Monday, December 8, 2014

No lo puedo creer! :)

¡Hola familia y amigos!
I am so profoundly happy to report that Fabian and Desireè Scarfo were baptized yesterday!!! :D

I don't think I've felt a happiness like this in my life before. Well, I know I haven't. :) I'm sorry I don't have pictures, but I'll be sure to show you all when I get back. (which I don't want to be so soon... meh.) 
 
It was the most beautiful baptism! They have made so many changes in their lives! You can just see the light in their eyes that comes from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have grown closer together as they've embraced the Gospel! We walked into their house on Sunday morning so that they could try on their baptismal clothes (everything fit perfectly...tender mercies) Desireè was wearing a skirt and Fabian, a suit and tie. I almost cried when I saw them because their home was so tranquil and their son Tahiel was being an angel and everyone was happy! The Gospel changes attitude and behavior! Then at church they said they couldn't focused because they were so excited to be baptized. I never thought that would happen! :D 
 
Then after church they changed into their white clothes, and when they saw each other they just hugged each other for a little while! It was so precious! Then the service began, and their neighbor Hermano Castro, who referenced them (long-time member and convert) spoke, and Hermana Arcidiacono spoke (the Arcidiaconos was one of the young couples that really helped the Scarfos to progress a TON). Then Hermano Cobian (another one of the young couples that played a huge role is all of this) bapized Desiree and Hermano Arcidiacono baptized Fabian. Fabian and Desiree watched each other be baptized and they both had tears in their eyes. It was amazing to see them GLOW like that! Goodness, words can't describe the spirit that was there! All of the members had tears in their eyes because their FRIENDS were being baptized! After they were dressed they said that they felt the spirit very strongly- and that's all you can ask for! 
 
This was one of the most special baptisms I've been able to participate in... because of the HUGE change they have made in their lives and natures, and for the MAJOR increase in faith! In God, in Jesus Christ, in His Gospel, in prophets... in continuing revelation. I can't help but get teary-eyed thinking of this amazing family and this amazing roller coaster of an experience we've had with them. 

I AM COMING BACK FOR THEIR TEMPLE SEALING IN 1 YEAR! I will fast for 1 year to save up the money. Whatever it takes! :D I already have an Argentine ID card and passport. Fàcil. :)

This is most likely my last letter home from Buenos Aires Provincia, Argentina. I love this country. I love these people. I love my companions and I love my mission. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the BLESSING and Tender Mercy He has given me to spend a year and a half here in the Promised Land. :)

Something important:
I have had feelings of pure joy and happiness on my mission that only my Heavenly Father and I understand... It's a kind of joy that I won't ever be able to explain to anyone, nor use words to explain. And sometimes that frustrates me to not be able to explain myself (in English!) but I find comfort in that my Heavenly Father, yes, understands perfectly the joy I feel.. because He is the One that gave me and is giving me these feelings. I love Him so much. And wow, does He love me. 

I am so grateful for this Christmas season. I see it a lot differently than before-and I'm grateful for that, too. I love my Savior so much. I feel like I've really come to know Him in the past year and a half. But this year and a half is just the beginning of coming to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father throughout my life. I have so much learning to do and so many changes to make to really become aquianted with Them and become like Them. I think something my misson helped me to do was realize how much I DO need to change and HOW to do it. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for this understanding. I feel like I just got baptized! I have my whole life ahead of me to continually better myself and help others along the way better themselves, too. To get to the Celestial Kingdom together...

I can't explain my gratitude or the love I feel in my heart. I feel like my heart is going to explode of joy. So I'll just say it like this:

I LOVE EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. 

See you in a week! Oh my goodness?.. haha
Hermana Gardner

P.S. I just saw a kid wearing a Utah Jazz shirt. hahaha I can't think of a more random basketball team besides the Reno Bighorns. haha! :D Gotta love Buenos Aires.

And yes, I'll bring home Alfajores. :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hola Mundo!

I have 4 minutes to write a letter to you all! Great news: The Scarfo Family will be baptized this weekend :D!! It is such a blessing to be working with them! They just need an interview with the Mission President First.. haha. We don't even have time to be "Trunky" anyways.. haha love you all!

Hope all is well! Happy Thanksgiving!

Hermana Gardner

Monday, November 24, 2014

Buenas Tardes

Hola! Sorry this is late! We were in Ramos Mejia putting together the Christmas Program with Hermana Robertson (president's wife), and we just now got back. The Christmas program is 2 days after I leave... Awesome! lol but that's okay. I'm happy to help.

I think this week basically I am just so happy to be alive. If I had a nickle every time I got a feeling of just pure joy... I am just so happy to be here! It is a privilege to work with such amazing people and leaders and investigators and people in the street and companions! I know that Heavenly Father is in the details and the big picture!

Hermana Totten was asked by president to write the narration for this Christmas Program and it was a lot of work for her to do in just 1 week with very limited time. We were booked this week with appointments and meetings and such. But she put together the program in such a beautiful way! She was very worried that it wouldn't work out, or it wouldnt catch the vision of what Hermana Robertson wanted. But as we went to present it to her today, Hermana robertson started crying because she loved it so much, and it caught her vision. I can't explain how much joy it gave hermana Totten to know that Hermana Robertson loved her ideas and the narration she made. She is SO happy, and I think it really has made her feel much more confident and successful as a missionary. She presented the organization and narration to a group of missionaries (that will be the choir), and seeing her up there made me so happy! I LOVE seeing her learning how to take initiative and her progress and success and happiness! It seriously fills my heart with joy!

Be sure to look for the "He is the Gift" campaign by the church. The Church bought out ALL the advertisements of Youtube for a whole day in December (I'm not sure which day.. December 1st?) to advertise this campaign. We as misisonaries will be spreading it around starting the 28th of Novemember. SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE! :D If you don't know what it is, ask your local church leaders :) haha
It will be christmas.mormon.org .. but beginning the 28th of Nov.

Anyways, I love you all! Keep being GREAT!

Hermana Gardner

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hoooola :)

That's how they say Hola here. hehe :) How's everyone doing!? Welcome to the world, JACOB LEE! Deeee! I can't wait to meet him! And all of my other nephews and nieces that I don't know yet! haha :)

It's been an AWESOME week. A bit stressful, for sure. Baptism weeks always come with so many road blocks and cul-desacs and wet concrete.... but it turned out AWESOME!! The baptisms were SO great! And the primary sang and everyone cried and came together. Mission accomplished. I love my life. (don't mind my face in one of the pictures, The person taking the picture was being hilarious.) We are chipping away at completing part-member families and helping to re-activate them. It's really and truly a joyous moment to see whole less-active, part-member families coming to church week after week and seeing the light come back into their eyes and homes! We saw this light shine brighter on Sunday than ever before in Facundo's family. (baptism not pictured in this email). His parents are making huge changes in thier lives because of the example of their son! Facundo understands the Gospel and the Atonement, and it really is affecting his family in a positive way.

Also, our ward mission leader Hermano Sanabria is a force to be reckoned with. He has so much LOVE for the Gospel and his Savior and for missionary work. I can't really explain why, but he has really made such a positive impact on my life, especially through his example. He helps us as missionaries really magnify OUR calling and become the best daughters of God we can be. He serves quitetly, and humbly only because he loves his Heavenly Father. He does so much "behind the scenes" that no one ever asked him to do, and no one knows! He is such a humble, faithful servant of the Lord... and all the while his family is inactive. I know that through and because of his faithful service, he and his family will be so blessed. His example is amazing.

AND

I was 12 inches away from Elder Christofferson on Saturday. He came to speak to our mission and the BA North mision! (I talked to Elder Tambo! He's doing great). We sang in a choir of 15 for him ( I stood right next to where he was sitting, quite literally 9.5 inches away from his knee cap) and Elder Nelson (from the presidency of 70) and the area 70 Elder Gonzalez (who came last month, also) and all their wives. We sounded like angels. haha just kidding, but the song turned out almost perfect. But yeah, all of these authorities and thier wives all speak fluent fluent spanish. IT WAS AMAZING! Elder Chritofferson's wife's name is Catherine... haha. We sat in the 2nd row from the front, in the middle. It was amazing to be so close to him and feel the spirit that he has as an apostle of the Lord! We made eye contact a lot of times, and he stared at my soul when he was talking about how he Knows Christ. He didn't turn away from my eyes! Then he looked to Sister Ricks sitting next to me, then he looked at me again! It was awesome. haha :) Oh my goodness, at the end, he gave us an Apostolic blessing (like, invoked blessings from heaven upon us) and everyone was crying. It was a PRIVILEGE to be in his presence. He is such a stud in Spanish, too. He speaks better than any Argentine I've seen, that's for sure. He served his mission HERE 50 years ago, as Elder Richard G. Scott as his Mission President.

Anyways, I love you all. We have to go because we have a TON to do!

P.S. I'll send the picture of Facundo's baptism next week. My card reader isn't working today.

I love you all!
Hermana Gardner


Monday, November 10, 2014

I love my life! Goodness.....

Hello world,

I am just so happy. Not the kind of happy where "everything is going right" or something like that, but the kind of happy where I feel the love that Heavenly Father has for me, and I understand my purpose and my potential with Christ. I feel true joy that is deep within my heart! I don't think I've felt joy in that way before. It really is true what the Mission Call Letter says that we'll feel more happiness than we have ever felt before. At one point in my mission, I was wondering if that would even be true. But I know it is! I just am so grateful for my testimony and conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I never even thought I could have such a powerful conviction of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Last night I recieved revelation that came to me suddenly and as a direct thought in my own words. I promise I wasn't thinking about my future husband or boys or anything, but my revelation was basically like this: "ALL I care about (or at least number 1 for me) in finding my future husband is that he is keeping every commandment of God as his number 1. Without justifying or rationalizing." I'm not sure why that thought came in the way it did, but I know that it was from God! Throughout my mission I have learned that the simple principle of obedience to ALL the commandments of God is why we're here on earth! I have grown to love obeying my Heavenly Father. For all He has given me, I owe Him all that I have and am! En serio. All He asks me to do is keep all of His commandments, and He will bless me to be able to become like Him with my family.
We find comfort as we pray.. like sometimes when we're in the collectivo I start praying just to talk and be with my Heavenly Father.. whether I'm nervous for a certain lesson, or if I find that my mind isn't focused. But also I find comfort as I willingly obey all of the commandments and mission rules. Because I know that as I am completely obedient, I don't have anything to worry about or feel bad about. And as I am obedient, I have the promise of guidance and the companionship of the Holy Ghost! It's the best kind of confidence you can have. I've learned that there is no better companion than him. Heavenly Father has really blessed me this week.

Hermana Totten is doing AWESOME! She's really progressing in her Castellano and is teaching with more confidence in lessons. We are SO happy to be together and it is so fun working our tails off together. Let it be known that I LOVE HER!

We have 3 baptisms this coming weekend! But to be able to baptize more souls, we need to find more souls. And this week we found some AWESOME new investigators that have Gospel seeds planted from before, and are ready to come to church with us next week. Yesterday we had an investigator family of 4 come to church on their own (without us coming and bringing them) and they loved it! They really felt the spirit from the Primary program we had during sacrament meeting. (IT was the CUTEST most well put-together primary program EVER! So so so cute. We laughed, and we cried. It was SO awesome!) We had 6 other investigators there as well.

To retain the baptisms we have, we are working with the ward missionaries to help with the Retention lessons! We got them PMG's and everything. They are excited to do it! We're having a few FHE's with members and nonmembers as well.

To Re-activate we're working with the Ward council doing visits to a list of families that are most likely to come back. We report on these families to our ward mission leader and Bishop every week (written form). We've found that this really helps the ward to have confidence in us as we report on what they ask us to do. We have had a couple families come back to church after not having come for a year or so. They're giving us references too, which is THE BEST.

The Scarfo family accepted to be baptized this coming weekend also, but they still need an interview with our District Leader and the Mission President. So we're trying to get all of that put together. 
 
Elder Christofferson is coming on Saturday and President Robertson is pretty busy with that! And so we'll see if they can be baptized this weekend. Praying so hard for them!
We'll be singing for Elder Christofferson on Saturday during the 4 mission-wide meeting, so that's not nerve-wracking at all... haha :D

Dad: thank you for the Elder Christofferson talk, I totally studied it twice, and it's so good. When it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to change ourselves in order to more fully follow the example of Jesus Christ and live His Gospel. Elder Christofferson said "Resenting the Law of Gravity won't keep a person from falling if he steps off a cliff." ..., Truth is truth, whether you like it or not :) haha. But we're all working on becoming better every day. We have repentance to help us change for good, because of Jesus Christ.

Anyways, I love you ALL! Keep being awesome! Saludos a mi nuevo sobrino!!!! :D

Hermana Gardner

Monday, November 3, 2014

La Cosecha

Hola mundo! Okay, sorry. The power totally went out in the middle of our time to email so that's why you're all recieving this later. haha. It has been pouring rain for 3 days. It's been pretty flooded where we normally work the most. I think the fasting you did for rain and snow got sent over here. Maybe when I go over there I'll bring some. The power is out at our house but we're super happy that this Cyber is up an running. haha

It's been a great week! We talked to the Scarfos and they're still having problems in their communication when it comes to religion. And yesterday when Desiree came to church she said she didn't know where her husband went... so yeah we don't know where he was yesterday. But we have an appt with them later today so we'll see. A really special and spiritual experience happened with them on Saturday that I wrote in my journal, I'll be sure to tell you about it when I get home. They accepted to be baptized in November! We'll see how everything turns out.- I have SUPER FAITH (haha) that they will be baptized! I love them so much!

My companion is AWESOME! I seriously love her. She's like, a life coach. I'll ask her how she feels about life coaching later.. haha she is doing GREAT!!!

Sorry if I didn't respond to some of your emails, we're short on time today!

Hermana Gardner

PS Elder CHRISTOFFERSON and Elder HOLLAND are coming to speak to us on NOV 15th and I'm in the mini choir with my comp. Did I already tell you that? haha but anyways, we're excited to see them. And hear elder christofferson speak CASTELLANO! He served in Argentina under the Presidency of Elder Richard G. Scott (Mission pres). I love this country.

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