Monday, July 21, 2014

¡Shoutout from Chacabuco!

I'm running out of titles for my emails.. haha
¿Que cuentan?
This has been a great week. I wanted to share with you all that we're having major improvement in the Chacacabuco Branch!!! Dahhh :) We did a couple AWESOME branch activities that were major successes. Everyone left there with a huge smile on their face. We had 31 people at church (that's a ton. haha) yesterday, and it was so great to see all of them there. It was funny, yesterday the Elders weren't at the church (they were looking for one of thier investigators), and during sacrament meeting when I went up to lead the music for the opening hymn, we didn't have Elder Alvarado to play the piano!!! (I didn't even think about that). ANd so in the moment I had to go play the hymn and my comp led the music. I was like.... ummm okay! haha. The hymns chosen that day were not easy. Thanks for picking the one with 4 flats for the opening hymn!!! haha

We had exchanges this week, too! I went to Junín (45 minutes away) for 2 days and my companion stayed here in Chacabuco. It was SO GREAT! We did a Family Home evening there in Junin (FHE branch-wide) about the Plan of Salvation. And so each room in the church was a different kingdom . All decorated and stuff. I was in charge of the Terrestial Kingdom. And when everyone came into that room, I had to explain what I did in my life, and why I was there, etc. Then an "angel" asked me where my family was... And everyone was looking at me waiting for me to answer... And then I said, I don't know.. not here.. I can't ever see them again.. and then everyone started crying! And so did I a little bit! ANd then they all left and went to the celesial kingdom and learned about what we need to do on earth to be able to live there with God and our families. IT WAS GREAT!

This is a picture of Malvina and me! (She is an ANGEL!) And this is a picture of Choriso. haha :)
 Julio Ceasar did this for my companion and I after the baptism of his children. SO GOOD. haha


Baptism of Malvina

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hola! Sorry, this computer doesn't recieve photos, or else I would send you pictures of the baptism of Malvina that we had on Saturday! She is so great! Her baptism was at 11 in the morning and it was POURING BUCKETS AND BUCKETS of rain ALL DAY. But it was a really great baptism. She is such a great girl. Her hair is twice as long as mine and isn't going to cut it until her 15th birthday. haha she wants to have pretty pictures for her quince. :)

This week we had a meeting with our zone and the new mission president! He is great! He's from RALEIGH NORTH CAROLINA! Yay for dad's mission! :D His accent is HEAVY. haha I LOVE IT! He and his family are great. The kids are still young and speak Spanish. They've been living in Peru I think. Anyways, he's a great man and we're excited to continue on with the work of salvation here in BA! 

LOVE YOU ALL! Sorry this was short, but its time to go to work!
Hermana Gardner

Monday, July 7, 2014

Chivilcoy Norte.. Donde Milagros Pasan

I just want to say that I LOVE MY ZONE!! Just because.. haha. We have District Meetings every week as a conference call because all the areas are so far away from each other, but we're probably the most united zone in the mission. I LOVE CHIVILCOY NORTE! :)

Something that I have been learning while on my mission is basically that I am the dust of the earth. haha. :) I have SOOO many weaknesses. Like, I think I'm here on my mission to uncover every weakness that I have and to be able to know what to work on. And I'm grateful for that! It's a privilege to have an opportunity to refine my own self while putting everything I have towards the benefit of others. And to Glorify God (which is number one--always.) 

I. Love. My. Mission.

I'm going to share with you something that I learned this morning.  In Luke (I think chapter 14 or somewhere around there) where it talks about the crucifixion of Christ, one man yelled mockingly at him while He was on the cross, "If you (really) are the Son of God, then come down from the cross." 
We all know that Jesus Christ is the true Son of God, our Savior, and He had the very power of God to perform miracles and do whatever thing He would want. I think that He could have very easily literally come down from the cross and stop all of the pain that He was going through..(give up doing the Atonement, stop the whole thing. He could have done the same when He was suffering in Gethsemane). He could very well have come down from the cross. But He didn't. He stayed there! He suffered for the very man that yelled this at Him. The Savior worked the Atonement for us so that we could have the privilege of overcoming our trials and weaknesses with His divine help. He suffered for us so that He would be able to know how to succor us.

This made me think of when our investigators or the people in the street say, "If God really existed, He wouldn't let so many people go hungry" or "If God is all-powerful, He could have prevented the death of my wife."

Heavenly Father is real and He IS all-powerful! But despite of His power, His unyielding love for us prevents Him from taking away the Agency (or the ability to choose right from wrong) of His children. He knows what is best for us and for all mankind. Just like the Savior chose to continue forward with the Atonement despite all the pain and suffering, Heavenly Father lets us (in his abiding love) show our faith in Him despite the difficult circumstances! It's a privilege to have been able to come to Earth to show our faith in Him!

I love the scriptures. 
I love you all! Thank you for sharing your experiences with me! THOSE ARE GOLD! :D 
Keep being awesome,

Hermana Gardner.

P.S. can I just say.... FREEZING RAIN. and WIND. And BIKES. teehee. It's all worth it!
or should I say "It will all be worth it... if my posterity keep the faith." (name that movie/quote. haha :))

Monday, June 30, 2014

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!‏

¡La familia Diaz se bautisó! I LOVE THE DIAZ FAMILY! Ludmila, Anahí and Cristian were baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday 29 de Julio 2014. It was AMAZING!

This week we went through H.E. double hockey sticks. In every sense of the word. (Except it was cold outside). Satan did NOT want this family to be baptized, AT ALL. Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. But we wouldn't let Satan take control of the eternities of our best friends.

Okay, I'm going to share with you a very powerful experience that happened to my companion and I right before their baptism. Satan and his followers work SO hard to prevent the work of salvation! It was one of the most powerful experiences in my mission.

The day before their baptism (quite literally, 12 hours before) we passed by to visit the Diaz Family. To get the signature of their parents, and see how they were doing. In this moment I learned for sure that Satan does everything he can to prevent eternal families. We got there, and sat down and were talking with Mary (the mom) and her son Cristian, and her daughters Ludmila and Anahí. It's all good. The dad, Julio Ceasar (who was more excited about the Gospel than all of the family combined--he had SO much ánimo, it was great) STOMPED into the house, sat down right in front of my companion and I, and started yelling at us about how he doesn't want the Priesthood, doesn't want to be baptized, and he doesn't want any of this. His eyes were glazed over and his face was really different. We were in SHOCK. And so was his family! He was yelling a ton, and the room was full of a horrible spirit! And so my companion said, not having words to respond to him, "can we say a prayer?" He said "Bah.... Si." And so Hermana Manriquez said a very powerful heartfelt prayer, with tears in her eyes. Everyone was crying during the prayer. But at the same time, the dogs ran into the house, started barking, Julio Ceasar was yelling at the dogs, slamming doors, etc. I felt like Satan wanted to prevent this prayer from happening! After the prayer, my companion asked, "Julio, what happened to you? What happened today?" because he wasn't himself. Julio was not Julio. He told us (still yelling) that nothing had happened, and that he doesn't want to do this. My companion asked, very strongly, with probably the most confidence I've seen from her, "what are you willing to do for your family?" And he started talking about something random that had nothing to do with anything. Then Ludmila (the oldest daughter) asked him with a strong voice with tears streaming down her face, "Dad! What are you willing to do for us!? What are you willing to do for your kids and wife?!" With that, his face changed. That question came from his own daughter. All of his family was looking at him in silence with tears in their eyes, waiting for him to respond to the very vital question. He said, "I work so I can put bread on the table." Then Mary (his wife) chimed in and said, "You're talking about material things, this is about the eternities! We have to be baptized to be sealed in the temple!" That right there showed my companion and I that Mary really and truly KNEW that this is what they have to do to have an eternal family. That made him think a lot. He got really quiet and was looking at the floor. Mary basically taught him Lesson 2. We talked about eternal families and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how it had already blessed his family so much. After about 40 minutes we cleared everything up and Julio Ceasar was back to himself. He had been confused about the concept of baptism, something that we weren't aware of. Now he understands very well, and invited us to eat Chorizos the next day after the baptism. Mary signed the 3 baptismal records for her children (because they need parental permission) and Julio Ceasar wanted to sign every one of them, too.

Wheew. What an experience. I can't really put into words what was felt during this lesson. We felt the whole spectrum of emotions- happiness, confusion, anger, the influence of Satan, doubt, sadness, disappointment, hope, courage, and the Spirit of God! We went through so much to help this family, and we're still working with the marriage papers for Mary and Julio. I hope hope hope I can come back here to Buenos Aires to attend their TEMPLE SEALING in a year! 
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!


Enjoy the photos :) SUCH AN AMAZING FAMILY (Julio Ceasar had to travel to Junín to work and couldn't go to the baptism :( 

P.S. The baptismal font key didn't work!!!!!!!!!!!!! The font was filled, but we didn't know if it was full of hot or cold or what?! And so we were waiting a while for someone to come save us. Finally, it opened. haha :)

I LOVE you all! Keep being amazing!

Hermana Gardner

P.S. we have a new mission president! I'm pretty sure he's a stud! We're going to miss Pres. and Sister Carter!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Chacabuco for life!‏

Hola!

Hey! I'm still in Chacabuco with my capa of a companion Hermana Manriquez! I'll be here for 2 more months!! YAY :D Chacabuco has my HEART! A little about what's going on here:

Sacrament meeting had 32 people on Sunday! SUCH a great accomplishment, I couldn't believe it! It made me tear up seeing so many people ready to take the Sacrament. 
 
The Diaz family is doing GREAT! The three kids are being baptized this weekend!!! Ludmila, Anahí, and Cristan (Manù) hehe :) I LOVE THEM. Every one of them had to be my best friend in the pre-excistance. I seriously feel like I've known them forever. Please please please pray for them, they need as many prayers as they can get, especially this week. 
 
Our dear Mission President and his wife are leaving for the United States on Saturday :( I am heartbroken. Their mission (of 3 years) has come to an end. I am SO forever grateful for the HUGE impact they have made on my life. They have CHANGED my life for the better. Such amazing people. On tuesday we traveled to Ramos Mejia to have a huge mission conference (and transfer meeting) to say goodbye to President Carter and Sister Carter. We watched a few videos of them and thier mission and we were all bawling. And then at the end they showed a video of their family, and we balled even more. And then, every one of us (238 missionaries) got to go shake hands and hug Pres. and Sister Carter while someone was playing the piano. We were all crying.. watching other people wait to go say goodbye to them was very touching. It made me think of what it will be like to greet the Savior.

Our new president will arrive this Saturday. I don't like change. haha :) but I'm excited to get to know President Robertson!

Yesterday we visited a member who is very old out in her ranch (quinta) and we drank REAL MILK! With a nice thick layer on top. It was great. And delicious!

We're working our TAILS off. I LOVE this work. Every day I am understanding better and better my purpose and the amazingness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I can't believe I only have 5 months left. This is my life! I can't imagine my life being anything other than the way it is right now. 100 percent dedicated to God. 

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, and the Savior of all mankind. If I don't accomplish anything else in my mission, this assurance is plenty enough for me. 

I love you all!
Hermana Gardner

Monday, June 16, 2014

¡Vamos Argentina!‏

Argentina won their game the other day en la Mundial ;) yay! haha

I LOVE being a missionary. I LOVE being in the Service of God here in the best mission in the world. I LOVE every detail of my mission. The moments in the street when we are cracking up laughing, the moments that we want to punch everyone, the moments when we are being direct instruments in the hands of the Lord. I love my life.

Here is what I wear on a daily basis because it is FREEZING:
2 pairs of tights, my basketball shorts under my skirt (hahaha, but seriously it works..) long socks, boots, 2 shirts, a sweater, my jacket, my headband earmuff thing that I was really really lucky to have thrown in my suitcase at the last minute, and a scarf. ANd my helmet. 
haha its even colder with the wind from riding a bike. haha...

There were only 12 people at church yesterday including us 4 missionaries because of fathers day and it was the first Soccer game of argentina in the world cup. (that didn't start until 7 at night!) Its a huge deal. haha so many excuses, sometimes want to kick people in the ankle. lol

The Diaz family is doing GREAT! Please pray for them! We are still waiting for their daughter to bring the signed paper from Brazil so they can get married. I love that family!

There is a probability that I will get transfered in 2 days :( who knows.... I HOPE NOT! I LOVE MY COMPANION WITH ALL MY HEART! AND MY AREA!

Love you all!
Hermana Gardner

Monday, June 9, 2014

I love being a missionary!‏

Hola! Como andan?

Hey, I have 6 minutes to write you all. haha, sorry.

So la familia Diaz turns out they are not married. But the thing is, they want to SO BAD! It's just that Mary's first husband died 20 years ago in Brazil but there isn't proof of his death, and so she can't marry her current husband! BUT! Her daughter is in Brazil trying to get the signature needed to prove his death! It just so happens that this daughter will be back this week with this signature :) And so.. We are going to marry them, and baptize them this month. That's the plan. And so please pray from them a LOT! That would be great! They are our family of GOLD. SO prepared and they are progressing SO WELL! I love them! We have an FHE with them tomorrow night. I love my life. An hour ago we saw them at the grocery store. So fun.

I love you all! Keep being GREAT! Saludos a todos! Have an awesome Trek! It is the BEST!!

Hermana Gardner