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, May 26, 2012

Conferences (office week 21)

Well, this was a week full of conferences. Tuesday and Wednesday we had leadership training for all of the zone and district leaders and trainers. We don´t actively participate in the meeting, but it is in the church where the offices are, so we help out. In his continuing efforts to lower spending, President decided to change what we eat for lunch at the conference. We helped put tomatoes (gross) and mayonnaise and lettuce on ham and cheese sandwiches. We also were in charge of buying the bananas. People always look at you funny when you walk out of a store with a hundred bananas in your basket... The sandwiches were about half as expensive as the traditional empanadas we used to order. So President was really happy about that.

Then on Friday, yesterday, we had a zone conference. We are part of the zone so we did participate in this one. Honestly, it was probably the best zone conference I´ve ever been to. I think I feel that way after every conference I go to, but this time it was just awesome. President started the conference reading Alma 7:11-13 (probably my favorite scripture in the Book of Mormon) and talking a lot about the atonement. We spent the whole first half on the conference just talking about the ¨why¨ of the gospel. Why baptism is important. How it is that we can be cleansed from sins and how that feels. Why we want people to feel that way. We didn´t talk much about what we do, but why we do it. And I think that is the most important. Honestly, there are times when I´ve wanted to baptize just to fulfill a goal or beat a record. But that´s not why I am here. I am here because Christ died for our sins, He suffered to feel our pains to know how to comfort us, and He invites us to repent and be forgiven of our sins. I am here because I want people to come unto Christ and be clean, through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.

Speaking of which, the lady we have been teaching (Cristina), was on vacation for the past week. Last Sunday she came to church for the third time, so we decided to teach her about the word of wisdom. She smokes so we knew it would be a problem. We went over Sunday night and taught her that God has commanded us not to smoke. She said that during church she felt that she needed to stop smoking, so we invited her to stop smoking. She accepted but when I then asked her to give me her cigarettes she started making up excuses and saying she didn´t have any. We knew she was lying so we kept pushing her to give us the smokes. She kept on resisting until Elder Chase invited her to say a pray right then to ask God for help to give up smoking. After the prayer we asked again and she finally pulled the box out of her purse and gave me her cigarettes. Literally about thirty seconds later the phone rang and a friend of hers called asking her to buy a box of smokes and go over to her house to smoke and talk. Cristina was like, ¨no thanks, I don´t smoke any more.¨ and hung up. Legit!

So, she was on vacation all week but we were calling her cell phone every day to make sure she wasn´t smoking and that she was reading. Everything was good, so yesterday when we could finally see her again we went with the zone leader to her house to do the baptismal interview. We haven´t been able to teach her very much, but she has a lot of faith and is absolutely sure that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. She passed the interview and today will be baptized at six o´clock.

Those are the most exciting things going on right now. We are super busy as always in the offices, but it is fun. I remember someone asked me during the mother´s day phone call if I liked the normal mission life or the offices better. I decided this week that I like the office life better. I do love teaching the gospel and baptizing, but in the offices we still get to do that and we also do other random things that help the work go forward. I feel like I can help more as I help other missionaries succeed in their work as I take care of the office work. But I don´t want to work in an office for a real job. That would be boring.

Que Dios les bendiga,
Les amo,
Elder Gardner

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