Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Another good week, with more to come!

Family and friends,

This past week was good. We were able to visit many members as we always do. We had the opportunity to teach one of our investigators in McDonalds. Despite the distractions, we were able to feel the spirit. We have been taking a young man from the branch, our 17 year old member, with us to appointments now so that we can have him fellowship with the members and investigators we have. Friday night we had exchanges and I went with the new Missionary transferred from English to Asl, Elder Olseon. He's pretty cool and is willing to learn the language. So Saturday we gave other missionaries the keys to the baptism room because we forgot to after our baptism last week. When we arrived a member saw us and was confused why we were there. We explained we were asl and that just triggered the chatterbox. For two and a half hours we stood there while he talked about his experiences serving in the Branch a few years ago as well as his many Mission experiences. Finally we got out and went to support one of Elder Oleson's previous investigator's baptism. After that we went and saw a member, contacted a referral and visited a less active. Then we made pizza at the apartment and exchanges ended.

We have new callings in our Branch. A new Relief Society Presidency as well as an Elder quorum president. These callings will help the Branch grow with home and visiting teaching assignments and more!

Anyway that's all the news for Today.

Thanks for the prayers and hope everyone has a wonderful week!


Elder Gardner.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Two Baptisms, the Branch is Growing!

Two Baptisms, Branch is growing!
Hello family and friends,

This past week we were able to witness the baptism of the couple that got married. That was awesome to watch them both make covenants with our Heavenly Father and to watch them, the following Sunday, received the Holy Ghost. Elder Oleson confirmed the man, in full sign language, which was really neat to see. What a great first real experience signing a special prayer! Also, another one of our investigators showed up to the baptism, a little late but the fact that he was willing to use the bus to get over to the stake center was amazing.

I think there are miracles waiting to happen. We have some good people to focus on. We have another male to help him try to progress toward baptism. The problem with him is that he only know a few signs and doesn't know english that well. So it's going to be a slow process for him. We've met with him a few times but mostly our lessons will be trying to help him understand one principal at a time. We gave him a copy of the book of mormon in both English and ASL as well as the picture book versions. He's watched a little bit of it. The problem is his father is against the church and I think he abuses his wife. The mother doesn't care for the church but is allowing him to be independent. He's willing to come so we are having the one of the branch families, recently moved in, help support him through giving him rides.

We are going to focus also on the couple right now. The sister needs to be taught about the Ordinances now, such as Temple baptism for the dead, as well as missionary work and family history, etc. His next goal should be Priesthood, since he doesn't have it yet. So we will work on that with him. We also have a young man, doing what I did before my mission, to help him prepare for his mission.

The work is going along! We also had a Temple trip this past week which was great. And we got to attend a youth vs missionaries dodgeball game again.

I hope you all have a great week!


Elder Gardner.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Marriage and a Baptism, what more could a Missionary Want!

Hello family and friends,

This past week has been incredible! We have been anticipating the marriage of one of our members and his non member girlfriend for YEARS. And on Saturday, they got married! It was a very wonderful moment! We also got to see Brother Alder and Brother Barker, two former Missionaries, come back. The whole week's focus has been on that. Unfortunately the computers here don't like my camera, so you will have to wait until a future time to see the photos, unless you find them on Facebook or through my SD card, etc.

Sunday night we went over to our Branch Mission Leader's house and discussed our ideas for the Branch. Alder and Barker were there and they helped us as well. We really felt the spirit and received an increase in our testimonies as Bro. Speckard explained his views and opinions and testified.

This week we will have two baptisms, one of which is the lady who got married to the member on Sat. Very excited about that!

One of our investigators came to church again! His mom isn't interested in our church but she is still willing to bring him. So please pray that she might be interested in the future so we can have the sister missionaries continue to teach her. The sister and us have been working together to help their family.

Two of our investigators aren't really progressing now.

Another investigator is not progressing either. He is following his mom at the moment, so please pray she might open her mind to allowing him to be baptized. He's ready, just scared of family rejection.

We have a family, who hasn't been to church in a while. Please pray that they will be alright and that they will come back to Houston.

Other than that, there's not a lot of new stuff. Missionary work and more work. It's worth it though. without a shadow of a doubt. My life has changed in so many ways I cannot believe it. The members have told us we have changed since we got here a year ago. I am trying to become more like Jesus Christ, who I represent. This is God's church. We have a living Prophet on the earth Today. The Book of Mormon is true and it changes lives. It's changed mine, and it's changed member's lives here as well as investigators. Without the gospel, it's impossible to find true happiness. I am convinced.

I hope you have a wonderful week!


Elder Gardner.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A very busy week, with another on its way.

Hello family and friends,

This past week has been busy as we have continued to work hard, finding people, teaching our members, and setting up things for the Branch. Starting off with last week Monday, after all of our PDay activities, we visited one of our male investigators. Had a good lesson with him. I want to try to think about and focus on our members and investigators more on PDAY, because I'm still a Missionary. I'm still called to serve on Mondays. So it's important to never let any opportunity go to waste.

Tuesday we did service and visited our recent convert. She's doing really good. We also worked with our member the couple investigators  to make sure the wedding plans this Saturday and Baptism next Saturday were all good. Wednesday was very successful as our original plans were not going well. But we prayed, and names were popping in our heads, and so we ended up meeting a new family at the right time. They have a deaf and blind husband who was sick and needed a blessing. So we were able to give him one. Then we visited another member, she's been having some difficulties with her family not being the best support with church. So we chatted for a while. Then visited one of the branch members again. We then tried a less active I have never met before, and he ended up being home and was willing to let us teach him. So we setup an appointment with him Tonight.

Thursday... Zone Conference! We were struggling to find interpreters for Elder McGill, but at the last minute we received one. A woman, early 30s or late 20s. We were very happy she was there. Elder Mitchell, herself and myself would rotate every little bit. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-aqn9tgOSmnI/UfsF9AVxN4I/AAAAAAAAGf4/8rVzDNVukEg/s1600/Mission+Pictures+081.JPG This is us and the interpreter is facing away from the camera. Very good meeting though, learned a lot! Then we did weekly planning and have great plans for the next week!

Friday we visited a referrals that Spanish Sisters gave us. They wanted to meet us there. We did and the referral was a 20 year old man who is deaf and has a spanish speaking mom. We entered, the sisters taught the mom and we taught the man. We invited him to church. Saturday we went to the Temple and enjoyed it. Then visited another member, before heading home. Sunday was awesome. Our new investigator came to church! So we were able to setup an appointment with him.

We had one interpreter for Sacrament meeting, and she only comes once a month, so all the drama and news that we Missionaries get from visiting them, she doesn't. So I helped her voice interpret whenever she would miss something. Then she ranted to me after Sacrament about interpreting and how it's hard sometimes when the deaf don't get to the point but go off into sharamonies and such, Haha.

So this up coming week we have the couple that is investigating, getting married. Very excited about that! We also get to see Elder... erm Bro. Kauo and Bro. Alder and an older Missionary Bro Barker, all three coming to visit for the marriage. Very excited, we get to see them again!

So thanks for the prayers and words of encouragement! We really need them. A lot of our investigators are struggling, and a few less actives are as well. So please pray that we will know who to visit and how to be more effective.

I love this Branch. I am so excited to be here. I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

So until next time,


Elder Gardner.