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 9, 2015

The Big Bad Wolf


This week was probably my best week yet. Time flies here, and I have almost been out for a month! One month ago today was when I gave my farewell talk. That's so crazy to me. I have been happy everyday, and I am getting along with all of the people in my district and more! I'm starting to get comfortable here, and the food is weirdly starting to taste better... Is that a good thing? I have only lost three pounds since I have been here, but I can feel those pounds come back after every meal. Me and Elder Volmar have started to get into a routine, and we work out a couple times a week. The first time we decided to work out, I just went hard. I was doing everything, and I was getting yoked! lol jk. But I was pumping iron, and it felt good! But the next day, I was sooooo sore. I don't think I have ever been that sore in my life! I didn't want to ever work out again. I haven't lifted like that for a long time, because of golf and stuff, but it felt good. I can already tell that my right arm is getting a little bigger. I'm stoked for that. 
Me and Elder Lopez. This is our "Dang dude thats sick" face.
We always do it when we see each other.
Me and Elder Lopez still have a lot of fun. I found that it's very important to have fun and to calm down while on a mission. It's good to get into the work, but sometimes you have to be a real human being. All is good with the other Elders and the food and exercise. 
Me and one of my teachers, Hermana Boza! Such a sweet lady.
She calls me "Elder Garden" with a spanish acce
Spanish is coming along great! I can start to speak some day to day sentences, but only the short and brief ones. I know it will come along soon and I will be fluent some day. I love the language. It makes so much more sense than English! It's so easy for me to understand and to listen to. That's the problem though. All I can do is listen. When investigators talk to me, all I can really do is listen. I have my short little testimony that I can tell them, and a few other things here and there, but most of the time I just have to give them a short answer. I wish so bad that I could just talk them through their troubles, because that's what I love to do! I love helping people and uplifting them, but that's just hard for me to do right now. I know it will come in time though. 

I have really been working on Christlike attributes, and I'm starting to do one of them a week. This week was faith, and I tried so hard to do it, and I definitely saw a difference! It was good to walk into a lesson and to not be nervous because I just had faith that the Lord would let me know what I needed to say! It is awesome. I challenge each of you to do the same. Work on Christlike attributes weekly, and you will become a much better person. 

My homesickness is getting so much better. No doubt, I think of you guys every day and every hour, but I'm learning to accept the fact that this is where I am needed and what I am supposed to be doing. I'm starting to like it. I still miss you, and I look forward to getting your letters cada dia (every day). So the whole homesickness thing is getting better, and I am so grateful for all of your prayers and help and encouragement. Please keep it coming. 
I have found, however, something else that brings me down a little bit. That is, selfishness. I need to stop thinking of myself so much. I always think about why I am here and why I am serving a mission, and all I can think about are the blessings that are promised to ME and to MY family. It makes me upset that I think like that. How do I stop thinking like that? I heard a saying, that if you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. But if you teach a man how to fish, he eats for a lifetime. Please teach me how to fish. Teach me how to think of others and to focus on other people beside myself. As I was studying the other day, I pulled out the picture of me and mom, and I started to look at it. I was looking at it for a while, and I was just thinking to myself how much I missed my family and home and all these things. I was wondering why I had even come out here in the first place. All my thoughts were on me, and my self-pity. I looked up after a while, and I saw another Elder that I don't know. He was just looking at a picture of Christ. I'm sure the thoughts that were going through his mind were a lot different than the thoughts going through mine. At that moment, I felt so guilty and bad. Thus far on my mission, all my thoughts have been about me and about the blessings that I will get. But here is this other Elder who is in the same position as me. Left his family and friends. Came to a place that he does not know, and all of his thoughts are on the Savior. I want that. I envy that. Please let me know what I can do to forget myself as I am out here. That is a lot harder to do than it is to say.
Elder Geezy being Elder Geezy!

Most people my age, are probably out partying and having a good time. This time in their lives is when they are drinking the most alcohol, and getting into the most trouble. They say that it is the best time of their life, and that they are at their highest point. They don't realize that they are probably at their lowest. I'm out here on a mission, trying to bring people to Christ and to teach them about Christ, and I feel it's one of the hardest times of my life. It's hard to not think about home and to not get down, and it makes it even harder when I think about myself and how selfish I am. I definitely need to work on not being selfish, so any advice on that would be wonderful. 

Sundays are probably my hardest days here for some reason, because I have so much free and personal time, and I start to think of home. One thing that I found that helps me get those thoughts, or any thoughts out of my head is this analogy: 

In our head, we have two wolves, who are constantly fighting and getting after each other. One wolf is good, and the other wolf is bad. They are constantly battling. So which one wins? 

The one that you feed. If you don't like the big bad wolf, don't feed him. Simple as that. 

On another note, I'm so happy and excited to here about the Lake Powell trip! It sounds like you guys had so much fun! I can't believe that mom wake surfed and got up! way to go mom!! And Dani got up on her first try? Stud. That's so awesome! I felt the love from you guys while you were there. I told all my friends about you guys and your experience there. They loved it. I'm so happy everyone had a good time. It makes me happy when you guys are happy. 

I am so happy to hear that Emmi and Hal are blessing Millie on my birthday!! Thats so special. I feel so loved, and I feel closer to Millie that way. Thank you for doing that, and please send pictures of Millie. I love my little niece. I love when you guys send pictures!
Me and Jake. Our last time seeing each other for two years.
It was bittersweet. I know he is doing work.
I got to say goodbye to Jake on Sunday. That was good, but tough. But most beef is tough. That's life. I'm so excited and jealous that he is out of here. I got to take a picture with him, and have one last prayer and hug with him. It was a special moment for sure. I'm so grateful for the time I got with him, and for the lessons he taught. I loved the poem he wrote. I am proud to say that I was the first person he showed it to. No big deal. I also got to see the new missionaries come in. I saw Wryder Richards, and I have seen him quite a bit! It's good to catch up with him, and he is so funny. I see a girl from Snowflake who I was friends with. Kadi Johnson. She's really nice, and she's going to North Carolina. It's like South Carolina, but North. 
Me and Kadi Johnson (middle). You aren't allowed to take pictures
with just another girl,so we had to have our compañeros with us.
I also got to see Stetson! He's a really cool guy, and I love him. He was struggling with homesickness, but he said he's doing better. I love that guy. I am glad he's here. I'm sooooo glad that Nate is coming today! I have my eyes out and ready so that when I see him, I can give him a huge hug! I miss him so much, and hope that he does good here. I know that he is ready. 

My investigators are still going good. One guy, Cristóbol, is really struggling with being happy. I have so much that I want to say to him because I just love him. But I can't say anything... I just tell him that he has to pray to God to receive answers, because I just don't know how to answer him in Spanish. He is doing better though. I hope that I can make him happy. That's all I want to do for him, I just want to make his life better. 

1 Corinthians chapter 2 is so good. I love how Paul explains himself in that chapter. Paul is probably one of the most looked up to missionaries in history, and he tells us that he is not a man of clever words. He is not good at speaking the language, and he struggles to find the nerves to talk to people. I love that. It gives me comfort and hope. 

I challenge you all to become more Christlike, by exercising faith in your everyday lives this week. Have faith that Heavenly Father will help you get your tasks done, and that you will have time to have a dinner with your family. Have faith that He will help you remember what you learned in class and that you will be the person that you need to be. If you do this, you will become much more happy and you will be able to help others.

I love you guys so much, and I look forward to hearing from you this week. I am becoming much more happy here, and I am starting to enjoy my time here. I love being on a mission, and I know that this is where I need to be. Until next time. Ustedes estan en mi corazon (You are in My Heart). 

les amo. 

Just ran into elder Randall doing laundry!! I recognized him and I don't think
he knew who I was, but I asked him if he was related to Garna and he was like "yeah?"
I told him that I was Grandma DeDe's grandson, and he was like "oh yeah!"
so that was cool. He has been here for 8.5 weeks and leaves on Tuesday!
That was awesome to see him even though we don't really know each other. 

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