E’llo Gov’na

Sister Gardner and Elders at SLC Airport

I have made it here to the lovely rainy land of Manchester England. This email is just to let you know that I arrived safely. I hope you got the picture from the air port that the kind lady offered to take and send to you. You were not deceived, I was the only sister. I was the only sister when I arrived at England as well, and I will still be the only one until the girl from Australia arrives at four. So it is me and a whole slew of Elders. I have been working hard to learn everyone’s name, and they already have me lined up to play the piano on Saturday. I will be the one to choose the song. The flight was not so bad, I did not sleep more than four hours, but they are giving us an hour nap today before we have some exercise time. I don’t know how that is going to go down considering I am the single female occupant of the MTC at this moment. Besides the wives of the president Preston and Durkin. I have not opened all of your letters yet, I am saving them for an end of the day treat. We have missionaries heading to my mission, the Scotland mission, Birmingham, and some going to Athens Greece, ( the Greece elders where already here). I have been having a really lovely time with all these elders they are nice and helped me with my luggage and I said that I was the Han Solo (girl) and they were all the chewbacas. Heh heh. That got a chuckle out of them. All the flight transfers went well and going through customs. And the most magical of all…… I got my missionary badge. I feel like I am shining to be wearing it. It is magnetic like the one I would wear at Downeast. But this one is a bit of an upgrade. “Kirche Jesu Christi der heiligen der letzten tage”
The keyboards here are a little different than the ones at home so instead of enter I keep accidentally pushing the #. For your viewing pleasure I have removed them.
Ok: one last story.
I gave the book of Mormon away but not in the way I thought I would. I was talking to the lady at the gate and she asked if we were Mormons and I talked to her a bit. Later I decided I would try to give her the book of Mormon. I wrote a little testimony in it but when I tried to give it to her she said that they already had one. She was working so I guess that was not the best idea, but you see, the man on the first flight I sat next to had immediately put his headphones in the moment he realized who we were, so I could not teach him.
And on the next flight I would be sitting with two Elders so again no chance to teach. We got on the flight to go to England, and Elder Mcarthur, who sat in front of us three, was seated next to a very nice British couple, when the flight was almost over I passed my book of Mormon to him from behind and he wrote a little something in it before giving it to the couple he had talked with during the flight. So now it had both of our thoughts written in it, and they agreed to take it. So, long story short, I may have not given the book away personally,. but because I brought it, and I was listening and looking for an opportunity to share it, It made it so that Elder Mcaurther had a book to give away. Well, I am off, but I love you all a lot. I have to go.
Ich Liebe Dich!
Love, SISTER Gardner

My Favorite Scripture

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation.”

-2 Nephi 22: 2

Music is a big part of my testimony, I love this scripture because it touches on the fact that we can feel, proclaim, and share God’s love through music and singing. He is “my song”. I have always raised my voice in singing even as a child, my mission lets me share the melody of my heart in an extended way. I also love this scripture because it shows that we should not fear. Even when there are dark days that are thick with indecision or insecurity, myself and all God’s children can receive comfort. It is my theme scripture and also the reason I love performing so much. I know that music has the power to touch others lives and help them feel the spirit. I hope that my mission will be my finest performance for the lord.

What is your favorite scripture?

The Call

In October of 2012, I was on a bus headed from the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Unfortunately this weekend was supposed to be the blessed weekend gathered around the living room with conference bingo and well loved notebooks. I had plans to watch the conference Saturday session when I returned. On that fateful afternoon my phone started to go off with increased frequency, something amazing had happened. An announcement that is now working in my life today. As so many of my faithful fellow sisters heard that day, the age for sisters leaving on a mission had been moved from the elusive age of twenty-one to nineteen.

This news however did not proclaim a new pathway for my life, showing me now that I should go on a mission. In fact, I Calee Gardner had already decided as a twelve year old that I would serve a mission. I would hold out against any alternating opportunity or pathway until I was twenty-one and serve. I felt somehow cheated out of my previous vigor to be bold in declaring His gospel no matter the age because this new age was so… convenient. I even considered waiting to go until I was twenty-one as to not appear to have “Jumped on the Band Wagon”. Luckily, I have grown spiritually and mentally from that younger woman receiving text messages on a bus filled with exuberant actors. I am so glad that the change has helped so many more women rise up and join the force, the mission is not for everyone, but I am glad that it was for me. I prayed to find out if serving a mission would be a good plan and path for me and luckily it proved true.

How, you may ask, did a twelve year old know that she would want to serve a mission? I was reading the Book of Mormon for the fourth or fifth time, and as I read it, it seemed that every passage, every story, every scripture, pointed to sharing the Gospel of Christ. Every testimony shared within it’s well marked, well loved pages pointed to a pursuit of sharing the life, love, and light of the gospel. I prayed when I finished reading it, and I felt an overwhelming warmth and confirmation that I should  serve a mission. It was that confirmation that led me to participate faithfully in mission prep and scripture study to prepare myself and my testimony.

I received my call on October 8 2014 and drove down from my little apartment so I could open at my home with all my family. I was beyond overjoyed when I read that I would be serving in the Alpine-German Speaking mission. And burst into happy tears a second time when I read that I would go to the England MTC.

Everyone asks you where you would want to go before you open your call. They make a game of it, guessing on little slips of paper before the envelope is slit. I knew that I would be so glad to serve wherever the lord needed me, glad to go and teach whatever people the lord saw fit. All this was true, yet deep in my heart I hoped I would get to speak German, the tiny sliver that dared to hope. And my heart’s desire was brought to life, not only would I speak German, but I would get to teach a people who’s culture and lifestyle I had spent four years learning about. I could share in their daily struggles and triumphs. I will be serving in a part of the world I have always wanted to see. Literally living the lessons of my German class from Junior High and High School.

So now, here I am four months later and I will be leaving in nine days. This blog will serve as my means to communicate to family, friends, prospective missionaries, and anyone curious enough to take part in my story.  I hope that I can inspire those who read this personal memoir and can be edified by my testimony. I should be posting once a week, as part of my weekly email home.

Thank you for reading and for your continued support, don’t forget to drop me a line and let me know how life is going, if you have questions, or if this little blog has touched you somehow. Veil Gluck und Danke!