“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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I'm glad you liked the pictures! I'm sorry the darn email provider wouldn't work, but it's all good. I can't believe it's going to be 18 months on Saturday, either! It really is moving pretty fast now, but the transition from 17 months to 18 months has been a long one for me. It seems like it took up twice the amount of time. But no worries! Who's counting anyway? (;D)
To commemorate the 18 month mark, we usually burn a pair of pants. However, President banned any of that from happening in the mission as a request from Elder Martino. Apparently that is a tradition in the mission field that they are really trying to stop. My guess is that some missionaries went overboard with it and made it something blasphemous ;) It only takes one wiener to ruin it for everyone. But the point is that my clothing is safe! I won't be burning anything anymore. Although I am glad that I got to burn a shirt before the ban came out. That was sweet.
The weather is really amazing up here right now. It's supposed to be 17 degrees on Friday!!! That's like.... 60 Fahrenheit! I'm so excited. This is pretty unheard of weather for February in Calgary.
Also, everything is starting to spice up in Calgary. That Saudi Minister announced in Texas that they were going to just ride the low price oil until the high end producers got out of the market, and now everyone in Calgary is going nuts because that is legitimately Calgary's only economic strength. Our ward mission leader is a doctor (so he'll be largely unaffected for a few years until Canada switches his physician salary) and he said that Calgary is about to take a hit. The dollar is going to tank SO hard here. It's going to be great for Americans with all of our American money up here ;) But I guess sad for the Calgarians... But it really is illogical for Calgary. I'm wondering why they put all of their eggs into one basket. But hey! This is great news for missionaries because there are about to be a lot of extremely humble people. I don't know if you remember where I served before Woodbine, but it was in the south east part of Calgary, and Brother Larsen (Ward Mission Leader) says that that part of the city will probably get hit the hardest. Which is honestly really good for us because no one down there would listen to us before. Anyway, there's my Calgary Political news, haha.

As for mission news, there isn't a whole lot that is new. We have some exciting things coming up though. We're projecting that we might break the record for the amount of baptisms had in the mission in one week! Which will be awesome. It will be interesting to see if we as a mission can work hard enough to boost it. In January, we doubled the missions average baptisms. Hopefully we can keep that up. Other than that we are just trying to find even more people to teach! We did really well this last week. We have 4 people on date for baptism in our area, and we found 3 new investigators last week. It was awesome. We're working with two little native girls and they are really having a blast. We had the first lesson last night and it was like herding cats. But it was way fun at the same time. Little Tiffany and Leslie Crane. They are so awesome. Hopefully as we teach them we can help their Grandpa and Grandma come back to church as well. We've been really working hard out on the reservation. It's really come to the point where we just need to serve them out there. Elder Christensen and I are planning on getting the number for the Tsuu'Tina Council and we are going to ask them if there is any service that we could do for them. Our vision for the reservation is that we want everyone to know us. Not just the members, but everyone. We want them to be happy to see us and know that we're good. That way we're just acting like Ammon and feeding the kings horses :)

Anyway, I hope everything is going well back home! Good stuff is happening and I'm loving every minute! Elder Christensen is a stud and I'm glad to have him! Life is good!

-Elder Warenski

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The McLachlan Family. Rob is baptizing his daughters.

Nate, top of Calgary Tower.

Glass floor view, Calgary Tower

Vulcan Visitor

I think this speaks for itself.

Welcome to Vulcan

Apparently there was an outage with the myldsmail.net provider this week! Here it is! Sorry that it's late. That was pretty lame. But better late than never!

 I'm glad things are working out with the Secret Garden! I'm so proud of Cierra and I'm glad that she is doing such a good job. I pray nightly for her and that through practice and giving it everything she's got that the Lord will make up the rest. That's the only way I got through Joseph! That was the hardest show I've ever done (maybe besides Sweeney). I remember when we were rehearsing for Joseph in Greg and Joni's room at the school. I remember getting extremely frustrated with how I couldn't reach the higher notes, and I felt like I was making a fool of myself in front of the cast. I spoke with Joni about it later in the Fusion Lab and she told me that I didn't need to be discouraged because every mistake I made in a rehearsal was one less mistake I would make in performance. I still owe Joni big time for that. That gave me a huge boost and helped me to accept my weakness in my vocals so that I could begin to get better. Thank heaven she told me those things, or I don't know if I would have been able to pick myself up!

I really do put in a lot of effort to keep positive. Some days it really doesn't take that much, other days it requires everything I've got! But I make it through no matter what :) Really there isn't that much to be sad about out here! I'm doing the Lord's work with some of the finest people I've come to know. I've got a great companion and we're both doing the work because we love the Savior. Couldn't be better :)

So, this week, I want to talk about some things that I have been learning from President Monson lately. I've been reading through a bunch of different materials that he's written, and I've been gaining more and more of a testimony of a living Prophet, and more importantly, a Living Christ.

In 1 Samuel 17 is the story of David and Goliath. When I really started to look into this story in more detail, especially with what President Monson had to say about it, it really struck me as more incredible than I ever realized. Everything when I really stopped to realize how David must have felt. He knew who he was about to challenge. He knew that if he didn't rely on the Lord he would be doomed. The scriptures tell us that he selected stones to put in his sling. He must have really made sure that he felt he had the right ones. Everything hinged on this. He knew that there was no turning around or going back once he decided to finally face the 10 foot tall giant. As President Monson explained the scene, he talked about how all of us have our Goliath's. It could be money problems, marital issues, family strife, schooling, discouragement, fear, doubt, etc. The list is truly endless. Goliaths follow us and challenge us no matter what stage of life we are in. But we all need to choose our stones. President Monson lists 7 Stones that will arm us against our own personal Goliaths:

1. The stone of Courage
2. The stone of Effort
3. The stone of Humility
4. The stone of Prayer
5. The stone of Duty

Then he said that these paired with the Sling of Faith and the Staff of Virtue will help us to defeat our Goliath.

I am growing in testimony of these principles, and even as I type this, the spirit is confirming to me the truth of the words of the Lord's Prophet. It seems that when we really work to combine all of these attributes into our arsenal against our trials and struggles, we can find strength that we've never known before. This is because we, like David, can say "...I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand... that all the earth may know that there is a God in Isreal."

I know that there is a God in Israel. I know that because He has sustained me throughout my entire mission and throughout my life. He has orchestrated every detail. He gave me a loving Mother and Father. He gave me a Grandmother and Grandfather that are my heroes. He gave me two sisters that I love more than they know. He's given me family that has supported me in every stage of my life, including the present one. There is a God in Israel.

I bear testimony of my greatest Friend, Jesus the Christ. I am so grateful for the relationship that I have with Him.

I love you all!

-Elder Warenski

Monday, February 8, 2016

It's good to hear everything went well this week! Flattered that you'd use my email in your lesson. It's so true.... the field is white and ready! We just have to have the guts to get out there and share what we know! I've been having a thirst for theater lately. I'm having withdrawals from not being able to be on stage and just let loose! I sang Sobbin' Women in the shower this morning and I even got Elder Christensen humming along. I still remember all the good times. All of the guys that are out right now have an email string all together so that we can keep in touch. Like Tyler, Jonah, Will, Kristian and the rest. It's been good to stay in contact. James Call shot us an email on that thread that told us that his mission papers got submitted and he'll be getting his Mission Call soon. I was so pumped! I'm so proud of that kid. He's a boss.

Superbowl Sunday. How I miss it. I'm with you, I am really just in it for the food. I think the only one I'll really care about when I get home is the Stanley Cup, but as for the Superbowl, it's still all about the Lil' Smokies ;) Elder Christensen and I had a long talk about that one as we were driving out on the Reservation. It was pretty sweet. We both talked about all the same foods and things. It's good to have a Utah companion!

Speaking of the Reservation, I've got a story this week! About Wednesday of this last week, we got a call from a Native lady who said that her mother would like her home blessed because she had a spirit that was bothering her. So we decided that we would go out and see what was happening. This lady lives pretty far out on the Reservation, so we drove for awhile to find it. When we got there, things were pretty normal. She's a sweet old lady who believes in Jesus. We asked her about some of the things that were going on in her house, and she told us that she was having trouble with a spirit that kept on bothering her dog and walking up and down the stairs at night. This is a legitimate problem on the reservation. The people don't live a very righteous lifestyle, and all of the traditions that they have are a huge opportunity for things to get out of hand. Her house felt different as well. The whole reservation does, but it was a different feeling. So we explained to her some things about the priesthood and that it was through the authority of Christ that we were going to act. We told her that it was according to her faith that things would clear up, but also that she would need to commit to live more righteously in order to make things get better. We told her how the Lord requires effort from us as well. She agreed with what we said and told us about some of her struggles. It was pretty tender, actually. She had made some major changes in her life and had been addiction free for over 5 years. So then we started to bless the house. She asked me to give the blessing, so in the prayer I commanded whatever was in the home to depart in the name of Christ. The spirit was incredibly strong. We felt the previous feelings wash away and the right Spirit was back in the home. It was really cool to see this lady's face light up. After the prayer we told her that one of the best ways that she could keep the good feelings and to have the spirit of the Lord in her home was to have us over to take the missionary discussions. She agreed to have them, so we'll see where it takes us. Her daughter - the one that called in the first place - is a member, and I think it would do her good as well to see her mom investigating the church. Pretty awesome stuff! If she's faithful the Lord will look out for her. I really do love the natives. There is good in them, they just need the gospel to bring it out.

That story about Jake is so awesome. What a guy! Just taking the Poly's down. Did everyone go beat each other up in the parking lot after the game like in Hawaii? ;) Jake is my hero. I tell all of my companions all of our crazy adventures at the Ranch and in Cali and all that. My companions are always pretty entertained. The glow-stick war at Auntie Carri's house (you'll have to ask Jake if you don't know what that is all about), the time Grandpa caught Ben and I in the kitchen at 1 in the morning fishing around for some food.... The stories are endless and all my companions get a giggle out of them. I will for sure be praying for Jackson. The Lord will look after him. I know it. I was reading a talk by President Faust called "Hope, an Anchor for the Soul" and he talked all about how we can find happiness and peace in the gospel through having Hope. We have to look forward through our present situation and find what we're meant to learn. Which reminds me of ANOTHER thing that happened this week!

We had a really terrible night a few nights ago. We were doing what we call "Lost Sheep-ing". This activity basically involves getting shouted at for a few hours by a list of Sheep who quite frankly would just really love to stay lost. We were doing this for awhile, and I started to get really down because of all of the people who were just outright refusing the Savior. The only one who can perfectly heal them consistently gets rejected and slandered at almost every door. This was weighing pretty heavy on my mind. God bless Elder Christensen.... He did everything in his power to help cheer me up. He was whistling tunes in the truck and just being outright stoic, but it couldn't break my stubborn hold on my own hopelessness. But! I thought back to the words of the Wise Elder Hernan Cervantes currently serving in Cranbrook B.C. I was on an exchange with him, and we were having a slow night then as well, but he told me that we were earning what he called "Affliction Points". Affliction Points are gained when one goes through a hopeless period but still keeps the faith. So I did everything that I could to try and stay calm and I fought to be cheerful again. The night didn't get any easier, but it was alright. Then, just last night, we went to that lady's house out on the reservation and picked her up as a new investigator. Our mission goal is to get 1 new investigator per companionship per week. We weren't going to make that goal and it was really starting to peeve us. But we did it, and Christ provided us with a miracle. I seriously believe that it was because we had gained some Affliction Points by being hopeful during a trial and remembering the Savior.

My point here is this: It seems impossible to keep going when things are that dark. But there is a point to the darkness. The Light looks so much better when we've experienced a bit of darkness, and if we can hold on, it will get better. I heard a quote once that got me thinking. I'm paraphrasing, but essentially it said that we have memory so that we can have roses in the winter. I think that that is also another key reason as to why we have hope. Hope is what brings us light in the darkness. Hope is that longing and that yearning for something better, but it isn't conditional in our minds. We always say "Gee, I hope it stops raining" or things like that, but in the gospel, hope isn't just a shot in the dark. When you have hope in Jesus Christ, you KNOW that things will be good. You KNOW that things are going to get better. You KNOW that "Even the darkest night will end, and the Sun will Rise."

I'm grateful that I have a Savior that leads and guides me. I've never seen Him, but I most definitely am seeing more and more of the effects of His actions on my behalf, and on behalf of those that I teach. He's everything to me.

Thanks so much for everything you do for me! I love you so much!

-Elder Warenski

P.S. Rob blessed the sacrament in church for the first time yesterday. It was beautiful. Testimony meeting in the ward was basically centered on the McLachlan's, haha. Love that family!

Monday, February 1, 2016

That's so sweet to have a snow day from school. I'm jealous. We only get a snow day on the mission when we reach -40. Just be grateful they plow the roads at all.... I swear I've been walking on last years snow for a year and a half of my life. Good grief. That's good that you got the turntable all fixed up. The Griffin's truly do have a considerable work force at their disposal and it's incredible to watch that many people work together. Not to mention they are all pretty talented one way or another, so you've got a pretty large skill set at your fingertips.

Wow.... Justin is going active-duty. Man, I don't even know what to think. All I can say is that I'm really going to miss Mikaila and Justin, and especially that niece of mine. How am I supposed to spoil her rotten if she's all the way in Stinking Germany?! I guess I'll have to just save up and go visit ;) I don't know how the heck I'll do that, but we'll see. It'll be the start of a really great adventure for them, so I'm excited.

I hope spring comes quickly as well. I'm sick of all this winter crap. We got a huge chinook last week and the temperature got boosted from the negative degrees up to +16. I love chinooks :)
I'm glad you mentioned the McLachlan's! I'll start my update for the week:

Yesterday was seriously one of the most rewarding days of my entire mission. I've never felt more successful. It was our missionary focused sacrament meeting in Woodbine ward, so Rob and Hilary were asked to speak on missionary work and the importance of missionaries. While it was one of the best meetings of my life, it was also one of the most uncomfortable of my life. I wish that even a quarter of the things that they believed about us were true. But Hilary got up first and named many instances of when the spirit had touched her life during the time that they were taking the missionary discussions. At one of the lessons recently, we shared the mormon message called "Enduring Love" with them. The video depicts a man with Parkinson's disease and his wife who has suffered something like a stroke. He diligently takes care of her at great cost to himself who struggles with his own disease. It's an extremely touching little film. I then felt inspired to share some of my thoughts on the video. I shared how much I respected my Grandmother and Grandfather Jackson. I told them how I had never heard an off-color word about my Grandmother ever escape Gramps' lips. I told them what great love and care Grandma has for Grandpa and how much I look up to their example of marriage and love. I related how I have always felt like Grandpa has always treated Grandma like a Queen, and Grandma has always stuck with Grandpa through thick and thin. Of course Grandma and Grandpa have probably had their struggles through life, but their love has conquered them. Their dedication to each other, and even more importantly their individual and collective dedication to the Lord, have been their shelter from the storm and their strength during hard times. They have both pledged their lives to one another, and to Christ. Tears filled everyone's eyes in the room as I related this and the Spirit testified of the principles that we taught.

Hilary related this experience from the pulpit and shared how the observations that I have picked up from watching Grams and Gramps had touched their lives. The Spirit helped them grow closer together. Rob stood up after Hilary and issued a barrage of compliments to the missionaries that had been a part of their lives. He started with the two missionaries in temple square - one from Washington State, the other from Italy - and described how he had never met them before, but that they had touched his life forever. He spoke of Elder Roberts, Elder Christensen and me and gave us far too many compliments for comfort. But this was all a great boost for me. Sometimes as a missionary you wonder if your converts are being strengthened in the right ways and if you are doing everything you can to ensure that the gospel blessings can be in their homes forever. I worried about this for awhile and had to come to grips with the fact that I probably won't always know what is going on with them, but that I could trust the Lord. After I accepted that I just needed to trust Him, they spoke on Sunday and shattered all doubt.

May everyone know that The Lord is in His work. In fact, He is DOING the work and could very well do all of His work all by Himself. He has the power to do so. However, He has made it possible for imperfect and struggling mortals like you and me to assist Him in the greatest work in the world. I want to testify that "... the field is white, already to harvest. And lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul." (D&C 4) The field is WHITE. It isn't just blooming in a few choice places or only a few flowers are springing up here or there. THE FIELD IS WHITE. I can promise you that other McLachlan families are just waiting to be found, but that most of the time they are missed and overlooked because you and I continue to shut our mouths and be bashful about sharing the Atonement of Christ with them. I've seen the miracles of the Lord. I've seen what He can do. Chances are, you have seen these things as well. So please, for Heaven's sake, share it!

I love the Lord and I love my mission. I know I am in the right place. I know the The Lord is over everyone and everything and every place. God is the God of America, of Canada, of Germany or Texas (;D), and of every corner of the world. If we will make the commitment to follow His commandments and share His identity with all we meet; if we will do as D&C 4 directs and thrust in our sickle with our might, we will not perish but bring salvation to our souls. We will be blessed wherever we may be or wherever we may go.

Thank you for all the support I get and for all of the prayers you offer! Please pray that my companion and I will find another family that is 1. Prepared to hear our message and 2. Desires to hear it.

I love you!

-Elder Warenski