Monday, September 28, 2015

 Elder Gardner and Elder Garfield. companions from CCM or MTC
 Elder Lopez
 Elder Gardner excited to find his favorite mini wheats

 Some fun Elders
 AP Elder Coates
 Elder Gardner, Pres. and Sister Hintze, ElderValladares
 First baptism
The end of a long day!

El Salvador: Crazy Things Happen

So I was approached by a random drunk guy this week, I thought he was going to ask me for money. But instead, he told me I was beautiful and that he loved me, and proceeded to give me a handful of dimes so I could buy some water. I laughed about that one, I'm not even sure how he had money.

I have learned that my companion is a little bit moody this week. His life is a little roller coaster, but he's a good guy. I don't think I've seen so many dramatic ups and downs in one week with one person in my entire life. When he gets down he sings Maroon 5 to himself in an exceedingly high voice, it's a bit annoying but he's a good guy and we get along fine.

I had my first baptism this week, his name was Arnold Flores. It was a great moment and to see the looks on the face of his mother who was already baptized was super great. He has an opportunity to move forward and do great things.

President Hintze came to our ward to deliver a "Noche de Hogar'". We had a great turnout, lots of ppl came and listened to him talk about the "tree of life vision"in 1 Ne. CH 8 of the Book of Mormon. 

People here love movies, you may not have a fridge or toilet in your house if you live here. But, you will have a TV. Everyone loves the Titanic, i have seen the Titanic playing a ton. Then they turn up the volume at the end and cry with the last song, " Wherever you are" or whatever it's called. All the people here are super nice and they always say hello, I wish they would wear more clothing and brush their teeth but it's their hearts that count. 

I'm doing great, I'm always happy, I always smile because these people sometimes need a bit of joy in their lives. I always am complimenting people and trying to make them smile as well. I'm working hard, seeing crazy things, and learning a lot about this life and myself.

I believe that God blesses families, the families are the source of our greatest joy in this life and we should always strive to strengthen relationships and love within the family. We don't realize how much families do for each other. I know that Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families, and that they can live happily forever in and after this life. 

With Love to All, and the best regards,

Elder Nathan Scott Gardner

Monday, September 21, 2015

Los Llanitos‏

I have a new area, Los Llanitos, it is in the outskirts of San Salvador. My new companion is named Elder Valladares, he's a good guy. 

This week we worked hard and performed service for people, provided consolance, and taught people about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I had to learn the ropes in the new area. I have a super market here! What a luxury ti seems like, I got some foods like cereal and bread that I have been missing a lot. But it just isn't the same, the milk is in cartons here and it tastes funny, I always will look forward to the day when I get some real milk again. 

This one guy we were teaching invited us to have dinner with him, and I thought " oh boy, this could be bad" My fears were immediately confirmed as I saw what we were about to eat, a mashed potato mix with some like cornmeal stuff, beans, and mayo. They think mayo is something they can just like eat separately here. It is really weird, they think that you can just eat mayo plain, I find it repulsive. To top it off they were serving a watermelon drink, basically a smoothie. I could tell the guy was super pleased with what we were about to eat but I was nervous, I told him I was allergic to the watermelon and he was speculative. So I wasn't sure what to think, I hope I didn't hurt his feelings. But I almost threw up after I forced that meal down, straight gross.

Nobody tried to kiss me this week, so that was good. The buses are still nuts, I got smashed up between two bigger ladies earlier this week and my stomach hurt bcus I got crushed. They were some big ladies, and the music in the buses is often deafening, it is so loud. I remember Sam Lungren telling me about El Salvador and all of the things he told me are coming to my remembrance and I'm seeing them in real life. I appreciate the foresight he gave me. Please tell him that I'm living out everything he told me and it's really crazy and exciting simultaneously. I don't have a big culture shock but some of the other elders I saw at a meeting earlier this week are missing home a ton, they're having a hard time.

I've decided my favorite type of pupusas is chicken, and also beans and cheese. I am very obviously gaining weight, I need to cut back on the soda and on how many pupusas I'm eating. The problem is that soda is safer to drink than water, so hopefully I'll be all good with that. I've been meticulous with using only clean water and maintaining my health. I've avoided the dreaded diarrhea up to this point and I don't plan on contracting it.

I've been working really hard this week, I study every day to become a better teacher and to become more like Christ. I'm constantly working to develop myself personally, to become self sufficient and self disciplined. I work on my patience, humility, and trying to see the good in others constantly. I'm always making the decision to be happy, and to enjoy myself, I'm here to help other people. Especially to help them see that Jesus Christ has restored the truth, and has restored His church again in the earth to help us.

I miss you all, and send the absolutely best regards.Take care, and enjoy your milk, your couches, beds, food, and all of the things that are great about America for me!

Elder Nathan Scott Garder

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Crazy Week

Wow, a lot happened. 
A girl on monday grabbed my face, told me that she loved me and that I had pretty blue eyes and tried to kiss me! I immediately withdrew before she was able to do it, and was a little shocked. I was so surprised, I was shaking this older lady´s hand, and her daughter came out of nowhere to the side and just grabbed my face. But I reacted quickly enough to avoid her, she was probably like 16 or 17 so that was definitely weird. 
A gang member also told me that he was coming for me, that was a little bothersome as well. I was unsure of his blood alchohol level, but I´m pretty sure he had been partaking of some liquor. So, that was sure interesting, but I´m not worried about it. 
I am beginning to love papusas, we eat them every night for dinner. We don´t have any choice but papusas so I guess it´s a good thing that I like them. I´ve been trying to not drink a ton of soda, but we still have it a couple times a week just because there is more of it here than water. 
The streets are covered with trash, you´d think it isn´t that hard to use a garbage can. But it is I guess, so the streets are all just loaded with trash. So that is definitely a little gross, there is also a stream of water on each side of the street and I´m unsure of whether it is grey water or sewage. But, I think I figured it out, it´s both. 
Today, I´m going to have an emergency change due to circumstances in the mission. So I´m excited to see who my new companion is and where I´m going....
Everything is a little nuts because of that right now and I´m feeling a little frantic, so I guess we´ll see how everything goes down. 
El Salvador is fun, it is a little crazy and the people consume a lot of beverages of the alcoholic variety. But, the ppl are so cool, they always say hi, and they´re chill, much more polite than people on the street in America. Culture is definitely a bit different here, but it´s cool. I was a little homesick last week, but I´m beginning to acclimate to everything and although I still miss home, I´m excited to be here spreading the good news of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people. 
So, I´m a little rushed and excited right now, I don´t have sufficient time to write any more but I just want to send my best regards to you all and tell you that if we persevere with patience and faith, we´ll be rewarded. 
With Love, 
Elder Gardner

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Field

Things get real in the field, I am in the poorest place I have ever visited and I am the only white person that I see all day. It is really strange, wild dogs run rampant, cows stampede through the streets. IN my area there are no paved roads, my town Joya de Ceren is the poorest I have seen yet. These people live in shacks, no AC, little money, and they have to drink the filthy water here, it is hard to see. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share just a sprinkle of hope with them. 
Homesickness is real, it sets in once you are isolated in a place like I am with a companion who only speaks Spanish and isn´t really obedient to the rules and doesn´t have a ton of excitement about the great opportunity that we have to serve the ppl. I miss home, I want all of you to enjoy a bowl of cereal, a glass of milk, ice cream, a piece of toast, and all of the simple things that I won´t be having for quite a time. The reason I am willing to go through with this is because I know that this gospel is true, I realized that I am being humbled right now. I am in some extremely tough circumstances and it isn´t easy. But I believe that I am being challenged right now so that I will come through stronger. 
I will continue to live the life of papusas, poverty, and no privileges happily because of this. I want you all to know that there is hope for all of us, choose your attitude, choose to be happy. 
Elder Gardner

 Inside my new home. Looks like I may need some cleaning supplies.

This is me riding in the bus for several hours from Guatemala to El Salvador then due to bus threats having to go back and take a plane to El Salvador.  Long Day!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Made it to El Salvador!

Nathan with his new companion/ trainer Elder Lopez from Nicaragua. President and Sister Hintze!

* Sister Hintze posted that Elder Gardner made it there Tuesday around 7:30.  He was supposed to go by bus from Guatemala but somehow switched to air travel (not sure why??)  They were not able to email this week so excited to hear from him next Monday!!