Mexico, Monterrey West Mission

Mexico, Monterrey West Mission

Monday, November 5, 2012

Last week of the Mission! Coming HOME!!!

Family and Friends,

When I imagined being at this keyboard for the last time, I pictured myself trying to look through my tears at the screen. But to be honest, I feel content.
I feel like this is it. I have done what I needed to do. Upon arriving here on Mexican soil, the President asked me ´what I expected to accomplish in these 2 years.´ I remember perfectly sitting right in front of him and saying, "I want to help at least one family come unto the Gospel,"  As time went on, my envision of this moment, this family coming to the waters of baptism was imagined as my very last Sunday on my mission. The final bang. Being now, the following day, I am unable to say this happened.  
But as I sat in that last Spanish Sacrament meeting next to our little convert Sammy, I felt like I have done all I can. And although this dream never turned out as I saw it, I have never in my life never felt so incredible grateful to my Heavenly Father for the unforgettable moments, memories, experiences and miracles that have forever impacted my life from this point on and forever. I have experienced what I never imagined. I have been given more than I could ever ask for. I don't feel any regret for one single thing that has occurred in these previous 2 years. Every single thing that has happened has taught me a lesson, impacted my life, enhanced my goals, broadened my horizon, and paved the path for what my life will be in this mortal time.
I feel happy. 
I could never end, telling the countless experiences that have happened, but if I could say one thing it would be this -- I know, of absolute assurity, that this IS the true and restored Gospel of the One who gave us life, of the One who has prepared an Eternal Plan. I know that this plan exists, its real. I have witnessed it change lives and countless future lives of those here in Monterrey Mexico. I know that the Atonement of our Savior is the only hope we have for a meaningful and happy life. 
This is it, not seeing it as the end of something anymore, rather the beginning of whatever is to come in this next step of my life. I feel as Moroni in his final words, "y ahora me despido de todos. Pronto iré a descansar en el paraíso de Dios, hasta que mi espíritu y mi cuerpo de nuevo se reúnan, y sea llevado triunfante por el aire, para encontraros ante el agradable tribunal del gran Jehová, el Juez Eterno de vivos y muertos. Amén."-Moroni 10:34
We will be seeing each other soon, I thank you all for your support and helping make this what it has been to me.
Elder Warner.

"....the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight.  I have finished my course of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."  2 Timothy 4: 6-8

This story, written by an anonymous author and cited in the book “Raising the Bar” by Ed J. Pinegar, is a favorite of many missionaries. I think it captures well the signs and feelings of a missionary who faithfully served the Lord and is returning with honor.

Marks of a Man
As I jumped on board my flight from Miami to Salt Lake City, I paused for a moment to catch my breath. Seated near the front of the plane was an excited young man, probably 19, sitting with his parents. His hair was short, his clothes new and sharp. His suit was fitted perfectly; his black shoes still retained that store bought shine. His body was in good shape, his face and hands were clean. In his eyes, I could see a nervous look; his movements were that of an actor on opening night.

He was obviously flying to Utah to become a missionary for the LDS church. I smiled as I walked by, and took pride in belonging to the same church where these young men and women voluntarily serve the Savior for two years. With this special feeling, I continued back to where my seat was located.
Marks of a ManAs I sat down in my seat, I looked to the right and to my surprise saw another missionary, sleeping in the window seat. His hair was also short, but that was the only similarity between the two. This one was obviously returning home, and I could tell at a glance what type of missionary he had been.
The fact that he was already asleep told me a lot. His entire body seemed to let out a big sigh.

It looked as if this was the first time in two years that he had even slept, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

As I looked at his face I could see the heavy bags under his eyes, the chapped lips, the scarred and sunburned face caused by the fierce Florida sun.
His suit was tattered and worn. A few of the seams were coming apart, and I noticed that there were a couple of tears that had been hand sewn with a very sloppy stitch. I saw the nametag, crooked, scratched, and bearing the name of the church he represented, the engraving of which was almost all worn away.
I saw the knee of his pants, worn, and white, the result of many hours of humble prayer. A tear came to my eye as I saw the things that really told me what kind of missionary he had been. I saw the marks that made this boy a man.
His feet, the two that had carried him from house to house now lay there swollen and tired. They were covered by a pair of worn out shoes. Many of the large scrapes and gouges had been filled in by countless polishing.
His books—laying across his lap—were his scriptures-the word of God. Once new these books which testify of Jesus Christ and his mission were now torn, bent, and ragged from use.
His hands, those big, strong hands which had been used to bless and teach, were now scarred and cut from knocking on doors.
Those were indeed the marks of a man. And, as I looked at him, I saw the marks of another man, the Savior, as he was hanging on the cross for the sins of the world.
His feet, those that had once carried him throughout the land during his ministry, were now nailed to the cross.
His side, now pierced with a spear, sealing his testimony with his life.
His hands, the hands that had been used to ordain his servants and to bless the sick were also scarred with the nails that were pounded to hang him on the cross.
Those were the marks of a great man.
As my mind returned to the missionary, my whole body seemed to swell with pride and joy because I knew, by looking at him, that he had served his Master well.
My joy was so great that I felt like running to the front of the plane, grabbing the new missionary, and bringing him back to see what he could become, what he could do.
But, would he see the things I saw? Could anyone? Or, would he see just the outward appearance of that mighty elder, tired and worn out, almost dead?
As we landed, I reached over and tapped the returning missionary to wake him up. As he awoke, it seemed like new life poured into his body. His whole frame seemed to fill as he stood up, tall and proud. As he turned his face toward mine, I saw a light that I had never seen before. I looked into his eyes. Those eyes. I will never forget those eyes. They were the eyes of a prophet, a leader, a follower, a servant. They were the eyes of the Savior. No words were spoken. No words were needed.
As we unloaded, I stepped aside to let him go first. I watched as he walked, slow but steady, tired but strong. I followed him, and found myself walking the way he did.
When I came through the doors, I saw the returning missionary in the arms of his parents, and I couldn’t hold it any longer. With tears streaming down my face, I watched these loving parents greet their son, who had been away for such a long time, and I wondered if our parents in heaven would greet us in the same manner. Will they wrap their arms around us and welcome us home from our journey on earth? I believe they will. I just hope that I will be worthy enough to receive such praise, as I’m sure this missionary will. I said a silent prayer, thanking the Lord for missionaries like this young man. I don’t think I will ever forget the joy and happiness he brought to me that day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An Elder's words to his father before returning home......

Dear Dad,

How has it gotten to this point so quickly?  I feel emotionally drained. When we leave to work each day, I feel great. I feel like I'm in the middle point of my mission.  But getting home each night, it hits me hard. 

I dont want this to end. 

I don't. 

I know it has to. 

Will my life again, have such a fufilling purpose and joy? 
I don't know what to say, my emotions are all over the place.  We'll talk to you soon.

I love this work and I know of knowledge, it is the work of my Savior.  I could never repay Him for such an experience.

I love you,
Elder Warner

Monday, October 29, 2012

Week Five of the LAST transfer!

Good morning everyone!

I'll go ahead and share a little about this week. Well, rather than learn, I was able to apply an awesome principal.
In the first page of all my agendas, I write some kind of quote of how I expect that change to be.
In this transfer's agenda, I put what my mom wrote in one of her emails a few weeks ago, "Don't look back, and don't look ahead"....
There were a few nights this week where it was emotionally harder to get to sleep. I had my mind in the near future.
We had a family home evening with a less active family and their relative that's not a member.  The message I shared was a talk given by President Monson written a few years back. He quotes, (best translated in English) "If we gather enough tomorrows, we will find that we have collected many empty yesterdays."  What I was able to apply this week was this, there is no other day than today. Today is the day to make it happen. To do what you've always wanted. There is no time to wait until tomorrow. With this in mind, I have been able to end the days how I've always wanted. Preparing me for the next day.

GOAL 6 (last) ATTITUDE. — "Based on hope. There is something with purpose in learning in every situation. My attitude is based on how much I place focus on these learning opportunities. Search for them." 

I would say this has been one of the greatest principals I have come to learn and develop. I have countless journal entries on this attribute. Here are a few:
  • 1-21-12 "Attitude, as I see it, is one's determination of expressing hope.  Attitude is the form of acting from the developed result, being good or bad.  Attitude is the solution of discouragement, the vaccine to conquering trials.  To me, the attitude reflects the character of someone, their talented gifts, but as well mirrors their weaknesses.  Attitude just might be the answer to everything, the cure to any concern.. (President Romney once sent me an email) "You too, will pass through the trial of not seeing immediate results.  And how you respond, will say more about you that had you had success week after week."  Whatever happens on any occasion is supposed to happen, it just all depends on what you make out of it."
  • 1-25-12 " It was a colder, gloomy day.  As we began to work, I was convinced repeating in my head, that today we will find someone who will be baptized.  A few moments later, my companion expressed how rotten the day felt.  I tried to ignore it but I think the opposition of our thoughts and attitude is what made the day turn out to be .... Returning home empty handed."
  • 5-25-12 ..."I don't doubt at all that one of the greatest solutions for lack of success would simply be from how we make each day to be."
  • 8-14-12 ..."That there is no time to not be smiling… Things are so much easier when you make them easier."
  • 1-12-11 (First day in mission field) "I remember as a kid driving past the missionaries and being so excited to see them. It hit me today that I am now one of them. I could not stop smiling while tracting tonight.  That was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I am so excited for tomorrow! I love these people here.  It will definitely be hard to try to help them accept the Gospel, but it will happen.  It will be an amazing experience changing these peoples lives, forever!  I love it."
My primary goal this following week is to focus on today. 
To make the best out of what is given.
Until next week.
Elder Warner

Dear Mom,

Hey, sweetheart.  How are you doing on this gorgeous day? Sounds like it's getting cold over there? It was a colder week but it's really pretty outside right now.
Things are going well, as you know. Maybe one of the most difficult weeks of my mission, but as always I was able to learn and apply life-learning principals.
It doesn't seem real to me that this is the last. I have never been so grateful to my Heavenly Father than I am now.
I hope you have an incredible week. I love you so much.
Elder Warner

Elder Warner with his MTC companion (L), Elder Vaughn and Elder Hemsley (R)

December 10, 2011 (Journal Entry)
Well, it was one of those rainy days, but I couldn't get the song, "I got sunshine in my soul" out of my head.  Where I am at, it's always good weather.  I love my mission.  I love singing hymns in the rain.  I love the cold water that soaks in through the worn-out cracks in my shoes.  I love walking into an icy cold cinderblock home to finish the day.  I love that I have clothes to keep me warm, unlike so many of these sad families.  I love that the Gospel makes me happy. I love the car that drenched me with water on the corner, as we waited for the bus.  I love that I have a family that's safe and secure, celebrating my little sister's birthday today.  I love that they love the Gospel.  I love the Lord and the companion that He has blessed me with.  I love that I know Michael laughs at me when he watches the cars splash giant puddles on me as they go by.  I love the spirit of Christmas.  I love that my family still remembers me.  I love my dad a lot.  I love my bike that doesn't have working brakes.  I love and I'll sing it out to everyone -
that I am a Missionary!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Baptism at Week Four in Estanzuela!

Buenos Dias todos! How are we doing? I hear its about snow season? Still sweating over here. Awesome week! Let me explain. Well first, these are Hermanitas Carla and Daniela. We found them last week searching for a less active family. We never found where the family lives (being that the mountain trails don't have street names or house numbers) but we were able to meet a lady who is going through many trials in her life.  When we went back to teach her, her husband didn't let her listen to us, but there we were able to talk to the neighbor that shouted at us to come over.  When we went over and met Carla, Daniela, and their mom, they told us how in January the other missionaries were teaching them but they never were able to go to church. We started teaching them and they showed up alone on Sunday. We have been preparing them in this last week.  The mother loves it but her husband never got divorced and they never got married which impedes her progression right now. Other than that, the new mission program is heating up in Estanzuela! The members brought 3 new investigators yesterday that we are teaching!

GOAL 5 PATIENCE : "Gain the ability to demonstrate patience naturally. Overview the whole situation--think about every aspect of both sides of what (is) occur(ing/ed) CURE: TRUST/CARING There is no greater opportunity to learn the values of patience than on a mission. I have had many incredible experiences as I have been developing this attribute. I have seen 2 forms apply with me concerning patience:
7-27-11 Piedras Negras "....An investigator that we met about 3 weeks ago. He is sitting and waiting ready for us exactly on the hour every appointment we have with him. He has been to church twice, near the title of a golden investigator.  The only let down is that he expects a lot of time until he makes any such decisions such as baptism ... I don't doubt that one day, even if I'm not here to see it, he will make the decision to follow Christ.  At times disappointing, a relief of comfort is brought knowing that we have started something, that one day will be finished." (after I left the area, they informed me he was baptized a few weeks later).
8-22-11 Monclova "....I wonder what I'm not doing right. I have sacrificed all I can think of, obeyed each rule in strict obedience, and work till I sweat dehydration. But yet can't find anyone to listen to our message.." I have learned to be patient with myself.  Trusting in the Lord. I have understood that the Lord's timing isn't always my timing.

One of my most patient trying experiences was in Acuña last December. This applied more with being patient with my companion. I remember this one particular hill. I can still picture it perfectly. I can't remember the amount of appointments we had crossing that hill that we were late for because of the time it took to get up this hill.  Normally,  I would race up it and wait for my companion at the top.  Impatiently changing my vision from my watch, to my companion, this gave me plenty of time to meditate and think negative thoughts of my companion.  One day I was impacted from a few scriptures I read in personal study which changed my actions.
Instead of racing up and giving myself the opportunity to think negatively, I got off my bike and walked with him when he got off and walked. Instead of waiting at the top watching him struggle to adjust his bike chain, I returned back to get my hands greasy with him. In times of frustration, I complimented him. Instead of sticking things in his nose and ears to wake him up in the morning, I made him breakfast and hot chocolate to motivate him to start the day. There were countless of these opportunities and examples.  But what I learned is that by acting upon the opposite of our negative thoughts, it cures everything. 

You wonder why I love this work so much?!!
                                          Elder Warner

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Week Three of Last Change

HOLA! How are we doing?  Just getting back from the Temple. It was an awesome last experience in that beautiful place. I pray I will be able to return one day with some converts. This week we had Leadership Council. We mainly focused on the new form of working, which nearly all of us have started with — through members.
There were a few quotes mentioned in the council that really grabbed me.
"Humility is obtained not by thinking less OF ourselves, rather by thinking less ABOUT ourselves." "Christ didn't preach what the people wanted to hear, rather He spoke the truth."  "If you learn discipline, you can learn anything." 
A member called us about a reference this week that we went to visit on Saturday.  When we went, the reference wasn't home so we talked to her neighbor.  Upon listening to her needs, we taught about the Plan of Salvation.  In the lesson, the lady commented on how she doesn't understand how it is possible that someone could die for someone else's sins, saying how she could never do such a thing.  I heard her say it but I didn't really capture it until taking the Sacrament the next day. That is when it hit me.
There was only One that could ever do such a thing. Maybe just like this lady, we don't comprehend what it means that there was a Man over 2000 years ago, being the ONLY, that died for our sins. Personally. 

GOAL 4 - WORDS. Description: words are very powerful and can leave either the most positive, or, destructive effect. Anything other than positive words are worthless.
Example  1: - I remember reading on a wall once, "Ciere tus labios si no estas seguro de lo que vas a decir es mas hermoso que el silencio." "Close your mouth if you're not positive that what you're going to say is more pleasant than silence".

Example 2: - ZL Council about emotional intelligence.
-"Learn to face Adversity"
-"Adversity is the opportunity to try yourself."
-"Difficult moments are the sweetest"
- Change "he had to change".. to....." I had to love him better"
-"I have the opportunity to change myself right now, to change myself   forever."

Example 3: - Acuña 12-9-12  "..Many of the members become inactive because of other members.  Sadly, we ran into a less active today that was a firm member with future plans to serve a mission. It was because of the actions and words of others that when a kid, left the church and now is a father of two little girls that drinks and smokes...."
Example 4: - Last Week (didn't go to church) 10-12-12 "We found a non-member mother of a less active son.  In this time, she is in desperate need of the message we share.  We mentioned to her of a member who lives around the corner.  She quickly realized it was a lady who, many years ago, got into an argument with.  As a result, her desire to assist church, dropped.  I thought about the example we put out there for others. At the time, our investigator didn't know this lady was a member of the church, but upon realizing so, her impression of the Church of Jesus Christ is the lasting impression of this member's mistaken example (words)....."

This week will be the best. Hope it is yours as well.

Love, Elder Warner
HI MOM!!! How are you??  How was your week? How are you feeling being a grandma of ANOTHER darling grandchild? You're such a cute grandma!  Well, to answer this email. I will be coming home, I imagine with some MTC companions that served in the East mission. If not, I will be coming home with Jordan Eyre, at least.  
Well, I got you a cute little something from a humble investigator this week. And my sisters.   

I'm loving my new area. To be honest, I cannot believe how incredibly fast time is going by. I laugh a lot with my companion. He's just kinda a goofy guy. The walking is insane. If there was ever an area that could prepare you to lose weight before you go home, it would be this one.

I talked to Hemsley today. I love the kid. We have kinda exchanged some of the hardest areas and shared a little about, how even though we may not be baptizing weekly, as long as we are working hard, being obedient and loving life we are very successful.  He has a great attitude about life that I would love to develop in my life.  He enjoys every moment and makes the best of everything.  Everyone who knows him, knows him as someone very happy and kind.

I think I'm in kind of an offset mood. Of course, I'm so excited to see you all but I don't know. I don't know how to explain it. I love my mission.

I love it. 

I love you. Talk to you soon,