Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - from El Salvador‏

Well, Christmas was awesome this week. 

The highlight of the week was being able to talk with my family on Skype, I love them and I was so happy to be able to talk to them after all of this time. I know that families are special and that they can be together forever with the help of Jesus Christ and His gospel.

The people here celebrate Christmas on the 24th and we went to the house of Familia Vasquez and we ate some beef and watched kids use fireworks. It was a lot of fun, and of course we were given a lot of Coca Cola to drink because the people here are still convinced that Coca Cola is just the very best thing in the world. 

I got my first bee sting in El Salvador this week, I got stung in the ear and my ear was really fat during the beginning of this week, that was a nasty little sting. But my ear was swollen, so it was kinda funny that I had one elf like ear in the days leading up to Christmas. 

On Christmas Day, we were walking back to our house due to a severe lack of buses and I was tired and thirsty, but for some reason, this guy in a taxi that I don't really know stopped and offered us a ride. Taxis NEVER offer free rides to people, but something about Christmas is always special and that was my Christmas miracle. 

 My other Christmas miracle was with Hna. Anna Aragon, she was sick but she still read her assignment in the Book of Mormon and then offered a prayer and asked God if the Book of Mormon is true, she told me that immediately after her headache went away, a peace came over her and she was able to sleep well the whole night although she had been previously unable to go to sleep. She still hasn't come to church, but she is a great lady and I hope that she and her family can continue learning about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I know that God answers our prayers, I have seen many examples in my own personal life, Christmas has already passed but I'd still like to invite everyone to turn to the Savior. He provides with peace and tranquility that enable us to be happy and live righteously.  

I got to sing Jingle Bells at a party that was in the church, nobody understood because it was in English but I enjoyed it and everyone yelled "hey" with me, I don't know if I really liked the whole party but I'm glad I can still get a crowd going a little bit.

I'm happy, I'm feeling good, I know I'm in the right place, I'm not perfect and I continue learning each day. I know Jesus lives, He loves us, and He is waiting to bless us and all we have to do is seek Him. 

With love to all, 

Happy New Year from Elder Gardner

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas!‏

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season, I decided the food I miss the most is cookies with milk. Sugar cookies, peanut butter with a hershey kiss in the middle, gingersnap, wow, those are quite a unrealistic dream for me right now. But all is well here in El Salvador, the pupusas still keep me going!

Last Monday we went to a wannabe mexican restaurant and I ate my first burrito in 5 months, it wasn't great but I still enjoyed it. I then played 3.5 hours of soccer, I wish it was basketball but I am enjoying the tactics of the sport and I have been very effective on defense. 

So I locked myself out of my house. I was on an exchange with Elder Anaya, an I busted a window pane out of my house and used it to unlock the door. I used the window pane to open the door from the inside. It was really sketchy how easily I can break into my house, but I was happy that I was clever enough to break into a house although it was my own.

Somebody threw a grenade in our neighborhood, that was really scary, I was inside but I heard shrapnel go everywhere. People always launch fireworks as well but they are really loud and people like to shoot them really low over houses, I thought we were being bombed one time but I am used to hearing really loud explosions and not reacting now.

If you don't ever have to meet a man witch in your life don't feel too bad. I met this guy in a pasaje and he invited us into our house. He promptly proceeded to explain how is Satan's son and how he is in communication with the devil, San Simon, and Judas Iscariot. So I almost starting laughing, this guys was nuts and he had his eyes open really wide and he kept licking his lips like a lunatic. He then brought us into his little patio, there he had this big Satan setup. It was a table with 8 or 9 photos of Satan and San Simon, a bunch of candles, glasses of wine and water, and these colored liquids. This guy was relatively harmless, so I asked him what he did on his little altar. 

He went into the other room to go grab a book, while he was gone I was looking at his altar and I touched one of his little goat god statues. He caught me in the act, he started screaming satanic chants at me and cursing me in the name of a bunch of demons. He asked me "Did you touch the holy blah blah blah?" I started laughing bcus this guy was just nuts and he told me that I am "touched"by the the devil, I will not live to see my 30th birthday, I will lose a leg, and supposedly the devils were going to come to sleep with me that very night. But, nothing happened and I feel fine....I slept well and without demons. So we'll see if I happen to run into this guy again, he warned me that he was in communion with all the other devil worshippers and that all the members of his group will seek me out...hahaha. So that was a funny little experience.

All is well here in San Salvador, I am growing to care more about others and think less about myself. I like helping others and this week I painted these old peoples houses and helped a guy lift a washing machine, it is hard to plan service bcus you just don't know where to begin here. Everything needs service, but I like to help people and when I see someone struggling I always offer service. 

I love Christmas. There is a special spirit even here in El Salvador, the presents are a lot cheaper and the decorations are much less elaborate but I know that Christ lives, and He loves us. I know He has left a plan which is His gospel which enables everyone of us to return to live with Him if we use to power of His atoning sacrifice to help us in our lives. Show the love of Christ to someone this week, someone who maybe won't have Christmas, or maybe someone who just needs a friend, compliment, or a little treat. This is the spirit of Christmas, which is really the Spirit of Jesus Christ, selfless service motivated by love. 

Happy Holidays to all, 

Elder Gardner

Monday, December 14, 2015

What a crazy week! A lot of stuff happened!

What a crazy week! A lot of stuff happened!

Well on monday we played a little basketball on PDAy and I accidentally hurt my companions lip. So that was a little bad, he went for my pump fake and just naturally I gave the shoulder so I felt a little bad about that, his lip got a little swollen. I still am pretty competitive when it comes to basketball, but it is all fun and just to clarify things, my team won.

I found this one lady named Vanessa who I was teaching before but I lost communication, I randomly just found her in the street. So we are going to start teaching her again, she was about ready to be baptized when we suddenly lost communication so that is good that we found her again!

We unfortunately have an investigator who is stuggling with the Law of Chastity, he is a professor and he gives good grades for sexual relations from his students. We tried to explain about how this is a bad thing that is destroying his marriage, but it is a really sad situation and I am frankly a little disturbed by his actions.

There was a baptism in another part of our mission, but they needed a birth certificate from someone else. So I went to the ghetto town hall and I was able to print their birth certificate and obtain the equivalent of the social security number for $2.50, so that was a little sketchy. So I guess identity theft is readily available here.

So I had diarrhea the other day because I drank some bad water, unfortunately this made for a long Saturday night and I crapped my pants at church.

So I always work with a guy named JImmy and he went a whole week without drinking and we are teaching him, it is really good to see the blessings the gospel brings to his life. He told me that this week has been his best week for his car wash distribution business ever. 

So that is about all for this week, it was a successful week and we taught a lot of lessons. I hope that I can continue to work hard, fortunately the diarrhea has already passed by. I can feel the love of the Lord for the people that I teach that genuinely need help. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and we have already received the greatest Christmas gift that there is, His sacrifice of His life. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I know that His gospel brings us the most blessings possible in this life. 

I wish you all a happy holidays and would like to invite you all to learn more about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in this Christmas season. Happy holidays, enjoy the things that are great about the U.S.A. for me, try to spread the joy of the season. 


Elder Gardner

Monday, December 7, 2015

One Week Break

Christmas tree in little mall thing called metropolis‏


Pupusa Lady, she is great

I bought a backpack! My first real purchase $35 but fits all the scriptures and pamphlets perfectly‏

I was unable to write last week due to a severe lack of time and the world''s slowest internet. But last week was great but first I will include what happened two weeks ago.

So there was a huge earthquake a 5.3, It was about 6 in the morning and I looked up and my whole house was just shaking including the walls. So that was really crazy! I have never really been in an earthquake and I was laying on my back so I just watched the roof shake above my head, haha that was pretty cool. I was glad our roofs wasn't one of the people who had a collapse.

I also got sick with Chikinguna, man that sucked. It really hurt the eyes and makes your whole body really sore, there isn't a cure and it is given by mosquitoes. I was able to do missionary work everyday while I was sick but there was one day that was really a struggle. The day I was really sick we went to this one person's house who doesn't believe in Christmans. I was so tired I just told her to be happy because we celebrate the birth of Jesus although he wasn't born in December, she was driving me crazy and my patience and stamina were running low due to the Chikinguna....

Also I am helping a man named Jimmy Romero to stop drinking, we made a deal that I wouldn't eat pupusas for a week and he couldn't drink alcohol for a week. Unfortunately, he made it to the last day and then "he had to drink to combinar con la carne", I told him that was a lie. He drank beer to combine with the meat, apparently beer and shrimp are an unbreakable combination. But that week without pupusas was rough, it is my dinner at least half of the days, so that was quite the struggle to walk past all of the pupuserias at night and smell those delicious greasy pupusas.

I am gaining weight, it's getting a little scary. I don't believe I'll come home obese but I'll be a little more chunky certainly. 

I have always enjoyed making funny sounds with my voice, and I made this one family die laughing because I did voice impersonations of all the people who walk around in the streets selling things. AGUAAAAA! Gelatina! Gelatina! Geeellllitina! E-pan! E-pan! PAAAAAAANNNN FRAAAANcesssss! These people walk around with their product just yelling and I like to make fun with their voices a little bit, this always makes the ppl laugh so I always do it.

Last tuesday I was knocking on people doors and instead of finding people to teach I kept finding people who had already been baptized and don't come to church very often. I found 4 ppl like that in one day while looing for new ppl to teach, so that was really cool. Some of them are going to come to church soon.

They held a graduation in our local chapel, it was a high school graduation and they did it in the morning so that was really weird. Why in the morning? But ppl spend a ton of money for the graduations! Man! It is crazy to see how much money they spend to show up in taxis all dressed up with fancy gifts, my thought is put that money towards your home and make things a little nicer there. But I was glad to see how much ppl enjoyed that event, I was there talking to people about the restored gospel and I got rejected pretty hard by some ppl who really just wanted to leave and go party hahah. But, it was a great event and fun to see.

The mom of Freddy and Johanna Gonzalez denied us the other day, her kids want to be baptized, have been reading in the Book of Mormon. But the Mom is a member of a church called the "TAbernaculo"which is just a breakoff from the Mormon church. Unfortunately they preach apostasy in her church and she won't let her kids get baptized yet. I just want to say "Wake up and smell the roses", because her church really is only a setup for their founder to make bank by charging these poor ppl to go to church!

We had lunch with Hno. Alvaro Merino yesterday on Sunday and he gave us HAMBURGERS! The hamburgers were marginal but just to taste somewhat real meat in a hamburger form was a happy moment. I cherish every opportunity to eat beef, so I was really happy to have a little beef the other day:))

Well all is good here, I am growing to love these ppl here a lot more and really feel for them and the things they go through, that has surprised me a little bit. I am enjoying life and I am grateful for the Christmas season, I am getting fat I know but I'd still like to exhort all of you to enjoy sugar cookies and some of the treats of the season that are currently unnaccessible for me:( I am grateful for Christmas, I know Jesus lives and that knowledge is really freeing. Be happy, don't worry about the little obnoxious things in your life and allow the love of Christ to radiate freely through you. Enjoy the Christmas music, the gifts, the gorgeous lights, but remember the real gift of Christmas which was that of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

With Love and the best regards from one of the most dangerous places in the world,

Elder Gardner