Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Thank You

To all who have read my emails these last two years, thank you. This is my last email, to those of you I will not see in the near future goodbye and I wish you the best this life has to offer. 

I have mixed feelings as my mission comes to a close. Principally, I'm extremely grateful. I'm grateful to God for allowing me to serve these 2 years. I'm grateful for God's help, love, guidance, and deliverance. I'm grateful to have met so many wonderful people and to have come to know new cultures and to have learned Spanish. I'm grateful and joyful for the success during my mission and I give all the credit to God. Despite my many imperfections I'm grateful to have seen so many miracles and feel the Holy Ghost each day. 

I'm also sad, sad to leave the people I've served, my companions, and the missionary lifestyle. It will be sad to not be able to wear my missionary name tag and to go out and share the good news of the gospel.

I feel satisfaction. I feel as Paul "...the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my mission (course), I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4: 6/7) I glory in the Savior, He is the Light, the Life, and the Truth. My satisfaction is in the service I've done for Him, and the benefit its had for other people. I direct all success to Him. I have never felt satisfaction as sweet as I have during my mission. I feel at peace with my myself, with my fellow men, and with God. 

I am excited! I have missed my family and I highly anticipate a joyful reuniting this Thursday! I am excited to return home to the great U.S.A. and to enjoy all the things that come with living in the land of the free and the home of the brave. 

I feel confident. I have prayed much and I have fasted to know the truth of many things, and by the Holy Spirit I have come to know that God lives and that Jesus Christ, his Only Begotten Son, is the Savior of the world. I know that He died so that we might have happiness and joy in this life and salvation in the life to come. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's true church. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet.

It has been a pleasure to serve a mission, what an awesome opportunity it is to do so. 

I will see many of you soon, may God bless you all. 

Elder Gardner

The Joy of Working

I was happy this week! We had very few distractions and we were able to work all week long and we saw great progress with our investigators and less active members. I like going out and visiting all day long, for me the work is the best part of the mission, I enjoy more than my p days, meetings, and other downtimes. 

I understand that I only have 10 days left, I as I went throughout the week it made me a little sad to think that my wonderful little protected life of visiting people, reading the scriptures, and helping people to be happy all the time will come to an end. But, reality always comes knocking at the door. So, I've been trying to enjoy each day and soak it all in. 

We had 4 investigators come to church and one of our investigators will be baptized next saturday named Michelle. Her Mom was a less active member but since we found them my second day here they've come to church every single week. She is excited to be baptized and has good support from her family so that will be a good event next saturday.

I should be fed well this week, we have been invited to dinner every day this week. 

I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I feel uplifted and I learn each time I read it. I hope that we may all read it and strengthen our foundations of faith. 

Elder Gardner

Monday, June 19, 2017

We are doing great here in Ciudad Arce! We put a lot of baptismal dates with our investigators this week and we tracted. I really enjoyed this week and the time went by quickly. In the mission it seems like you are on one of those very long walking treadmills in an airport, you are just cruising along and you seem to arrive sooner than you expect. 

Last P Day we went bowling, my first time in two years. I beat most of the other missionaries with a score of 116, (not that good) that was fun. Some of them had never been bowling before, it was interesting to see some of them huck the ball instead of rolling it. They actually managed to break one of the railings off a lane, I thought that was amusing.

We had a lot of good lessons this week were I felt that the people really felt the truthfulness of our message and the Savior's love for them. The work is still going along and we are trying to accelerate it. I know that we are helping people to be happier and experience true joy in their lives as they are freed from the "bondage of sin". 

I'm enjoying each day and I'm glad to be a missionary. I hope you all have a great week. 

Elder Gardner

Monday, June 12, 2017

Mushroom Omelet, BBQ Pork, and Apostolic Visit

We had a great week this week working in our area, my companion, Elder Acuna is a great day and it is a pleasure to go out and work each day. I love being a missionary and we are doing awesome! It was great to have several investigators and less actives in church yesterday, they enjoyed church and they were smiling!

Elder Renlund, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited all the missionaries from El Salvador on Tuesday. We packed into the chapel that lies by the temple and we heard some powerful teaching and he motivated everyone to have great faith, attitude, and effort. I got to shake his hand, I told him where I was from and he knew where Nampa, Idaho was at! That was cool, it was a fun to see many former companions and friends as well at the multi mission conference. 

I had my last interview with my mission president on Friday. He gave me a lot of advice for the future and formally thanked me for my service. I told him "Hey, wait a minute...." "I'm not done yet! I still have 4 weeks left!" He told me I was right, I'm not done yet. But, it was a good experience and there is a lot to look forward to after the mission is over. 

We had some strong spiritual lessons this week teaching people about the sacrament and the importance of it. We emphasized this especially with less active members. 

I was very hungry on wednesday afternoon and as we were visiting I kept thinking about BBQ Pork, for some reason I just really wanted a BBQ Pork sandwich. I thought this was funny and I just imagined I was eating BBq pork when I got beans, rice, and tortilla for dinner. Also last night, a member family gave us dinner. They served us a mushroom omelet, kinda strange but I ate it all. But then they brought out a plate of cow intestines and I told them I was full. But three other missionaries were eating there as well and they dared to try it, they regretted that decision as two of them just about gagged at the dinner table. El Salvador cuisine is always and adventure. 

I know that through Jesus Christ we will all live again. We will all receive a physcial body and be raised from the dead. If we live the gospel and follow the teaching of Jesus Christ we will be able to live in the presence of God and Jesus Christ forever. This knowledge was restored when God called Joseph Smith to be a prophet, we can learn more about this by reading the Book of Mormon. I know that if we read the Book of Mormon we will come closer to Jesus Christ and be happier. We will come to a greater understanding of our mortal purpose and find joy in this life. 

I hope you all have a great week. 

Elder Gardner

Monday, June 5, 2017

Two Decades and Wow, It's almost been two years.

Well, it was a great week and we worked very hard in our area here in Ciudad Arce. I enjoyed visiting all week long and working with my companion. We were happy to see several investigators and less active members come to church. 

I turned 20 this week, that came quickly. The district of missionaries here threw me a little surprise party. They had balloons, cake, and a little scavenger hunt for me. I'm pretty sure the sisters were behind most of the planning, very nice of them. It feels good to be recognized every once in awhile. 

I got an email from our mission office this morning, and to my surprise I saw, my flight plans! That changed my mindset a lot, I will be getting home after 8 on thursday so it's official, I'm going home. 

I liked the talks that were given in the General Conference in April to all priesthood holders by Elders Uchtdorf and Eyring. I liked how they talked about serving others and expecting nothing in return, to "Lift Where You Stand", to believe that your service to others is valuable in whatever capacity you fill, and about the importance of helping others in our service. Sometimes we seek to do things ourselves in the best and most efficient way, however, oftimes it may be helpful to delegate to others to allow them to grow as well. I know Jesus Christ lives and our eternal progress is His work and allowing us to help Him and serve others is a privilege. 

I hope you all have a great week, 

Elder Gardner

Monday, May 29, 2017

A New Area, Hills, and a Fruit Sampler

My new area is awesome. It is big, has a lot of people and that is great for me because that leads to opportunities to do the work. My companion is from Nicaragua and he has been fatigued this week, I don't think he is accustomed to so much walking. There are so many hills here and it is a little tiring for me but my companion (a bigger guy) at the crest of each hill is completely out of breath, dripping sweat, and stumbling a little bit. But, he is resilient and I respect his resolve to keep going. 

We found lots of new investigators this week and we knocked a lot of doors. I am having fun getting to know new people and to invite them to come unto Christ. The lady who cooks lunch for us here is a great cook and they ward has a dinner schedule for us, so I have been eating hot meals and less pupusas. 

We went to visit a recent convert this week and I was shocked by the amount of fruit in her kitchen. We had pineapple, watermelon, some kind of red pear, guava beans, another white fluffy fruit, a fruit called "nancy", plums, and another one I'm not sure how to describe. I had never experienced anything quite like that but it was good, I was reminded of my brother Connor a little bit.
I am doing good, I am enjoying each day, and I'm striving to work hard to the end. I'm grateful for the knowledge of a Savior. I'm grateful to know that we will all be resurrected regardless of what we have done and stand before Jesus Christ to be judged for what we have done and what we have become. We can all become better people through Jesus Christ. Truly, Jesus Christ has done all He can for our salvation and we must personally take advantage of what He has done. I find it helpful to analyze my own life and see what I am doing to take advantage of what Christ has done for me. 

I know Jesus Christ died for us and He loves us. No other knowledge is quite so comforting to the human heart and mind. 

I hope you all have a great week, enjoy these last days of school!

Elder Gardner

P.s. sorry for the weird baby, I thought it was funny

Monday, May 22, 2017

Spoiled Milk, The Book or Mormon, and I'm Gone

Hey Everyone! It was a great week, I have began my goodbye tour because I am leaving my area. I will head to a new area for my last change called La Esperanza which in English means "the hope". So I'm excited for a new transfer, a new companion, and another new opportunity. 

My milk fell out of the fridge because the fridge doesn't work, our fridge hasn't been working my whole time here. The elder who is in charge of supplying our houses with appliances isn't my best friend right now, without milk there is no cereal! I guess he doesn't quite understand that, but at least that isn't going to be my problem anymore because I am leaving my area!

We gave out a lot of copies of the Book of Mormon this week, we had a lot of success in teaching a lot of lessons. I had some great interchanges this week as well. My last week as a zone leader was a good one, I am going to be a district leader now. I am happy for a little rest, I won't have to deal with so many problems now.

I began to say goodbye to the people here in my area. It is always sad to say goodbye, it makes me sad and some of the people get sad as well. I have a lot of invites for these next few days so I'll be very busy and probably eat way too much. 

I'm doing great! I'm excited and I am still going! I'm grateful to be a missionary, it is fun to be a missionary and it is a blessing. I am going to continue to give copies of the Book of Mormon out and continue to invite people to learn about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If any of you who read this email are not members of the church, I invite you to read the Book of Mormon and learn about the Restoration as well. I know it can bless your life. 

Have a great week everyone!


Elder Gardner