Today While the Sun Shines

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has taught, “Music can set an atmosphere of worship which invites [the] spirit of revelation, of testimony.”

I loved this quote I read this week in a talk by Elder S Gifford Nielson.

(This is the part where Sister Gardner had written this lovely little opening paragraph and introduction to her week. This paragraph fell victim to technology. I realized this as she sent one last little email saying, “ if the beginning of the actual letter doesn’t make sense, it is because I believe the whole first part didn’t send… and is lost now…I cant find it…. and I’m out of time. I don’t love technology. I think I am a quill pen and paper person. But, then again if that were the case you probably would not hear this message for three months. #oceanvoyage  So…..write something for me”. Ha Ha! I cannot in any way do justice to her writing style. I can however, fill you in on some of the information she would love to share that is not included in the letter.)

Mom’s note: This last Saturday the transfer call came and she is being transferred to Wiener Neustadt, a city just 30 minutes south of Vienna (Wien). Her companion will be Sister Pratt from Maine and they will be reopening this area. She is excited and…..nervously excited. She is really sad to be leaving Sister Smith and all those she had come to love so much in Graz. A part of her heart will remain with those beautiful people there. I know she found the peace felt when you are home. Now it is time to grow again. Sister Smith is staying in Graz to train a new Golden (the term for a brand new missionary).

Imagine that last paragraph and the tie in of the aforementioned quote of President Packer as her introduction and I will turn the writing back over to Sister Gardner.

It has been wonderful to see the progression of E from staying upstairs when we would come to now joining in, listening and giving feedback about our Father in Heaven and also her older brother Jesus Christ. I have seen her go from not being willing to be with us at all to now coming to church often and giving her own feedback and observations during lessons. I know her mother is grateful and I just feel happy and safe and so loved when I go to their home.

With the Bishop holding up his matching red umbrella.

With the Bishop holding up his matching red umbrella.

I was able to meet with E. again before I left and we hope we can see Sis B tonight.

I have loved having the AIMS (American Institute of Musical Studies) students here; they help me remember that even though Americans are usually loud, I do love them too. Ha Ha. W is such a good missionary even now; she has worked to be a good example. She simply invites. I hope I can be able to apply that to my own work.

I was reading today about Oliver Cowdery wanting to translate the Book of Mormon. I know I have been in places like that before where I wish I could be given the certain responsibility or I wish things would go the way I have planned the. But God always has a plan. I need to be willing to give myself over to his will and plan for me. I have my own gifts and talents and callings that I can contribute to this work.

I also read “Today While the Sun Shines” after finding in it in my scripture study written on my margin of Doctrine and Covenants 6:3.I also read “Today While the Sun Shines” after finding in it in my scripture study written on my margin of Doctrine and Covenants 6:3.

6:3 Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God.

It is a little different than Doctrine and Covenants 4 but I really like it. We have only this one-day. All the work we do, all the love we share on a mission or at home adds to that harvest. But also we are able to build up our own reservoir of spiritual strength. I am committed to work hard during my time here; I am looking for more ways to love.

1.Today, while the sun shines, work with a will;

Today all your duties with patience fulfill.

Today, while the birds sing, harbor no care;

Call life a good gift; call the world fair

2.Today seek the treasure better than gold,

The peace and the joy that are found in the fold.

Today seek the gems that shine in the heart;

While here we labor, choose the better part.

3.Today seek for goodness, virtue, and truth,

As crown of your life and the grace of your youth.

Today, while the heart beats, live to be true,

Constant and faithful all the way through.

I am seeking these treasures better than gold; the “better” treasures that endure beyond today or tomorrow but help us always.

In my new dirndl by the tree at the church.

In my new dirndl by the tree at the church.

I think the part that really touched me as I read it was “Today while the heart beats, live to be true. Constant and faithful all the way through”.

Looking at it with more of the eternal perspective, our life is really so, so short. I have the gift to be here, to have a beating heart, to be alive, to be joyful and I am so grateful. I will stay constant.

I am not doing this all perfectly. I am still learning so many things every single day. Sometimes people just look at you weird when you start to talk to them, sometimes they have invited you to teach their whole family but then disappear, sometimes they stay awhile, sometimes they are ready, sometimes they are not. I am glad however that I am the one who invites and in doing so I invite myself as well.

The One True Church

The One True Church

On another note: Well, I discovered that the wall in our closet is actually wallpaper and it does not react well to you taking off things that you taped there for inspiration, but that is what glue is for. Especially glue that you both bought two off because you thought it was a stick and it turns out is super glue, so you are both gluing in pictures to a tusch (exchange) book with super glue. Heh, heh. Oh well, the pictures are not going anywhere. Sister Smith and I have worked hard together and had lots of fun. We have found more potentials during this time than I have ever before, and we are continually helping people to the light.

And won’t it be fun to do it all again.

Man, I love this and I love you too.

Sister Gardner

Following is part of the talk by Elder Neilson that Sister Gardner loved so much this week. Following the excerpt is the link to read the entire talk. It’s a great one.

At the end of a cultural seminar in Greece, author Robert Fulghum asked the organizer of the event, Dr. Alexander Papaderos, “What is the meaning of life?” Dr. Papaderos responded by pulling a small, round mirror from his wallet. Then he said:

“When I was a small child, during the war [World War II], we were very poor and we lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found the broken pieces of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place.

“… I kept only the largest piece. … I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine–in deep holes and crevices and dark closets.”

Reflecting light into inaccessible places became a game for him. But when he became an adult, Dr. Papaderos realized that his childhood game was a metaphor for his life’s mission.

“I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of light. But light–the light of truth, understanding, and knowledge–is there, and that light will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it.

“… I can reflect light into the dark places of this world … and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life.”

When we encounter people who are struggling, can we reflect the Savior’s light to encourage them? The Apostle Paul taught the Romans, “Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:12).

Art outside the Opera House and a beautiful sky to match.

Art outside the Graz Opera House and a beautiful sky to match.

Visiting opera and music friends to the ward. Elder Wise, Elder McArthur and Sister Smith are in this group as well.

Visiting opera and music friends to the ward. Elder Wise, Elder McArthur and Sister Smith are in this group as well.

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