Monday, January 30, 2017

Back in El Salvador!!

How is everyone? 

I'm doing great down here in El Salvador. We had a fun week, I have my new area down now and we are getting to know all the people better. The members are really good here, they invite us to eat lunch a lot. They always give me a ton of food because I look like a giant from their perspective. I also have gotten back to eating pupusas! 

I have enjoyed this transfer up to this point, I'm companions with Elder Kleinman. It has been a lot of fun because we were friends even before we were companions. 

Some crazy things did happen this week however. 
1. Elder Kleinman got something in his eye and I flooded his eye with water for 10 minutes at his request to relieve the pain. 
2. I ate a bowl of crabs, it was good though. Just plain boiled crabs.
3. We found a lot of cool people to teach this week

The work here is going well, I'm glad to be back in El Salvador, perfeccionando my espanol. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve and I know that I'm serving the Lord. I hope all of you have an awesome week!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sonzocate, El Salvador

Back to El Salvador

Temple- Sal Salvador

E. Ostler, Gardner, Harris


New Companion E. Kleinman

(bits from Nathan's letter)
I am in an area called Sonzacate, I'm outside of the city now for the first time in El Salvador and the area that I am in is very safe (well, very safe by my standards). Elder Kleinman is from Arizona, only the two of us live in our house.  Elder Kleinman and i should get along well.

I had to adjust to El Salvador a little bit, it is sooooo much different than Belize. First of all, it is much cooler here. But, I had to adjust to seeing all of the poverty. It is sad to see but I know that the Lord will still always provide for those who keep the commandments. There are a lot of people here in El Salvador who are just so positive in their attitude although all seems to be going bad. I admire one member that I just met the other day named Hno. Lue, he is a convert of 9 years. He works in manual labor for 12 hours a day every day but Sunday, he is going to send his daughter on a mission in two weeks. He told us how he has sacrificed almost all of his savings just to buy a suitcase, clothes, camera, and scriptures. He is concerned for his daughter, but he is willing to sacrifice a lot of things for himself in order to help his daughter be happy. This guy also has a positive attitude. I look up to people like that, I admire their faithfulness although the path seems very difficult. 

I've already eaten pupusas like 4 times, I don't know what it is about them but they are so good! They are literally fat and greasy tortillas stuffed with liquidy beans and cheese, dipped in tomato sauce, but they are delicious. They taste fantastic! I can eat those things every night, I just won't eat them every night becasue I'll get fat. 

I just completed 18 months in the mission and i have just over 5 months left to go. I feel like the end is super close now.....but I am going to stay diligent up to the very end. The greatest feeling is to see others make changes in their lives and to know that you did something to help them do it. The Spirit is the key to missionary work and when the people do things that allow the Spirit to touch them, the miracles happen! I'm grateful for the gospel and I hope to continue to be a missionary all of my life.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Bye Bye Belize

this girl has 6 toes

bye bye Mr. Steve

I'm going back to El Salvador tomorrow. I will speak my last bit of English and creole in Belize while I can because now I'm only going to be speaking spanish. But that will be good so I can practice my accent and improve it. This week was pretty funny, I'll list some of the funny and strange things people told us this week: 

- I was told that I am worse than Adolph Hitler and Osama Bin Laden
- We were told that my companion is destined to fall in love with a woman named Britney by a random lady 
- I was told that Donald Trump is the ugliest man alive and that I am his grandson (this is false)
- I had explained to me how to run a complex money laundering scheme by a man who was deported from the U.S.A.
- A man gave me an ancient Mayan ring and dared me to go carbon date it
- I was told that I should be a pole dancer in San Pedro 

So it was another fun week here in Belize. We had many of our investigators come to church this week which was awesome. We are teaching a family called the Gentle Family that is trying to get married A.S.A.P. so that they can get baptized, so I'm glad that the next two missionaries here will have that family to teach. My companion and I are both going to leave the area, I'm returning to El Salvador to finish out my mission and Elder Daly is going to be the next AP(assistant to president) here in Belize.

I'm grateful for the Savior. I know that Jesus Christ lives, and wherever I go I'm still teaching the same thing to people and it is always about Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for his sacrifice and the opportunity that we all have to follow His example. I know that He love us and I know that He has restored his gospel on the earth. It is a pleasure to be a missionary. I hope you all have a great week and that you don't freeze up there in Idaho. 

Elder Gardner

Monday, January 9, 2017

Cold Week in Belize, it Got down to 70! Brrr!

I realized this week than I am accustomed to heat, and a lot of it. It dropped down to 70 degrees and the thought came to my mind to put on a jacket! I started laughing and I remembered that 70 degrees back at home meant that it was warm enough to take off my shirt and go swimming! But, it has been nice to have a cold front this week, I'm definitely not complaining. 

We had to travel to Belize City and Belmopan this week for meetings and immigration for my companion. Those were long days and we had to wait at Belmopan (Belize's Capital) for 4 hours while my companion's papers were being processed. So, we went shopping. I decided to buy a pillow, I've been using a hard, lopsided pillow that feels like leather stuffed with corn husks for 18 months so when I saw that nice pillow for only 10 $ U.S. I was happy to spend that money. I had looked before for pillows but I was happy to finally find one!

One day at lunch this week we were sitting on a porch after eating at Sis. Kay's house (our cook). Her mother was visiting and she speaks in a thick Creole accent, Elder Daly doesn't understand Creole yet and something funny happened. Evon (Sis. Kay's mother) looked at a cat and gestured to it saying "Pussy, pussy, pussy, pussy!" (pussy is cat in creole). I was sitting there and I noticed that Elder Daly's face was recoiled in horror and disgust, I began to laugh and Sister Kay as well. He thought that Evon was saying a crude sexual word but she was just talking to the cat! Haha, everyone has got to pass through a Creole learning curve. 

We had 6 investigators come to church this week, a family we have been teaching called the Gentle Family finally came to church! They really liked it and they are excited to come back next week, they are great people and I feel that they were prepared to listen to us by God before we ever found them. We also started teaching some families that go to Jehovah's Witnesses. This is surprising, because usually they just want to argue with us but we had a nice conversation with them and we received return invitations from them. 

It is great to visit with a variety of people from different background beliefs. I love serving people, getting to know them, and trying to help them live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have loved serving in Belize, it appears that I might be leaving the country next week because of transfers but this has been a blessed place to serve in and I love this place. I know that the Savior lives, He wants us to be happy. I feel that we are just trying to help people be happier. I hope that all of you enjoy the real cold up there in Idaho, it sounds like some kind of blizzard has struck. I hope everyone takes advantage and goes powder skiing! 

Have a great week, Be happy, 

Elder Gardner

 My companion at the house where he misunderstood the word for cat

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy 2017!

I don't feel old or anything, but I can remember a day a long long time ago in Elementary School. I was attending Owyhee Elementary School and we sent up an account with the Nampa School District on the computer. I remember that part of our username was 2015, I didn't understand that until they explained to me that 2015 was going to be the year we graduated high school. I remember thinking that was so far off! Well I don't know why that comes to me head now, but it is weird to think that it is already 2017. 

I imagine the gyms will be full this month, many yoga mats will be sold, and everyone will be on a diet. It is always amusing to see how long that really lasts.  I hope that I can also get into better shape this year. I will spend half of this year on the mission, and the other half of this year I will be back in the U.S.!

I'm grateful for this year that past, 2016 was full of cherished moments and wonderful experiences for me. I was glad to serve the Lord all year long and I've seen many people, I don't think that I've ever talked to so many people in one year. I've knocked more doors and talked to more people than I can number, I've walked many miles in the hot sun, but I enjoyed it all. It has been a great blessing and an opportunity to serve a mission, it is worth it even if it only benefits a few people. I'm grateful that lives that have been blessed by the gospel. 

Whatever our goals may be in this new year, I hope that we will focus on what we want "to be" rather than "to dos". I know that we have a Savior and that He will help us in worthy goals that we set. I hope the new year brings joy to us all. May all of you at home enjoy skiing, snowmen, hot chocolate, and winter jackets. Have a great week!

Elder Gardner