Monday, April 21, 2014

I love my life!‏

Pero en serio, mucho.

¡¡Hola todos!! ¿QUE TAL?

Guess what is the best feeling ever! When Juan Carlos received the Aaronic Priesthood!!! Me mata... I love this work! Oh! And!
I AM SO VERY HAPPY FOR BECKY AND HER NEW BABY GIRL! Jaelyn! I have a sobrina! Yeeee :) She is precious! Congratulations Becky! 

Okay people. Here's what's goin' on. We are in the Chacabuco Branch, and I Love it! The best branch ever. I don't think I've loved a people more in my life. I seriously have given my whole soul to them, and this town. But, only about 20 people come to Sacrament meeting on a weekly basis, and there are 300+ members. In reality, the branch is suffering, A LOT. But really, a lot. There's a ton of "murmuring" I guess you could say, about the leadership and other members that really REALLY kills the spirit and keeps people from coming. There's a whole lot of drama and bad feelings all around. And iniquity, to top it all off. But the main thing is that there is so much PRIDE en todos lados. It's ridiculous really. But, all you can do is love them! We just love them and serve them! All while doing our work, and completing our goals as missionaries, which is to help bring new souls unto Christ. 

BUT...

We have received revelation. Please turn RIGHT NOW to HELAMAN 4:23-25. And read it. BOOM! How powerful is that?! The first part of vs. 25... Woah! And now read verse 13 of that same chapter. WOAH!!! The first part is huge. "And because of this their great wickedness, and their boasting in their own strength, they were left in their own strength" (and not the Lord's)!!!!!!! The branch is literally doing everything on their own. Without revelation or inspiration or love! That's not how Christ's Church works.

Here is our solution/revelation we as a companionship received to help the branch. ALMA 60:23. Second part of that verse says "God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also" !!!! (see also Matthew 23:26). And so, we are starting from the INWARD part of the issue! (and then working our way outward) And helping the active members and leaders rid themselves of this pride and drama, and really remember what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is! What it's all about! We're working with the leaders first, and visiting and home teachers, and with them, we are bringing back the less-actives, and working our way outward, to the outer vessel. (Inactives and investigators).

It is so much easier to do our work as missionaries when the branch is strong! On the other hand, it is seriously a CONSTANT battle as a missionary if the branch is weak. Once, we brought an investigator to church (and she absolutely loved it). But she said to us afterwards, "why does everyone only come to the last hour (sacrament meeting)? Why do I have to come at 9?" I about died in that moment. And so from this moment on, we've been working with the members to help them understand the importance of church, and coming to all 3 hours! After all, we need to adapt to the Gospel of Jesus Christ... the Gospel isn't going to adapt to us... 

I love the Book of Mormon, and being able to apply it directly to our lives! My prayers were answered this morning in a miraculous way, through the Book of Mormon. HUGE Tender Mercy!! 

And so, we're doing all this, all while doing our job as missionaries and bringing new souls unto Christ and His Church. It is a TON TON TON of work. It literally is taking all I have out of me. But I know as we do this, as Representatives of Him, He will help us in every aspect of His work. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!


I love you all, FLAMMY! :D Keep being great! Choose the right! Read and apply For the Strength of Youth and apply it 2x daily! ;) haha, yes I'm a doctor... 

Happy birthday to Jaelyn Lee! hehe :)

Hermana Gardner

Monday, April 14, 2014

I love my life!‏

¡Hola! FYI, I am so much better now! Up and runnin'! Let's go!

On Tuesday, I got to go with President and Sister Carter and the Assistants to pick up the new missionaries from the Airport! Just me!! haha it was fun. I went with them on a little tour of Buenos Aires, the temple, etc. After that, there was a couple of presentations at the mission home and I had to teach them all the technical things of being on a mission in Argentina. It was kind of sudden... 
 
Monday in the afternoon we had to up and leave to get to Ramos Mejia so that I could go with the President to go do this. My companion stayed in Ramos with another Hermana. It was fun to be with Pres. and Sister Carter and the Assistants! And the Refuerzos of course. haha

The next day was transfers! And now my companion is Hermana Arenas! Welcome to the best area in the mission-- Chacabuco B. haha :) I lived with her for 6 weeks when I was in Caseros! So funny! She is a good one! I can already see the success happen! It is going to be a GREAT companionship. She is AWESOME! She has 4 months on the mission. I have 10!!!!! Can you believe that?! Wheew!

On Friday we contacted a family that Hermana Espinoza and I had contacted a few weeks ago (This family wouldn't leave my mind... so of course we contacted them again!) and this family is SO GREAT! The parents are juntados.... (living together...) so obviously they can't be baptized, but their daughter Milagros (which means miracles) is SO AWESOME. She is 13 years old and she READ THE WHOLE PAMPHLET we left her overnight and came to church with us the next day! We taught her the Restoration after church (using questions that help her teach HERSELF the truths of the Restored Gospel, of course) and she wants to be baptized! BUT.... her mom isn't on board... and we need her acceptance..... dahh. The Branch president (Pres. Figueroa) and our branch mission leader and his wife (Hermano and Hermana Villalva, LOVEEEE) came to their house and gave a blessing of health to the dad who was in a HORRIBLE car accident 4 months ago and a chunk of his head is missing and he is bed-ridden. That definitely brought the spirit into their home. And so we'll see if the mom will support her daughter in her path to salvation! Milagros being baptized would be the BEST thing for this family, and I know it will SO help them right now.

I LOVE being a missionary!!! :D

Hermana Gardner

P.S. Pray for the Chacabuco Branch please! :) Rama Chacabuco por la VIDA! haha ;)

Monday, April 7, 2014

¡Santos, Avanzad con Fe en El Señor!‏

¡Hola! Tengo muchas cosas que decir, y poco tiempo. ¡Vamos entonces! :)

Hermana Espinoza is being transferred... :( It's been a great two transfers with her! I love that woman! I've learned so much about faith and patience from that woman. LOVE! :) And so we have to travel in about 3 hours to Ramos Mejia for transfers. SO sad! And so I'll be here in Chacabuco with a new companion! 

Okay heres a little story about Conference weekend.. Saturday Morning.. Raining cats and dogs. And we're sad because none of our investigators came. I felt super sick so I asked the Elders for a blessing. Yay for the Priesthood of God! Then We went home to eat something and then we went right back to the church. (two of our investigators showed up, even though it was raining cats and dogs, yay) As we were watching conference, I started to feel super super sick and I started to like, shake! Like, my whole body hurt a TON, and I was like, quivering. And so at this point I had to leave the room because I was a distraction! I was in a lot of pain, so I cried... oops. haha and so the elders came and saw what was the matter, etc. I was super cold, and so they started the heater for me, etc. So we went home directly after the conference (I didn't get to hear a single talk!) and my sickness got WORSE! Dahhh I had a HUGE fever, it was HORRIBLE. That night I started thinking about my funeral. Just kidding, jokes jokes. But yeah that night was horrible. So hermana Espinoza gave me pills to kill the fever and it worked overnight, then the fever came back Sunday morning so I took another one. But I felt horrible, and Sister Carter said I had to stay in bed for 2 days minimum, Si o Si. And hermana Espinoza REALLY wanted to watch conference and she also needed to be at the church for our investigators. And so! A sister in the branch CAME TO OUR APARTMENT and stayed with me for 2 hours while my companion was with another sister! hahahahaha. I was at home with Hermana Maciel, and she basically watched me sleep for two hours. haha What a sweet lady!!!! ANd the same thing for the second session, but another sister (Tochey) stayed with me while Hermana Espinoza went with Sister Villalva. haha Such sweet sisters in the brach. And so I didn't get to watch conference.... :( I was SO looking forward to it, too! But that's okay, the Liahona Magazine with all the talks will come out here in about 3 months. haha :) 
 
But yeah! That's my weekend. I learned about bearing your afflictions with patience (mostly that I need more of it) and about the power of the priesthood! I am SO much better, and my recovery was super fast! Sister Carter (presidents wife) had to stay in bed for 4 days!!!!!!! 
 
Anywho, don't worry about me! Especially you, Mom. Don't worry! hahaha ;) I'm all good now. It was just a rough way to end an awesome 2 transfers with my angel of a companion. 


Love you all! Thanks for the prayers!
Hermana Gardner
 
 
Here are some pictures! I don't have a better one of the baptism, sorry! 
 
The 2nd and 4th man from the left are Horacio and Juan Carlos. Horacio doesn't look too happy, but he SO is! haha :D
 
And the other is with a family of recent converts :) LOVE the Jimenez girls.
 

 

Monday, March 31, 2014

¡March Madness!‏

This has been such a great month!! Juan Carlos and Horacio were baptized on Saturday and confirmed before stake conference on Sunday. It was so great! I love my life! haha here's what I wrote to President Carter about Juan Carlos:

We were so very happy to be a part in the baptisms of Juan Carlos and Horacio on Saturday! It makes me so happy to see how happy they are to be members of Christ's Church. The change in Juan Carlos is literally remarkable. We first met and taught him on January 29th and he was baptized on March 29th. We have seen him come from a very hard-hearted man to a man who desires to learn and progress all throughout his life. He will be traveling with the branch to the Temple in April! I think what has really helped him the most is that he actually keeps his commitments and feels accepted by ward members. He was baptized by Hermano Villalva who is one of his long time friends/co-workers. He will be a great asset to the branch, and I know he will progress steadily throughout his life! Horacio was more than excited to be baptized on Saturday, too. It is a great feeling to know that we help to baptize worthy converts! And people that will be a blessing and not a burden to the branch!

Also, I was sitting next to Juan Carlos during the Sunday Morning session of Stake Conference, (president Carter spoke at our stake conference) and when you said that Going to church on the sabbath day every week is one of the 10 Commandments, and that the whole world knows about it, Juan Carlos was SO in agreement with that! It was just so obvious to him! He hadn't gone to church for years and years because he thought they all were "lucro", but with his knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is the very opposite to him. It has been a privilege to work with him in his progression!

I love that I get to be a part of this great work! President Carter Spoke in our Stake Conference, and something he said really hit me! It was raining that day, and the branches in the stake (District, really) are having attendance problems becuase of lame excuses.. President said in his talk that is is much easier to clean your wet shoes from walking to church in the rain than it is to have to REPENT for not keeping this very simple and VITAL commandment! Woo! I love that concept. Go to church people! Its 3 hours out of your WEEK. Christ gave up His life for us, we can go to church to worship him for 3 hours. The way President Carter speaks and explains things is so..... very clear! Its like, DUH! haha :) I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It is so plain and simple to understand! It is for everyone. EVERYONE. :)


I love you all! Keep being AWSOME!! Choose the right, and remember who you are! *Simba

Hermana Gardner

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hola!

¡Hola, buen dia! Como andan!?

 It's been a great week! Full of miracles, and GREAT MOMENTS.

This week we had divisions. It was AWESOME. I went to Junín (which is a city about 50 minutes away) with the Sister Training Leader Hermana Hicken and I worked with her there in her area for 2 and a half days, and her companion worked with Hermana Espinoza here in Chacabuco. I learned SO much with this angel of a missionary. Especially about faith, in myself, and in the Savior. We saw and participated in SO many miracles in those two days, it was AMAZING! One of which was when the District Leader and his companion were giving a blessing to an investigator of Hermana Hicken, Luis (who is being baptized this saturday, 19 years old) so that he could overcome the strong temptations to smoke (so that he can be baptized this weekend, and GO ON A MISSION! Stud.). When Elder Moore was giving him this blessing, there was a specific MOMENT when Everyone in the room KNEW that it was Heavenly Father Himself speaking to Luis, blessing him, and giving him advice. Everyone in the room was crying, and the spirit was tangible. Elder Moore (American, still working a lot on his spanish) knew it was the words of Heavenly Father because he did not stumble or make a single mistake in Spanish, and he spoke quickly and fluently... after the blessing, we stood there in the room talking about what Luis felt and what Elder Moore felt. It was AWESOME!

Anywho, we have the baptism of JUAN CARLOS (who is my best friend FOREVER) and Horacio this Saturday!!!!!!! We have been working SO hard on them, and finally, they are going to enter the waters of baptism!!!

 Pictures next week!

Love you all!

Mosiah 2:34, Mosiah 4:21 what are the common phrases?! LOVE THOSE SCRIPTURES!

Hermana Gee

Note to family and friends of Cathy

Due to new Argentine government restrictions, missionaries cannot receive packages anymore.

Please continue to write letters and send emails  :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Agents of Repentance

¡HOLA FAMILIA! Okay, lo siento, I've been trying to respond to everyone individually too much, and that leaves my giant family letter in the dust. I looked back on last week, and it was really short. Sorry! haha so I decided to put this letter in primer lugar. But THANK you for writing me! Keep up the great work! ;) haha ¡Entonces!

This has been an AMAZING WEEK! We have the baptism of Juan Carlos and Horacio on the 29th, which we are SO excited for! And then the next weekend is GENERAL CONFERENCE! We are soo excited! haha Hermana Espinoza and I seriously are SO looking forward to watching General Conference. I don't think I've ever been more excited in my life! haha. 

This past week we had a Zone conference with us (Chilvicoy Norte--Donde Milagros Pasan) and Chilvicoy Sur. It was SO VERY edifying people! Among the many, many things we learned, we learned how to not only be teachers, or missionaries... but how to be agents of repentance and progression in the Gospel that LASTS for their whole lives and into the eternities. There is a huge difference between being baptized and then going inactive, and being baptized and taking off from there, continually becoming a better disciple of Christ. We as agents of repentance need to help the people take into account that they are sinning, and that they need to change. Por ejemplo, when a couple is living together and aren't married, they are disobeying God's commandments. This is often looked at as "okay" or not that bad. On the contrary! haha. They not only need to get married or kick the boyfriend out of the house, but they need to go through ALL 5 STEPS of TRUE Repentance! 1)Recognize that they are doing wrong 2) Feel bad for it! (So very important) 3)Confess of it (to God, and if needed, the Bishop) 4.)Change their ways 5)Continue living righteously and accepting the Savior in their lives. Church inactivity happens when this is forgotten. I have a lot more to say about inactivity, but we'll save that for another day... haha

*Alert* This paragraph is really gross. But I wanted to share it with y'all. haha*

After this Zone conference, we took a minibus back to Chacabuco, where it dropped us off at the Church so that we could pick up our bikes. Hermana Espinoza felt really really sick, and had to go run into the bathroom to throw up. (we ate pizza and empanadas at the conference... oops.) So I went in after her, and she had thrown up in the sink! A LOT. haha..... umm.. but she had to throw up more so, she ran into the boys bathroom to do it because the girls bathroom toilet had problems. She was barfing for about 20 minutes straight.... so I cleaned up the sink................................................................................................... haha. Lets just say it could not go down the drain............ haha. But anywho, she felt better afterwards! :) But yeah, this experience for some reason made me love her more! It is the craziest thing. But I really love that woman!

I think I'll share with y'all what I shared with President Carter about my ever so humble companion Hermana Espinoza!! 

I wanted to relate an experience we had while "teaching" the Restoration a few hours after the conference. We are teaching a mom (who is Chilean, but has lived in Chacabuco her whole life) and her brilliant daughters, Nicole and Augostina. They're "all there" if you know what I mean. They're sharp. They're Catholic, Nicole teaches special needs kids at a Catholic School, and her daughter goes there too. As we were discussing Christ and His Apostles, and how and why the Apostasy began, Nicole asked a question about the Pope. (I can't remember what the question even was, but it was a hard one to answer without going way deep, and it needed a specific answer). I looked to Hermana Espinoza and she looked down for about 6.25 seconds in silence, and looked up at Nicole in the eyes and said, "When Christ formed His Church, did he ordain a Pope?" . . . . Then a few seconds later, Nicole began to tear up-- completely realizing what the Authority of God really means. The rest of the lesson was spirit-led, and we all were on the same page (down to the letter.)
When Hermana Espinoza said that, I immediately was filled with the Spirit, because I knew that was a truly inspired question that Nicole needed to hear and think about so that she can teach herself about authority of God! Hna. Espinoza answered a question with a QUESTION!
I still can't get over how great this moment was, and it was thanks to what we learned at the Conference, and the humility that Hermana Espinoza has. 

I love being here in the mission field!! I seriously would NOT exchange this experience for ANYTHING. It is the BEST! I am coming to know my Savior and the nature of our Heavenly Father. I love studying the Book of Mormon and being completely edified from it's power and TRUTHfulness. Read the Book of Mormon! Just do it! :)

I love you all! Keep being awesome!

Hermana Gardner