“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, 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.