Elder Gardner

Elder Gardner will enter the MTC on Wednesday, June 23rd. We will keep this blog up-dated every week with his letters and pictures. If you would like to write to Elder Gardner, please click on the "write a letter" link on the right hand side for directions and his address. If you don't know much about Mormon Missions read the "about missions" page to learn more; it may help you understand some confusing terms in the letters.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ya llegò la primavera (Loma Week 21)

¡Hola mis amigos! Espero que todos estèn bien.

This week was great. The best part was that spring officially started on Wednesday (I really have no idea if I spelled that right). The days of cold and rain are over! Now come the days of sun and heat. Time to break out the sunscreen. And on spring day (yes, that`s a holiday here) we had a zone conference. It was a great conference and President Gulbransen talked a lot about planning and counseling with your companion. I learned a lot.

Also on Wednesday we found a new family that has ten children. The dad works in the Buenos Aires West mission (our area is on the border of the mission) and the missionaries there talked to him. They passed the information to us and we went to visit them. The parents are awesome and there are a ton of kids in the house (feels like home). Sadly the parents couldn`t come to church this week, but we are going to make sure they go to general conference next week.

Well, now for the most exciting news. We had another baptism! A man named Gustavo got baptized on Saturday. He is a great guy. He went to church a lot a year ago but got discouraged because he couldn`t get baptized and stopped going. He has some small mental problems, but he has a great heart and a desire to follow Christ. His biggest problem was that he used to drink coffee and tea, thus breaking the Word of Wisdom. But we bought him some Malta (the argentine subsitute for coffee) and now he drinks that. On Saturday he was baptized and all his sins were washed away. Then on Sunday he was given the gift of the Holy Ghost and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Sunday was a crazy day. If you remember, last Sunday after stake conference we baptized a youth named Benito. That means he had to go to church yesterday to be confirmed a member and recieve the Holy Ghost. So yesterday morning we went to his house to pick him up. We knocked and clapped and yelled his name for about 20 minutes before we had to go to church to not show up too late. We were both rather discouraged since Benito didn`t wake up but we walked to church with a prayer in our heart. When we got to church Gustavo was already sitting there ready for his confirmation and Leonardo (the father of the amazing family I was talking about for a while) was also there. That was a huge surprise. Leonardo started working Sunday mornings a few weeks ago, but he was there with a big smile on his face as we walked in. Sacrament meeting started and Gustavo was confirmed. I then gave a talk about faith and as we listened to a high counsel man talk about General Conference, Benito walked in! About an hour late, but he showed up. I was really relieved and tried to signal to the bishop that they needed to confirm Benito before the last hymn. But for some reason or another they didn`t do it. After sacrament meeting we tried to talk the bishop into confirming him during preisthood meeting, but according to church handbooks it has to be during sacrament, so he didn`t do it. It was a dissapointment, but I was so happy to see Benito come to church. Now we need to keep working with him for two more weeks since this Sunday is the General Conference and he can`t be confirmed then.

Well, that`s all the exciting news for this week. I hope everyone is enjoying the first days of spring. O wait, you guys just started fall. That`s too bad. Have a good time anyway.

Les amo muchìsimo,
Elder Gardner

Me, my comp, and Gustavo.

Me and Gustavo and the water`s edge.

After the baptism with some of the members.

This is a big clock tower. It makes chiming noises every hour.

A memorial to the soldiers who died in the fight for the Falkan Islands. Argentines are obsessed with the Falkan Islands.

Elder Prado didn`t make it across in time. (Actually he had to go back because he dropped something and almost got hit in the process.) Don`t worry. This is Argentina. Jay walking is a favorite past time.

Monday, September 19, 2011

¡Bautismo! (Loma Week 20)


Well, this week was pretty good. We had a baptism! His name is Benito and he is a capo. He`s 15 years old and lives with his mom and his siblings. A couple months ago a man we were teaching told us that Benito needed help because his mom is an alcoholic. So we went by the house lots of times but could never find him home. I had given up on trying to find him but a few days later my comp decided we should see if he was home. We went to his house and we finally found him. We taught him a little bit and he said he felt like it was true. A few weeks later he went to church for the first time (he likes to go to dances Saturday nights so it was hard for him to wake up). Then he disappeared. He started working and we couldn`t find him again. About two weeks ago we found him home again and he came to church again. We invited him to be baptized but he was a little uncertain, so we all got down on our knees and prayed and Benito asked God what He wanted. Benito said he felt like he should be baptized! So yesterday he got baptized after Stake Conference. There were also two kids that got baptized from another ward and President Gulbransen (the mission president) was there. The mom came to Stake Conference and watched the baptism, she really liked it and said she wants to get baptized too! Now we just need to help her to really change her life by stop drinking and start being a good example for her children. Sadly I don`t have the cord to hook up the camera to send you pictures, but I will next week.

That`s all the stories for this week. Hope everyone has a great seven days. Talk to you next week.

Con amor,
Elder Gardner

This is us after playing soccer today. The shirt I`m wearing I borrowed from another elder. It`s a ninja turtle shirt. Sweet.

This is President and Sister Gulbransen, the mom, Benito, Elder Palomino, and me.

This is the only picture where we were all looking the same direction. Too bad it`s the wrong direction.
My comp was trying to take a picture of me on the train. But it was in video mode. You can kind of tell what the train is like.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Never Forget (Loma Week 19)

¡Hola! ¿Como estáis?

The title of this email is a reference to September 11, 2001. Never Forget. I completely forgot until I saw the bishop`s tie at church. He had a tie of the twin towers. And then the counslor of the bishop talked to me about how the `negrito` was going to give some speech or something. I try not to laugh whenever he calls President Obama the `negrito.` It`s not ofensive in spanish, don`t worry.

This week has been pretty good. My companion, Elder Palomino, is a capo. It is really nice to work with someone who already has a lot of experience and his really excited about the work. I had been focused on other things the last two transfers and the missionary work was kind of on a hold in this ward. But Elder Palomino and I have been working a lot here and have been having some good success.

This week we got two people to come to church. One is a kid named Bernito that came to church about a month ago but then left his house to go work and we couldn`t find him again. We found him again and he was excited to come to church and is excited to be baptized next Sunday after stake conference. His mom drinks a lot but she is supportive and Bernito wants to go to church to be an expample and help his mom. The other guy who came to church is called Gustavo and he used to go to church two years ago but for some reason stopped. Now he started again and is also excited for his baptism this Sunday after the conference. This will be a busy week.

With the anniversary of 9/11 and with some crazy kidnapping and murder that happened in Argentina we`ve had to answer some questions about why God lets bad things happen. I think we are the only church that can really answer that question. We know that we are here on the earth to be tested so that we can prove ourselves worthy to not only live with God but to inherit all the blessing God has. If the only thing we are going to do after this life is praise God as angels, what is the point of living here with all the pain there is in life? Why wouldn`t a loving God just skip the whole earth-life thing and make us angels to begin with? But there is more in store than just playing harps, there is the promise that as children of God we can become like Him some day. (It`s in Romans somewhere. I forgot the exact scripture) But in order to grow to that point we need to gain the experience of life on earth. In John 17:3 we learn that eternal life is to know God and His son Jesus Christ. We know that Christ came to earth to suffer for our sins and also was tempted and suffered to understand how we feel (see Alma 7:11-13). How, then, can we come to know Christ if we don`t suffer some of the same things he suffered? We read in the book of Moses (or is it in Abraham?) that God cried because of the wickedness of the human race. How, then, can we come to know God if we don`t also have times of sorrow due the wickedness of our fellow man? Part of the whole purpose of being here is to feel pain and sorrow. Let us not complain when we have to experience it! But when we focus our lives of Christ the sorrow is replaced with joy. Elder Palomino said something this week about how on the mission he really came to know God. I have learned the same thing. On the mission I have truely come to know Christ because I have had to experience a small part of the pain and sorrow that He went through as He paid the price of the sins of man. I wish everyone could go on the mission. It truely is the best thing you could ever do.

Well, that`s enough for one week. I hope everyone has a great week. Talk to you next time!

os quiero,
Elder Gardner

The district from last transfer.

Goodbye Elder Romero.

Hello Elder Palomino.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Traslados (Loma Week 18)


Well, I don´t really have anything exciting to say about this week. It was a week full of appointments that fall through and lots of walking. But sometimes you have to have weeks like that. Things will get better soon.

The most exciting news is about transfers. I was thinking both me and my companion were going to stay togethere here in Loma Hermosa or that I was going to leave. But as always, the thing you least expect is what happens. Elder Romero left. I am now with a new companion, Elder Palomino. He is from Columbia. Yep, I get another Latin. He seems really cool (of course I met him only three hours ago). He is really outgoing and already has a year in the mission. A big change from Elder Romero. I´m excited to work with an experienced elder.

Kind of a boring letter. I´m sorry. I don´t have anything else to say. Hope everyone has a great week.

Nos vemos,
Elder Gardner