This blog is kept and updated by the parents of Elder Gardner to share his mission experiences as he teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Spanish to the people in South Carolina. The blog covers the period of time before Elder Gardner's mission as he prepares to serve and follows him throughout his mission until his return home to Arizona.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mix O' Emotions

To the family and friends I miss so much,

First off, THANK YOU FOR THE LETTERS!!! I seriously love hearing from you guys so much. It gets me through my days, which have been very long. Shout out to Dad for the Krispy Kremes, and Emmi for the candy! You guys are so legit! A huge shout out to my beautiful Mom, who writes me everyday, and who I love and miss so much! You are number one. I love you the most, my sweet mom. Keep writing me letters because I look forward to getting them every day! Dear Elder is the best thing, because I can read them that same day, if you send them before noon. So please do that! I'm so excited to hear from you guys and to actually email you and tell you about my week. 

So Claire and Mike got married, huh? That's just nuts and bolts to me... I'm so happy for them! I love them both so much! I know that they will have the happiest of lives. I look forward to hearing about it. The reception sounds like it went well. That's awesome. I wish I could have been there, I was thinking about them and all of you guys all that day. Such an awesome opportunity, and the most special thing to happen on this Earth. 

I don't even know where to start this email! It's titled Mix of Emotions, because that's exactly how it's been. It's been the longest week of my life. I have had extreme homesickness, and I think that's why it was so long. I've just been struggling bad with being away from home and from you guys. I really hope I can overcome this time and trial in my life. Please pray for me to feel comfort and peace, because I could really use that right now. 

That's an I miss my family look...
So day one. The flight over here was great, I sat next to another Elder, and he was awesome! Planes are so cool. We flew over the Grand Canyon, and that was sure a sight to see. I then got off of the plane and starting walking to try and find Gia. As I was coming down the escalator, everybody started to look at me and cheer super loud! So I just held my fist up in the air, and started to cheer for myself as well. It turns out, that they were all there for their returned missionary who was standing right behind me... So the applause wasn't for me:( I felt like such an idiot. Eating lunch with Jared and Steph was awesome. I loved seeing them, and the kids before I left. I then got to my apartment and headed to my first class. Everyone was speaking Spanish, and I had no idea what anyone was saying. But I somehow managed, it's probably because I'm so cool. 

That first night was when I started to feel homesick. I'm just so used to having my mom there with me all the time. I always reached for my pocket to find my phone so that I could call her and tell her that I missed her and needed her. But then I would realize that I'm totally secluded from the world, and that I couldn't contact them. That was heartbreaking. It was a long and sad day for sure, but I made it. I can't really remember everything that happened, but I do remember just feeling really depressed and sad all the time. It was so hard to pay attention in class because I was (and still do) think of home all the time. But I also know that I will see you in two years. Just two years, it's no big deal. Bailey and Brent and Dina have almost lived here for two years... I can do it! But I really would love to have your prayers with me, and for you guys to write me some uplifting letters. I need some advice on how to keep my mind off of things. 

My district is awesome, and there is only one other sister missionary with my mission call. 

My District
Elder Volmar
Elder Volmar is my companion, and I tell him everything. He's a really good guy from Utah, and we get along really well. I love him to death. When I said that I tell him everything, I mean evveeerryyything. I tell him a lot about you, mom. Actually I'm pretty sure the whole MTC knows who you are and what you're like. I talk about you 21/7. The other three hours I have to speak Spanish to investigators. But everyone knows about you and Dad, because I constantly talk about you guys and how much I miss you. 

Elder Volmar and I have taught three lessons so far. All in Spanish. Our first lesson, was with a woman named Karina. She only speaks Spanish, and it was nerve wracking. We had a set script of what we were going to say and how she was probably going to answer. She did not follow our script. We first asked her how she was doing, and we just expected her to say "muy bien" but instead she said something like "not good, my parents died when I was younger, and I live alone with my daughter"... We had no clue what to say. We just went along and asked her where she worked, and we just got out of there in about five minutes. It was not good at all haha. We totally blew it. 

Our next lesson was with the same person, and we started to talk about prayer and we invited her to pray and everything, and she said she would! I was so stoked. We still had a script, but it was a little better than our first one. Our last lesson we taught with her was on Monday. We went in there with a game plan and just an outline of what we would talk about. We wrote it out in english, and we just put our trust in the Lord that we would know what to say. Well somehow we did. We talked to her for 25 minutes straight in Spanish! Words were just spewing out, and I'm sure the grammar was awful, but she understood. I told her a simplified version of my dealings with cancer, and she totally started to cry. I told her that with faith and hope, we can overcome the challenges in our life. I think she really appreciated that. It was a neat experience. 

Sunday was a good day. Me and Elder Volmar decided to fast. We were fasting for our language studies, but I also said that I was fasting to overcome this homesickness I have been having. He selflessly said that he would fast for me too. I really admired and appreciated that. Although the fast helped with our studies and learning the language, my homesickness hasn't really gone away. But one thing that helped me, was that when we were in choir practice on Sunday, the director, (really neat dude) told us a story about a missionary homecoming, and about how happy it will be for us when we complete a full time mission. That hit me hard, and I was bawling in front of everyone. They all asked me if I was okay, and I just told them that I missed my mom and I wanted her to hug me. They all laughed and thought that was just the most hilarious thing they had ever heard, but I was most definitely being serious. He also said, we can't live our lives like driving a car looking through the rear view mirror. If you're constantly looking back in your rear view mirror, you won't be able to drive your car. You have to keep looking forward. I'm trying so hard to do that, but I keep looking in my rear view mirror. And when I look forward, I only see a long curvy road. I pray constantly that I'll be okay one day. I know I will, but I don't know when. Hopefully soon. 

I asked my branch president for a blessing, and that definitely helped a lot. He mostly just told me to keep going and to suck it up. I know I need to grow up, but that's just so hard for me. What keeps me going everyday, is seeing Jake. I see him everyday for a couple minutes and that just helps a ton. I love him so much. We have a spot where we pray every night, and that is the best part of my day, besides getting letters. He has so much advice as well. I see Tyson a lot too! It's so fun seeing him.
Sam's good friend Tyson Binnie
Sam's main man - his cousin Jake
 I wish I was in Jake's building, but we're next door neighbors. I'm grateful for that. I also got to see Joey today!! I was sitting outside of the temple and he just walks out of the doors and says "GEEZY!" I don't think I have ever been so happy! haha. Talking to him was very comforting, and I just held on to every word he said. He gave me some good advice, and told me that the MTC goes by slow, and the mission goes by fast. I hope the MTC goes fast, because I'm not a fan of this place. The food is outright disgusting. I don't think I have finished one meal. I have probably lost a lot of weight here. I just can't stand the food. The schedule is rough too. I am excited to get into a semi normal lifestyle in the mission field. At least there, I can buy my own food and drive a car... 
Sam's cousin and Jake's brother Joey
I came down with a cold on Sunday, and I still have it. I have been using the essential oils and taking my vitamins daily. I am starting to feel a little better. Could you guys please send me some pictures of our family through the mail? I would love them. I keep the picture of mom hugging me in my scriptures. I love that picture of her so much. 

Well I hope this email was long enough, that was basically my week. Not a ton of exciting things, but a lot of new things. I have just been really homesick. I need all the prayers I can get, because I don't know what else I can do. I love and miss you all sooooo much. I can't wait to see you in a couple years. You guys are my light. I think of you all the time. Keep sending letters and sending love, and don't forget to give me some advice. I need it! 

I love you guys and I'm excited to here from you. 


-Elder Geezy

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