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.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Conference (offices week 13)

Well, I don´t have a whole bunch of time since we are busy with General Conference and everything. But here are a few good stories:

I went with the senior missionary, Elder Castañeda, to go pick up some mattresses at his house. It´s just a few blocks away and he drove there. It scared me watching him drive, he hit the curb a couple times while turning, so on the way back I drove. It was my first time ever driving a stick shift, but it only took me a few tries to get it moving (apparently it is easier to start the car in first instead of third). The next day I went driving with Elder Nielsen just to practice and now I kind of have the hang of it; not enough to go driving through capital, but enough for around town. To bad driving through capital is just what I had to do...

Elder Hill got his results back from his MRI on Friday (yesterday). So we called the church doctor and he said he wanted to see them. So we had to go on a trip to capital. But Elder Nielsen had to be at President´s house to help with transfers, so it was left to me to get Elder Hill safely to the doctor in capital and back. That´s pretty intense for someone who just learned how to drive the day before. So, we just took a taxi. Sorry if you thought I was going to have a cooler story than that; but I didn´t want to get in an accident. The doctor didn´t really say much, he just told us to get in contact with the doctor that did the original surgery in the states.

That´s all I can think of right now. Things are going good. Transfers are on Monday so we are busy. We found some cool people to teach this week and now are trying to get them to come to conference. So, I got to go to work. Talk to you next week. Make sure you watch conference!

Elder Gardner

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Offices week 12

Well, I couldn´t think of a creative title for this email. That pretty much explains the whole week. I lost my agenda the other day (I think I left it in a housing agency place) and I honestly can´t remember what happened during the whole week. It´s hard working without an agenda. I feel lost and like I don´t know what is going on (I feel like that a lot anyway in the offices). I´m hoping that on Monday I can go back and find it.

So, this week I have been handling both the finances and the housing issues. Fortunately, there wasn´t anything too complicated. I don´t really know much about the finance job yet, I just give money to people when they ask me for it. But only if they have a receipt! The most exciting adventure was when an elder had his credit card eaten by an ATM machine. I don´t really know how to handle that situation, but I took the money off the card. I was also amazed how fast all my money ran out. There is a limit to how much cash we can have on hand in the offices, and Elder Schoeny filled it up to the limit before he left. We had some unexpected spending (like fixing the mirror on the car) and by Wednesday I was worried I wouldn´t make it to the end of the week before Elder Schoeny came back. But in the end I still had money left over and on Monday we´ll get a check cashed to get some more.

Other exciting office adventures include: going to a lady´s house who was really mad since the missionaries didn´t take good care of her apartment; Elder Castañeda is really good at taking care of situations like that. Going to the hospital at 11:30 at night to get an MRI for Elder Hill. Kind of sort of firing a guy that has worked for the mission for ten years fixing the apartments. Killing a mosquito by kicking it out of the air. Having a video conference from President Gulbrandsen´s iPad with the cell phone department. Spending hours checking baptismal names to figure out why the church records have a different number than our records. Well, those are just some of the fun things we do here. Too many stories to tell them all.

So, we also focused a lot this week in finding people to teach. We have been passing by members and trying to talk to their friends and or family. We have had some good success. The two girls we baptized a few weeks ago took us to all of their neighbors introducing us to them. The 13 year old girl was funny; she was like. I´m not a missionary yet, you guys go talk to them! But she came with us anyway. We found a couple awesome families that want to go to church. Hopefully things will keep progressing with them.

Well, for now that is all. We are about to have a ping pong tournament. Got to go win!

Hasta luego,
Elder Gardner

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bautizar (offices week 11)

So, lots of things happened this week. Let´s start with the best part:

Rocío and Valeria got baptized! It was pretty awesome. They showed up on Saturday and were baptized by an hermano from the ward. It was a really good baptism and afterwards Rocío was all smiles and said she felt really happy. I love seeing people be baptized! Everyone dressed in white and clean from all of their sins, determined to follow Christ more fully in their lives. It`s the best! And then on Sunday they were confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Legit.

That`s been the most exciting thing as far as teaching the gospel is going. Now we are busy looking for new people to teach. But things in the offices have been crazy. Here`s why:

Last friday we got an email from church headquarters in Salt Lake telling us that missionaries wating for their visas had gotten their visas and would be arriving on Tuesday. So we had to hurry and find places to put them and organize everything for their arrival. President decided to put them in trios with other missionaries instead of trying to move people around to put them all in two person companionships, so it didn`t end up being too hard to get it all worked out. Four arrived on Tuesday; and Monday night we got another email saying that another six missionaries were coming on Friday.

So on Tuesday we went to the mission home to help with the new missionaries. I gave them their credit cards and explained how the money works to them. Then we ate lunch and talked and trained them for a while. It was really fun and a lot different feel from when new missionaries usually come in. Usually they are really lost and confused because it`s their first day, but this time they had already been working in the states for a few weeks and weren`t as shell shocked.

Wednesday and Thursday were full of learning of how to be a financial secretary. The Schoenys are heading down to Tierra del Fuego this week to spend time with family and go sight seeing. So while he is gone I am in charge of all the money. This will be a good test to see if I can handle it or not. I learned a lot in a crash course of a few days. Basically it`s just a lot of book keeping and not losing track of things. Hopefully I can do it.

We also have another elder with us in the offices now. His name is Elder Hill. He is here because he has a bad knee and to help us out with the Schoenys gone. It`s a lot of fun with him here. Unfortanetly his spanish isn`t good enough yet to be able to take over my job. President is having a hard time thinking of a missionary to replace me...

Fun story. While we were picking up Elder Hill we were loading all of his luggage into the car and some guy came up on a bike and started yelling, ¨This is an assault. Get against the wall.¨ He pushed Elder Nielsen against the wall and I decided to follow suit without being pushed. He started asking for money/cell phones and I was trying to think of how to get away without giving him the three cell phones I happened to have in my pocket (Elder Nielsen was more worried about the car keys). I thought it was kind of weird it was one guy trying to rob five elders, but when I looked at him I noticed his hand behind his back which usually means they are hiding a gun (or at least bluffing that they have one). Before I could fully proccess everything and formulate a plan he started laughing and said he was a member of the church that came to say goodbye. Man, I totally fell for it, he looked really mean. Elder Nielsen and I had really high heart beats for a minute afterwards. I`ve been robbed enough times on the mission, I`d rather not have it happen again; especially not when we have so much stuff to steal.

On Friday I decided to stay in the offices and work instead of going to be with the new missionaries. But that plan changed when we learned that a missionary was sick and headed to the emergency room. So I hopped in a taxi with Elder and Sister Castañeda and headed to the hospital. Fortunately, it didn`t turn out to be too serious. He got some pills and we headed back to the offices, one more disaster avoided.

So, that`s all the good stories I have for this week. Hope everyone enjoyed them. I sent some pictures of p-days. Last week we went to a cementary in capital that is famous and today we went to the Boca stadium. It was fun. Hope everyone has a great week and I`ll talk to you next time!

Elder Gardner

Let´s just say the car got in a fight with a gate and lost.

That´s the tomb of some famous guy in some famous cementary. Creeeeeeepy.


A cow. Need I say more...

Baptism of Valeria and Rocío. March 10, 2012

That´s the villa 31. I took this picture as we drove past on the freeway.

Eva Peron.

Caminito. The birth place of Argentine tango.

Inside the Boca Stadium. Let´s go Palermo.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Doug's letter

5:48 a.m. We are going to go sight seeing somewhere and we´ll be back. Talk to you later. Love ya.

12:49 p.m. So, I had no time today to write. It was a good week, the two girl are being baptized tonight in about an hour. That´s about all I have time to say. Love you lots!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Intense (offices week 9)

Hello everybody! This week was intense. Let me try to explain it all.

It all started last Friday. We were planning in the night time and started with a prayer as always. While I was praying I felt that we needed to invite a girl named Rocío to come to see a baptism the next day and then invite her to be baptized on Sunday. So we called her and invited her to the baptism. On Saturday she showed up a little late and got to the batpism just in time for the closing hymn. But afterwards we were talking to her and said, ¨you know, there is going to be another baptism tomorrow.¨ She was like, ¨Really! Who is getting baptized?¨ We replied, ¨You.¨ She got a really surprised, but happy look on her face and was like, ¨REALLY!¨ She said it made her really happy. So we grabbed some people, sat down, and taught her the commandments. Fortunately her super awesome neighboor friend had already taught her everything.

After we taught her everything we had one of the zone leaders do the baptismal interview. Everything was going great until the zone leader left the interview and asked me to lend him my cell phone so he could call the mission president. One of the questions in the baptismal interview is about serious sins someone might have commited. If the person has done any of these sins they have to talk to the mission president so that he can help them repent fully. Seeing as how she is a thirteen year old girl we didn`t think there would be a problem and didn`t ask her the question before the interview. Well, there was a problem. When the zone leader told us what had happened my companion and I couldn`t believe it. She`s thirteen for crying out loud! It`s probably better I don`t say what the problem was.

So, we couldn`t get hold of president since he was on a plane heading down south. The zone leader told Rocío she would have to wait to be baptized. She seemed a little discouraged, but not too much. Then as we were talking with the zone leader Rocío kind of dissapeared (we were at the church with members around still). We found her outside on the steps looking sad. When we tried to talk to her she just started bawling and saying things like, ¨I never want to come back here again!¨ Man, I didn`t know what to do. My first instinct was look around for a woman who could be a shoulder to cry on and understand her in a womanly way. I`m a man so I know I don`t understand and I`m a missionary so I can`t even put my arm around her! Fortunately there was a super awesome woman nearby who heard her crying and came over immediately. She listened and tried to calm her down as Rocío told all of the terrible things that have happened to her. I didn`t understand a lot of what Rocío said since she was crying really hard, but I was sitting there thinking, ¨If half of what I think she just said really happened, she has every right to be crying.¨ I was praying really hard that the female member there would know what to say to help her. God seems to have answered my prayer because the member lady talked to her and by the end Rocío was smiling and happy again; ready to come back to church the next day.

That night I prayed really hard for God to comfort that poor girl, that He would help her see that only by coming to church and drawing closer to God would she be able to erase all the horrible things in her past. I was so happy the next day to see her in church, talking and laughing with the other girls her age. We went by the house again on Tuesday and her granddad wasn`t very happy. Apparently there had been a family fight and Rocío started crying again. But her awesome neighboor friend helped her out and we talked to her and she felt better again. I think she mainly just doesn`t have any females in her house to be able to talk to and understand her.

Thursday there was a ward activity that she came to, so we had President come over to talk to Rocío. She was really really nervous when we told her, but after she met him she calmed down. President is way too nice and loving to be nervous around. She passed the interview with president and after a little more persuasion decided to be baptized next Saturday! I`m super happy about that. Out of all the people I`ve taught, she deserves to be baptized.

So, that`s enough stories for one week. There were probably fun things that happened in the offices (like going to the bank to cash a check) but I don`t remember what they are. Hope everyone has a great week. Talk to you next time!

Hasta Luego,
Elder Gardner

P-day at the zoo