Monday, February 24, 2014

A long week with slow progress, but lots of faith

Family and Friends,

This past week has been a bit slow due to the difficulty accomplishing all of our goals. We have been working on getting one of our Investigators baptized. We have been struggling because he lives about 30 minutes away and despite the 750 miles allotment we receive weekly, it's still difficult to save miles and visit him daily. However, we were able to meet with several people.

On the positive, one of our less active member came to church! He has been struggling for a few years now because of multiple jobs and messed up priorities of girls and cars instead of church. After meeting with him multiple times for the past many years, (many of those simply attempts to contact him but with no success) we were able to not only meet with him, but he thanked us sincerely for visiting him the many times we have, and he said he promised to go to church. We got the Ward down in the Texas Houston South Mission to provide a ride for him weekly, and now he has the possibly opportunity to serve a Mission!

One thing we were able to do this week is discuss the problems in our area and figured out solutions and magnets to solve them. One is for all the Deaf to receive enough money to take the bus to CRR, a place in downtown that we go serve Tuesdays in the afternoon. There, they can learn English and apply for jobs. Then with the Church's permission to affiliate LDS Employment website, we can use their database to connect with the volunteers and skills at CRR to give the Deaf jobs more easily. Then they can make money and not be bored or whatever. The other idea is to have a class at Fallbrook every Wednesday night at 7 for the full Stake to attend, as well as non members. We can teach ASL there and help everyone connect with the Deaf better. It will help Inwood connect more personally with the Deaf. It will be a source for the Inwood Missionaries to contact and teach non members. It will be a way for us to find those whom wish to join the Branch and help interpret or just be a member. It will help make our problem seen more. It will give us more reasons to talk with hearing people on the streets. There are so many benefits and I hope we can get it setup next month!

On Monday last week while driving in the direction of home from shopping, Elder Mitchell felt impressed to ask our dear Sisters from church if we could visit her and her husband. They have been residing in a hospital for the past month about, because he has been struggling to breath and has been on 100% machine. This sister has been one of our interpreters for our Branch and has been involved with the growth of it for many many years. We love her so much and were saddened to find out that he had just recently passed away, prior to our text. We all attended the funeral services, which were held on Saturday. It was a sad but peaceful service, as many old Missionaries from 10 years ago who served here came, including a Sister from 10 years ago! (back when we had 10 Missionaries, 4 Elders, 4 Sisters and a Senior Couple) We got to connect really fast and gave them updates on how we were doing.

One of our struggles has been with a member and her boyfriend.  She is Deaf, he is Hard of Hearing. One of the commandments we LDS members follow is the Law of Chastity. One rule in this law is that a man and a woman cannot live together in the same house unless they are married. They aren't married, she is a member and he is not. We struggled with them on Thursday to try and help them understand that right now they are breaking a commandment. We said they should get married in March or separate. He argued with us saying he didn't want to hear about marriage or separation. We struggled to help him and have felt frustrated and sadness because of his lack of desire to follow the commandment. However, we ahve faith that he can change.

We were able to meet with a referral. He is a very smart Deaf person and lives near one of our members. We hope to meet with him this week and start teaching him.

That's been the basic highlights of this past week.

I know that with only 4 months left, I don't have all the time in the world to do stuff. I hope to work as smart as I can with the time I have left, to help those whom are Deaf learn about the Gospel and receive Salvation through Baptism and Temple work.

Thanks for all of your prayers, I will continue to pray for all of you as well!


Elder Gardner.


Monday, February 17, 2014


Family and Friends,

We had a fun week! Transfers happened and now I'm with Elder Mitchell and Oleson in the South, with Elder Erickson and McGill in the North.

We have been trying to figure out a way to have a place called CRR and the LDS Employment Center affiliate with each other.

Most of the week was visiting members and trying to setup exchanges and stuff.

Saturday we taught Sister King and her new companion Sister Shell sign language. We had a EQ meeting. Then went to the Branch activity. They had a photo booth setup and costumes and fun wigs and stuff for the Deaf us others to dress up in and have fun with. So we took advantage of that and have some rather funny photos!

Sunday was good as we had many meetings and then church.

We found out that Kauo and Alder are coming back to Houston in March 8th to 13th! So we are excited for them to come and we hope to try to get a baptism setup so that they can witness it, if possible.

Anyway, that's about it! I hope you have a good week!


Elder Gardner.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A GREAT Baptism!!

Family and Friends,

On Tuesday we went to visit a man named Louis whom has been a member for a few years but has been the most dedicated person we have EVER seen! He went to the hospital recently because of bad food but due to family problems has been stuck for almost 4 months. Upon entering to visit once again, we found out he was taken to a city far south! So now he is no longer here... but hopefully he will show up in a month or so.

Wednesday was Temple day for the Missionaries. President Pingree joined us! Wonderful session! Then found out a member had a heart attack and went to the Emergency room. We visited him and gave him a blessing.

Friday was Zone meeting in the morning. Sister Loo prayed in ASL, which was really cool! We then had Temple baptisms for the Branch and I got to witness our members do my family names for me. :)

Just found out literately 2 seconds ago that the above member Louis passed away this morning... 1am. Just received a text. That is very unfortunate but we know he is in a better place.

Anyway, Saturday went to teach the Sisters more sign language and am very impressed by how much they are remembering so quickly! Then headed off to the Temple to continue to do work there. Then witnessed Sherman get baptized.

Sunday was good as well.

Found out transfers! I am staying South, Elder McGill is North with Erickson and Elder Mitchll and Oleson are... well... not sure! Three rumors! Both will go south with me, Elder Mitchell will become AP, or Oleson is going English. We will find out Tomorrow!

Anyway, that's about it. I made the mistake of not eating a lot before coming here so my energy is low and I'm hungry! So have a good week!


Elder Gardner

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

ONE of the BEST weeks EVER!!

Family and Friends,

This past week has been the most interesting and life experiencing weeks of my Mission!

After Pday last week, we went to chick fil a and had dinner there. A worker comes up and starts SIGNING to us! We are surprised and find out she's actually a college student who is becoming an interpreter and so we took advantage and offered to teach her ASL (and eventually the Gospel) and got contact info!

Tuesday we had some time before doing exchanges to visit someone, so we focused on Elder's Quorum work and visited a member in the North area for an hour. Then we went to meet the other Elders for exchanges. However, we got busy and it didn't happen.

Wednesday we visited a few members and got to see a less active whom I haven't seen in over a year. He's had many difficulties and I'm glad I got to talk with him. Then checked up on a few members and talked with an investigator who has struggled to progress. Then after traveling around visiting people, we got a text asking if I could interview one of their (the other elders) investigators. I accepted.

My first interview with anyone of my Mission. She was an adult who had many struggles in her life and needed to start again. Elder McGill was in the same room, but of course couldn't hear, so invasion of privacy wasn't disturbed. W. O. W. That was the most spiritual interview ever! She opened her heart and I fully depended on the spirit to help me know if she was worthy and ready. It was wonderful to hear her Testimony and to feel the spirit. Of course, at the end I followed the promptings and felt she was worthy. So I congratulated her and the flood gates came. What a wonderful experience! Then after approving her baptism, I hung up and chatted with the other Elders via VP. They told me that they had one more investigator who was going to be baptized the following Saturday.

Who was it? Someone I had basically worked with since I flew here. Tried everything with him. Went to the Temple! Dropped him! Tried teaching him again! Dropped him again! They picked him up and worked more. So, I am happy to announce that Sherman has accepted a baptism date and his mom will also be there to witness it! I broke in tears when I found out. That night was the best night ever. I have never felt happier!!!!!!!

Friday was an opportunity to unify the District again through a very powerful District Meeting on the Atonement. Following that, we went to the Mission Office and found out we were due for a new car... like, right now! So we switched! Got a Ford Fusion. Interesting car. A lot different than the Chevy Cruze. It can connect to the phone and read text messages. And I can press a button and basically talk to the car and tell it what to do with the music, phone and other basic things. Makes life easier! Then celebrated both Elder Oleson and a member's birthday, then to Speckhards and home

Saturday we went to a member's home to do Elder's Quorum business. Then Sister King and Loo, whom I talked about last week, came and we taught them ASL for 2 hours. I didn't use my voice once, but depended on their knowledge of finger spelling. Near the end, we told them to stop talking and signing at the same time and to only sign. They got awkward at first, but then started to like it and even helped each other through signing instead of voicing. We got really excited! Here's a video of us signing happy birthday to Elder McGill (belated birthday cupcake from the Match family). Sister Loo is on the left, Sister King on the right.

Then we took a member with us to visit an investigator and then went to the Baptism service of the women I interviewed. She changed! It was amazing!

Sunday was great as well, church was good as usual. Got to go to a member's home for Dinner.

Thanks for your support and prayers! I feel them! Wanted to share that the two Sisters we have been working with will NOT be transferred in our program. The Lord has other ideas in mind for them. HOWEVER, President Pingree called me Today and we talked and he agreed to call SLC Utah, again ,and this time make (deafism warning!) TRUE BIZ sure that they send us not TWO, but THREE Sisters! And we hope they come BEFORE Elder Mitchell and I leave, so we can help them with the Branch situations we are in. So I will call him Wednesday to see what updates we have. President is working hard with me to get Sisters, and that makes me happy. :)

Anyway this week will be super busy, as we will be doing three exchanges AND have THREE Temple trips AND a Baptism. Also, we committed Sister King and Loo to pray in ASL at our Zone Meeting. We are going to encourage the Missionaries to start to use ASL more so Elder McGill can feel more involved.

That's about all I have! Hope you have a wonderful week, as I am now having!


Elder Gardner.