How was everyone's Christmas? What better than to watch those two sweet children open presents. Well, besides being in the MTC. What a blessing it was to be here at this time of year. It was such an experience to find out what the true meaning of Christmas really is. Thanks for the gifts but my whole heart of appreciation goes to the simple Christmas stocking you gave to my companion. Seeing his face light up when he received that finalized to me the true meaning of Christmas. I can't thank you enough for your Christ-like attributes of thinking and giving to others. That meant everything to me and him. Now it is time to prepare for the New Year. I really can't wait for this one! I am supposed to leave in one week from today but I know my luck. I am more than ready to get out there! So for Christmas, Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke to us. It was really a gift. I thought about how these thousands of missionaries wait out in the cold for an hour to see a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, and how we walk up the street and are fed by the words of the Prophet, like it's no big deal! I beg you to take advantage of the blessing to be in the presence of that man. Anyway, I need your prayers to get me out in the field. I am so excited to start helping the people in Mexico. I love you all and hope all is well at home. Hopefully, talk to you again this week. Cross your fingers! Elder Warner
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Mother, how are you doing? Are you ready for the holidays? I am so excited for Christmas night. I hear we are going to have a great speaker! We are officially the oldest district in the zone! Which brought me to the thought that I am down to two weeks! Hopefully. If there is anything that I need you to pray for is to get my Visa. The past week was really good. We moved on to teaching Lesson 2 just as I got really good at Spanish with teaching Lesson 1. Then we moved on! I am often assured that I know more than I think I do. The teachers don't speak English in class anymore and to my surprise, I was able to understand about 80% of the lesson, which is pretty legit. I am so blessed to be in the MTC at this time of year. What a blessing to serve the one we celebrate. I'm so grateful for a family who is so humble and appreciative for all that we have. Let us all take the time to remember what this holiday season is really about. I send my love from the MTC and Merry Christmas.... Elder Warner
Dad, how are you doing? How things at home and work? I give myself a hard time quite often because I am one of the slowest learners. But a teacher said, "It's not about you, it's about the Lord and the people you will be serving". I know I will learn it. The Lord is teaching me tons of patience. I saw Elder Stevens (Bobby) this past week and loaded mounds of questions about the mission field. I am so excited to get out there! He said time is about ten times faster in the field. It's already cruising right now, I can't imagine how it will be. Anyway, I wanted to give you an update that everything here is perfect. I am loving it more and more every day. I hope you have a good Christmas. My favorite part about our family is that we recognize what we have, which makes this holiday focused on the true meaning. I send my love and Merry Christmas. Elder Warner
Monday, December 13, 2010
Madre y Padre, I want to share this past week's experience. I have always had a hard time keeping my mind focused, but since it has been affecting my progression in the Gospel and language, I figured I could use a blessing. I want to testify of the power of blessings! I had had numerous Elders comment on my rapid progression in Spanish the past few days. They did not know I had received the blessing. Whenever I ask of something from the Lord, I have patience because I know He works on His own time table and answers prayers when the time is right. To my surprise, it was but the next morning that I was able to concentrate and comprehend what was being taught. The Elder that gave me the blessing asked for one two days later due to problems he was facing. What a blessing it is to worthily hold the Melchezidek Priesthood and have the power the power to ordain a blessing. As I blessed him with these needs, I literally felt the Spirit stronger than I even had. It was a literal feeling that entered my chest and sunk down to my arms and on my hands which rested upon his head. I was filled with words that spoke to him about things I did not know about him. I testify of the Holy Ghost and the power it has. I know that as I enter the mission field, I will personally not convert the people, but they will be converted by the Spirit. This work fills my heart with peace, comfort and happiness. Every day strive to be the best you can. I love you all! Thank you for growing me up in the Gospel. It has been such a blessing in my life. I am so blessed with parents and a family that is active in the true, simple church. Thank you. I send my love. Elder Warner
Emails from the Elder:
Amazing week! I hope all is well. I love it here, ah I can't even tell you. I hope work is coming and las familias de pocos es muchismo bien. The Lord is raining blessings. I hope you are experiencing them as well.
Hey dear! How are you?! I miss you, my sweetheart. I have a letting coming for you and dad this week. I hope all is well. I am doing amazing! I love you my sweet mother. Have a good day!
In front of Provo Temple, December 2010
Elder Warner and Elder Vaughn, his MTC companion, in front of Provo temple
Bryan and good friend, Bobby Stevens, at the MTC. Elder Stevens arrived back at the MTC after his Visa finally arrived. He had been serving in Las Vegas, NV, for the past four months while waiting. He was finally on his way to Puebla, Mexico!
Monday, December 6, 2010
Dear Dad, I can't believe it has been a month already! How is the family? The MTC is going well. This past week I did about 10 complete lessons - all Spanish. I basically have learned what I need to say and how to say it. So I could probably get by in a lesson but probably not a conversation. It is a lot more than just learning a language, it's learning doctrine and how to be an effective teacher. It's very hard. I'm so excited to get out in the field! I'm over the hill, I have three weeks as of Wed. Hopefully, if you have any advice, let me know. I hope to hear from you soon!
Much love, Elder Warner
Friday, November 26, 2010
My dearest mother,
I cannot believe it has been a month. It's the longest I have been without my nurturing mother. I have learned alot of independence. But then again, it's not much different because you raised me to be able to take care of myself independently - which is a very good thing! Thank you! How was your Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving here was really good. Not the food, but the experience! From being here, I have realized how much I have to be thankful for. Alot of it being for my family. Anyway, this work is getting easier. Kinda. But it is so productive and progress continually rises. I want you to keep going to the Salt Lake temple. I miss that beautiful temple. Take advantage of it. Seriously. Also another thought - Elder Holland came to the Thanksgiving devotional. I was so excited to hear him speak! Then I thought of how I can't believe how excited I get to see an apostle, because I saw the Prophet about once a month in our ward. The Prophet of this church, the Prophet of God and how much I took advantage of being in his presence. So take advantage of the opportunity we have to see that man! What a blessing! I love you, dear. Thank you for everything you do for me. Hope to hear from you soon! Have a good day, my sweet mother.
Another week is another day! It's flying. The language is coming, the Gospel is coming. I made a goal to read the Book of Mormon before I leave. I started on Wed and I'm on page 110. It's remarkable how much I can understand it and how much more sense it is making to me. It's turning into an addiction. I love this work. I hope the family had a good Thanksgiving. I have alot to be thankful for. Hope work, family and the outside world is doing well.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Mother! How are you?! I miss you, my dear! This week flew by! The whole week felt like one normal day at home. I hope you didn't get the impression that I was complaining about anything, because I have nothing to complain about! I can't tell you how blessed I have been. Just in the past three weeks I feel like I have transformed into a new person. For the better. I have been blessed with so much patience. That's one of the big things I have noticed. This work is going so well. The language is really tough. Just when I think I understand it, there are more steps. The patience has helped me so much. I don't stress or compare myself to the class, mainly because I know the Lord will bless me and I will eventually learn it. It's incredible how much you can learn with the Lord's help. I can't begin to tell you how busy it is. I hardly have time to finish my journal every night. I can only think of the good that comes from making sure I am always busy. That is another blessing. Even if I try to find fault in something, the Lord has blessed my to find the good in everything. The ability to do that is one of my more cherished blessings. I wish I had alot of stories but everyday is basically the same from here on out. Except for today and my companion asked for a healing blessing and about half way through I literally felt like a "fire is burning". The Spirit was the strongest I have ever felt it for some reason. I hope you are doing well. I love hearing from you. Thank you for taking the time to do so, it means alot because I know how busy you are. I don't regret a second being here and I promise you I won't in the next two years! Hope to hear from you soon!
I love you, dear!
Much better week. The Spanish is coming. I just tell myself I knew more than I did last week. I am working on my teaching ability and learning more doctrine. There is alot to learn but it is coming very swiftly. I bore testimony this week of being led by the Spirit and it made me know I could not be here if I didn't have the help of the Lord. It's such a blessing as us missionaries are so well watched over and guided. The weeks literally feel like a merged day. The time is flyin'. I'm so stoked to get out in the field. I hope all is well at home. I got pictures coming in the mail.
First picture we received of Bryan after he entered the MTC, in front of the Provo temple. Love this picture and it warmed our hearts. Love his glow. He looks so happy. We are so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
P-Day at the MTC. A big part of the day is waiting for laundry and writing letters. Bryan's companion is to the right of him.
Monday, November 15, 2010
My sweet Mother,
First off, you are the best thing that has happened to me. You are the best support! I love your letters and how you somehow make time out of your busy schedule to write me everyday. Thank you! I hope you are doing well, especially this week. I thought about you on Tuesday. All you need to know is he [Michael] is in Paradise, safe and sound. As I learn more and more about the Gospel, my testimony strengthens on the Plan of Salvation. I love knowing that someone who is in my heart is in the final stage of God's Plan, Paradise. It is such a comfort. I am on my mission to teach families in Mexico about God's Eternal Plan. His perfected, glorified plan. I know the peace, comfort, happiness and sense of direction that I have with my family is a blessing that if I didn't share with others, I would be very selfish. I could elaborate on that forever but that's a brief summary of why I am here. I want to know how you are doing. Work, family life, just whatever. I miss you alot. I wish we could talk more, but what can you do. Please, please keep writing me; your letters make my day! I know it is probably annoying writing and getting no response, but I love hearing from you! Anyway, I hope you never worry about me. I'm the best I have ever been and will be well protected these next two years. You have given me everything I need and more so I'll let you know when I need anything. As for now, all I need is your prayers for my Spanish. Thanks for all your support. I love you! Again, don't take it personal that all my responses are brief. It's just that time goes like sand in a capsule. You are always in my thoughts and prayers.
I love you,
Awesome week! It flew by. I don't know the night from the morning anymore. I love being here. I haven't had one regret. I hope the family is doing awesome. I could imagine so. Time is golden here. I hardly have time to respond to anyone, but I love being busy. I hope the family had a good week, especially Tuesday [Nov. 9th]. If you ever need to know how he's [Michael] doing, just ask me. He's a good companion. Anyway, I have about a 5-page email from mom I need to read and hopefully reply in my eight minutes left. Sorry for such a brief reply but it's the best I can do. You know my situation. Very busy!
Emails don't mean the same so I'm using what time I have left to send a quick letter. The other night I noticed my companion didn't have his garment top on before he went to bed. I asked, "Where is your top?" He said, "I can't sleep with it." I said, "Do you want to wake up in the morning?" He was confused and replied with, "What?!" I said, "That's all I'm gonna say" and went to bed. He has worn them ever since. That's just something small of your example to me. I always think of what a good missionary you were and what an example it is to me. I have learned about the men who transform into a missionary for life and men that are missionaries for the two years that they serve. You have the strongest testimony out of anyone I know. Your knowledge passed to me has helped me understand the simplicity and power of this Gospel. I'm itching to get out into the field, but there is still so much to learn. It is amazing what you learn in a certain amount of time when you have the Lord on your side. I couldn't be here without that help. I hope all is well at home. Keep me updated.
Monday, November 8, 2010
My Sweet Mother,
P-Day here at last! I would have written sooner but this is the only day we can. I just want you to know I am where I should be. I love every second here. I miss you like crazy but I'm thankful I can keep myself busy enough to where I don't have time to even think about it. I hope you know I love you and you're always in my prayers. I love it here! This work is truly the Lord's work! I love learning what I will teach the people in Mexico. I cannot wait to get out there! I love every letter I receive from you! I wish I could write back sooner but I gotta be faithful to the rules. Tell me stories, what has been up, etc. That's fun you went to Cedar. P-days are Monday. FYI - my missionary companion is ...cool. He will teach me plenty of patience and that's all I am going to say. My schedule is hectic. I love it! You know I love staying busy. I love waking up early and starting my adventurous day. It's a little overwhelming, but I know I have help. I hope you know I will be thinking of you tomorrow. Don't worry thought, he is with me. We keep an eye on each other. I love you, mom. Have a good day. Elder Warner
This is the best decision I have ever made. I haven't regretted anything for one second. My testimony is raging. I love this work. I miss you all but I don't have time to think about that, no offense. I wake up each morning excited and ready to go. I'm learning so much. I can pray and bare my testimony in Spanish! This is just a short reassuring message so I'll leave on that. I need to use my last five minutes to write mom.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
(This letter came as a form letter that they give all of the missionaries to write a quick note home after they arrive there. We got this on the Saturday after we dropped him off. Those were long days waiting for the first word of our son!)
Never wonder if I am okay. You know whose Hands I am in. This is wonderful. I know I am not wasting a minute of my time. If you feel like you need to worry about something, worry about my Spanish. I am the only one in mu district who hasn't taken two years of Spanish! This work is true, take my promise for that. I haven't felt nervous or scared about anything. Don't take my lack of tears when we said Good-bye personal. I have been too excited to even think about the fact that I won't be seeing any of you for two years. I feel like I have been here a week, which could be a good thing? But I dunno. Everyone says time picks up after Sunday. It's kinda like an all day Seminary class with provided meals. I know I am supposed to be here, though. I can't wait until the actual mission! Time is limited. Don't worry about me. I can pray in Spanish. Just a simple primary prayer. Tell everyone that I love them, ya know - like Dewey and Tenchu. Oh, and my family! y amor la familia, Dios....be with you.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
This day finally came! After waiting 4 1/2 months after his call, we wondered if this day would ever arrive, but it did. Looking back, those months in preparation were pretty sweet and went fast. The night before he entered the MTC, and after he got set apart as an official missionary, we spent until the wee morning hours of the morning, packing and getting those last minute things ready. He had three doting sisters that surrounded him all night, laughing and talking. It was a wonderful send-off to their brother. We were running a little late on our way to the MTC the next day and ate at "Noodles" in Orem, spent a few minutes in front of the Provo temple and then dropped our missionary off at the assigned time of 1:15 p.m! The day felt surreal. As a mom, I had waited for this sweet moment my entire life.
Mexico, here I come!
With his sister, Brooke, Addie and Eli at the park across from the MTC
Last photo with mom and dad
Last family picture before dropping Bryan off. Karen and Wesley had flown out to be with us the week of Bryan's farewell and setting apart, but their flight back to Pennsylvania left early Wednesday morning before we dropped our Elder off.
Saying good-bye to his sister, Michelle. These two have become best friends and will miss each other.
And he's off! Within five minutes, we had dropped him off at the marker, said our good-byes and he turned around and left with the biggest smile on his face ever! Yes, his mom cried but it was hard to be too sad, when he was so excited! He was so ready to begin his missionary journey.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Bryan's missionary farewell was on Halloween, October 31st at 11:00 a.m. in the Gunderson Chapel. His topic was "The Plan of Salvation" and he gave a wonderful, well-prepared talk. Bishop Goldsberry was his speaking companion. Our Prophet, Pres. Thomas S. Monsen, lives in our ward, and attends church here, as well as downtown, near his penthouse. On this day, Pres. Monsen was in attendance with his sweet wife in their usual place on the back row. We had our Stake Presidency there, as well. The Chapel and overflow were full and we were overwhelmed with the love and support of our family and friends. We had a luncheon afterward at our home, and in the true spirit of Mexico, served "Cafe Rio" salads and desserts! Though it had been cold and snowy the previous days, the weather was calm and mild. It was an incredible, memorable day.
Almost all of us! Karen and Wesley were able to fly out from PA, while her sweet mother-in-law tended the rest of the grandchildren and Cameron was busy with his residency. Of course, we feel that Michael is always with us...
Spending time at the temple with his sisters, Karen and Brooke, before getting setting apart later on that evening.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Our family spent some time in Nauvoo and Carthage Illinois two weeks before Bryan left on his mission. The fall weather was mild and beautiful there! Because Bryan was an Elder, he was able to perform many (as in 50+) baptisms for the dead at the Nauvoo temple. We had the beautiful font almost to ourselves and it was a sacred experience. Later, we did temple sealings with family names that Michelle had found for us through the Family Search program. It was a beautiful day. We also visited all the church sites and pioneer homes on the lower bank by the Mississippi River. Bryan is an amazing photographer! Here are a few (I wish I could post them all!)
Carthage Jail. Notice the bullet hole through the door.
Upper window at Carthage Jail, through which the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. fell after being shot.
Outside view of the window where the Prophet fell. Notice the bullet markings around the upper and lower rims of the window.
Bryan and Michelle sitting by the final resting places of the Prophet Joseph Smith, his wife, Emma, and brother, Hyrum Smith.
Old pioneer cemetary. Love this place! It has a peaceful, reverent feeling to it. Many gravesites of little children are here, while their families lived in Nauvoo.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
On August 17th, 2010, Bryan had his endowments taken out in the Salt Lake Temple. It was a beautiful day and he was very prepared. We had many close family members there with us, as well as our wonderful bishop, Bishop Goldsberry. Loved this day! Some of our sweetest experiences afterward and before Bryan left on his mission, was spending time with him during our many temple trips together.
Sister Karen got to come out for the occasion. We loved her here!
Bryan afterward with cousin Lori, and Aunt Kris
Truly, a sweet parent moment...
Brooke, Bryan, Mom, Dad and Karen outside of the temple. Michelle helped tend the little children while we were in our session and was on her way...
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
On June 16th, 2010, Bryan's mission call arrived in the mail! It came just four days after our family had returned home from Mexico on a vacation. Bryan was at work at the time the postman delivered it, so we held it until he came home and invited family and friends over to be in attendance when he opened it! He began to read it - then paused at the best part (and read it to himself!) and then a big grin fell over his face. We were still waiting anxiously for him to read aloud his call! The suspense was killing us, but we knew he was pleased, just by the look on his face!
Finally he read it out loud for us to hear. It said,
Dear Elder Warner,
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Mexico Monterrey West Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 24 months.
You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, November 3, 2010. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language....
Ahhh, Mexico!! Spanish!! We were thrilled and surprised to say the least. We had a map on the wall and everyone that came put a sticker where they thought he might be going. A few did, in fact, pick Mexico. We had to look up Monterrey and found it to be in northern Mexico. Amid the chaos and drug activity there, our hearts were full of peace and joy that this was where Bryan was supposed to serve the Lord and the humble people of Mexico! We couldn't be happier!
Bryan reading his call to himself before reading it out loud to us!
Aunt Chris steps in to help because she couldn't stand the suspense any longer...
Love this moment. My mothers heart was full of so much joy. SO proud of this boy.
Afterward, sharing with great family and Bryan's awesome friends.
The preparations begin! Such an exciting time. Congratulations, Elder Warner!