Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas and New Year's

Christmas and New Year's
Family and Friends,
This past week was good! We had a great Christmas and I was able to skype with my family again. I was able to see everyone in our District skype with their families and it brought joy to my heart. We have some struggles in our district and seeing the Elders happy was the best Christmas gift I could get.
Sunday was crazy. No early morning meetings so we went to church later. There, almost no one was there anyway. Then Elder McGill taught Sunday school for an hour and a half. Then I had five minutes to explain how to do home teaching. Then we went to Sacrament meeting. It was a good Sunday. I got to help interpret for Brother Speckhard while he interviewed members of the Branch. I got to witness some very special moments while he talked with some families that were struggling.
Transfers this week! I am going South with Elder McGill and Elder Oleson is most likely going North with Elder Mitchell and Erickson. I'm not a fan of the South area because it's mostly less actives and ghetto and traffic all day long, but I know the Lord wants me to stay strong and Elder McGill needs help as well. Plus we are both in the EQ so it makes it more easy.
Our Branch is doing good. Some members are gossiping and spreading bad rumors. Some members are wanting to quit the Branch because of this. All we can do is love them and show them our support.
Our District is doing alright. We aren't fully unified yet but I know that the Lord wants myself and Elder Mitchell to keep it strong and I'm honored and willing to do so.
This is the reason I may appear to be more tired and stressed. But I know the Lord will help me out as I work hard and am obedient to the rules.
We just found a family with a deaf 2 year old son and a hard of hearing husband. The wife is trying to learn sign language and had three kids. Two boys who are teens and a girl who's about 12. We are excited to teach them sign language and help the husband become baptized, as he isn't a member. I'm seeing so many opportunities to help out people here!
Can yall continue to pray for Sherman and his mom, that they may soften their hearts and accept a baptism date?
Thanks for all of your support and love! I will continue to pray for yall as well!
Have a happy new year!
Elder Gardner.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Got sick, improved our planning and went to the Temple

Family and friends,

Last week after pday was finished we visited a Less Active member and ended up getting a nice jacket from them. It's a mexican family who loves the Missionaries. I told them I already had one but they insisted so I got one. Most of the week was dedicated to trying to film testimonies from the members. Wednesday I started to feel not so good and was distracted and felt a lot more tired than normal. It's one thing to feel exhausted due to 300 million things you gotta do as a Missionary, but when you get sick, it becomes worse. I slept in the next few days and took medicine and finally Sunday recovered. Thursday we had a specialized training and President Pingree taught about how to plan more effectively. I learned a ton and it motivated me to work harder these last 6 months.

Friday we had Temple Baptisms and got to see the Ashton family show up. Very happy and excited! Sunday we filmed tons of testimonies, and have a total of 59 now! We are ready to make the DVD!

This week should be great! We are going to produce a short film that explains our asl program and what we do as asl missionaries. I'm excited to film and help edit this. Also get to enjoy a Christmas dinner at the Match family's home.

Anyway, hope yall have a Merry Christmas!


Elder Gardner.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Temple and Christmas!

Family and friends,

This past week we were able to attend the Temple twice. Very spiritual experiences! Also, Christmas is coming soon so we are working hard to complete our testimony dvd project as well as obtaining Christmas music!

We found three new investigators this past well who are all prepared to receive the Gospel! Very excited.

I enjoyed the Christmas Devotional last night. It was very good, felt the spirit a lot and have some good ideas for our District.

Our District is struggling right now. So as District Leader I decided to host a district meeting at the Temple. We went there and felt the spirit strong. I spoke with President Pingree about the situation and we have solutions to make this work. I have 6 months left to help our District and Branch grow.

It's crazy how fast time flies! In just 6 months I will be home and working and preparing for school and so on. I can't believe it! This is the most important and can become the most dangerous time also. The reason is because of the knowledge that you are almost done and can soon go back to watching movies, tv, listening to the radio, dating girls, going to work and college, and so on. But I'm seeing it as a time to stay strong because of the opportunities the Lord is presenting me with. I know that the Lord has put me in this Deaf Branch for two years for a reason. I am so humbled to have the opportunity to meet so many amazing Deaf people here as well as church leaders and Missionaries.

I ask yall to pray for a few people. First, Itzel as well as Arnold and Andrea. These are our most recent investigators and I hope they are prepared to receive the Gospel.

Also, please pray for me. I'm about to hit 6 months left and I know that if Satan wants anything, it's to have his strong Missionaries become weak. Thoughts of home have started to come back. The natural man in me is starting to fight. I want to be spiritually prepared and ready to resist the temptations and to work hard. I have 6 months left to do the Lord's work and to represent Him. I love this and don't want to mess up.

I love yall so much and hope you have a good Christmas season!


Elder Gardner

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Family and Friends,

Last week I watched a movie named Ephraim's Rescue. It was amazing, and I cried at the end. Got to see many Missionaries I haven't seen in months. Tuesday we went to do service. A member that joins us each week, Kristel, is leaving on her Mission Dec 3rd and so that was the last day we'd see her. We had all become good friends. So we went to a taco place and ate tacos, took photos, and said goodbye. We received a referral from ASL missionaries in another state, this referral was from Riverside Texas. Over an hour from Houston. Furthest I've been. So we went there but it was dark so it was hard to see. Very cool to see non city. Saw stars!

Wednesday I went to the Mission Office to get working on our testimony movie. I feel honored to have permission to use my video editing skills to help make a project for our Branch.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. Went to the park and played ultimate Frisbee, then got changed and enjoyed the rest of the day at the Speckhards. Great to see AJ and Emily again, the kids of Brother and Sister Speckhard. Got to hang out and have fun, enjoyed a DELICIOUS and WONDERFUL dinner. (Reminds me of home every time) and then had pie and played games. Brother Speckhard made me trunky though, turns out his family is going to their summer cabin in Wisconsin in July 2014, when I'll be home, and he invited me to join them if I wanted. Awesome!

Friday had Zone Meeting. Taylor came to team interpret with me again. Saturday we checked out the referral in Riverside again, but this time in daylight. Met the man we were looking for, and now have a person for the Missionaries to meet!

Sunday was great! Church was pretty good. A little smaller attendance than usual, but still acceptable. I ended up teaching the first hour class, and Elder McGill taught Priesthood. Sister Skidmore was there to interpret Sacrament meeting testimonies, and she asked for me to help her (since she only comes once a month). Afterward we were taught how to act out the Restoration lesson without signing thanks to our member Adrianna (who Taylor helped bring back). Then we went to the Temple, with plans to film my testimony. However, it was too dark, so we just hung around for an hour and took photos. It was great to feel the spirit! Then Skidmores for Dinner and home.

I've been having very good spiritual experiences this past week. My testimony has improved and become very strong. I know the church is true and I KNOW God loves us so much. I know He speaks to us Today through the Prophet, Apostles, and the Holy Ghost. Read the Book of Mormon, it will change your life forever!

Have a great week!


Elder Gardner