Monday, November 25, 2013

The Ashton Family

The Ashton Family
Hello family and friends,

This past week we drove all the way up north to Willis Texas to visit a family that wanted to meet with us. Their name is the Ashton family and honestly that's one of the best appointments I've ever been to! This family has been through so much. They are all hearing, but their son cannot speak. He got in a crash a decade ago or so and immobilized his tongue and left arm. He's been struggling to communicate with people and has desired to learn sign language. I guess the Lord decided now was the time. We have been invited to teach the family how to communicate better. This family is awesome. They have a blog and a facebook page. You should read their story. It is amazing. I cannot help but tear up when I think about their family. We are going to help them forever.

The boy's name is Travis and he's very cool and smart. Just can't talk. He can hear fully. His brother is a return missionary who has baptized tons and has helped so much with the family. The mom is amazing and a total Texas. We are excited to help them out!

I had the opportunity to give a member who is blind and deaf a blessing of comfort. He has been struggling and I was able to use the power of God to help him.

Friday was fun. We had a YSA activity that Taylor invited us to. We invited our few YSA members of the Branch and went to it. It was a bonfire and the fire was huge! We came and socialized with the deaf ones because we were the only ones who knew asl. We all had fun and I'm so happy Taylor is working with us.

Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference. Very good, learned a lot and helped interpret. Got to teach Taylor how to act out the Joseph Smith story. Got to see a soon-to-become-Sister-Missionary Kristel Mondragon and we all plan on writing her and encouraging her to keep going. She's cool!

Now Today we will be watching Ephrame's Rescue. We will be having Thanksgiving at the Speckhard's house. It's going to be a great week and I feel so good right now. :)

Soon I will have the opportunity to film my Testimony in asl next to the Houston Temple for a video project. I will update you on that later. :)


Elder Gardner.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Miracles are happening!

Miracles are happening!
Hello family and friends,

This past week has been intense with miracles. We gave elder mcgill a blessing, I fixed two people's computers, we went to the Temple and had a good show up, and got to do exchanges. I got permission to create a dvd movie of the member sharing their testimony in asl and am very excited for this special opportunity to use my skills and experiences to help the Branch.

Sunday we got a good show up of 65 people! That hasn't happened in a long time! I taught priesthood and it was a good lesson. A women who only knew spanish came with a sister who was deaf and only knows MSL... so we are very excited to learn MSL and teach her! Also, a member, who we used Taylor to help bring back into activity, wants to join us, so now we are going to teach her the lessons again and then have her help us act out stories and sign in MSL with our investigator. Very excited!

Exchanges are happening and no one is moving. I get to have Thanksgiving with the Speckhards again! I am so happy right now. I couldn't be in a better place!

Could yall pray for our investigators. Several are really close. And pray for elder mcgill, because he has had bad headaches recently because of his cochlear implant which broke. we need to give him a new one but they cost thousands. but he can't focus and is taking a lot of medicine and is having very high and low moods. prayers will help!

Love you all!

Love, Elder Gardner.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

We got a baptism!

We got a baptism!

Family and friends,
This past week has been one of the most strangest weeks ever! Let me explain. Last week after emailing and shopping and stuff, our appointment fell through. So we prayed and all felt inspired to go visit a certain member. We did, and that member had many others visiting their home, so we got to chat with a lot of less actives. Then we taught the member a good lesson and committed him to prepare to receive the Priesthood.

After many weeks of skipping service, we finally found ourselves the opportunity to go! We go to a food bank and help out with the food organizing and stuff. The once the day was over we went on exchanges. Myself went south with Elder Oleson, and Elder McGill went North.

Wednesday night we had a shock. That night while planning our vp rang. We answered and it was our investigator. We had been teaching him the Restoration and Plan of Salvation. I guess he watched the Restoration video and felt the spirit confirm to him that the church was true. So he called and asked to be baptized! I was shocked! Elder Mitchell fainted and fell on the ground and Elder Erickson performed what we are now coining the 'baptism dance'.

So we had just a few days to setup this last minute baptism that he wanted on Saturday. So Thursday we had a meeting in the early afternoon which was good, then we announced it. Had a few other appointments. Friday morning we met with Taylor and had her voice interpret her Testimony. She did a good job. We have been using her to help us with the single women in our Branch. She's been doing a good job! Then we picked up the Zone Leader who would interview our investigator, and had him interviewed. It went well!

Saturday we exchanged again and I and Elder McGill planned elders quorum business while the others setup the baptism. The baptism was great! It worked out and we had enough people show up!

Sunday was good. We had a few meetings then had the normal classes. Had one less active show up at random and wanted to share his testimony, however he read from wikipedia about the Mormons, so that was interesting. But we had a good rest of the day!

I am very happy about this past week. Strange and unusual things have happened. A baptism, a testimony, and so on. But things are working out and I'm very happy!
I hope you all have a great week!
Elder Gardner

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Happy Halloween... but better than that were the miracles that happened!

Happy Halloween... but better than that were the miracles that happened!

Family and friends,
A good week once again!
Monday night last week we had a lesson with our investigator named Shirley. Her uncle recently passed away so we taught about family history and Temple work and we encouraged her to read the book of Mormon. That was a very powerful lesson.
On Wednesday we had the opportunity to learn about family history and found out that I'm related to royalty!

Halloween day we visited some people then learned some Mexican sign language,then went home and took advantage of the time and video phoned many people. It was very good!
Friday was great! We had a zone meeting got Taylor to team interpret with me since Elder Mitchell was teaching half of it and Elder Erickson and Oleson aren't quite ready to interpret. It was a relief because without someone else team interpreting with me, I would have interpreted for 3 hours straight... my poor hands! Haha. Also had an elder's quorum exchange and went to red robin and talked about the things we want to setup. We have an awesome elder's quorum president who is willing to do anything for us.

Saturday was spiritual experience after spiritual experience! Cleaned the building in the morning. Found a wallet on the group belonging to a Mexican who's over 200 miles away. Then after studies went to the Temple and had a great session! Then attended a baptism of one of our member's daughters. I helped interpret, then Bro. Tuck (the one who interpreted General Conference) team interpreted with me.It was cool! Then we went on exchanges for a moment and taught our investigator Eric about Testimonies and really got connected to him.

Sunday was great! We committed Taylor to voice interpret our Testimonies so she came early to church and we reviewed some asl. I helped teach Priesthood and explained the importance of home teaching. Then Sacrament meeting. It was good! Taylor interpreted mine and Elder McGill's testimony. She and Sister Skidmore were voice interpreting and some of the members sign really strange so I had to help them out a few times. I'm very happy we are having success with shorter Testimonies and Taylor being willing to interpret a lot more.

Then we eventually had fast Sunday dinner with the Skidmores and they gave us their old TV which was a lot bigger than ours. So we switched TVs now. We use our TV to video phone our members.
Anyway, that's about it for this week!
I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Elder Gardner!