Monday, February 27, 2017

Frosted Mini Wheats, Machete, Mangos Maduros, and Chapstick makes me weird

Nathan's fav cereal

mango season

My favorite cereal as a child was Frosted Mini Wheats, in my opinion it is the best cereal. There were even times in high school where I ate Frosted Mini Wheats and toast every single day for my after school snack (more like an oversized meal). I had been 19 months without eating Frosted Mini Wheats until I saw some in the supermarket last week, I just stopped and stared for a second. After I regathered my senses I smiled and grabbed a box. The simple things make life great, I enjoyed my favorite cereal all week. 

We also helped a lady chop with a machete (we aren't supposed to use machetes), but when we saw an 80 year woman chopping logs with a machete we had to help her. We really needed and ax, but somehow we managed to chop most of a tree apart using a machete. We then carried all of the firewood to her house. A lot of people here use firestoves, she was happy. Maria Santos said she was glad to get all of that wood before the rainy season. 

Our recent convert, Lucio is still doing well. He came to church again and was fully participant and the classes. He has been our greatest success story of this transfer. 

I always use chapstick, it helps me to avoid dry lips. But every time that I use it people ask me why I'm using lipstick. I always explained to them that it is lotion, but, I just tell them now that it is lipstick and they always laugh. 

My companion, Elder Kleinman is going to a different area to train, close to where we started the mission. My companion will be Elder Burris, he is a good guy so we should have a good transfer. Our zone, Sonzacate, is going to be combined with the zone of Izalco. So, we are going to have a large zone next change with over 20 missionaries. I hope that you are all doing well. 

Elder Gardner

Monday, February 20, 2017

Blueberry Pancakes and Gringo Soccer

El Salvador Dish

I bought some blueberry pancake mix last monday and I enjoyed eating them all week, it was weird to find that at the supermarket. But I was happy, and I was able to eat pancakes for breakfast this week. It is nice to have a break from beans and fried plantains every once in a while. 

We played soccer this morning for p day with some members, we miraculously won (us, the missionaries). Somebody also brought a basketball, I showed everyone how to shoot and I made five 3s in a row in front of everybody. They all thought that was cool, they said that they had never seen that in person before. 

We were able to visit with several great people this week. We are visiting several less active families that we have begun to visit with recently. It is sad to see when a father gets offended or makes a mistake and ends up leading his whole family away from the church. Last night a man started sobbing as we read a chapter from the Book of Mormon. He said that he knew Jesus was his Savior, and that knew the church was true. But, then he told us he turned his back to God and lost his way. But it was really cool to see that he wants to come back. 

Lucio, our investigator who was baptized last week came to church this sunday in a white shirt and tie. He is super excited and he is also studying the scriptures and reading  the Book of Mormon, so he is doing excellent. He also came to play soccer with us this morning. When I was playing goalie he kicked me with the ball in the face and he felt bad, but I told him it was all good and I laughed it off. I told them that I like getting hit in the face every once in a while, I like the feeling of getting the sense knocked out of me every once in a while. 

The work is going great. I love being a missionary, it is a pleasure to be able to serve the Lord. I know that the Holy Spirit can touch people's live and make them happy. I know that if people allow Jesus Christ to come into their lives by doing the things that He taught, miracles can happen and hearts can be changed.

 The members here give us a lot of food. It is really nice of them but I hate that they give us Coca Cola for every meal, it is practically the equivalent of water here. But, all is well, I'm constantly fighting to not get fat, haha. I lose the battle sometimes. 

Have a great week, 

Elder Gardner

My Pancakes and some dishes from El Salvador

I'm doing well, it is crazy how fast the time is going by. I hope that you all have a good week.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Awful Spaghetti, A Baptism, A Active VolcanoSan

Chicken feet spaghetti

Painting Hospital

Santa Ana Volcano

On Wednesday we were invited to lunch. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. The food served was spaghetti noodles (without hardly any sauce) smothered in chicken feet with beans, served with polluted tap water mixed with sugar. That part I can handle, I have eaten worse things in my mission. It wasn't that part that got me. The food was prepared in a filthy kitchen, but it wasn't that part that got me either. We helped her to make the food and the manner in which the food was prepared was what got me. I saw the lady clean the chicken feet without washing her hands, and then when she did wash her hands she did so in a small bucket, and then SHE ADDED THE CONTENTS OF THE SMALL BUCKET TO THE FOOD! 

Long story short, we forced the food down in order to avoid hurt feelings. I am scarred from the experience. We will go to all means in order to not eat in that house again. 

We had a great baptism yesterday, our investigator, Lucio, was baptized and confirmed a member of the church yesterday. He was an atheist two months ago, but now he is super excited to come to church. He is going to buy a white shirt and we bought him a set of scriptures. So, that was a great experience. It is a joy to share this message with these people and to see the happiness and joy it brings them to come closer to Jesus Christ by changing their lives and living the gospel. 

We went to a Volcano today, it was a good hike. We had to go with police officers in order to do so because I guess they assault people on the trail, which doesn't surprise me. But, when we got to the place they told us that the next tour wasn't for another 2 hours. But, we didn't want to wait that long. I had the idea that we could probably give the cops an incentive to get moving a little bit. So, we offered one of the the policemen a tip (well, basically we bribed him, not basically, we did bribe him) and almost immediately we were headed straight up the mountain with a large group of armed men to protect us. Money talk loud here in El Salvador. It was obvious during the course of the hike that some of the missionaries in our zone haven't been doing their daily exercises. We also met some people from Holland and we talked with them during a lot of the hike, they are here in Central America for 3 months. The guy, Jan, told me that he had only heard of the Mormoms through Southpark. So, I had to clarify several things and he told me that he'd look up our website to learn more. But, all the missionaries had a great time. 

All is well down here, I hope all of you have a wonderful week! 

Elder Gardner

Monday, February 6, 2017

Great Week

This week was good. I officially overcame my allergy to watermelon and cantalope. Before my mission when I ate it I got an awful stomach ache, and several times during the beginning of my mission I accepted it from people and I didn't feel good. But recently, I've been eating it and I have been fine. So I overcame my allergic reactions, haha. 

I went to San Salvador on tuesday, I had to go for immigration purposes. It brought back a lot of memories because I lived in San Salvador for almost the first whole year of my mission! 

My companion still has a parasite so he had a rough week, I estimate that he lost at LEAST 5 pounds this week. I've never seen someone go to the bathroom so much, poor guy. Hopefully he can get the parasites killed because those things can really do some damage. I'm glad we don't have them in the U.S., I could imagine some people might even try to get them for weight loss purposes, they are extremely effective (but not in a good way). 

I hear people talk about Donald Trump all of the time, I am not well informed but I hear a ton of rumors. I just laugh it off when people try to insult us because of Donald Trump. I have been asked like 5 times this week if I'm related to him. I guess I look like him just because I'm white. 

We had to walk over the tube down below in order to go to some baptismal interviews. All is going well this week. We will have a baptism of a great young man next week. When people begin to read the Book of Mormon sincerely, it is amazing what it does to them. This guy was an atheist less than a month ago and now he can hardly wait to be baptized!