“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, January 18, 2016

This week was great. We've finally finished up our exchanges! It was a feat, but we did it! There are so many amazing missionaries in this mission. It was really great to be able to learn together. There were some hard parts though... Sadly, I had my last exchange with Elder Keith before he goes home. Elder Keith and I were companions in Magrath.... He'll be going home on the 30th, so we were really sad that we only had that one more time to be companions.... But hey, he's moving on to bigger and better things. I love that guy. He's a brother to me.
So I have to tell you about a miracle that happened yesterday! I don't know if I've already told you this, but Portia, Kartier, and Sienna will all be getting baptized on this Friday :) Finally the family will be as put together as it could possibly be at this stage in time. Olivia and Byron are slightly below the age limit. I was told this again last night by Olivia who said "I am six and a quarter of seven". Now put that in an adorable kiwi accent and you've got it :) She makes me grin from ear to ear.

First, for some humor, I want to recap on a couple of things that the McLachlan children have said in the near past. I think you'll get a kick out of this, but you'll also see how well they're learning the gospel.

1. Olivia was saying a prayer and she said something to this affect: "Heavenly Father, please bless that Satan won't get us and that we won't burn in hell." LOL What a girl! Olivia is one of the sweetest little girls I know, but she's had some dark prayers, lol. She's a cutie.

2. Rob has quit his drinking - obviously - but now he has a full fridge of beer that he doesn't have a bleeding idea of what he's supposed to do with it. He was having some of his "mormon" friends over for a little get together, and he visited a non-member friend with Kartier and asked if he wanted to come to it. He told him that he could have a beer if he wanted. His friend told him that that would be weird, and Rob asked him why. He said that none of his "mormon friends" would be drinking and it would be weird. Rob said that it wouldn't be because mormon's don't judge. Then Kartier piped up and said "That's right! Mormon's don't judge! Jesus does when we're dead!"

Pure doctrine spoken by the mouth of babes ;D I LOVE THIS FAMILY!

Now I'm going to tell you about an experience that happened last night. It was a night full of miracles.

We went over the McLachlan's home to teach the final lessons that they needed in order to be baptized. We began by teaching about the Priesthood. We viewed the Mormon Message called "Sanctify Yourselves" in which Elder Holland shares about the experience of a football coach who gives a player a blessing because he was struck by lightning. It was incredible. The spirit was so incredibly strong in the room. I shared an experience that happened on my exchange with Elder Keith. We were called to the Foothills hospital in the NW of Calgary. A woman in Cardston had had a severe heart attack and was rushed to the foothills hospital. When we arrived, we proceeded to give the blessing. Elder Keith was voice, and he promised many incredible blessings to this woman upon the precepts that she read the scriptures, had patience, and prayed. When we lifted our hands from off her head, Elder Keith began to speak with her, and he discovered that she was not even a member of the church. We were blown away. She had such great faith to request a blessing of us, and it was amazing to see this woman hear the counsel of the Lord on her behalf. I told Rob and Hilary that we had no idea that this woman was not of our faith, but that she was a woman OF faith. They were really touched by this.

The next thing we taught was the principle of Eternal Marriage. This one was amazing. We used the mormon message called "Enduring Love". If you have time to look this one up, I highly recommend it. This one really seemed to touch Rob in particular. It's all about a man and his wife that are disabled. He seems to have Parkinson's disease, and she has had something like a stroke. In the video, you watch him take care of her. Selflessly caring for her every need and helping to keep their marriage alive and fun. It's beautiful. I shared about my Grandfather Jackson in relation to this video. More than perhaps anyone else in my life, I feel as though Grandma and Grandpa Jackson have the greatest understanding of being Sealed. Growing up around them, it was a privilege to see them in their marriage. They work together. They love one another. A real, true, living love. Their love has conquered many of the challenges in their lives because they have stuck together through thick and thin. They serve one another selflessly in Christlike ways. I told Hilary and Rob how I had always seen my Grandfather treat my Grandmother like she was a Queen. I told them how greatly I admired their example and how desperately I long to treat my future wife with such respect. Rob was in tears at this point, hearing how great the love of the Lord can be ushered into a relationship. It was incredible how touching it was. I think Rob and Hilary looked at one another with a bit more love after this section.

The next topic was Temples and Family History work. This was actually a part that specifically touched me as a missionary. We watched a video (yes, we watched a lot of videos last night. It helps to keep the kids focused ;D) about temples. President Monson talks about a Tahitian family that sacrificed so much to go to the Hamilton temple in New Zealand. It was a powerful video. But something sacred to me happened while it was playing. As I listened to our Prophet's voice, the spirit testified to me of his sacred calling and of his love for us all. I know through the spirit of God that Thomas Spencer Monson is the Prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ and that he is his mouthpiece. I know he is just as surely as I know Joseph Smith was the Prophet of the Restoration. The Prophetic mantle continues to be passed down from one worthy servant to another. The Lord Jesus Christ is with us through his prophets. I've seldom had such a strong witness. So that was the Lord's tender mercy to me during the lesson.

As we finished the lesson, we taught on Teaching and Learning in the church. We spoke about seminary and institute, Sunday school, the auxilliaries, etc. I spoke about how the spirit speaks to us about what to teach. To illustrate this, I shared another experience from my mission of Elder Keith and I teaching Ina Old Shoes. I shared how through the spirit we both knew exactly what to teach to them without even speaking to one another. Everyone in the room - including myself and Elder Christensen - were all misty eyed.

At the end of the lesson, Rob asked who would like to pray. 13 year old Portia - who up to this moment had been pretty opposed to participating in any way, most likely due to being a teenager ;D - piped up and said she'd like to pray. Then she said one of the most powerful prayers I have ever heard. She thanked our Father in Heaven for Jesus Christ's ability to make us whole. She thanked Him for making it possible to be forgiven for the stuff we do wrong. As we opened our eyes, we looked around the room and found a Family. Mom, it was a true Family. The Lord has taken them and is building them into a Forever Family. I have never had such tender experiences and found such a spirit of the Lord on my mission than within the 4 walls of the McLachlan home. Rob and Hilary were in tears because of the prayer of their daughter. Elder Christensen and I were touched at the spirit that this 13 year old girl ushered into the room. The Lord loves her so much.

As I reflect back on this experience, I think of the beginning of my mission. I wasn't sure if I was ever going to do anything worth writing about. I always wondered if I would ever be a part of something great that changed lives. I wondered if I would make a difference. I would turn to my scriptures and look at a small glue-in that I have in Doctrine and Covenants. It was given to me by Mikaila before I left on my mission. It is the Starfish story. Mikaila wrote on the back of it that she had no idea why she felt like she needed to give it to me, but that she knew that I would make a difference.

Mikaila, I have done it. Or rather, Christ has done it through me.

I want to tell my family that I could not do this work as effectively as I am if I did not know what a Celestial Family felt like. Thank you so much for giving me that experience. I owe so much to my Mother, Father, Mikaila & Justin, Cierra, my Grandparents, my Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins... You've all shown me what a Celestial family looks like, and I am so touched by the experiences we've all had. Vacations to California, trips to Disneyland, going to temple square and having endless pictures taken of all of us (I love you Aunt Kellie!!!). I know now why all of you insisted that we be together.

Because in the end, our Families are all that matter. And you know what?

We have the best one that there is.

I love you all and hope you have a good week!

-Elder Warenski

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