting, and faith have all been paying off. Keep going! Keep praying! We can take all the work the Lord can give us!

I love you all, and I'm so grateful that the Lord loves us!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, April 4, 2016

Elder Todd, Elder Manarii, Nate and Elder Hopoi were invited to a young man's 9th Birthday party.

This week was actually incredible. The prayers that you all have been offering have really assisted in the work up here. I'll tell you how.
This week we met with a man named Darcy, and his son Hayden. We had received a call a week before from Darcy. He asked us if we would be willing to help him move some things out of his shop at work. We agreed and came "To The Rescue" just like President Monson says. We helped him out. As we were working, he described his family life to us. He's in the middle of a messy divorce and his son Hayden stays with him due to some really negative behavior coming from his wife. Hayden is around 12 years old. At the end of the service, Darcy asked us what he could do for us. He said he wanted to give back. Elder Hopoi and I spoke to him and told him that the only thing that he could do for us was to take the discussions. We testified to him that they would help his family situation and better his life. He said he'd think about it, and then we parted ways. A few days later, we received a text from Darcy telling us that he'd considered meeting with us and that he wanted to meet. We were ecstatic! So we drove out to his house and brought our Elders Quorum President, Brother Lockhart, with us. We taught Darcy and Hayden the first discussion. As we were teaching the end of the lesson, I invited Darcy and Hayden to be baptized. Darcy looked at Hayden and they both nodded and agreed to be baptized. They are now on Date to be baptized on May 14th.

To the family and also to any of the friends that had been praying for us to find those prepared to teach: Thank you thank you thank you! You may not sometimes realize just how important your prayers are to this work. Elder Hopoi and I are doing everything that we could possibly do to honor the prayers that you offer to Heavenly Father. Thank you for continuing to help us, and join your faith with ours to bring more people to the knowledge of the gospel. The principles of prayer are real, and the blessings of God are real.

Now to talk about conference just briefly. Like I said earlier, I approached conference really wanting some revelation on how I could bump my discipleship to the next level and get over some of the things I struggle with in my character. So I sat in conference taking specific notes on anything and everything I could find that would help me. But then good old Elder Holland got up. His talk seriously blew me away. As I've reflected on what he said, I think I've found the answer I wasn't expecting! As I've tried to progress and find out what I can do to get rid of the problems that I have, I am finding more and more that they are never going to go away. Even things that I feel are solvable. If it is a lesson I am meant to learn, the Lord will keep allowing that trial to come into my life. What Elder Holland said made total sense to me. Trials are a part of the test, and they're going to consistently be with me during my life. Some of them I just need to get used to. The key is just to continue moving forward. We WILL stumble. We WILL fall. But He will always be there to pick us up. I feel like that is the big conundrum of the gospel. We have to accept that we are going to fall short sometimes, but we also dedicate our lives to trying to perfect ourselves. While that sometimes seems like a recipe for discouragement, it really isn't. And Jesus Christ is the reason why we don't have to be discouraged. I honestly believe that if we are doing the best we can to navigate the storms of life and we make a mistake, the Lord is not disappointed with us. He is looking at us with love and supporting knowing full well that it was part of the plan all along for us to fall short once in awhile.

I'm so grateful for a loving Savior. I'm so grateful that He allowed me to come to conference so that He could humble my perfectionist mentality. I'm grateful that He was the one that shouldered the burden of being perfect in every way, because I certainly could have never even come close. He is what this gospel is all about. Forget about everything else but him. As Joseph Smith said, every doctrine in the church is just an appendage to the doctrine of the Life, Death, Resurrection, and most importantly, the Atonement of Jesus Christ. That is truly what this gospel is all about. Everything else - the church, it's organizations, classes, groups, etc. - are all just tools to help us grow in our testimony of and conversion to the doctrine of Christ.

I bear my testimony of Him. I love Him with all my heart.

Thanks to the family and friends that love me and support me.

-Elder Warenski

I sent Nate a video of Cierra's performance in Secret Garden. She sang the song "Hold On."
This was his response:

Okay.... I seriously just cried all the way through Hold On.... Here I am in the family History Center sitting next to Elder Manarii crying my eyes out.... Cierra did AMAZING, Mom. It's so amazing to see how her voice has come along. That was seriously amazing.
Like, you might think that what I said was "I just got a little emotional" but like.... What I actually said was "I was weeping in the Family History Center in front of grown men."

I think I'm in HER shadow now.