And perhaps a sticky bun… or four…

And perhaps a sticky bun… or four…

Before this mission the only train I had really ridden on was the Heber Creeper and some sort of railway at Disneyland. Lets just say things are a bit different.

waiting for a train.  L to R- Elder Durrant, Sister Poll, Elder McArthur, Elder Deleeuw and Elders ?.

waiting for a train. L to R- Elder Durrant, Sister Poll, Elder McArthur, Elder Deleeuw and Elder Anderson

We traveled all day on Friday to get to Munich for our meeting with Elder Bednar. Sister Poll and I made some no bake cookies right before bed so that we could take them on the eight-hour train ride… hence, the title for today. We got really good at those flashcards we brought with us during that time. This whole week has been filled with travel. Really. Honestly. I am so excited for a normal week where we can go talk with people and have some appointments, aber (but), I learned so much during our travel adventures.

Sister Gardner and Sister Poll in Munich

Sister Gardner and Sister Poll

Elder Bedar told us right away that the reason he was there was not for I-Pads. Granted- yes we are getting I-Pads, but it was so much more than an instructional meeting on how to use technology, it was an inspiring meeting led by Elder Bednar, but perfected through the spirit.

So many missionaries here to listen to Elder Bednar.

So many missionaries here to listen to Elder Bednar.

He talked about how we are agents that act not objects to be acted upon. We need to remain that way. The technology is a tool that I might be using more in the near future, but it does not change the nature of this work. This work is to bring others to the light of Christ and help them accept the Lord’s atonement in this life.

There was an elder playing music before the meeting started, he brought such a spirit with his piano playing, the microphone kept throwing angry fits and buzzing loudly and attempting to drive out the spirit. It would be uncomfortable for a moment and then they would fix it, and those beautifully arranged hymns would bring the spirit right back in again.

View from a train.

View from a train.

I wanted to share two different thoughts I have had. The first is a quote:
” I do not believe there is one missionary whose weaknesses are greater than the potential strengths within him. Why? – Because each of us is a son or daughter of God, with His divine nature and divine potential woven into the very fabric of our souls. I do not think the Lord expects immediate perfection of us, but I do believe he expects immediate progress.” -Tad R. Callister

I think that the last part is what I am really going to focus on, always improving and trying to do everything a little better. I know I have so much to learn as a missionary, and it is always hard work. It is a leap of faith to start talking to someone, trying to share what you hold close to your heart and hoping they understand it is meant with love. I know I need to be better, but I am grateful for the change to grow. I know God has blessed me with both strengths and weaknesses, therefore, he understands when I have weakness, and is always encouraging me to improve.

At Castle Ruins in Graz

At Castle Ruins in Graz

Second, I also finished the Book of Mormon again this week, I love reading in Ether and those last power chapters. I prayed as I always do to ask about the truth. I felt good, but usually it is an enormous spiritual experience. I figured it was because I already knew it was true, but I was a bit confused, but hold your horses ladies and gentlemen, because what happened next was about all the spiritual experience I needed. The day I finished, I got some letters in the mail. Inside were two talks from Apostles in this day and age, testifying that they knew without a doubt that the Book of Mormon was true. All the way from Utah, these letters had made it to me on that exact day. Later, Elder Bednar said at the meeting on Saturday that those who are in tune in with the spirit do not have to be hit over the head with the Holy Ghost every time. It means that God trusts me; it means my testimony is solid. And it is true, I do know.

Views from castle ruins in Graz.

Views from castle ruins in Graz.

The Book of Mormon is the manifestation of God’s love for his children in all times. It is either true or it is not, and you have to consider would Joseph Smith die for some sort of hoax that he put together on the weekend with some buddies to make some cash. NO. That is something I can say plain and simple. The Book of Mormon has always been there for me. If you have faith that something will help you, it will. I would offer that when a testimony is challenged the most lovely way to put those pieces together stronger is to read. “Climb the Castle Wall, Sweep her off her feet.” Sorry for the obscure Robin Hood reference, but it really just means ACT! Do something. Decide to be strong and then BE STRONG.

a twist on the Austrian flag

a twist on the Austrian flag

So I forgot to mention something from last week. I went and helped a lovely less active member in her garden last week, I was able to get out of the big city of Graz and just see the beautiful green landscape all around me. It felt good to dig in the dirt and be close to the wind and sky. God gives these as gifts. I know that joy in this life, and joy in doing what we love shows that indeed we are meant to have joy. So be good my friends.
Sing some songs, say some prayers, eat something tasty, dance around in a train station a bit, and try not to flood the bathroom floor of the hostel with a well meaning but secretly evil shower head. Because although the six sisters you are sharing a room with will come to the rescue with their own dry towels, you will inevitably have to go get more dry towels from the lobby.
Life is Good.
Just be Brave.
Be an agent of action for yourself.

Much Love…
Sister Gardner

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