More Than Ten

More Than Ten Things That Made Me Smile

The Family of Sisters ( Sister Gardner, Sister Burgess ( Sister Gardners MTC comp), Sister Pentz ( Sister Burgess Comp), Sister Bishop (past comp with Sister Pentz and Sister Polls Last comp), Sister Poll ( Sister Gardner's comp).

The Family of Sisters ( Sister Gardner, Sister Burgess ( Sister Gardners MTC comp), Sister Pentz ( Sister Burgess Comp), Sister Bishop (past comp with Sister Pentz and Sister Polls Last comp), Sister Poll ( Sister Gardner’s comp).

1. Helping a sister who is sick go get dog food and medicine for her little blind doggie. Service is something I love out here. 2. Playing Badminton in a circle using our hands with the family that had us come eat with them in the church after church was over. 3. When Bishop came walking down the hall and stopped and joined us in our game for a few minutes. He is a really wonderful guy. 4. Organizing with a color-coded sticker by year and language all of the Ensign and Liahona magazines in our apartment. 5. Laughing about the word bumblebee with the recently reactivated member and her two daughter that might start taking lessons in the near future (fingers crossed) 6. The Peonies and Jasmine flowers that a member cut from her garden and gave to us in a hurriedly crafted vase. They smell wonderful. 7. The lady who finally talked to me on the bus when I offered for her to smell the flowers from the member on my way home. Her face lit up when I offered. She had been eyeing them. 8. Talking with the Mullburgers about them seeing Evita and then they pulled out their Mary Poppins Program to show me all the production photos from when the tour came to the Graz opera house. 9. A less active that had not been answering our phone calls came to church all on his own and the ward welcomed him back. 10. An umbrella with a broken handle was in the trash, and I flipped it around, opened it and then nestled it on top of the trashcan so that it looked like a little silo. 11. The opera singer a floor above while we were doing a member lesson. 12. The opera singer in our ward, who told me about it. 13. Our two potentials that have blossomed into full on investigators. 14. Having someone to speak Romanian from the ward at our Lesson with L. 15. When people let you into your building from the klingle (doorbell) below and it was pouring rain and hailing all of the sudden without warning. 16. The outdoor flower market I passed. 17. The spirit and love I feel from reading the Book of Mormon and stories from conference talks. 18. The beautiful way that one person’s struggles, once a debilitating curse in their life; when overcome becomes a way to lift others with a similar plight. 19. The way the sky changes from day to day, once clear and bright becomes a moody grey, then back again as the time keeps going and the trees keep growing.

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow
This week was one of the best weeks so far on my mission. And I could not tell you exactly why; maybe contrast has proved a friend to me. A sunny day seems especially warm if the day before was a wet snowy one, if you understand.

Really a wonderful week, lots of our work is paying off from last transfer. Potentials are finally agreeing to meet with us and we are getting more progressing investigators. I feel the spirit as I pray and study for and love these people.

Area Books Are Cool.  with Sister Poll

Area Books Are Cool. with Sister Poll

I suggested the goal to have two lessons each day, two scheduled appointments. Even if someone cancels on us, or it falls through, which unfortunately happens quite often, I feel my purpose growing, I am inviting others to come unto Christ.

That forty-day fast is really tricky isn’t it? The things I have been trying to change really want to just sneak back and be just as they were before. Average. Blah. Not my sort of attitude. But it is all right as I press forward in this goal.

A Glimpse of Austria.

A Glimpse of Austria.

I was thinking of a script last night, and the blocking written in it. Usually blocking is only written in for the really important stage directions…. Tony and Maria Kiss, The queen drinks the poison, the Baker feeds the items to Milky White…. I could go on but I think you understand my point. These items are the items that are required. No matter how artistic of an interpretation, or how creatively the script is used, these actions are what make the story progress. I feel like this relates to our lives as well. We are given a lot of freedom to choose, that is our agency. We make millions of choices even in just the morning hours. We are a people of decisions. But just like with a script there is some blocking you can’t ignore. You need to do them to make the story continue. You can very well skip over certain blocking, but then you are changing the story. We must remember who we are and who has written in that blocking. That would be God. He gives us artistic choice but also commandments, commandments given with love. So if they are ever bogging you down just remember that though it certainly would be a “nicer Story” if Caesars men had simply thrown him a birthday party… the story would not be what it is. Thus the blocking was important. We might not always agree with it, but it is always important…. Somehow Romeo and Juliet has been remember for hundreds of years… Just saying.

A little green roadside hill.

A little green roadside hill.

SO that is my little soapbox for today.
She steps off, straightening her skirt and smiling. Then picks a daisy from the grass and gets on the Strassenbahn with Sister Poll.

I do love you all so much. Have a wonderful week!
Love, Sister Gardner

All Good Things

  1. Eating outside on our balcony with Sister Kramer

    Eating Lunch on our Balcony

    Eating Lunch on our Balcony

  2. I get to stay for another transfer in Graz.
  3. I made a new planner. Crafter award goes to me.
  4. The guy with a long bow on the bus.
  5. We made some pudding with chocolate sprinkles. Well, I put chocolate sprinkles on mine anyway. I am just that kind of gal.

    "You are going to be one of those people who lets their lawn grow cause of the flowers and your neighbors will hate you".   " Yes, yes I am".

    “You are going to be one of those people who lets their lawn grow cause of the flowers and your neighbors will hate you”. ” Yes, yes I am”.

  6. It smells like rain quite often.
  7. The sky was a yellow green during a lightning storm
  8. Sister Kramer told me her conversion story and we painted after planning, before bed.
  9. We met a family in the park and they wanted to hear more.

    I couldn't resist these coaster.  " Don't Let me Down"

    I couldn’t resist these coaster. ” Don’t Let me Down”

  10. The lady at the library does not even need to ask me what I need, she just knows.

And Happily Ever After… To Be Continued

So, I have come to the end of this first transfer out here in the mission field and just like the end of the first act of Into the Woods, the story really has just begun. I certainly hope this next chapter holds lots of people to teach, lots of run-ins with the tender mercies all around us, and plenty of music..

I am running a bit dry of Musical Metaphors this week, which is funny because there are too many to even count, but that is alright because the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain. Which in this case makes absolutely no sense.

An Exhange with Sister Kramer

An Exhange with Sister Kramer

So this week I did a golden Tausch (trade/ exchange) with Sister Kramer. After Zone meeting in Vienna, I went back on the train with Sister Kramer and the other missionaries of Graz, leaving Sister Poll to work in Vienna for a few days.
We had a good time the two of us in Graz. Sister Kramer is a convert to the church and has an amazing testimony. Also, she likes the Beatles, so basically we’re already best friends. We did our studies that next morning and then went to go meet people in the park near my apartment. It was such a hot day and beautiful outside so there where plenty of people to talk to, It was an interesting experience to be without my trainer, but we did it. We even found a family who gave us their number and said we could bring them a Book of Mormon. We where both speaking to them in German but it turns out they speak English better than German. They come from Albania.

Lock My Heart Cause I'm a Missionary.

Lock My Heart Cause I’m a Missionary.

We walked along the lock bridge next to the enormous Modern Art Museum within the view of Schlossberg while we talked to people so that Sister Kramer could see a bit of Graz while we worked. We then went and met with the lovely Miss B. We made a prayer rock with her to help her to remember to pray every night whether she is at her mother’s house or father’s house. She also showed us a few tricks she has been perfecting on the monkey bars and then this lovely 9 year old got up the courage after our supporting, to pray. It was a simple sweet prayer, sincere and true. I was so happy because often it is hard to have a really good lesson with her because her friends are running around or her little brothers. But that day was really special.

Modern art Museum

Modern art Museum

Another great lesson was had with L. (she is my first real progressing investigator) She has lots of questions but it working hard to try and understand, It was nice to have a member with us there at the lesson. I can tell what people are trying to say when they are learning English, So it made sense that our lovely member, native German speaker, was able to understand much better than I the questions L was trying to ask. The language barrier is real, but the spirit is too.
So, I have been thinking a lot this week how I can be a better missionary. I have been working hard and these six weeks have gone by so quickly. We are starting a forty day fast… Now don’t freak out, I will be eating and drinking and most likely snacking… on chocolate…. But it is not a fast from food but rather from certain things we think about or from certain behaviors. We have been promised if we work for these forty days to not think about or not do those things on our list, we will after the fast, loose the desire to do them, and will be able to focus more on our purpose. I have been reflecting on what this really means. We all have those goals that we never quite reach, goodness at the start of every new year the gyms are full and people are kinder and money is saved and everyone is often more punctual. They are the self-improvements we wish for, but even now prove all too elusive. It is going to be tough because I have decided to take this really serious and try to really improve some things about myself. I will not share them; partly because I feel those sorts of improvements will hopefully manifest themselves through my service and everything I do. I will not change who I am but rather become a more refined version of myself. …

 a street in new home.

a street in new home.

I want to also invite you, if you dare, to join me in this challenge. It will not be easy and just like the science of psychology has proved: when you try to forget or not think of something or change something, it gets all the harder to focus. At first you WILL think about it more than before. That would be Mr. Satan trying to stop you from improving. But with time it will fade. You have to make the choice and then do it. So this week, if you feel up to the task, pray and write down any behavior or something that pokes at your spirit. It could be something that really is not totally wrong, but could be improved. I would love to have the support of you wonderful people I love as I try to do this for not only myself as a missionary, but also for the people I will be teaching, for those I will meet, and for my God who gives me life. I have been promised that if I do this, I will be blessed with the ability to bring the spirit into my lessons and teach the way I have been trying to learn to teach in every lesson and in every mission prep class. I am going to be very focused. Because the blessing this will be to those I teach is worth it. I love them. Though I know them not yet, I love them. I love you as well, those who take the time to read these words and be a part of my journey. I will never know why I have been so blessed to cross your path, but I thank you. And I challenge you!

Fight the Good Fight!

I love you!

Sister Gardner

10-ish Thing That Make Me Smile.

  1. The guy sitting in front of me who is always here on Mondays when we are, drinking probably his third cup of coffee staring disapprovingly at the computer screen and the stack of newspapers.
  2. Skype
  3. Sticky notes
  4. Email
  5. Chocolate sprinkles
  6. Cheap cookies
  7. Time
  8. The Book of Mormon.

(The Picture is of the lamp in their apartment that makes Sister Gardner Happy.  She mentioned it last week. It is a cool lamp.)

….And You Learned Something Too

….and you learned something too “Well, here it is, jumping off point and here we are, one breath away from a sick world that’s been crying for what we can give it; Truth, Freedom, Salvation. Can you see the headlines now Brother (Sister)…. “Two humble missionaries convert thousands, city translated over night”. Green (Poll) we’re destined to be the greatest team of missionaries the world has ever known.” ( song quote from the musical Saturday’s Warrior) -The hipster musical about the Book of Mormon…. Before it was cool. I have been singing this Saturday’s Warrior song since I got here. In case you were wondering, this musical above quoted it rather cheesy. I normally would listen with a miffed sort of smile on my face as sounds of “Saturdays Warrior” filled my home in Utah… but now, considering it is the only musical I can listen to, I love it with a passion like a guy stranded at an airport would love those little carts that give you money when you return them. The “cheese-ness” has grown on me.

Here comes the Sun

Here comes the Sun

So dear friends It is I, Sister Gardner returning to you through the magical medium of the Internet.

The Glasses always in the office at the church.

The Glasses always in the office at the church.

Some really wonderful things have been happening here in Graz besides my successful acquirement (is that a word or is it not, who cares, you know what I mean) of a Visa. I am now a legal part of Austria, and of course they used my smirky little passport photo, but I really like it, so life is good.

The Sisters Apartment

The Sisters Apartment.  Sister Poll sending a message of Peace.

I had the wonderful opportunity to Skype with my family for Mother’s Day and I can honestly say that I have never had forty-five minutes pass in such betraying swiftness. But I was successfully able to push the hang up button on Skype despite the pain of goodbyes…. “If you are brave enough to say goodbye, the world will reward you with a new hello,”…… something like that. I am pretty sure that quote was meant for love sick hearts but I have become very good at applying what would normally be a romantic quote to actually finding new investigators… It is a gift. Ask me about it sometime, I will show you my scrapbook. All right but really, lovely things going on. We are meeting with our new Investigator this week; it will hopefully be my first progressing investigator since I got here. I am really praying she will stick it out with us and that she will realize what a good thing we are bringing to her life. She speaks some German but mostly Romanian so that is where pamphlets in lots of languages really come in handy. What does the word Beten mean… Well shucks lets just go to page such and such of this Romanian Restoration pamphlet and bingo prayer is translated from German to Romanian. This will be perfect for me because it will help me with lots of simple German. Hey, who is good at simple German structures? That’s right, pick me, pick me!

Pancakes for Dinner......Because.

Pancakes for Dinner……Because. -with Sister Poll

We had a great member lesson this week too. It took two days for it to work out, but helping this woman find a friend in the ward is so important, plus it helps that the mother tongue for both member and investigator alike is Hungarian, and they are both mothers… and The ward member served her mission in Graz… I could tell it was perfect, but I have more faith in your deduction skills than that. And no the lesson was not perfect, but it was really good, We brought the spirit, both the mother and father prayed and though the little sons where running around during the duration of our visit making dinosaur noises and dumping out buckets of racecars all over the floor. The barking Chihuahua was a nice touch too. But it is ok. The spirit has a lovely way of being powerful if you really focus in on what you are teaching. Even if this family does not yet start coming to church each week, the way we are helping their family is what they need. Prayer works friends. It is a simple thing, but it works. So just take a breath and close your eyes, let Him know you are talking to Him, and then tell Him what you are feeling, ask Him questions, tell Him thank you for some things… He does give you everything after all, and if anything, just bask in a moment knowing that someone powerful loves you very much. Then to seal the deal, close your little pow-wow in the name of your Brother who makes it possible to return to your Father above. I prescribe two weeks of this and I can guarantee results. Don’t believe me, fine try and prove me wrong. I know you know that I know that if you are listening though, you will feel something.

Look at it just right and it is a mini climbing wall.

Look at it just right and it is a mini climbing wall.

Also this week, do you know what makes weekly planning really great? Goldfish crackers via airmail. Just thought you all might like to know that. You know, in case you were thinking about that during one of your own philosophical musing sessions. And for some reason when ever I am washing dishes I think of West Side Story and I am not sure exactly what is in the air right there next to the sink but I sing the word Maria there more than I ever thought possible.

Yellow Building.  although, I call it a zellow building because the Y and Z keys are switched on the keyboard and I am always typing things like zellow.

Yellow Building. although, I call it a zellow building because the Y and Z keys are switched on the keyboard and I am always typing things like zellow.

I know that I have gained knowledge of the importance of looking for the little things in this life that bring me joy. Some people find it in the mountains, others in a quite library, some people the sky or with the people they love. Sometimes it is in the strange little bird that lands outside your window or the flower petals on the computer keyboard in the church when you come back in and the window was open. God gives us these little gifts to remind us to smile. This life is a test but it is also a pretty sort of colorful scantron (fill in the bubble test sheet) with lot of breaks between the hard questions to eat some Peach-o´s and Mythbuster clips during the physics section. It is ok! You can do it! The world is pretty scary sometimes, but there is always something lovely to find and when you find it. Hold on to it, for it shall lift you up above the dark blue days to the bright sky above. If you ever forget, like I once did on a chilly evening sitting on a curbside in tears, that you are loved and important. I implore you to look up to the sky and see those stars. And know. And Know, that you are loved. I share this with you with a hope that you will look up when the world pushes you down, and work with me in my pursuit to see the good in every day. I love you and your support lifts me always. Love, Sister Gardner. (A few of the Simple Small things that brought Joy to Sister Gardner this week.)

I Spy- look Close for 5 things.  No Salt allowed.

I Spy- look Close for 5 things. No Salt allowed.

The Castle-  We were going to this castle but got off the train to early.

The Castle- We were going to this castle but got off the train to early.

This was the lovely view of the mistake train stop.  I call it a LOVELY mistake.

This was the view of the mistake train stop. I call it a LOVELY mistake.

Seeing Progression in things.  From this....

Seeing Progression in things. From this….

To this.  Progression in all forms.

To this. Progression in all forms.

Good Things from this Week

  1. Teaching one of the daughters of someone we visit how to read music.
  2. Sister Poll and I both like obnoxiously difficult puzzles.
  3. We got to eat the Chinese take out the family ordered when we helped them move into their new apartment.
  4. We had an investigator surprise us by coming to church.
  5. The lamp in our livingroom/Kitchen/Study/Bedroom/Diningroom/Library. Yes. Seriously.
  6. When I was talking to a visitor who came to church and explaining who I was and how long I had been out on my mission, She asked why my German was so good. Warm Fuzzies all the days. Shout out to Frau Lindsay!
  7. The Elders left us chocolate and Käse stängli… Cheese Crisps on our door and in our mail box…
  8. Free German Hymnbook because the cover was all colored on. Yesssss! (Even though I do miss my English hymns as well)
  9. Hearing about Sister Polls’ awkward experiences with blind dates.
  10. Being a missionary.

Hair as Yellow as Corn…

Hair as Yellow as Corn…

So apparently some of the people in Austria really like Miss Monroe with the hair of blonde and the windy white skirt. And, I guess the fact that two people have mentioned it when I start talking to them on the bus is a good thing. So I have an only slightly questionable fashion icon of the past aiding in my missionary work today. Thanks darling.

So this week was get back to work after being world travelers for a week.

I want to start with a few of my thoughts from studies this week.

Hopefully it will not make you weak.

And, hopefully your eyes won’t leak.

Heh heh.

So I was studying in Doctrine & Covenants 38 verses 15 and 30, both talk about how to not fear.

Here is the dealio. Satan is practically standing outside with a megaphone and screaming at people to do stupid but “fun” things that eventually lead to captivity and him laughing in delight as you struggle and ultimately feel horrible. It seems he is always there and he has got lots of people shouting too, basically the whole world is filled with it and we are there with our little ear buds with classical goodness in our ears and it is keeping the sounds of him muffled. But, we take those out and boom, the loudspeaker is bouncing and he is pumping out his sickly brew into our hearts and souls. Pretty scary huh? The key is to keep that still small calm close enough that we can hear it because it is small but powerful. The bad is in your face all the time, it is portrayed as what is right and fine. But it does challenge us every time we see it. That is why it is essential to keep our spiritual repertoire up to date always adding what will uplift us, always being prepared with strong testimony for when those loudspeakers start blasting. We will not be fearful if we already know what choices we will make and the good we will seek.

That was my interpretation anyway. Read them yourselves and see what you think.

The Castle Gate

The Castle Gate

So in the English language we have two forms of the word “you” just like the Germans. What? You may ask, this is news to me. The common “you” that we all use in English is actually the formal; the more personal is “thee”. My whole life I thought “thee” was the more respectful but really it was the more close and special in that way, words you use with your family and in our language, God. German is the same. “Sie” is what we use with anyone we don’t know or other adults.  “Du” is used with family and close friends…and you guessed it, God. I just thought this was really beautiful. He is so personal. He is helping everyone out, even those who are not seeking him. He wants us to come to him and loves us in that personal way. I am grateful for the new insight learning German has given me about my relationship with Heavenly Father.

So here are some excellent moments from the week.

What I really love is quoting Brian Regan sometimes. That is an unplanned joy I have discovered in this adventure of a mission.

Sister Poll and I helped one of our less active members we are working with move this week and it was really fun. We loaded up a truck and the neighbor’s cat came and walked between our legs as we were trying to bubble wrap a vase with the fake plants still in it. And, the adventures of removing curtains and wrapping up dishes and holding flowerpots on our laps as we drove to the new apartment. Then we helped the couple clean by removing hard water on basically everything in their bathroom, moving couches, placing rugs and washing windows. It is lovely to see the personalities of these wonderful people as I talk with them.

some flowers by the road

some flowers by the road

Also this week something I loved was visiting the lady we had helped with the garden again, she came to all three hours of church and it was really great. Anyway, but we took a train out to visit her and this time her daughters where down stairs too. Usually they just go up to their rooms when we come. One is my age just graduating from high school and the other is a little younger. Sister Poll was able to help the younger one with her math. I helped her too for a bit, but Sister Poll was on fire and really doing math is like a therapy so I turned my attention to the mother and other daughter. We started talking in German of course and I was trying to get to know the daughter. And surprise… Singing in the Rain comes up! Yes! I was so happy. Somehow the conversation turned to music and I started drawing out note values and explaining rests. I realized then my ENORMOUS vocabulary gap, but I was still able to help her. She went and got her piano keyboard from up stairs. Luckily I had a little French hymn way back from sister Cheve in my journal so I had music to try and teach her. It was really lovely and I was so glad to be able to use my talents to connect with this girl. The next day in Church her mother came to all three hours and told us that her daughters had asked all about us. They have never had interest in church related anything so I was really excited. I hope I can continue to be a force for good in this ward and in people’s lives. And, hopefully continually through music.

I cannot believe that it is already May. Time is going by so fast. I do think of all of you more often than you know, but sometimes it is hard to think you are all having adventures without me, so it is good to be focused here and I am so glad for the work I am doing.

Now that is a flowering bush.

Now that is a flowering bush.

I am grateful for the fact that the spirit can attend you and your lesson even when the lady tells you, that she only has five minutes to hear what we are about. We had planned to teach the Family Proclamation to the World but instead taught a crash course of the restoration. I am always able to draw upon the knowledge that this gospel has helped me in my life and in my family’s lives. I have a testimony and that is what I share with people. It is one more good piece in their little puzzle of life, one more floodlight in a sea of half burned out flashing colorful Christmas lights. The light of Christ is solid, it is real, it is beautiful and it serves as a beacon to us in this life. I can only hope I am a way the light can reach the masses. The Light drives out that darkness that “foul yellow smoke…” Light is clean and bright and guiding. This Gospel is my light.

The city seen through the train window.

The city seen through the train window.

Also, I saw a double rainbow out the window of the train so that was a plus.

Love, Sister Gardner