Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My 2nd Christmas in Central America

It was a wonderful Christmas week. It was also very busy. We are visiting some great people and it is nice to see how receptive they are and excited to change their lives.
We hard a Christmas party at the church this week, that was a big event. We got about 100 people there so that was great on Wednesday. On Thursday we had a really  big activity! We set up a big projector screen right in the town square with videos from the church and we talked with everyone who walked by, giving them copies of the Book of Mormon, pamphlets, cards, and candy. I was dressed as Santa Claus so I was giving out candy to everyone, taking pics with kids. I think Santa Claus was a little to young and skinny in my place, but the kids didn't seem to care.
We helped paint a shack the other day with Elder Ostler my former companion, he did an interchange with me as AP. We are great friends and we helped a guy named Obed to paint a shack, we had longer arms so we made the job a lot easier for him. It was fun to be with Elder Ostler again.
I got to call my family yesterday. It was great to be able to talk with them, it was the highlight of the Christmas for me. I was very happy to see everyone, to see my grandparents, everyone just looks so good. I was wishing I could just climb through that screen, right out of the suffocating humidity into my cozy living room. But, Skype hasn't added that feature yet so I was unable to do that, maybe for Mother's day.
I am doing great, I am so happy to have the gospel in my life and to come closer to Jesus Christ. It was a great Christmas season, I hope that everyone is doing well back at home. I love you all and wish you a happy new year.
Elder Gardner

Me as Santa Claus

Monday, December 19, 2016

Belize Navidad, It's going to be a hot Christmas

The weather here has cooled down a lot, we still got humidity to nearly 100% but we are usually only in the 80's or 90 degrees instead of well over 100 degrees. 

Some crazy things happened this week. A large drunk man tried to mess with the sisters while walking in Belize City. I immediately stopped, went over there, and forced the guy away so the sister missionaries could run away. To keep the story short the man got really physical and aggressive in his pursuit of the sister missionaries so I had to keep holding him back. He continued to try and make his way through me as we were walking on a sidewalk over a bridge, I put up an arm-bar and pushed him back repeatedly. He was walking behind me, trying to make his way through, it was somewhat difficult because I was always carrying a suitcase for another sister missionary at the same time! The man finally stopped trying to force his way through and he punched me in the back of the neck!

I was shocked! It didn't hurt so much, but I was surprised. The man immediately ran away, so it was good that the conflict ended at that. Everyone around said that the guy hit me extremely hard and that it made a sickening noise. I feel that it was a miracle that I wasn't really hurt. But, at least the sisters were fine and I have a great story to tell! I have enjoyed telling everyone about that experience!

We found an awesome family this week called the Gentle Family, they already went to church many times before and listened to the missionaries. They told us that they had been waiting for us to come and that they want to be baptized. They are really cool, it was a miracle how it all worked out. 

I'm doing great and I'm grateful to be a missionary. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Lord's Kingdom built up on the earth to bless the human family in these latter times. I know Jesus Christ is the Savior, and although He was born in April, it is great to celebrate Him in this Christmas season. I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and keep the ultimate gift close to you.

With love, 

Elder Gardner

Monday, December 12, 2016

New companion- Elder Daly

 Elder Daly is great, he's energetic and we've been working hard. We are going to have an awesome transfer together.  I'm thinking that this might be my last change here in Belize so I'll have to make the absolute most of it. I'm enjoying myself and I've been working hard. This last week was awesome, we worked very hard and we had a good time. 

Today for P day we'll probably watch a church movie in the chapel, we have a bunch of sistersin teh district and they can be very hard to please sometimes. Our investigators are doing good. We only have a few that are progressing very quickly but that is ok, we do a ton ton ton of less active work. I enjoy less active work, it is easier sometimes as well because it gives you a big advantage as they are already familiar with the church. 

The package you sent is awesome!.Thank you billions! It will be an awesome Christmas. 

I'm doing great, I'm growing in my testimony and I love the Savior. I'm happy to be in the mission.

I got my package!


Monday, December 5, 2016

Another Transfer

I'll be in the beautiful Belize for at least another month and a half. My companion is going home, he isn't too sad about it. He is ready to go eat his mexican tacos and be with his family for Christmas, I can't blame the little guy I gues, haha. I've enjoyed my time with him and I'll miss good old Elder Mejia. 

My next companion will be named Elder Daly, he is from Maryland. So that will be nice to have a companion who can understand and talk to the people. I won't have to do all the talking anymore... that will be a nice switch up for the people. 

I set up my Christmas tree, it isn't really the prettiest thing (it isn't even a tree, just lights). But it helps me get into the spirit of Christmas and I enjoy it, Christmas was always my favorite holiday. It will be the last one this year that I won't be home for. 

We had some investigators come to church this week, Saul and Trisha came to church. They are a very young family and they are interested in the message. They seemed to enjoy church but their little baby almost makes it impossible for them to focus on anything. But, they had a good experience and I'm hoping that they'll come back!

I'm doing great overall, it is a wonderful time of year to reflect on what the Savior did for us and that He is the gift. I'm grateful for all that I have been given in my life and I hope to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ. I know that He lives and that through Him we can achieve great happiness. I hope that all of us can focus on the true meaning of Christmas this year! I wish the best for all of you. 

Elder Gardner

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why I am writing on Wednesday?

It's wednesday and it's strange because usually we write on mondays. But due to several meetings with Area Seventy President Duncan our p day was changed until wednesday. 

It was great to hear from President Duncan, he shared many inspiring messages and showed us how we can improve our missionary work. He used a lot of examples and analogies to present, and also videos which made it an engaging and interesting meeting although it lasted nearly 6 hours!!! 

A lady from Texas that lives in the neighboring branch of Santa Elena invited our whole district to a restaurant for a Thanksgiving dinner. It was excellent, I got turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies, belizean rice and beans, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce. It was all quite delicious and very very good. That one meal just about made my day, I was very gracious towards the lady who invited us. 

Later that day, (Thanksgiving), I saw three tourists walking and they stopped us to say hi. they told us they were from Boise and I told them I was from Nampa. It was fun to talk with them, I know where they live and they know Nampa. They say the heat in Belize was just suffocating to them, haha, I know what they mean. I tried to share about the Restoration with them and I gave them a pamphlet, one of the girls has a boyfrined who is a Latter-day Saint so maybe she will go to church. 

We also had another tourist family come from Colorado with their 6 young kids, they were a great example of punctuality and reverence at Sacrament Meeting for all the members. I appreciated it and I talked with them a little bit. 

We are doing good here in our area. I know a lot of people by now, which is great. I know people, their kids' names and I know where they work and all those little details. Our investigators our progressing slowly right now but it is OK. I'd like everyone to accept, and do so quickly but it all will come in the Lord's timing. I'm grateful for Jesus Christ and it was great to reflect on Thanksgiving about all that God has given me in my life. I'm grateful for all of it. 

I hope you all have a great week and start you countdown to Christmas strong. 


Elder Gardner

Monday, November 14, 2016

Election Week Still Affects Belize

I don't know how many times people have yelled "Donald Trump" at me this week. Many people down here are unhappy that he won because they think that he will throw everyone out of America that isn't white! It is amazing how the media confuses people into believing such things. I didn't even vote and as a missionary I need to stay quiet on my views because I'm a representative of the church. But that election has fired people up all over the place, it has caused some to harass me but it is more amusing than annoying. 

It was hot again, it always is. I love sunscreen, that is one of the great blessings in my life right now. The Belizean people don't use sunscreen, they just carry big umbrellas all day. I think that if I didin't have sunscreen I would do that to. Because sometimes, it is just so hot. 

I'm always enjoying the Belizean food, I eat pretty well here in San Ignacio thanks to a member who cooks for us named Sister Kay. I'm in good health and I've been blessed throughout my mission with good health in order to continue working hard. 

My companion has 24 days left, every morning he wakes up and screams the number of days that he has left. He also tells me how many days I have left in my mission in order to try and get me "trunky" as well  (I have just over 230 days left). 

We are progressing down here in Belize, little by little we are helping these people to change their lives and come closer to Christ. The only problem for us many times is that we cannot change people, we can invite them, explain the gospel to them, but in the end, they must decide. They must take the decision to accept Jesus Christ, and have the faith to ask God if the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know how happy the gospel can make people and how much it can bless their lives, I just wish the people would see that and open their hearts. 

Have a great week, 

Elder Gardner

Monday, November 7, 2016

I Fall in a ditch, We visit the sick

Belize Police

crazy chinese sign

The zone

stepping in sewer

We had a good week. My companion is only 30 days away from going home and that occupies the large majority of his thoughts. He is very trunky, all day I get to hear how great Mexico is and how many different girls are waiting for him (I believe they are mostly imaginary). But anyways he is excited to go home, haha. 

I slipped on a rock and slipped into a little ditch, my left leg was submerged in the muck. It went in just below the knee, and when I pulled out my leg it had a thick coating of dark gray much all over it. My foot was covered in sewage, pretty nasty. I made a lot of people laugh and I was able to laugh it off as well .Some kids sprayed off my leg with a hose, so that was nice of them . I had to go back to the house and clean out my shoe becaue it was literally full of crap 

We are visiting a lot of great families. It is great to see how they learn more as they read the Book of Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon, I can show it to people and simply challenge them to figure out for themselves if it is true by reading it and asking God sincerely. If people do this they can know whether our message is true or not. I've read the Book of Mormon and I can still remember when I decided to figure out if it was true or not and I received and answer to my prayers. I challenge all people to read the Book of Mormon, it can help all of us to improve our relationship with God and Jesus Christ. 

I hope everyone is doing good back at home, when I tell people I have 8 months left they start to tease me and tell me I'm almost done. I still have plenty of time left and I hope I'll never become so pathetic in my attitude of "trunkiness" like my companion. I'm grateful to be on my mission, it  is a wonderful time. I hope that all of you have a good week. 

Elder Gardner

Monday, October 31, 2016

A New Transfer, I'm Going to Finish off Another Companion

Elder Wallentine

Elder Rojas

Bald Chicken- common in Belize

Elder Erickson

When you are a missionary's last companion in the mission they say that you "kill" them. If that is the case I'm a 3 time killer. 

I stayed here in San Ignacio. In this area I basically speak English to all of the people with a few exceptions and then I always speak spanish with my companion beause he can't speak english. So lots of times I end up doing all of the talking, I have a tendency to talk to much anyways so this is easy. But it is ideal when companions can take turns talking. 

We are teaching a lot of families and we are having some success with that. We are teacing them and they are receptive but it is very difficult for them to come to church.

I'm enjoying the opportunity to be here and I can feel the Spirit tell people that what we teach is true. I'm grateful to be a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm working hard down here in Belize under this hot hot sun. I'm enjoying each day and the time seems to fly by. I know of the reality of eternal families and I believe that through the gospel we can be united with our families for time and all eternity. This is the goal of our missionary efforts, to help people be with their families forever. 

Have a great week, 

Elder Gardner

Monday, October 24, 2016

6 More Weeks in San Ignacio

It was another great week down here in Belize. Another transfer cycle has passed by in the mission. I have 6 more transfers remaining in my mission. 

We had a busy week once again, my companion was very ill. He got a cold and had some serious headaches, but we treated him and now he is recovering well. So that is great news. 

We had a good sacrament meeting turnout today, 95 people came to church which is the highest attendance at church we've had during my time here. Hopefully with some more visits to the less active members we can get that number back up to 100!

We are still working with about 5 families here in San Igancio, we are progressing little by little with them. They are listening and reading the Book of Mormon, so I hope that they can continue to feel good about the message and come to know the truthfulness of it. 

Yesterday we did divisions with members, that is the first time that I'd done divisions in a long time, that allowed us to do double visits yesterday so it was particularly effective to split up and conquer. 

I'm enjoying the weather here more now, it has started to cool down a little bit. So we are hoping that it can stay a little bit cooler (although it is still very hot). 

We are working hard down here to Preach the Gospel to the people of Belize, sometimes people are noncommittal but we are trying to encourage them and help them to realize all of the blessings they can receive as they live the Gospel of Christ. I'm grateful to be a missionary, I'm grateful that God called Joseph smith to be a prophet and restore the Church of Jesus Christ here on the earth. 

Take Care everybody, 

Elder Gardner

home surgery for ingrown toenail

mastering omelets