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, October 31, 2011

Teeth (Loma Week 26)

Well, remember how a while ago I wrote home about how pain and suffering is part of life? It seems like God wanted to remind me how true that is. One of the teeth that I broke started hurting a few weeks ago. Randomly I would have sharp pain attacks for a few minutes then it would go away. I waited for a while hoping it would go away on its own. When it happened during a lesson my companion would take over for me. But then I got called as a trainer and my companion can`t really just take over the lesson any more. I prayed a lot asking God to help me get through the pain, but it didn`t go away. So I finally humbled myself enough and called the dentist and set up an appointment. Interestingly, after I made the appointment the pain attack never happened again. I think God was just waiting for me to do something about it before He helped me. So Wednesday I went to the dentist and he took an x-ray and decided that my nerves are dying. So he drilled a hole into my tooth (fortunately it`s fake so I didn`t feel a thing) then stuck a needle into my nerves and wiggled it around (I felt that part... a lot. It was painful). After he found what he was looking for he decided I have to have root canal. It will be this Wednesday, and I`m not really looking forward to it.

But anyway, let`s talk about the good news. We had a lot of training meetings with the misison president this week. Apparently the first presidency is really worried about `real growth` in the church. Church attendance has been going down while we`ve been having more baptisms than ever. So they turned to the area president in charge of Argentina to fix the problem. And the area president turned to our mission. La Gran Misión Buenos Aires Norte. So we are making a bunch of big changes in the way we work trying to figure out how to help church attendance grow. It`s a big task, but we are up to the challange and have lots of faith that things will get better.

In our ward we are trying to have the members acompany us to more appointments and teach their friends. We had ten lessons with a member present this week, the most I`ve had my entire mission. So we have been doing pretty good. It seems that it really helps the ward grow when we do that.

My companion, Elder Carroll, is doing really good. He is learning lots of spanish and lots of missionary work. We get along great and work well together, even when I tell him to say things like, ´Gracias por la porquería.` He has helped me step up my game and be more excited for the work. Hopefully we can keep having good success.

Well, that`s all for this week. Hope everyone has a great week and take care of your teeth!

hasta la vista,
Elder Gardner

1. My halloween costume.

2. That`s me on a motorcycle in the mall.

3. Me, Elder Carroll, Elder Daniel, Elder Castro. Part of the district went bowling last p-day.

4. We got lost on the way home and were walking for about an hour looking for the bus stop. But we got this picture out of it. Totally worth it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Elder Carroll (Loma week 25)

Well, here is the big news. My new companion is Elder Carroll. He is from Mesa, Arizona and arrived in Argentina on Tuesday. As is fairly normal for gringos, he doesn`t understand much that people say, but he can talk pretty well. He has a lot of enthusiasm for the work and is a rather fun kid to be around. It`s been fun to watch him as he gets used to Argentina. Of course, the spanish, but also things like, dogs in the street, people kissing you as a greeting, the food. My favorite part was when we were in a house teaching and the mom of the family started breast feeding her baby. They don`t try to cover themselves up with a blanket or anything here; they just do it. Elder Carroll got rather nervous for a bit. I`ve learned to just ignore it. There are lots of things like that. I`ll try to include some of them in the coming weeks.

Things are rather different now. I got used to being with Latin companions, which means I had almost entirely switched over to spanish in my mind. Now I have to talk english a lot again, which is surprisingly really hard. I also got used to being able to rely that my companion could explain stuff to me if I didn`t understand everything, now I have to understand it or no one does. Also being district leader makes things more interesting. I have a lot less free time in the night because I have to call the elders in my district and see how they are doing and then call the zone leaders and give reports to them. It`s not all that bad, I love all the elders in the district, it just means less time to relax.

As for the missionary work: The father of the family of ten children came to church. The mom slept in the with the kids. We are also helping a family to come back to church so that the dad can baptize his son. They came to church this week and are excited to keep coming. That`s the most exciting part. Things are going pretty good here in The Pretty Bump.

Well, I hope everyone has a great week. Keep up the good work and don`t forget to go to church on Sunday and read the scriptures and pray.

Con amor,
Elder Gardner

1. Me and my `son.` Elder Carroll.

2. I`m not waiting until after thanksgiving. I put up the Christmas decorations already.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Feliz Dia de la Madre (Loma week 24)

Yesterday was mother`s day here. So Happy Mother`s Day to all you moms out there. Love you Mom.

Well, this was an alright week. We didn`t get much done for a couple reasons. 1. my companion got a dear john letter last week and was rather discouraged all week for that. 2. We had to go to do some paperwork on Wednesday. Fortunately they gave me permission to stay in Argentina for another year. They almost kicked my companion out of the country, he has to go to the Columbian embassy within a month to get things straightened out.

So, now I have some big news. Sticking to the customs in the family I have the privilige of announcing a pregnancy. But this time it`s me! I`m going to have a son tomorrow! Alright, before anyone freaks out, let me explain what that means in missionary language. Having a son means that I am going to train, i.e. I am going to have a companion that is brand new, straight from the states. I will be his first companion so I have to train or teach him everything he needs to know about Argentina and the mission. Also, if he is an american, I need to help him learn spanish. I`m pretty excited. I always wanted to train and now I get to. I really hope he is

american because it will be fun to try to teach him spanish.

And the other weird news is that my old companion, Elder Palomino, didn`t go very far away. He went about twenty minutes away. And he is in my district. And since I have also been made the district leader we will have to do divisions, i.e. he will have to come back to our area to be my companion for a day. (that`s twice now I used i.e. in this letter. I hope it means what I think it means...) So I am still here in Loma Hermosa. I`ve already been here six months and now I`ll probably be here for another three since I`m training. That`s a long time in one area. I pretty much know everyone by their first, last, and middle name. But that`s alright. I like it here.

So, I`m a little bit nervous to be a trainer and have more responsiblity. But I`m sure that the Lord will help me; whenever He calls someone to a position He supports them in that calling. It should be a fun transfer. I`ll let you know next week what my companion is like. Hope everyone has a great week. Make sure you serve someone today!

que les vaya bien,
Elder Gardner

Start the country music.

Kind of a long story. Let`s just say it wasn`t me...

This is called asado (the meat on the grill, not the shirtless guy. He`s called Matias). I love it, but meat is expensive and we don`t eat it very often.

Monday, October 10, 2011

(Loma Week 23)

Well, here we are again. Another week... Another destiny. The never ending road to Calvary.

This week has been pretty good. The most important event of the week was that on Sunday we had a confirmation! Benito, the kid we baptized three weeks ago, was finally confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (I have to use the full name or Elder Ballard will get mad at me) and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. He is an awesome kid and will some day be a great missionary and great leader in the church.

Sunday was a really good sacrament meeting. We had the confirmation of Benito as well as a baby blessing of the daughter of members that moved here from Misiones (another state in Argentina). We met the family a few weeks ago and have been working with them to make sure they come to church and get to know the members here. It was also good because the parents of a family with 10 children were there to see it all. We found this family a few weeks ago and the parents were able to come yesterday for the first time. The children all stayed home, but the parents loved it and some of the children should come next week. We are working with the parents to help them stop smoking so they can be baptized.

Other than that, exciting events of the week were: Putting on a red nose and make-up to be a clown for a birthday party. The family is REALLY poor and was probably the first time the kids had a good birthday party. Watching The Legacy with less active families twice in one day because it was raining and no one ever wants to let you into their house when it is raining. Walking a lot... But that`s an every day experience. And today for p-day we went to a place called Tecnòpolis. It has a ´futuristic technology´ and other fun things to look at and do. It really wasn`t all that impressive, but maybe that`s just because I`m used to Disneyland.

Well, that`s all I have to say for this week. I hope everyone has a great week and keeps up the good work. Talk to you next time.

¡Un Dia Mas!
Elder Gardner

That`s me. Rocking it at soccer.

Yeah. I put on a clown nose to go to a birthday party at a less actives house. You got to do what you got to do...

Yeah, Katie, those are penguins.

I have a secret to tell you. I`m a dinasour. I`m glad I finally got that off my chest.

Monday, October 3, 2011

¡Conferencia! (Loma Week 22)


This week was pretty good. We worked hard to bring people to General Conference to hear the prophet and apostles speak. The Conference was awesome. I love General Conference, it always lifts me up so much. I hope everyone watched it. For those of you who might have missed part of it, don`t worry, I`m going to do a review right now. But you should watch it online later today.

Saturday Morning Session:

Something weird happened. President Monson showed up late. During the opening song one of the elders watching with us pointed out that he wasn`t in his seat and then instead of having President Monson give the welcoming remarks as always, the conference started with Elder Scott. Elder Scott told us we need to memorize more scriptures and not neglect the Old Testament. Then Sister Thompson from the Relief Society presidency spoke. She talked about revelation, but she spoke really fast and I didn`t catch all of it. Then came Elder Clayton (hey! I know him) and he talked about how much the church has grown throught the world. Apparently only 83 years ago the first converts were baptized in South America and now the church is HUGE here. A stone cut out of the mountain without hands has filled the whole earth. He also mentioned Buenos Aires (yeah, we are that cool). Then a song then President Monson showed up. President Eyring seemed a little confused as he was announcing it, but that`s alright. Presient Monson announced a bunch of new temples, another one in Provo! And one in the home town of my companion in Columbia! We were both way excited about that. I love the temple. I miss it so much. I really hope the temple in Buenos Aires opens before I go home. Then some seventy with a thick spanish accent spoke. It was hard to understand, but he said to do the right thing at the right time without delay. Then Elder Packer talked about when he was a boy, as normal. The conference ended with President Uchtdorf. I loved his talk. The human paradox: compared to God, man is nothing; but to God, man is everything. It was a great talk.

Saturday Afternoon

Elder Bednar opened the session by dropping the hammer about family history. Do it! Now! He was the first to talk about not wasting time on facebook, a theme that was repeated in several talks... He was followed by Elder Anderson. Basically, if you don`t have children it is because you don`t have faith and you are breaking a commandment. Becca and Bryan, I hope you listened well! I tried to not worry to much about that commandment for now... Then some guy with a thick british accent spoke. It was hard to listen to him too. But he spoke very strongly about not wasting time on facebook and other things like that. He pretty much said we should grind our iphone into dust. Two more talks by seventies. They were good. Elder Christofferson delivered a home run about repentance. Repentance is good. We should do it more often. Then Elder Perry talked about how big the church is and that we need to be bold in our declaration of our belief in Christ, another repeated theme.

Sunday Morning

President Eyring cries alot. And he`s not even related to mom. But his talk was good. Another `we need to bold in our declaration of Christ` talk. Elder Hales isn`t looking too good, he spoke from a chair. But another, `we believe in Chirst` talk. Then Elder Callister gave an awesome talk about the Book of Mormon. I loved his analogy of the dots. If there is only one dot (the Bible) we can draw a ton of lines through it (interpret it lots of ways, lots of diferent doctrines, lots of different churches). But if we have two dots (the Bible and the Book of Mormon) we can only draw one line (one doctrine, one church). I liked this analogy because of the doctrine and the math concepts. He also mentioned that there is no middle ground, another repeated theme throughout the conference. Sister Dalton gave a talk about raising daughters. Can`t think about that right now... Elder Ballard then talked once again about how we belief in Christ and how our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and not the Mormon Church. Now it was President Monson`s turn. He was in a funny mood. I love it when he is in a funny mood. He told some good stories and talked mainly about prayer and following the inspiration we recieve.

Sunday Afternoon

Elder Nelson spoke about covenants then Elder Oaks about how we belief in Christ. I`ll be honest, neither of the talks really grabbed my attention. Brother Richardson gave a great talk about teaching. We need to focus on individuals and invite them to act (to do something). Then Elder Bennet talked. It was about choices. My notes say, `Don`t be pathetic.` I`m not sure why... Then Elder Cornish spoke. He seems like a goofball. But his talk was really good. The first thing I wrote: `I like chicken.` Don`t ask. But I liked this quote, `Doing things the Lord`s way will make me happier than doing things my way.` That`s true. Elder Cook finished it off with some interesting stories about the Titanic. I had no idea that some missionaries were going to go home on it. Good thing they showed up late! Then President Monson bidded us farewell until next time, in six months.

I hope you enjoyed the review. If you didn`t watch it, please go to lds.org and take the time to watch it. It is worth the time. And if you did watch it, remember what you learned and apply it, do something different because of what you learned! I can`t wait until next conference in April.

Well, that`s it. Love you all,
Elder Gardner

Birthday party with an investigator family. There are ten kids in the family.

Yeah, we are kind of weird.

Lunch party inbetween conference sessions.