Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Few questions answered From Elder Gardner

*How many missionaries in your room?  8 missionaries in the room.   Bunk Beds? yes, 4 sets

*How many share your bathroom? The bathroom is big, there are 10 small shower stalls, 4 urinals, and 8 toilets which is not enough due to circumstances. Are the facilities different than you are use to from the US? No, the bathrooms are fine  

*Is your companion going to your mission? yes, 

*How big of a group will be going to your mission with you?  Are any of these guys some of the Idaho kids or ones you have become friends with? Like Hartwell, Garry going to Honduras, Cope, Eggers, Kruetzer, Lawrence.  Where are they going?  Others? Everybody in my district is going to my mission except Elder Hartwell, going to Guatemala Central, and Elder Lawrence is going to Coban. Next tuesday around 25 people will be on the bus to my mission, it is one of the biggest groups they have ever had here going to the same mission. 

*Do you have sisters in your groups?  We saw that big group picture of sisters along with that one of the Elder’s? How often do they take those big group pictures?  Is someone designated to take pictures there for everyone?   The big group pictures are taken every other week, some districts have hermanas but ours does have hermanas. 

*Do you get to exercise there?  What do you do?  Who with? We excercise for an hour everyday, I usually play basketballl every day and it is fun, some of the other elders have huge tempers and will get really physical and it is amusing to me, but I still usually win in basketball, except Elder Van Katywk from California is an incredible player. He is going to BYU, but just for school, he is not muscular enough he says to play college.

*How did the haircut go? The haircut went well, Elder Price took good care of me, Hermana Lynn took another picture so you should be getting it, she brought us cookies which was so nice. She is a fantastic lady, but she got switched so we have a different Sunday teacher now.  Would you like some clippers sent to you?  No, it will be good. I will see how much haircuts are in the field, I think that they are actually pretty cheap

*How are the bugs there? Not bad, I have not been bitten yet but I am in a big city, there are some cockroaches and unsightly beatles but they do not bite. 

*Do you ever go outside besides to go to the temple on Tuesday? We got to go to the store one other time, but no.

*You described the egg dish very well that they serve you…. What other kind of meals are there?   They have a variety of meals, they served hamburgers once but the meat was terrible, everything they serve here is just a mockery of home cooking.
 Beans and rice? Yep, is actually not to bad compared to eggs that have the black mold. 
What kind of fruit do they serve? Fruit is the best thing, however due to a recent resurgence of diarrhea and I have not been partaking of the fruit.  Are there vegetables they feed you? Kind of, but no.  Have you tried any kinds of orange drinks they were telling us about before your mission? No, I have not had any soda except for when I went to the store and bought a Sprite.

*Where is your mission Pres. From? California, I talk with President Cox a lot, especially since I am a district leader, he is great, I feel like that might be one of the reasons that I was sent to the CCM here. 

*Your teacher’s where are they from? Native Guatemalan’s   How old? both native guatemalans probably both around 22, Hermano Bajan and Hermana Cuque, Hermano Bajan is my favorite, he is a great teacher, has good english, and works well with us. I really like him and I am appreciative, however Hermana Cuque is so so, but she is ok. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Week 4

Guatemala MTC
I do not have a lot of time and I have a weird keyboard so bear with me as I try to fit as much as possible into this letter. 

One of the elders in my district informed that (playing BSU is like playing a girl)-Elder Maxwell. We had a great argument about BSU Football and he kept telling me how terrible they were, so that was fun. then he told me that his favorite team was BYU, so then I really started laughing. I have nothing against BYU, but we own them in football, They have beat us once in like the last ten years, so it is fun to tell all of these Utah kids who are either University of Utah fans or BYU fans about BSU. they try to argue but they cannot argue that BSU always wins.....usually by a lot. 

The Elders here are great though, I have made a lot of good friends out of the Elders here. We have a lot of fun and the favorite winding down activity at night is tie trading, I have traded half of my ties now and I think that I have improved my collection quite a bit. All the rage is paisley, I watched an elder trade 4 nice plaid ties for a paisley tie that had bought from a thrift store. So the craziest thing that happens here is tie trading as far as night time activities. There has been a lot of rain the last few weeks so the club next door has calmed down a lot during the night, which is great for us because we can sleep in peace. we always open our windows because there is no AC in the rooms, I sweat every night and I wake up and immediately take a cold shower. 

My companion gave me a bad time when I had diarrhea a few weeks ago, but karma struck I suppose. We were listening to a speaker to the area authority of central america and my companion runs out of the room, so I have to follow him and he is in the bathroom and he was in there for 45 minutes which is unheard of. He obviously was in pain, his face was white and he was doubled over for several hours. I felt bad, the little guy really took a hit from his first bought with diarrhea. A few days later while we were in class he had another interesting experience, his pen stopped working so he began slamming it against the table until he broke it due to rage. I did not say anything but I thought it was a bit unusual to rage over a pen, but my companion is a great guy. We get along much better now and our unity in teaching lessons has also improved. 

They had some real people come into the MTC so we could teach them and that was fun, they have a hard time understanding our spanish but we can understand theirs so we actually have the advantage in that situation because we kind of said whatever we wanted and they just nodded. I caught on about halfway through the lesson that these (real people) were just actors and I was right. It turned out to be a practice, I am so excited to go teach real people and to have the opportunity to change people lives and bring them more happiness because they will know why they are here on earth and how they can return to heaven. 

I had a dream the other night where I was back home and I could not remember anything that happened on my mission, that was really weird, what I take from that is that I need to make every moment count and cherish to opportunity to serve as a missionary who has been called by a living prophet of God. I am lucky. 

I read a story about starfish this week, it is about on old man with arthritis and other health issues who walks along the beach every morning and slowly picks up starfish one by one and throws them back into the ocean. He really does not throw that many back out of the thousands of starfish washed up on the beach that will die in the sun, and his neighbors would ask why he did something that does not make a difference in the grand scheme of things. But the old man said that it makes a difference to the ones he threw back to live. 

I feel the same way about my missionary service and I hope that throw some people back and change their lives. 

I miss you all, and I hope that you are all doing great. 


Elder Gardner

Week 3-

 Just like Christmas to get this picture on instagram from Delmy Lynn who is serving down in Central America with her husband! She also sent the other ones.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Week 2 - The Plague

I am typing on a spanish keyboard, I apologize for all spelling, capitalization, and punctuation errors in advance.
Elder Gardner's District at CCM
Elders Ostler and Abilez
Elders Gardner and Garfield
Elders Harris and Hartwell
Elders Lawrence and Kreutzer
Elders Hallman and Gee
Elder Maxwell and McFarland

I have just completed the second week here at the CCM, it has been an interesting experience. Starting on this last wednesday I began to have some digestive problems, and some rough trips to the toitlet. I just would not end. I had to visit the toilet no less than 20 times during a span of two days. 

To make matters worse, everytime I would go back to eat and they would feed us some weird sausage crap that would absolutely wreck my digestive system. The milk here is so weird, it has an awful aftertaste and it makes my insides turn over. But when they feed us translucent eggs covered in avocade and sour cream for breakfast I usually choose the weird stomach milk. Despite the fact that I have had diarrhea all week, I still think about food a lot. 

I have dreams about hamburgers, pizza, real cereal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on real bread. I dream of ice cream, brownies, pie, and then more ice cream. I have just come to accept the food for what it is, my mindset when I go to the cafeteria now is changed. I have come to accept a low quality of food, when I go to the cafeteria I know it is going to taste terrible and that it is going to give me chronic stomach aches and then even more severe diarrhea. But, I still eat it, there is not a lot of other choices. I never thought I would adjust to a diet that comprises almost entirely of fruit and eggs but it has. They feed us eggs with every meal, and they do things to eggs that should not be done to the vilest of criminals. Their favorite sauce to put on eggs is a translucent snot like mixture that tastes like Play Doh, I just do not get it. Food is probably the number one comfort from home that I miss.

My companion is a nice guy, I just wish he would not whine. His name is Elder Garfield, but he is not similar to the cat Garfield, he is maybe 110 pounds soaking wet with ankle weights. I am a person who you just should not whine to, it is not within me to be tolerant of that. But I am learning, I have been extremely patient and have grown to respect him more as a person. 

During the day we sit in classes all day, and then the food is terrible, and there are people here that you really just have a hard time loving. But despite all of that I am having a great time, I am learning the Spanish language, and I am improving my study habits and teaching skills. It is all about the attitude, if you do not approach the MTC worthy, ready, excited, and willing to work you will hate it. I have felt the power of God around me as I have been engaging in this work, I feel like I am in the right place and I have felt in my heart that this is what I need to be doing at this point in my life. 

Yo se que nosotros vamos a tener muchos desafios en nuestros vidas. Pero, yo creo que los desafios haran nosotros mas fuerza. yo se que el evangelio de Jesucristo es en el mundo un otra vez, y yo se que la plenitud del evangelio es en la iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias. Yo se que Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador y Redentor, y por medio de su sacrificio podemos ser limpios de nuestros pecados. Yo se que tememos un Dios, y que Dios es nuestro amoroso Padre Celestial y nos ama. Dios quiere por todos personas a volver y vivir con el despues de este vida. Estoy emocionado a compartir los buenas noticias con el gente de El Salvador. Estoy agradecido por todos de mis bendiciones y este oportunidad yo tengo a servir. 

If any of you have never read The Book of Mormon, I promise you if you read it and pray to know the truth of it sincerely it can make you a happier person and the Holy Spirit will testify the truth of it to you.

Thanks for reading, I hope that all of you are doing well and I wish you all the very best. 

With Love, Elder Nathan Gardner

CCM/ MTC group

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 1- I made it!!

Well my p/day is actually Tuesday. \I went to the temple in Guatemala this morning...it is only like a block away from the CCM which is the mtc in Spanish. I apologize if my spelling or capitalization is bad in the emails. they have really weird keyboards here. Many of my uncles warned me about having companions I don't like and I have now come to a full understanding of why they advised me. I want to be positive so I will not go into details but our problems root from our different views on hygiene and brushing teeth in particular. He is from Utah, and to say the least I am looking forward to entering the mission field because I will be switched to a trainer.

I will be here in the Guatemala CCM for six weeks, both the beginners and intermediates stay here for 6 weeks. \i wish they had separate districts for intermediates and beginners so all the intermediates in Spanish wouldn't have to have beginner in Spanish companions. i actually really like it here in the CCM, I am learning a lot and my Spanish is improving for sure, i try to speak in Spanish as much as possible but \i have to keep explaining things in English to my companero, which is highly irritating.

The good here is decent, not great, but they have had some really good meals and some really bad meals. But i don't feel super hungry and I feel good, the only time I am hungry is like the hour before meals. The teachers or maestros here are great, my teachers are Hermana cuque y hermano bajan, ellos are both great. i enjoy the classes and I am learning quite a bit. The Spirit is strong here, you can feel it with you for a lot of the day. It is a really good feeling, I am okay with being here for 6 weeks, I realize i still have a lot to learn about teaching and that I need to resolidify my fundamentals in Spanish. I didn't sleep well the first few nights, there is this night club that is like 20 yards from the CCM. They party deep into the night, so although I thought my days of listening to spiritually offensive music until three in the morning were over when I left and no longer slept under Katelyn's room, they are not over. This next Saturday they have advertised for an extra big party and I am a little nervous. MY room here at the CCM is on the second floor and this club has their dance on the roof of the building so it is about level with my room and our window directly faces it. We call it the "great and spacious building".

I think I have everything I need here, I turned in my camera and mp3 player with church music on it. There is some stunning scenery here in Guatemala City, it is really beautiful. I am surrounded by hills that are full of houses just lining them and the trees are everywhere. The ccm sits in front of a pretty busy road so you can here honking most of the day if you are on that side of the building. I feel pretty safe in here, we have security guards with fully automated weapons and a 15 foot high fence. When we walk to the temple we have to pass a gas station, they have even more excessive security, and they carry these huge shotguns around. There are two huge buildings across the street that are mostly glass. They are probably about the height of the U.S. bank building in Boise. There is some really neat architecture here.

When I arrived I was the only missionary there...obviously because I missed my flight. There were some Guatemalan Olympians arriving at the same time as me so it was a little confusing to find my escort to the MTC because there was a huge crowd of adoring fans and a bunch of cameramen waiting right outside of customs. We drove through the city in the middle of the night and it is a beautiful place, it is obviously dangerous, but there is a lot of neat stuff here. All the other people I have talked to here are extremely nice, the people of Guatemala are extremely friendly.

I sat next to this guy named Javier on the way here from Houston after my 9 hour layover. We were in the very back corner seat of the plane, he was a really nice guy and he told me where all of the best places to go in Guatemala are. He was an extremely nice guy, and I enjoyed talking with him, I got him to make a commitment to talk to missionaries the next time he saw them.

Everything here is great, I have no complaints. I don't need anything, I am just working hard to learn, and I am trying to remain positive with everyone all the time.

Yo sé que este Evangelio es la verdad y por medio la expiacion podemos ser limpios de nuestros pecados. Yo senté el amor de Dios y su hijo jesucristo aqui, estoy muy agradecidoo por todos mis bendiciones en mi vida. Estoy agradecido por la opurtunidad a servir y aprender espanol. Este no es facil, pero no querria a ser facil porque salvacion no es facil. Estoy aqui con los lamanitos, y estoy aca a ensenarles. En dos anos, vere a este momento y esperar que trabaje con todas mi habilidades. se Quiero, all of you. Yo se que estas cosas son verdadero. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

I love and miss you all,

Elder Gardner
I made it! Guatemala City is beautiful and I am excited to be here, I
got here around 11:30 but it is awesome! I talked with President Cox
and I am ready to get to work! Love, Nathan
 It was an early morning- up at 5:00 am, he even ate some breakfast burrito- thanks Dad!!

He is really off- no one tells you how hard it is to send your 18 year off on a mission!  Nathan is super excited to serve and we are so happy for him, we feel he is ready and know he will do a great job but it still is hard to send him off.  We had to sit and wonder if he was going to make it all day. It was going to be a long day flying by himself (since he missed his flight :)  We were sure glad to hear that he made it to Guatemala.
 This was the repack after the flight mishap.  I think we have it all now!!

 Nathan set apart to be a missionary!

What day is it?

 July 21st was a super great day! His last day in Idaho as a non missionary.  He slept in a little then went to the temple, had a great meal at Cheesecake factory and around 3:00 was doing this- ah his last swim.

Last time in the pool with his favorite peeps for two years.  We were just sitting down for a little dinner at 5:00 when Nathan decides to make sure his departure flight for his mission was all OK for the next day.
Nathan asks "Hey Mom is today the 21st?"
I answer   "yes it is"
Nathan "my flight left at 3:00 today- I just MISSED my flight!"

So this sends us all in a serious panic!!    With flight changes and a mtc change from Mexico to Guatemala this little detail was overlooked!!  yes the day, yes very important detail!!

Nathan thinks if I find a flight that gets me to LA by 10:00 I can have time to catch my flight to Guatemala.  I get on the phone with the missionary travel agency and Janelle (a beyond sweet, calm lady)  thinks this may work and we are set for him to take off on a 7:30 flight out of Boise.  ( a few minor details to keep in mind, he is not set apart that is to take place in an hour at 6:00, his stuff is yet to be placed in his suitcases, we live 30 min. from airport  and I happened to start all of his whites in the washer just minutes before all this.)

So we move like crazy, the kids all help Nathan pile his stuff into his suitcases while I am madly ringing out the sudsy water in all of his whites and throwing them in the dryer. (at this point I am sending my boy on his mission with dirty whites I am just praying they dry in time) We had not gone to the bank yet to pull some cash so everyone was pooling all the cash they had which happened to be in ones and fives.  He was leaving with $47.00 in basically ones.  uggh!

We set him apart which he somehow he miraculously calmed down for and were headed to the airport!  As we were leaving we receive a call from sweet Janelle (travel agent) and she tells us that tonight is not going to work out and he will need to wait to leave till the morning. I took a deep sigh of relief that I could rewash the whites, help repack the suitcases and change the ones out for something different.
 Great Day at the Temple! June 5th!
 Nathan and his two Grandpa's

 This was June 4th- we were excited to see him graduate!

Nathan did a great job speaking at his graduation!  Now off to bigger and greater things!