Hello family and friends!
This past week has been a little slow but still worth it. Last week PDay was crazy with appointments and stuff so I didn't have time to write. This week we are safe, for now! Let's see how far I can go with this email!
Now in the North area we have a few investigators. One is a guy 24-26 or something. He lives with his mom. We found him from a referral text or something, I forget. Last year fall Elder Kauo and I taught him. We started to progress and he seemed interested, then he revealed something about himself that make it difficult to continue. So we dropped him. But recently he's been coming to church and church events again and wanted us to visit. So we have been. Last week Elder McGill and I taught him. We have been trying to find the exact problems he has so we can help him. He believes he needs to know everything BEFORE baptism. He is scared that he will make a mistake and sin and not be able to repent (that's what the Sacrament is for, but I guess he doesn't understand that). So we have been working on trying to help him understand that we aren't perfect and make mistakes. But he's just scared, and we don't know if his mom supports us or not.
We have been working with a recently moved in family. They are awesome. They are exactly what we need to get the Branch to grow. Spanish family with a very smart deaf son who's 17. The family wants to help. They love the deaf. They will do anything. We are taking full advantage and already have a FHE activity setup every Sunday after church for the deaf to meet and do. We want the deaf to do the little things that we take for granted. FHE, fasting, etc. I'm so excited for this family.
We went on exchanges Friday. I went south with Elder Mitchell. As he's traning Elder Olseon, who knows no sign language really, and is super new to Missionary work, Elder Mitchell has been feeling the pain and struggle of traning. So he was happy to have me for the day, since we both ahve the same experience now, and we are both training. It's funny, we went to a place called CiCis, a pizza buffett after district meeting so we could try to strengthen our district, and we got there first since we know the roads well. The other two were late and took forever. I have a new perspective now. I remember almost a year ago when I came here, how Elder Kauo and Alder looked at us and wondered when we would learn and catch on to everything. Suddenly that perspective's changed and I see from theirs now. I am learning to have a TON of patience as Elder McGill tries to understand how Missionary work, works.
Saturday we were able to have Elders meet with our member and her family. They are less active an dh hearing, she is deaf and active. We hope to get her two teenage daughters and husband back to church, reading the scriptures and praying. The problem is I need to interpret the lesson, voice interpret her, and still try to help the hearing english Elders out with their lesson and have Elder McGill get involved. So we will need to figure that out.
Sunday was great! Elder McGill prepared a talk for Sacrament and prepared Sunday School lesson last minute as well. Church was good. After church we decided that whoever doesn't show us, we visit. We were able to meet with a sister, who's a returned Sister Missionary and has been struggling a little. Then we went to the member's home for dinner. They are a young couple with a daughter who's 2 I think. They are awesome, the father is a returned missionary so he know how we feel. He lets us have fun and we always help them prepare their dinner. We play games with them and with their daughter. They are super politically aware and always talk about their views on politics. We really can;t say much of course. haha
That leads us to Today. Another PDAY. As my time on my Misison goes by, I've focused less and less on myself and more and more on others. When I first started, all I honestly wanted was to make sure I was comfortable and that my trainer was nice to me , and so on. On pdays I would always want to play all day and have fun with the other Missionaries. But now I've really stated to change. I don't really care as much if I get all of the fun things done. I shop, I email, I write a fefew letters, I hang out with the missionaries and do have many friends, but my mind is always focused on the members now. I'm alwyas trying to figure out who we can visit on pday.
We have a baptism and marriage coming up. He is a member, she is not. She is going to be baptised soon after she is married. The marriage is going to be the most exciting thing, because not only are they getting married, but I get to see Elder Alder and Kauo again! They will be visiting, along with Elder Barker, one Missionary who left when I flew in. I'm very excited to see them again.
I asked my family to pray for a few people. One couple isn't progressing and have asked us to stop visiting now. So keep the prayers going that their hearts and minds might be softened and they will have a desire to learn more about God and his Gospel again. One investigator is going to be baptised soon! He is ready! His friend isn't. Unfortunately he says he will go back to his catholic church after the friend is baptised. So I ask for prayers that his heart might be softened and he will, after seeing his friend get baptised, realize the truth that he can have for himself, if he so desires.
A prayer for a couple please, because they are super stressed with the marriage coming up. Also a lot of deaf are against their marriage for some reason, but they are showing faith and are willing to still go with it anyway. So I want as many prayers as we can get that they will be able to do so successfully. And prayers for Sherman, who I mentioned at the beginning. He knows the church is true, but is scared he needs to be perfect. We can only do so much. I hope and pray his mom will be willing to let us meet and discuss that we are only here to help. I also pray and hope he will open his mind and eventually decide to get baptised.
Our Branch is growing. It's about to hit a spike. I just know it. Us Missionaries need to work smarter. As Elder Mitchell says, work smarter not harder. I love the people here so much. Tears come to my eyes and I see deaf people understand the truths of the gospel and accept Jesus Christ. I know that God has a plan for everyone of His children. I am so happy I am here at this time doing what I'm doing. There is no better place in the world for me to be, but right here, right now.
Have a wonderful week everyone! God bless you all! Keep our investigators in your prayers. In the end, it's their choice and God's will, but with faith, miracles happen. As Elder Holland said in the April General Conference:
" first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe." http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/lord-i-believe?lang=eng
I know that is true. With faith, our investigators DOUBLED. We followed President Pingree's instructions (which are really the Lord's, not his) and our investigators DOUBLED. With ONE planning night following it. Imagine doing it every night. We could get this Branch to become active and strong. Members with testimonies. I am so excited for this next year, but am also sad that i only have less than a year left. I have one year to do everything I can within my ability to help the deaf who are willing to listen, to come closer to Christ. It's going to be hard, but it's worth it.
I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Monday, July 29, 2013
Monday, July 22, 2013
Family and friends!
Love, Elder Gardner!
This week has been insane! We had transfers and now I'm with Elder McGill in the North area. He cannot drive so I do all the driving.
I think my emails will be a little bit shorter for a few weeks because we have a lot of things we need to get done and not enough time to email as much.
Plus Today we have appointment at 2:30.
So I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
This will be a short email because of the lack of time we have. Transfers week and Today is the last day for Elder Moody to get ready. So next week should have more time!
We had a rather busy week with two new investigators and a lot happening!
We have three potential investigators who may be baptized in the next few weeks, which is really exciting!
This week is transfer week and we will see what happens!
I hope you all have a great week!
Again, sorry for the super short email, we have a ton of things to do.