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, June 23, 2012

Awesome (office week 25)

Well, these last two weeks have been awesome! Let me try to tell you why in a consice but also entertaining way:

We´ll start with a story of a lesson we had with Eusebia (or however you spell that). She is the grandmother of Miguel who got baptized a month or so ago. She has gone to church a ton in Peru and has gone a few times here, but she never got baptized. We finally realized that she still doesn´t understand the doctrine very well. While Elder Chase and I were there she said that she has already been baptized as a baby in the catholic church so she doesn´t need to be baptized. We started reading in Moroni 8 were it talks about the abomination of baptizing babies. She thought it was interesting but then started to question the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. For the first time she admitted she has never read it, but she does sometimes open the Bible up randomly and read a verse. So I handed her the Book of Mormon and told her to do it right then. She prayed for about thirty seconds then opened the book and handed it to me since she didn´t have her glasses. When I saw where she opened it to I couldn´t believe my eyes. It was open to Moroni 8, the exact same verse we had already read: ¨Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy.¨ We asked her what God was trying to tell her and she finally admitted that she needs to be baptized again, but in the catholic church! Yeah, she doesn´t understand the doctrine. We explained priesthood authority again but we have pretty much just given up with her. But we keep on baptizing her grandchildren:

Melisa, Miguel´s sister, has been reading a ton in the Book of Mormon and we were pushing hard for her baptism on Sunday. She finally opened up enough to tell us that one big obstacle was that she felt that by being baptized she would be leaving her dad alone. The dad isn´t a member and doesn´t really talk to anyone else in the family except for Melisa. So she didn´t want to ¨join¨ with the rest of the family by being baptized and leave the dad alone. We talked a lot about faith and hope with her but she still wasn´t too sure. On Saturday we took Elder Pabon, one of the APs, to do the baptismal interview. She passed the interview and decided to take the step of faith by being baptized on Sunday. Sunday was stake conference and the area president was there to give a talk. It was a really good conference but afterwards when we talked to Melisa she had changed her mind about being baptized. We all went into a classroom and prayed and talked about it, but she still said no. Especially with it being Father´s Day she didn´t want to leave the dad at home alone waiting for them to get back. After talking and trying to help her to make the decision to be baptized we decided to do it the next Saturday. 

We then went into the cultural hall were the area president was taking pictures with the families being baptized in other wards. As Miguel was trying to get into a random picture with another family from another ward, Melisa came up and said, ¨I want to get baptized right now.¨ So she got changed into the white dress and was baptized! It was an awesome baptism. Seven other people from the stake were baptized and the spirit was strong. We were so happy that Melisa had made that decision, and she was all smiles afterwards.

Sunday turned into an even better day when we went to the house of Cristina, who was baptized a few weeks ago. After talking to her we asked her who she was going to introduce us to so we could teach them. She took us to a house in the back of her property where there lives a family that Cristina rents to. We talked to the 18 year old daughter named Daniela. She is really smart. It´s nice to teach smart people, sometimes I get frustrated when people don´t understand what I think are simple concepts. But she understood everything really well and had some good questions. We invited her to be baptized July 8 and she accepted. When we went back the next day she had read 2 Nefi 31 and then started from the beginning and read 1 Nefi 1 up till 1 Nefi 10. Wow! Awesome. And Cristina bore a really good testimony. My favorite part was when she said, ¨I got baptized in three weeks. It took me so long because I had to stop smoking. Otherwise it would have been sooner.¨ Three weeks is a pretty long time after all... :)

So, Sunday was pretty awesome. But also awesome was Saturday. The children of the parents that I found and baptized in Loma Hermosa got baptized! Since Saturday is my p-day I was able to go to it. It was really cool. That was the first time I´ve seen some one I baptized baptize some one else; so it was really special. And they asked me to baptize the daughter, which was cool. I really love them and it made me feel a lot better about my work in Loma Hermosa. One of the members I helped to reactivate is now the primary president. And another couple that I taught there got married yesterday and will be baptized today. I love helping people on the path to salvation. Even if I don´t always get to be there for the baptism.

On Tuesday we had a BBQ at President´s house with the zone because we broke the zone record for baptisms last month. It was a good BBQ. And it looks like this month we will baptize more than last month and get to go again. Sweet. We have been busy with transfers the last few days. Transfers are on Monday. Tomorrow is the farewell fireside for the leaving missionaries, which I will speak at even though I´m not really leaving (shhh, don´t tell anyone).

Well, this is already a really long letter. Thanks for enduring to the end of the letter! Hope it was worthwhile.

With amor,
Elder Gardner

The Flia Jacquet, from Loma Hermosa. 

Us with Melisa.

Melisa and the whole family.

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