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 2, 2015

May Angels Lead You In

Family, who I love so much. 

How can I even begin to thank you for your uplifting letters of support and encouragement? I'm blown away by the amount of love and courage that came my way this past week. It truly was a better week. Thank you to all who wrote me, and gave me advice. I want you guys to know that I read all the letters at least three times a day. I hang on to every word! I'm so grateful for the family and friends that I have. I will use my love for you and turn it into love for my district and investigators. I want you all to know that your prayers and fasting and thoughts have literally lifted me up, and I can now enjoy myself a little bit here. My heart is full. 
My last picture with Tyson before he left. He's already gone! He left on Monday:( 
This week flew by. I feel like it was yesterday when I was writing you guys! I have the best sister in the whole world. Emmi, your letters are so great, and I love that your write me everyday. Please don't stop, it makes the homesickness go away. I love hearing about Millie and I pray for her every night. I love the letter that Hal wrote me also. I can relate to him and his experience with the MTC. I also have the two best brothers in the whole world. Beau, thank you so much for the advice. I know that most beef is tough now;) I use that line cada dia (every day). People love it. I want to single out Ben as being a person that I look up to. His letter that he wrote me was probably the most amazing thing I have ever read! I have never thought about the armor of God like that. He said," Every morning, we wake up and put on the armor of God. We put on our helmet, our breast plate, we grab our shields and our swords. But what covers our backside? We have to face our trials head on, and fight with all our might."

Wow. Could you even ask for better advice? I keep telling myself that that's my little brother. I love him so much. I'm so happy to hear that he was able to bare his testimony at the Roosevelt Lake youth trip. It's so important to bare your testimony and to let people know who you are and how you feel. Thank you everyone for your letters and prayers and fasting. I have felt them already, and I want you guys to know that! Please keep them coming, because I still need them!
The District. Top left, Elder McCentire going to Kentucky. Elder Volmar. 
Elder Porter, going to Omaha, Nebraska. Elder Nelson, going to Alabama. 
Hot guy, going to South Carolina. Elder Mair, going to Ohio. 
Bottom left. Sister Johnson, going to Washington D.C. 
Sister Shaw, going to South Carolina. Sister Shaat, goint to Las Vegas.
 Sister Kinikini, going to Mexico
The District
I am starting to feel happy and more comfortable here. I love my district. Such amazing people with such strong testimonies. They are starting to become my family. My problem is that I get soooo attached to people soooo quickly, and I'm worried that I'll be sad when I leave here. But I'm also so ready to get to South Carolina. My companion is rad. He has a sick style of dress, and we always talk about how much better looking we are than everyone else (hehe). I just know that when we walk through the MTC that people just look at us and wish they were us! If he went to my high school, I probably wouldn't hang out with him, just because of the different lifestyle he lives. He likes baseball, and he played it in high school. He likes to hang out with friends and do crazy things. I don't know what that means, but who knows... I'm sure we would have been great friends in school ;) 

I am proud to say that I eat two meals per meal now. I have gotten to the point where I can eat it now. I'm probably getting fat... lol jk. I don't think I've lost any weight at all or gained. I've just stayed about the same I think. As far as exercise goes, we play a lot of basketball and volleyball. We started playing basketball with another district in our zone, and that's kind of been the thing lately for us. My friend, Elder Lopez and I absolutely dominate. I literally haven't missed a three pointer since I've been in the MTC. I'm 12 for 12. No joke! People call me the shooter. I'm pretty proud of myself for that. Elder Lopez and I have gotten really close. We joke around a lot and we always have a good time. I know the Lord sent him here to be with me for a reason. I can always just relax and calm down and laugh with him. It's so nice to be able to be myself sometimes. 
​Me and Elder Lopez. This is basically our relationship. We have a ton of fun.
Elder Lopez ballin on top of the world

I also do 15 push ups like once a week because I have to stay in shape, ya feel? I don't want to stress my body with doing 15 push ups a day, so I just keep it to once a week. I'll come back and dominate Dad in golf...

15 push-ups a week will make any guy thirsty!!

I find a lot of comfort in writing my feelings in the form of poems. I don't know why, but that helps me get some stress out. I wrote one this week when I was feeling down. I only feel down and homesick like once every other day, and it only lasts for about 30 minutes, but this is the poem I wrote:

"I pack my bags, excited for what lies ahead
I look back now, and wish for one more night in my own bed
Driving to the airport, I say " Come on, let's hurry!"
I wish I'd taken my time, the road ahead is kinda blurry
Taking off in a plane, this is my first flight
First day in the MTC, I did not sleep that night
I think of my mom, and know I'll see her in two short years
I think of her now, and think that's so long, I breakdown in tears
I meet my companion, we're excited and ready
One week in, and I'm shaken, emotionally unsteady
Let's learn the language! Let's go out and preach!
Thinking of home, makes it so hard to teach
After one day, I start to get homesick
I pray my heart out, that this trial will pass by quick
I think of my Savior alone in Gethsemane
I know he's felt my pain before, he suffered for me
I remember he said "Father, let this cup pass"
He didn't quite know, how long it would last
I think of the people, family members they've lost
How much they must miss them, the nights turned and tossed
why is such a beautiful thing, such a heartbreaking sorrow?
Every morning I pray that I will make it to tomorrow
I thought I was ready, thought I'd never miss home 
I get so tempted to call my mom on that phone
One day I will see her, how sweet the joy
That day I'll be a man, no longer a boy
With faith in my God, I overcame cancer
My mom, it seemed, always had for me an answer
Right now she's not here, I have to do this alone
But God knows what I feel, for me He atoned"

I know it may sound sad, but it really isn't. I was writing this when I was homesick, and I was just letting out my pains. But I realized as I was writing, that Christ knows how I feel. Not only did he suffer worse when he was on his mission, but he literally felt what I feel. When I feel like I can't do this, or that it's so long and hard, I just look at all the letters on my desk and realize how many people are waiting for me at the finish line and cheering me on along the way. The mission is like a big long 400 meter race, and I have to try as hard as I can, but I also have to pace myself. Although I've just barely started, and I haven't even rounded the first corner, I have a massive crowd behind me, cheering me on. And right next to me is my savior. He’s running with me, he knows I'm out of breath, but he keeps pushing me, he gives me an extra push. Although I've already fallen, and will continue to fall, I will get back up. I will get up for you guys and for my mom and dad and for my savior. I'm not doing this for me, I'm doing it for you. 

I've been reading in the new testament, and I think that it's my new favorite book. I love reading about Christ and I love developing a relationship with him. I encourage you all to do the same. 

This is where we do a lot of our studying. 
We love to be outside rather than indoors. 
Spanish is going great, I can understand a lot. In class, our teachers only speak Spanish, and it's almost just like an English class. I understand so much. Speaking Spanish? That's a different story... I can teach a gospel related lesson or talk about the gospel, but I don't know how to carry a day-to-day conversation. I’m really bad at that. PERO (But), I know that I will get better because I have faith. Faith is literally all we need in life or on a mission. If you have faith, you are doing your job. It doesn't matter if you can't speak the language, or go into a lesson scared. If you have faith, God will speak the words for you. I know that first hand. Our investigators are still going well. We just got a couple more, and we had a "get to know you" lesson. Those are awesome. I love trying to teach people, not lessons. I love hearing about their needs and wants, and having a personal experience to help them know how to get through those times. It's fun. 

In one of our lessons, I told the investigator that I had two shoulders (hombros) instead of two brothers (hermanos) I felt so stupid... 

Yesterday, we had the privilege to hear from Dallin H. Oaks!! It was awesome! He talked a lot about the Sacrament and how important it is for us to use it every week. We must take the Sacrament in order to be close to God. I thought that that was really interesting. 

I was reading my scriptures and came across D&C 50:40-46. I needed that so much. To know that Christ is in my midst and that I "Need not fear" was such a blessing. It comforted me a lot, and helped me. Right now, I feel like Peter when he was walking on the water. He saw Christ in the distance, and knew he needed to get to him. He also knew that with Christ, all things were possible. So he got out of the boat and started to walk on the water. He started to walk towards Christ, but then he saw the waves and the wind blowing and he began to be afraid. He started to sink. IMMEDIATELY Christ stretched forth his hand to grab him. 

That story hits the feels for me at this time of my life. I trust God and I went on a mission. I didn't know how or what it was going to be like, I just hopped out of the boat filled with my family and friends, and I just started to walk on the water. But when I got to the MTC, I saw how much the wind was blowing and how big the waves were, and I started to sink. But because of you guys and because of your prayers and fasting, I didn't have to sink. Christ stretched forth his hand and lifted me out of the water. I will never forget that. If we have faith in Christ, the hardest, as well as the easiest times can be a blessing. God has promised angels on our left and our right to lift us up, and he always keeps his promises. 

Geezy trying to express his love to each of you!
I can't express my love enough for each and every one of you. Please continue to keep me in your prayers and thoughts. I still need them!! I love you all so much, and look forward to receiving your letters. I miss you all so much, and I can't wait to see you soon. 

Everyone here calls me Geezy. Not a soul calls me Elder Gardner. It's always Geezy haha. I haven't traded many ties because I love all of mine. They remind me of Ben and Beau and Dad, so I hold them close. I love you guys again, and I will talk to you next week!!

te quiero mucho,


Had to take a selfie. I also made a face like Dad because 
he can't open his eyes!;)

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