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, September 23, 2015

Go Shawty, It's Ya Birthday...

Mi Familia, 

Wow, I am extremely blessed. Thank you all for your birthday gifts to me! Seriously I loved them! I did wait until Saturday night to open them, because I didn't want to take away from the Sabbath. So my district and other friends all piled into my room as I opened presents! I got such a great gift from grandma Williams. Two great ties, and some awesome missionary CD's! You're the best grandma! Thank you so much!

I then opened the gift that Lauren sent me, and I got some more awesome ties and some sick socks! Seriously, everyone here is jealous of my ties. She also drew me a picture and it's so good. Thank you so much for that! I loved them! So much thought!
A Party Package Opening is not complete without
proper birthday attire.
Emmi sent me a photo book of Millie. What a gift. I love Millie so much, and she is so dang cute. I can tell she is getting big! I'm missing it! I showed my teacher, Hermana Boza, and she loved the pictures of Millie. I'm so grateful for her and for Emmi and Hal. You guys are both such great parents!

I got a photo book from Bailey too! That was so special to me, and loved that everyone wrote in it. I could tell that she put a lot of work into it. I love that girl! I will hold onto that forever! I have looked at it multiple times, and it just keeps getting better. Thank you to everyone who signed it! It made me smile grande:)
Looking at the photo book I got from Bailey.  I can't seem
to put it down. 
I popped open a bottle of bubbly, and shared it with my whole district. You can bet your bottom dollar that we partied! For about 30 seconds... I shared my cookies with them, which they were all really happy about, and then I moved on to my last present...
I was so excited to open these presents!
It was a package from my sweet family. I opened it and saw some wrapped presents. I unwrapped them, taking my time with each one, and the first one was a book of inspirational stories. I have already read half of it! I got another book and some CD's. Paul Cardall is my absolute favorite! I loved all of them. And then I opened the book that Mom wrote me. She wrote all of her favorite poems and sayings in there. Hand written, and I could tell that she had put so much effort into it. I literally started to cry right there, right in front of my district and friends. They all asked "Are you good?" and I just had to say "You wouldn't understand... this is the best present I have ever received." It's absolutely perfect. Everything that I wanted, and the most uplifting poems I have ever read. Thank you, my sweet mom. I love it, and it means more to me than you could ever imagine.
The South Carolina Crew in the MTC.
After all the unwrapping and the party, it was time to settle down and get ready for bed. My companion had left to go shower and brush his teeth, so it was just me in the room. So there I sat, on my side of the room, reading my scriptures and crying tears of gratitude, as I ate a cupcake, alone. It was the best birthday of my life. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday. I really have truly been blessed with the best family ever. The best friends I could ever ask for. I knelt down that night, and just thanked my Heavenly Father for the family he has given me. I wish you guys knew how much I love you and miss you. Thank you for the presents and all the thought that you put into them. I recognized that, and I know that it probably wasn't easy to get those put together and it probably took a lot of time and money, but thank you. It made me feel sooooo good. I am so grateful and happy. 

So that was Saturday, but Sunday was my real birthday. How special to spend my birthday with my little niece on her blessing day! I felt the love and the spirit all day. I'm so glad Hal did such a good job. I knew he would, because he's just that type of a person! He's such a good guy. I love him so much. 
The weekly sick pic
I also got to participate in the MTC and the Spoken Word, with Lloyd Newell. What an experience! We sang a lot of songs, and the spirit was so strong there. He spoke between each song and told us what each song meant and the history behind it. I loved that I could sing the Hymns with all my heart on my birthday. The best song that we sung was "How Firm A Foundation" I just love that song. the 3rd and 7th verses are absolutely amazing. It was an amazing day. 

I got to say goodbye to Nate about 500 times on Sunday! It was super sad, but good at the same time. Every time I saw him, I would say bye to him, because I never know when I will see him in the MTC, but it was good. He was excited, and I know that he's doing good. I love that kid. He's such a good friend, and I told him "two years is nothin!" And then we went on to tell each other how much we loved each other and how great of friends we are. I think his district thought we had a thing... But we don't! We are just good friends! 
Last time seeing Nate for a couple years. I love this dude.
Such a great friend and example. 
I'm so close to getting out of here! 5 days!! This will be the last email for about a week and a half. Then my p-days will be on Monday, and I will be doing real work. I like the MTC, like it's pretty fun sometimes, and I've learned a lot and felt the spirit, but it gets to a point where you have just been taught all day how to help people and teach people, and you just want to go out and actually help people. The last few days, Satan has really been digging at me. I've been kinda down and I have just been questioning myself a lot. Like "why am I out here?" "am I ready?" "do I even have a testimony?" All these questions have been going through my mind so much. They just destroy me... Sometimes I feel like I have no hope... Like I will never see my family again, and that I will be just a worthless missionary. I try so hard to get them out, but I just can't sometimes. I said an hour long prayer yesterday, and I just asked God to help me and to comfort me. Pray for me to feel some comfort as I go out. The Lord answers prayers, just in different, better ways. I pray that I will have a good trainer who can tutor me and help me become comfortable, and confident. I hope he has some personal advice for me. 

I got my flight plans. I'm leaving the MTC Tuesday morning at 3:30 am. I fly out of Salt Lake at 7:10, and land in Atlanta, then I fly to Columbia. I will probably get there around 3:00. I'm stoked!!!
Flight plans baby!!!
I'm so excited to go out and actually work. I can't wait to eat some real food, and teach real people. I know it's going to be hard. It already has been. But I know that it will be better. I still struggle, and I will probably struggle my whole mission. That's just the way it is. But I know that I have to struggle in order to grow. I have you guys on my side, and I have God. I'm going to try my best, because that's all that I can do. I don't speak the best Spanish, and I don't have the best testimony. But I know that God lives. I don't need much more. 
Elder Volmar, Marco and me.  My first (fake) baptism.
I love you guys, and I can't wait to see you all. I miss you all so much. Next time I write you, I will be in my mission! How exciting. I invite you all to think of someone who is in need of help. Invite them to come watch general conference with you. I PROMISE that whatever they need help with, and whatever questions they have, will be answered in this conference. All they need is someone to invite them. Be bold. Because I have to be bold this week, and I'm scared. I'm extremely nervous. But I have to be bold. 

Thank you again for all of the birthday wishes. It was a day I will never forget. You are the best family and friends I could ever ask for. That's so cliché, but I mean that. You guys are the best. I love you all. 

les amo...


Elder Geezy

Missionaries from my district.  We took this because we all
matched, plus I look GOOD!
A reflection of me looking to the Provo Temple.

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