One More Longing Upward Glance

One More Longing Upward Glance

That’s what prayer is, isn’t it. One more look up to God before you begin, one more before bed, before you leave your apartment, or knock on that door. It connects us with our Father in Heaven and connects us to a power source far beyond our own. Also hope. It is a hope generator, it has been for thousands of years. So take that modern technology.

Something that makes me happy is that on my mission I have finally been able to get down saying morning prayers. Seriously, I had tried before with prayer rocks and phone reminders but I guess what I needed was better perspective of its importance.
“Everyone has to go on an alpine hike on their mission…… That was it.”
-Sister smith.
Yes, it was. My legs are telling the story right now.
I can hear them.

(Sister Gardner’s district hiked the Mixnitz hike today. It looked amazingly beautiful (I looked it up) but lots of stairs.I got this picture of the hike, but can’t wait to get Sis Gardner’s pictures)

Mixnitz Hike-  Lots of stairs, waterfalls and beautiful scenery.

Mixnitz Hike- Lots of stairs, waterfalls and beautiful scenery.

I have a Different story to tell though.

It is the story of M from Egypt.
I was humming at the bus stop and then a bee attacked. Or more just flew by I suppose. M told me I had a nice voice and I guess with my knowledge of German I though he was making some comment about our reaction to a bee landing on me. No. He was not. But luckily it was clarified. But then he talked with us about how to learn German, he has been working on it for a long time, and guess what folks I can do it too (learn German) according to him. I gave him a card when we had to get off the bus. Surprise. I get a call from the sisters in Vienna. Guess who gave them a call. M. Guess who accidentally gave someone a Vienna card that was still in my bag from my Tausch (exchange) in Vienna. But because the church is true and God works with imperfect people, Sister Smith, W., the opera singer from America and I were drinking raspberry juice in M’s purple living room.

Basically every question he asked could be cleared up by the knowledge of the plan of salvation. I have never met someone with so many of the right questions before. His wife and two children will also be blessed by our message. It was beautiful to hear someone expressing the big questions they have had; the worries that the bible alone could not calm. And being able to tell someone with honesty that you have the answers they have been seeking. Beautiful. I will never get tired of that ever.

Or, when your little Hindi investigator tells you that even though she needs two months to finish her house and come to terms with the fact that she lost her baby because her body could not handle growing a baby inside and having severe chickenpox at the same time, and will keep reading until she can meet with us. She then tells you that she has two angels, three counting the one in Vienna. I am glad I did not start crying because that was a real thing that could have happened. All over the plastic flower tablecloth and the orange cup with vitamin juice inside.

I feel love here. Which is funny because I have had more doors slammed in my face than most times in my life. He he heh. But that is the beauty of it. I am just a little part of their story, a little eyelash blink in these people’s eyes. It is not easy but it is miraculous.

Can you guess which doorbell the group decided to ring first?

Can you guess which doorbell the group decided to ring first?

“You will sow what you reap, reap what you sow, what you plant in the kingdom will surely grow and what you grow with love will surely bloom and the fruit of the spirit will come back to you. Do not tire form doing good and never give up when the road gets rough, for one day soon a great reward you’ll see from the good that you’ve done when the harvest comes. When the harvest comes… And the fruit of the spirit will come back, come back to you.”

If planting bulbs is my work and my glory, I will plant till my hands grow weak. I am a “Gardner”, and I will help them grow.

I send my love and prayers.

Sister Gardner

P.S. M’s favorite story from the Bible is Joseph, as in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Joseph. He says he relates to him because Joseph was an auslander (foreigner) just like him, but relied on God for strength.

The Wien Zone Sisters  Sis Poll, Sis Gardner, Sis Smith and Sis Krammer

The Wien Zone Sisters Sis Poll, Sis Gardner, Sis Smith and Sis Krammer

Favorites of the Week

New favorite work of the week is:  Zuversicht = confidence

D&C 112:10
“Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.”

“What the rest of the world doesn’t know is that the “real you” is a fascinating mixture of past, present, and future: a past self, now forgotten, that existed in the eternities and was spiritually born of God; a present self that’s a work in progress with unimaginable potential; and a future self that will be transformed, glorified, and perfected through trials, repentance, resurrection, and divine grace.” By David A. Edwards in the August 2015 New Era.

Undiscovered Places

Undiscovered Places

Oh those little purple flowers make me smile.

Oh those little purple flowers make me smile.

I think I was in an undiscovered place this week as I attempted to find a house in next to a forest in a town out side of Graz; I navigated using the faithful pre screenshot pictures of the map. It led us along a most lovely path, over bridges and next to streams, through tree lined patches and a long dirt road. It is beautiful to me to see how God has given us this beautiful world. Also, beautiful how He gives special experiences to all of his children that they may know He is there. I got to hear the conversion story of one of the lovely older women in our ward this week. Her experience took place after she took shelter in the woods when she was a young woman in the midst of a rainstorm. She asked God a particular question.

Missionaries had earlier made their trek out to her little families Dorf (village), but she had not been ready then. This time in the midst of howling winds she prayed, asking that if God was there to give her a sign. She prayed that he would strike her house with lightning. To her astonishment immediately the house across the field from her home was struck. For weeks she did not tell her mother. Fearing that she would be reprimanded for having asked something so dangerous. No one was hurt that day when the lightning struck but from that day on until now at 92, Sister E has known that God is there, that he is real and that this church is true. What a great experience to hear this story.

Gardening on a hillside

Gardening on a hillside

I enjoyed the varying weather this week boiling hot and then pouring rain and more lightning than I have ever seen before. I got to experience a bit of a storm myself. I finally had to close the roll down grate on our window because it really looked like a strobe light at times or at least the haunted mansion ride at Disneyland.

So in other news I gave a talk in church. That was a big surprise and I feel like it went surprisingly well for how much grammar knowledge I still need. Heh heh. That is when it would be really helpful to have an Austrian shoulder angel at my beck and call to correct grammar errors. The best part was that E came to listen to my talk. Unfortunately church was only two hours because of the heat. Weird. I know. I thought so too. You appreciate Sunday school a lot more when you suddenly can’t have it.

Front of the Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II

Front of the Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II

I met many interesting people this week.
A Croatian man who congratulated us for what we are doing, he said he was Catholic, was wearing a Charlie Chaplin shirt and hair just above his shoulders. He spoke to us in English and had such a 1960’s laid back vibe. He helped us find the door for the family we had been referred to. It was nice to hear someone tell you here in Austria besides the members and other church of Jesus Christ people, that they admire what you are doing. I said I liked his shirt. He replied saying, “Charlie Chaplin was a legend”. Stimmt. (Agreed)

Also old woman who certainly thought we were someone else but her helper did not speak German so we ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and promised to read for her next week. Alone and not able to leave her home, we were able to help a daughter of God who was feeling low.

We ran into a woman during out finding day that had met missionaries on the streets only a little while ago in Switzerland. I told her that God is giving her a sign, and that we had a book for her. I think she actually believed me because she says she will try to come to church.
Side note, sometimes it just pays to smile.

Also if you are planning on yelling to ask who is at the door through the closed door when we knock, pretending you are not there, it is not going to work on me. Especially when I have your phone number and can call your number and hear it ringing through the door. You’re not fooling me sister. But I will leave this book for you by the door because it really will help. Even if it is just to read the name Jesus Christ. He was a pretty good guy, if you know what I mean.

Is it just me or does this building look like it was cut in half?

Is it just me or does this building look like it was cut in half?

Each day is made up of so many disappointments and so many miracles. For example today the wifi did not work. I am now resorting to sitting against a wall next to the library to try and stay close enough for the connection because they closed. And who comes riding up on his bike but a less active we have been trying to get in contact with. That’s right people right now. Miracle just happened. The miracle on Vorbeckgasse. (Vorbeck Alley)

Cathedral Domkirche (Dom)

Cathedral Domkirche (Dom)

I have been thinking a lot this week of how I can become more the missionary I want to be, and also more than that, the person I want to be. I know I can use all that I am learning here to guide my course. It is all is a big learning process. And often it does not have to be perfect to still have a spirit of beauty. It is the same with people, theater productions, relationships with anyone, coloring books, the great cosmos and birthday cakes. So be patient with yourself. Take what life gives you and figure out how it is supposed to be beautiful. Even the dullest of grey helps one paint great mountains.

I love you all so much and I wish you luck this week in your pursuits. Take a deep breath and know that someone with all power and love understands.
Sister Gardner

Happy Anyway

Happy Anyway

  1. Peacocks by a castle
  2. Beautiful big green bridges
  3. Guacamole
  4. The scenic route.
  5. Kürbiskernöl (Pumpkin seed oil)
  6. New opera singer friends who want to help do a big inter religion concert.
  7. Opening up a new box of copies of the Book of Mormon because you gave all the ones you had on the whole shelf away!!!
  8. Riotous thunder and lighting storms.
  9. Still having a good week even though almost all of your investigators are on vacation or unavailable.
  10. Not dying while giving a talk on Sunday. Auf deutsch!!! (In German)
  11. Living and breathing and being a missionary 🙂

We cannot simply repent of being weak–nor does weakness itself make us unclean. We cannot grow spiritually unless we reject sin, but we also do not grow spiritually unless we accept our state of human weakness, respond to it with humility and faith, and learn through our weakness to trust in God. When Moroni fretted about the weakness of his writing, God did not tell him to repent. Instead, the Lord taught him to be humble and to have faith in Christ. As we are meek and faithful, God offers grace–not forgiveness–as the remedy for weakness. Grace is an enabling power from God to do what we cannot do on our own (see Bible Dictionary, “Grace”)–the appropriate godly remedy by which He can “make weak things become strong.”


It isn’t a sin to be weak. Wendy Ulrich



1. Navigational/ bus lines under construction adventures. This is more of a hindsight happy thought because during it, I just wanted to throw my map at the nearest Straussenbahn.

2. Making frosting and then realizing the entire box you thought you had of powdered sugar actually has only 25 g and that is when you round up optimistically. And the recipe calls for 250g so you end up frosting the brownie/ muffin birthday cake with mostly Nutella.

3. Happy little red berries that I had never tasted on ice cream. (Red currents)

4. We gave out three copies of the Book of Mormon on one bus ride.

5. The döner man got a new bigger shop; we went and ordered one from him to help him feel supported. Heh. Heh. (A döner is a flat bread sandwich)

6. I sang a song in Sacrament meeting with one of the lovely members who was an opera singer.

7. Lighting is the most lovely of sky art.

8. Elder McArthur had his birthday and we ate cake and played one game of foosball during our lunch hour.

9. Teaching people who make me so happy just because they are kind and the gospel makes people happy.

10. The American people from a Utah college staying here studying opera that I get to translate for on Sundays.

My Strongest Suit

My Strongest Suit

I think my strongest suit is finding random addresses in small towns outside of Graz and only getting lost a few times, that or being really good at forgetting an umbrella when I need it. Yeah. I think I choose the later.

In all reality I think it would be lovely if I had some sort of super power to be a super missionary, say the right things bring the right spirit, have people flocking to me begging to be taught. Ha. Not so. But you see, Superman has it too easy. I think I shall be a Batman missionary, with all the right tools and know how. The Holy Ghost is the real superhero here. I just am a fancy sidekick lacking a bat mobile.

Ok, Hope you enjoyed that brief musing.

This pole apparently has been claimed.

This pole apparently has been claimed.

Good things happened this week, and God was in all the details. We gave out a lot of copies of the Book of Mormon and found a whole new family to teach. Our English class is starting to get more students and L met with us again. He is not quite ready to recommit to a date for baptism, but we are giving him a little time to figure things out. He is dependent on a catholic church for shelter and feels pressured to go to their church because they are giving him a place to live. He also needs a better job and just a more secure situation… Like a visa maybe. Life is rough for these Auslanders (foreigner) that come here seeking a better life. But I know it is a lot better than their homelands. A lot less conflict and risk of being killed.

The Lion of Graz

The Lion of Graz

We went out to visit a man that we found in the companionship phone, I called him because his name was interesting, M. He ended up wanting to meet with us and for us to give him a Book of Mormon. But surprise he lives out past B’s dad’s house. Which in all reality is super close because our area is large. There is no way for us to even logically get to the other side and back home in a day. At first, this frustrated me because there was a whole half of the map that we never can visit. But the thing is, if we build up the church here, then it will hopefully spread and someday those people out there will be able to hear the message of the restored gospel as well. I know it will take a long time, But my efforts within this city are just as important as trying to spread out. Strength in numbers I suppose; strength in togetherness and actually being able to get to church without leaving at 5 in the morning. I don’t know about you, but I think some investigators might have a problem with that considering it is still a big job to help them come when they live in the city.

The Elders came with us on this venture out to M to be a joint teach. Halfway there though he canceled saying he was sick. I was feeling sad because we had already come so far, so I texted back asking if we could at least leave him a book. He said that would be fine. We arrived at a small quaint train station and then started out along a road trying to find the address. It took a few wrong turns but we finally all got there. We called him and he came around the corner of the building wearing a scarf with sad eyes. He did look sick. He listened politely as we explained quickly what the book was, using the picture in the front to give an overview. But then soon left shaking all of our hands. It was interesting to have come all the way to teach him, and for our encounter to only last a minute and a half at most.

We decided to do some dooring anyway. One of the names on the klingle board (doorbell board) was T. We wanted to try that one first but we started at the top and went down. Unfortunately, no one answered at the T door. But the last man, on the first floor came right out of his door, his dog barking loudly. I quickly went up the few steps to meet him, Sister Smith right behind me. I told him quickly that we were missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we were sharing this book. Before I even finished he took the book and said “Mormon. Super”, and then went back inside leaving us standing slightly confused in front of his closed door. Ha. It was all so abrupt. But, honestly at least he tool the book.

There were so many other adventures that day knocking on doors, the Elders stuck with us until the next train came in an hour. We gave out basically all of our church material, everything with us in German.

Well that is just one example of a day this week. We also taught a lesson to a family from Africa that speaks mostly French, we went walking with a ward member who is in a wheelchair, we stopped in the park and sang for him. He smiled. It makes me glad to serve. His mother usually has to take care of him all day, everyday and she does it working so hard but I was glad to give her a little break. I am so impressed by her love for her son. He is a blessing.

Good things happening all around.


Sister Gardner and Sister Smith

I wanted to share something from my scripture study about a man named Aminadab. He is a “less active” but when it really counts, he knew what to do; he knew that the church was true. That is the same with any testimony. These truths touch our hearts and we are never the same. I know it has changed my heart for the better.

In closing, sometimes when I want to live on the edge I eat a seed from my apple.

Sister Gardner

Fortune Favors the Brave

Fortune Favors the Brave….No, but really.

The big challenge at the end of the day, the deciding factor is, did you open your mouth and share? Were you brave? Did you try something new? Were you kind? Were you creative? Did you connect? Did you try? Was your commitment there? Did you learn something? That applies to Missionaries, theater, work, the gospel, and daily life (also a plethora of other things, but you get the picture.)

Tranfer Day for Sister Poll.  Off on a new adventure in Vienna (Wein).  I will miss her.

Tranfer Day for Sister Poll. Off on a new adventure in Vienna (Wien). I will miss her.

We went on the fourth of July and did a six-hour service project for a family in our ward. We pulled weeds and dug holes laid weed paper, placed stones, cut grass and spread mulch. We worked in the hot sun and I talked to Sister S about opera and singing in general. (She is an opera singer) After working really hard we had a BBQ with white wurst and salad. Mmm. She also gave us ice cream with Oreos and as a gift a bottle of peanut butter. She was so wonderful trying to help us have a good Fourth of July. I missed the fireworks and family, but it was a wonderful day because I got to serve with my little family over here in Austria.

Fourth of July service project for a family in our ward.  Sister Smith, Elder McArthur and Elder Wise

Fourth of July service project for a family in our ward. Sister Smith, Elder McArthur and Elder Wise

Fourth of July service project

Fourth of July service project

The Project

The Project- Looking Good

View from our ward members backyard.

View from our ward members backyard.

We found some wonderful people this week. So many times when plans fall through, or something goes not according to plan, it puts us in a place to find a different miracle. To talk to someone else or run in to people we have been trying to get in contact with. Like our investigator leaving sacrament meeting early to ” change her daughters diaper” who left before we could make an appointment for the next week. Meaning we did not have an appointment. But we ran into L coming out of his Catholic Church on the way home. We did not even know that the building was a church. We were able to meet with him and he agreed to let us talk it all through with him again.  It is great also finding people who are ready to take a Book of Mormon.

Spires in the sun, on our Pday hike.

Spires in the sun, on our Pday hike.

We found a really cool guy. His name is F.  He took a Book of Mormon, and told us that he really has a lot of respect and love for Jesus Christ. He asked what he would have to do if he decided he liked this religion more than his current religion. we answered to be baptized and he thought that made a lot of sense. He asked if we smoke or drink and we told him no, thinking he would protest, but he went right along with that smiling saying that was good because then we would be stronger. He liked the idea that there is a prophet today. He told us at the very end that missionaries have rang his doorbell many times and he has alwas not given them the time, but this time they found him the park and now it is more serious. Wow. That was an amazing expereience. There is always something to do, some good.

Sister Gardner and Sister Smith

Sister Gardner and Sister Smith with Graz below.

It may have taken 19 years, but I now know exactly what it feels like when I am feeling the spirit. Of course I have felt it before, but now, I can feel it even when I am just reading an ensign talk or a quote. It is like this almost physical pressure inside of me. Every time it comes now, I am able to tell that is the Holy Ghost.  It is hard to explain but this new knowledge has become a huge blessing in my life as I have been studying.

Clock Tower at the Schlossberg in Graz.  Our  P-day adventure.

Clock Tower at the Schlossberg in Graz. Our P-day adventure.

We had a great dance class activity with the girls in our wards Young Women’s group. I was able to lead it just like I have learned from dance classes all growing up. We did a mirroring activitiy and had the girls switch partners so that the new ones could meet the girls already in the ward. We did a warm up, across the floor movement, stretching, following in a line, leg swings and the different ballet postions.  Then for the end, I taught a short sequence. It was a joy to serve the people in my ward with my talents.

I am able to work hard and I am trying hard. I have so much to improve on, but I am feeling good.

……“and I´m feelin’ good”.

And, I need to go now because time is a ticking.

Much love my dears.


Sister Gardner

I Love.... Send me an email sharing with me three things you love, three things that make you smile.

I Love….
Send me an email sharing with me three things you love, three things that make you smile. (or leave a comment and I, Sister Gardner’s mother, will get it to her)

Murinsel (Island in the Mur) A floating cafe on the River Mur.

These are pictures from last P-day.  They went and visited the Murinsel (Island in the Mur)
A floating cafe on the River Mur.

Murinsel cafe

Murinsel cafe by the giant rope spider web.

Murinsel cafe.  Elder McArthur, Elder Wise and Sister Smith.

Murinsel cafe. Elder McArthur, Elder Wise and Sister Smith.  The New Wonderful Graz Family.

Murinsel 5

bridge over the River Mur

bridge over the River Mur