Monday, September 30, 2013

Filming Testimonies and prepareing for the new Elder

Hello family and friends,

This past week, as usual, has been crazy. I find myself always busy doing something, from driving around Houston, to teaching members, to teaching investigators, to helping interpret at church, teaching members ASL, and so on.

Tuesday Elder McGill had a doctor's appointment to check his ears. He has had ringing in his head since his cochlear implant broke. Doctor says he may have some kind of tumor or something in his head. That's scary! We have an appointment in October to check his head and ears.

Later that afternoon we went to be interviewed by President Pingree. Good meeting, good interview.

This past Tuesday was one of the most spiritual experiences I've had with a particular investigator. His name is S and he's been strugging to accept a baptism date. Or, at least we thought. Invited him and his mom to come outside and walk around the Temple, around 7-8pm. They came, we taught him, and she came to pick him up. I spoke with the mom and tried to figure out, once and for all, why we are struggling. She revealed many concerns, which now make sense. She said she's willing to allow him to be baptized once he shows that he understand what he's promising to do. So now we need to work with the mom to try to allow him to be baptized.

We have been working with a recent convert, trying to help her gain the confidence she needs to interpret. She's really nervous and is afraid she will make mistakes. So we have been meeting with her and signing with her and practicing interpreting with her. Her name's T. Recent convert of a year, 25 years old. Our goal with her last week was to film her Testimony. She was super nervous about it, but we practiced and practiced. On Saturday we went to the park and studied there, then she came along around 10am and we just chatted for about 30 minutes. Our goal was to help her become comfortable with singing and no talking. Then we asked if she was ready, and she said she'd try. She did a great job, and attached is a still from the video.

We've been collecting Testimonies from everyone else as well. Some hearing, some deaf. I have stills from all the videos we have filmed thus far.

Sunday was busy. We went to church early to have an Elder's Quorum meeting, then Priesthood Executive Meeting, then taught Gospel Principles. Then when I thought I could take a break and hide in the back during combined Relief Society and Priesthood, the hearing ward (that meets at the same time as us) Primary Presidency came in and asked for me to interpret. One of our deaf families brought their non member primary age friends again, so I spend the next hour interpreting singing time and sharing time. Many new songs in Primary I didn't recognize and had to interpret by ear instead of memory!

Sacrament was good. I shared my Testimony of the important of my responsibility and how the members can help. Then we headed off and visited our Branch President, who was sick. Just a quick visit to show we loved him and missed him. Then came home early to prepare for today.

So now it's Today! Yaaay! Elder McGill and I are going to try and take advatnage of what may or may not be our last full week together, and try to find and teach as many people as we can. So I'm going to be super busy.

So enjoy your week and Happy October (Tomorrow, anyway)!


Elder Gardner.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Busy is now my middle name!

Family and friends,

Wow. This past week has been so crazy! So many things happening now.
With permission from our Mission President, we have been filming the members share their Testimonies. We will put them together in a DVD and distribute that to all the deaf we meet. We have also been including hearing members as well who know sign language.
Friday we went to the Temple with the Branch. Small group, but we enjoyed it. One young adult woman recently has been called as an interpreter in our Branch, and still is awkward with sign language. So we met her last week Friday. She's a lot more comfortable with people her age (she's 24) than with adults or other settings. We were one on one with her so she was able to receive direct feedback from us as we helped her. We are now teaching her sign language and practicing interpreting two times a week. She's a recent convert and is really cool.
We fasted for one of our investigators, S. He's READY to be baptized. He KNOWS the church is true. Yet he still hesitates. He's still nervous, not taking that last step. Last week Elder McGill led the lesson and we felt the spirit so strong. We proved to him that he was ready. We reviewed the baptism questions with him without him knowing what they were, and he beleives EVERYTHING about the church, yet still doesn't want to be baptised. So Tomorrow we will take him to the Temple and walk outside and allow him to feel the spirit. He wants to enter the Temple and see his friends from the Branch there. We hope we can figure out how to help him.
We've also been setting up home teaching. Our Elders Quorum President is resonsible for all of this, however he works and is super busy, which is probably why two full time Missionaries were called, meaning my companion and I. So we were given the task to setup home teaching, figure out how to teach Priesthood class better, and help supervise the Branch's temporal needs. Sunday was crazy. We had a meeting with him at 9am, we reviewed our home teaching list we stayed up the night before preparing. Then we had a special meeting where we and another leader with two different lists tried to combine and unify them. Then after a long heated discussion we finally agreed and setup home teaching.
Then the hearing ward that meets at the same time had a Primary program, so we watched that and supported them. Then taught our Gospel Principles class, then fell asleep during Priesthood because I have a small cold that's making me exhausted. Then Sacrament meeting, very good.
Today we took control of PDAY. We had a picture scavenger hunt and it was fun. Will have to explain later.
Anyway I need to go! Take care!

Elder Gardner.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A lot more responsibility

Hello family and friends,

This past week has been more and more busy. I am finding less time to email again. With two callings now, Missionary work and Elder's Quorum 1st Counselor, the things I need to do everyday have doubled. And we are trying to find more opportunities to teach during the day, so that's less time to email.

But real quick, we have a new investigators in Dallas. We have decided to incorporate tracting into our work. If an appointment falls through, we knock on the surrounding houses and ask if they know anyone who is deaf, and if they want to learn more about our church. This way we can help the Engish and Spanish missionaries, as they help us a lot.

I am excited for our new Missionary coming in just a few weeks. He is going to have a ton of fun.

I hope you are all having a great week!


Elder Gardner.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Good week, traveled to new town and got spelling calling in Branch!

Good week, traveled to new town and got special calling in Branch!
Hello family and friends!

This past week was great! Just after I emailed a week ago, the fire alarms went off in the building. We were informed it was not a test and we were all required to leave. So we all went outside and firetrucks came. Turns out that it was just a kid who pulled the red lever. Gosh! I have a photo of a member, T, with Elder McGill and I. He goes to school there and happened to be with us during the alarm so I interpreted what was happening.

We visited a lot of members and investigators this past week, one of them moved to a very nice upgraded house. Used to live in a trailer home, then moved, now to a nice one story house.

We are using our young man named M now with us for a few investigators, including S. S still doesn't fully accept that he needs to be baptized to progress. He believes that he needs to know everything before he's baptized. So we are encouraging him to come to church and learn every week. Maybe someday he will feel confident and satisfied enough and be willing to be baptized. He's ready!

We also have another investigator, J, who we are struggling to communicate well with. He doesn't know a lot of sign language, and it's hard to act out and classify a lot of the principles and concepts we teach, such as pre-mortal life or life after death. We try to teach him sign language but that's hard as well. We are hoping to meet with Brother Tuck, the one who helped interpret the ASL General Conference in April, he was the one in glasses. He is pro at interpreting and we hope he will be willing to teach us how to teach the gospel with acting and not sign language.

On Sunday we got a surprise. We had a member from the high council come. This only happens if we have changes in the Branch or new callings, etc. He pulled Elder McGill and myself aside and asked if we would be willing to be called as first and second counselors in the Elders Quorum Presidency. We accepted. So we got set apart and now I have the following callings:

Transportation messenger
1st Counselor in Elders Quorum for the Branch

I think this is a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of and try to work hard. I will be doing a lot of normal member stuff now, but it's worth it. I want this Branch to grow and I'm willing to accept the extra responsibility.

Also after church we went over to Dayton Tx, near Houston. An hours drive. Have a few photos of that. It was neat seeing not-Houston. Seeing more Texas, wild west country kind of stuff was cool. Of course the less active we were meaning to visit wasn't there so we hope they will call us on the vp.

Anyway, that's it for this week! Hope you all have a great week!

Love, Elder Gardner.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Labor Day is everyday for us!

Hello family and friends! This week has been busy as always. Labor day the library was closed so we didn't have a chance to email until now. So here it is!

A cool experience we had with one investigator. We were trying to get in contact but were failing. Just as we were about to leave, I was literately pulling in reverse when Elder McGill said there was someone standing by the car. I looked over and there was our investigator! We were able to setup an appointment with him!

We've also given a baptism date to our other investigator. Prayers that he will be able to continue to progress!

We have been focusing on the less actives now, trying to find out why they aren't coming to church and how we can help them. So we have a list now and we will be making rounds trying to contact them and stuff.

Anyway this email will be short because we are lucky we have permission to email on a non pday. so have a great week! I'll work on the other emails next week!


Elder Gardner.