Monday, October 27, 2014

AMO mi vida

What a GREAT week!!

Did you all see the pictures? We had the BEST baptism ever of Iarra and Adela! I seriously am SO thankful to Heavenly Father for blessing us with such a great ward that helps out so much, and who made the baptism so spiritual. This is the first time that I've had leaders that are on the same page as each other, and us. And that page is Preach my Gospel. haha :) We had Ward Correlation after the baptism, and it just made me realize that the Organization of the Church of Jesus Christ is perfect! If we do everything the way He would have us, things turn out great! We've really seen so many tender mercies (specified blessings, specific for our ward) from Heavenly Father because of how the ward does things. We have 3 baptisms scheduled for next month, and we're excited to be a part of it all. We're getting to know the members, and they are excited to be part of the work. It's all about the "confianza" of the missionaries and the members!

We had something pretty sad happen the other week. Olga Lopez, a recent convert from July 2014, had a stroke. She has 2 kids that were also baptized (one of them is Iarra that was baptized yesterday.) and the older daughter isn't. Olga is in the picture below). Olga has lost the ability to speak, so she writes on paper. She can't walk well anymore either (she had a crutch before, but now it's worse and needs constant help to move) But the stroke is continually affecting her, and this week she began to not recognize the people around her. She doesn't know who I am, or any of the other members, even the ones that were always at her house helping out right after her stroke. The only people she recognizes now are her kids.. and on Sunday at church, her daughter went to the bathroom, leaving Olga "alone" and when her daughter got back she wrote on paper to her daughter "You left me here alone with strangers/what are you thinking?" It is such a sad story because she is such a faithful saint who is so obedient. It was a miracle that she came to church to see her daughter be baptized. She has gone through so many ugly things in life and we are praying and fasting for her so that she can steadily begin to speak and remember things. We as missionaries were always helping her and her family, and suddenly this happened. The whole ward is helping out, and today the bishop will be taking her and her older daughter to a good hospital (because here, the hospitals aren't the best and you have to wait like a month to finally go.) Anyways, I'm not sure why I told you all this, but it's the most important thing that's happening in the ward right now. We all just love her so much!

As for the Scarfo family (Fabian and Desiree).. they didn't come to church the other Sunday, it being Mother's day here in Argentina and all. They were traveling. But yesterday (this Sunday) they sent us a text saying that they won't be going to church and they didn't want us to be mad and that they'll explain later when they can talk. So we are concerned about that because they aren't answering their phone. We don't know if they meant that they will never go to church again, or just this sunday... We'll be stopping by later today. I just love them SO much and they have made SO much progress, more changes than any other investigator I've seen. I hope everything will be okay with them, and that they want to continue in the right path. Please pray for them!

I love this work. I think I am just beginning to understand the importance and magnitude of my calling. (Now that I have a month and a half left...) But I really and truly love this work and the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I know that His Gospel and Church have been restored to it's fulness. I'm so grateful for that knowledge.

I love you all! Recuerden quien son. :)
Hermana Gardner

Hola! Acà son los fotos del bautismo de Adela (la mujer mayor) y Iarra (la niña). Fue un bautismo espectacular!! Lleno del Espíritu. Hermano Sanabria es nuestro lìder misional, es como un papá para nosotras. AMO Ituzaingò 4. Amo amo amo.
Les amo!
Hermana Gardner

Translation:

Hi!, Here are the pictures of the baptism of Adela (the older lady) and Larra (the girl). It was a spectacular baptism. I am full of the spirit. Brother Sanabria is our ward mission leader and is like a father to us. I love Ituzaingo  4. Love love love


Monday, October 20, 2014

¡A Vencer!

Hola mundo! Que cuentan. Les digo una cosa. Este semana fue TAN loco pero TAN especial. Bah. Solo sè que mi Padre Celestial me ama tanto. El sabe que nececitamos y El està dispuesto bendecirnos en cualquier manera si seamos fieles! Hemos visto eso èste semana.

On Wednesday I woke up with a FEVER and chills and whatnot. That really tested my patience and faith. We had SO many things to do and people to see and business to take care of with our ward leaders and investigators, but no.. Sister Robertson (President's wife) said I needed to stay home all day. And so I stayed home, drank more water than I have in my whole life, took a ton of Advils, and ate Jello (Thank you, Hermana Totten). That very long day, I learned a lot about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I had a long time to think while laying in bed, and looking at the images of Christ in our apartment. We really do come to know Him better when we pass through hard times. But then I realized how much I really hate thinking about myself. It depresses me! Goodness, is that the truth or what.. The next day my fever broke and we went to work-- with blister things in my throat and all. The moment when we went back to work and helping our investigators, I felt like I was on clould 9. When I focus on other people, I feel SO much better!! I seriously think I slipped into depression that day in bed. Blehh. But that day Heavenly Father blessed us with 3 new investigators, and many other small but huge miracles with our other investigators. The law of compensation.

Adela had her baptismal Interview with the District Leader on Sunday after church, but had a problem with question number 4. I'll explain that later when I get back. Or ask jeremy or Chris. Or cooper. haha so yeah. Because Adela had a problem with question 4, she had to have an interview with President Robertson. So our District leader called Pres. Robertson, and said that they could have their interview over the phone! So much relief on our part. So we took Adela home and they had the interview on the phone, and it was perfect. We have a baptism on Saturday! This weekend Iarra will also be baptized. Double-baptism. It's going to be great!

All I know, is that God loves us! He lets us go through trials so that we can grow closer to Him! My companion and I realized something summamente importante, and that is... our purpose of life is to learn and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Imagine the Plan of Salvation without that. It would make no sense! I know with all my heart that the Gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ are true and absolutely necessary for our Salvation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints exists to help us LIVE the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and is also necessary to live the Gospel fully. The Church and the Gospel are separate and distinct, but both absolutely necessary. I am so grateful for the Chruch and for the teachings of Christ. I love Him, and I know He is my Savior! I am so forever grateful for my mission. I am so grateful for this privilege to have come to know my Savior in such a personal way.

I love you all! Thank you for EVERYTHING and remember who you are!

Hermana Gardner
The Celestial Kingdom, and nothing less! :)

P.S. this is my and my MTC companion Hermana Millet at transfers right before we met our train-ees :)


Monday, October 13, 2014

Hola, world!‏

Its been an awesome week! We were so happy to have 6 investigators at church on Sunday, it was the best! We're working our tails off, for sure. I think it all piled up on me because I woke up this moring super sick to my stomach. But its okay, it's P-day!

Kari is ENGAGED! Way to go Cooper! If you're out there Cooper, I'm excited to meet you. Props for how you proposed :)

And the Scarfo family. They're doing well! My companion invited them to be baptized again the other day, and they said maybe at the end of the month... we are learning that we as missionaries can only do so much, but the Spirit can and will do the rest. I know that they will be an eternal family. It's just a matter of time. As they keep doing the things they know they should, like going to church, reading the scriptures, praying every day, and keeping the Word of Wisdom, the Spirit will testify to them in God's time. I know it! Its seriously a privilege to know them and have them in my life. I know I knew them before this life.

We've been teaching a lot of Plan of Salvation lately. I love being able to teach it because I learn something new every time. Sometimes I learn new things that come out of my own mouth. That is such a tender mercy for me. Something that we explained to our Investigator Jorge is that he already chose to participate in God's plan! Proof of that is that he's here! And it's just about recognizing that and living His plan in order to know it's true. We have such stud investigators right now. I know God is blessing us! I love Him!

One of our recent converts had a stroke the other day. It was amazing to see how the ward went to action to help her and her family, right away. I love this ward with all my heart. I hope President doesn't change me next transfer! :) I don't think he will. I have to finish training Hermana Totten. She is so great!
It's getting hot again! Which I don't mind, because the cold and I aren't friends.

Another one of our investigators Adela is progressing steadily towards her baptism. Please pray for her!
Remeber who you are! Thanks for being amazing people! Every day I am more and more grateful to have such an amazing family who know who they are and their purpose. We work with a lot of families who aren't in the same situation.

Be sure to go over conference! So inspired!

Saludos a todos,
Hermana Gardner


 This is Olga and Hermano Sanabria our ward mission leader :)

 This is me and the Sosa family. They're from Paraguay :)

 This is our zone! Castelar :) Zone service project! We cleaned and painted an elementary school.

Monday, October 6, 2014

La Conferencia "Genial"

"Genial" means awesome. haha

¡Hola mundo! Okay, I have 1 million things to say, and so I think I'll start with number 27. 
I love my companion. She is like, my soul mate best friend. I love being her companion and helping her learn the language and the ways of Argentina. She is a stud of a missionary! And person :)

Okay, General Conference was SPECTACULAR! If you haven't already seen all of the sessions, get it done! I absolutely loved every talk. If you all remember, a 70 named Jorg "Something" spoke, and he made an impact for sure. I love what he said about not rationalizing our behavior or be easily offended by others. And he also said a lot of direct things that we all need to change in our lives! Stud! And I also loved the very last talk, by Elder Bednar that was directed toward all non-members! He explained WHY were are a "missionary" church and why we want everyone to know what we know. I loved the band-aid analogy. SO GREAT! You are all lucky because you have the opportunity to have the talks at your fingertips at all times. We have to wait like 3 months to get it in the Liahona. So I'll get to read all the talks when i get home :) 

Commercial: For those of you don't know how to access these talks, go to www.lds.org and you can find all of these talks given by the prophet, the 12 apostles, and other leaders of the church. :) 

The Scarfo Family loved conference, even their little son was super excited about the Mo-Tab and the organ! We also brought another investigator Adela, and she loved it. She said she felt something powerful in her heart. 

So that the world knows... I know that the Church and the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ have been Restored to the earth again. We have a prophet today, like Noah, Moses,etc. and 12 apostles like Christ had. God and Jesus Christ literally visited the boy Joseph Smith in 1820 to answer his specific question, which of all the churches was right.. He was answered that none of them had the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some years later, Joseph Smith was called of God to be the prophet for these days.
But everyone can know this for themselves if they read, study, and pray about the Book of Mormon. I know these things are true! I know they are. 

I love you all! Remember to read the Book of Mormon every day! :)

Hermana Gardner

Monday, September 29, 2014

AMO mi misión. And that's that.

Hola! It's been a great week in Ituzaingo 4!

   I have a new companion! Her name is Hermana Totten from MINNESOTA! So greatl!! She got out of the MTC 4 days ago! And so, I'm her Mom. Haha I'm training her :) I LOVE HER. It is SO GREAT to have her as my companion! She is about 5 foot 8, which is the TALLEST companion I've ever had! lol She reminds me a lot of Hannah Davis for SO many reasons, it is SO GREAT! I am so excited to be serving with her. But seriously, she is a stud. Her spanish is doing great! And she has a talent of simplifying profound things. Menos palabras, más poder. I seriously am stoked she is my companion!! 
 
   This Sunday we had 6 investigators at church (even though it was raining, which makes people not want to come to church) and a lot of less-actives that we are working with! The Attendance in Sacrament Meeting was more than it has been for a long long time. It make me SO happy to see so many people at church taking the Sacrament! 
 
   We "clapped" a door this week, and a woman came out and let us in her house to teach her. My companion and I had a member with us who is preparing for his mission (but is less-active..).When we all sat down around the table, she told us that she cleaned her house this morning top to bottom so that she could pray in peace. And so she was praying that morning to God for direction or a sign in her life because her husband doesn't want anything to do with God, but she wants the best for her 3 young children. And she told us that when we got to her house, she knew that God knew her and that it was the answer to her prayer.
 
    It's so great seeing the Scarfo family come to church feeling totally comfortable with the members. It really seems they are part of the ward now. Fabian with his suit coat and dress shoes and everything. Today we are going to re-set a baptismal date with them so that they can be an eternal family! 
 
    I love being a misisonary. More than I ever thought I would. (And I thought I would!) I know that we can Baptize, Retain, and Re-Activate, all at once! 
 
    Who's excited for General Conference!? ME!! It's my goal not to have the flu this time. Thank you Chrissy, for the reminder :)

I love you all and am praying for you!! 

Hermana Gardner

P.S. Saludos a Hermana and President Carter when you see them! I LOVE them! :D

Monday, September 22, 2014

Para Siempre Dios esté con vos

Hola mundo!!

It truly has been a great week in Ituzaingo 4! I love being a missionary so much! But like, seriously. haha

Thank you SO MUCH for the Birthday Cards! I got them today. hahaha, 1 month later :)

This week was our stake Conference, and something I realized was that in the Saturday night session, the moment when Hermana Robertson (the Mission Presidents Wife) began to speak, the Spirit filled the room! It was "Impresionante!" Really and truly, everyone could feel the Spirit right when she started because of her smile and humility! It really set the stage for his talk, and the 70's talk.

So, we've run into a rut. Does that phrase even exist? English is hard. The Scarfo Family, Fabian and Desiree, are amazing people. Fabian (and Desiree) is reading the Book of Mormon, going to church every Sunday (4 in a row!) and praying to know if these things are true, recently with more sincere intent. He really wants to know if this is true, and he is looking for an answer. He hasn't recieved an answer, at all! He tells us that he doen't feel anything or have any good thoughts or anything.... And so we talked about praying with real intent, and how the Holy Ghost speaks to us and how our prayers are answered (softly, with good feelings of peace, joy, patience, good thoughts or desires, etc. the answer can come from other people or the scriptures,etc.) and he understands that. But his answer hasn't come. We've fasted twice for this family, along with our District Leader and his companion! I just want so much for them to be an eternal family. And I think because he/they aren't recieving an answer, they're getting bored.. or more like frustrated. And they have been at it for a month and a half now! We are always constantly looking for direction to know how to help them, they are always on our minds. I know they will be baptized. I know it. Even if it's "someday". I've recieved that revelation. I just want it to be sooner rather than later! :) But I'm here to do God's will. Heavenly Father knows what Fabian and his wife need and what they're going through. I'm here to help God help them. I think this is happening to teach me MORE patience than I have already learned (demasiado!). haha But yeah. THOUGHTS? IDEAS? :)

My companion is done with her mission on Wednesday :( SHE IS SO GREAT! Hermana Mumford and I had SUCH a great transfer, en serio. It went by SO fast. That's what happens when you're working hard. And we worked our tails off. And it's worth it. I am going to miss that American lady. Heber City for life!
I'm going to go get my new companion on Wednesday! I don't know who it is yet, but I'll let you know next week! We'll see!

Anywho, I love you all. Hermana Mumford's family is going to come to our ward to watch her give her fairwell talk, and I'm going to translate IT into English for them at the pulpet! haha how fun. 
I LOVE YOU ALL! Please pray for The Scarfo Family :)
Hermana Gardner

Monday, September 15, 2014

I love my life.

HOLA MUNDO!

It has been SUCH A GREAT WEEK! I don't think I've seen so many miracles in one week in my life. Our dear investigator Olga was baptized yesterday and was SO very happy! Her whole family was too. Bah, que lindo era... She is 71 years old and always told us that it CANNOT be cold or rainy on the day of her baptism, or she won't be baptized. Yesterday it was cold and rainy, but she was baptized anyways! She was happy as could be. We went through a lot to get the baptismal font to be warm. In the end, it worked out!

 Also, this Saturday we went to the temple! Olga came, and was feeling the spirit really strong. And guess who else came. THE SCARFO family! Well, the two parents, Desiree and Fabian and their 1 year old son. Desiree was going to come alone with us and with her son, but at the very last minute (literally, right before the bus that the ward had got to their house to pick us 3 up) Fabian got a text that said he didn't need to go to his work meeting thing! And so he said, "Puedo venir con ustedes?!" :D (can I come with you guys?) We about died of happiness in this moment because we KNEW the effect the temple would have on Fabian and Desiree and their progression. We got there, and it was SO great to see their reaction and questions and AWE that they had for the temple, it's cleanliness, it's spirit, etc. Fabian was especially shocked when he learned about and noticed all the safety features the temple has, and he said that the place has to be something special. He's into that kind of stuff. Desiree used a skirt (lent from a member) for the very first time in her life. It was such a touching and special experience to help them learn about the things of eternity. It made me realize what a privilege it is for me to have this knowledge already! It is literally a privilege to know without a doubt that the temple is the only place where families can be sealed together forever and we need to make promises with God that will allow us into His presence. This is the only place! And we as missionaries are doing all that we can to help the Scarfo family understand that. Then the next day (Sunday) they showed up to church all on their own! We didn't go "buscar" them, and they didn't take the church bus to church either! They came completely on their own, not having eaten lunch. (Church is at 2:30pm). It was a MIRACLE to see them walk in the door with Fabian in his suit coat and Desiree and their son in their best clothes. I have SO much faith that they will be baptized this month. I KNOW IT! We think about them CONSTANTLY and I have so much faith that now is the time for them to come closer to Christ. 

We are working shoulder to shoulder with the ward members. It is AMAZING to see the difference between a ward that works with the missionaries and a ward that doesn't. I've done both, and the first option is THE BEST. The progression of Olga and the Scarfo family is serisouly due to the support of the members! My companion and I had a great conversation with Bishop Rios yesterday that really helped us gain his confidence in us and our confidence in him. I think I'm seeing a tid-bit of how the Lord wants His children to do His work. The ward isn't perfect, and the missionaries.... MENOS! But if we are constantly focusing on what Heavenly Father would have us do as His servants (missionaries or otherwise) we will see success!

I know Christ is my Savior. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. There is power in the Book of Mormon that I cannot explain. I know that the temple is the literal house of the Lord, where His Spirit always resides. It is such a privilege to be here!

I love you all,

Shout out to mom! Happy birthday!

Hermana Gardner